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How I Did It: From $7 an Hour to Coaching Major League Baseball MVPs



"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. Last week I had a self-entitled Wikipedia article written on Elance

for $50. (4HWW chapters/principles - Outsourcing Life)

3. 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)

4. My second and third training aids are currently being designed. One

my invention that 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 did Wikipedia turn out? Judge it, and Jaime's results, for yourself. Here is an excerpt:

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.


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