How I Did It: From $7 an Hour to Coaching Major League Baseball MVPs

140 Comments


Jaime Cevallos and the MP30 Training Bat (Source: Jaime Cevallos)

“Cevallos told Zobrist [Tampa Bay Rays MVP] he could turn him into a power hitter…The results have been remarkable.”
– ESPN The Magazine

This article will tell the inspiring story of Jaime Cevallos, who went from $7 an hour to coaching MVPs in Major League Baseball, automating his income in the process.

Jaime is now — in many respects — set. But how did he do it?

Some of the questions I asked Jaime include:

1) What is your muse [automated business]?
2) How did you contact the initial MLB players, and what exact wording did you use?
3) What things were much easier than expected, and which things were much harder?
4) To those people who haven’t yet tried to create a muse, what 3-5 pieces of advice would you give them?
5) What mistakes did you make, and what did you learn from them?…

The Beginning: An E-mail

Our interaction started with an e-mail to one of my assistants in August, 2008:

Amy:

I just thought I would let you guys know that three years ago, I was making $7 an hour. I read 4 hour work week and now I am one of the most sought after swing coaches in Major League Baseball.

If you google my name, you will see the headway that I have made. I really have to say that I owe a lot of my success to FHWW.

After reading the book. I began approaching MLB players and offering them my assistance. I always knew I was an expert on the baseball swing but didn’t know how I would penetrate the MLB ranks. FHWW just showed how to do it.

I gave my company the name “the swing mechanic” and the rest is history.

Thanks again, Tim.

Jaime Cevallos
The Swing Mechanic
www.theswingmechanic.com

Then an update and elaboration:

Subject: update – The Swing Mechanic

Dear Tim and Amy:

Although I’m feeling like I should reread The Four Hour Workweek lately
(because I am quite busy and I know I need a refresher), I look back and
have to say that I’m still employing the principles quite well.

1. I was invited to speak at the American Baseball Coaches Convention, the largest baseball coaches convention in the world, on January 10th. It’s amazing what you get when you ask. I just found out who the guy in charge of speakers was and sent an email along with my accomplishments and followed up twice with phone calls. (4HWW chapters/principles – Becoming An Expert, Eustress Is Good).

2. My book, Positional Hitting, is being self published after the person that I hired to edit and format the text and design the cover (on Elance, LOVE ELANCE) is finished. Should be out February, 2010. (4HWW chapters/principles – Becoming an Expert, Outsourcing Life)

3. My second and third training aids are currently being designed. For one of my inventions, I had blueprints and prototypes made in China (on Elance) for $150 and then found a local manufacturer on Thomasnet.com to iron out the details and do the mass production. (4HWW principles – License A Product/Create A Product)

Doing quite a bit as you can see. But, as I said, it’s still time for a refresher :-)

I hope all is going well for you both. Keep in touch and let me know how everything is going.

Jaime

How have Jaime’s results in the majors turned out? Judge them for yourself. Here are just two examples:

In 303 plate appearances before working with Cevallos, Zobrist had 3 home runs and a .259 slugging percentage. In the 309 plate appearances after, Zobrist hit 17 home runs with a .520 slugging percentage. “The numbers before I worked with Jaime compared to after speak for themselves,” said Zobrist. In 2009, Zobrist won the team MVP award for the Rays, finishing the season with a .297 batting average and 27 home runs.

Before working with Cevallos in 2007, Drew Sutton, playing professional baseball for the Corpus Christi Hooks, had 9 home runs and a .267 batting average. After working with Cevallos in 2008, Sutton improved his numbers to 20 home runs and a .317 batting average, earning team MVP honors. “(Cevallos) has made a huge difference,” said Sutton after the season.

Tips from a Pro

“Ted Williams once famously remarked, ‘Hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports’…Jaime Cevallos has made it his life’s mission to conquer the unconquerable.”
– Fort Worth Star Telegram

1) What is your muse [automated business]? Coaching is, of course, usually tethered to one location.

My muse is the MP30 baseball training bat. Having a muse allows me to “be in more places at one time.” I can be giving a lesson in Dallas while a player is receiving his MP30 training bat from UPS in New York. It’s a great feeling to know that thousands of hitters around the country are improving because of a training bat that I designed. Now my training bat is in the dugouts of six Major League teams and I get orders every week from hitting coaches of university and professional baseball teams, which is a great compliment. I can’t be everywhere to give instruction, but my bat serves as an instructional device that is almost as good as me being there.

