November 21, 2014

The Myth of the 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour WorkweekThe 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is the book that all the “make money online” entrepreneurs seem to be reading and talking about. After the umpteenth person told me about it I finally sat down and read it.

I found it motivating and useful. It has many good tips about time management and about structuring a business model using outsourced help.

I even recommend you read it.

But one thing I’d suggest you NEVER do is take the title of this book literally.

Listen, I’m all for recurring revenue streams (love ‘em) and for making money while I sleep (who wouldn’t be?). But anybody who’s ever started or built a business knows that you can’t do it on 4 hours a day, let alone 4 hours a week. It simply won’t happen for the vast majority of us (I’m tempted to say nobody) — no matter what business you’re in or how well you manage your time. You might be able to get away with a shorter workday temporarily for a period of time, but not for extended time periods. Not even if your goals are just “to make a living.”

That’s the topic of this week’s column over at the OPEN Forum, where I suggest a more realistic target: A 4-Hour Workweek? Try a 40-Hour Workweek.

What is your workweek like? Do you manage anything close to a 4-hour workweek?

47 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

47 Reactions

  1. Amen to that. I read this book and had a love-hate relationship with the tone and the writing style. I found it to be a little over-simplistic. And I’m sure that Tim Ferris would then respond with something like “You’re thinking too small.”

    Maybe I am thinking too small – but I’d be happy with your 4 hours a day.

  2. I came up with the following quote for an entrepreneur with young children: “The world may end but the day does not end.” If you can manage a 40 hour work week then you are excelling in time management.

  3. Glad to see your no-nonsense opinion on this one. It’s an interesting – even intriguing concept, but it’s not reality. Ask the 99.99999% of entrepreneurs who really know what it takes – compared to the millions of people who bought the book, looking once again for a “quick fix.”

    The answer is not in how many hours you work, but what you actually DO in the hours you work.

    All the best!

  4. Anita-I agree about a 4 hour workweek. Until you get a business cranking and spend most of your profits to hire a management team it won’t work.

    I think a lot of people miss the point of his book. The point is to free yourself from a 40+ hour workweek mentality. A 4 hour work week makes for a great title.

    You may not be able to do a 4 hour workweek but what about a 4 hour workday? For months after reading the book I swore there was no way to slash my work hours. I’m in sales and spend way too much face time with my customers. Sure, I could probably eliminate 10 hours a week by cutting out the trivial tasks, but there was no way I could cut my time in half.

    A few months back I faced a delima. I didn’t have enough hours in the day. My schedule included:
    -A full time job
    -Starting a side business
    -Family obligations (top priority!)
    -Exercise
    -Trying to find some free time for myself

    I decided to try slashing my hours in half. The main criteria was that my customers couldn’t suffer. The secondary concern was that it couldn’t appear to my co workers or boss that I was doing anything but an outstanding job. Basically, I’m paid to perform a service. I’m paid for performance not time on a job. As long as I perform at or above standards I’ve fulfilled my obligation. Anything less would not be ethical.

    What I found was that there is a ton of trivial time in my schedule. I focused on the critical things and the rest went away. Did my job suffer? Actually, it was the opposite. I’m now in the top 5% in the country in sales. My bonus is through the roof. My pipeline of projects (and orders) is full through next year. I’ve been approached to take a couple promotions.

    Could I have reinvested the other 4 hours a day back into my job? Sure, but that defeats the purpose. I’m striving for life balance while building wealth.

  5. Tim has addressed this issue on his blog a few times. Tim actually does not mean that you will only work 4 hours a week on your business (he works on his business & promotion a LOT more than that). What Tim means is that you are only working 4 hours a week on administrative, managerial, yucky, boring “work” that’s not your passion.

    I would say that I’m down to 4-8 hours a week of “work” that’s not my passion (admin, managerial, etc.). I work, of course, more like 50 hours a week … but since it’s what I love, it’s not “work.” :)

    ~ Elizabeth

  6. The 4-hour work week…what a concept! What do I do with the rest of my time? Play golf? I ascribe to the belief that work is play, when you are doing what you love. I work every day. Sometimes I work 12 hours, sometimes I work 5. (never only 4). 90% of it is doing what I love, the other 10% is doing the task-oriented stuff.

