Ryan Stewart, the Founder of Webris, earned his success after growing his agency to over $1.1M in just 16 months. His vision now is to help other agency owners scale their business using his 5-phase technique in The Blueprint Training platform.
In this episode, he shares his step-by-step process to build multiple 7-figure businesses and how you can do it yourself.
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What's up guys? It's Joe Troyer and welcome to another episode. So guys, I'm super excited today to have on Ryan Stewart. For those of you guys that don't know Ryan, definitely go check them out. I think probably the best place is to look up his company Webris. He gives out lots of free training, lots of free resources. Man, I think you do a great job just over delivering with lots of value for people. He's also the founder of the Blueprint Training, which is an online training platform helping over 3000 agencies scale their business. Man, you do so much - Founder at Capture and Convert, which is a wordpress plugin. I think that one's new. I haven't heard too much about that one, so I can dive into that. And then a former e-comm business owner, I believe as well. And one of the big things I want to talk about is you scaling and building your SEO business, right. And then exiting. I had an exit recently, as well. So we'd love your feedback on that and some thoughts. And guys, I'm just super excited to have Ryan on the show today.
Appreciate it. I mean, congrats on your exit man, I didn't know that.
Thanks. Yeah. So, you as well. I didn't know that you exited. My team did a bunch of research on you and I'm like, wait a second. He exited the e-comm company. He exited his agency. So, it's a big congrats man.
Yeah, I mean, I think you figure out what your skill set is to a certain point. And we were chatting about it offline before it came on. I realized I don't want to have a hundred person company. I'm good at a certain thing, which is ideation and scaling and growing and passing it off to someone else to run it and cashing out and doing it again.
That's funny. That's been my Aha moment as well. Right after selling, after getting rid of a lot of stuff, that's been the major takeaway for me as well. I'm curious, did it take you selling the company to figure that out or did you figure it out before selling the company?
So first and foremost, we should talk about the sale of Webris because technically it was more of a, I mean it was a sale, I call it a sale really for clickbait value, I guess. It's the honest way of saying it. So, the CEO of the acquiring agency, Nick Eubanks, I've known him for awhile. He's amazing. High-class CEO, amazing business person too. Really good dude. He was down in Miami about a year and a half ago. We were having dinner and he was talking about how he's going to acquire this small agency that did social. And I was just kind of, we've known each other for years and I was kind of like, now whenever you're ready, make me an offer and I'm out. And on the following Monday, he did. And I had never really considered it until that point, but I kind of sat down and realized that, you know, building my business, it ruined my relationship that I was in because I was always working 12-hour days.
I didn't see an end to that either. Like the more that we grew, the more shit that got piled on top of me. I put on like 25-30 pounds. I actually saw a video that you did too that was talking about it too. Like it's really real, you know what I'm saying? It was my first time. It's like a really successful business too. It was a lot and I just didn't want to deal with it. I just wasn't really happy doing it anymore. So it was more of kind of like small cash, buy out, keep everything, keep all the assets that I generated within the company. Client lists, employees and all future leads go to From The Future, which is the new acquiring agency. I also have a quarter now equity in that agency, which is now almost 10 million in revenue.
So it was kind of like an even trade. And I give my business to somebody who I trust, who I think is better than me and he can run it as an asset for me. So now really more focused on kind of building a portfolio of assets for myself, whether that's companies, real estate, whatever that may be. And just understanding the value that I can bring to the table, which, yes, I'm a good operator. Yes, I'm a good at hiring and training with people, but it's not something I enjoy doing. And I love marketing and that's what I'm really best at. And if I could focus all my time and attention on that in small silos and give responsible and capable people to do the rest of the stuff, I'm going to grow my portfolio a lot faster. That was kind of my big Aha moment. I think that we all hit is that reinvestment stage where it's like, shit, I got a lot of cash now I can go buy a Lambo or I can go do this 10 times over and plant a lot more seeds, you know?
So yeah, it was kind of more of a merger than an acquisition, but you can call it either way. And then my e-comm move is, I just had a small one called Laces Out. I just sold shoe laces and I sold that on Empire Flippers. It's got a nice check for that same thing though. I just realized the value of my time and you know, packaging, shipping fucking shoelaces was not a good use of my time. So I sold that to the cash and then reinvested it in a lot of other things, which is good.
Awesome. Yeah, it sounds like very similar ventures we've got going on. Kind of the same mindset as well, which is interesting. And so what are kind of the projects that you're looking at now from like qualifications criteria, if you will, right? Like what are the things - what check boxes are you looking to hit?
Yeah, first it's gotta be something that holds my attention, first and foremost. You know, something that I see as money. And that to me is like, I see this market, like something that I can put on Instagram or organically. Something I can advertise cause I'm big on advertising. Something I can make video content about, something I can blog about, something that is just all around and marketable. That's number one. Number two, like I said, somebody that holds my interest, something that I'm somewhat interested in learning more about the industry, something that scales higher and has a higher market cap. That's kind of the lessons that I've learned is that different businesses have different caps and there's nothing wrong with a million dollar business. But, I've done that and now, I'm just constantly moving up the ladder.
