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. 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

  14. Thanks for the example Tim. Nice to hear the principles have been put in practice.

    Couple of points though:
    – I agree with Anthony on one bit – the business plan (not really something I want to outsource). Is this something you touch upon in the updated version of the 4HWW?
    – I haven’t managed to lie down in public either. :-)

    Like

  15. Great article. I’m really looking forward to the case studies in the revised 4hww. I’ve cut my work hours down to 4 per week (from 50), and I’m almost done building my muse. Stories like this are excellent motivation

    Like

  16. Firstly, I managed to snag a Kindle version of the new 4HWW and read it through in less than a day (probably helped that I’d read the first one like 5-6 times, although I didn’t skip any content). Good stuff as always and it was nice to have lots of small case studies sprinkled through out, it made the book feel that bit more definitive.

    And the information about Jaime in the book was definitely one of the more eye catching stories, so it’s great that he’s been able to share his story in greater depth. :-)

    Like

  17. What I gained from this is insight into how possible the elance option is. I did try to job out some website work after I read your first edition, and I was sorely disappointed, but I will definitely give elance a try with my next shift in my business coming up soon! Thanks for the real life tips.

    Like

  18. Great point about there will “be many moments of discomfort and even embarrassment along the way.” I read 4 hour Work Week for the first time about a week ago, promptly made some calls and started talking to some people, and immediately experienced the discomfort of the unknown and of confounding people’s expectations. It’s nice to know this is part of the process. I’m heading off to a 9-hour work day right now, having as-yet failed to find my new rich approach, but this article has definitely given me some hope. Thanks so much!

    Like

  19. great article. it seems to be easier to get your product created than everyone thinks, even though this construction seems rather “basic”.

    yesterday I took the time and browsed your archives, and came across an article where you mentioned that you practised radical honesty, as someone who discovered this approach a few years ago I wonder if you are still sticking with it or if it was too radical for your lifestyle.

    Like

  20. This is a beautiful, inspirational story, and I appreciate one aspect in particular, Tim.

    Jaime has made it big contributing something very unique, something that is HIM, his personal contribution to the world. And even his muse is related to that!

    Finding a muse might be easier for people who first think through what they really want to do with their time, whether they are paid or not, and then find something related.

    What are you here on earth to contribute? What muse can you create that relates to that?

    It is purely anecdotal, but stories like this fly in the face of our culturally ingrained idea that money is a zero sum game. Money represents energy, and there are no energy limits that we can plumb. Virtually every single one of us can “produce” far value than the energy we need to consume.

    And the process of channeling our own energy into a contribution to the world that creates abundance — it’s a fun and rewarding way to “become”.

    Love the story. I’m sure Jaime is a different man than he was three years ago.

    P.S. I’ve lain down in public before. It’s not a big deal. I think I should find another such challenge, though, because I am still over-cautious, and the ease of lying down was probably a fluke.

    But going up to pro players and making your first offers — Jaime, that’s harder for most people than lying down in public. You already did the really tough thing, of making your offer that really represents what’s uniquely you. Congratulations! I am deeply happy for you.

    Like

  21. Hi Tim and Jaime,

    Thanks so much for this post. I love the case studies; They’re really inspiring. I have a feeling I’m not going to be able to hold out for the softcover of the updated book. I couldn’t with the first version!

    Jordan

    Like

  22. Awesome example, thanks Tim and Jaime!

    I have a question that I don’t remember seeing addressed before. How do you know when a given idea you started work on just isn’t going to work? You mentioned your “How I Beat the Ivy League” thing sitting around for a mighty long time before you let it go. Assuming you tested the idea, are there reliable ways to tell the difference between “This idea isn’t so good after all,” and “The idea is fine, you’re doing it wrong”?

    Like

  23. New entrepreneurs over estimate the other guy. I like how Jaimie went to a major league baseball players. He could try and beg little leaguers to use the bat, but that would have gotten him nowhere.

    Just b/c someone is rich or famous does not mean they will not listen, especially when you’re trying to help them.

    Once Jamie succeeded w/ the major leagues, the rest was just running down hill. It’s amazing how effective “it’s in 6 major league dugouts” can be when it comes to selling something baseball related.

