Early To Rise delivers science-based systems and structures to help people achieve a higher level of performance. We share proven strategies for success and help our readers steer clear of fads, gimmicks, and frauds. This ensures a win-win relationship between our readers and ETR, and creates faster results for everyone.
Why was Early to Rise started?
Present day Early to Rise (ETR) is really a tale of two products. First, there’s ETR itself. This began in in 2000 when Mark Ford began writing success memos to his employees at Agora (the publishing company that is a small owner in ETR today).
Ford soon realized that his memos would make great essays for anyone looking to get ahead in life. He started publishing these under the pen name Michael Masterson, and ETR was born.
For the next 11 years, Ford/Masterson published thousands of essays, seven books (including his best seller, Ready, Fire, Aim), launched dozens of products, and built the business up to a peak of over $15 million a year in revenue. Along the way he inspired thousands of “Reluctant Entrepreneurs” (the title of one of his books) to shed their day jobs and create 6-figure and 7-figure businesses from their passions and expertise.
That’s just one of the roads that brought us here. The second is a fitness road, paved through the work of Craig Ballantyne, one of the current co-owners of ETR, along with Matt Smith.
In 1999, while still a graduate student in the Exercise Physiology Department at McMaster University, Ballantyne started an email newsletter. His weekly articles taught his readers (a collection of friends, work colleagues in the fitness industry, University professors, and athletes) how to get faster results in and out of the gym using unconventional training methods at the time (such as interval training). Ballantyne soon developed a reputation for being the “anti-cardio” guy.
In the summer of 2000, Ballantyne had his first article published in Men’s Health magazine, one of the biggest fitness publication in the world. He still writes for them today, and this association brought instant credibility to his work.
A year later, in the fall of 2001, Ballantyne released his most famous product, Turbulence Training, a home workout system promising faster fat loss and muscle building gains. The program went on to sell over 100,000 copies and influence millions of people through its YouTube videos and TT Certification.
But Ballantyne was not satisfied with being a famous fitness guru like Tony Horton. He knew there was something more. In 2006, which was a pivotal year for Ballantyne, he hired his first business coach, Tom V. This was also the year Ballantyne suffered from, and eventually overcame, crippling anxiety attacks brought on from what he calls, “The Paradox of Freedom.” More about that in a moment… but first, the coaching…
The very first question on the very first call, Tom asked a fateful question that started Ballantyne down a long road of self-improvement, culminating in the achievement of his greater career goal. The question was:
“What do you want your business to look like in five years?”
“I want to have a business like Early To Rise,” Ballantyne replied.
Tom knew of the website, and the two put together a long-term plan for Ballantyne to become a coach, start a Mastermind program serving fitness entrepreneurs, do more public speaking, and improve his writing skills.
After several years of following this path and growing Turbulence Training, Ballantyne had another fateful discussion with Matt Smith, who at the time was just a friend. They were in the Tucson airport in October of 2010 waiting for a flight back to Denver after a weekend spent shooting guns and driving cars at a military training center with Tim Ferriss and Yanik Silver.
“So,” Smith said, “What’s your plan for your business next year?”
“I still want to model Early To Rise,” Ballantyne said, “I want to move away from fitness. I want to help more people build online businesses so they can live the life of their dreams.”
Two months later, Smith helped Ballantyne launch a website called InternetIndependence.com catering to online entrepreneurs. Ballantyne published daily essays on setting up websites, copywriting, email marketing, product creation, and more.
Then in the spring of 2011 a chance encounter between Smith and Ford led to a remarkable opportunity for Ballantyne’s dream to come true. At a break during an investment seminar, Ford casually mentioned to Smith that he was ready to sell Early to Rise and move on to a new project. Minutes later Smith sent an email to Ballantyne asking him, “Are you still interested in running Early To Rise?”
A few weeks later Ballantyne and Smith flew to Florida to meet Mark Ford at Ford’s favorite cigar bar in Delray Beach. It was there that a handshake deal was made for Ballantyne and Smith to purchase ETR and for it to begin its second life under the care of new owners.
Remarkably, the deal was made just over 5 years after Ballantyne declared to his first coach that he wanted to own a business like Early To Rise in 5 years.
That’s the power of having a clear and concise vision for your life. When you know exactly what you want, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to get there. Then it’s simply a matter of putting your head down, doing the work, meeting the people you need to meet, and communicating your big goals and dreams to the right people that can move you forward to your destination every day.
