“The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss – A Review from the Virtual Assistant’s Perspective
Published in 2007, “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss was controversial and fascinating. It advocated a system of automating business that involves virtual assistants and technology on a scale that no one had ever talked about before. Some of his ideas seem impractical to anyone who works ‘in the real world,’ like only checking email on Mondays. His ideas, though, when modified, such as checking email at noon and 4pm, are not only practical, but helpful. From a virtual assistant’s perspective, there is a lot that business owners can learn from his book. Many of his suggestions are sound.
1. Let someone else answer the phone – Don’t take your own calls. Let someone else answer your phone. Acting a gatekeeper, there is a very good chance that you can avoid having to deal with someone else’s trivial “emergency.” Very often emergencies aren’t actually emergencies; there are someone’s attempt to get you to bail them out. As a virtual assistant, we can make sure that those emergencies never get to you.
2.Dealing with the trivial – ‘Back in the day’ an executive’s secretary would pick up his laundry from the cleaners, make dinner reservations, and order flowers for his wife’s birthday. Anyone who has seen Mad Men knows that having that person who can handle all of life’s little interruptions and needs would be amazing. Virtual assistants can do all of that. We have access to everything around you, including restaurants, florists, and courier services to grab your dry cleaning. Using a VA the same way that Don Draper used his secretaries can save time and allow you to focus on your work.
3.Handling the big stuff – If you are a salesperson, you might not be the best bookkeeper in the world. It’s not your job to be a bookkeeper; it’s your job to sell. Hiring a specialist VA who can handle the important, but time-consuming, tasks that you need to do to be at your best can save you a lot of pain and lost productivity. A bookkeeper can make sure that your monthly sales reports are accurate. A legal VA can make sure that your contracts are acceptable from a legal standpoint.
There are great many ways that a VA can help you save time. How do they help you save money? Simple. It is usually much less expensive to hire a VA in another country than it is to hire someone who lives near you. That is the nature of international commerce. Particularly in Europe, you don’t need to go too far either. Many great VAs live in Eastern Europe and can work for much less than someone in Western Europe or the US.
Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek” is an excellent guide to the basics of working a VA. In fact, do like he does and hire a team of VAs and you will be able to scuba dive in Tahiti while your company is making money.