I just finished reading The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferris. I have to admit I was fascinated by the headline, and a little offended, too.
As a business owner, I happen to believe in the value of hard work. One of the major challenges of running a business is finding other people to hire that also understand that “work” is not a dirty word. I am tired of dealing with incompetent, lazy people with glowing resumes and recommendations. I like hanging around people who are not afraid to work.
Our country was founded on the backs of people who were willing to work hard for their futures and their beliefs. Fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago, most of our citizens understood that they did not have the inalienable right to HDTV and video games. Most people were happy to put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
After reading a few chapters of “The 4-Hour Work Week”, I found out the truth. The title was an excellent marketing ploy. The entire premise of the book is not to avoid the fact that work must be done, but to find other hard-working businesses and individuals to perform the work on your behalf.
Mr. Ferris clearly understands the value of hard work. He has paid his dues and put in his time. He has also figured out that work for work’s sake is a waste of time.
The number one role of a business owner is to work him or herself out of a job. If you want to own a strong, successful business, you must learn to put systems in place that allow the business to run effectively without you. If your business is dependent on you, you are the weak link that could lead to its failure.
And guess what. Working yourself out of a job is hard work. It cannot be done overnight. You will make mistakes, and learn from them. Hopefully, your successes will outweigh your mistakes, so your business will prosper long term.
As for myself, I am willing to work hard now in order to need to work less later. I am willing to set up systems to manage my business so I don’t have to handle everything personally. I expect that these systems will fail at some point, and I am willing put backup plans in place for every critical area of my business operations, just in case. I am willing to do whatever it takes to earn the right to work less than forty hours a week.
When I have earned the right to work less, I may or may not choose that path. I like to work. I have plans, things I want to do, and work I want to accomplish. If I work smart, I will work myself out of doing those things I do not want to do, so I have more time to work on the things I like.
I choose to work on those things that matter to me, so I can do my part to help make our world a better place to live.
Care to join me?