Paid Membership Groups: How to Lock Customers in for Life (Part 3)

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we covered how to START a paid group, and how to plan CONTENT to get it going.

Now I want to cover what may be the most important piece of the puzzle…

How do you continuously deliver value so that people stay in the group month after month, year after year?

The answer comes down to 3 important elements:

  1. 1) Keeping up with the times
  2. 2) Giving people real value
  3. 3) Creating a sense of community

Let’s break these down a bit further…

The times are (constantly) changing.

While it’s important to plan your content calendar in advance, and you can easily touch on the same themes year after year…

You always want to have in mind that the times are changing.

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What was true back in 2015 may not be true in 2016, or may be mostly true…with a few important updates.

You want to position your group as being on the cutting edge of a constantly changing landscape.

As a member of your program, your customers will always be up to date on the newest trends and most relevant, up-to-date information.

And if your members know that, then they have a big reason to stick with you month after month, because they’re constantly getting updated information.

What have you done for me lately?

When someone first joins your group, they’re generally excited about all the content available.

Proving the value of the group isn’t hard in the beginning, but after a few months, they may begin to question why they’re still paying for membership.

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After a while, getting your members to consume content becomes more challenging.

That’s when you run the risk of having someone think to themselves, “Well, I don’t really need that membership right now.”

And boom…they’re gone. Your program has become expendable.

So how do you ensure that doesn’t happen?

By providing not just new content, but providing your members with WINS.

Wins (big or small) are a great way to create positive energy and build loyalty among your customers.

Similar to the idea of  “Micro-Commitments” in the Ask Method, your goal is to deliver small wins to your members to keep them engaged and coming back for more.

How do you create these small wins? By leveraging something called “Micro-Workshops”.


A Micro-workshop is an event that happens in your group on a very specific, focused topic.

Not just a simple video training or article, a workshop has an interactive element where you ask your members to implement.

You can even turn it into a contest to increase participation.

We do this in NLM with our yearly Black Friday promo contest.

Black Friday Promo

By encouraging members to swipe a specific short email sequence and send out just a few emails…

They’re able to see a quick influx of income as a direct result.

That jolt of cash and/or energy is a great reminder of WHY they became a member in the first place…

And gives them a very good reason to stick around.

If you plan your Micro-workshops strategically, you can have your members excited and anticipating their next win simply by continuing their membership.

The Art of Creating Community

Ironically, as we’ve become a more “connected” society (to our phones, computers, and tablets), we’ve become disconnected in so many other ways.

Everyone is looking for a place they can feel connected to other people…

To feel like they’re a part of something larger and more meaningful.


And that can happen if you create the right kind of online community.

Being an entrepreneur, especially online, can get pretty lonely.

What our Next Level Group Mastermind does is give people a place to ask questions, get answers, and make valuable connections.

And your membership program should do that for your tribe as well.

Because in most cases people are drawn to your group for the content, but the reason they STAY…is for the community.

So how do you cultivate this kind of community?

Well, it’s a challenge, and there are some nuances to it.

It’s difficult to describe in just ONE short blog post.

In fact, there are some specific things that we do in the Next Level Group Mastermind that have really transformed it into a community…not just another group.

I learned these techniques from someone who is better than anyone else at creating community, Stu McLaren.

He’s the “secret weapon” that helped us take NLM from an idea on the back of a napkin to a multi-million dollar business.

Stu’s been sharing some amazing content recently on how to build these kinds of communities through membership sites.

Check out this video to learn more


In this series, I’ve walked you through how to create your own membership site, from the idea and initial launch, to content creation, to keeping people coming back month after month.

Now I’m curious…

I’d love to hear your biggest takeaway, so please leave a comment below and let me know!

Ryan :-)

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4 Strategies to Delivering Killer Content in Your Paid Membership Group (Part 2)

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In Part 1 of this series we talked about why you should have a membership program, why it makes sense to start it on Facebook, and my step-by-step plan to launch your group.

So you have your group up and running…now what?

Well, the next challenge is keeping it going.

And in order to keep it going, you have to deliver content.

The Content Hamster Wheel

Many people, when they think about starting a membership program, immediately think to themselves…

“Well, if I start this, then I’ll get stuck having to create new content all the time. I don’t really have the time for that.”

And the fear of getting caught on the “Content Hamster Wheel” is what scares people from creating a recurring revenue stream…

Even though it’s one of the smartest things you can do for your business.

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In this post, I’ll give you 4 no-fail strategies for how to deliver value without ripping your hair out…

Or feeling like you’re stuck in a “Facebook group prison” that you’ve created for yourself.  

Here’s how you generate great, actionable, valuable content for your members WITHOUT driving yourself crazy in the process.

4 Killer Content Strategies


1. Plan in Advance

Plan your content calendar one year in advance, if you can do it.

Knowing exactly what you want to deliver in terms of content is much easier than having to brainstorm every week on what to deliver.

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The more you can plan in advance, the better.


2. Built-in Re-runs

Be sure you block off time in your calendar for “re-runs”, things that you’ve already created or that already exist…

So that if you are sick, or traveling, or something happens, you can just plug in the re-run content.

We do this in NLM and it has the added advantage of  introducing new members to great previous content and reminding old members of all the great value they have.  


3. ‘Tis the Season

Another advantage to planning a year in advance is that you don’t have to produce new stuff forever.

Plan a year at a time, knowing that you can recycle the same content every year, depending on the season, with minor updates.

If you do a monthly call, come up with 12 different themes and each year you can “spruce up” the existing content and redeliver it with some new information.

In NLM, every year we share our winning “Black Friday” promotion, which is the same core training but with minor updates.

