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All the Advice That Fits in a Four-Hour Workweek


Tim Ferriss is a motivational speaker and author of "The 4-Hour Workweek." He spoke at the IFA's annual convention.

Would you take advice from the man who wrote the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”? If so, then Tim Ferriss’ keynote talk at the International Franchise Association annual convention was for you. (The conference ended Feb. 1, and if I hadn’t cut my work week to four hours since then, I might have posted this blog earlier.*)

Ferriss, who is also a motivational speaker, recommends asking these questions, to shake up one’s thinking about business and life:

Question No. 1: What if I did the opposite for 48 hours? He was selling enterprise storage products years ago, and he was really struggling, running up against senior competitors from EMC. “I decided the opposite was not making cold calls between 9 and 5. I started doing it between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and 6 and 7:30 p.m.,” Ferriss said. “I found out I was getting around the gatekeepers,” and his sales started going gangbusters.

Question No. 2: What do I spend a silly amount of money on? (Or to put it another way, what am I price-insensitive to?) Also, what makes me angry or frustrated? If you put those two things together, you will likely come up with a solid business idea.

Question No. 3: What would I do or be if I had $10 million? (Or whatever your target monthly income is.) In other words, what would you do if your need to work were removed? Once you have that list, cost them out. “What you may realize is your actual target monthly income may be less,” he said.

Question No. 4: What are the worst things that could happen? Whatever you’re considering, put that on the top of a piece of paper. Chop it into three columns: On the left, write down all the worst things that could happen. In the middle, write down how you could mitigate those things. On the right, write down if these things happen, how could you minimize the damage? “What you realize is …you’re risking a temporary setback” for an outcome that could be ranked as an 8 to 10 on a 10-point scale. “And I think those odds are pretty good,” he said.

About that four-hour workweek thing, which is the book title that made Ferriss an international sensation. He told the IFA crowd that he doesn’t mean it literally, necessarily. He means instead that if you could cut your time spent on non-essential activity, think about the amazing things you could generate.

He also said he originally proposed the two-hour workweek, but his publishers thought that was ridiculous. He shot back: How about four? And a legend was born.

I would go on, but I’ve already put in seven hours so far, and that’s in just one day. Isn’t it the weekend yet?*

(*To my boss: just kidding.)

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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