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

This post has been in the works for a while.

One common challenge for readers of The 4-Hour Workweek is the creation of a “muse”: a low-maintenance business that generates significant income. Such a muse is leveraged to finance your ideal lifestyle, which we calculate precisely based on Target Monthly Income (TMI).

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. Here are a few dozen we’ve covered:

How to Sell 10,000 iPad Cases at $60 Each (and Other Lessons Learned)

18 Real-World Lifestyle Design Case Studies [VIDEOS]

In this post, I’ll showcase four successful muses inspired by The 4-Hour Workweek, including lessons learned, what worked, and what didn’t…

In the comments, please let me know: Is this helpful, and would you like more of these posts? What’s missing? If you’d like to submit your own muse for being highlighted, please see the end of this post.

All suggestions are welcome, and I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

“EarPeace” by Jay Clark

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.

EarPeace improves any loud live music or nightlife experience. EarPeace is high fidelity hearing protection that turns down the volume without distorting the sound, it’s virtually invisible, comfortable, reusable, and comes in fantastic packaging.

What is the website for your muse?

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?

$5,000 – $10,000 per month

How did you decide on this muse?

My muse solved my problem. I spent carnival in Port of Spain with my beautiful Trinidadian girlfriend and danced for days in costume next to tractor trailers converted to giant rolling speaker stacks. We recovered in Tobago and the ringing in my ears was louder than the waves. I turned to her and asked if she had ever seen ‘stylish’ hearing protection. She hadn’t. Right then I found my muse.

After all the research, I was confident I could inexpensively design a better product, deliver superior marketing, and construct an infrastructure that would run itself. EarPeace solved the three major problems that people have with hearing protection – it destroys sound quality, looks stupid, and isn’t comfortable. When you use EarPeace, live music is crystal clear (you can even hear your friends), people can’t see you wear it (color of your skin and very low profile), and they are very comfortable (and reusable – high value!). I could also wrap it in beautiful packaging and keep a reasonable margin. And, it’s small, inexpensive to ship, and easy to maintain inventory. EarPeace has proven itself a winner.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?

I was on the verge of opening a yoga studio in Amsterdam. In January 2008, I flew to Amsterdam to do the final walk-throughs, meetings with business attorneys, real estate agents, real estate attorneys, pay roll processors, personnel managers, accountants, special accountants, other people to help me stay in code for the byzantine list of regulations around hiring people and paying them, and the list goes on… TO OPEN A YOGA STUDIO (insert total exasperation). I read half of “The 4-Hour Workweek” on the way out, and the other half on the way home. I knew right then that the yoga studio (especially in Amsterdam) was not the way. I spent the first two weeks of October 2008 in southern China doing factory tours for EarPeace.

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?

The main A-ha moment was the realization that I couldn’t be tied down to a space. A yoga studio (as much as I love my practice) makes you immobile. I grew up overseas and the wanderlust is still strong. I have to run my business from anywhere. EarPeace allowed me to do that.

The other tipping points were making the right decisions about staying tethered to the corporate mother ship. Overdoing it on vacation and taking as much unpaid leave as possible were critical.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?

Over-ordering inventory. This was the biggest mistake. As soon as you get your first run of product, you are already tweaking it and making it better. Bargain and promise the moon on future sales, and keep the inventory low. On the second order (blister packed EarPeace for venues), I over did it. Thank BUDDHA the initial run of boxed EarPeace for internet sales are still almost perfect.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?

Ask as many smart people for their opinion as you can. The forest quickly gets lost for the trees when you are in the thick of operational, distribution, creative, and financial decision-making. Give 5% of the company to a couple of clutch advisers that will give you 1-2 hours per week to review strategy, make introductions, and help drive sales. You CAN NOT do it all by yourself. There are so many marketing communications decisions that make it impossible to do everything alone. And, as quickly as possible, hire someone part-time to do continuous PR.

How did you find your advisers, and what would be your advice to first-timers?

I was lucky enough to have a robust network of professionals and friends that I could turn to for quick advice during ramp up and launch.  My Thunderbird MBA network is INVALUABLE.  However, if people don’t have those sorts of people on speed dial, it’s then a matter of networking.  The American Marketing Association is cheap to join and has several meetings a month where you can meet smart people who are interested in helping budding entrepreneurs.  The SBA has formal adviser programs.  Kauffman Foundation will help connect people.  There are lots of resources, but you need to get out and have lots of coffees, dinners, and beers until you find someone who you trust, who demonstrates the types of core competencies you need, and is willing to be involved / mentor you through the mountain that is starting a business.

How did you find your manufacturer, and what would be your advice to first-timers?

I found my manufacturer through and  I contacted all of them through my business email, because using a Gmail account will not get you serious feedback.  I started off with a list of 20+ potential suppliers and sent them all emails.  Based on how quickly they responded, the quality of their English, and their willingness to answer my questions, I narrowed that list to about ten.  I sent those ten an NDA and narrowed it further when there was no response or issues with confidentiality.

Then I asked them to demonstrate that they could create what I wanted through mock ups, and further narrowed the list to about five.  After that, I used my MBA network to help find an interpreter that could help me with the factory visits and negotiations.  This was critical – you don’t know what you don’t know, and there is a lot you don’t know about doing business in China.  Having someone who speaks the language and can drive the negotiations is worth the money.  After I found my interpreter, I got on a plane and went to Hong Kong.

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.? How did they happen?

“A Ringing Endorsement for Earplugs” on Mashable

– Patrick Dierson on the Jay-Z tour

– The Bowery Presents venues in NYC carry EarPeace

– Thievery Corporation has custom EarPeace

– I am making custom EarPeace for SXSW

These all happened through adviser introductions, lots of blind phone calls, and PR. And, being out there. EarPeace had a presence at every major music festival in the late summer. That is a phenomenal work lifestyle.

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have brought on advisers sooner, ordered less inventory to enable faster product innovation, and spent more money on PR.

What’s next?!

EarPeace is a great product. I am very proud of it. It really works and it’s designed uniquely enough that competing ‘high-fidelity’ products just can’t touch it for normal lifespan. We’re going to transition EarPeace into a consumer, mass-market product. Right now it’s still relatively niche, but EVERYONE needs this. Foam earplugs are great for sleeping, for instance, but you need hearing protection when you are out and about all the time. Whether it’s the movies, the basketball stadium, a loud bar, a restaurant, or the subway. We still need to hear, we just need to turn down the volume. EarPeace does that, discretely, and in a high value way. I want EarPeace at CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart by the end of next year.

Then, I’m taking a break. I’m going back to my favorite Vipassana retreat in Thailand. When I come out after 10 days of no speaking, 10 hours of meditation and 2 hours of yoga per day, and fabulous vegetarian food… the next muse will have manifested itself.

“Summer Jasmines” by Alissa Kraisosky

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.

My muse is a foldable, compactable evening and pedicure sandal. It is patent pending, is launched in the US and currently launching in Japan.

What is the website for your muse?

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?

$1,000 – $2,500 per month

How did you decide on this muse?

I had read Tim’s book on a flight back from a Paris vacation in 2007. I was stuck in a job that was getting more toxic, and Tim’s book got me excited again – kind of like when I was in college and felt like anything was possible. About a year later, necessity became the mother of invention. My feet were hurting walking back to my hotel at a Las Vegas convention center. I wished there was a stylish shoe I could just pull out of an evening bag and wear for comfort. I also wanted something that would easily separate the toes during a pedicure. I pulled out Tim’s book and re-read the chapters on starting a muse, and voilà!

I also used PRLeads and HARO to gain exposure for the product (as mentioned in the book). The idea was put into motion, and Summer Jasmines has since appeared in the Style Network website, attracted the attention of celebrity stylists, and is in the hands of Paris Hilton.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?

I thought about doing something in the medical field (my day job is as a physician-psychiatrist) but read Tim’s experiences with BrainQuicken and decided against it. I didn’t want to do something that was too similar to my day job.

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?

I was walking back to my hotel from a convention in Las Vegas and my feet were killing me – that was my “A-ha!” moment. I did not want to walk back barefoot, so I limped back to the hotel with my uncomfortable shoes on. I did some searching online and found nothing similar to what I developed. I wanted a shoe that could be worn in emergencies, but also daily or to pedicures.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?

I hired a PR agency, but found they needed micromanaging and it was not helpful at all. I did much better with Tim’s recommendations in the book, such as HARO and PRLeads.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?

My product needs to really be demonstrated or else it just seems like another shoe that’s joining the masses.

