Engineering a "Muse" – Volume 2: Case Studies of Successful Cash-Flow Businesses

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The “LapDawg” earns $10,000-$25,000 per month for Tonny Shin.

In the last four years, I’ve received hundreds of successful case studies via e-mail, and more than 1,000 new businesses were created during a recent Shopify competition, but I’ve presented only a handful of a case studies.

In this post, I’ll showcase three successful muses inspired by The 4-Hour Workweek, including lessons learned, what worked, and what didn’t. Income ranges from $1,500 – $25,000 per month…

“LapDawg” by Tonny Shin

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.
Portable laptop table(s).

What is the website for your muse?
http://lapdawg.com

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?
$10,000 – $25,000 per month

To get to this monthly revenue number, how long did it take after the idea struck?
6 months.

How did you decide on this muse?
I got injured one day, severely twisting my ankle while playing tennis. The doctor said to stay in bed with minimal movement. Well, there is not much to do in bed lying around all day, and I needed my laptop. But it was super uncomfortable to use! Your groin area heats up a lot when it’s on your lap, which is no good for a male.  I tried propping it up on a pillow but the laptop would overheat.  I also got sore in a hurry when I was on my stomach.  I needed something to hold my laptop that was portable, ergonomically comfortable, and easy to adjust to any position I wanted.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?
Starting an internet marketing and consulting business. There were just too many negatives. It turned out to be: (1) Un-scalable, since there is only one of me; (2) Time-consuming, not only in the technical/maintenance side, but also educating the client; (3) Cost heavy. You need to find good web designers and skilled programmers, and pay them a good hourly rate; (4) Research heavy. You need to keep up with this stuff all the time; (5) On call. You have to be around if you want to bring in sales and keep your clients happy, no matter what situation comes up.

My most important goal for me planning my own business was all about “ROE,” or Return On Effort, and NOT just “ROI.”  The ROE for consulting would have been way too low, while LapDawg happens to be very high!

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?
The main “A-ha” was realizing that starting with the right complementary partners was key to long-term success!  Fortunately, my job at the time gave me access to talented web designers and programmers. Selling them on the idea, getting the right agreements in place, and then splitting the work involved took time to develop.  But in the end, you have to trust that people will do what they are best at.

To this degree, it substantially cut our initial costs as I partnered up with a web designer, and business analyst/programmer who, by profession, allowed maximum efficiency in getting things done right!

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?
Since my partners lived far away from each other in our city, it was hard to get together face-to-face on a regular basis. We decided that a private online collaboration tool would help us communicate better getting the project up and running.  So we signed up for Central Desktop.  At the time, they allowed one project to be free. Anymore and you had to pay. We definitely maxed out that one free project!

We had good private discussions and everything was documented. It turned out to be valuable in that I can now look back and see what I did wrong or right.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?
Getting the pricing of our product right. Our initial price included shipping. It turned out that, due to the dramatic variations in shipping costs, we were not making any money and actually lost some in our first month.

Raising the price, splitting shipping separately, and changing the value proposition on our website helped significantly.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?
Very important: For Chinese manufacturers, make sure they are the original manufacturer. A lot of Chinese companies will claim they are manufacturers but are in fact middlemen. They will take your requests and modifications, then outsource them to the lowest priced manufacturer who may not produce the best quality, but will give them the best deal. They will go to great lengths to produce authentic proof that they are the original manufacturer, and you have no way of knowing unless you physically visit them.

Hire a consultant who will check them out in person and report their findings back to you.

If you used a manufacturer, how did you find them? What are your suggestions for first-timers?
Make travel plans to visit Canton Fair. Not only is it one of the largest in the world, it’s also a real eye-opener on what brand names companies use to produce their stuff. Each booth will have brochures and catalogs on what they manufacturer, which are free to pick up in exchange for your business card. Make sure to bring LOTS of business cards!

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.? How did they happen?
We were mentioned in Kevin Kelly’s newsletter (contacted him).
Placement in “The Shop” in Rolling Stone Magazine for 2 months. (Paid advertisement)
Hands-on reviews from The Gadgeteer, Virtual Hideout, About.com’s Mobile Office, and Digital Trends (all contacted via email).

Where did you register your domain (URL)?
http://moniker.com

Where did you decide to host your domain?
http://softlayer.com

If you used a web designer, where did you find them?
I partnered with one.

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Make sure that you have your business basics down first. Proper business bank account(s), incorporate earlier, record expenses properly, keep receipts, and get your accounting straight. It’s very hard to switch things over later, so invest some time at the outset and get it right.

Although obvious in practice, it’s hard to do as it is detail-oriented work and requires patience. It takes away from the “real” work that needs to be done but come tax time, you will absolutely regret that you did not do this from the start. It becomes much more error prone and harder to do everything at the end of the corporate year.