Since 2011 the “New” Early to Rise has focused on improving the health, wealth, and personal relationships of its nearly 150,000 readers every day. Ballantyne and his team created new products, such as Home Workout Revolution, the Virtual Mastermind Program, The Perfect Day Formula, and Management Rhythms Blueprints, to serve busy men and women who want extraordinary results in every area of life. Today the focus of the company has shifted slightly to work specifically with high-achieving entrepreneurs with businesses in the $1 million to $20 million range.
What initial need did Early to Rise fill?
When Ford began writing his essays in 2000, he sought to impact the millions of men and women seeking greater achievement at work and fulfillment in life. Ford knew his readers would not become billionaires, but as a wealthy man (having already retired twice, once at 39 and again in his late 40s), Ford knew that most people, even on a low 6-figure salary, could live like billionaires.
It was his knowledge and experience that set Early To Rise apart from so many other online business publications. ETR was not solely about the pursuit of money or the delivery of sales, productivity, and marketing advice, but instead, it delivered a blueprint for living the good life, teaching readers everything from how to sleep like a king to travel like royalty, all while growing their wealth and getting richer every day.
Turbulence Training, on the other hand, was solely devoted to helping readers get more results in the gym in less time. Ballantyne was on a mission to stop people from wasting their time with useless cardio exercise. His books and programs were among the most influential in a transitioning fitness industry in the 2000s, and his YouTube videos have been watched over 7,000,000 times.
But Ballantyne also knew there was something greater that lay ahead for him. He became a subscriber of EarlyToRise.com in 2001, and was so inspired by the content that he convinced the editors to allow him to contribute regular health briefs to the daily newsletter in November of 2005. Ballantyne was an ETR writer until 2007, before taking a break to focus on his own business interests. Of course, he never lost his love for ETR, and returned in 2011 to buy the business
Like his mentor, Mark Ford, Ballantyne was also not satisfied with specialized expertise in just one area of life. After becoming a known fitness guru, he turned his attention to coaching other business owners and high-performers to succeed in every area of life through structured living. He eventually put all these lessons into a book, authoring of The Perfect Day Formula in 2015.
Thanks to the ETR team, the Perfect Day Formula was also turned into something much greater than a simple book. The “cool orange box,” as the Perfect Day Formula kit is known by around the world, has helped thousands of parents, entrepreneurs, and ambitious employees to add more structure to their days so they can develop true freedom in their lives. And from this kit evolved the Perfect Life Workshop, the next level of Ballantyne’s coaching and training – something that he considers his life’s work.
How is Early to Rise qualified to deliver the solution? What was its turning point?
Mark Ford’s journey from poor kid in Brooklyn to multi-millionaire living on the beach in South Florida provided him with decades of experience in both getting rich and living the good life. He had spent a lot of his life thinking about money – how to get it, save it, guard it and put it to good use.
Ford grew up poor, living in a cramped house and wearing hand-me-down clothes. This inspired him to begin working early. He did odd jobs for neighbors, delivered papers, and started many little businesses to earn cash through high school. His most successful venture during his younger years was a pool installation company that helped him pay for college.
Immediately after graduation, Ford took a detour from his money-making journey to ‘live rich’ as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. It was there, waiting out a rainstorm with his wife Kay on the porch of a hut in the jungle, that Ford realized he’d never have it so good again in life. Young and carefree, with the love of his life, Ford had the wisdom to understand this was what really mattered.
After two years in Africa, Ford returned to America and entered the rat race in Washington, D.C. He suffered his first financial disaster (nearly going broke buying an overpriced condominium as his first home), and became a writer.
One day Ford decided to make getting rich his number one goal in life. When that happened, he said, everything changed. Suddenly he was able to see how to add more value to his employer, doubling his income in a matter of months, and then increasing it many fold over and over again in the next few years. Ford became a successful publisher of financial newsletters, making so much money that he was able to retire at age 39.
He returned to work as a consultant to the publishing industry and as a real estate investor, which opened his eyes to new ideas about building wealth. At age 50, he realized he had more money than he ever would need, and “retired” again.
Ford’s active retirement included starting Early To Rise, where he’d spend the next 15 years writing about what he
had learned on his wealth-building journey. This included his many books, dozens of speeches, and countless articles on financial wealth and how to live a rich life (even without material wealth).
Today Mark’s wisdom is available on ETR and also through his Palm Beach Wealth Builders Club, a business whose mission is to help not-yet-wealthy people become wealthy in seven years or less.
