One Year After My Tropical MBA Internship

Has it really been one year already?

One year ago today, I landed in Bali for the Tropical MBA Semester #3.

I am amazed at how quickly my life has moved in the past year:

When I went home to visit Pennsylvania in December, things were more or less the same as when I left. However, I had changed dramatically.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

“If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, travel is a dangerous (but seductive) choice”Dan A.

I sure had a blast going on travel adventures in 2011, but it wasn’t long before I realized that it was unsustainable in the long-term. If I wanted to make my location independent lifestyle last I needed to make some big changes.

When I returned to the Philippines in January until now I have made a concerted effort to baseline – cutting my expenses and distractions by moving to Tagum City with my girlfriend (about 1.5 hours outside Davao City).

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that building a lifestyle business is easy.

If you aren’t willing to sacrifice and put in a lot of hard work up front to build a solid base to support your lifestyle, it won’t be long before you end up like most backpackers who have to go home to work.

Sometimes you have to work on a Saturday night to meet a deadline for a client. Get used to it.

And in order to complete your work, you will have to put up with a lot of bullshit and distractions that you might not have back home including (but not limited to): power outages, parties, slow wifi, time zone differences, and landlords refusing to refund your apartment deposit because they stole it and never gave it to the owner.

3rd world countries don’t always operate smoothly. Get used to it.

It’s easy to get frustrated when you are grinding work out day by day and lose sight of the bigger picture. But you have to remember that…

“Shit takes forever”Ian S.

Finally now I am starting to see real results from the concentrated effort to build up my consulting work on the side for Adwords and Conversion Optimization. I’ve gotten several one-off projects, but now I’m trying to build up longer term relationships with my clients.

Sidenote: Check out my Conversion Optimization and Adwords Management services on the awesome
Tropical Workforce Job Site.

And actually if you count since I started my first online business in April 2010 (which got me sued)… I’ve been hacking at this online business / location independence thing for 2 years… and now I finally feel like it’s almost sustainable.

Its been 730 Days since I started. Sounds like I’m right on track for my 1000 Days.

So what’s in store for the next year?

Tropical MBA Businesses – I want to help take them to the next level. Despite a setback from the latest Google update, I am really pumped about what we can do this year to break $2 million in annual revenue.

Travel – I am not expecting to travel as much this year, but I want to visit Vietnam and Cambodia. I also want to head to Bangkok, Thailand in October for the Dynamite Circle meetup. Dropping by Bali at some point would be great if possible.

Personal Finances – If I want the freedom to invest in new businesses and travel more, than I first need to get my financial house in order. Eliminate my credit card debt and build up $10k in savings.

Freelance – I enjoy doing Conversion Optimization work and get great results for my clients so I want to build longer term relationships that lead to $1500 per month in recurring revenue.

This Blog – I’ve neglected the blog while keeping my head down to work hard, but I want to get more involved again and post once a week. I also want to reach out to other bloggers and have at least 5 guest posts and create a free 7 day crash course to building a 4hww muse business.

If you had asked me when I landed in Bali a year ago what I thought would happen over the next year – I couldn’t have predicted 90% of it.

I know my life will change again over this next year in ways I don’t expect – but the persistence to follow my dreams remains the same through the ups and downs.

I know I am moving in the right direction, and although I’m not quite there yet… success is inevitable.



 You might be losing visitors and hurting search rankings on your 4HWW Muse and not even know it.

The cause? Slow loading time on your website.


Why Does A Slow Loading Muse Website Lose Money And Hurt Search Rankings?

The speed of your website significantly impacts conversion and revenue.

Faster site = more sales.

40% of visitors abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

A 1 second delay in page response results in a 7% reduction in conversions.


The speed of your website is also a significant factor in SEO and search rankings.

Faster site = higher search rankings.

In April 2010, Google stated on their webmaster tools blog that site speed was a new factor within their search ranking algorithms. Faster sites = better user experience, and this is what Google prides itself on delivering.


