My guest today is the founder and CEO of Digital Marketer, under which he blogs and coaches for the Digital Marketer Lab and other training courses. He started marketing online from his dorm room in 1999 and has worked in over 500 different markets.
In the last three years, my guest and his team have invested over $15,000,000 on marketing tests and generated tens of millions of unique visitors.
My guest is also a sought after public speaker and consultant and his work has impacted on over 200,000 businesses in 68 countries.
Now, let’s hack …
In this 36-minute episode Ryan Deiss and I discuss:
- Why you should aim to become a Chanel business
- Not being fixated on a product, but being in love with a market
- Opportunity is everywhere (grab it)
- The difference between making money and keeping it
- How and why to not get the answer you want to hear
The Show Notes
One Product Does Not a Business Make
Jonny Nastor: Hack the Entrepreneur is part of Rainmaker.FM, the digital business podcast network. Find more great shows and education at Rainmaker.FM.
Voiceover: Welcome to Hack the Entrepreneur, the show which reveals the fears, habits, and inner battles behind big name entrepreneurs and those on their way to joining them. Now, here is your host, Jon Nastor.
Jonny Nastor: Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. It is so, so very cool of you to join me again today. I’m your host, Jon Nastor, but you can call me Jonny.
My guest today, he’s been around for a long, long time online. If you go back to the early 2000s in online marketing, there was a few big, big players, and my guest today is one of those. I’ve been following his work for over 10 years at this point, so I’m very, very, very excited to have him on.
Today, he is the founder and CEO of Digital Marketer, under which he blogs and coaches for the Digital Marketer Lab and other training courses. He started marketing online from his dorm room in 1999 and has worked in over 500 different markets.
In the last three years, my guest and his team have invested over $15 million on marketing tests and generated tens of millions of unique visitors. My guest is also a sought-after public speaker and consultant, and his work has impacted over 200,000 businesses across 68 countries.
Now, let’s hack Ryan Deiss.
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Welcome back to another episode of Hack the Entrepreneur. Today, we have a very, very, very special guest, somebody I’ve been wanting to speak to for like possibly a decade — long before my show, but Ryan, thank you. Thank you for joining me.
Ryan Deiss: Really, a decade?
Jonny Nastor: It’s got to be. I would say three or four years before I ever figured out how to create a business online, you were part of that whole scene that I saw existed originally. Aren’t you the original forefront of Internet marketing?
Ryan Deiss: Yeah, I shudder to think of some of the crap that I put out back then, but I appreciate the fans.
Jonny Nastor: I don’t verbatim remember everything. Don’t worry. I don’t remember that way, but there’s a couple of, I would say, three of you guys from that original that I would love to talk to. I got to speak to Jeff Walker already, and now you.
Ryan Deiss: I’ve got some good stories about this crew and how that happened, but to the extent that people care, for the most part, they don’t. That’s awesome. I’ve been a long-time listener of this show, so it’s cool we had a chance to meet and finally connect.
Jonny Nastor: Yes. All right, Ryan, we’re going to jump straight into this.
Ryan Deiss: I’m ready!
Jonny Nastor: Ryan, as an entrepreneur, can you tell me what is the one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your successes so far?
Why You Should Aim to Become a Chanel Business
Ryan Deiss: I think if I were to go back and look, in the beginning, it was accidental, but the overarching philosophy of every business that we’ve started and everything that we do today is that they’re all market-centric. I’ll explain what I mean by that. Most of the people that I see who have a big hit and then they’re gone, and you’ve seen these things — the one-hit wonders.
It doesn’t just happen in business and entrepreneurship. It happens in entertainment. It happens in fashion. I think about like the piano key tie. Do you remember that? Do you remember the piano key tie?
Jonny Nastor: I kind of wish that would come back, actually.
