Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I’m Jaime Tardy and today we have Ryan Blair on the show. Ryan is a serial entrepreneur of many very successful companies and even earned the DSM Global Turnaround Award in 2010 for bringing a company on the brink of failure to over $150 million a year in 16 months. He now runs ViSalus Sciences, a company that created the Body by Vi challenge and he has a new book titled Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur. So apparently, he really is a turnaround king. My goal for this interview is to let you guys really learn enough about him so you feel compelled to get the book because I highly recommend it. So, Ryan, thanks so much for coming on today.
RYAN BLAIR: It’s my pleasure and it’s funny, when I wrote the book, we were on the cusp of doing $10 million a month when I finally published it and now we’re doing over $30 million a month, over a million a day. So it’s growing so fast and it’s just a privilege to be here talking with you about entrepreneurship and how to turn your life into a success because I’ve learned that the hard way.
JAIME TARDY: That’s amazing. So first off, since we’re talking about the book and I absolutely love it anyway, tell me about why you even wrote the book.
RB: It’s interesting. I wrote a book for intellectual reasons. I wrote it because I had noticed what was going on in the economy. I saw that entrepreneurship was the only true solution to what’s happening in the economy and I got sick of the rhetoric between Republicans and Democrats and regardless of what side you’re on, there’s only one solution and that is entrepreneurship to create jobs. So I wrote the book just for that and then it took a life of it’s own.
It’s interesting, as I wrote the book, the economy got less and less into the mindset of Americans as Obama got elected and plans started coming together and the economy started improving and then I started going through a lot of personal tragedy – the loss of my stepfather, the loss of my mother or the tragic loss, my mother is still alive, but we’re experiencing a loss of my mother right now as a result of her being in a vegetative state. So, as I was going through the process of actually getting the book to the publisher, my life changed.
And the things that changed were I had a massive set of personal tragedies that occurred and then my company took off like a rocket ship. I’m a spiritual man and it’s almost like God sent. I’m going to give you all the economics you’ve ever dreamed of and all the pain you’ve ever wanted to feel and put it in a book and so that’s part of the reason why it’s doing so well.
JT: Wow, that’s an amazing story. So tell me a little bit about the book. I mean I read the book, I was amazed. I didn’t know too much about you beforehand, someone told me that I should read it because it was great. So tell me about how you started and where it all came from, From Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur is a really sexy title I must say. So what happened to get you from there to there.
RB: It’s funny you say that because when the publishers wanted to title it, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, I came up with a brand nothing to lose and the word nothing to lose was the guy I feared the most on the streets was a kid who had nothing to lose. These kids would gun people down. I mean I knew killers where I grew up. I mean guys that kill people and didn’t care. They had no spiritual care, they had no societal care, send them to prison for the rest of their lives, they didn’t care. Could have helped, they didn’t care.
So that’s a man who has nothing to lose and I was raised spiritually so I was always afraid of those people and I never wanted to ever be one of those people but I saw how people change as a result of the traumatic conditions of gang violence and trauma and poverty and so I saw how people who started out as innocent young boys turned into killers and life in prison. So nothing to lose is always kind of a thing that 1) I knew that was the worst position a human being could ever be in and, in essence, as I was building my businesses I was always like I’ve got nothing to lose, who cares if I lose my credit card rating, my debt, my car, my house. Who cares?
I’m not going to go back to a crack house, dodging drive bys and flashes of the muzzle. So I never really had that kind of fear that a lot of people do. So that was where the title came from and it was a hardest story for me to share was the truth and, in fact, I’ve been writing a lot lately for major publications, The Financial Times, The Economist and doing a lot of work out there and the irony of it is there’s a lot of people out there that really feel like they have nothing to lose whether they come from poverty, the middle class or even the rich. This economy has shifted the money around a lot and there’s a lot of great people out there that just need to lean on this moment and take action from it.
So that’s why I wrote it and the other thing I’ll say is it’s not a diet. It’s not a four-hour anything. All these diets like five hours to success and one minute to a million and 15 seconds to being free and all that other garbage out there, this is 67,000 hours of my life as an entrepreneur and then my entire life prior to that, my 19th year of making a lot of mistakes and a lot of introspective on how I was raised and my upbringing all pen to paper. So hopefully this book lasts a lot longer than a three-hour fad.
If you are hearing noise in the background that’s my young son chiming away so sorry about that.
JT: That’s okay, mine are sleeping downstairs.
