Category Archives: Uncategorized

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The Tripwire.. Part II

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about a marketing term I find disturbing… tripwire (read the post here).

A “tripwire” was a new term for a low-ticket, front-end offer that was starting to gain momentum. The last straw for me was when I did a call with an amazingly caring doctor – and he asked what I thought of his new “tripwire”. It felt so wrong.


Here he was. A well-respected physician who wanted to help people… and he talked about his “tripwire”. Talk about incongruent! I felt the immediate need to take a shower to wash that disgusting feeling from me (hey, I’m not perfect, but I know a very bad idea when I hear one).

The post was about why it’s a bad idea to treat your customers as if it’s WAR. Like you are going to battle with them.

Instead, Kevin Rogers and I proposed a new term instead: Welcome Mat.

And I’m happy to report… it’s starting to catch on. Here are some recent conversations in my Plat group (I blocked out their names for privacy)

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That’s right, people are starting to use the term “welcome mat” instead of “tripwire”.  It’s incredible what one little blog post can do… and I couldn’t be happier. Just a few weeks ago they would have all said “tripwire”.

The tide is turning, my friend.

Facebook. Twitter. Review sites… the game has changed.

Everyday, transparency is gaining more momentum. You can no longer use deception or tricks as a way to build a long-term, wealth-building business.

Words matter. And running your business based on “The Art of War” or even “The Wolf of Wall Street” feels outdated. When you run your business with that philosophy, even if it’s internally, it seeps it’s way into your sales and marketing. You can’t help it.. it just happens.

It’s so much easier to become wealthy when you treat people right. I won’t bore you with the statistics about how much more expensive it is to generate a new customer than it is to keep one. Hopefully, you realize the difference.

So here’s the big question for you?

Are you still playing solider and putting on war paint OR are you ready to greet your potential customers with a great big hug?

It’s time to disarm your tripwires… and instead, place out a welcome mat at the door.

P.S. If you want to see how I built a very profitable (and stress-free) lifestyle business, click here.

Only One Opportunity To Success Concept

Product Timing.. Why NOW Is The Best Time (and What You Should be Selling)

On Tuesday, I had just finished great workout at Oxygen Fitness in New Canaan, CT.

It was a nice sunny day so I sat down at one of the tables outside of the gym and got back to work. Suddenly, I heard a voice ask, “Hey! Aren’t you Ryan Lee? The guy who makes money online?”.

I smiled and said, “Yes, I’m Ryan.. nice to meet you… what is your name?”.

He is a personal trainer and mentioned he had attended one of my first “Ryan Lee Bootcamps” back in 2005 (I can’t believe it’s been almost 10 years!). It was the first event for fitness professionals focused entirely on entrepreneurship. When I asked how his online business is going… he paused for a moment and had a look of disappointment in his eyes.

“Not good. I spend thousands of dollars on a site and everyone said I created a great program.. but I didn’t sell any programs”.

Why not? I asked.

“It was five years ago and I think I just missed the boat. Now, everything online is FREE.. so you can’t sell products online anymore”.

I was genuinely speechless. Usually, people will admit that they didn’t really market the site. Or their site was bad. Or the product wasn’t very good. Or the sales copy was terrible. But to say “nobody buys information products online”… he couldn’t be more wrong.

So I told him (politely) he’s very wrong. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Right now is the BEST TIME to create new products. There’s never been a better time. And the increased competition can help you sell more.




Yes, there is A LOT of free information online. There’s no disputing that. Billions of pages of free content in every niche imaginable. But that also means people are getting overwhelmed with information. And there are a percentage of people who just crave for answers.

They want someone to simplify the content. To organize it for them. And to just give them the answer.

In other words.. they want a SYSTEM to follow. A blueprint. A playbook.

Your job is to make it easy for your potential customers and clients to get the results they desire. Whether it is a 6-pack abs or a 6-figure income.

During the past 5 years where this trainer said “no one will pay for information anymore”, myself and my clients have dispelled that myth by selling tens of millions of dollars of information products in just about every market imaginable.