Ryan Deiss: Maybe it will. This is the thing about businesses that are built around a product is they’re here, and then they’re gone. Tastes change. Trends change. Fashion changes. Stuff goes in and out of style. Things get old. Then they come back again. I’ve always been in a number of different markets. I didn’t start out in ‘Internet marketing’ and talking about it. I started out launching different businesses and different things to try to just make extra money. Then people said, “Oh, can you come and talk about this?” The next thing I knew I was an ‘Internet marketer.’
Jonny Nastor: A really good one, too.
Ryan Deiss: I still don’t believe that’s necessarily a thing. I always said I’m a business owner. I’m an entrepreneur who happens to do digital marketing, but that’s probably another topic. Anyway, all that said, for me, I always wanted to make sure that, when we went into a market, that we really were there to serve that market.
I tell my team this all the time: “I don’t want to be the guy that invented the piano key tie.” That guy, I’m sure, made a lot of money … until he didn’t. I want to make sure that every business we build is Chanel. Chanel has been around for decades, and they will be around for decades because Chanel advocates for a particular type of woman. That woman’s tastes can change. As long as they’re listening to her and they’re there to meet those needs, then they will change along with them.
If you look at all great companies, they do this. You look at Apple. Throughout the years, Apple has advocated for a particular type of person. That’s where they can roll out all these different product after product after product. They were originally Apple Computers, and then they’re just Apple. They’re like, “No. If we’re going to truly serve this market, then we need to give them lots of stuff.”
I think that’s a big thing. One of my overarching philosophies is a product does not a business make. A product does not a business make. You have a business when you live to serve a market, and now, there’s no sacred cow products. You launch a product, and it does well — or you launch a product, and it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. You move on to the next.
You’re constantly trying to iterate. You’re constantly trying to bring the new and the great to your market and just figuring out, listening — what do they want? “How can I serve you today?” I think that’s been the thing that’s kept us around in every market we’re in. That’s why we’re still there. We never got fixated on a product. We got fixated and fell in love with a market.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. “A product does not a business make.” You make it sound easy. Would you have an example of the last market that you guys entered, or a market that you entered? I’m sure people are listening and like, “Okay, well, that make sense, but do I enter the Chanel market?” Do you know what I mean? “Or do I enter the Nike market?” I know you are in some interesting markets right now, which I have no idea how you would have decided to end up there.
Not Being Fixated on a Product, but Being in Love with a Market
Ryan Deiss: Yeah. For us, this is another thing. I think a lot of entrepreneurs limit themselves to the markets and the things that they are passionate about. You hear that a lot. That’s why you have a lot of people talking about content marketing and talking about all this different stuff — because that’s what they’re passionate about.
For me, I’m passionate about business. I don’t have to be really excited about, for example, when we went in to the survival and preparedness market, I wasn’t that passionate about that. I don’t even like camping, but I knew that people were. We always have, in these companies, someone who is passionate about it. I don’t think you can remove passion from the process. It just doesn’t have to be you.
I see myself as a publisher. I see myself as a producer. I see myself as an owner. Just like with a sports franchise, it’s not the owner of the team dribbling the basketball down the court. They’ve got professionals that do that.
For me, when we go into a market, I just want to know that it’s there, that there’s a market that has begun to aggregate, and they’re looking for stuff. When we went in the survival and preparedness space, we saw an opportunity. We connected with someone who was passionate about it, and we went into that market. That’s how Survival Life was born.
We then found that, in our list of survival people, we actually had a lot of women on that list who weren’t really interested in the survival stuff. They were interested in the gardening type things that we published and homesteading and those types of deals. We spun off another property, and some of them were interested in more projects.
Same thing, we own MakeupTutorials.com. Another property there’s a market there, people who love beauty. I’m not passionate about makeup, but people are. So let’s go and serve them. I think if you don’t limit it to what you know and you go and find the people who are passionate about it, the opportunities become endless.
Jonny Nastor: I find it really interesting, because like you said, how you don’t consider yourself an Internet marketer. You have Digital Marketer, and you do teach how to market and how to write copy, how to do SEO, like paid traffic. You do teach Internet marketing stuff there, but at some point, you decided, “Wow, I’m going to go into 20 different markets as well,” to make more money, obviously, not just try and force it to grow this one avenue, which is brilliant.
