A $50,000 Benevolent Bribe: Is Today The Day You Finally Build Your Business?

Two years ago, Patrick Buckley and Craig Dalton had an idea–an iPad case made using traditional bookbinding. Today, DODOcase is a multi-million dollar business that’s been featured in The New York Times and beyond. They have more than 20 employees, and customers all over the world, including President Barack Obama.

Is that a freaking DODOCase in the Oval Office? Of course it is.

Their rocket-like trajectory started with the 2010 Shopify Build-A-Business Competition. They were the grand-prize winners, but they weren’t the only success story. The stats:

Revenue PER HOUR for the duration of the contest: $696.38

Total number of orders placed: 66,503

Most important — Total businesses created: nearly 1,400

In the subsequent 2011 Shopify competition, more than 3,000 new businesses were launched, generating more than $12,000,000 in revenue. Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo used Kickstarter to fund their product and went on to win big. Now they’re bringing Coffee Joulies to the mass market on a global scale.

I’ve been involved with the Shopify competition since it was a brainstorm with Tobi, their CEO. Now, it’s your turn to jump in the fray…

This year, I’m joined by three exceptional mentors: Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), Daymond John (FUBU, Shark Tank), and Tina Roth Eisenberg (swissmiss). The education will be better, the community will be bigger, the prizes will be cooler, and the support will be unequaled.

What I said back in 2010 is still true today:

“This competition is intended as a benevolent and encouraging kick in the ass. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it does require stepping outside your comfort zone for a bit to realize: this isn’t that hard. It’s just unfamiliar. If you do it now, a lot of people will be in the same boat and you’ll take the trip together.”

By turning your idea (that one you’ve reserved for “someday”) into reality, you could win:

– A VIP trip to New York City for a day of meetings with all the mentors

– $20,000 in Google AdWords credit

– A feature on the Fast Company website

– A $50,000 investment in your company from Tim Ferriss, Eric Ries, Daymond John or Tina Roth Eisenberg

If you prefer to take Benjamins and don’t want the involvement from us, that’s cool, too. We’ll give you $50,000 cash. No strings attached, no sweat.

And… even if you don’t win the grand prize:

– You still receive a free .CO domain for 12 months, $100 in Google AdWords Credits, and $100 in MailChimp Credits, just for entering the competition.

– You could end up with the greatest gift of all: a profitable business that becomes your muse.

The latter is the whole point.

Ready to join the ranks, shed a little blood with your brethren (mere papercuts, guys), and fundamentally change your life forever?

If not now, when?

Go here. Get excited. Pull the trigger.


Related and Suggested:

Looking for business ideas? Browse some of the detailed case studies in the “Engineering the Muse” posts, digest 17 lessons from six-figure business started for $100 or less, or take a peek at successful examples on Shopify.

Perhaps most helpful of all, here are two posts on lessons learned from past winners: do’s and don’ts from 2010 and 2011.


Odds and Ends:

Wow. Thank you to everyone who shared their personal career struggles and aspirations around risk. Ben Casnocha and Reid Hoffman selected three finalists from over 500 comments — Samuel P.N. Cook, Dennis Keochane, and Cheryl Obermiller — and they’d like to ask YOU to vote on who should win mentorship for their next career move.

Although they sadly cannot offer direct mentorship to everyone, they can offer the next best thing — the mentorship of their network! Repost your story of risk or other thoughts on career strategy as a new discussion in their LinkedIn Group. Their online network has more than 2,000 career experts who are committed to investing in themselves and helping others.

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

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161 Replies to “A $50,000 Benevolent Bribe: Is Today The Day You Finally Build Your Business?”

  1. I’m really excited about finally being able to join a Shopify contest. I just opened up a Shopify store after purchasing an online business, and I’m excited about seeing how I do in this contest. Interestingly enough, Tina Eisenberg reviewed the product I sell a few years back when it was under the previous owner.

    1. I’d say use her familiarity with it to get back in touch with her – I know Tim has talked in his book about how to get in touch with important people and the benefits that can come from it!

  2. After the most inspiring weekend of my life at World Domination Summit 2012 here in Portland, OR, this is the opportune time to channel the insane amounts of enthusiasm and practical action orientated lessons that have been shared with me. No better time then RIGHT NOW. Tim, thank you so much. Cheers -George

  3. I have always enjoyed your case studies Tim, it’s my favorite part of the blog. I have the $100 start-up on order and look forward to reading it.

    Does Shopify have any plans to expand its automation functionality to match something like Infusionsoft or Office Autopilot? Building a list and keeping databases talking to each other is an impediment to total automation when you use several services together.

    I think it’s awesome they are built on WordPress, but the percentage of sale charge is less exciting when you add in the other processing expenses, at least on physical products where a 3-4% total processing charge can eat 9-12% of net profits. Every little bit counts. I am forever done with Paypal.

    The future is exciting for Shopify, they have a great marketing position. Best of luck. Thanks for posting, I know it can get tedious over time, but it is appreciated.

    1. Hey @Ben,

      I’m a Shopify developer (my own business – not a Shopify employee) and thought I’d chip in with your question.

      I’m not sure about a direct comparison with Infusionsoft and Office Autopilot, but Shopify does have a whole bunch of automation built into it. You can auto-email drop-shippers or fulfilment houses when orders are placed, put them into a .csv spreadsheet and export them, and there are a bunch of apps (Shopify’s equivalent of WordPress “Plugins”) that give more advanced stuff when it comes to automation.

      Hope that helps!


    2. Yeah, let’s stop letting Paypal win. Everyone please be careful if you are using PayPal. They froze thousands of dollars I had in an account in order to “verify” that I wasn’t up to any trouble, and in the 5 weeks it took them to “review” my accounts, my business was done.

      1. I agree – paypal – the worlds larged UNREGULATED bank, never dealt with them, never will

    3. @Ben – We do have many automation tools to make things as easy as possible. We also have lots of payment gateways you can use. If you have questions about specific automation, our Sales Team can answer those.

  4. Hey Tim and fellow 4hWWer’s,

    Is there a Shopify theme that lets you do the purchase testing in the book?

    1. Hi @ K. Orr – there’s no specific theme for ‘dry testing’, but you do get a 30-day free trial with Shopify (so you don’t pay them squat for a month while you test out your theme), and you could theoretically set up a button to point to the contact details page to dry-test. Hope that helps!


  5. This is awesome – It’s so cool that even President Obama is using the DODOcase. The competition sounds like a really cool thing – just being involved in something Daymond John is is worth it 😉


  6. I watched DODOCase blow up during the 2010 Shopify competition, couldn’t pull the trigger myself in 2011 but this year I am all in! I just signed up for the contest and really look forward to building my business, achieving my dream life and hopefully getting a 5% investment from you Tim.

