Photo: Stuck in Customs
Preface by Tim
This post is a follow-up to “How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend (Examples: AppSumo, Mint, Chihuahuas).”
The purpose of this guest post — written by Noah Kagan — is to show you exactly how a postal worker created a $4,000 per month muse. Included are all the tests, e-mail templates, and details you’d need to replicate his success.
Noah was employee #30 at Facebook, #4 at Mint, had previously worked for Intel (where he frequently took naps under his desk), and had turned down a six-figure offer from Yahoo. Since we first met, Noah’s helped create several multi-million dollar businesses, including AppSumo, loved by entrepreneurs everywhere.
For those interested in mentorship, don’t miss the end of this post.
There’s a time-sensitive chance to visit San Francisco for a week… to be mentored in-person by Noah and yours truly.
The journey of Daniel Bliss is a telling one.
Our goal was to take his hobby — he was a full-time postal worker — and turn it into a real business making $4,000 a month so he could quit his day job.
We started working a few months before when he won the AppSumo Make a $1,000 a Month Business getaway to Austin to personally work with me for a week.
The preliminary call after Daniel won the getaway went well. Here’s what he told me:
He was solving his own problem. This is an easy way to figure out what business you should start.
Daniel’s a rock-climber and it hurt his neck to look up while he was belaying (standing on the ground helping the climber above him) so he wanted to buy glasses to make his neck hurt less.
Here’s me with a pair of glasses on and Daniel.
All the glasses on the market were $99, so Daniel figured there had to be a way to make and sell cheaper glasses.
When we talked, he had already found a manufacturer through Alibaba.
Daniel first learned about using Alibaba to find a manufacturer in Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Workweek (page 175).
He searched suppliers on Alibaba and checked if they were a good fit by testing them on 3 characteristics:
1. How many years (if any) have they been considered a gold supplier?
Gold Supplier is a paid membership on Alibaba.com. All Gold Suppliers in China must pass an onsite check while those from other countries and regions must pass an A&V Check. Basically, this shows that they’re legit.
2. How is their website?
Poke around to see if anything seems shady. Do they have any negative reviews or positive ones? Search their name/email on Google and see what kind of results you get. This should give you a good feeling if they’re legit or not.
3. Is their “minimum order quantity” reasonable for what I’m trying to do?
You want to keep your costs down and not worry about selling hundreds of items. Daniel originally targeted 50 minimum pieces to validate his business without spending a lot of money.
Once Daniel narrowed down suppliers he ordered a few samples to test in person. He took these to his climbing group. Always look at who you have easy access to when selling your product. A common pitfall is for people to look at everyone outside their network and get rejected.
By himself, he sold 12 pairs. He sold 2 pairs to a couple he met while climbing and the rest to his climbing group.
So far, so good.
But then Daniel decided to spend valuable time creating a website: http://belayshades.com
How often have you bought a domain, imagining how large your new business is going to be? I KNOW you have. I have many times. You fantasize about how large your business is going to be instead of actually growing it. This is a common thing we help people with in our Make a $1,000 a Month business course.
Daniel’s been working as a postal carrier in Canada for 7 years, so expanding a business was foreign to him.
Daniel had gotten to the point where he was working without a goal so the first question I asked him was:
“To you, how much money is financial freedom?”
Once you know your destination, getting there is MUCH easier.
Tim’s written about figuring out your lifestyle costing, aka “financial freedom,” here: https://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/lifestyle-costing/
For Daniel it was $4k / month to be able to travel to Thailand and go climbing as he pleased.
Now it’s key to do the math to see how many pairs of glasses he’ll need to sell to get to that point.
$4,000 / profit a month
The glasses sell for $60 a pair with shipping
40% profit margins on every pair of glasses.
$60 * 40% = $24
$4000 / $24 (profit per sell) = 166 glasses a month.
Basically, 5-6 glasses a day.
That doesn’t sound so bad, right? When you take a goal and break it into daily targets, it makes the goal seem WAY easier and more digestible.
Before Daniel arrived to work with me, he started worrying about competition and patents.
BUT NO COMPETITOR CARES. Ever!
How many burger places are in your town? Cafes? Japanese restaurants?
Exactly, A TON. There’s enough for everyone and — fortunately for you — most people run their businesses like shit.
Worrying about others in the beginning is just a fear of starting.
Daniel’s focus on filing a patent was another aversion to starting.
The next week, he was worried about liability and everything except growing his business.
I’m not saying you should avoid setting up your corporation or take precautionary measures when it’s the right time. The key is to see what’s actually important for the time being and handling it.
Eventually, Daniel arrived in Austin and we had 5 days together to get his business to at least $4,000 in revenue. Here’s what went down:
Day 1 – Foundation
Now that Daniel knew his goal (sell 5-6 glasses a day) we used Quant Based Marketing to calculate how he could try various marketing tactics to grow his business and reach his goal.
Example of Daniel’s Quant based sheet
See the actual marketing sheet here and feel free to use it for your own business.
What Daniel was previously doing for marketing was paying for Facebook likes and cold calling rock-climbing gyms to gain sales. It was going slowly.
The gyms said they needed time to see if they wanted to buy the glasses. When someone says they need time, it’s because you haven’t sold them properly.
For marketing, the key is to have a “lazy” mindset. With the quant sheet you can estimate the amount of sales you can get from all the different activities and then prioritize based on volume.
It’s critical to find the marketing activities that can scale and be repeated.
Daniel kept doing activities that weren’t producing, like submitting to PR Newswire. It’s not that it can’t work, but we wanted to get results faster.
So I asked Daniel, “If you could only use two of the marketing activities you’ve used before, what would they be?”
1. Personal network + referrals
2. Wholesale selling to climbing gyms / online stores
So we had our marketing sheet and planned to do 1-2 activities per day to see what worked best for his business.
Day 2 – Doing more of what works (personal network + wholesales)
Daniel searched Facebook for every single friend who listed climbing in their profiles and added them to a sheet.
