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Ryan Daniel Moran was a preacher-in-training turned entrepreneur. He moved to Austin with little to nothing to his him name, and launched Amazon businesses that he eventually sold for over 8 figures. Ryan did us all a solid – really – by documenting and sharing his journey. The Freedom Fast Lane Podcast helps entrepreneurs at every stage of their business, from startup to exit.
In this interview, Ryan shares his top three “mistakes”, or as discussed, things he wishes he did differently as he looks back. He openly shares his story and journey, in the hopes that other entrepreneurs do things to maximize the value of their business (and life).
Through Ryan’s conference, Capitalism.com, he helps bring like minded entrepreneurs and experts in the ecommerce space together to build brands and businesses that last.
While he may be a preacher-school-dropout, Ryan still has a way of delivering the goods when it comes to advocating doing the right thing…so good things follow.
- [1:25] Who is Ryan Daniel Moran?
- [4:38] Is it better to buy or build?
- [6:43] Ryan thinks we’re in a “seller’s market”
- [8:05] What are Ryan’s “mistakes” and what would he do differently.
- [11:30] Does it matter if you like your buyer? Does likability matter?
- [13:52] The likable buyer story…who won out over an all cash buyer.
- [15:12] Mistake # 1 – playing the short term.
- [17:25] Mistake #2 – telling people what to do and diminishing their talent.
- [18:51] Ryan shares his staffing team numbers. Inhouse and remote.
- [20:06] Mistake #3 – Ryan wishes he spent more money on advertising, customer acquisition, and brand building.
- [22:51] Why is a 100% Amazon business worth less than a Shopify store?
- [24:00] What channels would Ryan expand to – beyond Amazon.com
- [25:30] The first “nut you have to crack”
- [27:02] Ryan disagrees with Joe!
- [30:40] Brands last, product businesses don’t.
- [31:06] Should you be thinking about a possible exit at all times?
- [33:05] What gives Ryan the “goosies”. Ok…he didn’t say goosies, that was JLo.
- [33:58] Know what you will do with your money before you sell!
- [36:10] Should you plan your next brand before you sell, or stay focused?
- [39:29] How do you get more Ryan Daniel Moran
Mark: So if I could go back in time I would do a number of things different than I did in my entrepreneurial past especially before I sold my first company. And I have told you the story before that when I sold my first company I sold it for $165,000 only to find out that a year later the same person who bought the company got an offer for 350,000 without changing anything about the business at all. So … and there’s a lot of regrets I have by not going back in time obviously I think anybody would like to have that ability.
Joe: I’m glad it’s that instead of saying you’re bringing me on as a business partner.
Mark: Well, you’re here so I can’t … I might not say that to your face. Only when you’re on vacation and I have somebody else filling in as guest host.
Joe: Well, Jason doesn’t listen to the podcast, let’s talk about him.
Mark: Right. Exactly.
Joe: Conversation … no regrets there. Yes and Daniel Ryan Moran was our guest and he talked about some of the regrets or as we called the mistakes because that’s how he learns in life as many of us do by making mistakes and in trying not to make them over again. Fascinating … fascinating yes they’re our podcast today Mark. I don’t know if you recall … if you were there for his presentation at Smart Record over the last summer in Austin but he got up on stage and he spoke for 60 minutes with no script, no PowerPoint presentation and everybody was captivated. And the information that he has in it … volume of entrepreneurs that he works with and the velocities, and the approach, and everything about the way he does business and the way he literally … I mean not literally, preaches business. Okay, he’s a … he was going to be a preacher so I want to say preacher school dropout. He chose to be an entrepreneur instead but the way that he talks about things is spot on with the way that we see the most successful entrepreneurs run their businesses. They focus on a number of different things and they implement those and maybe someday if they choose to exit they’re in a great position to do so. Ryan talks about all of that including his own two exits that combined totaled over eight figures.
Mark: Daniel Ryan Moran, same Moran that comes from Freedom Fast Lane right?
Joe: Freedom Fast Lane Podcast where he talks about his story. You know five years ago he had a car and he drove to Austin, Texas and he decided he was going to launch an Amazon business and record his journey. And his journey is not over yet. It’s on a new adventure, a different larger adventure but his journey kind of came to a new chapter after selling the last Amazon business that he had. But he talks about it all the way through on the Freedom Fast Lane Podcast. He got tired of seeing people do things the wrong way and learned ways to cheat at conferences and started to do his own conferences through capitalism.com and bringing good like-minded people together that build strong foundation long term value businesses and he talked about all of that today.
