It’s Time to Shake Things Up!

I’m thinking about shaking things up a bit in this crazy world of “Internet Marketing”.

More online trainings. More guest experts. More success stories. 100% content. No hard pitching.

If this is something you’d be interested in… please give your feedback and let’s make it a reality.


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42 Years. 42 Mistakes

Today I turn 42. And while so many posts and Facebook updates are about “hey, look how awesome my life is”, I just wanted to get real for a few minutes.

The average lifespan for a white male living in Connecticut is 78. And while I hope to live many years beyond that, no one can predict the future. One thing is for certain, with each passing year – it becomes more and more apparent the “back nine” of my life is slowly approaching.

So today, on my 42nd birthday, I’d like to look back and focus not on my “successes”, but on the mistakes I’ve made over the years. And, oh boy, have I made my share.

The key to life is not making mistakes, but by LEARNING from your mistakes and constantly striving to be a better person. For me, it’s becoming a better father, husband, son, brother, and finally, a better businessman. The day we all stop trying to better ourselves.. well, you may as well just throw in the towel.

So looking back at my first 42 years of life, and in keeping with the theme of learning from mistakes, here are 42 mistakes I’ve made over the years (believe me, I’ve made thousands more – these were just the first 42 that came to my mind – I don’t know if you want to read “Ryan’s 193,241 mistakes”).

This list includes both personal and business screw-ups. My hope is by publishing this list – you can avoid some of the mistakes (and pain) I’ve done through.

You’ll see the mistake fist followed by what I learned in [brackets].

Here they are in all their glory and no particular order:

1. Not appreciating my wife enough for how much she supports me and our kids
[Biggest mistake of my life. No question - it's not even close]

2. Promoting a product I didn’t fully review myself first
[Now I only promote products I personally review]

3. Not appreciating my mom enough and telling her that when she was alive
[It's a big regret, but she did know how much I loved her. Appreciate your family while they are here]

4. Launching a product without enough customer support ready to handle the influx of new customers
[Now I always have extra staff ready]

5. Taking on too many new clients at one time
[I never have more than a couple of active clients at a time]

6. Not having people apply to make sure they are qualified to join a high-level mastermind group
[All of my bigger ticket events and masterminds are now application-only]

7. Traveling too much during four year stretch to speak at events and missing many weekends with my kids
[I haven't traveled to speak at an event in over 2.5 years]

8. Not testing offers enough before doing a large-scale release
[Now, I put offers through the ringer before I launch]

9. Not learning (and focusing) on paid traffic from day 1
[Most of my learning time is now on mastering paid traffic and generating my own customers]

10. Taking advice from people whose life I should not have modeled
[I can learn some marketing tactics, but if I see a guy who is 50, divorced three times and lonely... I can't take every word he says as the gospel because I could end up just like him]

11. Staying out way too late at one too many marketing events
[Those days are long gone and far in my rear view mirror]

12. Investing $5K in a coaching program that provided ZERO value
[I'm very picky when I purchase big-ticket programs]

13. Believing my own hype
[Staying humble is still a constant work-in-progress]

14. Not focusing on more front-end offers
[Working on three new powerful front-end offers to generate new customers]

15. Not offering enough premium products when I first started (my customers wanted to spend – so they spent it elsewhere)
[I now offer a wide range of products and experiences at higher prices]

16. Cursing too much in my blog posts
[I was in a dark place and realize, while I was fired up, it was just wrong for me to use that type of language. F that!]

