This is a goodbye message. After writing hundreds of essays in Early to Rise and more than a dozen books since 1999, I’ve decided to retire the Michael Masterson brand.

The reason is simple: I’ve written down in great detail and repeatedly everything I know about entrepreneurship, marketing and advertising copy.

Effective today, I will write no more new essays, editorials or books on these matters.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for several years now but I stayed on at ETR because I believed it needed a unifying voice and I wasn’t able to find anyone who I trusted to hand the baton to.

But now I have. And I’m very excited about ETR’s future.

I have just concluded a deal with two young men I’ve known for several years. They are two of the brightest and most accomplished entrepreneurs I know. They have started several very successful multimillion-dollar businesses. And their knowledge of Internet marketing is greater than mine.

Most importantly they share the same values I have about business. I trust them to continue to give you great value for your patronage. And to bring you great new marketing and business-building ideas so you can continue to build your business.

The new publisher of ETR is Matt Smith. Although only 36 years old, he’s already started 8 businesses.  I first met Matt in Buenos Aires, Argentina where, at the time, he was living with his wife and two very young children.

I was shocked when I learned that Matt financed his unusual lifestyle through two passive web businesses that generated more than $10,000 profit each and every day while Matt studied philosophy and focused on meeting interesting people while traveling the world.

Matt is no longer based out of Argentina, but his entrepreneurial lifestyle can still be described as unorthodox as you’ll discover for yourself.

Porter Stansberry, one of the most successful businessmen I’ve ever worked with, calls Matt “a true marketing genius.” Rumor has it that Porter paid Matt $50,000 for a single day of consulting and felt that the value he got from him was cheap at that price.

The new editor of ETR is Craig Ballantyne. You may recognize his name, as he was a contributing essayist to ETR a few years ago. Craig’s resume as an entrepreneur is equal to Matt’s.

Craig began writing for Men’s Health magazine in 2000 at the age of 25. Since then his health, wellness, and inspirational articles have been published in over a dozen magazines, from Maxim to Prevention.

In addition, Craig has built a 7-figure business selling fitness information products, and has recently created his own fitness certification with the goal of helping 1 million men and women transform their bodies and lives by 2020.

But Craig is not just committed to helping you with your health and wellness. Since 2007 Craig has been building a second component to his business where he teaches small business owners how to make money online.

In fact, he writes a daily email dedicated to this topic and coaches dozens of clients around the world to get more traffic to their websites so they can make more sales.

Craig has an incredible passion for teaching and sharing every little tip from his own business and healthy lifestyle that will show you how to be more productive, how to have more energy, and how to live well.

In addition to his business knowledge and experience Craig will be bringing ETR a very valuable skill. He is one of the best young writers I know. He has the ability to explain complicated ideas in the simplest terms.

With Craig at the helm, ETR will improve considerably. You will see that very soon. You will be excited to read ETR every morning, knowing you’ll be getting useful, clear-cut advice you can put to use right away.

I asked Matt and Craig for a preview of what to expect in the first few weeks of the new and improved ETR. Take a look at this list:

  • How to Take Control of Your Time to Be More Productive While Living a Full Life
  • Your Complete $100,000 in 12 Months Online Business Plan
  • The Single Most Important Document You Need to Create For Your Business & Life
  • Our #1 Internet Marketing Tips
  • The 10 Steps to Getting Started with a New Business Fast
  • Simple Solutions to Extremely Fast Product Creation and Marketing
  • The Single Most Important Thing Ever Invented in Your Business
  • How to Overcome Your Fear of Failure
  • 3 Simple Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Website to Build Your List
  • How to Apply the Rockefeller Habits to Your Business Today
  • Why You Need a Director of WOW in Your Business
  • The 5% Solution to Productivity and Time Management Problems
  • Why the Best Business Advice Can Come From the Least Likely Purpose
  • The Tough Question that NO ONE Else is Willing to Ask You
  • How to Be More Creative When You Have No Time
  • The 9 Proven Steps to a 6-Figure Product Launch

One more thing. Although I will not be writing any new books or essays, I have completed three books on entrepreneurship, living “rich,” and wealth building that have not yet been published. I’m very proud of these books. I believe you will find them valuable.

I’ve given Matt and Craig the rights to sell these. As they come on line you will be notified about them in future issues of ETR. (By the way, my share of the profits from these books will be directed to my community development project in Nicaragua.)

These are:

  1. A Chicken’s Guide to Entrepreneurship: How to Start a Million Dollar Home Business Without Quitting Your Day Job
  2. The Rich Mind: How to Live Like a Multimillionaire on a Working Person’s Income
  3. My Special Theory of Wealth: The Essential Truth about How Fortunes are Created

In addition, I’ve given Matt and Craig publishing rights to about a thousand pages of marketing and business notes that I have made over the years working with some of America’s most successful internet marketing companies.

I’ve told them that they can make them available to you if they find them useful. Again, my share of the profits from these will go to my charity in Nicaragua.

Well, that’s the story. I want to tell you how much I have appreciated the opportunity to express my ideas on business and marketing to so many hundreds of thousands of people. And I want to thank all of you who have written me personally to thank me for my advice. I have kept every letter and will treasure them in the future.

And now I want to introduce you to Craig Ballantyne, the new publisher of ETR, and turn it over to him.

Michael Masterson


Hi, this is Craig Ballantyne, and I’m excited to be here with you today as we begin the next chapter of Early to Rise.

I’ve been an avid reader of ETR since 2003, and a fan of the practical and inspirational advice ETR delivered each day. I knew as soon as I subscribed that I’d found “home”. And I hope you’ll come to feel the same way.

Two years after subscribing I became a contributing writer to ETR, and I dreamed of the day when I’d be able to make an even greater contribution. In fact, in 2006 I told my first business coach that I wanted to “have a business just like ETR”, and so here we are over 5 years later, and my goal has been achieved.

In each edition of the new ETR, you’ll receive a practical, inspirational message that will not only give you a blueprint on how to implement proven business building advice, but also essential time and energy management strategies to help you get more work done in less time.

After all, ETR is not only about business. It’s about designing and living a richer, fuller life. What we like to call, “A Life Well Lived”.

Matt and I are passionate about sharing the message on the virtues of taking action and being self-reliant. And as I said earlier, it’s long been my dream to be involved with ETR, and to help at least 1 million men and women transform their lives by 2020.

We hope that you’ll be one of these people.


Craig Ballantyne
Early to Rise

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.