Mark: Fantastic I can’t wait to hear it. Let’s go to it.
Joe: Hey, folks, it’s Joe Valley from Quiet Light Brokerage and today I’ve got somebody that a lot of you might know already. His name is Ryan Daniel Moran. Ryan, welcome to the show.
Ryan: Joe thanks about having me in, let’s make some magic.
Joe: Listen I was having a barbecue last night we had some friends over and this is an absolute true story and one of them is an entrepreneur wannabe. She’s in the corporate world and she bought some Amazon products and she tried something and it didn’t work but she’s going to go at it again someday and she’s grilling me … she always asked me how things are with Quiet Light Brokerage and she starts asking about the podcast. I said yeah we’re doing all right and hey have you ever talked to Ryan Daniel Moran just like that and here you are today we’re talking to you. You’re kind of a little celebrity I should say … little, you’re kind of a celebrity; a rock star maybe for this … look it was a 50 year old woman. She’s rather attractive and she knows who you are.
Ryan: Well you know it’s like my ideal market is attractive 50 year old women. We all know that that’s the market I’m after right now. So tell her to give me a … maybe call me maybe.
Joe: She loves listening and the fact that you’re first and foremost helping people that’s what she loves about it. She says someday she’s going to get back to it but she loves listening and she’s going to take that leap at some point in the future so good for you. And listen as I said prior to the intro we don’t do fancy intros. So if you would … I know it’s hard to talk about yourself but give folks a little bit of background about yourself; who you are, where you came from, and what you’re all about.
Ryan: Yeah. I invest in and I start physical products brands. And the way that I got to that point was actually as a pastoral student back in 2006. I built my first website and started my first business in between high school and college on my shared dial-up computer in my living room and hand coded websites using raw HTML in a software program called Dreamweaver. If you are old enough to remember Dreamweaver and you know it well. So what’s funny is we hear a lot of people who are talking about building and … or selling businesses thinking about the good old or either like all the opportunity is gone now or the good old days have these … man, I was hand coding websites in Dreamweaver on a dial up computer. Do you realize how much more opportunity we have now being able to build websites on platforms and sell products on Amazon? So the opportunities are way way bigger now but I was just trying to find a way to supplement my … what I expected to be $30,000 a year salary as a pastor. Now fast forward a few years I did not finish the pastoral route for reasons that would be probably best left on a second podcast that you have Joe that’s going to be called quiet skepticism.
Joe: Yeah, some kind of … something where we’re helping people, we’re guiding them off that path right.
Ryan: Exactly; quiet go to the light we’ll call it. And I did not finish that route and I became a full time entrepreneur. So I was in really involved in the internet marketing space for many years until I really decided or realized I hated that crowd. I didn’t like hanging out with those people. So I was like what a conference where those people hung out and I took the skill set that I had from Search Engine Optimization from Pay-Per-Click Marketing from Email Copyrighting and I applied it to physical products brands. And I’ve had a couple of different exits in the physical products world and now I’m an investor in physical products businesses because it’s what I know. It’s who I can help the most. And I think it’s one of the biggest upside is in the market right now whether you are selling or building a business or buying a business, I think there’s a tremendous amount of white space with the transition from big brands into more what I call micro brands mostly Internet based that’s where I see the biggest opportunities right now. So that’s a … I’ve had a couple of exits and the total over billed were eight figures in cash exchange. I still own a minority stake in a few of those businesses and have a portfolio business but my primary focus is investing in physical products brands and I have a media company for entrepreneurs at capitalism.com.
Joe: Okay, so when it comes to investing people look at buy versus build. In fact, we had a podcast recently with our newest broker Walker Diebel who wrote about a book called Buy Versus Build and there’s a really long subtitle and it was a … it quickly rocketed to the top 10 podcasts that we have. And you’re talking about investing, do you think it’s better to buy versus build at this point in your career or would you recommend somebody that’s just starting out to scrape some dollars together and bootstrap something and start?
