Monthly Archives: Mar 2014

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Coffee Shop Creativity

If you are the driving force of your business – you are going to need some creativity.

Even if your sole focus is buying traffic, you will need to come up with creative ads, headlines and hooks to get those clicks-to-conversions.

And while it’s true, some people are naturally more “creative” than others, there are still some simple things you can do to boost your creativity.

Here’s one of my “secrets” (yeah, I used secrets in quotes – because it’s not really a secret).
KEEP IT FRESH

I like to constantly change up my working environment. I’m probably most well-known in that marketing world as “the guy who works from Starbucks”. And now, that title has transferred over to my personal life with my friends as well.

But, what you might not know, is I like to constantly change up even which specific Starbucks I go to (plus, I occasionally do have people trying to track me down to “pick my brain”, so that’s another reason to keep on the move).

coffesOne day I’ll go to the Starbucks in New Canaan, CT. The next day, I might head over to one the next town over in Stamford. Or perhaps Darien.

Sometimes, I even go to a non-starbucks place like Cafe Oo La La in Stamford or EspressoNEAT in Darien. (yeah, I know – it’s crazy!).

You may think all coffee shops are the same, but they are not.

You need new input to, as I put it, keep your brain fresh. And the same environment, day in and day out, for me is like creative torture.

Here are a few ways each one is different – and how it’s the little things that change it up just enough, give me a big boost in creativity.

  • The Seats: What type of chair are you sitting on. High back, flat or curved back, wood, or metal, cushioned seat, etc.
  • Seat/Table Ratio: This might sound strange but sometimes the chair feels just a little low compared to the table (or vice versa)
  • The Work Surface: There are tables (square or round), large work tables, and even the “bar” with a high chair.
  • Lighting: Some places are very light and bright, others are darker (better for when I have to write “evil” copy… muhahahaha……)
  • Outlets: If you are planning on staying for more than an hour – look around for outlets.
  • Busy: Some places are constantly crowded, while others are quiet as a mouse.
  • Indoor/Outdoor: During a nice day, if the coffee shop has outdoor seating, take it!

So there you go, a little insight into the crazy world of a lifestyle business and what it takes to be a coffee shop entrepreneur.

Coach Lee, out.

P.S. I am doing a special 1-day lifestyle business mastermind on Thursday, April 10th, in White Plains, NY. Seats are very limited and if you want one, please email me right away at ryan (at) ryanlee.com with SUB=MASTERMIND

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The Death of the "Tripwire"

Lately, a lot of people in Internet marketing world have been using the term, “Tripwire” – and I think it’s disturbing.

A “tripwire” is basically a low-cost product someone buys and then, offered more products as upsells. It’s a way to get a prospect buying with a low-friction offer. And you get them into your funnel

The idea is solid – and essentially what we used to call a “front-end” offer. I’ve used these for over a decade.

However, this week I started to think differently. Not about the “idea” of a tripwire, but the actual term used.

I meet every month with a tight knit group of 3 other entrepreneurs. They have become family. During that last meeting where we took over a booth at the Silver Star Diner in Norwalk, CT for about 3 hours – one of our members, Michael Fishman (a highly respected marketing consultant and a true master of words), first brought it up. We were talking about front-end products and offers. The term “tripwire” was mentioned and immediately he said, “The term tripwire is disrespectful to your customers. Think about what it really means. It means you are tricking your customers. A tripwire is about pain and deception”.

He then later said, “If someone brought up the word “tripwire” at Zappos and tried to introduce it to their culture – it would immediately be eliminated”.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. He was 100% right.

tripwire

Soldier setting a deadly tripwire.

Check out one of the definitions of a tripwire in wikipedia: tripwires are frequently used in boobytraps, whereby a tug on the wire (or release of tension on it) will detonate the explosives.

Think about that for a minute. It’s literally an explosion. A boobytrap (yes, I said booby – you can stop giggling now). And this usually results in serious injury or even DEATH.

Right now you might be thinking, “Relax Ryan, it’s just a marketing term. You and Michael are over thinking it. It’s just semantics.”.

Maybe we are. But maybe we aren’t.

Maybe, just maybe, this is what’s WRONG with the direction Internet marketing has been heading. And this environment is becoming toxic (one of the reasons I haven’t spoken at or attending a “marketing” event in almost 2 years).

The words we use have power. Words can tear apart families. Words can topple Governments. Words can change the world.

