“I’m never drinking again.”

This was my Sunday morning motto for far too many years in my late 20’s and early 30’s.

But no matter how painful the headaches were….

No matter how many times I huddled over a toilet, fighting waves of nausea for the entirety of my Sabbath…

No matter how many hours I wasted cuddled under the sheets, attempting to block every hint or light or sound from reaching my alcohol-addled brain…

The following Saturday night, I fell back into the same again and again and again.

When all the work for the week was done, and the excitement and anticipation of the hedonism ahead was too much to resist, I would give in again thinking, “This time will be different.”

It wasn’t.

Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. I repeated this cyclical stupidity.

Repeating the same mistakes. Reaping the same consequences. And promising myself every step of the way, “This time won’t be so bad.”

And every single time, I was wrong.

Compare this to the modern entrepreneurial and financial landscape and you will notice a few alarming similarities.

Sure the minute details of the market–like my nights out and ensuing mornings ‘in’–might be different enough.

First the Federal Reserve tampered with inflation rates in the 80’s. Then we had the tech bubble burst of the early 2000’s. Then the housing-market fueled financial meltdown of 2008.

But the underlying principle remained and continues to remain the same: We overspent, over leveraged, under prepared and we still haven’t learned our lesson.

That means, as Casey Jones was warned, “There’s trouble ahead, and you better watch your speed.”

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or employee, I don’t say this to scare you. Only to stress to you that the future will bring challenges.

A lot of them. It always has.

And while I may not have a crystal ball that will perfectly for tell the future, I do have access to an extensive network filled with some of the brightest financial and business minds of our time…

…And all of them are gearing up to take advantage of the impending crisis and whatever opportunities it may present.

So should you.

Here are four rules to help you do it.

1. Winter is Coming…Prepare for It

It’s been more than a decade since the 2008 recession and a lot of entrepreneurs (and investors) have forgotten the lessons of downturns past.

Now, if you know anything about the history of economics, then you know that markets are cyclical.  

Just like the seasons experienced by our planet, economies go through their own seasons.

And nearly every expert on the planet agrees that after more than a decade of ‘summer’ —winter is coming.

It might not happen in 2019, but make no mistake, the market is GOING to turn.

I don’t say this to scare you. But rather to prepare you.

After all, those who ignore history’s lessons are doomed to feel the pain of the future.

Because the economy will go back into recession and when it does there will only be two types of people:

  1. Those who are CRUSHED by the recession
  2. And those who CRUSH because of the recession.

Despite what you’ve been told by your scarcity minded friends and family, recessions are one of the BEST times for aggressive and fast acting entrepreneurs like yourself to swoop in and use the failing economy to their advantage.

There’s a long list of companies that started in challenging economic times and thrived, including Hewlett Packard, IBM, CNN, and Disney.

When everyone else is selling, you can buy assets and resources (included new team members) at an all time low.

When everyone else has to stop advertising because “there are no good leads left”, you can acquire leads for dirt cheap.

When everyone else is falling prey to scarcity and fear, you can leverage economic recession to grow your business faster than ever before.

My friend Bedros Keuilian started his Fit Body Boot Camp during a recession because he knew every other fitness business owner was terrified and needed a leader.

Gary Vaynerchuk built Vaynermedia during the 2008 recession because he focused on the future, not the pain of the present.

Recessions, as hard as they are on the middle class and the average employee are an absolute goldmine of opportunity for the savvy entrepreneur.

But to capitalize on the opportunities that will be presented when winter is in full swing, you will need cash (a lot of it) and an aggressive attitude.

In 2019, your mission is to get it while the getting is good and stockpile resources instead of blowing them on fleeting pleasures.

Save as much money as you can. Build connections. Grow your list.

Do anything and everything that you can to position yourself for success when the next recession hits.

Because it’s during recessions–when everyone else is running scared–that the millionaires and billionaires are really made.

2. Concerning Robots

I have a nasty confession to make…

In the past decade I made a HUGE mistake that likely cost me more than $5,000,000 in missed profits and opportunities.