17. Spending too many nights on the computer when I should have been playing with my kids more
[I shut my computer down when I get home now. If I want to go back on, it's only after my kids are sleeping]

18. Not doing a good enough job keeping in touch with childhood friends
[I try to reconnect each week with a different friend from the past]

19. Taking too long to discover how much more creative and productive I am when working outside of a traditional office
[Every morning I now spend at a coffee shop - usually Starbucks]

20. Speaking negatively about someone behind their back
[I'm still working on this.. but if I have a problem with someone, I usually just confront them to their face to work out our differences]

21. Focusing too much on just a few negative customers when I should have been putting all my energy into my customers who “get it”
[This is a toughie and while my skin has thickened over the years, I'm still pretty sensitive and a people pleaser]

22. Not firing some clients sooner
[This was liberating and I have no problem letting go of negative people. And if they are mean to my customer support team, they are gone. No questions asked. Demetria and my team know I ALWAYS have their back]

23. Getting frustrated with a client who doesn’t listen to my advice
[You can only guide your clients - you can't do it for them. Just focus on doing the best you can for the - the rest is up to them]

24. Partnering with people whose skills were too similar to mine
[I realize I'm a "starter" and now only partner with people who are "finishers"]

25. Creating a product I wasn’t passionate about or proud of
[If I wouldn't be product to wear name of my product/company on my t-shirt, I don't create it]

26. Speaking at an event I should have said no to
[Be careful of the company you keep. Before I say yes even to an online event, I first ask who else is speaking. And if there are people on the schedule I don't want to be associated with, no matter how good the opportunity, I say no with zero regrets. Think LONG TERM with your reputation!]

27. Saying “yes” too many times
[When you learn to say "no", it transforms your business]

28. Not paying close enough attention to the finances and tax implications of a growing business
[This cost me well over $4 million dollars in IRS penalties and fines. And I now have a great accountant who has experience in high-profit businesses like mine]

29. Rushing my sales copy
[I always let my copy sit for 24 hours before I come back to it]

30. Not emailing my list enough
[If you put out good stuff - they WANT to hear from you more. Don't be shy]

31. Not creating premium continuity programs sooner
[I don't create programs now without some type of recurring revenue opportunity]

32. Putting money in a risky investment (I trusted my neighbor and lost over $60K in 7 days)
[My investments are much safer and I put most of my money back into my business - where I know my returns and can control my future]

33. Not re-investing more money back into traffic generation
[My new company will get 100% of our new customers with paid traffic]

34. Refusing to take equity in some of my client’s businesses (this cost me, conservatively, $30 million over the years)
[If it's a serious client who has the potential to grow the businesses to 7 and 8 figures - I now ask for equity in exchange for my coaching and guidance]

35. Taking too long to realize how much better a Mac is than a PC (sorry PC fans)
[No more computer crashes... and I now run my ENTIRE business on my MacBook Air]

36. Not hiring Demetria earlier in my businesses (she’s now been with me over 11 years!)
[When you start, you'll have to do it all yourself. But as you grow, build a strong team]

37. Not taking enough long walks alone… just thinking
[I now take a 40 minute walk EVERY day. It's changed my business, reduced my stress, helped me lose a few pounds and gave me more creative marketing ideas]

38. Getting “caught up” in the hypey, paper-thin life of “Internet Marketing”
[It's amazing the crap people peddle.. I try to distance myself as far from that world as possible]

39. Telling myself “I’m just bending the truth”, when in reality, I was lying
[100% transparency is the key]

40. Not following-through
[I make sure to hire someone who can run and manage new products and businesses]

41. Forgetting to fuel my body with healthy food
[Today, I'm 95% gluten and dairy-free... and my auto-immune disorder symptoms are almost completely gone - without the use of prescription drugs]

42.  Not unplugging enough and simply enjoying the journey
[Our time here is limited - and we all have an expiration date.  Are you really, truly enjoying the journey?]

BONUS MISTAKE #43. Not saying “THANK YOU” enough. My subscribers, customers and clients are the lifeblood of my business. Without you, my articles would go unread. My products would go unsold. And my mission to change the lives of millions of people would go unfinished.

So thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read this. I truly appreciate you and all the greatness you have inside you just ready to be unleashed to the world.

 

P.S. I did do some things “right”. If you want to see what I did pretty well and how I generated tens of millions of dollars in sales, look at this.


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BIG Announcement from PayPal

If you are buying traffic, whether it’s through Facebook, Google, direct site buys, etc, you know how important CASH FLOW is to your business.

