The 4 Hour Work Week Gone Wrong

Why do people go online to create their own businesses? They all pursue the 4 hour work week, a term coined by Timothy Ferriss in his book of the same name. The idea of working just 4 hours a week to make a living is definitely a good one. To be able to spend all the time with your family, having fun or doing what you like while still being able to put food on the table is every man’s (and woman’s) dream.

Illustration: Sand ClockSo we go online where all that 4 hour thing is supposed to happen. But here’s what happens. Granted you do everything right and learn the quirks of doing business on the Internet (otherwise nothing happens at all), you end up doing something else than the promised work week. Raise your hand if you spend hours and hours online every single day, often late into the night.

If I count the time I spend online working on my online business, it gets even more than a regular 9 to 5 job. Here’s what happens every single day:

  • I spend around an hour or two thinking and researching what to write about to my sites.
  • I spend an hour or two writing posts to my network.
  • I spend an hour or two writing posts to distribute to other networks that I’m subscribed to.
  • I seem to always necessarily spend at least an hour planning the future of my sites and new projects.
  • And finally, there’s the email thing and other little mundane online tasks.

That adds up at least to full 8 hours most of which is pure work. Things get much worse when I undertake a new project. And to add to that, as if there were too much time on my hands, I spend a couple of hours on various forums. 4 hours a week, I was saying?

So what am I, and as far as I know the majority of aspiring online entrepreneurs are doing wrong? I’m trying to do all by myself – that’s it.

Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that outsourcing is key to achieving what you set as a goal to begin with. I went only as far as to have a few articles written for me. I know it limits me and I will always have to work long hours while I work alone (to keep the income that I want anyway).

So what to do? First of all, by doing what I did above, you need to break down your business into systems and tasks. Tasks that can be outsourced or dedicated to employees should you choose to go that way. That’s all there is to it in a nutshell.

The challenge is outsourcing as such. I have tried numerous times to hire freelancers to do certain tasks, and almost every time it took me time and effort to find the right person. More or less the same time I would spend doing it myself. That is certainly discouraging.

And lastly, believe it or not, I like doing this stuff. I don’t always like spending so much time on it, but it is still fun, especially when you see the result. That “comfort zone” gives you the luxury to put things off.

But there’s a time in every online entrepreneur’s career when you have to step over the line (not just dip your toes and run back right away), and add other people to your business. Only then something like the 4 hour work week is possible. Although I don’t think it is necessary to literally work only 4 hours a week, especially if you love what you do – you can always do better just by spending an extra hour a day.

2 thoughts on “The 4 Hour Work Week Gone Wrong”

  1. There really isn’t a 4 hour work week. If you continue to grow your business, you would definitely spend more then 4 hrs on planning and evaluating future and existing projects. Even if you outsource there is still the monitoring and the checking up on the outsourcers because outsourcers are just like employees and we all know that there are daily routines and drama involved when dealing with employees.

  2. I have phased out my income on autopilot idea and I must say that the up front stuff to get everything going takes – absolutely correct – FULL TIME effort. However, once you get it going, and you pass the phase of massively marketing, promoting and optimizing so you get a certain level of income, then the goal is to find the biggest items of value to outsource for time/effort vs payoff.

    Your work should reduce to 1-2 hours per day and if you discipline yourself, 5 days a week once you get out of phase 1 f building and automating as much as possible. So in essence 5-10 hours a week as a goal for say, phase 2.

    If, in the future you can’t do this, then focus on the FT job instead. It also depends on the niche. Some niches have a ceiling that simply do not allow you to earn above no matter if you put in an extra 1000 hours. As with any biz, finding a good niche that has the level of income possibility and then finding the RELIABLE people to do your task-based stuff, is the key.

    Also, patience and persistence – keep trying – and use your time wisely – and trust me I feel the pain and frustration, been there! Determine how long with idea #1 before you say, ok, either idea #2 is next, or I’m done. Just do your homework! I put considerable amount of time into my eBook “How to find a Money Making Niche” to help others do that, BEFORE they commit because they must make absolutely certain that they have allowed the 3 things to intersect – income potential/opportunity with interest with skill/ability – I call it basically the online success triangle – without all 3, the online biz model triangle collapses!


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