The ideas shared in ‘4 Hour Work Week’ have the potential to radically alter your views towards your life and career. The author Tim Ferriss himself is quite famous for living every step he suggests in the book. The book is also a bit controversial as some readers believe the ideas to be impossible, but as Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
The book first redefines the idea of wealth. We generally measure wealth in terms of money but according to the author, wealth also comprises of Time and Mobility. Time and Mobility are the two additional currencies which make a person rich. The author calls such person- ‘The New Rich’. So in order to be rich, you do not need only money, but you should also have the time and mobility to spend that money happily.
The Book is framed around the acronym- ‘DEAL’
- Definition– Replace self-defeating assumptions.
- Elimination- Eliminate unproductive activities to gain personal time
- Automation- Automate your cash flow to generate income.
- Liberation- Create freedom of location to gain mobility
The ‘DEAL’ is to become the New Rich. You have to go through the stages of ‘DEAL’, one by one.
Chapter 1- Replacing the Self Defeating Assumptions
The first stage is about replacing self-defeating assumptions to help you break the glass ceiling and rise above your assumed limits.
- Money is not what you are looking for- People spend their lifetime running after money without realizing that money will not give them satisfaction. Satisfaction comes when you have the power and freedom to do what you want to do.
- Everything Popular Is Wrong- Many popular beliefs in this world are wrong and most practices are based on these same wrong beliefs.Therefore you need to break the stereotype in order to free yourself from the self-defeating assumptions. You need to think the other way, here are the correct ways-
- Retirement- The concept of retirement is based on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing and therefore you want to take retirement to sit back and relax once you have enough corpus of money to spend the rest of your life. But neither having enough money is possible nor anybody can sit idle, doing nothing for a long time. So why not get a job which you enjoy doing and you will never feel the need of retirement?
- Mini-Retirements- Interests, and energy are cyclical. After some interval of time, a person feels a need to stop for a while. Also being idle for a long period ignites a need to do something. Therefore you should consider taking mini-retirements during your career instead of taking a final retirement at the end of it. By doing this your interest and energy will be maintained throughout.
- Doing less work is not laziness, you should focus on results instead of focusing on the amount of time spent in doing a work. Doing so will free up time and increase productivity.
- There is no perfect timing for doing something. Whatever you want to do someday, just do it now
- Instead of wasting time in fixing your weaknesses, strengthen your strengths and leverage them for exponential growth.
- Focus on relative income over absolute income. A person earning $15000 a week by working for 10 hours is richer than a person earning $100000 a week for 80 hours.
- Escaping Ambiguous Fears– What is the absolute worst case scenario which can happen if you do what you want to do? If you make a range where 0 is nothing and 10 being permanently life changing, your worst case scenario is probably a 3 or a 4. If you analyze it properly then you will discover your avoidance towards taking an action which has the potential to give you a permanent positive life-changing effect of scale 9. Just because you are afraid of a temporary bad effect of scale 3 you are missing out on a 9. You may end up being jobless for a month or two by taking an action you want but are you really going to remain stuck in a job which you do not enjoy for your lifetime? Consider what it is costing you financially, emotionally and physically by not chasing your dream?
Chapter 2- Eliminating Unproductive Activities
- Stop Managing Time, Do What’s Important- This chapter is the same as what we read in ‘The One Thing’. Remember the 80/20 Principle? 80% of what you do is waste of time, only the 20% of what you do gives the real results. Checking emails, checking followers on social media, customizing my website again and again is not fruitful to me. The only important thing is to create content my website. Only content will give me results, all the other things will move at their own pace. Therefore we should stop managing our time and figure out what is important and completely focus on the most important activities.
- Learn Selective Ignorance- Learn to stop right at the moment you realize your time is being wasted. There is no need to complete the movie if it feels boring. There is no need to read the newspaper if the news is so important to you then it is very likely that you will come to know about it automatically. Impulsive web surfing, prolonged hours of watching TV are some habits which you need to learn to ignore.
- Dealing With Interruptions- Smallest of interruptions have the ability to affect your biggest works. Interruptions are productivity killers. You need to avoid them.
- Avoid Time Wasters- Avoid unimportant things which waste your time. Unnecessary emails, phone calls, meetings can be avoided to stay focused.
- Batch Time Consumers– Things which must be done and interrupt in the middle of the important works should be batched together and finished all at once.
Chapter 3- Automation of your Cash Flow
- Outsourcing- Before you automate your Cash Flow/Income, first you need to free up some time. You need to build system to replace yourself. A Virtual Assistant from a low-cost geographical area can be hired to do your menial tasks. The author says, there are many such Virtual Assistant providers available in Asian countries. Fiverr, Freelancer etc are some websites from where you can outsource such services.
- Finding your Muse- After gaining some time from your schedule, it’s time to find your muse. It should be a less than $500 product based business which would require less than 1 day a week to manage one month after its inception.
- Step 1- Find a niche market which is affordable to reach.Define your customers and design a product for them.
- Step 2– Brainstorm your product within the following constraints- It should be explainable in one sentence/phrase. Its selling price should be between $50 and $200. It should get manufactured within a month. Finally, it should be completely explainable through online FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
- Testing the Muse- After finding your muse it’s time to test your muse. The idea here is to spend minimum money and efforts to test your product. Create a simple website and start marketing through Google Adwords. In this way, you will understand the response of your target audience in a fast, easy and economical way. Visit the top three websites of your niche and find how you can differentiate your product from them.
- Management by Absence (MBA)- In order to get near to your 4 Hour Work Week, you need to create the system in your business so that it can be managed well even in your absence.
- In the beginning of your business, try to do everything by yourself and learn about each and every aspect of it. It will help you in understanding your customers well.
- In the later phase, outsource your fulfillment services (receiving, packaging and shipping orders for goods).Tell them the possible requests they will receive and the responses they have to give the customers. You know all the possible requests because earlier you were managing your business completely by yourself.
- Focus on the 20% customers which can give you real business. Avoid problematic customers.
Chapter 4- Creating Freedom of Location
- Disappearing from your office- Try to give less time to your office and more to your business.
- Get Trained- Try to get as many training programs from your company as possible. It will increase your worth.
- Double Your Productivity Outside– Take offs from your office and double your productivity outside in your business.
- Work From Home– Try to take as many works from home as possible. Finish your office work fast and devote your saved time to your business.
- Killing Your Job- If you are satisfied with your business then just quit your job. Quitting your job is not going to kill you, remember reading about the worst case scenario in the first chapter? You just need to save some bucks for situations like these and reduce your expenses.
- Mini-Retirements– Instead of taking lifelong retirement, take mini-retirements in your career and go to places which are ultra cheap. Places like Thailand and other Asian countries where you can live big without spending big. These trips will be life changing as they will rejuvenate your soul. You will get a new fervor within you.
Discard all your self-defeating assumptions, eliminate all the unimportant works which are eating your important time and focus on putting your income on autopilot mode thereby achieving your liberation with the freedom of location. Become the New Rich with 4 Hour Work Week!