Category Archives: Uncategorized

paypallogo2

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.

ryanandjim

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…

support1

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.

EO_Communicator_440-880

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. 


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.


wrestling

4 Ways to Help the WWE Get More Subscribers (and Generate Bigger Profits)

First a confession.

Growing up I was obsessed with professional wrestling. Seriously.

Back then, in the early 1980s, there was only one wrestling show on TV per week. It was Saturday morning and I used to set my VCR to record every episode (yes, this was years before DVR).

After all, how could I miss “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka or Sgt. Slaughter battling it out in the squared circle? Or Junkyard Dog? Or Bob Backlund?

I even used to attend live matches at Madison Square Garden with my dad.

But I took my love of wrestling a step further…. my Bar Mitzvah “theme” was professional wrestling. It was called “Ryan’s Main Event”. I’m 100% serious. It was November 2, 1985.. and it was a glorious night.

Oh yeah, it’s safe to say I was a super fan.

So when the news came in yesterday the World Wrestling Entertainment’s subscription program, called WWE Network, has only 700,000 paid subscribers I had to take a deeper look at what the heck is going on.

Yes, 700,000 paid subscribers does sound like a large number, however they are still 300,000 under their goal. In fact, because of the major shortfall, they might have to layoff 7% of their total staff.

The WWE didn’t ask me to do this. But after giving me so many years of happiness as a kid, and because I’d like to help them save jobs, here are my top four strategies to boost the revenue of the WWE Network….

STRATEGY #1: MORE NON-WRESTLING CONTENT 

The WWE has positioned this as a “network”, and I get it. They are focusing on wrestling shows, pay-per-view specials, and archived episodes.

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Screenshot of WWE Network Description

However, I think it’s a mistake. When it’s positioned purely as a “content” network, there’s really nothing special about joining. There’s no huge burning desire to belong.

The WWE is not just shows. It’s not HBO. It’s an experience. It’s the personalities. It’s the back stories.

If I were running the WWE Network, I’d position more as a “membership” or a “club”. People want to belong.. not just watch more shows and events.

Give member’s a sense of belonging or community.

At MINIMUM… you could easily add a LIVE Q/A with some of the professional wrestlers every two weeks. Or a members-only newsletter.

Everything about the network feels passive. Like I’m just sitting back and watching.

As an 11-year old boy, I would have lost my mind if I could have asked Andre the Giant a question in real time.

Even a “virtual membership card” could go miles in making me feel like I belong.

Which brings me to strategy #2…

 

STRATEGY #2: BETTER DESCRIPTION OF MEMBER BENEFITS

Besides a listing of the shows – it’s hard to tell what else I’m receiving with a paid membership.

There’s a short video telling me about all the shows… but they gloss over it quickly. I’d like to see a full listing of those shows and specials.

And if you are going to position it as purely a discounted “content” play – then at minimum, you should create a comparison chart showing me how much I will save by joining.

For example, if it normally costs $50 to watch Wrestlemania on pay-per-view, show me all the PPV events for the year and how much it would cost. Maybe that is $400+ if I paid separately. Now, the $9.95 per month is looking like a much better deal.

Throw in some other members-only benefits and I’m sold.

Right now – there’s just not enough information about what I’m getting. And even though people are familiar with the WWE, you should never take for granted what people understand to be the benefits of joining your program.

Plus, the words you choose to describe your offer are powerful. VERY powerful.

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WWE Network Video and CTA Box

Take a look at the two CTAs (call to action) they use.

*I WANT TO BUY NOW
*BUY NOW

It feels very “transactional”. I don’t want to just “buy” videos – I want to BELONG.

Some better word choices could have been…

*YES, I’D LOVE TO BECOME A MEMBER
*BECOME A MEMBER TODAY
*I’M IN
*YES, I’M READY TO JOIN THE CLUB

It should be positioned more as a “Membership Club” rather than just purchasing access to more shows/content.

 

STRATEGY #3: ELIMINATE COMMITMENT

The only plan offered is $9.95 per month.. but with a 6-month commitment.

I understand the value of locking people into a contract from a financial perspective. That’s what Wall Street and the shareholders want to see. It looks great on a spreadsheet. And it’s how large phone companies like ATT make their money.

But, it’s not the right thing from a CUSTOMER perspective.

I don’t want to be “locked-in”.. do you? We know why the WWE is making us to commit to six months. We know there ONLY benefit for having us commit to six months is to make your company more money.

Because there’s zero financial incentive to commit to six months. I have no choice. I’m either in for at least six months or I don’t join.

Give me an option. Give me a choice to cancel if it’s not right for me.

