5 Game Changing Lessons From The 4 Hour Work Week That Revolutionised My Business & My Life
“Escape the 9 to 5, live anywhere and join the new rich”
Pretty much sums up our dream, so when our eyes fell on this book, we were instantly hooked.
There are many lessons to be learnt from this book. If you’re already a budding entrepreneur or you are thinking of taking the leap, it will sharpen your focus on structure and automation.
In his own words — Tim Ferris can come across like Marmite; you either love him or hate him. But there is no denying, almost everyone can get something of value from his book.
We adopted some of the lessons included and it instantly had a huge impact in our lives. We continue to live, work and thrive by these principles as our online businesses continue to grow more profitable.
Not only are we making more money, but we moved towards full automation, bringing us another step closer to what we aim to be: FREE!
Here are the 5 most important lessons we learned (and apply everyday) from The 4 Hour Work Week.
1. Time Is Your Most Valuable Commodity!
I hope you realise the importance of stepping away from society-imposed limitations. If you’re yet to realise it, let us do you a favour and scream it at you: Wasting time not following your dream is the biggest travesty of all!
First let’s start where most people reside, in the world of working the classic 9 to 5. If you have been wasting time in a job that doesn’t match your talents or stifles your creativity, you need to plan your escape.
If you put off going to sleep most nights, live for the weekend or dread hearing the alarm go off in the morning prompting you for your morning commute, you need to quit!
If you already have commitments and responsibilities (children, mortgage, etc.), sit down and do some serious rejigging and decluttering of your life. We appreciate it is much harder to free yourself of the 9 to 5 when you have responsibilities, but you also have a responsibility to your dreams.
We have a go-getter’s attitude, jump and learn to fly on the way down. We know this can’t be the case for everyone since we all come from different circumstances, but if you are not happy you need to change something.
Time adds up and before you know it, you’re out of time and full of regrets.
40 hours a weeks for 50 years = 104,000 hours of unhappiness. A pretty scary perspective, if you ask us!
Not appreciating this time and spending it not doing what you love will be the biggest regret of your life.
Even before reading the book we realised time is precious and we didn’t want to live someone else’s dream anymore. So we started planning and working on our online business 10 months ago.
We launched successfully, have been operating for 6 months and we are already profitable. We created information products/services, for prices ranging from $47 — $750 and we have steady sales on a daily basis. Please note we are NOT in the “make money online” niche!
We teach people practical skills that help them better themselves, enabling them to reach their goals and aspirations for a fair price.
Whether you have a job or a business, it is important to factor time into your income assessment. Evaluate your financial success in relation to how much time you spend to earn your monthly or yearly income. This lesson was hard for us to learn at first, but when we embraced this concept, it was liberating.
Since we were new to the online marketplace with information-based products and services, we were (and still are) focussed on creating value in peoples’ lives. Although this approach helped us springboard to profitability quickly, it did have a negative side effect — we were wasting time in the business rather than focussing time on our business.
You need to put time in at the beginning and devote yourself to it 100%. Once you get it off the ground you need to automate it as much as possible.
If you continue to spend all your time on it, your ROI in relation to the time you spend will be diminished.
Tim Ferriss takes a huge dig at people who have the same “all hands on deck” approach! He advocates this approach when you first start the business, but makes it very clear this MUST stop quickly.
You should aim for full/majority automation of the business within 4–6 weeks. After this you should devote the equivalent of a maximum one day per week towards maintaining and running the business.
4 months after launching our business we were still spending time, knee deep on niggly things. That wasn’t allowing us spare time to focus ON the business or anything else on the side.
We were checking emails first thing in the morning and 10 times a day. Personally answering every email, posting 5 times a day on FB, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. soon became a waste of time. Working on the backend of the site to fix glitches, tweaking and split-testing the sales pages, adverts, creatives, email automations, blah, blah, blah… the list of “things to do” was endless.
Although we were selling everyday and doing well, we had the unsettling feeling that we were employed all over again! DREADFUL! Something had to change.
We realised that 99% of everything we were doing could be automated. Within 2 weeks, we had a virtual assistant in place and a clear structure for her and the team to answer our emails, do our postings and do the backend website assistance for all incoming sales.
By this time, all our tweaking and split testing of major parts of the sales cycle was complete so we were comfortable in those areas as well.
Interestingly, the second we streamlined the admin and automation was in place, sales didn’t slow down and we continued to grow in profitability. We were thrilled! But most importantly we had a profitable model we could replicate and build upon.
This allowed us to focus on the creative side of the business and also come up with new project ideas.
2. Not Doing Anything Will Cost You More Than Doing The Wrong Thing
Fortune favours the brave so why are people so inhibited by fear? Fear and belief are two of the most powerful forces known to mankind.
Religion uses both and look how effective that has been in indoctrinating mankind with hardly any evidence to back it up.
When it comes to risk taking, do you focus more on fear or belief?
People tend to overanalyse things and end up not pursuing their aspirations for fear of making the wrong decisions. Instead, they choose to stay trapped in unfulfilling jobs, toxic relationships and overall unhappy lives.
Do you find it easier to do something you are familiar with, even if you know it makes you unhappy? Sadly most people do, but you need to break free of this limiting thinking if you want to make success a part of your life.