And we have to be very careful with the words we choose to become part of our industry lexicon.

How would YOU feel if you just bought a product and found out the owner of that product is smiling because you “setoff a tripwire”. Does it make you feel good about that purchase? Do you want to buy more from them? Do you want to refer other people to them? Do you want your parents, siblings, spouse, or children setting off tripwires?

Look, I LOVE marketing. Love it. Love it. Love it. I live and breathe marketing. I can’t imagine doing anything else in this world. It flows through my veins. And I love coming up with new marketing concepts and ideas.

When I coined the term “Nano Continuity” a few years back, it was based on a low-priced continuity program at $5 and under. Sure, I could have called it “Under the Radar Continuity” or “Ninja Continuity” or even something catchy like “Camouflage Continuity” – but those have a negative feel. They are sneaky, like you are trying to hide it from the customer – which was never the intent. The intent was to start a relationship with a customer at a low price point.

But there’s a better way.

 

INTRODUCING… THE WELCOME MAT

I was speaking with my friend, and copywriting legend, Kevin Rogers about this topic and term. And while we were discussing alternatives, he came up with a great one. It just feels good and sets up a positive relationship with your future customer.

Goodbye “tripwire”. Hello WELCOME MAT.

Ahh… that just feels good. You can’t say “welcome mat” and not get those warm and fuzzies all over. It feels better deep in your soul.

Seriously, say those words loud right now and pay close attention to how you feel?

bighugFirst, say “tripwire”. Then say “welcome mat”. Do you feel the difference? Does your body posture change? Does one make you feel better than the other? (If tripwire makes you feel better – you are likely a sociopath and need professional help. Seriously).

I want to go out and create dozens of new welcome mats. It gets me excited. I feel good about that. But the idea of creating tripwires feels like I’m starting a war.

Instead of starting off with tricking them into a tripwire – you are welcoming them into your world with a welcome mat.

Instead of setting tripwires… you can place welcome mats.

This might sound like a pipe dream. And perhaps I am dreaming. Maybe too many just want to put on war paint, play soldier and “extract” money from their customers.

But maybe one day we all stop with the BS. And the tricks. And the deception. And the sneakiness.

And we focus on putting out good products with a solid offer – then build a long term relationship.

The world of “online marketing” or “Internet marketing” will always been seen as shady as long as we continue to treat our customers as people who need to be tricked into buy from us. Or worse, treating them as an enemy in a battlefield.

And this all starts with something as simple as the words we choose. I propose we no longer call these introductory products “tripwires” and instead refer to them as “welcome mats”.

This is not meant to be a personal attack on any one person. But, at the very least, it’s a conversation worth having.

Hugs,
Ryan

P.S. I put together a free video about how to create welcome mats in your business. Click here to get this video. And there’s nothing for sale in this video.

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The Dark Side: Inside a Lifestyle Business (Part I)

Is it possible to build a seven or even eight figure business with just a few outsourced team members? YES!

Can you really build leverage in your business where you can earn a great income without working all day? YES!

Is building a “lifestyle” business the best business model in the world? HELL YES!

But, there is a dark side. A side which most people never talk about in public.. let alone on a blog seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Why? Why would so many “gurus” never discuss the “dark side” of a lifestyle business? Because they want to SELL YOU STUFF. Lots and lots of stuff.

And if it’s not all sunshine and roses – then maybe you won’t buy their stuff.

Of course, I still want to sell stuff. I never hide that fact – and still not hiding it. I hope you become a lifelong customer of mine. But I also remember what is was like when I first got started and I like to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

I’d rather have you know ALL the facts and make an informed decision before you invest in my (or anyone’s) products.

So, I’m going to do something different. This is going to be an ongoing series revealing what it’s REALLY like to run a lifestyle business.. warts and all.

 

THE DANGE OF ALL-CONSUMING

Most people dream of quitting their jobs so they can “work for themselves”. And yeah, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I haven’t been an “employee” in over 12 years.

But on the flip-side, if you don’t setup up boundaries, running your own business can quickly overtake your life.

If you are not careful, you’ll find yourself on the computer every spare minute. And even if you are with your family, you’ll keep checking your phone for new email messages. So while you are physically “there”, you are not really present.

You MUST find balance from the start. You MUST be diligent with the separation.

My family and I enjoying the Coliseum in Rome (on a VERY hot day summer day with very cool shades!)

My family and I enjoying the Coliseum in Rome (on a VERY hot day summer day with cool shades!)

