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How to Start an Online Business in Modern Times

Aug 10, 2023


 Dear creators—

If you want to earn six figures working 4 hours a day from the coffee shop,

You need to hear me out.

A lot of people want this, but 99% of them will never have it, because…

They are optimizing for the wrong thing.

If you optimize for the wrong thing you’ll hit a dead end and have to start completely over from scratch.

The Story of Jim and Chris

In Tim Ferriss’s book The 4 Hour Workweek, he tells a story that shook me to the core.

It changed my priorities forever and helped me to create a business where I work 4 hours a day from the coffee shop doing what I love—and earning six figures.

(Note: this story is paraphrased and modified a bit)

In the story, there’s a CEO named Jim who earns 500K/year…

  • He works 12 hour days and travels 3 weeks out of the month.
  • He has a big house and drives a BMW.
  • He doesn’t love what he does but he doesn’t hate it either.
  • He’s just followed the path he thought he was supposed to.
  • His friends think he is a massive success.

There’s another guy named Chris who only earns 60K/year…

  • He works 2 hours a day from his favorite coffee shop by the beach.
  • He lives in a small apartment and drives a used Toyota.
  • He writes online and has a coaching program to help other people learn to write, too.
  • He loves what he does and has a ton of time to spend with friends and family and take care of his health.

Chris’s friends don’t consider him that successful.

Half of them don’t even really know what he does.

When we compare the lives of Jim and Chris…

  • Jim has a lot more money, but his lifestyle output is shit.
  • Chris has a lot less money, but his lifestyle output is awesome.

In a perfect world, we’d combine the two:

We’d make 500K/year working 4 hours from the coffee shop doing what we love.

The life of Chris and the money of Jim.

In order to figure out how to do this, let’s talk first about what not to do.

A great example of this is becoming an attorney.

The Life of an Attorney

A lot of people want to become an attorney because they can make a great income and have a lot of power and respect.

But, their actual days are spent:

  • sitting in courtrooms
  • doing LOTS of paperwork
  • dealing with high pressure lawsuit situations, and
  • handling difficult clients.

They got the income part right. But, they never stopped to consider the lifestyle output of that career.

If they change jobs, they’ll hit the reset button on their income and have to start over.

If you set out with the goal of just making a great income, you’ll take just about any path that gets you there.

But if you don’t like where you end up, you will have to start all over to fix it.

Now, let’s pretend you start with a different goal in mind.

You want to do something that provides a high lifestyle output.

That’s your #1 goal.

You decide to start a business online where you create content and sell courses and coaching.

This would allow you to work:

  • whenever
  • wherever
  • with whomever, and…
  • doing whatever.

Sounds like a dream, right?

Well you start with this utopian vision, and work backwards.

Because if you only do whatever you want, and never organize your efforts into an actual business, you’ll never make money and will have to get a lifestyle sucking job again.

I work 4 hours a day from the coffee shop and have just a few calls with clients each week.

But when I first started as a coach, I didn’t have that lifestyle.

I had to do cold outreach and a lot of sales calls and following up and 1:1 coaching calls.

I had to do stuff that took away from the lifestyle.

I didn’t like those days filled with sales calls and coaching calls. I wanted to have nothing on my calendar so I could just create.

But financially I couldn’t afford to do that yet. I didn’t have an audience. I didn’t have leads.

I didn’t have momentum.

But, I knew that the business model I had chosen had the ability to deliver both the lifestyle and the income I was after.

This is key.

The business model you choose must have the ability to eventually deliver on the lifestyle you want.

An attorney can’t have the same lifestyle as me. There’s no business model that allows them to write at a coffee shop and talk to no one.

An online business, where you are a coach or a creator, absolutely can deliver on that lifestyle.

But, it won’t deliver it right away.

You’ll always have to do some stuff you don’t like, especially in the beginning.

Even on those days filled with calls, I always made sure to do some work that would give me leverage in the long run…

like building a Youtube channel, podcast, writing books, and building an email list.

These are assets that can pay your bills without a lot of effort once they get big enough.

My book Nail Your Niche brings me clients each month without me having to do anything.

If you want the 4 hour workday from the coffee shop type of life, you have to spend time each day doing things that will give you leverage in the long run.

Putting This All Together

Let’s define some action steps for making this happen:

We’re going to assume that you’ve selected some type of online business that has the ability to deliver the lifestyle you want.

From there…

#1: Define the end goal

What does a perfect work day look like for you?

I have my clients write out exactly what they would do in a single day if they already had millions in the bank.

What would their work look like if it wasn’t about the money? If they were doing it out of pure enjoyment?

My ideal day is working 4 hours a day from a coffee shop…

doing mostly writing and content creation…

What’s yours?


#2 - Define Your Business Structure

In order to create your dream lifestyle, you have to structure your business so that it can actually deliver on it.

For example…

A lot of people dream of making an online course which requires no effort after the purchase is made..

Then selling thousands of copies by making a post on social media or sending an email.

If that’s your goal, awesome!

Many people are doing this successfully, but all of them have one thing in common:

They have huge audiences on social media and huge email lists.

So you might have to spend time cold prospecting for clients in your business…

But if you don’t spend any time building up your social media and email list you’ll never get out of doing the prospecting.

You won’t be working towards the dream lifestyle.

Knowing exactly where you want to go shows you what you need to work on to get there.

To create a vision for your ideal business structure, answer these questions:

What product would you sell?

How would you deliver your product?

How would you generate leads for it?

How would it convert those leads to sales?

Most coaches and creators haven’t sat down and answered these simple, critical questions.


#3 - Pay Yourself First

“Pay yourself first” is a saying in the investing world. It means that, when you get a paycheck, you invest a portion of it first before paying bills and spending it on other stuff.

This ensures that you are actually creating wealth with each paycheck you get. It’s wise advice, and it also applies to the way you spend your time.

When I go to the coffee shop, I spend around 2 hours writing a book or scripting a Youtube video FIRST.

I do this because I know it’s going to grow my brand and give me leverage in the long run.

Then I switch gears, answer client emails, do coaching calls, and all of that type of work where you trade time for dollars.

Necessary, but not leveraged.

The first couple of hours every day should be reserved for deep work, high leverage activities and projects that will get you to the dream income & lifestyle you are after.

Pay yourself first and—over time—your business will start to pay you back.

That’s it for today.

I believe in you.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.


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