No…It wasn’t that I didn’t invest in Apple or Uber.

It was that I didn’t start using Instagram until 2017.

Listen, I’ve generated more than $1.5 directly from Instagram in the past 24 months.

And as amazing as this is, I can’t help but wonder how much more money I could have made and how many more people I could have helped if I hadn’t been so darn stubborn about jumping on the platform.

I spent years ignoring my friends and mentors and viewing Instagram as a passing fad instead of the “new email” that it has become.

And as a result, I left millions of dollars and thousands of customers on the table because I allowed my fear of – and insecurity around – new tech to stop me from getting started.

Listen, if you want to accelerate your business growth in 2019 and explode your profits, you MUST embrace and adopt new technology. Especially tech in the AI sector.

I know that this might sound like some far fetched concept out of the latest sci-fi movie (and, as someone who used a 2010 Blackberry until last year, every piece of new tech sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie to me) but AI is already here.

Techies are collaborating in basements all around the world to create new artificial intelligence solutions that allow entrepreneurs to more effectively measure and optimize their marketing.

From optimizing email send times to fixing your Facebook ad copy to discovering exactly what is causing viewers to leave your site (or click “buy now”) the future is already upon is.

And if you want to beat out the competition and ensure that your business stands the test of time, you must keep your ear to the ground and leverage every new solution and platform you can to stay relevant in the rapidly changing economy.

The tactics and technology I used to grow Turbulence Training to more than $5,000,000/year in revenue back in 2011 do not work today. And the technology and tactics you’ve used over the past 12 months will not work five years from now.

You must adopt and evolve with the changing times or become one of the dinosaurs who fades into obsolescence.

3. Implement the “Hero Story” to Double the ROI of Your Marketing

One of THE most powerful tools that both myself and my business partner, Bedros Keuilian have leveraged to grow our businesses and drive tons of money to our biggest offers is something called the “hero story”.

Listen, you might think that your audience (and even yourself) are motivated by logic. But they’re not. Human beings are motivated, first and foremost, by emotion. Then, once they’ve made the emotional decision, they use logic to validate it and reassure themselves that they’re doing the right thing.

And while you can appeal to your audiences rational mind with long lists of features and benefits and jargon-filled explanations about why your product or service is the best…if you do this, you’ll be leaving millions of dollars on the table.

People want connection. They want emotion. And, most importantly, they want to be able to vividly visualize themselves achieving the outcome that you offer through your products and services.

The hero story is a marketing tool you can create by taking your BEST customers and showcasing how their life has changed as a result of working with you and your business.

And it goes like this…

First things first, you’ll need an iPhone (or a video crew), some B-roll music, and at least one happy client.

Once you have these assets in place–which shouldn’t be too hard to do–you’re going to record your client answering the following questions.

  1. Where were you in your life, business, and relationships before you started working with me or implemented my solution? What was the pain or problem you were facing that you couldn’t solve on your own?
  2. What made you skeptical about working with me? What was it about my offer that sounded “too good to be true”?
  3. What tangible results did you achieve by working with me? What are some specific numbers you’re willing to share? How quickly did you achieve them?
  4. How has your life changed today? Where are you now that you’ve taken action on my offer and implemented it into your life?

As simple as this sounds, I’ve used this exact strategy to sell tens of thousands of dollars of coaching, and Bedros sells multiple six-figures worth of FBBC franchises every year using his top “hero story” videos.

And, with a little bit of effort, you can use this same strategy to drive tens of thousands of dollars in new profit to your business in the next 90-days.

4. Use Instagram as the “New Email”

Instagram is by far the most powerful and underutilized weapon in the modern entrepreneur’s arsenal.

There is no platform (that I know of) that makes it easier to generate new leads, manufacture massive amounts of celebrity, and generate millions of dollars in new revenue.

But here’s the thing…

Most entrepreneurs, if they’re even using Instagram, are using it wrong.

They waste hours each day creating content that does nothing for their business and their strategy, if they even have one, actually hurts their brand and authority instead of supporting it.

