5 Secret Questions…And My Great Answers

There’s a top copywriter that we hire from time to time at Early to Rise, and his name is Jason Leister. Like me, Jason does a lot of things, and he’s interested in helping you grow and get closer to the life of your dreams. He’s gifted at interviewing business owners and extracting gold nuggets.

I was humbled when he asked to interview me and I was impressed by the scope of his questions. Good questions lead to great answers and the info you need to succeed. Enjoy our discussion…

Jason: Craig, what’s your biggest business accomplishment and what did you learn from it?

Answer #1:
At first I was going to say my Turbulence Training Certification, because it’s something that I’ve truly been working on since I first started working out in high school. I remember telling a friend in my first year of college that I wanted to take my style of workouts and fitness to the world via books and seminars and all that…and finally it’s a reality as there are Certified TT Trainers around the world in over 7 countries.

But really, I wouldn’t be able to do this without my team…and so building a team of incredible people, most of whom get to work daily on their Unique Ability (a great concept from Dan Sullivan), so they are engaged in work that they see as changing lives – which it is. As many of the books I’ve read (like Good to Great, Rockefeller Habits, etc.) will tell you, people don’t just work for money, they work to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

And I like to think that we are building that environment with the help of my team here.

Now to be honest, I’m an introverted, sometimes-curmudgeonly leader. So that makes it all the more of an accomplishment to me…haha.

The biggest lessons I’ve stumbled across putting my Certification and team together are:

a) Nothing helps you get work done faster than a a deadline. I was struggling with creating the final content for the Certification, so I reserved a hotel seminar room, paid the fee, and was therefore given a final date and a punishment if I missed the deadline. Of course, I found a way to get the work done. It’s a simple solution anyone can use if they are struggling to finish a project.

b) Have a MISSION in your business. My fitness message went from good to great as soon as I told the world that our Mission was to help 1 Million men and women transform their bodies and their lives by 2020. Now all of the sudden, people, readers, and total strangers want to be a part of it – all because we are naturally attracted to being part of something bigger.

My Mission has attracted these amazing people.

c) Put it out there to the Universe. Trust me, I know it sounds hokey, but it’s also practical. There comes a point where you have to tell at least a few people about your big, hairy, audacious goals…because they will know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can help you. So if you really want to achieve a dream, tell someone. Put it out there.

Sorry for cheating and listing 2 accomplishments and 3 lessons. My apologies.

Jason: What’s your favorite book EVER and why?

Answer #2:
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

Frankly, most people today in Western Society have grown soft. We complain about everything. It’s too hot, it’s too cold, I’m tired, my feet hurt, I’m hungry, I missed Jersey Shore and my TIVO is broken.

(And don’t get me wrong, I do my fair share of complaining…but I quickly realize how ridiculous it is.)

We have no true perspective on what it is like to deal with true suffering.

Most people don’t realize what humans are capable of achieving, overcoming, and dealing with.
Frankl’s book has affected me on many levels. First, physically. I know that everything I do, from working outside in bone-numbing cold or setting a personal best in a difficult workout in the gym, pales in comparison to what men and women have had to suffer in generations past. Even people making minimum wage today have a better life than royalty did 300 years ago.

Second, his book gave me one of my mantras, “it will all be over soon”. While we all suffer, we must remember that all suffering ends. Better days lie ahead for everyone.

So instead of complaining, we should look for the lessons we can learn in all suffering, look for the positives to focus on that will help us endure any suffering, and then share this so that we can help anyone going through the same suffering.

But, the “it will all be over soon” mantra has a second meaning and reminder that life will be over all too soon, and if I want to achieve something, then I better get working on it now.

I truly believe Frankl’s book should be mandatory reading in high school. Sure, the messages would be lost on 90% of the kids, but it could make a real difference for the rest of the kids, and we need to start somewhere.

Jason: What’s one thing people online don’t know about you that you’d like to share?

Answer #3:
I take a lot of inspiration in my business from rockstars rather than Internet Marketers. I watch how the good ones treat their fans, how they go the extra mile in their productions, how they continue to be creative even when they are on the road touring, and how they invest money back into their businesses.

