Michael Masterson is Retiring

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.]
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  • Peter Jennings

    Hi Michael, many thanks for your many inspiring articles and books over recent years. I’ve enjoyed them immensely, as well as gained much valuable knowledge from them, as I’m sure I’ll continue to do as I revisit them in the future. Best wishes for your future endeavours!

  • Thanks Michael for all your articles and books over the years. I have used many of your ideas in my business and will continue to use them over the years. Sound business principles never change and this is what you taught. The book I used the most was The Pledge

    Best of luck to you in your new adventures and venture



  • Michael E.

    I discover you and your writing TODAY (from a Rich Schefren video I watched) and I read that you’re retiring TODAY – geez 🙂

    Are there any cities you recommend in Nicaragua for Americans to live in? I’m very interested in moving at least part-time to either Central or South America and would like your thoughts Michael.

  • Bryan Sykes

    Michael, A wise man once shared with me as individuals there are two things we leave behind; our finger prints (being the lives we’ve touched)and our legacy. As a reader of ETR for years, I thank you leaving for both. I am not familiar with Matt as I am of Craig (I’ve been a subscriber/patron of Craig’s for years), nonetheless, I look forward to the next generation finger prints and legacy. Much success to you as you continue your journey. Be Well.


  • Congratulations, Michael! You’ve inspired and helped countless people throughout the years — including myself. May your retirement be everything you could hope for and more.

    Congratulations, too, to your successors. Although I’m one of those people who hates change, I’m look forward to experiencing ETRs next evolution!

  • WOW! I’m just beginning my journey as a freelance writer and just finished 7 Years to 7 Figures, which led me to this site. Your book has certainly inspired me. THANK YOU for your genuine words of wisdom and advice. I can’t wait to begin my subscription to the ETR newsletters. It’s great to know that you’ve found a few successors to carry out your legacy, though you will certainly be missed. Thanks for paving the way for new “Starters” like me. Congratulations Mr. Masterson! Enjoy your retirement!

  • Frankie Diaz

    First off, I’m going to weep like a baby! Mr. Masterson, you are an inspiration every day. Your last postings made me re-focus in what kind of life I’m leading up to now. (I’m not exactly proud of it, though there have been good moments.)

    I remember you every day, Sir. I will continue doing this.

    Next, to Mr. Ballantyne: Welcome Home, Sir! I remember some of your articles from years past and am eagerly awaiting the next batch! I am glad you’re here!

    Finally, to Mr. Smith: Thank you for sharing your vision with us! We’ll enjoy and participate more often, for we know Mr. Masterson left his Child (ETR) in your care.


  • I read one of the first issues of Early to Rise and thought “What the heck is is?” I receive hundreds of newsletters every week, not to mention feeds, tweets, updates, Facebook junk and the rest. But Early to Rise stood above it all. Two reasons ETR is so powerful are “tipping point” ideas and street smart insight. On top of that, I’ve worked with ETR on dozens of projects over the years, and they are “world class” in terms of honor, respect and attention to detail. Michael is a class act….I can’t wait until he comes out of retirement again!

  • Thanks for your work and the emails. What memory pops into my head Suprisingly the tai chi and jiu jiutsu

  • Dawn

    My only hope is that you will miss ETR as much as we will miss you. Maybe you’ll be a contributing author in the future…

  • Thanks Michael! You’ve made me reach my dreams with your inspiring articles and practical books.

  • I haven’t had an ETR newsletter since 7/15…so I guess you stopped publishing it. Lots of changes going on I guess.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Hi Cheryl,

      We are still publishing it. Sorry that you have not received it. I hope you would consider signing up again.


  • I’m surprised. I just got back to reading ETR. I’ll definitely miss Michael Masterson’s essays but I’m also looking forward to your style Craig and Matt.

    Cheers to ETR and Thanks for the ride Michael!

  • John Baker

    Congratulations on this momentous decision!
    And welcome to Matt and Craig.
    I have just started reading Michael’s inspirational book, Seven Years to Seven Figures, and today is the first time I thought to log on to Early to Rise.com.
    Best wishes to you Michael in your retirement and to Matt and Craig in picking up the baton and running with it.
    Michael has cast a long shadow, and influenced many lives for the better.

  • There is an old saying that you only miss the important things in your life when they are gone.
    Unfortunately, this is one of the truest sayings in all social knowledge.
    I do hope the fellows that are taking over the reins do endeavour to keep the non-sensational presentation manner that made this newsletter an oasis of calm in the juvenile shrieking style of today.

    Being incredibly ancient myself, it becomes more and more difficult by the day to have to plough through the myriad sources of “screamed at you” information that are necessary in my own still unending plans, in order to find the rare odd needles in the plethora of haystacks.

    Belatedly, thank you Mr Masterson for your efforts in the past but luckily, I know from my own many decades of experience as a teacher, that good teachers cannot retire. 🙂

  • Laurence Sevigny

    Micheal, I have enjoyed your wisdom in the many articles that you have written. Many I have saved … and some day, I hope that we could meet. It would be an honnor to shake the hand of a master who has unselfishly given so much to so many.
    Thank you

  • HI Macheal,

    I owe you a lot Michael thanks so much for all the newletters ,your essays and your books of affirmations that made my whole life complete I am so much inspired when im reading from your new letter specially on how to overcome my fear and my failure,an how to control my time to be productive in my life when living in full life and how to be creative when i have no time…I learned a lot from these Now i am very positive thinker ..you’re such a good master an guru…Thanks so much and may God bless you


  • Julia Miller

    Dear Michael, Good luck & God bless!! You have been a real blessing to me over the years!Looking forward to the newest “gurus” that you have thoughtfully provided for our continuing support! 🙂

  • Michelle Leverick


    Just a little note to say thank you very much for your amazing contribution, I only recently found you but you are a legend and wish you every happiness in your future.