Then Daniel individually messaged them. Yes, it’s work. To get The 4-Hour Workweek I’ve found it takes about 6 months of work to finally relax on substantial monthly income. [Note from Tim: This squares with reality; it usually takes 3-4 months to try enough that you can do a proper 80/20 analysis, then two months to design systems to scale what *is* working.]
Here’s the message Daniel used:
Hope you’ve been awesome.
I saw you like climbing. Me, too!
My neck always hurts when I belay, so I created super affordable belay goggles.
Have about 10 available. Are you interested?
A few sales came just from messaging his Facebook friends. SCORE.
Then we created a list of every rock climbing store offline and online in Canada.
1. Search google for “rock climbing vancouver” or search “rock climbing” on Yelp
2A. Go to websites listed and get the owner’s name (if possible), email, and phone number. OR
2B. Hire someone on fiverr.com or craigslist to go through every listing and add them on a sheet for you like the one below (if you’re a lazy ass).
Daniel was already calling and emailing but not getting the volume of sales he needed from wholesalers and gyms. I asked to see what he emailed,. He showed me this:
Damn, that is a bad e-mail!
Main things for you and Daniel to learn:
a) Getting a PDF from a random stranger is never something I want to open.
b) Make the subject line exciting to read.
c) Sales emails should ALWAYS be about the other person. Make it valuable for them so they want to reply.
d) Nobody’s name is Hello. “Hey <first-name>”. Work to find the first name.
Here’s an improved version that we worked on:
Subject: Helping you make an extra $1,000 at your climbing gym
Hope things are amazing with you.
I’ve been working with climbing gyms like yours and wanted to hook up your members with my new belay glasses.
http://belayshades.com (people go nuts over them)
Was thinking, we can email your members with a special discount just for you and we split the profit evenly.
Be a great way for you to make a profit and hook up your members at the same time.
Can you let me know by this Friday if this sounds appealing to you?
And here’s the email for online retail stores:
Subject line: Best person to talk with for new climbing gear?
Hey John <store owner>,
Fan of your store and the fact your founder and I both do jewelry making 🙂
Noticed you didn’t have any belay glasses, which are becoming super popular with climbers.
Love to see if this makes sense for your store. Other climbing stores are seeing promising results with it.
How’s this Thursday 4pm CST for a quick 7-minute call to see if this makes sense for your store?
To actually get a response, I had Daniel use what I call the quad-bomb:
1. Search their name on LinkedIn. Send them a connect request as a friend with a CUSTOM message. “Hey <first-name>, Huge fan of your business and wanted to talk about some cool products for your customers.”
2. Email them.
I wait a day here as to NOT annoy them. If they don’t respond, then proceed to 3 and 4.
3. Facebook message them with: “Hey, just wanted to make sure my message got through”.
4. Tweet them. “Hey @twitter-handle. Love to see if we make some magic together. What’s best email for you?”
Why so many channels?
1. So many people are lazy and don’t put the effort in. You get out what you put in.
2. Sometimes people get busy, so your email may just get buried at the bottom of their inbox.
One of the key things that I drilled into Daniel’s head is to have a follow-up time with ANY person you are trying to work with. I use the line, “I have my calendar open, how’s X time to check in?”
Also I use followup.cc as a great free service to get reminders via email.
Rebuttal / sales sheets
Script out your answers to any possible questions during sales calls. This makes it easy to do your sales. This is also valuable so in the future you can have ANYONE do your sales a la The 4-Hour Workweek.
Here’s a sample of those sheets:
You guys are too small for us to work with
I feel we will work well together… we are small and you are big. Since we are small we can keep costs low and pass the savings on to you and your customers. Since you are large and have the reach for distributorship we can do business on a larger scale at smaller margins while still making a profit. Match made in heaven.
What about returns or defects?
We check each product by hand. If there is any problem, we stand 100% behind the product. We have a no-questions return policy for 30 days.
Can you guys do net-90 payment terms?
Yes, we can.
Where have you sold these glasses so far?
We are selling at local gyms and climbing groups all around Vancouver.
Can you give us a discount?
The price is the most affordable on the market. If you wanted to place a larger order, or can offer better payment terms, I’m happy to talk to my team to make it work for you.
Sales Questions to ask whosalers / stores / gyms
1. Something about themselves, a get-to-the-know-them question
2. What are your most popular items for climbers?
3. What are your favorite sites for finding out about new products? If tradeshows, which ones do you guys go to?
4. Do you guys already sell belay glasses?
5. How do you decide which products you want to sell?
6. [POTENTIAL TRANSITION] Well, it sounds like our glasses are right up your alley… (ONLY IF THEY ARE)
7. What’s your preferred amount for a starter order?
8. Is anything holding you back from placing an order of 30 with us today?
9. What are your preferred next steps to get this partnership rolling?
10. How’s x time for a check-in to make sure all is smooth?
Day 3 – Marketplaces + Groups + Advertising
Each day Daniel was in town, he allocated at least 3 hours to try a new method of marketing.
Who knows which will actually work? At the end of the week, we were going to re-evaluate and focus on the most effective ones.
Here are 3 marketing methods we tried out:
Posting on marketplaces
This involves posting your product to sites that already have your customers like eBay, Etsy, Craigslist or Amazon. All totally free, too. Done.
Messaging on Meetup groups
Try messaging meetup groups to do giveaways. No responses? Oh well, move on.
Facebook and Google Advertising
Here’s the exact FB ad we created:
Key things about this ad:
– Target audience is really small (24,000 people)
– Your target should be as NICHE as possible. The more unique — or direct the competitor — the better.
– Newsfeed ads have been performing STUPIDLY well for me, so we chose that route. But what works for me may not work for someone else.
– Limit yourself to your country and focus on just desktop computers, unless your page is very mobile friendly. Otherwise, you will waste a TON of money.
For Facebook ads, do NOT spend more than $10 a day while you are trying to figure out if you can make more than you spend from this marketing channel. DO NOT buy likes either — they are worthless. You have to rely on Facebook to communicate with your customers vs. having direct access. Get people to buy your product directly or give you an email.
Daniel tried Google Adwords with no success. Luckily, he used a free credit he got from starting a new account. You can get bonus AdWords credit via eBay.
