Interview with Ryan Moran
Ryan Moran on Helping Entrepreneurs Build 7-Figure Businesses that They Can Sell
Today, I’m speaking with Ryan Moran. Ryan is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, author, and investor who has successfully built, operated, sold, and invested in multi-million dollar e-commerce brands.
As the founder of Capitalism.com, he teaches entrepreneurs to build businesses and invest the profits. He has helped over 300 new entrepreneurs build 7-figure companies without requiring big teams or 100-hour workweeks.
More than that, he helps empower entrepreneurs to create the individualized change they want to see. That means creating a life they want, discovering the passions they possess and participating in causes they want to be a part of… to live lives that make a mark in the world.
In this episode, Ryan shares his entrepreneurial journey, including his early beginnings starting and scaling an e-commerce company to $10M.
We also talk about what makes entrepreneurship so amazing, why ego is your enemy, and how he invests in early-stage businesses with the most potential for maximum growth and profit.
Featured on This Episode: Ryan Moran
✅ What he does: Ryan Moran is a prolific entrepreneur, investor, and author. He’s the host of the capitalism.com podcast, which helps entrepreneurs build, grow and sell their businesses. His mission in life is to champion and serve entrepreneurs, because he believes that they’re a force for positive change in the world
💬 Words of wisdom: “Making decisions from ego results in stress and lack of results. When you are actually trying to create the best experience possible, you end up getting all the things that the ego wants. So, it’s being in that place of saying, `What do I truly want to create for other people and what brings value rather than what makes me look good?’”
Key Takeaways with Ryan Moran
- Becoming an investor and proving his 9th grade teacher wrong!
- Investing in syndication deals—and how his mentor, JP Newman, opened his eyes to new investment opportunities.
- The mindset shift that helped Ryan turn a 6-figure company into a 7-figure business in just three years.
- Why serving a single person at the highest level is the key to succeeding in business.
- How Ryan staked everything he owned on the success of one speaking event—and came out on top (just!)
- Why making decisions based on your own ego is a recipe for stress and failure.
- Which business model Ryan tips to have the most potential for unbelievable returns—and how he plugs himself into (and profits from) up-and-coming companies.
- Ryan’s unique ‘green-button’ approach to investing in winning companies that have high-growth potential.
- Why ‘running into walls’ is one way to succeed… but only if you can take the pain and learn from your mistakes.
- How Ryan is positioning himself to invest in and empower other entrepreneurs to succeed in business.
Ryan Moran | 12 Months to 1 Million Dollar
Ryan Moran Tweetable“Entrepreneurship is the greatest vehicle for creating positive change in the world.” - Ryan Moran Click To Tweet
- Find Ryan Moran on YouTube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
- 12 Months to $1 Million: How to Pick a Winning Product, Build a Real Business, and Become a Seven-Figure Entrepreneur
- Free Mini-Series: “Zero To 7-Figures In 12 Months”
- Shear Strength Labs
- TLI Episode 39 – JP Newman on Making a Real Impact with Real Estate
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Read the Full Transcript with Ryan Moran
Justin Donald: Hey, Ryan. I’m glad to have you on the show. Thanks for joining.
Ryan Moran: Great to see you, my friend. I’m excited to hang out with you.
Justin Donald: This is awesome. So, I have so much fun just engaging in conversation with you. This is going to be so much of a great podcast because you and I speak a similar language. We have similar interests. We love business, entrepreneurship, investing. So, I’m just excited about where we’re going to go. So, thanks for making some time and joining us.
Ryan Moran: I thought we were talking politics and religion today. I was all fired up, Justin, to debate both of these topics with you.
Justin Donald: Hey, you love the most polarizing topics, don’t you?
Ryan Moran: Well, I just happen to think that at the core, most of us want the same things. And so, I really like bridging the gap between two sides that seem irreconcilable and having adult conversations about things that most people just get really reactive to. So, yes, I do enjoy those conversations.
Justin Donald: Well, by the way, I will just go on record and say I love those conversations because I think we need to have open dialogue about everything and I think that if people would choose to be curious over right, it could do a lot of wonderful things in the world. I often like to feel like I’m right but at the end of the day, I know that I don’t know everything. In fact, I know very little in the whole scheme of things. So, how about I be open to what someone else is saying instead of dismiss it right away? And so, I think that that could be a change for the world. So, we’ll see if that catches hold.
Ryan Moran: Part two, we’ll just debate what happens when you die and who’s going to win the next election the entire time.
Justin Donald: We could do some justice there. I think we could have a bit of a home run on that one.
