14th February 2012

The Big Con: Making Money while you Sleep

The four hour work week

 

Tim Ferriss, in his book The Four-Hour Work Week, talks about “mini-retirements.” Now I liked Ferriss’s book, there are a number of great ideas inside. Except one thing – what I see as the Big Con at the centre of it. It is the same con that is sold at the ‘Internet Secrets, 2 Day workshops where you will learn how to make a million dollars a year while you sleep’. And yes, a few years ago, I was hoodwinked by one (or two) of these.

The con? That you too can find a niche for an online business that will make you money while you sleep. And only takes 4 hours a week.

All you have to do is follow Ferriss’s formula (or Mal Emery’s or Daryl Grant’s or Dan Kennedy’s).

It reminds me of the betting systems that people sell: if it is that good and that easy, why aren’t they betting themselves? Or in Ferriss’s case, creating lots more easy businesses – and then hiring someone not quite so smart to administer say 8 of them as a full time job and give them 10% of the profits (that’s what we’ve started to do – though we give them more than 10%).

Those of us working with clients to sell services and books know it can be done. But it’s hard work.

As it always has been. There is no quick and easy way to make money. And the funny thing is, when you get to know the promoters of the Get rich quick seminar and coaching schemes, how honest they are about this.

And about how they get rich from the flow of mug punters. Just like BNI, but that’s another story.

What’s your view?

Cheers,
James

Read about our B2B Marketing Strategy for Lead Generation.

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About James Eastland

Creating Customer Communities for companies selling B2B is my passion—shortening their sales cycle and building market leadership. My role sets the direction and vision of Lead Creation, tapping into the online experience of our large team of young professionals to implement cost effective strategies for B2B businesses.

6 thoughts on “The Big Con: Making Money while you Sleep

  1. I read The Four-Hour Work Week. My takeaway was similar to yours. Making his system work depended on quite a few stretches that few people are likely to master.

    Tim apparently has an enormous about of self-confidence and self -discipline. He’s also a very talented guy.

    However, like you, I got some good ideas for setting priorities, outsourcing and more.

    It’s worth reading, while keeping your caveats in mind.

    [Thanks Larry. And your comments have prompted me to get it down to re-read bits of it]

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  2. Strange, I thought you were a Mal EMery protege … I suspect you didn’t get what you expected from him. But he IS good at upselling and using all the IM techniques to create urgency etc. Overall I agree … most of the people making ‘fast’ money are doing it themselves by selling ‘secrets’ and ‘systems’ to mugs like us!

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  3. Hi Gary, thanks for the post.

    I have a huge respect for Mal Emery, and learnt a lot from him (and Dan Kennedy) in my 3 years of being in his Platinum program. As you can see from Larry’s comment (and he is one of the leaders in this field), there is a lot to learn from masters like Mal and Tim Ferriss.

    What I also learned from Mal and others in the field is how filling the room with punters desperate to grow their businesses (and a huge chunk of them without even a business!) is not Kosher. Not illegal, not fraudulent, just not very nice.

    Though another friend rang me about this post and said that Mal provides a service that many of these people need: a place to go where they can dream. Dream of what we in Oz say ‘they are GunnaDo’ (going to do!)

    As Larry said, it’s a huge stretch. There is just so much to learn, and then, the really hard bit:
    Just so much to implement. And all the pieces need to work together. And they change constantly.

    One weekend?!

    Cheers, James

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  4. When I first read the book I took it as a put-on, not a con. After all Ferriss straight out tells you all about conning people, so how could anyone believe him? Unfortunately a lot of people are swallowing this whole. And Ferriss’s info, compounded with his admittedly creative attitude toward the truth, should be a huge red flag.

    Ferris says he makes 40K per month.
    Ferris says he speaks nine languages.
    Ferris claims to be a consultant/advisor. Would you hire a consulted who admitted in writing to deceiving clients?

    The recommendations in the front of the book come from people whose credentials are greatly exagerated.

    Thanks for writing this. I was starting to feel that I was the only one who thought that this was the biggest load of you know what–that I had read in a long time.

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  5. Hi James,

    I agree with the general point of your post that it’s very difficult to create a purely on-line business that “makes money while you sleep”. And I also agree that there are lots of people trying to sell you on that dream!

    But I would like to spring to Tim Ferriss’ defence here. I don’t think he’s saying you should build an on-line business that runs itself so you only have to work 4 hours a week. He’s saying you should engineer your life/business/job so that only 4 hours a week seems like “work”. In other words, do more of what you love (and get paid well for it), and figure out how to eliminate, automate or delegate everything else. That might even mean you work a lot more than most people, but the idea is that you’re doing what you love so it doesn’t seem like “work”.

    (I know this is slightly tangential from your main point …)

    Gihan

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  6. Hi Gihan, we reposted this post from early last year.

    I agree with your comments about hours of work. And making work your hobby so is not ‘real work’.

    However, a chunk of the book is about how to find a hugely profitable online niche. And how to run such a business. “like how I (Tim) have done”. And he goes into some detail about how little time that this will take us punters.

    Which is back to my main point: if I have the secret to make many millions on line, why put it in a book for $15? Why not get others to do the hack work for you and make a million from each idea yourself.

    Which is the same ‘get rich quick’ sold at a thousand workshops every year.

    You and I know it is not easy. It is hard work. Just as one ‘marketing guru’ admitted to me in private while his best (only?) client was on stage spruiking their rags to riches story. Admitted that their online business selling an ebook was pure luck. And that they hadn’t found another despite a year of trying.

    So what did they do? Went on the circuit selling ‘how to do it’ to other punters. And so the circle continued.

    Yes, I know I’m a cynic! And it is still a pretty good book.

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