Today’s guest proves that you can attract a following and build a business by being a bit “controversial.” While I don’t think he is, Ryan Moran is considered a bit of a controversial figure by some. He’s taking a stand for what he believes is right and has built a successful business and rabid following as a result. In this video, he shows you how to grow a following and build a business by taking a stand.

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How to Attract People by Taking a Stand with Ryan Moran

Matt: Welcome, Ryan.

Ryan: Hey, Matt. Thanks so much for having me.

Matt: It is so good to have you. I know I’ve been trying to connect with you for a while.

I’m actually a fan of yours, and so that brings like the total number of guests that I’ve ever had that I was like a big fan of to like three.

Ryan: Well, I appreciate it. Thank you very much for following my work.

Matt: That’s not weird, is it?

Ryan: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Matt: What’s your address, by the way? I’m at right now?

Ryan: One day I’ll tell you about the stalker that showed up at the office.

Matt: That sounds like a fun story.

Today’s objective was to start this office awkwardly as possible and succeeded with that.

Well, then we’re going to talk about something pretty cool today, this twelve months to a million book that you have coming out.

But first I just want to kind of dive into a little bit of your backstory.

I don’t want to go back to like when you were a little swimmer.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

But you built this brand capitalism.com, you built it really fast, and I know a lot of our listeners and audience

would love to know-how in the heck that happened.

I’m just going to turn it over to you and let you tell a little bit about that story.

Ryan: So my strategy on audience building is if you stand for something and you let the world come to you, then you’ll always have the most responsive audience that’s in alignment with what you believe.

And it’s also probably the biggest mistake that I see a lot of entrepreneurs make.

They either stand for nothing because they’re trying to placate, or they stand against something.

Neither one are effective for delivering a message, for getting customers, or for creating change.

People don’t need an enemy, they need an advocate, and that’s what they’re looking for in brands and businesses.

So you never waiver on who you’re for and I’m for entrepreneurs and capitalists.

Now, I could actually have a much bigger audience if I turn capitalism.com into an antisocialism platform and just talked about all the evils of socialism, which I believe in.

But you wouldn’t get alignment in the direction of where you want to create a movement or create change.

You do that with the people that you’re for, you do that with the people that you’re an advocate for.

And most people are either standing for nothing, so they just waiver every time there’s something new and different to the news cycle, which is never more apparent than right now, or they’re against something rather than for something, and so they can never create authority in a certain space.

I’ve just made the decision to be for things rather than against things and to take a stand when I feel called to take a stand on them.

Matt: Does that take you a while to figure out, or was that kind of from the beginning of this capitalism.com,

Ryan: I learned best through trial and error, but also through observing others.

And if you look at your own buying behavior, if you look at your own consumption behavior, what you pay attention to usually has a consistent theme.

And so just by looking at my own behavior and being able to extrapolate that over other people that you affect or that you know, you’re able to put those pieces together.

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Matt: You made an interesting observation there about you could be the anti-socialism, you could be the rock thrower, the flamethrower.

And that is that on both sides, we’ll just say that it’s very effective.

If you’ve ever turned on the television, you’ll notice that the radio, works from an audience-building standpoint, what would you say?

I’m speaking purely from a business and revenue standpoint, not from a moral or ethical standpoint here because that’s not the place of this podcast here.

But what would you say from those standpoints is easier to do from a content creation standpoint, would you say, I think it is easier to do pro-something content as long as you believe it.

Ryan: So the first thing that we do as human beings, as we see what we’re against and so it’s the first reaction and so it’s the quickest reaction and it’s the reaction that most people have.

But it’s very difficult to create content from that place because you’re usually, most of the time, almost always just regurgitating what somebody else has said.

Sure, you’re reacting rather than creating from a creation standpoint, creating something new, it’s always what you’re for.

It’s always by taking a stand for what you want to see in the world rather than what you don’t want to see in the world.

Everyone defaults and reacts to what they don’t want. But there’s zero creation in that.

You can be an echo chamber. You can add to the noise, it’s easier to make noise when you’re against something.

But to create content, to create content assumes that you’re serving a specific person along a journey as they evolve to wherever they’re trying to go, wherever they’re trying to create or accomplish.

So the creation process only comes when you are standing for something because then you are able to communicate in a way that draws people to you and that’s the purpose of content creation.

Matt: So do you think that you’re trying to because it’s an interesting path here.

Let me ask you, I never really quantified the way you did what you do, but you’re one of the few blogs the name in and of itself is an economic system.

It’s political in nature, right?

Ryan: That’s right.

Matt: But I don’t find myself getting upset or defensive or any of that.

So the question, the question that I would ask behind that is when you’re attracting your audience and you’re building an audience or you’re creating content, are you trying to attract people who already agree with you who read it and go, yup, yup, this is for me. Or are you trying to change minds?