Ryan Moran: Alright then.
Justin Donald: Very cool. So, you are kind of hanging in here from your new home. You bought a home on the lake here in Austin. And I remember when you and I first hung out, you were a downtown guy and you basically transitioned from the condo life out to a little bit more suburbia with much more land, much more home. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that and what happened.
Ryan Moran: Well, the truth is, Justin, I still have a place downtown and I have a place out in the deep part of Lakeway on the lake. And the reason I have both of those is because just my brain needs kind of both ends of that in order to feel balanced. If I’m downtown for too long, I feel like I’m frazzed. If I am on the lake and away from things for too long, I get bored. And so, I need that swing back and forth in order to feel like I have balance in my life. I don’t know what that says about me from a therapeutic perspective but I need both of those stimuli and rest in order to feel like I can think the way that I want to think. So, that’s the very unsexy answer to your very sexy question.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. I think that’s awesome. And I get it because I love the energy that you get from downtown life. So, we’re in a unique season where our home was supposed to be done in June and it’s just been delayed. But it hasn’t been like delayed over a long haul. It’s been like every two months, “Oh, we need two more months.” So, anyway, we did a two-month stint downtown and loved it, month one. Month two we’re like, “We got to get out of here. This is a little bit much for us.” So, then we went back close to the city. We’re like 10 minutes from downtown, maybe a little bit less than that but in a home, a yard, that was fantastic. And then we found this cool little nook in Clarksville, kind of like right on the border of Clarksville, an old in-field and just have loved it, how quickly we can get to the city but we’re still in the neighborhood. So, I get it. I get it. Question for you. You have done incredibly well as both an entrepreneur and as an investor. But I like knowing where people got their start. So, when was it that you figured out that you were built to be an entrepreneur or that you were built to invest in companies, invest in yourself to kind of take the riskier path?
Ryan Moran: Ninth-grade computer class, we were given this assignment of writing about or typing about or researching our chosen career, and my chosen career was investor. And this wasn’t one of the available options. And so, when I spoke with my instructor about this, they told me, “That’s not a career. You’re going to have to choose investment advisor.” And I said, “I don’t want to be an investment advisor. I want to just be an investor.” They said, “Well, you can’t do that.” Of course, I can do that. Other people do that. This is when I knew I was a little bit different. Some of us are just born with it, Justin. We come out of the wombs. We want to have creative projects that we’re excited about, and we’re comfortable winning or losing as long as it’s on our own accord. And for me, that was just in my blood, in the DNA, and actually, I don’t tell this part of the story very often but like when I was a teenager, all I wanted to be was a real estate investor for this exact reason. And I thought one day I think I could raise a few bucks by starting an online business, make my money from that port in the real estate and it just happened to be where my career went, where I started internet-based businesses and now invest in internet-based businesses and parlay those profits into other, more illiquid investments.
So, I knew very early that I was different. It didn’t seem weird to me. It just didn’t fit in with the mold. And I think every entrepreneur kind of understands that feeling of, “Yep, we’re just born a little bit differently than the society that brought us up.”
Justin Donald: Yeah. It’s interesting because really, in many ways, entrepreneurs are kind of the movers and shakers of innovation and technology and maybe redirecting the status quo or bypassing and reinventing the status quo. But younger years you kind of feel like, “Is anyone else like me?” You’re kind of off on your own. It’s an interesting experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I think it’s just one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever had and I can tell for you as well, it’s freeing not to have security but rather to like embark on the new adventure and see what’s out there.
Ryan Moran: Justin, I mean, even one step further than what you’re saying, I miss when entrepreneurship wasn’t cool, and I miss being that weird. When I go home to Cleveland, I live in Austin, when I go home to Cleveland, I notice that I’m the only entrepreneurial-minded person within a 10-square-mile radius. I freaking love that. I love playing that hat. I love that if I see an apartment building for sale or if I see a business that I like that I think about investing in, I may be the only inquiry. I miss that. Entrepreneurship is cool now. Everybody wants it. Everybody wants to do it. I miss being the lone wolf that’s weird and doing things differently than everybody else. So, yes, there is that sense growing up for a lot of us that we’re the only ones who think this way. I think that’s the best. I mean, where I have made a lot of mistakes in my career, Justin, is when I have stamped that out on behalf of trying to model other people too much. I want the results so bad so I reverse engineer what somebody else did and then I go and do that. That’s like stamping out my own creativity.
