Lessons for Entrepreneurs from The 4-Hour Workweek

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Lessons for Entrepreneurs from The 4-Hour Workweek



The 4-Hour Workweek is a business book written by Tim Ferriss geared towards entrepreneurs who are tired of the traditional work model and interested in pursuing something more. The tagline is “Escape 9-5, work anywhere, and join the new rich”, the New Rich in Ferriss’ case being those who have curated a luxury lifestyle through the currency of time and mobility.

If you’ve been daydreaming about joining the ranks of successful entrepreneurs who not only love what they do when working, but have the freedom to do what they love outside of work, then Ferriss’ tips could be the answer to your burning desire. Read on for some invaluable lessons for entrepreneurs found in The 4-Hour Workweek that can help you with your very own startup.


Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs

Live for the now – don’t wait until retirement to enjoy life. Find a work-life balance that helps you feel fulfilled now. This means understanding the importance of honoring the cycles of rest and activity that help you to work more efficiently when you do. Do you want to travel? Are you yearning for a staycation where you actually unplug? Carve out the time and mental space to do it. Ferriss calls these breaks “mini retirements” and he insists that they are integral to elevating yourself to the level of the New Rich.

Ferriss also emphasizes in The 4-Hour Workweek that “less is not laziness”. In other words, he maintains that entrepreneurs should abandon the idea that they need to work themselves to the bone in order to be successful. Instead, they should find ways to work more efficiently in order to get what they want. This could look like offboarding tasks to a virtual assistant or automating workflows as much as possible, and even setting timers for tasks so that you’re more productive while working and less likely to wander and procrastinate.


Focus on Your Strengths

These days, people are constantly being encouraged to assess their strengths and weaknesses. This is often seen during the interview process when you will be asked not only your top strengths, but also what you believe to be one or more of your weaknesses. Companies like to see that you are self aware and that you are actively looking to improve upon your weaknesses to become more well-rounded.

However, Ferriss suggests in The 4-Hour Work Week that attempting to improve upon your weaknesses is actually a time waster. This is because you can only improve so much so quickly upon things that you’re not naturally good at or have not already developed as skills. Instead, Ferriss suggests continuing to improve upon your key strengths in order to exponentially multiply the results that you receive. After all, as an entrepreneur you know that inevitably you’ll be bringing people into your fold that will be able to round out your weaknesses with the strengths they possess. Not only is this way of thinking likely to free up more time for entrepreneurs, but it is also likely to relieve some of the anxiety that comes along with feeling like you have to do everything yourself and it is therefore one of the best time management skills according to Ferriss.


Change Your Psychology of Money

The psychology of money that most people ascribe to is that more money is better. Especially when it comes to business, entrepreneurs are always trying to increase their profits and margins in order to make more. Ferriss turns this concept a bit on its head by suggesting that there are two types of income: relative income and absolute income. Absolute income is the method of looking at one’s income strictly in terms of how much money they make while relative income is the amount of money one makes as well as the amount of time that they have control of.

It’s no surprise that Ferriss continues to shake things up by asserting that relative income is actually more important than absolute income. After all, relative income is the way that the New Rich measure their incomes. For them, it is just as important to have time to play their weekly round of golf as it is to make enough money to maintain their standard of living. And because this very command of time is something that inspires many entrepreneurs to forge their own paths in realizing their ideas, it makes sense that embracing the notion of relative time would help to  create a more exciting lifestyle.

Additionally, The 4-Hour Workweek stresses that money alone is not the answer to every problem. People are complicated and our dreams and goals cannot always be achieved by simply throwing money at them. In fact, money can be an excuse that we use to justify why we haven’t done the work we need to in order to get to where we want to be.


Let Go of Fear

There is a wide consensus that becoming an entrepreneur requires innovation and confidence so this point may seem redundant. However, it’s the way that Ferriss goes about breaking it down that makes it a great reminder for entrepreneurs in all stages of their ventures. Ferriss starts by reminding the reader that our biggest block to overcoming unhappiness is often fear of the unknown. After this, Ferriss offers seven questions that readers can use to overcome fear:

  1. What is your biggest nightmare a.k.a. absolute worst-case scenario?
  2. What steps could you take to repair the damage if this were to happen?
  3. What are the temporary and permanent outcomes and benefits of more probable scenarios?
  4. If you were fired today, how would you get things under financial control?
  5. What are you putting off due to fear?
  6. What are the emotional, financial, and physical costs of postponing action?
  7. What are you waiting for?


Entrepreneurship is not an easy road to travel, and Ferriss knows this. But by leveling up their entrepreneurial mindset, people across industries with different interests are able achieve the results they want the way that they want. The key to finding success is learning to actually enjoy the process rather than working without joy for an imaginary payoff. Once you learn this, you will see your quality of work and quality of life drastically improve.





  • Ferriss, T. (2007) The 4-Hour Workweek. Crown Publishing


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