Case Studies: How to Build Online Businesses That Gross $250,000+ Per Month


Debbie Sterling’s GoldieBlox is now grossing $300,000+ per month.

My specialty is modeling success. I analyze what works and ask: what recipe can I find that others can use?

In this post, we’ll dissect five successful online businesses. Some of them (e.g. GoldieBlox) are now grossing $300,000+ per month…and it’s the founder’s first company! One (Fresh-Tops) has gone from 1 to 20 employees in six months. Some of the other stats are even more impressive.

The highest monthly sales by a contestant in the FIRST two months of starting, excluding any pre-existing businesses, was $196,811. How would that change your life?

Out of more than 10,000 contestants in one of the last Shopify Build-a-Business Competitions, these five businesses are those that sold the most in completely different categories:

Design, Art and Home
Gadgets and Electronics
Fashion and Apparel
Canadian [Because Shopify is based in Canada. Go Canucks!]
Everything Else

So… What do they all have in common? And what can you replicate on your own?

For both questions, the answer is: more than you think.

[Sidenote: Have you seen the brand-new competition, launched yesterday? Grand prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Necker Island, Richard Branson’s private island, to be mentored for a week by Richard, yours truly, Seth Godin, and a bunch of amazing folks. Check out this description.]

Without further ado, let’s analyze these five rock stars, looking at what they did right and, just as important, what they did wrong… Read More

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How to Create a Viral Book Trailer (or Get 1,000,000 Views for Almost Anything)


How do you create a viral video?

I am asked this quite a lot. I’ve been asked by authors, TV producers, and first-time Kickstarter entrepreneurs. In my experience, the answers are the same for all of them.

In this post, I’ll deconstruct one example: The 4-Hour Chef (4HC) book trailer, which is now the most-viewed non-fiction book trailer of all time. Roughly 1.5 million views and counting.

Before we dig in…

First, let’s make a distinction: creating a “viral” video is not the same a creating a “popular” video, but both can be valuable.

If you use ads to drive 1,000,000+ views, a video is not viral; it is popular. If your views come from organic sharing (or incentivized sharing like DropBox), it can be considered viral.

This post is also intended as a companion to my post, Behind the Scenes: How to Make a Movie Trailer for Your Product (or Book), which goes into equipment, planning, and (tons of) other details that I’ve omitted here.

For later — below are resources that will save you a TON of time and tail-chasing… Read More

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How to (Really) Make $1,000,000 Selling E-Books – Real-World Case Studies


Who will be the JK Rowling of self-publishing? Better still: who will be the legions who make an extra $1,000-$1,000,000 per year? (Photo: The Telegraph, UK)

This is a guest post by Ryan Buckley and the team at Scripted. I have added my own tools and recommendations after “TIM” throughout the piece.

Enter Ryan Buckley and Team

Barry Eisler writes thrillers about a half-Japanese, half-American freelance assassin named John Rain. John Rain is the consummate anti-hero, a whiskey swilling, jazz-loving former CIA agent battling crippling paranoia as he adventures around the globe. Readers love John Rain, so much so that they’ve landed Barry Eisler and seven of his John Rain books on the New York Times Bestseller list. [TIM: Here’s how the different bestseller lists work.]

Having conquered all that needs to be conquered in the world of commercial publishing, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Eisler’s publisher offered him $500,000 deal for a new two-book deal.

The surprise was that Eisler turned down the deal and decided to tackle self-publishing instead.  In a freewheeling discussion with self-publishing expert Joe Konrath, Eisler says:

“I know it’ll seem crazy to a lot of people, but based on what’s happening in the industry, and based on the kind of experience writers like you are having in self-publishing, I think I can do better in the long term on my own.”