RB: Sometimes when he hears dad get animated, he’s two and a half years old, and he’ll just start going with it so it’s no problem at all.
JT: This is a family show. It’s great. We love to hear him. Well it’s funny, a lot of people say most millionaires are sort of made during the hard times. So what recommendations do you have for people right now whether they’re just starting something or they’re really feeling like now is the time for them to really go forward?
RB: Right now is the time, if you look at the Great Depression, you can look at it from one of two perspectives. You can say, “Oh look at all the poor people that got hurt” and a lot of rich men jumped off a lot of buildings and a lot of rich men are going to jump off buildings right now as we speak. So you can look at it anyway you want. The perspective I choose to see is the one of how many rich men were made and how many family legacies were created during the Great Depression and how many will be created during the Great Recession.
Our motto at ViSalus has really been that. We set our goals to be the first billion dollar company to emerge from the Great Recession and we have a shot at that. When I say a shot, I mean in the near future that could happen and we’re working around the clock to make sure that happens and not just because it will make us rich, I mean that’s neat, I’m 34 years old, having a billion dollar company will be a nice little thing but I’m financially in a place where I don’t have to work. I’m doing this more because I want to try to rise up others and try to help the world make a big shift because I believe we do need to do one in order for us to sustain, the progress civilization has made.
JT: I agree and it’s funny, one of the things that we do in this podcast, we say real talk with real millionaires and one of the things I like to get to is because you talk about a billion dollar company and some people when they’re just starting out, or imagine you when you were younger, thinking of a billion dollar company is ridiculous and way outside of where we’re going. So for those people, tell us a little bit about some failures, some challenges that you’ve really gone through. I mean I read the book so I know you’ve been through a ton. What are some things like that that they can relate to?
RB: Well for one, I hope all the listening audience hears this and realizes that all money is it’s a game. If you really value it and you become one of these people that seeks after it through your power and your pride, then I’m not a fan of yours and I know a lot of those guys that collect $100 million or $50 million and they think they’re this and they think they’re that, you know what, that’s just a sham. Believe me, I’ve been able to create enough new worth for myself from zero. When I say zero, I mean nothing, dirt, poor.
I’ve gotten a lot of mentorship and a lot of help but I never got a free ride once. Not a free ride to a college, not a free ride anywhere. The number one thing you have to do is you really have to look at it as it’s a game like basketball. This is the way I look at it and I say to myself, “How come a guy that is as intelligent as I am, is a quick design as experienced as I am, is whatever is I am, is able to have something that I do not that I want?” And when I meet that guy, I see that guy, I watch him on TV, I say, “Why does Paul Allen have everything in the word and I don’t?”
He’s not smarter than me or if he is I could find someone as smart as him to come work for me, right? You just got to create standards all around you and you got to stop getting caught up in you and get caught up in what you’re doing and I’ve interviewed and met a lot of great fantastic people. A guy I spent a little bit of time with just the other day named Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, and then here’s a man who sold his company for a billion something just recently and he’s getting after it I mean even more than he ever has. It’s an inspiration.
So I think you’re going to see that it’s not like, I think that because my parents came from parents of the Depression, that the idea of wealth was to save and preserve your family name. This idea that wealth prevents scarcity and I think that you are going to see in us young folks, us under 40 year old, multi hundred millionaires soon to be billionaires, I think you’re going to see that wealth is really designed to change the world because I think we all know we have to. It’s not I’ll put my family’s name on a building, it’s about changing the way buildings are made so that way they don’t do as much harm to the environment as they do.
So I think you’re going to see a big change and my suggestions to young aspiring millionaires out there is look at it from a perspective of this – how are you going to contribute to the world? How are you going to be a part of this change that’s occurring and how are you going to segue with how everything is changing because everything is changing faster than ever. Wealth is changing fast and business ideas, companies are going extinct faster than ever. New ones are emerging to billion dollar industries faster than ever.
If that’s the case, you know, where is the party going five years, ten years from now and where are you going to meet society’s needs based on your unique idea?
JT: Yes, I agree with that a thousand percent. I mean I interview a lot of millionaires, especially even young ones, and they have the same feeling like you said where it’s not necessarily about the money. I actually posted a quote by you on Facebook that’s getting a tons of likes, that was about an hour ago, and it was “I make money, it doesn’t make me” and that’s huge.
