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2014 Toys for Tots Results and Celebration

I know it’s been a month since Christmas, but you have to see and hear about this. Although you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait till you hear about what we have planned for the 2015 Toys for Tots weekend in Denver. It will be the biggest gathering of A-Players in the online marketing scene all assembling for a good cause. Details to be released later…perhaps in March after our next Quarterly Planning Session. But for now, a round-up of the record breaking event in December…Enjoy!

2014 & TFT Roundup – By Craig

So…we’re 15 years into the 2000s. Remember when you were partying like it was 1999 (because it actually WAS 1999)? I certainly didn’t expect back then for my life to turn out like this. Then again, what ETR reader could ever have imagined the journey you’d take to end up here? And who knows what the next year, let alone next fifteen years, will bring.

In 1999, at the age of 24, full of cynicism, I never would have believed that life would turn out this good. Back then I thought that a salary of $100,000 a year would put me on the top of the mountain. I then learned that such a meager income would have meant that I was taking a slacker approach to life because it would have signified I was adding only a little value to the world. I soon discovered that I could make as much money as I wanted if only I could figure out how to help more people. That brings us to where we all are today, adding value to the world and getting paid a near King’s ransom for doing so.

In last month’s call, our good friend Joel Marion channeled the Cranky Millionaire and called us all out for thinking too small. It’s true. Sure we had a record year at ETR, and it looks like we’ll double the business again in 2015, but I know we’re still playing small-ball. Look at how fast BioTrust moves. I ask myself, “Why are we not moving that fast too?” As the Cranky Millionaire would explain, there’s no reason for you not to succeed faster, and if you aren’t, you only have yourself to blame.

In a profile of Shaun T (creator of the Insanity workout) from the latest issue of Men’s Health, it says that over 10,000,000 copies of his various workout DVDs have been sold. That’s more than 10x’s the number of e-books sold by our good friend, Mike Geary, the most successful Internet Marketer of workout programs. Insanity is NOT 10x’s better than Truth About Abs, but the BeachBody Big Thinking Mindset might be. That’s the difference between them and us. Let’s raise the bar and PUSH higher in 2015, and achieve incredible levels of success together, supporting one another, showing each other the way, and coming together to add value to millions and millions of people.

The more we help, the greater the life we create for ourselves. Don’t rest just because you have it easier than you ever would have imagined life could be. Don’t rest because we have ‘beaten the game’, as I tell my friends from 1999. Our work here is not done. We have so much to accomplish and so much to share with others. It’s a beautiful life at the top, and with more money, you can do more great things, like so many of my dear ETR readers did at this year’s record-breaking Toys for Tots event in Denver on December 6th. Thanks to them, we spent over $115,317 to buy over 7000 toys!

My personal heartfelt thanks goes to these great folks…

The Gearys, Jeff Siegel and Beth, the Hadsalls, the Colbys, Bruce Krahn, the BioTrust team of Nate Hopkins, Joel Marion, and Josh Bezoni, and to Bedros for all being in Denver with us at this special event. And thank you to Mike Westerdal, Rusty Moore, Sayan Sarker, & cuddly Jay Ferruggia for their generous online donations, and to Isabel for organizing a big shopping spree in South Carolina with Daniel Woodrum.

I’m so impressed and grateful for you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped fix Christmas and change the lives of seven thousand of Denver’s underprivileged children that would have missed out on the big day if it were not for you.

Even President Obama got into the spirit. He and Michelle distributed gifts at a Marines Toys for Tots drive in Washington, D.C. “Since the 1940’s,” President Obama said, “the Marines have given out over 260 million toys to children across America through the Toys for Tots program.” That’s why ETR is a part of the Toys for Tots drive every year in Denver.

This year included a breakthrough moment for me. After spending three hours getting over 40 carts of Toys at a local Wal-Mart, our team hopped back on the bus for a ride home to our hotel. I found myself riding along with fifteen members of Team BioTrust. They had just made an incredibly generous gift, buying over 1000 toys!

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Team Biotrust (Josh & Kim) & Craig     Craig and part of the ETR crew!

As we mixed and mingled on the jingle bell bus, one BioTrust member shared how she once used the Toys for Tots program. “Fifteen years ago we were living in a battered women’s shelter. My children were three and four years old at the time, and the Marines came around with gifts. It made their Christmas. Today my kids are in college, and they’d love to see what we did today. This was really special,” she said.

Wow. It was the first time in all these years of doing Toys for Tots that we’d met someone who had used the program. It helped me truly understand how important the Toy Drive is to those that come across tough circumstances. There was a second moment that will stay with me forever. As a grateful Wal-Mart employee rung up my purchases, she caught me off guard. “I hope that you are really blessed,” she said. I was speechless, and could barely mumble back a “thank you”. I really appreciated her kind words.

Matt Smith had a similar experience last year. Here’s what he shared…“One of the ladies on check-out duty broke down in tears because she was blown away by how generous we were. And on Christmas morning, my 6 year old daughter Bella, had a huge smile on her face when she said she wished she could see all the kids open the toys that we got them.” It means more to those kids than we’ll ever know, and I thank you for your generosity.

The impact of the day carried on well into the night at our ETR Christmas party. Even Santa was impressed by our collective generosity, and it looks like we improved our chances of making it on his nice list. I’m sure you will as well too!

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Asking if he was the real Santa.            Siegel loves Santa!!!

If you weren’t able to join us this year, please mark this date on the calendar: Saturday, December 5th, 2015. We’re going for over $150,000 in toys and we have a special event planned as an extra incentive to join us in Denver. Don’t miss it.

Thank you, from Santa, the kids, and everyone here at ETR,

Craig Ballantyne