Next month, it will have been four years since I helped co-found Examine.com. A pretty simple idea (“Lets look at the actual evidence behind supplements and nutrition), it’s evolved into something a lot bigger – 30,000+ visitors a day, a monthly research digest, and generating over a million dollars a year. Over 1500 professionals rely on that research digest as a big source of nutrition education, and over 30 people contribute to the organization.
A legitimate success story. I was even recognized as a game changer. Who knew nerding out could be cool?
Yet my entire goal for 2014 was to extricate myself from the organization. Re-retire, so to speak. The logic itself was pretty sound: find people who are better than you at things you do, and empower them to do it. Both Kamal, Andre (our lead developer), and Carolyn (our new Director of Ops) have done a great job pushing me to the sideline and rendering me redundant.
So why did I want to get out? And why do I say no thanks to investments and making more money? Because it’s exhausting. Running an organization beyond a few people is a serious responsibility It’s a sobering thought to realize that 20+ people depend on you for their livelyhood … and that’s before you factor in any significant others and kids.
Everyone sees the upsides – more money, more notoriety, access to cool events. But what about the downsides? More pressure. More focus on the bottom line. Legal, HR, etc. Paperwork. Employee turnover. Less one-on-one connections with everyone. Less time for yourself!
I live a simple life. I live downtown in a major city in North America. I have no car, and I have a dog I love taking on walks. My only expensive hobby is traveling, which I already do a fair amount of (8-12 weeks a year).
Maybe it’s my immigrant mindset, but I just want to live a simple life. And running a larg(er) organization is the antithesis of that. And taking investments and targeting to make more money … just seems to feed into a beast I don’t want part of. If I already have the life I want, what benefits do I get from making more money?
So the money, the fame (hah), and everything else – if that’s what you want, cool. Seriously – we all have different motivations and goals. External investments and more money just don’t help me with mine. I think sometimes people forget that old adage of “work to live, not live to work.”