This strategy allows you to get the maximum leverage out of your existing content.

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4. Cream Rises to the Top

Within your community, there will (hopefully) be plenty of very smart and talented people.

And if you create the right kind of community atmosphere (which we’ll be talking more about in Part 3), then these people will be willing and eager to share their expertise.

You want to cultivate your best members and ask them to contribute.

Give them a platform to display their expertise.

Sourcing content from your members not only means less work for you, but it’s an important part of creating a community.

Now That You Have Content…

In the next post we’ll be shifting gears a bit to talk about how you keep your customers coming back again and again for more.

Because it’s not all about the content–there are 2 other important factors that come into play.

You can check that out in Part 3 of this series.

See you there!

Ryan :-)

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My “Secret Weapon” That Helped Me Take the Next Level Group Mastermind from Zero to $2M/Year

If you saw last week’s post on starting a paid membership program, you might be wondering WHERE I learned all of this…

So I’d like to introduce you to my “secret weapon”.

His name is Stu McLaren and he’s a friend of mine.

In fact, he’s been helping me since I started my FIRST recurring revenue business in the Orchid niche.

I recently got together with Stu to talk about WHY you should have a recurring revenue business, and the kind of leverage it gives you in your business.

Check it out:

Stu and I have some great stuff coming up on this topic, so stay tuned for that…

For now, I’d love to hear from you:

What’s your biggest challenge or concern when it comes to adding recurring revenue into your business (or growing your current recurring revenue model)?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

Ryan :-)

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3 Steps to Launching a Successful Paid Membership Program Using Facebook (Part 1)

One of the cornerstones of a successful, scalable business is recurring revenue.

And yet one of the hardest things to sell people on is a continuity program.

This is the challenge that many entrepreneurs face when they want to set up a recurring revenue model…

But it’s well worth overcoming the challenge (and I’m going to show you exactly how to do it in the next few posts) because there are so many BENEFITS.

When you have a continuity program or a membership site, not only do you have predictable, stable income…

You also have a group of customers who are paying you money to give you feedback on what products to release in the future, which means you are essentially getting paid to do market research.

And the people who are paying you month after month to be a part of your community are going to be your best customers.

This is your core captive audience – the people who will be most receptive to new products and offers…

And who will be your biggest ambassadors when it comes to spreading the word about your business.

I’ve done this myself, growing my Next Level Group Mastermind community from zero to over 2000 members in just under 2 years.

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All of the strategies and techniques I’m going to mention here are strategies I’ve actually used to build this community into one of the best paid Mastermind groups online.

So now that you know WHY you should have a continuity program, let’s get into the details on how to create one:

How to Build Momentum

The fastest way to get a membership/continuity program off the ground is to set up a forum (we use XenForo) to host your content.

That’s where your paid membership site lives.

Along with that, you also want to create a Facebook group, and offer that as a free bonus to your customers…

(it’s against Facebook’s TOS to charge for membership in a group)

I’ll add that the small risk you run with Facebook groups is you’re building on someone else’s real estate…

And Facebook can decide to shut down your group at any time (it’s rare, but it can happen)…in which case, you will lose all of your posts.

Despite the minor risks, Facebook is still the fastest and easiest way to get started.

And the reason for that is because you are tapping into habits that your customers already have.

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Let’s be honest…who ISN’T checking Facebook multiple times a day?

And when all you’re doing is tapping into existing habits…it makes getting, engaging, and keeping members a lot easier.

The fastest way to catch fish is to put a net into a stream where the fish are already swimming and just lift them out…

Instead of trying to lure them to you.

So, while you want to have a forum to host your content outside of Facebook…

Having an active Facebook group is a great way to build engagement and momentum with your members.

“Founding Members” Launch Strategy

So how do you get the first 100 or 200 members into your new group?

And how do you convince people to sign up for something that doesn’t even exist yet???

Well, I did this successfully with our Next Level Group Mastermind using a “Founding Members” offer.

Here’s how this works:

Step 1: You announce that you’re looking to put together a new group (without actually committing to building it first) and explain what the group will be for as well as what the benefits are to your audience.

Basically, you’re just trying to gauge how much interest there is.

Step 2: Tell them that you’re making a special offer for “Founding Members.”

You explain that as a “Founding Member” they’ll get access to additional benefits and bonuses that no one else will have…

And that they’ll also be grandfathered in to a special low price forever…even when you eventually raise the price of membership.

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Step 3: Next comes the call to action: “All you need to do today is raise your hand and say that you might be interested, and put down a two-way refundable deposit of $50.”

The deposit is two-way refundable, meaning if they decide they don’t want to join, or if you decide not to go through with the program, they get their money back.

And depending on the response to this “Founding Members” offer, you can then evaluate if creating this group is worth your time.

Creating the Group and Welcoming New Members

Once you have enough members who have put down a deposit to get started, it’s time to create your group, decide on a name, and set down the ground rules.

Decide on your core values as well as what is and isn’t allowed when members create posts and leave comments, and stick to them.

I’ll be talking more about how to keep members in the group in Part 3 of this series.

One of the first things you should do is welcome new members to the group and ask them to make an introduction.


We do this in NLM and it helps to jumpstart our customer’s experience…making them feel at home (and part of the tribe) right away.

Every week we put up a “Welcome Post” where we tag all the new members who have joined…

And we encourage them to put up an “Introduction Post” telling us a little more about themselves and their business as well as their biggest challenge at the moment…

This gives our team and our community something to comment on and help them with right away.

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to respond to their introductions!

Nothing is worse than putting yourself out there and getting NO response.