Opportunity Is Everywhere (Grab It)
Ryan Deiss: I’ll speak to that just a little bit. I was in a bunch of different markets before I was teaching Internet marketing.
Jonny Nastor: Oh, okay, so then you became known, obviously, for Internet marketing.
Ryan Deiss: Yeah. That was accidental. I launched my very first business from my college dorm room in 1999. I was selling different types of software and plugins. I was selling pop-up blockers, oddly enough. I was selling different types of virus removal things. Then I got into the e-book side of it, and I had e-books on how to make your own baby food and all this other stuff.
I was in over 200 markets and just going to different marketing events as an attendee. I would talk to the speakers, and I was just telling them what they’re doing. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, you should be speaking on this.” As I got to know these different people, then they started asking me to speak on their stages. When I would speak, people would say, “Can you create a course on that?” “I guess I can.”
You mentioned Digital Marketer. Digital Marketer, really, it’s current incarnation is only about three years old. That’s because I finally said, “You know, there’s a lot of people here.” We were doing big events. We do Traffic & Conversion Summit every year.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, which is full house.
Ryan Deiss: Traffic & Conversion Summit, I think we’re going to do our seventh one. In 2016, it will be our seventh Traffic & Conversion Summit. We were doing Traffic & Conversion Summits when it was just me and my business partners saying, “Hey, let’s just do an event for the folks that are on our list.” People would show up. We didn’t have a website for the marketing side of our business. We would produce the occasional product and give it a website, but we never treated it like a company.
It wasn’t until I said, “No, there’s a market here that we can serve,” and in our market that we served with Digital Marketer is small business owners. That’s our big thing. We want to serve business owners and the agencies serving small business owners. That’s the market that we advocate for.
You see us teaching and talking about marketing, but there’s a lot of things that we used to talk about –launching a book on Kindle and doing all this other kind of niche side things — that we don’t talk about anymore because Digital Marketer is market-centric. The reason that we chose the name Digital Marketer is because I knew there was going to come a time where the term ‘Internet marketing’ would become passé.
There are also just so many chucklehead Internet marketers out there calling themselves Internet marketers, and they’re really just, again, chuckleheads. That’s just trying to be nice instead of using more colorful language. It’s a family show after all. I also realize it’s not about the Internet. It’s mobile. It’s digital. It’s everywhere. That’s why we did that.
Everything that we’ve done has come out of recognizing that there’s a market and saying, “I think we can serve this market. Let’s do it.” The decision — and this is an important point. This is especially important for all the entrepreneurs out there — most people preach focus, and I believe that focus is important. I can do focus in chunks, but I also know that I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I want to go in there. I want to tinker.
Part of the reason that we launch so many different companies that we go in to so many different markets is because, if I don’t start something new, I’m going to break something old just so I can then go in and fix it. I know I will do it because I’ve seen me do it. I’ve seen me do it so many times. That’s the reason we go into these different markets. Opportunities everywhere. We just grow and grow and grow. Each time we do it, we bring on more team members, and the things have grown from there.
Jonny Nastor: Yeah, it’s amazing. “We have to launch something new or else I go back and break something old.” Obviously, when you were starting out and solo, or earlier on like 1999, you didn’t have this huge team around you. Did that hinder you? Because that seems to be an entrepreneurial thing, right? We want to jump from thing to thing. We want to try a whole bunch of different stuff.
Oftentimes, it completely holds us back. It completely stops us from actually focusing at least long enough to make something work, then move on to something else, and let that keep going. How did you rectify that in your head and in your business when you didn’t have these people that you could push into a market, push into an idea, and then you could go tinker with something else?
The Difference between Making Money and Keeping It
Ryan Deiss: It was totally dysfunctional, and I ultimately imploded. I said I was in over 200 markets. It eventually grew to 500 markets. This was around 2004. I was in all these little markets. It wasn’t a real business. Remember I said before, a product does not a business make. In each one of these markets, I only had one product. I had one thing that I was selling.
