Every domain name professional fantasizes about living and working on a tropical beach, right?

Hint: It’s Not the Number of Domain Names in Your Portfolio

An article on MSNBC describes the surprising findings of a study conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people. This extensive survey presented more than 100 questions to 1,280 people ages 13-24.

What single thing do you think makes these young people the most happy? Cool clothes? A new bike or car? Music? An iPod? Being popular?

None of those. 73 percent of the respondents – almost three quarters – said that the thing that makes them happiest is their parents. Next was spending time with family in general, followed by spending time with friends, and then being with a significant other.

Wow! Who’d have thought?

The article covers the results of the survey in detail, so I won’t repeat all of that here. Instead I’d like to focus on the implications of this survey for domainers, and for internet entrepreneurs in general.

A Double Work Week

It’s no secret that entrepreneurs work long hours.

Research carried out by Durham University indicates that British entrepreneurs work much longer hours than the average employee. Twenty-eight per cent of the entrepreneurs work between 41-50 hours per week, 27% work between 51-60 hours per week and 26% work in excess of 60 hours a week.

What about entrepreneurs in developing nations? See this article, about two entrepreneurs in India. Nishant Sinha, 24, and Aditya Singhal, 25, founded Transwebtutors.com in their New Delhi basement. Both of them work at least 100 hours a week trying to develop their business.

And for some real craziness, check out this article from the Wall Street Journal’s StartupJournal.com. Among respondents to their telephone poll, one in five business owners read email and other work-related documents while in the bathroom, and about half did so while driving a car! About 20% said they worked during dinner four to five nights a week, and about 20% work a double work week, or 80 hours. Nearly 51% work on holidays and 47% work during designated family time.

Why We Do It

I work long hours too, and I understand the reasons:

1. Ambition. Entrepreneurs, by our very nature, are driven to succeed. We want to build something and to be in charge, and that takes time.

2. Always open. For internet entrepreneurs in particular, the workplace never shuts down. The opportunity to build your business, to get some work done, to make some money, is there 24 hours a day, and as a result it’s hard to regulate your hours.

3. No commute. To make matters worse, many of us work from home, so all we have to do is turn on the computer, day or night, and we’re at work. Sure, it’s a pleasure not to have to commute, but the flipside is that it can be impossible to tear yourself away from your work.

4. Security. We entrepreneurs are not bound by the constraints of a “job”, but neither are we afforded the security of a regular paycheck. Doing it for yourself is inherently risky, so we are driven to work hard in order to overcome that risk.

5. Family needs. Many of us tell ourselves that our long working hours are in fact in consideration of our families. We want to provide for them, make sure all their needs are taken care of. Forget the cool clothes and the iPod, we want to make sure they can afford medical and dental care, good food, college…

Wanting to take care of your family is admirable. Nothing wrong with that.

Unless…

Helping my daughter learn to walkI have a one year old daughter. I work from home and in fact my computer station is right in the center of the house. My daughter often crawls over to my desk and pulls herself up, trying to get my attention.

I don’t ever want to be so into my work, so obsessed, that I can’t take some time to pick my daughter up, bounce her on my knee, play with her, or take her outside for a walk in the yard.

Go back and read the results of that MSNBC study again. Even in America, where there are so many ways for kids to be entertained or distracted, what makes them happier than anything else is spending time with their parents.

Domainers and entrepreneurs, remember this. Your children won’t be any happier if you have 10,000 domains in your portfolio than if you have 1,000. They won’t be happier if you are making $1 million a year than if you’re making $50,000. They might be more financially secure, but they won’t be happier. What they need is you: your time, your attention, your love.

We entrepreneurs want to have it all. For those of us with families, maybe we already do.



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