Day 4 – Giveaways / Google / Random ideas
On Day 4, we continued trying new marketing techniques to find which would work:
Daniel reached out to various Facebook pages and bloggers related to climbing. Search Facebook for “rock climbing” or whatever your product is, and you should be able to find a few pages related to your audience.
Here’s what he would message them:
Subject: Free Belay Glasses for you and your <group name>
Hey <club leader>,
You guys look awesome! Glad to see the climbing community growing in <location>.
Wanted to let you know about these cool new belay glasses for rock climbers http://www.belayshades.com
Love to send you a pair to try out. If you like them, I’ll happily give you guys a special price you can share with your members.
Easy enough, right? Just email me by <two days from when email is sent> with an address we can ship to, and we will send a pair out to you.
This did not produce any results 🙁
A better approach would be to mail out glasses to climbing writers and group owners and focus on building long-term relationships.
Google Top 20
If you were your own customer, what phrase would you search on Google?
For Daniel it was “belay glasses”.
In a non-spammy way, go through the first 2 pages of results on Google and leave a helpful comment or see if you can sponsor or get involved in that page. Way easier than trying to immediately rank for a keyword through SEO.
Daniel found a lot of forums and blog posts so he promoted himself on these pages. By looking at Google Analytics, we saw this drove a decent amount of traffic and sales to his website.
Posting on Reddit
There’s a decent amount of people in the /r/hiking or /r/climbing subreddits so posting a discount or asking for people’s feedback is a good test.
Daniel’s partner posted this thread and was able to sell a few glasses:
This sold 10 pairs, which is awesome for Daniel! But posting on Reddit and hoping to get responses isn’t predictable, and we want predictable. Can’t run off to Thailand unless you know cash is coming in consistently, right?
Updating his website
His site wasn’t bad, but he had a video that did not explain his product, as well as a random banner slide show that didn’t speak to visitors.
The key takeaway from the whole week: looking at what drove most sales so we can scale it up big time. So from all the days activities, Day 2 seemed to be the most effective (reaching out to personal network and wholesale retailers). Our goal for the five days was to grow Daniel’s business. By reaching out to his personal network and wholesale retailers and focusing what had already worked, we managed to make that happen. Daniel got an email from a large online site named Sierra Trading saying they were interested in the glasses. HOLY CRAP! He’d been waiting weeks to hear back from small local stores. Now an online provider is finally responding within a day. The store buyer originally responded via a Facebook message. The order placed was for $4,200!!!!! WAIT WHUH?!?!?!?!!!! Lesson of the week: You never know what’s going to work when it comes to marketing. Try new things and then focus on what works until it stops working.
Day 5 – Bringing it all together
The key takeaway from the whole week: looking at what drove most sales so we can scale it up big time.
So from all the days activities, Day 2 seemed to be the most effective (reaching out to personal network and wholesale retailers).
Our goal for the five days was to grow Daniel’s business. By reaching out to his personal network and wholesale retailers and focusing what had already worked, we managed to make that happen.
Daniel got an email from a large online site named Sierra Trading saying they were interested in the glasses.
HOLY CRAP! He’d been waiting weeks to hear back from small local stores. Now an online provider is finally responding within a day. The store buyer originally responded via a Facebook message.
The order placed was for $4,200!!!!!
Lesson of the week: You never know what’s going to work when it comes to marketing. Try new things and then focus on what works until it stops working.
Daniel and the Amigos. Thanks to Anton + Robert for helping with this article.
Big thanks to HomeAway for sponsoring Daniel’s great loft in Austin, Texas.
A Week of Mentorship in San Francisco — An Opportunity
If you want help starting your own business, and if you’re a US resident age 18 or older, Tim and I have a special opportunity for you.
Take the following steps no later than 5pm PST on Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, and you could get an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco to work with us on starting your business.
Many surprises await the one lucky winner. Big time. Seriously.
Step 1 – Create a video (2 min or less) on YouTube explaining why you should be chosen. Start the video title with “Tim Mentorship” so we can find it.
Step 2 – Fill out this form. Be sure to include a link to your YouTube video (from Step 1) in the “Tacos or burritos?” answer! This is to ensure you know how to follow directions.
If you’re like Daniel and want the blueprint to start your own business, personal support, and access to a community of 3,000+ entrepreneurs, take a look at “How To Make A $1,000-A-Month Business.”
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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264 Replies to “How to Create a $4,000 Per Month Muse in 5 Days (Plus: How to Get Me As Your Mentor)”
Hey man. I just saw your post on mentorship and I would be the perfect candidate. I’m living off my passion – but its killing my passion. I need to make a business and I could be a valuable lesson / case study for your fans. Any chance of a late entry ?
I just randomly caught this post today by following links on another article… I guess all roads lead back to T.F.
The opportunity to pick Noah or Tim’s brain sounds amazing and an opportunity I could really use right now. I am about to launch a follow up product and since I have not been keeping in touch with my customer list the way I should, I’m a bit nervous.
Right now I work about 4 hours a day now because I am in product creation work mode. I work hard now while I create new products and then reap the benefits later when I cut back to about 2 hours a day.
I honestly could work less, but I am still addicted to helping my customers personally every few hours and I have trouble shutting out my e-mail.
At some point I could freelance it all out, but being involved now gives me insight into the customer’s needs. The downside is you really only hear from people having issues.
A big part of what makes my hours and lifestyle possible is that I don’t accept calls, only e-mail and help center tickets.
Calls are such a time drain, if I can not help a customer by e-mail or they absolute “need” a voice I use a scheduling software called meetme to schedule calls. I schedule less than 3 calls a month, and most of those calls are for reassurance because they need to know there is an person there to help them if they need one and not one of those calls last more than 15 minutes.
I also use zendesk, and hired a professional to help me set it up. It triggers automated responses and I check a few times a day to make sure the auto-responses answered the questions that were asked. I paid a whopping $150 an hour to set it up, but it was worth it for the amount of time I save.
Life is pretty good, I live in Hawaii, spend my days with my 3 year old and I work from anywhere – I’m a full time dad and it’s pretty great.
