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11 minutes reading time (2217 words)

Smart work vs. hard work. Here’s the real difference


Every day while minding our businesses, we always come across some self-claimed motivational speakers screaming: "Work hard! Work harder! And never stop working for your dreams! 

Well, I won't exactly debate why it's a double-time misplaced statement since it has some elements of truth in it but the context and usage are now so stale that it's beginning to sound like a routine music in the ears of a retired soldier. 

It's just tedious and boring. We all work hard one way or the other. It's no longer news.

Yes, you actually need to keep pushing – chasing your dreams, which isn't an easy job but is hard work really the key principle? We don't always have to work hard. 

We can get things done easier and faster through smart work. Please, who else is tired of hard work? I know I am for sure. I prefer smart work. 

While you are working hard and struggling to make ends meet, one smart worker is pushing a few keys or making a few decisions and making more money in the process. It's that simple!

A hard worker would be struggling to get $5 jobs on Fiverr after learning his skill for months while a smart worker would just get high-quality clients on LinkedIn or find buyers on any of the various freelancing platforms and outsource the job cheaper to Fiverr sellers. 

At the end of the day, the smart worker makes a huge profit without doing the actual job and the hard worker makes a few pennies after handling the project. 

This is because Quality clients on LinkedIn would pay more (e.g $100 - 2,000 for a $5 Fiverr logo design job).

Hard work is synonymous with modern slavery. Smart work is the language of the kings. Do not work hard, work smart.

Quote me anywhere and I will defend this statement. As a hard worker, you are likely going to struggle all through your life by doing more work for a lesser reward but if you work smart, you get things done faster and still make more money. 

The idea behind smart work is to get a job done faster and easier without exulting too many resources. 

While work cannot be completely removed from the equation of success, it's important to know that the concept behind hard work was a true speech during its era and sounded more accurate during the period of industrialization but it became obsolete since this information age – for the smart ones.

Since this 21st century, there's been a lot of smart things popping up by the day. In fact, there's now a smart version of virtually every gadget. 

We even have smart homes! Everything is getting smarter so, pray tell, why should someone prefer the hard part? Working smart is about using the logical side of our brains. 

It's about being creative. It's about figuring out things smartly. It's about utilizing every given opportunity to get things done effortlessly. It's about finding an easier but effective way to do things. It's also about automating tasks.

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For instance;

Affiliate marketers who believe in hard work spend a lot of time promoting a one-time commission-based affiliate product where they get paid a single commission on each sale they make. 

This is great and most affiliate programs like these (including A2 Hosting; my recommended web host) pay well. 

The problem, however, is that you stop earning the moment you stop working. You literally have to keep generating sales to keep earning your commissions.

Smart and savvy bloggers/affiliate marketers focus on promoting affiliate products with recurring income. This allows them to generate the sale once but keep getting paid from month to month. 

This is just like a typical membership platform (meanwhile, I recently created a complete guide on how you too can set up your own membership website using the free Joomla CMS without coding. Get the blueprint here) where the clients pay periodically to renew their subscriptions.

That is exactly what smart work looks like. You just work less and earn more. This doesn't mean that every hard worker is dumb or that affiliate marketers promoting the one-time commission products are foolish (they are maybe less informed or are lured by the short-term huge commissions. 

It's very important to always choose cash flow over one-time profits) but if you only work hard, you waste more energy and earn less. As an affiliate marketer, you could actually promote such products but if you do, you should try as much as possible to automate the promotion techniques of the one-time commission products to reduce the workload on you and keep the money coming even when you are on vacation.

Doing the smallest tasks may be hard work when you just do it like every other person. Smart workers can turn the world's most tedious job to a less difficult task.

How you do a job determines if it will be hard work or smart work. The difference lies in the manner in which the job is done. 

Doing any task may be hard work but you can always convert it to smart work by doing it differently in an easier way. 

Smart workers can do that same project faster with fewer resources. Even as a CEO, merely running a company may be hard work depending on how you do it.

While some CEOs are having sleepless nights with excessive tasks to keep their company afloat, other CEOs are having endless vacations, playing golf, spending time with loved ones etc. 

