“I only work 5 hours a week”

I’ve never been the entrepreneur type. But after losing my job as a sound engineer in 2009, I had to get creative to make ends meet.

Thirteen years later, at age 39, I started two online businesses that earn me a combined sum $160,000 per month in passive income. I also recently published a book, “How to get paid for what you know.”

The first company I started was The recording revolution, a music and education blog that sells music production lessons. The second, which I started in 2018, teaches people how to make money from their passions, like I did. It is the most lucrative business, thanks to Online course and coaching program sales, as well as affiliate commissions.

Graham Cochrane started his first business in 2009. Since then he has scaled two businesses online and now earns around $120,000 a month.

Photo: John Olson for CNBC Make It

About 2,800 people use my products, and my goal is to help more entrepreneurs grow their online businesses while working fewer hours.

My main priorities are spending time with my family and being able to give back, so I have organized my work and personal life so that I can focus on these key values.

This is what my typical day looks like:

Mornings start slow and easy

I usually wake up at 5 a.m. – before the kids – because I always want an hour to myself. I’ll start with a coffee and my Bible.

After reading, praying, and keeping a journal, I will cook breakfast with my wife and wake the children. We’ll spend 20 to 30 minutes eating together in the kitchen before I drop them off at school at 7:30.

Then I go back to my home office or do a little gym session if I feel like it.

Graham and his wife have breakfast with their children in the morning before discussing their schedule.

Photo: John Olson for CNBC Make It

I only work five hours a week – Mondays and Wednesdays

Graham spends about five hours a week creating content and running his businesses.

Photo: John Olson for CNBC Make It

Once a month, I film an exclusive training for members of my paid community that adds about two extra hours of work per month to my schedule.

I’ve never been a fan of the hustle culture; I don’t believe that’s healthy or wise. If you can find a way to integrate systems into your business so that it mostly works on its own, you don’t need to waste time doing constant maintenance.

After all, what’s the point of “being your own boss” if you work all the time?

Family time is my #1 priority

People often ask me what I do with all the extra time in my week, and my answer isn’t the most exciting. I run errands, I go to the gym, I go to the car wash, I have coffee, or I have lunch with a friend, or I dive into a good book. Right now I’m reading”live without fearby Jamie Winship.

Most importantly, I spend time with my family. Fridays are considered “date day” with my wife. We work out, go out to lunch, catch up on life, talk about the kids, and meet our marriage counselor.

Lately, we’ve been focusing on how to communicate better when we have disagreements. No marriage is perfect, and the work I’ve put into our relationship has made me a better husband and father.

My wife and I never compromise on picking up the kids from school together. We want to be home when they are. Our other non-negotiable is family dinner. We sit down every night for a tech-free dinner. Most nights my wife cooks and I do the dishes. But we also eat at the restaurant a few times a week.

“My schedule has two non-negotiables,” Graham says: “I pick up my girls from school every day and our family has dinner together every night.”

Photo: John Olson for CNBC Make It

We love going out for a walk, swimming in the pool, watching movies or playing Nintendo Switch with the kids. By spending time together, we hope to teach them essential life skills like how to share feelings and be kind to one another. I also want them to feel like valued and included members of the family.

We also love to travel a lot, both locally in Florida and around the world. A few summers ago we spent a month in the south of France. And just this spring, we stayed in Puerto Rico for three weeks. Having the time and flexibility to create these kinds of memories together is priceless.

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