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The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-07-2007, 02:28 PM   #1
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The 4 hour workweek

I thought this was a very interesting article about a guy who went from over 100 hr work weeks to four hours doing the same job. When I struck out on my own I quickly realized that my daily tasks could be done in about 2-3 hours per day instead of the usual 8 hours.

http://tinyurl.com/3a4fvt

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It was four years ago that I discovered Pareto's law. Thanks to his ideas, I now work four hours a week and project $1.2 million in sales at my business for the next fiscal year. (For more on my techniques, see 4hourworkweek.com.) I've had time to set a world record in tango, pursue my passion for martial arts, and learn surfing on the beaches of Brazil. I have the freedom to enjoy a millionaire's lifestyle without waiting for retirement.

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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-07-2007, 02:37 PM   #2
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I now work four hours a week and project $1.2 million in sales at my business for the next fiscal year.

So, this guy is a distributor, correct? I'll just assume he's one of the world's most profitable distributors and earns a 15% gross margin on those sales:

$1.2M * .15 = $180,000 gross margin.

That's before costs of his staff, outsourcing, office and IT.

How does he lead the "millionaire lifestyle"?

- M
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-07-2007, 05:30 PM   #3
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I'm not sure what his take home pay is. The point is he was able to greatly increase the time he spends doing things that interest him rather logging 100 hour work weeks.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-07-2007, 05:50 PM   #4
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I read this today and thought it sounded like a lot of hokum. It's a nice idea, but I doubt it could be done for more than a short period of time. The idea that anyone can run a profitable business by alienating 80% of your customers is a fantasy. Those 80% will tell everyone else in the business what a shoddy service you provide - so much for new customers. Meanwhile, some of those 80% can actually grow into top 20 producers, but not when you treat them like crap. And current top 20 accounts inevitably migrate elsewhere or become less profitable. Once that happens, you've not only alienated your "bench" customers, but probably have a pretty bad reputation around the street. Time to close up shop.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-08-2007, 11:36 AM   #5
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

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Originally Posted by 3 Yrs to Go
I read this today and thought it sounded like a lot of hokum. It's a nice idea, but I doubt it could be done for more than a short period of time. The idea that anyone can run a profitable business by alienating 80% of your customers is a fantasy. Those 80% will tell everyone else in the business what a shoddy service you provide - so much for new customers. Meanwhile, some of those 80% can actually grow into top 20 producers, but not when you treat them like crap. And current top 20 accounts inevitably migrate elsewhere or become less profitable. Once that happens, you've not only alienated your "bench" customers, but probably have a pretty bad reputation around the street. Time to close up shop.
I had a similar feeling, it looked like the book might have some insight into time management, but the whole "automated income by having someone in India do your work" doesn't sound like my cup of tea.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-08-2007, 11:02 PM   #6
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I might have bought it at 15h or so, but 4h? If you can do it that fast, you aren't trying hard enough. He should double his customers and work a whopping 8h - then he could ER.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-09-2007, 01:26 PM   #7
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

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Originally Posted by NinjaPigeon
I might have bought it at 15h or so, but 4h? If you can do it that fast, you aren't trying hard enough. He should double his customers and work a whopping 8h - then he could ER.
Ha! Great point!
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-09-2007, 02:11 PM   #8
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

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Originally Posted by NinjaPigeon
I might have bought it at 15h or so, but 4h? If you can do it that fast, you aren't trying hard enough. He should double his customers and work a whopping 8h - then he could ER.

First, I doubt he was working 100 hours a week for very long... I used to be a tax accountant and worked 80 hour weeks for a couple of months and then a few weeks at 100... it burns you out quickly... you still have to do the normal stuff, like EAT and SLEEP and wash your clothes etc.. I gave it up after I found myself washing clothes at 3 in the morning...

And like you I doubt that he only works 4 hours a week... even from what he says he calls back at 11 and 4... so he does nothing between those times
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-09-2007, 02:16 PM   #9
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I would presume he is the company's only sales rep. From what the article said it makes a lot of sense. He delegated most of his responsibilities, then put his clients on auto pilot. For all of this he took a slightly more than a 5% revenue cut, but also, I presume, spends less to keep the customers he has. If he is spending his time on his most profitable customers and is not interested in expanding, then I could see where this could be a long term gig, until one of his customers goes out of business or wants a larger order than he can fill.

The DW last company had a similar situation, where the top five producers generated, IIRC, 90% of the company's revenues for the state and, I think, 45% of the revenues for the entire division. Some of them made more in a single deal than most of the other reps made in a year. They were catered to very well. All was well, until the big five decided they weren't happy and started looking else where. Some left just before the company announced they were being bought out.

To me it sounds like he has already semi-retired and I'll bet if his estimations are correct he spends less time at work than many spend on their investments.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-10-2007, 05:05 PM   #10
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

Agree with most of you that 4 hours a week sounds unrealistic though in my experience you save a LOT of time by just not being in the office with interruptions, gossip, "socials" etc. I started consulting part time on a few different contracts and get a lot more results out of the time I spend. Of course, I bill by the hour so the client gets the benefit. On the other hand, I get time flexibiilty so it's worth the trade.

