Is the Grind worth it?

Tired Runner

Is the Grind worth it?

In recent months I have posted about the importance of following your passion and also about avoiding the trap of a job that does not provide fulfilment. Isn’t there a huge personal risk in letting that happen?

I received a response to one of these posts that really moved me and it did make me think long and hard about the grind of working for yourself.

Interesting sentiments Greg. Having always run my own businesses and taken risks from the perspective “you’ll regret what you didn’t do” this is something I’ve reflected upon a lot – At one stage I left a very cushy public sector job and we then went through very tough times as the recession hit.

It’s very hard to comfortably make a good living in Ireland now – fair play to anyone who can make more than they could in the corporate world once all salaries, outgoings etc. are paid. I’ve gone back into the corporate world and am making more than I did at my business at the peak of the boom- with none of the recent stress.

At the end of the day all that matters is your ability to educate your children and give them a decent lifestyle. I would guess that that guy at Guinness slept easy at night and his kids have never wanted for anything.

If you have a true vocation it makes sense to do what you do best – and follow that path. However most small business and startups are struggling – I see people grind away for years, barely surviving – and this is not a good place to be over the long term.

When I read this I started to feel a little guilty that maybe I am being a little disrespectful with my blog posts to all of those who have tried their utmost and despite everything it just still has not worked out for them.

I’ve been reflecting on this ..

If you find a better life working for someone else then well done to you – I hope that in Fuzion we are giving our team a good life.

If you find yourself without work then I would encourage you to take control of the situation and  try to start off something for yourself. It is hard but it can be great fun (and yes…very worrying and stressful at times).

But, someone somewhere always has to be the starter..

If you try and it doesn’t work … well done, at least it was your grind.

What do you think?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

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31 Responses to “Is the Grind worth it?”

  1. Paul O'Mahony (Cork) (@Omaniblog) Says:

    I think you’ve written another wonderful blogpost – one that leaves plenty unsaid – loads of room for others to link in.

    Some Americans & Canadians seem to have mastered the art of doing this – but you do it in a way that seems totally authentic & native. You pull off that extraordinary stroke – you prod the “you’re one of us Greg” button.

  2. Olive Begg Says:

    I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Greg on this issue of working for yourself/against being an employee. I have gone through a deep recession of my own and took some time out to assess where I wanted to go. After a lot of soul searching I decided to give it another go and all going well by the end of the year I should be back on track. It is hard working for yourself, everyday you have to put yourself out there and you are not always mentally ready for it – but you know, there is also a tremendous lot of goodwill out there for people who are trying to make it in their own businesses. I am very passionate about what I do – I love building up a picture of someones business for them, sitting down with them when accounts are prepared and ready to go their accountants, going through the various aspects, debtors/creditors/bank etc. I love organising them so that there are no surprises at tax year end. I can feel “a job well done” at the end and it makes all the hard graft worth while. I have been told that I am a bookkeeping freak because I love watching the figures stack up.
    To anyone who is out there working hard on their own and loving it I would say “stick at it – the passion comes through to your customers/clients” and they know that their business is important to you.

  3. Aidan Kelly Says:


    At the end of the day you have to be happy that you are trying and working to your ability, in the current climate we can all blame someone else andt ake our eye off the ball, whether we work for soemone, work for ourselves or not at all. Each day is a new start and focus on the things and events we can control is the key.


    Aidan ( self employed!)

  4. James O'Reilly Says:

    Each to their own i reckon. A lot of people find great satisfaction in being part of something greater, once they feel they are really contributing. Others are happy to do less satisfying work to pay the bills, once it allows them the freedom to pursue other lifestyle choices they really enjoy.

    Professionally I regularly see the strain on business owners as they try to keep grinding our a living, and i imagine they would swap it all for a safe and secure wage. But we should be grateful for these risk-takers, for it is through many of them that great innovations are borne and great services become available.

    Personally i have a public service job, and i am incredibly grateful for it right now, but in the long-term I know i have to plough my own furrow or i’ll look back with disappointment when the wet clay pours in around me.

  5. Aodan Enright (@SmarterEgg) Says:

    This is a valuable discussion Greg. Too often, people are starry-eyed in drinking the follow-your-dream magic potion. Business is tough. Success is not guaranteed.