Ryan: Yeah, it’s better for me to invest but it wasn’t better for me five years ago. In 2013 when I took my first sale on Amazon.com for a physical product I know business investing in physical product brands. I know businesses buying physical products brands now … back then I was buying a lot of websites. And you know what I was buying Joe? I was buying search engine friendly websites with email lists … social media followings weren’t this big back then, but with audiences, followings targeting each market that sold affiliate products; because that was what I knew.
Joe: That’s what you knew.
Ryan: I would have been a lot of people who are like looking for the system and that you are the system. You are the machine. And your machine is unique to you. So applying your machine to different opportunities is where value is created. So for me, I’m … at this point, I have more upside as an investor because I already have all the retail connections. I have the connections to sell businesses. I’m connected to other investors. That’s my own skill set but the entrepreneur who I invest in is way better suited to start that company than I am and that’s what capitalism is. Where I get the value that I bring in combination of the value that you bring and when we bring them together it’s greater than the sum of our arts. And so for me yeah I’m … I have more value as an investor but to say like it’s better I think would be a mistake.
Joe: You know I think you’re absolutely right. It depends upon the individual’s situation without a doubt. I bought and I’ve sold and I’ve invested as well and I can say each were successful in their own way and each were very very difficult in their own ways as well. You’ll learn along the way from the mistakes mostly.
Ryan: If I could Joe I will add though, I mean globally I think we’re in a seller’s market. I think we’re looking at buying versus selling if I give it a binary choice I do think we’re in a seller’s market right now.
Joe: I have to agree with you 100%. When we have a good quality listing come … I had a conversation with someone this morning who wants to buy. And he’s a referral from somebody who already bought and this guy is doing great so I want to do what he’s doing. And the response is look when a great listing comes along you need to be prepared. So the more listings you look at the more you’re going to know the right shit when it comes along. And you need to be able to act fast because you and a dozen other people are doing the same thing and they’re going to make an offer on that business. So I agree it’s a seller’s market but at the same time, the multiple still don’t get pushed too high. It’s still the buyer to decide that. You and I as sellers, as brokers can pick whatever number we think the value of the business is but we don’t make the final decision at the end it’s usually the buyer. The seller’s got a lot to say about it because they can say yes or no. But it’s still the buyer makes the decision in terms of the value for the most part. But you just recently said you’ve exited a couple of different times in the last few years. What did you learn in that process if you look at the exit? Or maybe do you want to talk about the fact … the mistakes you made maybe building and what you can do to help the entrepreneurs that are listening or perhaps the exit and maybe a little bit of both.
Ryan: Yeah well, there’s one thing in particular that I think was on the stake if you will and it was thinking that the buyer had all of the control. By the way, this is C money right here or by a … my … he is the one who wants to make great on the Internet.
Joe: For those listening and not watching somebody just walked into the background.
Ryan: Yeah, so the mistake that I made was thinking that the buyer had all of the control. And if I could redo this Joe, the truth is if you built something, if you built a business you’re the one with the asset. You’re the one with the goods that money is chasing you, people want to buy you and so often the seller comes into market and is like the thing that I’m after is the check and I’m hoping that I get the check and that immediately puts you in the frame in which you’re the after. You’re the one who is not in the power position. So we share them with an offer and the seller is like thank you please oh please Mr. Money Pants I would like your money. And now they’re in a position to beat you up over earnings, over … in the negotiations. So what I wish I had done was recognize the fact that I’m the one with the goods. I’m the one with the asset that people want. I’m the one courting the offers. People are making offers to me. There they want one I got not the other way around. So if you’re in that position and you’re willing to say no and you combine that with the turn ship that says here’s what I’m looking for, that to me puts the seller in the frame of mind repair and the negotiating position. I didn’t do that. I discovered that after the fact and I really could only have learned that by going through the process. I learned … I personally learned by making mistakes and paying for them later.
Joe: We all do.
Ryan: Yeah but that’s a mistake that I wish somebody had told me before I went to market.
Joe: Or is it … the buyer that you’re referring to is it a strategic buyer or did you have your business officially listed and people came to you?
Ryan: Yeah, we had it listed and we were acquired by an equity group. I still own a minority stake in that company and I’m in great terms with the equity group. I’m really happy with the buyer. I have become friends and obviously business partners at this point. But had I gone to the market with terms that I wanted I probably would have ended up in a more favorable financial position when it came to closing.
Joe: Well, the next time you have a transaction you’ll know that and you’ll be able to make adjustments.
