Ryan Levesque is here with us today. Just in case you don’t know Ryan, he is the Inc. 500 CEO of The ASK Method® Company, and the #1 national best-selling author of Ask, which was named by Inc. as the #1 Marketing Book of the Year. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and Entrepreneur and over 250,000 entrepreneurs subscribe to his email newsletter offering business advice.
Ryan started from humble beginnings but went on to attend an Ivy League college, have a successful corporate career in China, and give it all up to start over to build his own business. In this episode, he shares his struggles and successes and the winning framework he discovered for business success. We talk about his book Ask and his new book Choose. He shares the five marketing must haves for a viable business today, and so much more.
[07:41] Ryan came from a blue-collar background. He was the first in his family to go to college. He went to an Ivy League school and studied neuroscience, East Asian studies, and Chinese.
[08:02] After graduating, he worked on Wall Street.
[08:36] Ryan then decided to live and work in China. He and his wife spent five years in China. He was opening up sales offices for AIG.
[09:02] Ryan felt unfulfilled. He had a great salary and a great corporate career. Then he woke up one day wondering is this it.
[10:02] Ryan wanted independence and freedom. It was his goal to make $10,000 a month, so he could quit his job. He then discovered, his company might go under. This was the sign he had been looking for to finally make the leap.
[11:58] If you've ever felt like you have more to give, the time to make a footprint and leave a mark is now.
[12:17] Ryan quit his job and moved into student housing with his wife.
[13:05] They had a lot of conversations about what type of business for Ryan to start. His wife showed him an idea from Etsy.
[14:49] His wife pointed out how lucrative teaching can be. They started teaching people how to make Scrabble tile jewelry.
[16:25] Ryan learned the lesson that they had stumbled upon a fad market.
[17:07] They went back to the US and his wife got a job.
[17:28] Ryan started researching evergreen hobbies. The one he stumbled upon was gardening and orchid care.
[18:59] They moved to Austin, where they live now and grew their business.
[19:16] They have done this in 23 markets and are now in their third year of being on the Inc. list of fastest growing companies.
[19:43] They went into several niche markets refining the method that he teaches. Some examples are memory improvement, water filtration, teaching how to play tennis, golf, and guitar and dog training markets.
[20:28] Every niche followed the same path where they would identify a market opportunity, ask a series of questions to understand the unmet need, and build a funnel to generate sales.
[21:01] A few years ago, they shifted their focus to teaching this methodology. They wrote the book called Ask. It became a runaway success. Ask is about figuring out what people want to buy.
[21:35] Their new book Choose. is about how to choose the right market to go into in the first place.
[21:54] Choose is about who you want to sell to. Many people make the mistake of focusing on what. You need to identify who is your who.
[25:38] When you get refined clarity about who you are serving, it makes all of the other decisions easy.
[29:04] We've been teaching this methodology for years, they are proven processes.
[30:31] If you start your business in the wrong market, you will never get to where you want to go.
[32:00] The five market must haves include being in an evergreen market, being in an enthusiast market, an urgent problem, future problems, and be in a market filled with PWMs or players with money.
[34:29] Use Google Trends to see if your Market is Evergreen.
[36:25] You want to be in an enthusiast market not a problem solution market.
[38:52] You need to find a burning urgent problem that people need to solve now.
[40:41] You are now set up to be a trusted adviser in that space and solve future problems.
[42:38] PWMs or players with money are able to buy what you are selling. You can't sell to broke people.
[43:59] The dog market is filled with PWMs where people spend a disproportionate amount of their income.
[46:32] The fear of giving up good to go after great holds so many people back. The Choose Method is designed to mitigate risk through a repeatable process.