The Truth About Abs: How To Make $1,000,000 Per Month with Digital Products (Plus: Noah Kagan results)

Six-pack abs sell. (Photo: San Diego Shooter)

Once or twice in the past, I have referred to “someone” who has earned $5,000,000-$10,000,000 per year with e-books and cross promotion.

For that, I should apologize, as it’s not accurate: his numbers are now closer to $1,000,000 per month, and “e-book” doesn’t begin to explain what he does. That someone is named Mike Geary. He prefers to keep a low profile, skiing powder and refining his “muse,” or automated business, to a precise science. From strategic customer service in Germany, to testing for trending, it’s all piece of a well-planned puzzle and well-oiled machine.

For the first time, this post will explain how he built his business, some of the key lessons learned, and common mistakes with digital products.

As you read, keep in mind two things:

– He is, without a doubt, considered one of the smartest online marketers and traffic buyers (a key differentiator) in the world.

– He started off knowing nothing and got there through intelligent testing.

As Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, is famous for saying: “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” Planning is valuable, but–long-term–it’s your ability to improvise and adjust that makes the difference.

Enjoy…

Enter Mike Geary

Can you describe your muse?

My “muse” (i.e. business) is composed of three main components:

  1. I sell a fitness information product called “The Truth about Six-Pack Abs,” which has sold more than 500,000 copies since 2005.
  2. I publish a fitness and health newsletter to about 680,000 subscribers (with subscribers in almost every country), and have built a large content based website that goes along with this fitness newsletter.
  3. I act as a media buyer, purchasing large amounts of traffic (mostly in the fitness/nutrition niche) that I funnel to a few select partners. This allows me to become integrated into several other large fitness and nutrition businesses (they promote my product extensively on their backend) since I act as a very large source of their overall traffic.

What is the website for your muse?

My main website, which has the sales process for my “Truth About Six Pack Abs” product, is: www.TruthAboutAbs.com

[Click here to see an affiliate landing page, click here to see the standard non-affiliate/PPC landing page]

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

The business as a whole (all three components listed above) generates just shy of $1 million in revenue per month. Total revenue for last year was approximately $11 million.

While the financial freedom that this business has created has been amazing, it’s also been very rewarding to receive thousands of emails in our support center from customers who have literally changed their lives with the help of my fitness advice. I still get chills when I read a glowing email from a customer that has lost 100 lbs with my program, totally changed their confidence and energy, and just overall changed their life! So cool.

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

To be honest, I was a little slow in learning marketing and building the business, so it took me about five years to get to those numbers. About two years into this venture, I was finally making about $50,000 per year with the online business. As I explained above, growth exploded once I quit my corporate job, and my earnings increased about 10x the following year. Growth in following years went to $3.6 million, then $6 million, and finally $11 million in annual revenue.

How did you decide on “Truth About Abs”?

It was simple really… A mentor told me to follow what I’m most passionate about, and that passion was fitness and nutrition. I can talk all day long about fitness and nutrition, so why not do what I love?

I initially bought an information product that was about $300 (a big investment for me at the time) from a marketer named Ryan Lee. The product was all about teaching fitness professionals how to build a more successful business, particularly online. To this day, I still give Ryan credit for being the guy that got me into this career and changed my life. Thanks, Ryan! [Ed: The product Mike is referring to is no longer available. For those interested, this course covers similar content.]

As I studied Ryan’s course, I thought about my ideas for a potential information product. Working as a personal trainer, I knew that about 90% of the questions I got from clients were always about “six pack abs” or getting a flatter stomach. I also knew that there was a load of crap out there on the internet and on TV infomercials for all sorts of garbage like ab machines, belts, and worthless pills. Finally, I’d seen a ton of bad exercise advice floating around online. That was where my initial idea for “The Truth about Six-Pack Abs” came from. Little did I know that the idea would eventually become such a phenomenal success!

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?

As crazy as it sounds, “The Truth about Six Pack Abs” was my very first idea, and it’s been the product I’ve continued to focus on throughout the years. I haven’t strayed into other businesses or distracted myself from the product that I knew would be a best-seller. I wanted to keep my focus on one main product. With that said, I do have a couple other products that sell okay, such as my skiing fitness product (AvalancheSkiTraining.com), which I produced solely because it was a labor of love. But to this day, the “Truth about Abs” product remains my bread and butter.

How did you get started? What ultimately lead you to your current lifestyle?

I started my internet business in 2004 because I had become fed up with the time and freedom constraints that came with my old 9-5 corporate lifestyle. My main goals in designing my “new life” were:

  1. To build more time freedom into my life. I desperately wanted to design my new life with much more free time to enjoy my hobbies, friends, and family. This “time freedom” was actually a higher priority for me than the financial rewards of starting a web-based business. And this may sound funny, but I also had a goal to eventually NEVER have to wake up to an alarm again (aside from traveling). I despise waking up to an alarm!
  2. The ability to travel as much as I wanted, to anywhere in the world, with no financial or time constraints.
  3. More financial security for myself and my family.

When I set these goals back in 2004, I was basically working three jobs. I worked an engineering consulting job from 9-5 at an office. I also worked 15-20 extra hours per week as a personal trainer at a local gym, and I was attempting to build my online fitness business.

From 2004 to 2006, I made consistent but SLOW progress on my internet business. By the end of 2006, the internet business was making just as much money as my corporate job. I quit my corporate job in January 2007, and never looked back. Quitting my job at that critical point in time was the best decision I could have made as that freed up the time I needed to dedicate solely to my internet business, which started to boom in the months that followed.

Within another year, my internet business grew into a 7-figure annual business and, eventually, an 8-figure annual business in revenue.

It may have taken a few years to achieve, but I eventually successfully reached all three of those goals… time freedom, ability to travel anywhere/anytime, and financial freedom. Oh, and — except for when making flights — I haven’t had to wake up to an alarm clock in over four years now!

What does your daily/weekly routine look like? Where do you live and what does your lifestyle look like?

It has really been a dream come true. After I quit my corporate job in 2007, I moved to the mountains of Colorado and skied almost every day that next winter. I don’t ski every day anymore in the winter (I’m more picky about the ski conditions now), but I never ever miss a powder day. For those who aren’t hard core skiers: a powder day is like the holy grail of skiing. If you love skiing, you never want to miss a powder day!

In the summer, I do a lot of hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor fun. And because of my time freedom, friends and family can come out to visit me anytime in Colorado, so I love to host friends and act as a tour guide.

As for traveling, my girlfriend and I now travel at least 10-15 days every month. We’ve traveled to dozens of countries and done all sorts of fun stuff, like heli-skiing in Chile, ATVing and ziplining in Costa Rica, dry suit scuba diving in the Silfra Ravine in Iceland, and tropical scuba diving throughout the Carribean. We’ve also traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Central America, South America, and lots of islands! We plan to do more traveling through Europe and Asia soon.

When I travel, I still work on my business about 1-2 hours per day. That’s what I’ve decided personally is a good schedule to allow me to enjoy traveling and still keep up with my business. When I’m not traveling, I basically allow myself complete freedom of schedule. Some days I’ll feel like I’m “in the zone” and just work all day long, maybe 10-12 hours or more. Other days, I might only work two hours and enjoy the rest of the time doing fun outdoorsy stuff, going to a nice dinner, or golfing with friends.

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

In the very beginning, I had this foolish idea in my head that this flood of people would automatically rush to my website, buy my product, and I’d be a millionaire within months. Reality struck when I had a whopping 5 visitors to my site in the first month. At the time, I didn’t understand that you actually have to DRIVE traffic to your site, as people won’t just magically find you.

After about six weeks of having my site “live” and still having yet to make a single sale, I started to get discouraged and thought that this whole internet marketing thing just didn’t work. Then I had a tipping point: I got my first sale! But when I looked at the details of the sale, I noticed that the buyer was one of my mom’s good friends. I had to laugh, but at the same time, it gave me the motivation to push forward, as I saw that the website could make sales if I just produced traffic.

The next tipping point came about 18 months later when I started playing with Google Adwords, and learning how to purposely drive traffic instead of just hoping people would find the site. I’m very technically minded, and Adwords is a numbers game, so that fascinated me. Within a couple months, I started learning how to split test ads, find what converted best for my site, and get massive amounts of traffic for reasonable prices (at least reasonable enough to break even, or make a small profit on the front end). Running a massive amount of traffic on Adwords and doing lots of testing taught me how to buy traffic in other places too, beyond Google’s network.

Another big tipping point came in early 2007, when I finally put my product on the affiliate network, Clickbank. The biggest thing that I did was set my affiliate program apart from the crowd. Here’s how…

At the time, I noticed that most vendors on the Clickbank marketplace were only paying affiliates 35-50% commissions. Even the highest paying vendors were paying 55% to 60% commissions max. To some, that might seem very generous. But at the same time, we’re selling digital products, so we don’t have as many overhead costs as with a physical product and can be more generous.

I decided to be OVERLY generous with affiliates and truly set myself apart from the crowd. Instead of the normal 35-60% commissions, I set my commissions at 75% (which is the maximum percentage you can pay to affiliates in Clickbank). Immediately, this made my product more lucrative for most affiliates than other products that were paying lower commissions. I had hundreds of affiliates shift their traffic to my site instead of some of my competitors. Within a couple months, I jumped up to one of the best selling products on the entire Clickbank marketplace, out of more than 10,000 products.

[Tim postscript: As Mike mentions in the comments, this means:

“For a clarification on revenue, the way that Clickbank works is to take the processing fee and the affiliate fee out before the revenue ever flows into my account, so that $11MM ‘per year’ actually did not include gross sales numbers. With gross sales, it would be more around $20MM-$25MM per year, I’m guessing.”]

Within 6-12 months, most other top selling Clickbank vendors followed suit and switched to 75% payouts. Currently, as a vendor (product creator), if you pay affiliates any less than 75% (as that’s now the standard), it’s very hard to be competitive, because most affiliates will only promote products that pay 75% commissions.

Some vendors still have the wrong mindset and can’t stand the idea of the affiliate making more per sale than they make as the creator of their own product. That’s foolish, however, because the math is simple: would you rather get 10 sales and make $30 per sale ($300), or get 1,000 sales at $10 per sale ($10,000)? Better yet, how about 500,000 sales at only $2 per sale in profit ($1,000,000)? The answer should be obvious. The more generous you can be with affiliates and other business partners, the more sales VOLUME they can send you, especially if they’re buying traffic and incurring that cost. Plus, there’s more backend revenue potential with a higher volume of customers.

The above was a huge takeaway for me, and it led to the development of two priorities that are still at the heart of my business today:

  1. Treat my customers like gold. Without happy customers, any business will eventually die. I wanted people to get RESULTS! I don’t just want to sell them some fad or gimmick that doesn’t work.
  2. Treat my affiliates (and other business partners) like gold. Going above and beyond while being overly generous with business partners and affiliates effectively jumpstarted my business success. In fact, in additon to being one of the first vendors to pay affiliates 75% commissions, I was also one of the first vendors on the Clickbank marketplace that started to reward affiliates that sent over a certain number of sales each month with bonuses up to 85% or even 90% commissions. The additional percentage points had to be paid manually at the end of the month as a bonus.

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?

I remember buying lots of low priced marketing e-books about search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC marketing). Those e-books that I bought 5-6 years ago are mostly outdated now, given the techniques change so rapidly. Regardless, the benefit was that I learned how to use both SEO and PPC and stumbled onto new discoveries as I worked with both.

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

A couple that I can think of right off the top of my head…

I got approached once to buy an “email drop” in a list that supposedly had 5 million names. The list was apparently built through credit card surveys or something like that. I think it only cost $600 to run an ad to this list, so I thought it HAD to be a winner, and I tested it. I ended up getting 1 sale ($40) from that $600 test. Even with a list of 5 million names, that list was basically worthless since there was no relationship, and it had been built solely from credit card surveys. Compare that to a JV (joint venture) partner who has a great relationship with their list. We’ve had some affiliates get hundreds of sales from relatively small lists of maybe 10,000 emails.

I know that buying “email drops” can sometimes work (and I’ve made other successful ad buys in newsletters), but you have to know exactly how the list was built, if it’s maintained regularly, and if it has a loyal following. Otherwise, it could be a garbage list.

Another failed test was a direct mail postcard we tested. The whole campaign cost me about $30,000 to implement (postage costs, postcard creation costs, copywriting, list rental, etc). It seemed like a viable test as I had friends that had moderate success with direct mail pieces before. The postcard tried to get the user to go to a website from the postcard and purchase our fitness product. It backfired big time, as we only made back about $3,000 out of the $30,000 investment in the test. A 90% loss to the tune of $27k… No fun.

Now, I’m not saying that a postcard-to-website sales process can’t work. However, in our example, we obviously had a big missing link to the puzzle and it just didn’t produce sales. I think it’s a trickier process than someone who’s  coming to your site after clicking on a PPC ad or banner ad.

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

I haven’t manufactured any products, so I can’t comment on that. As for marketing, my biggest lessons (as mentioned above) were being overly generous with affiliates and paying them every possible penny that I could. This is the only way to be competitive with affiliates: to be the business with the biggest payout to them. Even if you have to pay affiliates 100% of your front end revenue, at least you know that you obtained those customers without incurring a loss (which doesn’t happen with every type of advertising), and now you have the opportunity to build a long term relationship with those customers and sell them your other products in the future.

Another key marketing lesson I learned is that when buying traffic, be prepared to not make any profit on the front end. Sometimes, in order to compete with other advertisers, you need to be willing to take a small loss on your advertising spend in order to bring in lots of customers. You just need to be careful to know your backend numbers (average future revenue amount per customer) well enough to ensure that your front-end losses aren’t so steep that you can’t make back the advertising loss after a certain period of time.

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

I’ve had various radio interviews, and had content picked up by popular websites, blogs, etc. However, some of my best relationships have been companies that I’ve partnered with on media buying (think AOL, MSN, etc.) Spending a boatload of money with certain big companies, and building a long term relationship with them by advertising for years has resulted in special deals for cheaper traffic. If you think about it from the publisher’s perspective, it helps to save them administrative costs by dealing with fewer advertisers, so sometimes I’ve been able to get better deals by agreeing to large contracts upfront. Another advertiser might only buy 1-2 ads, instead of the 50 ad placements that I would buy.

Where did you register your domain (URL)?

GoDaddy.com

Where did you decide to host your domain?

I host with a company called Rackco. It was just a referral from a friend at the time, but I’ve stuck with them for years.

If you used a web designer, where did you find them?

The only thing I had “designed” was my cartoon based header graphics. Again, this was simply a referral from a friend, and the guy I used was a talented cartoon designer named Vince Palko. I’ve also heard that 99designs is a great place to get designs.

Do you have any employees?

I have customer service representatives in a few different countries and major markets. Specifically, I have one person in France, one Swiss for German translation help, an English-language affiliate support rep in Trinidad (he also handles Spanish translation), and one German-based woman who handles German affiliates. Finally, I have a webmaster who helps with site maintenance.

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

Nothing. I’ve learned so much, even from my mistakes, and everything has happened for a reason.

What are some common mistakes when buying media/traffic?

The most common mistake is not letting enough traffic flow to see true trends. Some people shut down their campaigns after only a couple hundred clicks thinking that it won’t be profitable, but they haven’t let it run long enough to see for sure. For example, a newbie might shut down their campaign after only 500 clicks and 1 sale. But what if they would have made 3 sales in the next 500 clicks, for a total of 4 sales in 1,000 clicks? Data can be pretty variable when you’re still under 1,000 clicks. I generally test an ad for at least a couple thousand clicks. However, keep in mind that I deal mostly with the fitness and nutrition niches and they require high volumes of clicks to see true data.

Another big mistake is not split testing enough variations of ads. Many advertisers give up on losing campaigns after testing only a couple ad creatives. However, I’ve found that simple modifications — such as a one word variation in a headline or a slightly different image or background color — can be the difference between a losing campaign and a profitable campaign. In some instances, I’ve used the exact same ad text combined with slightly different pictures and seen DOUBLE the click-through rate (CTR).

The last mistake is also very common: most advertisers aren’t willing to lose money to find what works. I EXPECT to lose money the first time I test a campaign. Then I tweak the ad copy, offer, etc. based on our testing results, and we see if we can restart the campaign a second time and make it profitable based on what we learned [i.e. what lost the least money, etc.] For example, if I do a $10,000 traffic buy test on a new website that we haven’t worked with before, we’ll usually only make back maybe $6,000 to $7,000 for a net loss of about $3,000. But we also usually learn that one of our ad variations performed MUCH better than the others, and we can work with that specific ad from that point forward and possibly negotiate lower rates. Sometimes we find that the numbers are too far off to work in the future, so we just decide to cut all ties with that particular website and not buy traffic from them again if they can’t offer lower rates.

Any tips for Facebook media buying? Common wastes of money or newbie screwups?

The three mistakes that I listed in the previous question apply to buying Facebook traffic, as well. I’ve found that the most important aspect of Facebook ads is the image, so it’s necessary to test at least 6-10 variations of images for each ad. The image attracts the eyeballs first, then your headline needs to finish the job and get the person to click your ad. One thing I’ve found is that images that have done well for ads on other sites may not always be effective on Facebook. Each site is unique with its style, colors, and layout, and I’ve been surprised by some images that work well on Facebook and others that don’t.

One common mistake I’ve seen with people buying ads on Facebook is paying WAY too much per click. In my experience, you almost NEVER need to pay the recommended bid amount that Facebook displays when you set up your ad. For example, I’ve set up ads where the recommended bid amount was $1.12 per click. I’d bid $0.30 cents instead, and would still be able to get large amounts of traffic (assuming that I was able to get a high enough click through rate on the ad). In order to pay a lot less than the recommended bid price per click, you need to get an above average click through rate, so it takes good ad copy, good images, and the right targeting.