Some people talk about “if love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life”. And while that sounds good on paper – it’s not reality.

Because with the ability to always be “connected”, you are playing a very dangerous game. Once that can become highly addictive.

You must find time to unplug from your work and connect your friends and family.

Here are a few rules I have in place to maintain balance… and maybe it can help you…

  • When I’m home, my cell phone is off. I put it in another room and never carry it with  me in the house so there’s no temptation to check it.
  • I only answer incoming calls from two people… my wife and my father. Everyone else can leave a message and I’ll call back when I have time. No exceptions.
  • If I hold a live Webinar at night, it’s always AFTER the kids are asleep. And usually never more than one a week.
  • To de-stress from a day on the computer, I usually take a “detox” bath with lavender-scented bath salt and soft “spa” music. Yes, it’s girly.. but I’m not afraid to admit it’s awesome.
  • One day a week  (usually on Friday), I have an open schedule. No appointment. No calls. And just seeing that open day in my calendar gives a sense of incredible freedom. I can choose to work for an hour or so. Or see a movie. Or get a massage. It’s on these days when I often come up with my best “creative” business ideas.

I believe the next wave of lifestyle entrepreneurs start to teach this message.

Even Gary Vaynerchuk (the poster boy for “working your face-off), believes in balance. Check out this short interview when he talks about “leaving your baggage at the door”.

 

Believe me, I’ve gone down that road. And it’s still a struggle to try and “turn off” the business and be in the present for your friends and family. But it’s something you must always be aware of and working on.

After all, at the end of the day, what’s the point of running a “lifestyle” business, if you have no life?

Be smart. Be focused. Setup boundaries from the start. And enjoy the incredible journey.

Like this article? Click Here to stay updated with Part II.

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How to TRIPLE Your Sales and Conversions

Want to know how to INSTANTLY sell more? I’m talking A LOT more.

It’s very simple… fall in love with the product or service you are offering. That’s it.

When you know deep in your soul your product or service will truly help people… it’s easy to sell it.

This is the reason I can convert so many to sales on a Webinar. Or with a short sales letter. I believe in my stuff 100%. I know people who buy my products will have their lives changed. It’s why I get so excited when I introduce the offer. It’s how I can sell a product (or even an hour of my time) for $1,000 and more with such confidence.

I’ve also seen the opposite happen. People who put up mediocre (or really bad) products and the sales effort falls flat. It’s because deep down they know it’s wrong. They don’t feel good about their product or their offer – and it shows. No matter how many copywriting and “persuasion” courses you take.. you can’t hide it (unless, of course, you are a complete sociopath – and there are many in the “IM” world).

I speak from experience about this. A few years ago I put out a product I thought was pretty good – but it wasn’t the type of product or offer I thought would change lives. And it showed in my sales. The product failed and I had a strange sense of relief when I shut it down. I vowed never, ever do that again. To never put out a product I didn’t believe in 100%.

So before you ponder “which headline is best?” or “should it be a video or written sales letter?”, go back to your product and offer. Make your product and offer SO GOOD and full of so much value – you can’t wait to shout about it from the rooftops. You do everything in your power to tell people about your product and convert them to a sale.

That, my friend, is when the real magic happens. It’s when your marketing becomes flawless. It’s when you are “in the zone”. And it’s when sales just flow in naturally.

Are you with me?

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Inside Kevin Trudeau's Business Model

10 years. That’s the prison sentence long-time informercial pitchman, Kevin Trudeau was just handed down. Ten long years.

While I am certainly no lawyer, nor did I look through thousands of pages of his case, based on the news reports, most of the charges had to do with “misleading” and “misrepresenting” his weight loss claims. For example, saying he can “cure” a disease is a big no-no.

What they didn’t mention was his actual business model – which I studied for years and know very well. Here’s how it essentially functioned…

  • You’d buy one of his hardcover books for around $19.95. And with that $19.95 purchase, you’d receive a few more free special reports. These special reports were a few pages.
  • You would be charged about $12 for shipping and processing for the $19.95 book. At his volume, the books would cost Kevin around $1 and shipping is a few dollars more (you can start to see the profit already). Even if you returned the book for your $19.95 back – the shipping & processing were non-refundable
  • In addition, he’d offer you a second book for “free”. But the “free” book would also be charged additional shipping and processing (up to $10 more).
  • So a $19.95 book (and bonus book) really costs the customer… $19.95 + $12 + $10 = $41.95
  • But his BIG money was on the backend. He probably lost money selling his books and many of his infomercial spots. The idea was to get people into the “continuity” program. At his peak, he was rumored to have over 1 million people paying $9.95 per month for his newsletter/membership site. Yep – around $10 million per month.

