You can’t scale your business on a 4 hour week

I read Tim Ferriss’s 4 hour work week probably a decade ago, and met him when he came to do a reading in London not long after. It was a great book, which had a real impact on my life, including my wife and I taking our 4 kids out of school to travel around Latin America for 6 months. As a guide to creating a lifestyle income, I think it’s up there with the best.

The challenge is that many people have taken that book to be a guide for creating a scalable business. It really isn’t that. To build a business that does more than fund your lifestyle takes a lot of graft, time and sweat.

Which is why UK startup owners still put in a ludicrous amount of hours into their businesses, as the latest survey by the International Business Festival shows. It finds that most of us business owners are part of the “always on” culture, and as a result, sleep, family and lunch times suffer.

So don’t kid yourself that you can grow a business on a handful of hours. If you want a hustle to support a (probably single person’s) lifestyle, go for it. I’ll admit to being slightly jealous if you pull it off. But if you want to grow a business that employs people, and the responsibility that comes with that, then be ready for the hours and emotions.

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