Right. And really something that doesn't require my full time and attention. Somebody again, where I said like, I can come in, it's got a good operator, it's got a good, got capable people in place or plans to have those people in place where the business isn't going to run through me anymore. Like I said, I truly believe that when I'm able to focus on just marketing, in kind of that side of the business, that I'm could be one of the best in the world at what I do. And if I can just do that and focus that on multiple companies, then I'm all there. But if it's gonna require more than that, and like I said, something that I believe now is less than worth my time. Like if you want me to come in and write blog posts, like it's not gonna happen, you know what I'm saying?
Like it's not going to happen. So those, that's kind of my criteria. So right now, the Blueprint Training is one of my main focuses. I have a partner, David Krevitt, who just spoke about that. He handles a lot of, like the ongoing support, but we're both responsible for continuously building more constant for the course. We've got a really active selection, which is awesome. It's basically an SEO agency in a box and everything from client onboarding, sales, advanced technical SEO, everything in there and take that and scale, really the operation side of your agency. That's the blueprint. Capture & Convert is just a small plugin that I've been working on for years. Finally getting that to market - just a kind of like a portfolio builder. Something that I want to build another that ideally sells like a sumo or you know, somebody like that in the space.
And then the thing that me and David are also working on is what we're calling Query.Recipes. It's a little bit more advanced, but this is something that you would probably see value in. So, big query, anyone who works in Google sheets a lot with a lot of data knows that sheets will hit a limit in terms of how much did he put in there. So the next step is to push that to like a cloud processing engine, which big query is Google's own product. Basically, it will take all that processing out, do it in the cloud, and then it'll spit it back out into sheets and the Data Studio, Tablo, whatever. So David built this really awesome, basically data connector. Basically, the Zapier for big query where it's like, here's your SEMrush API, CallRail, Api, all the API and won't push the big query.
He built that connector. So we're getting ready to take that to market next month calling query.recipes. That to me has a pretty high market cap. If you're familiar with the database, like a stitch just sold for 50 million super metrics is up there, as well. So that's the next step for me. And then, I mean, just more and more investments. I mean, investments in my own companies and then investments, I'm pushing a lot into like kind of more cash generating investments that are real estate. Stuff like that where I can start paying less taxes.
Yes sir. That's the fun thing when you exit, right? The taxes, right? Yeah. That's a rough on a hard pill to swallow. Cool man. So thanks for sharing that with us. Definitely a lot of synergy there and I'd love to chat with you more offline about some of that stuff. I think there's some cool synergy there. And for those of you guys that don't understand the power of Google sheets yet, and kind of the Google apps or Google suite kind of system, definitely go check out Ryan and everything that he's doing at Webris. It's absolutely crazy. In my last agency that we built and sold, we just hit the million dollar a year in annual recurring revenue. So Ryan, I think you'd beat me. I think you were at like 1.1 or 1.2. I was a little pissed when I saw that.
I'm not gonna lie. But the whole start of that business, we build software but the entire company was running off of Google sheets, right? And so the first two, three months was all Google sheets and then we transition to some custom software that we had built. And if it wasn't for Google sheets, there's no way on earth that we could have scaled that quickly, without absolutely driving the company into the ground. And I know that you've had similar experiences. So definitely go check that out. Something that you guys should be paying attention to.
So, let's jump into kind of what we got going on today. So I definitely, Ryan, want to chat about SEO, right? At the end of the day, you've built quite a reputation for yourself around SEO and obviously, I would say nine out of 10 people that kind of come into this SEO field, whether they're selling SEO, whether they're doing it for themselves, I don't really care. The fact is, nine out of 10, I would say ultimately fail, right? And you've managed to build and grow a seven figure agency, right? And exit, so to speak or merger depending on how you want to put it. Right? You have, as well, built e-comm companies, right? Like you've leveraged your own stack, so to speak, in your own systems and processes for yourself and for others. What do you think you've done differently than the majority of "SEOs" out there?
Come to say, for sure, because there's so many different things. I don't know. I mean I focused on, to me, was probably like product or the actual service that we were delivering. I was hyper focused on making sure that it was like, as an agency, you mentioned local clients before you came on. Like I almost stopped you and said like, I don't work with local clients because their retainers are just small. I feel like a lot of agencies, when you get in, take on $200 a month or whatever you can, but like if you don't have a growth plan to get out of those small retainers, and eventually come to the realization that you're putting in the same amount of work really to do that than an enterprise client at 10k a month, you've got to have a strategy in place to get from 500 a month to 5,000 a month to get to ten thousand a month, whatever it may be.
And the best way to do that is improving the quality of your surface. Right? And it's not really rocket science. Like we all know how to do SEO. It's really four main buckets, right? Technical keywords on page, content in links, right? So breaking those down into how we can deliver that at the highest possible quality at scale, which again is I think that a lot of agencies said like an inflection point around five clients. They don't know who to hire. They don't know how to scale the service. They don't know how to maintain quality. They don't know how to pull themselves out. I really just figured out that the best way to pull myself out was through process and through automation. So using things like Google sheets, building templates and then repeatable processes to do keyword research to do on page that I could bring in somebody who is either offshore at first or, you know, $35,000 a year employee, to do these things at a very high level.