    (Sucks Arizona can’t qualify for the reward, but nonetheless it’s a great opportunity and one every aspiring entrepreneur should take on.)

  7. Wow as usual Tim.

    I’ve always been a fan, but never pulled the trigger.

    I’ve been struck by too much “why didn’t I think of that” and too little “let’s see what I can do with this”.

    If there’s an idea I hate, it’s that I might end up working for something pointless in the future, and what you do, from writing yourself to sending other teachers and guest posters our way really is a gift.

    One question- if you had the chance to do college over again, what would you do?

    1. Hi Karthik,

      Thank you for the comment. If I did college over again, I would focus on getting even better at writing. Communication skills are everything.

      Hope that helps!


      1. I love it! Do college over and focus on educating yourself while you’re there!

        How would you go about getting better a writing? I know writing a lot would be good, but do you have any resources you suggest?

      2. lol, said by a high profile public speaker and 2-time best selling author (soon to be 3-time)!

  8. This is amazing, I’d really like to live on the States right now or some of the english speaking countries to join the contest. I have a couple of Startups here in Chile and I would love to compete for the prize.

    Maybe Shopify could do this contest in South America, or give the tools and means for someone around here to do it. And the mentorship this years looks like a dream for someone a litlle bit too on the south of the continent.

    Really inspiring videos anyway.


    1. Mike from Shopify here. We’d love to extend to more countries, but every country has different laws and sometimes it’s not legal in those areas. You can still participate and see all the videos, posts, etc but you won’t be able to win one of the big prizes.

  9. I read the rules and they keep saying “goods” to sell. How about services? I plan on launching a niche travel business and do it completely online. Can I enter the competition? Thanks for any reply in advance. I am a fan of the 4HWW and this competition may be the way for me to finally launch my muse after 4 years of conceptualizing.

    1. Hi Sammy,

      If it can be sold on the Shopify platform, I don’t see why not. I’ll see if I can get the Shopify guys to comment on this one…

      Pura vida,


      1. I too have an idea to offer services, an adventure in airstream fleet, personalized for the individual request.

        Can I enter the competition?

        What an amazing position to be in! That is my dream to travel the US and help others realize and make dreams a reality! BEST on you sponsors!

        Lisa Q

    2. Hey @Sammy,

      I’m a Shopify developer (my own business, not a Shopify employee) and have built a bunch of stores on the platform, so thought I’d help with your question.

      I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t sell services. I think they talk more about ‘goods’ because Shopify makes it easy to set up transaction-based websites, Ecommerce for selling things one at a time, and this tends to lend itself to physical products.

      Even so, it’d be super simple to set up a services package to sell and purchase via your site (E.g. “Buy a 2-hour Consultation with me for $100 [Click here]”), as well as listing your services and contact information.

      I’ll leave it to Tim & the Shopify guys for a more ‘official’ answer if there is one, but as someone who’s developed a bunch of stores on Shopify: I’d say go for it. 🙂



    3. Mike from Shopify here – Services, digital goods and pretty much anything else can be sold as part of the Competition.

  10. Is this open to entrants from outside the US? Thanks.

    [Same as previous comment but followup notification ticked…]

    1. Mike from Shopify here – The Competition prizes are open to residents of the United States (excluding Arizona, Maryland, Vermont, Delaware, Louisiana and Montana), the District of Columbia, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and we have a Canadian Competition as well.

      We’ve worked really hard to bring it to the current countries, countless legal hours 🙂 It’s just really hard to bring something like this to every country without spending years in legal red tape.

      You can still participate in the educational component.

  11. I would LOVE to even be a part of this competition Tim! Before I get there, I need my kicsktarter to fund :(. It’s for those that don’t like sitting at work all day long. http://standupdeskkit.com/kickstarter

    I love the 4 hour work week, and everything I’ve learned for it. Here’s to applying the principles!


  12. A $50K bribe to finally build my muse? Well, I was holding out for an even $100K, but I guess I can make an exception in your case…

    Thanks for doing this again, Tim! So great to have extra motivation to turn my music into a muse (and if you have any advice on how to bridge the gap between independent music and the world of entrepeneurs, I’m all ears…)!

  13. I moved 2000 miles across country to Florida JUST because I was so miffed that residents of AZ weren’t able to participate in the last go-round. Okay–I’ll admit it–this is not entirely true. HOWEVER, after finally getting my latest round of web-ducks in a row, this is a great incentive to narrow down a product to put the majority of my energies behind. Decisions, decisions…

  14. Tim,

    I love the things you do to encourage your well-earned, passionate following to really help people do something amazing with their lives. It makes pursuing a non-traditional path feel all the more possible and real, which is so important for motivation on those ‘off’ days of self sabotage.

    It’s fantastic for Shopify and people will end up using some kind of online merchant anyways, so why not use the ones who are encouraging you to do something amazing and who are willing to help you make it happen. That’s the least you can do to repay them!

    You’re encouragement, support and basically you yourself are an inspiration. The world is so much more better off with you in it.

    On behalf of the planet, thanks Tim!


  15. I love this.

    I had a miss opportunity last year, this year I’m in it to win it.

    Thanks Tim for putting this together — I absolutely love all the mentors.

      1. Mike from Shopify here – Our lawyers required us to add Louisiana this year. I imagine it’s due to a newer law or recent court cases. Sorry about that.

  16. Tim,

    I’ve been working my business at my current job that I’m ready to leave.

    I set up the domain yesterday.

    I’ve emailed tons of peers and possible mentors an hour ago.

    I am entering this contest right now.

    It’s fucking game time.

    1. Sweepstakes law, I have to assume, but that’s a good question for the Shopify guys. I know they’d love to offer it to the entire world, so I suspect it’s a pain-in-the-ass legal reason.

      Keep in mind that, even if you can’t win prizes, you are still eligible for all the education, community, and support.

      All the best,


    2. Mike from Shopify here – Tim’s right, contest or sweepstakes laws are quite complicated and different in every state. This type of competition is pretty different from most, so it’s not possible to legally run it in some states.

      As Tim mentions, you can still participate in everything else.

  17. Wow, what a great group of people to associate with whether I win or not, oh shucks… I live in Arizona and can’t enter. It must be that the most original ideas come from our state (being the dry-heat) and from my home office/workshop. Too bad I can’t enter, I can’t find WHY Arizona residents are excluded. I trust it’s not a political reason!


    P.S. so I continue with plan A without any shortcuts!

