The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

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  • What are you putting off until retirement or some other time in the future that you could be doing now if you'd stop making excuses?

  • Do what you love so it's not work. If you got 12 months off, what would you do?

  • Don't defer enjoying life, take mini vacations and risks, quit working earlier than you think you should

  • Autopilot business, expertise in market, offer hypothetical product to customers, provide premium membership

  • Gold is getting old. The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design (LD).

  • People don't want to be millionaires—they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy.

  • What is the pot of gold that justifies spending the best years of your life hoping for happiness in the last?

  • D: To work for yourself. NR: To have others work for you. D: To work when you want to. NR: To prevent work for work's sake, and to do the minimum necessary for maximum effect ("minimum effective load"). D: To retire early or young. NR: To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements) throughout life on a regular basis and recognize that inactivity is not the goal. Doing that which excites you is. D: To buy all the things you want to have. NR: To do all the things you want to do, and be all the things you want to be. If this includes some tools and gadgets, so be it, but they are either means to an end or bonuses, not the focus.

  • D: To make a ton of money. NR: To make a ton of money with specific reasons and defined dreams to chase, timelines and steps included. What are you working for? D: To have more. NR: To have more quality and less clutter. To have huge financial reserves but recognize that most material wants are justifications for spending time on the things that don't really matter, including buying things and preparing to buy things. You spent two weeks negotiating your new Infiniti with the dealership and got $10,000 off? That's great. Does your life have a purpose? Are you contributing anything useful to this world, or just shuffling papers, banging on a keyboard, and coming home to a drunken existence on the weekends?

  • D: To have freedom from doing that which you dislike. NR: To have freedom from doing that which you dislike, but also the freedom and resolve to pursue your dreams without reverting to work for work's sake (W4W). After years of repetitive work, you will often need to dig hard to find your passions, redefine your dreams, and revive hobbies that you let atrophy to near extinction. The goal is not to simply eliminate the bad, which does nothing more than leave you with a vacuum, but to pursue and experience the best in the world.

  • I've chartered private planes over the Andes, enjoyed many of the best wines in the world in between world-class ski runs, and lived like a king, lounging by the infinity pool of a private villa. Here's the little secret I rarely tell: It all cost less than rent in the U.S. If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3–10 times as much.

  • Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W's you control in your life: what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and with whom you do it. I call this the "freedom multiplier." Using this as our criterion, the 80-hour-per-week, $500,000-per-year investment banker is less "powerful" than the employed NR who works 1/4 the hours for $40,000, but has complete freedom of when, where, and how to live. The former's $500,000 may be worth less than $40,000 and the latter's $40,000 worth more than $500,000 when we run the numbers and look at the lifestyle output of their money.

  • Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life. —JOHN F. KENNEDY

  • The weight-cutting techniques and off-platform throwing I used are now standard features of Sanshou competition. I didn't cause it, I just foresaw it as inevitable, as did others who tested this superior approach. Now it's par for the course. Sports evolve when sacred cows are killed, when basic assumptions are tested. The same is true in life and in lifestyles.

  • Don't follow a model that doesn't work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn't matter how good a cook you are. When I was in data storage sales, my first gig out of college, I realized that most cold calls didn't get to the intended person for one reason: gatekeepers. If I simply made all my calls from 8:00–8:30 A.M. and 6:00–6:30 P.M., for a total of one hour, I was able to avoid secretaries and book more than twice as many meetings as the senior sales executives who called from 9–5. In other words, I got twice the results for ⅛ the time.

  • The following rules are the fundamental differentiators to keep in mind throughout this book.

