Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Damn Good Book

Tim Ferriss has written an amazing book-- basically a how-to guide to living an abundant Hobopoet life. Its called "The 4-Hour Workweek" and its great.

You can get it on Amazon at:
The 4-Hour Workweek

Here's a nice quote from the book:
"Life doesn't have to be so damn hard. It really doesn't. Most people, my past self included, have spent too much time convincing themselves that life has to be hard, a resignation to 9-to-5 drudgery in exchange for (sometimes) relaxing weekends and the occasional keep-it-short-or-get-fired vacation. The truth, at least the truth I live and will share in this book, is quite different."

That quote echoes the Thoreau quote that heads this blog:
"In short, I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely; It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do."

Not a hardship... but a pastime. That, in a nutshell, is the Hobopoet credo. Our mission is to create a life of abundance. A life of freedom. A life of options and choices and opportunties.

Both Thoreau and Ferris are right-- its not hard. Its not necessary to live by the sweat of your brow. Its not necessary to work 40 hours a week.

The obstacles to freedom and abundance are mostly mental and emotional. It took me many years to figure it out. In many ways, this blog is a chronicle of the series of experiments that have brought me to that point. I started with a deep and abiding disgust for employment. That led me to Thoreau and several years of radically simplifying my life. I lived in a car. I lived in a van. I cut back to part-time employment. I lived in Thailand. Little by little groping for pieces of the puzzle.

What I didn't do, until 6 and a half months ago, was start my own micro-business. Why not? It turns out I was able to start the business (a website for English students) for only $150.

It wasn't money I lacked-- it was imagination and willingness to risk. I'm not talking about financial risks. Those were negligible because I bootstrapped on the tiniest budget and refused to borrow any amount of money.

The risks were emotional. What would I do if I failed? Did I have 'what it takes'? As an anti-corporate hobopoet, could I even manage a micro-business? Would I embarrass myself? Would everyone realize I didn't know what I was doing?

My deepest fear was that I'd never get the first customer. I had this irrational fear that I would not get even one-- a total rejection and failure.

Sounds stupid, I know... but those fears were the true obstacles.

Since actually starting, I'm amazed at how easy it is. I kept working, so there was never any pressure to make a lot of money. I never borrowed or spent much, so there was never much financial risk.

In the beginning it was slow, to be sure.. but the first customers came very quickly.

From there, it has been a constant process of testing, improving, testing, improving, testing, improving. For 6 months, I just tried shit. Much of it bombed... some of it proved popular with the members of my site. I kept the good stuff and got rid of the failures. Then I tried more stuff.

I also read every damn book I could find on e-commerce, internet marketing, website design, etc. I read most of them for free... in Borders coffee shop.

That's been my "secret recipe" for every aspect of this project. And it has worked. Each month was better than the last. Then suddenly, this month-- a breakthrough. A 400% increase. Suddenly its making more than my job salary.

Once Im sure this will hold (and indeed, I'll keep working that "secret recipe" to improve things)-- I'll quit my job and become a full time Hobopoet.

What's my main point? My main point is-- you can do the same thing. Realize that the obstacles are mostly mental.

Will you start a micro-business and be instantly rich? Probably not. The secret is to bootstrap, live simply, and keep working whatever job you must work... while you test, improve, test, improve, test, improve. You do this as cheaply as possible. You don't borrow any money. Mostly, you invest your time.

The key, the secret, the only thing you really must do is: Start.

Just start, trust the process, and in 6-12 months you will have your own independent income. You will liberate yourself from wage slavery.

1 comment:

Red Robin. said...


That's a goal I'd like to achieve. I need to find that certain something I can do...