Dennis Yu

Exposing the 4-Hour Workweek Myth: The Reality of Entrepreneurship

Let’s chat about this whole 4-hour workweek thing that’s been floating around. You know, that idea where you’re sipping a cocktail on a beach, working just a few hours a week, and everything magically falls into place? Well, reality check—it’s not as simple as it sounds, especially for those diving into your careers or hustling as entrepreneurs. Now, I’ve been around the globe as an entrepreneur, and let me tell you, success doesn’t just drop in your lap. Sure, there might be a few unicorns, but it takes serious grind and effort for most of us. Life throws curveballs, plans go sideways, and you work harder than you ever imagined. I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade, but I’ve found that the 4-hour workweek vibe can send mixed signals, especially to those just starting. Working a few hours a week isn’t the magic formula, especially when pulling a fat paycheck. In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve poured my heart and soul into my ventures. Success isn’t about clocking in minimal hours; it’s about putting in the sweat equity and dealing with the unexpected twists and turns. Even if you’ve got what seems like the perfect plan, the real world has a funny way of shaking things up, and suddenly, you’re putting in more time and effort than you bargained for. Let’s be real—success, whether in business or your career, is about grinding it out. It’s about facing challenges head-on, learning from your stumbles, and consistently putting in the work. Don’t get me wrong—flexibility and work-life balance are crucial. But it’s about finding a rhythm that matches your professional responsibilities while pushing you to grow personally. So, as you navigate your path, remember that the 4-hour workweek is a cool concept, but achieving your goals is a journey that demands hustle and dedication. Embrace the challenges, learn from the hiccups, and recognize that the real deal often takes more time and effort than the dreamy idea of a minimal workweek suggests.

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Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors: What It Really Takes to Build a Successful Marketing Agency

This is a guest post by Nick Jaworski of Circle Social Inc. Owning multiple 7-figure digital marketing agencies, I never found the typical social media crowd very helpful. There are a lot of smoke and mirrors in the digital marketing world. Fake gurus are everywhere, but even the bonafide have never appealed to me very much. When I started my agency, I wanted to build something meaningful and impactful. And one thing I learned about impact over the years is that the bigger you are, the more impact you can have. I quickly realized that the majority of the experts out there were one-man bands. Maybe they had a couple of VAs or a Community Manager helping them out, but they’re not what I would now consider to be a large or scalable business. As I’ve learned over the years, that’s about as far as most people want to go. Whether it’s fear, lack of know-how, or just no interest in taking on the huge amount of work and responsibility that comes with growth, most agencies don’t make it past the 3-4 person stage.  I’m a big admirer of Dennis and all the work he’s put into helping young people and really having an impact on the world by sharing his knowledge. He also knows what he’s talking about. When I first started my agency, I had so much to learn and, like many in the same boat, scoured the internet for people to learn from. However, all I ever heard were platitudes like “content is king,” “marketing is about building relationships,” or “tell your story.” From the get-go, my agency was focused on return on investment. What really attracted me to digital marketing originally was the data. The fact that I could tie our work to real ROI, where I could prove our value to our clients. This is where Dennis stood out. I could tell from reading his content that he had true expertise in helping real companies. That’s why I was very interested in sharing my experiences on his blog as he’s the real deal. When I entered the realm of digital marketing, there was something glaringly missing from me in the world of social media and marketing influencers I found online. None of them owned large companies with a lot of staff.  Instead, as I started to network and get into the world of business, I saw all these people running 8 and 9-figure companies, but I never saw these people online. These people led or had built huge companies and most didn’t even have a Twitter profile. More than that, many of their companies didn’t either! That told me that following the online social media crowd was unlikely to be the road to success. Speaking with Dennis, I wanted to share a real story of what it truly takes to grow a successful agency. I registered my business in 2016 but didn’t actually launch it till late fall, so almost 2017. By the end of 2020, I had scaled it to a full-service agency with a consulting wing, marketing wing, over 20 full-time, W-2 staff, and a national reputation as the foremost expert in our niche. Our largest client does over a billion dollars a year in revenue, while most land somewhere in the $10-300 million range. That’s a pretty cool success story, but the reality is that it’s extremely rare and it took a tremendous amount of effort, risk, and investment to get where we are today. This article is not going to feed you a lot of BS about overnight successes and “passive income.” It’s going to talk about the never-ending real work and sacrifice that goes into it. Unemployed and Starting the Business I had been a teacher and, eventually, a school administrator ever since I left university. I had developed a reputation as a turn-around guy for schools, someone who could come in and fix failing programs. This led to me being called in by the largest daycare operator in the US to fix one of their most troublesome schools in Indianapolis, IN in 2015.  That turned into a nightmare. It was in a low-income area with lots of drugs and gun violence. We had just had a shooting at the school less than a year before and now the program was on probation by the state for the third time in less than 4 years and was going to be shut down. My job was to come in and turn it around.  After a year of 80-hour work weeks, no organizational support, and the challenge of finding quality teachers willing to work in one of the more drug-infested, violent areas of town for $8 an hour, I finally got the school re-licensed by the state and on track to national accreditation. It was an amazing accomplishment, but I didn’t want to be there. It’d been hell, so I asked for a transfer to a new school. Instead of transferring me, they told me that, since I clearly didn’t want to be there anymore, they no longer needed me. I was let go that day. That was the last straw. I’d been in education and working for other people for nearly two decades. I was burned out. So I decided to start Circle Social. I started it out of my house in-between caring for my daughter. We had just $2,000 in the bank and my wife was only making $10 an hour, so we couldn’t afford daycare. Circle Social was off to a pretty inglorious start. I was writing 1,500-word blog posts at $10 a pop under the company moniker, but really I was just a freelancer since it was just me and these were piecemeal projects. You see, nobody starts a business charging high fees. Most who do are quickly realized to be frauds by their clients. Their business may limp along for even a couple of years but eventually folds. To succeed in business, you have to charge

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Dennis Yu

What are you worth?

