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How I Achieved The 4-Hour Work Week

cotton-hammockAdmittedly, I’ve never read Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work Week. I probably should. Regardless, I’ve managed to achieve this lifestyle goal. It isn’t glamorous, but I can now afford to live in a wonderful place by the sea, and pay all my rent and utilities by technically working only four hours a week. I’m not really adding to my savings, but I’m surviving.

How did I achieve this?

1. I moved location.

This was the biggest change. I moved from Manhattan to the Mediterranean. Interestingly, many things like beef and other food items were actually far cheaper in New York City, but when you’re paying $800-900 minimum to sublet a box room, life isn’t cheap. Add another $120 for transport costs. In the Med, however, I pay half that and I’m splitting a seaside duplex with a roof terrace – and I’ve $0 transport costs because I’m right  in the center of things where everywhere is within walking distance.

2. I’m a talented bastard.

Before I conquered New York City, my main job was singing/performing in bars, clubs, and hotels. I had an agent and made a respectable wage. In NYC there was more money to be made behind the bar than on stage, so I pursued that. When you’re averaging $150-$200 a night in tips, you know you’re on to a good thing (one time I even made $400 in two hours). However, in the Med, bar-tending is like slave labor. You make €5 an hour with hardly any tips. You’d literally need to work a full week to make what you would one night in NYC. I did it for two weeks, and I wanted to kill myself, so I switched back to singing and landed a weekly gig. Now a single two-hour gig pays me the same as working a 20 hours behind the bar! In other words, it covers all my rent and utilities.

3. This blog and my books pay for my day-to-day expenses.

Every time one of you handsome lads buys a copy of Naughty Nomad or A Bachelor’s Guide to NYC, Mark takes a trip to the butchers and the vegetable shop. And every time somebody throws $2.99 in the hat for Swagabond, it covers me for a pint. Between books, affiliates links, and the odd freelance graphic design job, I can just about get by. Sometimes my fridge is fuller than others, but I never go hungry.

As I said, my life is far from glamorous at the moment. I’m still not location independent. Sometimes cheese is a luxury, but things are only going to improve. I don’t want a 4 hour work week. I want to work my ass off and plan for my future. Recently, I’ve gotten a ton on clients for freelance work so I’ll be looking forward to getting up off my ass.

Anyway, here’s to the little victories in life.


23 Responses to How I Achieved The 4-Hour Work Week

  1. Ali S May 12, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    You have a Master’s degree in International Relations, a shit-ton of travel experience in nooks and crannies of the world most people can’t spell AND a talent for languages.

    I’m still wondering why you haven’t sought a job at the Irish consulate or embassy? It seems tailormade (plus think of the perks). It’s cush, pays better than singing or bartending and you get to live a good life in some foreign country.

    • mateuszB May 12, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

      simply because working in consulate or embassy is other kind of thing. Just think about waht you wrote and ask yourself if it is right. Nomad would be the last person to hire in embassy. I know few people went this way and beleive me this is not work… is more like lifestyle and you have to begin to think about it very early…

    • Mark Zolo May 13, 2016 at 11:06 am #

      I’ve investigated this job of course. Unfortunately it requires two year training in Dublin before I can move around. Too bit a commitment for me at the moment.

  2. Brianmark May 13, 2016 at 1:32 am #

    Congratulations, Mark! So you pay $450 to split an apartment with a mate? What do you think is your whole monthly expenses? I’m busting my nuts now, so I can make my great escape. I’m just trying to get a handle on how much it cost to live in different countries. Malta is nice. I’ve been there.

    • Mark Zolo May 13, 2016 at 11:05 am #


  3. Brianmark May 13, 2016 at 1:41 am #

    Mark, post a video of you performing. I’d like to see and hear the singing pirate! What do you plan on doing with all those college degrees?

    • Mark Zolo May 13, 2016 at 11:03 am #

      I’ll have that arranged. Any requests?

      • Ali S May 13, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

        A reggae rendition of “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. You’ll be thanking me later when you’re getting some sexual healing yourself after that performance.

  4. splooge May 13, 2016 at 6:07 am #

    affilate links? clarify please. and how do u get your name out for freelance work?
    since thats your bread n butter next to singin an bar tendding gigs.

    this whole time i thought u just save a ton ireland and blow it overseas rinse n repeat

    • Mark Zolo May 13, 2016 at 11:03 am #

      Getting my name of there was hard. I have friends here who work as graphic designers and they refer me. A lot of it is word of mouth too.

  5. splooge May 13, 2016 at 6:09 am #

    do u make money off of web traffic too or just the books?

    • Mark Zolo May 13, 2016 at 11:02 am #

      I make money from some of the products and books I recommend too. (Many of the books on my bookshelf offer handsome percentages.)

  6. obi May 14, 2016 at 1:12 am #

    Could you post a youtube of your singing?

  7. Roberto May 17, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    Hey Mark, so you settled on Spain then?

    • Mark Zolo May 31, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

      Closer to Sicily.

  8. Gustav May 20, 2016 at 12:56 am #

    Sounds like you live on a 1000-2000$ budget? 4 hour workweek is boring, 4 hour workday is just fine.

    • guy October 19, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      agreed, too much free time is almost more boring than no free time

      a few hours a day of work is the right amount, helps you feel productive which is important

  9. Vince May 22, 2016 at 6:36 am #

    Are you a massive sounding guitar player who can play big guitar solos or more of a chord strummer on guitar? Do you use a guitar or other instruments in your gigs?

    • Mark Zolo May 31, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

      Just me and guitar. I play everything from Irish to Spanish to Reggae.

  10. Rob June 9, 2016 at 4:44 am #

    Cool site and great work on achieving your very own 4-Hour Work Week!

  11. cereal killer July 13, 2016 at 12:07 am #

    Mark, with almost 10 years ago when I read the 4H Workweek my life was changed in 3 days completely. The internet is very useful to manage your business from another parts of the world. I don’t like the autor, Ferriss and his megalomaniac atitude, but his ideas was incredible useful to travel much more period than before. It is not such a big deal to work few hours/ week to live in a dream place.


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