RB: Yeah, that’s the right book. Who cares about money? You’re not going to, I mean I’m a spiritual person, and from what I know and every spiritual belief I’ve studied, I’ve looked at Eastern religion. I’ve looked at Muslims, other faith Christians, I looked at Buddhists, I looked at everything. From what I understand, you can’t bring your money with you. Right? That’s what I’ve been told, right? So who cares?
Just leave enough for your children to have a great education so that way they get a leg up in life and instill in them the beliefs that they should extend their family’s work toward positive change, not become a greed absorbing society. So tell them to much is given much is expected, right. So I’m giving you much so much is expected. Send them on their way to do the work that you couldn’t because your time ran out or maybe your work didn’t have the right timing for that matter.
I contribute 90 percent, I publicly pledge 90 percent of all my assets and I hope those are billions of dollars to charity. I’m going to leave my son the greatest education money can buy, that actually he can achieve that money can buy. I’m not going to buy his way in anywhere but if he can earn his way to Harvard this or whatever that dad couldn’t, he’ll have the money to do it. I just set aside the funds for him two days ago, whatever education he ever wants.
And then from there, it’s up to him to earn his way in this world. It’s not up to me to do that for him. I take care of my kids, he takes care of his kids. If everybody just takes care of their own kids, our entire society would be better.
JT: Absolutely. So you don’t want a pyramid, you know, something named after you buried with all your stuff?
RB: I have a great plan for him and if I’m blessed, I’m a young man, I hope to have other children some day, my plan is this – I match their checks. So if he wants to be a school teacher and he makes $50,000 a year, he gets another 50 from dad’s estate. If I have a daughter who wants to be a millionaire as she makes a millionaire she gets another million from dad’s estate. If I have a child that is able to outwit and outdo anything dad has ever done on their own as monitored by my trustee, then they can take down the entire estate, all the money will change hands into theirs and hopefully they’ll do more good with my money than I could because they’ll have a unique perspective of the timing and age and everything else that they’ll be granted.
I mean that’s it. That’s the game that I am at in my family. I’m hoping that, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “You know what, I’m adopting that philosophy” because if you give children too much you give them shame and guilt and grace because they can’t earn it. So my goal is to give them just enough that they can earn.
JT: You gave me chills. We’re lucky to have people like you, the people that are amassing wealth and doing good with it. I mean it’s an amazing, amazing thing. What I want to do is get back to what you said at the very beginning of sort of this piece where to create a standard for yourself. So listeners really need to create a standard. How would someone go about doing that?
RB: You know, you’ve got to see people you resonate with, you identify with that you want to be like. If you want to start a cooking show maybe you want to be like Martha Stewart or Kathy Ray. If you want it, you got to look around out there and say all right, what best practices can I adopt from those individuals and obviously create your own music but everything is created from someone else. Our entire society is built on you absorbing information from someone else. You’re processing that. You’re creating your own rhythm, your own music, your own contents, your own ideas whether they be in business or art, right?
Take that out there. So I lot of times I think we overcomplicate it. When you peer iconasize by people, I think you should look at people for what they are. They’re doing good in certain things that you should learn a lot from, not worship.
JT: That’s huge. I remember when I first started getting people on the show I’d have people email me and ask questions and I’m like you know, millionaires have typos too. They can’t spell sometimes too, you know. Just so you know, it’s not different.
RB: I tell everyone, I say I’m a writer not a speller.
JT: And that’s okay. That’s the good thing. We all have our own things.
RB: We get too caught up in what society measures us by. It’s funny because I’ve had people write in oh you said this, like whatever, your grammar was incorrect in this thing and I said who cares? I’m a New York Times number one bestselling author and you’re sitting her critiquing me? What have you done all your life?
JT: Now unfortunately yeah, definitely. You’re taking the time to do that instead of work on your own thing.
RB: Yeah. I saw one of my critics said something and I said, “Okay I’ll tell you what, write your life story, become a number one New York Times bestselling author and then I’ll tell you what, I will do this. I will review your work and critique it. Until then, go work on you and I’ll work on me.”
JT: That’s a very, very good point. You work on you, I’ll work on me. That’s all we can really do though. There’s not much more that we can do.
RB: All these people have so much time on their hands. I have people, that’s funny on my Facebook page and on Twitter page that spend all this time trying to like evaluate me. I’m like you know what, I wish I had that type of time and you know what I do spend that type of time when the person is someone has done something amazing, I’ll evaluate, I’ll look at what Warren Buffet is saying. I’ll look at what Obama is saying. I’ll look at what a different individual is saying about our society and then I will contribute.
