A few weeks ago, we asked our community to send all kinds of branding questions they always wanted to ask the author, investor, speaker and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss.
The book “The 4-Hour Week”, through which Tim Ferriss became famous, has been translated into 35 languages and sold more than 1,350,000 times worldwide. The success allowed Tim to build his own lifestyle design brand and make a name for himself.
We teamed up with Tim to ask him all your questions on how to build a brand and start a business that looks and attracts customers.
- Did you already plan to build up your personal brand right from the beginning or was all just a byproduct of your other projects? [from @ kinglis01 ]
“Building a personal brand was never a plan or a priority. That still applies today. Although I want people to know what I stand for (eg lifestyle design, accelerated learning, world travel, educational reforms, etc.), there has never been a strategy in that regard.
I try very hard to be myself – which is sometimes very difficult – and despite the public bullet fire, to be the best possible version of myself. It may sound simple or even ridiculous, but it works for me.
I think the concept of a personal fire is quite new. Did Thomas Edison or Henry Ford have good personnel brands? Some would say yes, but that was never their goal. In my opinion, a personal fire is the side effect of other good goals and consistent action, not because it was the goal itself. ”
- You use many outsourcing services yourself by using virtual assistants; how do you make sure that your brand voice stays consistent? [from Blueberry Dynamic ]
“That’s relatively easy. I never do content outsourcing. Of course, sometimes I also have some help in generating repeatable content (eg a recurring series of links in several blog posts), but in 99% of the cases, I write my content myself.
This applies to the texts on my homepage , emails or headings on the blog , and also all my social media channels. Even now, I am writing all my social media posts myself and I have no intention of changing that. My tweets, when I’m drunk, can confirm that, ha. ”
- If you are at the beginning of a project, are you planning it through to the end, or only to a certain point? And what would be such a point? [from @ gmxre ]
“That depends on the scope of the project. Some projects are 1-2 weeks long. I plan this through to the end. Other projects, such as a podcast, have no given length. Here it is important to have a regulation for these cases. This means that you should always keep an exit open if it does not work.
I mentally commit myself to 6 – 12 episodes, after which I would reevaluate the situation and possibly stop the project. I almost do not need to say that in the end I had so much fun that there are now over 40 episodes . Now my goal is to think about it after 100 episodes next time.
- You work with startups and have your own personal fire. Where is the connection between these two projects? [from @rockybuckley ]
“I think we should move away from the term personal fire. This is a bit disturbing, like any other known, inaccurate term (eg engagement). Therefore, we should use a better, more established term: reputation.
Yes, there is a lot of overlap between my work with startups and my own projects. In principle, I only build startups that create products that I want to use myself; Products that I want to have in this world. That’s why you’ll see many of these products and offers in my “The 4 Hour Week” update – such as Duolingo (language learning platform), Uber (on-demand cars), Evernote (the best note tool in the world), etc ,
These are tools that I use myself and recommend to my readers.
- The whole 4-hour mark seems to be a blessing and a curse to you. On one hand, it appeals to our desire to gain more through less effort and is in the sense of a late-night infomercial that brings sales (I’m a big fan of late-night infomercials, so I say that with my full Respect). On the other hand, the ideas and strategies you present are incredibly influential when people take them seriously and work for them, which is a bit contradictory to the title “The 4-Hour Week” and the response of many people to it. [by Derek Browers ]
“I feel the same way. Critics often rate the book only after the cover (or at least the title), and do not notice that I explicitly point out that you should work hard … but only if you use the right things (such as the 80/20 analysis ).
The overall goal of the 4-hour week and other books is to increase the output per hour in various aspects of entrepreneurial life. Once you’ve done that, it’s up to you how to use the newly gained time. You can plan more recreational activities, or you can double your startup and flatten your competitors. Or both at different times. It gives everyone the only true power: options. ”
- Were you aware of this quasi-devil pact when you started writing the 4-hour week? [by Derek Browers ]
“Yes, but I did not think much of it. It should be noted that this book was rejected by almost 30 publishers and had only a first edition of 12,000 copies! Nobody expected this book to become what it has become and, for example, have been on the NYT list for almost 5 years. It’s crazy.
So yes, I was aware of the potential that it could be misunderstood, just did not expect that to happen in over 20 languages and millions of copies. Oh no! ”
- If you could start again, would you change anything? [by Derek Browers ]
“No. I have no regrets and am very happy with it. I would not change the recipe. One half of me is still not sure how this “career” could happen by mistake.
- Do you have to move away from the kind of branding? If so, how would you tackle this challenge? [by Derek Browers ]
“I definitely want to move away from the 4-hour branding, but I’m a bit nervous too. I have nothing to prove and no matter how I call my next projects or books, I will always be the “4-hour” type – so it will likely accompany me forever. ”
- Do the best partnerships with other brands start by themselves or with a drink? ? [from @_Terasu_ ]
“As well … as. The best partnerships are a breeze. It does not take much brainstorming to do that. Most of my business partnerships start with a casual contact on Twitter or email, followed by a wine, followed by fun collaborations. It must be a dead sure obvious match to be very successful, at least in my experience. ”
- Does it make sense for a local brand to build an online business? Or should one think globally from the beginning? [from @Bayareamade ]
“First, take a small niche. Do not try to cook from the first day on the sea. I recommend reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel to learn more about the topic. The geographic question depends on what you sell, the cost, the execution, etc. Read Peter’s book, read how Noah Kagan and Hiten Shah perform online tests and test, test, test!
You can not think yourself out of the most indecisive. You have to TEST them in real life. Make many small mistakes that can be fixed again, and you will avoid the fatal ones. ”
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