How Tim Ferriss’ Marketing Led Me To Burn Out & How I Broke Free

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 June 12, 2020

Ok, the headline is definitely a clickbaity one.

And I have to admit - I’m Tim’s biggest fan. I read everything he writes, I listen to his podcasts & follow everything he says. ​

In fact, I’ve accomplished quite a bit in my life because of Tim. Here are some things from the top of my head:

  • I’ve learned 3 languages in a period of 2 years. If I only included a “study period”, it would be even less than a year. More like 10 months.
  • I’ve helped to build a mid-7-figure marketing agency in less than 2 years.
  • I’ve helped build three mid-8-figure eCommerce businesses.
  • I’ve got 20% in a business that’s generating over $25M+ in yearly revenue without investing any money into it.
  • For over 2 years I’ve lived in Asian, South American, and European countries as a digital nomad.

And all because Tim Ferriss has shared his insights on all the experiments he has done in his life.

So why this headline?

Like every other thing in life - too much of one thing can be too much. I was listening ONLY to his podcast and because of that, I’ve formed my opinions based on what he was talking about and asking his guests about.

In my world - Tim Ferriss was the god.

As it happens with all the gods - we do what they tell us to do. Try this mushroom tea - I order it. Try this love meditation - done. Buy this book - no problem. Meetings are a waste of time - meetings are a waste of time.

What I didn’t realize that all these ideas were not mine. They were Tim’s & they were right in the circumstances he’s living in.

But my circumstances are different. Our organization went from making a few thousand dollars, to building three mid-8-figure businesses. We went from working with 10-20 people to 200 between the agency and our clients (whom we’re helping to hire internal staff too).

We’ve added a lot of dynamics to the business, which means the communication failure is real… Especially for a remote team that we have.

Even though the circumstances were begging me to release my belief of “meetings are a waste of time” and replace it with a new set of beliefs - I didn’t do it.

It was hurting the business & my mental health.

Even though we were still growing at a super-fast pace, I would refuse to have meetings unless they were life or death situations.

I would see me send them random asana tasks on a daily basis, without knowing much of the context behind them. My key team players would not know what exactly I am trying to achieve & would start to get frustrated with me. ​

I kept my ground tight though. I still want to be “wasting my time” at the meetings.

Why?

Because Tim Ferriss said if you have meetings - that means you do something wrong.

And I never examined these beliefs myself. I have never asked, “is it really a waste of time?”. And that’s a dangerous situation to be in.

The Danger Of Adopting Someone Else's Beliefs

I’ve been using psychedelics for over 2 years, and they are the best way to reexamine the sets of beliefs. At least for me.

But I know it’s not for everyone. That’s why I’m writing this section to start looking at the beliefs and see whether they are yours and whether they are serving you.

For the entire year, I was attending 2-3 meetings per week. That’s the max I would do. That’s less than 5% of my time I was spending on work.

This was definitely not enough to catch up with all the marketing departments I’m in charge of.

More than a month ago, due to the situation of COVID-19 our businesses grew 2-3x in a matter of months. I found myself drowning with tasks to keep up with the growth and was trying to solve all the problems on my own.​

At some point, my girlfriend (who a CEO of mine) asked me: “Why are you still doing these things with ads? Why don’t you delegate them to someone?”

And I said that I do delegate, but I find myself repeating the same thing over and over again, yet my team never gets it from the first time.

It was their problem. They didn’t know how to do things.

I was doing everything correctly. Taking the organization to the next level on my own shoulders.

But was it sustainable?

Well, 3 weeks ago on Friday I was so burnt out, that I had to leave the city, to help me relax and do nothing… This was the biggest burn out I have experienced.

And that’s where I understood - I have a big problem.

My team is not up to par with what I’m doing, they need training and short, to-the-point meetings will help us actually move forwards quicker.​

So my Tim Ferriss’ mindset had to change. From a solopreneur, or lifestyle entrepreneur, I had to become a team-player. Master delegating tasks, and making sure my team has a better understanding of the direction we’re going towards.

Hence the meetings.

For 1 week I started having 30min calls with all the team leads, discussing what challenges are they facing, what do they need help with, and asking them what do we need to implement to move forward quicker.

Once implemented - I realized how much easier it is to communicate by jumping on a call and clarifying all the things at once.​

My workload has gone down and now I’m able to focus on things that will grow our organization even further.

Here’s How to Examine Your Own Beliefs

Psychedelics have been the best way to examine them in my own life… But this particular belief somehow slipped through my mind.

So I started thinking about what other methods are there to catch them before they do any damage.

And when I went through this whole realization process - I remembered people who are following me & my eCommerce journey are making the same exact mistake.

Whenever I’m telling them what I’m doing - they’re trying to do it themselves. What they don't realize is that companies I'm working with are generating $50M in yearly revenue. Their challenges are completely different.

So to avoid making these mistakes - I went on a hunt and wrote down a set of questions I will be asking when taking any advice, be it a how-to article, a book, or a podcast.

  1. When was it written? Is it still relevant?
  2. Who was the author? Where did he live? What was he trying to achieve? Who is his target audience?

If business-related - you can ask the question of what kind of business does he have, what size of it is it, etc..

So in essence what it’s saying is that we can’t be following what others are saying. We need to run the advice through our own filters.

When you examine these questions thinking about my “meetings are a waste of time” belief, I could clearly see where the advice was flawed in my circumstances.

Here it is:

Tim Ferriss has created a “lifestyle designers” movement. For me, lifestyle designs mean targeting “lifestyle entrepreneurs”. 2-3 years ago the advice he was giving me was super applicable. I was his exact target audience.

I was working 2-3 hours, earning 3-5k per month, traveling the world. And I was able to have no meetings or very few of them.

Now I'm in charge of more than $3M in monthly ad spend, influencer marketing department, affiliate marketing department, email marketing + SMS, CRO, video marketing teams, and making sure they work in sync… For 3 eCommerce businesses and our agency.​

And having no meetings means… A disjointed organization going to every direction, but definitely not the same one.

Final Thoughts on Tim Ferriss And My Own Beliefs

I’m not here to trash Tim Ferriss.

He’s the biggest pioneer in this internet industry and I can say - if not him, I wouldn’t be in a position that I’m at right now.

Yet, like everything in life - too much of one thing can lead to extremes, which happened in my case.

That’s why I made a promise to myself to start listening to a broader set of podcasts and expand the horizon from where I’m getting my ideas from.

And as for ideas… We all have a set of beliefs that either holds back, moves us forward, or, in some cases, are damaging us.

To avoid that - have a process in place to examine them & make a decision to keep them, or hold them.

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