I think we’ve let unfortunately, in the age of social media, we’ve let too many people have their voices because they just don’t deserve them. They haven’t earned them. You got to earn your right to raise your hand and unfortunately, with what’s going on in the political rhetoric it’s like everybody has an opinion and boy some of them are just not qualified.
JT: Yeah, we should totally get…
RB: I’m on Fox News tomorrow morning to beat that point home.
JT: I’ll have to watch it. That’s amazing.
RB: Fox and Friends tomorrow morning. Check it out.
JT: Great. So who have your mentors been and how have you found them? I know you talk about it in the book specifically but do you think people like need to go out and find a mentor that will really get them to where they want to go or is it not necessary?
RB: I’m looking for them every day. That’s the thing is people think there’s like your one mentor. I have many. I had one guy who set my belief systems upright correctly so that way I started thinking correctly. My stepfather, Mr. Robert Hunt, who I talk a lot about in my book, he taught me about my belief systems. It’s funny, I was talking to my brother today. My brother went to prison. He had a tough time with drugs, all kinds of issues. I’m talking to him today and he’s like you know what, Ryan, you give him too much credit.
I’m like what do you mean? You could have robbed him and the truth is I did, I wanted to rob him. The original goal in my meeting was I used to be a thief and then I realized this guy has a good heart and maybe he’s going to do something for my mother. Maybe he’s going to teach me something. So I became a student of his and as a result, he gave me my first set of beliefs. They were positive, they gave me self confidence and made me believe in myself. From those belief systems, I sought mentorship from everyone from all time winningest coaches to businessmen to spiritual mentors.
I learned from good mothers and I learn from my son who is giving a shout out right now in the background. I learned from everybody. I learned from everyone, I’m a student of everyone and I’m a teacher to everyone.
JT: Beautiful. Let’s talk about time value. It’s funny, I just finished watching the video in your CEO course so I would love to hear you talk a little bit about what the background of the CEO course and sort of what it is but also tell me a little bit more about that time value equation that you talked about and how important your time is.
RB: So it’s one of my, well I tell you, the CEO course is simple. When you get a proof of purchase about once a month I open up a course for free, with proof of purchase of my book. Go to nothingtolose.com you can see how that works. It’s free. I’m not selling anything on the course. I do it because I want to keep my book very relevant and I do that by adding value to you, teaching you what I know. It’s a live course Q&A and then I record videos of people that I learned from like in this particular topic of time value, I recorded a video with a guy named Nick Sarnicola.
As we were waiting for the cameraman to appear at an event, the cameraman was late by 20 minutes and me and Nick calculated the cost of my time and his time for being late for 20 minutes. It was, I think mine was about $20,000; his was about $14,000 per 20 minutes. So the cameraman stole $34,000 worth of our time as a result. So what’s your time worth? My time is worth about $20,000 or $1,000 a minute. That’s my net proceeds, not my business time, not all the other stuff. That’s what I make a minute.
RB: So when someone steals a minute of my time, it’s important to me. A thousand dollars is a lot of money.
JT: Wait, I should be charging $45,000 for this then, this interview here?
RB: I should charge you $45,000.
JT: Darn! Nevermind, let’s stop talking about that.
RB: I’ll tell you what, if you can get like $55,000 I’ll let you take the 10, you give me my 45 over there. But nonetheless, here’s the deal, a lot of people don’t understand this. Okay so if my time is worth $1,000 a minute, why am I on this call? Well, because I can get a few true friends out of this call. I can get a few people like yourself and like some of the others that follow you that are going to be important contributors to my cause and if I value my time at a thousand a minute, that doesn’t mean I have to ring the cash register because a minute with my son is worth $10,000.
A minute on Fox News might be worth a thousand or less. It’s where you receive fulfillment but if you paid your time at a price, then you can get excited by when, you know, like if you’re doing something you love like I’m working on my ’64 Lincoln Continental right now, a minute of my time is worth more than I’ll put into it but I love that car and it fulfills me. So you’ve got to put a price on your time and then when you start doing things that you don’t like doing then you go okay this is costing me a thousand a minute or whatever your number is.
JT: That makes perfect sense. We need to just know what that number is so that way you know the value of your time and you don’t do the stuff that’s not priority.
RB: Yeah, well, I’ll give you a simple example. If you want to be a millionaire like organizing socks and talk about, your time should be valued at $500 an hour which means you work about 2,080 hours a year. So $500 an hour times 2,080 a year means you’re a millionaire, right? That’s a little bit over. So you’re a millionaire now. Now, if you hate organizing your sock drawer you should ask yourself could I pay somebody less than a million dollars a year to do that because you yourself make a million a year.