Coming Up: Your Next Steps…

Now that you have your group with your Founding Members, and you’ve welcomed them all, you might be thinking…

“How the heck do I keep this thing going?”

“How do I generate enough content to keep everyone happy?”


“How do I avoid getting caught in what I call the “content-creation hamster wheel”?

I cover my top 4 strategies for delivering MASSIVE value without working yourself into the ground in Part 2 of this series.

For now, I’m curious…

  1. 1) Do you have a paid membership program, or are you looking to start one?
  2. 2) What’s your #1 tip for someone who’s thinking of starting a group?
  3. 3) And what’s your #1 takeaway from this post?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

Ryan :-)

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Kaizen in Action: 8 Types of Micro-Commitments and How You Can Use Them in Your Sales Process to Increase Conversions (Part 2)

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As I used the science of Kaizen to build my business, I also realized how this simple strategy applies to sales and marketing…

Which led me to a MAJOR epiphany as well as the creation of the Ask Method.

Sometimes the biggest successes happen not by thinking bigger, but by thinking smaller.

To take my first business from $0 to $25,000/year in 18 months, I forgot about my big goals, gave up on visualizations, and stopped giving myself pep-talks.

Instead, I started asking myself tiny, minuscule questions, like:

“What’s ONE thing I can do in my business that will make me an extra $500 this month?”


“What’s one thing I can I do that will generate ONE additional sale per day?”

Instead of thinking big, I began to think very, very small…

These small numbers were the sort of thing I could actually get my head around.

And shifting my thinking to $500 in extra monthly revenue and one additional sale per day also allowed me to “seek the small improvements, one day at a time”.


Once I began seeking those small improvements instead of huge leaps, I started making SIGNIFICANT progress in my business.

There’s a quote by Mark Twain scribbled on the whiteboard in my office that says the following:

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started. And the secret to getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”

This is Kaizen in a nutshell, and Twain understood the “secret” behind it.

In my previous post, I talked about how I used Kaizen to help me make progress when I was first starting my business…

Incuding the “hack” that can get you unstuck no matter where you are in your business:


Today, I want to dive deeper into this idea.

We talked about how your brain perceives ANY kind of change as a threat, activating your “Fight or Flight” response…

Now let’s see how we can tiptoe around this in a creative way.

How to Influence Your Customers with Kaizen

This marketing epiphany came to me as I was standing in the coffee aisle at the grocery store, deciding which brand of coffee to buy.

“What’s so hard about buying coffee?”, you might ask.

Well, the first coffee I remember drinking was the giant red can, the Buick of coffees, the coffee that my parents drank: Folgers at $3.99/lb.

Since it’s what I grew up with, Folgers started out as my coffee of choice by default.

Eventually, once there was a Starbucks on every corner, I began seeing their ground coffee in the store, and on a whim, I gave it a try at the sale price of $5.99/lb.

Weeks later, it went back up to the regular price of $8.99/lb., but by then I was hooked on Starbucks, whether I liked it or not.

A few years later, as part of a concerted effort to eat healthier, my wife and I switched to certified organic and pesticide free coffee at the hefty price tag of $10.99/lb.

And standing in that aisle at Whole Foods, debating between two different certified-organic, fair-trade, boutique-brand varieties at a price of $12.99/lb. and $13.99/lb. respectively…

Suddenly it hit me:

“HOW did I go from buying the big red can at $3.99/lb to trying to decide between fair-trade organic coffee at $13.99/lb?”

I never would have made that leap directly…it’s TOO BIG of a price jump.

But each incremental decision over the years was a small enough price increase that it seemed like “no big deal”…


And I was able to accept paying more and more for coffee without setting off any of my internal (amygdala-controlled) warning signals.

This is true, not just for coffee, but for any kind of purchase or buying decision…and you can leverage this concept in your marketing on a practical level in a number of ways.

By now you’ve probably heard me mention “Micro-Commitments”, which is how you influence people to complete your quiz, one question at a time.

However Micro-Commitments can come into play at EVERY stage of the sales process.

And today I want to talk about some other ways you can use the concept of Micro-Commitments in your marketing.

8 Ways to Use “Micro-Commitments” in Your Sales Process

The key to this concept is looking at any point in your sales process where you are asking someone to take too big of a leap…

Basically, any step that is potentially scary, and figure out how to break it down into smaller steps.

I’d like to cover 8 different ways you can “chunk down” or add another smaller step in order to reduce buying friction and avoid “scaring off” your prospects.

In fact, I bet you may be using several of these already…and that’s great!

The more you are aware of WHY and HOW Micro-Commitments work, the more effectively you can use them.

Are you ready to dive in?

OK, here it goes:

8 Ways to Use “Micro-Commitments” in Your Sales Process

❏  1. ASK a Segmentation Question Before Your Opt-in

For many people, entering their name and email address sets off all sorts of warning bells. Even if you just ask for an email address, you’re still likely scaring some people off. It’s just too big of a first step to take. Instead of having the opt-in box appear right away on your landing page, give them a button to click instead, with a pop up to either a quiz, or a one-question segmentation option, and only then ask for their name and email. Button, question, and opt-in: 3 steps instead of just one big one.

❏  2. Use a Tripwire

It’s pretty accepted marketing wisdom that someone who spends a small amount of money with you is likely to spend a larger amount later on. Enter the concept of the Tripwire – a low priced (i.e. $1-10) product that puts your customers in “buying mode” without making them feel like they’re breaking the bank. If you don’t have a Tripwire offer yet, you might want to consider testing one.