    1. Retirement Is Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance. Retirement planning is like life insurance. It should be viewed as nothing more than a hedge against the absolute worst-case scenario: in this case, becoming physically incapable of working and needing a reservoir of capital to survive. Retirement as a goal or final redemption is flawed for at least three solid reasons: a. It is predicated on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life. This is a nonstarter—nothing can justify that sacrifice. b. Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standard of living. Even one million is chump change in a world where traditional retirement could span 30 years and inflation lowers your purchasing power 2–4% per year. The math doesn't work.3 The golden years become lower-middle-class life revisited. That's a bittersweet ending. c. If the math does work, it means that you are one ambitious, hardworking machine. If that's the case, guess what? One week into retirement, you'll be so damn bored that you'll want to stick bicycle spokes in your eyes. You'll probably opt to look for a new job or start another company. Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn't it?
    2. Interest and Energy Are Cyclical. If I offered you $10,000,000 to work 24 hours a day for 15 years and then retire, would you do it? Of course not—you couldn't. It is unsustainable, just as what most define as a career: doing the same thing for 8+ hours per day until you break down or have enough cash to permanently stop.
    • Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive, let alone thrive. Capacity, interest, and mental endurance all wax and wane. Plan accordingly. The NR aims to distribute "mini-retirements" throughout life instead of hoarding the recovery and enjoyment for the fool's gold of retirement. By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable.
    • one month of overseas relocation or high-intensity learning (tango, fighting, whatever) for every two months of work projects.
    1. Less Is Not Laziness. Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.
    • More time equals more self-worth and more reinforcement from those above and around them. The NR, despite fewer hours in the office, produce more meaningful results than the next dozen non-NR combined.
    1. The Timing Is Never Right.
    • "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it "eventually," just do it and correct course along the way.
    1. Ask for Forgiveness, Not Permission.
    2. Emphasize Strengths, Don't Fix Weaknesses.
    • It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.
    1. Things in Excess Become Their Opposite.
    • Too much, too many, and too often of what you want becomes what you don't want. This is true of possessions and even time. Lifestyle Design is thus not interested in creating an excess of idle time, which is poisonous, but the positive use of free time, defined simply as doing what you want as opposed to what you feel obligated to do.
    1. Money Alone Is Not the Solution.
    2. Relative Income Is More Important Than Absolute Income.
    • Absolute income is measured using one holy and inalterable variable: the raw and almighty dollar. Jane Doe makes $100,000 per year and is thus twice as rich as John Doe, who makes $50,000 per year. Relative income uses two variables: the dollar and time, usually hours.
    1. Distress Is Bad, Eustress Is Good.
    • Eustress, on the other hand, is a word most of you have probably never heard. Eu-, a Greek prefix for "healthy," is used in the same sense in the word "euphoria." Role models who push us to exceed our limits, physical training that removes our spare tires, and risks that expand our sphere of comfortable action are all examples of eustress—stress that is healthful and the stimulus for growth.
  1. How has being "realistic" or "responsible" kept you from the life you want?
  2. How has doing what you "should" resulted in subpar experiences or regret for not having done something else?
  3. Look at what you're currently doing and ask yourself, "What would happen if I did the opposite of the people around me? What will I sacrifice if I continue on this track for 5, 10, or 20 years?"
  • Many a false step was made by standing still. —FORTUNE COOKIE
  • More than a year later, he was still getting unsolicited job offers from law firms, but by then had started Nexus Surf,5 a premier surf-adventure company based in the tropical paradise of Florianopolis, Brazil. He had met his dream girl, a Carioca with caramel-colored skin named Tatiana, and spent most of his time relaxing under palm trees or treating clients to the best times of their lives. Is this what he had been so afraid of? These days, he often sees his former self in the underjoyed and overworked professionals he takes out on the waves. Waiting for the swell, the true emotions come out: "God, I wish I could do what you do." His reply is always the same: "You can."
  • Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. —BENJAMIN DISRAELI, former British Prime Minister
  • I realized that on a scale of 1–10, 1 being nothing and 10 being permanently life-changing, my so-called worst-case scenario might have a temporary impact of 3 or 4. I believe this is true of most people and most would-be "holy sh*t, my life is over" disasters. Keep in mind that this is the one-in-a-million disaster nightmare. On the other hand, if I realized my best-case scenario, or even a probable-case scenario, it would easily have a permanent 9 or 10 positive life-changing effect.