If you had $5K to start media buying, what would you do right now, assuming all sites/platforms (e.g. AdWords) were available to you?

The best quality and cheapest traffic is available on Google’s content network. That’s easier said than done, as Google is currently very picky about what offers they will allow to run. In certain industries, it’s not even worth trying anymore, because Google won’t allow some types of websites to advertise at all. But if you are advertising in an industry that Google still accepts, the content network is wide open, and it’s the cheapest source of quality traffic available in most cases. It’s also one of the highest volume traffic sources available (along with Facebook), but in some industries, the Google content network can be easier to advertise profitably compared to Facebook.

Sometimes you’ll hear marketing “gurus” say that the search network is better quality traffic than the content network. This is false, as it’s industry specific. In my case, I spent over $5 million advertising on Google over the years with fitness and nutrition products, and I can say without a doubt that content network traffic is MUCH cheaper than search traffic, and converts even higher than search traffic in many cases.

What would you do if you had $20K to start media buying?

At this spend level, you can do test campaigns on nearly any major website, as most major sites require test campaigns of around $5k to $10k minimum to get started. We’re talking about big news websites, politics sites, weather sites, and major sites like Yahoo, MSN, and AOL. From my experience with media buying, testing is all that matters as it’s hard to compare CPM rates from one site to another, since placement locations, sizes, etc. are all different. For instance, I’ve had CPM campaigns that were profitable on some sites at super high rates of $6.00 CPM or more, and on other sites, a price as low as $0.50 CPM resulted in a loss. You never know how an individual site will perform until you test.

The usual steps for a media buy on a large site are:

  1. Run $5-10k test campaign (most times, initial test loses money). Smaller sites accept much lower test amounts.
  2. Optimize the ads that performed best and delete the ads that performed worst.
  3. Negotiate a lower CPM rate if the publisher can go any lower (sometimes they can, and sometimes they can’t go lower — depends what other advertisers are paying on average and how much inventory they have available).
  4. Re-launch campaign when you’re confident that you will be able to profit.

What are your recommendations for developing information products?

Sell the customers what they want, but give them what they NEED. In my market, what people want are six-pack abs exercises. But that’s not what I give them, because that’s not what they need. They need the right nutrition, the right full body training program, and the right mindset to be dedicated to their goal. Basically, I sell six pack abs, but I teach them how to live healthier and adopt a fitness lifestyle in order to lower their body fat for life.

What have you learned about price points?

It’s been really interesting to see some of the testing for pricing. We’ve tested price points for various fitness info products at $29.95, $39.95, $47.00, $67.00, $77.00, $79.00, and $97.00. I’ve found a sweet spot in the $47.00 price point for most online fitness info products that seems to maximize front end revenue and the total number of customers. Lower price points can sometimes bring in more customers on the front end, but the backend marketing plan needs to be solid in order to make up for the lower price (especially if you’re buying traffic and need that front-end revenue to come close to break even on your ad buys).

How have you tried to minimize requests for refunds?

Truthfully, I’ve just focused on producing a great quality product, which goes a long way to reduce refunds. I know that some people are dishonest and will request refunds even though they liked the product. But I feel that, overall, most people are honest and won’t take advantage of someone on purpose.

A surprisingly common scenario for requesting a refund is when people don’t understand that the program is downloadable, even though it’s spelled out on the site. They think they’re getting something in the mail, then request a refund when they don’t. It’s best to be as clear as possible to make sure people understand that this is a downloadable program. This can prevent loads of customer service requests from confused customers. Of course, if you sell a physical product, this isn’t a problem, though shipping and delivery time may be more of an issue.

How do you test for your content pages?

At this point, it’s fairly easy to test the interest in content pages. I simply come up with an idea, prepare the article, and send it to my email list of about 680,000 readers. The open rates of the email give a good representation of how interesting that topic (email subject line) was to most people.

Also, on each content page, I have the social media sharing buttons (Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon). I can guage how much people like a particular topic based on how much social media sharing occurs. I have some pages with over 40,000 Facebook likes and others with only a couple dozen likes.

Best and worst performers? Most unexpected winners or losers?

My best content pages are typically topics that surprise or shock people in some way, or clear up a confusing topic. Take note of the amount of Facebook likes, tweets, etc. on some of these pages below:

Successful example #1: “Are Whole Eggs or Egg Whites Better for You?

In this article, I surprise people with my arguments as to why egg yolks are actually the healthiest part of the egg, and anybody eating only egg whites is making a foolish decision. This is a great example of the type of information that goes against the grain and shows how people have been misinformed by the media.

Successful example #2: “The Salad Dressing You Should NEVER Eat.”

This is another good example of a content page that shocks people. Before reading this article, a lot of people had no idea that most salad dressings at the grocery store are a health disaster, full of additives like corn syrup, unhealthy soybean and canola oils, etc. People want to share articles like this.

Successful example #3: “Does Canned Food and Bottled Water Increase Your Abdominal Fat Through Hidden Chemicals?

This is another article that shocks most people, as it teaches them about a rather unknown chemical that they might be exposed to in canned foods and plastics. These types of surprising articles help people to want to share the article with their friends to help protect their health.

And now for an example of a content page that didn’t seem to work that well:

The Nutrition Benefits of Kale.”

You can see this page got less than 100 Facebook likes, compared to the examples above that have thousands, or even tens of thousands of “likes.” What’s the difference? Well, I think the main difference is that kale is just not a “sexy” topic. People already know that kale is good for you, so there’s nothing shocking in this article. Compare that to the egg yolks article, where most people think egg yolks are horrible for you, and I give an argument to show why that’s wrong. It’s more shocking and therefore something people want to share with friends.

Most common mistakes and/or easy fixes for content pages?

Assuming the content is interesting and well-written, one mistake I see is that people don’t always make it easy for people to share things on their website. For example, they might just have a Facebook like button at the top of the page, but not the bottom. I like to have sharing buttons at the top and the bottom so that people see the buttons right as they finish the article. I think it’s important to have the social media buttons at the top of the page too so that people see that the page has social proof and is popular right at the beginning.

I also think some site owners can use too many sharing buttons, even more than a dozen total. I like to use the “Big 3” (Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon) to keep things uncluttered.

What’s next for you?

Honestly, I just want to continue simplifying my business more and more as time goes on.

I have plans for a couple new small projects, one of which is an upcoming healthy fat-burning recipe book that I’m working on with a co-author. Other than that, one of my main goals is to maintain my current lifestyle without getting bogged down by too many business projects. I want to continue pumping out great fitness and nutrition content that helps my readers live healthier lives.

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Related and Suggested Posts:

Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 1

Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 2

Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 3

Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 4

Odds and Ends: Noah Kagan competition results

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in Noah Kagan’s contest! For those who haven’t read his post, Noah made a simple offer: The reader who generated the most profit in two weeks with their new business or product would win $1,000 of AppSumo credit and RT airfare for a romantic candlelit taco dinner in Austin, Texas.

We had some truly amazing entries, and ended up having to split the prizes. Here were the results:

WINNER: Tom from RaceCrowds.com, who made $600 profit in 4 days. Tom ran a sale on his site over the weekend, using many of the tips Noah suggested in the post:

“I basically did a Motorsports version of AppSumo. I did a 50/50 split with my promotional partner and Chompon takes 10%.

Stats from Chompon.com

Total Views: 981

Total Shares: 23

Total Purchases: 6

Total Revenue: $1,350.00”

Runner-ups: Adam Nolan and Russell Ruffino from ultimatesalesfunnel.net. These two made $17,867.64 in profit… “WTF?!” Yes, they did. However, according to the rules in the post, each competing business/product had to be brand new. Their product, while new, was created four days before the contest was announced. Either way: BIG congrats, guys!

All entrants: For everyone who made an attempt at starting up their million dollar business: Be sure to check your inbox for complimentary credit to AppSumo 🙂

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 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.

449 Replies to “The Truth About Abs: How To Make $1,000,000 Per Month with Digital Products (Plus: Noah Kagan results)”

      1. Yea thanks Tim! These are my favorite articles of all others on your site. They aren’t incredibly complicated or ‘hack-like’ but they provide insight that is both valuable and time saving! My muse is going to be launching just before thanksgiving so this gives me passion to be the next ‘muse example article’ you post about!

      2. Agreed – great article Tim and thanks for putting all of this together! A big thanks also to Mike for being willing to share so much about his business model. Very interesting insight here 🙂

      3. I’ve been reading all of the muse posts on your blog for a while now. Each one is truly inspiring and gives me motivation to keep coming up with the next best idea. Hopefully soon you’ll have my muse on here.

      4. Tim,

        It would interesting to see “Six Pack Shortcuts” business’s model stood side by side with Truth About Abs. SPS seems to be very well promoted on youtube and google but they’re not highly ranked on clickbank and only offer 50% commission. (if I’m reading this right) Do you have any connections to its owner Mike Chang?

        I wonder who came first? :}

        Anyway, thanks for another open kimono! Keep them coming!

      5. Hey Tim,

        I know you do some angel investing. I hope you’ll check us out, we’re growing in a big growth area, we think there’s serious potential. We make skins for iphones/ipads/kindles/macs/androids and more.

    1. Interesting how someone can make so much money selling information you can get for free from more knowledgeable people like Martin at leangains

      1. Hi GR, it’s important to realize that ALL information is “out there” for free somewhere… when we sell information products, books, etc, we’re organizing it nicely for the customer. For example, all of the information from Tim’s book 4HB is “out there” on the net for free, but why would someone want to spend months or years researching it all when they can just pay a small fee to read his book and all of that great information is organized for the reader already.

        That’s the whole point of any book. Organizing information that is already out there free somewhere.

        1. The “I can get this for free” argument is a mindset issue. I wasted a ton of time chasing after free info in my internet marketing journey.

          Profits and free time with my loved ones increased when i switched to the “find and expert that has done what I’m trying to do and hire them” model.

          Mike Geary’s business is a shining example of what can be built online with hard work and perseverance.

          As for the content, I have the book and it’s nice, neat and organized and work great for those that stick to it and follow it.

          Leangains dude is making profit too…and good on him for it.

      2. information you can get for free from more knowledgeable people like Martin at leangains

        GR, Martin’s selling Clickbank ebooks off his homepage…not sure why you think Berkhan’s running a charity.

  1. Thank you – great post, no internet guru/get rich quick hype, just facts honesty and data. I would be interested to find out if you used any other methods apart from click bank to recruit affiliates.

    Thanks again for the info.

  2. Very excellent interview. It’s amazing how a lot of these successful people have all gone through the same or very similar struggles including wanting to give up or thinking they’re not cut out for that sort of work. Very valuable interview, thanks!

    1. That’s $1.000.000 revenue where he pays almost 100% for media-buys and gets break even and pays at least 80-90% for his affiliates. That means, he can hardly cover his costs for server, video-hosting, support, webmaster, etc. with the front-end earnings. He will earn a lot of money for licensing (product translated into different countries) and promotion offers from his mega big email list, which is very good, because as he says, he is delivering good content!

  3. Mike Geary once told me the Truth About Abs. However, it’s one of those “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you” things. So, as far as I know, I am on borrowed time.

    That said, fantastic piece. Mike lays it out nicely.

    *golf clap*

  4. That’s amazing. I definitely have seen Truth About Abs many times over the years. It always was a big seller on Clickbank. Now I see why! 1 million a month is mind boggling.

    The interview was pure gold. Great info that even a beginner can apply.

  5. My hand hurts from all the notes I wrote down from this post. Great content!

    One thing I would love to see more in-depth is the backend marketing process. Mike talks about that magic price point ($47) and how the followup needs to be nailed down in order to justify the margins on the first product.

    What are some of the better processes in the follow-up? How do you best test email autoresponders in the post-sale to generate leads and secondary sales?

    I know that sometimes your best customers are the ones who have already purchased from you, so more detail there would be great.

    Thanks

  6. Wait a second – according to the occupy wall street folks – this is not possible!

    The corporations are preventing us from making a life of our own!

    Don’t let the mainstream media find out about this post – it could ruin their whole news cycle for the week!

    Great job Tim – WELL DONE to all the entrepeneurs out there!

    Andrew

  7. Wow, unreal!

    It’s great that he found a way to make money with something that he’s passionate about.

    Thanks for the interview, I’m definitely taking notes!

    1. Leah, your website is beautiful. Thanks for such interesting profiles, and for turning me on to Brian Cox just now. I have a feeling I’ll be soaking up his shows/books in the next few weeks, as well as your ongoing RSS feed 🙂

  8. Inspiring post… until you remember it takes a lot of years of effort to get to see some great results…

    Anyway, even if your inspiration is gone, you must keep going forward because the end results can be rewarding like the ones in this post.

  9. this is a very good article, I myself m in the process of selling en eBook and this gave me a lot of hopeto just keep on going and testing until sales is made!

    Thanks Tim and Mike (I own a Book from you both)

      1. Yes, on ebooks–especially ones sold on 75-90% aff commissions and A-list media CPM and FB/Google PPC. It’s not like he’s making money out of thin air just because no trees were cut down.

  10. I appreciate the in depth articles on the trials and tribulations of creating, testing, and building a muse. Extremely valuable and encouraging detail that helps us all refine our business.

  11. Funny comment about the hand cramps from writing notes…I needed a second pen myself . Wow, really really loved this interview, Thanks Tim.

    Somedays I’m sure we all get so info overloaded and feel that we just can’t fit another thing into the brainsoup and then along comes something this solid to fire up the neurons and motivate action , thanks again

  12. Hey Mike!

    You write: “growth exploded once I quit my corporate job, and my earnings increased about 10x the following year”. I ask: why? Because you suddenly had more time to work on it or is there something else we should know?? 🙂

    Regards from Greece,

    David

  13. Wait – he earns $1M/month? Or, has $1M/month gross revenue? Two very different things. Doesn’t change the relevance and usefulness of the story, of course. 🙂

  14. “I also had a goal to eventually NEVER have to wake up to an alarm again (aside from traveling). I despise waking up to an alarm!”

    I hear you, man! Great to know that even this kind of unusual and rather simple dream can lead to a great result like yours!

    Regards,

    David

  15. Thank you Tim for this awesome post. I had read all the comments from your muse case study part 1 and part 4 (500+ comments) to study what your readers want and your readers (like me) want more case studies!

    And this post nailed it again, just want to say thank you for your contributions.

    Brian

  16. I give him credit for his great success but I have to wonder and no offense, why after all these years and the millions of dollars does the website look so hack and scroll on forever (besides SEO reasons). I see a site like that and move on in a heart beat. Low quality products are notorious for having similar looking forever scrolling sites that overdue it with testimonials to the point you figure they are trying to hard. Why no update and such a low level of aesthetic design.. it is your brand after all? It goes to show that smoke and mirrors glitz and glam sites don’t make you money the core product does…but still…it looks horrible.

    1. It’s counterintuitive, but decades of research in direct market has proven that long form sales letters with non-slick design convert much better than more succinct, prettier copy.

      Marketing an information product necessarily takes more persuasion (hence length) than a physical product. When people saw a picture of the iPod for the first time with the blub, “1000 songs in your pocket”, they didn’t need persuading; the benefits and appeal were self-evident. When you try to sell yet another course on how to get six-pack abs, you have to overcome a lot of objections, explain why this course is different than competing courses, etc. The crudeness of the layout is designed to keep people’s attention by introducing variation (sections with pictures, bold headers, yellow backgrounds, Courier fonts, and so on). It’s been demonstrated over and over again that when you try to “improve” sales letters by making them more aesthetic, conversions go down.

      I’m not endorsing this style of marketing, just trying to point out that it’s extremely deliberate, however amateurish it looks to designers and non-marketers. For instance, you say that he overdoes it on the testimonials. Every A-list copywriter I’ve ever read who claims to have tested it (e.g. Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham) insists that you can’t have too many testimonials. More testimonials result in higher conversion rates. Since Mike points out that he methodically split tests his campaigns, it’s safe to assume that the sales letter–which is the last thing the customer sees before buying–has been optimized.

      1. Andre, very true points. I never understood the point of super long sales pages and ridiculous amounts of testimonials on these types of products until I learned a little direct-response marketing and how to create & use good copy.

    2. john wynne,

      I don’t want to be rude, and I know the post is old, but one thing I see he is making millions that has to prove something. He is were most of us want to be.

      regards

  17. Holy Moly this is an awesome post! I love the very directed questions you asked Mike, thank you! I’m going through Google engage right now so that I can have a little bit of research done before I start testing my adwords campaigns for my muse as well. I love the examples in this article, stories like this get me fired up!

  18. I’ve been working on getting my sites profitable for some time now since I started your book 4 hour work week. This really helps me understand the time frame and tools needed, like your other case studies.

    Please keep posting em up!

    Never thought about giving 75% commission, what an idea. I’ll run with that.

    Thanks Tim

  19. Thanks Tim for an excellent article. You really asked some incredible questions which lead to the really profound & helpful answers. It sounds like Mike is also a big believer in the power of Mindset — he alludes to it once or twice. I’d love to see a follow-up article on how he overcame the mindset of an employee to break free into his true freedom & passion.

  20. OK, although I bought the product now, one thing I didn’t like: too much sales, after I had already purchased the product. You get to the download page and there’s a bunch of other “free” stuff. 1st of all: who has the time to read/watch all that? 2nd: we all know what “free” means when you have to have to enter your email address to get it.

    Just my two cents. But I LOVED the cartoon sales video, great stuff man!

    Regards from Greece,

    David

  21. Tim, You are awesome! Thank you so much for publishing this article! I am on a VERY similar path as Mr. Greary. I am so inspired and motivated, I almost want to cry. I have had a hard time with some things over the last 18 months and this proves to me that I am NOT crazy and that it CAN be done! One day when I meet you, I will give you a big hug (in a very masculine, platonic way of course) for your inspiration and letting the world know there is life to be lived!!! 🙂

  22. Tim:

    I’m the guy that scammed you a bit on that April Fools deal a few years back and shared sous vide with you and Mike Eades in SF a couple of years back.