2) How did you contact the initial MLB players, and what exact wording did you use?

After reading 4HWW, I understood that if I was really going to pursue my goal of being the best swing instructor, there would be many moments of discomfort and even embarrassment along the way. After I accepted that, I was left with nothing but excitement. I just started walking into hitting facilities around my home and introducing myself to the management. One day, I walked into Showtime Sports Academy in Franklin TN, and the manager, Tony Naile, must have seen the determination in my eyes when I told him that I was going to change baseball with my hitting methods. He said, “Come back here. I have someone I want you to meet.” He took me to the back of the facility where Ben Zobrist and Nevin Ashley, both MLB players in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, were taking batting practice in one of the cages. When they were done, I introduced myself to them and said, “I have a unique method of analyzing and training baseball swings that I’d like to share with you guys. Would you be willing to let me film your swings so I could offer my analysis?” They looked at each other and looked back at me and said, “Sure. Why not.” The rest is baseball history.

This was a huge step for me. I could have easily said to myself: “These guys have coaches. They aren’t looking for me.” At the time, it was unheard of for MLB players to receive instruction from a guy who never played in the Majors himself. I changed that. Without those real gutsy moves, especially in the beginning, I find that usually nothing great ever happens. One of the biggest things that helped me to just get out there in the beginning was really understanding the principle in 4HWW that “doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic.”

3) What things were much easier than expected, and which things were much harder?

The technical things were much easier than I expected. For example, when designing my company logo, I was a little apprehensive about posting a project online (Elance.com), so I called a local provider to do the design. Despite her being thirty minutes late to our first meeting, I told her what I wanted, gave her a downpayment of $250, and she said she would have something for me within a week. Five weeks later she had a design that looked like it had been made by a first grader. I expressed my disappointment to her and never paid the second half. So I was only out $250.

I immediately posted the project on Elance, using the first designers logo as a rough sketch of what I wanted. The next morning I had six bids on the project. I immediately chose a designer and less than four hours later, the provider had a sample for me that was absolutely perfect. It’s still the logo that I use today. In one day and for $90 I had a perfect logo that a local provider couldn’t even do in 5 weeks for $500! I still use Elance today. In fact, most of the work in my book, Positional Hitting, coming out in February, was done on Elance.

As for the something that was much harder than expected, I must confess, I drove to a Starbucks 40 minutes from my house and sat there for an hour trying to muster the courage to lay down in public [Tim: this is an exercise in discomfort from 4HWW]. All the caffeine I could handle wouldn’t get me on that floor. I just couldn’t do it. I’ll do it one day. I don’t know what country I’ll be in, but I’ll do it.

4) To those people who haven’t yet tried to create a muse [automated business], what 3-5 pieces of advice would you give them?

a. Choose something within a subject with which you have some level of familiarity. You wouldn’t want to become a real estate agent if you never before had an interest in homes or interior design. The same is true of your muse. You should have a considerable amount of knowledge about the niche market that you are targeting.

b. Take your time in choosing your muse if it doesn’t hit you right away. If you just choose anything so you can get started, you may not have the full commitment necessary to stay the course. Make sure you believe in it enough that you can say, “There’s no doubt that I can do it, it’s just a matter of time.”

c. Keep an open mind. The market is always changing, which means new demands for brand new products and services. I invented a product. That obviously means that nobody else in the world had tried selling the product before me. If you choose this route, it will be a tougher road because you don’t have others to model, but the upside can be much better too.

5) What mistakes did you make, and what did you learn from them?

For me, when I start to make bad decisions, it’s usually because I’m afraid of making bad decisions.

For example, when sales started picking up for the training bat, I suddenly assumed I needed a partner. I desparately searched for someone who would take over some of the control of the business. It was a disaster. He would call me to tell me what I needed to be doing to run my company. The root of the problem was that I assumed that there was a “right way” to do things and I needed to do it that way.

There isn’t a “right way.” When it’s your company, there’s one way: your way. The lessons you learn along the way are yours alone and they are your most precious assets.

###

Get the brand-new Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, published 12/15, which includes more than 50 new case studies (including families) of luxury lifestyle design, muse creation, and world travel.

