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The Four Hour Body and You Like many of your Tim Ferriss fans out there, I've been very keen to try the Four Hour Body lifestyle change. I'm overweight by quite a few pounds, so I made a New Year's resolution to shed some pounds....

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Improvements and Fixes to WP E-CommerceImprovements and Fixes to WP E-Commerce Like many of you, I am a user of the WP E-Commerce plug-in for Wordpress as well as a Gold Cart upgrade customer. While WP E-Commerce has many excellent features and does wonders for the Wordpress-based...

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Credit cards: a lifeline for cash Hi all. It certainly has been a while since I've last posted. That's because in many ways the 4HWW concept has been shot given the urgency of making ends meet and scrambling to get whatever dollars are...

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Version 0.2 of Show User Level Content Plugin Now Available Making an update to the Show User Level Content Plugin ... finally on version 0.2 This version should allow multiple hide statements in the same post. This is a test of that functionality. The first...

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More on Banking... A while back I posted about business banking accounts, and asked the community what their thoughts were on the best ones for FHWW'ers. I never really did get a good response, but the post is out there,...

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Excellent Post on the 4HWW Workflow

Category : revenue, time management

I read a fantastic post by Jed @ the Newly Rich called “Our 4HWW Workflow, Part I“. Without stealing his thunder (and idea), I encourage you to take a look at the post that diagrams a ludicrously simple, but very effective way of looking at your tasks.

Here’s a quick thumbnail of the flow. Click on it to view it at the original post location:

Workflow diagram for basic 4HWW process

Thanks, Jed!

Selling eBooks as a muse?

Category : book, muse, revenue

Hi all –

Sorry for the pause in content. I’ve been working hard as well as I’ve embarked on my MADFUN exercises. Plus, I haven’t really had much to write about. Maybe I should write anyways?

In any case, thanks for the feedback I’ve gotten from you all on my eLance and Time Management posts. I hope they have helped. On the 4HWW front, I’m looking at writing and publicizing some eBooks as a passive income source. Has anyone else had any experience in successfully doing that? Ironically, if I come across some great techniques, I’ll publish them as an eBook so that you all can learn from me!

Contribute to Your Public Blogger — Passing the Tip Jar

Category : DHFW Site, muse, revenue

I often listen to NPR and other Public Radio stations. Do you? Doesn’t it annoy you when they have to interrupt their broadcasting to make an appeal to their audiences for donations and support?

Just like you, I find it annoying that those pledge drives interrupt the shows I like to listen to you, but at the same time, I understand why they do that. They have to somehow fund their activities, and since they don’t barrage you with advertisements, the pledge drive is the only way to make their financial ends meet. It’s actually good that they don’t rely heavily on advertisements as the non-public radio stations do, since that could also taint their independent perspective.

Like public radio stations, I write in this blog mostly for my amusement and for the information and pleasure of those who read it. While I do have many advertisements placed throughout the site, the truth is that they really don’t result in much, if any, revenue for me.

I posted a while back on the topic of blog revenue as a passive source of income, but until this blog reaches a significant traffic level, it’s pretty much all a pipe dream.

In that vein, I come to you, my faithful readers. Like NPR, I’d like to take this opportunity to pass the Tip Jar and ask for donations. I am working as hard as I can to turn this blog into a Muse and thus a Passive Income source. But until then, it’s hard for me to focus on the blog when there are other pressing financial concerns.

As such, I’d like to ask you to donate whatever you can to my cause. On the right side of the screen, you might notice a donation widget from a website called ChipIn that allows you to contribute to my Muse. If you can’t find it, I’ve also included it below:





Anyways, without belaboring the point, I hope you can support me as I try to turn this blog into both a source of information and entertainment as well as revenue to continue to support those goals. Any amount can help as well as any feedback you might have about making this site, or my Muse attempts, any better.


Thank you so much and keep tuning into this station!

Muses vs. “Real” Businesses (A Guest Post from HilaryCat)

Category : muse, revenue

Editor’s Note: This post is a guest post from Hilary Catherall. Hilary Catherall is a co-founder and the president of technology startup DOMITECH, L.L.C., a revolutionary web development company. DOMITECH’s projects so far include www.city-dweller.com and www.saneliving.org. Hilary still holds down her day job for now, and just started seriously applying the principles from the 4HWW late last year in hopes of attaining a little Liberation. You can contact her at hilary.catherall@dom-itech.com and read more of her writing at hilarycat.blogspot.com.