❏  3. Introduce a $1 Trial Offer

If you have a higher priced product, then offering a $1 Trial is a great way to turn prospects into buyers. In my Next Level Group Mastermind, I run a 7-day $1 trial offer a few times a year, and it usually brings in several hundred new members, many of whom will continue their membership after the trial period. In my experience, $1 Trial offers are generally very hard to resist for your core audience.

❏  4. Create a “Bridge Product” between your Low End and High End Offer

If the price gap between your front-end and back-end products is too big, you may be setting off those warning bells in your customer’s brain. Just like I couldn’t make the leap from Folgers to Fair Trade Organic coffee, if you have a $97 product on the front end that upsells into a $10K coaching program, it’s probably too big of a leap for most people. Consider adding a mid-priced option in between the two offers instead.

❏  5. Head off any potential objections at the pass

Make sure that before you ask for the sale, you have at least one opportunity to answer any potential objections. Usually a FAQ section on your sales page does the trick, but they should also be woven into your sales copy as well. Using the Ask Method “Do You Hate Me?” email is a great way to hone in on any potential objections and answer them effectively.

❏  6. Use Live Chat

This is something that I discovered during my last launch of the Ask Method Masterclass. We installed a live chat plugin on the sales page and during Open Cart, we had team members available to reach out and chat with potential customers. Getting people to engage in a real-time chat is another form of Micro-Commitment and another great way to overcome objections.

❏  7. Add an “Objection-Busting” Webinar

During a launch or a promotion, I like to add a Q&A webinar (or two) into the mix. Similar to live chat, it accomplishes the goal of getting your prospects to take another step into your world (by registering and then showing up for the webinar) and gives you another opportunity to answer their objections.

❏  8. Get Subscribers to *HIT REPLY* (Again and Again…)

I often like to ask my subscribers to *HIT REPLY* and answer my emails directly. This turns any old email into a survey AND a Micro-Commitment all at once. Just add a question in a P.S. or in the body of an email and ask people to *HIT REPLY*. You’d be surprised at how many responses you’ll get.

Now, these 8 Micro-Commitment strategies are a good starting point, but always remember the #1 goal:

“HOW can I seamlessly move my prospects and customers through the sales process by breaking it down into much smaller steps?”

Or in other words…

“Am I losing people along the way by asking them to take a step that’s too big or threatening?”

So now I’m Curious…

Speaking of “Micro-Commitments” (wink wink)...

1) How are YOU using Micro-Commitments in your business?

2) Which of these are you going to take action on next?

3) Have you already implemented any of these and gotten better results?

Share your results and stories in the comments below…I can’t wait to hear from you!


Ryan :-)

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My Go-To “Hack” to Getting Unstuck and Getting Stuff DONE

A couple of weeks ago, my top recommendation was a book called “One Small Step Can Change your Life: The Kaizen Way” – by Robert Maurer Ph.D.

And people wanted to hear more about the simple “hack” I mentioned for getting unstuck…

So I filmed a short video about it.

Check it out:

So now I’m curious…

What’s the next tiny, minuscule, “Impossible-to-fail” step YOU’RE going to take in your business (or in life) to move towards your goals?

Let me know in the comments below!

Ryan :-)

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Ryan Recommends: Top 10 Books I’ve Been Reading This Year

As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for ways to improve what I do.

Whether it’s a better way to organize my business, come up with new ideas, or just get some inspiration and motivation…

The books on this list have all made an impact on me in some important way.

Some of them are recommendations that I’ve shared with my Next Level ELITE group of entrepreneurs.

Others are books that I’ve had on my shelf for years that continue to have an impact on me.

And there are also a few surprises thrown in there as well.

Are you ready? Ok, here’s the list:

10. “Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t” – by Verne Harnish

When you’re scaling your business, it can be uncomfortable.

Sometimes my wife Tylene will say, “Why can’t we just go back to the way things used to be, with just you and me on the team?”

And to be honest, it’s tempting…and here’s why:

As your business goes through different stages of growth, it can be uncomfortable if you’re in an “in-between” stage…

That’s because you need to invest ahead of your growth curve…

And since Profitability & Growth are almost diametrically opposed forces, you can’t really have both at the same time.

If you want a high-margin business, you’re probably not going to be growing as fast.

If you want to scale, then you’re going to have to reinvest a portion of profits back into growth.

“Scaling Up” is a step-by-step blueprint covering these topics:

    • 1) The different plateaus that you need to break through in your business
    • 2) How to get past each plateau
    • 3) How to identify when you’re in the middle of a plateau
    • 4) And how to scale up to reach that next level when things become comfortable again

So as you’re thinking about the next step for your business; whether you’re at the 6, 7, or 8 figure mark or beyond (or even if you’re just getting started and are building momentum)…

You’ll find the strategies you’re looking for in this book: Click here to check it out now

9. “The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry” – by John Warrillow

I’ve recently made a HUGE strategic change in my thinking.

Here’s the epiphany that I had:

EVERY business should be a Subscription business.

Not an “Information Publishing” business.

Not a “Training” business.


I strongly believe that EVERY business should be focused on generating recurring income from subscriptions.

Having subscriptions as the core element of your business gives you the stability you need to plan ahead, grow your team, as well as predict and project what your revenues will be…

Most importantly, subscriptions help to PROTECT your business from being subject to volatile revenue events…

(i.e. running a Big Product Launch and hinging the entire success of your quarter based on the results of that ONE launch).

When it comes to adding subscriptions to your current business, “The Automatic Customer” is THE book to read:

Click here to check it out now

John recently did a guest expert call for our Next Level Group Mastermind and we were all blown away by his insights.

