Today’s Guest Ryan Flannagan
Ryan is the CEO of Nuanced Media, and has spent more than fifteen years in eCommerce, multi-channel digital marketing, and third-party marketing places. He has worked with hundreds of companies to establish best practices, focusing on the 20 per cent that produces 80 per cent of the revenue.
Ryan is a passionate thought leader in the eCommerce industry. He has been interviewed and quoted by Buzz Feed, Modern Retail, as well as many other news outlets - including the eCommerce Podcast.
- Ryan talks about how he coped with failure at the start of his entrepreneurial journey. He recommends focusing on what you can control, understanding that things happen for a reason, and getting up every day to keep moving forward. He also talks about how important it is to have a win-win mindset when it comes to business relationships.
- Matt and Ryan discuss the idea that going through tough times makes a person stronger, how taking risks is a part of being an entrepreneur, and staying true to your morals is important, especially when things are tough.
- Experience is a highly valuable asset in business. Knowing what not to do is as crucial as knowing what to do, as is focusing on the things that will make you money, rather than wasting time on things that won't.
- Ryan talks about his major goals in life - to provide value, be financially independent, stay physically healthy, and be a great husband/father/citizen.
- Ryan believes that exercising for at least 30 minutes a day is key to resetting your metabolism and being the best version of yourself. Meditation and focusing on his goals are also important elements of self-care for him. He believes in the power of affirmation, or taking time to appreciate what you do have in your life.
Links for Ryan
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At Aurion Media, we're committed to helping you set up and run your own successful podcast to grow your business and impact.
"You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. I think just about any entrepreneur, or business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own businesses." - Matt Edmundson.
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Matt Edmundson: Welcome to Push to Be More with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that. I am chatting with my very special, uh, guest today, Ryan Flannagan from Nuanced media, uh, about how he went from losing his family's money, delivered pizza with an MBA and conquering Amazon, that's a heck of a journey, isn't it?
Uh, the show notes and the transcript from our conversation will be available on our website at pushtobemore.com. Also, on our website, you can sign up for our newsletter and if you haven't done so already, make sure you do, uh, because each week we will email you, uh, the links from the show, the notes, they all come to your inbox automagically, totally free. Totally amazing. So make sure you sign up for that at pushtobemore.com.
This episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders, uh, set up and run their own successful podcast. Oh yes. I've mentioned this before, I have found running my own podcast to be ah, it's just amazing. It's so, so cool. I now have three. We're just about to launch a fourth. I know. It's all getting a bit crazy. Uh, podcasting opens doors to amazing people, just like Ryan, like nothing else I have seen, uh, I've built networks, made friends. I've had a platform to champion my customers, my team, my suppliers.
Honestly, I think just about any entrepreneur and business leader should have a podcast because of the huge impact it can have. Now, of course, that sounds all great in theory, but in reality, there's the whole problem of setup, distribution, social media, getting the tech right, knowing what the right podcast strategy is. I mean, the list goes on.
You see, I love talking to people, but not all of that other stuff. I really, really don't. So Aurion media takes care of all of that. It just takes everything off my plate. I do what I'm good at, and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.com.
Uh, we will of course link to them in our podcast show notes as well. So if you've got that, uh, that will, uh, if you have signed up to that email, that will come straight through to you. Uh, but that'll be at pushtobemore.com, so, Aurion media, do check them out. Now let's talk about today's guest.
Ryan is the CEO of Nuanced Media and has spent more than 15 years in e-commerce, multi-channel digital marketing and third party marketing. He has worked with hundreds of companies to establish best practice, focusing on the 20% that produces 80% of the revenue. Ryan is a passionate thought leader in the e-commerce industry.
He's been interviewed and quoted by buzzfeed, modern Retail, as well as many other news outlets, including of course the e-commerce podcast that I host, which is where Ryan and I first met. It was definitely the pinnacle of his career so far. I have no doubt. Uh, and I thought he'd make a great guest for push as well.
So, Ryan, thanks for joining me on this slightly different podcast. It's always great to catch up again. How are we doing?
