This is the title of an extremely popular book by Timothy Ferriss. It has become the goal of many ebusiness entrepreneurs, but few have actually achieved this level of success. I recently read an interview with Mr. Ferriss and discovered that he has written 2 additional books, 4 Hour Body and most recently the 4 Hour Chef. His focus on maximizing productivity has launched movement that is spreading across the globe.

Ideas Come in all Colors

Maximizing Productivity

I admit the first time I read the 4 Hour Work Week I was not impressed. I was looking for step-by-step instructions on how to make money online. What I got instead was theory. I didn’t even finish the book. That was a couple of years ago and I have since realized that the information in this series of books is far more important than just the steps to make money online.

The ability to get the most out of every action and every moment are at the core of this series. It doesn’t matter if you are building an online business, getting fit or learning how to cook. Being efficient in what you do will allow you to get more done in less time, hence the 4 hour titles.

Maximize Learning

Many people are familiar with increasing productivity at work, but don’t give it much thought in other areas of their life. In the interview I read Mr. Ferriss talked about how important it is to break down what you want to learn or do into its smallest parts and focus on learning one skill at a time. Once that skill is mastered move on to the next skill and eventually put it all together. That can sound like it will take a long time, but really, by focusing on one skill at a time it is much faster. One example that many parents may be familiar with is learning to swim. If you teach your own child you may show them how to move their arms and legs and breath all at once and then have them practice until they get it. If they take lessons from a professional that person will teach them each of these components separately and work on them until they are mastered. Finally they will put it all together. I promise you a child who has learned from a professional will learn to swim faster than the one who isn’t.

I found this method of learning to be particularly true for me in my quest to start a successful online business. I had never had a small business before and had no idea where to begin. I fumbled around for a couple of years – reading everything and buying a lot of information that was not helpful. Finally I learned enough to figure out what I needed to learn. Once I could break the task down I was able to focus on each component and finally put it all together. I now have several successful websites and continue to learn and grow daily.

Relationships Are Important

I was surprised during the interview to hear Mr. Ferriss say that when he first started he spent a lot of time listening to others and only sharing his book when asked directly. He took the time to develop relationships with others. He didn’t start selling right away. Because he took the time to really listen to people, they took the time to listen to him.  I think this is a skill that is not emphasized enough for new entrepreneurs. We think that if we write an ebook or produce a product that all we have to do is post it on the web and people will buy it. I have read that only 5% of the population has natural sales skills, so the other 95% of us need to find another way to sell. Think about the last time you had to make a major purchase. Maybe it was a new appliance. Did you just go to the first store you passed in the street, pick out the first one you saw?  Probably not. You did some research, you talked to people who had recently purchased that item or a similar item. Eventually you made your purchase. You may have picked a store that you have used before or that was recommended by a friend. The same process holds for online purchases as well. Unless you are Tim Ferriss or Pat Flynn or Ryan Lee or Disney or Coke or one of the other acknowledged masters in whatever industry you are in, you aren’t going to sell much just on your name alone. You need to build relationships with people and that takes time.

Is the 4 our Work Week a Dream?

Many people who try to get a web business up and running discover how much work it is and simply give up. They either don’t want to work that hard or are overwhelmed with the learning curve and it is easier to just go to work every day and get a paycheck. In a way that is too bad because it is possible to get to a 4 hour work week. It will take a year or more of 60 hour work weeks first. As with anything worth having, it takes hard work to get there. If you aren’t willing to put in that initial time and effort you are better off with your day job.