It usually takes a few days for the money that goes into your merchant account to be available to you. And with some 3rd party merchants, it can take up to two weeks.

And I’m a big fan of PayPal because it’s so fast and easy to setup and test a product. However, even PayPal takes 3-4 business days for the money to get deposited into your account.

If you are spending even a decent amount of money on ads, those 3-4 days of waiting for the money can crush your business if you’re not careful.

You can see a screenshot of my account below to show how long it will take for the money to go from my PayPal account to my bank account:

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However, it looks like things are changing. And it’s awesome.

I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s due to the volume of sales we do or maybe they sent this to everybody, but I was invited to test their pilot program.

They are going to test NEXT-DAY money transfers. This is really big news, especially if you are buying traffic (or if you just like access to your money faster!).

See the email below:

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Stay fast. Stay lean. Stay hungry.

P.S. If you are interested in building your own lifestyle business, I’ll teach you exactly how I create and put products to the market so fast.


Hello I Am Someone Who Can Help words written on a nametag stick

5 Simple Words That Will Transform Your Business, Relationships and Even Your Life

Last week, I was invited to speak at what can only be described as THE direct marketing event. It was called “The Titans of Direct Response”.

Here I was, closing out the event on a second panel. I look to my left and I see marketing legends like Jay Abraham and Joe Sugarman. Plus, a collection of some greatest copywriters that ever lived.

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On the left is Jim Kwik. And yes, we did throw bagels into the audience during one of the panels. Please don’t ask me why.

And someone from the audience asks an interesting question for all the panelists…

“What is the best question someone in the audience should ask you?”

Now that’s a great question.

Hmmm….  sure, you could go with the typical, “if you had to start over again with no money and no connections, what would you do?”. OR “what’s your #1 traffic tip”.

But I instantly knew the best question to ask.

It’s the ONE question that will establish relationships. And it’s the best way to build your business… because relationships are everything!

When it was my turn to speak, I grabbed the mic and said the following…

“Here is the one question you could have asked each of us in the hallways.. it’s just 5 simple words, but it will transform your business….

HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU?

That’s it.

Instead of just talking about the weather. Or how YOU have a great product with a $3.50 EPC… ask how you can support this person.

I can’t tell you how many events I’ve been to where someone gets two inches from my face and says one of the following two things…

“Ryan, I’m a fan.. can I pick your brain?”
OR
“Ryan, I have a new product coming out. It’s great and it pays 50% commission. Can you promote it to your list?”

I’m always polite, but I make a mental note. They are only interested in a one-way relationship – and it’s clearly all about them. They are “takers” and I avoid takers.

During the event, I finally met Jay Abraham face-to-face after listening to his tapes for years (yes, I used to listen to his programs on cassette!). One of the very first things I said to him was, “Jay, I love your training material. It helped my business. How can I support you?”.

But the thing is, you have to truly “mean it” (and I did mean it with Jay… we are now connected, starting to build a relationship and exchanging text messages).

Your offer to help/support someone is NOT lip-service. It can’t be fake. And it can’t be self-serving.

You don’t ask how you can help/support someone – and then never reply to their email. This is the beginning of a relationship.. and you have to give from the heart (and ask for nothing in return).

Brian Kurtz, who put on the Titans event, is a prime example of giving first. He always gives and never asks for a thing in return. It’s the reason why he got the best living marketers and copywriters to come share the stage for 3 days. It’s the reason why Gary Bencivenga gave his first public talk in… well, EVER!

Thankfully – I think my message from the stage came through loud and clear. I saw lots of heads nodding. And a few people told me that one tip was transformative.

In fact, I received over a dozen emails this week from people I met with a similar message of offering help. Here are a couple of them…

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Example #1: Look at the last line of the email.

support2

Example #2: “If there’s anything I can do for you…”

 

BOTTOM LINE

The next time you meet someone at an event. Or you are trying to connect online with a person you’d like to do business with.. stick to these five words, “How Can I Support You” – and you’ll see how your life will change.

