The Toughest Question Ever

This is one of the most valuable emails I’ll likely ever send you, but…

…it comes with a warning.

And I give you this warning because I am genetically-deficient in the art of “beating around the bush”.

In place of that, I was given a double dose of the “straight talk” gene, and as a result, my forthcoming nature may offend you at some times, particularly today if you feel like our dear reader who wrote in and said:

“I feel like I am doing everything right, and am implementing all strategies, have stuff on youtube, facebook, twitter, have outsourced the tech stuff, google analytics etc but I am still stuck in the catch 22

Can’t get affiliates without sales, can’t get sales without adwords. SEO not working due to google changing algorithms, articles not working as can’t have links…HELP? I need suggestions to break the catch 22.

“I’m the Queen of ‘practical weight loss for busy people is niche’ showing readers how to get everything food done in 20 minutes.”


Ok, now if you’ve been on my list for a while, you probably know what I’m going to say, but to soften the blow on new readers who feel like they too are in this situation, I’m going to rephrase the question.

In fact, I’m going to ask myself this same question. And I’m not “making this up”, I really do feel this way:

Craig, I have a website called and right now it has 6021 subscribers, but the content is amazing and I’ve been doing everything you say, so I really think it should be more. Help! Thanks.” – Craig Ballantyne

Well hello Craig, thanks for your question. I had a look at your site, and I must say, your content IS awesome.

It might be the best writing I’ve ever found on a site devoted to internet marketing and website businesses. You are also very handsome and I imagine you are quite charming. People must like you. A lot.

That said, here’s the problem Craig. You simply haven’t been remarkable enough to earn more than 6021 subscribers. I appreciate that you’re working hard, but a lot of people work hard.

But the truth is your message is NOT compelling enough. Your offer is not good enough. And that means your conversion – to your mission – is not great enough.

That’s why you’re stuck at 6021 subscribers.

But…the good news is you can change the situation. The bad news is you will have to seriously question yourself, your ego, and your actions.

WARNING: I’m about to ask you a really tough question that is going to demand soul-searching and serious contemplation.

Listen, there are thousands of people teaching “internet marketing” and “how to build a website business” online. That means there is a lot of competition.

You can’t expect to just set up a site and start sending out a few emails and suddenly have 100,000 people on your mailing list begging to be your customers.

It doesn’t work that way. So you need to ask yourself this, the MOST important question you’ve ever asked yourself…

What have you done to DESERVE traffic and sales?”

Sit yourself down, take a deep breath, be brutally honest, and ask yourself WHY do you deserve to get the traffic and sales that you desire?

And if you can’t come up with a list of at least 7 powerful and justifiable reasons, then don’t get frustrated, but start working on a plan that justifies the existence of your business.

I also want you to keep going with the following important set of questions:

– Is your product and content truly unique?

– Do you and your unique product fill a gap in the marketplace?

– Do you have massive credibility?

– Does your sales copy convert better than most other products in your market?

– Are you outspoken and different and NOT saying the same old thing that every other expert is saying?

– What do you offer that is DIFFERENT than everyone else?

– Why would you stand out in a crowded marketplace?

– Have you contacted all of the joint venture partners that could possibly refer readers to your website?

– Are you committed to contacting at least one potential affiliate EVERY day?

– Are you working at getting links back to your site every day?

Listen, SEO is not hard. You can’t blame google for “changing it’s algorithm”. It’s not like they ONLY changed it for YOUR site.

They changed it for everyone. Yet some folks are still #1 in the search engines. SEO is not broken.

In fact, there’s no shortage of incredible SEO information on this website that you can use for free

So having said all that Craig, you need to…

1) Be remarkable

2) Follow proven systems for networking and attracting traffic

3) Demonstrate to the world that in a crowded marketplace, there are extremely good reasons that readers should choose you over all those other options

4) Create a compelling offer that converts better than your competitors

5) Never, ever, EVER give up.

You need to set aside at least 15 minutes now, and then again at your most creative time of the day to list out everything that makes you, your website, and your product unique and valuable.

And that Craig, is the politically incorrect truth.

I hope that you’ll take this the right way, because I’d hate to lose you as a subscriber.

And I appreciate the fact that you’ve read my advice and implemented it…but fundamentally, there remains one elephant in the room.