Odds and Ends Elsewhere:
How to Tim Ferriss Your Love Life
Tim Ferriss – angel investments and start-ups

Posted on: December 18, 2009.

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140 comments on “How I Did It: From $7 an Hour to Coaching Major League Baseball MVPs

  1. I DID IT!!! :)

    No, it doesn’t have to do with my muse. The gist upfront: today I ‘mastered’ Tim’s last challenge, i.e. go to a public place and lay flat on the floor ;)
    (Jaime mentions above that he went 40 mins with the car to a Starbucks where nobody knows him and postponed it in the end, that’s why I am adding this comment here. I didn’t see any section on this site that is especially for success stories when it comes to the challenges part. @Tim: if that fits better somewhere else, please move my comment to where it fits better on your site).

    Anyway, maybe some of you are interested in how that happenen and what where the reactions. Here it goes:

    I had a good day today. 6 January every year is a bank holiday (I think in English it’s called Epiphany, Greek word by the way) in many countries in Europe, also here in Greece. So I had the plan to sit down, do some thinking about the 4HWW and my muse, as I have been doing since a couple of weeks by now. So, as I wrote in another comment further above I have been having some difficulties to come up with a muse. I do have several ideas but as described in the other comment it was a little difficult to go ahead. Anyway, it’s not that I took a huuuuge decision today, I just did something that, in my eyes can be the the thing that got that whole thing finally started. Don’t get me wrong, I am very far away still from being where I want. Still, today’s decision and action lifted my spirit up considerably. It just so important to, at some point, stop thinking and start acting, right?

    So my mood was great and I immediately decided to go for running (I am trying to run my first marathon in April this year although I am not doing the ‘necessary’ preparation). So I ran, and ran, and ran and probably had the ‘runners high’ even before I started to run, simply through the fact that I did that first step mentioned above. While running I was so convinced that I can do everything :)

    After more than 2 hours running I get back to the point where I started out the run. This is, let’s say, a public square here in the city where I live. Imagine: it is a bank holiday, brilliant (running) weather with the sun shining and about 50 F so quite a lot of people are on the streets and on this ‘square’ at the sea side, enjoying the day off and going for a walk to digest the great Greek food :)

    So there it ‘happened': I quite spontaneously decided to simply lay down right on the floor, at a spot where you usually neither sit and for sure not lay down with arms and legs streched out :) I was laying there for about one minute. The fact that one person even came up to see if I was ok speaks for the fact that what I was doing and where I was doing it was definitely out of the ordinary (side note: interestingly enough the person that came to see if everything is alright was none of the locals, it was one of the illegal black immigrants who sell bags, watches etc here at the water front).

    Interesting in this context maybe also the fact that, until that moment, the only of Tim’s challenges I had undertaken up to that point was to try to look strangers into the eyes, trying not to be the first one to look away (with mixed ‘success’, by the way). So I kind of went directly from ‘zero to hero’ when it comes to the order of the challenges, no ‘looking for Yoda’ etc in between.

    So, what did I learn from that action today? I am not sure yet, to be honest. I do have to admit that this action happened in an already elevated state of mind, as described above. So is it ‘worth less’ because of that?? Personally, I don’t think so. Anyway, it’s all about overcoming your fears, getting out of your comfort zone. Right? Of course, you can make this ‘experiment’ even more dare devil like if you, let’s say, lay down on Broadway when it’s full with people etc. Or you can lay down on a street in Pamplona/Spain the time they have their traditional annual bull race :) I guess you know what I’m trying to say.

    I think you should try it, it’s fun! And isn’t this also a very important aspect in life: doing things that are fun, that excite us?

    Go for it!

    Regards,
    David

    P.S.: Here’s the spot (older picture, but the best one I could find on the www in quick time) where I decided to lay down. On the right end of the picture, where you see all the people: there it was. And from what I can see I’d say that the amount of people was similar. http://tinyurl.com/y9gqpxd

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  2. Tim

    I am trying to place a comment here about a success story when it comes to ‘mastering’ your challenge of laying flat on the floor in public, since Jaime mentioned that in his first comment above. It just won’t let me upload it, i.e. usually you after submitting the comment you see your comment and it says something like ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ or so.

    Any contents that are forbidden in the comment that might prohibit me submitting my comment??