How did you find your manufacturer, and what would be your advice to first-timers?

Finding a manufacturer was tough, as I wanted to make sure they made the product exactly as I designed it. I searched in the United States with no success, and it took me three months, multiple Internet searches, and a flurry of follow up e-mails before I found a reliable manufacturer. This manufacturer was willing to prototype my designs, with minimal cost initially (around US $300) per style. When I saw that the sandals were generating a good market response, I was able to order in bulk.

My advice to first-timers would be to start with It’s fairly easy to find a contact who speaks English (in my case) and I was also able to find some pretty big name established manufacturers (for example, those who work with Disney and L’Oreal). Be sure to ask them if they do private label manufacturing (the acronym ODM–original design manufacturer–is what you’re looking for.) Ask them to ship a few sample items to you (or prototypes) to avoid a huge inventory of something you don’t want.  Some other acronyms to learn are: FOB (freight on board or free on board) and ISF (Importer Security Filing) so there are no nasty shipping/customs cost surprises later!

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.?

Joe Robinson at “Entrepreneur” magazine recently interviewed me on surviving multitasking and setting boundaries. Again, it happened via PRLeads, recommended by Tim.

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have not hired the PR firm.

What’s next?!

I want to keep designing more shoes, and figuring out how to integrate this into medicine to increase wellness. I know it will happen somehow!

“Hewley L-Carnitine Shampoo” by Daniel Bradley

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.

Hewley products (L-Carnitine Shampoo and Saw Palmetto Conditioner) help men and women combat thin, lifeless and limp hair with a daily 2-step regimen for thicker, healthier hair, as well as new hair growth.

What is the website for your muse?

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?

$2,500 – $5,000 per month

How did you decide on this muse?

We did research on scientific journals and studies with respect to stimulating blood flow to the scalp. We discovered some exciting results and found that there was a viable niche, and that the pricing of the products allowed for necessary margins.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?

Our first muse concept was fish oil. We found a great Icelandic company that has a terrific product that they would sell to us in bulk. We tested the concept using 4HWW tools, but found there was too much competition and not enough differentiation.

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?

The main tipping point was finding that we could ‘name’ our product with an exciting and key ingredient and also own the domain (e.g., L-Carnitine Shampoo – the domain was available). Tying together the domain and the product name seemed like a great way to ‘own’ a niche. We then realized that having a ‘brand” (in our case Hewley) would add the flexibility of playing around with our products and product line.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?

The biggest trouble has been trying to outsource website design work. We outsourced our product label design to a great firm, and are super excited about the results. But in the web design world, we’ve not had the best luck. We’ve tried a few firms on eLance and a couple of Shopify designers, but we struggled with finding a designer who knew how to ‘design’ for maximum conversion. This has been our biggest waste of time and money.

[Note from Tim: This is where advisors can be very helpful. First, have an advising conversion expert help you put together “wireframes” or sketches of pages that should convert (using pen and paper, or something like Balsamiq). Then have a designer implement and add aesthetic flavor, after which you have a developer chop it up and create the functioning site.]

We are still struggling with the concept of a brand.  We probably would have stuck to ‘L-Carnitine Shampoo’ instead of ‘Hewley.’  Getting people to understand what Hewley is will ultimately be a positive for us, but right now it’s just a hurdle to get over.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?

Twitter! There are firms out there that will manage your Twitter account for $1500+ per month (yikes!). We found SocialOomph and a couple other firms that troll for followers for about $50/month.  In one month, they helped us build our Twitter following from 10 to 1,400 followers, and it is now a major source of traffic to our website.

We also used a marketer on eLance to develop a brochure for us. That saved us a lot of time, and the marketer knew how to use clear, concise, and powerful language.  The brochure came out great!

How did you find your manufacturer, and what would be your advice to first-timers?

Once we proved the concept and decided it was time to outsource production, we started playing detective.  In addition to Google searches, we took each shampoo product that we studied during our product development and looked for clues as to where it was manufactured (whether it was made in-house or outsourced).  We also asked each potential vendor to name a couple companies that they thought were competitors. With this multi-pronged approach, we found many more manufacturers that were initially accessible on the web through simple Google searches.

My advice for first-timers: Start today.  Commit yourself to your muse by putting the idea out there as fast as possible.  We know a lot of folks who have read the 4HWW and love to discuss it and their ideas, but time moves on and nothing happens.  Call a potential business partner and share the tasks; tell all your friends that you are launching a product on X date; build your test site and get it out there.  My partner and I have learned that the fastest way to get something done is to commit to it. You always have time to perfect the product later.

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.? How did they happen?

We are going to be featured in an upcoming issue of a magazine with 100,000 readers. It came about by reaching out to a rep from the magazine and showing her the brochure. We have also been approached by other sites looking to add our product, but are cautious to protect our margins (4HWW).

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

We would have had our product manufactured faster.  We spent too much time in “test mode” by mixing and fulfilling orders on our own. Once this was automated, it was a huge weight off our backs. We could focus on selling and marketing instead of fulfilling.

What’s next?!

We have learned so much since we started.  We’ve been working with a chemist on a much-improved product that includes a concentrated serum, and it’s backed up by some pretty impressive results. We will be rolling this out early next year, and couldn’t be more excited!

“Shred Soles” by Nate Musson

Describe your muse in 1-3 sentences.

Comfortable, canted, performance, snowboard boot insoles.

What is the website for your muse?

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?

$1,000 – $2,500 per month

How did you decide on this muse?

I had the idea for this product in the back of my mind since winter of 2005. After reading 4HWW in 2007, I started to hand-make and test different degrees of canted insoles in my snowboarding boots. I know it sounds cliché, but the idea was kind of like an itch that wouldn’t go away – I just had to keep taking steps towards it, and 4HWW gave me the “road map” along the way! I also felt that this product could fit the 4HWW muse criteria, so I went with it.

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?

I’d considered making a more versatile, non-canted, non-snowboarding specific insole with cool art printed on it. It would have been way easier to make, but I just didn’t feel that it was niche enough. I really wanted to have something that was snowboarding-specific.

What were some of the main tipping points (if any) or “A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?

First, my own personal testing. I personally made and tried out hundreds of different insoles with different degrees of canting. Second, the affirmation that I was on to something by a professional boot fitter whose classes I’d attended. I kind of had to dance around the topic since I didn’t have a patent at the time. Third, customer feedback! The very first online sale happened before I even had inventory or marketed the site (the site wasn’t even done!).  I had to send the customer my last sample in my size. A couple months later, he emailed me with this unsolicited feedback: “After 2 foot surgeries, I didn’t think my feet would be able to handle snowboarding, but thanks to the Shred Soles, I’m carving up the mountain. Thanks again.”

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?

$600 phone call to a trademark attorney just to have him tell me that “I’ll never be able to trademark Shred Soles.” He was wrong. I just kept pursuing it with the USPTO and it worked out. Paying for services that I didn’t need yet (or ever), like shopping carts, 1-800#, and a podcasting account. Buying business cards too early, and now the info on them is outdated. Getting stuck on patents and trademarks and not moving forward with the rest of the business because I was concerned that they wouldn’t work out.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?

Manufacturing- Keep making calls/emails until you find the right fit. I made 30 or more manufacturing contacts until I found the right one! I had guys tell me that what I was trying to do was stupid, impossible, and that it’s just not the way things are done!

Marketing- Facebook ads and fan page, Twitter, Email list, submitting to product reviews, posting in snowboarding forums, and a little SEO!

How did you find your manufacturer, and what would be your advice to first-timers?

I found my manufacturer through Google, emailing the few that looked decent, then exchanging more emails and phone calls with them if they responded. I decided that most of them were not a “good fit” for what I was trying to make. Finally, I came across a manufacturer that was receptive to my idea! They always responded promptly, while many of the other manufacturers I’d contacted had been very slow to respond.

My advice for the first-timers seeking a manufacturer would be to send lots of emails, make lots of phone calls, and be persistent! Find one that’s “into” what you’re trying to do and really understands the scope of your project.

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.? How did they happen?

I’ve got some big coverage lined up with the #1 snowboarding magazine through a lucky industry connection. Shred Soles has also been covered by the #1 and #2 independent snowboarding bloggers.

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d get set up with a mastermind group from the start! That alone would have made the biggest overall impact in every area of the business, IMO!

What’s next?!

The new site just went up, and it has a much cleaner look! I’m going to add some new items into the mix (socks, for instance), as well as a new secret product!  I’d love to do some kind of information product in the future, and have a couple of ideas on the back burner.