    We have fun at Windsor Media Enterprises. We all work to our passion (I hope!) and the company thrives because work is play, literally. Why would I give that up…and shrink my time to 4 hours a week???

    I think the time management part is valuable, but…to really believe in a 4-hour work week is just foolish. Even with passive income, you’re attending to business more than 4 hours a week – after all, client meetings, conferences, and blog writing is all a part of doing business. That takes far more than a mere four hours a week.

    Thanks for bringing this up, Anita. It’s bothered me, too…now I feel better.

  7. Anita,
    As a small business owner, I am pretty much working all the time, at least mentally.
    I put in about 65 hours a week, most of it online.
    4 hour work week? Not.
    Joel Libava

  8. Hi Anita – Great point on Tim’s groundbreaking book. I liked the book even though I find many of the ideas impossible or impractical to execute. However, you’ve got to hand it to Tim for a brilliant title and incredible marketing. It’s certainly one of the most compelling book titles I’ve seen in ages. OK, back to my 400 hour work week!

    Thanks,

    Lou

  9. It’s aspirational to think it possible, and reminds us to focus on the most important things. However, as an entrepreneur we will care and demand more than anyone else. We better like working!

  10. I know a guy who spent about 9 years to get to where he can have a four hour workweek. He chooses not to most of the time because he would be very bored but he has the capability.

  11. I really like Tim’s surprising and contrarian way of making an important point about work; I agree with Anita several comments here, that it’s valuable metaphor.

    In my life I relate it to not just how many hours, but what you’re doing in those hours. Did you start your own business because you wanted to control that? Did you manage to control it, or are you still slogging through the hard and boring stuff, just more hours?

    I count the hours differently: hours in dull meetings count 2 or 3 hours per hour, and hours thinking, writing, dealing with ideas count as only 10 minutes per hour.

    Tim Berry

  12. Me? I work only half days …

    that is if you consider that a day have 24 hours.

    but what would you do if you are not working? Me I would find something to do..

    For me, happiness is having 30 hours a day to keep you occupied and busy

  13. I found the book informational, but also found a lot of what Tim wrote about time management came right out of Brian Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog!” or so it seemed.

    Tim already had an established business bringing in a constant monthly sales, he was overwhelmed and near total burn-out and had to do something about micro-managing.

  14. I have to agree with most of the user comments and article writer on this one. The 4 hour work week is the beneficiary of an 80 hour work week that is used to create and manage the system. Systems that generate cash-flow aren’t created a few hours a day … if they were, everyone would have one.

    We have a book club that is scheduled to discuss this book next week. If anyone wants to join in on the discussion, hit the link on my name above.

  15. Elizabeth’s comment really hits home. We all spend a significant amount of time (I would refrain from putting a %) doing mundane, boring things are that necessary and important but not our passion. Unfortunately, I have seen that this percentage is on the rise, especially in large corporations. This was one of the reason why I decided to leave a large corporation and started a business. While one can use some effective time management techniques to cut down on it, a more effective approach is to reduce the necessity of such work which I believe can be achieved with a little bit of creativity and building trust at workplace.

  16. A 4 hour work week would be impossible. I barely get started each day before the first 4 hours is over. I do think with balance and set priorities, you can cut a few hours off of your regular schedule.

  17. Agree completely Anita. I’m a web entrepreneur and I work my rear end off. I’m chained to the my computer. Do I make money while I sleep or go to the gym? Yep but it takes a huge effort to get your company in position to make that happen and sustain it.

  18. I have this book on my “to read” bookshelf (I’m looking at it right now) and I have to agree — this has a great compelling title, but obviously it’s not something that’s entirely practical. Still, from a marketing perspective, Ferriss did a great job on this. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and yet, people still do!

  19. I actually think that those who operate their own businesses work more hours doing that than they would working for someone else. It’s possible that you could get the administrative tasks down to 4 hours a week, but that surely would take some prioritizing and organization to accomplish.