The truth is…

What you are doing is just not good enough.

If you’re a fighter, and I know you are, then you’re going to grab a few pieces of blank paper and a pen, barricade yourself in a room without distractions, and mind-map everything that you can do to start earning what you deserve.

Stay tough lil’ Craiggy.

Your friend,

Craig Ballantyne

“Know where you’re going. Create a personal vision or mission statement.” – Frank McKinney

  • Peter

    WOW, that was Tough!
    But you said nothing but the truth and this is probably the most valuable advice you give can give to anyone starting or with growing biz.
    And as always great content!
    Thank You Bro.

    • Anonymous

      Happy to help Peter

  • Absolutely awesome. Best post I’ve read on this site. Straight, to the point, and no pulling of punches…just what we all need. Thx Craig! -Geoff

  • Yanik Silver

    Craig –
    I love what you’re doing here and these are some really important questions! People that have good answers to this will see good traction.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Yanik, I appreciate the kind words. Always good to hear from you.


  • Brett A.

    The excellence of this post brought a smile to my face. “When there’s an elephant in the room, introduce it.” This post took that to the max. You ought to consider adding a permanent link to this post in your header as you have for the $100K in 12 months- this post is even more valuable.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Brett, I really appreciate the feedback.


  • Don’t worry Craigy- you haven’t lost me…I am a fighter, I have been working on this too long and am too passionate about what I do to give up now. I have redesigned and re programmed my site 3 times to suit adwords, still trying to get approval. Have 7/10 rating so fingers crossed it works.
    I did have someone working 30 hours a week on SEO but it wasn’t working. I have since been tapping into your emails from Rick Porter and that has helped. I am locking myself in a room today to re-answer some of these questions.
    Thanks for your no-bull response. I hope it helps others too as I am sure there are many of us out there that are frustrated.
    PS I now have a post it note above my PC saying what else can I do to be “REMARKABLE”. I do have credibility but perhaps don’t promote it enough. Will get onto that straight away. Group hug.
    Will keep you posted on progress…hopefully I can be an outstanding case study for you!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Trudy.

  • Thanks for the wake up call Craig! I don’t know why it took me this long to finally realize this but just being marginal or slightly above average can keep me ahead in my little bubble here in Frisco, TX, but coming online and competing with the entire world is a completely different ball game. I guess my analogy for myself is I went from playing on a high school team, being a starter, to jumping straight to the pros an getting my clock cleaned!

    I am going on a little R&R and am going to come back and raise my level!
    Thanks for the insight!

  • Misty

    I am struggling with where and what exactly to do online. Your blog boasts this week and last have been excellent at kicking my butt and making me realize I need to choose one thing and go for it. I appreciate the honesty that your blog throws out to the world. Your email is one of the first things I read in the morning. If more people wrote about online marketing with the candor that you do there would not be as many confused people making a mess of their sites. I say bring it on. Blunt honesty is the way to go. You will never grow by beating around the bush. I have always believed that but sometimes with everything that goes on in life, I forget. Thanks for reminding me :).

    • Anonymous

      Thank you Misty.

  • I can’t believe that these posts keep getting better and better! Seriously, this is ridiculously good.

    One idea for a post is to figure out how to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace and developing a crystal clear message that cuts through the clutter. It’s a lot easier said then done, especially in fitness, which has so many different components of course.

    A big challenge I’ve faced is that my training/nutrition philosophy is evolving as I learn more from research and experimentation. So I’ve been negligent in developing a crystal clear message, which is the 10 ton gorilla in the room. I know that your own philosophy took time to develop and you thought of the turbulence training concept on a plane (as I understand it, full body workouts that are inefficient like “turbulence” blast fat).

    I decided after reading this post that I’m setting a deadline to develop a clear message/methodology and stick with it! Need to make a decision, because not having a crystal clear message feels like I’m running in a race carrying a 100lb dumbbell.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Marc, please check out the product creation category. I’ve covered this in there.

  • Nice way of teaching, Craig; Craig teaching Craiggy! 😆
    I really like your questions. In fact I printed them out and posted it right above my computer. Great reminders! Thanks! 🙂

  • Great post…i like #5 the most…never give up…keep trying and follow a proven method…some day i will succeed….