So continuously improve the quality of our service, through processes, through training, through automation, and then me just going out and marketing the living hell out of myself online. I think a lot of agencies, again, they don't know how to market other people's businesses and own at the same time. That was something that I realized was super important. And again, I actually just did a webinar that talked about staffing and resourcing and how to hire your first person. And like that's like one of these questions again, like who to hire first. And I would say that, you know, you hire based on what you're shitty at or what you really don't like doing. For me, I didn't like communication, I didn't like dealing with clients. So I hired a, like a PMA on person, project manager first, to handle all that stuff for me, which again allowed me to keep myself in service, focus on the service and then eventually hire service people into that.
If it's the opposite for you, if you're really good with clients, you handled the communications, you handle the management and you hire operational people to support you underneath that, whatever that may be. Just getting those right people in place and pulling yourself out of the business, operationally, is incredibly important. So I think a lot of people, especially young agencies, they get stuck working with small clients that are taking up too much of their time. They're not going out and market themselves to grow the value, the perceived value of their service. And they're not doing anything to improve the quality of their service. Like you mentioned, that you said that a lot of people are using, you know, gray hat tactics. Like why dude? Like you want to get paid 50,000 bucks a month and you're using fucking PBNs? Get out of here, dude, that's JV shit.
You know, honestly, do things the right way. I know it's harder, it takes more work, but building a business is hard and that's the things that you have to do if you want to get to the next level. And I think a lot of people, they're just doing the same things over and over and over again. And they're seeing stuff online. They're seeing stuff on Facebook groups, and they're chasing the next hack when they don't realize that SEO is not a hack. It's just, it's a process that you have to run. That's it. It requires hours, and then hours, you just got to find the right people, get them trained and have them do it and then go out and just get more and more clients, you know? So I think that's kind of a long explanation, but that's a lot of things that I see. Especially young agencies do wrong.
So do it the right way, right? Do it the right way. Do it with leverage, right? Through automation or software, right? And Google sheets for example. And team members that know how to do it.
Essentially at the end of the day, kind of the big three keys that I took from what you just said, is that right?
Awesome, man. So, in your blueprint blueprint training, I see that you kind of break everything down into kind of five phases kind of a framework around those five. Can you kind of give us an understanding of what that is and kind of deep dive a little bit on those five phases specifically?
Yeah, absolutely. So the 5-phases was something that I developed, as a marketing point for our agency, like what I realized. So again, when I first got started, doing the same thing, possibly to get those $500 a month local clients in, and realizing at that point, like working with those types of clients, realistically all they care about is results, right? So coming up with a framework, like I've wanted to productize one service, I wanted to charge the same blanket amount. We don't do that anymore. We moved to an hourly, like more retainer pricing model as we've grown. But to get to that million dollar mark, I just really use kind of like flat-based price. And basically charging SEO as a service. Like 4,000 a month. Like it was a product, and the way that I made a product was I built a framework on top of it that, you know, like when we apply this framework, it's going to work.
So I call it the five phases. It's learning - which covers like, you know, onboarding analytics, data analysis, project management, all that type of stuff, like setting up the project. I don't even have to memorize, but there's five phases, right? They'll go through it. I haven't sold this in awhile. But the blueprint is based on that and basically it's the same thing, right? I'm trying to get the agencies that are within the blueprints and understand that SEO is a system. It is a process. And within the blueprint, literally, every one of those phases has the exact deliverables, the exact Google sheets that we use, data went through an automated, literally every single thing in there, including some proprietary stuff that we've built that we used at the agency that we sold for quite a bit of money. But those five phases are really the same framework that I take and apply to every marketing. And I've actually expanded that too, because as I've, like, I don't really call myself an SEO anymore. I'm trying to also level up my personal stuff and not just be an SEO and be a marketer and then be an entrepreneur and then be, you know, offer all that stuff, right? In those same five phases, they apply to any marketing campaign. Right. So it's learning, do you have them in front of you?
Yeah, so I just pulled it up for you. So learning, proving, building, promoting and evaluating.
Yes. So, improving is going. So learning is the first day, just like the onboarding process. Like I said, getting on a board, doing data analysis, we're doing their analytics, all that stuff. Improving - that goes in and improving the existing assets of a website. So like keyword research on page, finding low hanging fruit, building what we call target pages. So like looking at pages that are already ranking, figure out a way that we can just do basic on-page to move them up. Building - that thing goes into creating content, building a ton of other assets across the web too, not just on the website. Promoting - obviously, link building from the scope of SEO, but then also pushing into advertising, outreach, PR, social media, everything. And then evaluating is kind of going back through, looking at the success of the campaign and then making more adjustments onto it. So the same framework that applies to all my companies as well. It works really well for SEO. It's how I sell the Blueprint, it's how the course is organized. But it's really also like my future plans for the blueprint is to not just make it SEO, to make it end to end marketing. And like business growth through marketing in that same five phase, we'll put it, we'll apply throughout it.
Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Okay. So, I think that one of the things that people in the local space anyway that are doing consulting, but for clients on a local space, even if they're spending more than what you said, more than 250 or 500 a month, you know, they're getting a thousand, 2000, 3,000 dollars a month from their local clients. They think that they can't do white hat SEO, right? Like they fall into the trap or they let themselves believe, right, that they can do outreach because it's too expensive. They can't do guest posts or sponsored posts because it's too expensive.
And frankly, like I believe that that's bullshit. And I'd love to get your kind of thought process on that.
Yeah, I mean I do to. I think number one is that moving to the model that we described, what they call white hat or just, you know, doing things kind of long hand the right way, whatever. It requires a complete shift in your business, right? Not just how you're allocating $1,000 a month budget, but really how you're selling that is, right. You absolutely need to be the expert in the room when you're talking, even if like you're talking to a dentist who doesn't care about SEO, doesn't know about SEO. Like you need to assert yourself as an expert in, let them know how SEO works. It's really important, right? And you need to understand to let them know also how if they're paying $1,000 a month where that budget is going.
So it's not just saying "pay us $1000 a month, we're gonna get your first page rankings". That's not what they're paying you for. They're paying you to do the service of SEO. So you need to explain to them how that looks, which it is being allocated, and part of that is link building. So look, what I used to do was, if they're paying us for the flat pricing - it is very easy for young agencies. It's the easiest way to grow skills. You don't have to worry about that, right? We, again, like I said, we moved to more of an hour model because it's more consulting now. It's just, it's much bigger, right? But flat pricing is easy, but you need to also let them know how much you're going to earmark for. So if you can't, like, if you think it's too expensive, number one is that, especially for local men, we had a local coffee shop.
I did a case study about a call Dr. Smood. They had 10 different locations across south Florida, in New York. And basically all we did was we had a VA go on Instagram and just build a list of like bloggers, put it in a spreadsheet. It costs us $40 a location for like 20 hours worth of work, you know, and then we just emailed them, offering them to come in for free coffee, and to write about it. Basically doing like all my offline product reviews, right. I'm coming for experiences. We did that for link building. We didn't have to pay anything. It costs us nothing. You know what I mean? It's more difficult from strategic point of view to scale that from supposedly as opposed to like using a PBN. But people also don't understand and this is something we go through at the agency now.
Billable versus non billable hours, right? How much like looking at each one of our employees basically as a profit center and utilization rates, right. In understanding the amount of billable hours they have in the day, how much profit they can drop the company per day. People don't understand that they're wasting their time on PBNs doing the same thing. Right? Like you were saying, a PBN, I didn't even know how people build black hat links. They were like, you use a PBN like, but how much time are you spending? Like setting it up, managing it. Even just like having your thought process, like worried about like reading articles about PBNs and how to keep them safe. It's a waste of time. You know what I mean? Not only that it does not work as well, it's not good for your business. It's not the right way to do things.
You're never going to build a brand taking shortcuts. That's just like, that's just what it is, you know? So, you're also wasting a ton of your time and energy and resources just thinking about it as opposed to just again, making a fundamental shift that choice in your business to do things differently. And then exploring the options. Like getting a couple of VA's in-house offshore to do your prospecting and then just using a tool like Pitchbox to send emails, like it's not overly difficult. Or it's just outsourcing that part of work to, like what I do, we do a lot of malty agency. We still do a lot of link building and outreach, but most of the time we'll just be like, you need links as part of SEO, but we're going to refer you to an agency that does a specific outreach and like you're going to pay them what they require and if you want to get the optimal results, you have to pay them. Granted we're working with clients with bigger budgets now, but like the point is that like, you need to be having these conversations with clients and educating them in trying to get extra money for links. If it like, if it's too expensive, then explain to them that links are really important and that your service is broken down into your hours to do the SEO and then place like PR and you need them. And anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shit, you know?
I think a great way to look at it is PR too, right? Like essentially that coffee shop campaign that you were talking about, like you essentially went after bloggers, right? That and you basically just told them "we got a new coffee shop opening, come in and try the coffee". Like there was no cost besides the research or going and finding, right? Those bloggers, I mean. And I think that people just, they want the easy way out. They want go post to a bunch of blogs or go do this tactic and they just don't want to use their brains right at the end of the day.
And you can also just, I mean, if you really feeling lazy and we do it a lot, the agency now too. We just pay bloggers, you know what I'm saying? It's the same thing with PBNs, but come towards a real blog, a real local blog. You know, just like find a list of bloggers. And if you're only working in the same location, so you build a database, you know what I'm saying? Like it's just, it's so much easier. It's really, it's much easier to do it that way than to have to consistently worry about your site's going down and getting kind of all that stuff and it just doesn't work as well, at all. You now are spending more time to resourcing new things, but like you're getting less results and diminishing returns.
I think the database idea is huge too, but I want to shove that to the side for just a second. So what are some other creative campaigns that you've run or you've seen people run that are like uber low cost or like the grand opening kind of campaign, so to speak. All right. What are some outside the box? Like anybody could run this. Like a business opened, a new location open or they added a new service. Right? Like that's super simple.