We asked Eisler for a current update, and he told us that this month (March 2013), he expects to sell 8,000 copies of his 10 self-published novels and stories, which are priced $1-5 each. Despite self-publishing his first story only two years ago, it appears he’s made the right decision. With roughly $300,000 in royalties per year, he already beat his publisher’s offer… Read More

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How to Get The 4-Hour Chef Audiobook Free — Only Until 10am PST (1pm EST)


Gilbert Gottfried reads 50 Shades of Grey. NSFW.


Many of you have been asking me for the audiobook version of The 4-Hour Chef. Now that I control the rights, I’d like to offer it to you… for free.

The offer is at the end of this post, but first…

Who should join me?

I’ll record a lot myself, but I’d like to involve other voice actors for small bits and pieces.

Who would you vote for? Here are some of my favorites. If you like any other them, please Tweet at them using the following format:

“Request! @[insert name] Please narrate a piece of The 4-Hour Chef audiobook! @tferriss is a fan.”

For instance:

“Request! @SamuelLJackson Please narrate a piece of The 4-Hour Chef audiobook! @tferriss is a fan.”

Here are a few I think would be incredible, even for just a few lines:

– Samuel L. Jackson – @SamuelLJackson
– Patton Oswalt (played “Remy” in Ratatouille) – @PattonOswalt
– Ben Stiller – @RedHourBen
– Morgan Freeman – I’m unsure which Twitter account is real, if any.
– Chuck Norris – Not on Twitter?
– Tony Robbins – @TonyRobbins
– Neil Gaiman – @NeilHimself
– Brad Garrett (played “Gusteau” in Ratatouille) – Not on Twitter?

Who am I missing? Any requests?

The Offer

Here’s the offer, good only until tomorrow (Saturday) at 10AM PST (1pm EST):

Buy one (1) hardcover copy of The 4-Hour Body (BODY) and fill out this form. You’re all set.

Or… if you buy three (3) hardcover copies of The 4-Hour Body (BODY), you’ll get both the audiobook for free and my $299 CreativeLIVE course described here for free. Just purchase the 3 books on Amazon and fill out this form.

– Give extra books to close friends and family who can use them. Challenge them to join the current DietBet.

NOTE: If you already bought three books this week through the last promo, you’re automatically getting the audiobook:) Otherwise, alas, only new orders count.

What will it be like?

I’ve never had a chance to make an audiobook myself and intend to make this one VERY fun and unusual. It will necessarily omit the recipes and be abridged, but there’s a lot of room for creativity.

Completing it could take a few months, but it will be well worth it. If you buy The 4-Hour Body with this promotion, you’ll get the audiobook (free) at least a month before anyone else.

If I think up more cool opportunities, you’ll be the first people to hear about it.

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Amazon "Lightning Box" Deal — 9am-1pm EST Only (Plus: $299 Course for Free)


I just received confirmation from Amazon that a Lightning Deal tomorrow (1/24) is for The 4-Hour Chef.

This means that the hardcover will be 65% off for 4 hours only, from 9am – 1pm ET. Just click here.

To sweeten the deal — $299 course as bonus

For those interested… If you purchase 3 hardcover copies of The 4-Hour Chef OR The 4-Hour Body, I will give you a $299 video course I filmed with CreativeLIVE… for free.

This is two days of actionable content, filmed in HD with multiple cameras, including in-depth material from:

– Me (key concepts from all three books: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef)
– Neil Strauss, 6x New York Times bestselling author (on creative process and successful writing)
– Noah Kagan, CEO of AppSumo (testing and creating businesses or “muses”)
– Dave Camarillo, UFC grappling trainer (real-world self-defense training and jiu-jitsu — I get thrown a lot)
– Philippe von Borries, Co-Founder of Refinery29 (start-up funding, founding, and growth strategy)
– Leila Janah, CEO of Samasource (maximizing social good, hacking the non-profit world)
– Mark Bell, world-class powerlifter, top-10 totals of all-time (power training)
– Kelly Starrett, founder of SF CrossFit (crossfit, mobility training, undoing physical damage)
– Rick Torbett, founder of Better Basketball (keys to better shooting, better learning/coaching)
– John Jackson, founder of ArcheryTag (archery, shooting an apple off of my head — really)
…and much more.

