I built a 6-figure business working no more than 30 hours a week, and here's the best advice I can give you on building a company without being a workaholic

Courtesy of Jenny ShihJenny Shih.
  • Jenny Shih is a business coach who has taught more than 25,000 women how to earn a full-time income working 30 hours per week or less as online, service-based entrepreneurs.
  • She built her own six-figure business working no more than 30 hours a week.
  • She says being an entrepreneur without being a workaholic comes down to getting clear on your values, and setting boundaries.

I’m an unconventional business owner. I’m never going to tell you that you “have” to do something. I’m never going to insist there’s a “right” answer. And I’m never going to ask you to work 60-plus hours a week. I certainly don’t.

While I totally respect the hustle, that all-in, go-big-or-go-home attitude isn’t for me. I tried it 20 years ago, and it almost killed me. Since then, I’ve found that success doesn’t have to come from a self-sacrificing grind and built a multiple six-figure business working no more than 30 hours a week.

Here’s my best advice creating a thriving business without letting it run your life.

Get clear on what you value

One of the most amazing things about creating your own company is your ability to design something that aligns with your values. Whether you value massive financial success, tons of free time to spend with your family or travelling the world, a creative outlet, or the opportunity to make a huge impact on the world, at the end of the day, you get to choose.

This means the first step to creating what you want is identifying your top two, overall life values – and you can only have two. When you have more than two, you’re no longer focused enough to work and live according what truly matters. Your right two values are the ones that are true to you, not ones that you’ve been told you should have or believe are expected of you.

Deliberately create your schedule

When you pinpoint your top two values, your next step is to be ruthless about structuring your work and life around these values. After all, if you’re not spending your time in ways that reflect your values, then you aren’t truly living those values.

This means, if you value time with family, your desired family time goes in your schedule first. If you value health as I do, time for self-care and time not working are essential. If you value travel, put time in your schedule for that.


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There is no one right way to schedule your life other than however reflects your values. Give yourself permission to do things your own way. This means not following a morning routine, four-hour work week, or workation schedule that some so-called expert has declared is the secret to success. Your secret to success is whatever reflects your values.

Hold yourself accountable

Although this may sound harsh, the truth is, the rest of the world does not care about your values or your schedule. This means you hold yourself accountable to both.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a schedule that plans each day in 15-minute increments. I realise this sounds extreme, and it’s always met with a lot of pushback from my clients. The results, however, are undeniable.

When you deliberately plan and track your time, you quickly see how easily you give in to distractions and procrastination, how much time you spend doing busy work, and that you ultimately have more control over your schedule than you’ve ever realised. This epiphany might sting at first, but once you get over the ego hit, you can take back control and truly live and work according to your values.

In time, you won’t need to plan or track your schedule so closely. You’ll develop habits of focus, anti-procrastination, and routines that reflect your values. You’ll naturally manage your schedule in a way that reflects your values.

Get really good at saying no

To hold yourself accountable to living your values, you have to say “no” a whole lot more than you do right now. You’ll be saying no to everyone – from friends and family, to coworkers and employees, to new opportunities. The world is going to keep asking for more from you, and you have to hold the boundaries set by your values.

The good news is, when you are 100% sold on your own values and how essential they are to your life and work, it becomes easier to say no. Sure, the person on the receiving end might not be thrilled with your response response, but the alternative is sacrificing your own values – and this is exactly what you’re trying to stop doing.

Create systems for everything and delegate

Once you’re operating on a schedule that reflects your values and armed with the ability to say no to everything that tries to pull you from those values, you’re primed to achieve greater success. This is when it gets fun.

With a slimmed-down, focused schedule, you can easily see what work helps you achieve the maximum results you’re looking for without sacrificing your values. From here, you can create effective systems, delegate more, and free up your time to do the work that grows your company. In a nutshell, you can achieve greater success without sacrificing what matters most to you.

Working but not hustling – forever

With each phase of business growth comes further refinement at each step. Revisit your values, your schedule, everything pulling you from your values and schedule, your systems, and your team. Update and fine-tune each area to help you achieve your next level of success. It’s part of a never-ending spiral of upward growth, helping you create a successful business without ever sacrificing that which truly matters to you.

All of this means you don’t have to be a workaholic ever again- unless that’s something you value.


Jenny Shih

is a business coach who has taught more than 25,000 women how to earn a full-time income working 30 hours per week or less as online, service-based entrepreneurs.

Drawing on her decade of experience in high tech and her training with Martha Beck and spiritual teacher Byron Katie, Jenny guides her clients through a no-fluff, step-by-step approach to creating thriving businesses they love without having to work long hours or make huge sacrifices.


Get her 6 steps to creating success on your terms here.

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