I’ve loved Tim’s Ferriss’s book, The Four Hour Workweek, ever since I started reading it in 2007. His radical ideas for “lifestyle design” foreshadowed his other brilliant ideas for life and business. I’ve been a fan of his since I read his book, following him as he branched out to become a speaker, consultant, and investor.
In this article, I’ll share three of Tim’s lessons that have had the biggest impact on my life and businesses over the past 11 years. Hopefully, they’ll help you as well.
Lesson #1: Prepare For The Worst
I’ll admit – I bought into the “positive thinking” trend of the early 2000’s, before The Four Hour Workweek hit the shelves. It rarely worked for me, because most of the time all that positive expectation just set me up for bigger disappointments.
Tim’s advice shook me back into wakeful reality: “You got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” Tim advocates imagining all the possible worst-case scenarios for your business (e.g. money loss, time loss, etc.), and developing solutions for them even before you start the business.
I’ve discovered that this piece of advice from Tim is also retroactive, and it’s a good idea to look at your business and imagine the worst-case scenarios you might deal with someday. It’s never too late to put safety nets in place.
Lesson #2: Learn To Write
One of the biggest mistakes I made early in my entrepreneurial life was trying to figure out how to sell all by myself. I was basically reinventing the wheel, hoping to find my own style of selling that was true to my personality and not “slimy” in any way. Needless to say, I wasted a lot of time.
Again, Tim’s advice set me straight. In one of his interviews, he claimed: “Everything that works in sales has been discovered already. Follow what already works.” He also suggested to learn how to write, because the written word can be reviewed and improved easily, unlike the spoken word.
Since then, I’ve studied copywriting, content writing, book writing, direct response writing, you name it. Today, selling isn’t just easy for me – it’s one of my favorite, most enjoyable activities in life.
Lesson #3: “Scratch Your Own Itch”
I was also a victim of the classic “new entrepreneur dilemma” of whether doing business in an industry/niche you’re passionate about, vs. in an industry/niche where the money is. Tim was the guy who answered that question definitively for me when he said: “Scratch your own itch” – that is, to address a market or need that’s personally “itchy” to you.
Today, all the businesses I start and run are based on an “itch” of mine. Most times, it’s about helping ordinary Americans start home-based businesses and sidelines, which has been a personal pain point for me for so long. Now I’m in a position to “pay it forward,” so to speak, and I have Tim Ferriss to thank for that.
Granted, I’ve never been able to achieve a truly “four-hour workweek,” but Tim’s lessons have definitely made my entrepreneurial direction clearer, my work more meaningful, and my life more enjoyable. Hopefully, they’ll do the same to you, too.
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