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Unlock the Secrets to Scaling Your Business: Ryan Deiss Shares his Expert Advice
Episode 33526th February 2024 • Your Dream Business • Teresa Heath-Wareing
00:00:00 00:45:49

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Today’s episode of the podcast is an interview with Ryan Deiss, where we are talking all about how to scale your business for true freedom and growth.

Ryan kindly shares his very honest stories of scaling his own businesses to achieve huge success, how he had to get out of his own way, and the conflicts he experienced between building a business and sacrificing family time. Ryan Deiss is a serial entrepreneur, author, and investor, and according to Shark Tank star Daymond John, “His companies practically own the internet.” He is the Founder and CEO of The Scalable Company (,, and a Founding Partner at Scalable Equity, LLC, an equity accelerator that builds, acquires, and invests inB2B media, services, and software brands. Ryan is also the founder and host of the Traffic & Conversion Summit, the largest digital marketing conference in North America. He also quite literally wrote the book on modern marketing, Digital Marketing For Dummies (Wiley), which is now in its second edition.  


  1. The evolution of online marketing and adapting to changing times
  2. The key differences between growing your business and scaling your business
  3. How to define your target audience for effective marketing
If you enjoyed this episode then please feel free to go and share it on your social media or head over to iTunes and give me a review, I would be so very grateful.



Buy Ryan's Book, 'Get Scalable: The Operating System Your Business Needs To Run and Scale Without You' Connect with Ryan on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn Connect with through their website, Instagram or Facebook Connect with Teresa on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook



Teresa: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the Your Dream Business Podcast. I hope you're doing well. So this week I have another interview and I'm very excited and honored to do this week's episode. It's always lovely when I get asked to interview someone when I've not reached out to them and their name is pretty big and I know it and I'm like, Oh wow, they're asking to come on my show. And this week's guest is exactly that type of person. This week I'm interviewing the amazing Ryan Deiss. Ryan Deiss is a serial entrepreneur, author, investor, and according to the Shark Tank star, Damon John, his company practically owns the internet. Ryan is the founder and CEO of scalable company, digitalmarketer. com. That's probably where you know his name from. And the founding partner of Scalable Equity LLC, which is an equity accelerator that builds, acquires, and invests in B2B media services and software brands. Ryan is also the founder and host of Traffic and Conversion Summit, which I've attended and seen him speak at. The largest marketing conference, digital marketing conference in North America. He's also quite literally wrote the book on modern marketing, digital marketing for dummies, and which is now in its second edition. He is a sought after speaker. Ryan has shared the stage with top business leaders and celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuk, Sarah Blakely, Martha Stewart, Tim Ferriss, Damon John, and Dave Ramsey. I mean, that is a hell of a like bio. So I am super excited that this week I get to bring to the podcast, the amazing Ryan Deiss. I am so very delighted to welcome to the podcast, Ryan Deiss. Ryan, how are you doing? Ryan: I am doing amazingly well. Thank you so much for having me. Teresa: I am very pleased. I was just saying that in the intro that it's so lovely when I get, I get lots of requests to come on the podcast, which is awesome. And then when I see a name that I'm like, Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. No, this person is definitely coming on. So it was great to speak to your team and get you on. It's been, it's been something that I'm really, really pleased about. So I'm excited about today's conversation. Ryan: Yeah. Likewise. And it's an honor to be here. So thank you. Teresa: So I want to start with where people, certainly where I know you from. So I know you from digital marketer, trafficking conversion, but I want to go back a bit because I'm not sure that I've ever really looked into or found out how you got to do that. And then we can talk about what we're doing today. Ryan: Aha, it's not a story I tell very often, actually, and not because it's like a bad story. It's just I've been doing this now for 25 years. It just winds up becoming a long story. So I'm going to try to give you the short, short version if that's okay. But let's go all the way back to 1999. I was a freshman at the University of Texas. In Austin, so my 1st year at university and and the Internet was brand new and that year I met the spring semester. I was always entrepreneurial. I always wanted to make money. I didn't have any of it, but I was in college. You're supposed to be broke. It's fine. You know, it wasn't that big a deal, but kind of towards the end of my 1st semester, I met a girl. And I, I knew in my heart of hearts, this is the woman that I'm going to marry. I like to say I didn't tell her that because I knew that that was creepy, but I just knew I really did. And, and so in that moment, I was like, I'm, I'm, I'm, I'm broken. That's bad. I need to figure out a way to make some money. And, you know, at the university of Texas, people told stories about Michael Dell. Who started Dell computer out of his dorm room, which was literally his dorm room was across the street from my dorm room. And so I'm like, I could be the next Michael Dell. I'm going to start a business. And I had no idea what I was going to do, but I figured I could teach myself web design. So my actually, my very 1st company was a web design company. I was terrible at web design. Absolutely completely terrible, but I had, a student version of Adobe go live and Microsoft front page. People now have no idea what those even were, but that was how websites were built 100 years ago. And I marketed myself as a web designer, and the only client I got, and this is a bit funny, was a lactation consultant. Now, I have 4 kids. And my wife, you know, nurse breastfed all of our, all of our kids. So I have nothing but love for lactation consultants. I can tell you at 19 years old and building a website for a lactation consultant was a bit awkward. But built a website and it was, you know, it was going okay. And but unfortunately her husband wound up losing her job. We had a bit of a recession, husband lost, lost his job. She had to go back to work. She had to. You know, shutter her lactation consulting business, and she no longer had a need for a website, and she no longer had the ability to pay me. But this one was really, really sharp. Because she did something that I bet a lot of your other listeners have done. She wrote an ebook. She was smart. She realized as a lactation consultant, her clients, if she did her job, were eventually not going to need her. You know, they were going to figure it out on your own, then eventually the kids would wean. And so she actually said, I don't want to just be about lactation consulting. I want to expand my niche into overall childhood nutrition. Really, really smart, right? Incredibly smart. So she wrote this ebook on how to make your own baby food. And because she couldn't pay me, she said, look, I've got this ebook on how to make your own baby food. I want you to have it. Maybe you can sell it and make some money since I can't afford to pay you. And I'm thinking at the time, the heck am I going to do with like a 38 page PDF on how to make your own baby food? But again, back then, 1999, the, the cop, there was no Amazon. Google is a science fair project. And I did some research and I found, you know, there's actually a lot of people searching for how to make your own baby food and there's nothing out there on it. So my very first business was selling an ebook on my very first online business was selling an ebook on how to make your own baby food from a simple one page website. I charged $17 for it, which, and I remember I came up with the price because. It was basically less than 0. 50 per page. And I marketed that and for me, for whatever reason, that seemed like a deal. But a few years later, everybody told me you can never sell an ebook online for $17. Nobody will ever buy it. Thankfully, by the time people were telling me I couldn't do it, I've been doing it for years and making, you know, good money off of it. But that began what started off as kind of my entrepreneurial journey. I had this one ebook. It sold a couple of copies a day, which was enough for me to, you know, make some extra money. I thought, what if I had 10 of these and so I did and and my goal was just if I can make 10, 000 to buy this girl, I met a ring saving up some money. That'd be great. Fast forward a couple years and got the ring, got the girl and a little side hustle turned into a real publishing company. And that that truly is where it all began. Teresa: That's amazing. I think there are some people, and I do not class myself as one of them, that entrepreneurship is just inbuilt in them. Like, like you said, straight off the bat, what can I do? How can I earn money? And I don't, do you think that's down to, were your parents? Business owners, do you, were you surrounded by business owners? Was that a thing that you saw and then thought I can replicate that? Or do you just have that switch in your head? Ryan: You know, funny, it wasn't my mom was a school teacher. My dad was an electrician, you know, came from a family of farmers, which I guess there's some entrepreneurial grit there maybe, but, but no, I didn't see entrepreneurs and I, and I, I remember going to college, I remember going to university and finding people who were majoring in business. And I, and I asked him, I was like, what is that? Like, what, how does one major in business, like business is a, is a thing. Like