 

P.S. Here’s my offer to support you in your quest for a really great lifestyle business.


Alarm clock on table on bright background

It’s NEVER Too Late

There are days where it seems like all of the good ideas are already taken. And all the products and services that should be created have already been created.

It feels like your competitors have too much of a lead.

After all, does the world REALLY need another “fat loss ebook” or self-improvement training program?

But it’s all in your head.

Apple was NOT the first to create a mobile phone or even a tablet. In fact, the ATT EO Communicator came out twenty years before the iPad.

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The ATT EO Communicator

Let’s look at more of the world’s leading companies and brands…

Google was NOT the first search engine.

Amazon was NOT the first e-commerce site.

Zappos was NOT the first to sell shoes online.

Facebook was NOT the first social networking site.

YouTube was NOT the first video hosting site.

 

THE SECRET

Here’s the “secret”.

Look at what’s already working… and find a way to IMPROVE upon it. That’s it.

In fact, it’s better to NOT be first. Let them take all the risk and blaze the trail while you follow right behind.

Apple made a better tablet.

Google made a search engine with better results.

Zappos created a better customer service experience.

You get the idea.

Don’t get discouraged.

It’s not too late. It’s NEVER too late. 

 

P.S. Right now is the BEST time to create your own future. Click here.


Scam Alert

Are You “Hijacking” Your Own Business?

I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting a little older. As my 42nd birthday is fast approaching and my oldest daughter is now in middle-school, I am starting to see business differently.

Now, when I see products that are overly-aggressive in their name, it’s a complete turn-off. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

If you want to reach people who are, let’s say, 35 and up – you should think long and hard before you come up with an “IMish” name.

It’s a shame, because they might actually be good products.

For example, you might have created a quality training program which shows people where (and how) to purchase under-utilized Facebook pages to grow your own following. However – if it’s called “FB Hijacker”, it reeks of low-quality. It feels like a $10 product. And I know you are going to jam me with lots of upsells.

Ok – so you come out with a “launch”. You have your buddies do a promotion for you. And maybe, just maybe, you sell 1,000 units. After giving away at least 50% to your affiliates, you are left with $5K. But don’t forget refunds and credit card feels.

At the end of the day if you are left with $3K – $4K consider yourself lucky. Very lucky.

And while there’s nothing wrong with a $4K payday, that is NOT a business. It’s not repeatable. And it has no legs.

Thirty days later you are back to square one.

But if you were more strategic. If you had a name which would not automatically be banned by Google (and likely disapproved by Facebook), you might be able to buy ads profitably. And now you are looking at $4K+ PER DAY. (and perhaps a lot more).

Do you have any idea how much traffic you could buy at Google? You never have to worry about launches and affiliate recruitment. You would be in control of your own destiny. And you could scale as you desire.

ANYTHING is better than “hijack” or “beast” or “blaster”. Heck, you could even use one of those Web 2.0 name generators and create a fictional name.

Here were a few names this name generator came up with…

  • Muboo
  • BubbleZoom
  • Abazz

Not perfect, but it’s a start.

Raise your game and don’t rely on the crutch of a “hypey” name.

And yes, I know this post might make me sound just a wee bit snobby. But I’m OK with that.

Coach Lee, out.

 

**UPDATE** If you want to see exactly how I built my empire while working from Starbucks.. click here.

 


E-learning education or internet library. Conceptual image

My 37,000 Square Foot Office!

Perhaps one of the most under-utilized resources for entrepreneurs is your local public library. That’s right – the LIBRARY!

When I started my first business selling baseball cards via mail order as a 13-year old in 1985, the library was my best friend. I read books about how to start a mail order business. It’s where I even learned what SASE meant (self-addressed stamped envelope!).

Fast-forward 9 years to 1994. I was a college graduate living and just moved back in with my parents. I started a side-business, a personal training company but I had virtually no money to invest in business training courses – so I spent all my free time at the library.