  • The most basic of foods and good friends proved to be the only real necessities, and what would seem like a disaster from the outside was the most life-affirming epiphany he'd ever experienced: The worst really wasn't that bad. To enjoy life, you don't need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren't as serious as you make them out to be.
  • Don't save it all for the end. There is every reason not to.
  • If you are nervous about making the jump or simply putting it off out of fear of the unknown, here is your antidote. Write down your answers,
    1. Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering. What doubt, fears, and "what-ifs" pop up as you consider the big changes you can—or need—to make? Envision them in painstaking detail. Would it be the end of your life? What would be the permanent impact, if any, on a scale of 1–10?
    1. What steps could you take to repair the damage or get things back on the upswing, even if temporarily?
    1. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios? Now that you've defined the nightmare, what are the more probable or definite positive outcomes, whether internal (confidence, self-esteem, etc.) or external? What would the impact of these more-likely outcomes be on a scale of 1–10?
    1. If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?
    1. What are you putting off out of fear?
  • What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. As I have heard said, a person's success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.
    1. What is it costing you—financially, emotionally, and physically—to postpone action?
    1. What are you waiting for?
  • You're afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction, realize the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps, and develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.
  • "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where …" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. —LEWIS CARROLL, Alice in Wonderland
  • It's lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for "realistic" goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is easier to raise $1,000,000 than it is $100,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s. If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
  • The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals.
  • Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all. When people suggest you follow your "passion" or your "bliss," I propose that they are, in fact, referring to the same singular concept: excitement. This brings us full circle. The question you should be asking isn't, "What do I want?" or "What are my goals?" but "What would excite me?"
  • This is how most people work until death: "I'll just work until I have X dollars and then do what I want." If you don't define the "what I want" alternate activities, the X figure will increase indefinitely to avoid the fear-inducing uncertainty of this void. This is when both employees and entrepreneurs become fat men in red BMWs.
  • I simply looked at those who were 15–20 years ahead of me on the same track, whether a director of sales or an entrepreneur in the same industry, and it scared the hell out of me.
  • My maxim comes from Samuel Beckett, a personal hero of mine: ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.' You won't believe what you can accomplish by attempting the impossible with the courage to repeatedly fail better."
    1. What would you do if there were no way you could fail? If you were 10 times smarter than the rest of the world? Create two timelines—6 months and 12 months—and list up to five things you dream of having (including, but not limited to, material wants: house, car, clothing, etc.), being (be a great cook, be fluent in Chinese, etc.), and doing (visiting Thailand, tracing your roots overseas, racing ostriches, etc.) in that order. If you have difficulty identifying what you want in some categories, as most will, consider what you hate or fear in each and write down the opposite.
    1. Drawing a blank?
  • "doing" category. In that case, consider these questions: a. What would you do, day to day, if you had $100 million in the bank? b. What would make you most excited to wake up in the morning to another day?
  • one place to visit one thing to do before you die (a memory of a lifetime) one thing to do daily one thing to do weekly one thing you've always wanted to learn
    1. What does "being" entail doing? Convert each "being" into a "doing" to make it actionable. Identify an action that would characterize this state of being or a task that would mean you had achieved it. People find it easier to brainstorm "being" first, but this column is just a temporary holding spot for "doing" actions. Here are a few examples: Great cook make Christmas dinner without help Fluent in Chinese have a five-minute conversation with a Chinese co-worker
    1. What are the four dreams that would change it all?
    1. Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your Target Monthly Income (TMI) for both timelines.
    1. Determine three steps for each of the four dreams in just the 6-month timeline and take the first step now.
  • Even if you work 10 hours a week and produce twice the results of people working 40, the collective request will be, "Work 40 hours a week and produce 8 times the results." This is an endless game and one you want to avoid.
    1. Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? 2. Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?