Do you have a successful muse that’s generating more than $1,000 per month?

Please tell me about it! If it stands out (meaning you give specific details of lessons learned and what’s worked vs. what didn’t), I’m happy to promote you and help further increase your revenue. If you qualify and this sounds like fun, please fill out this form here.

Both physical and digital goods are welcome, as are services, as long as they’re low-maintenance, income-generating “muses” as described in The 4-Hour Workweek.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

464 Replies to “Engineering a "Muse": Case Studies of Successful Cash-Flow Businesses”

  1. This would be a great weekly reality TV show. I would watch this and I am sure many others would seeing the groundwork and the people involved I really think would inspire people. Seeing everyday people making their dreams come true and how they did it would be awesome.

  2. Question for anyone on the Blog: I have a finished dietary supplement with an add-on product that addresses a niche market. Is there a company out there that will basically take over selling it, or producing an infomercial and just pay me a royalty? I’ve been looking, but I figure that maybe someone has heard of one.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. Hi,

    I’m a French engineer’s student.

    I’m a big fan off Tim and I want to do the same in France and Europe with one or more Muse.

    I’m looking for a WORKING MUSE to sell it in France, and than in all the Europe.

    I translate everything, I devellopp it in my country just like you do in the US, and you got Royalties without effort.

    Contact me there: leroux (at)

  4. I know this is off topic, but you closed comments on the 4 Hour Body video.

    What are your thoughts on Kung Fu hand hardening?

    I was going to try a year of hardening training for the fingers and fist.

    1. Hi Jeremy,

      It’s cool stuff, to be sure, but be careful if you want to do anything else with your hands. I traveled to the Shaolin temple (inside, not the tourist part) and met monks who struck iron with their fingers. Nice guys, and they could break super-hard things with their fingers, but their hands were gnarled messes. No way they could ever play guitar, etc. Just weigh the pros/cons.

      Good luck!


      1. Hi, Jeremy.

        Training fingers must be done very carefully and under direct supervision of someone who knows what he is doing. It’s not just a matter of strengthening your fingers through repeated exercises against hard objects. Various medicines usually accompany these kinds of martial arts training to prevent injury. Even then, many advance practitioners(shaolin monks included) suffer from joint problems which worsen exponentially as they age. So be very careful.

      2. Hi,

        I’ve recently been to a seminar with Renshi Jeff Driscoll in Belgium (Kosho Ryu Kempo).

        He touched on the subject of fist hardening by hitting ‘hard things’.

        He told us that the main reason they did it was for spiritual purposes, releasing the stress.

        I believe that if your technique is good enough, you don’t need to harden your ‘weapons’. Not hardening will benefit you in the long run 🙂

    2. I have heard that some of the old karate masters can hardly open their hands and arthritis has got to be an issue. Is it worth it?

  5. Tim,

    how about creating a muse from scratch and blogging about the process? Prove to your audience that your principles work! 😉

    Another idea would be to crowd-source the creation of a muse – or even several muses created by different teams, like a challenge…

    Anybody can be part if it, by investing and/or offering services like web design, online marketing, etc.

    Just some crazy thoughts at midnight…

    BTW: Awesome post!


    1. Wow – cool ideas. It wouldn’t have to be Tim’s, just *a* muse from scratch someone(s) does. It would be valuable to follow along and learn. I’ll bet it would naturally evolve into a crowd-sourced thing given all the passion and creativity in this group! Very cool. Just have to nail down protecting the IP for the brave soul(s) who did it publicly…

  6. FINALLY! Was wondering when you were going to get into this part and show cases real world case studies of successful muses. Keep it flowin’ Tim…

  7. I love where this is going. I can’t wait to see more possible muse studies. I am getting ideas already. Thanks Tim for another amazing post. 😉

  8. Tim, I love this post!!

    This is my first time commenting on the blog so forgive me if it’s a little long. I want to just contribute to the discussion about muse development based on my progress in the journey. I added some subtitles since the insight I want to share comes at the end of my comment.


    This is the first time in a long while that I’ve read every comment made on a post — and I keep coming back day after day to do it; even taking notes from some of the comments. This post helps us and can take the regular visitor like me and make me hit “refresh” thereby leveraging your existing traffic into higher page views and ad revenues. So to echo some of the commentors above; please keep posts like this coming!!

    And thanks to the entrepreneurs for returning to the comments here too and continuing to share from their experience and answer questions.

    4HWW has made such a tremendous difference in my life that it’s hard to express my gratitude. This week at my day job I had a brief conversation about what’s going on with my position in the budget deliberations and what’s happening for the next fiscal period. The budget line for my position has not been approved by the powers that be yet and there is just enough uncertainty to make me unsettled. But because of 4HWW and (the Life Design Case Studies post from last year) I have had some income from writing online that I would not have known about otherwise. So regardless of what happens – I feel so confident that I can move out of America for a little and travel in Spanish-speaking countries while earning US dollars from America. I also know that if my position does get cut there are parts of it that can be done online remotely — and I could try to sell my current company my services as a contractor at a lower cost (but not necessarily lower wage) than I get paid now. In any case, I didn’t expect peace of mind to be a dividend of reading your book or the blog — and yet it is one of the benefits.


    So anyway, I have made a few hundred dollars in freelance writing online and blogging since I read 4HWW and had some other success with the books concepts. But like everyone else I am still working on developing an autopilot muse to fund my dreamlines — but the difference is that I am a little further up the mountain that some of the other people commenting here. The best piece of advice I’ve read on the topic of product development came from an ebook that said “Don’t find a need and fill it; but rather find an existing stream of money and stand in the way.” And that was a real eye-opener. Like most people here; I’ve been biased towards finding a “NEW” product to sell. But from the dawn of time people with less sophistication and resources than us have been making money with a simply formula; Buy low and sell high. Meaning that instead of inventing a new product — maybe my muse should be an existing product and figure out how to distribute it in a way with better margins. Take for example. it’s a guy selling underwear using a subscription based model — and obviously they didn’t invent underwear. Instead they came up with a better distribution model and then rolled it out really well by getting lots of press and PR that established them as a market leader. Even if I started to compete with them now – I’d be viewed as a knock off based on how well they executed their roll out. So in closing, our muse might not need to be a “better mousetrap;” it can be a better model to get an average mousetrap to the masses. That is the insight I’m going to spend 2011 pursuing.

    1. Dear Dwight,

      Thanks so much for the kind words and comment! Totally true: you can innovate in many ways, not just in manufacturing. Distribution and packaging (or combining products) can just as easily make your muse “unique” enough to address a niche. Funny, I was just discussing with someone yesterday. Simple and effective concept.

      Good luck and please keep us posted!


  9. I need help with a product idea that is a little more technical. My problem is I see these and they are such simple objects. The hearing one is frankly a real shocker that it makes so much money. But don’t knock it till you try it.

    So is there any specific information for product development that is more tech related. I want to get something like a heart monitor in your watch that will talk to your smart phone and show how much calories you are burning. Or a Diabeties blood sugar monitor that can record the number in your phone and chart your progress.

    This has a hardware And Software component. Are these just too expensive to attempt?

  10. Great post. I have a few problems, which Im sure people have had in the past. I have a low paying job and cant afford to take much time off, if at all. I can’t seem to come up with a good idea though. How would you go about this with the very bare bones. I was even told by people on the forum it will take a lot of work with a low paying job like mine unless I get something better.

    I currently make minimum wage but I do have an associates degree, but I don’t want to work in the career field I got my degree in since I felt I was told my career would be one thing, when in reality its something entirely different.

    1. Jared,

      I got out of the army for the exact same reason. Took me 4 years and two in reserve to get out, but I did get out. MANY jobs are said to be one thing and turn out to be something else.

  11. Tim – Loved 4HWW and preordered your new book The 4H Body – cant wait to get it. Very inspired by your site and all the stories from you and everyone else. Still looking for my muse in hope of the freedom from w4w : )

  12. How does one go about keeping a low inventory, yet having a manufacturer in China produce their goods? I’m having a problem with my muse that it is only economical in large-scale productions. Is this a red flag? I’d love to keep inventory low, but the bulk orders is where the cost/unit is the lowest.


  13. Has anyone had any experience using a “soup-to-nuts” type company that will take your prototype and native files, develop packaging, use one of their trusted manufacturers, handle freight, shipping, and customs — All in one?

