Alright, first up, the title is kinda misleading… I say kind of because it would imply I hate Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Workweek (which I do not). But it is spot on when I say that the idea of a 4 hour work week is B.S. if you think you’re going to achieve it without an INSANE amount of work in the beginning. Let me digress…
Alright so I read the book 4 Hour Workweek like 3 times in May when I was visiting a friend who lived in Italy. It changed my life and opened my eyes to an entrepreneurial paradise I had never known existed. It made everything seem so easy, so simple and so cheap to do. When I got back to State side I immediately started working on a few online businesses to follow the ‘muse math’ Tim pushes in the book. Not surprisingly with no experience in internet business and no idea how to go about the nitty gritty my first attempt at $40,000 a month in passive income (which Ferriss claims he gleamed from his business) did not live up to that number. Now its still around PowersellerPrincess.com actually has a solid little fan base and I get lots of emails saying thank you for all your free content on eBay selling, but not nearly enough sales of the eBook to retire (just being honest).
So I switched ideas, I started a website called Tweeterpreneur.com which took me easily 80 hours a week working full time with an assistant (who I paid out of my own pocket) to get up. This site actually got more traction money wise and produces a livable income but still, lots of dealing with customers, lots of work on the product I actually sell… so I had to work harder, hire another virtual assistant and sigh whimsically about the 4 hour work week I wasn’t working.
Tweeterpreneur, though grand, didn’t get me to my goal of $10k a month in gross. I figured that this number will give me enough to travel on, pay my expenses and put up some serious savings. So I launch Oracle Launch, a new media company (whose website is still being built). Oracle Launch is like my other social media marketing endeavor but to a FAR larger level. I actually deal with businesses as clients and build them websites and create social media campaigns which I manage and build for them. This brings in contracts that are over $1,ooo each a month but takes even more WORK. So I hired a project manager, another employee and an SEO guy. Now I have 4 full time employees who (Thank God) telecommute so no overhead! But still 4 salaries costs money.
Right now I am nearing my goal of $10k a month but the paying of employees cuts into the bottom line and I’m working myself probably 8-10 hour days. So what is the moral of this story? Is the 4 hour work week a lie? No. I am sure that someone, somewhere does work less than an hour in any given work day. But I don’t and neither does Tim considering his impressive schedule and constant go go go entrepreneurial mindset. Unless of course he doesn’t call all of his endeavors work and then I guess he does work probably 4 hours. And so do I if I don’t count 95% of what I do to start up my business work… I love it, but it’s still work. I wouldn’t want to only work 4 hours (would feel like a pile) but still would like to work less than I do now and make more.
Moral? Tim’s book is right about its ideas on not working for works’ sake, streamlining, the 80/20 principle and the idea that you really can do anything you set your mind to. What it sugarcoats is this… to get to the idealistic four hour work week you have to work an 80-100 hour work week first. Maybe for some its less, but for most it’s that much if not more. Starting a business is VERY hard and takes a LOT of time.
Worth it? Absolutely. Should you do it? Yes & Yes. But please don’t work on a business or “muse” for 2 weeks and be shocked when you’re not making $20k a month and working 30 minutes a day. Be ready for a solid year of break back work, networking and blogging your butt off before ‘instant success’ catches up with you. When it does though 🙂 It’ll be so sweet, because you worked yourself silly for it.
Keep it up entrepreneurs! You really can live your dream and escape the 9 to 5 if you are dedicated, a dreamer and a hard, hard worker all rolled into one.
P.S. Penelope Trunk does a funny & very biting commentary on her thoughts on the Four Hour Workweek book & Ferriss himself here. I do not necessarily endorse her strong opinions but its a funny read and her writing style is unmatched 🙂