So are you going to have your maid organize your sock drawer or why not throw away all the socks and go buy all new ones? That’s what I do. I’m worth a million dollars, I mean I’m worth a lot more than that a year but those socks, although I have nice socks, they’re not worth $1,000 a minute to go figure out the matching pair, the one that got lost behind the dryer.
JT: That’s huge. That’s knowing what’s worth your time and what’s not worth your time and when you put a high price tag on it that makes perfect sense. Because sometimes we don’t see it that way.
RB: No you don’t. So the way I started was I said I’m a millionaire before I was one and I put a very high price tag on my time. Then from there I started looking at the things and the way I spent my time and asked am I spending them, if it’s time that I’ve allocated making me a million dollars or is it taking away? It’s funny because there are indirect benefits for the use of time.
For example, I’m having a dinner party having a bunch of friends over. My friend that is an entrepreneur that I’ve invested in his company is coming over. We’re going to drink wine. We’re going to have fun. Now does that look like a millionaire spent? No, but an idea may emerge upon a friendship, something that obviously is in the direction of business and income is going to occur and, as a result, millions of dollars will be made someday or this will just be one more affirmation or I don’t know, what’s the best word? One more push in the right direction.
JT: Sounds like you’re really investing whether it be your time or your money or whatever. You’re either making it an investment.
RB: No, you’re right. You got to look at your life as an investment though. I invest my life. I invest it in my kid. I invest it in fun, friends, entrepreneurs. I invest it in the arts, I invest it in my book. Everything is an investment and the one thing that a lot of times people don’t realize is when you’re taking your time in watching a TV show, you’re investing your time into someone else’s investment.
So if I’m watching the Seahawks play Pittsburgh, right, I’m watching two entrepreneurs who hired a bunch of athletes and broadcast those athletes playing against each other. Watching both of those guys make millions of dollars in direct benefit and millions of dollars in social benefit because obviously if you have a sports team you have a lot of people interested in knowing you and being friends. I’m watching another person’s investment.
So when you get caught up in that game, get caught up in the fact that you are an investor in it just by merely the fact you turned on the TV, you bought some Doritos, you opened up the can of beer. You’re contributing to entrepreneurs everywhere.
JT: That’s great. Well it’s funny, when we were talking earlier about investing your time, a quote in your book says, “Your network is money” and so, like you said, you never know whether it’s going to become fruitful an hour from now or five years from now but that network is money. Tell me a little bit more about that.
RB: Really the network is money. There’s an economic study that said if you were to take the quality of your network or the people in your network and you were to calculate their net worth, you could find the approximate net worth, current net worth or future net worth of an individual. So if you’re bored and you want to be rich, hang around rich people. They’ll rub off on you, you’ll adopt their belief systems. If you are in the middle class and you want to get out of the middle class, hang around rich people.
There’s a saying that says if you took your ten closest friends and you divided their income, you’d find yours. So who do you hang around with? Who are your ten closest friends, divide their income and you find yours. It’s really simple and I’ll tell you I hang around guys who are very successful. Some of which are much more successful than I am in areas I want to be successful. I sit in a room with them and talk about ideas and they move me to be more successful.
JT: That’s great. They can push you forward too. Definitely.
RB: They might have a perspective I didn’t have or I might say I’m thinking about this or I’m thinking about that and they say, “You know, Ryan, you’re thinking of it the wrong way. That happens all the time. It just could be because they’re more knowledgeable in a particular subject or they’ve been through it before with a particular subject. There’s a million reasons why they may have more knowledge or more information or whatever the case is. It’s just that simple.
JT: It’s funny, I mean that’s sort of the thing. You’re not always, even though you’re huge and you’re worth tons of money, you’re not always right. So what I want to ask you is have you ever doubted yourself and your abilities, especially at the beginning as you were working your way towards all this?
RB: I doubt myself and my abilities every day. I think every great person, I guess that sounds pompous. Everybody who has done something great has doubted themselves. It’s the ability to overcome that self doubt. I know the champions. I know current champions of boxing and everything else and sometimes they might not show it on TV but I’ll tell you this, they doubt themselves and it’s because of that doubt that they train hard. It is because they feel like they’re getting old but they train harder in the gym.
It’s because they’re afraid they’re going to fail that they keep punching that bag. That they keep working. That they keep going as a result of the fact that they’ve doubted themselves and most, they’ve built themselves and practiced the most and train the most and prepare the most and as a result of that, they win the most.