How Do I Find Out The Loading Time Of My 4HWW Muse Website?

Test your website speed with gmetrix.

Under 2 seconds? That is great and you probably don’t need to optimize much.

2 – 4 seconds? Your load time is ok but speed improvements can reduce bounce rates and increase revenue.

Over 4 seconds? Your site is definitely loading too slow and as a result you are losing visitors and potential revenue.


My Phoenix Abroad blog scored a decent 2.98 second load time with gmetrix before any optimizations.



Following the optimizations below – I decreased my blog’s load time by 22.5% with about 20 minutes of work.


How Can I Improve My 4HWW Muse Website Loading Time?

If you followed the 4HWW Muse Quick Start guide then you are running your site on WordPress. Here are 3 steps to improve WordPress site performance for free.


Step 1: Install W3 Total Cache plugin to optimize the serving of content from your site

W3 Total Cache plugin is the most popular WordPress plugin for optimizing site performance and can give significant performance improvements. It can be somewhat complicated to set up properly so use the settings below to get the best performance on most websites (some setups may require additional tweaking):

Here are the plugin general settings you need (for more detailed instructions check out this guide):

  • check enable all forms of caching
  • uncheck enable CDN
  • go to cloud flare section and disable for now (You will enable the CloudFlare component later but keep it disabled for now so you can confirm the plugin is working so far.)
  • Click “Empty All Caches”.
  • Disable Preview Mode so the plugin is active.


Step 2: Install WP to reduce the size of images on your site

Once this plugin is installed then every image you upload from now on will be optimized automatically.

However, you probably have lots of images on your site already so you should run a bulk smush on them. This can take several minutes if you have a lot of images so let the process run to completion. Restart it if the smush times out.

Run a bulk smush on all your images: In WordPress Dashboard go to Media -> Bulk

The performance benefits you get from will depend on how many images you have on your site and how large they are.


Step 3: Get CloudFlare to improve your site load time even more

Cloudflare is a free Content Delivery Network (CDN) which keeps saved copies of your website on servers all over the world. When a visitor comes to your website Cloudflare will deliver the saved copy of your website from the server closest to your visitor which can decrease loading time significantly.

Go to, sign up for a free account, and follow their instructions

Go to your domain registrar (bluehost if you followed the muse quick start guide)

Click on your website domain in the domain manager and then click on “Name Servers”. Enable “Use Custom Name Servers” and enter the information that Cloudflare supplied to you.

Go back to W3 Total Cache plugin general settings and enable CloudFlare support. Enter in your Cloudflare information and API Key. Click “Save All Settings.”

Allow for up to 24 hours for the new Name Server settings to take full effect. In the meantime your website will still remain active with no downtime.


After 24 hours test your website speed again.

What was your total performance improvement?



How To Find 4HWW Muse Idea Inspiration

How do I come up with an idea for my 4HWW Muse product?

Some people might think that a successful 4HWW muse idea is magicly created as if out of thin air. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Trying to divine the “perfect idea” in a vacuum rarely works.

The best 4HWW muse ideas always come about from your own personal experience. Time and time again I see successful online businesses being developed by people scratching their own itch or the itch of their clients.

Examples, more examples, even more examples

Their successful 4HWW muse idea came as a result of their direct interaction in the target market.

Some people think first: “If I find a keyword with X amount of searches and Y amount of competition then I could make a profitable ebook.

You are missing the point.

  1. Identify a problem in your life or work
  2. Find out if other people have the same problem
  3. Come up with a rough draft of your solution (it doesn’t need to be perfect)
  4. Test Demand – Try to charge money for your solution
  5. Figure out how to get more people to view your solution offering
  6. If your solution sells… then find a way to systematize and productize to minimize your time input.
There isn’t some magic combination of keywords that you can throw up one site with a half-assed info product that makes you enough money to sit on a beach all day long.

If you don’t have a real solution to a problem that people are willing to pay money for… then keyword research isn’t going to help you.

Passive income takes hard work. 


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