    I have come across two good ones and looking into moving forward with them in a few months:

    -Walker World Trade

    -Stephen Gould

    Can anyone advise for/against going this route or share any experiences?

    Thanks, Tim – As always, awesome post and very helpful!!

  14. Hey Tim,

    Honestly, just saw the video (only read the post before), this is truly awesome. Sincerely appreciate it all you do to help people sorta get up and do something, it shows that you have a lot of faith in humans and that’s pretty fantastic (and rare). Keep em coming.

    Loyal follower and member of the 1000 Tim fans 😉


  15. Tim,

    So it’s 11:30 at night and your book just told me to take some action so I’m reaching out to someone who’s done what I want to do….you. I’d like to mimic your initial success as much as possible so I’m thinking a supplement company sounds like a great idea, margins are high, private label a product I don’t manufacture or ship. What could be easier? So just set up the website and go for it? Anything I should watch out for?


  16. Hi Tim,

    Thank you for this great post (and a lot of others!)

    Have you ever considered a video series following people through the ideation and development of their muses, over six months to one year?

    Either as a web documentary or a tv show, I think it might be interesting and inspiring for a lot of people!

    Cheers from Paris,


  17. Warren,

    I’m glad that you were able to do that and that this isnt an isolated incident. Are you currently working on a muse yourself or something along those lines?

  18. Outstanding! More? Hell yes! You’ve got another book here, or a whole lot of blog posts–and they almost write themselves…

  19. @Nathan Schmitt and anyone else with 4HB in-hand: Where did you order your 4HB? Amazon’s not even shipping yet–maybe I need to shop elsewhere… Thx!

    1. John Marlow,

      I don’t think the book officially launches until dec. 15. I received a copy early from a promotion Tim ran last year. That may be where the others received theirs from. Either way, the new book is worth the wait. I can’t wait to see what offers Tim will have in the next few weeks. I have a feeling I will buying some extra copies for gifts.


  20. Shouldn’t all people here gather around in one place on the web such as facebook group or something of that kind to share information/experiences and encourage each other during this difficult time of muse creation? I think people here would be excellent cheerleaders and critics for each other. Or Tim, can you initiate something so that people can gather and have a productive discussion(s) with each other. Those information and discussions could be accumulated and can be used productively for others to join this wave later. y.

  21. Some friends and I started a company selling ugly sweaters for the holiday season. It started when we had an ugly sweater party and we realized that there was nowhere online to easily buy them–you had to spend HOURS going to thrift stores. Along the way, we’ve doubled our profits every year for the past 3 years and had a ton of fun.

    Beyond the monetary benefits, one of the perks has been that every year we do a model shoot at local bars.

    Next year is the year of reinvention for the site using some of Tim’s suggestions. We’ll see how it goes.

    While on the topic, anyone have a name of a reputable/inexpensive web coding company they have used in the past?

  22. How the heck do you get through all these comments and have the time to respond?

    I read that Gary V (Crush It) reads every single email/comment, I just can’t wrap my mind around how this is possible!

    I’ve been reading for an hour now, and my brain just melted. 🙁

  23. I was thinking about a volume-reducing device for live music! Obviously Jay got there before me so I ordered 2 pairs. I can enjoy gigs more but will have to think of something else to fund the tickets!

  24. Finding a muse was a real undertaking for me. It took a while, but I am finally my own boss & running a successful business. Key to me not giving up on finding a business was keeping myself inspired by other people’s successes.

    Reading stories like this is a must if you are already running a business or if you are searching for ideas. Thank you for putting “real” material out there.

    @ Jay Clark – The tips about seeking out advisers & expert opinions was really helpful

    @ Alissa Kraisosky – Thanks for reminding me about PR leads & Haro. Great sandals. Will check them out

    @ Nate Musson – Stick to what you believe. Very inspiring.

    Thank you all & Tim for giving us a place to share “real” information, resources, and tips with like minded individuals.

  25. Hello Tim and friends on the 4 hour blog. I am an avid reader of the blog and all of Tim’s endeavors. As an independent musician based in NYC, I am learning and absorbing a lot about business, promotion etc from all of your great posts. I feel like I am in a critical stage in getting my independent instrumental music group off the ground and I would love some advice from anyone who is confident in marketing/promotion in entertainment industries.

    We have had a few key PR leads but I don’t think we are getting the real traction we need. Thanks. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Thank you for letting me reach out to your community.

  26. I agree that muse stories are inspiring to read. I hope Tim is planning a supplement to FHWW, a whole volume of muse stories/case studies.

  27. Thank you, thank you! I just got to Chapter 9 in your book and I’ve been wondering in the back of my mind, “What is and how the he!! do you have a cash flow muse??” I was getting apprehensive that even with reading the book I wouldn’t actually figure it out enough to use in my life. I am so grateful to see this post and know that more are coming. I’ve often obsessed and focused on one passion or idea or habit to a great extent in my life and they are all short lived. I don’t want my excitement about the lifestyle design you teach to be one of those things that burns bright and fizzes out fast for me, I want to commit and do this. I want my man and I to build the life of our dreams for us and our kids. Knowing that there are more resources here and forthcoming gives me confidence. Thank you for details and REAL info. –Fawn

  28. Hey, I suppose you could say I am a newly anointed follower, a friend at work (who now has a two year plan to achieve semi-retirement involving a 40′ catamaran half the year and remote work at our office the other half) introduced me to your book, though my wife found it near the same exact minute he recommended it to me two weeks ago.

    Anyway, I got wordy, I apologize.

    The point of this comment is to suggest that you turn these case studies into a dedicated database. Even a really simple database that would allow you to search keywords (like what your trying so you can see what others have done).

    If this exists already and I’m just being a newbie I apologize, but either way it should be in the resources tab at the top of the page.

    Thanks for the book btw, reading it was like having my thoughts displayed on paper in front of me, I find it energizing even to read a few pages.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Nick, and for reading! Working a similar DB idea to help readers out right now 🙂



  29. Just wondering if this stuff really works!!! (Actually, I know that it does, but I just have not been able to pull it off yet.) Anyway, as a start I thought I would conduct a little test and see if I can get a quick “shout out” back from Tim himself. Thank you.

    Best regards,


  30. I think everyone loves the idea of a muse, or a “side-business” that is bringing in cash. However, having personally built several business in the past, the reality is that you can’t just pop one of these up and have it be successful without a significant investment in time, start-up costs, marketing, operations, etc… Further, if you don’t dedicate a lot of energy towards it, it will probably never get off the ground. This is true for digital products just as much as physical goods.

    Take for example the energy/sports/vitality drink you have in your video. I imagine the packaging, bottling, production costs are high. What about the marketing/disti. spend? Competing against companies like Coke, Red Bull, etc..

    Once the product was successful, you would then have to manage inventory, accounting, staff, customer service, manufacturing, etc. etc. With all that overhead, you would have to start bringing in revenue to cover that all…certainly $1000/mo. would probably not be enough. Then the question would be, how much do you need to cover your lifestyle, business expenses, employees, offices, warehouses, etc…. 10k/mo., 50k, 100k ??

    Maybe I’m missing something, but would like you know your thoughts on how someone realistically get’s a muse off the ground, without making it their primary focus and/or business.

  31. Tim, Great blog post. If future similar posts would include some more details on marketing (e.g., was blogging done/helpful; SEO methods, etc), and how work hours are minimized that would be helpful. Thanks! John R.

  32. Hi Jim,

    As long as you’re not using it as lead-gen to spam people (sorry, but I’ve seen it), then it’s totally fine. Thank you for asking and good luck!


  33. Hello Tim,

    i don’t konw if it has already been mentioned (i don’t have the courage to read all the comments) but when i watched the video “4-Hour Workweek – case studies by author Tim Ferriss”, i noticed that after the first minutes, there is a 1 sec gap between images and sound.

    Wish you best for the next days!

    Julien Mottet

  34. Wow, a lot of comments on this. I have 2 questions.

    I initially started thinking about drop-shipping products as an option for my muse. I noticed that all the muses here involve manufacturing your own product, and virtually no comments have asked about the drop-shipping option. Is drop-shipping a good route for a muse or would I be better off with my own product considering the effort in either case?

    The second question has to do with the marketing consultant. I am a graphic designer and I would love to walk away from my current 9-5 filling the conversion design niche while I seek out my muse. It would be a great opportunity to learn. I even specialize in wireframes. What might be the best way to get in touch with a marketing consultant to partner with?