8. “What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work” – by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

One of the things I like to do at each of my ELITE retreats is pick one of the most impactful books that I’ve read since the previous retreat.

This time around, I gave away a book called “What Motivates Me.”

This book describes 23 different motivators you can use immediately and even includes a link to take an online assessment to find out your top motivators.

When I took the quiz, I was surprised to find out that my top motivators were:

  1. Prestige
  2. Autonomy
  3. Ownership
  4. Impact
  5. Creativity

Totally true, but NOT what I would have expected.

The HUGE benefit of this assessment is that it allows you to line up your role within your company to be 100% in line with what truly motivates you…

And I recommend you do the same with your team members, so you can align them with the roles that you know will motivate THEM to consistently bring their A-Game.

I joke that this book does the opposite of what we do since it’s the book that sells the quiz, and not the other way around…

Joking aside, Adrian and Chester’s assessment is definitely a worthwhile investment of your time.

We’re actually going through their process with my team now and we’ve already identified at least 2 or 3 SIGNIFICANT WAYS we can shift and improve. (More about that coming soon)

If you or your team needs motivation, you’ll want to grab this book: Click here to check it out now

7. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” – by Greg McKeown

When I looked at what we had accomplished in the first half of 2015…

I realized that we had been pulled in a million different directions.

And while we had done well, we were left a little frantic.

I looked at what we had planned for the second half of the year, and we had something like 20 major projects on the list…

And I realized that it just wasn’t going to happen.

When I read the book “Essentialism”, I challenged myself with this idea:

“Can we distill our ENTIRE company down to only ONE initiative with ONE metric attached to it?”

To be honest, I struggled with this for a while, and I realized that I just couldn’t do it.

However, I could boil it down to THREE metrics.

And these would be the key metrics that are now guiding every decision we make.

If I hadn’t read “Essentialism”, I wouldn’t have had the insight to realize that in order to get to simplicity, you often have to walk through complexity.

And sometimes we get bogged down in the complexity.

But when you challenge your assumptions about what you really need to do to be successful in business…

And you ask yourself: “If I can only do ONE thing in my business this year, what is that ONE thing going to be?”

That’s when you get the clarity you need.

And while getting down to ONE thing might not happen, if you can scale down and focus in like I did, that’s a MAJOR step forward.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your business, you need “Essentialism”: Click here to check it out now

6. “Six Thinking Hats” – by Edward de Bono

I talk a lot about creativity…

What drives it…

How to come up with your Big Ideas…

And the process that has to happen before those ideas become real assets in your business.

This book provides a simple approach to managing your thoughts and your focus by wearing one of six “hats” at a time.

(i.e. getting the facts with the White Hat, spotting potential dangers with the Black Hat, etc.)

“Six Thinking Hats” is an invaluable resource on how to use a specific type of “role-play” thinking in order to generate your best ideas.

If you’re looking for a fresh and fun way to improve your focus and productivity then this is your book:  Click here to check it out now

5. “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” – by Ashlee Vance

Some of you may know that Tesla is one of my favorite companies.

I admire what they do, and I even remind my team that it’s our job to be Tesla:

To be the absolute best at what we do.

Elon Musk might be the single most important human walking the Earth today.

While reading this book, you learn about his failures; how he almost bankrupted himself twice to realize his vision and he didn’t even care.

After he sold his share of PayPal, he could have taken his $1.5 billion and coasted for the rest of his life.

Instead, he decided to risk it all on his “Next Big Thing” and almost went completely broke!

That’s commitment to his cause, and I have nothing but admiration for that.

In short, if you want to be inspired…

If you want a portrait of a truly great person and entrepreneur…

Read this book: Click here to check it out now

4. “Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry” – by David Robertson

It’s no secret that I love playing LEGO with my kids…

(And by myself, too)

But more than that, I really admire the company and everything they’ve built (pun intended).

This book offers huge insights into everything LEGO has done right, with a ton of practical lessons you can implement in your own business.

So whether you’re a LEGO lover like I am or you just want to get an inside look at the impact a company like this can have on a global scale…

Then you need to read this book: Click here to check it out now

3. “Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way” – by Steven Pressfield

Sometimes you just need an external push to get you going…

To do what you know you should be doing.

There are periods when you need to inject yourself with that kind of motivation…

However, usually it comes from a movie, a video, or a speech…

And it’s rare to find a book that gives you the same effect.

For example, if you asked me to name an inspirational TED talk, well, I could name 15 different ones, but nothing would immediately stand out in my mind.

If you asked me to name ONE book that gave me the same kind of inspiration?

The first one that would come to mind would have to be “Do the Work” hands down.

The subtitle of the book is: “Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way”…

And that’s exactly what the book pushes you to do.

So if you’re struggling with procrastination…

Lack of motivation…

Fear of failure…

Or anything else that’s keeping you from going after what you want…

You need to read this book immediately: Click here to check it out now

2. “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success” – Adam M. Grant Ph.D.

What holds many people back from starting their own business is the subconscious feeling that wanting to make a lot of money makes them greedy…

Or even that it’s somehow bad to want to be rich.

As if you’re taking something valuable from someone and not providing enough value in return.

Well, that couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth.

In fact, it’s the people who are Givers who usually end up being the most successful.

This book challenges the conventional wisdom about what it takes to get ahead and become successful, and here’s the good news:

The more you give, the more you get.

And it holds true when it comes to growing your business, managing your team, or your own personal development.

This is a great read that will definitely make you rethink your approach to business: Click here to check it out now

1. One Small Step Can Change your Life: The Kaizen Way” – by Robert Maurer Ph.D.

This book has been extremely influential in my life in a number of ways.

