The figure I remember from the book was $40k per month. In this thread on the forums of Tim's Four Hour Work Week site, commenter "Kamakiri", who apparently has launched his own knock off (Game Brain) of Tim's former supplement business (BrainQUICKEN), says the facts suggest Ferriss couldn't have been generating anything close to those revenues from his supplement business. Some excerpts from Kamakiri's analysis:
Page 8 & 16 mention 40k, page 7 mentions 40% profits. No referencing of either together or in relationship with BrainQUICKEN (which he sold earlier this year). Read closely and Tim also mentions 30k, 60k, and 70k in other places.
Heck, if you were making a half a million a year at 40% profits, a normal business offer would be 10 years profits plus assets. That would value BrainQUICKEN at well over a mil and a quarter. Who in their right name would pay that for a business that Tim tells how to copy?
Bodybuilding.com has over 8,500 products. 1.2 million members with a 10% conversion rate (a gift there, should be about 2-3%) makes 120,000 purchases.
120,000 purchases /8,500 products = 14 sales for BQ off that site.
The hits to Tims's old site are easily conformable. This is the internet here people. Do the math yourself, and anyone can quickly see that BrainQUICKEN does not generate anywhere near that income.
Bodybuilder.com is pretty straightforward. Go to the site and pull the numbers off the top page. Simple math tells you he isn't making much there. Check the page views per month on BQ. Those numbers just don't add up to anywhere near 40k.
Having that many references, 30k, 40, 60, 70k... with out being more specific hurt his credibility in my opinion. It is carefully worded each and every time he mentions a figure. As it is written it is straightforward, but it does lead people to believe that Tim made 40k in income every month from BQ. Even a cursory view of easily verifiable numbers shows that this can't have come from BQ (not to mention zero spending on google ads).
I also researched the heck out of the business model in developing GameBRAIN. That is when the cracks in Tim's muse story came from. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but after imitating BQ to a certain extent, it was like an onion. Lots of good layers to dig through, only to find a few rotten ones.
At this point in our discussion, I asked if it were possible if Ferriss could have generated $40k per month in sales if that were mostly from retailers buying his product in bulk. This was Kamakiri's response:
The idea of buying in bulk from the site doesn't work because it never had that option. Besides, it is harder than hell to get retail space. An example of this is Mana Potions. Those guys do something near BQ by selling an energy drink for gamers. They have a serious team of salesmen, campaign girls, convention booths, and even a treadmill hooked up to WoW with timed runs from point to point across Azeroth (sp?). They have a tough time getting into stores, and the market for those products is tiny. Compare that to the supplement market (8,500 products on bodybuilding.com alone), and you can imagine the sales force that he would have to compete against. Retail profits are also nearly non-existent. You are looking at a few dollars in margin as opposed to the $60 or so he makes from the site.
That aside, outsourcing 10,000 bottles a month just doesn't work. 500 cases of 20 @v $4 profit a bottle. The logistics are out of the scale of anyone working less than 40 hours a week.