    1. Mike from Shopify here – We love Arizona and seems like a very entrepreneurial place judging by the number of disappointed folks. Arizona’s laws around contests are very different from most other states.

      1. Hi Mike, I would like to bring this fact to the attention of our Arizona politicians. If you could point me to the offending law that prevents this contest from being open to Arizona residents, I’ll rattle some cages here. Thanks 🙂

      2. @Alex – I’ve asked our lawyers to point me to it. I’ll be back when I have more info for you!

      3. Alex – I’ve received a bunch of info from our lawyers about AZ, too much to paste in here. If you email me: mike.freeman at shopify.com I will send it on.

  18. So glad to see this is back! This competition inspired me two years ago to get involved with Shopify. I’ve since started 3 businesses – some of which went well, others, not so well, but I learned from every one of them. The bonuses are legit, too – I received 2 great books in the mail last time.

    It also got me introduced to Shopify, which I’ve found to be fantastic (and fun). Plus, their gurus never get annoyed when I ask them tons of questions.

    Great to see this is back and I can’t wait to see the case studies that’ll come from this round of the competition and your mentorship, Tim.

  19. Dear Tim,

    I am a Romanian chica living in Dubai married to an American fellow and obviously big fan of your “work”.

    Right now, I am in a love & hate relationship with the business world of ideas:

    1. Last year I tried to set up a small service business plan that proved to be impossible due to the Emirates laws that require a commercial license and a local sponsor (to be read an Emirati who’s going to the bank to cash out all your money) to open anything from a feather pile to a retail chain.

    2. My second idea went all the way to website existence. A e-brochure that was golden failed to cause any movement. Out of more than a thousand bucks and hope.

    3. I’m trying now to connect the dots in a new venture…

    Needless to say, I feel deeply demoralized and afraid I am actually too stupid to make it.

    The Rat Race starts to look more & more appealing.

    I am still hanging in though 🙂



  20. Hi Tim, I am from Guatemala and I was reading the Shopify Rules…

    Eligibility:The Shopify Build-A-Business Competition (“Competition”) is open to legal residents of any 1 of the United States (excluding Arizona, Maryland, Vermont, Delaware, Louisiana and Montana), the District of Columbia, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (collectively, “Territory’) who are over the age of majority in their country or state of residence.

    This means that people outside these countries can´t participate? :S

    1. Mike from Shopify – You are correct, only people from those countries are eligible to win prizes, but everyone can participate in the educational portion.

  21. My website is no reflection of where I am now headed. I am into the Shopify system with a new account, so there’s nothing there BUT here on my desk…scribbled on paper…is the essence of the 4 hours of reading, surfing and following the direction of Tim’s Challenge. Outstanding scattering of information…especially the 5 acticle “The Tim Ferris Effect”. Tons of great insight. Tim, I look forward to making a huge thank you for your inspiration directing of the cutting edge entreprenneur human experiment. YOU DA MAN!

  22. Thanks for putting up the link to successful examples on Shopify. My problem is and always has been finding something that I truly feel is viable and not overly competitive. I’m starting to think I’ll just have to kind of invent something like the Coffee Joulies idea.

    I’m hoping to give this a try as soon as I run through a couple ideas I have. No flaking this time!

    1. Brennan from Shopify 🙂

      You don’t necessarily have to invent something to find success in the competition – jumping on a niche opportunity works well, too. Last year, one of the category winners My Footy Boots created a store to resell football (a.k.a. soccer) cleats to the Australian market. You can read about their story and the other category winners in the 2011 contest winners announcement blog post on our site. Good luck!

  23. hi guys. I am launching a web app bussines in Chile. It has a bit of project management, billing, crm along with quality and safety management. I use to build custom software for clients (as a safety and ISO 900o expert) so I took the best features to make a wide avaliable product .Can I enter the competition?

    If not sitll thank Tim for your writing and inspiration that led me to build my own bussines and growing a whole new set of skills

    rock on!!

    1. Mike from Shopify – Unfortunately, Chile is not included but you can still participate in the educational portion. I’m not sure your business model, but you can sell digital goods through Shopify.

      Since you’re a developer, another way to take advantage of the competition would be to make an Shopify App. Take a look at our App Store: http://apps.shopify.com/

      1. thanks mike! the whole idea was the educational part.

        I really didn´t think i had a chance to win with a product writen for such a small market as Chile. And this product is very chilean in the sence that it uses chilean tax and labour laws.

        It´s a suscription based model (think 37signals basecamp) .

        I should be launching in about two weeks provided that I can get my server running. With that model can I be a part of this endeavour?

        Anyway I think I could learn a lot from this contest and the fellow participants and If my product is succesfull here maybe I can take it to the States.

  24. Hey Tim,

    I just entered the competition. Last time I missed the opportunity, because I was not ready with the set up, product wrapping, etc. But now it´s on!

    I also launched a corresponding website. I have a special offer for you, so please contact me 😉 You won´t regret it!

    Best regards, and ride on!


      1. Mike from Shopify – Sorry about that. Every country has very different laws about competitions and investment which means we can only open it to so many countries. You can still participate in the educational portion.

  25. Aww, your killing me!! K-E-O-H-A-N-E!! You brought me right back to my elementary school playground days!

    I know all about typos, so no big deal. I’m sure you’ll fix it soon.

    All my best,


    1. Mike From Shopify – You can start entering today and the winner is determined by their best 2 calendar months between Aug 1, 2011 and Feb 28, 2013.

  26. Well, Mexico is not eligible… this sucks. But there’s a little voice in my head telling me: Lets’ pretend and do it anyway.

  27. I highly recommend Shopify, whether or not you can join the contest. My income nearly doubled when we started using the service. On top of that the money and time I spent on the website dramatically decreased as did the time I spent keeping track of orders.

    If anyone has questions about the system feel free to ask and I’ll get back to you when I have time (which thanks to Shopify, is often).

    1. Very nice site. The black on black is hot.

      And thank you for the kind offer. I might drop you a line 🙂

  28. Hi Tim

    This may be a silly question, but I thought I’d ask anyways. For this contest we actually have to have product that we can ship out to buyers correct? So we would have to have something already figured out in terms or manufacturing and such, it can’t be just a “vague” idea?

    1. Mike from Shopify – We calculate the winner based on the best 2 calendar months between August 2011 and Feb 2013, so you’ve got lots of time to get your product off the ground. You can also sell digital goods or services, so you don’t have to have a manufactured product.

      The educational portion of the competition is there to help people get their product and business off the ground.

  29. Can you all explain the educational component of the competition? Or is there anywhere I can find them in detail?



    1. Mike from Shopify – We have a special mini-website for people in the competition that will house everything we’re doing. Feel free to sign up for the free trial and register for the competition to have a look.