  35. These posts are great, but it feels like there’s a common theme: 4HWW inspired these people to create a product they’d been dreaming about for years (nice work Tim), and whether they want to Tango or travel or just be their own boss they got off their ass and started working. Very cool!

    HOWEVER, what would be even more interesting to me would be people who actually created dreamlines and then worked to find a muse that would fund that dreamline. Different than the above muses (I think) and probably less ‘sexy’ since I bet a lot less thought went into the product (months instead of years).

    Equally valuable, but I haven’t seen an example of the later.

  36. Tim,

    I attempted to develop a muse a few months ago, but didn’t put enough effort into making sure the product was niche enough. The margins were there in full force, but margins aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on if you can’t sell.

    I lost my initial investment and some of my ego, but learned a huge lesson.

    After reading this, I am motivated to try again !



  37. I’ve been reading and rereading the 4HWW for months, focusing, brainstorming, trying to come up a Muse vehicle. Frustrated, I took a mental break.

    Yesterday, an idea came to me on the J O B commute. I’m hoping this is my ticket to freedom.

    I’m working on it right now :0)

  38. This is a really great post Tim – I love the case studies and hope you are able to write more. They offer ideas and insight !

  39. This is great! It’s funny I ended up on your site, I am in the process right now of creating something that allows me to freely travel doing seminars. I like the idea of modelling. From learning a bit of NLP, and taking my own creative approach to it, I believe everyone has genius, and anyone can elicit it from them. Keep being deliberate! Talk to you in the future.


  40. Okay, perhaps I am missing the big picture, or missed it while reading the book and the comments, but I am having a hard time with a couple things.

    I have no problem coming up with the ideas for muses. A lot of them usually involve inventing a product, even down to some information stuff that I want to sell. The information route is pretty directly understood and explained, but I seem to have a hard time figuring out how to get my idea actually prototyped out (if it even needs to be prototyped), and then manufactured. I understand that I can speak to some companies in China, but in order to that, do I need an example of the product first? (Actually made), or can I just have a technical drawing and they will manufacture it for me?

    My other question is how do you know if you should license a product vs. actually manufacturing and selling the product yourself? It’s always difficult in trying to figure out the best route.

    I also want to hear some Failure stores, it’s always helpful right??

  41. Just a note about “EarPeace”: This fella did not invent this earplug. It has been in use for a long time; I have had a set virtually the same as he is selling for years. They’re sold as “musicians’ earplugs,” and available at stores like Guitar Center. His description of what he did is vague–making it sound like he came up with a new product. He seems only to have come up with a name (a name used for other products, as well, such as custom-fitted earphones), colors (if he didn’t just select colors that the Chinese mfrs already make), and packaging. A web search turns up no vendors of EarPeace other than his site, and no reviews, press mentions, or anything else of significance.

  42. Great post, strange thing is I was brainstorming muses a few months ago and a discrete ear plug was one idea I had – looks like someone beat me to it!! Looks a great product though, I like to wear hearing protection in bars and clubs but its really hard to get a good one which is almost invisible.

  43. Just wanted to report that my wife and I created our MUSE 13 months ago (I just got around to reporting it)… — barefoot sandals for running, walking, hiking, etc. (way more minimalist and barefoot-y than VFFs).

    Once I got the idea (really, once someone talked me into turning my hobby into an actual business), it took 2 weeks to launch. And then it took 3 months to turn into our full-time income.

    The “problem” we have now, is that things are going so well, we’re taking what was a nice source of passive income (well in excess of our TMI), and expanding it to something MUCH bigger.

    Thanks for your inspiration (BTW, I was asked to review 4HWW for the Dutch publisher before she bought it 😉 )

  44. First real post on the blog. Currently am a mortgage banker with heavy direct response marketing background. A partner and I are developing a business, maybe not QUITE a muse, in that it currently demands a substantial amount of creative work on their part, but it is a turnkey marketing business for a retail niche (think hair salon, nail boutique, etc). We basically do all their marketing for them, in terms of all the direct response stuff, birthday mailers, facebook and event creation (with traffic from Fbook fans, etc).

    We do think that my partner and his wife will be able to get down to the 20 – 30 hour per week (combined) range of time commitment. I am the CEO and, although much more hands off, will figure myself for at least 10 – 15 hours a week. I am not soooooo concerned with getting DOWN to 4 hours, but really enjoying what I do with my time, and this seems to be a large part of your point.

    It’s only if you are unhappy doing what you do that you would want to limit it severely. Now, the mortgage thing, I could easily be happy donig a lot less of that, from a time standpoint, and am engineering the business with a Jr. Partner to do exactly that.

    The beautiful part is that the product, the turnkey, totally-done-for-them marketing services we provide, bump revenues, on average, about 48% (tested over a year to determine this with a beta site), but it is all driven with automation and templates which can be scaled up to hundeds of clients. Profit is about $700 per month, so 100 clients produces substantial profit for us, 200 is fabulous, etc.

    We have tested the demand, strong, solid and consistent, and the ROI is great for the clients. We have about 8 customers and are now entering into the process of aggressively courting customers through expos, JV’s, etc.

    We use O-desk heavily, and have full time Phillipines outsourced employees. It would not be possible to run the business, or fund start up, without the outsourcing. Will post on the final results of our first 2 monhts of heavy marketing, Jan and Feb. Outsourcing really makes possible the done-for-them aspect of the business. If we had to deal with US wages, costs, insurance, taxes, etc, etc, etc it would totally kill the profitability, at least at current price levels. Thank GOD for the flat earth, in my opinion.

    I read the book on Christmas day, have read it again since, and am aggressively implementing. Here is my process so far:

    – took notes on book, been reading blog and taking notes on other books, gadgets, posts, etc to engage

    – shut off email pop-ups, am doing email now at 10 am, 1 pm and 4 pm

    – already had YouMail so almost everything goes to Vmail, seeking to radically limit interruptions

    – changed schedule around, no unscheduled appts, looking for agenda or interest points in every case

    – established set-up with TimeDriver software so all appts are scheduled per my free time to speak

    – have 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM as most important time of day to work on IMPORTANT, REVENUE PRODUCING stuff, not wasting time

    – set up with evernote (have a request out with my current VA to see if they use it to set up full training rather than learing by trying it out

    – next on the list is dreamlining. Spoke with the wife (we have a 3 year old and a 3 month old about dreams of sailing, heavily, a good chunk of the year). She actually is considering how to make it work (have to teach her and the kids how to swim so that was an issue, as you can imagine.

    – starting to look at some trips in the US, longer term, maybe 3 – 4 weeks, to test out the lifestyle. Should have the income to totally “retire”, in the New Rich sort of way, in about 12 – 15 months based on business growth and prospects going forward.

    – researching what it takes to cruise tropical climates, as a family, mostly port hopping in Florida to get comfortable with it. I figure that gives the wife and kids a chance to see if they can, and want, to make this a part of our joint lifestyle.

    This book is really brilliant stuff, Tim, overall. I would think that you probably get bored hearing that, but perhaps not :). I am a huge Dan Kennedy fan and can see that you have either studied his stuff intently, or have come to multiple similar conclusions along the way. Either way, what works, works, regardless of source.

    Motion beats meditation.

    Don Schreffler

    1. Best of luck, Don! Yes, motion beats meditation, 99 times out of 100. Every once in a while, though, the dictum “measure twice, cut once” can be equally helpful.

      Keep us posted on your progress,


  45. Hi Tim,

    When we started, my wife and I wanted to double our chances of the muse working and successfully funding our lives so we starting two projects in case one was a flop: 1) we negotiated the exclusive rights to a new BBQ invention for N. America 2) we created our own brand of a popular Swedish health product. Both have worked. Just 9 months after launching our sales are over $70k/month and growing fast. I also just read Do More Faster last month which had some great tips as well. Right now, my wife and I are the only employees in our business, almost everything is automated, we supply hundreds of dealers, we offer great marketing support, we operate on high margins, we can work as little as 20 minutes a day (although we actually work much more) and we are installing new tech that might even minimize the time spent servicing the business even further. I think it is possible to 20x our sales without too much extra effort. The next step is to get a VA so we are always open for business and even more free with our time. I want your readers to know that Four Hour Work Week changed our lives – I can’t imagine having to go back to that bus dev job I left a year ago.

    Four Hour Work Week inspired me take the leap back into doing what I love, launching and marketing new products, and I wish I knew how to thank you. I currently spend my time living between Sweden and NY and am loving the freedom of being wherever. For now, I’ve bought Four Hour Body (still waiting for it) and have bought the Four Hour Work Week for many friends. I am now a happier person, better father, and better husband.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind comment, StJohn! I’m so thrilled for you. The best way to thank me (though I think you did it all yourself) is to keep everyone posted on your progress and lessons learned.