  • For the entire day, I put aside everything seemingly urgent and did the most intense truth-baring analysis possible, applying these questions to everything from my friends to customers and advertising to relaxation activities.
  • Out of more than 120 wholesale customers, a mere 5 were bringing in 95% of the revenue. I was spending 98% of my time chasing the remainder, as the aforementioned 5 ordered regularly without any follow-up calls, persuasion, or cajoling. In other words, I was working because I felt as though I should be doing something from 9–5. I didn't realize that working every hour from 9–5 isn't the goal; it's simply the structure most people use, whether it's necessary or not.
  • I went from chasing and appeasing 120 customers to simply receiving large orders from 8, with absolutely no pleading phone calls or e-mail haranguing. My monthly income increased from $30K to $60K in four weeks and my weekly hours immediately dropped from over 80 to approximately 15. Most important, I was happy with myself and felt both optimistic and liberated for the first time in over two years. In the ensuing weeks, I applied the 80/20 Principle to dozens of areas,
  • How is it possible that all the people in the world need exactly 8 hours to accomplish their work? It isn't. 9–5 is arbitrary.
  • Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours. If we had 15, we would fill 15. If we have an emergency and need to suddenly leave work in 2 hours but have pending deadlines, we miraculously complete those assignments in 2 hours.
  • Parkinson's Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials. If I give you a week to complete the same task, it's six days of making a mountain out of a molehill.
  • There are two synergistic approaches for increasing productivity that are inversions of each other: 1. Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20). 2. Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson's Law).
  • At least three times per day at scheduled times, he had to ask himself the following question: Am I being productive or just active?
  • Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
  • (1) Define a to-do list and (2) define a not-to-do list. In general terms, there are but two questions: What 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness? What 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcome and happiness? Hypothetical cases help to get us started: 1. If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day, what would you do?
    1. If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing ⅘ of different time-consuming activities, what would you remove? Simplicity requires ruthlessness. If you had to stop ⅘ of time-consuming activities—e-mail, phone calls, conversations, paperwork, meetings, advertising, customers, suppliers, products, services, etc.—what
    1. What are the top-three activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I've been productive?
    1. Who are the 20% of people who produce 80% of your enjoyment and propel you forward, and which 20% cause 80% of your depression, anger, and second-guessing? Identify: Positive friends versus time-consuming friends: Who is helping versus hurting you, and how do you increase your time with the former while decreasing or eliminating your time with the latter? Who is causing me stress disproportionate to the time I spend with them? What will happen if I simply stop interacting with these people? Fear-setting helps here. When do I feel starved for time? What commitments, thoughts, and people can I eliminate to fix this problem?
    1. Learn to ask, "If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?" Don't ever arrive at the office or in front of your computer without a clear list of priorities.
  • There should never be more than two mission-critical items to complete each day. Never. It just isn't necessary if they're actually high-impact.
    1. Put a Post-it on your computer screen or set an Outlook reminder to alert you at least three times daily with the question: Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?
    1. Do not multitask.
  • Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. —ALBERT EINSTEIN
  • Develop the habit of asking yourself, "Will I definitely use this information for something immediate and important?" It's not enough to use information for "something"—it needs to be immediate and important. If "no" on either count, don't consume it. Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it.
  • Practice the art of nonfinishing. This is another one that took me a long time to learn. Starting something doesn't automatically justify finishing it. If you are reading an article that sucks, put it down and don't pick it back up. If you go to a movie and it's worse than Matrix III, get the hell out of there before more neurons die. If you're full after half a plate of ribs, put the damn fork down and don't order dessert.
  • Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.
  • Meetings should only be held to make decisions about a predefined situation, not to define the problem. If someone proposes that you meet with them or "set a time to talk on the phone," ask that person to send you an e-mail with an agenda to define the purpose:
  • SET THE RULES in your favor: Limit access to your time, force people to define their requests before spending time with them, and batch routine menial tasks to prevent postponement of more important projects. Do not let people interrupt you. Find your focus and you'll find your lifestyle.