Ryan Flannagan: Uh, great, Matt. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Matt Edmundson: Oh, mate, it's good. It's good. Now, uh, you are based in Arizona, uh, and you were saying that you've, you've got your vest on, haven't you? For those of you not watching the video listening to the podcast, he's, he's wearing a vest
Ryan Flannagan: for those of you not watching the video. I'm also about six three blonde hair or golden locks. Really attractive man overall, just so. If you're watching the video, please don't look at the uh, receding hairline or anything. It's all illusion. I put on the good for radio, uh.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. That's really funny. The amount of friends that have said to me over the past, you know, when you talk to them, what are you doing?
You say, oh, we do the podcasting thing. They're like, oh, awesome. Cuz you've got the best face for radio. Right? It's like. It's the standard thing that I hear. Yes, I've got a good face for radio. Uh, so. That's funny. Ah, mate, thanks for coming back on. Uh, and this time we're not talking specifically about e-commerce and if people want to do hear about e-commerce, check out the e-commerce podcast with Ryan.
Where we talk about Amazon, uh, and go into that, into a whole great depth, which was fantastic. but I wanted to get a little bit more about your story and we've, we had a quick catch up and the thing that intrigued me, I said it at the intro, you've sort of gone through this incredible journey from losing your family's money to delivering pizza with an MBA to, uh, founder and CEO of Nuanced Media to conquering Amazon. I mean, we're gonna get into it all, but I was, your, your story is quite fascinating. There's a lot of twists and turns, shall we say?
Ryan Flannagan: Well, Matt, primarily it was overnight success. It just happened without any issues or anything like that. It hasn't been like a 20 year journey at this point, overnight.
Matt Edmundson: If only, if only, if only. And then you could just write a book about it. How it didn't take 20 years. It all happened overnight.
Ryan Flannagan: Yeah, completely. I actually do have a book out on, uh, inbound marketing, which is, uh, something that we really don't know do now it's all focusing on Amazon and e-commerce and product marketing.
So yeah, I do have a book, but yeah, it's like completely different topic.
Matt Edmundson: That's fantastic. Uh, interestingly enough, and nothing related to the topics we're gonna talk about, uh, before we started recording this podcast, I was looking actually at HubSpot as a CRM for, um, Aurion Media. And I was like, well, do we, do we do HubSpot?
Do we do something else? So, I might pick your brains about this after we stop the recording, so I'm sure it won't be interesting for, uh, for, for listeners. So tell us about your, your journey. Tell us about the first company that fell. What happened there?
Ryan Flannagan: Sure. So this all started, I'd say back in 2006. And, um, this is when MySpace was very active at the time. Facebook was emerging on the market.
And, and we saw a pretty interesting opportunity, um, that Facebook was, uh, functional, but you couldn't really customize it or anything like that. And, uh, MySpace, uh, had a good amount of users, but because people were hand coding things, Doing things like that, sometimes you would go to a page and 5 million things would load, and it was just a really, uh, not a very strong experience for anyone.
Right. So what we had developed out was, uh, initially focusing on the geek market. Um, A number, geek had just kind of become a populist thing, and it was really talking about expressing your inner geek and being passionate about things. And it was developed on Flex two, which was based on action script. Um, this is before, um, am Sorry.
Uh, apple said I don't like action script and you can't show those on our phone. So, uh, a number of things that happened that were outta my control, that kind mm-hmm. eventually led to the doom of the, uh, of the concept, but essentially you could build profiles pretty easily, do the social network and then actually have animated things go on.
Uh, behind, uh, your profile that, uh, were very nice. You could increase them, you could really customize out what you're doing. So it was a hybrid between MySpace and actually having it so you could have a very nice, good interaction with that. And then, uh, Facebook, which was a little bit more platform centric in doing those things.
So those were the two different concepts that we looked at and we built out. Um, and then quickly after developing it, Found out that it may not have been the best solution. We initially, to be honest, had, uh, thought about being a Greek social network, and that was what the first roughly two years were developed to build out for Greek as in fraternal, um, and sorority Greek.
Mm-hmm. and, um, We had developed that outgun buy-in from a lot of the major organizations, uh, fraternity systems. Uh, and you know, the sororities really have an issue that when they're an undergrad, everybody's very engaged. But once they, uh, graduate and go to Chicago, people lose contact. So we had approached the National Panhellenic Council and a lot of the Greek system and they said, Hey, we love it.
It's great. Um, this is gonna be a great way for us to stay connected. But, um, we wanna be able to proof everything that any undergrad puts up. Right. So essentially that that was the first morning experience is, wow, don't spend two years until you actually talk to your own customer, building out this great platform to find out that it's not going to work.
