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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My 4 Hour Workweek Moment

The book 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris talks about working no more than four hours a week and from anywhere you want... including the beach. I had my 4-Hour Workweek moment last August, which gave me the vision of what I wanted in my life...

My dad's company sent him to a conference in Honolulu, Hawaii... Quite a boondoggle. My mom joined him, and I figure I would too. Free lodging in Hawaii, all I had to do was buy a plane ticket. My dad even offered to cover that to get me out there, but I really didn't need any more incentive to go so I told him thanks, but I'd be more than happy to pay my own way there. This was August of last year.

Rewind back three years... I was an MBA student, and I discovered that buying textbooks at the bookstore was a crock... you could buy books on Amazon.com for at least $20, if not $50-100 cheaper. So after graduation, I started playing around with creating a site that felt just like buying from the campus bookstore, but it pointed you to Amazon instead. I got some revenue out of it, but nothing major.

Back to last August... I had spent the spring of 2008 working on marketing and promoting the website. I dropped almost $1000 on marketing (doesn't sound like much, but I'm closer to the "corporate" part of corporateprenuership than "entrepreneur"). The start of the textbook buying season coincided with my trip to Hawaii. And since students weren't accessible in the summer, all the advertising was done in the spring. So all I could do was watch and see how much revenue would come in every day.

The resort had a wireless connection, and it was accessible from the beach. So every day, after sightseeing, I'd take a swim in the ocean, have dinner, shower, and head to the beach with my laptop. Since Hawaii was 6 hours behind, I was able to check the previous day's revenue while I was still up. Each day I checked... some days would be $30 days, but some days got as high as $120 days. By the end of the week, I was up to almost $500.

I was living the dream... money was rolling in, while I was basically working one hour a night. That's a 7 hour workweek (not quite 4 hours), but when that one hour a day is spent on a laptop on a beach, I think anyone would sign up for that. The money I made wouldn't even pay for my flight out there, but it was a major breakthrough to taste it for just that week. I considered this the first step in the long term goal of financial independence. My mom took a picture of me with my laptop on the beach, and I have it up on my wall so I can look at it every day.

Some people back home didn't get it... They felt like it was sad that I was working on vacation. On the contrary... people thought my working on the beach was replacing vacationing on the beach. I wanted working on the beach to replace working.



Jason Cohen said...

I like the sentiment, but is this practical?

If this were the ONLY way you were ALLOWED to work for 12 months, would you still be making money? Or did you just get 1 week's worth of money rolling in by momentum?

You mentioned it wasn't enough money to pay for the trip. This is perhaps not immaterial. It's not too hard to establish a tiny amount of daily income (like this excellent blog, which certainly deserves its success!), but that's different than making enough money to really live off of and be saving for the future.

Perhaps there is a way after all, but I think I missed it here!

Dale said...

To put it in an analogy, if getting to this dream vision was the finish line of a race, this little taste was rounding the first block of a 26.2 mile marathon. Basically, it was exciting because the gun went off the starting line is no longer in sight.

Will I make it to the end of this marathon? Who knows. If can get to mile 10 that may be great. Is there a way to get to the end of this marathon? Absolutely. People have done it, and people will do it again.

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