TMBA 320: How Do You Decide When Enough is Enough?

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Being location independent means that you don’t have a boss or a corporation telling you what to do, but it also means that you have to make your own decisions on how to spend your time. You have to decide how to make your money, and you have to decide when enough is enough. On today’s episode, Dan and Ian are speaking with two entrepreneurs who have put a lot of thought into this idea. Daryl Mander and Nathan Berry have both proactively made the call to scale back their workload in order to improve their quality of life. They will be sharing their experiences, and their thoughts on when and how to say “enough is enough”.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • A couple times that we have proactively decided to take a step back in our business. (2:58)
  • The benefits of setting financial goals instead of trying to make as much money as possible. (10:10)
  • Why Daryl decided to scale back from a team operation to a one man show. (12:20)
  • What led to Nathan’s decision to stop earning money as soon as he reached his goal. (21:36)
  • One of the biggest reasons that we struggle with saying enough is enough. (30:35)

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Dan & Ian

Published on 01.21.16
  • Wow, this was a really interesting episode. Loved the different perspectives and stories. Nathan’s point about separating personal income goals from business growth goals was something I’d never even considered before.

    Now that I’ve hit my original income goals, I have to decide if I want to “move the goalposts” further or just maintain for a while. I still have a number of ideas I’d like to implement in the business, but they’re things I’d like to do because I want to, not necessarily because they’ll directly increase the revenue (although they might do that as a side-effect).

  • Thanks Shayna I really am fascinated by this topic. Something about your approach resonates with me a ton and I think is what is so unique and wonderful about ‘lifestyle’ businesses, plus i’m not 100% convinced that goals work as well (at least for me as a founder) although we generally put them in place … perhaps we are superstitious ;P

  • Simon

    Great discussion, thank you!

    I think it is so easy to get sucked into the “more, more, more” mindset as an entrepreneur. That’s what makes us successful, I think, for the first few years but at a certain point it can become a problem.

    What I am trying to do is get better at saying “no” to shiny objects and find the areas in my business that I enjoy growing and where I have really high leverage. How can I keep growing my business (which I enjoy doing) while not impinging on my freedoms? So I don’t want to think that business growth is necessarily opposed to the entrepreneurial freedoms… but certainly we have to be mindful about what we take on.

    I am reading a book entitled “Wherever you go, there you are” one part of it that has really struck me from a business perspective is he talks about the concept of “non-doing” and finding the spaces between things. He relates a wonderful old Japanese poem where a cook teaches a prince how he slaughters an ox by finding the spaces between the joints, so he does not have to sharpen his blade for nineteen years.

    So I want to find these spaces in my business… still processing what that means exactly, but it has really struck me the last few weeks.

    Here it is:

    Prince Wen Hui’s cook was cutting up an ox.
    Out went a hand,
    Down went a shoulder,
    He planted a foot,
    He pressed with a knee
    The ox fell apart
    With a whisper,
    The bright cleaver murmured
    Like a gentle wind.
    Rhythm! Timing!
    Like a sacred dance,
    Like “The Mulberry Grove”
    Like ancient harmonies!
    “Good work!” the Prince exclaimed,
    “Your method is faultless!”
    “Method?” said the cook
    Laying aside his cleaver,
    “What I follow is Tao
    Beyond all methods!
    “When I first began
    To cut up oxen
    I would see before me
    The whole ox
    All in one mass.
    “After three years
    I no longer saw this mass.
    I saw the distinctions.
    “But now, I see nothing
    With the eye. My whole being
    My senses are idle. The spirit
    Free to work without plan
    Follows its own instinct
    Guided by natural line,
    By the secret opening,
    The hidden space,

    My cleaver finds its own way.
    I cut through no joint, chop no bone.
    “A great cook needs a new chopper
    Once a year – he cuts.
    A poor cook needs a new one
    Every month – he hacks!
    “I have used this same cleaver
    Nineteen years.
    It has cut up
    A thousand oxen.
    Its edge is as keen
    As if newly sharpened.
    “There are spaces in the joints;
    The blade is thin and keen:
    When this thinness
    Finds that space
    There is all the room you need!
    It goes like a breeze!
    Hence I have this cleaver
    Nineteen years
    As if newly sharpened!
    “True, there are sometimes
    Tough joints. I feel them coming,
    I slow down, I watch closely,
    Hold back, barely move the blade,
    And whump! the part falls away
    Landing like a clod of earth.
    “Then I withdraw the blade,
    I stand still
    And let the joy of the work
    Sink in.
    I clean the blade
    And put it away.”
    Prince Wen Hui said,
    “This is it! My cook has shown me
    How I ought to live
    My own life!”

    – Chuang Tzu (translation)

  • LOVED this.

    Figuring out what “enough” is for me these days, and ensuring my personal goals are as front of mind as my business goals to ensure some balance.

    PS – We need another “mastermind” soon! :)

  • thanks man and YES

  • Hey Simon I agree there’s a special elegance to action via negativa as Taleb would say! Thanks for sharing the poem as well and glad you dug the ep

  • Evaldas Miliauskas

    That was an interesting contrast to the previous episode, where you talked about not limiting yourself to just specific amount, can help you grow more, while here you need to say enough is enough (really loved the music touch at some points great pick!). I guess you just need to find your balance between the two and really having that vision burned in your head might help you make that decision where you want to go. Thought from where I am now I would say I wouldn’t mind being in the position where I could say enough, but when giving more thought about it probably anyone can do even with a normal job if you think in terms of how much money you really need to get by – earn it for a times and ones you hit go to the wild for the rest of the year.
    Great idea Dan about limiting yourself to specific budget and get creative! I would really enjoy following on that how it goes.
    Just recently read one great quote that forced me thinking: “Expectations, not outcomes, govern the happiness of your perceived reality.” David Heinemeier Hansson

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