As I recently posted in my hilarycat blog , I think I’ve wrapped my mind around what Tim Ferriss calls a “muse” in the 4-Hour Work Week. As Tim says, muses are automated vehicles for producing cash without requiring much time… but to put the complete explanation into a (densely packed) nutshell, they are automated & outsourced businesses that drop-ship quickly manufactured, moderately priced, substantially marked up, easily-understood specialty products with staying power to niche audiences we already understand.Whew. If you haven’t thoroughly read 4HWW, you may not grok that definition very quickly, but for those of us who are starting to internalize the system, I believe it’s a neat and tidy summary for easy reference. Contunue Reading

Making money from your muse… Blog Revenue — the Authoritative Guide

Category : muse, revenue

Editor’s Note: First, let me note that this is a very long blog post. I probably should have chopped it up into a few blog posts, but I didn’t want to lose the stream of thought.

Getting a bit more practical, one of the themes in the Four Hour Work Week is the idea that you can have a nice source of passive income from a short investment in time called a Muse. Hilarycat posted recently on what constitutes a Muse (or in her words, a Passive Income Generator [PIG]). But the gist is that it’s not necessarily your main “day job”, but rather something that allows you to earn the income needed so that your main job doesn’t consume you. You can be free to pursue the things you want because the lights can stay on and the kids can stay fed.

As a way to get things started, blogs themselves can be nice sources of revenue and could potentially be muses if they turned into something bigger. That does not mean that it has to consume lots of time, but you should definitely thing about all the ways to generate revenue from a blog and related media. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. If you know of other ways to turn blogging and writing activity into muse-worthy income, let everyone know by posting some feedback in the comments.

Contunue Reading

Found a great bank for Small Biz… Provident Bank

Category : Getting Started, revenue

I posted the other day on the topic of finding a good bank for small businesses. I got a few great recommendations and ended up settling with Provident Bank, a regional bank in the Virginia, DC, Maryland, and Pennsylvania region. They offer free business checking accounts with no minimum balance requirement, the offer bill payment, merchant services, and even do the Remote Deposit option that I was so enamored with. And, as a bonus (until February 14, 2008), they will even give you $122 for opening an account with them. Whammo! Can’t lose on this one. Opened it up today with a $50 deposit, configured my Amazon.com, Google Adsense, and Cafepress revenue sources to point to this new bank, and away I go! I already made a few bucks on this deal.

I’ll let you know how it all turns out, but you can’t beat that for a muse bank account.

What’s the best Small Business Bank Account?

Category : business, Getting Started, revenue

As like all you 4HWW-ers, I’m gearing up my muse and getting the funds rolling in. I started an LLC using the Company Corporation (my recommendation if you’re trying to keep it simple and cheap – no need for expensive lawyers), making it a Delaware-registered LLC and then possibly registering as a Foreign LLC in my state, if need be. I then went to the IRS website and got an employer Tax ID #, which only took 5 minutes, tops. Armed with both of these, I’m ready to

Now I need a place to put the incoming funds. As you all know, you need to use a business bank account for your revenue — no mixing personal and business revenue streams. I’ve recently been banking with Bank of America, but not out of pleasure — just convenience. Since my new muse doesn’t require me to be physically close to my bank account (almost all incoming funds are electronically deposited), I am open to better options. BofA fees you to death. And their service is sorely lacking. If it weren’t for their omni-present branches and ATMs, I wouldn’t have even bothered. But then again, I didn’t bother in the first place — they just kept buying all the banks I actually did do business with!

So, let’s leverage the power of the Internet and networking– have any of you had good experiences with a bank that caters well to the Small Business? One that is low in fees, high in service, makes it easy to do the odd in-person deposit (or allows you to do e-deposits like K-Bank does), has low or no balance minimums, allows you do to things like ACH Debits and Credits as well as online banking and has a decent online web experience? Would love your thoughts and help!

Updated: I just checked out the First National Bank of Nevada… While it’s no where near where I live, I’m intrigued by: * free business checking and *e-deposits that allow you to deposit physical checks without ever having to leave the office. A 4HWW-ers dream? I’m not sure if they’ll do business with me in my state, but I’m wondering if there’s anything similar somewhere else or if anyone has experience with something like that?

More playing with numbers

Category : revenue

Following up on the last post where we identified the target market by identifying pricing and market size most appropriate for Bought Products, things get better when we observe the power of monthly revenue.

Ways to Make $5M a year - Take 1

# of Products Sold Price Per-Product Monthly Revenue Consumables (3x per year)
1 $5,000,000 $416,667 $1,666,667
5 $1,000,000 $83,333 $333,333
10 $500,000 $41,667 $166,667
50 $100,000 $8,333 $33,333
100 $50,000 $4,167 $16,667
500 $10,000 $833 $3,333
1000 $5,000 $417 $1,667
5000 $1,000 $83 $333
10000 $500 $42 $167
50000 $100 $8.33 $33
100000 $50 $4.17 $17
500000 $10 $1 $3.33
1000000 $5 $0.42 $1.67
5000000 $1 $0.08 N/A

But, let’s take another twist. Let’s keep the price constant and instead think of how the numbers of customers change when we move to monthly, or any repeated sale per year.

