The notion of working hard gets a bad rap these days. In a world where entrepreneurs are sharing highlight reels of their businesses and promoting “soft life” as the secret to success, you may have fallen victim to the idea that you shouldn’t be working hard in your business, or that it’s not necessary to create something new in the world.

To dive into the “real reel” on business and entrepreneurship, I’m speaking to Ali Bonar this week. Ali is the CEO and co-founder of Oat Haus: the first-ever oat-based spread that’s now available in stores like Target, Whole Foods, and Amazon. She’s here to debunk the perceived glamor of being an entrepreneur, and the reality of what it takes to create a product out of thin air.

Join us on this episode to hear Ali’s take on the real behind-the-scenes of being an entrepreneur. We’re diving into how social media romanticizes the journey of entrepreneurship, the reality of what it’s like being a workaholic, and the differences between hustling and being willing to work hard. 

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What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Ali’s take on what entrepreneurship really looks like.
  • What it takes to create something out of thin air.
  • How we romanticize entrepreneurship, and why it’s important for the journey to feel worthwhile.
  • The difference between hustling and working hard.
  • Why working hard gets a bad rap.
  • How overworking is more about your mindset rather than hours spent working.
  • The differences in how working hard is perceived depending on gender.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Unf*ck Your Brain, the only podcast that teaches you how to use psychology, feminism, and coaching, to rewire your brain and get what you want in life. And now here’s your host, Harvard Law School grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach, Kara Loewentheil.

Alright, my chickens. Hello. I am excited today to talk about working hard, which has gotten a bad rap recently for reasons that I don’t totally understand. So Ali Bonar and I are going to be talking about this. And I’m going to let Ali introduce herself and also tell us who you are, what you do. Where people can find your Granola Butter, all the things.

Ali: All the things. Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited. This is probably my favorite topic and I’m excited to dive into it. And thank you everyone for listening. So I’m Ali, I am CEO and founder, which it sounds so weird to say because everyone knows who runs their own business. CEO just feels, I feel a disconnect because I do everything and it just feels too uppity.

Kara: [Crosstalk] about all the gender socialization that just went into that. You’re the CEO of a brand that is sold in Target and you’re like, “I’m not really a CEO.” [Crosstalk] second episode on that.

Ali: There’s so much we can get into. But yes, so I have a food brand. We are sold in Target. Came out of my eating disorder recovery and our mission is to bring fun and play to eating, just make it less rigid, less stressful. And yeah, we’ve been around for about five years. I founded it with my fiancé, Eric, and here we are. So I love talking about all things real shit when it comes to entrepreneurship, because it is not all roses and butterflies, which you know.

Kara: Wait, tell people what the brand is called. You didn’t say the name.

Ali: It’s called Oat Haus, and our product is called Granola Butter.

Kara: Okay, yes, so my brain is still now on the CEO doubt [crosstalk]. Okay. So how did we actually meet? I think I went on your podcast three years, a while ago. You used to have a podcast called Queen Cast I think.

Ali: No, I miss it so much. It was a bandwidth thing and it was the first thing to go. But I know that you understand that. But one day I’ll bring it back. And I loved our episode. You were just a wealth of info as everyone listening knows.

Kara: That’s how we met and then we’ve kept in touch on Instagram as one does in the modern day. And we occasionally kind of exchange slightly snidey DMs about the sort of, I run my business working three hours a week from the beaches of Bermuda kind of vibe. And so we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about what does entrepreneurship really look like. What does it really take to create something out of thin air, invent something and bring it into the world?

And well, I think are really important differences between hustling in a way that’s really detrimental to you versus freaking working hard on something that you are trying to bring to fruition. So tell me a little bit about kind of your take on the real side of entrepreneurship. That’s something you post about kind of like, “I’m showing you guys the real side of what this is like.” Why did you start doing that and what did that kind of come out of for you?

Ali: Yes, I’m so excited to talk about this because on one hand I try not to glamorize being a workaholic and obviously burning the candle at both ends and just doing too much and not prioritizing yourself. Because I have been there and I know a lot of people have been there and it’s just not sustainable, even though sometimes it’s unavoidable. But I don’t ever want to do that hustle girl boss, that sort of toxic culture. But at the same time, it’s just, I want to be realistic because had I known what I know now going into launching my business, I wouldn’t have done it.