  20. I havent read the book, yet, but I have definitely heard about it. 4 hours of work a week is UTOPIA, but we all know not to take that title literally. My gosh if I only ‘worked’ 4 hours a week I wouldn’t clean my house, shower, walk to the corner store, wash my clothes…thats all work; the things I do not enjoy. If I didnt work, I wouldnt appreciate the things that are not work, like eating ice cream, playing sports, meeting a new client, and reading a good book. My point is that perhaps the title is wrong. Those in search of a quick fix will hail it as the ultimate solution to a long work week, but we all know the truth; you can’t be a successful entrepreneur without work.

  21. Sure it doesn’t work in the beginning if you’re a business owner and definitely not if your a wage earner. But if you choose to do so as a business owner you most certainly can with a few strategic tools and most importantly establishing an effective system.

    The problem most people have is the myth of working long hard hours automatically equals success. Sorry folks but that’s industrial age thinking that just doesn’t apply anymore in today’s free market.

    Jim Smith
    Research Analyst
    Muvar Software

  22. Hey Anita I’ve had Tim on my podcast several times and actually I think he would agree with you. I wrote a post about a year ago that summed up my take – It’s called the 4-Daughter Workweek – I have, as you may have guessed, 4 girls – you can get the rest – http://tinyurl.com/666blw

  23. Have you tested to apply David Allen’s “stress-free productivity” system called Getting Things Done? Please take some time and read my post, GETTING THINGS DONE AND TO DO LISTS.

  24. Tim Ferriss is a hero and a great author. Read his book if you want to learn a lot of great things. Only a fool would discredit a book because of a title. Do not be that fool and stop hating.

    Davdi

  25. Hi David, This was NOT an attack on Tim Ferriss or his book.

    If you read the review I wrote over at the OPEN Forum, you will see that I say I have a lot of respect for Tim Ferriss’s book, and recommend people read it. The review is complimentary and positive on the whole.

    But I stand firm in saying, do not get confused and take the title of the book literally, that’s all. Consider the book title a metaphor — not a literal goal.

    Best,
    Anita

  26. I thought the same thing as you did when I blogged on Sam Carpenter’s claim to have boiled down his workweek into 2 hours — while becoming rich: http://www.smallbizresource.com/blog/main/archives/2008/05/i_rarely_delete.html. Thanks for giving me a reason to revisit the subject: http://www.smallbizresource.com/blog/main/archives/2008/07/how_many_hours.html.

    Gayle Kesten
    Small Biz Resource

  27. I think the point being missed here is Tim’s intention.

    I have built 6 highly successful $100M/yr + software companies, all of which took me considerably more time than 4 hours a week. In fact I was only home 4 days a month.

    BUT – It is also important to hear that, in the end, while I had earned a great deal of money, I did not experince that 20 year career as success.

    Now I produce information products and provide coaching to wanna-be entrepreneurs and am intimately familiar with the desire for ‘the 4 hour work week’.

    I can honestly say with no equivocation that I often work less than 4 hours a week and earn a very handsome 7 figure income doing it.

    YES, I had to work more than 4 hours per week to create the vision for products and programs that eventually become the business.

    But, in a manner completely consistent with the principle Tim writes about, rather than lashing myself to a “job” I purchased, or as Joe put it above, “I’m chained to the my computer”, claiming my roles as an entrepreneur, I made the time investment for a short period of time, leveraged the availability of others to implement my vision, and emerged as the owner of another wildely successful business.

    Is it possible? YES

    Can you start today? YES

    But it will take you a bit of work and little time to get there.

    The notion that success is achieved through hard work and sacrifice is just not so.

    If that is your experience of the efforts to achieve success where you need to look is not in how many hours or how hard you work….but in what you are doing.

    There are 2 sides to the coin:

    Side one: Do what you love and you’ll experience true success and never work a day in your life.

    Side two: Don’t do what you love and you will work long hard hours everyday and will never experience the success you seek.

    This the very we create theperfectbizfinder.

    Most wanna be entrepreneurs, aren’t really entrepreneurs.

    They have unfortunately translated starting their own business to entrepreneurship.

    These are not the same things.

    Small business owners, own job(s).

    Entrepreneurs own business(s)

    In my way of thinking THIS is the distinction Tim is talking about.