  • It is tempting to immediately point the finger at someone else and huff and puff, but most beginner bosses repeat the same mistakes I made. 1. I accepted the first person the firm provided and made no special requests at the outset. Request someone who has "excellent" English and indicate that phone calls will be required (even if not). Be fast to request a replacement if there are repeated communication issues.
    1. I gave imprecise directions. I asked him to schedule interviews but didn't indicate that it was for an article. He assumed, based on work with previous clients, that I wanted to hire someone and he misspent time compiling spreadsheets and combing online job sites for additional information I didn't need. Sentences should have one possible interpretation and be suitable for a 2nd-grade reading level. This goes for native speakers as well and will make requests clearer. Ten-dollar words disguise imprecision. Note that I asked him to respond if he didn't understand or had questions. This is the wrong approach. Ask foreign VAs to rephrase tasks to confirm understanding before getting started.
    1. I gave him a license to waste time. This brings us again to damage control. Request a status update after a few hours of work on a task to ensure that the task is both understood and achievable.
    1. I set the deadline a week in advance. Use Parkinson's Law and assign tasks that are to be completed within no more than 72 hours. I have had the best luck with 48 and 24 hours.
  • Using short deadlines does not mean avoiding larger tasks (e.g., business plan), but rather breaking them into smaller milestones that can be completed in shorter time frames (outline, competitive research summaries, chapters, etc.).
    1. I gave him too many tasks and didn't set an order of importance. I advise sending one task at a time whenever possible and no more than two.
  • Our goal is simple: to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time. That's it.22 I will call this vehicle a "muse" whenever possible to separate it from the ambiguous term "business," which can refer to a lemonade stand or a Fortune 10 oil conglomerate—our
  • If you start off aiming to sell a product to dog- or car-lovers, stop. It's expensive to advertise to such a broad market, and you are competing with too many products and too much free information. If you focus on how to train German shepherds or a restoration product for antique Fords, on the other hand, the market and competition shrink, making it less expensive to reach your customers and easier to charge premium pricing.
  • It is more profitable to be a big fish in a small pond than a small undefined fish in a big pond.
    1. Which social, industry, and professional groups do you belong to, have you belonged to, or do you understand, whether dentists, engineers, rock climbers, recreational cyclists, car restoration aficionados, dancers, or other? Look creatively at your resume, work experience, physical habits, and hobbies and compile a list of all the groups, past and present, that you can associate yourself with. Look at products and books you own, include online and offline subscriptions, and ask yourself, "What groups of people purchase the same?" Which magazines, websites, and newsletters do you read on a regular basis?
    1. Which of the groups you identified have their own magazines? Visit a large bookstore such as Barnes & Noble and browse the magazine rack for smaller specialty magazines to brainstorm additional niches. There are literally thousands of occupation- and interest/hobby-specific magazines to choose from. Use Writer's Market to identify magazine options outside the bookstores. Narrow the groups from question 1 above to those that are reachable through one or two small magazines. It's not important that these groups all have a lot of money (e.g., golfers)—only that they spend money (amateur athletes, bass fishermen, etc.) on products of some type. Call these magazines, speak to the advertising directors, and tell them that you are considering advertising; ask them to e-mail their current advertising rate card and include both readership numbers and magazine back-issue samples. Search the back issues for repeat advertisers who sell direct-to-consumer via 800 numbers or websites—the more repeat advertisers, and the more frequent their ads, the more profitable a magazine is for them … and will be for us.
  • Pick the two markets that you are most familiar with that have their own magazines with full-page advertising that costs less than $5,000. There should be no fewer than 15,000 readers.
  • It Should Cost the Customer $50–200.
    1. Higher pricing means that we can sell fewer units—and thus manage fewer customers—and fulfill our dreamlines. It's faster. 2. Higher pricing attracts lower-maintenance customers (better credit, fewer complaints/questions, fewer returns, etc.). It's less headache. This is HUGE. 3. Higher pricing also creates higher profit margins. It's safer.
  • I personally aim for an 8–10 × markup,
  • It Should Be Fully Explainable in a Good Online FAQ.
  • Information products are low-cost, fast to manufacture, and time-consuming for competitors to duplicate.
  • Use the following questions to brainstorm potential how-to or informational products that can be sold to your markets using your expertise or borrowed expertise. Aim for a combination of formats that will lend itself to $50–200 pricing, such as a combination of two CDs (30–90 minutes each), a 40-page transcription of the CDs, and a 10-page quickstart guide. Digital delivery is perfectly acceptable—in some cases, ideal—if you can create a high enough perceived value.