Because you know, if you have to get proof by, HQ on everything. Uh, a they didn't understand the, the, the issues that they had had. But, um, anyway, it was just a no-go on that. So we pivoted to the geek side of things and then by the time that we were really ready to go to market, we did not have funding enough to really focus on the advertising of those things.
And I had spent about three to four years of this, uh, paying about three or four developers working on this, was getting my mba. Um, working as a barista, the night shift and, uh, spending a lot of my, uh, family inheritance. My father had passed away when, about a month before I turned 21, uh, to basically have everything blow up in my face.
Um, so. Uh, essentially had a really rough time at that point. I had been engaged. We broke up, I moved from the Midwest where I was living in Kansas at that point. Moved back to Tucson to, uh, live in my mom's guest bedroom. I was in my early thirties at the point. Um, and, and just really not being able to sleep.
The only thing you could control was exercising and doing those things to Right. Really try to reclaim your life, um, and do those things. And I, I, I came back to Tucson, uh, Arizona and I was looking for jobs in the, uh, Phoenix market or in Austin, and couldn't get a callback for anything. So just, I already had my MBA at this point and I needed to do something.
So I delivered, uh, pizzas for Papa John's whilst having my delusions of finding the job somewhere else. Wow. Um, and, you know, owning a company now too, I, I know how difficult it is that people submit applications and do these type of things all the time. And honestly, you're so busy reading your, working your company that you sometimes just don't even have time to look at the candidates or you're not hiring for that position or anything.
Um, so I, I started delivering pizzas, uh, doing that, uh, in my early thirties with my mba. Really not knowing where to go or, or what to do. Uh, definitely a high point in my life. Um, you, you feel the irony there? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, You know, uh, quite frankly, being, uh, from Arizona originally I had a friend that needed a, a solar company website, developed out, so I did that, and then I had another friend who had a yoga studio.
So I did that. And then we quickly, uh, quickly, uh, another two years later, I hired my first employee. Um, doing those type of things, uh, developed out the team to three or four people, uh, really started working heavily, and this is early, you know, 2012ish. Really started working on, um, website design and development.
We actually developed out a plug-in on the WordPress platform that got, I think, 5 million downloads at the end of the day. It was a integration with meetup.com, so you could locally express, uh, events and those type of things. Um, had four full-time developers working on, um, Uh, WordPress for us. We brought on, uh, companies such as Buffalo Exchange, which has got 50 plus, uh, locations nationally.
Uh, they do a lot of stuff in the vintage market. Uh, did the website for Arizona Tech Council, third largest tech council in the United states, uh, helped a company get acquired for $40 million on the B2B side. At this point, we're really starting to level and focus on B2B marketing and growing those things out.
Uh, but quickly found out that the B2B side of things was inherently broken. Meaning if you did your job as a marketer, you would start gaining them leads. Um, and then they never have the people to handle all the leads that are coming up or mm-hmm. Then their manufacturing process would slow down or things like that.
Ultimately not scalable, right? Mm-hmm. , um, or basically it'd be producing leads, like one of our clients, uh, the vice president of Oculus Rift, download their guide and like, follow up with this guy. Like, this is a big thing, this is a, a big hitter. Um, and then they'd add you the follow up, right? So, At a certain point we said, well, this is broken.
you know, website design has gained more competitive on this. Where can we really start focusing? And at that point, uh, we helped a client sell roughly $24 million in about six weeks on the Amazon platform and off of Amazon. Right? Now literally the stars aligned with that process, it was during the 2017 solar eclipse.
Okay. And we had been already representing kind of some e-commerce, uh, clients before this period, but this was kind of the eye-opening level. And initially our strategy looking at this was to maybe open up kiosks throughout the United States to sell these, uh, solar glasses, right? Mm-hmm. Cause that's what they're selling.
Cause we needed distribution. But then we said, Hey, why don't we really start focusing on Amazon and looking at that. Um, they made 18 and a half million dollars or something like that in a month period. On that did very well. No kidding. And then we said, well, maybe there's something to do on Amazon. We can scale it, we can grow it, we can do all those type of things. Um, and, and really build that out.
