This is of course the dream that we all share – the 4 hour work week where you get to live the so called “good life” and forget about having to work hard. I’ve seen the book on the subject and looked into it and frankly, I don’t believe it’s possible to do a four hour workweek. It is possible to get a better life than you may have now though. Here’s what you need to know:
The So Called 4 Hour Work Week
This is based on a book of the same name which claims that anyone can join the uber rich and become independent with a so called four hour work week. However, there are a number of problems with this assumption.
First and foremost, the book assumes that you can always find an army of “suckers” willing to work for you so that you don’t need to work. It also assumes that you can find an army of “suckers” to sell your products to so that you can make money from them. And yes, I’m being harsh when I use the term “suckers,” but that’s how I see it.
You see, I consider the promise of the so called four hour work week to be like MLM opportunities. Those things work great for those who get in early and are able to get enough people under them to make good money. However, the vast majority of people who try MLM programs make little or no money.
The concept here is the same thing – you need to find an army of workers whom you can pay very little money to in order to get them to do the work for you and then you have to find an army of people to purchase whatever product that you happen to have for sale.
The thing is, it’s not easy to find a product which you can outsource to low skilled workers and which you can turn around and sell for a great deal of money. Not to mention the fact that you also need to constantly worry about managing the people you hire and making sure that they do the job that you are paying them to do.
But I Have a Friend/Mentor/Relative/Mythical Hero
Look, I know there are people who are able to do this. There are even people who have managed to do the whole rags to riches story and who are now able to relax. MJ Demarco for example, who wrote a slightly less popular book called The Millionaire Fastlane doesn’t quite live the four hour workweek, but he does live a nice, easy life compared to what he used to have.
It’s even possible that there are a handful of people who have achieved this mythical four hour workweek. However, for the vast, vast majority of us, it’s just a myth and it’s not something that can be achieved.
I like to think of it as being the same as becoming president of the United States. Sure, in theory, anyone who was born in any of the 50 states can become the president. However, practically speaking, it’s simply not going to happen for most of us. Even those who are incredibly motivated and really put everything they have into getting elected most often will fail.
After all, when you consider that less than 50 people have ever gotten that far in the history of the United States, you realize that the odds are stacked against you. The four hour work week is probably much more achievable than becoming the president of the United States, however it’s not something that 99.9% of us will ever manage to achieve.
So What Is Possible?
Now we get into a much better question and one that is much more realistic. No, it’s unlikely that you could ever get to a four hour workweek. However, that doesn’t mean that you must be a slave to your work, doing the 9-5 or even worse, working 12-18 hour days. It is possible to achieve a workweek which doesn’t require that much in the way of sacrifice and which does allow you much of the freedom you’d want.
IM Is the Key
Internet marketing can and does work. Whether you use affiliate marketing or you create your own products, the fact remains that you can make good money online and you can even achieve financial independence. You can also find that you’ll have the ability to structure your days so that you can spend a great deal of time with your family and doing the things you love rather than working.
The thing is, you’ll probably be doing more than four hours a week of work in order to accomplish this. Personally, I put in around 20 hours of work per week for example and I work from home. I’m not uber wealthy where I can travel and hang out on the beach all day, but I do make a decent living, live in a nice apartment and go out to eat occasionally.
They key is to sell stuff online. In other words, rather than just trade your time for money, you want to have products that you sell which you create once and then sell many times.
So for example, you may create a series of websites which sell affiliate products and which you then merely need to maintain rather than recreating the whole thing from scratch. Or, you could create your own products which you sell to others who are interested in purchasing them and then make money that way.
They key is to work smarter, not harder.
Working smarter means that you do try to outsource some of the drudge work. However, where I believe the concept of the 4 hour workweek is wrong is that you cannot outsource the important stuff. Take SEO for example. Yes, you can probably find people to outsource building links to. However, you cannot outsource planning the SEO campaign and overseeing it.
Similarly, you may outsource building the website, but ultimately, you need to be responsible for the site and make sure that it is running smoothly. You need to be available to check on things and not pretend that dropping by once in a blue moon means that you’ve done your job.
The only people I know of who can get away with that are those who have multimillion dollar companies and who are basically retired. They don’t manage their own money. However, for most of us, that’s not practical. Or you could of course try to become like Neal Cafrey from White Collar, but then you’d have the FBI after you…
The Dirty Secret
The other thing that nobody likes to talk about regarding the so called 4 hour workweek is that those who achieve it work their tails off for years in order to get to the point where they can take the time to live the good life. MJ Demarco mentions how he put in his 18 hour days to make sure that his business was successful before he finally was able to semi-retire.
Now, here is another dirty little secret: the person who is most likely to be driven enough to do the 18 hour days required to make it to the point of having the easy life later on is also the least likely person to actually want to retire and do nothing all day long.
Let’s face it – if you are driven enough to build a huge business, you’ll be bored stiff sitting around and doing nothing all day long and doing nothing but sipping mojitos on the beach. Thus the concept of a 4 hour work week is just a fallacy.
But You Can Have an Easier Life
As I said though, you can have an easier life if you work smarter. You merely need to make sure that you put in the effort to build something which will feed on itself instead of constantly reinventing the wheel every single time that you go and try to sell something.
So, bottom line, no, you probably cannot have the mythical 4 hour workweek and if you were able to achieve it, you probably wouldn’t want to have it anyway. However, it is possible to work less and to make more money if you just work smarter and think outside the box. Best of luck to you!