Ryan: Both. But I used to think that you had to change minds first, and I recognize that that’s a natural byproduct of being an advocate for something that someone wants on their journey.

So I believe in entrepreneurship and capitalism, in the profit motive.

I believe in personal responsibility and operating within your own self-interest.

Now, when I say that, I get other people who agree with that. What else do I believe in?

Creation, service, being good to your customers, standing for something.

And so there’s a natural bridge when you talk about what you’re for, and there’s a natural cutting off the bridge when you talk about what you are against.

So just this past week, we do these community calls inside of my community, which is called the 1%, and we just got together, drink coffee, and talk about business.

And a girl raised her hand and she talked about the community that she came from.

And it was a left-leaning community, and she specifically was part of a certain segment of kind of a left-leading audience.

And she’s like, I don’t know how to speak up about my business because I’m afraid that the political implications of the other people that I hang out with are going to come after me.

And I said to her, do you realize the unique position that you’re in to advocate for all the things that you want to advocate for and want to make a lot of money?

It’s really cool to be a part of the community and also say what you’re for without having to point out what you’re against.

So if you can simply say, I agree with these ideas, I’m for this and I’m for this and for this, and I want to make a lot of money, no one disagrees with that.

It’s funny, if you look at the socialist argument, I like to kind of throw shade, and it’s usually all these greedy rich people are selfish and we want their stuff.

It’s condemning selfishness with selfishness. Yeah, it’s just a double negative.

I’m anti and anti-this, so I must be pro the default.

But if you were to say to any socialist, do you want more money?

None of them will say no. Do you want to make more money? None of them will say no. Do you want to live life on your own terms? None of them will say no.

And so I talk about universal things that I am for, which is the profit motive and creation and service and owning problems and solving problems and capitalism and free markets and low taxes, all things that I believe in and these are things that most people agree with.

And then you can create whatever change you want by continuing to lead that movement that is already falling in the wake of your momentum.

That’s how you change minds. You don’t do it.

So there’s a great book by Mark Manson. It’s a second book, everything is F.

And he does this distinction on the emotional brain versus the logical brain.

There was this beautiful distinction of most of us thinking that our logical brains are driving the car, but all it’s doing is making the decisions.

Our emotional brains are the ones driving the car and it is all over the place.

It’s so when you try to debate logic on an emotional topic, we usually fall flat.

But when you are able to create alignment on things that you already agree about and then move the conversation, you can persuade anyone you want.

Matt: Again, just by the domain itself and by the top like you’re talking about, it would definitely be considered a controversial niche, a controversial topic, at least to most people.

Ryan: I’m sorry, I need to interject there because is the word capitalism offensive to you?

Matt: No, it’s not.

Ryan: And is capitalism the word offensive to the people?

Matt: You know, to some.

Ryan: My point in saying that is that they’re not my market.

Matt: Exactly.

Ryan: And I don’t care. So to me, it’s not polarizing or it’s not controversial at all.

So a lot of people will say that I’m willing to be controversial. It doesn’t enter my brain to be controversial.

You just take a stand for what you believe in. It’s not controversial at all.

Now, here’s what’s controversial, Matt.

It becomes controversial when you stand for something and then you start throwing rocks at everyone who disagrees. Intentionally.

Now, you and I, privately, if we’re around the campfire, we might talk about AOC and those socialists.

We might flap our gums about them being a common enemy, but I don’t go to AOC rallies and tell them why they’re my enemy.

That’s just being anti-something. If you are pro-something, then it’s not controversial at all in your world and the people that you serve.

And it’s your job to be so for what it is that you stand for, that you end up changing minds because you never defaulted to just going to the enemy territory and throwing rocks.

That is never how you change minds.

Matt: Yeah, you answered the question I was going to ask without even knowing, which is pretty awesome.

So, the last question in there, because this is one that I got.

I actually asked a few people some questions, what they wanted in great.

One of them did point out, and I happen to know this person’s beliefs and they don’t believe it’s offensive or anything like that, but they definitely said, by the very nature of your topic, not because of anything you say, not because of anything that you’re messaging, but by the very nature of your topic, you’re going to attract haters, you’re going to attract negative commentary.

And so his question was, how do you avoid the shouting matches? And I think he broke that.

It was a very long post that he wrote, and where he was going was, how do you avoid the temptation as somebody who was building an online platform?

And it’s easy. Like anybody who says they’re not tempted is lying.

How do you avoid the temptation to get into the online shouting matches of people who come and disagree with you?

Ryan: Well, first of all, I remember that logic doesn’t persuade, and so I don’t ever try to persuade logically.

Sometimes I really enjoy it, Matt.

There are times that I fall into it, isn’t it? And I just love to be snarky, right?

If they’re going to post on my page, I have the right to be snarky as long as I feel good about it, right?