    As an entrepreneur who own 5 businesses and does what I love and only what I love each and every day, I do not feel as if have to DO any work. I get paid just for being the guy who owns 5 businesses doing what I love.

    If I was trying to do this as “the small business owner”, any one of these businesses could consume me, my week and all the time I spend with loved ones and friends

    Tim is explaining how to place yourself into a position of ownership, NOT employment.

    As a side, at theperfectbizfinder we teach people how to find the perfect business, what in which they can do what they love, and then teach them how to own the business and not the job.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Steve
    http://www.theperfectbizfinder.com (launches 7/28/2008)

  28. Steve,

    Thanks for your comments. The only thing is, I doubt that most small business owners would accept the distinction you make between entrepreneurs and small business owners.

  29. I read the book and really enjoyed it. Some of the concepts even applied to family life (although I wouldn’t consider outsourcing childcare to India!)

    Since I work as a parenting writer, much of my job is my life. I try to keep the actual writing/correspondence/etc. down to 3 hours/day; 15 hours a week.

  30. I am planning on reading the book because a friend recommended it. To tell you the truth, I took the title literally at first since I haven’t read the book yet. After reading your comments, I kinda know what to expect out of the book.

    Dream opportunity: working with wildlife/nature/environment and being able to travel to different parts of the world to do research on wildlife and the environment.
    Also, working with kids to open their minds to the world around them.

    Obstacle: not sure where to start, how to start e.t.c

  31. Hi Beno,

    I think that the 4-Hour Workweek will be very motivating for someone like you. I found the book inspiring in the sense of making me sit up and pay attention to how I use my time, what I want to accomplish, and how to expand my throughput, even though I really run a single-person business. So I’d say the book is a very good place for you to start. It will get you thinking and more than that, the exercises will spur you to take action.

    Good luck with your entrepreneurial quest.

    — Anita

  32. People like to be praised for their 80h work week and find a 4 hour work week suspicious.

    Just for small business owners alone, the amount of people who do NOT have decent enough skills with spreadsheets to make their live easier is mindboggeling.

    and the list of not doing the smart thing especially in regard to having tools and processes in place to automate, to delegate etc is huge.

    reading the book with the mindset of what you want to accomplish can be more easily compared to dishwashers.

    yes i could spend my precious time with dish washing, some people find it relaxing. I consider it wasted time. In essence, having a dish washer or a cleaning lady or a tax accountant is nothing else than what the book is proposing.

    And yes, you can stay in 5 star hotels for the price of a hostel. but you need to prepare for it and you need to be smart about it.

    just reading a book will not help. reading it and starting to think about how to structure your work differently, just to start the “what if I would try to outsource” should make you think about so many things you could do differently.

  33. An unrealistic title doesn’t mean ideas like “passive income” and automated businesses should be thought of as unrealistic.

    The main idea of this book is to break down your work week or your business ideas and find a way to make them more automated and optimized.

    Just because you work 50 hours a week doesn’t mean you couldn’t get the same amount of work done in 25 hours. This book allows you to open your mind and try to find the solution, which will obviously be different for everybody.

    Instead of selling a physical product, maybe you should be selling informational products (eBooks) which can be delivered automatically.

    Maybe instead of starting a business in computers (which changes daily and requires constant research), your business should be about something that never changes (which requires “one-time only” research) like learning Spanish.

    Maybe instead of charging $20 for your product and having 100 customers to deal with, you should charge $200 and have 10 customers to deal with.

    No matter who you are or what you do, there are ideas and ways to dramatically reduce the amount of time you work, and make the time you do spend working “optimal”. That’s the whole point of the book. I think we are all intelligent enough to realize businesses don’t magically appear and we won’t be working only 4 hours a week.

  34. Not at all. I’m saving an “emergency fund” and plan on quitting my job in the next few months. I’m doing absolutely fine with my websites, and I work less than an hour a day. I don’t know what you spend your time doing, but I would say that your business model is flawed. This is one of the reasons I’m against “blogging” instead of targeting SE traffic with regular websites. The former requires constant time, the second is a system that can be replicated over and over efficiently.