    As someone who has spent hundreds of thousands on Google PPC and what used to be Yahoo PPC (now MS runs it), I cannot emphasize enough the gold in this post concerning testing. It can kill you, or make you a lot of money. Luckily, I got some help quickly and ended up very well for it.

    Anyway, the reson for my comment is that my wife and I created a “muse” that launched 1 July and so far, as of today, I have revenue just under 20k, so 4 months.

    I’d be happy to share it with you and readers and would certainly be willing to email an abstract to see if you’re interested, if you have one of the assistants who write your blog posts contact me at the email provided. 🙂

  23. $1 million in revenue. After he has paid 75% in commissions and employees, hosting costs, traffic and then 20 – 30% in taxes….

    Still not bad. My worst days are still better.

    Real game’s starting at $1million NET profit per week.

    1. Hey Caro, it depends on your goals whether big numbers are important or not. For myself personally, I don’t care to ever make $100MM in profit or anything along those lines. My biggest goals were more lifestyle oriented and having enough financial independence to travel/live/work anywhere in the world, take care of my family, and enjoy any experiences without financial limitations. I’ve basically done that. Experiences have always been more important to me than material things.

      For a clarification on revenue, the way that clickbank works is to take the processing fee and the affiliate fee out before the revenue ever flows into my account, so that $11MM per year actually did not include gross sales numbers. With gross sales, it would be more around $20MM-$25MM per year I’m guessing.

      1. Mike – your post here is amazing and I really appreciate the information. One further question I have is about how your product has evolved. Did your product start as something much smaller and more rudamentary, and it has evloved over time? Or did you start it as something that is very close to it’s current version with only minor adjustments/no adjustments?

        Thanks again!

      2. Let’s get a ClickBank screenshot.

        I never understand why these case studies are presented without a single shred of evidence.

        You’d think as a marketer both Tim and Mike would know the power of adding validity to posts like these.

      3. Well put mike, I can’t believe some people, they still try and put a negative spin on things,

        Really inspiring mate, live it how it’s all about the lifestyle dude

  24. Excellent interview! Very inspiring.

    Makes me want to know more about Mr. Mike Geary…

    There is something that I might think is missing (deliberately?) from the description of the key marketing lessons learned.

    A quick Google search reveals something very interesting. 4 of the top 10 results are sites with different variants on the topic “Mike Geary Scam Alert – Is he A Fraud and Liar?”. All of these sites are, of course, affiliates to Mike that all testify that his e-book is the best thing ever (ever, ever) written… and a link to purchase the book.

    As Mike is OVERLY generous with affiliates and give the 75+%+ payouts it would be very interesting to know who his largest affiliates are and how much money they bring in!

    How about that as a Muse – Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free (with those great abs)…!

    Could you maybe ask Mike about this?

    1. Hey Anthony, yes you’re right…there’s both good and bad that comes along with having a lot of affiliates. One of the problems is all of those affiliates that put those ads up saying “is Mike Geary a scammer” and then provide a glowing review. I don’t really like the negative associations with people seeing words like “scammer” in the same headline. I’m not sure it’s worth trying to shut them down as new ones just come up immediately.

      However, those types of affiliates that do negative branding type stuff really only accounts for maybe 1-2% of sales. The best affiliates that drive big sales are the ones that are buying traffic. I’ve had some affiliates that easily made 6-figures per month, but I have no idea of their profits because I don’t know how much they’re spending on advertising.

      Although affiliates account for about 50% of my total sales, I still produce about 50% of my sales myself through my own media buys.

      1. Hello Mike,

        I am interested in your content for TAA. How long did you take to compile your content? Also what format do you offer your content? videos, audio, or just a pdf file that the customer can download? I want to get a product up on click bank in the next month or so and was interested in how long it took you to get all the info together.

        Thank you so much for the post. It is really nice to get information from inside so to speak.

        Thanks,

        Steven

    2. Mike is not “OVERLY” generous. At least, not in the realm of internet marketing (currently).

      In the online fitness world, 75% isn’t just the “standard” affiliate payout–it’s the ONLY option. That is, if you’re not offering 75%, no on will promote you.

      Now, it’s worth mentioning that Mike himself set this standard by initially offering 75% (as he noted in the interview), but it’s not the only way to do business.

      I can’t speak for his largest affiliates, but I know several fitness marketers who have made 20-30K by mailing ONE email that linked to Mike’s sales video.

  25. Thanks TIm and Mike that was a really inspiring read. A question about ebook information products vs. hard copy though: Do you find you lose income from piracy with selling ebooks/things you can download? Or is it worth it because you save so much in overheads?

  26. Yes! …. But. What’s his net? I’ve actually heard that this guy virtually prints his own money. 🙂 Big ups to him on creating the lifestyle.

    I just have to say that the marketing looks a lot like the marketing for less legit products. So much internet marketing these days has that uniform “scammy” feel. The same big claims, the same highlighted and underlined phrases, the same enormous list of promises and “bonuses”. Am I too much of a skeptic? Are other people turned off by it too? I don’t know. It obviously works in this case. Perhaps the deciding factor is the quality of the product.

    1. I agree, Joe, now whenever I see long-form sales-letter-style landing page, I close the tab faster than a heartbeat–doesn’t matter how many “glowing reviews” I’ve read on or offline. Got scammed a gazillion times by these internet marketers who scream “gold mine” while in reality they sell shit. People only need to get burnt once to grow skeptical of sales-letter-style marketing gimmicks for life.

  27. Guys, listen to this article. I know that in 4HWW the emphasis kind of goes in the direction of creating a physical product, but digital info products are really way to go, in my opinion. There’s nothing to stock, ship, or manufacture, and you can create then out of thin air. It’s an incredible thing. The product that got us runner up status in Noah’s contest is an info product too! 🙂

    Great interview, Tim! Mike G is a legend.

  28. As a person who has read both of Tim’s books and watched countless hours of muse studies, I really liked this one. Great motivation for me to start like NOW instead of next year. Thanks for the information, the testing part makes my head spin, but that’s okay, I know where I need to start, I just need to do it!

  29. “I have plans for a couple new small projects, one of which is an upcoming healthy fat-burning recipe book that I’m working on with a co-author.”

    Perhaps this is a hint that Tim and Mike are collaborating on the Four Hour Chef? Haha, that’d be awesome.

    Tim: since both your book (4HB) and Mike’s ebook (TAA) offer ways to get 6 pack abs, I’m left wondering how much overlap exists between your content and his content. Could you tell us, the folks who have read 4HB, some specific similarities and differences between 4HB and TAA? E.g. the exercise regimens are similar, one requires a more structured way of eating, etc…

    Thanks! (and congrats to Tom from RaceCrowds!)

    1. Hi Pramit. Currently, there’s no surprise collaborations planned between Tim and I on a project. Although we are planning to do some insane powder skiing this winter together!

      As for 4HB and TAA differences… biggest thing overall is that his book covers such a broad range of topics as opposed to just fat loss and abs. For the training and nutrition portions specifically, Tim and I have a lot of similar beliefs for sure… in general, we both advocate a somewhat modified paleo style of nutrition with built in “cheat” days or meals. For training, I try to give my audience everything from beginner concepts like full body workouts, multi-joint exercises, all the way to more advanced styles of training with kettlebells, sprinting, etc. If I had to summarize my preferred training methods, it would be: sprinting, kettlebells, powerlifting, and athletic training sprinkled with a tiny bit of bodybuilding and lots of recreational stuff (mtn biking, skiing, hiking, etc).

      Thanks for great feedback everyone on this post… I wish you the best of luck in both fitness and business!

      Mike

      1. I’ve read both. I actually got my start in internet marketing selling Mike’s TAA book as an affiliate (my site is still up and still gets sales, despite having completely ignored it for the past two years… enjoy your 25%, Mike :P).

        The content is deep, with heavy focus on nutrition. As Mike said, he and Tim share a lot of similar view points, so don’t expect a lot of contradicting information. The main difference is that TAA is focused solely on fat loss and abs, where 4hb covers a lot more topics.

        While I’d assume that most readers of this blog would already be familiar with a lot of the content in The Truth About Abs, I think it’s a great education for those who are new to nutrition and want to improve their lives.

      2. Ooh, I wanna go powder skiing with you two! I’m in ColoRADyo too, we should totally go, that is if you’d go with a Boarder.

        Tim / Mike, freaking great article. So good and it deals with exactly what is missing from most unsuccessful businesses, “driving customers.” You can have the best product in the world, but if no-one knows about it, you’re not gonna sell anything or help anyone. Mike I also LOVED the fact that you’re so generous with your traffic buys and divert traffic to other companies. It fits so well with the notion that if you give freely you’ll get so much more in return. You really do seem like a very giving and great guy. I’d love the opportunity to buy you lunch sometime. Keep on killing it! Best of luck to you. (thanks again for great content Tim!)

  30. Hey Tim,

    Another fantastic example to keep the ‘muse’ creative ideas flowing. I’ve been curious about who that was, ever since I read about this mystery man in the 4HWW. Great to see the insights.

    How did it go in Melbourne? I live there, but was away at the time, such a shame I couldn’t be there. Any chance we’ll see the speech on the blog? 😉

    Pura vida desde Melbourne,

    Tristan.

  31. Wow. I’m a college student in Gainesville, FL and I’ve created a startup group recently… We’re following all of your advice that I’ve gathered over the years (book+blog) to build a needed product based on data and testing. After we’ve made our millions, if you’re interested in using us as a case study, email me whenever you’re free.

    -Great, in-depth post. I’m glad to see that you aren’t leaving your entrepreneurially minded readers behind. We appreciate it!

    Have a great week

    Chase

  32. Amazing. I’ve actually checked the Truth About Six-Pack Abs, and it’s great! Doing something worth doing AND making excellent money, that’s rare nowadays. $1,000,000 a month would buy a lot of beer…and time. I want to get to there!

  33. we are using this same approach in financial services industry. We have successfully turned a service type business into a decent muse, by using radio, and driving traffic to sites via search… not only selling financial products but also info about them… great article… I would challenge anyone who is in accounting, financial services, anything service based to think outside the box when applying this strategy… Tanks Timbo!

  34. Being involved in marketing info products on the internet for over two years now I can tell you I’ve paid a lot of money and have received less real-world, result-based information than what Mike so candidly disclosed to us readers.

    (Thank you Mike!)

    He is truly one of the best marketers on ClickBank and this info is pure gold. If people developing their muse would go over this article several times to the point where the internalize it, then buy Mike’s TAA product and get on his newsletter they would get a very valuable education on how Mike does it so successfully.

    Mike is one of the kings of the digital health info product industry – so you know you’re following someone who has results.

    For those dreaming of a muse that will allow them to travel and have the time they want to have live the freedom lifestyle, digital info products can be a great way to go about it.

    Thanks Tim for getting Mike on. Fantastic!

    Matthew

  35. This was interesting, but after visiting the site I just felt dirty. It was pretty spammy. The pop-up with the double negative cancel button was the icing on the cake. He may be an ab genius but I would never hit “buy” on that website unless I was using someone else’s credit card. I mean this to be constructive criticism—wouldn’t this work better if the site looked professional and didn’t blast you with low quality pop ups?

    1. Hey George, I certainly understand your constructive criticism and I can answer your question. First off though, you mention the word “spammy”… technically, “spam” is defined as unsolicited email, of which we have NEVER done, nor will ever. Next, you mention a “pop-up”… what you’re referring to is commonly called exitsplash in the direct marketing world and the ONLY reason we use it is to give users that don’t have time to watch the video an option to purchase since they obviously didn’t have time to watch. The important aspect to consider with an exitsplash offer is that by giving some people this option, it may be the impetus for them to take action and change their body and life. I consider that a good thing, and I’m sure they would too.

      You mention making the site look “professional”… If you mean “professional” in terms of a corporate looking site, the main problem is that corporate looking sites don’t necessarily sell an information product well. And what good does that do anybody? A site that doesn’t sell simply means that both the owner and the reader lose… the owner makes no sales and the reader doesn’t get the fitness info that they were looking for.

      I think the bottom line is that in the big picture, we’re helping a LOT of people take action on their fitness/health goals whether the site looks “corporate” or “professional” or simply does a good job of getting the message across.

      1. Mike, first of all: great of you to answer comments directly like this – well done – it show you are genuine about helping people with their ftiness/health goals. In the end that is what counts and adds value to the world.

        Would you mind comment on my comments from earlier today? Would be interesting to get your thoughts on your affiliate’s methods and contribution to your traffic and your sales.

        Thanks,

        Anthony

      2. Hey Mike,

        Just want to say that I love the way you delivered your message in the videos. It is professional and most importantly, its unique and interesting. I kept wondering what the guy is going to draw next. And if I m not naturally skinny all my life I would’ve bought!

        How did you find the artist?

        And for people who are just starting off who don’t have 5-10k to test a market, what would you suggest them to do?

        Thank you for sharing such insightful info man.

        Brian

      3. I would totally agree with “spammy” (even though that’s not technically correct). I just ordered the trial and that’s how I felt with all the “extra surprise bonus offers”, I really didn’t know what was an add-on and what was part of the program.

        Just some feedback for you, I hope the program works for me. Congrats on your success.

    2. You might not – but so what? Thousands of people are. Welcome to the world of marketing. Sometimes what works isn’t what’s going to please most people. There’s a reason this guy is being written about 🙂

    3. Thats my feeling as well. No offence or anything, but why big companies spend millions on top class web design, why best user experience designers are needed, why Tim is being hired by startups to help conversions by changing the design, putting bigger button here, change this there. Im a designer myself and if this website is converting so much money then this internet is a strange place. Maybe the problem is that when you are a wantepreneur for so long, you saw so many good looking websites and you assume that your one has to be perfect to sell. Well apparently it doesn’t have to look good to sell millions 😉

  36. Fantastic this: “Sell the customers what they want, but give them what they NEED”..

    That’s exactly what happened to me with his ads: captived by his ABS I discovered a great lifestyle newsletter. I never thought buy any of his products but he has all my trust as nutrition and fitness advisor.

    I had no idea he was so successful!

    Kudos this is like a movie which win Critics at Festivals and strike Box office

  37. These are my favorite articles also. I’m sorry though, I feel extremely discouraged seeing things like 75% affiliate fee, because I know there is a +clickbank fee/credit card processing fee which has to be what? 5% at least total. So, thats $8.00 in gross profit and yes, at 10K or 100K in sales its 800-800,000 in sales/month. <— And this is the good part…

    Then there is the talk about paying per click which is basically Adwords and talking about dropping a pretty serious amount of money to find out which ad is the lesser loser, losing money, then re running the campaign hoping the data stays the same and you make money. <—— pulling out hair at this point

    And this is with a product with a cost of $0.00

    OT, If you sell a physical item, what are the typical affiliate % for that? I can't imagine coming up with a product that sells for $100, cost is $10.00 and paying someone a 75% affiliate fee or spending 75.00 in advertising per item.

    I feel like an alien from space.

    1. I can appreciate that and felt the same way but he makes a strong point and his business is much more successful then mine because of it:

      “Some vendors still have the wrong mindset and can’t stand the idea of the affiliate making more per sale than they make as the creator of their own product.

      That’s foolish, however, because the math is simple: would you rather get 10 sales and make $30 per sale ($300), or get 1,000 sales at $10 per sale ($10,000)? Better yet, how about 500,000 sales at only $2 per sale in profit ($1,000,000)?

      The answer should be obvious. The more generous you can be with affiliates and other business partners, the more sales VOLUME they can send you, especially if they’re buying traffic and incurring that cost.

      Plus, there’s more backend revenue potential with a higher volume of customers.”

    2. Hey Bill, to clarify on buying traffic… when we talked about needing to test $5k to $10k, that’s generally on bigger media buys with major sites (big news sites, etc). However, you can test really really small on something like adwords or facebook ppc. Or even msn/yahoo ppc too. A couple hundred bucks in spend and you can have a decent idea of how your product is working on there.

      And for aff commissions, you’re right… with physical products, even the most generous affiliate commissions are usually 30-50%

  38. Although Mike has made way more than me, I disagree with 1 little tidbit of his. To be honest,

    “The Nutritional Benefits of Kale”

    is just a sucky headline. There is definitely a way to sex that up a little bit. In my experience, certain headline formulas are just solid gold:

    1) The yes/no question–“Are egg yolks the healthiest part of an egg?”

    2) The list–7 Tips to help you keep the weight off this holiday season

    3) The how to–How to fix your carburetor with a ziploc bag and an old hat

    4) a MONEY figure–Why 18 year olds are clearing $70,000 a year.

    5) Review (for videos)–Review of the Nike Shox 919 3rd Generation.

    You can pretty much craft one of these heads for any article/blog post you write…

  39. Wow..simply amazing. Thanks for sharing. I was just wondering if the same pointers would apply to those of us who sell B2B, for instance I’m skeptical of advertising on Google’s Content network which is great if you’re targeting end-users but not so much if you’re targeting resellers? Any tips or thoughts would be welcome to those of us who sell mostly to businesses as opposed to selling directly to consumers. Thanks a million.

  40. This is a great great read. I think you are an inspiration as well Tim. You look at the world as everyone else looks at it and say “not me im going to do something different”. And you do every time. Im still struggling to come up with a muse so i can live my dreams, but I will never give up!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Martin

  41. thanks mr ferriss and the 4hww community have just started my journey.

    should it be 80% perspiration and 20%inspiration, or the other way around?

  42. Tim,

    Great interview and though provoking questions. Too often articles I read online are centered around questions that nobody cares about almost like they are hiding the truth because they are worried about competition. Thanks again for the great posts!