    1. How can you tailor a general skill for your market—what I call "niching down"—or add to what is being sold successfully in your target magazines?
    1. What skills are you interested in that you—and others in your markets—would pay to learn? Become an expert in this skill for yourself and then create a product to teach the same.
    1. What experts could you interview and record to create a sellable audio CD? These people do not need to be the best, but just better than most. Offer them a digital master copy of the interview to do with or sell as they like (this is often enough) and/or offer them a small up-front or ongoing royalty payment.
    1. Do you have a failure-to-success story that could be turned into a how-to product for others? Consider problems you've overcome in the past, both professional and personal.
  • The Expert Builder: How to Become a Top Expert in 4 Weeks
    1. Join two or three related trade organizations with official-sounding names.
    1. Read the three top-selling books on your topic (search historical New York Times bestseller lists online) and summarize each on one page.
    1. Give one free one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university, using posters to advertise. Then do the same at branches of two well-known big companies (AT&T, IBM, etc.) located in the same area. Tell the company that you have given seminars at University X or X College and are a member of those groups from step 1. Emphasize that you are offering it to them for free to get additional speaking experience outside of academics and will not be selling products or services. Record the seminars from two angles for later potential use as a CD/DVD product.
    1. Optional: Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines related to your topics, citing what you have accomplished in steps 1 and 3 for credibility.
    1. Join ProfNet, which is a service that journalists use to find experts to quote for articles. Getting PR is simple if you stop shouting and start listening. Use steps 1, 3, and 4 to demonstrate credibility and online research to respond to journalist queries.
  • Find the number of monthly visitors for most websites, in addition to the search terms that generate the most traffic for them.
  • Micro-testing involves using inexpensive advertisements to test consumer response to a product prior to manufacturing.40
  • Google the top terms each would use to try and find their respective products. To come up with related terms and derivative terms, both use search term suggestion tools. Google Adwords Keyword Tool ( Enter the potential search terms to find search volume and alternative terms with more search traffic. Click on the "Approx Avg Search Volume" column to sort results from most to least searched.
  • visit the three websites that consistently appear in top search and PPC positions. How can Sherwood and Johanna differentiate themselves? Use more credibility indicators? (media, academia, associations, and testimonials) Create a better guarantee? Offer better selection?41 Free or faster shipping?
  • create a one-page (300–600 words) testimonial-rich advertisement that emphasizes their differentiators and product benefits using text and either personal photos or stock photos from stock photo websites.
  • Free how-to seminars as recommended in the Expert Builder are ideal for identifying popular selling points and securing testimonials.
  • They aim also for second through fourth positioning, but no more than  .20 CPC.
  • Google Website Optimizer (WO) ( This is a free tool that, like Google Analytics, is better than most paid services. I used Google WO to test three potential homepages for and increased sign-ups 19%, then again by more than 16%.
  • In our case, it's the "end in mind" that is different. Our goal isn't to create a business that is as large as possible, but rather a business that bothers us as little as possible. The architecture has to place us out of the information flow instead of putting us at the top of it.
    1. Contract outsourcing companies53 that specialize in one function vs. freelancers whenever possible so that if someone is fired, quits, or doesn't perform, you can replace them without interrupting your business. Hire trained groups of people who can provide detailed reporting and replace one another as needed.
    1. Ensure that all outsourcers are willing to communicate among themselves to solve problems, and give them written permission to make most inexpensive decisions without consulting you first (I started at less than $100 and moved to $400 after two months).
  • 110% guaranteed to work within 60 minutes of the first dose. (This was for BodyQUICK and a first among sports nutrition products. I offered to not only refund customers the price of the product if it didn't work within 60 minutes of the first dose, but also to send them a check for 10% more.)
  • Returns for BodyQUICK, even with a 60-day return period (and partially because of it57), are less than 3% in an industry in which the average is 12–15% for a normal 30-day 100% money-back guarantee. Sales increased more than 300% within four weeks of introducing the 110% guarantee, and returns decreased overall.
  • "Increase sport-specific flexibility 40% in two weeks or return it for a full refund (including shipping) and keep the 20-minute bonus DVD as our gift."
