Does Your Business or Idea Pass the "Barrier" Test

First, let me say I LOVE the Internet. Absolutely love it.

It has made building a business accessible for anyone – including a former recreational therapist/personal trainer/gym teacher.

When I was 12 years old and started my baseball card mail-order business. To build a list, I had to buy an ad in a baseball card magazine (yes, I actually did a paid ad when I was 12 — I was born an entrepreneur!).

But now, all you need is about $8 for a domain name, a free wordpress download, a few dollars for a web host and you’re in business.

That’s a blessing… AND a curse.


Here’s the problem with a low-barrier to entry…. it’s easy for EVERYONE to do and therefore, breeds a lot of competition.

Granted, most of the competition will likely be crap. People who just put the minimal amount of effort in and just pray for the best. And, like I said, that’s the majority of people.

That’s why a business, product or service that takes MORE EFFORT to build will instantly put you in a better position.


Because there are less people playing in that space.

For example – anyone can become an affiliate. There’s no cost and virtually zero barrier to entry. Just throw up a few free articles written by the publisher and you’re in business.

Easy, right?


Because there are tens of thousands of other people doing the exact same thing! And it’s much harder to stand out.


But the person who takes the effort to actually write their own ebook or create a video training series has done something even less people will do. Because so few are willing to put in the work.

Why “become” an affiliate when you can be a publisher and “run” your own affiliate program?

Yes, it takes more work to create a product. And handle customer support. And actually RUN a business.

But so what?

It’s a f*cking business!!! We are talking about income that can replace (and far surpass) what any “full-time” job can pay you.

Show me anyone who is making (or claims) to do at least 7-figures online – and I’ll show you someone who is working. And likely working their ass off.


Stop playing small. And start thinking BIG.

Start asking yourself where are some HIGHER barriers to entry and how can you play there? What are the things my competitors won’t do…

  • Live events instead of webinars
  • Media buys instead of facebook ads
  • Create a product instead of settling for just being an affiliate
  • DVD of the month instead of CD of the month
  • Magazine instead of a newsletter
  • Software program instead of an ebook
  • In-person interviews instead of skype interviews
  • Start your own network marketing company instead of joining one
  • Your own web show instead of written blog posts

These are just a few ideas to get you headed in the right direction.

It takes more blood, sweat and tears – but it will pay off in the end. Big time.


P.S. Here’s something that few people are willing to do


  1. It’s funny that doing in person interview is on your list…

    I’m creating an interview series to launch the web part of my business – I’ve been working for a couple of years now with some very cool and industry-specific “famous” authors, and I’ll be including them in the video series. They are literally all over the world, and when I started talking about logistics, a friend said – oh, just use Skype.

    And I instantly knew that’s what makes me different. I’m going to do these in person – sit right next to them on video and kick ass!

    Great ideas for standing out in the crowd, and totally consistent with great products and services!


    1. Author

      Hey Dori,

      Can’t wait to see your product – keep us posted…


  2. Real entrepreneurs create a business opportunity not buy one. (Start your own network marketing company instead of joining one)

    Great post!

    1. Author

      Well said Danny..

      “Real entrepreneurs create a business opportunity not buy one”


    1. Author

      Thanks Quentin – and I will keep spreading the message…


  3. Great post, Ryan. It takes constant effort to stay ahead of the saturation point of any particular market. Being a first mover has its advantages, but it takes a keen eye and a bit of luck. Then saturation follows…

    Differentiating yourself is actually fairly simple, it just takes careful thought an enormous amount of work. You seem to have done that well!

    1. Author

      Hey Abel,

      First mover is BIG – especially in a crowded market.

      And being different takes a fair amount of guts too!


  4. @Dori
    How are you recording the Skype interviews? I’m planning a series of interviews for a DVD course and I’m having a hard time finding a good program to record them. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    (I’m using Windows 7, fyi)

      1. Thanks! – I’ll check out SuperTinTin.

        I wish I could record these live, but my limited budget means version 1.0 of this course will have to be Skype interviews. I think this will be a great way to break up the monotony of me speaking for a couple hours.

        Thanks again everyone.

        1. Author


          Find out where many of these people will be (at an industry event), rent a small conference room and knock out a dozen or so interviews!


    1. Rob,

      I’m actually not going to use Skype…I’m planning some other speaking engagements in those cities so that I can do the videos in person.

      To Alan’s point below, while it may or may not add value to the offering itself, it certainly sets the stage for the kind of content and quality that can be expected from me. While there is a way to make a Skype interview look good – there is also something distinct about being in a room with someone and engaging personally.

      Good luck finding a recording tool!


  5. While I agree with the basic premise of the post — that those who do more work have a better chance of succeeding — I feel that I must caution future readers that just working harder, in and of itself, is not the answer.

    The harder work must be targeted towards providing greater value to your customers. If it doesn’t provide greater value, then it’s just wasted effort.

    Magazine instead of newsletter / web show instead of blog posts — these are definitely higher-value offerings and great advice.

    Live events vs. webinars — different formats for different folks. Best to do both.

    Personally, I don’t care if an interview is done “in person” or not. it’s the content of that interview I’m interested in.

    1. Author


      Yes – I agree.

      I do NOT recommend people work HARD just to work HARD.

      You must also be smart and strategic about it.

      And while you might not care about the “in person” interview, when you are trying to look different than the 150 other “interview products” in your market, that might be the ticket.


  6. Basically, Treat your business like a business. Not like a push-button, “magic”, get-rich-quick scheme in which you imagine that money will flow your way with no effort on your part.