I don't, I don't even know how you do that. I, so I don't know where it comes from. I do believe that entrepreneurial, like entrepreneurship is a calling. I think that there are some people who they are just willing to put in that extra work and that extra risk for that extra outcome. And I think a lot of this. Probably comes from a degree of like trauma and brokenness, you know, where it's like, you can't tell me what to do kind of thing. Yeah. But, you know, I think it's there and it's funny. I've got four kids and I look at my own kids and I, I'm not trying to push my kids into being entrepreneurs. Cause I know how hard it is. And I just want them to find their calling. I want them to find kind of their place and I want them to feel like, you know, pressure to quote unquote, following my footsteps. But it's obvious like some of my kids are more entrepreneurial than others and we'll see where that comes from. So no, I didn't really see an example. I'll tell you what I did have though. My parents got divorced when I was three years old. Okay. Not a big sob story by the way. They were very mature about it. Got along great. I'd spend two weeks at my mom's house, two weeks at my dad's house. They agreed to live close. So, you know, Same school, you know, same friend group, all that other stuff. But when I stayed at my dad's house, he would drop me off at my mom's house at just the crack of dawn. He had to be at work at 6. 30am, 6. 30 in the morning. So he dropped me off very early at my mom's house so I could catch the bus. But what's the only thing on? I don't know if this is the case in the, you know, in the UK and around the world, but certainly in the States, certainly back in the, you know, 80s and 90s, the only thing on at the crack of dawn is infomercials. And so I grew up watching infomercials every single morning. So while I don't think I necessarily got a education or I got to witness entrepreneurialism, I definitely got to witness a good, solid, direct response marketing. Teresa: Yeah. I just think about this woman who had the like. The foresight to go, here's an ebook. Like I can speak to people now who still wouldn't know what that is. And I'm sure, you know, when you're not in your world, it's the same. Cause I do think the, sometimes I don't even try and explain that I have a membership or I sell courses online, or I speak online, or I teach to people who are not in the same country as me. Even now they don't get it. So to have that thought and to give it you and go see what you can do with it and for you to take it in a subject and this where, you know, anybody listening to this, like I love that when people have a passion about something and when it's their thing that they adore and then they sell it, I love that. But you took something that was so far from your comfort zone and still found a way to sell it and still find a way to make money with it, which. blows my mind. That's just amazing. Ryan: Yeah. I want to, I want to speak to that because I think there's a point there that, that, that your listeners need to hear, but I just got to say, one of my biggest regrets in life is that I forgot this woman's name, my client, my first client's name. I can't remember her name. I've actually tried to Google and research of like, cause I always felt like if I, you know, if I remember and recognize it, even after, you know, our kids were born, I was like Googling lactation consultants in Austin, trying to see if I could find her to come full circle and to tell her. You know, she was my first business mentor, right? She was truly the probably the first real entrepreneur I ever saw. And what I saw was somebody who failed. Right. Her business, she had to shut her business down. So by the normal world standards, she failed. But she, she didn't look at it as like a personal failure. She just saw it as like, these are my circumstances right now. I'll come back and try it again. And there was just so much wisdom, so much insight, so much strength there. And I owe that woman, more than I owe, well, just about every mentor that I've probably paid tens, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars too. So I just wanted to make sure that was said for posterity's sake. Maybe 1 day, she'll hear this and remember hiring some, you know, stupid idiot kid at 19 years old to build a website and a connection will be made. So I'm just putting it out there. Teresa: Maybe she'll find you. Maybe she'll go. Oh, my God. Look at what happened to that guy. That is insane. Ryan: Keep waiting for it. Like, so far, and again, that was what almost 25 years ago. So, so far. Not so good. Oh, okay. The point though about taking a book that you know nothing about and selling it. We have a term for that. That's called publishing. And, and I think this is really, really important for, you know, for your listeners, keep in mind, if you identify as an expert, you know, or as an author, That's wonderful, right? That's good. I always chose to identify as a publisher because as a publisher, I choose to publish my own stuff, but I can also choose to publish other people's stuff. And I think a lot of times we limit ourselves and our ability to, scalar companies to launch new companies because we put ourselves in the box of us. Everything we do is limited to what we can do to what we know. And if you think about it, you go, no, no, no, like I'm a publisher. I know some stuff, but so to other people, the publishers make more money than the authors in general, you know, the owners of sports clubs make more money than the players. So I think it's worth just being really thoughtful about how you identify in this business. Teresa: Yeah. And, and that shows with what you then went on to create the fact that you, and I guess, unlike most of the digital entrepreneurs, online businesses, we sell what we're good at and we sell what we're passionate about. But then that limits us to us as the business, whereas you took that and, and sold that. And then like, look at the businesses you've grown, like digital markets the traffic conversion summit, like these are huge businesses. So I guess. In my head, I was going to ask the question, you know, did you envisage that you would grow things to that size? But part of me, as I say, it is like, well, you started off selling something that wasn't yours kind of. So if you carried on doing it, then presumably that's why you grew and how you grew. Ryan: I'll tell you, I never in a million years. Could have imagined building a business at the scale that we are at today. So the last, you know, in 2023 combined, our portfolio companies did in excess of $200 million in revenue, right? That's pretty big. Now, keep in mind, we've sold a lot of businesses. So in 2018 and 2019, I sold the vast majority of the companies that I owned. So picking back up on the, you know, on the story, I had all these different businesses. You know, when I graduated and got married, my wife and I, we. I did, like I said, I got the ring. I got the girl. We dated throughout college, you know, got engaged our junior year, got married the weekend after we graduated from, from university and, you know, started our, started our life together. And I just kept doing what I was doing. And those businesses just kind of, they would change and they would morph and obviously models change and new technology happened, new ad platforms. But all I was doing was starting businesses based on there's a need out there in the marketplace that is currently unmet. I don't have to be the person to meet it. I just need to be the person who's willing to connect the experts with the people who need the information. Right? That is kind of basic commerce. That that was my that was my business. And I just I decided that I was going to start an email newsletter. To talk about what I was doing and the only reason I did that is I was invited to speak at a marketing event and I was the only person this marketing event. I had no idea how to market. I should have this event. I'd never been to 1, but it turned out that the way marketing events worked at least back then is a speaker would come up. They would give 30




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