Ways to make $5M a Year - Take 2

$ per sale # of Customers Monthly Customers # of customers (3 sales/yr)
$1 5,000,000 416,667 1,666,667
$5 1,000,000 83,333 333,333
$10 500,000 41,667 166,667
$50 100,000 8,333 33,333
$100 50,000 4,167 16,667
$500 10,000 833 3,333
$1,000 5,000 417 1,667
$5,000 1,000 83 333
$10,000 500 42 167
$50,000 100 8 33
$100,000 50 4 17
$500,000 10 1 3
$1,000,000 5 N/A 2
$5,000,000 1 N/A N/A

What makes this interesting is that consumable products… that is, products that provide only a short term value that then need to be replenished have excellent prospects.

To make $5M in revenue, all one needs to do, for example:

  1. Find 10,000 customers and sell them something for $500 once,or…
  2. Find 100,000 customers and sell them something for $50 once, or …
  3. Find 100,000 customers and sell them something $17 three times in a year, or…
  4. Find 8,333 customers and sell them something for $50 a month, or…
  5. Find 20,000 customers and sell them something for $21 a month, or..

You can see how that goes. Play with the numbers and use them to help determine whether your bought product strategy makes sense. Next step: figure out what product to sell, whether it’s a consumable or a one-time sale, or a monthly recurring revenue source. Personally, I like the 10,000 customers $500 a pop or 20,000 customers $21 a month plan… Hmm.

Playing the Numbers

Category : revenue

This post is a little exploration of the magic of numbers and an understanding of how the idea of Products that are Bought map to desired revenue targets.

First, the revenue target. Let’s say for the sake of example that we want to run a $5M a year gross revenue business (that’s just top-line, not including the cost of goods, overhead, taxes, etc.).

There are lots of ways we can make $5M in a year, if we’re selling products (remember, we don’t want to sell services if we want to be a four-hour-a-weeker):

$5M a year product business
Number of products sold Price per-product
1 $5,000,000
5 $1,000,000
10 $500,000
50 $100,000
100 $50,000
500 $10,000
1,000 $5,000
5,000 $1,000
10,000 $500
50,000 $100
100,000 $50
500,000 $10
1,000,000 $5
5,000,000 $1

Now, this might seem like a trivial, brain-dead exercise. So, what am I proving, that I know how to multiply? Well, I think the insight is a bit more profound than that.

First, we can achieve $5M a number of ways, but some might be easier than others. Selling one thing for $5M will get us there fast, but just how much work will it take and how much will that $5M item cost? If it’s a physical item, there might not be much margin left after all is said and done. If it’s a service being provided, forget it, you’re talking 35% margins at best.

On the flip side, selling 5,000,000 things at $1 each also doesn’t make sense. First, to actually sell 5 million of anything you need to reach a much larger audience, which means significant marketing and distribution costs, not to mention the cost of fulfillment. $1 items are sold retail and probably in mass markets. That means that the distributors take their cut, not to mention the cost of the product, so you’re also down near 35% margins at the end of the day.

For product based companies that have products that are sold, not bought, I think the sweet spot is in the green zone above.

Anywhere from selling 1,000 products at $5,000 a pop to 100,000 products at $50 a pop seems to be the best area to target. Although at the edges (in yellow) are a bit tougher. It’s harder to develop bought-products that sell for $5k than it is $1k. I can think of plasma/LCD TVs that are in this range.

But I think for our purposes, finding products in the $100-$500 range that are bought seems to be sweeter. In fact, selling 10,000 of something at $500 a pop seems pretty realistic. And there might be products that have low cost of goods and low cost of delivery and distribution that can keep us in the 50% margin or better area.

So, I am going to focus my efforts on building a business where I can sell 10,000-50,000 of something for $100-$500 a pop. And do it as a “bought” not sold business focusing the efforts on marketing and low-cost distribution.

It gets even better… monthly revenue.

Where the dollar analysis gets better is if we think of the $5m figure as an annual figure divided by month. What if instead of selling individual products for $100-$500 a pop we instead sold a monthly subscription for those products. Then, instead of selling 50,000 $100 items, one can instead sell 50,000 $9-a-month subscriptions. Do the math. It actually is even better than $5M. Or, 10,000 $42-a-month subscriptions. Or somewhere in between, like 25,000 $19-a-month subscriptions.

What makes subscriptions or monthly revenue better is that it’s continuous and predictable. That means sales can be self-sustaining as long as the products continue to provide value.

The key now to figure is what market has a reachable audience of around 100,000-500,000 so that achieving a 10% penetration with bought-products that sell for $100-$500, whether one at a time or on a monthly basis. Then, come up with a compelling product for that market and an effective means to market and distribute to that market, and the $5m business is not that far away…. all for four hours a week.