TMBA 061 (LBP61) – 7 Reasons Why Your ‘Four Hour Work Week’ Business Is Failing

TMBA 061 (LBP61) – 7 Reasons Why Your ‘Four Hour Work Week’ Business Is Failing post image

Did you read the Four Hour Work Week and are struggling to get your business off the ground? In this podcast episode, Dan and Ian discuss 7 common mistakes that aspiring entrepreneurs make.

Building a business isn’t an easy undertaking. Listen to this podcast if you want to build a 4 Hour Work Week business, you may be making some of these deadly mistakes.

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Episode length: 34:51

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Published on 05.26.11
  • Dan, all I could think while listening to this episode was “Preach it, Brother!” Talking about people not seeing you as successful, well, my wife and I were talking about a guy in Phoenix who has a big, fancy house and multiple luxury cars and I told her that doesn’t make me envious, but Dan, Ian and the TMBA guys have a lifestyle I’m envious of.  

    I’ve given away most of my personal possessions.  I don’t need physical signs of wealth nor societal signals of success like a “professional”  job. 

    I agree the Four Hour Workweek came at a pivotal time.  It came just before the economy crashed and it gave people a manual to use to find a fulfilling life instead of chasing the societal acceptance through consumerism.

    It was like getting a permission slip to live life.  “Dear Principal, please permanently excuse little Johnny from your institutionalized rat race as he has built a muse and no longer wishes to live like the masses.”

  • Ah yeah, Croc Flip Flops ftw!

    Can’t think of anything else to write because I am psyched to go make a cold call.

    Thanks for the well timed podcast.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Andy! FTW!! love that first time I’ve heard it aaaaand i’m going to start using it. just like that. ftw.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a great perspective on the timeliness of the book, I never thought of it that way.

    Backstory on that party– it was actually inspired and populated by podcast listeners… I didn’t tell the story but what a great day and people coming together on the other side of the planet because of a little show we pulled together… very cool feeling and everyone had a great time. And yes I did use Timmy’s little car, he was pretty cool with it. 

    The whole societal success thing would be really interesting to hear from your podcast because everyone looks at you as a guy who has “made it” but you have a very different idea (and a healthier one I would guess) as to what you mean by that.

  • Awesome! Glad I could impart some lingo to you. If I hear it in your next podcast then I will know where it came from! Haha.

  • I talked about my minimalist journey last year on the show and I don’t have anything new to say.  Hard to say a lot about minimalism.  :-)

    I’ve had to tell my members that I’m not anti-wealth, just against mindless consumerism. I’m full on for being a net producer in society, which tends to produce excess cash.  I agree with T. Ferriss that the excess cash should be used for designing a fulfilling life.

  • Anonymous

    haha…. this sort of mindset shift was big for me… in many ways consumerism is a poor strategy at ‘freedom’ once you realize you can do things with your cash, like own your time, or find new experiences and opportunities, you stop leaking it out the backdoor to the tune of some crappy jackets or sneakers… you might save up for a hot whip though, if you can buy it in cash :)

  • Awesome as usual! Definitely gonna keep this podcast handy for all the 4hww haters that come around. I don’t care what anyone says about 4hww and Tim Ferriss – cause that book is ‘The Truth’. Sure, kitche, hype-y, and not-very-accurate title, but the truth nonetheless.

    Dan, your dead on with the reasons people are failing, and people are hating.

  • Anonymous

    haha thanks man. i can imagine a pure comedy gold video: you in a huff exclaiming “hey man! listen to episode #61 of the lifestyle business podcast, THEN we’ll talk!!!”

  • At some point I’d like to read about your interactions with locals and the local economy in places like Bali. When I visited, I got the sense that the expats lived in a bubble, which I think is dangerous for the long term viability of the TropicalMBA lifestyle.

    At some level, that has been my problem with Ferriss. He represents a very cynical kind of currency arbitrage. Especially given the vast potential of the lifestyle to serve a global cultural integration function that goes way beyond both charity and Eat, Pray, Love superficiality.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t quite figure out your perspective here. Where I sorta see this thread of thought going worries me.

    Which is to say: I don’t see Ferriss or TMBA as making substantive claims about how you should interact with treat people from other countries above and beyond extending basic respects. 

    Regarding expat bubbles: I don’t have a particular problem with them. I think this just an extension of the way most people prefer to live and interact with others. I don’t think it’s particularly cool in the same way I don’t think living in a suburb in America is particularly cool, but I don’t have an outright problem with it. 

    I’m interested in defending from danger, however, so I’m curious as to what you are getting at there.

    Regarding Ferriss’ cynical approach to arbitrage– I’m not sure I’m with you there… to me it’s a basic concept of finding better values because of increased resources of mobility in time… doesn’t strike me as so different than any kind of consumer or investment choice. I don’t see Ferriss advocating a distasteful way to act once taking advantage of those values.

    So if I were to just venture the most baseline example of an internet marker who simply shows up to Bali, checks in to a nice big hotel, hires one local assistant, and hangs out with 3-4 other internet marketers– seems like a win for Bali and for Mr. Internet marketer.  It’s not how I’d roll, but I’m not sure I see the liability here.

    I suppose my ethical concern underlying this is that I don’t want to be presumptuous about how ‘cultural integration functions’ should go. My preference is to show up and respond responsibly and locally to individuals after I’ve listened to their desires (for me this happens more profoundly when I’m working with local professionals, like software developers and the like). So there is an inherent agenda there– which is that I’m trying work with people who want to make great websites and businesses and that’s pretty limited. I’m not sure what else I’d take on at this time.