Some bloggers did research and claims my net worth is $213.4 million. And one of the most common related searches on my name is “Dennis Yu net worth”, alongside queries on “dollar a day”, “3×3 grid”, and so forth. I find it fascinating that this is somehow important to people– since what matters most is your character, relationships, and knowledge. By the way, I’m worth far less than $213.4 million. But if I can help 213.4 million people get better at digital marketing— to create millions of jobs for millions for people who serve millions of local businesses…. Then I’d be proud to be this sort of millionaire!

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Dennis Yu

If you never quit, you win.

Around the holiday season, you’ll see an avalanche of optimistic posts from inspired friends taking on new challenges with gusto. Hey, if you get just 1% better every day for a year, you will be 3700% wealthier and stronger. But the reality is that you will inevitably take a lose on some days, no matter how hard you hustle. So be kind to yourself on days you’re not winning. Don’t be discouraged, since your winning days will more than makeup for the disappointments. Faced with unanticipated setbacks, that’s exactly the moment you grow— to exceed where others quit. As long as you don’t quit, you win!

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I’ve seen people quit a few inches from the finish line.

If they only kept going a moment longer, they would have gotten the gold instead of nothing. Later, when their teammates go on to great things, they have a million excuses instead of a million dollars. How awful does it feel to have just missed out? Even if you don’t care about money, things, or success for yourself– at least see things through for your teammates, partners, and clients that are counting on you.

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Social Media

Everyone can add value

I used to be anxious about others potentially knowing more than me. I felt unworthy compared to the successful people I’ve met. But then a mentor told me that these are not competitors, but potential mentors and business partners. And you’d want to have the very best on your team, right? But why would these other folks want to collaborate with me? Because you can add value in many ways— you don’t have to be better than them at their particular thing. Fast forward 20 years and I’ve partnered and mentored folks who are brand new to our industry, but have shown a dedication and willingness to serve. To create value instead of taking from me. To reduce the burden I’m carrying instead of adding to my load. Consider where you are… What are you doing to find quality partners?

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Extreme ownership has taught me that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders.

Extreme Ownership has taught me that… This morning, one of my managers requested a raise to the highest pay tier in the company. And he requested that we promote a few other people to the manager. He has the worst-performing team in the company by far. A younger Dennis would have been mad— I would have said “How dare you ask for a raise when your team is wasting money like crazy.” But extreme ownership has taught me that there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. Because I didn’t make his team’s performance more clearly and consistently enforce our standards, he would have thought that merely punching the clock was enough for advancement. And so his team members believed the same, too– that automatic advancement is guaranteed, even if the performance isn’t there. If you want a goal-oriented team, focus on the results, not how much time they’ve put in or how hard they’ve worked. Then you can gladly reward those who get the job done.

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Just keep going.

I’ve been analyzing the most successful people and how they win when most people fail. You’d think the differentiating factor would be intelligence, luck, money, or connections. Nope. The #1 factor is perseverance. Great things take years to build— and that means being able to keep going through the inevitable ups and downs. Having a great team will help you weather the storms. Having money will give you more cushion when things are tight. But perseverance is the main ingredient among the folks I know— to not let discouragement cause you to give up.Because if you don’t quit, you win. Send a clear message to yourself that you’re committed to achieving your goals. Even if your history has been to give up early and not have success. You got this!

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Leverage your weak connections for a network boost.

Your time is valuable.

A friend of mine who just started his agency asked me if he should be giving his time away for free for a Power Hour audit. And I told him HECK NO. Because he’s got dozens of other clients that would love to hire him and buy his implementation packages. Because this prospect insisted on free, instead of paying the $500 for his time and team, and that maybe he could use him as a reference client later. Value your time. Sure, talk to them for 15 minutes for free if you need the business, aren’t already well-known, don’t have a process yet, or know this lead is very likely to be a good client. But if they act like a nightmare client now, imagine what happens when they have paid you even a dollar and feel like they own you? Most people would say that you should try to talk to every lead– because who knows? I say, respect yourself like an emergency room physician who is focused on seeing patients who have urgent needs– not those who want to generally talk about medicine in general or have you explain to them each of the possible surgeries you could do. Do you agree with my advice?

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Work, then play.

I’ve seen so many young adults, so bright and well-meaning, crash and burn their careers. One simple reason and one simple fix… The fix—put in a solid day of work, then play. Playing Bitcoin slots, for instance, is the perfect alternative to manage and overcome stress after a long day. When you face got to-do list head-on, instead of procrastinating, you’ll be surprised how fast you get work done. But if you live in excuse land— waste time complaining, blaming, and otherwise not working— your clients, teammates, and boss will notice you create problems instead of solving them. Wouldn’t you rather be celebrating success instead of trying to put up flimsy defenses? I’m proud of the folks on our team who are clearly kicking butt. Such a good feeling to be there! Help others who are struggling to see this— simply working before playing will solve their issue.

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