We want this game for the freedoms so that we can fully express who we are and be fully in expression of our creativity but we stamp that out by looking at what other people are doing, myself included. I’ve been so guilty of this. There’s a recent blind spot of mine that I’ve noticed but I missed the lone-wolf-ness. It’s when you are most free to be fully creative. And so, I wanted to stick that in there because it’s not just about finding like-minded people. It’s also about being committed to your own uniqueness because that’s what we’re playing this game for anyway.
Justin Donald: Yeah. Being true to who you are, that’s awesome. And obviously living within the values that you hold most dear for yourself, for your family. Yeah, I think that’s incredible. I’m curious how you, so first of all, we’ve known each other for a while and I never knew this story that you started this online business to make money to invest in real estate. That’s really cool.
Ryan Moran: That to me is like the most predictable way to freedom. Right? And so, entrepreneurship I learned to be an entrepreneur. It wasn’t the plan.
Justin Donald: That’s so fascinating. So, tell me what happened with this company that you started for real estate. I know you eventually started investing in real estate in time but I’d love to hear about that company.
Ryan Moran: I never started a real estate company. I made my money on the internet, and then I invested it into real estate. When I lived in Ohio, I had a small collection of single-family homes that I rented out. Today, I just say, “I’m not going to beat the full-time investors. I’m a businessman now,” so I just invest in syndications and apartment raises from people who that’s their business, right? I love the idea. Like, I so want to be you when I grow up. I so want to be the person that has connections to the deals and the capital and brings them together like you are living my dream life. I’m not at that point in my career right now but it’s starting to sound interesting for me to do raises for businesses that I know really well or for my mentor. His name is JP. You know JP. I was with him on a deal where he was just walking through the deal and I watched with big eyes, seeing how we vetted the deal and how his job was to then believe in this deal and take it to his investors. And I was like, “Oh, this is what I signed up for.” I like being the promoter. I like being the relationship guy. And I’ve learned I need to stay in that lane. And it’s starting to become interesting to me to just manage relationships with people who have capital and going and finding the deals for them and being the go-between between those two parties. And so, that is just starting to become interesting to me and we’ll see if that becomes part of my career over the next three years or so.
Justin Donald: Oh, that’s cool. Thanks for the kind words. And by the way, I love JP. For those of you that haven’t checked out his episode, JP Newman and I spent some time and he dug into all kinds of investing and kind of his past career before he became a real estate investor. And his projects are incredible. So, I love that you’ve got a great mentor to learn from because that guy just oozes wisdom. Very cool. So, you then started this company. You scaled this online business. Tell me more about what happened prior to the exit, because eventually you were acquired for a great sum of money. But I’d love to hear some of the story in the inner workings there.
Ryan Moran: Well, from my college dorm room, I was doing search engine optimization and affiliate marketing and content creation, learning that world when nobody else was using that as a business model. So, I built my skill set just in the grind of it. And after I graduated college, I used that skill set to start a sports nutrition company called Shear Strength Labs, where all of a sudden promoting products on the internet made a lot of sense using the skill set that I had learned of email marketing and ranking for keywords. And that was when there was kind of a wide-open west period in e-commerce. The most money that is made is always in the wide-open west period when you are taking a skill set from the previous period. That’s like the magical, magical period. And right now, I think we’re seeing that with marketing backgrounds and NFT launches where you have this wide-open west period in blockchain, Web 3, NFTs. And if you combine that with authority, personal branding, marketing, that is like that’s the sweet spot right now. But where I cut my teeth was in the marketing world and then bringing that into e-commerce. There’s still a lot of opportunity in e-commerce but I was one of the early pioneers which gave me a strategic advantage.