My #1 musical inspiration is Deadmau5. He plays electronic music, and wears a giant mousehead on stage at his shows. And dozens of fans build their own and bring to his shows – where he autographs them. It’s really an incredible phenomenon.

Deadmau5 (named for a deadmouse he once found in one of his computers) has millions of Facebook fans, and he still takes time to do live Ustream chats, visits to high schools, upload tons of personal photos and info to his pages (allowing a greater connection with his fans), and many, many other things that “social media gurus” are out there teaching people to do for big money…but this guy just does it because it’s “right” for his fans.

He also pours a ton of his money back into making the coolest stage show in the electronic music scene, and therefore creating the ultimate customer experience. His act has spawned an incredible merchandising backend, including the regular t-shirts and stuff, but also figurines, mouse ears, and so many other unique items (including clothing dedicated to his infamous cat, “Professor Meowingtons”) that his herd is happy to buy and buy.

Essentially, he’s doing all the right stuff…but not because he went to some slick Internet Marketing guru’s seminar, but just because he wants his fans to get the greatest quality product (his music) and have an incredible emotional experience at his shows Folks in all industries could learn a lot from Deadmau5…just as most of us could from generally looking outside of the IM industry to the real world. There are a lot of good people out there doing great stuff without a “mind control” IM agenda.

Jason: What’s one mistake that you see business builders making online and what should they do instead?

Answer #4:
Too many people think that they “deserve” a million dollar product launch.

First, most people don’t have a BIG IDEA that will support a product launch. Their product and marketing is the same as everyone else, and they think that if they can just get enough of the “big affiliates” to promote their launch, then they will be able to retire to the Caribbean.

It doesn’t work that way. I’ve watched plenty of launches, some with gimmicks, some with massive affiliate support, and the only ones that work like gangbusters are the ones where there is a big idea with a unique hook as part of the product.

If you don’t have this, you won’t have a great launch.

Second, even if they have a big idea, they don’t appreciate the work that it takes to run a product launch, and I don’t just mean from marketing and affiliate recruitment perspectives.

There are so many things to consider: You need copy that converts and makes your affiliates more money than they could get somewhere else, you need adequate hosting for all the traffic, you need to make sure you have the right upsell flow to maximize revenue, and so on and so on.

It’s not just as simple as creating an e-book and asking affiliates to mail.

Third, they think that one product launch is going to make them rich and end all of their worries. But in reality, after you pay affiliates (bonuses and commissions), a launch consultant, web hosting/design, and the dozens of other little things that add up to real money, you only come out with a fraction of that “big launch money”.

The real money comes from the work you continue to do in the relationship building – and back end sales – following the product launch.

People are naturally enamored by the gurus who claim $4 million dollar product launches, but don’t know the real truth about the numbers – mostly because the gurus don’t want Dorothy to see what really goes on behind the curtain.

Jason: If you started over building your business today, what’s the ONE thing you’d do differently?

Answer #5: 
I wouldn’t have been so cheap. But hey, that’s what happens when you grow up poor on a farm and have a Scottish father and an efficient German mother. Now I’m not really blaming my circumstances, just making a joke. I take full responsibility for my poor decisions of not investing earlier in coaches, mentors, professional SEO help, courses, etc.

As a result of my cheapness, I had an email newsletter for 2 years before I started selling anything (1999-2001). And then 2 more years of a couple bucks here and a couple bucks there. It wasn’t until I bought Bob Serling’s “Info Millions” in 2003 that my business really started growing.
Although it still wasn’t until 2006 when I hired my first business coach, Tom Venuto, that things exploded and set me on the fast track to success.

I wasted many years just “doing okay” when I could have made a bigger impact and helped more people. And that’s another thing…I didn’t fully understand that by not having a bigger business that meant that I was not helping as many people as I could. When you switch to that mindset, and realize that you have a solution that people need, then you’ll start taking action faster to get your solution into their hands.

Trust me, the list of things I’d do differently could go on and on…but that should serve as encouragement to people, because if I can succeed with all of the mistakes I’ve made, you can too.

So get out there and help as many people as you can today and become the ROCKSTAR of your life.

Hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed answering the questions.

Rock on,

Craig Ballantyne

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert