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Is it possible to escape the 9-5?

Is escaping the traditional 9-5 attainable? Is it possible to start your own business, outsource, utilize tools, and replace yourself from your business almost entirely?

The answer is simple…

Hell yes.

Anyone who knows me, know’s I love to automate. Everything. I’m not a fan of working a set amount of hours each week. Especially when that number is 40. I can’t wear all the hats in my business. I hate hats.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working a 9-5 or getting 40 hours of hard work in, in one week if that’s your thing. There’s just one problem.

It’s not everyone’s thing. People live their lives, convincing themselves they have to work 40+ hours every week. This belief taints and violates a person’s view of automation. I hear it in conversation all the time when answering the question, “how many hours a week do you put in?” It goes something like this:

Me: “Typically anywhere from 5 to 15 hours in a week. Much of my business is automated at this point”.

Violated new acquaintance: *eyes get really big* “Wow, you are so lucky! I wish I could do something like that…”

Automation isn’t just a fancy word for hitting the lottery and having a “business that runs itself!”. Much more goes into it.

I, and others, put a great deal of time and energy to reach such a place of automation (in my case, a 5-15 hour work week).

This isn’t magic nor is it a secret every guru is keeping from you. Many people run their businesses in a similar fashion. Automation is achievable and it’s clearer now than it ever has been.

PLUS even if you think it’s stupid to work less than 40 hours/week, it would still benefit you to get as much automated as possible, so you could devote more time on other things that make you money.

I really do love automation. I outsource personal tasks, like finding a maid, to Fancy Hands and other similar services. I’d rather spend time with my friends, binge watching Netflix, not scrubbing toilets and doing laundry. It may sound lazy, but its the truth and I promise you, my friends love spending quality time with me every day ;)

So what is the main ingredient for escaping the 9-5? How do you get rid of 40+ hour work weeks?

Virtual Assistants (VA’s). VA is just a short term for independent contractors, acting as virtual staff for your business. The concept can be unsettling. Hiring someone you’ve never met and likely never will meet (all the VA’s I hire are from the Philippines) is a new phenomenon. Fear not, the quality of work from the right VA produces just as excellent work as if you hired from your home country.

VA’s are here to stay, and I’m proud to utilize the services of such incredible people. There’s no escaping the 9-5 hours, without VA’s.

Software can only take you so far (for now). At some point, a human has to do some work. I just prefer to pay people in the Philippines $250-600/month to handle the bulk of tasks for me.

I’ve been working with VA’s for over three years now and I’m amazed how much I learn each year. From Filipino culture and special holidays, to breakthrough ideas for utilizing my team, I’m always learning something new.

I have grown to love working with VA’s and teaching others how to effectively do the same. When describing what I do for a living, I’ll often spend hours talking about different ways I utilize VA’s and all the potential opportunities that come with having a virtual team.

I really enjoy those types of conversations. Maybe a little too much. I’m guilty of day-dreaming about the seemingly endless possibilities of VA’s. Don’t judge me.

More recently, I’ve been insanely inspired about this topic and the freedom in business it affords (especially online businesses). I’ve also been busy with life.

In the past year, I’ve moved to another country, partnered with multiple people in new business ventures, and went back to the U.S. twice. Once for a wedding, and once for a family emergency (fun stuff). Now that things are settled down for me, I launched something I had wanted to do for a little while now. An online MasterMind Group. Check it out if you’re interested in learning things like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), how to utilize virtual assistants, and other creative ways of making money online.

What’s holding you back from getting on the path to freedom and utilizing Virtual Assistants?

Let me know in the comments below. Your biggest obstacle may be one that I, or someone else reading this, has already overcome.

14 comments… add one
  • Dan

    Great post, Andy. I would be interested to learn what specific tasks your VA’s handle for you. I am going to start an online business myself and I think a VA would help greatly. Also – let us know if there is a service/website you use to hire your VA’s.

    Thanks! Dan

    • Thanks Dan. I’ll consider writing a follow up post about exactly that.

  • wesley

    Great post Andy. I would also be interested in how you hire your VA – the process, how do you know if they are good and trustworthy, how much should we pay them, how to train them, how to work with them, and where do you find your best VAs..If you could help all of us who are trying to find one, that would be really awesome! Thanks!


    • I’ve got something pretty awesome in store that answers all those questions Wesley! Keep an eye on the blog over the next week ;)

  • Rose'lani

    Well I hired a VA to do sourcing for me as I already work 45 hours a week. I had her watch your video and she understands the job well. But after working ten hour in one week, she only found me two products that fit my criteria. Now granted, I’m asking for rankings below 85000, but I thought I would get more than that for ten hours of work. Any suggestions?

    • I would be a little more lenient on the rank criteria, and have her keep an eye on products ranked 85k-120k over time. You may find that after a few weeks, something that was ranked 110k shoots up closer to 80k. I also allow items to be included ranked up to 200k if there are 0 fba sellers.

  • Shawn Searcy

    Great Blogpost! Sorry about the accident, but if you don’t mind me saying, this is a great reason for ALL of us to see why building our Online Retail businesses is so important. If Andy had a “regular 9-5” , he would have LOST money getting injured because his income would have been based also on THE HOURS HE WOULD HAVE WORKED! I am still developing my business and moving to more Outsourced work is a major priority to me, please keep up the great work, looking forward to seeing these next Posts and HEAL UP! 😀😷👳🏼🏥

    • I agree completely. In the dollars for hours trade off , Andy’s world would’ve been greatly impacted by the accident. Instead he could just focus on getting better, healing and his blog post while his income didn’t miss a beat:) That’s what I call “success”…living life by your own design.

    • Thanks Shawn! Your comments are always welcome here. It’s been so great to see your consistency and your perseverance. I have no doubt you’ll be running a well oiled machine of a business before long.

  • What’s holding me back right now is cash flow. Having cash on hand to invest in inventory, keeping pace with demand, and grow the biz at the same time is proving to be a major challenge. Feels like a hamster wheel and that I must be doing something wrong.

  • Chris

    Loved the blog, Andy. Not sure how to get started using VA’s, but totally understand how that would free up your time.

  • Yvette

    Great article. I would also be interested in the different ways you use VAs and all the aspects that go with it. I’m still working my regular job but would like to develop a business that can run on its own.

  • Pam

    My hold back is cash flow, too. I don’t even have access to the $199 to join the Mastermind Group- I;m falling behind in my everyday bills and don’t have a job, so am working on selling online. I am just now learning about Amazon and FBA. My eBay business is at a standstill at the moment, too.
    Don’t worry, though. I an digging up little nuggets here and there, listening and applying what I learn. I might be able to join a future Mastermind group. :)

  • Tom B

    Hi Andy, great to see your site and you on periscope. I had begun following TiebyThailand and they know you and talked about you a bit. Anyway, it’s in that 9-9 job that I hated. Lucky enough to take package, severance pay and get on with my life. At 49 I’m not saying I will never work again but if I can SY out of Corp America that would be fine by me.

    Started selling on eBay, and make q few hundred a month. Started to look into fba, I need to reapply I completed something incorrect… But I’m trying to see what I should be buying and how much profit per item do you expect to make it worth while. With each product do you expect to double or triple your money?

    Anywho..great site, ty for sharing and I think I csn learn a lot more here…Tom

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