If I knew how hard it was, if I knew just how absolutely draining at times and just fucking tough, I probably wouldn’t have done it, because logically it doesn’t make sense to do. And I had a nice cushy little tech job, But I think entrepreneurship isn’t always super practical and logical. Sometimes you lead with your heart rather than your brain. Or in my case, I just felt the pain of not doing it was too great. I would have regretted it for a long time.

So I think I just I really, especially when it comes to being a female founder and also in the food space. I think food, it sounds so fun. You make granola for a living. How delightful. And it’s really, really tough. So I just, I think I want to show people the real reel instead of just the highlight reel, which is my motivation.

Kara: I’m interested by that comment that if you’d known you wouldn’t have done it but you’re still doing it now that you know.

Ali: I know, it’s funny because I just went on a walk this morning with another female entrepreneur and she is in the food space, but more in brick and mortar. And we were both saying the same thing. We’re at this place where in the beginning everything is exciting, every growth is this milestone. And getting into new retailers is just the best thing ever. And you’re a little bit, very, actually naïve and so you just don’t know what you don’t know. And so it’s sort of just figuring it out as you go.

And then I think both of us now we’re about five and a half years in, it’s feeling okay. It almost feels just like work. It’s now sort of that excitement has worn off, maybe I’m a little jaded and I have to find new ways to keep reinspiring myself. And what we talked about this morning, what I noticed is I think I lost a lot of the joy along the process because I became so disconnected from the things in the beginning that really inspired me, motivated me, which was connecting with customers, in the DMs, seeing people post about Granola Butter.

And I’ve delegated all of that out and so now I’m essentially doing what I was doing at my nine to five what I didn’t like. And everything that I wanted to become an entrepreneur for, I’ve delegated out. So I’ve started to take a little bit of that back and I create a lot of the content for Oat Haus, which I love and that’s a creative outlet for me, which on paper at our size, people would say, “You need to be outsourcing this.” But it brings me so much joy.

So I think again, yeah, had I known what I know now it’s just on paper, it’s been so treacherous at times. But it’s also been so rewarding and I don’t have kids, but I’m sure it’s probably similar. A lot of parents are just like, “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Kara: Well, entrepreneurship doesn’t make a lot of sense. I mean, that’s why you have to have a high risk tolerance to do it because there is no guarantee. But I think that point about, I think a lot of people experience and I’ve gone through this, my colleagues in the coaching space go through this of especially as an entrepreneur. You start a business because you’re like, “I don’t want to work in a corporate environment. I don’t want to be in that structure.” And then five years later, if you do well, you’re like, “Now I’m the CEO of running a corporation.”

So I feel that sort of identifying why did you start this. I mean, I guess the nice thing about coaching is that, I mean maybe some people stop altogether but I still coach. So I still have that connection to yeah, this is why I do this. But I also think when you’re trying to build something big, when you are especially, this is maybe not true if you are just building a business that’s like, I don’t know. I have a relative who started a business and it was very, he just decided I want to start a business.

And so then he went and had a bunch of conversations to see what field was missing something that he could build. So that’s not a mission driven situation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just a different experience. I think when you are mission driven, I think about the place I am now in my business and I’m like, “Is this my favorite time in my business?” Maybe not. But it’s like parents, is it your favorite time when your children are in the terrible twos? Maybe not. But it’s not, well, I shouldn’t become a parent. It’s, well, this is part of the process to get to where I’m trying to go and I’m willing to be in that for some of the time.

Ali: And another thing too is I find that when things are going really well I feel restless and I feel bored and I crave that chaos. And then I crave that excitement that I never had when I was in my nine to five. Every day was so predictable and it was so boring to me. And I was done by 11:00am with all my work for the day and trying to fill the time. I never want to go back to that. So I think it’s just funny, the way that our brains work.

Because I’m sure, say one day we exit or get acquired or whatever the end goal is, I am sure at that point I’m going to feel so nostalgic for the old days when we were struggling. So I’m really trying to find the magic in the mundane and the little things. But again, it’s a constant reminder that I have to practice because that tunnel vision of okay, I’ll be happy when we get into Target. And then we got into Target and it was actually shockingly, it was anticlimactic. It took so long to get into Target that once we did I was like, “Why isn’t this feeling like I thought it would?”