JT: So overcoming that self doubt is just by working harder?
RB: Yeah, overcoming that self doubt is saying you’re going to acknowledge it, you’re going to live it, you’re going to breathe it, you’re going to be afraid of it and then you’re going to go to work again. I’m sick and tired of people saying oh I don’t doubt myself. I’m so special. All those people, I’ll tell you, I ran past in terms of net worth a whole lot of people that told me never let anyone see you down. Never let anyone do this, never let anyone do that. I met a lot of millionaires like you have and half these guys they are just caught up in being a millionaire. It’s like who cares?
It’s all about putting your best talent, your best heart, your best passion on the court and playing the best you can and at the end of your day look in the mirror and say I did my best. That’s what Coach Wooden taught me. He said who cares if you make a million or 5 million or 50 million or 100 million. I don’t care about 100 million dollars. I don’t. I care about knowing that I did my best.
JT: That’s what I love about you. In just doing all my research for you and reading your book, you are very real and unfortunately that’s not something that’s very common when you see things on TV and stuff like that. But no matter where you’ve been, in TV, in media, even just on You Tube for your videos, you always seem very, very real and I think that’s something that audiences nowadays really really appreciate.
RB: You know what message to everyone else on the planet is because you have You Tube, social media, you have people like yourself that two-way persons when they are fronting or when they’re being fake, it used to be you can make a great living by being a great liar. I’m going to repeat that. It used to be you could make a great living by being a great liar. You create these great lies about your products, your companies, the persona, all that stuff.
People make great livings do it but then now the consumer has a voice. They can tweet, they can post. They can set the lie right there. I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. I’ve got a lot of work to do in my businesses and everything else but I can tell you that if someone says, “You know Ryan, you can do better in this area” or they say, “You know Ryan, the language in this marketing campaign could be worked on or maybe this language could be less than objective. Maybe the language could be very subjective.”
I’ve got to work to make sure the truth is sold and I think this movement, this truth movement, I’m seeing it happen with guys like Tony Hsieh at Zappos and a lot of people that I’ve been able to spend some time with recently, I think this movement of being authentic and the shift is going to take out all of the fakes of corporate greed and shift the world and I’m hoping that I can make a dent in it.
JT: Yeah, that’s something a lot of people can get behind. That’s great.
RB: I look at billboards. I’m in Hollywood right now. I’m standing on my balcony overlooking the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. I see the Renaissance hotel and I see these billboards and a lot of them are lies. A lot of these facades of these families, the reality TV shows, ph follow this family, look at the wonderful lives they live and then you think to yourself well my life stinks, right? The truth is that family doesn’t live that life. The world knows that because then they catch the girl drunk at a club with a cocaine addiction getting put into a rehab center and you go oh my goodness I followed this girl because I thought she had the life I dreamed of.
So I think the consumers are aware. I think the voice will be heard and I think we’re in the middle of a revolution when it comes to telling the truth and I’m hoping, you know, like I said, to put a dent in it.
JT: That’s brilliant. So we have a little bit of time left and what I really want to do is get into the marketing and sales because that’s how you’ve built your companies and you’re really good at it. So tell me your first thoughts on getting people to get more sales using their marketing.
RB: Get more sales. Sales, there’s why I started in sales. One, my stepdad said I could be a great salesman. It was the first time a man ever believed in me and when I say a man I mean literally I had no father ever believe in me and so, as a result, the first man who did said you could be good in sales. Then I realized if you could figure out sales you could control your destiny. Like if I figure out sales I’ll never have to worry about money because that’s what generates money in every company – sales.
So I just said, you know what, I’m going to focus there because that’s the one area that if I figure that out I’ll never have to worry about money in the bank and I figured that out. Now, after you figure out sales and one of my philosophies in my book is sell first, ask questions later. It was based on the philosophy my dad gave me which was take names, what was it? It was kick ass, take names and ask questions later. That was his philosophy early on. I truncated it with sell first, ask questions later.
That’s the way I built every company and that means you have to go through trial and error. It’s not perfect but as a start up entrepreneur if you prove the sales model then you could prove all the other models that contribute to that within your organization. So that’s what I focus on. That’s what I am an expert in and I’m particularly an expert in incentive based sales compensation structures. ViSalus has 45,000 maybe 50,000 distributors of which thousands are full time selling my products or our products rather, they’re not mine. It’s because we figured out where to put the right incentives for the right individual based on where they’re at skill and career wise within our ecosystem or our economy so to speak.