Now I work about 2 – 4 hours a day from home, the beach, discovery center, etc… while watching my daughter and earned about $100,000 this year. When I drop this new product, it should account for at least $50,000 next year.
I am putting in extra hours now during product development and have one more follow-up product after this one, then a few smaller ones in the pipeline.
What I would ask Tim or Noah (or you) I am not sure the best way to take this recent success and parlay it into a thriving business.
The challenges that I face right now is making the best execution choices on marketing and ideas and how to double my profits next year and then triple them the year after.
A lot of this years success was tied to a deal we put out on a major coupon site. Now how do we take these customers and reconvert them to become our long-term customers. It seems like obviously a deal is the way to go and probably a referral program to recommend their friends, but what is the best way to present it?
Any additional ideas would be appreciated.
I asked my three year old, but she just suggested we go to the zoo. 🙂
Without knowing exactly what you sell I would say the cheapest and most successful way to retain customers is via email marketing.
Many of the email marketing platforms (I like mailchimp but there are many great ones out there) are offering a free account for the first few 1000s of emails on your list.
Now, from your post I assume you don’t sell your product directly but mainly through a major coupon site as you said. The simple solution for this is to include a small simple note within your product that suggest ‘Free registration’ or ‘Register your product for warranty’ (if you have any). If your product is something you buy often or if you have accessories you can offer special offers/coupons on that note for anyone registering their products or becoming a member. Have a simple link there like ‘yourwebsite.com/register’ or ‘yourwebsite.com/members’. On that page just put the mailing list signup form or if you have some developing skills you can make a more sophisticated form that capture more information. While the rule of thumb for conversion is keep it simple (which is true in many cases), longer product registration form actually produce more signups then just name and email. It is also an opportunity to learn more about your customers with questions like ‘where did you buy your product?’ or ‘how did you find out about us?’.
Now for the real deal – if you do that make sure you try to convert as soon as they sign up! put a coupon code on the thank you email and redirect them to a landing page or your shop upon submitting the registration. And as soon as you have anyone on the list start sending emails with offers or information but try not to push too hard. After all, they’ve signed up cause you told them.
Hope this helps.
P.S: If you are not yet selling your product on Amazon or Ebay you should try this out. If your product is good and you can ship it in time you’ll have great success from that channel. You can even use FBA to streamline fulfillment.
Thanks for the input, I truly appreciate it.
I think your idea to: “…make sure you try to convert as soon as they sign up! put a coupon code on the thank you email and redirect them to a landing page…”
My product is an info product, the new products are follow ups. I love the business the deal sites have sent me, but I want to convert the current users to the next product & I am happy to say that the new product is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
I am not a big fan of newsletters, we have a system in place but I always choose to use a basic default e-mail template to keep things more personal.
Your idea to implement a coupon code on the thank you to go for the sale is a good one.
Hi EC, try looking at Kerwin Rae’s NISI course. (Nail it and Scale It) He has amazing knowledge and experience with growing companies to 6 figures +. A genuine Australian guy that has been there and done that AND continues to do it today. 🙂
Tim I can’t believe I missed this. I just got it today the 31st, obviously past your deadline. I’m going to check your blog every day now to make sure I don’t miss another opportunity!
When is the winner chosen?
This article was written on the 28th and it shows up in my rss feed only today and the deadline for that mentorship promotion was yesterday. Something doesn’t compute. Deadlines should be more than 2-3 days from announcement date.
@Noah: Nice article. I have some new T-Shirts you can wear!
But I’m confused. Did he find a manufacturer through alibaba.com who was already producing belay glasses and he simply slapped his brand on there and sold them for cheap? Or did he create a prototype?
I wish I had seen this post before the deadline! I watched your webcast and was so inspired! I’d would do anything to work with Noah and Tim on my business start! I have a concept for a lifestyle brand but I’m having a tough time narrowing it down to a few products. I have the concept but can’t seem to get past that and get the work done with the products and website.
This is excellent advice! At the beginning of a business it’s all about making sales, sales, sales. And yet, unless you’re a “born” sales person, that’s probably the one area of business that you shrink away the most. It certainly was for me. Designing products and creating art are fun. Making a business plan seems like the right thing to do. Building a website – sure! But putting yourself out there, selling…. yikes!
After over 5 years in business, I have become much better at selling (it helps when you have product that have a lot of appeal), but this was still an excellent reminder.
Great article. Lame, however that I got the email many hours after the contest had already ended. Sad I couldn’t participate.
One question: does Daniel has to give receipts when he sell the glasses?
i’m from Germany and I had the exact same idea a few months ago. I was not happy with it were the original eyeglasses so expensive. I have the same glasses found on alibaba, but i stoped the idea. Because the owner of the original glasses “powerplay” a design patent in Europe has subscribe to these alibaba glasses, to be competitive to protect them from. I think he will have done also in Canada.
You don’t think that he will sue you?
Hey Tim & Noah, I haven’t seen anyone ask yet but what’s the time frame you’ll be making your choice? I had a dream about it two nights ago and my husband keeps asking me, haha.
+1 for when the results will be announced.
Very astonished, especially the email words, very aggressive.
I’ll change in my future career.
Oh man I am so bummed that I just saw this contest. I would love the opportunity to mentor with Tim and Noah. Would you guys consider extending the deadline? I will rock the video. I have been developing a bad ass product and getting ready to tee off from Lake Tahoe.
If your like me (and live and die by the 4HWW code- but haven’t quite got there yet with your muse) love to invite you all to this totally awesome Facebook Group Page;
Be great to share & connect with like-minded people who are willing to hustle and work towards reaching your desired Lifestyle/ goals.
Tim (and Noah) are standup guys- and really admire their work (my girlfriend still thinks I am crazy). Love to have you all join in and share ideas, success stories and more-
Clicked on your Facebook Group page but nothing came up 🙁
I too have one myself:
Judging by your photo, are you an Aussie or are you on holiday? Looking to hook up with like minded 4HWW people locally.