He dominated ONE marketing channel, infomercials. That was his speciality and he went deep into that market. He was focused.

I know some people who are like Kevin. They are smart. They are natural salesmen. But there’s a “dark” side and they just can’t resist the temptation to push the envelope. And they leave many hurt people in their wake.

Making up claims is WRONG (and illegal)

Taking advantage of people is WRONG (and illegal)

However, as with everything in life, there are lessons to be learned from Kevin Trudeau’s cautionary tale.  For me, it’s three simple lessons… 1) Go deep into one marketing channel. 2) Have a low-priced front-end product. And then, 3) offer a continuity program. Of course, you must do it by being true in your marketing and not making up claims. But if you do it the RIGHT way, there are certainly riches to be had while HELPING people at the same time.

 

Tweet: Inside Kevin Trudeau’s $10 Million Per Month Biz: http://ctt.ec/2f5Xu+

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The "Put Your Competitors Out of Business" Offer?

Everything begins and ends with your offer.

You can have the best traffic source, but if you don’t have a good offer that people want (and converts), the traffic is wasted.

It’s a common mistake made by wannabe entrepreneurs. They get sucked-in by the “latest” product that promises thousands of new email subscribers with one “trick”. But even if they implement the traffic trick – there are no sales. But why not?

It’s because the offer was not compelling enough. It simply didn’t inspire people enough to take out their credit card and buy.

We all tend to get “lazy” with our offers, often settling for “good enough”. But an offer that is “good enough” is no longer “good enough”. Not any more.

There’s too much competition. You can’t just put out a mediocre product with a mediocre offer and expect outstanding results.

Right before you make your offer live to the world, ask yourself this simple question:

“Is this offer so good – people would be absolutely insane to say no?”

Imagine walking around the mall while enjoying on a warm, soft pretzel. As you stroll by a jewelry store, just then the manager puts a sign in the window offering a $5,000 Rolex on sale for just $500 for the first 10 customers only. And you are right there – the moment the sign goes up.. and you are the first one to spot the sign. Even if you didn’t want a rolex – there’s a good chance you’d run to that counter, plunk down your $500 and walk away with that watch.

THAT’S how good your offer has to be. That’s what separates the average product offers from the 6, 7 and even 8 figure businesses.

What can you do with the pricing? The guarantee? The delivery? The access to coaching? The community? The content?

If you offer doesn’t inspire.. then go back to the drawing board and make your offer even better. Dare I say… irresistible.

Keep on Rockin’,
Ry
P.S. If you want to see something like this in action – CLICK HERE, attend and be prepared to have your face melted with the awesomeness.

 

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When Do You Give Too Much?

I’m a big fan of simply giving people what they want. It’s about your customers – and not you.

When you give, a majority of the people will “get it” and truly be appreciative. They will thank you for caring and reward you with their business when you offer products and services.

However, there will be some with a sense of entitlement. It’s something you will have to deal with.

Here’s an example (and I hope he doesn’t mind that I used his site as an example). It’s from one of my friends, John Spencer Ellis, a fitness entrepreneur I’ve known for over a decade.

John just put out a FREE podcast. Yes, it’s free. He pays for the hosting. And for editing. And it’s his time to track down people to interview and conduct the interview.

But here were a few comments on his site after he made it live…

podcasting

Look, I totally understand people who want an option to bypass iTunes… but this just rubbed me the wrong way.

John is spending his own time, money and resources to put out a FREE podcast.. and this guy doesn’t ask – he basically demands “please provide links to avoid iTunes”.

They didn’t first say, “John – THANK YOU for an amazing resource.” or “I really appreciate you doing this for us” or “Thanks for putting the effort to do this for us for free”.

Nope – just “I don’t like iTunes, so give me other options”. Me. Me. Me.

John handled it like a pro and I’m not sure I would have been so kind. And I’m sure getting the RSS feed is not a big deal, but it’s the principle of the matter.

I might be nitpicking, but this stuff drives me insane. And it’s these kind of things, even though they seem small, that almost make me want to just close up shop. 

entitlementTo all of the self-entitled people reading this (you know who you are)… here’s a message for you on behalf of many of my fellow content creators…

The world owes you nothing. Nada. Zip. If you don’t like the interviews or the format of the interviews – then get off your ass and interview the people yourself and create whatever RSS/geeked-out format you want.