And so, we built this company to about $10 million a year. And honestly, when I started this business, I had just been making money doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a little bit of here, and I finally hunkered down and said, “This is the business that I’m going to build.” And I remember speaking to a coach and he said, “How big do you want this company to get?” And I said, “A hundred sales a day.” He said, “Why?” I said, “That’s a million-dollar business. I’ve never had a million-dollar business.” He said, “What are you doing right now?” I said, “Five sales a day.” He said, “All right. How are we going to get to 100?” I said, “I’m going to get this product to 25 sales a day and I’m going to launch three more, and then I’ll have four products doing 25 sales a day, average price point of $30. That’s $3,000 a day. That’s a million-dollar business.” And that was the dream. And to this day, I’ve told that story a thousand times. I tell it on pretty much every YouTube video that I do and that’s like the click for entrepreneurs. It’s like, “Oh, like, I don’t need to build a million-dollar business. I just need to get one product to 25 sales a day. How do I do that?” Well, I need to learn one of nine skill sets to be able to promote a product that I believe in to get it to 25 sales a day, and then I need to duplicate that three more times. Million-dollar business. Life changed. We now have a business that can be scaled or sold. And my partner and I went from that 1 million over the next three years to about 10 million, had our exit, and now I help and invest in entrepreneurs that are following similar models, and I invest my profits into other long-term assets.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. I love that story, and I love the way your mind works, Ryan, because you break things down into their simplest form. So, instead of saying like, “Hey, I just have these big goals,” it’s like, “No, actually, we just need 25 sales on this product and then I need three more and, boom, we’re there. And really, once you kind of gain that confidence that you can do it, that you can create this, then it becomes really fun to scale. It becomes easy to scale. You have the foundation, you have the base, and I just think that that’s incredible. So, you are very early. You’re one of the early people into e-commerce. By the way, I still think e-commerce is like the future, and I think that people that are looking…
Ryan Moran: It’s still early.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It’s very early and so much more is going to continue to really convert over. At a certain point in time, we’re going to have businesses, I mean, right now we’ve got businesses that are only e-commerce businesses. You can only buy their products online. We have a lot of brick-and-mortar that are seeing every single year that a larger percentage of their retail sales are happening online. And so, I just love this space. I’ve invested a lot in this space but you are a true expert here. You not only lived it, you not only started a company, but you have also coached and advised many other people in the space. And I’d love to hear kind of how that evolved to what it is today.
Ryan Moran: How did it evolve into what it is today? I think putting out consistent content about what’s working. I mean exactly what you’re doing right now. Why has your book been so successful? Why is your mastermind so successful? Why do people come to you for advice? You’ve done essentially the documentation of this entire business, this entire process, and you’ve done it with a genuine intent to serve and create and to help and to promote. And when you do that around a topic that is genuinely in service to other people, you find clients. If you get those clients’ results, they tell other people. Things start to grow. You know, it’s tempting to kind of talk about like here’s what I did and here’s the result that I got. But what I have come to understand, especially with entrepreneurs, is we put that on a pedestal, and then we compare our own results to that and feel bad about ourselves like, “Justin and Ryan have been podcasting for a long time, like not going to be able to catch up with that,” when in reality, the domino that you push over is always just what is in service to one person. I think the reason why a lot of our entrepreneur students have built seven-figure businesses is because half my work or 80% of my work is getting them to think about what is best for one person.
How do you spoil one person? How do you get one person on your email list? How do you write one piece of content that connects to one person? Like, how do you just help one person? And in that mindset, you end up knocking over other dominoes that lead to the results that you want. It’s when we try to skip over all of these other steps that we get into trouble. It’s when we try to go right for the result that we end up missing where all the action is because we’re now thinking about what we can get out of it rather than what we can create out of it or what we can create for someone else. And that’s just not how the world works. So, for me, it’s just been 10 years of putting out content that I think is valuable, being good to our customers, doing my best, which isn’t always awesome but always consistently showing up to try to do the right thing, to try and create value, and sometimes you get breaks as a result of doing that.
Justin Donald: Yeah. One thing I can say with just total sincerity is that the content you put out is incredible. I’ve seen the content. I mean, I will tell you a little secret here. When you came up with the idea to buy and own Capitalism.com, I was like, “Oh, genius. I’m so mad I didn’t think of that. This is brilliant.” And so, I’m just so happy that you’re doing something incredible with it because it’s like the most brilliant business domain name, everything. Yeah. So, where did that come up with? Like where did you come up with that, rather?
Ryan Moran: I finally cast a vision for what I wanted to create out of my messaging and my branding, and everything that I stand for can be wrapped up in one of two words, either freedom or capitalism. And to me, those two words are very similar but capitalism is the system through which we create freedom by serving one another. And if you look at my formative years, when I went to college, I was studying business during the 2008 recession and the 2008 presidential election. And so, my formative years are me studying business and economics during a financial meltdown and a presidential election that shaped history. And there was so much that was wrapped up in that word, capitalism, that really reflected the values that came out of those formative years, a belief that government does things less efficiently than private markets, that individuals who take personal responsibility create change better than any government or any institution can, the idea that freedom always wins, that freedom is an unstoppable force, and we just need to get out of its way, the idea that entrepreneurship is the greatest vehicle for creating positive change in the world. All of these ideas came out of those formative years, and the best word that I could think of that enwrapped all that was the word capitalism. And thankfully, it was owned by someone who was trying to keep it out of the wrong hands. We came up to a price. I bought the domain and I’ve been building my platform and my business on top of that domain ever since.