I was looking out there, “What are people searching for on Google? Okay, I can have a book created on that. I can get some software developed.” I didn’t do any physical product stuff because I didn’t know how to. Now, we do a ton of physical products. But I didn’t know how to do all the fulfillment in and around that, so I stayed all digital.
Fortunately, back then, people would go to a website, read the sales letter, and buy an e-book for $20, $30. Now, you got to bring a little more to the table. I’m in over 500 different markets and not really knowing how to run a business, having no real help to do anything. I looked up one day, and I thought I was doing really well because I was making a lot of money. This is an important point for all the entrepreneurs out there. There’s a big difference between making money and keeping money.
I thought I was doing great because I was making a lot of money. Then one day, I turned around, and I didn’t really have any money in the bank. I had approximately $200,000 in credit card debt and a business line of credit that had all been maxed out — and no money in the bank. I completely, utterly imploded. I was worse than broke. I was $200,000 in debt with no money in the bank and a brand new wife and a mortgage. I was not feeling particularly cool at that moment in time.
It really just came down to I was trying to do everything, and in trying to do everything, I did everything really poorly. I dug myself out of that hole. It wasn’t easy, lots of lessons learned. To your point, how did I deal with it? I dealt with it very, very poorly. I eventually failed if I’m being totally honest.
Jonny Nastor: Fair enough. All market-centric, you have a brilliant focus right now where you know what it is you have to do. You know what it is your business has to do. You have to focus on markets, not on businesses anymore. You have seems like a really keen sense of delegating things. Every expert now talks about 80/20. Do 20 percent. Get 80 percent of the results. Do what you’re good at. Delegate the rest. Ryan, I’d love to know something that you’re absolutely terrible at in your business.
Why Staffing Your Business with Self-Starters Isn’t Going to Happen (and That’s Okay)
Ryan Deiss: I’m really bad at managing people in projects. Really, really bad at it. I expect, when I hire someone, for them to be a self-starter. For me just to be able to say, “Okay, here’s the project. Here’s the end result I want. Go.” It just doesn’t work. When you do find that one person or two people that it works for, they’re unicorns, and they wind up running companies. But you can’t build a business around hoping that you stumble across those types of people.
It’s a big mistake that I see entrepreneurs make. They want to build a team of self-starters and this and that. You know what? Those people are running their own companies. Those people don’t want to do that. If you want to build and grow a business and build and grow a team, you have to acknowledge that there’s people out there who, truly, they just want to show up for work. They want to do their job. They want to do it well, and then they want to go home and have a life.
Their passion, their ambitions lie outside of your business, your company, your hopes, your dreams. That is okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. We need to respect those people and value the skills that they bring. I know that, but unfortunately, really bad still at working with them. I’ve been fortunate, though, at finding people who are good project managers.
You mentioned the 80/20 rule, though. Mine’s actually 10/80/10. The way that I do it here, again, I don’t manage stuff particularly well, and it forces me to be involved at the beginning and the end. If we’re going to launch a new project, we’re going to go into a new market, or we’re going to just maybe craft a new sales letter, it’s everything from the big strategic down to the small if I’m involved.
I get involved at a meeting at the beginning, and I say, “Okay, here’s my vision for this. Here’s what I’m thinking. Here’s what I would like the outcome to be.” Or if it’s a sales letter, because I’m a pretty good copywriter, “Here’s what I believe the hook of the sales letter should be of this offer. The headline should be something like this. The opening thing should be something like this. Okay, now go. You guys go.”
There’s a project manager or somebody who’s quarterbacking that particular project team who they build out the project map. They assign deadlines. They hold people accountable. I know for a fact I won’t do it. Then, when they get to the point where they think they’re done, I come back in, and I tweak the last 10 percent. I grow another 10 percent at the end just to try to give it some little pluses here and there. To try to add a little spice here and there. Sprinkle a little something on it. That, I found, has really worked really well for me.