To help you maximize Instagram in 2019, here are three important rules that every successful ‘grammer’ follows:

1. Post Purposeful, Valuable, and Sharable Content that Revolves Around One Central Theme

I hate to break it to you, but your audience does not care about you, your family, the food you’re eating, or that wicked new shaker bottle you bought online.

They care about one thing and one thing only.

How you can help them improve their lives.

To generate as many leads as possible, grow your following, and increase your social sales, every post, video and story must revolve around one central theme–specifically, the value that you have to offer to potential clients.

For myself, that theme is earning more and working less.

For Bedros, the theme is developing the leadership skills and personal resilience to dominate in business and life.

For Grant Cardone the theme is making money, investing in real estate, and living the high life.

For Amanda Bucci the theme is using authenticity in your marketing to attract your best audience.

What about you?

What is the one thing that you can offer to your audience? What problem can you help them solve? What pain can you help them escape?

Figure it out, write it down, and then make sure every piece of content you post is congruent with that theme.

2. Manufacture Celebrity and Build Authority

The fastest way to get more followers and make more sales on Instagram is to position yourself as a celebrity and authority in your space.

People will always invest money with the individual they believe to be most authoritative and credible and, if you want to dominate the online game in 2019, you must grow your celebrity.

Now, you might be thinking, “That sounds great Craig…But I’m not a celebrity!”

But here’s the thing…

You don’t have to be a celebrity to begin the process of building celebrity.

Remember, celebrity and authority are relative.

Compared to Gary Vaynerchuk or Tim Ferriss I’m definitively not a celebrity. But compared to your average business consultant, I am.

The key is to surround yourself with individuals who have more credibility and authority than you do and piggy back on their success.

Go to masterminds, seminars, and events and take pictures with the speakers. Hire high-level coaches and mentors and record videos with them when you meet in person.

Slowly climb the ladder in your network until your followers start to see you as the expert and authority and it will be much easier to get new followers and make more sales.

3. Direct Your Followers to an Offer and Collect their Email Addresses

One of the biggest mistakes that prevent people from making money with Instagram is to believe that the sale can only happen on Instagram.

Listen… When people are on Instagram, they typically aren’t looking for you or your solution.

They’re scrolling through an endless stream of memes, funny clips, and viral videos and they just happen to come across your content.

To convert them from a “scrolling follower” into a raving fan, you must redirect them to an enticing offer off of Instagram that you can later use to contact and follow up with them.

Use the link in your bio to send your followers to a lead magnet, “trip wire” product (a low-priced product that gets them into your business), or a killer piece of content with a high conversion rate.

For example, Bedros does a great job of this with his Man Up! Book.

When one of his followers clicks the link to check out his book, they are immediately hit with a Facebook pixel that puts them into a retargeting campaign so he can advertise to them later.

He’ll also collect their email address so he can continue the relationship and make more direct offers.

As simple as the system is, it’s made him millions of dollars over the years and drives thousands of raving fans to his business that would have otherwise been lost in the sea of Instagram content.


Today, my life IS different.

My Sunday mornings are hangover-free and I am no worried about the impending Winter.

And the reason is simple. I no longer make the same mistakes as in the past because I am proactively prepared as a mature and effective leader in both my personal life and my business.

Make sure that you do the same.

What do you think of these four lessons? Are there any you would add?

How are you preparing for Winter and which of the other three strategies will you implement into your business first?

Let me know in the comments below.

Want to achieve your BIGGEST 12-month goal in the next 12-weeks?

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Craig Ballantyne

If you want to double your income, work less, and become the ambitious millionaire you've always wanted to be... Craig Ballantyne is the coach who will help you do it. With more than 20-years of experience as an entrepreneur and five 7-figure businesses under his belt, he specializes in helping "struckling" entrepreneurs get out of the mud and build the business of their dreams. To see if you qualify for Craig's "Millionaire Coaching Program" send an email to support@earlytorise.com with the subject line "Millionaire".

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