What’s next?!
Develop more products, improve our current products, create more product videos, try affiliate marketing, and experiment more with social media.  There is a whole world of exposure methods online.  You have to dig in and try them all!

“Butterfly Repellent” by Timothy Spencer

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.
Natural Defense against social anxiety and stage fright. Safe alternative to beta blockers (when used for stage fright).

What is the website for your muse?
http://butterflyrepellent.com

 

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?
$1,000 – $2,500 per month

To get to this monthly revenue number, how long did it take after the idea struck?
1 year (2 months on market)

How did you decide on this muse?
After watching the documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster,” I learned about a growing problem of musicians and actors abusing prescription beta blockers to mediate the effects of stage fright. I looked to see if there was a natural alternative on the market, and there wasn’t.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?
I was originally working on a relaxation drink (think anti-Red Bull). I had contacted manufacturers and was just about to order product when I learned about the growing problem of beta-blocker abuse. I saw a niche and my business made a major pivot.

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?
1. I play volleyball for my university and tested the initial batches on my team. Positive feedback from the team was very encouraging.

2. I was so excited after having my first logo designed (outsourced on eLance). I made the logo my wallpaper on my computer and iPhone, and showed it to everyone. I don’t actually use it anymore, but it gave real life to the product and motivated me to keep pushing forward.

3. Getting my first few sales online was easily one of the most motivating experiences I’ve had.

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?
The podcast “Automate My Small Business” is GREAT. Youtube tutorials for learning WordPress and Photoshop. ODesk.com for outsourcing and managing VA’s.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?
Waiting until things were “perfect” before going ahead with them. Market presence was held off for months because we kept fine-tuning the website. I eventually realized that things will never be perfect, and most hang ups are self-imposed.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?
Prompt, positive, and courteous customer service is invaluable. I’ve had great success with providing personalized coupon codes for whoever emails with a question.  For instance, if I receive an email with questions from Amber, I tell her in the response that she can enter the coupon code “amberisawesome” for 10 dollars off. A little more work but well worth it.

If you used a manufacturer, how did you find them? What are your suggestions for first-timers?
I used thomasnet.com to contact dozens of manufacturers around the country. I found one that was local and we were able to meet face-to-face. He loved the business idea and liked me a lot. My starting budget was very small and I was able to talk him into developing and manufacturing the smallest order he had ever done. He was happy to do so, which would have never happened without a face-to-face meeting.

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.? How did they happen?
I have tried reaching out to local newspapers, attempting to spin an interesting story for them (e.g. “Local student-athlete finds creative way to pay tuition”). No takers yet, but the effort continues.

Where did you register your domain (URL)?
http://godaddy.com

Where did you decide to host your domain?
http://godaddy.com

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Move things forward quicker. I think I could be 6 months ahead of where I am now if I had made bolder decisions and taken action instead of waiting for everything to fall into place.

What’s next?!
The next big goal is to try and land product on retail shelves.

The company is very young and I see a bright future. November was the first $1,000+ month and with a continued effort in Adwords and SEO, these numbers will only go up.

“ClockSpot” by Jason Ho

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.
Clockspot is a web-based employee time tracking tool, designed for business owners. Employees clock in from any phone or computer. Managers can then check timesheets online instantly.

What is the website for your muse?
http://www.clockspot.com

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?
More than $25,000 per month

To get to this monthly revenue number, how long did it take after the idea struck?
12 months.

How did you decide on this muse?
I originally came up with Clockspot because my parents needed a way to track time for different employees at different offices. Being a techie, I insisted that they hold off on buying physical time clocks, and instead wait for me to make them a simple web-based time clock. Within 3 days, I had a rough but usable prototype.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?
Out of college, I started a social Question & Answer website called Qaboom.com (pronounced “Kaboom!”). It didn’t work out for a number of reasons: partner conflicts, difficulties gaining traction, a failed partnership, etc. I learned a whole lot, but had to cut my losses and move on.

I dabbled in a couple of startup projects/ideas after that, then eventually came up with Clockspot.  I’ve been running it ever since.

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?
The 4-Hour Workweek” really struck a chord with me because my company was growing quickly, and there was this forever-growing list of things that needed to get done. I was working 80+ hour weeks, at the expense of everything else around me: my relationships, my social life, my body… Being a perfectionist, I was very reluctant to delegate tasks to anyone but myself.

After reading the book, particularly the lesson about “The Art of Letting Bad Things Happen,” I decided to outsource support. The obvious benefit was that I no longer had to answer emails and phone calls myself. The most surprising benefit, however, was that it actually increased my focus and productivity by an order of magnitude, which was so much more valuable than the actual hours outsourcing saved me (~20-30 hours/week).