      Keep it up!


      1. Tim,

        An update on our progress. I will struggle to keep this short. The journey could fill a book. But having succeeded in this experiment for two years now, I am better able to get back to you with some of the lessons we learned and guidelines we followed when building our muse.

        In the last post from December we had just generated $70k in sales for the month, with about $45k in profit. It is 8 months later now and our biggest single month so far has been $300k. I mention these facts to illustrate what can happen. Here you are some thoughts but I don’t think there is anything here that is not available elsewhere…

        Aim to succeed — Failure was not an option for us. We had good fortune of urgency in the form of a job that was fizzling out and no safety cushion to fall back on. Starvation wasn’t appealing.

        Protect against the downside — We started two muses in case one failed. I’m not sure if I would recommend this, but it was our decision at the time. But, it seemed that many of the resources required to make a single muse could be used to make two. The risk was less focus, but the eggs were in two baskets and we only needed one to work. There are times when you have to wait for things to develop and we used that free time to build ourselves a second chance.

        Learn to see opportunities — We focused on finding ideas that we thought had potential to make it big. It is very easy to find these when you challenge yourself to see everything as an opportunity. After 1 week we had about 20 decent ideas and it was then just a matter of pursuing the ones that felt best.

        Have an early money goal — Our goal was simple: breakeven asap. At breakeven, we felt things would be sustainable and we could then build. It felt like a risky distraction to go down the investor road. What if we did not sell our ideas an wasted precious time?

        Action is #1 — Action is everything. We did not have time to be analytical. We believed in our ability to figure out the future when it arrived. Your mission critical thinking was instrumental in achieving a lot in the first 6 months.

        We got the products market ready.

        We put systems in place. (Quickbooks, CRM, warehouse, phones, email, manufacturing, shipping logistics.)

        We got a loan for $20,000.

        We put all our resources into an organized launch event at a trade show and established a base of distribution in 3 days.

        Aim higher than you need to — Initially we were striving for $1 million in sales, thinking that if we hunted a high target then we might just be able to get to the $100k in sales, which is all we needed in order to realize our dreams of working for ourselves.

        Think scalability — Even if you don’t want to be big one day it helps to pretend that you might be. It saves time in the long run. From day one we operated with the thought, “if I have to do what I’m doing now 1,000 times, would I do it differently?” This was instrumental in preparing us for the unexpected and being able to capitalize on the opportunities when they started to work.

        Hunt rabbits, not elephants — we built our business with little resources by getting lots of small dealers to work with us, rather than going for the home-run with a Williams-Sonoma, Home Depot, or Target (all of whom are working with us now). Not only does this help bring in quick revenue, but you are in a stronger position when talking with an elephant if you know that your livelihood is not dependent on the outcome.

        Outsource, at least in the beginning — We outsourced everything we possibly could so that we could do the critical things we needed to achieve. The outsource costs were all tied into our unit sales. So, if we were not selling anything, we also weren’t paying anything. This was critical to being able to do more with less.

        Work with the best you can find — Find the best partners because they will deliver. You will be surprised how affordable they can be if you explain your situation. We outsource warehousing, PR, bookkeeping, some of sales, manufacturing, tech development.

        Re-invest constantly — We take our earnings and use the money to get ready for the future. Improving systems, building inventory, etc. We want this to be the last business we work for so we aim to always make it stronger and more agile.

        Educate and market, don’t cold call — We don’t believe in cold selling, but educating. I have yet to meet someone who enjoys receiving cold calls, so why do it? When the phone rings or when someone comes to our site, they are ready to buy so our conversations are always enjoyable. In the early days, when you are desperate for revenue, we avoided cold calling and I believe that was critical to making it through.

        Always find inspiration — We read books that make us feel good and we actively apply the lessons from them. Cask Flow Quadrant, by Robert Kiyosaki, Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh, and Drive, by Daniel Pink were some others that we enjoyed.

        Find your values/direction — Values free up time by making everyday decision making easy. It also allows you to do the unexpected and make sense of it.

        Be open for fast change — If things are working the way you thought and you need to change something, then do it fast. Try not to get bogged down with earlier wrong decisions, just course correct.

        We have morphed in recent months from a muse – which for us meant being able to row our own boat as a family – into a business, with a goal to change the world. It is no longer about us, which makes it so much fun. Hope this was not too long and boring, but I felt the need to get back to you.

        Thank you again.

    2. St. John,

      If you don’t mind sharing, how did you find the 2 products in the first place, and second, how did you negotiate the rights? Did you use an attorney or are there resources out there?

      Any information you would be willing to share would be much appreciated! Thanks!

      1. Hi,

        Sorry, I did not set up my post to be alerted with comments so am just reading this now.

        The products we found at a friends BBQ party when traveling abroad. Just keep your eyes and ears open. If you can train yourself to see opportunity in everything then you will be swamped with lots of great ideas and it becomes a matter of choosing.

        The rights we negotiated directly by calling the manufacturer. We only brought in an attorney to formalize what had already been decided. I think we succeeded by pointing to past experience and sharing our thoughts with them on to how the market might be best pursued.

        Hope this helps.


  46. Thanks, Tim. This is straight forward and to the point information. Don’t worry about the haters, bro. Your information is definitely the truth. I’ve been living this way for a little while now. I just never had a name for it.


    Ali Green

  47. Just finished the great post and absolutely amazing comments!

    Seeing these stories is a valuable source of inspiration, got 4-5 new ideas for muses from just reading through. But also some more hands-on advice!

  48. I’m midway through your book of 4HWW and I must say the content is awesome and I can probably speak for most people as well for myself by saying that it’s much appreciated by giving out this sort of information as for me I’m still in the stages of combining niche/muse together so until then I will continue to read on and more for reference as well .

    thank you tim

  49. Hi,

    The paradox of choice has currently lead me to a state of paralysis. It has been almost a year since I read the book and am still looking for a viable plan.

    I wonder if you can post a muse story from the Middle East? It is rather difficult to get a novel minimum investment idea of the ground here. Licensing, legalities and other issues come in the way…

  50. Tim,

    I am 47 year old male and read Porter Stansberry’s research. Anyway, he wrote that he was going to lose 20 pounds and listed your 4 hour body as a tool to accomplish this. On a whim, I bought the book and decided to do the same. Note: I am a white male. 6 feet tall and weighed 198. Now 196 in 5 days. Anyway, I was on the slow card diet for about 3 days when I had chest pain, numbness in my left arm and tightness in my jaw. This then happened the next night almost at the exact same time 2am, and I called 911 and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was scared and didn’t want to mess around. They tested me and I didn’t have a heart attack. They then did cardiac test including echo, nuclear medicine test via injecting me with radioactive die one before and after a standard stress test on treadmill and the result was my heart is strong and fine. I asked if changing my diet could have caused this, they said no. I think it could have to some degree as I increased garlic, etc that can lead to general heart burn for me. I also might have been pushing it too hard lately. IE stress. They also said my cholesterol is too high about 147. I had also drinken some Pu erh tea the days of my scare. They also asked if I am on a cholesterol statin. I said, I had stopped taking it (simistatin) as I thought it was affecting my brain. The cardiologist then said statins are like ice cream, you might like chocolate and I vanilla, but don’t stop taking them as they are very efficacious and my cholesterol is high. So now I am on Crestor and continue with your diet and am adding kettle bells. What are your thoughts on statins in general and specifically taking them on slow carb? Or any other insights with regard to Cholesterol and statins? Still on diet. Never been on diet before. Always have researched myself, but not as targeted as you. My journey started with finding out my cousin was not in a cult as I was told when I saw him usually at Christmas gatherings, but was in fact practicing TM (he is in still doing this to this day as his “job” and lives and works for the Maharishi on the Indian-Tibetian border and works on his transcendence for life. So I started to do TM. I used this yesterday, to deal with stress of the stress tests in hospital. But with bad time management and lack of excuses had fallen out of consistent practice. What do you think of this stuff for health? Now my goals are still lose the weight and decrease stress. I was also told that walking my dogs didn’t count as exercise and the cardiologist prescribed 30 minutes of exercise a day, six days a week. From reading 4 hour body, it sounds as though exercise it not specifically required for fitness. Am I getting this right?Any insight would be valuable. Thanks, Keep it up dude, GCB Long and strong.