For link building? Yeah, I mean I can tell you what I'm doing right now, you just have to, it's all, like when I'm doing it right now for myself, for the blueprint, building quite a bit of links, whenever I launch new business, it's really important to me to build links and really get links built the right way. So I understand what I bring to the table in terms of value. So you have to put yourself in that same shoes. It's like link building is just like anything, it's an exchange of value. You want to link them on their website, what is it deeper to the table. So understanding what that value proposition is. So for me right now with the blueprint I'm doing just resource space link building where I'm just googling like that's SEO courses and if you Google it, you'll see me on all those lists now, because I just offered them free access to the blueprint, you know what I mean?
And then continuously followed up to be like, what's up with that? So there's like a bunch of top 10 lists about, you know, best SEO training. So like a local coffee shops, same thing, you know what I'm saying? Like what is the value that you can offer them to get, you know? And like there's a couple of easy things you can do. Like number one is to write the section for them. A lot of authors are just like "if you hit me up" and you're like "hey, I have a list of 100 free SEO tools" and people hit me all the time. They're like, can you ,I mean, the list, I'm like you want me to take a screenshot and no, I'm not going to do it. But if you were like, here's the exact blurb, here's a screenshot.
You know, like if you'd like to take an extra step to do that. And then if you're also like, "Hey, by the way, I've got an email this to 2000 people, I'll send it to them". Or like "Hey, I've got like a Twitter account that we'll share", you know what I mean? Like what other value can you get me to want to take action? That's all link building is, you know, and people just, again, money is the most common way to do that. But if you don't have the money, there's other ways that you can do. You just got to spend a little bit more time. But they're all affected. It's just figuring out what that exchange of value was in offering it to them and really just doing that at scale repeatedly, which is why Pitchbox is so amazing. It's just an automated outreach that and what's the other one that Patel has. Mailshake is good too. There's a bunch of them, you know. Find the contacts, write a pitch and blast it out. That's all you really gotta do.
Yeah. I mean with your help after seeing kind of what you did, right? We went and actually built a database, right? And that has worked really, really well for us. So, essentially since the beginning of the year and the last year, we specifically went after mommy bloggers, because we find that they're just easy targets. You know, that most of them aren't making a whole lot of money. So us, you know, not having to come up with a lot of angles and super creative stuff is worth just paying to get the notes right in mind.
Right. That's the value that they're looking for, yeah.
And, so it works like gangbusters and it applies for like 95% of our customers, right?
So we can build the database. So if it works for one, we know what content they'll accept, what their fee is, right? Like we build out the profile and we know exactly what they want and we have our database. Now that has been a big game changer for us and man, that came from you. So wanted to give you the credit and say thank you.
No, I mean I didn't even come up with that, honestly. Like, it's kind of you would have arrived there on your own. When you're doing a lot of outreach and you're like, "wait, we're doing it to all of our pitches. Why don't we just track them in a spreadsheet?" So what we're doing, what we do with the agency now is we just have a Pitchbox campaign that's constantly prospecting. Constantly outreach to new bloggers, so we'll just set like the solutions within Pitchbox that we haven't contacted before. Pitchbox is an amazing tool, by the way. And then it's just constantly sending pitches that's like, "Hey, my name is Evelyn. I work for From The Future. We're always looking to partner up with influential bloggers with pretty much whatever, like yourself. We can do a number of things."
We can do product reviews, we can do a promotional. We'll send a bunch of stuff, but really all we want is to link on their site. So we'll send like a bunch of more traditional offers, like we do co-marketing campaigns, blah, blah, blah. But, all we're looking for is that positive response? Yes. And then we just pitch the ads on a warm list. And then we have the campaign ready just based on tag, then we just send out, you know, we need fashion bloggers and we just send them like, "Hey Susie, you know, just wanting to follow up. You said you were interested. Like, we've got a perfect client for you." It's easy and then we won't worry about links anymore. You know, it's just one less thing to worry about it.
So we do the same thing. A campaign that's continually going out, prospecting, vetting and trying to get people to say yes and then getting the deal done for the first time. And then we have all the deals in the database, so to speak, that we've already ran and approved and we kind of close up. We've got two different people running kind of different departments. So one is building the database and another is simply reusing the database for all of our existing customers. So it works like gangbusters
It's the best way to do it, man. It really is. It's kind of, when you do a lot of outreach, you kind of arrive at that conclusion yourself. You just have to. Like, outreach is just not really scalable to a certain point, you know what I'm saying? Like it is, if you have a team to do it, but like it's just, even with all my methods and all your methods, like it's still really hard, you know, and if you don't build a database. You have to have relationships. Otherwise, it's just like you're essentially turned yourself into PR agencies. And what PR Agencies have is relationships. And they're just hitting up those relationships over and over again. If you can build those yourself, then you have $1 million business on your hands, literally. I mean, you can just start selling those relationships off. It's, incredibly lucrative.