Because I didn’t have to directly deal with customers, I could actually think clearer and make better decisions about the overall direction of the product. Anyone who’s had a startup can probably relate to this: it’s really hard to say “no” to a customer when you don’t have that many of them. Because I wanted to please every customer and acquire every prospect that came in, I had this never-ending list of features to implement. I ended up scrapping this enormous list, and decided to only concentrate on the top 5 items.

Outsourcing support was the stimulus to my four hour work week. I delegated all tasks that weren’t core to my business, moved to Taiwan, then spent the next two years traveling Asia and South America, working only 4 hours/month while my company continued to grow. “A-ha!” is an understatement!

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?
I read a lot of books. About one every two weeks. I had no business experience or real mentors, so I had a lot to learn a lot on my own.

The most influential books I read were:
1) The 4-Hour Workweek (Tim Ferriss)
2) Crossing the Chasm (Geoffrey A. Moore)
3) The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman)

I have since moved to Silicon Valley, so my best resources now are other talented entrepreneurs.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?
I experimented with many different types of advertising: newspaper, magazine, buying leads, and even hiring a company to cold call. They were all a huge waste of money, but I wouldn’t consider any of them to be mistakes… unless I did them all over again!

My biggest mistake was trying to save money on hosting. When I first started, I went with a budget host, and never bothered to switch until my server crashed one day. After being on hold for hours with the hosting company and being transferred a thousand times, they finally fixed the issue 8 hours later. I lost 15% of my customer base that week.

Clockspot is now hosted on Rackspace, which we pay an arm and a leg for, but now our service is 100% solid. High-end servers, hardware redundancy, load balancing, dedicated firewall, daily security scans, etc. We’ve never had a downtime ever since switching to Rackspace.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?
Track everything. A/B test everything. I am consistently surprised at how wrong my assumptions are.

A good example is to always track the performance of your keywords from start to finish. I used to pay for the keyword “time clock” because it brought a lot of traffic, and a decent amount of sign ups. However, it wasn’t until I started tracking actual account activations (when a sign up becomes a paying customer) that I realized “time clock” wasn’t converting at all, compared to the lower traffic key phrase “online time clock,” which was converting many times more than “time clock”.

If you track enough data, you’ll eventually be able to quantify each action a visitor takes into a dollar amount. For example, I know customers that searched “online time clock” and signed up for our newsletter will have a X% chance of signing up, which converts Y% of the time, which translates to $Z/month in earnings.

Now if Clockspot’s monthly growth ever fluctuates, I know exactly which levers caused it.

Where did you register your domain (URL)?
http://www.godaddy.com

Where did you decide to host your domain?
http://www.rackspace.com

If you used a web designer, where did you find them?
I am both the designer and developer.

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Drop out of college to start Clockspot sooner! Just kidding, if mom and dad are reading…

Honestly nothing. I have a tendency to not listen to good advice, which causes me to try and fail, then start preaching that same advice. But as a result, I never really regret anything that I do.

What’s next?!
During my two years of travel, my main accomplishments were:
1) Climbing Mount Everest to Basecamp (where the oxygen is 50% that of sea level).
2) Biked the circumference of Taiwan (~1000 km).
3) Volunteered in the relief effort for Haiti.

I ended up moving to Silicon Valley and plan to start other businesses, as well as get involved in more humanitarian work.

Life plan = loop { create_value(); have_fun(); }

###

Need help with developing or perfecting your “muse”?

This following offer is only available for the next 12 hours.

Click here to learn how you can get a complete site review from me and one of the best site testers in the world… or a one-hour phone call with me. I advise companies like StumbleUpon, Evernote, Posterous, and TaskRabbit, and the least I’ve improved conversions is 21%. The most is over 100%. Ridiculous as it might seem (it is ridiculous), I get at least $50,000 per 60-minute speaking engagement, so this is something I never do.

Want to also get your X-mas shopping done in one shot?

Click here to learn how… and also get a 1-hour group conference call with me.

Posted on: December 11, 2010.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my new book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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222 comments on “Engineering a "Muse" – Volume 2: Case Studies of Successful Cash-Flow Businesses

  1. Honest question here…

    These are all great ideas, and I realize that the presentation here is not sensational in any way, but the numbers presented, 10-25k per month, 25k+ per month, even 1k-2.5k per month, all from start to present revenue in a period of about a year, it just feels a bit like the stuff of infomercials, you know, the one’s where they say “These results are not typical… yada yada yada…”

    I realize the reason “Results are not typical” is because most people put up walls to their own sucess, but comparing these numbers to some of the traditional businesses I’ve seen grow to sustainable, revenue producing ventures, it feels a lot like the “make money fast” stories I’ve become so jaded on. I realize some do make money fast, from the stories above to the truly sensational stories like milliondollarhomepage.com.