    Thanks,
    David

    Like

  3. @Clint
    I’m not really the norm when it comes to picking a muse. I had been extremely passionate (maybe obsessed) with finding the key positions of the baseball swing for quite a while. It was a love and a passion for me. When I read 4HWW, I was getting started before I was halfway through the book. There was no question about what I would do, only how to do it.
    If you are looking for a muse, the best advice I can give is to take a pen, a notepad, and 4HWW to a coffee shop and reread what Tim writes about finding a muse. Jot down thoughts as they come to you. Tim has great advice in this area. Read it through two times because you might pick up a nugget you didn’t notice before. Remember, Tim says that a muse is a means to create automated income. It doesn’t have to be a passion.

    @David – Good job! :) I bet that feels good. I don’t think you learn from it right away. It is an act that makes you more willing to “go for it” and step out of your comfort zone in future decisions. That’s great.

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  4. @Jaime thanks for the advice :)

    listening to Income Autopilot as I type this, in fact I’ll probably listen to and follow along in the book atleast 5 more times this weekend ;)

    As far as the challenge, the ideas I’ve brainstormed have either had an established market leader(i.e. endurance supplement for distance runners) or there is free info already available(i.e. Marathon training)

    for now it looks like dropshipping or affiliate sales will be the best place to start with the end goal being a product/info product muse :)

    Like

  5. @Jaime: it did indeed feel good ;)

    BTW: sorry for not having replied to your earlier answer further above, somehow I didn’t get any automated message that there is an answer to that post…

    Anyway, to address ýour comment to the muse testing: I understand what you’re saying, Jaime. And my main challenge was, as I see it, that if you want to present your product to potential clients in order to see how many people would actually push the ‘order’ button, you need to have
    a) a website up and running (ok, not such a big deal)
    b) you need to describe and display the product (for this you need to be quite advanced with your product planning otherwise: what do you want to write about it or even show on the website? let alone adding testimonials)

    So that was the biggest thinking challenge. It still is. Yet, currently I don’t worry so much about that. “Where there’s a will there’s a way”, right? :)

    Like

  6. I just discovered a lady who ditched a successful career as a psychology professor to follow her dream to be a rock-n-roll star. Her name is Michelle Chapell.

    She is a bit trippy, but she really does offer some good advice. Her music is light-hearted and sort of wacky. But she genuinely offers great messages. She encourages people to follow their dreams and to not just go to work to make a paycheck. Her website is http://www.michellechappel.com/

    Check out this song she did called ‘Screw You Yahoo’. It shows a list of companies that laid people off. But it also offers those who have lost their jobs hope. It lest them know that they are still valuable people who are not alone. Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gn4soId0EM

    Life is about doing what you want to do, not doing what you have to do.

    Like

  7. This is a very interesting post. I’m trying to launch a muse related to peak performance coaching, both for athletes and workers, people overall who want to do what they do more efficiently.

    The problem is, I can’t seem to know what I need. I don’t have any certification, but I don’t need if I it, like NLP certification or others, or if I can just use my knowledge. I’m trying to produce an ebook about techniques and maybe later, with success, advance to 1-on-1-coaching and others.

    Is anyone having experience in coaching able to give just a little tip? Maybe Tim himself?

    Like

  8. This is a question for Tim Ferris & other Entreprenuers
    I have worked hard over the last 10 years to create my ideal lifestyle design, I have a successful business, investments, passive income, healthy lifestyle all at age 30.
    But my question is: how do you cope with doing all this on your own?
    I find the men I meet cant keep up with me because they are tied to their 9-5 lifestyle.
    How do you cope with the loneliness that creeps in ?
    What do you say to yourself? Should I just accept its just the way it is and this is the truth about a entreprenuer?
    I am just struggling with how I combine my aspirations for success and my maternal need to nest.
    Any Suggestions or advice?

    Like

  9. @Louisa Possibly, the 9-5 guy is generally going to be a little intimidated by all of your success. An entrepreneur might be a better match for you – someone with more job freedom who can understand you better.

    Also, it could be that you are wearing the same hats for entrepreneurship as your are for dating. While many of the same characteristics work for dating, I think there is a need to shed others. I’m not suggesting that you be someone other than yourself – just express different parts of yourself depending on the situation.