Kara: I mean, that’s something that I talk about on the podcast all the time is that the journey has to be worthwhile and enjoyable is not always the right word, because not every moment is fun. But the journey has to feel meaningful and worth doing because the destination it’s never better there than here. I have two things happening this week where I turned in my book manuscript, my final manuscript.

Ali: Congrats.

Kara: Thank you. And by the time this comes out, it will be happening. My partner and I have already decided to get married. And then we’re doing our official engagement today. So it should be, from the outside you’d think this must be a week where you’re just high on life. But no, because also I do a lot of thought work and manage my mind. I just know that it’s always, things are most exciting, I think three-quarters of the way there, which is a thing that entrepreneurs don’t pause to appreciate and enjoy enough.

I think exactly what you’re saying, when you look back, people are always like, “When I lived in that walk up and I just ate ramen and I had the idea, and I was so excited.” That’s what people romanticize. And I think the point at which the book was most exciting a week and a half ago when the revision was almost done. And for the first time it was, oh my God, this is a real book. That was the point. And the same thing, the first time I made $1 million in a year in my business. The really exciting part wasn’t when it hit a million, it was when it hit 850 and I was like, “Oh my God, I think I’m going to hit a million.”

It’s before the roller-coaster goes down again, But if we’re stressing ourselves out too much on the journey, we don’t get to experience that part. And then we get to the end and then it’s anticlimactic.

Ali: Absolutely yes.

Kara:  And that’s true, that’s how dopamine works. People think of it as the reward chemical. But actually dopamine is the motivation to go for the reward chemical. It actually flatlines once you’ve gotten the thing. So it’s not the getting of the thing. It’s the right before you get the thing where you know you’re going to get the thing that feels so good.

Ali: Totally. No, that’s so true. And actually one of our, she’s one of our investors, she founded SmartSweets, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them.

Kara: [Crosstalk] all the time.

Ali: So they, I mean they had a crazy trajectory. I think they exited about 400 million in four years. And she was young, single female founder. She’d be great on your podcast by the way. But she was also telling me about how goals normalize and she was like, “It’s so crazy because had someone told me when we hit a 100 million in sales that it would feel small or normal to me, she’d be like that, “I would think you were insane.”

And we’re not anywhere near that revenue number now but it is so true, the normalization and just how you get used to things that back in the day you would just have never dreamed of. So I think that context and that perspective is also helpful to be like, Target for example, I would have pinched myself, jumped up and down for joy. And the fact that now I’m like, “Yeah, okay, we’re talking.” It kind of is just, yeah, I have to remind myself, yeah, where you come from, I guess.

Kara: But also, what do you make that mean? I just think of that as it’s sort of you can either be really downcast if that’s the case or just be, right, this is how the brain works. And part of being an entrepreneur is being that person who’s like, “Okay, I want to do the next thing.” For you, the way you talked about wanting the chaos, some people just describe that also as just needing that excitement to get moving, needing that kind of intense dopamine of interest or novelty. That is just a normal part of the process.

So if you stop telling yourself, “I’ll just feel good when”, then it’s not such a big deal. You get to that milestone, you’re like, “That was awesome. Now I’m going to get really excited about trying to get myself on Good Morning America with my book.” And I already know that the moment that will be exciting will be when we get the yes, not when I actually go and do it. I already know and I can prepare.

So let’s talk about that sort of working hard, that piece that we kind of initially bonded around on this because there’s so many buzzwords especially on Instagram, hustle culture or grinding or then there’s soft life. There’s all of these, everything is really commodified into a packaged term of some kind. But what do you think is going on? When I see people that are like, “I worked three hours last month and made $12 million.” I’m just like, “I don’t believe you.”

Unless you sold, maybe you exited already and you’re like, “This is just the interest off of my”, I signed that contract three years ago and that payment came in today or something. What do you think is going on with that? Are people just lying? Is it a distortion, what is that?