So if we step this back a little bit. Earlier you were talking about, your e-comm company, right? And you were talking about LacesOut. So that was an ecommerce site. Is e-comm kind of something that you think you're going to be adding back to your portfolio or is that something kind of a one and done, do you think like it has a big enough market cap?
I think that, yeah. I mean where I'm at now is it's a piece of software. I'm not going to start a company from the ground up. Like where I'm at now is with the slush funds at the end of this year, I'm going to look to invest in a couple of websites. Like basically, you know, and this is something that I'm sure you know now, is one awesome thing about having a team, is that you're basically scaling your time, your training, right? So like what we're working on and I have one of my consultants working on is building kind of like a framework for analyzing businesses, that we will, like, my longterm goal actually is to basically build the fund, where it's like I go to somebody like you and I'm like, Joe, I got this really good opportunity. You trust me and you give me 25,000, you get a certain equity stake and we build up a fund and then we go out.
We purchased that site for like a million bucks. Like I want to start working on sites like that. They're like just doing or just not taking advantage of marketing. They have good product to have been everything, but they're just not doing a good job advertising. I come in right away and triple that business. So, in that case, yes. But like again, what people don't realize about ecommerce to sell these like shot buy ads on youtube and stuff, it's like, Yo, it's a lot of work, like managing the inventory, all that stuff. It's like running an offline business. So, for the right opportunity, I would do anything, you know, I would invest or operate any business for whatever period of this. Right. But e-comm is not something I'm like dying to get back into because you're like just managing even just sending products is a pain the ass, you know what I'm saying?
Like, it's just not, it's not as, it's not what it's cracked up to be, in my opinion. So for the right opportunity, absolutely. But I would definitely look to acquire an existing asset that has inventory source, a supplier source, like go through all that stuff to find it. It took like months and months and months. And for the upside of what that business was, it wasn't worth it. But, I would definitely be, I love ecomm. I think it's just easier to market in some sense. Especially if you've got like a database of mommy bloggers like that. I mean, come on, you know, you can crush it over lots all the time. But right now, like my short one year is the blueprint. I guess that is, I'm trying to get it to like 3 million in revenue. I've read over like the next three years. This query.recipes and then taking whatever slush I have left and invest it in something else. And ideally getting like my team to manage and run that. Building a name in the space as somebody who's even more legitimate, like you trust me enough to give me $50,000 or 100,000 whatever to go buy companies on your behalf and make you an owner, you know. That's really where like I see the next 10 years of my life going in ecomm, if that would be part of that.
That model's really interesting. I just had Matt diggity on the show and we had a very similar conversation, right. With, LeadSpring. And so Matt's goal is to acquire or build and then to hold and then dump so that he can get the multiple, and specifically he doesn't want to grow a big team either, right? Like kind of the conversation we had at the beginning of this call. And so for him, the magic is in keeping that team really tight and really effective and keeping something for a certain amount of time, building the revenue and then when it's right to exit and get the big hit so that he can start all over again. And just keep doing it without having to grow a huge team. Is that kind of your thought process behind the fund, kind of slush fund idea, so to speak or just you don't care?
I'm really big, right now into just, it's funny because out there, there's been a huge billboard of Grant Cardone. And you know, he's like, I like Grant Cardone. I don't necessarily subscribe to all his methods, but, he's just really big on cashflow and that is kind of like my big thing. Right? But when we were talking about things I want to look for, I want to look for something that has cashflow, that basically gonna pay me dividends every month. So, but I forgot the initial question. Sorry, I just took myself off.
So like with the fund, are you thinking buy and hold, right? Are you thinking build and hold? Are you thinking the buyer build and sell or it doesn't matter. Just cash is king, I don't care either way?
Whatever the economics dictates, right? So if it's something that's fitting out $100,000 of profit every month and all the investors, hypothetically we're happy with it, then we would hold it. But if somebody wants to come in and offer us a 20 x multiple, then we're going to sell it. You know what I mean? So whatever is best, I'm also taking into account just the overall difficulty of managing and growing that business. Like if it's a major headache, then I would just want to offload it. I don't necessarily have a problem building a big team. It's more just right now where I'm at with the businesses I'm working at, I don't need a big team. In managing a team can drain my time, but like, ideally and this is why I really want to partner with Nick Eubanks, my partner and From The Future is we look at from the future as, all of our employees as our own assets, right?
Like we're continuously growing. The agency is great, we love it. But, realistically what we want to do is basically to turn it into a similar model where we have our own portfolio of assets in there that our team is only working on that. So we've, over the last five years, build this amazing team of highly trained marketers that I've seen everything, that are ninjas, right. And then we give them, instead of building equity and other companies, we are using them to build our own companies, our own equity portfolio. So I guess like the overall picture move is just to move away from a getting paid cash every month by a client and moving more towards an equity model where we own the assets, but we're also getting cash from those assets every month. So cash flow is huge. It takes time for some of them, but yeah, I mean I would hope I would build, hold, sell, whatever. Again, whatever the economics dictates for that business.
You're not going to judge, you'll take either.
Yeah. I mean, whatever is working man, you know, and you never know until you get in there too.
