“I much rather spend time on a computer than a strength and conditioning room”.
It was the freedom that sold Craig Ballantyne into the world of internet business which would lead him to create five 7-figure businesses in five different industries.
His journey had started when he wanted to play professional ice hockey in Canada.
After it was made clear that wasn’t going to be his reality, he had discovered and transitioned into a career as a strength and conditioning coach.
But his passion was ignited when he stumbled upon a website called testosterone.net (tnation.com now).
This website was known to produce articles and emails every week.
Using his experience as a strength and conditioning coach, he became a paid writer for ‘Men’s Health Magazine’.
Eventually, he discovered the opportunity of selling programs online.
So without a fancy website or thousands of followers, he sold his first fitness product online in the form of a word document for $60.
That was when his love for internet businesses was born.
And once he was able to transition from a personal trainer into an online business owner, his business took off.
People asked him how he did it so he started coaching people on how to have successful online businesses.
Eventually, he started masterminds, showing hundreds of people how to do it too. Vince Del Monte was in his first business seminar.
In 2007, he bought a well-established success website called ‘Early To Rise’. In 2015, he wrote his first book, ‘The Perfect Day Formula’ and left the fitness world altogether.
He started selling courses on everything from sales and marketing, copywriting and productivity.
Today, he helps aspiring business owners to escape the rat race.
His coaching business now has an entire team of coaches under his wing who have also built real-world businesses.
I was super stoked to be interviewing Craig, knowing how much of a beast he is in business.
Every minute he spoke, he had brought years upon years of just pure, no B.S wisdom on how to go from 0 all the way to a 6-7 figure entrepreneur…
While also “working less than the average employee”.
If you read this article all the way through and you put his words into action, I can’t see how you can’t at least be making tons of money as a business owner.
Being a 6-8 Figure Entrepreneur WITHOUT Sacrificing Your Freedom
Money, health, relationships, personal time.
There’s very few people (especially those making millions) who aren’t completely sacrificing at least one of those areas.
Most entrepreneurs of course would not sacrifice money so they often sacrifice the other areas of their life.
There are those who sacrifice their relationships either because they’re “too busy to have one” or they have one and it goes downhill because of the lack of time they put into it.
Then there are those who sacrifice their health, making bad decisions all day long and are even overweight.
“In 20 years they got 2 million dollars and they got an extra 20, 40, 50, 100 pounds”.
Then there are those who sacrifice what they value because they “don’t have enough time”.
An example is “a Christian who doesn’t have 5 minutes to read the bible. I’ve seen that so many times it’s insane”.
The big problem? – “they take on too many projects”
“As an entrepreneur, you’re always excited on what can happen. They get in to sell too many programs or take on too many clients. Some people do it out of scarcity, ‘well I’m not sure where the next sale is going to come from’.
So they take on bad clients, too many clients or they sell too many programs rather than focusing on one.
They’re also very bad at delegating. So they do too many of the projects themselves. Too many of the $10/hour tasks.
They’re also not good at judging what should be stopped. Also very bad at prioritizing so they’re just a complete mess. The complete mess bleeds into their personal life”.
Craig has worked with clients who have suffered burnouts, anxieties, panic attacks because their business had taken over their lives…
To now making way more money and actually having the freedom to live out what they value most in life.
One such example was a guy who got divorced because his business had strained his relationship entirely.
On top of that, he wasn’t even making that much money.
But once Craig helped him to restructure the way he ran his business and lifestyle…
Not only did he make more money than ever before, but he had remarried his ex-wife, and they just had another baby knowing he now has the time to take care of the family.
Craig’s 5 Business Advice He Had Ever Received From Mentors
The following is the top 5 advice he had ever received from mentors that have been pivotal to his entrepreneurship success…
- Sell most of the time
Too many business owners wonder why they’re not making as much as they want to.
But many of them would be shocked to find that this is a problem that can be easily solved.
All it takes is to sell way more than most people spend.
Many business owners either avoid selling out of subconscious fear so they would keep themselves busy.
Or they’re too busy by the increased demand that they have no time to sell.
“Having no time to sell in business is like having no time to breathe as a human being. Your business is going to die”.
2. Differentiate yourself
If I asked you, “why should I choose you?” Can you give me a well-thought-out answer on what sets you apart from everyone else in your market?
If the answer is no, “then your business will also die”.
“If there is no good reason to choose you then people will choose something that’s cheaper or someone else who has a better offer”.
3. Building a world-class team
“It’s way better to build a team of experienced people than to try to hire beginners and turn them into good people”.