    1. Thanks, George. Geez, that sounds terrifying. For statins, I could be wrong, but I believe they deplete (or lower absorption of) Coenzyme Q10. I’d suggest reading “Transcend” and also seeing the common drug side-effect sidebar in 4HB.

      Offhand, I feel like the Pu-Erh, as it’s a strong stimulant, could have had something to do with your episode. If I were you, I would have a coronary scan and consider seeing a neurologist, as the arm numbness should be taken seriously.

      Best of luck — I’d keep in close touch with your doctors.



  51. Hey guys maybe someone can help me out with some questions. I run an outdoor bootcamp in NYC and get bombarded with 100s of nutrition questions on a daily basis. I thought it would be a great experiment to follow the techniques in the book to see how my body reacts.

    I have a blog of my own and will be posting the results, before/after photos, measurements, etc. If my goal is to loss about 10lbs of fat should I be doing the slow carb diet or the one in “The Last Mile” chapter? In a typical day I eat: 2 eggs with grapefruit for breakfast, 1/4 cup almonds + pear (snack 1 & 2), can of tuna with huge salad for lunch and maybe 1-2 tablespoons for dinner. I workout 4 days a week for about 1 hour each time to a pretty high intensity.

    Any suggestions or pointers would be greatly appreciated!! I would love to share positive results with my classes.

  52. No offense intended to all, but I follow this blog for the “Four Hour Work Week” discussion, and lately it’s been almost nothing but Four Hour Body, which I’m not interested in in the least. I don’t have a problem with Tim promoting his book, but please keep in mind the reason that most people follow this blog. Those ideas are great – please don’t dilute it with material that’s only marginally related.

  53. Anyone have any thoughts on a good speech-to-text software for Mac that will handle writing emails, as well as in Word?

    “Everyone” mentions Dragon speech, but reviews I found on the internet, as well as, from my laywer, are mixed.

    Any comments would be helpful.


    John R

  54. Very interesting!. Bottomline is, if we feel that we have something really exciting where we can earn money from, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work, not tomorrow but now, today. And the secret to earning fast is knowing whom to work with…knowing when to delegate work, whom to delegate it to ( benefits of outsourcing), and simply putting a system to what we are doing ( organization, automation).

  55. Thank you for mye Ferrari!

    Hey Tim.

    When I was 17 (2009) I listened to David DeAngelos intervju with you. That day I desided to make my Ferrari-dream come true. I used your outsourcing methods to earn and save up a lot. When I was 18 I graduated and bouth my Ferrari.

    Thank you so much for opening my eyes!

    /Regards, Ulrik form Norway!

  56. Hi

    I’d be interested to know how people deal with product design, in particular with packaging and choosing proper materials. I have seen some impressive design in this post and I’m curious about whether people did it their own, relied on some existing catalog (in which case I’d be interested in where) or outsourced it altogether.

    Impressive stuff btw!


  57. Greetings Everyone,

    I’m in the process of creating my muse and I feel that I have an excellent idea but I’m running into a little snag, hopefully someone can answer my question. My muse idea is a kitchen product; I’ve done some browsing online and while there are products that do the same thing, they don’t do it like my idea does (quicker, easier, safer etc…). The only problem I can see is that it is based off of a product/ tool from a completely different industry and the product/ tool has a patent on it. Am I completely screwed or are there ways around these hurdles? Anyone know of any online resources for inventors? Free online legal advice?

    Thank you in advance.


  58. Hi Tim,

    i didn’t find another/more direct way to contact you. That is why i try it via this comment. I bought your book and entered the “readers only area” on your page. There is one excel spreedsheet (keyword generation) what cannot be used because there is a mistake within the visual basic code. I already found out what the problem is and fixed it. If you are interested i can sent you the fixed spread sheet via email…

    regards, Degree

  59. Hi I am in the UK and ordered and received a hard back copy of the 4hr body from the states via Amazon market.

    I would like to have another copy on Kindle, but i note that for some reason this is only available in the – i.e. US site. I have the 4 hour workweek on kindle, so i wonder why there is no kindle edition of the 4hb in the UK? Will this be available and if so any ideas as to when?


  60. I’m late to the party and reading 4 Hour WorkWeek now. Following Tim on Twitter I backed into this post. Has anyone out there had any success with a software muse, something that could be licensed and sold to box developers to be standard in their OS. I’m not a code guy. I consult small businesses on growth and cost control, so out of my field. I have spoken to Invent Help and other similar sorts, and am told that they steer clear of software standards. I notice that Nintendo and Sony have suggestion forums for people to give them free ideas, but their legalese states explicitly they don’t want to hear any licensing ideas.

    Would love to hear success on this front and methods of presenting ideas while not losing your Intellectual Property.

  61. I just started the “diet” 3 days ago, also trying to boost my testosterone levels. I have been doing long distance running, triathlons, 1/2 marathons, etc. I normally run 4 to 5 miles a day 5 days a week. I also do resistance training 5 days a week. Even with all of that I have not been able to get my ” problem fat” off. Should I cut back during the diet, or change anything? I enjoy running and don’t know if I could give it up, even though I am at a big Plataea.


  62. Tim:

    I have a question about the 30 grams of protein first thing in the morning within 1/2 hour. Does it matter if you are a man or woman? Should you eat 30 grams or 20 grams if you are a woman?

  63. Hi Tim and all fellow 4HWWrs!

    I recieved the 4HWW in the mail just prior to christmas, I dont need to reiterate what an amazing and inspiring piece of work it is, you’re already here, you already know 🙂

    I’m interested to know if anyone is interested in potential partnership/collaboration opportunities (looks like some of you are!)

    I have a number of niche-oriented muses/projects under development that would represent turn-key opportunities for the right partner/s. (I have ideas in abundance, but there are only so many hours in a day!)

    No money/investment required for the majority of them (i have a number of online platforms already developed/in development), just your input and passion are required.

    It would be great to be able to work with some of you to make these muses a reality and then in turn to report progress back to the 4HWW community as case studies and hopefully inspire others to action.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Warren,

      I just checked your site.

      I like the overall designs. Some improvements I can suggest:

      1) What is the bulb for? One has to think for a bit before they can associate it with (perhaps) the “smart” way of doing sth.

      2) Maybe some graphics could explain how your systems work. I just think there’s way too much text on your landing page.

      3) Your opt-in form is reverse! Why is the email field above the name field. BTW I have realized that people are more willing to opt-in if they are asked for their “First” name only rather than their entire name. (Yeah, I know they can only put their first name but this way, you can save them a bit of thinking)

      4) Could you perhaps explain the rationale behind the naming? Flipping via social media (and Twitter)?

      5) Correct me if I’m wrong. But don’t you need a privacy statement on your site esp. for making google happy?

      Good luck with the launch!

      P.S. I’m curious about your muse ideas too.

      1. @Anouar – feel free to drop me a line through the link. The muses under development currently are mainly online-oriented service platforms or niche market focused.

        That said there are quite a few ‘offline’ ideas as well, though these are product ideas that would require some R & D to bring to fruition.

        Always open to collaborative ideas though!

        @ Farid – thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback.

        The name was inspired by a combination of terms ‘Flipping’ and ‘Tweeting’ – you’re quite right, the concept is a mashup of Website/Domain sales/promotion meeting social media/networking, but with a community/free standard services twist/focus.

        Great points too, I have added the Privacy Statement/Terms and conditions and will look into the other suggestions you made, thanks again – and happy to give you a shout out on the front page if it will be of use to you 🙂

  64. Iv been looking at funding my lifestyle through selling 3k+ information products.

    anyways i was looking for reasorces on such products. since you have such

    a massive audience i was hoping someone could name such products as to help

    with my research.really i want to know what you receive in what media types for a 3k product…ie how many books cds dvds ectect thank you for your help.

  65. I hope this will not be folly, as most of what I’ve seen involves singles or couples rather than families.

    On March 31 I finish my current 12HWD lifestyle with an amount saved, take 3 months out to find and start a muse, before going to South America to travel for 6 months with my wife and 4 children. 3 months to find (or choose) a muse which I can implement as I travel and transition to 4HWW and spending more time on my passion. If nothing else, it will be an adventure.

    Feasible? Anyone taken the leap with a family in tow?

  66. I am an Australian trying to develop my first muse. I read the book a few months ago and can’t stop trying to come up with an effective muse. My area of expertise is logistics and my passion is travelling. I just can’t seem to come up with a way of combining the two to come up with either a service or physical product. Any ideas folks?