100%. So I know the answer to this question, but I'll ask it anyway. How do you feel about outsourcing overseas or having people work for cheaper labor rates or what's your opinion on people saying like, you never want to outsource your SEO to this country or you never want to work with VAs? Or can you talk about kind of your thought process in terms of outsourcing?
Yeah, I mean, I think number one, people, if people like it doesn't matter if they're in Texas or the US. I mean, we've just been so fortunate to grow up in a system that, gives us more leverage in other countries to put it, to put it bluntly, you know. That doesn't make us better than them and just make us one of them. We've just had a lot more opportunity, you know? So I don't like, I think it's, like I agree with the statement that it's a bad thing to outsource. If you're, if I have a coffee shop, like it would be a really bad idea for me to go and hire an agency out of the country, you know, just blanket statement. It's probably a bad idea to hire a lot of agencies in this country too. You know what I mean?
Like there's lot of bad agents out there, so, that I would agree with, but I would not agree with the fact that you shouldn't be outsourcing work, especially when you're a young company. You know, like, it's just like, the trade off is this, is that if you want to outsource, you have to spend more time. But when you're younger company, you have more time to get those people trained up. But dude, I mean, I've had my developer, my wordpress developer has been, 2 developers have been working for me now for five years. They show up every day. They work Saturday and Sunday. I don't tell them too, they just do it. And I pay them $1,000 flat fee a month and they do American quality work. They're amazing. Also with the blueprint, we just hired support guy. He's not cheap. He's 18 bucks an hour, but like knows Sequel, knows Python.
You know, he can fix a lot of the tools that we have in sheets. So if we were to get somebody to locally to do that, we'll talk probably like a hundred bucks an hour. So, economically, especially with a young company, it's a really good idea to do, but you just have to make sure that you're giving them the right sandbox up front to play in the test to make mistakes. Just like you hire somebody locally too, you know, like you have to train, you have to work with them, you have to make sure that they understand and it's a lot harder to do when they're not sitting next to you. But you have to put in the time to like continuously work with people, give them stuff to do, critique it, tell them what you want, like using videos is really, really important. Again, having like processes written up ahead of time, is really, really important. So yeah, I mean I'm all about outsourcing, offshoring, whatever is good for the business really.
Yeah. I completely agree. Like my viewpoint is the same as yours. I think for me, the way that I look at it too is like, are we looking for an expert? Are we looking for kind of to out task? Like if it's a job that anybody can do without any previous work experience, then I can save a lot of money and people are people, man, like how we train them and the results that they get. Like that doesn't matter where they're from or, you know, what country they live in. So I think a lot of systems and processes can be ran from any country. It doesn't really matter, right? Like there's some strengths and weaknesses, you know, if you're looking for like a writer, right? And they don't natively speak English, but if you're just looking for somebody to find prospects and bloggers and local media people to send emails to, what does it matter if they're in the States or they're somewhere else?
So, I know that definitely we couldn't have grown our agency and all of my businesses as fast as we have if it wasn't for outsourcing or out shoring. My main support guy, is in the Philippines. His name is Ryan. Ryan's been with me for like six years. And frankly, like you'd never even know that he was from the Philippines. And like, he knows like any product better than any American on our team, backwards and forwards. Like he could crush them in a test or a skills challenge any day and you'd have no idea where he's from. So, but I think there are cases, like you said, with like developers too, you know, with me, with developers for example, I'm looking for the best talent that I possibly can. I don't care so much about price. So I have a developer in the States, for example, that makes like 40 grand a year, and I got a developer in Romania that makes like 120 US a year, right? But there's a big, huge difference in terms of talent.
Huge difference. And I also think that the US is actually very far behind in a lot of things like development. I mean eastern Europe is a powerhouse for developers. I'm saying like you outsource development over there and end up paying more for it because their skill set and, I mean like all of our favorite SEO tools are not US tools also, that's important to note. You know what I mean? All their developers full staff is from over there, you know. So I agree that it would, especially when it comes to things like design, I'm always willing to pay higher to get it done right the first time. Like that's the thing too, is that like my developers are doing more front end wordpress or not like building applications. They could, but I'm just building so many different sites to constantly adding sites.
I like to have developers on retainer that are just like, I talked to my developers more than anything because they basically manage all my sites and presence and all that stuff. But a hundred percent agreement, it's I think becoming less taboo. I think it's a bad idea for just the everyday business owner to outsource work. But if you're an agency, you're not going to make your ends meet at first if you don't, unless you're so good that you can charge a couple hundred bucks and hour, and hire all local.
Completely agree. Cool man. So we'll come into the top of the hour, man, wanting to be respectful of your time. But I got a couple more questions here. One, the next one is a little bit of a taboo one, right? But if you were to start your agency again, right? Like what would you do differently? Like you built it, you sold it, so to speak. If you're looking back, like what were the takeaways? Like what would you do differently your second go around so to speak?