It describes how to use the psychology of small steps to make big changes in your life.

Your brain is trained to treat any new opportunity as a threat, which triggers the brain’s natural fight or flight response…

And simultaneously slows down or stops rational and creative thinking.

It’s why we have such a hard time sticking to our resolutions and making big changes.

The trick is to ask yourself this question:

“What’s the absolute smallest step I can take towards my goal?”

And then take action on it immediately.

I found myself using this technique when I was stuck in the early days of my business…and I continue to use it to this day whenever I feel like I’ve hit a wall.

If the step is small enough, it works every time.

This book gives you the tiny hinges in your life that swing the BIG doors: Click here to check it out now

So now I’m curious…


    1. 1) Which books from this list are going on YOUR to-read list?
    1. 2) What are you reading RIGHT NOW that you’d recommend?
    1. 3) What’s been the best book that you’ve read this year and WHY?

I’m always looking for new books to read, so be sure to leave a comment below and let me know your recommendations!

Ryan :-)

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The Long Lost Treasure in My Office That Inspires Me

Everyone has them.

Those cherished possessions that you keep around in a closet somewhere or buried in a box…

But you keep them because they remind you of a certain time in your life…

And when you look at one of these treasures, it brings back memories of “the good old days”.

I recently came across one of these treasures in my office, and I wanted to share with you how this little red book became one of my long lost treasures, and why…

So now I’d like to know:

What’s YOUR long lost treasure? What do you keep around that inspires you and reminds you of “the good old days”?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Ryan :-)

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My Top 20 Email Subject Lines

Testing subject lines is one of the fundamentals of email marketing.

And today I want to give you a peek into some of my most successful subject lines of all time based on hundreds of split tests (and why they work so well). . .

Along with 3 tips for testing subject lines:

3 Tips for Testing Subject Lines:

1. Keep an archive of your best performing subject lines: Yes, we do this, and no, I won’t be sharing the full list – we keep this in a vault. I may be sharing some of it in the Next Level Mastermind in the future.

2. Pay attention and mine those subject lines for trends: Common words, structure, formatting, length, punctuation, trends that point you in the right direction for what to focus on.

3. Test the hypothesis: Test a subject line against something radically different.

Email is one of the fastest ways to get response. . .

Once you TEST subject lines and can confirm certain trends, now you can take that data and apply it to your ads, your sales page, landing pages, and more, making it a very efficient way to test different ideas.

Top 20 Subject Lines: Deconstructed

Now, let’s go through 20 of our best performing subject lines from the past year. These are the split test winners, along with my hypothesis of why they worked so well.

1.  The Insanity of NOT Using this Technique

2.  Eureka!

3.  That’s IT! We’re Going Down to the Basement. . . 

4.  This almost had me in tears (NEW interview)

Our hypothesis was that highly emotionally charged words (“insanity”, “eureka”), and exclamations (“That’s IT!”) would get more opens.

And in fact. . . our hypothesis was correct.

5.  Deep Dive Survey: No list? Do this. . . 

6.  Do this ==> Make money. Seriously.

7.  3 easy ways to use ASK in emails

8.  How to use ASK based on your type

9.  The #1 list building strategy I use (works in every market)

These subject lines fall into the category of “how to/do this.” People want specific tips in an email, they want to learn something. Teasing them with what they’re about to learn is a great way to get them to open an email.

10.  THIS is a Test

11.  Life happens. . . 

These fall into the category of “painfully brief” leaving a huge amount to the reader’s imagination and sparking curiosity. They have no idea what’s in the email, and many will be curious enough to open.

12.  My Secret Buzzfeed Experiment

13.  Ryan’s Secret to Success? These 2 Words. . . 

14.  The “secret ingredient” in all my survey funnels is. . . 

15.  What I Left OUT of ASK

What do these subject lines have in common?

They promise to reveal a “secret” or missing information. There’s a reason that the word “secret” is used (and overused) in copy. . . it works. The human brain can’t resist the lure of something secret and unknown.

16.  Does my profanity bother you?

17.  Do you hate Donald Trump?

18.  Why I Hate Black Friday

19.  Hey, Look at Me, I’m Throwing a Tantrum! (Part 2 of 3)

These subject lines play on controversy, current events, or both. There’s also the element of HATE that plays on those strong emotional reactions. For better or worse, the word HATE tends to get a response from people.

Which brings me to my favorite controversial subject line of all time:

20.  Do You HATE Me?

While this subject line might be a little shocking, I’ve found that’s why it works so well.

This is an email that’s part of my Ask Method.

Specifically, it’s an email asking your audience why they didn’t buy your product (or take you up on a special offer).

Here’s what a sample text for this email might look like:

Subject Line: Do You Hate Me?  :-)

Hi [Firstname],

I need your help real quick, but first I need to ask you a question.

Do you hate me? :-)

(Note: The :-) is important to let your reader know what you’re saying is “tongue-in-cheek”)

I’m asking because the other day I gave you a chance to get OFFER XYZ, but for some reason you passed.

Did I not do a good job of explaining something?

Did I not do a good job of touching on a specific hot point that matters to you?

Maybe it was because of me. . .

Something I said, something I didn’t say.

In other words, do you hate me?

If you could just do me a favor and click on the link below to let me know. . .

What was the biggest reason you decided not to try XYZ product/service?

It would mean the world to me.

Here’s the link:

===>Click here to let us know

This leads to an open-ended survey form, or you can just ask them to *HIT REPLY* to the email.

And even though the “hate” part is tongue in cheek, the combination of using the word “hate” and implying that someone might hate you gives people the urge to respond.

