Meet young business leader, Ryan Blair, a father to a son, Reagan, the CEO & Co-Founder of ViSalus and the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went From Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur tells his story of starting from nothing and working his way to the top. Overcoming all obstacles and never giving up is what ultimately what led him to where he is today. His journey seems still to have only just begun, since this entrepreneur has big vision, and we’re excited to see what his next steps will be. He’s made it this far, and we’re certain he’s got a lot further to go. After all, great wealth is earned by great work.
Beverly Hills Magazine: How did you become an entrepreneur?
Ryan Blair: Long before I was an entrepreneur and a New York Times best selling author, I was a gang member with a juvenile criminal record. Luckily, before it was too late, a mentor came into my life, my stepfather Robert Hunt, who was a successful real estate entrepreneur. With much patience, Bob challenged me to be a better man and opened my eyes to the world of legal business enterprise. My first job was working for his firm and as a result, he would correct me when I made mistakes. If I was late, he would explain to me that my behavior was unacceptable. If I asked for a raise, he would be honest with me about my performance and what he felt I needed to work on. He insisted I get my GED and go to a community college as one of his conditions of my employment. Most importantly he would ask me my goals, personally, professionally and financially. He knew what I wanted and presented the work he asked me to do as a gateway for me to achieve. I would not be where I am today if it were not for his mentorship. By watching an entrepreneur in action, I learned how to be one myself. I applied the lessons he taught me almost daily.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is your personal business mission?
Ryan Blair: When I was a kid on the streets, I learned very quickly that there is nothing more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose. I found the same is true for business. No matter how desperate the circumstances, a successful entrepreneur will conquer fear and fight.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is ViSalus?:
Ryan Blair: We’re a global healthy lifestyle company, and we transform lives. We’ve become the #1 weight-loss and fitness Challenge platform in the world, but we’re also an industry leader in product innovation, cutting-edge science, social and mobile technology, entrepreneurial-thinking, and leadership development. Over the past 10 years, we’ve helped more than 3 million people lose tens of millions of pounds. They’ve accomplished this by consuming more than half a billion of our meal replacements across over a dozen countries. And since the more weight people lose with our programs, the more kids win through our humanitarian initiatives, this had led to over 5 million meals donated to children.
Ryan Blair: I had to overcome, dyslexia, A.D.D., low self-esteem, fear of failure, fear of not being enough, impulse control, social anxiety…you name it and I have had to conquer it to achieve success.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Who or what have been your inspirations?
Ryan Blair: My stepfather was my greatest mentor. He gave me a shot, and with his help I began to learn and believe in myself. He gave me the tools I needed for much needed self esteem. He was the first person to tell me I was smart, he believed me, and therefore I started believing in myself. He taught me how to set and go after my goals, a technique I use while mentoring others. My son, Reagan, is also an inspiration to me and my company ViSalus. We developed Vi Crunch as a way to help Reagan’s sensory development.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur?
Ryan Blair: Focus is the #1 challenge for all entrepreneurs. By our nature we are creative and the more creative you are the more projects you want to engage in. Just remember, focus means having to say “no.”
Beverly Hills Magazine: What are the greatest joys of entrepreneurship?
Ryan Blair: The best part of owning and starting your own business is the freedom it gives you, coupled with the anchor of responsibility.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What makes your business different from others of its kind?
Ryan Blair: Our people are what make our business different. From our people we make great products and those products are what our customers (3M and counting) love.
Beverly Hills Magazine: Where do you see your business development/growth within the next 5 years?
Ryan Blair: I plan to make a few billion dollars and have a lot of fun doing it.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Ryan Blair: The best advice I have for other entrepreneurs is to be a good teacher, but a better student.
Beverly Hills Magazine: What is your Life Motto?
Ryan Blair: Work hard, share your prosperity with others, and never give up – especially when you have nothing to lose.