In my conversation with Andrea Lee on Friday, we talked about a multitude of ways to reduce the struggle in building a great business. One of the most interesting concepts was what she calls "unwork."
To explain it, she asked the simple question:
How could you double your income by cutting your workload in half?
To many smart and hardworking entrepreneurs, this can sound like heresy. We easily fall prey to the outdated notion that more work = more money.
In reality, doing the right things will lead us to more money, more free time and more satisfaction, if that is what we desire. A lot of the work activities we spend our time doing are either:
- Low value
- Low priority
- "Delegate-able" as in someone else could do them better, cheaper and faster
Tim Ferriss, the cage fighting-tango contest winning-Chinese martial arts champion-master of viral promotion and author that just wrote 4 Hour Workweek encourages the same thing, just using different techniques and math.
Citing economist Vilfredo Pareto’s law of income distribution called "Pareto’s Law," he points out that 80% of company profits come from 20% of the customers.
To get started cutting your own work in half (or 80 or 90% – the more the better!), try the following things:
- List all of your current customers and the amount of business you do with each
- List all of the activities you do to run, market and sell your business
And with each of the items on your list, ask yourself:
Of all the people I am working with or tasks I am working on which are the most profitable? Which are the least?
- What would be the result if I simply stopped doing this task?
- How could I automate this task so that my time and energy wouldn’t be required to complete it?
- Who could do this task for me so that I could free up my time to do something else?
Some of the lore and mythology around entrepreneurship is working all hours of the day and night, obsessing about details and never resting. If you fall under this spell, you will most likely find yourself in the role of "entrepreneur with employee mindset," meaning you equate more work with more productivity.
I love how Tim Ferriss sums it up:
"Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action."
Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?
I am excited about applying some "unwork" principles to my business to see what the outcome is. How do you think it might affect yours?