I would've hired sooner. I would have bet more on myself. This is something that I think as entrepreneurs, we all go through and it's a learning experience more and more and more. But I was unwilling to give up number one was, as I said, lifestyle. It wasn't like bawling, like I'm living a lot better now, but, you know, I had like a pretty nice apartment and a pretty nice car. Like I wasn't willing to take less income for myself for the good of the business. And that stagnated us pretty significantly because, and that was a big reason why I was working so much. I got out of shape, my relationship, I was never there. And when I was there, I was always thinking about the business, I was irritable. And yeah, I mean like I would've hired sooner, a lot sooner. It just like I'm doing now, like investing in the business. People are an investment in the business. And, you know, I had some offshore people, but again, like there is a time for offshore, and there's a time for having somebody sit next to, you know, because of just what they can do and you know, getting on the phone and all that stuff. So I would hire a lot sooner than I did.
Awesome, man. Yeah. Okay. So, yeah, definitely completely agree with that. One big takeaway for me as well. So last question then. Ryan, at the end of a lot of podcasts, people asked to recommend the book or what's your favorite book? Or give me 10 bucks, right? I want to do something a little bit different. I want to ask you, what's the one book, right, that's made the biggest impact on the way that you do business? What's the most applicable thing that like you've taken action on and that has crushed it in your business? Like what's that book?
There's a book, there's a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It just came out not too long ago. And that was, it's not a business book per se, it's more of a mental kind of, I don't even know what you classify it as. But the reason why that was so important for me was because I've always been an introvert. I've always been somebody who like, has held myself back from doing more because of what other, what I perceived other people thought about me. So what that book talks a lot about is just understanding that you are, you are really kind of the biggest thing that's holding you back. A lot of things. And when I say that now it means in today's market, like doing things like I was very shy about using things like Instagram. Even now, like I still, I've only just now started posting business stuff on Instagram and when I look back, if I could have been doing this three years ago like fuck man, like I miss like I missed out, you know, and it was solely because I was worried about like what my friends were going to think about me, like posting business videos and like there's was only like 20 views that did like going, like if I could go back in and you can go back to my business before I would have, like you say, you pushed all in, but like I wasn't really pushed on it.
And even now, I'm like realizing that now, like when I have this extra money, like it's great I have extra money, but like, am I really pushing all in or am I not pushing. Like, am I really investing in the future? Am I really like doubling down on what I believe in myself and the businesses? And that I mean that book was great. That really does dig into really the psychology of yourself and of your own mind and, and yeah, I mean literally just like understanding that so much of this world is based on, and so much of our actions and decisions based on what other people think, but they really don't give a shit and neither should you, you know? And again, when it comes to like this world and what gets success right now, so much of it as social media, like I posted something that's what yesterday about.
Like, I think social media is way more powerful than SEO. Like I checked social 50 times a day across my channels. They literally like shapes our world and our opinions and our views and like what we see in the world. We get it from social media, whereas Google, like, yeah, we will search for stuff and like maybe buy something, but like do we though, like you see a product on Instagram, you see it here and then like you're going right to that website to buy most of the time or you're going to Amazon to buy it, you know? So, obviously I still love SEO, huge market, huge place for it in business, but, got off track. But yeah, that book like really helped me to understand that, if I really want to be where I want to be and who I want to be, then I need to stop getting my own way, you know, really good book. I do recommend it to everyone to check it out.
Yeah. Great Book. I've got it here on audible. Actually. I went through it just like two weeks ago. So just a quick recommendation for you then. Have you read Man Up? They're, Bedros Keuilian, is the founder of fit body bootcamp, which you see like everywhere. And he was like on the brink of disaster, with that business and was about to go under and then like completely turn the thing around to what it is today. Fastest growing fitness franchise out there. It's a lot like the subtle art of not giving a fuck and I think you would really dig it.
I like Bedros. Amazing speaker.
Yeah, Bedros is a great speaker and it talks about, you know, his history and, you know, moving here to the United States and how he grew up and how that really fucked with his mind. And like, it's just, it's a great, great book. So if you'd like The Subtle Art of Not giving a Fuck, you'll love the book by Bedros.
You want me to check that out, for sure.
So cool man. One thing I want to reiterate here is the, is the value exchange right? At the end of the day? Like if somebody could walk away from this interview with one thing, there's been a lot of things, but understand that SEO is just another value exchange, right? Um, it's one big thing I took from this interview and if you think about it, everything is a value exchange, right? Getting somebody to share your stuff on social media. Like you were just talking about social and Insta is a value exchange, right? You know, pitching somebody and getting a customer as a value exchange, right? You selling your business is a value exchange? Us getting links, there's gotta be a value exchange, right? And at the end of the day, I think if you just think about it in terms of value exchange, in terms of building links and how can I provide value to somebody and how can I get some leverage and some scale with it. I think that you'll think completely different about link building. All right man. Ryan, thanks so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. If somebody wants to look you up, if they want to find you, I would assume Webris is the main place that we want to link you up in the show notes. Right? Anywhere else?
Webris is good. The blueprint is good too. I've been pushing a lot more on my personal website now to ryanwashere.com. Any of the above. I'm all there.
All right, awesome. We'll put all three in the show notes. I appreciate it, Ryan. Have a freaking fantastic weekend. All right.
Thanks Joe. You too, man.
Thanks, boss. That was great.