Justin Donald: That’s such a cool story, and I love that the person who sold it to you basically had to vet you.
Ryan Moran: Yes, that’s correct.
Justin Donald: To make sure you were the right fit to carry the torch of capitalism. That is really cool.
Ryan Moran: Exactly right. And it meant a lot to me when he followed up a few years later and said, “I sold the domain to the right guy.” That made me very proud.
Justin Donald: That’s cool. I mean, that has got to be just an incredible feeling to know that you’re, I mean, at the end of the day, we want to live up to the standards that we have placed on ourselves. But I think that there’s relevance and importance to knowing that you did right by someone that you are in partnership with. You know, it’s a loose partnership but that’s a true partnership. There is an exchange.
Ryan Moran: That’s right. And I did want to do him well. Like he did me a solid holding on the domain until I was ready. You know, that was a solid. He bought the domain when it was officially released so he did me a solid and I wanted to do him well.
Justin Donald: That’s cool. Well, one thing that I know about you is that you run incredible events. And so, I went to I think it was like either the first or second capitalism conference you ever put on. And I just absolutely loved it and became a huge fan immediately. You offer great value. You bring in great people. Your network is incredible. And so, I’m curious what made you decide, “Hey, let me go into the conference space,” because this is, I mean, I threw my first conference in retreat this year and it is a heavy lift. I mean, it is not for the faint of heart. I mean, I learned real fast that I need to get out of the weeds of this and just hand it off to someone that can do it at a much higher level than me.
Ryan Moran: Yeah. People tell me, “You should have an event every three months.” I was like, “Aha. I’m sure. I’m glad you think so because it takes months of work for almost no money.”
Justin Donald: Yeah, that’s right.
Ryan Moran: It was 2015 when we decided to have my first event. And between you and me, Justin, and everyone, the thousands of people who are listening, between us here, this small group here, I had $500,000 in retained earnings for my businesses and I risked all of it.
Justin Donald: Wow.
Ryan Moran: And I just decided that I had reached a plateau in my life through my business and the only way for me to change that was to get around a different level of person, to get around a different level of thinking. And so, I decided that I was willing to risk the $500,000 in retained earnings I had for a long-term investment of the people that I would meet. And so, I booked all the top speakers that I could think of like literally booked all of them, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, Robert Herjavec, Jeff Hoffman, Pat Flynn. I mean, it was just a stacked deck, at least at that time, and it was like my way of saying, “I’m here to play.” I mean, you should see my wardrobe from this event. It was horrible. It was like very clear that I had no idea what I was doing or who let me dress this way, I have no idea. And my thought was I’ll at least offset a lot of the costs by selling tickets. And thankfully, we broke even. But it was six months of work to put on one event, maybe longer, maybe nine months of work to put on one event to break even, which is a terrible business model. Three years in, you realize that that’s no way to run a business. Being in the events business is not a business. You have to have some other piece of that.
And I was lucky in the sense, after the 2019 event, we decided that we would take a year off and build the foundation of the business that is Capitalism.com, which was fantastic timing to not plan an event. So, we spent all of 2020 and 2021 really building the foundation of the business because we had been going from event to event to event to event and just brought back the event in 2021. I think it was our best one we’ve ever had. And now we actually have the foundation of a business to scale on Capitalism.com so that the capitalism conference can be our Super Bowl rather than this thing that is the thing that drains us and leaves us breaking even after nine months of work.
Justin Donald: Yeah. You don’t want the capitalism conference creating socialism or anything like that, right?
Ryan Moran: Yeah. You need the profit in order not to be socialist.
Justin Donald: So, it’s interesting because I remember the years you didn’t have it and I was like, “Oh man.” I look forward to that because you just bring such great people, and I always would have good insights. And for me, it’s always about one idea. I just go to an event and my goal is to take one thing away. And by the way, maybe I get lucky and take 20 things away. But my mindset is a very low bar to achieve because all I have to do is get one thing and I’m like, “Oh, that was totally worth it. Can’t wait for next year.” And so, I’d always walk away with a lot of takeaways and when you guys didn’t have it, I was looking for different events. And it’s funny because there’s not a whole lot out there that I put at the caliber of what you were doing. So, even though you weren’t making money, you were offering incredible value. Now, you got me beat because for my event this year, I held it at the Omni Barton Creek, which I think is like one of the nicest places in all of Austin. But I paid for it, so I not only didn’t break even, I went very negative on it. And so, as a business model, I like the way you’re doing it. This is good to think about, how to make it work. But for me and my first introductory large session, I wanted to say thank you to all my members and it was an awesome event.
