Common Misconceptions of“The Lean Startup” and “The 4-Hour Workweek” – what to doin 2019
Ifyou suspect that “The Lean Startup” is about creating a business on the cheap,think again. It’s just one of many misconceptions that seem to be wrongly associatedwith the title. On the contrary, this book by Eric Ries offers an insightfulstrategy for businesses that want to grow in the shortest time span possible.
Meanwhile,“The 4-Hour Workweek” (4HWW) is regarded as the Bible of lifestyle design andthe ultimate getting-started book for digital nomads and entrepreneurs. On theflip-side, it’s not really about working only 4-hours per week and that’sprecisely where the misconceptions start for this book by Tim Ferriss.
Inthis article, we take a look through some of the most common misconceptions inthese two books and what the authors really had in mind when putting these invaluableresources together:
1. You Only Need to Work4-Hours Per Week (4HWW)
Whenyou finally sit down and read the entire book, you should realize that the 4HWWis not about working less. More specifically, this is an outline of how tooptimize your time and maximize your output per hour. In many ways, you couldalso call this a blueprint for creating the ultimate life-work balance.
TimFerriss is also quick to highlight this for readers and warn against the riskof working like crazy for little reward. What’s more, the author says that theworst thing one can do is trade all your time for money and hold off on doinginteresting things until “someday” or later on in general.
Inreality, most digital nomads, entrepreneurs or freelancers end up working morethan most people. It might sound a little counter-intuitive but the truth is,when you focus on something that you enjoy, working these long hours is not asmuch of an issue for most people.
Takeaway – The 4HWW is more about productivity and finding the right balance that enables one to do that things they enjoy.
2. You Will Need to Travel to Master the PerfectLifestyle (4HWW)
Formany people, they first came across the 4HWW while traveling the world. Afterall, Ferriss talks about the joys of travel so often in the book. It’s alsotrue that working online allows one to travel almost anywhere in the world andthis is often what excites people about chasing this lifestyle in the firstplace.
However,you absolutely do not need to travel in order to achieve the ideal lifestyle.In fact, some people have no interest in travel and simply want to follow apassion or enjoy the freedom that comes with working for themselves. On theother hand, it should be said that travel is often a cheaper way to keepexpenses down during the startup phase as certain destinations are lessexpensive than others.
Takeaway – The 4HWW isnot about travel and more concerned with creating a suitable balance for eachindividual.
3. Outsourcing is the Keyto Success (4HWW)
WhileTim was one of the first people to introduce the masses to outsourcing, thisalso seems to have given many people the wrong perception of starting abusiness. That is to say, it’s never simply a case of opening a business andgetting someone else to do the work. It’s also a sign of poor judgment and evenlaziness for someone to think that starting any business is really that simple.
Inreality, when you start a business, you often need to do all the work yourself.While certain tasks can be outsourced along the way, these are often minor jobsdue to the cost of getting someone else to do this work for you. As if that’snot enough, even when you outsource work, you still need to manage anotherperson and many entrepreneurs find this even more frustrating or time-consumingthan anything else.
Takeaway – Outsourcingis most often something to think about when the company is established and forthe best results, you will need to do the actual work in the beginning.
4. Your MVP is Just aTest-Run (The Lean Startup)
Manyinexperienced founders can misinterpret the meaning of Minimum Viable Product(MVP). Instead of using this as a means to test a well-researched product, theymistake this as an opportunity to fail.
Now,that’s not to say failure is avoidable but rather to point out that successfulstartups put an immense amount of time and effort into creating this MVP.
It’strue, startups can learn from this process, while saving on time and resources.However, the ideal scenario is to get things right first time around instead ofrelying on improvements to succeed.
Inthe words of the author: “Experiments are only as good as your vision”.
Takeaway – Yourhypothesis is everything to creating a decent MVP and the fewer attempts youneed at this process, the more time and money you will save in the process.
5. The Lean Startup isSome Kind of License to Fail (The Lean Startup)
Itsounds like a nice way to justify failure but “Fail fast” is a cliché that Eric Ries has lamented in the past. Yousee, some startups think about the Lean Startup like some kind of license tofail when in reality, this point in the book is about perseverance and knowingthat failure does not necessarily mean the end.
Atthe core of Ries’ methods, you should also find that he is trying to encouragepeople to take risks and change hypothesis when something does not work. Simplyput, as long as the practitioner is learning from the experience and makingchanges accordingly, it’s okay to fail from time to time.
Takeaway – The goal isnot to fail but rather to learn from failure if and when it happens.
6. The Lean Method is Justfor Small Companies (The Lean Startup)
Scalinga business still requires a great deal of capital and this is true even whenthe infrastructure is quite bare in nature. You can see this with some of themajor websites out there such as Airbnb which was essentially just a single web-pagewhen it started out.
Intruth, the Lean Startup can reduce expenditure and enable bigger companies tocreate a much better return on investment for their finances. It should gowithout saying that poor cash flow is the main reason why most startups failand the Lean method can drastically reduce any associated risks in this regard.
Takeaway – The LeanStartup is applicable to any business in every industry, regardless of size.
Whilecertain elements of these books have evolved in recent years, most of thesemethods and teachings are still just as valuable as ever. At the same time,it’s important not to misconstrue this information and understand the truemeaning of both the Lean Startup and the 4-Hour Work Week.