9 to 5’er Startups

As a founder, it’s always a goal (and challenge) to inspire people to find purpose in their work and go beyond 9 to 5 hours. Asking for more is difficult because people probably have families, health, and other things that need to be a priority. And the reality is that most of the time they won’t be compensated for the additional hours in the private sector, working for a startup.

Is it possible to make a successful startup working from 9 to 5? The answer is, yes, I have seen people create companies working normal hours… but there’s something special that happens when people put in a little extra effort. I believe that the extra time enables moments of creativity and personal bonding. But this is less of a judgement on other people, and more of a statement about myself–I prefer teams that push a little harder and go the extra mile. I admire the leaders that can inspire the people around them to find a purpose greater than themselves, and help pull everyone else along.

Is it possible to transform a team that works 9 to 5 into a different culture, without being the CEO or head honcho? I think that part is the tricky part because everything trickles down. If the CEO shows works 9 to 5, everyone else works 10 to 4, and then they hire people that prefer working from 11 to 3. To get others to put in the time, you have to set an example.

The challenge is that you can’t do this from the middle or bottom–it has to start with the source.

If you want more from people, it starts with you (if you are the leader). You can’t expect everyone to follow suit, but it’s the first place to start. As for transforming 9 to 5’ers to people who can work 10-12 hour days and weekends, you’re probably best looking for people that are motivated by a common purpose, with a true desire and hunger.

Whatever culture you create, it will have a gravity that attracts others that are similar. If you’re all gas all the time it’s probably not sustainable either, so keep that in mind too. For me personally, I want to be around those that are motivated by purpose.