Rules that Change the Rules
How the 4-Hour Work Week Changed My Business Strategy
I love to work. It's always bee a huge part of how I define myself. My parents were self-employed and so, growing up, I always knew that I too would be a business owner one day: That I would live and work by my own set of rules.
A little over two years ago I took the plunge. I quit a job that I'd been at for three years and started my own marketing company specializing in yoga studios and other health and wellness related businesses.
It's been an interesting two years being a sole proprietor. I've had some amazing opportunities and some very challenging projects. Looking back, I have to say, it has been successful, but not AS successful as I knew it could be. Over the last couple of months, I've been reflecting on what I've experienced as I restructure by business, adjust my services, and form my LLC.
One of the most educational experiences that has influenced this restructure came in the form of a book: The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This book had been recommended to me several times and for whatever reason, I had resistance to reading it. Finally, on an extended vacation in Bali, I decided it was worth the read - and I was blown away.
It completely transformed my view on major aspects of my work and life:
- Time management: It gave me tools to look at how I was spending my work and personal time and how to make very simple adjustments to free up time and energy.
- Client relationships: It reminded me that in business, generally 80% of our headaches come from 20% of our work/clients. This helped me identify and let go of what wasn't serving me and my overall business objectives.
- Multiple revenue streams: It taught me how to create and grow passive income. In the past my income has been based on the standard model: # hours of work = $$. There is an obvious limit to how much income one can generate under this model. (2 months after reading this book, I have 4 passive income revenue streams. Projects I set up once, and spend about 4hrs a month working on, that deposit $$ right into my bank account!)
- Automation. Ferriss offered some amazing tools and incredible tips on how to automate much of my work. I've shaved about 5 hours off my weekly admin work schedule just by implementing some new systems (...that's 5 hours a week I can now spend on client billable work instead of admin... and I charge $100/hr... so you do the math).
- Virtual assistants and freelancers. I've been struggling for two years, debating whether or not to hire a personal assistant, and I always come back to two reasons not to: 1.) It's expensive and 2.) I can't find anyone with the right mix of skills. UNTIL NOW: Using sites like FancyHands and eLance, I've been able to refocus my work energy on the high-revenue generating areas (my "A Game") and have learned to delegate the "B Game" tasks to others.
- Living a mobile lifestyle: One of the goals of owning my own business is that I could take it on the road. As long as I have my computer and wifi, I can work from anywhere. In fact, I picked up a new California-based client while I was halfway around the world on a beach in Indonesia and designed a whole new website from my lounge chair. Timothy Ferriss is passionate about not letting work get in the way of exploring the world and embracing life - this book reassured me that my goals are completely attainable and gave me some new ideas on upcoming adventures!
Coming back from those 4 weeks in Bali was challenging and exciting. It was hard to leave the warm, white sand beaches and the slow, simple pace of the small Balinese towns, but I was prepared to come home and make some changes to my business.
With new information from The 4-Hour Workweek, I've been able to expand my business, my income and my reach without hiring a bunch of staff and over-extending myself.
I'm committed to sharing what I've learned - that's part of my business model: to help others develop sustainable businesses that support their lifestyle choices. I'll be integrating what I've learned from this book and from some other similar sources into all aspects of my work - from client specific projects, to my online consulting, and my free yoga business services. I hope it helps you the way it's helped me! Give it a little time and ask for help if you need it!
And I highly recommend you explore this book. Even if you aren't/don't want to be a business owner, you'll find some great info here.
Love & Light,
Jennifer "Skondasana" Skondin
Jennifer Skondin has 15 years of experience specializing in marketing, communications and PR. In 2008 she discovered yoga and turned her attention and energy to teaching yoga and helping yoga studios and teachers find success through marketing and outreach. She loves to take her work on the road, with computer in tow and clients connected via Skype, she often finds herself working next to the ocean, whether it's the coast of Carmel, CA or the white sand beaches of the Gilies in Indonesia. Learn more.