Jonny Nastor: Have you ever walked in for the last 10 percent, or could you ever, walk in on that last 10 percent and not touch anything? Be like, “No, that’s perfect.”
Ryan Deiss: It’s happening more and more as the team is getting better. Yeah, as the team is getting better, I walk in and I say, “You know, go. It looks great.” What’s scarier is when you walk in and you go, “This is a disaster. This isn’t even close.” Then you have to make a call of do you say, “Guys, I’m sorry. This isn’t it,” and send them back to the drawing board, have them start over, or scrap the project completely, or do you let it go as is? I’ll tell you, most of the time, I let it go.
Jonny Nastor: That’s cool.
Ryan Deiss: I’ll let them go.
Jonny Nastor: I was wondering. Otherwise, it seem like, “Maybe Ryan realizes he’s a terrible micro manager, but he’s at least pulled himself out of it for 80 percent, but the other 10 and the 10 at the beginning and end, he’s just right in there. ‘No, we got to do this. We got to do this.'”
How and Why to Not Get the Answer You Want to Hear
Ryan Deiss: No, you can’t. Here’s the other thing that I found. There have been times where I’ve looked at stuff, and I’ve said, “This is terrible. This will never work,” and I was wrong.
Now, I found that, in addition for the sake of morale — I’ll give them my opinion. I’ll say, “Guys, here are my concerns. If you share my concerns, then I’ll let you decide what you should do next. Should we go back to the drawing board? Should we tweak some things? Should we scrap it? I’ll let you guys decide that. You’ve put in most of the work. If you disagree with me, then let’s launch and please, please, please … ” — I think this is one of the most important statements.
Any entrepreneur, business owner, anybody who is working a team and bringing on a team, this is one of the most important statements that you can learn — and learn to say with frequency — when you’re talking to your team members. I tell them this all the time when we’re talking. “Please, right now, I know your tendency. I know the tendency may be, because I’ve been in this seat, when I ask this question, your initial tendency might be to give me the answer that you think I want to hear. To give me the answer that you think I’m going to respect. I’m going to ask you, please don’t do that. If you don’t want to think out loud and you want more time, but I really want your answer.”
I found that when you say that, it allows people to reset and be a lot more honest. Just telling people, giving them that context and that framework — “Don’t give me the answer that you think I want to hear. Don’t give me what you think I will respect because I’ll actually respect the honest one.”
When I do that and they come back, and they say, “No, no, we still want to do it. We think it’s got a shot.” “Then go. I hope I’m wrong.” I’m wrong all the time. I am. That’s not just like faux humility. I really am wrong a lot, so I’m glad I’ve got a team that has the guts to disagree with me.
Jonny Nastor: That’s one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs, though, to deal with is that being wrong. Especially once you get a team around you, you walk in in this last 10 percent and say, “No, we need change this, this, this and this because I’m the boss, and I know better than all of you.” Then it’s completely wrong. How do you reconcile that in your head? How do you deal with that to the point of walking back into the room the next 10 percent and being like, “Whoa”?
Why the Buck Ultimately Stops with You
Ryan Deiss: Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. I really do have a good team, good people. The only time where I will completely veto something is if it doesn’t serve the market. If I can say, “Guys, this isn’t good enough. It doesn’t serve the market.” That rarely happens. The thing that I look for when I hire people is someone with an enormous amount of ‘give a damn.’ If they have that, I figure I can train the rest. That’s one thing I really can’t train. They don’t let it get to the point where, “This is just kind of not that good.” Really, it comes down to the offer.
The way that I do it is you have to trust. That’s the thing. You put these people in this situation. You have to trust them. I also know that they’re not going to make a mistake that is unfixable. I’m not going to put somebody in a position to make a mistake that we can’t recover from. That’s just irresponsible.
If we make a mistake, we launch something, and it flops, we’ll recover. I will ask, “What’s the plan B if this doesn’t work?” I think, as a business owner, if you put someone on your team in a position that they can make a decision that sinks your entire company, that’s on you. That’s on you.