    Like

  24. I’d be interested to see a timeline from jaime on his story if he decides to revisit some of the questions in these comments. I read the 4HWW when it first came out in 2007- I was just drawn to the cover in a barnes and noble and sold on it when i saw it was a bestseller and discounted by 30%… i had no idea who tim ferriss was then- and have been building my muse ever since. Right now I have a food wholesaling business that more or less takes care of itself, and I am about to own a commercial kitchen that has positive cash flow and will give me a springboard to start another automated food business… but it has taken a long time (about 3 years) and I’m going nuts with impatience to get out of the country on an extended, no-deadline-to-come-home basis.
    So yeah. An idea of a realistic time line for things would be a great source of encouragement or critical feedback for me. :) Thanks!

    Like

  25. Ahoy Tim,

    The first addition of 4HWW is one of my reference books. I am looking forward to the new info in the second addition.

    We chucked the real-world about 5 years ago. We are living on a sailboat and cruising the gulf coast. Our story isn’t as exciting as Jamie’s but it really is possible.

    A key point, “Just Ask!” It is amazing to so many people as I get asked all the time, “How did you get so-and-so to do that.” I reply, “I just asked them.”

    CaptRobLee

    Like

  26. I am a huge fan of the blog, Tim. I am about to go into the sport industry. I may have a niche, I just need to try! Thanks for the inspiration and direction.

    p.s. Ireland is one of my tops. In the Guinness Distillery, I felt like I was Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Like

  27. This is great stuff Tim.

    I’d really like to see more of these case studies. It helps with keeping me motivated on my own business ventures knowing that others are getting great results.

    Like

  28. Tim,

    Chances are, I will probably end up attending an Ivy League school. What would you recommend majoring in? Is entrepreneurship a good major? Or Computer Science?

    Anon

    Like

    • Hi Anon,

      I think you should major in what you most enjoy. I studies East Asian Studies, which — ostensibly — has almost nothing to do with anything professional I did for the first 7 years out of school.

      Flexible majors that teach overall cognitive skills include CS and English, of course. Two things never to miss: at least one intensive foreign language and at least one intensive writing course.

      Good luck!

      Tim

      Like

  29. Anthony:

    Great question about the business plan and loans. I’m going to give you my opinion but please understand, it’s only my experience that I’m speaking from. I considered writing a business plan and doing the research necessary to get a really good one in the hands of some movers and shakers. As I got into the work, I started to see a really bleak future where guys were saying, “yeah, right, you can improve Major League Baseball players in a matter of weeks. And I’m Elvis Presley’s brother!”

    I spent about two weeks researching the business plan avenue (I was working a rather low paying job as you know, which allowed me the time to read Tim’s book and do some research…and once in a while use the fax machine, and…well, you get the idea) and then read a book on business plans that basically said, you don’t need a business plan anymore. The next book I read was TFHW.

    If you really believe you have something special (and that’s why I suggest taking your time choosing something if something doesn’t pop out right away) then just start now. That’s really the message that screams out at you when reading TFHW: Start today. After all, who wants to wait for some big whigs to approve of your vision? PROVE that it works. How? Figure it out. That’s the fun part.

    I have not gotten any loans except for a few hundred here and there from the bank. My suggestion is to exhaust every other possibility before getting a loan and even when you do, make is small.

    Like

    • Just to reiterate for those browsing, here is Jaime’s answer to whether or not to work on b-plans and take loans:

      “Anthony:

      Great question about the business plan and loans. I’m going to give you my opinion but please understand, it’s only my experience that I’m speaking from. I considered writing a business plan and doing the research necessary to get a really good one in the hands of some movers and shakers. As I got into the work, I started to see a really bleak future where guys were saying, “yeah, right, you can improve Major League Baseball players in a matter of weeks. And I’m Elvis Presley’s brother!”

      I spent about two weeks researching the business plan avenue (I was working a rather low paying job as you know, which allowed me the time to read Tim’s book and do some research…and once in a while use the fax machine, and…well, you get the idea) and then read a book on business plans that basically said, you don’t need a business plan anymore. The next book I read was TFHW.

      If you really believe you have something special (and that’s why I suggest taking your time choosing something if something doesn’t pop out right away) then just start now. That’s really the message that screams out at you when reading TFHW: Start today. After all, who wants to wait for some big whigs to approve of your vision? PROVE that it works. How? Figure it out. That’s the fun part.

      I have not gotten any loans except for a few hundred here and there from the bank. My suggestion is to exhaust every other possibility before getting a loan and even when you do, make is small.”