But it got me thinking like in the future, what it could look like, what I want it to look like because the goal is not scale. You know this. The goal is quality, right? Just bringing more people in doesn’t make an event better, just having more attendees. And in fact, having more attendees just immediately complicates it. So, I think having that plan and having a vision and knowing kind of what you want to provide and how big do you want it, is this open to the public or is this just open to a certain amount, you hit that number, you’re done, I think it’s good to have that clarity.
Ryan Moran: So, Justin, I mean, to your point, I think the first several years of having an event were pure ego. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to have the best event. I wanted to look like all of my peers who are running events. I wanted to show I was here to play and I paid for that ego with stress and not a lot of money but continually putting in the effort and the time to make something great. It’s hard ass work and for not much return, except for long-term relationships, which of course has its own ROI. And it’s only now that I feel like, okay, I get it now. Making decisions from ego results in stress and lack of results. When we are actually trying to create the best experience possible, you end up getting all the things that the ego wanted. So, it’s being in that place of saying, “What do I truly want to create for other people and what brings value rather than what makes me look good?” And I think for three years I was asking mostly what makes me look good? And that ends up losing time, energy, and money. When you’re creating, you end up getting all of it.
Justin Donald: Yeah. What a great takeaway and realization. And your event this last year, I invited a whole bunch of members of my mastermind and we came and it was fun. It was a great event. You did very well, and I’m excited to see as this new model and what that looks like as you grow it into years to come. So, nice work there. I’m curious, though, on this next chapter of life. Okay. So, you’ve been the entrepreneur. You’ve started a business from scratch. You scaled it, you sold it, you had a very nice exit, and now you get to a point where you’re more of an investor and a coach. And maybe there’s a way to like blend these. But I’m curious, like, what are you doing like where are most of your investments? Where are most of the investments for you that have been very fruitful?
Ryan Moran: Yeah. I mean, the most fruitful investments have been the businesses that I know that I can help in some direct way, and that is often students that come from my pipeline. I’m at a position now where I’m very interested in just taking advisor shares from the businesses that I’m really excited about. Had I done that, I would have been a part of some of the eight, nine-figure exits that came from our community. So, sometimes I can be a slow learner but now I’m looking at, okay, I have deployed capital into some of these businesses. Can I also take equity stakes in these businesses just as an advisor, which is so obvious once you see it but not something that I considered until recently? So, I mean, I like the e-commerce business model. I think it’s the perfect business because they produce cash flows and they have exit potential. It’s like the closest thing you can have in my mind to the real estate dream of having both passive income and having appreciation, except in an e-commerce business, you need to have an operator in there, of course, so you need to have one in real estate too. But in e-commerce, the cash flows can be pretty substantial and the valuations can also be substantial. So, it’s that closest thing that you can get. It’s almost if you get a good one, it’s those same returns but on steroids.
Of course, if you have a terrible operator, then you can lose all your money. But I like being involved in that market because it’s what I know. It’s where I can create a lot of value. It’s where I have a network and it’s where I have what you call as invisible deal flow. I have my sweet sauce of being able to be plugged into that network and making an impact and getting that deal flow, whereas those wouldn’t be opportunities that other people would say.
Justin Donald: Yeah. And we talked about this a little bit when I was on your podcast about just the high-risk angel investments and how it’s really, I mean, that’s like boom or bust, feast or famine but way more famine than feast. But what you’re investing in is much different because you’ve got proven concepts, you’ve got revenue. In most cases, you have profit or you are really close on a path to profit. And so, I’m curious, like what some of your criteria are like when you look at a business that you’re like, “Hey, I want to take them on. I want to take these clients on,” what does that look like? Like, how do you know that this is the right business for you to help scale?
Ryan Moran: Yeah. I’m looking for we call it the green button. It’s the idea of like, if we remove this thorn in the side, can we hit a green button and grow? For example, there is a guy we’ve invested in. His name is Jacob, and Jacob had this cool, I guess, we call it an invention but it’s something that he patented that it’s basically an expandable cup holder, right? So, put it in your cup holder and you can change the size of it for bigger drinks. Incredibly simple. I would never invest in that business if he didn’t have a bigger vision but what he wanted was to build the white-collar WeatherTech. So, like all of the accouterments and accessories that you’d want to have in a Tesla or a BMW, and he wanted to develop that. That’s a cool vision but I’m not going to invest just on vision. I have to see a clear green button. And in his case, he just kept stocking out. He just kept rolling his money back into more and more inventory orders. Well, that can be solved with money. So, if we put money into the business to allow him to have a larger inventory order, he’s able to make bigger orders, which drives down his cost of goods, which creates more profit, which allows him to be more aggressive in advertising, and he quadrupled in a period of about six months. So, it went from like $40,000 or $50,000 a month in sales to $150,000 to $200,000 a month in sales in a matter of six months. That’s a clear green button.