If you don’t like a free pdf report, then just delete it and get on with your life. We don’t need to hear you bitching about the FREE report on our blog comments, facebook page or twitter about how it should have been longer.

And for those of you who create content and give first… do your best to attract people who appreciate you and your efforts (while repelling the self-entitled). And when one of the self-entitled comes into your life – remove them immediately because they will poison your business like a virus.

Hugs,
Ryan

P.S. Click here to register for my next training to discover the best way to finally break free.

 

 

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Make Money Online?

When I was a personal trainer – we ALWAYS have specific goals for my clients’ It might have been a specific number of pounds they wanted to lose or maybe a certain time in their 40 yard dash they wanted to get. No matter what, there was a measurable goal.

Here’s a fast and simple exercise I like to do with my business clients (and on myself when I’m starting a new business). I start with my financial goal and break it down to a daily goal.

Ok, here’s an example – in two steps…

STEP 1

Let’s say your goal is to make $10K per month and you are in the health niche. You’d like to do this with information products. When it’s broken down, it looks like this…

  • $10,000 per month
  • $2,500 per week
  • $357 per day

That’s it – you now have a very specific number to go for… $357 per day.

 

STEP 2

Next, your brain automatically starts to come up with a plan on how to get to those numbers.

For example, if you want to create a “continuity” program (like a membership with recurring revenue), you need just 100 members paying $100 per month. Or 500 members paying $20. Or 1000 members paying just $10.

Out of the thousands (or millions) of potential people in your market – can you create an offer so outstanding that 100 or 1000 people would jump at the chance to join?

Or perhaps, you want to create an ebook to sell for $20.

If you sell 10 a day – you are more than 1/2 way to your daily goal.

10 copies a day at $20 each is $200 per day. You need just $157 more (per day) to reach your goal of $10k per month. We just cut the number of members you need for your membership site significantly.

Maybe you want to sell a $500 big-ticket product. It might be a coaching session, a certification, a workshop or a home-study course. You sell just ONE a day.. and you are well over your goal. In fact, one $500 product comes to around $15,000.00 per month.

IT’S SIMPLE

First, figure out your actual financial goals. Then – let your mind start to come up with the solution to get there. But you always have to start with that specific, measurable goal or you are just aiming in the dark.

FREE TRAING!! I’m doing a FREE online workshop showing you exactly how to create your lifestyle business plan. I’m expecting thousands of people to register – so ==> GRAB YOUR FREE SEAT HERE.

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Attack the Day

Be honest with yourself. Do you leap out of bed ready to truly “attack” the day?

Do you go after your dreams with everything you’ve got?

Do you have specific tasks you are going to get done, no matter what?

Do you shut off all distractions (skype, cell phone, email) and do the things that are going to grow your business?

Do you connect with people you respect and admire.. and offer to help them?

Do you create products, programs and services that change peoples lives?

Do you run through walls (if necessary), to get your message to the world?

Do you put yourself out there in front of your customers through podcasts, blogs and guest articles?

Do you craft sales/marketing messages that resonate with your potential customers on the deepest levels?

At the end of the day, can you look in the mirror and say, “I gave it everything I had today and I left it all on the playing field”? Or did you spend half the day watching cat videos on youtube or reading about the Justin Beiber on TMZ?

You want to run a profitable “lifestyle” business… this is the MAJOR leagues, my friend. It’s time to step it up and attack the day. Because I can guarantee you one thing – your competition is out there and they’re not stopping.

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Front-End Product Success

Your “front-end” products are critical to the success of your online publishing empire.

And the key to a rock sold front-end product is to find what products are selling well in your market, and then figure out how to make yours better.

It’s a simple formula…

STEP 1: Find the best-selling products in your market
STEP 2: Buy them and go through the product and process
STEP 3: Innovate and figure out how to make yours better

This is where INNOVATION comes in. How can you make your front-end product even better than the competition?

It could be the pricing, the delivery system, the content, the guarantee, or the hook.

Then, when you get this down, continue to INNOVATE with more new front-end products. Every single front-end offer, no matter how good or innovative, eventually flattens out so you can never rest on your laurels. If you don’t innovate on the front-end, your business will start to decline. Mark my words.

Model. Innovate. Repeat.

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