Ali: Yeah. I mean the thing is on social media and you know this, the dramatic outlandish claims, unfortunately is what the algorithm prioritizes. So if I wanted to have a million followers, I would post crazy off the wall shit that was controversial, stirred up buzz, stirred up discussion and people shit posting in the comments. That’s not the brand that I’m looking to build personally. Some people are and I just think there’s also all of a sudden and you see this, I’m sure in the coaching industry where everyone is suddenly an expert on social media.

And they don’t really need certifications as long as they’re good at marketing themselves, as long as they present well and they’re self-confident. I just feel like on social media that is what does well. And so I think having claims like that, I don’t think there’s a secret hack to success. I think a lot of it is luck and privilege from where everyone starts at different starting points. But I mean it’s so much hard work.

And I just think I could come on here and on my social media and say, “We are nationwide and Target.” Kind of the opposite of I guess how I started talking on this podcast of where I was downplaying myself. And I need to be better about just owning that I am a CEO. But I could go the opposite way and be like, “Yeah, I just had this idea and now we’re on shelves nationwide at Target and we’re raking in millions of dollars.” And I just think it’s a perspective thing and what you’re choosing to show people on social media.

But that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do because it’s not the full picture, it’s not the full scope. So maybe those people are trust fund babies. Maybe they are making this much millions of dollars, but they’re also in more debt, in millions of dollars of debt. You wouldn’t ever know the full picture. And then I think we’re seeing this soft life trend, because especially with Gen Z, I think of course you’re going to swing naturally back the other way when you see millennials and the generation above burning out in this hustle culture.

And so they’re saying, “Wow, I don’t want to go that direction, that doesn’t look healthy.” And they’ve grown up on social media ingrained in them. So I think they’re just a lot more attuned to what people are doing. But yeah, that’s my perspective. I don’t think there’s any secret hack or unlock that we’re missing. I think people are just choosing not to disclose the full picture of what’s going on?

Kara: Like the revolving line of credit. I think there’s some conflation that happens because I think about this a lot because you think about okay, the regrets of the dying on their deathbeds, as one always thinks about. But I have talked about in the podcast. They’re pretty standard. It’s, I wish I hadn’t worked so much. I wish I’d spent more time with my family, blah blah, blah. But I’m always like, “What did those people do for a living?”

Because when I think about for sure if I was a corporate lawyer who was working this hard to help Shell Oil not pay their taxes. I think that at the end of my life, obviously I would have regret before that, I would never do that. And that’s no offense to anybody listening if that’s what you do. Everyone’s got their own path to follow. But for me that wouldn’t be in alignment with what I want to do and how I want to live my life. And I can totally see regretting that.

But it’s hard for me to imagine regretting the time that I put into the business that I have, which is all about spreading this mission that I care about so much and that I think is helping people all over the world. So I think some part of what happens, I think part of what gets too lumped in all together is that I think the opposition to hustle and grind culture. When we’re talking about things that are really just for the paycheck or that are for a big multinational corporation that doesn’t give a shit about you and will fire you as soon as it can replace you with AI and whatever else I get.

In that context, yes, quiet quitting and soft life and not hustling and not grinding, that makes sense to me. But then I think people come into entrepreneurship or coaching or something where you’re trying to build something from the ground up. You’re trying to create something that’s never existed out of your own brain and especially if you’re trying, my goal is I want every woman to have heard of this concept that I teach then I’ll be done.

That’s not the same thing. And it gets sort of carried over and then people have this expectation that it shouldn’t feel hard. They shouldn’t have to work hard. It’s supposed to be possible to build something that changes the world in three hours a week. I just don’t think that’s realistic.

Ali: Yeah. I mean I totally agree with you. And I think that’s why with entrepreneurship and doing something that you’re so passionate about and I’m not saying that every entrepreneur has to be in love with every single day because you and I both know it’s just not true.

Kara: [Crosstalk] not those days, yeah.

Ali: Yeah. But it really is true. I think if you find something that it’s such a strong mission for you and you know it’s important for other people, like what you’re doing. I think it almost feels, at least for me, it’s bigger than me. It’s beyond me. I am this, just for a metaphor, I am this little servant that’s carrying out this mission and I’m just a pawn in this bigger scheme. And I never felt that obviously when I worked my nine to five. I was like, “I’m a badass bitch and I work really hard and I’m efficient, but I’m carrying out someone else’s dream and that’s just not what I want to do.”