Membership sites. Home study kits. Ebooks. Online videos. Audio books. Coaching programs. You name it… we’ve sold it. And sold a lot of ‘em.

You, my friend, are in the PROBLEM-SOLVING BUSINESS.

The ship has sailed? You can’t sell information online anymore? The party is over?

Not even close.

As Public Enemy once wisely said… “Don’t Believe the Hype”.


P.S. I’m doing a brand new FREE online workshop showing you how my clients and I have sold well over $100,000,000 in products online. REGISTER HERE.

businessman's hand & steel grocery cart full of money stacks - i

Discover the 2 “Secrets” to Wealth

I was recently re-reading the Michael Masterson’s excellent book, Ready, Fire, Aim, and came across this quote:

“Remember, most of your profits will come from back-end sales, which means that the easiest way to grow your company is to develop good, long-term relationships with your customers and produce really good products for them”.

So simple, but yes, so on the money. There are two points that cannot be restated enough times:

1. Long-term relationships
2. Produce really good products

That’s it, right there.

If you want to go from a wannabe living launch to launch to your own full-fledged empire, focus on the back-end sales. And the way to have strong back-end sales is by focusing on delivering great service and products.

After they buy, you will stay in touch with your customers. You will be visible. And yes, you will offer them MORE great products and services to purchase.

One-trick pony’s never last long. People will tire of you quickly. Don’t be a one-trick pony.

All the of the “secrets” and promises of $.01 clicks are just window dressing. Without the strong back-end sales, you’ll never ever have a solid business which will make you WEALTHY to provide you with a lifestyle you desire.

P.S. CLICK HERE for a free live online workshop where I’ll show you how to build your own rock-solid wealth-producing lifestyle biz.

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How to Become a Highly Paid Coach, Consultant or Freelancer (The Secrets to Charging Up to $1k PER HOUR)

And now, for something a little different. Instead of a written article, here’s a brand new training video from Kevin Rogers and myself showing you the 4-step sequence to bigger coaching, consulting and freelance rates (with virtually zero selling and no “proposals”).

This training video is short, straightforward and packed with practical advice… just the way we like it!


==> Want more? CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for our special one-time,live (and FREE) in-depth training showing you how to make more money with your coaching, consulting or freelancing. Higher fees with zero selling.


Coffee Shop Etiquette: The 7 Rules to Follow When Working “Virtually”

I’ve been spending every morning working from coffee shops for the last 6 or so years… so yeah, I might know a thing or two about having a “virtual office” (either that, or I’m just absolutely insane… ).

So here are some unwritten “rules” I abide by and hopefully others will follow…

Rule #1: Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
Please don’t spend the entire day at a coffee shop. I stay for about 2 hours (maybe 2.5 if I’m really in the groove with sales copy). Even 2 hours might seem to be pushing it, at 3 and 4 hours – you cross the line from having a “virtual office” to being known as “that creepy guy – who may or may not be homeless”.

Rule #2: Buy
I just spoke this morning with the manager at one of my local Starbucks. And he said there are some people that will come just for the free wifi and don’t buy anything. Regardless of what you feel about a big multi-billion dollar company like Starbucks, they are still a business and if you will be using their resources, you should ante up. Buy something.

Rule #3: One Space
This drives me crazy. One person who literally “takes over” about 3 or 4 seats. Their coat has it’s own chair. Notebooks taking up 10 square feet of space. Plus their laptop bag even has it’s own chair.. and they’ve got their legs stretched out like they are about to take the court for the Knicks. Just take one spot. Please.

Rule #4: Share Your Space
If you are at a table by yourself and you see someone else looking for a spot to park it for a while, offer them a seat to join you at your table. I do that all the time… and it’s just the right thing to do.


Rule #5: Phone Calls
When you have a headset on, you have no idea how loud you are talking. Try and take your calls outside. When I have a call – I head over to the door so it doesn’t drive other patrons absolutely crazy.


Rule #6: Be Generous
While I change up the coffee shops I go to frequently, there is one I usually work from at least 3x per week. And this last holiday season, I gave ALL of the people who work there (about a dozen of them) gift cards to Amazon. They were shocked and truly appreciative of the gesture. Tip and treat the staff how you want to be treated.


