This post is a little presumptuous. I have never met Tim Ferris, but like most people who spend a lot of time with computers, I have read his blog and watched some of his talks. I want a 4-Hour Workweek too!
So what does Tim Ferris do?
As a trouper in first year lecture halls, you must forgive my penchant for turning everything into a 3 part list.
These are my thoughts.
1. Tim’s sells “action art”
Tim decides to learn the tango, and wins the world championships. He wants to gain muscle and he is The Incredible Hulk in weeks. He learns to swim as an adult and is winning races in no time.
Whatever Tim does is breath-takingly audacious and gob-smackingly successful.
2. Tim doesn’t just make art. He packages it for sale through his blog & public speaking.
His big sale, of course, is his book, The 4-Hour Workweek.
3. Tim also does his own marketing and he is his own agent
Tim has an active blog. He watches his numbers. And he manages the office for the “Tim Ferris” enterprise.
What Tim doesn’t do – is his own accountancy or his back-office operations. He outsources the clerical work of his business to offshore firms offering clerical services.
What is Tim’s business model ?
1. Tim centres his business on what he loves to do, what he does well, and on what we love him to do.
2. Tim takes his work directly to the marketplace.
3. Tim took the initiative to create a business structure around himself and does a fair share of the skilled and expensive management work himself.
What can you and I copy?
- Do what we love, do what we do well and do what the world loves us to do.
- Finish the task and go out to meet our audience.
- Take the initiative and create and run the business we need to support the work we want to do.
Are you in a hurry?
Oh, we usually are!
So much so, we scamper over the first question. Then we freeze in fright as soon as we think of selling our work for money. And we never get round to thinking about business processes, let alone take charge of them.
Can I persuade you to spend 10 minutes trying?
Grab your favouite beverage, a pen and an old envelope!
1. Of all things you do, what brings you that sense of deep pleasure of a job you know you do so well? Write down three things in 30 seconds!
2. Done that? Now turn the envelope over and draw your value chain. On the left, put the raw material that you work with, draw a line across the page, and jot down all things you need to turn that raw material into whatever it is you make.
You can make a fish bone diagram with fish bones coming into a spine. My fish bones included headings like “access”, “willing people” “time”, “credibility” – all the deal breakers if I don’t get them right.
3. Now you have your fish. On the tail at the left is your raw material. You probably have five or so bones coming in from either side. And the head to the right is the finished work.
Let’s finish off.
Draw some more lines (3 to 5) parallel to your fish’s spine. Label each line with things that need to happen for you get the resources you need.
It is quite likely that each of these represents a learning curve for you. Which one’s can you get help with, and which one’s will you take responsibility for?
Do a quick cross-check that you have covered all the functions.
Operations: The work you love
Marketing: How you build connections
Sales: How you close deals
Buying: The source of critical physical resources and knowledge
Technical: Any equipment and technical skills you need
Accounting: Keeping count and keeping the taxman happy
One more business model for a 4-Hour Workweek done-and-dusted!
Does this work for you? Did it take you closer to an action plan?
Do you feel you could surround yourself with the business you love?
Can you list what you need to learn to do and cheerfully put your learning goals in order?
Can you identify what you need to learn and throw the questions at Google?
I hope so. I made progress once I could get myself to pick up the envelope and the pen.
Apologies, Tim. I don’t know how much I’ve distorted your business but this is what I learned from you. So thanks.
- Don’t achieve your goals! Enjoy them. They’ll be gone far too soon!
- Filter, filter,filter. That’s where the money is.
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- The secret of writing: Little and often
- Dissolve your recession blues with 3 questions (and a Posterous blog & camera)
- Admirable and well-intentioned, but do people know what you stand for and think you are ready to lead?
- 5 pretty petals of future work
- Tight planning or joyful priotizing for 2010?
- 3 models to re-design jobs to add-value during the recession
- What about your work is important, valuable and innovative?