I've though about outsourcing / delegating pieces of work but I'd rather keep it small enough that I can handle things myself - managing clients is enough of a challenge, I don't want to be managing internal staff as well.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-10-2007, 07:16 PM   #11
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I liked the article. I truly believe that you can "do less and achieve more".
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-11-2007, 07:32 AM   #12
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I thought there were some good ideas in the article. However, Iím not a huge fan of outsourcing to India.

My employer, along with many others, has been and is moving thousands of jobs offshore, displacing thousands of American workers. For many companies (and obviously this guy), itís all about cheap labor. Hopefully, in the future, there will be more intelligent dialogue about the pros and cons and effects of outsourcing massive numbers of jobs out of the States.

John
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-11-2007, 07:57 AM   #13
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

In mega corp I had people working for me who could spend 100 hours doing a 4 hour job ... just couldn't see the forest from the trees (must be an engineering thing ).

Also worked for a guy for 12 years who could "make work" like no one else. And had the OT on his timecard to prove it. Once had the computers shut down unannounced ~6pm ... sooo this jack-@ss took out SCISSORS and GLUE and started literally cut n'pasting a document together. NO THANKS ! I'll finish in the morning.

You can work SMARTER not HARDER/LONGER.
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-11-2007, 12:33 PM   #14
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryan
In mega corp I had people working for me who could spend 100 hours doing a 4 hour job ... just couldn't see the forest from the trees (must be an engineering thing ).

Also worked for a guy for 12 years who could "make work" like no one else. And had the OT on his timecard to prove it. Once had the computers shut down unannounced ~6pm ... sooo this jack-@ss took out SCISSORS and GLUE and started literally cut n'pasting a document together. NO THANKS ! I'll finish in the morning.

You can work SMARTER not HARDER/LONGER.


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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-11-2007, 02:18 PM   #15
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

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I quickly realized that of more than 120 wholesale customers, a mere five were bringing in 95 percent of the revenue.
I see a serious problem with this.

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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-14-2007, 10:44 PM   #16
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

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Solving problems by pushing them aside!

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Did Kiyosaki write another book?

Another case where someone takes one example, blows it out of proportion and/or implies that it can be applied everywhere -- then writes a book on it and sells it.

Man! I need to find a gravy train like that. On the other hand, let me check back with this guy in 10 years.

-CC
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-14-2007, 11:52 PM   #17
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

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Originally Posted by CCdaCE


Another case where someone takes one example, blows it out of proportion and/or implies that it can be applied everywhere -- then writes a book on it and sells it.

Man! I need to find a gravy train like that. On the other hand, let me check back with this guy in 10 years.

-CC
From browsing his (various) websites and reading some more info about him, I wonder how much time he has spent on his blogs and books? Perhaps when you add in the hours required for his book, book tours, 'lectures', etc., you aren't anywhere near 4 hours/week.

Or, I suppose you could say that he enjoys giving lectures on his beev3r cheese and natural cow excrement ingenious approach and 4 hour work secrets and how to live your life worry-free that all of that time simply doesn't count as 'work'.

Just like how Kiyosaki easily tells you that you don't need no stinkin mutual funds/stocks/bonds - just do it the easy way and buy a little real estate like him (oh, never mind those millions of $ he made from books and game sales - that money never impacted his lifestyle one iota and never offset the money he lost from real estate).

Obviously, you and I can't simply start up a business working 4 hours/week and have $100,000+ income right off the bat. Just like with any success story, it takes a lot of sweat equity, toil, tears and sweat to build up a business to where you could conceivably retire early (or work 4 hours/week). But, then again, the ER forum readers already know the secret to sacrificing for a period of time to reap the long-term benefits (the very essence of saving for FIRE).

We need to think of ways to repackage and re-market our collective wisdom. We have truckloads of engineers and programmers on this board - is there a former Marketing Executive in the house?
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-15-2007, 10:57 PM   #18
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

Well...as a wild & crazy example... if we could all stumble onto commission jobs where we, say, sell a particular part to oil rigs. Like the drill head. And we sell to 3 companies. And we get a commission of 1% and we do $10-100 million in sales. Then, we'd be set.

That's a lot of 'if's'.

Now, apply this to your life. See? Simple!

But, I like where you're going with the 'repackaging'.

-CC
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Re: The 4 hour workweek
Old 05-17-2007, 04:30 PM   #19
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Re: The 4 hour workweek

I read the book and it's filled with problems - as is any book that claims to have "the answers". A lot of what he suggests might work best for younger, less tied down folks - the author is 29. One chapter is concerned with creating monthly income passively to support a freer lifestyle and not at all about creating a nest egg for the future.

But the book does make many good points about connentrating onpassive income, cutting through the info clutter and more. I found it worthwhile.
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:51 AM   #20
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I've started reading this book, and I just wanted to jump in and say that it is much better than I expected - if for nothing else, an exercise in lateral thinking. If you can get past the hyperbole and oversimplification, he actually has some good ideas. Plus, it's a quick, entertaining read - his style reminds me of Paul Terhorst.

I don't think his ideas are as much at odds with traditional ER/FI goals as it might seem at first glance. He does mention in the book that he maxes out his retirement accounts, but does so to prepare for a "worst-case scenario" - much like life insurance.
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