  • Little Blue Chip: How to Look Fortune 500 in 45 Minutes
    1. Don't be the CEO or founder. Being the "CEO" or "Founder" screams start-up. Give yourself the mid-level title of "vice president" (VP), "director," or something similar that can be added to depending on the occasion (Director of Sales, Director of Business Development, etc.). For negotiation purposes as well, remember that it is best not to appear to be the ultimate decision-maker.
    1. Put multiple e-mail and phone contacts on the website. Put various e-mail addresses on the "contact us" page for different departments, such as "human resources," "sales," "general inquiries," "wholesale distribution," "media/PR," "investors," "web comments," "order status," and so on.
  • Step 1: Increase Investment
  • wants the company to invest as much as possible in him so that the loss is greater if he quits.
  • Step 2: Prove Increased Output Offsite
  • Step 3: Prepare the Quantifiable Business Benefit Third, Sherwood creates a bullet-point list of how much more he achieved outside the office with explanations. He realizes that he needs to present remote working as a good business decision and not a personal perk.
  • Step 4: Propose a Revocable Trial Period
  • Sherwood didn't expect to get two days per week approved. He asked for two so that, in the case his boss refused, he could ask for just one as a fallback position (bracketing).
  • Step 5: Expand Remote Time Sherwood ensures that his days outside of the office are his most productive to date, even minimally dropping in-office production to heighten the contrast.
  • Practice the art of getting past "no" before proposing. Go to farmers' markets to negotiate prices, ask for free first-class upgrades, ask for compensation if you encounter poor service in restaurants, and otherwise ask for the world and practice using the following magic questions when people refuse to give it to you. "What would I need to do to [desired outcome]?" "Under what circumstances would you [desired outcome]?" "Have you ever made an exception?" "I'm sure you've made an exception before, haven't you?" (If no for either of the last two, ask, "Why not?" If yes, ask, "Why?")
  • Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. —THOMAS J. WATSON, founder of IBM
  • There are two types of mistakes: mistakes of ambition and mistakes of sloth. The first is the result of a decision to act—to do something. This type of mistake is made with incomplete information, as it's impossible to have all the facts beforehand. This is to be encouraged. Fortune favors the bold. The second is the result of a decision of sloth—to not do something—wherein we refuse to change a bad situation out of fear despite having all the facts. This is how learning experiences become terminal punishments, bad relationships become bad marriages, and poor job choices become lifelong prison sentences.
  • Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment. —PAUL FUSSELL, Abroad
  • "But … What do you do with the rest of your time?" The Mexican looked up and smiled. "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Julia, and stroll into the village each evening, where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor."
  • "Dude, what on earth would you do with $3–10 million per year?" I asked. His answer? "I would take a long trip to Thailand." That just about sums up one of the biggest self-deceptions of our modern age: extended world travel as the domain of the ultrarich.
  • The Birth of Mini-Retirements and the Death of Vacations
  • There is more to life than increasing its speed. —MOHANDAS GANDHI
  • "Why not take the usual 20–30-year retirement and redistribute it throughout life instead of saving it all for the end?"
  • Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything. —CHARLES KURALT, CBS news reporter
  • The alternative to binge travel—the mini-retirement—entails relocating to one place for one to six months before going home or moving to another locale. It is the anti-vacation in the most positive sense. Though it can be relaxing, the mini-retirement is not an escape from your life but a reexamination of it—the creation of a blank slate.
  • The mini-retirement is defined as recurring—it is a lifestyle. I currently take three or four mini-retirements per year and know dozens who do the same. Sometimes these sojourns take me around the world; oftentimes they take me around the corner—Yosemite, Tahoe, Carmel—but to a different world psychologically, where meetings, e-mail, and phone calls don't exist for a set period of time.
  • True freedom is much more than having enough income and time to do what you want. It is quite possible—actually the rule rather than the exception—to have financial and time freedom but still be caught in the throes of the rat race. One cannot be free from the stresses of a speed- and size-obsessed culture until you are free from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mind-set, and comparative impulses that created it in the first place.
  • no number of two-week (also called "too weak")70 sightseeing trips can replace one good walkabout.
  • Travelling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building here after seeing Italy. —FANNY BURNEY (1752–1840), English novelist
  • It is fatal to know too much at the outcome: boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his route as to the novelist who is overcertain of his plot. —PAUL THEROUX, To the Ends of the Earth

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