Hard workers just work massively. Smart workers put a system in place to minimize the work while increasing productivity. Hard work is overrated. Smart work is key.

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Key Notes:

A hard worker uses more energy and spends a lot more time for his job while a smart worker gets the job done faster with less stress or may not do the job at all.

A hard worker makes a few pennies after the day's job while a smart worker would make 200% more after getting the hard workers to do the job...

Hard workers mostly work for the smart workers but smart workers who work for hard workers only use them as a stepping stone and would likely end up advancing faster than the hard worker.

People who focus on working hard usually end up as factory workers, menial job workers, labourers etc. while smart workers end up as CEOs, Managers, Investors, Supervisors etc.

Hard workers always do the real job in the field while smart workers most times, get others or automated tools to get the job done. Other times, their job is done by making a few decisions and business deals.

Hard workers just find jobs and focus on doing the job better in order to receive a raise or make more money but smart workers find highly profitable opportunities and capitalize on it without using too many resources.

Hard workers are known for doing tedious jobs repeatedly but smart workers always try to put a system in place to make the job easier or they completely automate the whole process.

A hard worker has a 20% chance of becoming a millionaire after several struggles but smart workers have a 90% chance of hitting it big and they literally walk into their empires with ease.

Most millionaires (billionaires inclusive) today didn't work hard (Forget what you see celebrities screaming about on social media). They worked smart by finding a problem and creating a solution that has a high demand.

Here's an example of working hard and working smart

If you are a writer and you only work as a content writing freelancer on Fiverr, you are most likely a hard worker. 

Smart workers would also write and publish some eBooks through Amazon Kindle or setup up a content series type of membership website that generates a steady flow of revenue from time to time without you doing any more work. You do minimal work and make more money.

A hard worker in Nigeria would probably buy and resell bottled water in traffic under the sun and at the end of the day, make only a few hundred Naira but a smart worker would rather approach and make a deal with a wholesaler to get some bottled water, 

then he sells to hard workers at a cheaper rate or gets hard workers to sell them for a commission and at the end of the day, hundreds of bottled water are sold and thousands of Naira are made without him hustling under the sun.

Simply put: A hard worker would use his savings to buy a carton of bottled water, find a spot along a busy road to sell them – bottle by bottle or sells them within a major road traffic. 

Let's say he succeeds in selling everything, he makes a few hundred Naira as profits after the day's work but a smart worker would look for an innovative way of doing the same business. 

For instance, instead of running around trying to sell such products in traffic, he would spend a few days in building a list of prospects (offices and homes that need bottled water), 

make a deal with a supplier to get his first few cartons on credit (this will be easy once he presents his list of prospects), get hard workers to deliver them to his prospects or gets hard workers to sell them for a commission.

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They are both self-employed.

They are both doing business.

They both sold bottled water as a product.


The smart worker worked less.

The smart worker made more money.

The smart worker didn't need capital.

The smart worker got his job done faster.

The smart worker has a lot more time for himself.

The smart worker has a system in place to handle his business.

The smart worker would still make money even if he doesn't go to work.

Sometimes, people neglect smart work using funds as an excuse. If you are one of them, you need to know that you really don't need more money to utilize the smart side of you. 

The above is an example of how you can work less and make more money on zero capital. In fact, maximizing your smartness means that you won't need money to carry out a capital-intensive project at all. 

Besides, if it's a business, there are several ways you can raise funds for your business.


Do not be mistaken, a lot of work will need to be done in order to achieve anything you want in life but the question is; is it always going to be hard work? 

Yes, hard work pays – in some cases but smart work will always dominate any form of hard work no matter how well you sugar-coat it. 

Even if everyone worked very hard, mopping and scrubbing floors to get the level of success they have today, it is not written anywhere that you must do the same. There's no particular formula for success. 

In fact, success starts with your mindset. Chase your dreams with all you've got but always work smartly as that will get you there faster and easier. 

To become a smart worker, all you have to do is, find a less tedious way to perform a given task more effectively. Are you living your dream? 

Find out what you want to do in life, lay out the path, set the measurable goals to get it done and apply smartness to your work ethic. 

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Financial Education 103: How to retain your money
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