You may not know A.J. Khubani, but if you’ve ever seen a late-night TV infomercial, you’re familiar with his line of work. In 1983, while still in college, Khubani founded Telebrands, which markets quirky products, from garden hoses to pet nail trimmers, designed to make life better and easier. He also designed the familiar “As Seen On TV” logo.
But as Khubani grew the company and poured himself into his work, he found that other parts of his life were suffering. Driven to succeed, he pushed himself too hard and packed his days with meetings. As time went on, his work took a toll on his health and left little room for the kind of activities that could recharge his body, mind and spirit.
“I’ve always tried to have a balance, but there have been periods where I did not,” he told The Huffington Post. “I was maybe too aggressive, or had major business problems that I just couldn’t resolve.”
Like most entrepreneurs, Khubani has seen ups and downs in his decades of doing business. “I’ve gone broke three times in my life and had my house foreclosed on once,” he told the Philadelphia Business Journal earlier this year. “It’s tough being an entrepreneur.”
Once Khubani realized his way of working came at a cost to the rest of his life, he began to make changes. These days, he often bikes home from work, makes a point to take time away from his email and cell phone, and strives to sleep eight hours each night.
And to set a tone for Telebrands’ employees, he introduced several new policies and traditions at the company’s offices in Fairfield, New Jersey. For example, the company brings in masseuses to give free massages to all mothers each Mother's Day and to all fathers each Father’s Day.
For Khubani’s full story, see the video above.
This video is part of a series highlighting the causes and consequences of burnout, and the ways ordinary people are rejecting our culture of overwork and reclaiming their lives. To share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Producers: Gregory Beyer and Jordan Jayson
Videographer/editor: Amber Genuske
Graphics: Noelle Campbell