The Virtue of Laziness

Speed Up Your Career by Indulging Your Lazy Gene

The unpaid bills are stacked next to the unwashed dishes. You’ve been short about $1,200 per month since the divorce.

You need something to fill that now-a-memory, two-income cash flow gap. Something that’s not a pipedream. Something that’s feasible, flexible, and powerful. Something capable of producing more dollars per hour than you’ve ever made in your life.

It can’t be a financial investment, because you’ve don’t have enough in the market to make a big difference. So what can you do?

Before shutting down your computer for the night, you check your email. You see an advertisement. But before you delete it, you notice something in the message about extra income. “What the hell,” you think.

You click on the link and it takes you to a landing page titled “The Extra Income Project.” It’s a promotion for a collection of two dozen lessons, each one a different way to make extra money by working part-time from home. The author is someone named Mark Ford, said to be a best-selling author and a self-made multimillionaire. You’ve never heard of him. Still…

You order the EIP program. It arrives immediately, and you spend the rest of the evening looking through the lessons. One of them – “Service Businesses” – is particularly interesting. “Compared to other side businesses, a service business has the lowest barrier of entry,” this Mark Ford character writes. “It can be started with the simplest marketing methods, requires little to no start-up capital, and is likely to put you into business faster than any other sort of enterprise. The one requirement: You must be capable of doing high quality work.”

“I can do that,” you think.

Ford then lists several dozen service businesses, each with a short but helpful description of its benefits and drawbacks and income potential. Under “Landscaping Business,” you read: “This is a great business for people that don’t mind waking up early, enjoy working outdoors, and don’t mind getting their hands dirty… at least for a while. The income potential begins at about $25 an hour and can increase to $100 or more once you have a customer list of a few dozen people. If you are good at managing schedules and workers and do great work, this can easily become a business that makes you six figures.”

“I can definitely do that!” you think.

The next day, you spend $23 to print 500 colorful flyers advertising your new business. You use a variation of one of the pitches suggested by Ford:

Landscaping With Love

I’ll Make Your Lawn the Best

In Your Neighborhood, Guaranteed

First Service Only $10!

The $10 offer is an advertising trick – a “loss leader,” to prove what you can do.

It works. You get six responses in week one and land two Saturday gigs. By week four, you have $380 worth of weekly contracts. Your Saturday is now a workday, but you’re making an extra $1,520 per month.

You do good work, so you start getting referrals. You can, if you want, make even more money by working Sundays. That’s money you could use to lease a new car and maybe buy some new clothes. You’d have some left over for saving.

But do you want to work seven days per week? Hell no. You’re 52, not 22. You want the money but not the work.

There is a “Recommended Reading” section of the EIP program that lists several books that promise to “take you to the next level.” One is called Ready, Fire, Aim. It’s by the same author. Mark Ford. You order the book.

 To Hire or Not to Hire, That Is the Question

After reading the book, you think about your situation. You’re making an extra $1,520 per month by running your own part-time landscaping business on Saturdays. You’re tempted to expand it, but you aren’t willing to work seven days per week. The book has given you the obvious solution: Hire help.

But is it worth the cost and hassle?

Following the book’s guidelines on “analyzing growth opportunities,” you sit down with a pen and a sheet of paper and make two lists, one marked “plus” and one marked “minus.”

On the minus side, you include things like “the trouble of finding someone” and “managing people” and “figuring out the right compensation,” and so on.

The more you think about it, the longer the “minus” list grows. And yet you can’t think of anything to add to the “plus” list aside from “do less work” and “maybe make more money.”

You think, “This is exactly why I never wanted to have my own business. It’s just one long list of worries and concerns. Maybe this Ford guy is more smoke than fire.”

So you decide against hiring help. Instead, you accept a few jobs to do on Sunday mornings. You’ll make another couple hundred per week, and still have Sunday afternoon to relax.

A month later, you realize that you didn’t take into account rainy days and the occasional “Can you come back tomorrow?” You are making more money but working every sunlit hour of every weekend. It is wearing you down. It’s even affecting your performance at your weekday job.

You do the math. Doing everything yourself, you’re making about $50 per hour. You can hire someone to do the grunt work and pay him/her maybe $15 per hour. The difference, $35, would be your gross profit.

There would be some additional costs involved in growing your business, too. Taxes, for example. And you’d probably have to hire an accountant. But on an hourly basis, that couldn’t be more than, say, $5. That leaves you with a gross profit of $30 for each hour’s work.

That’s $20 less than you are making now. But overall, you’d be making about $1,800 per month instead of $1,500 while personally working the same number of hours.

It makes sense. But how do you make it happen? Where can you find a good worker?

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One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise

Popinjay (POP-in-jay) – a strutting, supercilious person. Example from Ernest Hemingway: “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. A writer who appreciates the seriousness of writing so little that he is anxious to make people see he is formally educated, cultured or well-bred is merely a popinjay. And this too remember; a serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.”

 Did You Know… ?

In ancient Rome, men in court swore by their testicles. (The word for “testify” comes from the Latin word for “testicle.”)


From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket

Principles of Wealth: #8 of 61

The desire to work less is not a vice but a fundamental aspect of emotional intelligence. When combined with commitment, persistence, and common sense, it creates economic efficiency.

I was taught that hard work was laudable and laziness was deplorable. These notions still linger as truths subconsciously, in my emotional intelligence. But some years ago, I noticed that a major motivation in working my way up any organization I joined was the desire to do less of the hard and tedious work and more of what I imagined would be easier and more fun.

From one perspective, you could say that my motivation was laziness (if your definition of laziness is not wanting to work). But when I realized that I was perfectly happy to work 24/7 on projects that inspired me, I decided that I should stop chastising myself for not wanting to make my bed in the morning or spend hours setting up meetings and appointments or doing any task that was innately uninteresting – i.e., that felt like “work.”

I realized that this impulse was a form of intelligence. It is the desire to find more efficient ways of accomplishing a given task. This impulse is an important part of the desire to invent new and better gadgets, to create more efficient work protocols, and to delegate work as you make your way up the power and authority chain.

I now separate the desire to do less of the hard or boring work with the desire to do nothing at all. The first I call the efficiency impulse. The second I call laziness – simple, inexcusable, and unforgivable laziness.

I encourage my proteges to indulge themselves in the former and rid themselves of the latter. I do the same every time I am faced with something I don’t want to do. I ask: “Is this the efficiency impulse I’m feeling or am I just plain lazy?”

Something to Think About

In 1950, there were scarcely 100,000 people in prison. Now, there are nearly 2.5 million.

Look at This…


I don’t know who this kid is but she is wise way beyond her age.

She hates the motivational messages that say be the best and she is write. There is, as she says, always someone prettier, smarter, more talented and simply better than you.

Trying to be the best at anything is a fools game.

She says the goal is to be happy and that is true although that needs a lot of unpeeling—which I will do in future messages. But I tell you this: this kid is smart. If I had one tenth the wisdom she has at thirteen….oh, well….that’s exactly what she’s talking about.

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