We have never been scared of reinventing ourselves or venturing into the unknown. Being comfortable with the unknown and venturing into ambiguity is one of the hallmarks of successful people.
The 4 Hour Work Week bombards you with compelling arguments to seek your dream and go after what excites you. You should do all you can (as long as you’re not hurting anybody else or taking away their liberties) to make your dreams and aspirations a reality!
The way you’ve done things so far brought you to were you are today and if you change nothing, then nothing will change.
After reading the book and agreeing with this line of thinking, we wanted to see how consistent it was and if it held true for other people.
We asked our family and friends who are older than us what they regret most and we predominately heard stories of should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. One constant piece of advice we got: it is always better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission!
3. Crazy Dreams Are Important & Must Be Crazy For Them To Come True
“Dream big!”, “Reach for the stars!” — you’ve heard it all before, right?
So have we, but haven’t really acted on our aspirations, shifted them to goals or planned to achieve them. Not until recently!
In The 4 Hour Work Week, the focus is on “bigger is better” and “crazier is easier”. Making a definitive line for letting your imagination run free and then chasing after it is what Tim Ferris advocates, strongly!
He calls it DreamLining: focussing your efforts into making your crazy dreams a reality by turning them into actionable steps rather than just wishful thinking. They must be unrealistic to stand a chance of coming true. They must be focussed on the things you would do if money were no object and you had no limitations at all.
People often follow the crowd and are fearful of doing the unlikely or unrealistic, mainly because they think the chances of success are very low. But if you do the unlikely and unrealistic, the bounty is plentiful where nobody else is fishing.
We have crazy dreams and wild aspirations separate from our short, medium and long term goals. Tim Ferris details how, why and when to practice the DreamLining exercises suggested in the book. We were skeptical at first, simply due to the ostentatious nature of what we were doing, but we have to admit it works for us!
It does’t mean you will suddenly start having golden nuggets fall out of the sky if that’s your dreamline. It has simply given us a new vision of scope and perspective on what and where we are going with the bigger picture of our lives.
Many successful entrepreneurs talk about the shifting line in the horizon of their success. Once they reach a milestone in their business or personal life, they can sometimes experience a lack of fulfilment and they shift their focus to a new horizon in the distance.
We’ve felt this way about many aspects of our lives and I’m sure you have too. Dreamlining exercises remind you what you’re working for and why you’re taking necessary risks.
When your business slowly turns into a job or a passion tuns into a chore, dreamlining is there to help you remember NOT to let that happen.
However crazy your ideas might sound, remember that every great accomplishment started off as an idea. Think the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks or Steve Jobs, to name just a few. If these people hadn’t acted on their dreams and ideas, the world would now be a very different place.
So get a journal, grab a pen and get dreaming!!
4. Evaluate Yourself & Question Your Decisions Regularly
There is no definite right or wrong thing to do when it comes to reaching your goals. We are all unique individuals, what is right for someone might not be right for you and visa-versa.
There might be more than one way to skin a cat, but you must do more than just question your big picture goals. You need to also question your actions in regards to your day to day productivity and how you choose to spend your time.
Are you being productive or just busy? Are you focusing on how you can make money? Are you helping people solve important problems in their lives? Are you bringing value to the market place?
We run online businesses and create new products and services based on what we are good at and the passions that inspire us. Finding a balance between current and new projects happened through a lot of trial and error.
Since we launched 6 months ago we found an online business model that works for us and we plan to nurture it. It took us approximately 3 months to create and launch, then another 3 months to iron out the admin, FAQ’s, sales structure testing, building a social media presence, marketing etc. Based on that, we can successfully launch a new product/service every 6 months. All we need to do is keep the creativity juices flowing.
During this period we also move towards automating all the processes. After this, the business is set to move into cruise control. Sales are regular and consistently growing, allowing us to focus the majority of our attention on the creative parts of the business and launching yet another new idea.
Going into cruise control is exactly what it means, you are still driving and getting closer to your destination. You are hyper vigilant while watching the road as you drive. The benefit now is you can enjoy the ride, wind the widows down, turn up the music and dance a little bit
You still need to pull over to a gas station every once in a while, change the oil and refuel. If any problems occur while cruising you can hit the breaks and readjust.
Don’t get me wrong, it is much harder than it sounds and it doesn’t always come off without a hitch. We recently launched a new product but it didn’t take off like we expected. We discovered what the issue was, failed quickly and moved on.
We are still learning along the way and the model we have crafted is a work in progress. We enjoy the journey and love the process and challenge of learning.
It is easy to go off track but if you remember to always question your choices with objectivity, you will avoid making mistakes that will cost you time and wasted resources.
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, it comes with the entrepreneurial territory. You simply need to make sure you learn from your mistakes in order to make the experience valuable.
Remove all the unnecessary activities you get caught up with to make sure you are left with productivity that leads you closer to your aspirations. Declutter and Re-prioritise accordingly.
5. Failure Is Overrated!
Yes, it is. Failure is imminent and a valuable teacher on our way to success. The faster you learn to move on and try new approaches in pursuit of your dreams the better off you will be. Simple!
REMEMBERING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DIE IS THE BEST WAY TO ESCAPE THE TRAP OF FEAR AND LOSS -Steve Jobs-
If, like me, you’re on your own journey of self-discovery and growth, you will find a wealth of value in my new “Reprogram Your Mind For Success” e-book.
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