    So the question…

    Is my experience in watching businesses grow large but slowly (not my own yet sadly) doing me a disservice by creating limitations that need not be there? Is being cautious and reasonable worth anything or just an obstacle to success?

    Like

  2. Great input, thanks Tim!
    It would be interesting, how these guys managed the financials at the beginning, how many money was needed and how did they get the money, own money? parents/friends? bank credit? venture capital?

    best regards from germany 🙂

    Like

  3. Great post! Some very inspirational cases on finding your muse. However, I am having difficulty trying to find my muse. I am a physical therapist and so its my patients that produce cash flow. There does not seem to be any possible to way to produce more free time in my day and still make more money. I make more by taking on more patients. Waiting for that “a-ha” moment to hit me. Looking for some insight on this. Thank you

    Cary

    Like

  4. Tim, how do you explain the fact that lapdawg.com domain was registered 2006-09-15 while your book 4-hoursworkweek and the site fourhourworkweek.com was only registered and online after 2007?

    To me it looks a bit odd for someone to get inspired by yoru book and to actually have registered the website domain for their idea prior to your book being published.

    Like

    • No idea. You’d have to ask them. That said, I have 100s of domains that I’ve grabbed “just in case,” but I don’t have plans for them. I don’t thing their registration date alone proves any malfeasance.

      Best,

      Tim

      Like

    • How about the possibility that someone had an idea for a product in 2005, registered the website in 2006, and then got inspired by Tim’s book to bring the product to life in 2007?

      Like

    • I’ll tell you exactly what happened. Someone else had registered lapdawg.com in 2005. Because it was taken i had to go with our initial domain TheLapDawg.com which was a main website for a while. I waited on the original owner of lapdawg.com to drop the domain and sure enough he did. I got lucky and picked it up off of pool.com for $60.00. Once i got it and had to switch everything over.
      Just to clarify the book didn’t inspire my idea of the project, but it helped solidify what was already happening.

      Like

  5. Tim, I’m loving these muse case studies! They’re perfectly timely for me as I’m developing my first muse right now.

    Read your book shortly after being fired from a dead-end retail job last month (in my first year out of high school) and I couldn’t get enough of it! Your experiences in your initial young adulthood jobs reminded me so much of my 2010!

    I’m pretty confident in my current idea though… Hoping to start the test phase in the next month 🙂

    Like

  6. Hi Tim,

    love your work, just reading your 4HWW for the second time, love these sort of case studies too, for all the doubters and people worried about profit and cost of startup…..here is a brief snapshot of my muse & business, I currently work fulltime at the moment, but have started a sideline business, inspired by you Tim, I pencilled in some ideas, part of which had to be low cost startup, I found a wholesaler who happened to be close to home, set up an account, started selling on ebay, have an e bay store now, wholesaler dropships for me, so I use his stock, I don’t carry any stock at all! Cost of startup was nil! have been running now for approx three months and turnover is approx $3,000 per month with a net profit of between 35% to 40% and the possibility to go much further, and it takes about 2 hours of my time each week, thanks again Tim for showing me the light…….if anybody in Brisbane Australia would like to contact me and talk muse and business ideas I would love to hear from them…..Cheers Rob

    Like

    • Hey Rob!

      Great to see dropshipping does actually work!

      Very interested in talking with you – coffee / brainstorming/ inspiring and motivating each other for Business ideas.

      I live in Brisbane on Southside/Eastside.

      Drop me an e-mail at your convenience shanemor99@yahoo.com

      Like

  7. Hi Tim,
    I think I have a great idea for a muse and I would love to work on it. Right now I have just one partner (a great friend of mine).
    Unfortunately it seems that we are not able to get all the money we need to realize our idea (The webdesign is going to be very expensive). Do you think it make sense to get another partner like a webdesigner on our boat or do you think its better to wait for a few more month and then do it by our own?
    Thank you so much for your inspiring book.

    Cheers
    Nik

    Like

  8. Another great post. These stories are very inspirational. I have deployed my muse and am currently expanding it.

    There has been talk of what types of muses to use. Whether digital, common product or new product, what matters most is getting out there and doing it. I selected an industry that is very established with a ton of competition, yet I have found a niche that works where I live. A muse doesn’t have to be “sexy” to work.

    Thanks for everything you do for us Tim. You are my hero!

    Like

  9. I am just beginning to read your book and begun a few of your suggestions but for outsourcing I am looking for some type of software or it could be web base to track projects and basic task I give to my VA’s. Can you recommend a few that you have used or know about. Thanks MG

    Like

  10. Hi everyone,I need your help

    I have an idea for a muse,
    is it necessary to patent the idea,the price is too high,
    is there a way to avoid the patent thing?