  • Hmm… I haven’t thought my concerns through, but I think what worries me is the slow emergence of a major global class system with two major classes, separated by a sort of digital divide. Such divides always lead to trouble brewing.

    This Atlantic article captures some of my concerns:

    Though this article is about the super-rich, I see the same dynamics emerging at a micro-level in the global lifestyle-design class: a tendency towards acting like a nation unto themselves that isolates itself from the rest of society.

    The divide exists in Las Vegas, where I am now, between the invisible (and secretly resentful) service classes and the rich who jet in and out. It exists in America as a whole between Blue and Red America (something that hit me hard as I just finished a 3 week road trip through the heartland). It exists in India between the IT sector in places like Bangalore and the rest of the country.

    My phrase “global cultural integration” is perhaps poorly chosen. I meant some effort to make sense of the global socio-economic system and the effect of our actions on it and in it in relation to those of others’. In fact globalization has little to do with it. The main dynamic is not between local and foreigner but between member of the cloud that floats above and member of the ground below.

    Arbitrage by itself is fine, but something about the way Tim Ferriss framed the model bothers me. Perhaps it is an overall tendency in his story to play by the letter, but not the spirit of the rules.

    And yeah, since you mentioned the middle class, it bothers me for similar reasons, but not as much, because the majority of the middle class strikes me as far too stupid to think about what they are doing. But the new global elite, to use the Atlantic’s term, is decidely NOT too stupid to think about what they are doing, and yet seem to perversely refuse to do so.

    For the record, your blog/podcast is one of the rare exceptions :)

    But my thoughts are still muddy. I’ll blog them when I clarify them.

  • I was missing my LSBP! Tim Ferrris has the right idea, and I agree, the concept is the discussion, not the writer. Living in a bubble? Well I think if I was to move to certain areas of the USA I would have to live in a bubble, not all areas are safe.  There are many countries you don’t have to live in the Expat bubble, but to simply not want to, based on ideology, while honorable, isn’t always realistic. I stayed in Jamaica a month, in the sugar cane fields, in a little village that was not used to having “me” there. It worked well, I would not have done it if I had not lived with a local. Now in the beach towns etc, no reason to worry (at least not in Negril).  I think sometimes as an Entrepreneur  you can get just tired, and if you don’t get a bump, either sales, or something inspiring occasionally, it is hard to perform at your best. These podcasts provide a bump, so keep them coming!

  • Good stuff, Venkat. 

    I agree that increasing capacity of wealthy moderns to avoid encounters
    with the poor are troubling. (Your image of the rich floating in a cloud echoes a passage in Zizek’s ‘First as Tragedy, Then as Farce’: “To insulate themselves from the dangers of mingling with ordinary people, the rich of Sao Paulo prefer to use helicopters, so that, looking at the skyline of the city, one really does feel as if one is in a futuristic megalopolis of the kind pictured in films such as Blade Runner or The Fifth Element, with ordinary people swarming through the dangerous streets down below, whilst the rich float around on a higher level, up in the air.)

    I think you’re on to something about Ferriss, Venkat.  It’s hard to place, but there’s something about ‘The Four-Hour Workweek’ that feels overly transactional and acquisitive, even when he’s talking about dancing the tango.  It’s as experiences were there to be vacuumed up and then boasted about.  And there’s something about that kind of hunger that makes me suspicious about the kinds of things you’re discussing.

    As for the rich/poor phenomenon, I’d be keen to hear more about what you think distinguishes this era’s wealth divide from that of past eras. (You mention the digital divide; can you say more there?)

  • Guys-

    Great podcast per usual. Just wanted to thank you for the TED link. I’m a TED junkie and that talk was awesome! 

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed reading the article that Venkat linked to, fascinating stuff. Regarding the concerns– I don’t really share them at this time but I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it if you guys get the inspiration. 

  • Anonymous

    Sweet blog!!! Yeah great talk there.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the kind compliment Bobbie. Am trying to create more inspiration !! 

  • I came to check you out after watching an interview with Tyrone – sooo glad I did!

    really enjoyed the podcast I just listened to and will be back regularly – thanks

    Kym :)

  • Anonymous

    Hey Kym I really appreciate that! Hope you find the show useful…

  • Ian

    I’m really enjoyed hearing Venkat and Matt’s thoughts on this.  But I disagree with most of the ideas here, at least on a practical level.  Curious if you guys have come across anything written from a local’s perspective on foreigner interactions?  An exotic place like Bali or Thailand with tons of natural beauty has a lot of pull for guys that are now in a position to run a business from a laptop.  Naturally they are going to want to get out of their crappy apartment in Las Vegas and work on a beach if they can.  I think most people everywhere are interested in increasing their quality of life.  The rule bending that I see Ferriss exhibiting in my view isn’t to the detriment of others in most cases. I think it’s a bit idealistic and luxurious to approach this without some kind of solution.  I’m betting that paying rent in Bali, buying 3 meals a day and 10 Diet Cokes in general is a good thing for Bali.  And if Ferriss or anyone else writes about it and more people start to show up, I also think that’s a good thing. I’m not super clear if this kind of thinking is coming from some kind of western guilt or if there is real concern for the preservation of cultures or economies — and if so what are the solutions for people traveling around making a living online in foreign countries?  I’m not particularly interested in preserving the culture surrounding gambling in Las Vegas, one of the reasons I don’t live there and pump money into the casinos.  Interested to hear more..

  • Dan wears crocks!! I wish I hadn’t listened to this episode :( My hate for crocks cannot be measured!!! I don’t know if I can listen to LBP anymore…

  • Dan

    True story. You can rest easy though, they are flip flops.

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