      Like

  30. Love stories like these.

    I like what James said about making bad decisions when he was afraid to make decisions. But as I am launching my muse, I’m beginning to believe that there are no real bad decisions. There are just decisions. Now I just make a decision and I will work to make it right. If I don’t get the result desired, I learned something to make the next decision easier.

    Thanks for the inspiration Tim

    Like

  31. Thank you for that comment. What I am saying is, what if the business needs a big loan? People I talk to tell me that you need to spend money to make money, and I don’t have much.

    Tim, you talked about starting with ONLY $25,000 to promote yourself for 4HWW. You were already rich by that time anyway, saying you made $100k a month at your best point. $25,000 to me is frickin HUGE… and I would need a loan for that amount of money, which necessitates a business plan.

    I feel there is some discrepancy between what you are preaching and what you have been practicing. This is what I’m asking you to flesh out sometime maybe in a blog post. Thanks.

    Like

  32. Yes, the inevitable question always is how someone with no money can get started on their muse or big vision.

    But Jaime, it does sound like you had no money when you started on the big vision, anyway.

    It can be done. And I would venture it might best be done with less money, because money can go really fast on decisions that don’t work. Less money often inspires a creative approach. I’m not “preaching” the virtue of poverty, only that if we don’t have money, we certainly don’t need to give up hope.

    Like

  33. To Anthony:

    You may want to explore other avenues if you need such a cash injection into your project.

    Bank loans are only one way of getting the money. If you think more laterally (something Tim teached to the extreme I think), you can probably enquire about joint ventures (you bring the knowledge about your idea and somebody brings finance to share profits) or replicate property develpoment vendor finance if this involves buying a business.

    Don’t forget to ask others. Last week, by asking a friend about how they started their Pty Ltd company (equivalent to LLCs in the US), I saved $AU 11,000 and will only invest $AU 2,000 to start up as a result – much more manageable.

    There might be a way you can get started by being a bit more creative.

    Good luck!

    Like

  34. Nice, Jaime. I am only missing a little the outsourcing aspect, i.e. the outsourcing of processes so you reach the ‘ultimate’ 4HWW (with emphasis on ‘4’). Although it sounds as if you came up with a great muse (or even two, counting the upcoming book too) but it doesn’t really sound as if you are working ‘Tim style’, i.e. start ‘life styling’ :)

    Like

  35. Hi Tim,

    REally enjoyed this information and it is keeping me motivated! Can you connect me with anyone interested in microfinancing in Nova Scotia, Canada? This is my Christmas Wish…..Lana Larder

    Like

  36. My business partner and I just had to stop the business altogether to take a 2 week vacation to Peru.

    The business has gotten to the point where it can sustain to be stopped for a short period. However we can’t afford to do this too often, but it isn’t automating income yet.

    This is because is it a specialized repair service business and therefore we need to be there to make the repairs.

    I wonder if you have any case studies where someone has figured this out or links to websites that I can follow to get ideas.

    Thanks for the all the inspiration. I just ignored my girlfriend for 2 hours to read your new book – nothing an ice cream can’t forgive.

    Jorge

    Like

  37. The Wikipedia approach didn’t stick. Inspiring story nonetheless. “02:19, 20 December 2009 DGG (talk | contribs) deleted “Jaime Cevallos” ? (Speedy deleted per CSD G11, was blatant advertising, used only to promote someone or something. using TW)”

    Like

  38. Happy for this guy, I’m betting that there are so many life changing stories that came from this book that we will never hear about. 4hww was a turning point in my life for sure, Tim you showed me and so many what was possible, the rest is up to us. Thanks buddy

    Like

  39. Hi Tim,

    One of my business coaches mentioned your book (and so did Jack Canfield) and I had to check out your book. I got the audio book from my library and listened today for about 25 minutes on my IPod while working out. I went online to check out your site and couldn’t believe the value add items. Of course I had to order the book too. This stuff is going to change how I do business – it is awesome. Anyhow, why did Wikipedia delete Jaime Cevallos’ info?

    Like

  40. Wow, amazing story. There’s a muse for all of us out there…just got to find it. I’m in the medical field and it’s a lot like the restaurant business; there’s only so many visits you can do in a day, but thanks to reading 4HWW a few years ago I got up the guts to open my own practice.

    Like

  41. Hey Tim

    One thing that’s been bugging me related to this post and particularly this quote:

    “Take your time in choosing your muse if it doesn’t hit you right away.”

