Back in June we held a social media conference here in West Cork and one of the speakers was a man I had met a year before at another conference. He looked like a different person – had lost a bit of weight and, although he had good energy before, it seemed even stronger in him at this meeting. He had been tweeting about his weight loss, so I thought it was OK to mention it and he merely said, “Four Hour Body” and that was it. So I went off and researched and found that there was a diet sensation I hadn’t heard about the “4-Hour Body” devised by Tim Ferriss who had previously had great success with his book “4-Hour Workweek”.
I’m still struggling with the “4-Hour Body”, but I found a copy of “4-Hour Workweek” in a local bookstore and have been reading every spare moment I have.
The premise of the book is that you shouldn’t wait until retirement to take the time to follow your dreams. You can make the time to do it now. There are specific tips and strategies to make your work more efficient, as well as independent of time and place; so that you could work just 4 hours a week and be so successful that you can do whatever you dream of doing in your new spare time.
Ferriss has done this himself so is one of the main case studies, but he gives examples of many others. The newest edition is updated to include even more case studies that he has heard of since the book was first published. This is beneficial because he is a young, single man who is particularly driven; and now there are examples of people with different lifestyles that have used this strategy with success.
I’ve been suggesting this book to my clients and in presentations I’m giving on setting out an online marketing plan because he provides great advice on working more efficiently. So even if you aren’t looking to get down to a 4-hour workweek, you can still be more efficient in your work and get more profits as well. The two main points (and I’m only about half way through the book) that I feel will help anyone with their own businesses:
- Analyse your list of clients and determine which are the most profitable and which are the most trouble (likely to be least profitable) and plan to spend your time with the most valuable and fire the troublemakers if you can’t get them to get ‘inline’ or at least raise the price so much that it’s worth the trouble (or so you can outsource the trouble, see outsourcing below).
- Outsource any functions that are not part of your core business or that could be done more effectively/efficiently by others. Sole traders may be better off having a virtual assistant to answer their phones missing calls or being uninterrupted when doing important work themselves. This person could also chase debtors, research prospects and take on other time consuming tasks that aren’t core to what you do. Ferriss provides great advice on determine what to outsource and how to choose an outsource company.
With this Ferriss went from 15-hour days to his 4-hour week. From spending hours a day dealing with clients around the world in different time zones, he focused his time on the most profitiable, which was about 5%, fired the most difficult, got the other difficult ones to fax orders in and follow the procedures and got even more sales out of them. He outsources the customer service function as well as having a virtual assistant to organise many other things. He spends his free time traveling around the world, winning tango and martial arts tournaments, learning the Irish sport of hurling and anything that he sets his heart on.
I’ll let you know how I get on. If you read the book and try out any of these techniques please let me know how you get on or ask any questions you have here in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.