Not sure why it’s not coming up- but still love to connect with ya- let me know if this works:
Lived in Melbin for about a year and a half (think mini-retirement) but just moved back to LA where I am from originally- planning my next escape. Have family in both places. Need to get the 4HWW muse to click- so we can perfect the year long Summer!! :p
Cool. Just reached out to you on FB and tried to invite you to my group. Need to be a friend I think instead of just following you for this to happen. Look forward to catching up.
Hey Brad, would love to get involved with your group, or start a new one if you don’t still have your one. Let me know either way would like to connect.
Nice detailed article. What Daniel really needs is regular orders from a large retailer. I’m sure that will happen though, as he seems to have found a price niche (though did you see “Mike’s belay glasses” selling for $40 in Google?!)
My “muse” is a B2B service, very unoriginal and crowded market, but competitive on price and a few other things. Absolutely agree that competitors are no reason not to start, and no reason not to succeed.
PS I average a 15 hr work week, 80% of which is bringing in and retaining clients. Repeat business is the only thing that allows me to go travelling etc. Thankfully, I’ve had a repeat client for nearly 2 years which brings in $3K a month. They are GOLD!
Why type of B2B business are you in (if you don’t mind me asking). Totally can relate to much of what you wrote.
Keep up the good work brother-
Awesome play by play story and congrats to Daniel. This was an opportunity I would have loved. I have some ideas I know would fly but not the connections and savvy to get off the ground. Unfortunately, I’ve been following one piece of advice in your four hour work week book (which has changed my life, sanity and productivity, btw) and I don’t check my email every day. I check it once a week as you suggested. Your email notifying me of the opportunity came in on the 30th, and I checked my email on the 2nd, so I missed this amazing opportunity. Should you offer this again, please, PLEASE give us 4 hour work week followers a bit more heads up time!!!!! Thanks for all the great info!
I love how you break it down step by step to “demystify” the process of making sales. I also love how you show how the process of experimentation works. We really don’t know what’s going to bring in the sales. I was shocked in my own biz what worked and what didn’t. Often what worked the best was exactly what everyone else told me NOT to do. Go figure.
My other favorite part of this article is how the results matched the intentions… which just goes to show why people need to set their sights higher. Too low of expectations often leads to low results. Thanks for the great care you put into breaking down the process into do-able steps.
Great post once again! Every post that by Noah has been a phenomenal read. It would be great if you could do similar posts for different product and service types (e.g. membership sites, b2b software, etc…) because each one would take a different approach to promotion and distribution.
I ran into Daniel (I think) hawking his wares at the Squamish Mountain Festival this summer. That’s funny! Belay shades are kind of a neat idea, I know a number of folks who are huge fans but weren’t big fans of the cost. What struck me about these particular glasses was just how significantly cheaper they were than the others… that threw up red flags for me since us climbers are soooo used to paying big bucks for gear. Guess I should have actually tried them on myself when Daniel offered to judge quality. Great write up though!
It was very helpful to read this. Thank you for taking the time to write all of this out. I really appreciate the step-by-step explanation.
Oh No! I missed your Week Of Mentorship in San Francisco Opportunity. We are badly in need of your help. You guys have amazing realistic advice especially in the current economy. We were hooked when we picked up your “Are You An Entrepreneur Or A Wantrepreneur” Tutorial.
When is the next competition?
What other marketing programs specific to our business do you recommend?
This is a great post – getting the step-by-step breakdown is invaluable. With regards to new distribution, using casual, direct language when it comes to trying to pin down someone you have never met before over the phone or email is a technique I’ve used for years in stockbroking. If its something that puts you out of your comfort zone get used to doing it, because after 8 years of cold-calling people almost daily I can tell you I’ve found it to be one of the most effective ways for breaking through.
Who was the winner of the mentorship? Congrats to whoever it was! Awesome article!
Hi Tim (and everyone),
I’m looking to make a prototype for a product (brand new, no one has done it before) and wondering where can I find a manufacture to help me produce one without actually having the prototype in hand.
Thanks in advance,
When is this competition going to be drawn?
Excellent article! And of course I just came across it tonight…post deadline!
I am still a newbie to the TF world. As a community leader the article dealing with haters hooked me and introduced me to the TF world. I just purchased the 4HWW book on my Nook, and now tonight I came across this article. Perfect timing for me business-wise, though I missed the Big Chance.
Ive spent most of the last two years as a community advocate in Fort Lauderdale and its a addiction and passion. City life never sleeps and the neighbors are my first love. Ive applied corporate talents to a volunteer organization, and we have success and more work ahead of us.
But one does not make living doing what I do – its all volunteer. That’s charming and dandy, but it doesnt provide for the here, the now and the later on.
Currently I am unemployed, but recently some business ideas and/or opportunities have come to light and are presently untouched locally. I have nothing to start with but me, myself and I. Actually I havea little more than that, but I was very apprehensive about making the jump…
That is until I finally started diving into the book and the blog at about 2 AM or so. I couldnt sleep; risks, the fears, the how-to seemed like a secret lost to me in the blown up world of online data! So I thought What Would Jesus Do… ha ha. I mean What Would Tim Do? And I think I have what I need between blog, book and Biscuit to make it happen, now.
The blueprint for success in this article is motivating and betwee Noah, Tim, this blog, and this article especially, I see success just around the corner for myself, and others here in my hometown. I now believe I can pull aspects of my neighborhood volunteer efforts and make the money, help others in my shoes get ahead, and still run my neighborhood and thrive!
So, thank you! Biscuit
Another fantastic example of why this blog continues to be so inspirational. Not just because it results in success for the focus of the blog, but because it’s so brilliantly broken down into processes.
Your books and blogs have changed things for me in a big way over the past 2 years – I’ve quit my job(s), started one business (turning profit now), built a solid book launch plan, lost 10lbs (ongoing) and have basically stopped listening to advice from elsewhere!
I hope you continue to find ways to ‘4-hour’ our lives!
as someone who (shameless plug alert) just referred a friend to your “How to make a $1000/mo business” course (he’s really digging it by the way), I can’t help but wonder why you don’t offer an affiliate program for something such as that.
All things considered, I just gave you a free sale, and would feel honored to extort from you the applicable 75% commission’s worth in tacos and/or IPA if my Rick Astley-inspired YouTube video tickled your collective fancies.