Likewise, Turbulence Training was created as a solution for busy men and women who sought to improve their health and fitness without wasting time. Ballantyne set out on a mission to fix the ridiculous myths in the fitness industry. Armed with scientific proof that short workouts were more effective than slow, boring cardio exercise, Ballantyne began publishing his articles and programs, making Turbulence Training into a household name. At this time, he was at the forefront of the online fitness video revolution, posting videos as early as 2007 that have since been watched over 2,000,000 times.
Ballantyne combined his knowledge, passion for writing and speaking, and knack for simplifying the complexities of exercise and fat loss into simple systems, so he could transform the lives of men and women around the world. In 2008 he began running Turbulence Training 12-Week Transformation Contests, giving out cash prizes to those who demonstrated incredible physical and mental transformations.
Today Turbulence Training has run nearly 30 contests and awarded over $150,000 in cash prizes, and has a growing number of personal trainers around the world that have become Turbulence Training Certified in these proven methods. With over 150,000 customers and over 7 million viewers, the brand has made significant progress toward its goal of impacting 10,000,000 people and changing their lives.
Ballantyne’s second act, The Perfect Day Formula, grew from his personal journey of self-improvement. It’s an area that means even more to him than fitness. His personal struggles with anxiety in 2006 – that sent him to the emergency room on two occasions – was the catalyst for his approach to structured successful and healthy living.
He knew how deeply needed this system was for so many other entrepreneurs and parents that struggled with getting more out of their limited time and energy. Through his coaching programs, Ballantyne developed a system that he then turned into a book, The Perfect Day Formula, a kit, and advanced, intense, and intimate coaching programs for high achievers that expect extraordinary results in all areas of life.
How have the market—and Early to Rise as a business—evolved?
When ETR and Turbulence Training started over 15 years ago, the Internet was still catching on. You could joke that the www stood for “wild wild west.” As early adopters of this mass communication system, ETR and TT had a competitive advantage. Quite frankly, it was a lot easier to make a lot of money online in 2005 than 2015.
That’s not to say it’s especially hard today. The same principles of business still apply. You need to create a great product or service with a compelling offer that is supported with convincing sales copy.
Back then, the Internet was primarily filled with written content. Videos were poor quality, much shorter, and took greater difficulty to both produce and view. Today, video content dominates the Internet. Anyone with a smartphone can film and upload video in seconds. Billions of people watch online video each month, and video (including live video) is used to deliver the sales message and the product.
Social media was also non-existent, and many product creators could hide their identity. However, ETR and TT were at the forefront of sharing personal stories and proving that a real personality was behind these websites. This allowed us to develop the KLT factor (Know-Like-Trust) that made it easier to generate customers. Today, big personalities dominate the industries of personal development, wealth building, and fitness. Celebrities are crowned faster than ever, based evermore on substance and less on style. As a result, competition is greater than ever, but it is our commitment to adding value in areas of life that truly matter that allow ETR and TT to stand out.
What is Early to Rise's mission?
Our Mission is to transform the lives of 10 million people, physically, financially, and emotionally. We are here to serve ambitious men and women who seek extraordinary results in every area of life.
Before Early To Rise, high-achievers would need to seek separate sources of expertise on how to improve their health and build their wealth, but from day one, Mark Ford sought to create a community where both of these goals could be achieved together, all while teaching readers how to live a richer life.
Today, Early To Rise delivers science-based systems and structures to help people achieve a higher level of performance. We share proven strategies for success and help our readers steer clear of fads, gimmicks, and frauds. This ensures a win-win relationship between our readers and ETR, and creates faster results for everyone.
Where does Early to Rise go next?
Today we’re entering a stage that can be referred to as Early To Rise 3.0. The first version of ETR was the Mark Ford years. Next, you had ETR 2.0 from 2011 to 2016, dominated by our success in the fitness industry. Today we have changed our course and focus from fitness to serving small business owners.
We have two core products, The Perfect Day Formula (along with its small-group Perfect Life Workshops and Perfect Team Training sessions), and ETR University (including our new Management Rhythms Blueprint course). Our fitness courses and TT certification will not disappear, but are taking on a lesser role in this stage.
We respect our competitors that offer motivational and inspirational products and services, but where ETR stands out is in our ability to deliver concrete, actionable strategies that not only inspire people to transform their personal skills, but also (and more importantly) helps them systematically structure and scale their businesses.
ETR’s current vision is to serve over 50,000 small business owners in the next three years through our books, digital courses, and workshops. If we can impact this many businesses, we’ll help transform the lives of over 10,000,000 people. It is our goal to see our customers achieve financial and personal freedom through the information we deliver. When they win, we win. That’s why we’re committed to the ETR Core Values: dedicated to improving others, delivering the truth, and coaching our clients to constant and never-ending improvement.