Joe: Really I think like you said the check isn’t the end all, it’s more about … I think almost in many ways what your next adventure is going to be. I know that a lot of folks that I work with and myself included when I exited I was just … I sold too late. I was emotionally tired and I think that’s the absolute wrong time to sell. You should sell … you should plan to sell, just don’t wake up and decide to sell. But when you’re emotionally tired you’re not doing everything that you can to maximize the profits of the business and that’s going to drive down the value. And you’re going to get beat up at the end if you’re so committed to that check that you can’t negotiate a little bit more for something else and be willing to walk away from that buyer if they’re if they’re not a good buyer. And correct me if I’m wrong but just tell me how you think here, I always find that it makes an enormous difference if you like the person that’s buying your business or the one … if you’re buying a business from. It’s not just about the check. It’s not just about the money. It’s the people you’re doing business with. And I think that as a seller you can get more value if you’re respected and professional and likable and the same as a buyer, if you’re a buyer and you’re professional and likable and complement the owner on the business that they built that you’re going to get a better transaction out of it versus all the hard core raw street negotiations. What are your thoughts on that?
Ryan: I don’t know if you are right or wrong because I intentionally don’t do business with people that I don’t like. [crosstalk 00:15:45.7]
Joe: So, therefore, anybody that wants to buy a business from you if you don’t like them then you’ve got to do that to work with somebody you like. A classic-
Ryan: I don’t think everybody has that mentality though. I think I would even go as far as to say the majority of people are buying and selling based on numbers or like the deal and very few entrepreneurs get to find every purchase as a person. And so I think most people are approaching it by numbers and logically rather than is there a connection here. I personally … just like for the protection of my own lifestyle am willing to say no to anything that I personally don’t like. And what that does is it always puts me in a strong negotiating position because if I don’t like somebody I have no problem walking away. And the person who has … the person who is most willing to walk usually has the upper hand in the negotiation.
Joe: I agree 100%. I find that from a buyer’s perspective one of the questions I get a lot from buyers if I’m up on a panel or speaking or something like this is how do I negotiate up against an all cash buyer, somebody that’s got more money than me? And the tried and true answer is really is be likeable. It’s … you don’t necessarily have to have more cash to get the deal done and I … the classic example is I sold a business last fall. It was about two and a $2.5M and the guy had two full price offers within the first 10 days. One was from an all cash buyer who was a little rough around the edges and was hard to work with. The other was from a really likable guy who was buying with an SBA loan and actually required 10% seller financing in that. The entrepreneur, the seller of this business had the choice; you could go for the all cash or you can go for the guy that he liked. He actually chose the full price SBA buyer and chose to carry a 10% seller note versus working with somebody that he didn’t like. So in that situation, I think it makes a difference in terms of … buyers that are listening be likable. If you’re working with a broker you absolutely have to be likeable because they’re … as you said it’s more of a seller’s market. And there’s a lot of buyers out there. There are buyers that are competing for that same business and when they’re likeable they’re going to build rapport and when you build rapport you sometimes learn about things before they hit the market as well. Ryan, talk to me about some of the mistakes you’ve made in your own business. Maybe two or three of the biggest mistakes that comes up at the top of your head. Looking back and learning damn I screwed that up if I ever do that again I’m going to it a different way.
