Adventures in Effectiveness — 4 Hour Work Week-Style.

After reading this 4 Hour Work Week, I was pumped. “I am going to figure out how to outsource my life.” I was telling myself. I had already been practicing many of the principles in the book. An example:

What you do is more important than how you do it.

This is the distinction between effectiveness and efficiency. Tim emphasizes this in the book. Being effective is about identifying the “system amplifiers” as I like to call them. These are tasks that eliminate or automate hundreds of other tasks. One of my favourite system amplifiers is background outreach.

Background outreach is exactly that: outreach that operates in the background.

That’s one the themes in the 4 Hour Work Week: the creation of systems that operate in the background, independent of you. You remove yourself as the bottleneck, and your business takes flight.

So what principles have I applied from the book other than ramping up my automations and outsourcing?

Let’s dive into my greatest takeaways.

Reality is Negotiable

There’s a chapter in the book called the art of refusal. This chapter is about saying no to the trivial many. That is, the distractions, the stuff you do to just to keep yourself busy.

Not only that, this chapter is jam-packed with insights on negotiation. One often overlooked fact is that insistence often delivers. When we insist on a situation, we can bend people’s will. This is what Steve Jobs was known for. His employees even created a term for it: Steve’s Reality Distortion Field.

The Friend Audit

There’s a fantastic question in the book — Which of your friends leads you to second-guess yourself? This question is powerful. Some friends doubt us, they advise us not to take risks. These are friends I want to eliminate.

When friends cause you to second-guess yourself rather than correct yourself, it’s time to say goodbye. Tim’s model for relationships is based on the same philosophy as mine: the greatest contributor to your happiness is the quality of mind of those around you.

Fire Bad Customers

Tim recounts his own experience of firing two of his high maintenance clients and focusing on the accounts with the greatest revenue. This alone led to massive revenue growth. Often, the distribution of revenue to customers is skewed way more than we imagine. We often assume normally distributed sample sets, but this is definitely not the case when it comes to revenue.

Tim explains how to avoid high-maintenance customers beginning with their first encounter with your brand. His first tip: Avoid giving freebies. Use cheaply priced product to repel the free-loaders. His second: Replace free trials with lose-win guarantees — in other words, make it possible for the customer to only gain from paying for your product. Make it risk free.

Consume Information Just in Time

We forget most the information that we consume, so Tim advocates for only consuming information if it will immediately be implemented. Otherwise, you will have to relearn it when the time comes to implement.

For years, I have been voraciously learning every day. Most of this information, I lose. Right away. So, from now on, I will only learn when I need to learn to do something immediately.

Practice Non-Finishing

This is another information consumption habit I want to implement. It’s about stopping when something is not useful. If you are consuming some information, and it’s not useful or enjoyable, JUST STOP. Don’t be allured by the sunk cost fallacy.

The value sometimes does go up the longer we stick with things. However, often the best predictor for how awesome a book is are the first few pages. We can’t judge a book by its cover, but we can judge a book by its first few pages.

Let Bad Things Happen

When we outsource and empower others to make decisions on our behalf, bad things will happen. Whenever we release control, it opens the possibility for small errors. But it’s all a worthy sacrifice. When we remove ourselves from the situation, we create opportunities for others to learn from their errors. In time, the errors fade. Still, the freedom and time we gain from outsourcing makes the errors and bad things menial.

In my automation and outsourcing journey, bad things have happened. I lost admiration from a friend, and I got banned from a community that I did not want to be a part of. All this really won’t matter in a week.

I was keen to implement all these principles right away. So I immediately hired a VA and set up a bunch of automation software on my computer.

For background outreach, I use LinkedHelper, Phantom Buster, and my VA.

For web research and lead generation, I use my VA.

For Facebook group posts, I use my VA.

Every day, I reach out to about 200 people, without any effort. This is what I call the magnet approach: creating an electromagnetic field which attracts your tribe. So far, it has worked quite well.

This approach requires tact. If all your friends and contacts see you as a bot, then that will damage the relationship.

Get in touch with me if you’d like to hire my VA.

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