And so going back to what I mentioned earlier of had I known what I know now, I wouldn’t do it again, that’s true. And I’ve never felt more fulfilled in my entire life, and so it’s one of those.

Kara: The person you were then would not have chosen this, but the person you were then wasn’t ready for this.

Ali: Exactly. And so, yes, I have hard days. And yes, shit hits the fan oftentimes. But I think I am still so driven to keep going and keep working hard because I see this greater vision and this greater purpose and how it’s affecting and impacting other people. But I think what I’ve learned along the way too is there are some elements of soft life and the feminine energy or whatever people talk about, the self-care motifs that do come into play with those things. I think they are valid because I find myself I can get too rigid and too kind of workaholic energy, and that is not effective either.

So it’s finding the balance, again, I hate that word but wherever you fit on that spectrum. I think about the day that potentially we exit or get acquired and I’m no longer needed and I’m sitting on a beach in Thailand doing nothing. I think that would be maybe the worst day of my life, not feeling like I have a purpose. And it’s so weird because it’s, okay, well, so then what am I, am I working for that that I don’t even want, this end goal?

So I’ve talked to a lot of founders who have exited and they said that they’ve never felt more depressed or more lost, which is interesting because it’s sort of, yeah, again, it goes back to working [crosstalk].

Kara: Well, if you tell yourself that, I mean that’s the problem, if you tell yourself, “When I exit I’ll feel amazing. when I get all that money, I’ll feel amazing.” Then of course, you don’t, that’s not what happens because your thoughts cause your feelings. So it makes sense to me that people would be all of a sudden depressed. I mean, I definitely have coached a number of people who got very depressed after they got married or very depressed after they ran the marathon, whatever the big thing they’ve been trying to do. They finally do it and they expect to feel now blissful forever.

And instead, humans feel terrible when we don’t have a purpose or a thing we’re trying to do. And I think that’s what’s helped us evolve. That totally makes sense to me. It’s interesting, also something for me, I’ve never even thought about an exit. I didn’t build this business, I didn’t know I was building a business when I started. And [crosstalk] for an exit and it would be a weird and hard thing. I mean it’s me is the brand [crosstalk] it to be a little more distant.

But it would be Oprah exiting. It’s Oprah, she can’t exit. But that also changes how I think about what’s the goal? To me, it’s more like, well, I’m going to be doing this probably until I die. So, what does that look like? And I think that on some level that takes off a little bit of the pressure maybe. I don’t feel sort of like, I’m trying to get to this kind of valuation in this amount of time so we can have this kind of exit. Because it’s just sort of, well, this is, it’s like having tenure. I’m just like, “Well this is what I’m doing now so we’ll see what happens.”

Ali: Yeah, very different energy. I think, yeah. I mean, it’s very, I think it’s industry specific too because I’m sure it’s probably way less common in the coaching space. I don’t, yeah, again, I don’t even know who they would exit to, a bigger coaching group, I guess. And that’s something when we started our business, a lot of people asked us, “Are you creating a lifestyle business, something that you’re going to just continue on, pass on to potentially your kids or is it a flash in the pan rapid rocket ship growth?”

And we found ourselves, because we bootstrapped for the first few years. And now we’re sort of in between, which is a weird place to be. Because I think the energy would be so different if I knew, again, not putting this exit or acquisition on a pedestal as this is success, this is the end goal. But yet the whole industry telling you and glamorizing that that is amazing.

Kara: That’s interesting too, what the industry glamorizes. I think in the coaching world, it is the sort of you can work three days a week. And I do know people who do it, I believe them and whatever. That has just not been how my model has played out, but it also depends on what choices you’re willing to make in terms of what are you willing to outsource or what are you willing to automate in your business? Are you going to choose to write a book? I probably could have worked less this year if I hadn’t decided I was also going to write a book. And I wasn’t going to pause the business.

But I think just to go back to one of these threads, part of what’s coming out is to me I don’t define overworking as being a number of hours. It’s the energy and mental state behind it. A painter who has an amazing idea for a painting and stays in the studio for 12 hours a day for a week because that painting, once it’s come out, we wouldn’t be like, “Oh my God, what a terrible, grinding workaholic.” We just see that as genius and vision. But then when we think about entrepreneurs, I think again, we’re conflating all kinds of work as if they’re the same.