    Michelle Leverick, one of your many adoring supporters!

  • Hola Matt & Craig,

    I’m one of those that figured the ETR brand had gone away as my daily dose also stopped coming. . I know Matt a little thru Soveriegn Man and still follow Michael thru his Palm Beach financial newsletter. Lost track of all of the seminars and course I’ve attended over the years, it lead me to pull the plug amd move to Belize and then to mexico following one of the steps to seeking to re-invent myself.

    Look forward to helpful advice and business tips as its always a struggle that I determined to succeed at building that passice online income stream.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Thank you Larry, great to hear from you.


  • On January 12,2012, I will be starting a Club in Nigeria called Success Club International. Having failed in my last venture after taking off so gloriously, I ve decided to spend the rest of my life exposing Success Principles and bringing people to the Club to share their Success Secrets. It is in the course of this preparation I stumbled on this website. I ve already found several things I can use in the Club weekly meetings. I hope that one day, we will be able to bring one of you to Nigeria. Keep up this good work. I will also keep you posted on our progress. As far as I am concerned, failure is just the beginning of success and like our Club name says, Success Club International will be in every country of the world one day.

    God Bless.

  • Amber Eustus

    Michael, I’ve been following ETR for years. It’s the ONE incoming e-mail I always read. You have a thoghtful host of contributors. How long do you plan to “retire?

  • Bruce Coleman

    Michael, thank you for being there and sharing your practical business insights, your life’s wisdom and setting an example of what hard work and
    devotion to your success and others can do for others and me. I have been a fan of yours since you started your e-letter in the 90’s.You taught me how to view a business in its foundational settings. You encouraged me to have confidence to learn things that are useful so that I can enjoy my life as I share any success I may have attained with others. You introduced me to the successful people you are surrounded with: Matt Furey, Mary Ellen Tribby, Robert Ringer, Craig Ballantyne and whole bunch of others that I don’t have room for.
    I wished I had known you even sooner. I would have gotten off my ignorant wagon sooner. There are more things I would like to say but the important ones are THANK YOU for crossing my path!! My life was better for it!! Thank you for sharing your life and for being an AWESOME human BEING. You revealed a finer way of living and made it seem possible to achieve if you reach for it!! Again, thank you and good luck!! I hope you’re getting good at playing guitar! 🙂



  • Michael, I’ve been a regularly visitor here since I first read (or listened to) Ready, Fire, Aim. A great book with a no nonsense approach that I have since recommended to friends and colleagues. I look forward to the new content and new books you have planned.

  • Leigh Hanneken

    Mr. “Michael Masterson”
    May 02, 2012

    I don’t even know where to begin, as I’m just getting my day started, checking emails and such and just as I pleasantly see every day, (I know, I know.. I didnt say I read them every day BIG MISTAKE… Needless to say I was going through my office last night and hung the note you gave me up with your contact information on it because I truly truly have a lot of Angels in my life as far as mentors are concerned, and I don’t even know if you remember who I am and I wouldn’t expect that you would. I worked at the Cigar Bar in DelRay and poured you a tequila or two as you worked so effortlessly at writing and creating such shall we say “Masterpieces!” I pray that some day I can tell you that it was your writing that kept me going.. As well as Craigs, Rich, Matt, and everyone else within ETR, Strategic Profits, Entrepeneuer, the networking, etc.. Right now, I’m just thanking you for putting your “works of art” smack dab in my face. Please, I’d be honored and extremely gracious if you guys ever found the time to speak with me personally, Id do whatever I could on my end advertising for you,etc.. And Michael you are truly an Artist a cryptic Artist at that. Thank you for the inspiration that was dying inside of me. -Leigh Hanneken God Bless

  • Leigh Hanneken

    One More Question Guys,

    Online Direct Marketing, Retail, Sales, Fundraising. Used to have a Concierge Business “Effortless Errands” any suggestions? it’s gotta be catchy, Yet classy.. You’d think I’ve been writing producing and acting in my own series of “Groundhog day in Hell” Part 1,2,3,4,5,6 … Anyway if had any ideas I’d greatly appreciate it. No Monkey Business okay. Thanks have a great day

  • Sandy Rajsic

    It has been awhile since I have subscribed to ETR. I am just reading this post today after finding out (and buying) Michael Masterson’s new book. I just wanted to thank you for all of the incredible information you have shared over the years. I own many books and courses by Michael. This is some of the best stuff out there on entrepreneurship, marketing and owning a business. Thanks again Michael. Sorry this is so late.

  • kathleen kwan

    Dear Michael,

    I just happened to read your book in the public library over the weekend and needless to say, the advice and tips you give are so precise and practical that I finished it in one sitting!

    Thank you for showing ordinary people how to create reality from their own dreams step by step. Success in life should be all-rounded like yours: business for life, family for life and friendship for life.

    I hope you are taking time off to increase your influence throughout the world by sharing your life experience and business knowledge with young leaders who are hungry to be servant leaders.

  • Good luck to you and what ever happened to Michael’s Vocabulary Building audio series?

    I created it for him with the help of Bill Bonner Jr. and it paid for itself with the initial launch.

    I also co-created Bantam Books audio series “Word Builders” that to date has sold over 600,000 copies.

    Maybe you should rethink the power of audio products.