Business Isn’t All Work

True lovers of the muse

I’ve written a lot in the last few posts about business. That was the goal: to help people better understand some of these tools and their impact on doing business. However, I should be really clear that business isn’t all work.

Business, especially human business, can be relationship-minded, can be sustainable, and can even be fun. Sure, transactions have to happen and value has to change hands, but a lot of doing business is about making relationships.

Now, translate the word “business” to mean something a little more broad-minded, and you can see how all these ideas would relate to your nonprofit, to your church, to your homeschooling project.

If you’re lucky, and I am, a good deal of business can be made in the trade of handshakes, smiles, and future encouragement. Mix that with an eye for understanding where value can transfer to the benefit of more than one, and you’re on to something. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that business is all about work.

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  • Victor Panlilio

    Insightful. Even…wise.

  • Anonymous


    I couldn’t agree more. From the new book: The New Small understands that work doesn’t have to suck.

    We’re on the same page!

  • Steve Haase

    Business that’s all work and no joy makes for dull times indeed… and probably very little profit, too.

  • Ohdoctah

    What were you thinking when you selected the image for this post Uncle Chris?

    • Chris Brogan

      Don’t make me come over there. : )

      I loved their smiles. They looked like two guys making good music.

    • Chris Brogan

      Don’t make me come over there. : )

      I loved their smiles. They looked like two guys making good music.

  • Megan

    For me and my company, I’ve found building, maintaining and nurturing relationships is a great way to build business! Plus, it doesn’t feel like work – you’re simply chatting with others!

  • PhilWrzesinski

    If you do it right, business never feels like work!

  • Daniel Rose

    It’s true. I think the most successful people in business are those who are great with people. If you think about it, it’s all about people. Without people, there is no business. We each deal with great numbers of people (directly or indirectly), so there’s no excuse not to hone up on interpersonal skills!

  • Anonymous

    The best entrepreneurs “choose people”. They are in business for more than just the work, and instinctively want to serve others: customers, employees, vendors, their community, etc…. and have a lot of fun doing it.

    When I work with individuals or speak to an audience about the “power of business relationships and networking” the most successful (in my opinion) entrepreneurs are like preaching to the choir…. they understand that success comes to those who serve and enjoy. Nobody has to teach them. Those who are not having fun and going beyond the work should want to learn this because it is the path to success. Instead they over analyze and gripe about all kinds of stuff…. and miss the boat to the fun side of working.

    • Chris Brogan

      But Thom, are we the weirdos? I mean, do you think MORE people know about this or less people? I worry/wonder about this.

    • Chris Brogan

      But Thom, are we the weirdos? I mean, do you think MORE people know about this or less people? I worry/wonder about this.

  • Anonymous

    Earlier example of Lennon/McCartney

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  • Seo Guru

    I agree that business shouldn’t be all work and it has to build relationship. But I think relationship up to a certain degree. We had seen best of friends end up enemies because of business. Everyone must know that there is a thin line between friendship and business.

  • Judy Helfand

    Hi Chris,
    I am so enjoying the photos that you have been using this past week; each is a “story starter.” Today I met a great business man. He owns a Screenmobile franchise here in Tucson. He likes what he does and it shows.
    I needed four screens replaced. A dreaded project because I couldn’t figure out how to get a quote. We called Screenmobile because their ad said that they come right to your location and build the screens on the spot. I said: “Don’t you need the dimensions to give me an estimate?” They said: “No, each screen is the same price $38, regardless of size!” Fabulous!

    So today David came to our home, made four great looking screens, adjusted a sliding door lock, chased our basset hound in the desert landscape (Toby escaped while my husband was showing David the sliding door lock), removed a sticker from Toby’s paw…all this for $159.

    It was fun meeting David and I will tweet about him.

    Have a great Labor Day weekend.

  • Chris Brogan

    “friendship” and “relationship” are two different things. I sell to friends sometimes, but I try for a relationship with my prospects. Does that make sense?

  • Chris Brogan

    I love it, Judy. Thanks for sharing the story. What a perfect way to illustrate the point.

  • Anonymous

    YES… we are the weirdos (embrace your weirdo-ness!).

    I think people want to help others, but when they feel the pressure of life, and get busy, they cannot take their eye off their own needs. They mistakenly think that they do not have time to help others or have fun. Thus they start a never ending cycle: Spend too much time on self, others do not want to step in and help them (who wants to help someone who is so self – focused?). Thus they get more pressure and feel more alone. Then they double down on their own issues, and feel they cannot help others or have fun. Again, nobody comes around to be of assistance to them, and they start to doubt all that you and I (and others) teach about the power of business relationships and networking. Nobody is helping them, so they say “screw everyone”.

    Also, they see others who reach the top and they wrongly assume they got there alone and by being self focused on work. (we never see the whole story) While some did it that way…. MOST successful people I know got there with a good network of people with whom they established long-term and mutually beneficial relationships… and together they had fun.

    To answer your question… I don’t think it that more or less people knowing this concept …. I think it is that they are not paying attention to the decisions they are making when it come to having fun along the way and partnering with the people who they encounter (instead of viewing every part of life as a competition).


  • Sensei Matt Klein

    If your business is also your passion, then work is play. The great thing is you are getting paid for it. “Handshakes, smiles, and encouragement”, that’s what it’s all about if you are in it for the long term.

  • Rumio

    Excellent post. From my experience I’ve seen smiley faces, handshakes… with the clients. But what happens inside a business is usually a different story.

    How are the employees connected to one-another? What kind of relationships do they have? Who is the BOSS? BOSS don’t have a relationship on equality basis with any employee. The best leader is the best servant, he’s no boss.

    For me only that business is fun (apart from a 1 man show) that’s based upon all employees helping each other out on an equal footing.

  • Anonymous

    I worked for Starbucks a few years ago and they describe themselves as not being in the coffe business serving people but in the people business serving coffee! That mindset changes the way business is conducted, from the amazing CEO Howard Shultz to a Barista in a local store

  • mike mcsharry

    make your vocation your vacation and every day’s a holiday

  • David

    I run my business from home and also use my products. I have a lot of free time to experience which products work and which don’t which is a lot of fun for me.