The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Jenae Spry is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jenae Spry and I am the founder of Productivity Stacks, which profiles the systems, tools, and people that helped entrepreneurs achieve success. I am on an absolute mission to help entrepreneurs build their businesses in a healthy, sustainable way.
What did it take/how did you get started?
My first business was a translation business and knowing a lot about translation and nothing about business, I fully bought into the idea that the more hours you worked, the more value you must be producing until 16-hour days were becoming pretty standard.
I started to think I just wasn't a "real entrepreneur" because I hated the long hours but I knew that I couldn't keep going, so I gave myself a few months to at least get to an 8-hour day and ended up with a 4-hour day (plus plenty of extra time off) by obsessing about productivity & systems. I also multiplied the revenue in the meantime.
Other burned out entrepreneurs started seeing that I wasn't working long hours and asked me how that was possible, and I became a consultant and coach focusing on productivity & systems for entrepreneurs. That led to my latest venture, Productivity Stacks, where we're profiling as many entrepreneurs as we can find and going behind the scenes to share the systems, tools and people that helped them achieve success to help as many entrepreneurs as we can find build their business in a healthy and sustainable way.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
We'd like to become the go-to source for productivity & systems for entrepreneurs and fulfill our mission to foster healthy and sustainable business building. The interviews are our main focus but we're also about to host some new live events that specifically focus on presenters who have true systems for everything from podcasting to social media so we are absolutely looking forward to helping that way as well.
What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?
I believe that time is our most valuable resource. It's the one thing we can never get back so it makes sense to focus a lot of energy on making sure that we are spending it exactly the way we want with whom we want and I will not stop until entrepreneurs measure their business more by the value they're producing instead of the hours they're putting in.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
My biggest piece of advice is: You have to learn to be successful your own way. Meaning, it's amazing to take tips and tricks and take courses, and learn but take the "aha" moments and leave the rest. If you hear someone tell you to use a tool, try it and if it doesn't create an "aha", try something else. Be open, but don't force yourself to build the way someone else did just because they were successful. Instead, move onto another model until you get the "aha". The second piece of advice is always ask "how could that work for me" and try to find value in every book you read, webinar you attend, tip you read online. It's a much better use of your time than dismissing everything just because it might not fit into your box of what you think is necessary or possible for you in that moment -- sometimes those are exactly the things that skyrocket you to the next level of success and you'll get a lot more of those "aha" moments this way.
What has been the hardest part of your business journey?
Since this isn't my first business, the hardest part is knowing I'm at the beginning and I don't have the luxury of not knowing how difficult it is. When I started my first business, everything was new and exciting to figure out and this time I know exactly what I'm in for! But, it was worth it the first time, and it will be worth it this time.
How have you managed burnout thus far?
Time blocking, theme blocking, time tagging and ClickUp. I know a lot of people know what time blocking is (and there's plenty out there about it) so I'll define the others: Theme blocking -- batching time blocks or tasks into days or weeks so Monday, Wednesday & Thursday are all variations on a strategy day, and then Tuesday and Friday are my "work in business days". Time tagging -- I add 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and BIG to every item on my to do list. This lets me knock out quick items between calls without being bogged down by other items. 30-minute tasks get time blocks on my calendar and then "BIG" gets scheduled to a planning block so it can be broken down into a plan & group of tasks that then get the other treatment (theme blocking, time tagging, and time blocking). I do all of this in ClickUp (and Google Calendar). I am also absolutely ruthless with boundaries. I keep all notifications off and batch when I check them, and if you pop over unannounced, there's a good chance the door won't be answered during my work hours. (And yes, I do have a system for reaching me in case of true emergency!)
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz, Indistractable by Nir Eyal, & make sure you have a community supporting you whether it's fellow entrepreneurs, good friends, family, etc. No matter what business, what stage, there are some low days, and you'll have to make it through them to get to the awesome days!
List the founders
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
# of Employees?
1 full time, 6 (including contractors)
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
About $100 (just the domain name, hosting, etc.)
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
Pre-revenue (for Productivity Stacks)
What's the #1 thing you need right now?
Opportunities for guest blog posts, guesting on podcasts, etc. & signups to the newsletter! We are also always looking for entrepreneurs to interview or give a webinar/training to our audience.