Are you busy being busy?

2nd June, 2024

As entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves caught up in the whirlwind of constant activity, striving to make a name for ourselves and build successful businesses. But are we truly being productive, or are we simply “busy being busy”? In this episode of the Real World Entrepreneurship podcast, hosts Bhairav Patel and Alan Clarke dive into this question, exploring the phenomenon of entrepreneurs who seem to be everywhere, winning awards and attending events, but may not have much substance behind their actions.

The Allure of Awards and Recognition

Bhairav kicks off the discussion by mentioning a young entrepreneur who recently made the Forbes 30 under 30 list. While this is certainly an impressive achievement, he notes that despite her busy schedule of events and talks, there doesn’t seem to be much product development behind the scenes. This raises the question: are some entrepreneurs more focused on winning awards and gaining recognition than actually building their businesses?

Alan points out that not all awards are created equal. While some, like the Oscars, are highly prestigious and difficult to win, others may be more easily obtained through marketing efforts or even by paying for them. The hosts agree that while winning awards can be nice, it’s important to consider their true value and whether they are actually helping to grow the business.

The Myth of the 24/7 Hustle

Another aspect of “busy being busy” that the hosts discuss is the idea that entrepreneurs need to work around the clock to be successful. Alan shares his experience of working long hours in his first job, staying at the office late into the night. However, he admits that much of this time was unproductive, and as he got older, he realized the importance of focusing on quality over quantity.

Bhairav agrees, noting that many successful business owners he knows work hard, but also know when to stop and recharge. The hosts caution against the false impression that entrepreneurs must wake up at dawn and work until midnight to succeed, emphasizing the importance of finding a balance that works for you.

Networking with Purpose

The conversation then turns to the role of networking in entrepreneurship. Alan shares his own experience of finding big opportunities through chance encounters and introductions, rather than through carefully planned strategies. However, both hosts agree that networking for the sake of networking, without a clear purpose, can be a waste of time.

Bhairav shares the story of a “professional networker” he once met who spent years attending events and meeting big names in Silicon Valley, but never actually developed her app beyond a basic website. The hosts stress the importance of having a clear goal in mind when networking and selecting events that align with those goals.

Key Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

So, what can entrepreneurs learn from this discussion? Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Focus on building your product or service, not just on winning awards or gaining recognition.
  2. Don’t buy into the myth that you need to work 24/7 to be successful. Find a balance that allows you to be productive while also taking care of yourself.
  3. When networking, have a clear purpose in mind and select events that align with your goals.
  4. Quality is more important than quantity, both in terms of work hours and networking opportunities.

By keeping these principles in mind, entrepreneurs can avoid the trap of “busy being busy” and instead focus on building strong, sustainable businesses.

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