      There’s a Q&A section, badges for completing tasks that will help build your business, videos and blog posts. This is where we also do things like Q&A sessions with the mentors, mini-contests for one-on-one mentorship and other fun stuff.

  30. This looks like an amazing opportunity. Browsing through, it seems like software and app ideas wouldn’t be suited towards this type of contest so it’s not for me (although if Tim knows a good avenue to pursue for that I’d love to hear), but nevertheless I’m going to foward this onto a friend who may love it. Thanks for the great opportunities you provide Tim.

  31. Jen, you can sell digital goods on Shopify as well. If you just have a concept I think Kickstarter is more the place for that.

    Camila, thank you. I also did a few videos that might be of use for advice, check Tim’s blog post case study#3 and in the comments I have posted those links 🙂

  32. Awesome blog entry Tim, I often work with startups and I always tell them to buy your 4 hour work week book and read your blog, your on the bleeding edge !

  33. If you’re on the fence, I can’t encourage you enough to enter this contest. An eCommerce store is the “muse” model I used to quit my investment banking job, generate a full-time automated income and travel around the world last year. If you’re willing to invest the time and aren’t expecting riches overnight, it’s a very viable model.

    Ready to get started but have no idea what to sell? I recently authored a post on the Shopify Blog that discusses how to methodically pick a profitable eCommerce niche:


    I also regularly blog about running my own eCommerce businesses. If you’re interested, you can click through to my website via my name.

    Best of luck new store owners!

  34. What if launching a separate direct to consumer business but also using same shopify store (bump store type to max so 0% fees) to take care of wholesale customers using a private member plugin? Any way to class it as a new business despite $100k in existing wholesale revenue?

  35. I just happened to start building my shopify store last month so I’ll be joining everyone else on this adventure!

    Tim is rad.

  36. Oh and I do have a Datsusara affiliate signup deal with Shopify, I think it might offer a discount if you signup through and affiliate like me so just in case…


    after you sign up you then can enter the contest.

    Good luck all, I wish we could compete again 🙂 !

  37. Tim,

    Why does the contest site and your email about the contest claim that the winners of the Build A Business prize claim that the winners get a 20k Google AdWords credit while the Official Rules say the prize is actually 10k?

    More importantly, why does the FAQ (and your email) state

    What if I don’t want an investment?

    We’re not going to force you into anything. Winners may opt to take a $50,000 cash prize instead of the investment. You’ll still travel to New York and meet all the mentors and receive the other parts of the prize.

    While the Official Rules states


    As part of each Category Prize, Sponsor will award the winner (in Sponsor’s sole discretion) either: (i) USD $50,000 in the form of a check (“Cash Prize”); or (ii) a one-time USD $50,000 investment in the winning business by the mentor for the winner’s Category (Tim Ferriss – Gadgets, Tina Roth Eisenberg – Art/Design, Daymond John – Fashion, Eric Ries – Everything Else) in exchange for a five percent (5%) equity stake in that business for the investor (“Business Investment”). The Business Investment would include up to an additional USD $2500 to cover corporate formation and related costs to prepare the business to receive the investment, but only if the business is not already structured to receive the investment.

    Winner understands that corporate investments and equity stakes are regulated and will likely require your business to comply with certain laws and enter into an investment agreement with the investor. If the winner is prevented under law to receive the “Business Investment” in relation to the winning business, then they are only eligible to receive the Cash Prize. It is the responsibility of the winner to determine whether they have capacity to receive the “Business Investment” in respect of the winning business. Winner also understands that Sponsor is not responsible for giving tax-related or legal advice to either the investor or the winning businesses and that each party will seek out their own counsel and tax advisors to get the proper paperwork and legal compliance in place to accept the investment. Winners agree that Sponsor is not liable for any damages, costs or injuries sustained in connection with accepting any prize in this Competition. Winners understand that the investors will not take a board position or management role in the business, and will have no voting rights except to the extent required by law. If Sponsor chooses to award a winner the Business Investment and the winner would rather receive the Cash Prize, the Sponsor may choose to award the Cash Prize to that winner (in Sponsor’s sole discretion).

    I tried emailing my question to build-a-business@shopify.com as instructed by the help chat operator (who couldn’t answer my questions), but I’ve received no response.

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I mentioned the $10K to them, and it was a typo. It’s been fixed and the correct amount is $20K. Sorry for any confusion 🙂

      I’ll ask the Shopify guys to answer your other questions…


    2. Mike from Shopify – Yes, sorry about the confusion on that typo, it is $20,000 in Google AdWords credit. I’m sorry if we haven’t replied to your email yet, we’ve received hundreds in the last 2 days and are working through them all.

      In reference to the $50,000, there’s a lot of legalese in the rules there, but I can guarantee you we would never force the equity investment. It is totally up to the winners whether they take the investment or the cash.

  38. I love this idea and it’s cool and all. But I have no idea what to do with it.

    There isn’t enough support or information about getting started, it’s all about how to sell the product.

    What about, how to come up with the ideas and the first place, then the even harder reality of how to actually get that product made (and funding it in the first place) before you even get to the step the competition really focuses on.

    Yes it’s a cool thing, but really I don’t see anyone starting anything special from it. Really just using it as a platform for something else they are about to start anyway.

  39. I would love to enter but just read the rules. for some reason my State (Arizona) is prohibited from entering.

    1. Mike from Shopify – Sorry about that, Arizona has very restrictive contest/sweepstakes laws that make it illegal for us to open it to residents of AZ. You can still join in the educational portion though.

  40. Smarky. This is an eCommerce system that will help greatly once you get to the point where you actually have a product. True it won’t help you come up with an idea for a product but it can facilitate the release of a product which might indeed be something special.

    I had a great product but a crappy website that was expensive, the content hard to manage and it didn’t help me deal with sorting orders or customer data. Most all of it didn’t seem 100% professional and most people don’t want to order from a paypal button only site or some patched together system.

    I chose to try Shopify for many reasons but the main reason being you can have a professional looking site done in days for a fraction of the cost you’d spend doing eCommerce the traditional way. I actually estimate it saved me about 10k over the last few years.

    My business would not be half what it is today without Shopify. Yes there are some other systems out there but Shopify is the best and the people that work there are simply awesome.

    So many people have an idea and maybe even a product but have no idea how to set up a proper website for selling, this solves that and does it well.