  43. so… Mike Geary sells “information product”. Funny thing is that it’s impossible to find any unbiased information about Mike or his product. So he is a genius of internet marketing I guess – try searching in google, page after page of very positive “neutral” reviews. website after website created by affiliates(or his assistants in cheaper countries). some bother to post rather lame “before and after” pics.

    but this is an inspiration. fitness&nutrition is a huge business and this example demonstrates that there is an unlimited queue of idiots ready to spend money on another “get slim” pill or information pack.

    1. Just because the fitness industry is one where it’s possible to scam people doesn’t mean that everyone selling everything related to fitness is a scammer.

      Your backhanded compliments are doing Mike a great discredit; his information, while not always groundbreaking, is literally changing lives by the thousands.

  44. Glad to see this posted!

    Mike Geary is one of the most standup and helpful guys I’ve ever personally met. You could be talking with him for hours and never suspect he was pulling down millions (unless of course you know who he is).

    Success like this couldn’t have been achieved by a better person 🙂

    (Notice I said “achieved” not “couldn’t have happened” — that’s because Mike has put in the blood, sweat and tears to get his success — success NEVER just “happens”)

    Thanks for posting this Tim! You Rock!

    — Caleb

    P.S. If I’m correct though, I’d like to see an update to the original interview? From my knowledge, this info seems a little outdated (Mike already released the fat burning kitchen product a while ago — would love to see a followup!)

  45. Tim, thank you to you for inviting Mike to share this information and Mike for sharing.

    I have a couple of takeaways:

    One

    Stick to one particular product and make it specific and brilliant. Six pack abs rather than healthy eating

    Two

    Stick to the project long term to get results. You need to sew before you reap. Mike did not make his money overnight.

    Three

    Re invest in your business to keep it growing. As we can see from the numbers Mike pours a lot of his income back into product promotion.

    Four

    Develop a product based on what you are passionate about not just what you know is hot.

    Five

    I believe that Mike’s dedication and mindset is really important. Most people want to be happy, healthy and prosperous but they refuse to take the long term steps it takes. I have learned over the years long term dedication pays off in relationships and in business. This is what my life work is all about.

    Thanks for the great info.

    David

  46. Congrats to Tom of racecrowds.com and Adam and Russell of ultimatesalesfunnel.net! I’m sure everyone here would love to know how you generated so much traffic in so little time.

    Tim, perhaps they can be the next case studies.

  47. Tim, this statement is interesting:

    “I act as a media buyer, purchasing large amounts of traffic (mostly in the fitness/nutrition niche) that I funnel to a few select partners. This allows me to become integrated into several other large fitness and nutrition businesses (they promote my product extensively on their backend) since I act as a very large source of their overall traffic.”

    What is this model called, and where can I find out more about it? Thanks!

    Ben

    1. Hey Ben, you picked out a very important passage! This strategy has become a key part of my business. Basically, I leverage my skill in buying traffic and instead of sending it all to my own site, I send portions of it to strategic partners of mine with other fitness/nutrition businesses. Of course, I do this for an affiliate fee to cover the media buy costs, but also since I send so much traffic to these partners, they return the favor by helping to promote my content to their entire subscriber lists or customer lists. This is an added bonus for me as it gets me exposure to their lists on a regular basis, which helps grow my business even more.

      Not many people would ever think to do this… most business owners only try to advertise for their own business, but by helping other large fitness/nutrition business owners get more traffic to their business, I essentially get extra exposure to all of their customers… it’s a win-win for all of us!

      Although I specifically leverage my skill in traffic buying for this method, I’m sure many of you could leverage your unique individual skills to help other business owners in some form of partnership. Get creative!

      1. Hi, Mike.

        Great info! Could you share examples of the types of terms for an arrangement like this (i.e buying traffic and sending “some of it” to an affiliate?

        How exactly do you calculate your ROI when buying traffic for your affiliates (i.e. is it the size of their list, previous conversion numbers, etc.)? How do you determine how much traffic you’ll send and how much you’re going to spend buying it for them?

        In other words, what formula or method of testing do you use to calculate if it’s a win/win situation for everyone involved?

        Thanks!

        David

  48. I received this article in the email and started reading it, then I visited the website of the abs person. And now, I am considering leaving the 4 Hour Work Week as well.

    I am not interested in Tim hawking others people’s products. And I am also not interested in some x minute informercial about some dumb abs program where they tell you absolutely nothing other than “pay for our program”.

    This website started out great, but to it seems it is becoming more of an informercial/mlm hawking site. And there’s too many of those already.

  49. I can appreciate that and felt the same way but he makes a strong point and his business is much more successful then mine because of it:

    “the math is simple: would you rather get 10 sales and make $30 per sale ($300), or get 1,000 sales at $10 per sale ($10,000)? Better yet, how about 500,000 sales at only $2 per sale in profit ($1,000,000)?”

  50. Tim!

    The questions you had him answer are awesome. This is why I come back to your blog, because you don’t just tell a good story, you ask the right questions to get actionable information.

    Cheers.

  51. This is inspiring stuff! Although I don’t plan on creating my own ebook, it’s still great information on the importance of driving massive traffic to your site to analyze the trends and split test to see what’s working and what’s not for your individual site. Thanks!

  52. I went to check out ultimatesalesfunnel.net. Two issues from the start. You can’t get info with leaving your email address. Feels already like those survey sites mentioned in the post. A site to grab email addresses. Sure.. one can enter a fake name and address. And then I see some offer expires today at 11:59PM. Really? Let me check the next day. If I see the same thing, I conclude the site is not trustworthy and it’s not genuine.

    1. FYI, you don’t make $17k profit in just a few days without building an e-mail list – that’s what the site is for. And placing the date on there boosted conversions by over 22.3%. So while the site may not “seem” genuine to you, we were able to sell 1700+ copies of our product in just a few days for three reasons: people trust us, they love our work, and we know how to market. Oh, and our refund rate? Less than 3%. 🙂

      1. …And boom goes the dynamite.

        Russ, I bought your USF product like the second day (from WSO I believe). Randomly just kinda stumbled onto it, but I can say that I liked it, thanks!! Well priced too. Are you offering any affiliate marketing with it?

    2. Tony,

      Marketing strategies may be sneaky, but you cannot judge the tursthworthiness of a site or company based on that alone. Exchange information for your email address? Absolutely necessary to survive online. The businesses that don’t collect their visitors email may not be able to survive for too long. Even the big merchants do that (Macy’s, Nordstroms, Wal-mart, etc.).

      The time strategy (this offer only lasts until midnight) even though is sneaky, also has nothing to do with credibility, since people use what works, period. When I buy something online I check who is charging my credit card. If it’s a big merchant like Clickbank or PayPal I just go ahead and buy the product. If I don’t think it was worth it, if I feel scammed, all I have to do is ask for my money back, no questions are asked. I don’t know why people would hesitate and don’t “trust” this type of websites if refunds are so easy and trouble free…

  53. Great post Tim & Mike!!

    Question for Mike. Are you selling a one-time purchase item or is there a recurring revenue stream you are generating? Reason I’m asking is that looking at Clickbank it talks about a rebill number and percentage, but I didn’t see mention of that on your landing pages.

    Can you explain more about how that part of your business works? Generating incremental revenues from existing customers is VERY compelling!!

    Thanks so much!

  54. Great article Tim. I’m a Internet Marketer myself at the beginning/learning stages and this article really motivated me to keep pushing forward. Thanks a lot.

  55. Ok, I have a really important question.

    One can observe that everyone advices to “follow your passion”. But simultaneously – sell what people need…What if you cannot connect these two issues?

    For example, I’m passionate about soccer, I could play and watch it all days. However, I don’t know how I could make good money with it? Especially if we talk about creating an automated business, at least somehow. I could sell some soccer equipment but that’s not the point.

    I’d really appreciate your help and wise words.

  56. Great…Great Article…! I’m actually at the point where I’m considering buying traffic for one or two new sites. The information given here was very helpful. I had a question as to what is the difference between front end marketing vs. back-end marketing ?

  57. Such an awesome read, will be bookmarking and reeading again many times over.

    I always wondered who the guy was behind all those weird unkown tip ads and it looks so much like a scam but it clearly works VERY WELL that is actually a decent product.

  58. Tim, THANKS to you and Mike for this article! This is unbelievably kick-ass! I am in a weird market (foreclosure defense) and I’m not an attorney. I have essentially figured out where the weaknesses are in foreclosure lawsuits, but because I’m not an attorney and this market isn’t mature (a lot of people still think people who lose their homes are deadbeats and it’s much more complex) and I had to get creative because I was NOT going back to a law firm 9-5. I created some a website with digital products (some of which are at the same price points Mike tested, woot!) and I have a good blog that’s optimized, etc., but I want to reach more people. Right now, it’s generating between $200-$1000 a month with just linking my blog to the site, but Mike’s Clickbank info just drew me a road map to the next step.

    Anyway, thanks again!

    Christine

  59. Hey Tim.

    Great post. I’ve been selling/marketing Mike’s product for a year or so now and have probably raked in around $30,000 in sales from his product alone.

    It definitely sells and I’m off to build my own “six pack abs product”.

    Currently doing an experiment (much inspired by your 4HB book, gomad). Then cutting down the excess fat, which hasn’t been much….

    Also did a 90 day transformation earlier this year where I lost 34 lbs in 90 days and got my abs visible from CKD, inspired from your book as well. The promise of much weight lost made me read like 30 more books and DO IT =)

    This was a good time to read this article 🙂

    Good luck with everything,

    – Chris

    1. Hey Chris, Can you tell me how you got involved in selling Mikes Products? Are you in business with Mike? I would be interested in doing something similar.

      Thanks in Advance

      Martin

  60. My wife was charged $160 every month for 4 months after buying this eBook. It may have been an affiliate that was skimming cards but it still has not been resolved. Perhaps Mike can comment on this.

  61. Big thanks to Tim and Mike! To Tim for asking such insightful questions, and to Mike for being so incredibly generous in answering the questions with real, tactical, meaningful information.

  62. Hi Tim and Mike,

    I always thought there might be a post about Mike here at some point! Really inspiring to hear your story Mike, and I’ll look forward to the day when I can buy you a beer!

    Cheers,

    Archie

  63. Tim & Mike

    great article and congratulations on your success. This is such an inspiration that it doesn’t take forever or VC funding to create a great business. Didn’t realize that one of my web sites was an affiliate for this product.

    I’ll bet you didn’t require a Harvard degree and $100k in debt to execute this brilliant business!

  64. This article was jam packed with useful information. My head is spinning with ideas and relevant places to start getting down to business with the ideas I’ve been mulling over for some time now. Thanks for your insight. Your web log is inspirational.

  65. Hey Tim/Mike,

    Thanks for another great article. I agree that these types of posts are not only a great motivation, but also an exacting example of an idea turned into a profitable business through a bit of smart (not just hard) work.

    Tim: Perhaps in future you could write about a muse based on something other than a service or product, ie: advertising. I’ve had massive success the last few months with one of my own muses, and I ended up quitting my job to pursue it full time. I think that there are probably many other people who have achieved the same sort of thing.

  66. What I got out of this?

    Let my tests run longer. I do expect to lose money on Adwords or wherever I’m testing an ad, but, I tend to micro-manage it and watch closely the first couple days – deducing trends far before I should. If I lose $100 I’m worried and start to see trends immediately! Forget the fact that I’m making $1,500 a month and could afford to spend half-a-thousand.

    I’ve been having a tough time with Adwords, just not enough conversions, and running at about $8 spend per day. I’d love to have it at $50 per day and pulling in many more sales as a result.

    I also ‘heard’ him say the content network is a goldmine for some products. I’ll revisit that.

    Thanks for an amazing article Mike / Tim.

    Cheers,

    Mike Fook

  67. I enjoyed how candid Mike was and appreciate the effort he put into actually teaching the reader something. Reading this I was of reminded of something Tim said in an interview… something along the lines of “even if you tell people exactly how to become successful, 90% of people won’t do it”.

    Being a designer myself, I can relate to the comments about the site being “scammy” looking. The one thing that saved it for me was the hand drawn videos, which were very charming made me trust the whole thing a bit more.

    I wonder who the average purchaser of this program is. I imagine a younger audience being highly skeptical of “Free bonuses valued at $$$” angle.

    Mike’s comment about the selling point of information products being the organization of information was very interesting. Never really thought of it that way, although it’s really obvious now!

    Good post, learned a lot.

  68. Wow, to say I am inspired is really to say the least. Your success is amazing, and a great motivation to those of us who are struggling to make money online. Congrats on your great success, it is awesome!

  69. Thanks Mike.

    I’m in the same niche but based in the UK. We’ve been doing OK with our weigtloss inofrmation product and your ideas about the media buying and sticking to it ave given me the kick in the pants that I need to move to the next level.

    Gav

  70. Thanks to Mike Geary for a killer interview. Stories like these always get me inspired to do more. I’ve had 7 figure success with information marketing and am striving for that great 8 figure income.

  71. It’s Ryan Lee and I’m so honored to have played any part on Mike’s success.

    Mike Geary is a guy who “gets it” and is laser-focused on building his business. And it’s a business built around his passion. A passion he lives and breathes every day.

    Tim – I’m looking forward to our next conversation about “continuity income”

    If you guys have any questions.. I’d be happy to answer them here.

    Rock ‘on,

    Ryan Lee

  72. Wow! It’s a perfect deal. He feels passionate about the product, there’s demand, and everything is automated. It also shows how building up a strong muse requires persistence. No matter how few hits you get at first, how few sales, keep pushing.

  73. Many thanks Tim for an great content. You truly asked some amazing questions which result in the really profound & useful solutions. It seems like Mike can also be a huge believer in the energy of Mind-set — he refers into it a couple of times. I’d like to visit a follow-up content how he changed the mind-set of an employee to liberate into his true liberty & passion.

  74. Tim,

    Excellent interview. Mike is very generous with his time and knowledge, glad to see this content rich interview. I know Mike and he is so humble, I didn’t realize the depth of his knowledge and success until I read this.

    Happy to see him being recognized here.

    Keep up the good work Tim!

    John

  75. Tim/Mike,

    Thank you for sharing all this great info/insight! I admire your accompishments, best of luck with all future endeavors. Can’t wait to read more about them and hopefully apply them too. The service you provide is remarkable.

    Thanks again.

    Respectfully, Joe

  76. Some useful ideas in the article about media buying – thanks for that, Mike.

    The idea of selling information that’s freely available still doesn’t sit well with me (seems kind of sleazy)… maybe it’s the way it’s presented, with the bright red (and often ridiculous) headlines.

    Puzzles me why Tim would want to be associated with those types.

    1. Jeff, I’m in san diego for a while now, but will be back in Vail for the winter. Let’s hit the back bowls of vail for a powder day together! I pretty much never miss a powder day in vail as long as I’m not traveling. hit up my help-desk and they route iimportant messages to me (and skiing is important!)

      1. Hey mike! Thanks for the great tips. Definitely thought provoking! I just moved myself and my business to Vail (simply because that’s where I want to play for the next 6 months.) let’s grab some ‘ritas’ at Los amigos, watch people cascade down pepi’s face, and talk shop!

  77. The funny thing was that when I read this post it had like 7 comments. So I was going to log back in to comment, so Tim would know how great these post are and to keep them coming, BUT at a 137 comments Tim, I guess those numbers speak all for themselves and the people have spoken. Keep it up Tim. Or should I say, “muse it up.” Congrats on another success.

  78. You know, I just got on Clickbank just last week. Selling informational products in a purely digital format is all very new and exciting to me as all I’ve done so far is in person, live coaching (life coaching and dating coaching for Asian men) for the past 6 years.

    I’m still getting used to Clickbank, so forgive my ignorance, but I couldn’t find the affiliate option of increasing the payout to 75%? I really liked the idea as I’m thinking of doing something similar with my upcoming book “I Did It My Way: The Modern Asian Man’s Guide to Complete Social Success.”

    I like to think I have a pretty established name having been on TV and magazines, but I’m definitely on the lookout to increase the number of affiliates who want to sell products for me. Is it that you just paid out the extra 25% via PayPal? Or is there an option in Clickbank that I’ve simply overlooked?

    Thanks!

    JT Tran

    ABCs of Attraction

  79. Guys don’t doubt Geary and his traffic/revenue claims.

    Hes an absolute BOSS when it comes to buying traffic. I’ve purchased in the mid 4 figures a day for traffic on google, fb, and display buys, and just from reading his interview I can tell he knows how to spend and optimize (and on a much larger scale than most individuals).

    The most telling part was how he doesny necessarily break even on his front end spend, but because of his dollar per buyer lead, he backs out quite nicely.

    You gotta remember that not only is he one of the most successful merchants ever on CB, but hes also one of the top affiliates there too, and consistently shows up on leaderboards. You dont get there faking it.

    He knows more hands on about media buying than most gurus could hope to know, and hes a testing machine.

  80. Thanks for this great interview ! How inspiring and motivating this is.

    Real life examples are such a great support to keep up trying our projects.

    Mike was well inspired to choose this niche market with such a high demand. And it’s evergreen too !

  81. I just checked out this guy’s website and saw his shirtless pic. It is very funny to see a guy who is a self proclaimed abs expert have bad looking abs. Mike’s abs were very average looking in the pics on his site.

  82. As an affiliate for Truth Ab Six Pack Abs, it’s worth mentioning one other part of Mike’s strategy: give affiliates great tools. Mike provides a lot of advice and articles that can be repurposed to his affiliates. Too often posts about affiliate marketers revolve around a “build it and forget it” point of view which feeds into the passive lifestyle myth. Successful affiliates and publishers work hard for their money – just not on anyone else’s terms. Upfront commission percentages and a steady stream of product launches are important, but ongoing support for affiliates – especially in the area of content – is an important part of the equation. Mike excels at this and that is probably a big reason for his success.

  83. His back end sucks lol

    I think this guy can make $30 million a year, if he makes some program like p90x and gets some supplements out

  84. I have to say that looking at the website it is hard to believe that anyone would actually purchase a product off of it. It just looks so amature. (note I am viewing it on an iPhone)

    This has my head spinning. Do clients really respond better to sites that look like they are from 1998?