JT: So is that something you learned? I mean compensation plans and stuff, none of the previous companies you had were really network marketing related, right? How did you learn how to do that?
RB: Well, when I ran a gang I figured out how to, so for one, there was a big gang that ran all gangs. I won’t name the name because I don’t want to bring them into it but they were the supply chain of drugs from another country into our country and I saw how they basically bought the commodity very low and then you get different incentive to different people. So there was a product and I saw how the product moved through distribution networks both in my neighborhood and others.
When I went to juvenile hall I got to see it happen in all neighborhoods – Black, White, Chinese, Latin. I mean I saw the way this particular organization provided the economics for all organizations. Simply put. So I got to see it happen and gang is a volunteer army so it’s incentive based and there is a hierarchy and there is a promotional hierarchy and there’s all kinds of rules that happen in a gang and I got to see that model, I was involved in it, I was smart enough to stay at arms length and not ever get very involved in it.
I got to see how it works and so it’s very similar. This is why when I wrote for the Financial Times the other day I said, “Note if your kids weren’t creating a big problem like the London riots, you’re equally capable of creating a very big solution.” So now I’m working with everyone from different law enforcement agencies to different charitable foundations to try to identify kids that were similar to me in different urban communities and suburban communities for that matter and try to intercept them before they become big problems as I was with my mentor.
JT: Wow. That’s an amazing story that you can tell these kids that you learned something. You got an education from being where they are right now and have been able to turn it around into something so much more amazing. That’s great.
RB: I’m trying, all I care about is making the world a better place. I’ve been gifted this life. I’m a spiritual person. I don’t understand why I’m at where I’m at. It isn’t because of me, it’s because I’ve received a lot of luck. I’ve received a lot of the grace of God. I’ve received a lot of special mentorship and so the deal I made with God was I’ll spend the rest of my life giving it back one way or the other.
I think that all of us should do that and I think a lot of people out there that aren’t millionaires are not happy in their own skin because they’re actually not putting their blessings to work.
JT: I mean you’re not the first millionaire to say that. That said I talk to God and actually made a deal, you know what I mean, to be able that you give it back.
RB: I put that in my book. I made deals with God. I made a deal with God when my mother introduced me to this guy that she was dating. I said if this is a way for my mother and I to be out of the mindset of poverty and the hell of poverty then I’ll do my best to always give back. I’ve not been perfect. I’m not preaching here. I work every day to try and honor that deal and so far God has kept giving it to me because I guess somehow I keep honoring it.
I realize that if all of a sudden I start taking more from our society than I’ve contributed to it, well then who knows. I don’t want that day to happen so that’s why I keep contributing.
JT: Keep working.
RB: That’s why I’m on this blog tonight, podcast.
JT: So what made you have that spirituality? Was it your mom that ingrained it to you when you were younger or how did you get that within you?
RB: You know it’s crazy because I just had a very, very profound connection with my mom today. Her heart was broken after my stepdad died last year at this time due to he had lung cancer which metastasized to his brain very fast. We had no idea he had any cancer and he died in my arms and I literally fed him his last meal by hand and then he wouldn’t take anymore food because that was his favorite food he ever had. So it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through in my life and even more difficult than for me was for her.
My mom relapsed, got drunk, walked a flight of stairs. She was all Xanaxed up and fell down the very stairs that rescued me and my mom were the ones that she was found 12 hours later laying on. She had 12 hours worth of brain surgery the first time. I got back home. I flew in. I told the doctor to resuscitate we’re going to save her. It was the biggest mistake of my life because they did resuscitate her. She then relapsed again. She went through seizures and I said resuscitate her we’re going to save her and she has been laying there in a vegetative state for the most part ever since.
When I say for the most part occasionally she’ll open up her eyes. Today I walked in there. I haven’t seen her in awhile because I’ve been on this book tour and I just said, “You know what, I know you’re just keeping your eyes closed.” So I said, “Mom wake up” and I kind of got a little bit tough with her. I said, “Your son is here. This is my plan to get you home to take you to hospice. I got to wait for the court but I need to have a talk with you” and that’s why I was late to this call tonight because I actually got acknowledgement from my mom.