For many business owners, as soon as they find someone that is cheap to hire, they immediately go with it – BIG MISTAKE!!
The costs of training that person can far outweigh how cheap they were to hire.
“Why not get someone who doesn’t cost you proportionately more compared to the results they bring you”
4. Taking time off
Whether it’s taking actual holidays where you can de-stress and unplug from your business or taking a full day off each week…
Taking time off for yourself is crucial for long term success and performing at your best.
5. The best time to work? Saturday Morning
In most cases, you can get an extra day of work done, even in just 2 hours on a Saturday morning.
“Not only is nobody going to bug you. But you know that nobody is going to bug you and that no one is waiting to bug you.
Monday through Friday, you work in 6-7 in the morning. And no one else is up bugging you. But you know that very soon, people are going to bug you”
Craig’s ‘Men’s Health Magazine’ Method For Marketing That Converts…Even If You’re A Beginner
Today, marketing and content creation are simple processes for Craig.
There’s no shortage of questions and responses from clients and followers on what they want to know about.
All Craig has to do is create content based on those questions and responses.
The best form of marketing involves showing a client who had suffered from the worst-case scenario and how they still were able to solve their problem anyway.
Example: Show a guy with one kid that they can make $500K a year just like how a man with four kids was able to make $1.5 million a year.
All this person would think about is “If you can do it for that guy, then obviously you can help me”.
Now, what if you’re just starting out and you don’t have much of a following?
Step 1: Figure out who your market is
Step 2: Reverse engineer the most popular content pieces for your market
When Craig wrote for Men’s Health magazine, he was selling workout programs to busy men.
He went as deep as he could into what their lives were like so he knew exactly how to help them and get their attention.
Aside from that, Craig would look at the most popular articles on Men’s Health Magazine.
And he would take questions he saw one the Men’s Health message board and create content off of that.
A Simple Method To Exponentially Boost Your Network…Even If You’re Shy, Anxious or Introverted
“Add value to somebody and then ask them for a connection…Continuously followup with people in your network. Care about them”.
Yes, networking is that simple.
Yet, within this simplicity, Craig was able to build and maintain an elite network where he connects with millionaires on a daily.
In fact, you don’t even need to do this in person.
From 2000 to 2006, Craig had built his network from behind a computer screen.
There are multiple ways to do this.
Podcasting – It’s a win-win. You give the person you want to connect with more followers. You can even ask for a connection after, “hey is there someone else who I can help?”
Books – Craig would buy hundreds of copies of a book and send it out to hundreds of people who he thought would benefit.
He even follows up with a simple…“Hey you’re gonna love this book…do you know somebody else who I should talk with about this?”
“Knowing people is easy, even if you’re shy, anxious and introverted.
If you met one new person everyday, you’ll know 4000 people in four years. Minimum. By knowing those people, they’ll probably introduce you to 2-3 other people”
Business and Health is Simple – But Most People Over-Complicate it
“Climbing Mount Everest is simple, but not easy”
The best part about succeeding in business is that you don’t need to invent a new way of climbing to the top.
The path has already been laid out for you and it’s as simple as “getting up and going to work right away”.
“If you’re willing to sell, face rejection, never settle your offer, improve your skills everyday, it’s very likely you will be successful. Most people are not willing to do that. And that’s okay, most people are not supposed to be entrepreneurs.
Just because you can put up a Shopify store and sell a couple of things to your cousin, doesn’t mean you’re really an entrepreneur or that you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur”.
While this may not apply to everyone, Craig’s diet for maximum productivity is also very simple and boring.
He doesn’t do Keto, Paleo or any fancy diets. He just eats whole foods and avoids junk food.
“Most important is what you don’t eat. If you eat junk food then you’ll feel tired”.
Skillsets of Multi-millionaire Leaders
Out of every skillset, Craig attributes the skillset of Persuasion to be the ultimate skillset.
You are reading this article right now because I persuaded Craig to do an interview with me.
Anything you want in life comes from persuasion.
You persuade people to give you money.
You persuade people to work for you and also do a great job for you.
You persuade people to be proactive and come up with ideas.
Persuasion is the skill that serves you no matter what level you’re at.
- Asking for help
Believe it or not, this is a very important skillset.
It’s all about setting aside your ego and asking for help whenever you are stuck.
Because if you’re stuck and you don’t ask for help, then you’ll continue to be stuck, doing the same thing over and over.
Unfortunately, there are those who don’t know how to take feedback well.
They let their ego get in the way and as a result, they miss out on the potential growth they could’ve had if they had set their ego aside.