Here are two reviews:

“I skipped work to watch this. Completely worth it so far. The session with Neil [Strauss] and Tim riffing about writing is gold-dust. The fact that there’s several more hours of great content is just brilliant. I’ve got about 30 pages of notes that I wrote as I was watching…”

“Thank you so much for hosting this event. It was amazing to learn in such an informal environment from people who are the best in their field and are completely approachable. The passion, know how and encouragement this course provided me with is invaluable and has inspired me to push myself further. Thank you!”

Here’s What To Do…

If interested, just do the following no later than 5pm PST this Friday, 1/25/13:

1) Buy 3 hardcover copies of The 4-Hour Body (40%+ off) OR The 4-Hour Chef (65% or 40% off).

Two Notes:
– For 3 books, this means you’ll have to buy one copy at 65% off and two copies at 40% off.
– First, if you’ve already bought a copy of one of the books, you can just buy two (2) new copies. Simply attach both screenshots. That said, I’d really appreciate you buying three copies if you can, and you must buy at least two new copies.

2) Fill out this form.

The course will be delivered to you within the next 10 days via e-mail! This 3-book offer applies to international readers as well, but I don’t know if you’ll be able to get the 65% discount.

Rock on. Next post, we’re back to our usual content…

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Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 Days (Includes Successful Templates, E-mails, etc.)


Hack Kickstarter
Mike Del Ponte co-founded Soma, which raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter using virtual assistants and free apps.

I first met Mike Del Ponte two years ago when he was running marketing at BranchOut, a startup I advise.

Before joining BranchOut, Mike had explored a variety of career paths, including preparing for the priesthood at Yale Divinity School and serving as a peacemaker in the West Bank.

Earlier this year, Mike came to me with a new product idea called Soma. Soma is, in its simplest form, a high-end competitor to Brita water filters. It combines Apple-inspired design (e.g. sleek glass carafe) with a subscription service that delivers the world’s first compostable water filter to your door. From form to function, from funding model to revenue model, Mike was eager to disrupt a sleepy but enormous market: water. I became an advisor.

To launch Soma on Kickstarter (and raise $100,000+ in just nine days), Mike and his team used some of the techniques that helped BranchOut grow to 25 million users in just 16 months.

You can replicate what he did.

This post includes all of their email templates, spreadsheets, open-source code to build landing pages, and even a custom dashboard Soma’s hacker Zach Allia built to monitor their Kickstarter data, social media, and press.

This post is as close to copy-and-paste Kickstarter success as you will find. And even if you have no interest in Kickstarter, Mike’s approach is a blueprint for launching nearly any product online for maximal impact and minimal cost.

Enjoy! Read More

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How to Write and Promote New York Times Bestsellers: Tim Ferriss and Jack Canfield


Jack Canfield, as co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, has more than 500 million books in print. Among them, he can count 47 New York Times bestsellers. Jack also provide me with the early advice and introductions that got The 4-Hour Workweek published, despite 26 rejections.

In the above video, which was filmed as a livecast, the tables are turned. I was honored to be interviewed by Jack and Steve Harrison, the founder of Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR). In this conversation, we answer questions such as:

– How do I make writing (which I find hard) easier?
– How do I minimize writer’s block and overcome it when it creeps in?
– How have I improved my own writing?
– How do I handle or even plan controversial content?
– Is all PR good PR? (Short answer: No)
– What have I learned from Jack?
– How do you introduce your content to so-called “influencers” (a term I still dislike)?
– How do you craft the pitch and make the approach?
– What advice would I give to someone who wants to write their first book?
– How does one become more action-oriented during the process, and throughout life?
– How does the philosophy of Seneca apply to writing and selling a book?… Read More

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