    Like

  11. HI everyone

    I have an idea for a muse
    it is not clear to me if it needs to be patented
    and it is too expensive

    could you help me with this

    thanks a lot

    haydee villegas

    Like

  12. Thanks for an inspiring article! Your first book really pushed me in the right direction and I am working hard (for now, that is) to get my muse up and running. I loved your suggestions about taking things to India, giving me a nice bit of extra pocket money!

    Like

  13. My problem is developing the prototype for my muse idea.

    I have the web development/marketing ability. What I don’t have is the “design/build the prototype” ability.

    Where do you find others to whom you can outsource this part of the equation?

    Like

  14. Tim,

    I see several posts from folks trying to find a muse or not knowing how to create one.

    One of the simplest ways to jumpstart is through affiliate offers. In your “honey of a book”, you give the shining example of somebody selling sailor shirts and how they used google ads. The same can be applied with affiliate offers, though I’d look for large media buys instead. Google just keeps me guessing too much.

    I’d just like to thank you for all your contribution to my online guitar course/muse and it’s [huge] success.

    It took me two years to develop the thing but only because it was something I am truly passionate about and being that I am [the product], I poured much caution into everything I did including over a thousand hours of video production.

    Lucky for me and thanks to you, not only does it work. My customers love it.

    If I were to give any advice to the gang here, it would be to follow your book to the letter as much as possible and to outsource the second you can afford or justify it.

    AND… Keep it real. Be passionate about your customers and show it.

    I’m hoping to take my family to Italy for a month this year, play guitar, and enjoy the rewards of my muse.

    I hope this helps encourage somebody here. You can do it.

    Jerry
    LGFA

    Like

    • I want to learn to play guitar and I’m looking for a a
      DVD or videos I can use at home. What’s your web site? Your comments on Tim Ferris blog about your guitar product is why I’m writing to you.

      Regards,

      Edgar

      Like

  15. Awesome post !
    What’s really cool about this is that these businesses are not the same.
    The essence of these is that it doesn’t matter what the business is nor what the service is – if you have the passion and the “don’t quit when things aren’t so smooth” attitude, you can make it happen.

    From a personal point: I have read Tim’s book over 5 times now and each time I find more gems at different stages of my business. I have managed to create a business that allows me to work at it literally 2 hours per month. So these methods do work, and these case studies are an inspiration to keep going !

    Like

  16. Hey guys,
    I am working on a product and needed a heads up on something.

    If I were to go to China to check out manufacturers, what sort of questions should I ask, does anyone on the list know a reliable consultant I can work with in Shenzen. or just reliable manufacrurers of electronic goods and laptop/mobile phone accessories.

    I see alot of product listing on Alibaba for what I need but I need to ensure the quality of product and packaging is right for our target market (Kenya).

    There also some shipping / taxation details to work out.

    Regards
    Gitau

    Like

  17. Do you think that 4ww is beneficial to performance based (entertainment) businesses? I am a travelling (would like to do more) international performer who wants to get more business….

    thanks for your answer:)

    Like

  18. Tim,

    Just wanted to add some real time data in with my muse success.

    Hope you are familiar with Kickstarter. It has been an incredible way for me to gauge interest for my product while taking preorders at the same time.

    And all your 4HB fans will love the sleep benefits:

    http://bit.ly/lumiks

    I’m working on getting my process outlined to share once the campaign is over. Some really interesting things about what works and what doesn’t with Kickstarter as a muse platform. I want to reveal what my biggest time wasters and sticking points were up to this point and as we go into manufacturing.

    Hopefully this can be a great resource for our community to watch unfold.

    I would love for people to take a stab at any questions. I am your resource.

    tfh

    Like

    • Dude, I would LOVE to trade a couple emails with you.

      I will be using Kickstarter as a launch pad myself, and would seriously appreciate a few Q&As on do’s/don’ts + getting a reliable manufacturer to prototype your product.

      Let me know. I’d be more than willing to send you a book you’re interested in on Amazon for your time.

      Cheers,

      Kevin

      Like

  19. Hey Tim.

    I have a problem with this…

    I really appreciate you posting the cases, they are very motivating, but it seems that there is something HUGE missing. After reading through the cases, it appears to me that most of these people are adding MORE responsibility and effort to their lives, not LESS. Isn’t that what the 4HWW is all about? Becoming a member of the NR?

    More money is great, but automation is the key, correct? I’m reading in these posts that everyone is working really hard on marketing, accounting, development, etc. and not just in the beginning, but rather on an on-going basis. Shouldn’t these tasks be moved to a VA or something similar in order for the product/idea to truly become a “muse”?