    Anyway, random thoughts. :)

  35. I really enjoyed this book. I think Timothy Ferris has some great ideas to improve one’s life efficiency and enjoyment. I also think that he *may* believe this can *really* be done. However, I am not sure that I buy the fact that the guy only puts in four hours per week. If he truly does only work four hours per week and he is successful it is because of two things: 1) He put a ton of work in up front to set up his business well, and 2) He is lucky. I am certain that at times he has to dive back in and work more to “restore order” into his business before disappearing again.

    I will probably try to implement some of the techniques described as I feel it could be applicable to myself and my own career. However I will not expect to only work 4 hours per week in the end. As many have posted here, 40 hours would be great!

  36. Anita,

    I am just curious why it is you feel that it is impossible to have a completely automated business with minimal input from the owner?

    Investors do this all the time. Most large investors spend very little time on the day-to-day of their business.

    A business with well thought out processes for dealing with situations and a well empowered employees can easily be “stepped away from” with minimal time investment from its owners. Most businesses fail hugely by their inability to let go of managing tasks and empowering the people they hire to run the business. Keep this in mind, multiple minds are always better than one, if the people you empower are empowered to focus on one very small portion of the overall system, they will remain successful over and over again, which will ultimately lead to the success of the business and the success of your bottom line.

  37. Hi Phillip,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Do I think it’s impossible for anyone to run a business on 4-hours a week? I won’t say “impossible” in such an absolute way. I suppose there are some tiny number of people who can get away with it — and perhaps get away with it for a time, although not forever. But it’s going to a distinct rarity … far more the exception than an achievable goal for most people.

    Businesses take time to run. Even with an outsourced staff. You have to pay attention to your staff and give them direction once in a while, if nothing else. You have to watch out for the competition and market conditions. You have to actively manage your numbers and key indicators and bottom line.

    Business is not a well-oiled machine, but more of an ecosystem teeming with activity where unexpected situations and conditions pop up, needing adjustment and fine tuning and strategizing and changes in direction.

    I think we should take the title of the book as a metaphor for structuring your business in such a way that you have the time to do the things you actually want to do.

    If doing that you end up working 40 hours a week instead of 90 hours without feeling guilty, or can afford to take a month’s vacation, that alone is a huge achievement. It’s well worth the small price of buying the book and reading it.

    One or two commenters here have assumed that because I said “don’t take the title literally” that I hate the book or something — that’s simply not true. I think the 4-Hour Workweek is well worth reading and I have a lot of respect for the point the book is making about taking charge of our own time. If I thought it was complete garbage I certainly wouldn’t be recommending reading it.

    Best,
    Anita

  38. Anita,

    Thanks for your response, please don’t think that I thought you were taking the book literally, or were trying to say it was crap.

    I do however, disagree that I can’t completely step away from my business. Sure, building a business takes time, to discover and build the systems required to keep the business running in your absence is VERY time consuming. However, if you are building your business from the ground up with that in mind, you can seriously limit your time exposure to the business, while generating a passive income.

    Honestly, Business Owners do this all the time, they invest in the idea, they own the business, but hire a CEO to do all of the running of the business for them. I love the restaurant industry, however, I know NOTHING about running a restaurant, I know what I like and what I want. As long as I project that vision on to my General Managers and Chef’s, my time investment into the business is minimal at best.

    Good Blog Anita – I appreciate your conversation and have enjoyed reading the comments on here.

    Thanks,
    Phillip Roberts
    http://phillipbroberts.com
    http://4hourlifestyle.com

  39. Responding to the first post on this blog. The reason Tim named his book THE FOUR HOUR WORK WEEK was b/c of testing via google adwords. Tim tested various names and used the one that would attract the most attention and stir up the most controversy. This is how team became a #1 best selling author!

    Google adwords is a very powerful tool that most internet marketers overlook and under utilize. Adwords really allows you to reach your target market for minimal cost!

    The book has really opened my mind and allowed for me to be more creative with my thinking.

    This book ROCKS!

  40. Since I was a kid, I’ve developed small businesses to survive or make money – not the same. I ran kool-aid stands when the train commuters came home, I ran newspaper routes, I’ve build a business selling avocados. In short, I’m not short when it comes to hard work or ambition.

    the other day, I had some time to kill waiting for my brother and his newlywed wife to return from shopping. Since I’m intellectually curious, I often will spent otherwise “deadtime” like this in a bookstore browsing. You never know when good ideas hit. It was then I came across the book “The 4 hour work week”.