Anywho, really: why don’t you have an affiliate program for your course? Isn’t it a bit ironic, or did I just not search your site thoroughly-enough?
Tim, I’ve read your books in university and after working for around 2 years I’ve decided that its time I stop making money for someone else. I’ve launched my first website and would love to start more once it stands on its feet.
I’ve launched it this week and would love your feedback:
I sell mid-century furniture at awesome prices plus free shipping across North America.
Anyway to still participate in the contest for awesome mentorship?! I’m bummed that I missed this and would love to hear if you are running this offer in November too. Great article, incredible information, and phenomenal no BS approach to moving forward powerfully. Please keep me posted guys, and keep up the awesome stuff you do in the world!
Fantastic case study- getting results as quickly as possible is the the big takeaway here.
Thank you, Noah, for sharing your awesome story! I got a lot of takeaways from your sharing on actual steps you took.
Tim – First of all, huge huge fan. I tell everyone I meet that’s stuck in a rut to read the Four Hour Workweek. (the “worst case” exercise has personally been extremely helpful to overcome concerns to taking a leap of action). I write for a new print based magazine called (http://content-magazine.com/welcome/). Would you be free to talk more on the bottlenecks that most founders get stuck on on the next issue of our magazine? We have so many small businesses and entrepreneurs who follow their passions and get a strong following, but face the same challenges of turning profits and scaling. Our readers think you’re a rockstar and we are going to keep trying to get you featured so they can “meet” you and get some tips.
I was stuck with the “bottleneck” problem with in my own business but after reading and applying what I’ve learned in 4HWK — the business has grew 35% in Wholesale. I would be more then happy to share my story if you’re interested.
Happy New Year in Adv.
HI there Tim, Daniel, & Noah. can you show us the spreadsheet you used after it was filled in for documenting all the climbing schools and stores online/ offline in Canada? My products go into women’s boutiques, and there are 10-20 in every single town in the USA. How can I narrow my search down to be more applicable. Climbing schools are a more defined niche. How many did you end up having inside the excel doc and to call on?
I was wondering what a good resource is for finding web developers for a low cost. I have been developing an idea for a website with a friend. We do not have much money to spend on developers(less then $300). Looking foward to hearing some advice.
this is fantastic!!! exactly what i want to do 🙂
Really inspiring post. It is so detailed that you are able to see his entire journey. Sometimes, all it takes is a need that needs to be filled. From there, you can create an entire business and live the way you want.
Tim and Noah, I’ve finally got my muse off the ground!! I’d been thinking about it for almost a year but had another business that I was doing. However after showing some friends what I had learned and practised and after them practising too they told me to set up a training program so I have. Already had some customers, but offline rather than online so now I am going to concentrate on online and referrals from my existing clients. Please check me out! Thanks
Thanks for this post. I’ve been trying to perfect my podcast since August and have delayed the release of the 30+ episodes I’ve recorded that were all ready to go in October.
Thank you Noah for that inspiring five day journey! I love the mufti-tiered approach you and Tim used to market Daniel’s product. I would love to apply for the mentor ship but I don’t suppose a Canadian willing to fly out of a U.S. based airport exactly fits the criteria. I’m excited for the winner of this amazing opportunity and I hope Daniel enjoys climbing in India
I’m curious to see how this model works with scaling/selling services. I know it’s more rare to see a service-based “Muse”, but these marketing tactics look nice and raw – I’d love to see more.
I caught this a little too late, forgot about the fact alibaba may be able to help you manufacture products. Quirky didn’t work, thanks for the reminder… I’d like to see Tim deconstruct skateboarding..
Noah Kagan and Appsumo have not responded at all to my request for a full refund of payments for the “How to Make a thousand Dollars a Month” course. My requesst was made in by email and voice mail on January 2, 2014. It’s now January 7th and I have heard nothing. I thought you would like to know.
Walter and All,
I’ll contact Appsumo ASAP about this. Thank you for the heads up, and please keep an eye on your email. I’ll get this handled.
All the best,
I’d like to open by saying that it is extremely motivating to hear and read about the success you have had with your products and books. It is also equally amazing how you have amassed such a large following of people in such a short period of time, which, I know, is due to the high quality content you provide for your readers. It is also nice to see those who’ve made quite a bit of money but don’t let it control or turn them into the type of person that looks down on others.
I recently finished your first book, 4HWW, which was an awesome read, and I’m extremely motivated to create my first muse. However, one of the problems, or pitfalls, I see myself running into is my lack of business experience (Terminology, Negotiating, Pricing, etc.), being unable to scale efficiently, and automating correctly. It’s no secret that you’re friends with Noah Kagan and support AppSumo, but would you recommend it to those who are just venturing into the world of start-ups? If so, or not, could you give me a brief explanation of what the class provides? It DOES have a rather nice price tag associated with it Lol.
Again, love your work Tim, I’ll also be purchasing the 4HB before too long and taking a look at what you have to offer there as well. Thank you in advance for your time and attention.
Great post and I’m a big fan of Noah! If you’re Dutch and like this post, than you might like this strategy’s as well: http://whysheid.nl/goede-ideeen-voor-geld-verdienen/
This was such an amazing article! I am trying to shape my own business at the moment and this article was incredibly inspirational and provided a lot of ideas for me. Thank you so much!
Great post…really inspiring to see how, with enough determination and a viable product, stuff like this can work. Would love to hear a follow-up though…one $4200 order is good, but is this a sustainable business? How has it progressed? Update please!
I work in environmental consulting. I have an idea to combine the essential instruments of my craft into one easy-to-lug contrivance. (I’m female, petite, and weight/carrying capacity is a thing I have to watch, but brute strength should not be the one true qualifier for any science, ever.) I make exactly enough to pay my rent and my student loans, with no room to breathe. How do I use make this idea my ticket out of wage-slavery? Where do I start?
*How do I make this idea my ticket out of wage slavery? (not “use make”)
hi! i read your book in spanish. i wonder if this experience and what you talk about in your book I can do it in my country, in south america.
I live in uruguay, near to Bs,As., and the author of the tango “La cumparsita” is uruguayan. I wish Tim could came here.
thanks for your answer!