    Am I off base on this?

    1. hate to say this but yes…you are very off base. that sales letter style is much uglier but it WORKS. not by a small degree either…it works usually atleast 100% better meaning ugly sales letter will double your profits.

      if he’s making the figures he is, you can assume he’s tested nearly every single element and color on that page and they are all “optimal”

  85. Hi Mike

    I just started reading your ‘Truth about abs’ ebook and am wondering: do I see big-time-Napoleon-Hill-philosophy in there (page 14-15)? 🙂 Would be too big of a coincidence if the 6 aspects you mention there don’t come from an inspiration by Hill.

    Not that I would speak from too much of experience, but no doubt that this is what more people need to understand: if you have a definite chief aim, a burning desire, a plan for your exact goals so that these can be measured, visualize this goal, believe in it and take action now: this is the recipe that many a man/woman has ‘made it’ 🙂

    I am looking forward even more now to read through your book 🙂

    Regards from Greece,

    David

  86. Hi Mike, congrats for the way you stick to your business and made it work through testing. Well done!

    I have a question for you: you say that for small advertising budgets, you would recommend running ads on the google content network. Do you mean text ads or banner ads on the content network? Also, could you give me an example of the type of copy you would use? I suspect it would be a copy that is like a question or an intriguing statement to increase CTR.

    Thanks for clarifying!

  87. wow! lol i only want to make half of that lol

    I to have a dream of not waking up to an alarm clock, which i often don’t as i sleep over it!

    great post i can’t believe i read all of it, great information and advice. i know i am on the right track as i have made mistakes and haven’t made anything yet.

    time to get serious!

  88. I am having trouble finding a pitch page that looks as good as mike’s. Did he design it himself? he said the hired a designer for the cartoon graphic but didn’t mention where his layout for the pitch page came from. Any thoughts?

  89. This is exactly the post I wanted to see. Tim you rock. Thanks so much for the constant inspiration.

    I’m not sure if anyone else ran into this trouble – but I felt like crap after about a week of trying to produce my information product. After feeling super successful with the testing stages of my muse, I felt like I had hit a wall.

    Tim doesn’t really make a suggestion about the amount of time you should take to create a muse because all muses are so different. But with information products, you can seriously get bogged down. The best method for me is to kick it out in 1 to 2 weeks. If you are already an expert kick out the ebook or dvd in one week. If your not an expert, do the reading in one week and then kick out the product the next week. I know that sounds like you’d have a crappy product but it’s doable and makes sure you don’t lose momentum during the production phase.

    I’m wondering what other people’s takes are on the production phase. I’m sure there are as many ways to produce as there are people. I just know that as a first timer, I would have loved to know this.

    Cheers,

    Rob Norback

    1. Hey Rob,

      The easiest thing to do is pretend your in college/high-school again. Your professor gives you an assignment like:

      “You have 3 weeks to write a 100-page paper on “X” (i.e. the topic of your product), and it counts for 95% of your grade.”

      Would you just drop the class? Give up? No, you would buckle down, do your research and get it done. To create good info products, you need this kind of “do or die” mentality…and everything in Tim’s book about short deadlines is absolutely TRUE. The shorter the better. Give yourself 3 weeks, and pretend that if you don’t hit your goal, you flunk out of school. 🙂

      Russ

      1. Hey Russ,

        Thanks for the really helpful feedback. The college mentality is a great way to go. Might as well use those 6 years of higher education for something. Thanks for being so helpful to the community and answering everyone’s questions.

        Cheers,

        Rob

  90. Great article!

    A big reason for his success – great ads which probably drive a lot of traffic to his websites.

    For example, the BestFoodSecrets ads (run directly by Mike Geary?) are simple, eye-catching and stand out.

  91. Mike Geary@ – Is there any chance you are going to do a training course in the near future? I’m sure there will be so many who will buy a course of yours knowing how talented you are in the field.

  92. Poor product (the pictures in the book are funny), excellent marketing, many uneducated customers. Great job. This is the way to go.

  93. Tim, I’ve gotta’ say, the continual refining of the questions you’re asking folks for these little write-ups, are just fantastic and continue to lead to more informative and actionable case studies. Keep up the great inquisitive questioning! Thanks tons, as always. Cheers, Doc

  94. I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Tim and Mike for such an incredibly helpful and inspiring blog post. This is my favorite post out of all of the posts on this blog so far. Tim, you are way too generous with the information that you give us!

  95. This article is really good and inspiring. Wealth of tips! I have some similar digital products that i tried marketing through clickbank, PPC, and other avenues but just haven’t gotten the results i was looking for. Now after reading this post I realize that i may have made some major key mistakes in my approach. I definitely feel re-motivated and ready to give them another go.

  96. Hi Mike,

    Would you recommend any books to read on driving traffic to your website?

    I’m still a newbie in that area and would love to learn more, but there are too many books and I just don’t know which one is good and which one isn’t.

    Any personal recommendations regarding books, website etc. ?

  97. I was showing this lovely blog to one of my friends when I got into this post. As an affiliate myself, I know very well about “The Truth about Six-Pack Abs” But due to competition in this are never tried to promote it. I loved the interview. Just wanted to ask if you guys would like to recommend any course or book for PPC?

  98. And picture to lead the article! She looks even more fit than Mike Geary himself!! I’ve recently been thinking about physical fitness and endurance running specifically. There’s a lot of fashion involved. But being fit never goes out of style.

    Also I realized that small changes and improvements physically are due to better psychology and adjustments to the training regimen.

    But big changes are due to lifestyle.

  99. This is the first Tim Ferris article I’ve read. Holy crap batman… do you want to add any more value? lol. This is really exciting Mike and Tim, as this is exactly what I’m getting into (I left my Health Center to do this). I’m just about to submit our first lifestyle and nutrition product on click bank. What would be your best suggestion to attract affiliates… it’s REALLY good content, and I’ve used these strategies to transform the health of 1000’s of patients. I beta tested on a list of 5000 and had 80 people sign up (my price point is $197). What can I do to get my message out there as I could be at the bottom of clickbank with zero gravity forever you know??? Sorry for all the q’s. Thanks for the feedback! This was such an inspirational article!!!

  100. I read this post in awe but it wasn’t quite as motivational as the other muse postings. I’m not sure why, other than I just think it’s because he is so incredibly successful that it doesn’t seem as realistic. In theory he does the same things we’ve all read about and are attempting to do, but what makes his product so massively successful? Is it the market he is in? Was it the timing? I don’t know.

    I do love these postings overall, and while impressive, this story almost discouraged me more than encouraged me, which is the opposite of the others I’ve read.

    1. Hey Ryan, definitely don’t be discouraged… there’s massive opportunities out there right now. Remember that my business all started with a simple idea and a lot of perseverance despite many obstacles. It took a lot of hard work and several years to build up, but it was worth it! And remember that I started with nothing… I was flat broke in the beginning, and only started investing money into advertising slowly once I started making some sales through other traffic methods like seo, articles, etc.

      Once you have cash flow, you have leverage to buy more advertising, and if you’re smart, you test, tweak, and learn something with every penny that you spend on advertising. Good luck my friend!

      1. Ryan – great comments and great response from you Mike.

        I

        do agree with Ryan regards to the motivational value of this case study – but I believe it isn´t the post itself. It is Mike´s GREAT responses to the comments and questions that take this post to a whole new level.

        I think I know why this post stands out as this is exactly what I am researching and working on right now.

        First of all – the post, despite the step-by-step & easy-to-follow instructions on how to create the perfect muse, Mike´s answers to all the comments shows that the price of success is hard work and determination. This is no surprise, but still something that can be easily overlooked as we search for that perfect “muse”.

        Secondly – Mike is an exceptional person. The character and determination he shows in creating his success is far beyond what most of us are capable of. I believe Mike again and again sends us the same message: do not give up, work hard, success will not come without it.

        Success requires character, and the only way to understand the characteristics of success is study of what factors encourage individuals to engage in deliberate successful practices.

        This is the truth that we very seldom talk about when it comes to entrepreneurship: For most people, work is hard enough without pushing even harder. Those extra steps that are needed to bring on success are so difficult and painful they almost never get done. That’s the way it must be. If great performance Like Mike´s were easy, it wouldn’t be rare.

        This is very clear – and the post together with the comments makes it very difficult to overlook this fact. We know do much about the behavior that produces success – just look at all the muses described by Tim.

        What is not clear in this post, or any other, is the answer to the most intriguing question of them all: where does the behavior come from that produces greatness?

        In other words: Who are you Mike? Where does your character and motivation come from?

        A not so easy question, but worth exploring.

        🙂

  101. Being half way through your book Tim, and also being interested in Mike’s product for some time, it’s great to see that the links between what you outline in your book and Mike’s business model.

  102. I like how Mike mentions the problematic mentality of product owners who have a hard time giving their affiliates the lion’s share of the profits.

    And how he single handedly pushed the standard line up to 75% comissions and beyond.

    A great article. Thanks

  103. Hi Tim

    I have to say, I’m slightly concerned about the site which was a runner-up: http://ultimatesalesfunnel.net/

    Here’s the copy from the small print at the bottom of the site:

    “All information is for entertainment purposes only. No income claims are expressed nor implied. By using this product, you agree to hold harmless PayPal, the Warrior Forum, and the site owners. The opinions expressed on this site are simply ideas, and should be treated as such.”

    Every sentence sets off an alarm bell for me…

    1. That is a fairly standard disclaimer since some people think an information product is supposed to be a guarantee of income/success.

  104. Tim,

    Let’s chat. I must be doing something wrong. Any advice on increasing gravity on ClickBank. I’m offering the 75% but received little response from affiliates.

    You can find it on CB by searching “SEO Book and Video Tutorials”

    Appreciate your time and advice.

    Zac

  105. This is a lot of great advice. I see that I have to come back and read this article again and make notes. I knew from the beginning that you don’t get an internet millionaire over night. I mean, you have to do some work first and then some more work. Many give up too early. I did not know how much lower you can bid for Facebook ads. And so much more. Thank you, for these kind of articles.

  106. Great article! The questions get right to the point. It’s nice to not have to sort through fluff to get to the good business and marketing know-how. Thanks for sharing Tim!

    Justin

  107. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for sharing SO much of your success and so in detail numbers.

    May I ask , which is the average CTR you been seeing lately on Facebook?

    I understand that is something around 0.025% based on educational resources it’s what’s known around. For me, t has been hard to stay above that and the bids required to start earning impressions are just ridiculous, almost what facebook suggests.

    But again, I am just a noob and trying out back and forward to be better.

    Would appreciate any pointers / clarification.

    Thanks

    1. Lenny, if you only get 0.02% to 0.03% CTRs on facebook ads, yes, you’ll need to pay a LOT per click… around $1.00 per click in the US for low CTRs such as that.

      However, I was always able to get CTRs between 0.08% to 0.12%, and because of those high CTRs, I was able to get 20-30 cent clicks, even in the super competitive US market.

      For really niche products, like my skiing fitness product (www.AvalancheSkiTraining.com ) because I was only targeting skiing keywords, or ski resort fans, I was able to get even higher CTRs (such as 0.15% sometimes) and therefore, get clicks even cheaper… maybe 15-18 cents/click.

      In some countries, with CTRs at 0.09% or higher, I was even able to get clicks around 1-3 cents/click, although these are really low converting countries sometimes…. many times 10x lower conversions than US traffic.

      1. Hello Mike,

        My name’s David and I am one of the two guys who own the site 4hwwsuccess.com where we interview people that have either made it completely to living the 4 Hour Workweek or who are on a good way. Either way, we interview people who have good info to share with the 4HWW community, which – as you surely know – is huge and hungry for info such as the one you outlined in written form above. As can be concluded from the amount of comments in short time, it’s immensly helpful for the 4HWW community to get such advice from people like you.

        The question therefore is if you’d be interested in going a bit deeper into the subject, through a video interview (skype) with me. I am sure you are a busy man, constantly thinking of new ways about how to improve your business. And exactly that’s why I have bno doubt that many 4HWW fans can benefit from this knowledge and expertise of yours — and surely would also be interested in finding out more about your 6-Pack Abs program. Please contact me at david(at)4hwwsuccess(dot)com in case interested.

        Thanks in advance for your answer!

        Best regards from Greece,

        David

      2. Mike, this is a great interview. I have a question about site conversion rates. However you get your traffic, once they land on your site is when the real sales start. What kind of conversion does your site receive on average and what is your seasonal lows and highs? What factor contributed to your largest spikes in conversion? The videos? Testimonials? Email signups?

        Thanks and I wish you continued success!!!

  108. Love the article. Have products on clickbank myself, although it is software. I particularly like the fact the Mike G. took the time to reply to many of the comments.

    Also enjoyed the info on media buys.

    Great work.

    Robert

  109. Great stuff, guys. Really appreciate the time, effort and depth.

    Mike Geary, a special thanks to you! That was a lot of questions with long, thoughtful, detailed answers and I’m sure you can think of better things to do with your time. A real contribution on your part!

    Don’t understand the critical responses above … low self-esteem, maybe?

    Again, guys, many thanks!

  110. Wow. Thanks for the inspiration. This site is so helpful, to go along with the book. I’d be happy just to make 2000 dollars a month. It’s taking so long. Maybe I can improve after reading this.

  111. Wow, I heard about this guy a lot. A bunch of internet marketing forums do case studies on truthaboutabs.

    Good job, Mike.

    Although I doubt it would fairly easy to replicate success in this niche now as it got so saturated and competitive.

  112. I have to say how absolutely ridiculous it is to read so many comments from people saying how terrible the long form sales letter is, and how foolish and amateurish it is. If it was so preposterous, Mike wouldn’t be making 1M a month, riigghhhttt? It just always fascinates me ow the critics are usually the ones sitting on their couch in their mom’s basement negatively critiquing someone else who’s obviously successful and knows what he’s doing.

    As far as the selling of information products somehow being illegitimate because the information can be obtained other places for free, that’s another pretty dopey thing to say. I can read the Bible online for free too, does that make everyone who publishes a Bible a “scammer”? Virtually ANY non-fiction work is based on research and material that could be obtained elsewhere in bits and pieces given enough time. Again, these comments are clearly from people who don’t understand the attraction of assimilated information because their time and energy has little value.

    Instead of posting negative comments to make yourselves feel better or virtuous about losing, why not reflect on how you can be a winner too?

    1. For what it’s worth, and at the risk of totally botching the explanation, Tony Robbins taught about modalities and syntax and people’s strategies. And that if you elicit someone’s strategy you would know how best to appeal to them.

      Giving someone whose primary modality is visual a long form letter about a physical object is probably not going to be as effective to that person as videos or pictures might be.

      I don’t know who the long form letter appeals to or why it’s so successful; sometimes they grab me and sometimes they overwhelm and turn me off. But if they result in sales better than other methods, so that’s what you do.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has found a way to develop this discernment over the internet. Testing remains the best way.

      But then, much of what Robbins teaches is adapted and amalgamated from other people’s work and he is called a scammer. 🙂

  113. Mike, Tim – great read.

    Key lessons for me are to follow what your passionate about, continue to test and remember one always has to speculate to accumulate.

    I wandered into the internet marketing / on-line info products maze last year and have to say it was a big eye opener. After reading 4-hour Work Week I knew I had to change my mindset and approach and I haven’t looked back.

    I’ve got to agree with Mike, the content network has been immense in terms of driving traffic. I went from no list (a standing start) to accumulating over 200 double opt-ins a day for almost 4 months, paying 6c a click. The quality of the traffic was amazing, people were interacting on my blog, appreciating my content and explicitly requesting more.

    When it came to launching my product to my list of over 20K it generated only a handful of sales, nowhere near my modest 2% conversion target. I couldn’t understand why, because I had almost 2% sign up to the early bird list and despite only a few sales my subscribers wanted to get their hands on the product (online video training) . Here’s MY BIG LESSON (and there were tons). It turns out, my list were mostly located in the Indian subcontinent and after surveying them it turns out over 70% didn’t have the means to transact online – not even bank accounts! So getting the right kind of traffic and the right demographic into your funnel is key.

    So I’m still testing, investing and refining my ads – landing page – offer combinations. Loving it!

    Cheers chaps

    Aled

  114. Does anyone out there know the best ways to find affiliates are, other than going to seminars and developing relationships?

    What are the best strategies to find affiliates remotely? I’m assuming Mike has 100’s if not 1000’s of affiliates. How did he get them at first? Before he had the gravity that he has?

    Thanks!

  115. Thanks a lot for this post. Very inspiring and informative at the same time. Lots of great business tips to try. And, by the way these guys do speak the truth about six-pack abs, its way more about diet and full body strength training than ab exercises.

  116. What a true inspiration and how amazing that you can be so upfront and sharing with the fine details of your business. This article has given me some really good doable tips that I will be able to start straight away. I think this will be one that I come back to again and again.

  117. Great information and very insightful.

    It’s awesome to hear stories like this, it’s really helpful for direction and guidance for other people with e-books such as myself.

    Keep up the great work Tim!

    David Benjamin

  118. after four years of stumbling around trying to find the muse and being afraid of “having that conversation”, I finally feel the concrete shoes I’ve been wearing are starting to break up. Tim I may never become an NR or leave my job of 25 years at a big box store, but this past Friday was a ground breaker for my small

    poster design one man company. I’m actually getting emotional writing this, but you must know that after pounding your words into my brain I made the decision to take action and the feeling is sweet. Today I can walk into work knowing I’ve finally succeed in taking the actions and chances to change my life.thank you for that. (Ray Porter’s reading of the first addition of 4HWW was

    fantastic) Rock On

  119. Hi Mike,

    I’ve started writing an information product (a first for me) based on years of consulting in the project management industry. Back then, I always had an ultimate goal/concept in mind (usually developed from client requirements) when preparing deliverables. Now that I’m writing, there is no client. Am I the client, or my potential audience?? Without a unifying concept, my writing and other decisions (e.g. website layout) can be pulled this way and that. Just wondering whether you have a clear idea/concept that ties everything together before you start?