  41. so i did everything it said on 4hww, i chose a product (albeit a consumable, sencha green tea) i set up a website to see if there was a demand of the product, i put a button that said “buy now” after a full price with shipping included, i set up an adwords campaign, i got around 12 clicks daily, and around 1.5 conversions daily, so i went off to buy tea, designed labels, pack it in individual boxes, since now im sure its gonna sell (or so i thought) i set up a paypal button, and Alas! no sales, and now im sitting (figuratively) on half a kilo of sencha tea.

    any thoughts anyone?

    my guess is that the market im trying to get is here in my home country Mexico, probably id need to build the trust of my customers prior to asking them for ther credit card number, i dont know.

    thanks anyway, ill keep trying


    1. Hi Enrique! It’s hard to believe that if you had a good dry test now you have no sales. Maybe something went wrong in the marketing area. I’ll gladly help a paisano starting entrepreneur.

      Drop me a line: bruxcat@gmail.com

  42. The Shopify contest couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Of all the projects I’ve been working on since the last competition, I finally believe I have THE one that will clinch this year’s event.

  43. Enrique,

    For one I’d say having a Shopify store vs a regular site with a Paypal button will go a long way to getting your customers to trust you, but if they love the product even a Paypal button should do the trick.

    I think what you will struggle with is the competition for tea sales. I drink a ton of tea, and I know a lot about tea having worked in that industry before. When I get tea these days, if it isn’t from a local store where I know the owners then I usually end up at places like Teavana where they have a good selection with good prices. Unless your tea or tea brand has something special going for it then I likely wouldn’t buy from you.

    A great example of a new tea brand that did an amazing job with style and marketing is http://www.luhsetea.com/ they also happen to be a shopify store. I purchased my last tea shipment from them since I loved the site and the owners are very likable real people on a mission I agree with.

    I hope that advice helps and you get that sencha out the door, I love my Japanese greens 🙂

    1. my thoughts of tea here in México is that is a rather new market, sure there are a few Teavanas here in Mexico City but, outside the country’s capital i dont think there is much going on aside from the local organics shops that mostly carry teabags of not a great quality.

      I just thought it was gonna be really easy, but apparently i actually have to do the work, and even thoug i love tea (sencha and rooibos my faves) im not really sure i wanna devote a lot of time selling that,

      As i read in James Altucher blog: there are no shortcuts, which means i have to actually find a great product that sells itself cause its really wanted.

      thanks for the answering!


      1. I think luhsetea is a great example of selling a story, not just a product. If you’re selling tea, you’re competing with literally thousands of others. If you craft a unique story for your product, you aren’t really competing with the thousands anymore.

  44. Tim, is the Shopify contest open for non-US citizens this time? Hope you haven’t forgotten all your fans from Europe.

    I really like the Shopify contests and the first contest was the trigger for me to build my first 4HWW muse. Thanks a lot for that! However it’s always very disappointing when you announce a Shopify contest and half of your fans can’t join. Hope this has changed this year.

    1. Mike from Shopify – Sorry Sterntaufe, but the competition is limited to the US (excluding some states), the UK, Australia and New Zealand (plus Canadians in a separate competition). We’d love to include Europeans, but laws are different in every country (and sometimes in every state/province) so it makes it really difficult and time consuming for each country we add. You will still be able to participate in everything else, plus we’ll be giving away smaller prizes and those will be open to everyone.

  45. Tim, do you have any post or tips on how to create an electronic gadget ( for the macbook ) without being an engenner or electrician ?

    I think i got a milion dollar idea, but i dont know how to execute it, there are many things involved:


    patent problems

    and the technical stuff of creating it.

    Any tips ?

    Thanx !

  46. Hi Tim,

    I am entering the competition and I am hoping that I get to be in your “electronics and gadgets” mentor category as my product is very much about lifestyle design. I have invented a portable whiteboard (resembles and artist’s portfolio case) and believe it can be seen as a non-electronic gadget. I couldn’t find the “definitions for the categories” after seeing the rules and faqs. Please advise.



    1. I never liked stories because it is a bait and switch. “I’m making you warm and fuzzy. You can get more of that emotion if you buy this thing which is crap” We have to admit that stories are used heavily when the product sucks. If you are a big corporation you can do that and still get away with it.(which I still don’t recommend) If you are a start up, it’s going to kill your business.

      Stories will only work if it is 100% genuine, 100% truth and the product is 100% awesome. Imagine if you found out that Tim Ferriss was only 75% genuine and his products(recommendations, advice and etc) was only 75% good.(true, effective and so on.) Rest of it, pure baloney, crap. Would you do business with Tim Ferriss? No. At least not until you can figure which part is baloney and which part is actually good.

      Business abused the heck of stories, and I think it breed a generation of cynical customers.

  47. Enrique,

    Yes a story really helps. For you maybe just highlighting that you are a company based in Mexico for Mexican customers, so they might prefer to buy from you rather than a US tea company. But anyway this is sort of off topic here. Good luck.

  48. Do you have any views on Muses for smaller domestic markets?

    If your are non American resident your gets a lot smaller.

  49. Hacking the Competition.

    Forget about the Prize. There is only one( or a few) winner and there is a 99.5% percent chance that it will not be you. Forget about the hype, mentors and other shiny objects which isn’t going to help you. The competition is uneven because there is no way to insure that everyone is indeed starting from ground zero. If you’re completely new, forget about winning. I doubt that you will win the competition without enough critical thinking abilities to figure this out.

    So, it comes down to the real question, “can you create something with the free .co domain, the adwords credits, mail chimp credits and $30 Dollars a month of your own money”? (Note. Mail chimp has a useful free service too, and the $100 adwords credit goes fast)

    If you say yes to that, you should be in this competition. Manage expectations and know what you are getting into.

    That being said, I wish the best of the luck to anyone starting their own business.

    P.S Please do not SPAM people. The free mail chimp credits indicates that email capturing, campaigning, and such is encouraged. However, the majority of the world’s population doesn’t want to hear from you. Overall, it’s a better business decision to cultivate people who do want to hear about your business anyway.

  50. I would like to mention that Stanford University youtube channel has some good videos for starting up businesses. I especially like the ones by Steve Blank. But there are others on why you get funded, and so on. I wasn’t smart enough to go to stanford but it’s good that I can see some of the lectures. It should help you even outside of this competition as well.

    1. nvm…read all the other comments about legal reasons…I would also love to find out what laws are stopping residents here from participating. If I can find out then maybe I can get some of my friends to take some actions on this.

      1. Marshall – Here’s what our lawyer got back to us with: “Louisiana is excluded because it is an “any chance” state. Any chance means that if any chance is present in the contest, then the program becomes an illegal lottery. There are only a handful of any chance states. Virtually every contest has some element of chance and a strict application of the test could result in most any games of skill not surviving scrutiny. Every pay to play fantasy sports game in the U.S. excludes Louisiana.”