Because even the suggestion that they might hate you often prompts your audience to leave you long and detailed answers in an attempt to show you that no, they don’t really hate you at all.

The ‘Do You Hate Me’ email might be a little scary to send at first, and you do have to know your audience (I like to use the winky emoticon to lighten it up for certain markets), but the feedback that you get will be worth it.

How to Come Up With Killer Subject Lines

There are many different places that I look for subject line inspiration.

The first place is to create a “swipe file” email account, subscribing to the top marketers and copywriters in your niche and others. Then, when you need ideas, you can flip through this account and get inspired.

Magazine headlines are another great resource. A good headline grabs people’s attention right away and even better, sells magazines.

You’ll also want to bookmark places like Alltop, Reddit, Buzzfeed, etc. to see what’s trending that you can use.

When in Doubt, Test

You’d be surprised how many marketers I know that DON’T split test on a regular basis.

Doing constant A/B testing will help you get to know what your audience responds to the most, and build a stash of your highest performing subject lines for you to whip out when you really need them, like during a launch.

And, as I mentioned before, it gives you a great starting point for testing ads, landing page headlines, and more.

What is YOUR favorite or top performing subject line?

Which subject line are you most eager to test?

Have you sent out a Do You Hate Me email yet?

Sound off in the comments below!

Ryan :-)

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Tour of My Global Headquarters

Blog_Global HQ Tour_assets_051616-01

When I first started my business, it was just me and my wife Tylene, and our $450 laptop.

And I’ve been privileged to be able to grow the business from just the two of us to a team of 20 (give or take) full time team members around the world.

Now most people would call this a “virtual team”…

But after hearing Dan Martell talk about the difference between a virtual and a “distributed” team, I’ve decided that I want to take “virtual team” out of my vocabulary.

Saying that something is virtual implies that it’s not real. It lacks a sense of commitment, permanence, and cohesion…

And these are all things that I DO have on my team.

We’re a committed, A-Level, high performing team…we just happen to be distributed in different locations.

From my home base in Austin, Texas, to LA, Colorado, Ukraine, the Philippines, to the coast of Israel, I thought I’d give you a (partial) tour of my distributed team’s global headquarters.


Danielle Weil – Lead Copywriter

Location: Haifa, Israel

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Computer
    2) COFFEE
    3) My (paper) planner

What’s surprising about my workspace? When it comes to getting stuff done, I’m very organized, but my workspace is ALWAYS messy (I call it organized chaos).

View from my window: The Carmel hills and the Mediterranean sea

Danielle view

Ian Nagy – Conversion & Traffic Specialist

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) My Macbook Pro
    2) Bose noise-cancelling headphones
    3) Pull up bar

What’s surprising about my workspace? I’ve broken 2 reclining chairs in the past 2 months.

View from my window: The view here is of Big Sur Hwy 1 in CA. The wife and I occasionally take road trips, and I sit the back and work while she drives. Thanks to an AC power adapter and my cell hotspot, this is one of my most productive spaces! (Note: my “everyday” office is a bit more boring…UCLA grad student housing apartments in West LA)

Ron Reich – Marketing Director

Location: Claremont, California, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) MacBook Pro
    2) Kitchen Timer
    3) 3 x 5 Notecards

What’s surprising about my workspace? My 7-month old dog Trever is almost always laying by my feet while I work

View from my window: My back porch


Kimberly Hunt – Customer Support Director

 Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Dual monitors (don’t know how I went so long without two!)
    2) Tablet
    3) My coffee warmer

What’s surprising about my workspace? I currently have 3 pet beds in my office (I have 1 dog and 1 cat who like to hang out with me while I work).

View from my window: My backyard (small garden, tree, playscape for my son).

Megan Snider – Customer Support Specialist

 Location: San Saba, Texas, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Handheld baby monitor
    2) Next Level ELITE pen (writes so smoothly)
    3) My pink mouse

What’s surprising about my workspace? It also doubles as a playroom for my 10 month old son.

View from my window: My chicken coop area and the cows grazing beyond the fence.


Peter Wydooghe – Tech & Automation Manager

Location: Mineral, WA, USA (close to Mt. Ranier National Park)

Three things in my office I can’t live without: 

  1. 1) Coffee from Organold (Alkaline coffee with Reishi Mushroom / a healthy coffee)
    2) Of course, my computer
    3) My dog, being of total support

What’s surprising about my workspace? To remind myself to learn something new every day, I look at a picture of a brain scan that shows how it is wired.

View from my window:  My garden, with the forest and mountains behind it.


Kate Vanden Bos – Events Organizer

Location: Austin, TX, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without: 

  1. 1) Macbook Air
    2) Fresh Air
    3) Hot Tea

What’s surprising about my workspace? It’s constantly changing! I have created a lifestyle and work style where as long as I have internet and my laptop with me, I can literally work from anywhere – even propped up in bed with a cup of tea!

View from my window: Changes every day – I don’t sit in the same place very often. I like to move around and change my scenery or the room I’m in. It varies from a coffee shop, an ocean scene, a mountain scape, a pool, but I have been known to sit in the middle of a park with my laptop too!

kate view


Brandon Schmid – ASK Method Specialist

 Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Three things in my office I can’t live without: 

  1. 1) My family (they aren’t technically in my office but no matter what I couldn’t do any of what I do without the support and encouragement of my family)
    2) My iPad
    3) My Lego set (I build Lego as a stress reliever)

What’s surprising about my workspace? I have a giant Lego set that I’m working on. I do this as stress reliever but also because it’s so much damn fun. The set I’m working on is the biggest complete set they sell at 3,288 pieces.