Rule #7: Be Cool
We are guests in their establishment. Come in and smile. Get to know all the staff’s names and greet them by their name. Clean up after yourself. Wipe down your table. If they are cleaning the floor – get off your butt, move your chair and be helpful. When I walk in, I’m always greeted by smiling staff and it takes away some of the “isolation” of working by yourself.


Maybe I’m old-fashioned. But I attribute it to being raised by the two most amazing parents in the world. Both my mom and dad always treated others kindly and with respect.

If you are going to work virtually from a coffee shop in your “lifestyle business”, show the world we are not a bunch of obnoxious, selfish freaks. We simply choose to live life on our terms and build a business around our lifestyle. But dammit… we are going to do it while being considerate to others.

You with me?

P.S. If you want me to help you build your dream “lifestyle business” so you can work for yourself, from home or a coffee shop, book a 1-on-1 speed session with me right now


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

In the first part of this ongoing series – I talked about the danger of having your business consume you.

Today, we’ll look at another potential issue you might deal with…



If I told you some of the stories of people I’ve either dealt with personally (or know of others my clients have worked with), you’d retreat onto the safety of your couch and never leave.

When money is involved, it brings out the worst in some people. And the more money you attract, the more sociopaths will beat a path to your door.

As I was just about to write this post – I received this email from a client.

He’s doing very well in his niche now (will likely do 7-figures this year) and he’s now teaching others how to replicate his success. I urged him to create some bigger-ticket workshops and programs.

BUT, instead of leading the workshop himself, he brought in 5 other “experts”. And then, he said, he wanted to do even more workshops and products with these other people.

Immediately I told him it was a mistake and urged him not to. They didn’t really bring anything new or different to the table. He already had all the knowledge and skills. He had the list. He is closing the sale. To me, they were more of a crutch and a potential risk.

I also warned him that it’s just a matter of time until at least one will rip him off. And it will likely be in the form of him following up with the attendees and trying to sell something else.

Lo and behold – here’s the email he sent me last night… just 2 weeks after our last call and my “prediction” (pay attention to the telling subject line):


Proof about the evils lurking…

Luckily my client has a good head on his shoulders and will likely avoid a nasty (and costly) lawsuit that can drag on for months or years.

Why did I know this would happen? Do I have a crystal ball?

Unfortunately, it’s happened to me a few times over the years.

The funny thing is, I’m actually quite optimistic and positive. I always look for the best in people. I assume if someone buys my product they will use it for their own benefit (not to steal it, resell it and then ask for a refund).

But I also know human nature and a realist. And for some reason, there are a small percentage of people that just can’t stay on the straight and narrow. The temptation is too much. They are the ones who get arrested for fraud and then, commit the same crime a year later. Believe me, I’m not perfect. I’ve done some promos online in the past I’m not proud of, but I always do what is legal and ethical.



Always, always, always check out the people you are going to work with (especially any type of partnership arrangement). See who they have worked with in the past and ask around.

Google their name. Look at what they have done. Read the feedback.

A big red flag is a person who has had dozens of partnerships in the past, but they have all now fallen apart. Or someone who has engaged in many lawsuits (those are easy to find online).

Maybe it’s because I’m from New York – and we are skeptical by nature. But once in a while, someone will fool me too.

One guy seemed legit. I let him do some trainings for one of my membership sites a few years ago. But then, I found out he started cold-calling them, pitching a $5K coaching program and delivering absolutely nothing. No communication. No returned calls. Nada. Zip. And this “association” with him, no matter how loose, took a bite out of my reputation.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been blessed to work with so many amazing people in the past on projects and companies. Good people. Smart people. Caring people. People like Chris Farrell, Mike Roussell, Tim Kerber, Andrew Lock, Duane Carlisle, Jim Labadie, Jayson Hunter, Emran Saiyed.. and the list goes on and on.

And in the future – I will be working with more good, smart and caring people.

The right partnership can make you both rich. The wrong one can make your life a living hell.

Choose wisely, my friend. Choose wisely.


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).

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) with SUB=MASTERMIND


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.



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.