My 400 Hour Work Week
Ok, so technically it’s not possible, but I really do work a lot. My family and what I have left of my friends think I’m crazy. In the past year I worked 42 days in a row without a day off and then another 28 days in a row averaging 400 hour weeks for the past year. I’ve left a girlfriends at 4am in the morning and walked six miles so I could get to my computer and start working.
Yes, I’ve got a problem.
This Was Never the Plan
In fact, it was the exact opposite. Back in 2008 and I had grown sick being a cog in the corporate wheel. I read Tim Farris’s book The Four Hour Work Week and quit my job three weeks later bound for Costa Rica with the dream of creating a mobile lifestyle.
My first web based product failed BAD however I learned some important lessons which lead me into the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) The dream was alive! Surely it would just be months until I was making a six figure income and working four hours a week from some remote beach in Thailand. My parents hate Tim Farris for what they did to me.
In 2009, with my head down, totally defeated, I took another corporate job. I was totally broke. I’ll spare you the details, but by working on my online businesses before my job, at my job, and after my job, I was able to match my corporate job salary.
In May of 2011, I quit my corporate job to chase the dream of my mobile lifestyle. The beaches of Dubrovnik were a reality!
The truth. I was scared shitless.
Instead of jumping on airplane, I decided to open an office with three friends who where also working for themselves but had grown tired of working from coffee shops. I had my very own office and was surrounding myself with people who were also pursuing the dream. I had to pinch myself. This was awesome! At this point in 2011, I was working normal hours, trying to save some money so that I could feel “ok” about leaving the office and traveling.
The Day I Cried
May 25th. 2012 I cried. The dream of making money online and traveling the world had a major road block. I lost my entire income stream in one day. Google had rolled out a update to their search algorithm that was nick named Penguin. What did this all this mumble jumble Penguin tech talk mean? I lost ranking for keywords that drove traffic to my websites. To this day, I hate penguins.
Realizing that it was dangerous to have my online business totally reliant on google’s traffic, I launched my first drop shipping ecommerce site in December of 2012. I had partnered with one of the largest medical distributors in the country and was buying products wholesale and selling them on various platforms including my own site.
Money started flowing in. This was going to be the one!
Surely, I would soon be snowboarding in the Swiss Alps. Disaster struck again, as I got caught in a price war between two 20+ million dollar companies and I was squeezed out on margin and my fledgling company was dead. Shit! You’ve got to be kidding me, not again! Although this online business had multiple sales channels and was not totally reliant on Google, I was simple reselling some other companies brand and product. It became clear. I needed my own product and brand so that I could control margin.
In the Spring of 2013 I had partnered with a friend to start my very first product based company. With my own product, I could sell into traditional brick and mortar channels, as well as sell through the Internet. This was sweet!
If something happened to the online traffic then at least the business wasn’t crippled and could continue operating from the traditional retail store channel. Also, I could create a brand and control margin so that I could not get squeezed out by others. Sweet!
One business idea was ALIVE and the 4hr work week dream was officially DEAD. There was simply too much to execute on. The learning curve was steep.
What is your product? How do you get it made?
How do you get it to the US? Where do you store it?
Who are you going to sell it to? How much are you going to sell it for?
How do you build a brand? How do you pay for it all?
What software do I use? How to I manage inventory across multiple channels?
Why is my electric bill only $12 for the month of December?
2014 was gobbled up learning how to answer all these questions.
This brings us to the present day. Shit! I’m still not on that F#$*& beach in Asia!! I do have a product company that is officially off the ground and I am very proud to say that it can be found in multiple national retail chains. A win for sure, but the work load and hours put in have been taxing.
I work. ALOT. A friend once told me in the process of creating a company “You are grossly under paid in the beginning and hopefully grossly over paid in the end” I realize that I can’t always work 400 hours a week but for the time being I’m learning and growing at an incredible rate. This is my journey so far.
Maybe some day I’ll manage the 4 hr work week, but until then, I’ll be documenting my late nights, early mornings, miss haps, wins, and shenanigans.