    Let’s cut to the chase. This guy is a clever scammer. He follows his own advice. He read a couple books on time management – boom! there’s a section on how to manage remotely. He read some websites on how to create a “manage money machine” Boom! here’s another section of the book. Bravo for the scammer! It reminds me of the movie “6 degrees of separation” where the clever scam artist ran the NYC elite in a circle jerk. He knows the average working slob (who like me may be making 6 to 7 figures – we’re just as stupid and greedy…believe me).

    He’ll make money. I don’t doubt that. He has the core skills of a successful scammer – you have to develop an intuitive understanding of the mark. They “want” to hear that they can be rich. They want to hear that they can obtain wealth with little or no effort. Who wouldn’t? Even looking at his blog, most of it is short “Time magazine length (i.e. you can’t understand a whole page so we’ll make it simple and write a short paragraph because we know you can not maintain a train of thought longer than 1 minute” type writing style. So he skims the internet – I used to sell internet search engines for the major companies – think Yahoo, AltaVista, FAST, Endeca, MSFT – so I know the value of searching across wide spaces to play information arbitrage. Yet, I can’t stand a scam artist….

    I’ll say this. I’d probably like him. He’s smart. He’s aggressive. He’ll bet you 5:1 that he can beat you in x. You know what? He probably will. That doesn’t make what he’s saying right – meaning message consistent with reality. He’ll be totally happy with his $2~5 million from this deal – he’s already won. It’s sorta like G.W. Bush – he won the election but after 8 years people wized up and finally understood that they we’re F*d. Same here. He’ll laugh all the way to the bank telling his friends how he gamed the system – no doubt here. But you know what? I can’t stand scamming a*hs like this Because Grishams law – bad currency drives out good currency – comes into play. And here it is. Read 10 books on time management – you’ve got 1/3 of the book. Read 10 books on internet fantasy startups – yea, I was working at Oracle when the Internet boom hit. You know what, knowledgeable tech people were dumbfounded, yes, jaws on the floor, that people would invest billions in this bull*t. He does provide value – if you’re not willing to get off your ass and read 20 books this year, not fantasy, but real business books, he has saved you the value of $15 for the book. On the other hand, if you read this fantasy and believe it, you will pay the price. It’s like the “hot” tip about the “can’t lose” horse race, housing buy, stock market tip, investment-grade artist, internet stock – you name it. But you know what? he doesn’t care. Just like the CEO’s who’ve made their millions before YOUR stock tanks, he’s made his money. Just like those CEO’s, you can’t get it back – he’s keeping your purchase price…sucker…

    If you’re not sure, write me. I never write to these type of blogs because you know who benefits – not me, the person providing free “value-add” as we used to say in the consulting biz, but the owner of the site.

    I’ll be fair. Does the author spark thought for $15…yeah. But I returned the book the next day. Not because I need the money. I could have thrown it in the trash, but because I wanted to register my vote – “NO” in the capitalist system.

    If you are the typical mindless working class slob, then yea, this book might inspire you to get off your ass. Or not so harshly, maybe you’ve never had someone slap you upside the head and wake you up…then read “Winning Through Intimidation” – old but good. Again, $10 is OK to spend compared to $100 for your therapist, but wake-up an smell the coffee and this ain’t it.

    You disagree…no problem. Write me and we’ll discuss.

  41. I used to measure my success and importance as a business person by the number of hours I worked. (I took pride in “working hard”).

    I have ready many books, but Tim’s edgy way of writing helped me really get how I was more involved in “feeling productive” than being it. (The former being much easier to do).

    I now measure myself more by the time I have to spend with my wife and kids, though I still use income as a huge indicator as well.

    I now validate my self-worth BOTH inside and outside my workplace.

    For that, I am grateful, just as I am grateful for a catchy and seductive enough title to get me to actually read the book. (I would not have bought the 50-hour work week, and I don’t think it’s Tim’s fault that I have not already made $1,000,000 in 4 hours).