A, a joke that I say, and, uh, the group I worked with was a terrific group, but you know what we got then today? They're very nice and they got, uh, myself and the accounts manager and one of the strategists, all Rolexes. And then they, they did some other things, but we had our flat fee, right. So we didn't get any of the upside, which is completely fine. That's how the contract was level. But the joke was, Hey, I made somebody 24 million and all I got was the shitty Rolex . Right, right. You know?
So, uh, quickly from that, um, we really started focusing heavily and lean heavily into Amazon, pivoted quickly to just represent e-commerce clients, and that's all we do now is just Amazon e-commerce. We've sold hundreds of millions online for our clients, um, and done that. And that's really what we focus on every day and what we do and how we build it up.
Matt Edmundson: That's a hell of a journey, bud. I mean, it, you know, it, you, it's fine. It just kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Wow. This is what happened then, and that's what happened there.
But I mean, just going back to when it all goes, um, as we'd say in England a bit, Pete Tong, um, very wrong. Um, , you know, in your sort of, uh, what, early thirties when the social media thing obviously doesn't work and you've invested all this money and it's, it's not going on. You've broken up with your fiance, you've had to move back home, uh, to live with your mum.
You've got your MBA and you're delivering pizza. How, how is life at this point? I mean, for you mentally? How, how are you dealing with all that?
Ryan Flannagan: Um, you know, there, there's a certain amount of control what you can control and understanding that, you know, I'm not particularly a religious guy, but I understand that the concept of surrendering, faith or, or those things, right.
And then really, Understanding, uh, releasing control. Cuz at a certain point you have to do that right? And you can say, these are the things that I can control or, and are within my sphere. And for me at that point it was really working out and running and, and just doing anything healthy to get that endorphin right, hit to, you know, get that sense of accomplishment and bring in what I, I could do and what I could really not do, right?
Mm-hmm. Um, so focusing on that and then just getting up every day and starting to build and recline, right? Um, and doing those levels. So that's, that's really. you know, I'm sure a certain group of your, uh, listeners have had a similar journey. Mm-hmm. you know, entrepreneurship is not easy and your, your first go isn't always the best go, right?
Mm-hmm. Um, but you know, the first thing I found out is like, I'm actually gonna get paid for my services compared to going into this big dream of building out a social network when you're never sure where there's a real revenue stream. Sure. Right. We did have some pitches and we did have some capabilities to bring in.
you know, VC and Angels and those levels, those never really panned out. But on that level, I'm like, okay, I'm l you know, I'm making $13 an hour with tips right now. So if I can get paid $25 an hour, things are great. Mm-hmm., right? So, so how can I do that? How can I build that? And then I, you slowly start you know, stepping up, stepping up building, you get your reputation out, you build more of that.
And then something that I've always really focused on as being a service provider is win-win. Mm-hmm. Right. And how do you really speak to winning for your partners, either those partners being, uh, your employees and, and what they get out of it and how do you make sure that they're getting and the most out of working with you, um, on those things.
And then, quite frankly, how does it work for your partners? How do you establish a win-win? How do you enable to make sure that you're trying to help them win the most that's possible and, and grow? And that's what relationships are based on. And, and in order to do that, you have to set up expectations and you build from there.
So those are, you know, the process that you go through. Um, it's not something that I'd ever encourage anybody to do, but, um, as the old saying goes, whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Um, apparently for those again of you that. Uh, are listening to this and not watching it, it did really contribute to my golden locks and full head of hair.
It had nothing to do with my receding or gray hair loss. Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, so that, but the beard, the gray and the beard is now making up for the, the loss up top, so that's.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely.
So the, when it all does go a, a bit Pete Tong and you know, you. Uh, in some respects, you, you, like you say, you're surrendering to faith. There's a, uh, I was talking about this with, um, with another guest. The, the book, um, Good to Great by Jim Collins where he talks about confronting the brutal facts, right?
You have to confront the brutal facts. I was talking about that with Andrew Kelly this morning, who's also on the show. Um, in fact, it would be the episode before this, uh, we were talking about that and that that ability to see in front of you and go, yes, this is what's really happening. I can deal with this.
But looking back now on that, Ryan, do you, do you regret the whole social media thing? Would, if you could go back in time and tell yourself not to do it, would you do that? Or would you, are you a bit more philosophical, which has actually, the lessons I learned there have been quite valuable.
Ryan Flannagan: Yeah. I, I, not that ever wanna repeat it, but yes, the lessons learned were very valuable.
