The 4-Hour Workweek talks a lot about creating a muse. A muse is essentially a type of business specifically geared to enable your dreamlines. This means a muse is created to create enough cash to finance your dreamline, without being to much of a distraction.
Given these constraints, should you ever consider selling your muse? Even if the muse provides you with your target monthly income? Some people have shown regret when selling their business (e.g. Ian and Dan). To be fair, when someone has regret, mostly the business was not a muse, but more. A form of lifestyle. A means for connections.
Recently I came across the book The Parallel Entrepreneur by Ryan Buckley. This book offers a great perspective on entrepreneurship and selling your business (although not specifically geared to the 4-Hour Workweek). Basically Ryan says that you should always have a number in mind. And that number or the amount of cash you sell for needs to be based on a meaningful exit for you and your situation and your business. He argues, as is the tenet of his book: you can always create another business.
A man selling.
Ryan’s argument sounds to be good to be true. It is, because creating a new business might be hard. Still I think in the context of a muse this is good advice. Sell when you have a good offer. Ryan goes on to explain how to have your business ready for a sale. This advice is very good, even if you are not planning on selling your muse.
The book is a short read, and I recommend it really.
Have you ever thought of “doing” a startup? For most, “startup” just means a business (idea). There are now hundreds of online courses peddling entrepreneur education, from simple Udemy courses to full online MBA’s. But one of the best is still Seth Godin’s Startup School, a raw recording of lectures he gave in the summer of 2012. Seth spend 3 days with starting entrepreneurs and showed them how to approach starting a business.
You can listen for free here: http://www.earwolf.com/show/startup-school/
Favour reading? Kevin Evans has transcribed the whole startup school. You can download a pdf here: http://kevevans.com/2013/09/26/seth-godins-startup-school-transcript/
How to solve the EU VAT MOSS mess?
Here’s a simple solution if you sell software or are a SAAS: use a reseller. It works like this: you do your business as usual, but once a customer wants to buy, you shuttle the customer to a website of your reseller, where the customers pays for the software or service. In legal terms the customer is buying from the
reseller, who in turn buys the software from you. This shields you from EU #VATMOSS and sales tax obligations, as the reseller has to handle this. Your company is not selling any more to consumers in the EU, but instead selling to a company (the reseller). This construct shields your company from VAT and makes accounting simpler, as you have only one customer in the EU (the reseller). Obviously, the resellers charge for this service. Your advantage is much simpler accounting and less accounting fees. In practice this reseller setup is technically similar to using Stripe or PayPal, when you use their service and servers to do a payment transaction. The fees the resellers ask are higher than Stripe or PayPal, but the resellers take on fraud prevention, VAT handling and payment charges. For customers outside of the EU you can still use Stripe and PayPal (I recently heard that Japan is moving to -or having- a similar VAT system than the EU).
Here’s a list of resellers (I didn’t try them, so I can’t give a recommendation):
Be aware that using them might have implications with regard to EU privacy protection laws (this is also the case when using stripe).
The invoice solution
There’s also another solution: you can use an invoice service who handles the EU VAT calculations for you: https://www.quaderno.io/. Then you can combine quaderno with the VAT Mini One Stop Shop (the link is to the UK, other EU countries also have an equivalent service). This is cheaper than a reseller in terms of payment fees, but requires more accounting (and accounting fees).
[UPDATE]: The EU may (or may not) change their VAT rules in 2018. This could be a simplification for smaller business. SendOwl has written an overview about the proposed changes: https://www.sendowl.com/blog/eu-vat-update-dec-2016.html
You are stuck in your job. Enough is enough. The first thing you need is a muse to replace your income, so that you can leave your job.
If you think that way, your muse probably takes over the role of your job and you get stuck again. You don’t want to replace your job with a muse-job.
You want to replace your job with freedom. That means have a dreamline first. Then find a muse that fits your dreamline. The sequence of dreamline – muse helps you find motivation to finish your muse (or try another one if it doesn’t work out). Then, at last, you can quit your job.
In the 4-Hour Work Week an “income autopilot” is extensively described. Here’s the short and to the point version:
- Select an income source that’s easily and cheaply tested (< 500$)
- Automation is possible within 4 weeks
- No more than 1 day a week management
- Control distribution
- Decide on distribution before committing to product
- Pick and affordably reached niche market
- Brainstorm products with the following characteristics:
- Main benefit in 1 sentence
- Price: 50 – 200$
- No more than a couple of weeks to produce
- Explainable in good online FAQ
- Create a product option, but don’t commit yet!
- Think of an information product
- Micro test your products
- Test result: Divest or invest
- MBA – Management By Absence
- Remove yourself from the equation
- Contact outsourcing companies vs. freelancers
- Ensure the outsourcers communicate with each other and solve problems themselves
- Offer few options
- Fire bad customers
- Offer a fantastic guarantee
Have you ever wanted to have a great wine named after yourself? Some people have: thelabelry In a post on reddit, they explain:
Bio: The muse is “The Labelry” – a custom wine labelling website. www.thelabelry.com
I’m a hardware engineer and I own an electromagnetic testing laboratory. I don’t have much experience with web development but I outsourced every piece of work for the online muse business and built the site for less than $5k.
Proof: bottom of this page…. http://thelabelry.com/faq.php
Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas together created an essentially blank booklet with pre-formatted pages to be used as a daily journal. The 5 minute journal was born when UJ and Alex were walking in a park talking about their morning and evening routines. Basically UJ wrote a journal in a short format every night before going to sleep. Both of them recognized the chance to develop this idea into a tangible (physical) product and sell it online. They even developed and IOS app.
The journal is a 268 page hardcover book available at fiveminutejournal.com .
Once the journal got recommended by Tim Ferriss it apparently sold out on amazon.com.
WTF? Selling designer socks on subscription? This can’t be a business was my first thought when I heard about Nic Harry.
Once your dreamlines are ready, you’ll need to pay for them and for your living costs. Yes, you can save beforehand, or live off your investments, but most probably need an income source. This is where the concept of a muse enters.