Hey Tim and 4HWW fans!
I’m looking for the best affiliate program/product sold though affiliates to get invovled with.
Thanks in advance,
Disclaimer: Frankly, I feel dumb for posting this as a comment, but this seems to be the only way to get in touch with this community.
Hi everyone. I am 19 years old, originally from Bulgaria and currently double-majoring in Mathematics and Chemistry at Durham university, UK. I love this stuff, but the impending prospective of 9-5 slavery really scares me. I have had some pretty serious success with stuff I read on 4HB and as I’ve gained momentum I’ve decided to give “definition” and “elimination” a shot. I am, however, terrified of the perspective of “starting a business” for automation, even with the info provided in 4HWW. I’ve never thought of myself as a person who could do that, and know for a fact my family and friends would be shocked and concerned if I suddenly say I want to try that, instead of getting a regular job, say, over the summer. I understand this is all in our heads and if I could get some form of early win it could change things but I really don’t know how to go about it. I guess I’m in desperate need of a mentor, but how do I find one who would not mentor me into starting an all-consuming monster business that would force me to quit my studies and not really make me better off in terms of relative wealth, than working as a “chemist” would, instead of an actual muse?
If you took the time to read this far, you have just been very generous to me. Thank you in advance for your responses.
should definitely start up the muse while pursuing the chemist degree. Keep your day job and build your business on the side. Once the biz really kicks off you can consider quitting your job. Best thing to do would be to take that side biz money and invest in other assets or start another business. That’s my long term plan. I have a full time job and so far I haven’t touched any of my earnings because I plan on reinvesting or starting another business.
Great to hear that you are taking your studies in the UK out of country, that says a lot about you. I don’t know if you are extremely family centric, but if you are then are you worried that your folks won’t approve of you trying to start your own business? or are you more worried about “failing” in business? If its the latter then realize that you may fail for several months before finally “getting off the ground”. Most businesses are not profitable for long enough that they give up and close down. I think the great part about what noah and Tim teach is that they are providing valuable insight how to gather as much information as possible so that someone trying to start a business will not fail and operate negative for long if at all. So with that being said, I think the first place to start is to ask yourself why you don’t want to work the 9-5? Also, have you every had a “day job”? If not, then why not try it out and get a sense of what you like and don’t like about it.
You have a new student in me and this one will make you proud. I am giving myself 2 days to identify my muse. I will keep you and the group posted.
It would be great to get some guidance from you. I see you have mentioned – ideal muse is found by solving your own problem. My problem today is I am unable to nail down on my muse. I am going to read the whole blog if that’s what it would take. Not sure if this will then become my muse…come to think of it …it may be a blog – MuseAndOnlineBusinessIdeas.com
Can’t believe I didn’t read this before. What an absolute amazing and yet simple tactics to achieve success. I’ve enrolled into monthly 1k at AppSumo (mostly because of Tim’s endorsement) and I’m right at the part when I’m getting my golden idea. Super excited to get the shit done with Noah / Sumo help and finally get a decent lifestyle.
I searched out anything inspiring from Noah and found this, on Tim’ site. The recounting of Daniel’ business’ birth is so inspiring. Reading these paragraphs really helps me change my train of thought and I am so thankful.
this was amazing..!
Is there a reason for the broken sentences in the example emails? I found them difficult to parse e.g. “Love to see if this makes sense for your store.” means “I would love to see…”? It seems intentional that almost every sentence lacks a subject.
Interesting, thanks for sharing
Hi Tim and 4HWW community…
According to the 4HWW there are 3 most effective muse business types:
-reselling a product
-licensing a product
-creating a product
I’m curious. Seven years after publishing the 4HWW does this still hold or are there new types of business / business models that could potentially be added to the 4HWW business forms mentioned above? For example, Tim seems to be involved in a number of different projects now that don’t comply with these forms – Shyp, is a service business, for example…
Hello Tim, Daniel, and 4HWW Community,
Really nice post! Like Daniel, i have right now an idea product for athletes. In this case study, Daniel had the glasses but where did he made the prototype first?
Has he done a business plan for his project?
Did he make a research to see if there was a need for his project?
Thank you for your response
I was wondering nearly the same thing… did he just find a supplier already making that product or did he actually create a new product?
I’m guessing he just rebranded an existing product
There are 4 broken images on this post. Can you please fix them?
This comment is specifically for Mihail although I’m sure many could benefit from it. When it comes to mentoring I don’t know who’s in your area but there’s a book I feel every aspiring entrepreneur should read (apart from 4hww of course!), called The Right Question by James de Garmo. He goes into a lot of the topics you are asking about, though maybe more oriented toward the basics. A propos of your comment about mentoring, made me think of gurus and the like.
Think Noah and Tim need to take a holiday to Australia to do the same thing. You know you love Oz and we love you too so don’t be afraid to visit!
Wow, it looks like I’m over a year late on this contest. I still loved the content! I’m on a very similar project right now building my own online retail business. I look forward to using some of these tips myself.
Moral of the story, try a lot of stuff and track it 🙂
Absolutely loved the above article. If this doesn’t give the common guy/gal hope, what will?
Very nicely done. I’m even starting to get that feeling again like hey! I can do this.
I am a master at talking myself out of finally starting and the quote you gave; “worring about others in the beginning is just a fear of starting”, that was a slap across my face. One I badly needed.
Thanks for the effort in helping the postman. In a way, you helped me as well.
Can’t wait to read your next adventure.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on 4-hour case
Clearly a typo .. but wasn’t Daniel Canadian?
The ad says U.S. citizen 18 years and older
How about the rest of the world thats interested in this mentoring opportunity
Just wondering if anyone else out there is trying to start their first muse like me; I am finding that coming up with an idea I want to test is extremely difficult. If anyone wants to brainstorm together, please leave a reply. I am surrounded by the 9-5 resigned and I’d love to connect with other creative outside of the box types who believe in lifestyle design.
Hey Jen, If you’re still interesting in brainstorming I’d love to chat with you! Our collective minds are stronger than our individual.
