It is not about the work or effort put in a project. It is about the result. Automation helps bring the same results in far less time, helping people focus on more creative tasks such as generating new ideas about the same project.
This is a common problem in many startups I have worked with. The “work hard” moto can be motivational but has to be in the right context. “Working effectively” is different than “working hard”.
In my first startup, I used to upload all products of suppliers on the website. The process took tremendous time and effort. Yes, it was “hard work” but it was not “effective work”. Then, a system helped us let the suppliers upload their products and do the data entry on their own. The result was the same, if not better, as the suppliers knew the specs of the product and they were able to place the product in the right categories. This also resulted in providing a better navigation experience for the customers.
The time we saved was valuable as it helped us design a better pricing model.
Automation helps companies grow as they start focusing on more important things.