And when I read every relevant business and marketing book in the New City library (where I was living at the time), I’d venture to other libraries in the area. Each time I went to a new library, there were new business books to discover. It was like Christmas (well, for me, it was like Hanukkah).

For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why everyone in the world wasn’t at the library. Heck, just for business, you have billions of dollars of knowledge at your fingertips.. for free. It just seemed there was no excuse  - the information was right there.

When I was working at a full-time Gym Teacher, the only Internet was at the local library two blocks away from the school (this was back in 2001). And since the school was in the roughest section of the South Bronx, I made the daily trek past the gang-bangers and drug-dealers to build my business at the library during all my free breaks.

Now, it’s 20 years later – and I’m STILL using the public library.

Thousands of magazines to read through. Private desks and meetings rooms. Free WiFi. More business/marketing books than I could read in a lifetime.

And it’s all free.

Here are some pics from my day at the New Canaan library last week…

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Enjoying my private desk at the New Canaan library.

My "office" at the library. MacBook Air, notebook, and a few business magazines.

My “office” at the library. MacBook Air, notebook, and a few business magazines.

 

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This section is stacked with business and marketing books.

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Just one of the goodies waiting for you to devour!

Oh yeah, it’s a sweet deal indeed.

37,000 square feet of awesomeness.

If I can run my business, on my own schedule, out of the local Starbucks and a public library.. why can’t you?

If you want to see exactly how I did it so you can copy my success, join me here.


We Can Help

HELP!

Sometimes we are ALL guilty of this. And yes, that includes me too.

We think of our business purely in terms of money. How much net profit this new product will bring you.

A phrase I heard years ago backstage at a marketing event I was speaking at still makes me uncomfortable.

This well-known marketer (who shall remain nameless) was running the event, told me my job was to, and I quote, “EXTRACT as much money from the audience as possible”.

He was dead serious and didn’t crack a smile when he dropped this on me.

Really?

I felt so dirty and it was at that exact moment I knew something had to change. I knew I had to start associating with different people. I had to start attending different events. And it was the last time I spoke at an event like that.

It was the main reason I started doing my own events – and removed all the “pitching and selling” from the stage.

I just knew there had to be a way simultaneously make money AND help people at the same time.

so I went on a mission to focus on the needs of my clients. I’m not perfect (not even close), and while sometimes I succeed, I also have failed spectacularly. Looking back, I’ve done and said things I shouldn’t have.

But slowly, the books I read started to change. Instead of books about “persuasion”, I started to read more autobiographies from well-respected and admired people. More books about social entrepreneurship. And as far as I could tell, none of these successful people created their wealth by selling WSO’s (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

The more businesses I studied (and the more I implemented fundamental change in my business), the clearer things became. And the answer is simple.

During every step of your business process (product creation, copy, customer support, etc.), ask yourself if you are truly HELPING your clients and customers.

That’s it. Are you helping them?

Take the money out of the equation. Are they simply better off by investing their money in your products & services?

If you saw your customer across the street, would you dart across to see how they are doing because you know they’d be happy to see you (or would you run for cover – knowing full well you did them a disservice by selling a shoddy product?).

I’ve literally seen marketers HIDE from former customers because of how they treated them. I met one marketer at an event – and he says to me, “you see that guy over there, he paid me $25K for coaching – and I have to avoid him”. When I asked why – he said the guy didn’t make a dime and keeps on bugging him.

I wish I was making that up. And I wish it didn’t happen as often as it likely does.

But you can avoid that. It’s the little things you can do to help your customers and show you truly care.

If you are just starting out and selling two or three ebooks a day, why not pick up the phone and CALL your customer to see how they are enjoying the ebook? And to see if they have any questions.

I’m not talking about an upsell into a coaching program – I’m talking about a simple phone call. Just like you’d do for a friend with no hidden agenda.

You’d be amazed the bond formed and as a side benefit, how much insight you’ll gleam into your customers. This will assist you in created more great products and services to help them on their journey.

So few people do this, you’ll instantly stand out from the crowd. And more importantly, you’ll show your customers how much you care.