Ali: Totally. So okay, I love this because I have learned in the last probably, it’s been very recent and I’ve learned through lots of trial and error and lots of burnout that it’s actually, I’m not working too hard when I burn out. It’s that I’m not playing enough. I’m not enjoying, I’m not having enough fun. And so I find, last summer, Eric and Ari and I went to Tomorrowland, which is this massive music festival in Belgium. And it was the first time all three of us had been away from the business.

And we were like, “Logically this doesn’t make sense.” We flew into Belgium for like four days. It was literally for the festival. And going into it we were so like, “This is such a dumb idea, why did we do this?” We came back feeling so recharged, yes, a little hungover, sleep deprived, of course. But just so lit up and I think of different buckets, think of my life in different buckets. And the times when I’ve been so depressed are not the times where I’m slacking off on my business.

It’s when I have been so 100% focused on the business and I haven’t seen friends, I haven’t done anything fun for myself. And so yeah, again, I think you can hustle and work really hard but it can come from a place of feeling really lit up and fulfilled.

Kara: Yeah, I also think, I haven’t thought this through, but just came up when we were talking. It feels like there’s also this gendered element to this. I don’t feel like men have the same kind of, they’re supposed to be self-policing themselves to make sure they’re not workaholics and are doing enough self-care all the time. And I’m not here to, I mean, I don’t think obviously people can work too hard and burn themselves out and have negative health effects. I’m not denying any of that.

But it feels like it’s another thing women are supposed to somehow be that there’s something sort of wrong about women working hard, which we don’t really talk about that with men, I don’t feel like. Men who work hard are leaders and really dedicated. And women who work hard, neglect their children and workaholics and burnt out. There’s something weird going on there. And it’s just another thing. You can never win. So well, now we can work, okay, great.

No, now you’re working too hard. First, we didn’t think you’d work hard enough, you couldn’t hack it. Now you’re working too hard. You’re supposed to get more manicures and pedicures. It’s another thing for women to be kind of self-policing themselves around and trying to balance perfectly when nobody says to men, “I mean you’re letting your roots show. You’re letting yourself go because you’re working too hard because you’re this workaholic spinster.”

Ali: It is, yeah, I’ve noticed that too. And I’ve noticed being the female in our triad. There’s myself and then two male co-founders and the next few weeks are really challenging on the operation side for us, just for a variety of reasons. And so from time to time I will come in and help either ship or do some sort of manual labor in the facility. And I was talking to Eric last night and he kind of made a comment that reminded me of this where he was like, “Come in as much as you want. But I don’t want you to feel like.”

And it came from a nice place. But he’s trying to be considerate but he’s like, “I know that you’re a little more sensitive when it comes to the manual labor piece.” Which it is, it’s really hard work, just physically it’s very taxing. And I am someone I think that I do need a little bit more alone time and just recharge time. Where I think Eric is more kind of go, go, go.

But it reminds me because I think yeah, him and Ari tend to, I’m like, “Just ask me, be direct. If you need me to come in, ask me, I’m happy to help out.” And sometimes I feel like they tiptoe around. And I don’t know if it’s a gender thing, but it just got me thinking of that. Because I’m like, “If I was a guy, you wouldn’t tiptoe around and be like, “Is it okay if you come in and help?””

Kara: Bro we need extra packing, get down here.

Ali: Right. I’m like, “I don’t need to be coddled, just ask.” So yeah, I do notice that.

Kara: Yeah. And then I think there’s nothing, I mean, I coached someone the other day who had felt so guilty because she preferred working to taking care of her toddler. That’s socialization. No man in the history of the world has been going to his therapy or his coach and be like, “I feel guilty because I prefer my interesting work that I chose on purpose to parenting my toddler.” But I just don’t see a lot of male Instagram accounts that are dedicated to work life balance. There’s something gendered in how we think about work and work and gender.

Women, it’s like, well, hey, you can work outside the home, but then you have all these other things you also are supposed to be doing. I think women, we’re just constantly trying to achieve the correct ‘balance’ of 12 million different things that we never feel we’re doing right. And then there’s a whole economy built on that.