Right. Um, I don't think until you run a business, That you can fully represent other people in business and, and I'd say smaller business, when you get to like 50 million up corporate life, uh, the people running the campaigns and those type of things, typically it's other people's money, right? Mm-hmm. , so it's not as mm-hmm.
it's important, right? Because you don't wanna lose your job and all those type of things. Mm-hmm. . Um, when running a business, making a payroll, understanding those type of things, and really having that journey of losing it all, um, is really invaluable when you talk about, uh, working with or handling anybody else's money because it has a certain amount of, uh, more gravitas or importance with that.
Sure. Um, and, and I, I don't think you really learn that lesson until you've had some major conflicts in your life. It's, um, you know, uh, just to add to the, the beautiful thing of my, my life. I've mentioned my father passed away, but my brother had passed away when I was about seven, and he was year and a half old.
Wow. And, and really without having those losses, um, you really don't know how much you can appreciate or should appreciate life. Hmm. Right. Um, cuz you need to kind of get the, the polar side of things to really see what that looks like. Right? Hmm. I'm moving the wrong hand. Right. You had to get the polar side of things to really see what that looks like.
So when, when looking at that level, uh, without knowing the low of the lows, you don't know the high of the highs. Right. So that would be the response on that side.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, it's interesting. It is interesting cuz I, I, I, I'm a very similar. I mean, not similar stories, but sort of similar approach in the, in the sense that you look back and people often ask you about regret and what, what are the things that you regret?
And I think Dan Pink has actually just released a book about this entire topic, um, about the power of regret. And um, it's really interesting. It's like, yes, there are things that happen that I wouldn't want to go through again, but I've come through that I think a much better person. Right. Uh, and it's a really, there is this tension isn't there, between.
Between the, the hard times and when things and, and being in the middle of those, um, and having the faith to see it through, because you know, at the end of it, something better will emerge. It's, it's not always that easy to sort of think that way, but actually that, that's been my, my story, I suppose. And it's interesting listening to you talk because it sounds like a very similar story.
Ryan Flannagan: Right. And, and that's the insanity of being an entrepreneur too, is totally through that. And, and to be candid, like a lot of people get entrepreneurism and they don't realize how much there is to risk, how much there is, all of those things, and. you know, I think we've all had the thoughts of, well, maybe I should just turn it in and go work for somebody else at some point.
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Right. But, uh, knowing, uh, personalities and things like that, it's about finding the right fit on that. And that's, that seems like a bigger risk to me, or always has seemed like a bigger risk to me than running my own thing, having my own relationships and building my own companies. Right. Um, on those levels too.
So it, it is. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger and whatever you can control, only what you can control and you can build only what you can build. Right? Yeah. And how do you do those? How do you focus on those and how do you be a good person at the end of the day? Yeah, because the other thing is, you know, you can get into tight crunches with money and those type of things, and that's really where you, you're, um, the you know, the, I'm forgetting the analogy where the rock hits the metal, or I'm forgetting the analogy right off the bat, but that's where you really have to decide if you're going to jump ship or you're going to keep this, or where your morals, how are you gonna stay with those type of things, right?
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, totally.
I remember, um, uh, years ago, cause I, I also had a little web designing business. Uh, going back a few years, that's how I started in e-commerce. Actually. We started writing code and we thought we could have a little web shop here. Why not? How hard can it be to write that? And so I did our first e-commerce website back in 2002, but I remember, uh, it was gonna, it was probably, it was probably around that sort of time, um, sort of the early naughties and.
I'm, I'm not working. I'm, for whatever reason, I'm now self-employed. I'll spare you the story about how that happened. Um, but I'm self-employed. I have no money, right? Because I was young, I was setting up my own business. You went from, you know, uh, the pillar to post. You just did not know what was gonna happen from a finance point of view, right?
Um, I was newly married and we had a new baby. and you kind of think, well, I've gotta provide, I've gotta pay the mortgage. I've got a two dot dot dot right? And a guy came to me and said, oh, I want a website that can kind of do this, this, this, and this. And I was thinking, oh, amazing. And he said, this is how much money I've got budget wise.
