Such an interesting topic to begin with. Timothy Ferriss’ bestselling book The 4 Hour Work Week blew people’s minds all over the world. It turned cubicle slaves into full-fledged entrepreneurs and vagabonds. Although the book was written around ten years ago, a question has always plagued my mind — Does the Muse still exist?
A Muse is a business with a sole purpose to provide consistent cash flow for the owner. It’s not going to change the world and it isn’t brought to life to create a new job for the owner. It’s about solving your resource requirements to live the ideal life you want to live. Thousands of people have created successful Muse businesses since the publication of the book, but the success of the business model always eluded me.
With a sense of envy, I watched others build their successful Muse businesses from dropshipping to informational products. I was grateful to create two profitable courses that pre-sold for $1,000 each before I ever lifted a finger, but after the launch, nothing. Zero sales and no idea where to go, the cash flow became non-existent. I just about gave up on the idea that someone could start a cash flow business without much effort and live the life they conceived as ideal.
It wasn’t until I started this Amazon business that I really began to see a modern rendition of a Muse business. At first, this business requires a lot of time, mainly doing Retail Arbitrage (sourcing products from local stores), processing the products and then shipping them into Amazon. But even this business model is quite something, as once I ship products into Amazon, I have nothing left to do but watch sales come pouring in.
But I want to run this business from a laptop anywhere in the world. For that to happen I’ll need to eliminate myself from the very tasks that ensure I have sufficient inventory to make enough sales each month.
Removing Yourself From the Equation
How to rapidly scale an Amazon FBA business without touching a single piece of inventory
I knew there was a way to tweak this business model into a full-fledge Muse business and I recently developed the system. If you’re in this business you’ll notice early on that the bulk of your work is sourcing and processing, all things that are easily outsourceable.
If we start with sourcing we can easily break down how to outsource the whole process to scale into sourcing thousands of units each month. I’ve gotten to a decent area in my business where I know I can spend a whole day and spend 100% of the capital I have reserved for inventory. That’s great, but the issue is not being able to replicate myself properly and the fact that I’m constantly sourcing new products.
The quick fix for this is to hire a VA (Virtual Assistant) to do all preliminary sourcing for you for roughly $4 an hour (if not cheaper!) and eliminate yourself from the grunt work. I’m currently training a VA I worked with years ago to do just this. The way it works is quite simple enough. My VA will search through all products on a given website and check if they meet my criteria. For this the product must make a minimum of $5 in profit per unit, meet all category ranking criteria and provide at least 50% ROI, plus a few other requirements to be considered.
I’ve created a simple spreadsheet that my VA will input all relevant data once she’s found a great product for us to purchase. I also have her run the data for the product to formulate how many units of that specific product we can sell each month and how much total profit adding that one new product would add to our business.
All that is left for me to do is go through that spreadsheet and pick the products that are really worth our time and which aren’t. The ones that are, are added to a master inventory list for repeated purchasing each month. Although I’ll be personally making the purchases, I could easily outsourcing this task as each month I’ll need to refill my inventory to keep sales consistent. A VA can easily use my master list, go through inventory numbers and determine how much of each product needs to be purchased and when. But for now, I’ll keep this as my sole role until comfortable enough to make the handoff.
At this point all inventory is shipped directly to me for listing, quality control and shipping into an Amazon warehouse facility. This work isn’t that terrible, but it is quite tedious over time.
Luckily, in dealing with a larger quantity of the same product, efficiency kicks in and time required is decreased. The issue with me personally doing this work is that I have to be home to do it. I can’t run this business from my laptop in Argentina or spend a whole week in the mountains with my girlfriend. The solution to this is quite simple and actually included within Tim’s book. A fulfillment center is nothing new, but a new model of the business has been created just for Amazon based businesses. Instead of shipping inventory to myself, I can send it into a “Prep” center who will receive, repackage to Amazon’s standards, label and ship the product for me. All of this for roughly $1.35 per unit.
I’m potentially giving up a decent amount of my profit, but with my sourcing requirements, taking out $1.35 per unit still leaves me with quite a bit of profit and decreasing my workload by more than half.
The only work left for me to personally do is repurchase inventory each month of products that are consistently selling (again, easily outsourced as well) and go over my VA’s list of potential new products to add for increased revenue and profit. All easily done from my laptop anywhere in the world.
There is a resurgence of a Muse business model using existing channels instead of creating your own website and paying for traffic. This vastly decreases the cost of muse creation and allows you to quickly set up and scale your muse business to cover everything listed on your Dreamline.
Life becomes incredibly interesting when you match travel hacking with a Muse business ran from a laptop. Suddenly the global world opens up to you. Not only can you travel for near free thanks to travel hacking, but you can do so for increased periods of time thanks to the cash flow provided by your Muse business. I’m so close to achieving one of my yearly goals in creating a business that generates $10,000 a month in income while in college, but I’ll be reinvesting all of my profits back into expanding inventory to scale up 10x faster each month.
Resources and Tools
- Upwork (https://www.upwork.com)
This is where I find and hire a VA to do just about anything I need done, including sourcing products to increase my cash flow Muse business.
- Prime Zero Prep (https://primezeroprep.com/)
The company I’m currently researching to handle all of my inventory needs before units are shipped into Amazon directly for sales.
3. Restock Pro (https://www.ecomengine.com/restockpro)
Restock Pro helps in the restocking department. Rather than me doing all of the forecastings myself, Restock Pro does this and send me a weekly report to go through. Total time saved: 10+ hours /week.
4. Vendrive CRM (https://www.vendrive.com/)
Vendrive is a CRM tool that helps me manage all of my suppliers and build an actual pipeline to put potential suppliers through. Instead of relying on spreadsheet after spreadsheet, I use Vendrive to manage it all for me and have my VA enter suppliers here.
5. Aura Intelligent Repricing (https://goaura.com/)
Aura is a new breed of repricing tools. Instead of charging outrageous fees for high performance or offer discounted tiers for lower performance, it gives the highest performance for a lower cost compared to the competition like Informed or BQool.