If you’ve done any reading in the business and leadership genre, the likelihood is “The 4-Hour Workweek” is on your shelf. Author Tim Ferriss is credited with an entrepreneurial movement — taking “work smarter, not harder” to a new level. Among his most valuable advice is to contract a 4-hour workweek virtual assistant. Let’s take a look at what exactly this involves by diving deep into Ferriss’s vision of outsourcing. We’ll also share a plan to help you make turn the concept of a 4-hour workweek virtual assistant into a reality.
A quick review of the “4-Hour Workweek” and its basic concepts
In his book, Ferriss offers a detailed action plan to strike work–life balance. The central idea is that life is better when we use our time to live. One of the tools Ferriss recommends is the acronym DEAL, which stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.
It’s important not to understate the importance of defining goals, creating a plan, and taking action. However, none of this is feasible until you conquer self-defeating beliefs and assumptions.
Ferriss reframes this classic advice in a way that makes sense to the modern entrepreneur. He uses a dreamline strategy that anyone can follow when defining and implementing their plan to get from point A to point B.
In elimination, Ferriss turns traditional management on its head. He dismisses management and oversight concepts along with the trap of chasing efficiency. Instead, he recommends productivity and effectiveness as his metrics.
Ferriss suggests many specific tactics to use, but business advisors today tend to focus on just a few, namely:
- Eliminate tasks that weigh you down
- Delegate tasks you don’t actually need to do
- Batch tasks to maximize your productive time
The concept of auto-pilot comes as a revelation for many. Ferriss doesn’t reproduce the typical advice about founding a company that will run itself because of the people you hire. Instead, his advice is to build a business that you own but someone else will run. He also recommends you preserve cash flow by automating as much as you can. In other words: choose a business model that you can outsource and automate.
An example is automating a dropshipping company with software that handles taking orders, shipping orders, and sending email communications at the right intervals. Add to this a virtual assistant who can manage any tasks that require human input and monitor everything for you.
Probably the most challenging step for just about everyone is liberation. This is where most people trip up when trying to implement the 4-hour workweek lifestyle. Liberation means letting go. Entrepreneurs in particular tend to have a hard time giving up control of their business and watching their plan play out. Anyone with a tendency to micromanage will also have a hard time stepping aside to let the magic happen.
To help motivate readers, Ferriss reminds you that the reason you are implementing this plan is to reduce work hours. Ultimately, this will give you the freedom to choose your lifestyle and even your location. Ferriss encourages you to find new goals to chase or to a take mini-retirement.
Why Ferriss recommends everyone to get a virtual assistant
Ferriss didn’t invent the idea of outsourcing work and hiring virtual assistants, but he did help to popularize the idea, particularly among small business owners.
By outsourcing all the tasks that don’t require your expertise — which Ferriss argues is the vast majority of activities — you free up more time to live your life.
As an example, here’s a shortlist of everything virtual assistants can do for you. Notice that although this is a shortlist, it’s still extensive:
1. Web development
- Website building
- Software development
- Mobile applications
- Search engine optimization
- Database development
- Quality assurance
- Graphic design
- Logos and branding
- Ad creatives
- Physical marketing materials like brochures
- Articles and blog posts
- Lead magnets
- Ad copywriting
- Landing pages
- Technical writing
- Email drip campaigns
- Search engine marketing
- Social media management
- Sales and lead generation
- Email marketing automation
- Research and surveys
- Customer service
- Data entry
- Web research
- Inbox management
- General task management
- Team organizing
- Creating reports
6. Additional support
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Legal, such as writing contracts
- Product research and design
- Human resources
This list is an example of the variety of roles virtual assistants and freelancers can fulfill. Building a remote team ensures an expert handles every business function. In fact, VAs can help you build your business in a meaningful way: they can manage your inbox, filter your calls, help you with research, coordinate your lead generation effort, and more.
Plus, your first virtual assistant can even find and contract additional virtual assistants for other tasks. After all, the crux of the 4-hour workweek is to outsource everything — and your 4-hour workweek virtual assistant holds the key to achieving this.
How to find the perfect virtual assistant to start your 4-hour workweek life
Finding the right virtual assistant is vital to your 4-hour workweek plan. The first step is to connect with a virtual assistant agency to be matched with the right VA. When you choose an agency, there’s no need to sift through endless online profiles and conduct interviews. In fact, if your first match isn’t the perfect fit, the agency will be able to immediately match you with someone else.
Tips for working with a new virtual assistant
While you’re still getting to know your virtual assistant, there are a few things you should do to develop a successful long-term relationship.
- Focus on a few key areas to clear time-consuming tasks from your schedule, such as inbox maintenance and call filtering.
- Get to know your VA’s needs to establish workloads, rapport, and respect. This includes finding out the VA’s time zone, learning about your VA’s strengths and weaknesses, and planning ahead to take national holidays and time off into account.
- Adopt communication tools and practices that will help your virtual assistant produce quality work. You’ll need to be available often at the beginning to answer questions and provide guidance.
- Be clear about terms of service, such as payment preferences and any additional fees for working extra hours, weekend work, and tight deadlines. Virtual assistants are entrepreneurs too. If you take care of them and their business, they’ll take care of you.
Now it’s time to dive in and put your virtual assistant to work. Just remember, the point of building this business is to create something that will be hands off for you. Once you’ve found a virtual assistant who suits your needs, trust your VA to get the work done and turn your focus to tasks and responsibilities that require your expertise.
The 4-hour workweek is a lifestyle movement that has proven successful for a wide range of entrepreneurs for more than a decade. However, everything rides on finding the right 4-hour workweek virtual assistant. If you find someone who is professional, dedicated, and willing to grow with your business, you’ll have a long, happy life working less and you’ll be able to spend your time where it matters most to you.
When you choose MYVA360, we’ll match you with the right virtual assistant straight away. Schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and receive 10 percent off our services when you sign up.