    Most of all, I’m grateful for the challenge (that I failed for over 20 years, but am now winning at) to find meaning, fun, relationship and purpose just as much OUTSIDE of work as inside it.

    I now think of myself as lacking creativity if I can’t come up with something better to do than just work (yes, even the most vocationally rewarding stuff).

    There’s more to life than work, and this book has reminded me of that.

  42. I loved this book, and appreciated his insights on testing markets, finding the muse, etc. Additionally, I appreciated the thoughts about meeting attendance, which led me to write this tool to help me determine how valuable meetings are (or not):

    I created a tool that will help you get those unnecessary and costly meetings canceled.
    Check out my iPhone app, Money Timer, on the app store (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?id=302279220) or at my website (http://www.graynoodle.com/moneytimer).

  43. I used Tim Ferris’ book as well as E-Myth to create a business that enables my family and I to travel about 12 weeks of the year. I can assure you that it does work, though not like the book says it will. For example, the book discusses product sales mostly – I’m doing it with outsourced services. I haven’t managed to get down to four hours a week yet, but I certainly don’t spend more than two hours a day working in the business and it brings in mid six-figures for me.

  44. Tim’s book does work… somewhat. You won’t hit 4 hours a week, not for a long time. After 1 year, I’m working about 20 hours/week at a rate of about $240/hour. In my old job, i never could’ve hit that level.

    There’s some very important things to take away from Tim’s book:

    1 – Per hour is far more important than $ per year. Time is money and you have to build something that gives you the most money for the time spent. Most important is how you spend your time. You need to produce something that you will be the direct benefactor. Anything else is a waste of your time.

    2 – Minimize what you don’t need. I got rid of my money pit Mercedes. I moved into a smaller house. Hint: if you have any rooms in your house you don’t spend at least 1 hour in each day, your house is too big. Go smaller and save your money (lower taxes, lower utilities etc). You don’t need to compete with the Jone’s across the street. It’s a fools pursuit. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!

    3 – Do the opposite of what everyone else does when it makes sense. Now that I have a 20 hour work week, I go grocery shopping weekdays in the morning instead of the evenings and weekends like I used to. The upside? No lines at the register, produce is fresh off the truck, no bumping into other people and so on. That’s just one example.

    4 – Enjoy life now. If you spend too much time on work you’ll see that life has passed you by. So you worked real hard and made a ton of money… why? What was the purpose? Just to have empty bragging rights? Do things with your life, don’t just try to own things.

    People just need to stop focusing on “4 hour work week” so much. The title is misleading and I’m sure that Tim must be laughing at you guys from a beach somewhere for focusing so much on the book’s title and forgetting the message from the book: live life now!

  45. I’d done a good proportion of what is described in this book before I even read it.

    Reading it I feel it just reinforces the belief I already had. You can build a business and work minimal hours if you aim for that, but you have to put in a lot of work building up that system and the revenue to do that in the first place.

    It is not anything new to build up a business and then have competant staff take care of it, following your direction and philosophy.

    Nor is it anything new to manage your time better.

    But both are challenging and hard for us all to acheive, but it can be done if you are persistant and hard working.

    Tim’s book really helps with giving you direction and practical advice to grow your business and cut down your hours at the same time, but it won’t happen overnight.

    There are plenty people out there doing what Tim described to various degrees. It can be done and it is being done every day.

  46. I thought it was a good book and maybe even possible for some people with some previous internet experience. The book goes to far by getting into the meaning of life and what to do with the extra time. If you had the extra time why not make your business even better.

  47. Old article but I’ll post a reply anyway. It’s not 4 hours a week to build a business. It’s building a business that requires 4 hours a week to maintain. There is a huge difference between the two. Personally I used the concepts to move from doing my job as a full time employee to a 1/4 time contractor and make more money doing my job as a contractor working about 500 hours a year instead of the 2000 plus hours I spent punching the clock. That has taken me to a 9.6 hour week. During this time of contracting I landed an assignment that took maybe 2 weeks to finish and paid me half of what I made as a yearly salary doing this as an employee. My next focus is getting that kind of work only, which will take me, by my calculations, to working 240 hours a year. I’m on my way to 6 busy weeks of work a year, which comes out to a 4 hour workweek.

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