I told her what I was doing. I broke down crying. I looked her in the eyes and I told her, I said, “I’m here to make you proud and I’m doing all this to make you proud.” I guess the morale of the story is my spirituality came from her and because no matter what she always tried to keep me on the right track. She got me my mentor and it’s because of her that I’m alive today. Otherwise, I would be in jail, a professional criminal or a dead man because that’s what I was destined to be. Instead of becoming a very big problem to our society, because of my mother, my hero who I dedicated the book to, I became a solution. So that’s where my spirituality came from.
JT: And their teachings can live on through you in telling everybody and your son and it can just keep going on.
RB: It was crazy. What set me off is as I’m walking out I’ve got tears in my eyes and I had this connection. The nurse says, “Mr. Blair” and they don’t even know me there. I walked in and I got tattoos all over me. I’m some guy in a parade when I walk in places. All I look like is another guy in the Los Angeles area, another guy with a mom that has got a brain trauma and is dealing and is home. She’s been there since March 29 and so the guy says, “We read your book and we’re so happy to take care of your mom.” I was just like shocked, right?
JT: They read your book!
RB: The work that I did, yeah, and they’re like we’re taking good care of her. They wanted to go out their way to help me and this is like, these are people that deal with death for a living. So this is no glory here. And then he pulls out a book he had been saving for when I came in. They’ve been waiting for me and he says, “Will you please sign it to me?” So God work in mysterious ways but tonight I got touched in a way. I’ve never shared with anyone else but you because it just happened. I just want to talk to you.
JT: Thank you.
RB: My pleasure.
JT: That’s amazing. That’s going to change everybody. Knowing that our lives are short also and to be really with the people we are.
RB: They are but it was weird. As I’m walking out, I’m in the lowest low ever. I just had the first connection with my mom. A hundred million bucks in the bank, whatever I’ve got, or whatever I end up with or whatever, and I’m sitting there with my mom and she can’t move. She’s got a shaved head and I get her to give me eye contact and acknowledgement and get her to pucker her lips. She has a tube in her throat. She’s on life support. So puckered her lips to say, “You know I got you, Ryan” and I needed that.
And then as I walked out, like in a low moment, this guy lights up when he sees me and I’m like why are you lighting up? I have no idea. The fame I’ve got is new. It was just cool. It was a cool experience. I’ve yet to really internalize it other than I just know for some reason God likes to give me a lot of lows and a lot of highs at the same time.
JT: Because you can handle them I’m sure.
RB: Yeah, you know, I internalize them and hopefully make then relevant to others but this was a cool one.
JT: Definitely. Well thank you so much for sharing it. So we only have time for one more question and it’s going to be very different than what we were just talking about right now. But what’s one action that listeners can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
RB: Invest in yourself and I’m going to tell you, I started with the book. I’ve read every book I could get my hands on from Tipping Point to How to Win Friends and Influence People to Robert Kiyosaki to Jim Rome to Mark McGrantz and the Tony Robbins. Everybody, I’ve read them all. I wrote a book that is my interpretation of them all. So my hope is that on your path to being a millionaire you will take in some of the things that I’ve learned from others and I’ve digested and internalized and contributed and that will be one of the things that helps you get there.
But if it’s not my book, read someone else’s. Invest in yourself. Dedicate the time. This was the one thing that got me and lead the field. It said if you’re down to your last $100 buy a book. I used to hate books. I read in school but it was if you’re down to your last $100 buy a book because it’s time to invest in yourself. So the one thing you should do this week – listen to this podcast, get involved. Get involved in the conversation and invest in yourself. Read. Allocate the time in the morning. Wake up at 5:00 a.m. and read four hours. Whatever you need to do, do it. You got every tool you need. You are a human being, go to it. I mean if I can do it you can do it.
JT: Perfect, Ryan. So where can we find more about you online? About your company? How can we follow you on Twitter, Facebook, that sort of stuff?
RB: If you just go to ryanblair.com that’s the easiest way. Nothingtolose.com is my brand but my blog is ryanblair.com. Either one of them will lead you pretty much to the same place and then from there you can follow all the other stuff I do.
JT: Beautiful. What I’ll do is I’ll link up everything in the show notes too so that way everyone can follow you and tweet you and get the book and all that fun stuff. Thank you so much.
RB: Cool. And if anyone out there, if anyone out there has any, I always try to draw up original content because I don’t try to repeat my existing contents so if anyone hears anything interesting feel free to tweet it and I’ll re-tweet you and let’s get involved in a conversation.
JT: Thank you so much for coming on today, Ryan. I hope you have an amazing day.
RB: My pleasure. Thank you. Thank you so much. Bye bye.
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