Very inspirational. It seems like this kind of marketing works well with products and tangible services like web design, instructional DVDs, etc., but can it also work with a service like life coaching? It seems like using these methods would be more challenging.
this was a great post!!!
I love this post. I do have a question though. I have had no problems sourcing materials from Alibaba but how do you find a manufacturer who can manufacture your entire product like in this post?
Great story! Very inspiring too. Just wondering, did he make the glasses or simple source a supplier?
Do i need some capital to start up ?
Fantastic article! Tim, you’re again talking about real things instead of just talking in theory like most blogs. +1 for the Facebook ad example. One thing to add for newbies is that searching on Google can be done with [term]: [topic] and set the timeframe for the last 30 days. E.g. search for blog: rock climbing with the timeframe will give you rock climbing blog posts made in the last month.
This is awesome!!! It’s very inspiring to see someone get a business up and running so quickly:)
This Story sound me great 🙂 i love It 🙂
Congratulations on the article. I enjoy inspiring articles and your article inspired me to continue with my projects here in Brazil.
Dude, this is an awesome post. A bit late for the mentorship proposition… but the article has GREAT value- quite rare for a free read.
Wow. Great article. Great info that I’ll used… I’m getting ready launch my product: Super Ketchup – an all-natural ketchup with hidden vegetables and I’ll sure add this to my marketing mix. Thank you for making the files available… I’ll be using them 😉
Wow! Very important information mentioned in your article. I really liked it. I hope to get time to put it all into practice. Great program!
Wow, I just found this podcast episode, AWESOME, however, i may have arrived fashionably late.
Super valuable stuff in this article, especially in the day 5 part. Thanks for sharing. This inspired myself to take action and start a niche site about making furniture. Its in Dutch and if you like you can check it out here: http://www.steigerhoutmeubelsmaken.nl
Thanks again Tim, awesome as always!!
thank you! great article and a lot of useful advises.
interesting, how are things today for Daniel?
thanks to you posts and books i created my own site
[Moderator: link removed]
you great Tim!
This is a great peace. I am in the bigging stages of creating my own suppement brand. I think about tools here, and what ive seen with Tim and Noah working together, and the only thing I cant get past in my head is how do I validate people wanting my supplement, and then when I find that out, how do I get people to buy the product before production ( because Im starting with nothing) most manufacturers will ask for 1500 units orderd up front and will produce in 8 weeks and then can be ready to ship. Im trying to get around having to spend 5k up front. Any advice will help, thiis seems to be the right place to go. Thanks everyone.
Can’t believe the order quantity is blurred out on that invoice. $4200 looks like a pretty number… But looking a bit closer I don’t know what to think. Article gave some great ideas but… Come on man
ok hold up!
am i absurd for thinking i need $2000 to start a muse, or what
what are your thoughts on the absolute minimum investment to get somethin going here?
Anyone feel free to chime in, c’mon
4HWW is my abolsute favorite book! It convinced me to quit my job 1 year ago and start my own photography business. It’s not automated, but I love it! [Moderator: link removed]
I know this is an older post and the mentorship offer is expired. Would anyone reading this who has successfully created their muse be willing to offer mentorship? I have couple of ideas but I feel stuck. I own a small fitness business.
Late to this and appreciate the amount of detail in here! Yet… I still have questions. Am considering Noah’s class but in the meantime still don’t understand how to validate my product with no actual product. Don’t I at least need to give people a photo of my product mockup or prototype like for a facebook group or ad page. Also, do I need a website or not to validate? Doesn’t that need a photo too? If anyone has answers I would love it. thanks.
I’m not commenting to help unfortunately, but just to say i’m struggling with the exact same questions at the moment! If anyone has any advice that would be much appreciated – cheers
Berta, the book actually describes this on page 164. You can either resell an existing product, License an existing product, or create a product. To create a product, you could hire mechanical or industrial engineers from a freelance site to develop a prototype based on a description of its function and appearance.
Belo Article’ll put into practice.
I just read the 4 hour work week. My wife thinks I wrote it. LOL. I have been telling her these things since we got married. I would love to work with Tim or someone to help us develop a business. I have the time and energy. Please contact me [Moderator: email removed]. I know your busy and I will not waste your time. Thank you. Rafael
God sent post. I meant it. Thanks!
Great stuff! But Facebook-messaging to people worries me. I have a popular Facebook-page, where I sell something. Customers are from Australia, I am from Finland. I read about Australia Spam Act 2003. According to this, I have no right to send a private message to the people, who commented on my page. I think.
But I am not sure. I would like to message my potential customers directly, asking for a sale with a link. Is this illegal in Australia, or do people give consent to this, when they comment on my FB-page? This seems to prevent the tactic, that Daniel Bliss used on Facebook. Then again, he did on his FB-friends, I´m thinking of messaging people, who commented and liked my business-page.
Great article Noah. Thanks for sharing with us.
I am really excited about this. I am working a 9-5 job for about 5 years since I graduated. Now I want to follow the footsteps for the great Noah Kagan and Tim Ferris (Read the 4HWW and it’s great).
However, I am still having my doubts and fears of how my future is going to be. You see I come from a developing country and some of the articles and chapters (e.g Outsourcing life) might not be able to apply to my lifestyle due to such conditions in my country, economically and culturally. Hope you get my point.
I am a middle class man full of hopes to grow a business in this robotic world, but I need someone to prove that my doubts can be conquered based on Tim and Noah’s contexts.
What an incredible article! Great read!
I am currently reading T4HWW and have started to plan out ideas for a muse. It has been claimed here that getting a patent is not a particularly important however everybody has told me that it is essential. Which of these opinions is true? How long after creation must a patent be applied for?
Also, how does intellectual property tie in and how can it be protected? Is this effective as a protection before a patent arrives?
Thanks a lot and love your work!
Does anyone know of a company that can assist people in validating their muses? Much appreciated!!
Should one worry about having their legal side of the business all handled before starting all of this. It sounds a lot like one just starts without worrying about legal issues. I am in the process of starting a nutritional supplement company and as a seller of a consumable product I feel that this is a big concern to me or should be. Thoughts?