    I think many of these people have become caught up in their businesses and forgotten to create muses. They have forgotten the true vision of the NR:

    We want more time, and I don’t mean added to our “sentences.”

    Could you possibly add another question to your surveys inquiring about how they created a real muse and are now enjoying their lives as exclusive members of the NR?

    Or perhaps another blog post with other case studies from those who really caught the vision of 4HWW and are living the life…

    Thanks man.

    Blake

    Like

  20. Dear tim

    I’m going to take some admission tests at the end of the year to get into a management school. One of the tests concerns an interview with questions about current events. So one of the vital things I’ll have to do until that time is to keep informed about everything that’s happening in the world. Now one way of doing that is to read a couple of newspapers every day. But as you can imagine that’s not really being productive. Plus, I don’t really have that much time to spare with college and the startup of a business I’m currently involved in. so my question to you is how can I do this in the least time consuming and most efficient way? Thanks for your help and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Ps: the 4 hour body is really helping me to get into the best shape I’ve ever been in.

    Like

    • I am also in college and thought that I wouldn’t have the time to start a muse, but as I learn to use my time more effectively I learn that I can make the time for anything, but I often choose certain tasks over others and pretend that “I don’t have the time”. We all have the time, we just choose to use it in different ways. How many hours of class and work do you have a week? I personally wasted hours every week and now that I have a goal to achieve I get more done in one week than I used to get done in 4 weeks.

      To learn about current material I recommend that when you meet up with other like minded business friends you ask them, “What did you read about today?” and get the notes from them.

      Since reading the 4 Hour Work Week about 7 months ago I have read the newspaper once. It’s shocking. All the information that you need to know other people tell you and the other info doesn’t matter after a week.

      PS: Learn to speed read. It makes a world of difference.

      Like

      • Thx for the advance. I was planning to learn to speed read as soon as my exams are finished (as I still have some exams until the beginning of february).

        Just like you, i’ve wasted hours and hours a week, just doing nothing important. I think it’s kind of natural if you’re a student, right? But that’s all changing now. I was always a guy with a great amount of ambition but after reading the 4HWW, I turned from just thinking about doing great things in the future to actually getting up and doing something. I’m still looking for my muse though. This start up i’m involved in is just to gain some experience in entrepreneurship.

        I agree with you concerning reading papers. I haven’t read much papers myself either. Indeed, you will hear the important stuff from other people. But for the admissiontests, unfortunately, I think it will be necessary to do some working and actually reading a couple of business news papers. I think what other people will tell me, won’t be enough, I’m afraid, to pass the tests (since they ask really specific questions).

        Like

  21. Dietary Supplement:

    I am currently developing a natural supplement as an anti-anxiety pill, sleep aid, menstrual relief, muscle relaxer. I am not sure which market that I am going to target yet, but those are all options based on the effects of the active ingredients. If anyone has any tips or advice into the market please send it my way. I will make sure to give you credit where credit is due.

    Like

  22. Hey guys,

    Great comments. I am starting a muse right now and wanted to know if anyone knew where I could find a business partner who can focus on web development. If anyone knows sources or would be interested in going into business please contact me. I’d love to hear from you guys!

    John Childs

    Like

    • Hi John I am a web developer looking for partners (see my other post below) – I’ll get in touch via your site and see if we can work together.

      Greg

      Like

  23. Great to see some inspiration. I am a web designer/promoter and I am interested in helping people get their businesses off the ground (for a cut, partnership or a fee of course – I’m not a charity). I’d like to advertise my services to people here, if that’s alright with you.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions of places I can get in touch with like minded entrepreneurs like yourselves?

    Like

  24. Hey Tim – I’m in the process of reading your book right now, but have failed in one start up already Student Nerds where we trying to connect people needing computer help with a student near by high school or college to fix for them, but the operation side of the business was a mountain and we couldn’t seem to turn a profit advertising. So I am on to my next venture Hold My Cup and I was wondering if people could offer advice on how we should advertise or gain traffic. We have a prototype and potential manufacturers ready, but we are stuck at how to market/sell/drive traffic to our site. Its simply a cup-holder for the bathroom at bars/casinos/stadiums. I have been manually calling and getting contacts on my own, but its very labor intensive and we haven’t made any sales yet to date. HELP would be much appreciated!

    Like

  25. I’m wondering how much each case study originally invested in their muse to get it up and running?

    I’d also love to hear how each person found teams and individuals to collaborate since many mentioned help from a partner or team.