    On your forum there’s a theme circulating among 2 or 3 old timers (people who appear/claim to be successful w/their muses and have been posing for a long time) which says that we will most likely fail at our first 1 to 3 muse attempts.

    Should I “practice” with some lesser ideas before launching my baby? Maybe the thing to do is just quickly bang out a couple of “lesser” muses to learn the ropes???

    These same folks also say that very few muses last more than 2 years. That one seems silly when we consider BrainQuicken, or the topic of this post…

    If there’s a better place for these issues/questions feel free to redirect me or just reply in email…

    Jazzed to the hilt about 4HWW!!

    N.

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    • Hi Norman,

      I think it’s common to fail with muses but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why you test so extensively. Muses should also be able to last more than 2 years. Mine did and Jaime’s has/will. As Jaime said last night at dinner: “People need to ask themselves: what’s weird about me? That’s probably the passion they should base their muse on.”

      Don’t just choose anything to get started. Do the hard thinking so you can work smart later.

      All the best and good luck!

      Tim

      Like

    • Hi LC,

      I redated the last plan B 24-hour post because I didn’t want people to get confused and place big orders when the comp had ended.

      The sales are coming along, but it could be giri-giri (Japanese for just barely). We’ll know next Wednesday! I’ll keep you all posted.

      Thanks so much,

      Tim

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  42. Thanks, Tim.

    I just had my vaca day breakfast of french toast… Utopia indeed.

    I’m fortunate that I have a couple of muses I’ve been toying with for about 2 years but couldn’t decide how to handle them. Then, about 6 weeks ago I read your book and it all became VERY clear what to do!

    “…what’s weird about me?…” This is MONEY! What a great paradigm shift. Profiting from, embracing, accentuating those things that are totally unique about ourselves.

    Norman Petersen

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  43. Hey

    Im sure someone on here is tuning into Tims Live Q and A on tuesday the 22nd. That post is down now and I cant remember what time/ what number etc.

    Can someone let me know?

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  44. I’ve ordered the book and it was shipped on 12/14 but it has yet to arrive. Hopefully I’ll get it by 12/22 just in time for the chat. Tim, I already own the previous version, so I wan to know which parts of the new edition should I focus on reading? I couldn’t read it all in 1 day assuming I get it by then.

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  45. Excellent Story. This is a most useful tidbit and is going to be helpful in kicking me in the butt. My project will begin the first week of January. Still sketching ideas(basic page layouts and such) at the moment. Maybe I’ll give Elance a try web development. I don’t have to be concerned about the first or second muse failing as some above have exercised concern about. I KNOW this will go. There is no delusion. It’s a niche that exists, that really hasn’t been tapped. :) I just have to figure out some creative marketing ploy…….

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  46. The question that seems to keep coming up in this particular blog is how to find a muse. As Tim said above, at dinner last night we discussed that, ironically, it’s often the things that are different or “weird” about us that are somehow/someway our greatest gifts.

    It came up when I told him a story about one day when I was a sophomore in high school: It was a Friday night and a bunch of my friends showed up at my house unannounced, and jumped out of their jeep for a surprise visit, wanting to take me to a party. I was in the backyard hitting baseballs off a tee under the lights- practicing my swing.

    My friends ragged me for years for that (that’s how we show love in Philly). I always tried to hide how obsessed I was with the baseball swing. Turns out, it was my nitch, if you will.

    My muse works for me. Not everyone could provide instruction to professional athletes and get immediate results. I had spent years studying the baseball swing as well as how the experts at the time are teaching it. The video you see above was from 2002 when i was still studying and refining my methods. I’m not a great salesperson. I’m much better at saying, “here are the results.” My path shows that self knowledge.

    For me (again, this is for me) there was no “I’ll try this muse and see how it goes.” I KNEW I had something to offer. I knew what I had (instructional methods) and I had studied extensively (because I was interested) what was taught by the gurus of the day. The value was there – no doubt. Before I read TFHW, I didn’t know how (unfortunately or fortunately – I didn’t give it much thought until then) to turn methods into a business.

    But remember, there are many many ways to accomplish a goal. The best advice I can give is to go after YOUR goals and go after them in YOUR way.

    David:

    That’s a great point about me missing the outsourcing aspect of the business mentioned in TFHW – making it automated. I probably could outsource more and that will probably be an area to look at in 2010.

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  47. I loved the story Jaimie and Tim, but $90 for a logo? What the…?