So sometimes I’ll take screenshots of my haters and I post them on social media and I’m like, Isn’t this one?

So I don’t take it personally.

Matt: I want to stop there for a second. Is there a business reason for doing that? I think there is.

I’m asking you, is there a business reason for taking those screenshots?

Ryan: Sometimes I find it fun and helpful to shout out the extremes of a viewpoint in order to show an exaggerated case of what happens when you believe certain things.

So I don’t try to respond logically. It’s just demonstrating the reason for that.

Now, the third thing of this is remembering that my biggest fans often started as haters.

My biggest fans really start by pushing against whatever it is that I stand for.

And if you don’t default to throwing rocks back at them, then they lose their ammo.

They throw rocks, you let them lay there and then they either have to listen or walk away.

Most of them walk away, but if you stay and listen and those are my raving super fans because I have changed their mind.

I have taken them from one perspective to another perspective.

And now they are psychologically bonded to me because I have taken them from one belief to another belief.

So when you act in reactive defense, you’re always going to push people away.

But when you just stand in your principles and stay for something, people are going to hate you and they’re going to continue to hate you.

And some people always will and it’s also how you’re going to change some of their minds.

Matt: Interesting, I see that now that you mentioned it interesting.

Ryan: You’ve never been persuaded by somebody who came back at you.

Matt: Yeah.

Ryan: You’ve only ever been persuaded by somebody who is so sure of who they were that when you came at them, they didn’t waiver.

They could handle it, they could take it.

Matt: Yeah. And this conversation that this person I had, we were acknowledging just what you said.

Sometimes it’s so fun, though, to be like, yeah, it’s such and such data point.

And this person who died 800 years ago was quoted as saying this because that’s what changes people’s opinion, is a quote from a dead person.

I’ve just found that always works.

Ryan: When I’m just having fun.

I’m not trying to persuade someone like snarkiness and humor can be really fun for all the followers that are influenced by you to see what you are doing.

It becomes kind of like an inside joke for all of the people who are like it, for example, one of my favorites is when people say a conspiracy theorist will bring something up and I’ll just respond.

Well, as a member of the Illuminati, I know that the truth is AB and C and it drives them crazy.

And all my followers just kind of smile and nod like see the snark in it.

It’s your business, play all you want, and say whatever you want.

But if it is your purpose to influence and change minds, the only way that you do that is to be so firm in your principles of what you are for.

Now, if you look at the common political debate, most political commentary is talking about what the other side did wrong.

That was what most political commentary is.

But politicians who actually end up changing policy are those who believe in something and advocate for something.

And I’ll take an example from both sides. Donald Trump, what was his immigration policy?

Build a wall. And the wall a lot gave him something to think about, to be pro, to be for, to align all other energy behind and it worked beautifully.

On the other side, you have somebody like Andrew Yang who is an advocate for UBI Universal Basic Income.

Full disclosure, I think the UBI is terrible and we can debate that for many many hours, mostly just because I think it’s not necessary.

But anyway, he was an advocate for one thing, it was UBI and he aligned all the noise and all the energy behind what he was for.

And in both of those cases, you don’t need to be anti-anything, you can be pro-something.

And that’s why both of those politicians had so many raving fans fall online behind them, even if they were single-issue voters because they got to believe in something rather than stand where they were and judge the world from their perspective.

Matt: I never thought about that. I know we’re going to go down that rabbit hole, deep breath.

But I never thought about Trump being for something, because it’s not what’s not the message that we get.

Ryan: That’s right.

Matt: And you can certainly turn both of those around and say, oh, Andrew Yang is against billionaires.

He’s against billionaires. And you could say that, and his enemies would do that.

And you could certainly say, Trump, is against all immigration because he wants to go to war.

And so both of those are extreme statements. They’re not neither one of them is true.

Ryan: Exactly.

Matt: And I do believe when I look at it, and it’s not just about its not political thing, but when you look at the politicians who got a little bit of a rabid following, but never quite crossed that threshold, Bernie Sanders, I’m looking at you.

It was always because they were only against something.

They were very rarely they really never had a flight.

You couldn’t really say, what is he for?

He’s against wealth, he’s against capitalism.

What is he for?

Opposite of those things are poverty and socialism. I have no idea.

Okay, so I want to talk about your platform because I’m going to throw a softball at you here.

You built now a multi-million dollar company, but you build a million-dollar company, and it took you about how long?

Ryan: Well, which one?

Matt: This one. This one is for capitalism.com.

Ryan: Yeah.

I mean, capitalism.com became a seven-figure business within a year. A year and a half.

Matt: Yeah. So that’s really fast in the grand scheme of things.

It’s very fast compared to how most people did it and so you wrote a book about that.

I was hoping you say twelve months exactly.