I also know that with my team, and I tell them this, “Guys, the chance that you’re going to make a mistake that’s bigger than some of the mistakes that I’ve made in the past is almost impossible.” I’ve launched whole products before with the merchant account in test mode.
We did about $95,000 in sales of a physical product. Shipped out all the product to the people. When you have a merchant account in test mode, the order goes through. As far as the customer is concerned, they paid. Everything goes through. All the fulfillment reports happen. Everything just happens, except you don’t get your money.
Now, I’m left in the awesome position of going back to customers who have already received the thing that they bought and explain to them, “Hey, I know it looked like you bought it. I know we shipped it out, but you didn’t actually buy it. In fact, if you wait like 30 days, you’ll see that there’s no charge on your card, so if you wouldn’t mind coming back and buying again.” How do you think that went?
It wound up being with fulfillment cost and everything a $100,000 mistake, when a $100,000 mistake in the business was almost unrecoverable. I did that. I did that to myself. I’m not going to put somebody in my team in a position to screw up even that badly.
Jonny Nastor: I love it. I love it, Ryan. This has been awesome, and I want to wrap up on something. As entrepreneurs, you yourself, you push forward. You push hard in the direction of goals — three months, six months, a year, three years, five years out. You want to achieve big things. Oftentimes, we’re so always looking forward that we sometimes fail to stop and look at what it is we’ve done.
You started 1999 in your dorm room. You’ve made a huge sensation throughout, I’m sure, millions of people’s lives at this point. You’ve created ripple effects of other people in generations of people marketing and creating businesses after you that have gone on and will continue to go on.
That must be pretty impressive, but I would love right now, Ryan, if you could stop, turn around, look at everything you’ve done, everything you’ve learned, all the mistakes you’ve made, and just tell me how you feel about what it is you’ve accomplished up till today.
Becoming Irrelevant and Leaving a Lasting Legacy
Ryan Deiss: That would have been a nice one to tell me you’re going to ask me ahead of time so I had more time. That’s a big question. I think if I were to pinpoint it and look back, the thing that I’m most proud of, we have around 150 people on our team right now across all of our different companies. That’s helping to pay a lot of mortgages.
I’m really proud of that fact, and we do it responsibly. We take care of our people. I like people. I like having these teams, building these organizations, and having other people who are along for the ride and who were excited about it.
I also like walking into offices — this happened recently — I walked into one of our offices, and people were saying, “Who is that guy?” It’s my company, and I love that because that means that the knowledge and the skills have been passed down to someone else who clearly is doing a great job because I can now become irrelevant. That’s what I want.
I want these things to happen. I want them to grow, but I don’t want them to be tied to me. If I were to get hit by a bus, well, that’s it. It’s all gone. No. I would like to think that I would be missed. But I would also like to think that things would go on, and they would continue to grow.
If I were to look back and say, “What am I most proud of?” It’s probably that. That we’re building a company that people are excited about, they’re excited to be a part of. Mortgages are getting paid. Bills are getting paid, and it’s just growing.
Jonny Nastor: Beautiful answer. I love it. That’s why I threw that to you without telling you. We’ve got to talk a lot about you and your business in passing, Ryan. Could you specifically tell the listener where they can go to find out more about Ryan Deiss?
Ryan Deiss: Sure. DigitalMarketer.com is the site where I talk about marketing stuff. It’s not just me. We have an amazing team at Digital Marketer with Russ, Molly, Richard, and all these folks that are out there producing amazing content on our team. I show up from time to time as well.
This is my office where I actually office every day is in the Digital Marketer office because I love the stuff. I love talking about it and being around it. Digital Marketer is the best place. Come out to our events, and hang out with us there. I try to keep a low profile. As much as I love people, I’m terrified by crowds. Yeah, I’d love to come up and say hey, meet you, and tell me that you heard about me on this show.