    Ninety smackers for something as essential as branding is insulting, ill-informed and bad business. And from what I can see, I’m sad to say, you got your money’s worth. I mean, sure, it’s an OK concept (spanner-meets-baseball bat) but it’s an unresolved, disjointed and amateurish implementation of this first-draft concept that you’re now stuck with like a boil on your bum.

    Ninety bucks is more like what you’d pay a baby-sitter to mind your kids for a whole day or for someone to clean your house. Sheesh… ninety bucks is what you spend on a low-spec office chair! You don’t pay someone who’s done 3-4 years of a university degree and then spent a few more years on-the-job in a studio learning the intricacies of design (and the associated psychology) ninety bucks to create a logo unless you only want an hour of their time and some scratches on a napkin.

    I could’ve told you your local designer would let you down, as anyone who charges $500 for a logo is going to be an amateurish hack who lacks confidence and is just begging for the work. I bet I know why she let you down. She’s either WAY over committed (trying to eek out a living at those stupid rates) or she’s inexperienced, suffered stage-fright and simply dropped the ball.

    I’ll not go into the whole “why pay a lot for a logo” thing, but I will say that LOGO, NAME and BUSINESS CONCEPT are three things that you can never spend too much research, thought and time on in the early stages.

    Sure the lemmings who waste their time and talent under-bidding on elance are digging their OWN financial graves, (after all, you didn’t MAKE them do the logo for $90) but they’re also damaging other people’s legitimate business by undervaluing the true cost of TRULY professional and worthwhile services.

    I bet you don’t charge $90 for a week of your time do you? (That’s the minimum amount of time a freelance designer should spend on an important logo – and by ‘important’ I mean something more than a logo for the local butcher shop).

    Good design is a hard-earned skill (with a pinch of talent) and is important for many reasons, the simplest – contentiously – is that people will ALWAYS (and according to Oscar Wilde, should) judge a book by it’s cover. This is encoded into our DNA and has been essential to our survival as a species. Civilized thinking allows us to look for, and make, exceptions (as we should) but our innate instinct – for better or worse – remains. Of course we all openly disagree with this statement as it offends our gentler, considerate side, but if this wasn’t unabashedly true, why would anyone have a logo or a business name at all? (or spend money on clothes for that matter? We all ‘cover our own books’ and EXPECT to be judged accordingly).

    cheers,
    matthk
    Now, if you can help me with my nine-ball break, I’d be keen to buy a book. ;-)

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  48. @matthk Jaime just proved that you can go against the rules of what constitutes a “good business” and still become successful. Yes, the logo stinks. But if it makes money then it doesn’t matter if his logo is made up from comic sans in multicolor, wouldn’t u agree?

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  49. @Tim,
    I love that you’re going “back to basics”. Case studies are EXACTLY what a lot of us could use.

    @All,
    Please do tell your stories. I even bet that, if you just forwarded it to Tim, he’d love to publish them on the blog.

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  50. To illustrate my last point: read between the lines and there’s a guy (Jaime) that reaches out with his story to Tim, then Tim asks how he used the 4HWW book, the guy tries and apologizes for not remembering the book entirely (lol!). Tim gets down to the last specific questions and the blog post is ready to go.

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  51. @matthk Yes, it looks completely disjoint to your professional eyes and to a small minority. But frankly I don’t think he cares about the minority, considering that he has made it. He is a businessman, not an artist, and I think his work has shown he is successful at what he does.

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  52. Hi Tim,

    Not sure if this is the appropriate place for this but you did mention that there was a QA session on the 22nd.

    Is that still going ahead to schedule? I’ve refined my sack of questions to just one.

    Hope to hear from you,

    Alex

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  53. Hey Tim,

    For a business, the right way is YOUR way.

    A crucial point Jaime pointed out, along with honestly admitting to making a mistake by thinking he needed to do it “the right way.”

    I’ve been there as well. And not just in business.

    You think you need to act a certain way in front of certain people. And that’s when you make mistakes. You’re not yourself, you’re not remarkable, and you awkwardly interact with people. Fail.

    But by building the confidence to be yourself in any situation (please yourself, make yourself happy first), you become remarkable, become comfortable in your own skin, and you shine in front of others. Win.

    The same in business. When you try to run it “the right way” that you’re not comfortable with, you stretch yourself thin and flub. Perhaps your biz loses its remarkable-ness.