I'm thinking, amazing. All my prayers have been answered. And then he, I said, well, what kind of website are you thinking? And he told me, I wanna do a porn site. And I was like, but I'm not being funny. But can you, can we do something different ? Because, you know, from a personal point of view, from a personal values point of view, there's no way I'm doing at porn site. That's a, this just, this just doesn't tie with me as a person.
Um, so I'm like, do something else. And it's like, no, no, this is what I wanna do. I'm like, sorry bud. You're gonna have to find somebody else that helps you. But it comes down to that, like you say, in a tight crunch. When the rubber hits the road, and you have to decide what kind of person do I want to be?
Right. I, I I think it's, uh, yeah, I think you find out when there's no money.
Ryan Flannagan: Well, and a thank you for remembering the, the saying that I was trying to say before the rock, uh, you know, brilliant. Um, but the, the other side of this is. You know, I had a similar incident with a company that really wanted to do a very political social network, uh, a while back and they ended up being, we referred them out cause we couldn't align on, uh, really what they're doing or how they're going about it, right?
There's just some really conflict of interest with that. And um, uh, ended up being a hundred thousand. It was a billionaire looking for it, and it was a hundred thousand dollars a month contract. Wow. Right. And our typical contracts are five to $10,000 a month, right? Mm-hmm. , like, so you're talking real, real level on mm-hmm.
Um, but politically I just couldn't do it. We couldn't handle what we're looking at morally. I, I couldn't do that. And yeah, that's a real internal decision. You go, well, do I wanna a hundred thousand dollars a month contract? But you may not be able to sleep at night. Yeah. Or do you pass and hand it off to somebody else?
Matt Edmundson: Mm. . It's a really interesting one, isn't it? This sort of understanding. I think it's really important actually. And if you're a young entrepreneur and you're starting out in business, understanding what you stand for and understanding your values, I think is really important. Um, because they will get tested.
Uh, and you, you, you, they're gonna, it's gonna come your way. And it is interesting because,
Ryan Flannagan: well, it's not necessarily just your values too, it's all your employee values too. Yeah. More morale around work, and it's these type of things. Like if you were to take on the, the porn site, um, and I don't know how many employees you had at the time, but would they have been offended by that?
Would they mm-hmm. maybe churned on you. Like there are so many different things that you have to take in the account as well. Right. And yeah, sure. When you're leading an organization, your job to make sure that you have a good place to work. Mm-hmm, that people are doing things of value, that that's how you retain people.
If you're not doing things of value, then retention goes away. Right? Yeah. And it's not a good business for you. It's not a good place to work. It's not the type of company that at least, I don't wanna run. And Matt sounds like from our conversation, it's not the type of company you want to run either.
Matt Edmundson: No, not.
Not at all. I, I think there's something more important, isn't there? So how did you, how did you, um, sort of feel when you turned down a hundred thousand a month for the sake of conscience?
Ryan Flannagan: Um, I could still sleep at night, you know, that's the, that's the side side of it. Um, but, you know, and I don't regret that decision either.
Mm-hmm. right? Because I also think at that rate that, you know, I don't know if they're gaining the value of a hundred thousand a month when they're doing it as well. Mm-hmm. right? Like, and they were, uh, uh, The, the people we referred to them to continue to tell us that they were a difficult client all the way through the full engagement, um, for those things.
Uh, which was a writeing on the wall, right? When you have that type of money, um, particularly, you know, cuz this was developing out a social media network and doing something like that. You, you know that that's. From an architectural standpoint, think if you're building a house for somebody and you get halfway through the build, you built the wall, you built the foundation, and they come to you and they're like, you know what?
I really want that pool that we were talking about in the backyard. Mm-hmm. can you put that on the roof? Can you make that happen tomorrow? Well, that's a very difficult thing to do, and that happens in the infrastructure of building e-commerce websites, custom things like this. Right. And when you talk about a bigger.
Pivot with everything is now having those conversations with clients. And, and this is the biggest takeaway I have to say through all the trials and tribulations is, you know, nuanced media and myself can really now provide the value of what not to do. Yeah. Right. And, and that's a core thing that you have to, you only learn what not to do by not by doing it a number of times and screwing it up.
right? And what you find is now there's enough ways to hack it that you can get about 90% of the functionality that you want. Um, but if you need that last 10%, how important is that? 10. Last 10%. So, yeah, for example, all the websites we design and develop, um, are on Shopify and we don't work with WooCommerce anymore.