    Often people who move from ’employed’ to ‘self-employed/entrepreneur’ underestimate how unreliable their income can be. Aside from the ups and downs and challenges to pay bills etc., you also have the opportunity cost of what you might be earning in a job. For some, this can be a stress point.

    Ultimately, it all comes down to what fires you. Your commenter talked about the ability to sleep at night. Trust me, there are as many people with so-called safe jobs who are restless at night as there are in a chaotic self-employed struggle. It all depends on your personality and preferences.

    I wrote about this recently.

    Yes, there’s a certain element of a grind in all work but you really need to be sure that you’re going to enjoy the work. Accumulating wealth for retirement is all well and good but there’s no point in deferring your life with it.

  6. Eileen Shine Says:

    I am almost in tears……….. I am trying to go out on my own and now I am totally stressed>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Should I, or should I not? I only want to provide for my family and enjoy myself in what I am good at. Is that too much to ask?

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Hi Eileen …. being happy in yourself is absolutely vital – you are no good to anyone if you are miserable. Be careful but be brave and good luck with your decision!

  7. Dancing Derek Says:

    A very interesting article from Greg Canty at Fuzion Communications, Cork. My response to his article is if you have a passion and talents in life, use them to the best of your ability.When you use your talents to the best of your ability to help others help themselves then it does not seem like work because not only do you enjoy doing it but you also enjoy seeing others prosper also from what you have shown them.Regards, Dancing Derek

    • Greg Canty Says:

      thanks for the comments Derek – I remember in an interview Dave Fanning saying “When you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life” …. that’s the key?

  8. John Woodroofe Says:

    It is true that the grass can always seem greener no matter which side of the fence you look from. However unless you change sides, you will never truly know.

    It is certainly more fulfilling on a personal level to achieve results for yourself but like any life change it can be a stressful time.

    Everyone has committments that have to be met but ultimately i believe it is better to attempt change rather than continue wondering.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      great post John – I always feel you are probably better trying working for yourself when you are younger when you have possibly less commitments, financial and otherwise

  9. Caio Caridade Says:

    Hey Greg, this is a good discusion about the theme…I have worked for around 08 years for others and have been working for myself for the last 04…

    It isn’t about which way is the best per se…that would lead us to discusing whether dancing is better than singing…

    Running the risk of falling into a cliché, it is about finding out what fits best for you…Lots of people fantasize that being the owner of your own nose is best than being an employee…it is so not…it is the ancient human behaviour of “looking at the neighbour’s lawn as if it were greener”..

    Talking about myself: I love doing what I do nowadays…and there’s nothing to do with pleasure…it is about being “turned-on” by the business…the sensation that, depending on the day, you are the lion hunting a deer for surving or the deer fleeing brings me a high level of fullfilment and reason for living…as weird as it may sound…

    Thanks for the texts!

    Caio Caridade
    SPO – Brazil

  10. Shane O'Connor Says:

    Hi Greg

    Interesting perspective. As an owner of two businesses I can say it has had its ups and downs in both. But I can say the satisfaction of doing something you have complete control over is like nothing on earth. I think the secret is to love what you do. That way the passion you feel for your work will translate into the results. People often say “it must be great to work for yourself and have no boss to answer to”, well this is wrong. The truth is there is always someone to answer to, your customers are your boss. If they are not happy they can fire you just as easily as an employee (in fact easier). What does dishearten me is the lack of support business owners get from the system (re credit control warrior) and the government. Yesterdays news articles about benefit payments for Communions is a case in point. Too many business owners, you included I know, work hard often putting in 18 hour days to pay for the things they might not need, but want, while the government hands out these nonsensical payments seemingly at will for what I consider a luxury, pompous item and event. The contradiction comes that if we were to pack it in tomorrow as self employed persons for years we would be entitled to no benefits from the taxes we have paid. The system seems stacked in favour of those who have not contributed enough or at all, over their lifetimes. Don’t get me wrong, I know how hard it is to get work out there at the moment, this is evident in the amount of applications for work we get when we are not even advertising any positions. But as someone who has contributed every year to the system, its seems unfair that I cannot rely on the same system if it went belly up tomorrow or to support me when I am chasing debtors who have the ability to pay, but are using the system to their advantage, or if I were to decide that my business is no longer feasible. Thankfully we are doing OK even in these tough economic times and I wont be throwing in the towel anytime soon. But I would like to see business owners taking a stand against the system and demanding results from our TDs who have so far been unable to deliver on their pre-election promises. That will make the grind worth it. When the system works. When people have jobs, which in turn will benefit my sector, which in turn will benefit my businesses. In the mean time I would encourage anyone to start up on their own, as the self satisfaction outweighs any of the downsides that go with it. So far anyway!