Ali: Yeah. I mean, it’s even, I froze my eggs earlier this year because I was like, “Well, I’m not going to be able, I’m so focused on the business.” And everyone was sort of just like, “But you can do it all. You can have a family.” I got a lot of kind of mixed DMs, where people were like, “Good for you, that’s empowering.” And then other people were like, “Well, I had a baby and I also ran my business.” I don’t know exactly what the thought is here, but it just it felt like something there too around either something, you’re always sacrificing something it feels like in a way.

And then I don’t know if you notice this about with wedding planning, but I’m planning everything. And Eric is sort of like, “Sorry, I haven’t been so helpful. I’m focused on the business stuff.” And I’m like, “Me too but I’m managing to also.” And then learning about, because I’m getting bombarded, I don’t know if you do on TikTok and Instagram. All the things that you have to do before the wedding of facials and all of these things, it’s the woman and then the man just kind of shows up at the altar.

Kara: And got a corsage.

Ali: Yeah, right. So I don’t know. There’s just, there’s a lot of themes here and I know what you mean, where it’s half-baked in my brain and I don’t have anything super valuable. But I feel it kind of just, yeah, there’s a difference there.

Kara: Yeah, the Instagram algorithm doesn’t know I’m engaged yet, so I’m sure it’ll be fascinating to watch it change.

Ali: Can’t wait to hear your take on the wedding industry.

Kara: I’m not wearing a white dress. I’m not walking down the aisle. I’m not doing any of that. But you have convinced me to hire a whatever that person’s called, a social media wedding person. That seems like a useful thing. Yeah, I mean I’m going to have to do a whole episode on the podcast about my mixed feelings about getting married as a feminist. There’s a lot of nonsense. Part of what’s nice about it is being somebody who never really thought about getting married and is older. I just feel a lot less, I don’t feel that much pressure around it sort of.

I already live with you and help raise your children. So my partner’s been planning the least surprising engagement in history. Anyway, okay, I feel like we’ve hit the major points. Was there anything else you sort of, I think my takeaway, what I really want people to understand is, yeah, it is really hard sometimes to build something new in the world and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

And I don’t think if you are feeling burnt out, yes, obviously deal with that and address that and please look at your thoughts because it’s not the hours you’re working, it’s the way you’re thinking when you’re talking about something like what we do. But also that there’s no shame in that. I feel like sometimes my coach, when I’m like, “I think you just like working. What if that’s okay?” It’s the second guessing that gets instilled where I’m coaching them where they’re like, “Well, I feel like I should want to whatever, spend more time with my family or have more hobbies.”

And I’m like, “I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of hobbies and I’m okay about that.” Some people do, some people want to go to a job they don’t care about, punch in and punch out and they have an amazing hobbies, they are in a rugby league and growing flowers and I don’t know, baking bread. They’re doing all sorts of things they love and that’s great. And I’m building this business, that’s what I’m doing.

Ali: Yes, I think it comes down to the should. Do you feel like you should have hobbies or do you actually feel like you need hobbies? Because I’ve been there where I’m like, “I don’t have any hobbies and it feels like I really do need something to counterbalance just working.” But then there’s other times where I’m really loving it and I’m like, “I feel like I should go see friends but I don’t want to. I’m fine.”

Kara: Yeah. So I think that takeaway is check-in with yourself and how you’re feeling. But if you want to create something big in the world, be willing to work hard at it. Don’t go into it thinking that (a) it’s possible to do it without that. I just really don’t think that it is. Or (b) that you’re supposed to be able to. There’s something wrong with you because so and so on Instagram says they’re working three hours a day and they have a seven figure coaching business or they got acquired or whatever. Because you are not seeing the behind the scenes.

Ali: Yes. I think the last thing I’ll say too is it really comes down to the why. So why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Is it because you see on social media these people look wealthy and it seems glamorous and you want to have CEO as your title? I don’t even feel comfortable saying I’m a CEO. That’s obviously not my why. And so that has actually kept me going, but if my why was that I was able to be like, “Yeah, I’m a founder” it would burn out and it would fizzle out so quickly. So I think that’s also important.

Kara: Yes, I love it. Alright, you all, go work hard at something you care about. That’s actually what will make you feel satisfied at the end of the day.

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