A quick review of the 4-Hour Workweek and the basic concepts introduced by Tim Ferriss
Ferriss offers a detailed action plan to strike work-life balance for a better overall life. His primary idea is that life is better when we use our time to live it, rather than spending time trying to make work something we love.
One of the tools Ferriss expounds is the acronym, D.E.A.L., which stands for Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.
There’s no way to underplay the importance of defining your goals, creating a plan, and taking action. This is the same advice that has been expounded for decades. It amounts to advising people to make a business plan and execute that plan. None of this can be accomplished without conquering self-defeating beliefs and assumptions.
Ferriss has a way of reframing classic advice, so it makes sense to the modern entrepreneur as well as modern-day digital era business. He includes a dreamline strategy anyone can follow to get from A to B when defining and implementing their plan.
This is where Ferriss turns traditional management on its head. He dismisses the management and oversight concepts as well as the trap of chasing efficiency. Instead, he recommends productivity and effectiveness as his metrics.
Ferriss suggests many specifics, but a few examples are strongly heeded among business advisors today. Eliminate tasks that weigh you down; delegate tasks you don’t actually need to do; batch tasks to maximize your productive time, just to name a few examples.
This is a piece of the puzzle that was a revelation for many. He doesn’t produce the typical advice about founding a company that will run itself because of the people you hire. Although his advice does ride on your ability to build a business, you will own, but that someone else will run. He builds on that advice to recommend that you preserve cash flow by automating as much as you can. Choose a company concept or business model that can be outsourced and automated.
An example is automating a dropshipping company with software that will handle taking the order, shipping the order, and sending email communications at the right intervals on auto-pilot. Layer an efficient, effective process like that with a high-quality virtual assistant who can fill in the gaps and monitor everything for you.
This is probably the most challenging step for just about everyone. It’s where most people trip up when trying to implement the 4-hour workweek lifestyle. Liberation is Ferriss’s appeal to let go of control. Entrepreneurs, in particular, tend to have a hard time staying out of the mix to let 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 readers that the reason they are implementing this plan is to limit work hours so you can find the freedom to choose your location, your lifestyle, and your hours. He encourages you to find new goals to chase and to take mini-retirements, so you stay connected to your optimal life, rather than working with a deferred retirement late in life.
Why Ferriss recommends getting a virtual assistant to everyone
Ferriss didn’t invent the idea of outsourcing work and hiring virtual assistants with his book, but he was a force who helped to popularize the idea, particularly among small businesses.
By outsourcing all tasks that don’t require your touch, which Ferriss argues is pretty much everything, you free yourself up to live more of your life.
Here is a shortlist of everything virtual assistants can do for you. Notice that while it’s a shortlist, it’s compelling:
1. Developers can apply their skills by covering a variety of services.
- Website Development
- Software Development
- Mobile Applications
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
- Database Development
- Quality Assurance
2. Virtual assistants with design skills will take on all the following tasks and more.
- Graphic Design
- Logo and Branding
- Ad creatives
- Collateral, e.g., brochures
3. Writers can assist with the science and art behind a number of writing projects.
- Articles and Blog Management
- Lead Magnets
- Ad Copywriting and Landing Pages
- Technical Writing
- Email Sequences
4. Marketing virtual assistants will take the reins on a variety of sales and marketing functions.
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing
- SMM – Social Media Management
- Sales and Lead Generation
- Email Marketing Automation
- Research & Surveys
5. Administrators are perfect as a catch-all for everything the specialists can’t do. They often become your company leader and gatekeeper.
- Customer Service
- Virtual Assistance
- Data Entry
- Web Research
- Inbox Management
- General Task Management
- Team Organizing
- Create Reports
6. Additional freelancers can be brought on board to help with projects or part-time work that your primary virtual assistant
- Accounting and Bookkeeping (Quickbooks)
- Legal, e.g., contracts
- Product Research and Design
- Human Resources
- General Management
This list isn’t comprehensive but shows the vast variety of roles virtual assistants and freelancers can fulfill. Building a remote team of talent ensures every business function will be expertly handled.
Do you know who Ferriss recommends as your first and primary hire? Your virtual assistant. VAs can help you build your business in a meaningful way. They can manage your inbox, filter your calls, help you with research, run point on sales, and more.
Among all these other tasks, your new virtual assistant can find and hire more virtual assistants to get the work completed that they can’t do – and that you aren’t supposed to do. Remember? You are supposed to be outsourcing everything. It’s the crux of the 4-hour workweek, and your 4-hour workweek virtual assistant holds the key.
How to find the perfect virtual assistant so you can start the 4-hour workweek life
Finding the right virtual assistant is vital to your 4-hour workweek plan. The best first step is to connect with a professional company that knows virtual assistants and understands your needs.
You can forgo a great deal of time-consuming research by getting matched with the ideal virtual assistant by a professional. There’s no need to sift through endless online profiles and conduct interviews.
The right company will know what you’re looking for, and if, for some reason, your first match just isn’t the perfect fit, the high-quality virtual assistant companies will ensure you are matched with someone new.
While getting to know your virtual assistant, focus on a few key areas while you have them get to work on clearing time-consuming rituals, such as inbox maintenance and call filtering.
- Get to know their needs so you can establish balance, rapport, and respect. This includes knowing their time zone and getting to know their strengths and weaknesses and thinking ahead to specific holidays and time off he or she will want.
- Establish communication tools and practices that will help your virtual assistant do their best work. They’ll need access to you for questions and guidance, especially in the beginning.
- Take care of your virtual assistant. Get to know their terms of service, such as fees, payment preferences, any additional fees for long hours, weekend work, rushed work, and more. Virtual assistants are entrepreneurs too. If you take care of them and their business, they’ll take care of you.
Put your virtual assistant to work. You’ve warmed up and started the ball rolling. Now it’s time to dive in. Just remember, the point of building this business is to create something that will be hands-off for you. If you know this virtual assistant is the best fit, trust them to do the work and put your focus on the tasks and responsibilities that need you most.
As you build out your company with the help of your virtual assistant, challenge them without overwhelming them. When you hit the point that you need more team members, have your 4-hour workweek virtual assistant do the research and help or take the lead on the hiring process. After all, they are going to be dealing with the team more than you, if you implement the 4-hour workweek plan correctly.
The 4-hour workweek is a lifestyle movement that has been successfully implemented by entrepreneurs for over a decade. While there are many lightbulb moments for readers, everything rides on outsourcing and finding the right 4-hour workweek virtual assistant. Find someone who is professional, dedicated, and willing to grow with you and your business, and you’ll have a long, happy life working less and putting your time where it matters most to you.