And now we can invest those profits into the next product and the next product and the next product in building real infrastructure. That’s fun. All right. So, there has to be a very clear green button. There’s one business they got debt on their books. You remove the debt, they’re a profitable business. So, can we consolidate that? Can we buy that with equity and allow them to take those profits and start to reinvest into growth for the company? Or sometimes it’s just things like, you know, what this person needs is the connection to the right influencer that can help put him on the map because the product’s great, the numbers look great. They just don’t have the exposure or the cash flow to be able to invest in more advertising. So, let’s bring on a 10% equity partner that has a million-person following for that specific space, get them free exposure, get them a lot of customers, and now they’ve got the cash flow to invest into more products and more infrastructure. So, I’m always looking for the clear green button and the green button is something that I uniquely can bring to the table and that’s when I know I have a winner. When I lose is when I don’t have a clear button that is unique to me like I have capital or I have a network or I have relationships or I have knowledge or expertise. Those are all ways that I can deploy value. When I deviate from that, that’s when I get into trouble.
Justin Donald: Yeah. And then for me, I deviate when I leave my system network. So, I built a system that if I just run it through kind of like checks and balances, it kind of plays out. But if I use my emotions and say, “Oh, I like this idea. I like this person. I want this to go well,” that’s when I’m getting outside of the core framework, the fundamentals, and that’s where I haven’t seen the same level of success.
Ryan Moran: 100%.
Justin Donald: I like that you’ve got your criteria, like the criteria that makes the green button.
Ryan Moran: I don’t know about you, Justin, but I learn by running full speed into a wall and saying, “Oh, that hurt,” and then coming back, and then I run into it again. And then I’m like, “Oh, maybe, oh, there’s a door here.” It’s how I learn. I wish I learned differently but I learn through making mistakes and then moving through them. It’s such a stupid way to grow but it’s how I roll. So, I can only speak to you about this criteria because I’ve deviated from the past and what I intend is to be better and better and better over time.
Justin Donald: Well, and that’s the big thing here is a lot of people when they hit that wall, it hurts and they just stop. They go, “Oh, this wasn’t for me. You know, I need to get out of this space,” versus like, “Well, how could I make this work? Is there a secret door here? You know, is there a hidden door?”
Ryan Moran: Do differently next time.
Justin Donald: Yeah.
Ryan Moran: Because there will be a next time.
Justin Donald: That’s right. Because it is, I mean, you can learn from the good but you learn a lot faster, often from the bad. Things don’t go as planned. I mean, this is in your own business, my own business, and businesses that we’ve consulted or coached people in where, I mean, it is the joys and thrills of the up are great but, man, when things don’t go to plan and you are just struck with just a crazy situation, that’s where the growth comes from.
Ryan Moran: And I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish I could learn just as much in my successes. But I don’t.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It’s interesting. So, what are some of your plans for the future for where you see Capitalism.com going? Where do you see your brand going? You’ve got an incredible podcast. You’ve got a mastermind. I’d love to have you share a little bit more about what you have going on and kind of what your plans are for the future.
Ryan Moran: You know, Justin, I move the fastest when I simplify, and this is a realization that I had just in the last few months of the fewer things that I’m focused on, the faster they move. And up until just recently, I felt very chaotic. It was fires over here and for this over here. And like, I run the podcast and a YouTube channel and launching a new product and then writing a book. And it was just not your life where you wake up and you’re with your family and you eat breakfast and you go work out. Not that, right? I am in the process of being much more intentional about knocking over the next domino because I want more of that open-ended schedule but I think you’ve been really good at crafting. And so, for me, it’s looking at what is right in front of us that we need to attack. And like this quarter, as simple as this sounds, it’s building sales systems. You know, we are so proud of our products and services, and the only way that people find out about them is because Ryan worked his tail off. I do podcasts or videos or write a book or write emails to lists. It’s like me running around on a hamster wheel versus having very clear sales systems for any of our programs.