Jonny Nastor: Excellent. Digital Marketer, I will link to that in the show notes, as well as Traffic & Conversion Summit. Definitely check it out. Digital Marketer also released a brand new, very, very, very cool podcast called Perpetual Traffic, which I will also link to, and you should give it a listen. Also, Makeup Tutorials got mentioned in passing. I’m going to put that on there just to see markets that you are entering and show people so that the listener can find it.
Jonny Nastor: Nice, I love it. All right, Ryan, I just want to thank you so much again for everything you’ve done. I want to thank you for stopping by for this half hour. It’s been a blast, and please keep doing what you’re doing because it is awesome and inspiring to watch.
Ryan Deiss: Thank you. I appreciate you having me, and keep doing what you’re doing, too.
Jonny Nastor: You’re out there listening to this conversation, and I can only imagine how many notes you might have taken. Or maybe you’re like Christine Cawthorne. If you go to my Twitter, @JonNastor, Christine Tweeted me this picture. She read a book called Sketchnote, I believe, and she’s deciding to sketch ideas and to take notes in that way.
This is something that works really well, and I’ve read about it myself. Her very first sketch was based on an interview I did a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing to see, just looking at this sketch and all the ideas she got from that one 25-minute conversation. It meant a lot, Christine, and I really appreciate you sending that to me because that was awesome.
But Ryan said so many things. I know that I have this list of things that he said. It’s this sheet just completely covered in ideas and thoughts because he really, really got me thinking. Every time I listen to the conversation again, this one point always just stuck out to me, always just really, really resonated.
There’s that one thing. That one thing that Ryan said. Did you get it? Did you hear it? Let’s do it. Let’s find the hack.
Ryan Deiss: This is another thing. I think a lot of entrepreneurs limit themselves to the markets and the things that they are passionate about. You hear that a lot. That’s why you have a lot of people talking about content marketing and talking about all this different stuff because that’s what they’re passionate about.
For me, I’m passionate about business. I don’t have to be really excited about, for example, when we went in to the survival and preparedness market, I wasn’t that passionate about that. I don’t even like camping, but I knew that people were. We always have, in these companies, someone who is passionate about it. I don’t think you can remove passion from the process. It just doesn’t have to be you, so I see myself as a publisher. I see myself as a producer. I see myself as an owner.
Jonny Nastor: And that’s the hack.
Yes, yes, yes, Ryan. This is something that so, so needs to be clarified. A lot of entrepreneurs do want to go into a market for something that they are passionate about. Either their passion doesn’t align with the market that is hungry for a product or a service or it just limits them in some way.
I know that people, you want to follow your passion and build the business around it, but as Ryan says, his passion is business. He can enter any market and have his business go into it and do really, really well because he understands, really gets intrigued, and really drawn in by the business aspect of it. Not just the fact that the topic of what they’re going into that market is something he’s really into.
That’s a very key distinction. People, oftentimes, they start a business under … if their passion is playing guitar, and although playing guitar is a great market to possibly enter, it might not be the right one for you or your business just because it’s your passion. The way I’ve always thought about it is, when I enter the market that is easier to make money in and build a good solid business in, and then take that money to buy you time and freedom to then follow your passions. Just enjoy the business for it being a business and for building a cool business around that.
When I started Hack the Entrepreneur, I did it because I literally just sat down and thought about the conversations that I get most excited about are when I get to sit down with somebody who’s really, really smart and really, really into business or starts or is running a cool, cool business that has changed their life or their family’s life in some way. That’s amazing to me, and it truly is.
I hear people that maybe start a podcast in the entrepreneur market because it’s a good market to be in — as in there’s lots of listeners and people who will spend money. It’s just ingenuine, and therefore, it’s hard to fake. I could still enter the market if I had somebody else that was going to be my host, and I was the producer. As Ryan later says, he considers himself a producer and a business owner rather than the person who has to necessarily have the passion of that market. That’s a huge distinction, and I love that, Ryan. Just thank you so much again for that.
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Please, until next time, keep hacking the entrepreneur.