This browser does not support the video element.

The 100 Hour Work Week

‘When you start your own business, the flexibility is great.
You get to choose which hundred hours of the week to work!’

I’m not sure who initially said this to me, but as any entrepreneur knows, it’s not too far from the truth! Starting a business from scratch takes equal parts self-belief, hard work, and a dogged determination to just ‘keep at it’.

I started Abe’s Audio in my bedroom in Port Lincoln, a South Australian country town. I saw a need - advertising executives had tight budgets and needed voiceovers and commercials produced with fast turnaround - so I provided a solution.

In those early days, while I didn’t have any spare cash, I did have lots of time. I was young and passionate about the business, so I worked in and on Abe’s Audio during every waking moment. I remember spending countless hours over multiple weekends re-categorizing production music, a mind-numbing task that consisted of listening to thousands of tracks.

My Side Hustle

To make ends meet, I DJ’ed at a local pub as a side hustle. One night, I got home after a gig at 2:30 am. But rather than going to bed, I continued working through the early hours recording the voiceover and producing a radio imaging package that had to be delivered the next day. (I shudder to think about the quality - I hope it has been lost to history!)

Equal parts self-belief that I could do it, hard work when I was tired, and determination to keep at it, even on the quiet days.

Over the years, Abe’s Audio has grown, and its demands have changed. But while running the business still takes a solid investment of time, I’ve made a conscious effort not to work a ‘hundred hours a week’. Because in the long term, I don’t think anybody wins.

What Is Success?

Many entrepreneurs are driven to succeed. But what is success?

Is it running a growing business but neglecting friendships? Increasing profits but ignoring my wife because I’m engrossed in my laptop when I’m home? Spending hours developing client relationships but not really knowing my kids? Investing in professional development but neglecting my personal development and mental health?

As the founder of Abe’s Audio, I’m always thinking about the business - and it’s a constant juggle. So I need to set clear boundaries to help me focus on the important things - and then choose to stay within those boundaries. Otherwise, I get frustrated because I've become consumed with what might seem urgent rather than what’s important. 

For me, this means trying to be more present when I’m with my kids - and not get distracted by my phone (easier said than done!) It means being home for dinner most weeknights so our family can hear each person's ‘best and worst of the day’. It means having time to sit on the couch in the evening and watch a TV show with my wife. It means making time to reflect and quiet my mind early in the morning before the demands of the day kick in.

What Really Matters?

When I look back on life, I hope I’ve focused on the things that really matter. Yes, I want the business to grow and for our clients to be happy, and I want to have authentic relationships with my staff and to have led well. But I don’t JUST want to do that.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. 

Even though I’ll never get things perfectly balanced (is that even possible?), continually reminding myself of what’s important helps me prioritise how I spend my time and where I focus. 

I don’t want to have put ‘a hundred hours a week’ into the business while neglecting my family relationships, my friendships, and myself.

Because when it’s all said and done, these are the things that really matter.

Abe Udy

Abe is the founder of Abe's Audio and started the business in 1998 from his bedroom with an old computer, fax machine, dial-up internet, and a microphone in his wardrobe. Today, he leads a team that provides audio production and voice overs to media, agency, eLearning, video & creative clients around Australia and beyond.

Similar posts you might like