And so, it’s like the profit that we make as a result of Ryan’s chaos rather than there being a really clear system for it. And so, this entire quarter like we’re recording this in February. All of January was building the kind of foundation of that. Right now, we’re hiring a lead acquisition specialist and a salesperson. We have our front-end offer that we’re starting to dial in. It is very boring, fundamental stuff that I’ve just avoided for most of my career. And so, it is really fundamental stuff to free me into a higher level of performance because when the sales system is really dialed in, now, we can really dial in our content systems, which is more of Ryan’s chaos of videos and podcasts and emails and all this. Well, when we have sales systems dialed in, now, we can add content systems that become building of the machine. Oh, yeah, that’s how this will grow and when that is in place, well, now I have a much larger audience as a result of doing all that hard work. So, now we can go back to making the products even better and best-in-class, and it becomes that cycle of how do we make it more and more efficient, better and better, serve more and more entrepreneurs, which frees me up to build a great team, invest in my team and have more of the lifestyle that you’ve got.
And hopefully, in two years we’re having a glass of scotch and I’m saying now I wake up and have the life that you have, Justin. So, that’s a very honest answer of just through my own personal work and exploration, realizing how chaotic I keep my life and I keep my chaotic life as a way to avoid negative feeling or as a way of just avoiding real work. And so, it is lining up those dominoes and pushing them over one at a time.
Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s great. And I love your…
Ryan Moran: I’m sorry to interrupt but I think your real question is like, what’s the vision of where all of this is going? And that is that I want to be in a position to where I have the capital and the exposure to be able to blow up any business that comes from our audience. And we have this kid in our community right now. His name is Damien. He’s working for a year on this cookie brand that just launched. For a year, he was like in the grind of it, just like force and to make things happen. I’m so proud of this kid. And he finally launches. Does $11,000 in sales in his first five days, which he’s like out of his mind excited, right? I want to be in the position to where I go to my investors and I say, “Look, we’re putting $250,000 into this guy’s business,” and I’m to have him on the podcast and he’s going to get a lift from this. Like, I love that puppet master role of being able to say, “This is a great idea. We’re going to blow this up,” or this is a great syndication. All of you should put your money into it.” Not investment advice. I’m an idiot on the internet. Don’t listen to anything that I say.
But I want to be in that position to where when there are cool opportunities and businesses and entrepreneurs that I want to back that those resources are there and I get to play the role of deal maker. Like, that’s where I want to go with this because I believe entrepreneurship and capitalism is the way that we create positive change. So, I want to be in the position to see the positive change that can happen, bring it to my audience, bring it to my investors, and incubate that idea, and put it on the map. That’s where all this is going.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. I love that. That’s powerful, and I agree with you that entrepreneurship, capitalism, that is the way of the future. That is what’s going to create the change that we need. So, that’s amazing. Tell us a little bit here about your mastermind and then where people can find you, Ryan.
Ryan Moran: Yeah. My mastermind’s closed. I only now do private clients and businesses that I’ve invested in. So, my mastermind, my backroom is where I’ve either invested money in somebody’s business or I have equity stakes or like a one-on-one relationship with them. So, I stopped doing the mastermind model because I wanted to go deeper with the people who are in my community. Best place for people to find me is my podcast. It’s called Capitalism.com, or if they’re in a position where they’re really saying, “All right, like I want to build the million-dollar business,” my book 12 Months to $1 Million is the playbook for going from zero to a million-dollar business in 12 months. It’s a hype-y title. Gary V said, “This is a really douchey title, man,” and I was like, “I know but it’s true.” So, it’s the playbook to building a million-dollar business. You can find that anywhere you want.
Justin Donald: Well, anytime you have Gary V just even weighing in on anything, I think you’re doing pretty well. That’s awesome, right? Super cool. Well, I’m excited for people to hear more about this. I know there are a lot of people on my network that are in this space. You know, this audience has a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of people on e-commerce. I mean, in fact, there are a ton of people in my mastermind that are in e-commerce and have done very well. So, I’m excited for them to hear this, learn more, be able to connect with you. So, thanks so much for really just taking the time to join us and to play all out here today.
Ryan Moran: Thanks, Justin. I’ve been so impressed with your meteoric rise to what you’ve built, so I’m impressed with you as well, and I really appreciate you having me on.
Justin Donald: Well, thank you very much, and I’ll leave this episode the way I leave all my episodes. What is the one step that you’re going to take today to move towards financial freedom and a life that’s on your terms, by your design, not by default? Thanks. And we’ll catch you next week.
Ryan Moran: Take care.