  67. Awesome video and post Tim. I just visited and it states that Entropy is no longer available. After contacting them via e-mail, the founder emailed me back personally stating that they are no longer accepting orders via the website. Are they still in business?

  68. Ok, Tim…

    First, let me say that you crack my a** up. I’ve been a prankster my whole life and think your book and this blog are an absolute riot – well done.

    I read 4HWW back in 07 when it first came out. I remember like it was yesterday, but I was doing some consulting work for a complete BIT** of a client on the other side of the country, had to take an extended lunch just to get some quiet time away from her, and went to Borders. Found your book and realized that when I thought I was creating a “muse” back in 2000 when I started my consulting work, I either chose the wrong group of people to work with or was simply fed up in dealing with needy clients. I guess the reason I kept doing the work was because the income was awesome and I only had to work about 4-5 months out of any given year.

    Here’s my point: I only figured out 1/2 the time freedom solution when I thought I was going to be traveling, having fun, and making money when I started consulting back in 2000. Even when it started to become draining (I work with a very small sub group of business owners) because of the emotional state of my clients, I had the wherewithal in 2004 to write a book about all my knowledge, the system I had created, made it digital, put up a sales page, got a bunch of affiliates, and thought my consulting days were numbered!

    Lesson #1 was learned when my book went over like a turd in a punch bowl, and I quickly realized that the ebook could be most useful at simply generating more leads for my consulting.

    Lesson #2 was when I started to bring on other consultants to help out, then I started to not only be on the road (albeit, not as much), but also babysitting a bunch of middle-aged consultants who were constantly needing my help, AND the clients still calling me!

    Lesson #3 was when I tried to hire and train someone to field calls, but that flopped like a big fat pancake because they didn’t seem to know the intricate details I knew.

    I then realized that I had created a “job” which defeated the purpose of what I wanted: time to sail, sky dive, workout, fly, etc.

    It was time to start figuring out a new plan….

    Fast forward a few years back to 07 when I found the book….I still hadn’t figured out my new “muse” but I was getting closer.

    Still having a great time in life, but also still having to deal with a few “eccentric” clients.

    ’09 I finally decided on the new venture. 120 websites, and dozens of outsourced help later, I realized that residual web income is kinda cool, although they still didn’t satisfy my quench for 90%+ automation, so I decided to look for and eventually found the perfect “product” that I could follow a model more closely to yours [Tim].

    It took me a while, but I found I don’t have to be scared sh**less to quit….it’s better to quit sometimes (technically I still have my consulting business, but I’m VERY selective with who I work with and sometimes only work once or twice a year with clients. Over the years I’ve quit enough things to always have something new coming across my plate.

    Now I just have to master the art of elimination. You were SO right, man…getting rid of “special” clothes sometimes IS like deciding which child lives and which one dies 😉

    I wish I could make it to your book event you’re doing, but timing is bad. I do, though, hope we cross paths one day.

  69. Hey guys,

    This post is great, but I know the hardest thing to do is bringing people to your website. it seems like you need ot pay a fortune to stick out there.

    I’d be happy to know more about traffic struggle.



    1. This was my issue. I am paying too much right now for google and facebook ads. They are bringing traffic but that does’t always result in sales.

  70. Great post.

    Just curious, is a business plan essential? If so, any suggestions for a template/samples or outsource options?

    Thanks so much.

  71. Great ideas, I do have a question and I hope for some good feedback. I already have a fb fan page of inspirational quotes that grows with a following daily. I’m wanting to create of 365 daily inspirational book of positive quotes and pictures to go with it. Thoughts?

  72. “Yet another wireframe clone! Here we proudly present the super clone of all mockup/wireframe applications – MockupTiger”

  73. Thank you for these info. You never fail to deliver information we can use right away.

    -a fan based in Thailand!

    Diana Lyn Lopez

  74. My experience, passion and love is for a graphic display product that only has about a 50% mark up and I have to sell direct to customers. The difference my site offers is that we specialize in the highest quality displays and have the experience designing and creating only them so WE Know what we are doing. My problem comes to how to make money at it and drive traffic and conversions to my site. Un-fortunetly the products have a slightly high $ amount being around $450 – $2,000 so it may be a tough buy for some when they can go on the cheep for $150 – $1,500.

  75. These are so great and inspiring to read. I just read 4HWW cover to cover in one sitting and am obsessed with finding my muse…I’d love to hear from people about the process (beyond Tim’s suggestion in the book) for figuring it out. Maybe it takes time, but if people have processes they went through that were really helpful it’d be great to hear about them.

  76. @you, yes, you!

    I hope that still a lot of you are subscribed to that thread 🙂

    Currently I am in the process of promoting my very first business idea which hopefully will turn out a nice muse. I am participating in a contest for new business ideas. My concept is now offcially in the contest and you could vote for it. It would mean a lot to me if you voted for it, really every vote counts here! The link to my idea is The content is only in German but you can still vote. Next to the title ‘Social Media Tank’ is a box which contains the current number of votes. Click ‘vote’ on the bottom part of the box and your vote will be registered.

    Already now I say thank you very much for your support, it really means a lot to me. I really want to win that price (basically only a metal sculpture) as you can see from this approch (which, by the way, is not against the rules of the contest) and this way make my first step towards ‘doing my own thing’.

    Best regards from Greece!


  77. Being a software developer i thought muse generation was for reselling or somehow producing a simple product to sell via a webshop.

    Instead i focused on one of my existing products, a digital signage software, and started to redesign a part of that to be aimed at another audience than the orginal software was. I slowly realized that i was creating a muse – both for myself and for my own company. I think this is a very important lesson in trying so hard to force yourself to think out of the box when the solution is right under your nose. Modifying your existing products to suit the purpose of other customers – this is especially for software development i think. I now have a small very cheap digital signage solution aimed at the small retail market – this was not my primary aim with the software. I was trying so hard to find something else instead of focusing on what i was alredy good at, and then simply using that knowledge in a new market.

    Thanks for a very inspiring book (both of them, 4HWW+4HB)

  78. Very inspiring post, thanks again Tim!

    I would love to see more behind the curtain on how to take an idea to the production stage…through to shipping the first online sale.

    All the best,


  79. Thank you for sharing these, Tim. They are inspiring, informative, and full of actionable information. Keep it coming in the areas of PR wins, advice to newcomers, and resources and tools.

  80. Wow, i am really inspired reading the article. though i have not yet read the book 4hww, i think now is the time to buy and read it.

  81. Thanksgiving is coming up and my normal cheat day is Sunday – is it ok to switch it to Thursday for just one week? That would mean going only 3 days between cheat days on one end and then 9 on the other end. (instead of 6 and 6). Will this affect my results?

  82. These muse examples are a really great idea. Inspirational and a great read. 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).

    Thanks again Tim

    1. Hey Josh!

      Good success with your site! The 4HWW community can’t get have good and inspiring examples of entrepreneurial action, even better if those businesses were started with 4HWW in mind.

      Check out also our site if you will, where we try to interview people who have a 4HWW Success Story to tell.

      Regards from Greece and have a good Holiday Season!


  83. I am trying not to be a Wantrepreneur! Read your great book, Tim. Promise I will read all 433 posts above to get some creativity going. But I had been drop shipping a product a couple years ago so thought I would try it again using the “new and proven” techniques in the book. Thought I was doing everything right but after spending $300 on google ads and Facebook ads – not one sale! Disheartening. Made changes to my site every week. Too expensive, not enough info, Hmm, better pics….Nada. I used to sell many of these. Getting enough site visits but as expected, as soon as I stop the Google ads all my traffic disappears.

    I can certainly change products but need to connect with someone with more creative ideas than mine.

    1. Obviously, I don’t want to spend money creating a prototype if I can’t sell the product, even if it is an elite product.

  84. Hey Tim, I am 20 and just recently ending my career as a submariner in the u.s. navy. i just wanted to thank you for putting out all of the information that you do because it is helping me to realize that i dont want to begin the unfulfilling chore of being a employee. not to say that it cant be enjoyable, but i feel as though owning my own businesses is more in tune with the life style thai envision for myself. i read your book cover to cover one weekend when i was on leave and it changed my life…thank you and i hope to meet you some day so i can thank you in person.

  85. I love this post, and I come back to it frequently. I’ve just recently launched my own, and I can only hope for so much success. I’m in the process of slogging through ad campaigns, getting my conversions up. It’s been a fascinating ride, and my first sale was one of the best feelings of my life 🙂