    ~AC

    Like

  26. tim lei tu libro la semana laboral de 4 horas ,tiene buenas ideas ,pero muy dificiles de aplicar en el mundo hispano , yo vivo en Argentina y tu conoces nuestro pais , sin dominar ingles y armar un sitio exitoso de internet en español que venda cosas frabicadas por otros es muy complicado ,casi imposible sin capital , asi que no me sirve de mucho tu modelo economico es muy americano se entiende , saludos desde Santa Fe Argentina

    Like

  27. Tim, Would love to find out more about site optimization and taking a 30-40K/month muse to the next level. The link to learn more is broken.

    Are you still offering this service and checking out web-based, renewable revenue based business models?

    Jesse Hopps

    Like

  28. Well, we have a 3 person team following the 4HWW procedure for testing the muse, with a new product idea. We’re not “young guns” (in our 50s) and got off to a rough start with Google Adwords, however got some good data for one day, corrected our ads, improved our keywords and plan another run. We got 131 clicks, with 71,875 Impr. and a CTR of 0.18% for one test day. We have no base line or anyway to qualify the data. We plan on now running a complete five day test. Who can help us analyze the data to make a good decision going forward?

    Like

  29. This article inspire me to do find my muse. It is more great if I have my business someday to relate in this article. Because at this point in time I am still searching and discovering my passion to pursue. Hence I think experience is the most effective way to discover you talent, because you have be a right person to do you passion perfectly and success.

    Like

  30. Another huge thanks to Tim for his inspirational book!

    These posts and responses inspired us to create an entrepreneur community forum – based on the concepts of community, information, collaboration and inspiration.
    It’s open to everyone and free to join.

    We encourage everyone to stop by and share their entreprenurial journey!

    For any successes community members have as a result we’ll certainly be sure to report back to you Tim, thanks again for the inspiration! 🙂

    Best,
    Warren

    Like

  31. A friend gave me your book for my birthday (1st Feb) and have just finished reading it – completely inspired by your attitude towards and solutions for the many ideas you cover.

    A couple of things -I don’t seem to be able to see the sample marketing page at http://www.pxmethod.com – it goes straight through to bodybuilding.com – am I supposed to click through to somewhere else? –
    and also wondering how you managed to create your own niche in your body building field? I have a completely new idea in the beauty/anti-ageing field that has shown good sales from magazine advertising, but I am struggling to find a niche small enough to bring sales on the internet. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    🙂 Thanks
    Sarah

    Like

  32. Has anyone evaluated the use bean flour (including soy) on the Slow Carb Diet? Soy flour doesn’t have gluten and can fully replace grain flour in many recipes, whereas other beans flour recipes recommend replacing a portion of the wheat flour with bean flour. Not sure what happens if you use entirely bean flour.

    Can this count as a legume? Or at least be used in ones slow carb diet without spiking insulin levels?

    Thanks-

    Like

  33. Tim,
    I’ve been doing the 4HB for 3 weeks. So far so good! Do you know the amazing health benefits of the “nopal ?” (cactus). Try, noplaexoprt.com/healthbenefits.htm. I thought it would go good with the slow-carb diet, what do you think? I grew up eating that stuff. It tastes great with eggs and salsa. It’s better if you can find it fresh & cook it yourself. It is slimmy so make sure to rinse.

    Like

  34. Hi Tim, Hi All:
    I am wondering about secure sites in this day and age and testing the muse(s). I am just a few documents away from being able to test my first muse.

    In the three page website mentioned in the book, I’m thinking that page two and three would need to be shopping cart pages? (i.e. a commerce solution such as pay pal)?

    I’m planning on securing the domain with godaddy, but I’m wondering what everyone’s experience has been with HOSTING and COMMERCE SOLUTIONS? I would like to go long-term for the savings.

    Your input would be greatly appreciated.

    FujiTW

    Like

  35. Hi everyone,

    I have product idea that gets manufactured in china and shipped to germany.
    I am wondering how you can outsource the product storage and delivery to the customer and still have a quality control. How is Lap Dawg doing it?

    I mean they get manufactured in China and you store it at a shippingcenter, right? What if a charge is badly manufactured how do you notice?

    Like

  36. I think that both the information and product are great, so, im in Colombia righ now, I’d like to know if is there a way to get the product here? do you know some stores? Thanks!

    Like

  37. Any thoughts on what type of critical research you did to start your muse? i have so many different idea but how did you narrow your muse and begin implementation? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Like

  38. Any thoughts on what type of critical research you did to start your muse? i have so many different idea but how did you narrow your muse and begin implementation? Any thoughts would be appreciated

    Like

  39. I just cant get enough of these case studies, they are pure gold for entrepreneurs. Besides containing condensed useful info, they are motivating as hell.

    Tim, I would like to see case studies that include examples like the one you mention in the 4HWW regarding Douglas Price and Prosoundeffects dot com (no spamming).