    But if an unconventional way is working, and it suits your personality and lifestyle, then THAT actually becomes the right way.

    The right way in business is whichever gets you desired results most effectively and fits your personality and lifestyle.

    Thanks for sharing Tim and Jaime,
    Oleg

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  54. I would just love to read something about how you planned and the strategy behind your book’s relaunch – that would be the best case study for me.

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  55. Inspiring. It’s scary to take risks but it often leads to success.

    “The more risks you take the more success you’ll have”- Can’t remember the author of this quote

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  56. Tim,
    Thank you for taking time to tell the most important story…not what this (4hww) does for you…but what it does for others. Everyone has a different path to their LEAP. Some may look chaotic, like mine via the military, eventually entrepreneurship to software dev, others like Jaime where the path is a bit more straightforward. Even so the stories are so compelling because they don’t “sell” they “tell” the immense value of what you’ve uncovered and been so gracious to share with us. This, I think, can be the nature of the new emerging economy if we make it so.

    So again, thank you!
    Eric

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  57. Interesting post Tim and Jaime, I purchased the 4HWW audio book about 1.5 years ago and just received the new and improved book edition the end of last week…I went on vacation this weekend and started reading it because I’m going to join the online storefront challenge on shopify for my baseball hitting site…funny, because this is just the kind of product I want to sell in my online store.

    I, like Jaime, never played in the BIG Leagues (played for Fresno State 2000-2003, the Bulldogs won the 2008 College Baseball World Series), but caught the 4HWW bug, and Tim makes everything seem possible, so I started a hitting site with all of Tim’s recommendations in mind…I even used Ramit Sethi and Leo Baubata’s blogsites as testing grounds for marketing, Leo’s site simplification and Ramit’s Challenges. I don’t get Tim traffic (about 120-150 unique visitors/day) but this next year I have 4HWW marketing plans that will increase traffic quite a bit.

    My future 4HWW muses are the storefront, a private labeled supplement for athletes, and a book. I would love to get in contact with Jaime, I think we could build a mutually beneficial online relationship.

    Thanks so much Tim for the fantastic posts and generous info. in the book! Can’t wait for the new book, I’m a certified fitness trainer, so I can’t wait until it comes out!

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  58. Hey Tim,
    Love these posts on muse design, and the new book. It’s hard to list how many ways your advice has positively impacted my life, but I’ve managed to avoid the 9-5 for two years out of college and am about to leave on a walkabout/mini retirement to tamarindo beach in costa rica. Because of my muse income, i’ve been able to pursue my passion of whitewater kayaking and outdoor adventure, volunteer as a lifeguard at a camp for seriously ill kids (since I was able to quit my former job) and generally keep wearing flip flops instead of a tie :-).

    Because of your health related posts, I’ve lost 35 pounds and went from 19% bodyfat to under 10%, with alot of strength gains. I’m teaching the same principles to my younger brother, and he’s seen some great results. Can’t wait for Becoming Superhuman, Thanks again for everything.

    Sincerely,
    Sean

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  59. Hi Tim,

    This is more of a question. I would love to see someone come up with a better way of managing comments on your blog. For example, 90% of the comments are “Tim your the man.” or “Tim, thanks for making me rich.” or “Tim, will you marry my sister.”

    Anyway, you get the point, and it’s nice to get this feedback; but how cool would be if the comments were organized in a way that they carried on more like a conversation. I guess you could do a digg.com and have people push the good comments to the top, but it makes it hard to see the chronology of the comments.

    I think, today, that what people have to say is just as valuable as the content. If it’s all piled up 9 feet high, it starts to seem less important.

    Regards,

    Nick

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  60. Dear Tim,

    What your saying is all well and good, but you fail to mention you went to a top prep school in the U.S and you went to Princeton University, again one of the best school’s in America.

    Surely you have had the 80-20 Principle, engraves into you from your childhood.

    And surely, only 20% of the people buying the book will be able to apply the principles, whereas 80% probably haven’t had that upbringing with the same discipline.

    Thomas

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  61. @Jaime (or everybody else who wants to contribute):

    you write above in your last comment “The value was there – no doubt.”