  11. btandassociates Says:

    I read the above article as well recently, apologies if I have not copied it over correctly but I’m sure you can google it, and its from the American perspective which is always very positive. I agree with the comments written above but in all walks of life whether you are an employee or self employed, there is little security. As they say in the article, job security is over and it’s never coming back!

  12. Neil Says:


    Very thoughtful as usual.
    Here’s my tuppence worth.

    I have worked for myself for the bones of 10 years coaching and advising small businesses in the areas of finance, sales and marketing and there have been ups and downs.
    Last year started slow and I did a major review of my business based on doing some 80:20 thinking, identifying my most profitable clients and also getting clearer on my ‘dhorma’ or what I was really passionate about. So I ripped up my old business model and started again.
    Things have turned around slowly and now I’m getting to the place where I will have a much more successful business doing the type of work I love.
    The most difficult thing in deciding to make that transition is often the short term need to keep money coming in, even if that is doing work that we don’t really want to do, so starting on the work we love is harder. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith.
    So my advice is to hang in there and it is possible to follow your passion and have a successful business.


  13. Brian Cullinane (@BrianRCullinane) Says:


    Great timing on this post as I’m currently in the process of leaving a large US multinational to set up my own business. While I clearly see a strong business opportunity, the core driver for me is self-satisfaction and understanding where I get my energy from. All the risks of being self-employed aside (and there are many) I need to control my own future. I’m really passionate about what I do and sometimes that passion and energy is wasted or lost in a large organisation.

    So for me, yes, the grind is worth it however people need to do what works for them.


  14. iain young Says:

    hi greg i am a start up the north and find it very hard indeed to get clients. i started my business with a very limtited budget and very little money turning over infact zero. i am using my benefit payment to help my busiess and keep my and wife going. sometimes i think of giving up but maybe a little to prouc to admit defeat. domestic situation means i cant really work for full 8 or 10 hour shift in call centre so i am still grinding away until i finally decide to stop.
    the one thing i can say is ‘i tried’ and and at the moment i will keep trying.
    good luck to all other start ups either north or south, we all need it

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Hi Ian – thanks for the great post . Can I suggest you start blogging on your area of expertise and use these posts on your social media channels to boost awareness for what you do? Cheers & best of luck with the grind.

  15. Daniel Says:

    Hi Greg,

    I am studying the DMI Postgrad at the moment (you gave a great lecture), i’d like to recommend you take a read of ‘rich dad poor dad’- robert kiyosoki. Its an eye opener and some great advice on different types of personalities and motivations when it comes to money. I own my own comapny and im responsible for my own paycheck and while its not easy, i guess it depends on how you view reward…

  16. Jamie Lawrence (@ideasasylum) Says:

    “At the end of the day all that matters is your ability to educate your children and give them a decent lifestyle”
    — a few months on and that quote is *still* haunting me.

    Is that all that my kids deserve? Is that all there is to life? And who’s to decide what a “decent lifestyle” for my children is? Which is better for them, all the latest toys and gadgets or a father who doesn’t want to kill himself? A dad who’s so numb, depressed and exhausted from a meaningless day in the office or one who’s happy, content and proud of the work he’s done that day?

    But then my opinion is clear: I have only a week left of full-time employment and then I start freelance development work. It might go horribly wrong but I’ve already seen the changes in myself and my family, and I like it. I’d rather struggle and make this work than tolerate another 5 (10? 20?) years in a little 6′ green cubicle.

    • Greg Canty Says:

      Jamie …. well done and I hope the new opportunity works out well for you. Make sure you come back to us and answer the question… “Is the Grind Worth It?”

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