  120. This is a fantastic look at the ins and outs of internet marketing. Not my particular area of interest in itself, but this definitely gives me some insight as to how deep you can go into affiliate sales. Thanks!

    1. Stop spamming this list Zach. Your “Muse” from above with those crap watches and this “made me laugh” share the same company name. You’re the reason people don’t trust legit marketers like Mike Geary.

  121. Awesome advice on Best and worst performing [content pages]? Most unexpected winners or losers? I’m sharing this with my client tomorrow: “best content pages are typically topics that surprise or shock people in some way, or clear up a confusing topic.”

    Thanks!

  122. My biggest takeaway:

    “Sell the customers what they want, but give them what they NEED”

    I believe this is important, especially for those of you who want to sell with integrity and are (rightfully) unwilling to compromise on your ethics.

  123. $1,000,00 / $40 per sale = 25,000 downloads per month. At a 5% conversion rate (industry standard is 2%) that equals 500,000 visits to his site a month. According to Quantcast thats more traffic than menshealth.com, maxim.com, mensjournal.com & mensfitness.com get in a month combined.

    I suppose thats possible with the hundreds of thousands of ab related queries on Google a month and according to backlinkwatch.com, the thousands of inbound links to his site.

  124. Great article!

    just a quick question:

    1. My math is bad but if you are doing $11,000,000 per year at $10/profit per sale (before ad expense) …and,

    2. You make almost $1,000,000 month net that would equal almost (given your explanation of Click Bank) at $10 per sale ….100,000 sales per month.

    3. Hey I’m not negative here or disbelieving…but…you’re outselling the “Bible”…and am not even religious.

    4. I like you guys. There is more here than the most people get.

    Anyway…just asking?

    Patrick

    1. Hey Patrick, you’re forgetting that my business is MUCH more than just selling my own info product. I do media buys for at least 5-6 other products, which accounts for a lot of revenue. And I also have a large newsletter list of 680,000 subscribers which features a lot of content with occasional options to purchase other fitness programs. This publishing aspect creates a good portion of my revenue as well.

  125. There’s a ton of great detail here. And I would point out that the most important principle revealed “between the lines” is that Mike Geary selected and focused on ONE idea over an extended period to become so successful.

  126. Hey Tim, not sure where to post this but I want to thank you.

    I get mad nosebleeds every year, literally every day from late October to the beginning of January (apparently my nose has its own menstrual cycle). My dad had the same problem but they cauterized his nose when he was younger to stop it…

    After reading the 4HB I started testing, and after some unsuccessful attempts it turns out 1/4 tsp. of Cayenne pepper twice a day, every other day (adding to pasta, rice, or just a glass of water), completely solved it.

    It’s been two weeks of intentionally doing things that would normally trigger it. Nothing. Nothing running down the back of the throat, nothing running down the face, nothing coming out when I sneeze, no dried blood up there… nothing.

    Literally solved a 22 year problem in a day… with natural, inexpensive, do-not-need-to-burn-the-fucking-nose, powder.

    Thanks man – winters just got awesome.

    1. I’ve had the same problem, and I mean REALLY bad. Cauterization when I was younger didn’t help. Started taking Garlicin with Cayenne a cople of years ago (I think that’s their “Healthy Circulation Formula”) and the nosebleeds stopped. Stopped taking it, and they came back. I know that’s not directly related to 4HB, but I could write my own book about how 4HB has helped me!

    2. Thanks for sharing, Josh! I also have weird nose problems in wintertime, including frequent nosebleeds. Incidentally, I started craving cayenne peppers recently. I mean, I eat the damn things by the handful. 🙂 Guess my body’s been trying to tell me something.

    3. I’ve had a nosebleed problem most of my life. The big problem is the dry air. Until very recently, I grew up and lived in Reno Nevada, so I had nosebleeds year-round. Moved to Boston MA last December and was delighted to find that the humidity stopped the bleeds. With the drier cool air this fall, though, they have come back a little bit.

      I need tried Cayenne pepper, but I can share that it is the vitamin A in the peppers that are fixing the bleeding. I discovered years ago that fish oil vitamin A supplements chured my nosebleeds. Lo and behold, Cayenne peppers are packed with vitamin A. So, I just wanted to share this for everyone with nosebleeds that can’t handle the hot peppers.

      I feel I should share a cautionary note, though: vitamin A is also a blood thinner. That’s good for increasing circulation, but it also means that it’s harder to clott to stop bleeding once you start.

    4. Awesome! Because while running around with a neosporin-lubed up nasal cavity is so sexy, I think this fix may be clutch.

      Thanks from the girl who just decided to live in the mountains!

    5. My remedy (i had cauterization done in my teens for left nostril) is a natural salve I make using:

      beeswax, olive oil, echinacea, goldenseal, arnica, calendula and a few other herbs. Here in Salt Lake the air is so dry I get nosebleeds anytime doing anything. As long as I can keep my membranes salved I don’t have chapped lips, cheeks, nose or nosebleeds. It’s also good for abrasions and scrapes. The real benefit I think comes from the fact it has NO water or alcohol in it like just abut every other product I have found.

  127. Fascinating!

    Question: I am looking for help in setting up my PPC to drive major traffic to my fitness website. We offer weekly kick ass workouts and daily fitness and nutrition blogs all for free. We are looking for advertisers on our site. That is how we plan to make our money. But for advertisers to be interested we need tons of traffic to the site.

    I would appreciate some feedback on how to make the most of this!

    Thanks!

    Jonathan

  128. Excellent article as it gives clear insights about his business. What I don’t like much is that Mike tries to sell things to affiliates, meaning that if I send traffic to the truthaboutabs site, some will become affiliates and Mike will earn money from them and I won’t receive anything from that.

    That is one of the reasons why I don’t promote the site.

    1. Andres, just about every product owner will sell another affiliate product in the future. That’s another reason why I pay affiliates 75% of each sale (and 90% commissions if you can do high volume), so that you can feel comfortable knowing that you made the lions share of the sale. If I didn’t make any future revenue on other affiliate products, it would be much harder to pay out affiliates such a high commission. It’s definitely more than fair, and still favors the affiliate highly.

  129. Mike and Tim, Thanks for the great content.

    What I found most inspiring is seeing myself in Mike. There IS another engineer, fitness nut in Colorado longing and thinking about how to provide more value. There is a way! Can’t wait for those powder days to come.

    -Troy

  130. Excellent interview with Mike Geary! I’ve personally struggled with trying to create my own product and strictly stick with the affiliate side of things.

    It’s interesting to read his mind set and just how hard it is to really get started with Media Buys and ppc traffic.

    Keep coming with more of these interviews, please!

  131. Tim,

    I came across this facebook advertisement of the PAGG supplement you talk about in the 4 Hour Body. The site is paggsupplement.com

    I don’t own this site, or have anything to do with it financially or otherwise, but I’m wondering if you could let me know if these pills are legit in terms of being the right dose of the ingredients that you’ve recommended in your book.

    I’m currently taking PAGG supplements you mentioned, and I think it’d be easier if it was only one pill.

    please let me know. Thanks!

  132. Thanks for sharing such a detailed interview! What would you say – is PPC unavoidable to make the “real big money”? Where would “The Truth About Abs” be without paid traffic?

  133. Great information. I learned a lot. I am a little surprised at his staff. I would think he would have at least a few more people but it just goes to show you that you don’t need a major staff. Start small and keep it simple and you can get somewhere. I hope to have this kind of success someday soon.

  134. Hi Tim,

    Thank you for the great interview with Mike Geary. You asked all

    the questions I wanted to know.

    Not only is this an inspiring article, but it gives a true representation

    of what most success looks like.

    It takes a lot of failures and a never give up attitude. And more importantly

    is investing in yourself to learn different marketing strategies.

    Thank you for all you have contributed to the entrepreneur industry

    Jeff Faldalen

  135. Hi Tim, thank you for the valuable information in this interview, its so important to have real life case studies especially when you are at the beginning stages as Mike has described the first couple of years.

    I had seen ‘TheTruthAboutAbs’ ads all over the internet the past couple of years and its great to know the story behind this success.

    Keep the great info coming!

    Pavlina Papalouka

    New Lifestyle Movement Blog

  136. Hands down one of the best blog posts I have seen in a long, long time! Very inspiring to see him take one product and make it into one enormous empire. I will be sharing this with my email subscribers very soon. Great article! Thank you!

  137. I like how he mentioned that he stuck to something that he believed in and had a passion for.

    I think that’s what you got to do, is do what you feel inside. I wrote a book on how to make fitness effortless after struggling 7 years with determination and discipline.

    I heard if you practiced anything for 30 – 90 days, it will become a habit. But I followed a program to the letter for 270 days without failure and it never ‘clicked’.

    So I realized that it was totally in how you frame things in your mind. Think about it…some people can go out and run a hundred miles, but some struggle to lose five pounds. Does the person running a hundred miles have a hundred times more discipline than the other person. I know from experience that it’s not possible, it’s just they view things differently.

    1. You’re right, framing is VERY important, you can take the 30-90 days as a “rule” for non emotional skills, BUT if you’re very attached emotionally and your mindset is not in the right state you’ll be self-sabotaging yourself all the way.

      1. It’s been said that “perfect practice makes perfect”.

        You will habituate what you constantly do/think/etc.

        Will power might get you to an improved body but if your ingrained mind is against you the whole way, you’ll probably revert to your mental habits.

  138. Yet another great article Tim. All your articles displaying real life examples of successful muses have been my favorite. Extremely inspiring. They always give me a kick in the ass.

    Keep it up,

    Larry

  139. This interview really struck home for me. As I read through Mike’s story I felt as though he was describing my current situation. I have an excellent 9-5 job that pays all the bills, but hate waking up to the alarm. Like Mike, I have a passion for life and fitness. I also have a military background. I decided to put these two aspects of my life together and started building a workout routine. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that you only got 5 hits in your first month. It’s unbelievable and inspiring to see how far you’ve come. I got a few more than 5 hits in my first month. I’ve had my site live for about 6 months and have zero sales… To be fair, I’m not selling anything.. yet! I’ve been putting out my knowledge out there to see if people are receptive and continue to visit my page. It’s been going well so far. With everything I just learned in this blog and your inspirational story. My goal is to earn myself 25k by April 2012. I have no idea how this will be accomplished, but I won’t give up and I appreciate you sharing your story. I’ll be taking notes and tracking your site. I may need to read your book soon to dissect your style and look for more secrets to your success.

    Cheers Mike, thank you.

    Tim, thanks for the great books!

    Manny

  140. Since I’ve read this article, I’ve been seeing ads for this thing everywhere. I decided to look into it a little more and I love his sales video. It hits so many great points!

    Thanks for this example!

    1. I have to wonder whether that’s your brain’s filtering/deleting mechanisms now letting TAA through to your consciousness or whether Google is working its ad focusing magic.

  141. Great interview. There is some valuable info in here that internet marketing courses charge hundreds of dollars for. As someone who is just starting to experiment with ad buys after being focused entirely on content marketing/seo, I will certainly take some pointers from this article.

    Thank you.

  142. Thanks for the extensive write up. I appreciated all the very specific questions and the thorough answers from Mike.

    That was also pretty inspiring, especially starting from nothing and no experience, to doing Ok, to quitting the job and then having his income multiplied by ten the next year, but only after a couple years of smart work.

    I like the combination of how Mike followed his passion, and then was very calculated with his testing of strategies.

    You really can’t go wrong with the intentions that are behind this product.

  143. Wow, Tim. This is an amazing article. Thank you for being so in-depth. I will be passing this along to classmates and colleagues. I think this is probably the best blog post I’ve ever seen. This is my first time visiting your site, and I’ve already subscribed on Google Reader. Thank you and congratulations on doing great work.

  144. Always great to hear of people that have escaped the 9-5 race. I just got out and working very hard to stay out :-). I need to implement some if not all of these ideas… Thanks Tim.

    1. Hi Griselda!

      It’s always great to come across people who have made it to get out of the 9-5 rat race, even more after having been inspired by Tim’s 4HWW. If you’d like to, please check out my 4HWW Success Stories site where I have interviews with people who have either made it all the way to a 4HWW or who are on a very good way and have therefore great info to share with the 4HWW community. You’ll find more info about it on http://www.4hwwsuccess.com

      Best regards from Greece,

      David

  145. Great article, Thanks Mike and Tim.

    I was actually running some PPC campaigns for TAA for a while to a page I had on one of my sites talking about the product until Adsense suspended my account for it being a bridge page. The campaigns were working quite nicely though. Although bing/yahoo will still take my ad dollars. Just seems a little stressful though, spend $300 to make $350. I stopped doing that for now as I feel my time is better spent creating content for my own sites.

    The time freedom really is the driver for me. Although I really like my day job in SEO, I would love to be able to travel more (my wife and I hit the Caribbean a few times a year for diving). Especially I dream of being more of service as far as travel and volunteering. To get involved with local cultures when traveling and volunteering time to local organizations. To be free to travel and spend 2-3 months at a time somewhere.

    I think one reason Mike is so successful is (from his response):

    “I think the bottom line is that in the big picture, we’re helping a LOT of people take action on their fitness/health goals”

    It seems that through all the talk, the main purpose behind Mike’s message is helping people. I’d bet that’s why he’s successful + a lot of hard work and patience.

    “The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning—to create a product or service that makes the world a better place. So your first task is to decide how you can make meaning.” – Guy Kawasaki (The Art of the Start)

    Thanks again for the great in-depth article.

  146. Thanx a ton for taking the time Mike and great interview Tim.

    I have read alot about affiliate marketing and have wanted to start for years but was never really sure where to start.

    For a guy starting up with this business, where had you started if you was gonna start right from the beginning like in my shoes.

    What products would you bought to educate yourself on how to proceed with this business etc? need some help and would mean the world to me 🙂

    Thanx

  147. I think this was the first time I ever read the whole interview. Great stuff and i’m sure you have inspired many people from this one post. Thank you both for your time and effort. I hope to capture an audience a fraction of this magnitude and someday

  148. I have a question for all of you like minded people,

    So I made a site about a year ago, http://www.bonsaiboss.com, and I am getting lots of traffic but almost NO conversions…… Yes, I sell bonsai trees, kinda weird right? For example, last month, my checkout page was viewed FOUR HUNDRED times which is awesome, but only 15of those people actually went through and bought a bonsai… is there something glaringly wrong with my site that is causing people not to convert? Any input or adivce would help. I already put up a double your money back garuantee, which helped, but not a lot obviously. Let me know what you guys think if you have time

    -Tim

    1. Your conversion rate seems pretty high to me! 400 page views is not a lot, actually, this is nothing and you managed to convert above 3%. And 400 page views doesn’t even mean 400 UNIQUE VIEWS. Still, the “real” average conversion rate for most sites is between 0.5 and 2%, you’re converting at more than 3% and you’re wondering what’s wrong? Maybe you should focus on getting more traffic, your site itself doesn’t seem to be the problem.

      1. Marie,

        Sorry I feel like I did not expalin this thoroughly enough. My site, on average gets about 1500-2000 visits per month. Of those visitors, 400 of them click through to the checkout page- but from there, only about 15 will actually buy a bonsai. So my conversion rate is more or less 1%. It just seems odd to me that I get so many views on the checkout page, but that so few people go through with it…. which brings me back to my original question of how can I optimize my checkout page to convince more of those people to buy? It is no problem getting them to the checkout page, but they are stopping there…. thoughts?

        Thanks!

        -Tim

  149. This was a fascinating read thanks. I would love to hear more from Mike, especially on Media Buying, I’m a full time internet marketer, but I think of all forms of traffic, Media Buying is the one that is so misunderstood, and aside from advertising on the main ppc networks, it is the one we struggle with most. I would love some more advise direct from the horses mouth on media buying, testing, scaling, expectation when starting out.. Anyway, thanks for the post, very inspirational and shows there really is no limit if you take a professional approach, monitor the stats, and of course plan for scale and setup systems so you aren’t tied to your desk 🙂

  150. Mike, this is a great interview. I have a question about site conversion rates. However you get your traffic, once they land on your site is when the real sales start. What kind of conversion does your site receive on average and what is your seasonal lows and highs? What factor contributed to your largest spikes in conversion? The videos? Testimonials? Email signups?

    Thanks and I wish you continued success!!!

    1. Chris, you ask a great question about conversion rates. Unfortunately most internet marketers have ZERO clue how conversion rates work in a niche like fitness, and on “cold” traffic from advertising vs “warm” traffic from an email recommendation.

      Generally, cold traffic conversions from a banner ad, ppc ad, etc usually range from 0.3% to 1%. The avg is probably in the middle there somewhere. This is a standard “cold traffic” conversion rate for all of the top selling info products. Nobody, and I mean nobody converts at these mythical 2-3% conversion rates on a mass appeal product like fitness/diet that you hear all of these marketers spouting off.

      However, conversion rates for “warm” traffic when somebody mails their list usually ranges from 2% to 10%, depending on the relationship with that list, and how they position the link in their email recommendation. Warm traffic conversions can range VERY highly based on list quality and and the pre-selling in the email itself.

      1. Chris, the other thing about conversion rates is the quality of the traffic source that the ad is located on. Think of these 2 scenerios:

        Scenerio 1.

        Your ad is positioned on a teenage gaming website. You get thousands of clicks from these teenage dudes (because they ALL want six pack abs), but you get ZERO sales, because teenagers don’t have credit cards.

        In this case, your conversion rate would be zero.

        Scenerio 2.

        Your ad is positioned on a website that has users with an older demographic that is more affluent…let’s say golfers for example. In this case, you might convert off the charts for a product like mine, as middle aged men are our best converting demographic.