Ryan: Well, every time I’ve made a mistake it was because I was playing the short term. So when I have made short term decisions I usually make bad decisions. I like to say that the longer term that I can make decisions the wiser I am and the better decisions that I make. I said before that people forget that behind every purchase is a person … that goes for customers too and all relationships are long term relationships. Or the best relationships are long term relationships. So if you are aware that behind every transaction is a person and you play it like it’s a long term relationship you end up building the better company. Sometimes in spite of a short term decision, meaning … for example as we’re recording this there’s a … in the Amazon there’s a thing we’re calling review gate where Amazon is coming in and hit them onto your businesses and removing their reviews. And it’s been a bloodbath. It’s been absolute bloodbath. And the people who are soaring through it are people who have been doing of the right things the right way for the longest. And the people who are being hurt the most are the people who are the most profitable over the last couple years because they played the tactic game. And like there’s absolutely room for tactics inside of every business but those who have been building really solid brands and building audiences and building followings they’re going to soar right through this and capture a whole heck of a lot of market share. So the mistakes that I made were always in saying what’s the Band-Aid solution here rather than building for the long term. So we take a rule now in the business that we’re building, we say okay here’s the situation that we’re in rather than talk about how we’re going to fix it let’s say what do we wish we had started doing 90 days ago and that would have made today a lot easier to get through? That’s the decision that we need to make today which is a really hard conversation to have when you’re in reaction mode. But we force ourselves to ask that question because it usually addresses whatever the root cause is that we need to fix rather than going for a Band-Aid solution. So that being mistake number one, mistake number two would be as a leader telling people what to do. There’s a great book called Multipliers that really morphed my brain in terms of how I can affect [inaudible 00:20:52.9] people. And what I realize after reading that book was that I have been diminishing the talents on my teams by telling people what I wanted them to do rather than casting a vision and inviting people to build their piece of that. Now that seems kind of a nuance and maybe overly simplistic but I couldn’t emphasize enough the accountability that this book brought me on how much I was diminishing the people that I was working with, And the difference in energy and growth that happened once I started correcting those issues. So as an entrepreneur, we often have like our baby that we’re bringing in to our team and we’re telling people how to build the baby when reality if we’re working with smart people they’ll probably own that area of expertise better than we can even if we can’t see it. And the big distinction of that book highlights is someone who diminishes their team is usually the smartest person in the room but a real leader makes the rest of the team like they’re the smartest person in the room. And that was a huge shift in my overall happiness and with the growth of my companies and it’s something that I wished that I had done before I was building companies to sell them.
Joe: What kind of staffing do you have just out of curiosity?
Ryan: Well, the company that I just exited was a team of four. The portfolio of companies … of brands that I have is a team of five. And my media company capitalism.com is a team of six.
Joe: And are all of those people in-house or do you do some … or the VA’s are they working remotely or they come to the office every day?
Ryan: I’m only counting in-house people so that does not count freelancers. But no not everybody … we have … there’s, we are a distributed team. So like I’m recording this in my office right now, one of my team members is just right here my side. But people will come in and out. Some people … like we have a team member in Canada, we have a team member in Germany, but they’re all full time dedicated to [inaudible 00:22:47.0].
Joe: Good. I asked that because you know most people that are listening would probably be considered lifestyle entrepreneurs and they have to outsource staff and VA’s and people working remotely. So it’s good to know that even though they’re not coming into your office every day this is really important [inaudible 00:23:02.3] get their short term vision don’t have that long term vision so that you don’t have major major stomach aches with algorithm updates we’ll review gates in that situation and then over managing of the staff you know let them be their experts; anything else that comes to mind?
Ryan: As far as big mistakes that I’ve made … I mean we talked about the mistake in selling and as far as building the business I’ll say I wished that I had spent more money on cold advertising. Like always like there’s never been a business that was like ah you know I think I spent too much on advertising. I’ve only ever said I wish I’d spent more on advertising.
Joe: Yeah, where would you have spent it because these are primarily Amazon based businesses correct?
Ryan: The businesses that I personally built, yes.
Joe: Right. So where would you spend that money?
Ryan: So we just identified the problem because you said they were mostly Amazon based businesses so had I done things even better I would have doubled down on non-Amazon advertising. Because what … if you’re an Amazon business which is like nails on a chalkboard to me because it means you’re dependent on somebody else.
Ryan: It means that you’re dependent on this channel and you’ve got to go double down on building a business has a different leg to the stool and that when you combine those things together magic can happen. If you’ve got an email list of 100,000 people that you’ve built from cold advertising or from buying tripwires and now you’re combining that with the power of something like Amazon.com that’s really really powerful. Most physical products sellers never make that [inaudible 00:24:32.6] or they get so myopic into one channel that they never spend the money and the time to go develop the advertising for another channel. I wish I had been comfortable losing my rear end on other advertising channels until I figured out those systems. It’s interesting Joe, it’s true that every channel you will lose for a while and then you figure out the systems and then you start to grow through it and you get profitable. The strange thing is that most people once they’ve figured it out and get profitable they’re unwilling to go do that hard work in another area. So the way that Amazon worked in 2013, ’14, and ’15 was if you spend until you grab long enough you could outrank everybody else and go win but I never … I lost that hustle when it came down to Facebook Ads or influencers and people start looking for the immediate ROI. In what business is there immediate ROI? When you’re building a long term brand that has sales potential … like buyers are buying the systems; they’re buying profitable systems because you’ve already gone through that hard work of developing the systems that are profitable. But it requires you to go build them so I wish I had spent more on advertising, been more willing to lay it on the line, rolled more back into reinvestment. So I’ll call that mistake number three.