Ryan: Well, just for clarity, where I built my first million-dollar business was as a physical products brand, meaning, like, selling stuff, not selling ideas, not selling courses, but selling real stuff.

And my first business was a sports nutrition company that we built to seven figures.

We went from zero to $1 million in almost exactly twelve months.

Twelve months from idea to pacing a million dollars.

And that is kind of the formulation of the strategy that I’ve talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs about building seven-figure businesses, is that if you know who your person is and you know what they want, then it’s very simple to engineer a seven-figure business in about twelve months, we break it into three, four-month stages.

The grind, which is all making decisions about who you serve and what you sell, the growth, which is those months, four to eight, where you’re releasing a product and getting it to 25 sales a day.

And then the goal is to take multiple products and take them all to 25 sales a day.

Because when you have four products selling 25 sales a day, that’s 100 sales a day.

And at a $30 price point, that’s a million-dollar business.

That’s all we have to solve for, that’s all we need to reverse engineer.

And it’s that formula that I’ve taught to socialists and turn them into capitalists.

Matt: So that’s how you do it?

Ryan: That’s how I do it, yeah. That’s how you change mine. In fact, quickly, I tell you the story.

I acquired the domain name from somebody who was holding the name Capitalism.com to keep it out of the hands of the wrong people, as he put it.

Matt: Interesting.

Ryan: And what he said was he wanted to see it be a debate platform.

He wanted to see us win other people to our side of the debate through healthy dialogue.

His name is David. I said, David, can I offer you a different opinion?

I said the best way that we convert people to our side of the argument is by leading by example and by empowering people to run businesses.

Because when they see how much they pay in tax when they see how hard it is to be a pro-profit entrepreneur, they can’t help but come to our side of the argument.

He said I’d like to sell you the domain. I mean, that’s what we’re doing. We are changing minds, in the context of business.

Because when you give someone the responsibility of a seven-figure business, they can’t help but take personal responsibility for other areas in their lives, including how they vote.

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Matt: That’s awesome, man. So I’m glad you did.

Ryan: Thank you.

Matt: Because when I first went to your website, I had no idea who you were.

Literally had no idea and I had very different expectations.

And I’m actually going, to be honest, I’m not sure that I liked it at first because it wasn’t what I was looking for.

There was that disconnect. So it took some time.

Ryan: And here we are.

Matt: Yeah. As I said, I think I may or may not have been looking for the flamethrower.

So one last question for you, Ryan, as we wrap up. Somebody picked up this book.

Twelve months to $1 million, and you can have them open it up to one thing.

It could be one quote, one story, one concept, and that was all they were going to get out of this book.

And you had the power to make that book open to this part of the book.

What would that part of the book be?

Ryan: Chapter one.

I talk about the things that I wish I had known before I started my journey.

And there’s one thing in particular that I wish I had known when I started my journey, and it was how many people would be impacted by my becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Now, I don’t mean what that sounds like when I say it. I don’t mean customers or my family.

I don’t mean my immediate sphere of influence. Something very interesting happened to me.

Five years, four years into building my business, we received an offer for a $15 million valuation on the company that we have built.

And we went through the process of selling and the person who bought the company, as I watched this story unfold, was that this was a company that was in the business of acquiring other businesses.

And I realized that this person had been waiting to buy a good company that was in this sector.

And I realized that there were investors in this other company that was counting on this company finding a good business to buy.

And then if that company ended up growing it and selling it, they would probably sell it to a publicly-traded company that had other people who were counting on them buying profitable businesses and teacher pensions, who were counting on profitable businesses being acquired and being publicly traded.

And I realized that as an entrepreneur, you are literally changing the lives of people that you will never see or meet and that have no idea that you exist.

That is what capitalism is.

It is a great number of strangers organizing resources to see how we can better serve one another.

That’s what capitalism is, even when you don’t see the other person who is on the other end of it.

So had I known that there was a group of people who wanted to buy my business, who wanted to invest in that business, who would be affected by my work, who would be affected by the products that I would release, I would have just gone that much faster, that much harder.

I would have been that much more passionate about what I was doing.

And so the ripple effects of what you do as an entrepreneur, as a capitalist, go on to change the entire world, even if you never see those ripple effects.

And so the actions that you take as a for-profit entrepreneur create more change than any politician, any government, any policy could ever do.

And so you literally have the ability to create change by being a capitalist.

That’s the one section I wish people would read.

Matt: Awesome. Well, the good news is right at the beginning.

Ryan: That’s right.

Matt: You’ll find it pretty much to skip around.

So there you go, guys. Go grab the book. I’ll mention the link here in a little bit.

So grab the book, and apparently, you should start with chapter one. It’s a good place to start. Yes.

Well, Ryan, thank you so much for being with us today, but I really appreciate it.

Ryan: Matt, thank you so much for having me. It’s great to meet you. Bye.


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