    Of course learn to work smart and not “hard” just for the sake of working. Don’t end up spinning your wheels in the wrong direction.

    But, make sure you do the stuff that needs to be done. Put your efforts in the right direction. And make sure you understand that what you are doing is a business….. and like every business it requires effort.

    You can get smart about leveraging your efforts and reducing your workload. But, do not expect to get results for no effort.

    1. Author


      This part is so critical…

      “Put your efforts in the right direction”

      That’s everything! Nice one.


    2. I run a business in a very hard industry, have been for 25 years. There is no way I’d be successful without a ton of hard work.

      I will translate that into products for sale on the internet, but NO business comes without strategic thinking, planning, preparation and investing time. If you apply the same ethics and hard work strategies for your internet business, it seems that it can pay you for years to come.

      Low barrier to entry IS the problem.

  7. Ryan, I think your genius lies in simplifying key business concepts…and this one is massive.

    Of course, when you’re simplifying, you can’t forget the idiot & reality checks…

    First, you have to ask yourself:

    -Will this extra effort actually provide more value for my customers?
    -Will it make a bigger impact than not putting in the extra impact?
    -Is it worth the extra effort?

    …or is it just work for work’s sake?

    There’s always a point of diminishing returns, and you have to be careful not to waste your time on low impact, time sucking activities.

    Like for example, you might decide that personally answering each and every support ticket yourself is a way to go above and beyond…

    …and that may be a great way to provide more personalized service if you only have a small number of high paying customers…

    …on the other hand, if you have thousands of micro-continuity customers, you’ll never get anything else done if you’re writing emails all day…

    …and in fact, you’ll probably provide them with LESS value because your time could be focused on much more high impact tasks.

    I’ve found the areas to go above and beyond my competition that yield the biggest returns are usually areas that require more thought and planning rather than simply taking more of my time.

    Things like:

    -Visibly caring & being more genuine
    -Doing better research
    -Testing more
    -Making my message shorter & higher impact…á la TED talks style
    -Making my content more accessible & easier to consume
    -Improving the user experience for my customers

    I think the key to going above and beyond is doing it in the areas that are the highest impact.

    Before I ever spend more effort on something, I ask myself if it’s a high impact task.

    If the answer is yes, I always go above and beyond. If the answer is no, I don’t bother.

    1. Author

      Hey Rob,

      With your short list…

      -Visibly caring & being more genuine
      -Doing better research
      -Testing more
      -Making my message shorter & higher impact…á la TED talks style
      -Making my content more accessible & easier to consume
      -Improving the user experience for my customers

      You dropped more wisdom than most IM courses!!!



  8. Hi Ryan,

    As always your content provides food for thought, I think a key takeaway here is that taking the time to actually ‘work’ on one’s business is what will make you stand out from the crowd and put you in a better position to actually succeed.

    Having invested in finding myself a good mentor this year I can certainly attest to the fact that any ideas of making ‘easy’ money online have gone out the window (at least in the early days). Yes it is possible to send an email and make money, but the reality is that it takes a lot of solid groundwork to get to that position in the first place.

    I for one will be trying to think outside of the box when it comes to creating my next product!



  9. Great and inspiring post Ryan.

    One step further than others, that’s the key.

    Man, you you definitely rocks!


    1. Author

      Thanks Rogerio.

      That’s right, take it one step further…


  10. Good ideas there, R-Man!

    I listened to Mike Litman’s talk on CS1 in my car the other day. He talked about a huge entrepreneur who he interviewed who had worked with Napoleon Hill.

    Mike asked him what’s the biggest lesson Napoleon Hill taught him, and after 10 seconds of silence he replied, “Going the extra mile”.

    Going the extra mile isn’t much more then the rest, but enough to stand out and get all the rewards.

    1. Author

      Hey Fred,

      Most people are NOT willing to go the extra mile. And that IS where the champions are made.


  11. Hi Ryan,
    As always I love reading and trying to implement your wisdom whilst challenging-it over here in Singapore.

    In this latest you mentioned “start your own network marketing company instead of joining one”. How does one do that in the fatloss arena? I thought one needed a product and a ‘killer’ backend for that?

    Please enlighten us?

    1. Author


      I was about 2 days away from launching my own network marketing company… Twice.

      Yes, the first thing is a GREAT product that people really want. And will consume ongoing.

      There are lots of steps to take – but you start there.


      1. Hey, don’t leave me hanging.

        “2 days away…Twice”

        So, what happened?

        Where’s your product?

        I’d be the first person to jump aboard.

        If not please, please point me down the
        right alley.

        I know you’re busy servicing all of us–your members–but,
        any peep, squeak, leak would do me reeeeaaaal good.

  12. Your so right Ryan! Needed to hear that!
    I’m a beginner to the whole Internet marketing thing but I do think there’s a lot of work involved but I’m looking forward to it 🙂

    1. Author


      When you are truly passionate about your work – it’s easy!


  13. I am about to start my own online business and that’s really valuable advice to me. Thanks for this article Ryan. Wonderful article on standing out of the crowd and adding value to customers.

    1. Author

      Hi Akshay,

      I’m glad this is helpful for you.

      Keep on rockin’

  14. Hey Ryan

    I’m gonna have to live your comment ““Real entrepreneurs create a business opportunity not buy one” as I’m spent-up for a while. I’d have loved your 10 year celebration 1K a day with Ryan Lee Method but I’m smiling and happy to just get on with it!

    Congratulations on a successful 10 years.


  15. I like the idea of thinking of the things you’re competitors won’t do. We have to differentiate ourselves and not be carbon copies of other people’s business.

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