Joe: So for buyers and sellers that are listening, entrepreneurs that are listening it’s that one legged stool, two legged stool, three legged stool. If you’re 100% Amazon business it’s riskier than if you also have a revenue channel from Google Ad Words and driving traffic to your Shopify store and you might be doing wholesale or B2B things of that nature but right away as I’ve said before if you’ve got a business that’s just at within $100,000 in discretionary earnings that’s 100% Amazon same business $100,000 in discretionary earnings but you’ve got 60% Amazon, 25% Shopify, I guess that would be 15% percent [inaudible 00:26:36.4] my math here, another percent of B2B that business on the other side is going to be worth 15 to 20% more. So you might be breaking even or losing a little bit of money on that land grab trying to grab more customers but if you can turn that into even the same discretionary earnings that business automatically is going to be worth 15 to 20% more because the buyers will pay more for a risk averse business that’ll be around for the longer term so very very good advice. What channel would you go to first? Because there are so many options these days and building a channel off of Amazon is hard as you know. You’ve got to learn a whole new expertise. Where would you go first and what do most of your successful folks do?
Ryan: Yeah and I’m actually going to cue on very creatively sidestepped this question because the obvious is Amazon. But where I would suggest is actually people double down on where the audience is. To me, this is the nut has to be cracked if their building a sellable company. And what that means to me it is for some people their audience hangs out following influencers. For other people that is they follow blogs or they have a blog where the audiences are already hanging out. Or some people they’ve got a Facebook where there’s an audience. Now what most businesses, especially like a million dollar businesses, are doing is they’re going channel first and trying to extract as much of it as possible. Like I’m going to go to Amazon try to rank and pull as much out of this pie as possible. Only a few people can win that game but if you switch it and you say where are my people who is the ideal buyer and where are they then the channel where you collect the order can always change. And that makes Shopify, Amazon, B2B a whole lot easier. The first nut that you have to crack isn’t where the buyers hang out apart from the sales transaction and then you bring those buyers to the transaction. So the transaction to me … Amazon, easy no question. Put your product on Amazon the credit card is already there, people are already looking for it. No question, easy, done. The nut that needs to be cracked is what happens one step before that. And if there is … like if you don’t have the influence, the list, the following, the traffic, the pay-per-click strategy that some way to go get those people and bring them into your ecosystem I think you are struggling from the get go and that’s the primary question that I ask the entrepreneur.
Joe: Yeah and I think depending upon as you say the product and what they’re offering some of those different channels will make more sense. You know I had a conversation with someone this morning that has several brands and one brand has incredible numbers with email marketing and that same expertise applied to that different brand doesn’t do as well.
Joe: They’re driving people to their Shopify store though Amazon keeps growing and out phasing everything else. So I understand identify where your customers hang out and then you’ve got to go find those customers. To own that list though you need to send them to your own store, not to Amazon. So are you sort of balancing between sending them to Amazon because it’s all there or?
Ryan: No, I just disagree. So I think that the loyalty to the brand is the customer experience. And you give the customer the ability to give you money wherever they are most comfortable making the purchase. I heard Brian Lee say where it’s … Brian Lee is the founder of the Honest Company, the billion dollar brand with Jessica Alba, and I heard him say once that he considers it a win when the product is in the customer’s home. That’s when you’ve wo, not collecting it online e-commerce site, not getting into retail. It’s when the product is in the customer’s home. However, they get it and you want to release as little friction as possible getting the product into the customer’s home. You will own the customer experience when you have their data. You have the ability to communicate a message in front of them. So if you’ve got the email list and you send them over to Amazon, Amazon rewards that and your conversion rate is probably going to be higher sending them to Amazon that sending them to your Shopify store. So there’s a balance [inaudible 00:31:12.7] I know that I can get a higher immediate customer value sending them to my own web site because I can put them through upsells and cross sells to get their immediate data versus sending them to Amazon where I am going to have to work to get their data. I don’t have any upsell experience. They might see a negative review. And so the entrepreneur is going to have to play the game of where the numbers make the most sense over the long term. But I think that the actual customer experience happens in when you communicate with them. And that’s in the email message, that’s in the outside of just a transaction, not just where their credit card is being added but words being communicated.