    I think one more challenge apart from coming up with a muse is that, in most cases, you ask people around you what their opinion is – friends, family, colleagues,…. Did you do so and if yes, what was their opinion? Was it like ‘ah, come on man, you want to teach all of a sudden MLB pros how to swing?”, connected with a strange look and a pitty-smile? If so, how did you deal with that and what would your advise be about understanding when an idea is crap and when it might be indeed worth making it real? This question goes out to everybody, I’d be very interested in some opinions on that since I do have some ideas about potential muses but the feedback from people around is not always the most inspiring. Is it really all about saying: “hey, I am convinced of my own idea and if I only believe enough in it I can make everything work?”

    Of course, Tim writes in his book that you should do some testing through google ads in order to get a feedback on who would actually buy that product. For this, of course, you need to come up with a website that describes/shows the product and to see how many people actually would place an order.

    Waiting for all your input on that.

    Regards from Greece,
    David

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  62. Dang missed yesterday’s call! Bought the book but, had my alarm set for tonight.

    Is there a transcript or an audio file that we late-comers could use to catch-up on what we missed?

    to.

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  63. Thomas,

    There are plenty of case studies of folks who didn’t go to an Ivy League school who have made this work. But you need a can-do attitude. It’s pretty easy to say “He has advantage X and I don’t.” People focus on that even though there are other examples of people without such advantages where one could just as easily conclude, “If others can do it, what’s stopping me?”

    As for most people not applying the principles, that’s true of everything. Most people who read diet books stay fat. It’s not the fault of the provider of information if the reader doesn’t take action.

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  64. @matthk and the logo

    At the time that I developed the logo, I was focused on teaching Major League Baseball players and that is still my main focus. I knew nothing about obtaining a logo and frankly, felt quite overwhelmed by the thought of getting one. As you say, I could have spent a lot of time researching to get a “perfect logo” but 1) I like the design, 2) It has worked great for me and 3) who cares how much time or money one spends as long as the result is what one wants?

    I think #3 is a theme in Tim’s book. Don’t get bogged down by the details/Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. I was doing the 20% of the activities that got 80% of the results. The rest needed to get done fast and inexpensively. For me, spending weeks or months coming up with “the perfect logo” was not the best use of my time; designing training aids and teaching Major League Baseball players was (and still is)..

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  65. Hey Tim,

    Great post looking forward to going through your updated version of 4HWW this weekend and pulling some additional diamonds out. Looking to find new ways to make my muses more profitable and automated :)

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  66. What a great concrete example of going from 0 to 60 in three seconds or less. Jaime’s story should inspire anyone who’s ever wanted to create a muse to get it done. Although perhaps not all on the same scale, we can take a page out of Jaime’s book and boldly pursue the shortest path from A-Z.

    Thanks for the inside info on The Swing Mechanic.

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  67. Hi Tim,
    Love these “how I did it” posts. Really excited for your new book! Never really could outsource my business when I first read your book, as all my products are custom- but I got some great tips on how to streamline life as a Mompreneur.
    Congrats on all your success and thank for giving us all a business/lifestyle bluprint to follow!

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  68. What is your opinion regarding Wikipedia? It usually comes up at the top of Google rankings and to be or not to be on Wikipedia seems to affect internet based businesses quite a lot?

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  69. Hi

    I have been in a state of agony these days. No, not because of Christmas :) Maybe some of you feel similar since the moment you have been trying to come up with a muse and want to microtest it?

    Here’s the situation: I feel as if I am in a vicious circle… or at least have arrived at a ‘dead end’…

    I thought one of the rather difficult things is to come up with a muse. Well, maybe not really. If you do what Tim suggests in the book, i.e. taking a creative look at your CV, you can indeed come up with a couple of things. BTW: I am reading the book now for the 3rd time and its amazing how many ‘new’ helpful aspects you can come across when doing so. So I came up with a couple of ideas of which I think they’re not bad and they are in an area where I do have some knowledge and know the clients since I belong(ed) to this part of the society myself (for quite a while).

    Anyway, now I am in the phase where I would need to to microtest the product in order to see if it’s worth going after and spend money and further time on. Well, but here’s the challenge: in order to microtest it I would need to set up some ads that lead to a website where potential clients could place an order. OK, but for this I need to have the product ready, right? At least I should be able to display the product on the website, describe it etc etc. Something I can’t do, of course, without putting further effort (time and money) into it, producing a prototype etc.

    Any suggestions for me on that one and how you went about it?

