While entrepreneurs like Kevin O’Leary are becoming literal Rock Star’s, Ryan Blair is out there redefining the term for entrepreneurs. And if there was anyone capable of redefining the term “Rock Star” Ryan Blair would be that man.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing him, to learn more about his vision for his upcoming release.
With his new book about to drop on Tuesday, October 4, “Rock Bottom to Rock Star: Lessons From The Business School of Hard Knocks,” Blair wants to convey the idea that modern rock stars should “own their own stage, and live a life of success through hard work.” This is, after all, how he rose the ranks of society and placed himself firmly at the top.
The former gang member, who was handed very few opportunities earlier in life, is now a very respected serial entrepreneur with a 792.4 million dollar acquisition under his belt.
In his latest release, which follows his debut book “Nothing To Lose, Everything To Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur,” Blair outlines a series of personal, uncensored stories as he details the difficult journey he faced in his quest for success.
The Key To Success? Find a Mentor
Blair makes no secret of the fact that, as a young man, he was taken under the wing of an entrepreneurial mentor.
Growing up in LA, Blair was susceptible to crime from an early age. He later became involved with a series of gangs.
However, as he became a fully fledged gang member and his future prospects began to slip away, his mother sought sobriety and eventually found Blair some help as well. This help was in the form of a mentor.
Blair was taught how to apply his skills learned through illegal schemes to legal businesses. As time went on, and Blair’s success grew exponentially, he never underestimated the value of a good mentor.
Blair says, “I’ve been blessed to get mentorship from some of the finest business people and leaders on this planet, men like John Wooden, Tony Hsieh, John Maxwell, Dan Gilbert, Bob Goergen—and I am absolutely certain that I would not be where I am today without their advice and wisdom.”
How Blair Learned From Tough Times
Blair’s success today is largely attributed to him learning from the difficult situations he was put in, or in other words, making the best of a series of testing situations. As a gang member, Blair was arrested several times, and in his mid-teens: he faced a serious criminal conviction.
At the time, Blair was beginning to understand that the structure and hierarchy used in organized crime wasn’t too far removed from the models used in corporate businesses. He was also becoming well acquainted with the legal system.
Instead of admitting defeat, Blair learned from the challenging situations he found himself in and put this knowledge to good use. He sobered up and began to navigate the corporate world, with a newfound instinct for survival. Blair says he was always “hyper-competitive,” but the experiences he underwent taught him to “see [himself] as the competition.”
Blair Demonstrates The Value of Trying and Trying Again
After enduring a difficult childhood, and working tirelessly to turn illegal ventures into legal business models, Blair finally found success when he started a company that was later sold for 25 Million dollars only three years later.
However, that initial success was short lived. In 2004, he was forced to declare bankruptcy. He attributes his losses to many causes, but primarily, Blair believes that he was spending more than he earned and that he was living the life of a “rock star” without the means to support it.
When Blair declared bankruptcy, he was also in the midst of a messy divorce, and his outlook on life was dismal (to say the least). This was Blair’s “rock bottom,” and in his book, he gives an honest description of his mindset at the time.
However, what sets Blair apart from other failed businessmen, is that despite hitting “rock bottom” he tried, and then tried again! His efforts paid off in 2005 when he found two business partners to collaborate with to form “ViSalus,” which later sold for 792.4 Million dollars in 2012.
Blair says, “That rock bottom moment—going broke in 2004, the pain I felt, and the resolution I made to myself to never visit that place ever again—propelled me forward so hard that I literally went from nothing to being worth $70 million dollars in seven years. By 2013 I was the fifth highest paid person under forty on Wall Street.”
From Rags To Riches: A True Hollywood Story
Blair has now added New York Times best-selling author as well as film producer to his resume, and for good reason. His personal story of overcoming gang affiliation and other challenges is incredible, and his tale of turning his hardships into a multi-million dollar empire is truly inspiring.
Blair is an extremely talented and successful serial entrepreneur, and his venture fund HashTagOne is a major investor for many promising startups. He was named Ernst & Young’s entrepreneur of the year in 2012 and is regularly quoted by major news outlets, as the industry increasingly views him as one of the world’s top business experts.
He is aware of how unbelievable his success is, and says, “Anyone can do this. I’ve personally met ‘rock star’ entrepreneurs, activists, artists, parents, and executives that have overcome rock bottom moments that I can’t even fathom facing, let alone rebounding from. It almost sounds too good to be true, but it’s not.”
Blair is the ultimate story of success, and you can read more about it in detail in his book “Rock Bottom to Rock Star: Lessons From The Business School of Hard Knocks.
Chris Arima is the Co-Founder/Chief Branding Officer of Influencive. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Startup founder, Author, Spoken Word Poet/Rapper & lifelong Martial Artist.