Joe: Okay, I get and I’m just going to repeat it for those that are … well not smarter than me; let’s put it that way. So it’s capturing the customer information up front, building that relationship with them, and then simply send them to the place that they can buy the product and experience the brand with the least amount of friction and get it in their home.
Ryan: Nailed it.
Ryan: That’s my opinion.
Joe: And it all goes back I would say and it’s kind of almost unspoken that the brand has to be pretty amazing so focus on that first. Build a great product, a great brand so they have a great experience and then do all that other stuff as well.
Ryan: Yeah and let me address that because that often brings up the question how do I identify a brand? Like what exactly is the brand. And the brand is the way that trust is communicated to a very specific customer. Most Amazon sellers have no idea over their customers they know what their product is. If you know what you sell and not who you sell to you do not have a brand. Or you might have a brand but it’s really lousy whereas if you know who the person is, it makes the product really really easy. I was just meeting with one of my team members today; we were expressing the frustration over one of our brands in our portfolio. Because when we acquired it, it sold a lot of product but it had no target market. And so we’ve had to do a lot of work to convert that brand into an actual brand where people are not just buying a product but they’re buying something and it says about them sells. Those businesses last, product businesses don’t because they’re commodities. You forget about commodities and the minute that there’s a better price or better customer experience their loyalty changes. But when you’ve got the brand people are very stingy with their trust. I want to give it to you, you have them for as long as you keep their trust.
Joe: Very important message right there. Ryan, any thoughts in terms of whether someone should be building this business and always think about the future and possible exits; do you try to instill in them that they should know the value of their business in the event they wake up some day and want to move on or do you just focus on building that brand and when you’re ready the time will come?
Ryan: You know the real … the temptation for me is to say that no, you shouldn’t be necessarily thinking about selling but I know that I’m in a different spot than everyone who’s listening. So I would say if you are building this to make money, be building it to sell from day one. Because the very act of being in it for the money means that you will burn out, you will wake up and want to do something else. It’s going to happen. So if that … and like let’s just be real about it, if you’re in it because of the payday, build it to sell because that’s what you’re in it for and the payday is the cherry at the end of the rainbow here. If you were in it because you’ve got a product you want to bring to the world then still develop the systems and processes that will keep you in the position to be in your zone of genius. And that will make you more sellable one day but I don’t think it’s necessary for you to know what it’s worth or be making decisions based on that. So these are different goals. Now I build companies that I’m excited about and I am building them in the same way that we make something valuable because I want to be in a position where I’m just in my zone of genius. But it’s a different mindset than if I’m building something because it’s going to be profitable. Does that make sense Joe?
Joe: Absolutely; excellent …excellent. Hey listen I know we’re running out of time here I just want to say that last summer I was at the stock market conference and you got up and you spoke as did another dozen or so very very successful entrepreneurs. Each and every one of them had a PowerPoint presentation. You got up there with nothing. And you talked for an hour and the audience was captivated as was I. You have a gift thank you for sharing it. I appreciate it.
Ryan: I just got goose bumps. Thank you so much, mate. I really appreciate it.
Joe: How do more people get to experience that and listen to you and hear what you do share?
Ryan: You know I’d love to answer that question, can I offer one more piece of advice before we go?
Joe: You can offer a dozen more pieces of advice.
Ryan: Wow, awesome. I’ll leave it to one but if you are in this to please have a plan of what you’re going to do with the money when you get it. Entrepreneurs are magicians. We remake things up here on thin air. We create value out of thin air. We create a bigger pie. We make money show up. And we also make things disappear.
Joe: Isn’t that true?
Ryan: And if you do not have a plan of what you’re going to do with the money it will slip through your fingers. I know you think you’re the exception. I know you think all I have to do is invest this at 8% and I’m [inaudible 00:37:11.5]. I know you think that’s how it’s going to be. You will ball the money. I … right now I just heard you think “no I won’t”, yes you will. So if you don’t have a net for catching the money and allocating the money for your lifestyle you will be back in the grind very very quickly. I promise you, I know you don’t believe me. I’m here to tell you that’s the case. Have a plan for what to do with the money once you get the money. It’s actually my favorite conversation to have. At some point, I’ll probably have more chops [inaudible 00:37:45.3] about investing once you have a big windfall. But for now, it’s like have a plan like a plan is better than no plan. And that plan would probably be best done after you sat on the money for about six months and you’ve gotten used to that money being in the bank account. Your second question or actually your only question was-
Joe: Can I interrupt that?