    I am very interested in that concept because the risk of product development and initial investment approach zero, and the simplicity of the process is much higher when it comes to “downloadable” products, thus eliminating the logistics costs (in both time and complexity, I see complexity as a cost), in conclusion, I would really like to see examples related to “download based muses”, either newly created or leveraged, Doug Price style (his whole process consists of a few clicks) how cool is that?

    I really like reading your stuff, it is right up my alley, intoxicatingly motivating, both in therms of entrepreneuring and hunger for travel..

    Like

  40. Hi Tim,

    Love this muse case studies. It makes me green with envy seeing how some startups can take such a short time. besides being a good source of motivation, these “muse” articles are educational too.

    Like

  41. Tim, love your blog. Like your book even more. I picked up the 4 hour work week around a year ago. Kind of funny back then for a 15 year old. Anyway, I’ve been running online businesses since I was early 12 and your book has helped me get focused. I just thought I’d leave a comment to say thanks!

    Like

  42. These are great Tim, especially for young entrepreneurs like myself. A place where we can learn from others mistakes and learn how they made things happen.really like reading your stuff, it is right up my alley, intoxicatingly motivating, both in therms of entrepreneuring and hunger for travel..

    Like

  43. all those stories are great but one critical thing is missing.
    how much are they paying to manufacture or their employees?
    how much asset is required to manufacture in factory for first place?

    Like

  44. Thank you for another informative blog. Where else may just I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal approach? I’ve a venture that I’m simply now running on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

    Like

  45. Reading about the success of an idea as simple as a laptop stand is really inspiring. I love these muse examples and the structure that they’ve been published in. They’ve inspired me to create a website where I hope to document many more similar stories. If you liked these I’m sure you’ll get something out of the site so feel free to check it out (by clicking my name to the left).

    Like

  46. I’d must check with you here. Which isn’t something I usually do! I enjoy reading a put up that can make folks think. Also, thanks for permitting me to remark!

    Like

  47. I have honed in my muse and I am nearing the point where I would like to find a manufacturer. Does anyone know a good site to find manufacturers? Is Alibaba the best place? I would appreciate any advice from someone who has gone through this process.

    Thanks!
    Troy

    Like

  48. Hey everyone –

    I’m a huge fan of Tim’s case studies as they are very helpful in helping readers grasp a better idea of the inner workings of a muse business. I’ve already read through these posts + comments a hundred times so I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could gather more case studies on my own. I want to create a free newsletter featuring various muse businesses to be able to help people looking to create a business (like myself) gain skills and insight.

    Here’s a simple landing page I made for anyone who is interested in signing up:
    http://musecasestudies.simplelander.com/

    Lastly, my email is dardster2@gmail.com I would love to hear feedback and thoughts from anyone. Please tell me how this newsletter would help you.

    Best of luck to everybody looking to redesigning their lives!

    Like

  49. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for pulling this together. Very inspirational. “Starting with the right complementary partners was key to long-term success!” really resonated with me. It’s so much easier when you have congruent partnerships and it lends itself to success.

    All the best.

    Like

  50. It is funny because I did a similar system for an internship, 10 years ago. I was in Highschool. After the internship, I explained my teachers what I had done, but they didn’t understand, and told me that wasn’t usefull…the company didn’t use it either.
    Lesson ? Don’t listen to teachers, see beyond every simple ideas and every task ?

    Like

  51. I love reading inspiring stories and some of these truly are. But “revenue” isnt the same as “profit” (at least not in europe i dont know if this is a US EU language barrier), these examples only talk in terms of revenue. You can make millions in revenue and not make any profit.

    Like

  52. Dear experienced musers,

    Being a rooky and just getting started, I could use some good advice on a question I have concerning developping a how-to dvd. Maybe you guys could help me out;)

    Product idea:
    “Unleash your creativity”, a how-to dvd for amateur writers to get quick and easy in the creative process and fully enjoy it.

    In making the dvd, I will include information from books, other tutorial dvds and the help of an expert. Here is the question: for the books and tutorial dvds, do I have to ask permission to use the information in my own dvd? Do I have to pay something due to copyrights?

    Thank you very much in advance, your help is appreciated big time!

    Ciao Renzo

    Like

  53. I just found this website/blog. Great inspirational case studies. Also, it shows that there really shouldn’t be any excuses. Thank you Tim!

    On a side note, I do have one question; I have had an idea for a muse for some time now, and recently I dug around and found that there really isn’t anything similar out there. Only, I’m a bit paranoid that if i contact a manufacturer they might steal my idea. Is that an irrational fear? or should i look into getting it copy righted or patented before i reach out.

    Thank you in advance,

    Like