It’s what your customers want. And it’s the right thing to do.

 

STRATEGY #4: ADD LEVELS

As I said, right now there is only one level of membership.

Based on my experience, anywhere from 7-10% of your subscribers would JUMP at the chance for a premium level of membership.

At the current number, if 10% of the 700,000 subscribers (70,000) joined a VIP membership at $29.95 per month (approx. $20 more than the current $10 per month plan(.. that’s an ADDITIONAL $1.4 million PER MONTH in gross revenue. That could mean the difference between keeping those extra employees and firing them.

Here are some ideas for VIP membership that would justify a higher price of $29.95+ per month

  • Exclusive “Meet and Greet” with professional wrestlers before an event
  • Members-only T-shirt and cards
  • Group tour of WWE HQ in Stamford, CT
  • Live Q/A sessions with wrestlers every month
  • Welcome phone call from a WWE superstar

I didn’t even touch on retention. Since I’m not a member of the WWE Network, I’d have to join to dig in and see how they can enhance the user experience. This was all on the front-end.

A lot of jobs are on the line… I hope the WWE takes a look at this post and, at least, considers some of the strategies.

And, at minimum, maybe there is an idea or two you can gleam from this as well.

P.S. The WWE headquarters is in Stamford, CT.. which is about 10 minutes from my house. If Vince McMahon is reading this, I’d be happy to come by HQ and share my strategies with your team. It’s my way of giving back for the years of enjoyment you gave me when I was a kid!

P.P.S. If you are interested in learning how to create your own subscription programs, click here.

 


VIP Pass with bar code isolated on white background.

How to Create VIP Programs

Are you offering your customers the ability to upgrade to a VIP level?

On Monday night – I experienced the right way to run a VIP program.

My wife and I attended a Met’s game with our good friends. The tickets were, literally, the best seats in the entire stadium.

Third row. Right behind home plate. We were maybe 20 feet from home plate. And if you watched the game on TV, you saw us on every pitch. You can see our view of the action in the picture below.

My wife and I taking in a Met's game.. VIP-style.

My wife and I taking in a Met’s game.. VIP-style.

It was considered the premium “Gold” package.

But it wasn’t just the “tickets”. Here’s what the Met’s organization gave us with the tickets to make it a true VIP experience…

1. Free parking in a private lot. We pulled right into the lot and parked about 10 steps from the ballpark entrance. If you’ve ever been to a professional sports stadium (especially in the NYC area) you know just how valuable (and time-saving) this perk is.

2. Free, unlimited food/snacks in private party room. That’s right, there was a special room with everything from free popcorn and hot dogs to salad and soft drinks. No lines and just for the VIP’S only.

3. Private, spotless bathrooms. Enough said.

4. No-Wait entry into the park. We went through a private corridor, walked past the player lounges, escorted by hosts. And taken right to our seats.

5. High-End food vendors. Forget the ballpark burgers, we could have Shake Shack burgers brought right to our seats!

The cost for this VIP treatment?

About 10X the cost of a regular ticket.

Is this for everybody? No. But I will tell you this.. the VIP area was absolutely full. There were plenty of people who paid a premium for the VIP experience.

There will ALWAYS be a percentage of your customers who want a VIP experience. And they’ll pay premium prices for it.

 

BRINGING VIP ONLINE

You might be thinking, “That’s great Ryan.. I’m so happy for you. But how does this relate to my online business?”.

First, start to make a list of everything you offer. What are you including in your core training product? What bonuses are you giving to all your customers?

Then, write down all the “extras” you could add for VIP’s. These should be higher-end extras. I’m not talking about throwing together a sloppy 3-page PDF report and calling it the VIP experience.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Access to the “guru” (private email, private Facebook group, phone calls, etc.)
  • Physical versions of digital products
  • Limited-edition releases (autographed by product creator)
  • Bonus live online events and workshops
  • Bonus in-person events
  • Dedicated support (coaches, customer service reps, etc.)
  • Extra premium content (pdf reports, audios, videos, etc.)
  • Transcriptions of audio/video content
  • Follow-up, personalized phone calls.
  • Access to archived products
  • Private membership area

Another important feature is to add PASSWORD-PROTECTION to the VIP extras. You want people to FEEL the extraordinary treatment and know instantly it’s just for them.

These VIP packages and experiences can bring in anywhere from twice to ten-times the price of your regular products.

Oh yeah, the Met’s won the game 7-1. And being a lifelong Met’s fan.. yeah, I’d say it was a pretty good night indeed.

P.S. Here’s everything you’ll ever need to create your very own lifestyle business.  Including how to create premium products that bring in $1K PER DAY.