The Book That Changed Everything How 'The 4-Hour Workweek' Inspired My Business Model
The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting the economy, but things have finally started to settle down. As we wait to see what this new normal will bring, I’d like to go back to the topic I promised I’d address when I wrote my first newsletter: Tim Ferriss’ game-changing business book “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich.” I was going through a tough time when I first read it, so this seems like the perfect moment to share what I learned. I picked up my first copy of “The 4-Hour Workweek” in 2008, just after the financial crisis hit. My successful mortgage company’s business had evaporated overnight, and I was ready to figure out the next phase of my life. At that point, I thought that the next phase would be teaching through books, public speaking, and team- building seminars. I’ve always had a talent for seeing gaps in the market and understanding how and why people interact, so sharing that knowledge was my next business venture. “The 4-Hour Workweek” led me down a different path. In the book, Ferriss talks about how to set up a company that runs without constant oversight. He focuses specifically on nutritional products, which he revolutionized with outsourcing. But I was convinced that there was a way to duplicate
his concept in another field. I was fascinated by the idea of a company that functioned like a machine and loved the thought of having extra hours in the day to pursue my interests. After reading the book, I didn’t know what kind of company I would start, but I knew it had to meet three criteria. First, it needed to operate entirely in the cloud so that I could work from anywhere in the world, whether I was at home in Goodyear, Arizona, or had my toes in the sand of an Italian beach. This would be the opposite of my mortgage business, which was extremely local. Second, it needed to be intangible. I didn’t want to deal with shipping a product or having a warehouse — I’d learned that the hard way through my past IT business. Third, it needed to generate recurring revenue. One of the things that frustrated me about the mortgage business was that no matter how successful I was, my profits were only as good as my last month. With my new venture, I wanted the stability of regular billing. I was still working on my speaking gig and mulling over what my perfect business would be when I landed a job consulting for Michael Addison, one of the leading mortgage lenders in Dallas, Texas. Michael wanted help building an online marketing system. He knew the value of staying in touch with his clients and saw an opportunity in social media. I was already building something similar for myself, so I agreed to help him out. I put together a beautiful marketing package that Michael loved. “This is awesome!” he said, “But who’s going to write the content for the social media posts?” I explained that I’d expected him to write the real estate and mortgage content
himself but that I could hook him up with a content company if he wanted. “I don’t want to pay anyone or do it myself,” he said. “The only way I want this is if it’s completely automated and the content just shows up.” You can probably see where this is going. I went out and found third-party companies to make that happen and merged their skills with mine. Though I didn’t realize it then, the minute I delivered that new system to Michael was the beginning of MySMARTblog. I figured it out just three months later when Michael called to tell me his business was going like gangbusters, even though he hadn’t logged into the system in three months! Then, I knew I’d struck gold: I’d found a business concept that lined up with all three of my criteria. What made MySMARTblog invaluable to Michael is that it kept his company top of mind for his clients. Michael’s business was booming because his posts were generating referrals, which are the key to recurring revenue for service-based businesses. That’s right: Michael’s business was applying the “4-Hour Workweek” principles, just like mine! And because you also invested in MySMARTblog, the same is true for your business. Your posts are reminding people what you do, they're telling their friends, and their friends are making your phone ring. As you read this, MySMARTblog is hard at work because automation doesn’t take a day off from marketing, pandemic or not. Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter to learn more about why our system works! –Mikel Erdman 1 www.MySMARTblog.com
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