Now of course, keep in mind, it’s also about asking for help from the RIGHT people.
“10,000 hours in the piano will not make me a great pianist if I don’t have someone showing me how to improve my skill.
But 100 hours spent on a skilled instructor is what will lead me to get better”
Listening will make you better at sales, persuasion, and leadership.
And yet, most people who they’re leaders don’t even listen well enough.
How can you sell, persuade or lead someone if you don’t understand them?
Because to persuade someone is to know what to say to the right person.
The only way you can do that is by first understanding them.
If people don’t feel listened to, they won’t feel you are in their favour which means persuading them becomes an uphill battle.
If you’re stuck at selling $40,000 a month, and the problem is that there are hundreds of people waiting for a sales call but nobody is taking it, then that’s where delegation comes into play.
When you know how to delegate and lead a team, your business will scale beyond your income ceiling.
- Sales and Pivoting
If you have all these salespeople but you’re not getting leads or your conversions are low even if you have all this traffic going into your website, then this only means one thing…
Your sales skillsets are not good enough.
Your offer is not good enough.
Your offer may have been timely 12 months ago but now it’s not that important anymore so your sales don’t go up.
In 2020, you couldn’t keep fitness equipment on the shelves.
But now everyone has got more than enough fitness equipment.
So if you’re not pivoting and finding new stuff then you’re not very skilled as an entrepreneur.
The Tribe Strategy For Standing Out As an Online Fitness Coach
“People don’t buy coaching, they buy coaches”
In a world where there is no shortage of coaches out there, this is one of the most profitable statements you can carry with you as a coach.
Craig told the story of a female fitness coach who went from 700 pounds down to 300 pounds.
She now coaches people to get under 200 pounds.
For so many trainers, this definitely doesn’t meet the standards of what being fit and being in good shape looks like.
But to her market, to her tribe of people, she is attracting, this is considered a gold standard with where they’re at.
Bottomline: You have to stand out personally.
And standing out is all about showing who you are FOR and who you are NOT FOR!
It’s about knowing how to communicate that on your social media to attract your ideal tribe.
For some people, they only want the most detailed, most complexed biohacking protocols.
That kind of person is NOT the ideal target market for Craig if he was still a nutrition coach.
Find out who you really are as a coach and stand “loud and proud” to the world.
The Principle of Experimental Consistency
A lot of coaches do the same thing over and over again.
They’ll put up the same posts.
They never experiment with video.
They don’t radically experiment with their email list or social media platform.
They also don’t track their business to see if they are growing or not.
This means they never diagnose the actual bottlenecks stopping their business from growing.
When Craig saw from his data that his business wasn’t growing as fast as it did before…
He found someone to help him try a new strategy.
At first, he was resistant.
But he trusted the expert anyway and got great results.
This is the principle of experimental consistency.
“I believe every diet works but it’s the person that doesn’t work…all social media marketing works but it’s the person that doesn’t work”
If you think posting 3 times a week or once a month is consistent, then don’t be surprised if you don’t see the results.
You gotta be more consistent than most fitness and health nutrition experts are.
From 6 Figures To 7 Figures: The 2 Big Levers That Scale Your Business
- Attention That Converts
It doesn’t matter how good you are as a coach if you can’t even get someone’s attention to your coaching.
It doesn’t matter how good the second half of your sales letter is if you can’t even get someone’s attention at the very first headline.
It doesn’t matter how great your closing skills are if you can’t even get someone’s attention in the first place. PERIOD!
Everything along the client journey starts first with grabbing attention.
Without attention, your posts will not convert into sales and you won’t be able to grow your client base.
So how do you grab attention?
Focus on the people who are most likely to buy or work with you.
You can post a reel of an infinity pool that gets millions of views.
But just because you captured an abundance of attention, doesn’t mean you captured the RIGHT attention.
“I would much rather have a thousand views from a reel or a post for men who are over the age of 35 with two kids who are fighting with their wife and have a 7 figure business they want to take into a million dollars…I want to catch that guy’s attention all day long”.
So to grab the kind of attention that converts, it’s important to understand who you are speaking to.
Some people will not like it and that’s a good thing because those are not the right people for you.
1000 people who are right for you will be worth more than the millions of people who are not.
“Vince Del Monte. I caught his attention many years ago and I still have his attention now”.
2. Keep evolving
Consistently increase your skillsets in copywriting, sales, speaking or leadership.
As Craig said, “you’ll never be perfect at those things. You always need to improve on them”.