View from my window: Into my backyard. We have a creek and protected environmental land behind us.

Eddys Velasquez – ASK Method Specialist

 Location: Victoria, Texas, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without: 

  1. 1) Computer
    2) Hard drive with EVERYTHING on it
    3) Director of operations = my cat “Shadow” lol

View from my window: What window?

John Pagulayan – ASK Method Specialist

Location: Laguna, Philippines

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Coffee
    2) Marker – It would seem kinda weird but I print out the product copy, landing page and sales page copy when writing emails for clients. I use the marker whenever I see something that can be used as a hook for email.
    3) Moleskine Notebook that I carry in my back pocket just in case an idea hits me unexpectedly.

What’s surprising about my workspace? That’s my temporary workstation for two weeks now while we’re getting the whole house fixed. I’m usually found on the second floor terrace.

View from my window: right now it is the kitchen remodel

Russell Lundstrom – ASK Method Specialist

Location: Denver, Colorado, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) My headphones, turntable, vinyl records, and Spotify subscription.
    2) KISS and Dimebag helping me get through my day.
    3) The photos of my inspiration: my wife and kiddos.

What’s something surprising about my workspace? It is my personal refuge. My place to go to be by myself and have a chance to focus. Our teams are scattered around the globe, so in Denver here it is just me and my bud, Ozzy (the prince of darkness there behind the desk).

View from my window: Well, I look out over the Southeastern plains of suburban Denver. I have a great view of the outdoor smoking section of the next door bar. On the plus side, I share space with a florist and am right next to a bbq joint so I start my days with lovely floral scents and end them with some mouthwatering, smoky bbq.

Steve Mastroianni – ASK Method Specialist

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Enounce MySpeed, VLC Player, and SmarterPlayer (to play audio and video at 2-3x speed)
    2) Pictures of my family (to remind me why I do what I do)
    3) My guitar to periodically escape from the grind and re-focus my mind

What’s something surprising about my workspace? To the outsider, my desk and application layout look absolutely insane, but my workflow is extremely efficient and every single piece was designed for maximum productivity.

View from my window: Downtown Toronto condo-scape (letting some sunlight into my cave)

Svitlana Kushnirenko – NLM Community Manager

Location: Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Computer + Second display
    2) My cat (when he’s not there, his place is taken by a cup of coffee)
    3) Kindle version of ASK

What’s surprising about my workspace? There is actually another cat here sitting on my chair right behind me. She doesn’t like publicity that much.

View from my window: The heart of the city where once in the 15th century the first Cossacks community was born.

Yassin Shaar – NLM Community Director

Location: Pampanga, Philippines

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Cup of Coffee
    2) Headset
    3) Multi-Output Cord

What’s surprising about my workspace? In order to coincide with US Central time I end up working mostly at night…I haven’t seen daylight for a while!

View from my window: My backyard


Tylene Levesque – Chief Operations Officer

Location: Georgetown, Texas, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Computer (duh!) – MacBook Pro (surprise gift from Ryan) + mStand Laptop Stand
    2) Sit/Stand Desk – Traded in my treadmill desk for the Ikea Bekant Sit/Stand Desk – I love it.
    3) Happy/Pretty Things – I spend a lot of time working (operations and finance) so I need things around me that make me smile. Family photos, artwork made by my boys, an essential oil diffuser, and my air-filtering plants give my office a little more life. (Nasa Clear Air Study explains my obsession with having plants indoors).

What’s surprising about my workspace? My office is right next door to Ryan’s yet we still communicate mostly via Slack like the rest of the team.

Our boys (Henry 4 and Bradley 1) help me out in my office regularly (yes, they each have little jobs). They also love playing with Lego or office supplies on the floor and get a huge thrill watching paper magically appear when something is printed.

View from my window: The immediate area behind our home is currently under construction as we are waiting for a community green space to be finished. Just beyond that I overlook a large park with walking trails/river and can watch traffic zoom by on I-35 (the major highway that goes through Texas).

Ryan Levesque – Chief Executive Officer

 Location: Georgetown, Texas, USA

Three things in my office I can’t live without:

  1. 1) Plantronics Wireless Headset –  (We live in a four-story brownstone, so I’m regularly going up and down stairs – to the kitchen, to the rooftop, and the headset is key).
    2) Glass Whiteboard – Sometimes when I’m on a call, I’ll turn on my webcam and start sketching out ideas – for ads, infographics, landing pages – you name it.
    3) Ironman Crayon Drawing (by Henry) on my wall – When things get stressful or I hit a roadblock on something, I turn to that drawing and am instantly grounded and reminded of what’s truly important.

What’s surprising about my workspace? My Softbox Lighting Kit – I have two massive Softboxes sitting on the floor of my office.

I haven’t used those damn things in over a year.They are too much of a pain in the butt for me to take them apart and put back in the box…and too big for me to store somewhere outside the office.

So they just sit there on the floor in purgatory. My uninvited office companions. Taking up precious floor space. Observing my every move, staring at me day after day.

And each day I ask myself, in the immortal (paraphrased) words of The Clash: “Should they stay or should they go?”

And inevitably…they live to see another day.

What can I say?

I work hard so I can be lazy.

Can you relate?

View from my window: Same as Tylene’s…our offices are right next to each other.


Now that you’ve gotten a taste of my team’s global workspaces, and you’ve gotten a peek into my office setup, I want to hear from you:

What does YOUR workspace look like? What are the things you can’t live without? What do you see from your window?

Post a picture of your workspace in the comments below, and let’s see how many entrepreneurs we have covering the globe.

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