        See how your conversion rates will be drastically different based on the source of the traffic and the demographics of that traffic… in these 2 scenerios, teenage guys vs middle aged affluent golfers.

        BIG difference in conversion rates even if you used the same banner ad for both sites!

        You can see how complicated this can get if you’re advertising on networks that compile thousands of different sites. That’s why I usually focus on individual sites to advertise on.

        Great question!

  151. Mike, great post. I think reading your comments was as, if not more, educational than the post itself… so thanks for that.

    Anyway, one quick note I had after reading some of the comments regarding your product.

    I can only speak for myself, but I thought TAA was worth the $ (I bought my copy over 2 years ago, so not sure how much it changed or difference in pricing now.) For me, the best part was the focus on nutrition. Been trying to adhere to that as much as I can, although I’m still not sure what sprouted grain bread is 😉

    Anyway, thanks again and congrats on your numbers – amazing (and truly inspiring) stuff!

    Cheers,

  152. I love this case study with a passion Tim. Really inspiring. I know this is a sucky question, but how does old Uncle Sam get his piece of Mike’s pie? if at all? Also is there any ‘shelters’ to use in a scenario such as this?

    1. This was an extremely insightful post.

      But, don’t do what I did after reading this post. I signed up for Clickbank and then promoted Mike’s product using ads on PlentyofFish. I sent 1,404 people to Mike’s site, 51 of them visited his checkout page, and only 6 of them bought one of his products. I was paying $0.15 to $0.25 per click which is reasonable in the US market, but the product would only be profitable if I could get clicks for $0.05 which is almost impossible to find in the US.

      Based on these results, I can’t recommend running any type of US-based PPC campaign for Truth About Abs. It could be a viable affiliate deal if you have a large email list though.

      1. Ryan, actually your numbers aren’t that bad and it appears like you could have made a profit. 6 sales out of 1400 cold traffic clicks is actually a pretty good conversion rate in the fitness/diet field. Test any top selling offer and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve run paid traffic for every top offer so I know the numbers like the back of my hand.

        Let’s look closely at the numbers. As an affiliate, you make an avg of $40/sale (that’s the avg payout per customer, you can see this listed on clickbank). That means you should have made about $240 on those 1400 clicks. Essentially this means you earned about 17 cents/click. So all you have to do is test ads that get a high enough CTR to pay lower than 17 cents/click. Certainly possible if you test enough ad variations. Now you can see how the game works. This is what I do… make ad numbers work by testing lots of variations!

      2. Mike,

        When you say that you tests lots of variations, do you have a methodology or strategy when doing so? Any tips or a good book you recommend for trying different ad variations? I’m sure it can get pretty complicated like you eluded to in previous posts. I’m new to this and really appreciate you sharing all of this great info!

  153. What I learned from this interview, and the bunch of other stuff it inspired me to read about web marketing, is the importance of market research. I was amazed that with all the trainers out there looking to offer the same basic product as this, Mike was able to find a way to differentiate himself from all the rest. In my opinion it is due to his great understanding of the web marketing system, though I have no doubt he is offering a solid product. Thanks Tim, incredibly motivational.

  154. Great article! I am interested in learning more about affiliate marketing. Clickbank seems to be only for digital products – can anyone recommend some well respected affiliate program administrators but for physical products?

  155. Great article.

    I may have missed this in the comments, but why is Mike’s ski website contain nothing about skiing?

    Does anyone else find this a little peculiar…? Was one of the purposes of this article to market an info product to loyal readers/entrepreneurs of 4HWW?

    Just curious.

    Thanks.

    1. Jason, sorry for the confusion. The ski site has always been about skiing fitness… however, last weekend (apparently when you looked at the site), for about 24-36 hours, my assitant had screwed up the nameservers when he was transferring my domain to our new hosting, and for that reason, it showed a business site instead of a skiing site for that time.

      nothing else going on there except a stupid error on my assitant’s part. Sorry if that seemed a little peculiar or confusing.

      The ski site only gets about 500-800 visitors/day so it wasn’t a major error. My main TruthAboutAbs site gets more like 100,000 visitors/day, so if an error like that happened even for 10 minutes, it would have been a big deal.

  156. I’m an affiliate, and I can honestly say that I learned some great info in this article. I didn’t know half of what I just learned, and I’ve been doing research on this stuff for a while. Look forward to making some money with Mike.

    Thanks!

    Aleks

  157. this post was really inspiring. the longer I am in the Internet Marketing game, the more I realise that the simpler your strategy the better your chances of success. the reasons he outlines for getting into this: 1)more time 2)more travel and 3)increased financial stability and independence are the three things I am aiming at as well. will bookmark this!

  158. Fantastic Post.

    Its great to see how much success can be generated from one information product, when the right things are done properly. Making your product known to affiliates seems to be the big challenge, and more of a priority than getting the word out to potential buyers.

    Really inspiring!!

    Ian

  159. Nice! The fitness industry is stuffed. Just repeating the words like fitness, health and diet makes me cringe. But there’s a handful of people doing great things.

    1. Hey Jonathan, honestly it’s been a long time since we’ve kept exact track. A couple years ago, we were approaching 500,000 copies sold. Nowadays, it’s easier to just say “with more than 500,000 copies sold” since I haven’t kept a running tally for a couple years.

      What’s most accurate is monthly volume… we typically do 10,000 copies on a slow month, and as much as 22,000 copies on a high volume month (like January). Also, clickbank gravity doesn’t lie… and TAA has been one of the highest gravity products on CB since 2007, always at or near the top.

  160. Wow. After reading this post, I really need to get my product into gear. I have no plans to play in Gary’s leagues but if i could get a tiny slice of the cake…

    Also, I will look into a way to include Gary’s product on my site.

    Thank you Tim and Gary.

    I especially enjoyed Gary’s comments and responses.

  161. Hi, Tim.

    I started a group of people to loose weight with the 4HB. and come questions poped up

    can we eat corn tortillas, cous cous, and weat germ.

    can we drink cocnut milk.

    im really bussy and doint have time to read blogs . Can you please send me your answer by email.

    thanks.

  162. Love the post and thanks for the fantastic information Tim. I am currently writing my first e-book and will use this post as a resource when I begin selling.

  163. Hi Russell,

    Congratulations on such great results. Any chance we can bounce a few ideas back and forth so I can learn a some new techniques?

    Regards

    Richard

  164. Hey there!

    I am a recently graduated division I athlete. I played lacrosse which required An exercise program that was extremely vigorous and I was overtraining. I am having trouble transitioning from being part of a team to coaching a team which I know many other athletes in my position have. I hope to record my transition from division I athlete to regular person physically and psychologically in hopes to help other athletes in my position.

    I just graduated from bucknell university with a degree in biology. I am currently the graduate assistant lacrosse coach at long island university in Brooklyn studying exercise physiology. Being the scientist that I am, I am skeptical of “the Four Hour Body”. On Monday, I will start the slow carb diet, takIng personal measurements of body fat and weight. I do have access to a bod pod which I will use but I will also be using skin fold calipers and a scale to take consistent measurements.

    I will be starting an online diary of how I progress and I hope to do my own little research project on myself to see how the slow carb diet works. I’m going to try it on a college kid budget as well as travelling a lot. I would love feedback! Thanks!

    Julia Braun

  165. Hiya love the book Four-Hour Body! The part I was most interested to read about was the Ultra-marathon training, but it appears it was never followed through by you Tim, as a conclusion to the story is not on the book or the website. What happened?! Even a story about what went wrong would be interesting to learn from as an aspriing long-distance runner. Thanks! H

    1. I totally second Hazam’s comment.

      @Tim: An update would be really nice,… well, actually even necessary. It can’t be that this section stays empty with a “Coming soon…” since one year. Injury? Decided not to do it? Ok, but let us know! I ordered the book mainly because of the ultra running section and because I wanted to see how you, who hates running, will fare. Without update it seems like this will simply never happen,…which would be somewhat unexpected from someone who’s a recognized master of hacking different aspects of life. Even if running isn’t your forte, Tim, you committed to it and an update now after one year would really make sense. But that’s up to you, of course 😉

      Regards from Greece,

      David

      1. Hi David,

        No worries, man. I’ve posted this update elsewhere, but here it is: I ended up getting plantar fasciitis in my right foot after a trip to Turkey and wearing Vibrams, etc. on cobblestones and so on for 3-4 weeks. My right foot has been an issue ever since and it flares up whenever I run, despite decent technique (no heel striking).

        I might get back into it, but it’s been moved down my priority list a bit. That said, MANY readers have put the 4HB program for running into practice and run their first marathons and ultras. Their comments and tracking on Twitter and elsewhere can attest to this.

        Hope that helps!

        Tim

      2. Thanks for the swift update, Tim. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be telling you what to do, but wouldn’t it make sense to update the (ultra) runners in your community with exactly that info on the page fourhourbody.com/blog/ultra ? I think this is where most people go after reading the book… and find it empty. Just a thought.

      3. Oh, BTW: I have no doubt that many 4HB readers are a good testimonial and I myself am one, I’d say (3:31h full street marathon, although I didn’t start from 0 and I didn’t complete the whole 12 week program). I actually care about Tim Ferriss doing an ultra run. I am one myself and since you have mentioned in the past that you HATE running, I simply can’t sit still knowing that you’re able to hack it and not do it – because I know that in the end you’ll love it and maybe even get ‘hooked’ to it. But since you have this plantar fasciitis, that’s a different story 🙂

        1. Hi David,

          I haven’t thrown in the towel completely. Just working on a bunch of new skills under the new book deadline. I promise you’ll like them 🙂 Then… back to running, which I’ll actually start drilling a bit next week.

          Thank you for the comments!

          Tim

      4. Wow david! 3:31 marathon using the 4HB running plan! That is smoking fast, I’ll have to give it a try now. I used to be a fast distance runner but don’t do it because of time constraints.

  166. Mike,

    In all seriousness why don’t you do more interviews like this?

    I mean the majority of internet marketing products are written by scammers who make money online selling products about you know — making money online.

    It’s very rare that someone who is actually successful at building a legitimate business gives us a peak into how it’s done.

    I’m not asking you to make a MMO product – but by simply giving out these kinds of interviews more readily you’ll also be able to attract some more high quality affiliates.

    It’s a win-win.

  167. Thanks Mike and Tim,

    Is it possible to do this without buying traffic ?

    Do you have any advice for those of us who rely on ppc income (like adsense) for 4hww.

    Because buying traffic is not an option 🙁 with adsense

    so

    It takes a long time to test anything, because we have to wait for the organic seo improvements to kick in.

    mike, do you ever rely on or test organic traffic ?

  168. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for doing this interview. It is very helpful and inspiring to read an account like this. I hope I can burden you with a couple of questions:

    1. How did you learn the proper way to create an ebook? The formatting and etc.

    2. How do you handle piracy?

    Thanks in advance.

  169. Hi Brandon

    I wouldn’t give credit exclusively to 4HB. I followed a plan for 3:30h finishing time for about 4-5 weeks and then changed to the 4HB plan, but only for 3 weeks because then marathon day was already there. And: it wasn’t my first marathon so I had a certain fitness level. Nevertheless, i have no doubt that also 4HB, although only about 3 weeks, did some ‘magic’ 😉 I am planning to train a la 4HB for a 67k alpine ultra-marathon here in Greece which will take place in May because I believe that 4HB can make a difference here. And I am curious to see the results and maybe help reproduce them here in Greece. We’ll see 😉

    Regards,

    David

    1. Hi David,

      That is super interesting, how different was the first 3 weeks from the last 3 weeks? I’d love to see how your ultra marathon comes out! I would be really interested to see a 4hb training plan used for a full ironman as well, i think it would be super interesting.

      Brandon

      1. Hi Brandon

        The difference was as you would expect, I guess:

        – first three weeks time intensive but ‘relaxed’ and rather many km per week

        – second 3 weeks: get ready to puke… really. It takes you to your edges, probably mostly because we’re not really used to all that sprinting. That’s why I am dreading the 4HB training a bit for my next planned ultra, but on the other side my interest in finding out how much it’ll help me makes it interesting again. Here in Northern Greece we have great weather now, i.e. no rain or snow, but cold (around freezing temperature) and sprinting in those temperatures which makes you feel as if your lungs get pinched is even less appealing…

        But I guess I’ll go for it. Should I document it, you think? 🙂

        David

  170. Hi Mike,

    First of all ,thanks for this insightful post and kudos creativity and commitment you exhibited.I’d like you to clarify the difference between traffic buying and media buying-I think many get confused.Do you get traffic by buying ad spaces only or buy from lead generation sources(buy traffic?)

    I really liked your site and the simplicity exhibited which some described as spammy.SIMPLICITY always pays.I guess you know Miyamato Musashi??Tim would know about him I’m sure.Right Tim?He’s an epitome of the strategy of simplicity.

    On your site you mentioned the product to ALL countries but when I Checked,many countries were omitted like ones not on clickbank.Maybe all countries are listed,certainly not ALL…I think you should include 2checkout so that anyone that wants the product can get it especially when you mentioned on the site it’s shipped to (ALL?)

    Finally I’d like to get some hints on partnership like you did even though you mentioned one should get creative to get partners for win-win campaigns- a little hint will help us all.

    And to Tim,great work.We’ll like to see you in killer $100,000 suits like the one Ellsberg talked about,shades and business shoes in upcoming posts for a change.Or what do you think,people??Need we vote??

    Goodluck to all while hoping a lot,not a fraction will implement the strategies outlined.Cheers

  171. So, why didn’t Tim Ferriss use these techniques to sell his own book(s)? What makes Mike Geary’s product better suited to online direct-response marketing than to traditional book publishing?

    Abs is not exactly a niche — everyone wants abs.

    Tim’s books are not niche products either. Anyone can benefit from them.

    Tim, can you give us some insight into why you chose to sell your books the traditional way, while recommending that the rest of us sell information products online?

    Thanks

    Joe

  172. Great education.

    I sincerely hope that people realize that success is an ‘over-time’ and not an ‘over night’ job.

    More importantly it’s about implementation. Implementation is what’s made a difference here.

    BAYO

  173. Mike is a great example of what you get when you combine passion with hard work. This interview and the follow up Q and A session speaks volumes about his character as well.

  174. Thanks for writing such Inspiring articles.

    After I read 4 hr ww my life changed.

    Instead of selling my Erp software product to customers, i started finding people who can sell for me and give me small royalty in return.

    I expanded my businees from India to UK Africa Middle East Malaysia and even in India on same model.

    Once I have enough royalty payers. I will have to stop selling my product myself totally.

    My idea is simple. Pay me USD 1000 per month as royalty and you can sell my ERP Product at your own prices. It works.

  175. Having found your blog (on my iPhone) and from The Warrior Forum, I am truly inspired by the ‘muses’ that I have read.

    Truly brilliant.

    Also, the way your blog is set out, the gravity of the information, and the possibilities therein are an eye opener.

    Id love to get my ‘muse’ dissected here, so I’d better get my pedal to the metal…

    Thanks for a fantastic read and, well, just thankyou.

    Regards

    James

  176. Tim,

    I so much love this interview and it lifted my spirit.

    My take is on the advert medium. I prefer facebook ads is better compared to google adwords.

    Sheyi

  177. Hey Tim! just wondering on your six-minute abs section of your book you don’t mention how many times a week or month you should be doing this workout anyone able to tell me ?? many thanks -Dan

  178. Wow, truly inspirational and highlights why most people fail at IM, they are looking for a quick fix solution. Sure there are some that have been succesful overnight but if Mike had quit after the first few weeks, as most others would have he would still be in the same crappy (you said it!) job now.

    Mike, if you still frequent the comments here, you should definitely (if you have not already) put together an ebook containing what you have learned about split testing, traffic leveraging and everything else that has helped TTAA to become such a success. It would save others years of wrong decisions and mistakes and I’m sure it would be another best seller and a huge eye opener for many people. I would be the first on to buy it!!

    That’s if you’re not too busy powder skiing!

  179. I found out through clickbank that there’s also a German version of The Truth about Abs. Nice! I was about to contact Mike to ask if I may take care of the German translation 😉

  180. That was a “money” article. Much appreciated. My favorite quote was “Sell what people want, and give them what they need.”

    I run a health care facility, and I employ several Colorado Springs chiropractors. I think that quote totally applies to the chiropractic industry (and likely any industry). We sell pain, but convert to what people need – which is to stop thinking of their health in terms of pain. After all, when to you feel a heart attack? I’ve never been able to simplify the concept like my fellow Coloradan, Mr. Geary.

    I also loved that it was realistic, and showed that success is not an overnight thing. You have to have a long-term vision, patience, and some tenacity. Congrats Mike on living the dream.

  181. Hi

    Just wanted to say how inspired I was by this article (along with many of the Tim Ferriss/4HWW ideas). I had already written a book about obsessive compulsive disorder that I was planning to publish on amazon. I’m still publishing on amazon but as a result of this article I’ve also set up a website and decided to publish on clickbank.

    I am also going to join the truth about abs affiliate program because I think it’s genuinly a great product.

    Thanks again

    Steve Chapman

  182. This was a fantastic interview Tim, thanks for getting Mike to answer such insightful questions.

    And Mike, thank you for sharing so much great, honest information with us. There was one thing in particular that struck me… How long it took for you to become really profitable and successful.

    Yours is not a sexy story (at least, not at the start) but your perseverance is hugely inspiring.

    Also, your comment above to ‘GR’ may be one of the most underrated and yet crucial tips in the whole article: ‘That’s the whole point of any book. Organizing information that is already out there free somewhere.’

    I’ve been pondering this for the last 5 minutes and it’s truly profound. Thank you for providing such massive inspiration.

  183. Very great points about Clickbank! Can you ask affiliates to communicate with you, to see what they are writing or what methods they are using, so you can protect the integrity of your product, or know your product is accurately being represented?