Watch this short video and feel those “warm and fuzzies” before you create your next marketing campaign. It’s the power of “helping” and I guarantee it will put you in the right frame of mind:

 

P.S. Here’s my offer of help to you. It just might change your life.


Chalk Design With Lightbulb, Business Mission

How to Motivate Your Virtual Team (It’s NOT What You Think)

I’ve written a few articles lately about building a virtual team.

Why? Because if you want to build wealth, you need good peeps. You simply can’t do everything yourself. And if you are doing it all yourself, there’s no leverage.

Today I’d like to share another important aspect of hiring I’ve learned over the years.

Money is NOT the real reason people will join your company. Nor is it the sole reason they stay with you.

They join (and stick around) because they want to be a part of something exciting. Something bigger than themselves. Something that matters.

When you are building a team, you must share your vision. Tell the potential hire how the product/service/company will change the world.

I’m serious.

Ok, maybe you are creating a new “weight loss” ebook. And if it’s truly a good product that helps your customers – then your team should be excited about it.

It’s NOT “just an ebook” you’re selling. And if you tell your team “we are creating a new ebook”… who really cares?

BUT – when you talk about the book. And how it was created. And how it’s going to finally help thousands of people who have struggled with weight issues. People get excited.

Please don’t confuse this with a generic mission statement like “we are the pre-eminent provider of blah, blah, blah…”.

Just be real and get down to the emotion.

You are not just selling your product to customers, you have to sell it to your team as well.

And when they all buy in, it’s magic.

But it starts with you, the visionary. You must believe in what you are selling – down to the core.

You must feel it.

You must live it.

You must breathe it.

And when you are excited about your products, your team gets behind you and your company 100%.

Now… get out there and start a movement.

 

P.S. Here’s how I built an online lifestyle empire with a 100% virtual team.


Business man working with laptop and thinking about  new project

Never, Ever Do This

Last week, I wrote about how to build your virtual team.

Now, let’s dive in a little deeper into some dark waters.

When you are building out a solid team, you should NEVER GIVE EQUITY.. especially to programmers.

I’ve seen this mistake happen over and over again.

An excited wannabe entrepreneur has a BIG idea. She contacts a “local” digital marketing firm – and they quote her an outrageous price for the site/software. Way higher than she should be paying.

So rather that come up with quoted $30,000+, she strikes a deal. She agrees pay $5K up-front and then, she’ll give up 20% of her company in exchange for the free programming.

BIG, BIG MISTAKE!

The most important role in your business is marketing. Period. That’s what DRIVES your business. Once the site is up, all of the time and money will be spend on acquiring new customers. While the programmers site back and take 20% of your profits.

Here’s the problem.

If your idea doesn’t work, the programmers are really annoyed.

If your idea DOES work and you start generating big profits, after a while YOU will not be happy. Even if you are making $500K per year with this business, you will not be happy giving away 20% to someone who adds no more value to the company. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

Either way, it’s a no-win for either party. Eventually, it will fall apart.

Plus, and this is a big plus, if programmers are not getting a big fee paid up-front, guess what happens when they get a new client who wants to pay them for a $50,000 custom software program? Yep, you get pushed to the back of the line. Sorry Bubba, you are out of luck.

If you can’t afford the build-out, here are a few other options…

  • Find another programmer/developer. Bid it out on larger freelance sites like elance.com or guru.com
  • Scale back your site/software so it’s affordable. Remove all bells and whistles to come up with a simple version you can test.
  • If you are hell-bent on releasing the power-packed super-expensive version and only want to work with that one overpriced programmer, then find the money from another source. Maybe an angel who doesn’t want equity. Perhaps crowdfunding sites like fundable,  indiegogo,  or kickstarter.

My point is this.

Be smart. And never, ever give equity to your programmers. Is that clear enough?

P.S. If you are a programmer reading this and I’ve upset you… please get over it.

P.P.S. If you are an entrepreneur and want to build your own business, from scratch, without having to take on partners.. click here.