        Hope that helps.

  51. Oh boy! The coolest most 4-hour-work-week idea ever, but not allowed to join from Belgium 🙁 can you try to squeeze us in next time?

  52. So, Tim, any word on why your email states that you can’t be compelled to take an investment, yet the official rules say that you can? It’s not exactly a minor detail.

    1. Mike from Shopify – There is some legalese around the option to take the cash vs. the investment that does allow Shopify to make the final decision. That being said, I can guarantee you that neither Shopify or any of the mentors have any interest in forcing an investment.

  53. Hello,

    I would love to participate in this competition. Anyone here want to meet for a brainstorming session in Los Angeles? My background is in mechanical engineering/business.

  54. Dear Mike From Shopify,

    Ah, that pesky, binding legalese. Sure, I’ll sign a contract which gives Shopify the legal right to 5% of my business for $50,000, as long as “Mike From Shopify” assures me on a blog that no one is going to enforce their legal right to do so. Because that’s how things work.

    There are going to be many people joining this contest who have no business experience whatsoever, and making claims that

    “We’re not going to force you into anything. Winners may opt to take a $50,000 cash prize instead of the investment. You’ll still travel to New York and meet all the mentors and receive the other parts of the prize.” [from the Shopify website]


    “If you prefer to take Benjamins and don’t want the involvement from us, that’s cool, too. We’ll give you $50,000 cash. No strings attached, no sweat.” [from Tim’s email]

    while reserving the right to do the exact opposite in a binding contract is dishonest. I was considering using Shopify because the app looks awesome, but I wouldn’t want to give money to such a sneaky entity.

    Ferriss, you’re losing major credibility here.

    “There is some legalese around the option to take the cash vs. the investment that does allow Shopify to make the final decision. That being said, I can guarantee you that neither Shopify or any of the mentors have any interest in forcing an investment.”

    If that’s true, then take it out.

    Caveat emptor!

    1. Thank you Mel issa for going over the official rules for us and pointing out something that really needs to be understood before entering the contest. You are one of very few readers using critical thinking which in turn helps others


      I believe the 5% equity investment should have been publicized more when the contest was launched. It is an issue of transparency and even though it is stated in the official rules, there should have been more effort to actively let participants know. Also the investment for 5% ownership isn’t necessarily a negative.(A million dollar evaluation for your shopify business). It could be a huge postive. However, I think people have more expectations of Tim Ferriss to be forthcoming and tell his readers what’s what. The omission of 5% ownership in the video and in the blog post was a big mistake, even though it is clearly said “50,000 INVESTMENT”. He made a mistake which could have been easily avoided and it’s going to cost him in trust/credibility.

      We also have to realize that contests are rarely held for the benefit of the participants, but for the benefit of the people who organize the contest. This is usually unavoidable, and somewhat natural phenomenon.

      With all that being said, should you enter the contest? As long as you understand all the fine print and the out of pocket expenses, sure go for it. Again the probrability of winning the contest is almost zero. Even if you do win,(congrats to the one that does, you earned it) I don’t think a 5% ownership is a real problem. It could generate some headaches if you and your investors are against each other. Even if somehow the investors take over your business in true hollywood fashion, you’ll still get compensated handsomely. But that’s expected from any start up isn’t it?

      Thank you, Melissa once again.

    2. Mel – You make a good point and transparency is really important to us. The rules were written by legal minds greater than mine. As I mentioned, we and our mentors have no interest in forcing an investment, so I’m going back to our lawyers to see what we can do about this. I’ll post back here with more information when I have it.

    3. Mel – We’ve spoken with our legal counsel and we’ve removed that part of the rules, so there should be no confusion now. Thanks for your feedback and I hope that your opinion of Shopify is improved. Feel free to email me at anytime: mike.freeman@shopify.com.

      1. Impressive. I haven’t confirmed this for myself yet, but if what you say is true, I will not only become a customer at some point, but I will tell others about your conscientiousness. THIS is the way to build brand loyalty.

  55. Actually yes you should forget about winning the contest and just think of it as a bonus if your idea happens to kick ass. The odds are actually pretty decent as even if you don’t get #1 I think there are at least 5 prizes and how many companies actually enter this? I bet less than 1k since they have to be new and that is regulated.

    On a side note one thing I find frustrating on the blog is people asking for advice or what not that is off topic. Please keep your responses directly related to the blog subject so we have more good content and less filler.

  56. Tim,

    Is it appropriate to market a book, (both ebook and paperback) in this contest? I want to market/sell my uncle’s memior. (About his life as an activist minister, and being the son of Armenian genocide survivors.) Is this a good fit?


    John R.

    1. Tim – You can certainly sell books on Shopify (both electronic and “real” books). We have lots of merchants doing that.

  57. Hi Tim,

    First of all, thanks for all of the knowledge, motivation, and support you’ve shared with like-minded dreamers & doers. I’ve been a quiet but dedicated follower of yours ever since the Four Hour Work Week planted the seed of possibility in my head. I wanted to share a story of mine that feels especially relevant to this post:

    Three years ago, days after my college graduation, my friends and I took a celebratory roadtrip through the U.S. before all going our separate ways. At the end of the trip when the car dropped me off at my parents’ house, I ran inside to grab the Four Hour Work Week. Just before driving away, my friend Michael rolled down his window and I passed it to him: “As my graduation present, I want you to read this.” I had been bugging Michael to do so for two years, yet he remained skeptical about the possibilities of pursuing your unique style of entrepreneurial fulfillment. As a result, I was forced to use this Hollywood approach to guilt him into giving your book a chance.

    A month later, I was in Zurich at my internship and Michael was in Boston working at a desk job that he hated. The brutal abruptness of completing college and landing just weeks later at a desk in new foreign cities had caught up to us both. I knew not one person in Zurich, Michael had one friend in Boston, and somehow the air had been rapidly sucked out of life. We know that everyone can go through a rough transition after leaving the comfort of school, but for some reason, the 9-to-5 cave into which we both had landed felt especially cavernous.

    One day, Michael sent a chat from Boston exclaiming, “We have to do something to change this crappy situation,” to which I replied, “Ah ha. You’ve finished the book.” That was the real moment where we made a conscious decision to take control and start our own business. Working from opposite sides of the Atlantic, we collaborated daily to bring to life a product design idea I had years back. It was the perfect antipode to the isolation and helplessness we felt at work. We put the idea into production, and that Christmas we sold out of our first production run after just two months on the market. Since then, that product has made it into the homes of over 15,000 people and we’re running our small business full-time. As homage to the principles of the 4HWW, we’ve also made sure to ski 70+ days a year and surf every morning that there are rideable waves.

