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

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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.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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

  1. What a great post. Just another example of how somebody with the balls to take some action just completely changed his life in the course of a year.

    Congrats Jaime, now can you go help the Red Sox please?

    -Steve

    Like

  2. Great stuff! Really enjoying seeing other real-world application of Tim’s principles. As someone in a medical profession I am struggling with creating a muse. It is hard not being inspired by stories like this one.

    Triston

    Like

  3. I’d just listened to your convo with Eben. You hit on an idea around inaction and hesitation to make decisions… along the lines of [paraphrased] “you can always undo/fix a bad decision, but you can never get back the time spent waiting to make it in the first place.”

    One line that jumps out in here that has a parallel: “For me, when I start to make bad decisions, it’s usually because I’m afraid of making bad decisions.”

    Bold action always crushes waiting for the perfect time to act. Solid case study.

    Like

  4. “Take your time in choosing your muse if it doesn’t hit you right away.” This has to be the best advice. It took me trying almost 50 different things to find out that 49 of them weren’t for me. Finally, I am settling into something that I can do and do well. The one thing that I try to teach people at this point is to not force something just for the sake of doing it. Know that’s what you’re meant to do. And you will know it when you find it.

    Like

  5. Tim, as always this is a great case study. This is just another real world example of what can be done with the power of promotion over the web and the time to focus on networking. I’m curious about your new edition of the book, is there a heavy focus on web store case studies or does it get into more of how to leverage the time you free up to help promote yourself?

    Like

    • Hi Steve,

      The new edition’s added material focuses on case studies of all types, including creating more time, automation, world travel, negotiation, and more. I don’t get too far into PR, though the previous post on this blog would give you a good overview, as would other posts in the “marketing” topic category in the sidebar.

      Tim

      Like

  6. I listened to Tims interview with Eban Pagan last night, now reading this is inspiring. I’m off to buy the new version of the book, and i’m buying a training bat too, for the kids team i coach… ;)

    Like

  7. Tim,
    You should check your last mail sent to subscribers-I got a link to an earlier post rather than this one- maybe that’s why there are so few responses?
    By the way- this is a good post, I will certainly be buying your expanded 4HWW book.

    Like

  8. Hi Tim,

    Outstanding! What is so great about this post and the 4HWW is that it is so inspiring. I think that inspiration is key in helping motivate us to take the next step.

    This story reminds me of my business partner and myself. We just released our eBook 2 weeks ago. Now I am reading 4HWW Updated Version and love it!

    You know what would be really great? A whole book of success stories of people who used the 4HWW and what muse they chose. It would be great to see all the things that worked for them.

    Anyway, thank you so much! 4HWW is one of my top 10 books of all time!

    Like

    • Michael, please stop putting your company/site name in the “name” field. It’s against the comment rules. Future comments with business/SEO name will be removed, as much as I and my assistants enjoy many of your comments.

      Thanks,

      Tim

      Like

  9. Tim,

    Thank you for the detailed post. As an ex-ballplayer myself, I found this example very inspiring.

    I particularly relate to his response, 4b, the need to take time when picking a muse you are excited about even if something doesn’t come right away, vs. just getting started in something quickly.

    I know you gave some suggestions in the 4HWW on how to go about deciding on a muse, but I’m still having difficulty.

    Any further thoughts or ideas?

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    Like

  10. Tim and Jaime,

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m really glad your getting back into the specifics of muse making and breaking down the challenges and experiences Tim. This is something I’m not going to be backing down for freedom in my life, and your dedication to the empirical data is something that is lacking out there. Jaime’s story is awesome, I wish him best of luck, and appreciate you Tim for still being in this “space” instead of just getting money out of it and moving on. Taking your time is something I completely understood as Jaime mentioned it. I’m 7 or so months and still cautiously making decisions on how to break into my muse ideas and challenge how I live life…the business aspects are finally breaking the surface and it’s exciting.

    Like

  11. Good stuff!
    “For me, when I start to make bad decisions, it’s usually because I’m afraid of making bad decisions. ”

    Really hits home and its always good to know that there’s not just ‘one way’ of doing things!

    Like

  12. Tim,

    You are the man!!! I have been a huge fan and avid reader of everything you post. Loved the origianl book, and am burning through the new one I just got (preordered it)

    Anyway, I have stumbled onto a unique idea for a book series in the romantic/erotica genre, and will be employing some of your techniques to start a whirlwind of media attention to propel this project to success.

    I loved this posting in particular, since I took a lot of advice from the suggestions made by Jaime. I can’t wait to have my own success story feature on the 4HWW blog.

    Onward and upward!!!

    Darren Michaels–author

    Like

  13. I’m glad to know that laying down in public is not entirely necessary as a pre-cursor to success. It freaks me out yet to this day as well. :)

    I’ve just decided to go ahead and pay someone to help me work on my own site. While I wish I had the skills myself, it’s not something I have the patience to work on when I’d rather have the work done sooner.

    I’m still struggling along to find and develop my muse, but I still have hope that something, someday will click.

    Like