What books have influenced your life?
I’ve read just a few life-changing books. First, it was Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad that got me interested in personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. I read Warren Buffet’s and Peter Lynch’s books on stock picking. Then it was another Kiyosaki book, Before You Quit Your Job, that made me want even more to start my own company – now a reality in the making.
Three months ago I started another life-altering book, The 4 Hour Workweek, a NY Times bestseller by Tim Ferriss’. I heard of this book in June 2007 from a contact of mine that runs the Bay Area Inventors group, because Tim had mentioned the group and some of their products in his book. I didn’t think much of it at first. Then one day on Amazon I got the urge to purchase it – spontaneous consumption is what keeps the country great!
By page twenty I was utterly and completely sold on Tim’s way of life. He has been able to learn a handful of languages, win martial arts championships in Japan, compete in Tango dancing championships in Argentina, earn $40k per month on 4 hours of work a week, all before the age of 30!! Since then, I’ve recommended the book to almost every friend, they’re probably sick of me talking about it. But that tells you how good it is!
Nonetheless, Tim is an extreme case of success, but the methods he uses and tips he gives to aspiring entrepreneurs is extremely valuable. Not all of us want or will be able to get to a 4 hour workweek, but we all want more time with our friends and family, right?
I’ve been able to apply some of his tips to both ideatango and my personal life. Here are some of the ones that I’ve found valuable:
- Outsource – get a virtual assistant. I’ve been working with one since last November and it has dramatically lowered my workload. Go overseas to get them from prices as low as $3/hr or up to $15/hr for skilled workers.
- Cut back on news overload. Do you really benefit from reading/watching/listenting to the news everyday? Cut back to only the most essential reading material – in my case Inc and Entrepreneur magazines.
- Batch email and phone. This is a huge time-saver if you can pull it off… lump all your email and phone activities to a designated time during the day. Set an auto-responder with your cell phone to people to call you for urgent matters. Turn off your office phone and have it go straight to voicemail. Check your email and voicemail only once per day!
- For people running their own business, figure out how to automate as much as you can. It’s easier when your selling a product than a service. I’ve made changes at ideatango to automate and streamline more.
- Forget possessions, get memories. Give up your flat panel TVs and fancy cars. When you look back on life, the only thing that will matter are the people around you and the wonderful EXPERIENCES you’ve had. Think memories, not stuff. A $3,000 trip across South America is worth more than that fancy TV anyway.
- Test market first. Don’t spend your life savings on a business or invention before you make sure it will sell. He has some practical ideas on how to quickly and cheaply see if people will buy your product.
- Dream BIG. This is the most important underlying philosophy of the book. Don’t wait for retirement at 65 (or 75 for my generation) to have fun. Have mini-retirements along the way. Do what you’ve been dreaming of. I want to learn kite-surfing, a 3rd language, go to Oktoberfest and Carnival. I’m getting off my ass to plan these things (not all at once of course), and you need to too!
Take these to heart and start implementing them today. Don’t wait, otherwise they’ll never get done. I hope you read the book, let me know what you think.