    Four days ago, we launched a new project on Kickstarter: Sunski Sunglasses. The hope was to raise enough money over the course of a month to meet MOQ requirements that would allow us to put these incredible vintage shades from Australia back into production. On Monday, we set our campaign goal at $9,800. On Wednesday, we met our goal. On Friday (today), we crossed the $12,000 threshold with the help of over 270 people and counting. For a project with such small requirements, we are just humbled by these numbers. Better yet, we have 23 days left to amplify a campaign we thought could be a fight to the finish line.

    Because this latest product isn’t in stock now, I don’t think we can open a Shopify store and participate in this year’s competition. But no matter, the contest alone has already been a source of great inspiration. The serendipity of our Kickstarter success coupled with the timing of this post is fueling a great sense of urgency and optimism that has me excited to wake up every day and continue pushing my limits.

    I’ve been waiting for a reason to tell you my story, and today feels like the right day to do it. I hope you get a chance to read it. I know its so long, but damn the torpedoes. Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us. Cheesiness notwithstanding, handing the Four Hour Work Week to Michael that day has changed the course of our professional lives in incredible ways.

    Best of luck with the competition,


    1. Tom,

      Thanks for sharing your story, it’s stories like these that keep me motivated to find my own path too.

      Mind telling me what your product is all about? Don’t hesitate to contact me via e-mail. (beni (dot) berger (at) ggs (dot) ch)



  58. Just wanted to say I just finished the “Four Hour Work Week” great read and very informative. I just spend several hours reading your blog and just wanted to say, Thank you for sharing so much with so many and you truly do make a difference in so many lives. Thank you Tim Ferriss for a job well done. Mary

  59. I can’t win the contest, but I entered anyway. Sourcing my suppliers now. But I had one question, Tim I can’t win the grand prize since I live in AZ. But I wanted to see if you would be willing to meet with me for lunch if I out perform the other competitors. I’ll pay my own way to fly to your city and all it would be is a lunch where I can pick your brain. meeting you and the other mentors was the real prize to me anyway.

  60. Tim, I would like to know if Shopify would be the best outlet for setting up a marketplace like Airbnb where I have a database and people can search for what they are looking for in certain cities place an order and then book it. Is it only for one time transactions or is there an option to where I can have a system in place to where I can have the transactions actually tracked? I am a bit caveat to enter because I’m not sure what I want to do is ideal with Shopify.

    1. Jeremy – Something like Airbnb might be a little complex and not really what Shopify is built for “out of the box”. It might be something you could do with some custom coding. If you called or emailed our Sales Team, they could walk through the functionality you require and let you know if Shopify is the right solution.

      1. Mike, thanks for the swift reply. I had anticipated this. I have something else in mind. Thank you for elaborating. I just wanted to clarify.

  61. Thank you for all you have worked towards in the last decade. You are a global inspiration. I enjoy the diverse groups of people that have been awakened to the fact that they are not meant to be a slave to work. I remember reading your work for the first time years ago and feeling a huge weight lifted from my soul at the possibilities that you presented. You have played your part in shifting the consciousness towards freedom for the masses. Thank you.

  62. Tim

    I got your book I THInk is great but What about atkins bar? I love chocolate, I know is not part of the diet, but before my period I am crazy for chocolate

    Comments will be appreaciate

  63. I wouldn’t be able to enter the contest, as I’m not in the U.S, but I’d love to try an online store. I have been searching for a low cost muse idea for what seems like forever. The trouble is I just can’t think of anything to sell. I’ve been on keywords checkers and read tips on Shopify, still no ideas (or at least none that seem viable).

    I wouldn’t have the funds/ideas to create/develop a product, so it would definitely have to be in a niche. I was thinking maybe something like personalized products/gifts or some sort, as they could be made by the artist and not held in stock? Would anyone be at all willing to offer any tips or advice on whether that sort of idea may or may not be viable?

    Or offer any guidance on how to figure out what is or isn’t a good idea?

    Thanks so much in advance.

  64. Hi Tim!

    This blog post update came in my inbox last week like a sign from the universe defibrillating me back to life.

    I discovered “the alternative way of life” when I took a 7 month soul searching journey of lifetime to Costa Rica before going to college. I’ve never been able to look at work or the world the same knowing full well that people around the world have already opted out of the robotic, uninspiring 9-5 way of life. I’m currently interning in NYC from Chicago and while I am learning immensely, what is simultaneously becoming immensely clear is that “work for work” is innately unacceptable at my core and while I am running around looking busy, there are so many meaningful things I could be doing instead. (Like planning a return to Costa Rica)

    I was pushing paper around and about to bang my head against an office wall as I was brainstorming “my escape.” Then came your blog update in my inbox…

    I have a few questions before I dive in.

    1. Do people who enter the competition need to already have a prototype to enter? What about an existing business model? Or do we just need an idea?

    2. I am in media & advertising and I know absolutely nothing about manufacturing/distribution and wholesale. Your links to finding manufacturers were extremely helpful, but do you have suggested resources for how ordering and contracting manufacturers works? Is it really as easy as calling them and telling them what you are trying to create? (Assume I know as much as an ant on this topic)

    Also, I am a penniless intern & I have read muse owners recommendations on your blog to contract foreign manufacturers in China and to meet them in person – do you have suggestions for how to leverage this cost without risking homelessness in NYC? 😉

    3. Do competition participants need to take these initial steps first (create a business model, contact manufacturers, produce prototype, etc) before entering the competition?

    I hope you can help me out with the answers! Thanks so much for posting and inspiring, Tim!

    Pura Vida,


    1. Mike from Shopify – I thought I would answer your questions about the competition.

      1. You don’t need to have a product yet. You get a 30-day free trial of Shopify and you will be able to participate in all the educational materials at that point. We determine the winner based on their best 2 calendar months between August and next February, so you need to get in 2 good months to have a chance.

      3. As a say it’s up to you. You could join while you’re still figuring this stuff out, or wait until you’re ready to launch your site.

  65. Mike F,

    Thanks for letting me know that books (“both electronic and ‘real’ books”) are OK for the contest are already being sold on Shopify. I am signing up tomorrow night!


    John R.

  66. Awesome stuff, Tim, love this contest!!! I need to start mind mapping some form of equipment…. I’m such a bodyweight / train anywhere / the world is your gym kinda guy, I need to wrap my brain around something!

  67. Hi Tim,

    This is unrelated to the above post, but I really wanted to share it with you and the readers of your blog. Sorry to be a pain.