    Thanks in advance and happy holidays!
    David

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  70. Very inspiring story. I respect Jaime’s commitment to following through and making things happen instead of just sitting around and hoping for the best. On that note my business partner and I have started a MMA lifestyle company focused on the positive aspects of the fighting arts and the athletes. We have a great deal of knowledge in regards to the sport, contacts, design, and general business operations. I have also read through your book at least 4 times, but we both agree that we could use a mentor or two to get this company off the ground and headed in the right direction. Do you, or anyone on this blog, have any advice on finding a mentor and how you should structure that relationship? Thank you and good luck Jaime.
    Cory Duffy

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  71. @David

    There are three options for testing product. All three options are mentioned in 4HWW (starts on page 180 of revised edition).

    1. You can test it by building a prototype and obtaining feedback/testimonials from friends/contacts. If you are worried that your friends will only give positive feedback, you can make sure you are there when they try it so you can assess the pros and cons yourself.

    2. Collect the informations from leads that come to your site, for example, by offering a discount when the product comes available or b) offering free information.

    3. Dry testing – As Tim explains in the revised 4HWW (pg. 184). When the customer clicks to buy the product, it takes them to a second page that collects their contact info. The next page states that the company is currently on back order and the customer will be contacted when product is in stock.

    I think numbers two and three are great ways to test a product because you still collect the customers’ contact information. Seems like it would be great for an “informational” product.

    It really depends on your product. I knew I had to get results before I got people to look my way, so my first order was to prove that my product, that I knew would work, actually worked. My “test” would be performed on any players I could meet at the highest level of baseball I could find. At first, it was college players (proved to be a bad idea since NCAA rules don’t allow the names or images of players on retail sites – to this day some of the best results came from NCAA players but I cannot refer to them – big lesson learned), then Major League Baseball Players.

    I would suggest reading the section on testing your product in 4HWW a few times. I think you will find the best method for your particular product by reading through this section a few times.

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  72. Awesome video. I love that you’re showing some case studies, it’s nice to see people who were once a similar situation as my own take action and living the life of their dreams. Their examples make me realize that I can do it too.

    Thanks for the great content Tim!

    Chad

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  73. Hi, I’m working with partners on a software utility for mechanical engineers – and I’m reading the book now based on a recommendation. I’ve got some really good feedback on what we’re developing from engineering managers, and now I’m thinking…….woah, this could be a ‘muse’ and I didn’t think of it clearly as that until recently. Anyway, thanks for the good book and message within. I consider myself as an ‘out of the box’ thinker but you got me beat with this way of thinking.

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  74. Jaime just proved that you can go against the rules of what constitutes a “good business” and still become successful. Yes, the logo stinks. But if it makes money then it doesn’t matter if his logo is made up from comic sans in multicolor, wouldn’t u agree?

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  75. Great story Jaime!

    I too am trying to find my muse and I got very inspired last yr at the annual gathering for the entrepreneur forum I’m on in Scottsdale, AZ when the “rock-star” of gathering showed his new biz that was based on his profession/passion- poker and the idea was video lessons using a top pro to teach and charging a subscription for the service, he has already gotten that top pro as well as press releases(I believe he was a 4HWW reader as well).

    At the time I was focused on the beginning of baseball season(I play in a 30+ league, even though I was 25 at the time) and training for my 2nd marathon, which limited me to 10 of our 20 games, however, I thought, “hey, I fit a niche, I’m a tall, left-handed hitting, line-drive/gaps hitter”, this would be a great niche to master and figure out how to teach all the youngsters out there that only see the Prince Fielders and Ryan Howards hitting longballs, that there are great left-handed line-drive hitters such as Sean Casey, Mark Grace and Tony Gwynn who all had long, successful big league careers with their approach to hitting. While I was inspired at the time, I had to come back to the j.o.b. and “reality” of the rat-race and cluttered life I’ve built up in Chicago and the idea has been shelved since :(

    At the moment, I feel I have too many interests to really pick one that I am “good” enough at to be an “expert” or that would be profitable, which is stupid b/c as Tim says, expert status is only in reference to who your market is and it’s very possible to get those experts(mentioned above) to endorse/license my product, I just have to get off my lazy butt and create it!

    The question is, of my 5 biggest interests- baseball, travel, distance running, cars and entrepreneurship/lifestyle design, which one can I find the high-demand/low-supply muse to get started?

    At the moment my fiance and I are working on truly defining the DEAL concept and focusing on “D” and “E”, with the E being trying to get rid of all mental and physical clutter, which if it weren’t for a boatload of debt would be to the extreme that the “Cold Remedy” contestant named Maneesh took it to ;)

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