Joe: I definitely want to get to that but in terms of having the plan to exit, I’m always telling people look have your next adventure planned. Because entrepreneurs like you say they blow through the money, it goes through their hands like saying. I’m often saying maybe get that other opportunity started and launched long as it’s not competing to get the ball rolling. So that you got some working capital maybe you’re going to put it in … some of it you’re not as bootstrapped although you’ll be more successful probably if you are. Do you think maybe they should 100% focus on what they’re doing on that brand before they sell it up until the day they sell or maybe when it gets big enough and good enough and they’ve done enough right they can take some of their attention and start Brand B while they’re selling off Brand A?
Ryan: Wow, Joe. The reason I’m saying wow is because my experience is pretty unique and that was I took about a week off and then I immediately went back to workaholism and it was the worst. It was a horrible experience. Now full disclose like at the same time I was going through separation and I’m going through a lot life changes. I threw myself into work right after the sale. I celebrated by reading books on my patio for like eight days and I was immediately back to workaholism. And I like … I roasted my body, I mean I so needed a break and I did not give myself that break. I don’t know if every entrepreneur was as burnt out as I was. I was more burnt out than I [inaudible 00:39:40.5].
Joe: Most ideal [inaudible 00:39:42.8] they come to me tired, exhausted, ready to move on.
Ryan: Joe, it’s been over a year. I wouldn’t even say I’m back now. You know I’m probably operating at 75% of capacity because I never really recovered. So should you go right back into it? I don’t know. I think it depends on the level you’re at and your own wiring. I make really good decisions when I’m relaxed and creative. I make terrible short term decisions when I’m stressed. And when I’m in that workaholic mode I’m a terrible entrepreneur. I wish I had just blissed out for like three months; I didn’t.
Joe: I don’t know what the folks that listen to you every week would do if you would disappear for three months though.
Ryan: Well here’s the thing though Joe. I kind of did. Like my podcast sucked for like three months, three to six months and I was trying … like I’m sitting in front of mic trying to come up with things to say and I was uncreative as heck. So I sort of did disappear it was just a different way. And now I’m getting back to it and it’s a completely different experience. But I actually think I did my listeners a disservice by not taking a break. And if have been just really upfront and be like guys I just got an eight figure check I am going to the beach and I will call you when I’m ready. My audience would’ve popped but instead, I was like operating from this place of like I’m so … oh my goodness I’m so tired and I turned off a lot of people. I know it’s not the answer that you expected it’s not the answer I expected to give you.
Joe: No, I like it.
Ryan: But I think it’s true.
Joe: I think sleep and rest and meditation or whatever it is to focus on is absolutely necessary. So back to that original question and you know finding out what they do with the money after they sell. How do they get more of Ryan Daniel Moran? How do they experience what that audience down at Smart Market and myself experienced where you just talked and everybody listened and took notes and all that?
Ryan: Well, thanks so much, man, my media company is capitalism.com. My podcast is called Freedom Fast Lane. And I say things into a microphone and we hold events at capitalism.com that are specifically for entrepreneurs. And we’re actually … we just rebooted the Freedom Fast Lane podcast. I feel as though-
Joe: With fresh energy.
Ryan: What’s that?
Joe: With fresh energy right?
Ryan: Well yeah, I think you’d probably feel it from me. Five years ago I started this journey as a boy and I was … I just put everything I owned into my car, drove to Austin, Texas, started some new companies, I documented the whole experience from startup to sale. And then I kind of grew up while documenting the journey. And now there’s a new journey and it’s a much bigger one and so we just rebooted kind of the entire audience, the whole experience in the podcast. And my podcast is called Freedom Fast Lane. My company is capitalism.com.
Joe: Okay. Well, I’ll make sure those are in the show notes. I’d love to see you be more successful on this new adventure, this bigger journey.
Ryan: Thank you.
Joe: Let’s stay in touch. I think I may see you at the capitalism conference at the end of August; let’s see. At the very least we’ll be to as many as we can be over the next few years.
Ryan: Good to see you man, thank you so much for having me.
Joe: Thanks for your time, I appreciate it.
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