In the bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, author Timothy Ferriss explains how entrepreneurs can master time. Ferriss shared how he changed his priorities, reformed his management strategy, and reduced the number of hours he worked each week. In the process, he learned how to work less hours and increase profitability.
It doesn’t matter how many hours a week you work now, the size of your business, or what type of business you have. What does matter is we can all learn to streamline our businesses. We can work less, and make more money. We can redesign our business, and change what isn’t working. Maybe we can’t get down to a 4-hour work week, but we can certainly learn how to be part-time entrepreneurs.
Change Your Priorities, Change Your Time
In The 4-Hour Workweek, Ferriss explains how he was working himself to death. He was headed towards a breakdown. Although he was very successful, it was killing him. So he decided to focus only on the most profitable clients, and simply ignored the rest. He became more profitable within a few months, and he freed up the majority of his time.
Everyone has the same 24 hours a day. How we spend that time is what really matters. If you can organize your life, you can free up time to work on your business. Like most people, you’re probably in denial about how much time you waste each day. The average person wastes up to 3 hours a day on social media! That’s 21 hours a week! Cut out your Facebook fix and you’ve got the time to run a part-time business.
Here’s a few tools to help you understand how you use your time and increase your productivity:
StayFocusd: Increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites.
Focus Booster: And online software timer that uses the pomodoro technique to help you focus.
Self Control: A free Mac application to help you avoid distracting websites.
Rescue Time: A personal analytics service that shows you how you spend your time and provides tools to help you be more productive.
Automate Everything You Can
One of the biggest lessons from Ferriss is to create a business that can basically run itself. Many self-employed business owners work 10+ hours a day. But the key to being a part-time entrepreneur is to design your business so you don’t have to work yourself into the ground. Design it correctly, and you won’t have to worry about the day to day operations.
Pat Flynn, from The Smart Passive Income Blog, calls himself the crash test dummy of online business. One of Flynn’s goals was to create passive income, not a business that was time-intensive. Instead, Flynn wants to spend time with his family. Some call this a lifestyle business, and it’s a great way to make a living and still enjoy your life.
But even lifestyle businesses need a plan. All businesses that sells a product has the same basic structure:
The easiest way to create a business that runs itself is to create a digital product. You will never have to worry about stock or shipping. Customers simply download the product. You can spend your time marketing the product, not worrying about financial transactions. If you’re tech savvy, you can create your own website that can do this for you. Fortunately, there are easy platforms that are perfect for anyone who wants an easy interface, and doesn’t want to invest a lot of money.
Here are a few digital shopping platforms where anyone can sell digital products:
Amazon: eBooks. The downside is they take a large percentage of any sales
Selz: any digital product including eBooks, PDF’s, music, videos, indie games or software. Selz can also be used for selling physical products or services. It is a good choice if you’re looking for a simple free online store.
iTunes: music. You must fill out application and they take a large percentage of any sales.
PayPal: any digital product. You can add a PayPal Buy Now button to your site. It also allows one-time micropayments, pay-as-you-go, and subscription models.
Spend Your Time Marketing
If you set up your part-time business correctly, you won’t have to spend all your time worrying about the details. The details are not your problem. You will still have to deal with any customer service issue about your product, but the platform worries about any transaction issue. This frees up your time to focus on marketing.
You can spend your limited time connecting with potential customers, building a strong online platform, and pitching your product. By focusing your efforts on marketing, you will be more profitable in less time. Remember, if you truly want to be a part-time entrepreneur, you don’t have to invest all your valuable time. Design it right, and you might get away with working four hours a week!