“Some people just want to be a copywriter for 6 hours a day. Great. You’ll never be an entrepreneur with that approach but you can work in my company and make a ton of money”.
Aside from these skillsets, understand that what you do right now will not be what you do in 26 months.
“If you’re riding a wave of sales, you’ll get a cold bucket of water to your face if you think that’s going to last forever when no one buys that thing anymore”.
So you’ll have to come up with new offers and keep evolving if you want to stay relevant.
Just like Madonna who had to keep reinventing herself because she had all these singers who tried to be like her…and some of them were good at it too.
“If you try and coast, you’ll get crushed”
From 7 To 8 Figures: 2 Costly Mistakes To Avoid
Going from 7 to 8 figures is all about scalability…
Sales letters, affiliate marketing, lead gen, sales teams.
When your business scales, you’ll need a replicable sales system so it can keep up with the growth.
On top of that, the bigger the team and the bigger the systems, the better of a leader you have to be.
Once you scale the sales, the operations may get messy.
So you’ll have to hire other people to do it otherwise the sales will die because you can’t do this stuff on your own.
If you have a business partner, they should be great at operations while you do sales and marketing or vice versa.
If you’re both great at it but not great at operations, the business will blow up.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur, then build a team.
“Anyone who says they’re a CEO and doesn’t have at least a $10 million dollar business is clueless. They don’t even know what CEO means. You’re not a chief executive when you’re the only person in the business”
One mistake Craig sees is that the business hits $1-2 million in sales and immediately, the entrepreneur gives someone the position of COO.
What happens is that once they get $4 million, the person who became a COO at $1 million is not gonna have the skillset to be a COO of a $5 million or $10 million company.
So you’re either going to have to fire them or demote them.
“And if you demote them they’re gonna hate you, do something bad in your business and then quit. And if you fire them, you lose a good employee. You have to have a real COO”.
Giving out titles too fast is a big mistake that most people make.
Focus on selling first and then make sure the business runs.
Sustainable Separation From Your Business
Vince Del Monte had three businesses and he was a super successful business owner.
But no amount of success is worth it if it means sacrificing the areas of your life that matter the most to you.
He was working too many hours, always on the phone.
So Craig stepped in, “you’re only allowed to have two jobs. Husband and owner of one business, not four jobs”.
It was tough but when Vince had courageously killed off 2 of his businesses, his income went up 4-5x.
And this is how you set up your business so then it doesn’t take over your entire life.
It’s about knowing how to say NO so you can set the boundaries and parameters of your business.
In a relationship or in a family, you can set rules of not having phones when everyone is sitting around the dinner table.
Relationships are damaged by the lack of attention given to it.
So when you are working, make sure you are actually working.
When you’re spending time with family and friends, make sure you are actually spending time with family and friends.
“Wherever you are, be there” ~ Jim Rohn
When you set boundaries and parameters in your business, make sure to know when you get your best work done.
During this time, prevent anyone from getting to you so you can focus.
It is during these times where you can get more done in less time than if you tried to do it at any other time during the day.
“Most people can actually be super productive if they focus but so many people set up their days where there is not enough focus and therefore they don’t get that much done”.
And this can make the difference between someone who works for 10-12 hours versus someone who only works for 6 hours to get as much done.
On Reading Books
For certain people, reading books can be one of the best ways that they learn.
To others, reading books doesn’t even make any sense.
“I hate watching videos…so if that was the only way to learn stuff then I wouldn’t learn anything. But I love reading books”.
So it’s about knowing what your learning style is.
Some people are either slow readers or prefer visual, auditory or kinesthetic styles of learning.
“If someone can’t process information very well from a book, then it’s stupid to tell that person to read a book a week”.
There are also people who use books as a form of procrastination.
Craig refers to the “people who read books because they don’t want to sell, be rejected or have difficult conversations”.
Craig’s Most Profitable Books On Business and Leadership
With that said, however, I asked Craig for his most profitable books on business and leadership.
So if you’re someone who is good at applying what they learn, then these books will make you a ton of money…
- Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
- Info Millions by Bob Serling
- Dan Kennedy books and newsletters – especially his direct response marketing books
- Ride Away and All At Once by Greg Brenneman
- Sell Like Krazy by Sabri Suby – “this is better than many $2000 courses that I’ve bought…if you just read that book, that’s a million-dollar book…Just read that book seven times, you’ll make a ton of money”
- Scaling Up by Verne Harnish
- Mastering The Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
- Traction by Gino Wickman
- How To Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman
- Patrick Lencioni’s books on leadership
- The Go-Giver by Bob Burg