    *Looking for an Angel Investor for a technology focused product developed for filmmakers, by filmmakers*

  184. Hello, I too have learned so much from Ryan Lee! It is awesome to see you staying focused and committed to a single product for so long. In this industry is is so easy to move over to the next “fad” or “program” that comes out. Inspirational.

  185. Science has shown us that body weight is involuntarily regulated in both humans and animals by extremely complex neural circuitry. . Body weight is NOT under conscious control.

    Morbid obesity is as genetic and heritable as height, or just a smidgen under.

    The commercial weight loss industry is complete fraud. They are claiming to be able to do what genuine , reputable scientists cannot do ( e.g. cure morbid obesity).

    Real scientists studying the topic of morbid obesity include: Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, Dr. Rudolph Leibel, Dr. Stephan Guyenet, Dr. Douglas Coleman , Dr. Arya Sharma.

    Sincerely,

    Razwell

  186. About the truth about abs, The exciting part about this system is that Geary gets you thrilled about the idea that you have put in a little bit of attempt to get a smooth tummy. Mike demands you to give your very best. It’s truly a novel idea in present-day world!

  187. What a wealth of information! Mike is a great example of ” do what you love and find someone to pay you for it.”

    I’ve only made a few sales of TAA and have learned so much here about increasing them, especially content network. I’ve only done PPC and pleased to learn from Mike’s numbers that my conversion rate is good.

  188. This is an awsome article, trying to build an online business whilst working a 9-5 seems like a pipe dream sometimes, this sort of thing reminds me that it is possible as long as I stay focused and comitted. Good stuff !

  189. Excellent review, great insights Mike’s really something and contributes a lot in marketing industry. This man will be a great inspiration to those people aiming for success. thanks for sharing!!

  190. Mike:

    I’ve read this article before and for some reason wanted to reread it today. When Tim asks in the article, “What are some common mistakes when buying media/traffic?”……

    your reply was “we”. Who is this “we” ? Do you outsource media buying/traffic? I will quote what you said below within the article.

    “For example, if I do a $10,000 traffic buy test on a new website that “we” haven’t worked with before, “we’ll” usually only make back maybe $6,000 to $7,000 for a net loss of about $3,000. But “we” also usually learn that one of our ad variations performed MUCH better than the others, and “we” can work with that specific ad from that point forward and possibly negotiate lower rates. Sometimes “we” find that the numbers are too far off to work in the future, so “we” just decide to cut all ties with that particular website and not buy traffic from them again if they can’t offer lower rates.”

  191. What a great interview, I have known of Mike so some time now but have not seen any interviews with him. Good luck on your new ventures Mike.

    If you have tome you could always come and give me some 1 on 1 advice on my business model.

    Thanks again.

  192. Great article. Mike’s story is very inspirational and impressive. Not a lot of people can grow a business to that level. Thank you for posting this interview for all to read.

  193. I just want to ask, with which product Ryan Lee, helps you to succed, because there are so many his products on the market so I am a little confused 🙂

  194. So in your business of digital product development and sales how much do you actually keep after normal expenses and Taxes? With revenue of 11 million I’m guessing you don’t even get to keep half of that with how the U.S.’s tax code is (with payroll taxes and federal tax bracket you are in). I also notice that Tim doesn’t ever mention taxes in his book (which is a fantastic book btw) and his dreamline formulas don’t take into account taxes either. To make your hourly, weekly, monthly, and yearly dreamline income with the formulas Tim shows you; you will probably need to make about double what the calculations in the book show (because they don’t take into account your biggest expense – U.S. taxes).

    Unless there are any legal strategies to reduce this when selling ebooks on clickbank (intellectual property, etc). Any advise on this or comments would be interesting and appreciated. (also if anyone knows a good accountant in this field I would appreciate the contact). 🙂 Thanks!

  195. Wow. This was honestly one of the most inspiring, value-adding articles that I have ever read. I’m so glad I read this, and your story is simply amazing. Let’s go baby! Success!

  196. Hey Tim,

    In one of your comments you mention getting plantar fascitis…the comment was awhile ago and I couldn’t figure out how to reply directly to it (it’s up this list aways), but if you haven’t found a solution yet, you might try this information: http://www.runningwitheric.com/main/search/search?q=plantar+fascitis

    The blog isn’t mine and I’m in no way affiliated with it – I had plantar fascitis last year and in a mad search for a cure=) I came across Eric’s website and came to the conclusion that he’s pretty much a genius. I think you have to sign-up for the blog to get in, but his advice is quick, common-sense and simply worked for me, so I’ve passed it on to at least half my friends!

    Hope it works for you – good luck with the running!

    1. Ok so 11 million in sales.

      Why not ask what his actual profit it is?

      Meaning how much he puts in his pocket after ALL expenses and before taxes?

      My guess is less than 2 million but wonder why Tim didn’t ask the most important question.

      1. I’m not sure what the exact answer would be on NET profit, but in reading the comments…might get higher than 2M just with general backing in strategy…I think….:

        1) Mike said ~50% of his TAA sales are from affiliates = no exp to Mike, so making a big assumption that about 2/3 of his total income is TAA, then about $11M* 2/3 * 50% = $3.6 free income from affiliate selling. (since he said the $11M was after portion due to affiliate was taken out)

        2) Up in Mike’s comment on 11-23-11, he said he gets a ton of his revenue from his list when he promotes OTHER people’s products, so no expense there either if it’s just an e-mail to his list. Making another big assumption and assuming 50% of the non-TAA remainder is from list e-mails, would be $11M * 1/3 * 50% = another $1.8M.

        3) If that is reasonable at all…that would bring his net up to $3.6 + $1.8 = $5.4M…just from free list e-mails and free to him affiliate promoting

        4) $11M – $5.4 = $5.5 left to figure out net on. Assuming this is the portion he made from his media buys etc, I have no idea what his net would be on this piece but would have to assume since he doesn’t need the money, that he’s making money on it or wouldn’t be doing it. Even if he makes absolutely no money on the remaining $5.5 because his PPC and media buys = the $5.5, have to assume his web hosting, auto-responding software fees, etc don’t completely eat the $5.4M away

        5) And like Mike mentioned in one of his answers too, TAA has been at or close to the top of the gravity run on clickbank since 2007 so can prob assume that he’s not still losing money on an “initial” try at his product…with all the optimizing and testing that has been done over at this point, years.

        6) There’s a lot of big assumptions in those calculations and if they are off that would pretty much change the whole answer so on an actual #, who knows! Over all though, to run so high on the gravity bar and have so many affiliates sticking with it for so long, it would be hard to think it’s not doing pretty good compared to the competition.

        1. what? Why spend so much time assuming when a simple question from Tim would answer the question once and for all.

          To me the entire article is VERY close to useless as we do NOT know what the actual profit is. Me personally I would never risk 5 million to make 1 million.

          Note I said RISK>

  197. Glad to go through such stories as i am just a newbie to all this world of making money online. But its actually his sales that are close to 1 million per month/. How much is the profit after tax deduction, his investments and everything. Interview does not answer this.

  198. Wow, great helpful interview. i think we should focused us more on the 2 points:treat our customers like gold and our affiliates, if we have an affiliateprogram.

    thanks a lot!

  199. My head is swimming on hurdle one. I want to incorporate a landing page into my site (Adobe Muse) with a pay facility so I can sell pdf’s and/or ebook to subscribers. I also want to protect who can see pdf’s and limit views/downloads etc. so they can’t be passed on. I have looked at locklizard and Blaze Concepts. Also, http://www.ecwid.com but can’t see how to protect via their service. Could anyone help as the first two solutions are pricey and I wanted to keep costs as low as possible. Would it be better to publish via my muse site or build an add-on site via wordpress perhaps? This seems more for blogs than ecommerce though. Thanks for your help.

    1. I´ve stumbled upon Mikes product on clickbank, its really great but I didn’ t know thats its such a money machine! Thanks for that interesting interview!

    2. Rebecca, I had the same concerns when looking to put my content in PDF form as well. I love ecwid for they integrate very nicely into Facebook but the issue of protecting the content was still there.

      In my research, I learned about PDF stampers. They basically put the user information in the footer of each page, which discourages sharing. I googled “PDF Stamper” and found a solution for a wordpress based website, which works well. I ended up buying other components from this same company (ie, shopping cart and affiliate program) because they all spoke to each other.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Assuming it’s ok with the rules here (comment rules above don’t seem to prohibit this), who did you go with for your PDF stamper and other components? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the referral!

        Googling for a fairly generic term by the ignorant (me) may not land me where you ended up.

        1. Hi Matthew, I purchased a wordpress plugin called “WP PDF Stamper” from a company called Tips and Tricks HQ.

          Also, if you plan to purchase more than one plugin, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the order page. I almost missed this, but they have a bundle package option. As I said, I ended up buying a few of their plugins, so bundling saved me about $50.

  200. This was a great post!

    I’ve seen a lot of knock off websites to the Truthaboutabs site…including Truthaboutmanboobs! I wonder how much those sites eat into your revenues.

    1. Anton,

      I was surprised to see this comment given that I paid you to do some copywriting for me and I shared my site with you. If you buy the book, you’ll see it’s heavily referenced and also features Mike Geary’s The Truth About Abs. What’s the harm in modelling a highly successful product? It’s not knocking it off. It’s modelling. I even wrote to Mike Geary to ask if he’d be interested in some kind of partnership but I didn’t hear back. I suspect he gets a million and one similar requests. I wrote the book after suffering from the condition myself and after extensive research. I am proud of what I’ve achieved and I’ve had the content proofed by a nutritionist and fitness expert. Refund rate is extremely low too so I must be doing something right.

  201. I’ve been using Mike’s program since the beginning of the year with great success. I had no idea he was making $1,000,000 a month from it, that’s incredible! Nice work Mike!

  202. Heloo, very good article.

    The article gives me good information, befor I go on with my internetbusiness.

    Thank you for this good tipps

    Holger

  203. I have read this article many times in the past couple years. It continues to inspire. Mike Geary is a great example of an N.R. business model. Thanks, Tim

  204. Pretty awesome that you can pull in big names like Mike Geary for an interview like this. This type of interview/expose is what Google really means when they say they want QUALITY content!

    I would love to see more interviews from big internet marketing names.

  205. The perfect example of a N.R entrepreneur. You, Tim, along with Mike Geary, are among the top entrepreneurs that really inspire me to become who I want to become. Thanks a lot for the interview. I really wish you could make interviews more often!

  206. I’m wondering how do people who sell e-products protect them from being copying and torrented? This is a huge issue, and would stop me from developing any product until the solution had been found.

  207. Great info as always Tim. Love the site. There are certainly people out there making lots of money promoting ebooks (take a look at Frank Kern). The problem people tend to find when becoming an affiliate marketer is finding the right product to promote. I run several sites that sell products – but I only sell or promote products that I believe in or have personally tried and tested. One of the things that I just could not get my head around when I became interested in promoting products was how the top ‘gurus’ in the affiliate world rarely ever had an actual website. All they would do would involve setting up a simple squeeze page with a box to add your email. They would then send you an email – you would click on the email to verify that you had provided your email in the first place – and BINGO they had a ‘double opt-in’ subscriber already pre-sold. You would then get the first trickle of auto-responder emails – with the tag line being a soft sell. The ‘pros’ had tens of thousands of subscribers and were making thousands and thousands a month. Of course many also had an ‘Adwords’ account but Google slammed affiliate sites a long time ago on Adwords. This used to be a quick way to make a buck in the old days for the pros but you now need a degree in Rocket Science to understand how to use their quality score. Anyway, great article and it’s nice to know that some people are doing well with this great ebook i.e. The Truth about Abs.

  208. Such an amazing website! I originally found this blog through searching about book trailers. When much to my surprise I found that it was done by Tim Ferriss who’s 4HBody book is currently on the bookshelf next to me. Not only that but when I looked at this article I realized that I also own TheTruthAboutSixPackAbs and have recommended it to many others. So great to learn from both of these amazing authors whose stuff I love.

  209. Mike Geary’s story is so motivating to me. I have been stumbling around in IM, finally went with a true passion and am now seeing some results. I would love to achieve just a tenth the success Mike has.

  210. These are my favorite articles of all others on your site. They aren’t incredibly complicated or ‘hack-like’ but they provide insight that is both valuable and time saving! it very good

  211. Mike,

    I don’t know if you still even follow this thread… but I met you several years ago, right after your $6 million year, at a copywriting retreat in the Blue Mountains.

    I was running for the AWAI crowd. I specifically remember your copy and how good it was. I think I said, “Honestly Mike, I don’t think I could improve on that… it’s great.” And this was before I knew how much success you were having.

    I’ve repeated your story since then, as an example of someone turning a passion into a great business. It was only today that someone directed me to the link for this piece. Great stuff, very inspiring. I hope your success has continued to grow in the time since.

    I just want to add… what particularly impresses me is the acquired knowledge of how to set up the business and get the traffic. I’ve been developing content, both editorial and advertising, for 20 years now and feel more than competent at it. But the technical aspects of the rest of it, I’ve yet to master. At least, not at your apparent level.

    This might change, as I’m looking to help some family members turn their same non-lucrative passions into lucrative ones. But I admit, much as I’ve been in this business myself for years, I find all that new info on traffic gathering, etc. a little daunting. But we’ll see. Your article here will provide a great start.

    Thanks and best of continued luck with your biz,

    John F.

    P.S. After I get those family info businesses launched, next up is to tackle the six-pack abs. Maybe I can squeeze in a little success on both fronts before I turn 50!

  212. I’m curious to know why you chose the $47 price point…do you have different tiers as well?

    If you’re selling in Asia, you might want to go for 8’s…and stay away from 4…anyone who does business there, or has Asian heritage, will know why.

  213. Stellar article! Thank you, Tim, for asking the questions that matter. This is a blueprint post if ever there was one. Love seeing these details and tips at this depth. It’s rare and truly valuable stuff!

  214. Hi Tim,

    another great piece, thank you so much.

    I made my first dollars with an outdoor affiliate site. Even though it’S working well there are some flaws. For example, it’s very seasonal, the company I’m affiliating for has limited capacities and customers have a lot of questions. I’m looking at improving this with my next business.

    Keep it up

    Chris

  215. Tim and Mike – actually two of my favorite names. This is great stuff. Tim this is why people love your site and book. You give more than you ask for. Mike likewise you sincerity shines through in your book, in this article, and on your website. Thanks.

  216. thank you for sharing such wonderful information. I got a real clear understanding of how someone runs a 8 figure business without killing themselves in the process…lol ! This is the best article I have read this year….

  217. Hey Tim,

    Do you have any suggestions for outsourcing the online marketing process?

    I have a potential product and would be happy to give away 25% of my profits to someone who could do the leg work of setting up and testing the online marketing. I could take the time to learn, but I’d much rather simply give up part of my revenue to have someone else do it.

    If my idea sells, they get money simply for doing the work of learning online marketing and I make money for my idea without all of the unnecessary learning.

    Seems like a win-win situation to me. Two people get muses from one idea, and both only have to do half the work in their area of specialty!

    Thanks for the continually actionable content!

  218. This is one of my favourite interviews on this topic I have read or PAID for. I love Mike Geary’s story and its difficult to find truthful info about media buying….This could be ‘The Truth About Media’….thnx

  219. I am totally new with online marketing. I find it hard to understand but exhilarating at the same time. I know it’s possible to get the numbers I read about and Tim Ferris always has some-sort of incite on what I’m looking for at the time I think about it. This article is one of those. Mike breaks down each movement and explains it in detail, my problem is when I know zero about a subject, such as SEO or PPC it’s hard to know if I’m stumbling in the right direction. Part of the process is messing up and even losing money but when you’re in a sinking ship (like I am monetarily) a wrong decision can be devastating to my wallet, lol. I’m going to read the article again and again until I can start to under stand more, and yes I’ll research other readings. I just wanted to say Cu do’s to Tim and Mike for start my journey, Coach G

  220. I did a ClickBank, Mike Geary’s “truth about abs” program on google adwords and it got my account permanently suspended. Google labeled truth about abs a fraud and anyone who promotes his program through adwords PPC will get suspended.

  221. I went to the site but was concerned to see that WOT users have marked it as a dangerous site due to spam. While WOT is not always accurate, as many people can sometimes just simply not like a site or the views it espouses, I thought I should share it for the consideration of those here.

  222. Fantastic guest post, Tim. The answer to the question regarding pricing is pure gold. I myself have 4 published ebooks on my blog and am constantly experimenting with different prices to see what works best. I also agree 100% the creating a quality product is the best way to minimize returns.

    -Alex

    [Moderator: link removed]

  223. Hey Tim!

    In this article you refer to a fitness course (The product Mike is referring to is no longer available. For those interested, this course covers similar content). When i click on it, the site isn’t working any longer. Do you know where i can find this course or a similar course? Much appreciated. Greetings from the Netherlands

  224. Thanks for this Tim! I would like to test a product idea using the method you outlines in FHWW – set up a website, try driving traffic with adwords, and see if it’s a viable idea. Is that process still valid, or do you have any updates? Would $200-$250 be enough for an initial viability test, or does it require more to really be effective? Thanks!

  225. Not only simplifying business, but also simplifying Fitness. For me Fitness is like brushing teeths. 5 minutes hardchor per day an it’s finished. Every day one muscel and body will ‘thank you’.

  226. This interview is such a motivation for a new as well as old people who want start a online business make 5 digit income per month.

    Amazing!! really feeling motivated.

  227. All it takes to get a flat belly are some good ab workouts, a healthy diet, and a few smart lifestyle choices. Getting a flat tummy shouldn’t be complicated at all!

    Only doing sit-ups is not going to help as you have to include different kinds of exercises that hit different muscle groups such as the frontal, sagittal, and transverse.

    Also, HIIT is an exercise that really makes your muscles work extra hard and helps get rid of the love handles that isn’t what you can call a sight for sore eyes.

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