[Before you read this post, please understand my intentions: I Love the work Tim Ferriss and others like him are doing. I respect and appreciate them daily for assisting me in making my businesses (and personal life) better with their tips, tools, and tricks. I totally believe that EVERYTHING in Tim's book can be applied to our lives, just not instantly...and that's what this post is about.]
I’m the type of guy that looks for automation and simplicity in every area of life that I may be able to find it, unfortunately, when you are starting your own business you can’t always have a 4 hour work week right out of the gate…
Tim Ferriss wrote ‘the 4 hour work week‘ to motivate, inspire, educate and open people’s minds to the idea(s) that if we work smarter not harder we can eventually get to the point where we only work 4 hours a week (it’s brilliant and a 100% obtainable concept). I think the key word in my above summary of Tim’s book is “eventually“. We as newbie business people (owning a business for 1 day up to 3 years) are consistently looking for instant gratification in our personal and professional lives. And if we don’t get it, we feel like we’re doing something wrong…and that’s the dangerous part to the instant gratification concept…We give up way to easily if something doesn’t ‘instantly’ happen for us.
I used to (seriously, only about a month ago) get extremely depressed about how slow things have been moving professionally and how long it has taken for my businesses to actually grow to the point of self sustainability (where I don’t have to be involved on a daily basis…aka. autopilot). I would read books like ‘the 4 hour work week’ (and countless others like it) and ended up feeling like I’d never be able to be like these authors because I’ve tried the tricks, tips and ideas they mentioned in these books (for months at a time) and somehow I’m still working 8-12 hours a day! “What is wrong with this picture!?!”, I would think to myself. I finally realized (2 weeks ago) that NOTHING happens without putting the initial work into it and no two businesses are the same (requiring the same amount of work they need to get to autopilot). If you work 4 hours a week on your business (because you’re trying to be exactly like the book), you will end up having a business that takes years to get started and you will eventually burn out, feeling like you’re a failure because “it didn’t happen how the book said”.
Please understand that there is NO right or wrong with business. Do what it takes to bring in consistent cash-flow and then start working on automation and self sustainability after the fact (let’s face it, if your business is 100% automated and there is little to no cash-flow, then you have an automated piece of shit business)…cash-flow first and then do what you can to widdle your work load down to 4 hours a week!
Take what the authors like Tim Ferriss are telling you and try to use this info to better you and your business one step at a time. If any of the new tools or tips start making you feel like something’s missing, stop doing them and go back to what works (what ever is bringing in the money and/or cutting your expenses). This is what business books don’t tell us (OK…I realize there are some books dedicated just to this topic, but they’re not as fun as the books that just show you the end results…the reward of getting to eat the cake at the end of a meal)!
For me, I actually get stressed out reading books like the 4 hour work week if I view it as a ‘must follow’ business road map (an A-Z plan for business success…and if I don’t follow it all the way, detrimental business failure). I’ll never be able to apply 100% of the tips, tricks or ideas from any business book immediately, and not being able to successfully complete the steps in the book makes me feel like I’m a failure, even though I’m not.
My recommended tips for success (shit I’ve learned along the way; in no particular order):
- Surround yourself with uplifting, motivational individuals that are progressive in their own lives (constantly bettering themselves for no other reason than to be better tomorrow than they are today…they don’t even have to be business people).
- Work Hard for yourself (It’s all about sweat equity. Expect to have 10-14 hour days in the beginning)…no one else will work harder than you will when your business’s success or failure is on the line. I think of the book called ‘Crush It‘ (by Gary Vaynerchuck) and how right on it is with this point…a must own book for you business start ups out there!
- Don’t subscribe to a single ‘System for Business Success’ (no two businesses are 100% the same…so how can there be a one size fit all successful business model or business book that’s right for everyone?).
- Don’t take on too much at one time (spreading your butter thin will only make you tired and grumpy, focus on the ‘key’ things that are important to you and your business model and complete them to the best of your ability). Another good book about this topic is ‘Rework‘ (by two members of the 37 Signals Team – We use their software ‘Basecamp‘ for our to-do lists and project management), it points out how important it is to do a couple small things well…even if your client base is pushing you to make 100 changes in your business…don’t give in, do what’s best for you and your business.
- Make sure you’re passionate about the business(es) you’re wanting to start (what the business is doing to make money)…if you’re not passionate about it (even though it may make you a buck or thousands) how can you expect others to be passionate about it? And, are you really going to want to put in the needed 10-14 hour days for something that you’re just into for the money? NO, I don’t think so, you’ll burn out without a certain level of love for what your doing!
- Don’t give up within 3 years of starting a business…It takes a minimum of 3 years (probably closer to 5) to make a business ‘successful’ in the eyes of self sustainability. There is no such thing as an autopilot business that starts that way from day one (unless you buy a pre-existing business model from somebody else, like a franchise…and do you really think that the person who created the franchise built it in one month? It most likely took them 3-5 years to work out all the kinks). The people that quite their business after 1 year have most likely fallen prey to the instant gratification mindset (Don’t fall for it, it’s a lie!). If you want a baby today, you can’t just create one out of thin air…you have to have sex (maybe multiple times to sow your seed) and then wait about 10 months for it to bake in the mommy oven. Nothing that is worth waiting for can be obtained instantly (unless you steal it…and that’s a different blog post .
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic…do you think I’m way off or right on…and why?
Thank you very much for reading and I hope you have an amazing day!