    Like

  10. Hi Tim:

    I am reading your book as a small business owner and i hate that I am always involved in then minutae of running the business, even stuff that I should be removed from. Your book states to provide staff with policies and a format for handling issues, and my question is, can you please send me a a sample? I just need a starting point so that I can start living my life again. I’m 33 w/ 3 kids and a husband I’m too busy for, full of stress, no social life and often times miserable, please help me. I deserve a life.

    Thank you

    Like

  11. Hi Tim and anyone else that could help,
    I’m 16 and still in high school but I would like to get ahead early. A full life of being able to do what I want, when I want. I’ve read 4HWW and read it still when I get the time away from school work. Is there any tips anyone could give me about how to start my own muse?
    Thanks in advance!

    Like

  12. Really inspiring story Tim!

    Just when you thought things were impossible this 4HWW student demystifies it!

    I’m re-reading the book and brainstorming for my muse.

    I’ll be picking up the new version soon.

    Keep up the inspiration.

    Aloha,

    David Do

    Like

  13. Tim–my eyes have opened quite a bit since reading your book. It seems like I’m in a circular Catch 22. I’m a chiropractor and do well financially—but the more money I make equals less time doing the stuff that I really want to do. Man, I am ready to play alot more than I am right now. 41 is about to slip into 42 and I’m running like my ass is on fire…..

    Your way IS a BETTER way…..I’m working on the Muse immediately.

    I’ll be in touch soon with my story.

    Like

  14. Hi Tim!
    I was given your book (FHWW), provided I promised to read it 2x. I read it on a flight over one of the bigger ponds, and immediately began to see how I could incorporate as much as possible.

    Below I wish to share my immediate versus longer term results:

    Immediate Results:
    – I started living remotely…picking the city I wanted to live in (at that point I still maintained a home base, as I was testing it)
    – I regained hours out of my day by cancelling time wasters, and even lost a few people in my life that burned cycles out of habit versus passion or friendship
    – with those extra hours I used your training tips and lost 21 lbs of lousy fat and am hitting the gym shortly for a whopping 30 minute workout (GOD do I remember the days of 90 minute gym work outs)
    – I began engineering how to work and live remotely, which has transformed my quality of life (more on that below)

    NOW Results:
    – I live and work wherever I want to, and am writing this from Barcelona, where I have been for the past 2 weeks, and will be for another 4 weeks (WORKING the entire time despite the fact my ‘office and company’ are NOT in Spain :)
    – I no longer have a permanent home base, and live where I want to. Examples of this are that in the past year I have ‘lived’ (defined as spending more prolonged time there) in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Barcelona, London, Belize and Las Vegas)
    – My ongoing plan is to continue to pick those places I enjoy living and spending as much or little time as I want. I anticipate spending a month or more in Italy in the next little bit (as I mentioned, I am in Spain at this very moment and LOVING LIFE).
    – My salary is not dependent upon how many hours I put in, but rather results, and weirdly, making better money than prior with less hours burned (I also have more confidence when negotiating what I will and won’t do for work…as in, WHERE I do my work)
    – My conversations with potential employers begins with, “I want to run my business responsibilities in EU, US, Dubai, Japan, China and Korea…and work from those locations as I see fit.” Guess what…that is EXACTLY what I do! :)
    – I have been to 11 International cities (from Shanghai, Barcelona, Minsk etc) around the world in the past 3+ months without taking one day off! I have also spent time with friends in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin, Boston, San Francisco and Phoenix…all without ‘BURNING A DAY OFF’

    Next Results:
    – combining what I learned from you with my own personal success stories to help my friends live more fulfilling lives!
    – BEGIN the process of actually sharing my personal knowledge and talents to become an acknowledged and recognized expert in my particular field via white papers etc

    Tim…thank you for writing the book and sharing your no nonsense approach.

    Thank you for being willing to take criticism from folks who appear more likely to write from the couch-of-life than the road-of-life…as there are a million excuses why NOT to do something.

    Thank you for giving me the initial ideas (going to research a ATW ticket next) to get started as I incorporate my own personal brand of life needs into those ideas.

    Thank you for engineering your life in such a way that you’ve been able to share it!

    All the best
    J.T.N.

    Like

  15. As a running coach looking to expand my customer base this is one of the closest connections to my own goals and line of work that I’ve read on here. Very useful.
    To get to work with the best in the world in anything must be fascinating.

    Like