    I thought that you would be interested in reading a translation of Leonardo da Vinci´s letter to the Duke of Milan as it is an excellent example of self-promotion. Also, Michael Gelb´s ‘Work Like da Vinci’ might be of interest to you as he discusses memory, creativity and da Vinci´s impressive physical strength. I recommend the audiobook.

    Anyway, here´s the letter…………………………………………………………………….

    Letter from Leonardo Da Vinci

    to the Duke of Milan Applying for a Position

    Having, most illustrious lord, seen and considered the experiments of all those who pose as masters in the art of inventing instruments of war, and finding that their inventions differ in no way from those in common use, I am emboldened, without prejudice to anyone, to solicit an appointment of acquainting your Excellency with certain of my secrets.

    1. I can construct bridges which are very light and strong and very portable, with which to pursue and defeat the enemy; and others more solid, which resist fire or assault, yet are easily removed and placed in position; and I can also burn and destroy those of the enemy.

    2. In case of a siege I can cut off water from the trenches and make pontoons and scaling ladders and other similar contrivances.

    3. If by reason of the elevation or the strength of its position a place cannot be bombarded, I can demolish every fortress if its foundations have not been set on stone.

    4. I can also make a kind of cannon which is light and easy of transport, with which to hurl small stones like hail, and of which the smoke causes great terror to the enemy, so that they suffer heavy loss and confusion.

    5. I can noiselessly construct to any prescribed point subterranean passages either straight or winding, passing if necessary underneath trenches or a river.

    6. I can make armoured wagons carrying artillery, which shall break through the most serried ranks of the enemy, and so open a safe passage for his infantry.

    7. If occasion should arise, I can construct cannon and mortars and light ordnance in shape both ornamental and useful and different from those in common use.

    8. When it is impossible to use cannon I can supply in their stead catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other instruments of admirable efficiency not in general use—I short, as the occasion requires I can supply infinite means of attack and defense.

    9. And if the fight should take place upon the sea I can construct many engines most suitable either for attack or defense and ships which can resist the fire of the heaviest cannon, and powders or weapons.

    10. In time of peace, I believe that I can give you as complete satisfaction as anyone else in the construction of buildings both public and private, and in conducting water from one place to another.

    I can further execute sculpture in marble, bronze or clay, also in painting I can do as much as anyone else, whoever he may be.

    Moreover, I would undertake the commission of the bronze horse, which shall endue with immortal glory and eternal honour the auspicious memory of your father and of the illustrious house of Sforza.—

    And if any of the aforesaid things should seem to anyone impossible or impracticable, I offer myself as ready to make trial of them in your park or in whatever place shall please your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility.

    Leonardo Da Vinci


    PS Have you found a book with a collection of incredible emails and letters yet (you mentioned this in one of your interviews)? I´m working on a collection, which I want to publish. This will be a part of it.

    PPS Apologies if this is old news to you. I hope that the community finds this valuable in some way.

  68. On my Shopify store I use a combination of Stripe which replaced my merchant account for less money and less headaches, yet it processes all major cards without any ugly system that might turn off the customer like Paypal. I still use Paypal as well because if you don’t many international sales simply won’t happen. Paypal works very well despite their occasional evilness. When there is a good alternative I’ll switch.

    BTW for those that don’t like Shopify’s processing fees that would stack with your other fees from Paypal Merch accts etc., keep in mind some of the plans don’t have a percentage if you pay up front. I like Shopify so much I paid up front for 2 years and now I save a ton by not dealing with those fees.

  69. Hey Tim,

    My idea is for a new social media type site. Can I still submit for this contest? My website idea does not need a sore for products. I just need funding for website building. The idea would generate money via advertising eventually.



  70. How much did the previous winners make over their best two months? Just want to get an idea of what Im trying to beat!


    1. Hi Alex – We can’t release data on specific store sales for privacy reasons. There was quite a range though.

  71. Just fired from a horrible job which I hated today. Kinda scary but looking forward to a new challenge so maybe this is good news..

    Been a fan of 4HWW since it first came out. I have Both editions and have read it many times. Tim ur awesome! Everything in 4HWW rings true still for me. I;ve had many muse ideas but haven’t followed through.

    I have my best muse now and have no excuses. Dont know where the money to start will come from but Im jumping in!


  72. Tim,

    I’ve decided to pull the trigger and enrolled in the competition. After looking at all of the moving parts involved, I’ve also realized it’s a good idea for me NOT to do this alone. I do better with my own goals and projects when I’m helping others with theirs. Thus my desire to put together a “Buried Life” team of sorts in relation to the Shopify competition.

    Do you (or anyone else on this thread) know if there any forums I can go to and put together an in-person support group within Southern California? A meetup to exchange ideas, answer each other’s questions, and just collaborate so the myriad of details don’t overwhelm one into paralysis-by-analysis?

    Thank you kindly,


    P.S. There may be objections, such as why would we collaborate with our competitors? This may be true, but even if we are competing within the same category and for the same mentor, as you’ve mentioned Tim, the ultimate prize is a business/muse, and collaboration can potentially lead faster to a niche product and thus a niche demographic. Those are my thoughts.

  73. I left the wrong email address before! =( If you see my other comment, the website is right but the addy was wrong. Sorry about that!

  74. Hi Tim

    Thanks for such an awesome opportunity. It will be great to participate with like-minded individuals with a common goal and well-defined deadlines. As with forex trading, which is what I do, the value of access to experienced mentors who have been there and succeeded is invaluable.

    Cheers Rachel

  75. I am in the process of building my first ecommerce store on Shopify. I don’t think that It will win any contests though. I just stumbled onto this site by accident. It’s an interesting site. I like it. keep up the good work.

  76. Hi To whom it may concern,

    The 2012 Build-a-business competition is over, I would like to attend the next competition or get help from mentors if possible, when and where can I find such detailed information for competition or mentorship for 2013?

    Thanks a lot!

  77. I am working in a reputed software giant in California, US. I am now looking for the automation step – start business. I have considered quite a few options and narrowed down on the idea that looks promising.

    Mostly looking to start as part-time business or part-time self-employed

    But I am on L1 visa. Unfortunately, on L1, I don’t have much choice.

    I am in touch with some immigration attorneys, but almost everyone blindly responds with a nothing is possible kind-a response.

    I am looking at what is legally allowed for someone with L-1 visa, and what are the options that I can take, like applying for some special permissions from any labor or immigration departments?

    I can either be self-employed or start a small business. I know I can patent an innovation, but I am not sure if I can license or sell for profit, or if I can invest in a startup.