You Can’t Do Everything, And That’s Completely OK

I want to have as big a business as I possibly can.  Why wouldn’t I?  However, I learned a very long time ago and continue to learn that as big as I want my business to be, it cannot be at the expense of my own mental well-being and others.  Which effectively means my business will never actually be as big as I want it to be, but that doesn’t mean I can’t max it out within the confines of who I am and what I want. I can only speak for myself on this particular subject, but I think it will help to explain exactly what I do for a living and its relationship to whether or not I want to go after the coveted “billion dollar company” status.

I’m on online publisher

So what does that mean exactly?  Well, it can mean a zillion things.  I can be the owner of a massive Ecommerce site that writes reviews of products in a particular sector and the site makes money off of commissions for each product sold that we direct users to.  I can be a guy that publishes on blogging platforms like Medium.  I can own a popular news website like CNN or CNBC.  The bottom line is that in some way, shape, or form, my business is predicated on the creation of some form of content online, and that content in some way drives revenue directly or indirectly.  In my particular business?  It’s simple.  I own a portfolio of 10 websites (including this one).  Each one of these websites produces content on a daily basis.  The revenue comes from ads placed throughout the webpages.  I get paid based on impressions or essentially “views.”  Each time a visitor “views” an ad, I make a tiny bit of money.  The more visits and views, the more money I make.  That’s how it works in simplest terms.  I only make money with display ads.  I don’t sell anything.  I don’t have any services or products I make myself.  I strictly make money with ads.  And I make good money.  Enough money that I’d be considered a reasonably wealthy individual.

I max out what I can do by myself

While I make good money, I make money by myself.  I have no employees.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not alone with what I do.  I have over 20 writers and freelancers working for me.  But I’m a one man company.  Each day my portfolio produces around 50 pieces of content per day.  While my human abilities can probably handle about 100, it would be pretty awful to do that.  As of right now I have to put in around 3-4 hours of hard work every morning and then the rest of the day is pretty reactive.  At the moment my sites bring in around 6 million monthly visitors.  With where I am, and the staff I have, I think the most I’ll be able to squeeze out of this is 10 million monthly visitors.  Anything higher than that would probably be lucky (it can happen, but luck will definitely come into play).  That or I’d have to expand further.  The reason I’m telling you this is because this is who I am and what I want.

I could go out and raise money.  I could go out and acquire more sites.  I could go out and hire more writers.  I could go out and try to form a larger multi-media type of conglomerate.   And I say could not in a narcissistic, arrogant kind of a way.  I’ve had these discussions and opportunities already.  But I’ve worked in corporate culture before.  I’ve been inside the politics.  The reason I became an entrepreneur in the first place was to have the exact life I have now.  If I ever wanted to go after being a massive company, there’s just no way I could do what I’m doing now.  It’s simply not in the cards.  And I don’t want those cards.  So what I’m content with is putting in the maximum effort I’m willing to put in on a daily basis.

Other online publishers are huge

Can you be a billion dollar online publisher?  Of course you can. Look at Buzzfeed.  They just went public. Look at IAC.  That’s a public company.  It can absolutely be done.  But it’s a completely different model.  The way I see it, huge publishers operate like huge companies.  There are tons of employees.  There’s tons of politics.  A CEO’s life at a large (or public) company is utterly scrutinized, not to mention hellishly hectic with meetings that suck and are usually a waste of time.  Am I generalizing?  Absolutely.  But I’ve been there.  I’ve seen the corporate side of life, and I can say with 100% certainty, it’s not for me.  P.S. I’m not even remotely saying that there’s a right way or a wrong way.  I’m simply saying that you’ve got to go in your direction or you’ll never be happy.  I’ve made peace with the fact that although I want to be a monster publisher and I’ll even go as far as to say I wouldn’t mind the accolades, it’s just not worth it to me.  I’ll take my excellent earnings potential, not having a boss, and having a flexible life any day of the week.  Like I said, it’s a choice, not a necessity.

You’ve got to do you

Remember what I said about wanting to buy my dream house in cash?  In case you forgot, here’s a brief synopsis.  After I paid off my mortgage I thought to myself how I’d never want a mortgage again.  Of course one can never say never but it felt amazing to have my house paid in full at 42.  Nevertheless all it took was one visit to my friend’s new house for me to say “I could do better.”  I went on a rampage searching for dream homes, figuring out mortgage payments, the whole nine yards.  What happened?  Stress, and tons of it.  All for NO reason.  It was just because I was trying to keep up with the joneses.  But for what?  Vanity?  Pride?  Whatever the reason I’m glad it subsided.  I’ll always look for that dream house but it has to be on my terms. And my terms always means the least stressful situation as possible.  There’s absolutely no difference when it comes to my career.  I want a career where I have the least stress and highest earning potential as possible.  As soon as that balance gets out of whack, I know there’s a problem.  Like I said, I’d love to be a powerhouse publisher like these public companies are.  But at the expense of my stress, schedule, flexibility in life?  Hell no.

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