Photo via Pixabay

It’s okay to work more than 4 hours a week

Especially if you don’t have to

In 2011, I made more than $60,000 doing nothing. I didn’t have to work. Which is exactly why I worked harder than ever.

The bulk of the money came from my online dating advice blog. Back then, if you searched for promo code, my site was one of the top results. I’d refer people to Match, and I’d get a commission.

I made about $150,000 off that site, most of it over a three-year period. One year, it brought in nearly $75,000. (At certain points, I would receive a bonus for the “Sale Amount” you see in the screenshot below, rather than just “Publisher Commission.”)

By the time the site started making money, I had already done most of the work. I could have worked to make the numbers higher, but I didn’t. I just let it sit there and make money. As you can see, it makes me very little these days.

Lots of people dream of having a “passive revenue muse” that they only have to work on 4 hours a week. They fantasize about spending all of that free time on a beach, drinking from a coconut, or frantically riding a camel across the Sahara to cross it off their bucket list.

But, you can use that extra time, instead, to move your work further up Maslow’s hierarchy. To Love Your Work.

As evinced by my use of a pseudonym, I didn’t want to be “the online dating guy.” I probably would have made more money if I had concentrated on that business, but my heart wasn’t in it.

Instead, I used that passive money to supplement my meager advance to write Design for Hackers. That — in 2011 — was the hardest I ever worked. If I wasn’t sleeping, there were hardly 4 hours in a week that I wasn’t working. I could have been doing Ayahuasca, for months on end, in Peru instead.

I call it “freedom stacking:” Make just enough money to free up your mind, and progressively climb your work up Maslow’s hierarchy — closer to your core, closer to your heart, and deeper into your curiosities.

I used my freedom to write Design for Hackers, and turn it into a teaching business. I used my experience in writing the book to play a part in adding features to Google Calendar. Now, I use the money from those endeavors to reverse-engineer unique success stories on my podcast.

I do my work from South America. I’m not spending my days bungee jumping or attending yoga retreats. I’m just doing my work, living as an inhabitant, and slowly adding facets to my understanding of human experience.

If you can crack the code for making decent money with minimal effort, you can still work more than 4 hours a week. You can use your freedom to make your work more nourishing to your self, more expanding for your mind, and more valuable to each person it touches.