We developed out WooCommerce for a long time. Mm-hmm. we don't work with Magento, we don't work with any of those things because quite frankly, 90% of the time it's going to get you 90% of the functionality that you need. Yeah. Yeah. And that last 10. Isn't a big enough deal to make it. And if you need that, then you can basically put it on a sub-domain and figure it out some other way with that.
Yeah. It's gonna get you to market 10 times quicker and it's gonna make you 10 times more profitable by focusing on those type of things. So those are the hard conversations you, you have to have with clients. Yeah. Saying, yeah, I, I know you really want the thing to zoom around at the top of the screen.
And, and go, boo boo boo boo boo. But that's not going to make you any more money and it's not worth the time. And it could also ultimately jeopardize your company. Yeah. So how do we focus on the pareto principle? You know, focus on the 20% that's gonna make us 80% of the revenue compared to the 80% that's gonna make us 20% of the revenue.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, no, exactly right. And I think that's a lot of times, it's a lot of, I, I mean, I, if I think about, uh, you know, why people contract coaches or consultants or why I've gone and reached out to experts, it's more because they're gonna tell me, like you say, what not to do than what I have an idea of what I should do.
But it's like, what are the pitfalls I need to avoid on the route to get into where I want to go? And that, like you say, that experience and that experience is really interesting, isn't it? Because that's not what you had when you were 20 years old starting your social media, uh, company. It's what you have now because you, you've had that life experience, right?
And there's something about that experience that I, I find quite valuable. Um, I dunno if that's why we say older people are wiser people. Maybe it's just because they've got more experience about life. I don't know.
Ryan Flannagan: Well, it's also why you never hire a psychologist who doesn't have some gray in their hair. right? That's very true. Yeah. It's hard to, you know, being a 25 year old psychologist is probably pretty difficult because no one believes you have the life experience. You could have a ton life experience at that level, but on the consulting track, on any these type of things, the reason that you work with, um, people that have experience and age isn't the only experience but have experience is so they, as you can say, Tell you what not to do as much of what to do.
And then also, you know, the old joke with that is, why am I paying the engineer that comes in and looks at the machine $10,000 for pushing one button and fixing it in 30 seconds? Mm-hmm. Well, cause it took them their whole career to figure out which button to push. Yeah. Right. And, and fix the whole issue.
Um, so that's, that's really the level, and that's the thing that anybody going into business or e-commerce or those type of things is, I'd highly recommend is, uh, join a peer group or hire a consultant or do any of those things because the lessons that they've learned are going to be the things that really make you more.
Uh, significant and, and, uh, increase your probability of success dramatically. Mm-hmm. compared to needing to go through the losses that I've had or that you've had or any of these type of things because you didn't check your profit margin initially. It's something that we do with any client we're onboarding for Amazon is we run the unit economics and you'd be amazed at how many agencies out there just look at top line.
and then you find out that after shipping their cogs and all those type of things, they have a 10% margin. Well, they're never gonna be successful on Amazon with the 10% margin. Mm-hmm. because you need that money to run ads. Yep. Right. Um, and, and you know, there are always exceptions to the rules, but those are the conversations that you have to have.
You have to look at the unit economics, you have to do these things. And if you're not working with a provider or a consultant that says, Hey John, Sarah, Sue. It's great that you have the next big thing and you have a patent pending and it's beautiful and all these type of things, but you're not gonna be profitable on this because this, this, and this.
And even though you're running a nonprofit, the goal of a nonprofit, for example, is to not not be profitable, it's still to be profitable so you can afford and like take your staff and do those type of things. Mm-hmm. , I've worked on a ton of different nonprofit boards. And, and that's a, a classic thing that happens in that thing is they're like, we can't be profitable as a nonprofit.
Well, no, that's not true. You need to be profitable. So you can afford the staff to run the organization better. Yeah. Right. And that's in your business and all these other type of things. So, um, you know, I'll get off my self box.
Matt Edmundson: No, no, no. It's, it's fascinating listening to you talk. It's really interesting.
So, I mean, I mean, sort of experience and life experience, uh, being what they are and, uh, being valuable, um, knowing the experience that you went through the first time, right? With your social media network, what gave you the courage to have another go? Or was it, was it a chance or did, were you super intentional and go, well, I'm just not gonna make the same mistakes?
Do you know what I mean? I, I mean, you've lost all this money. You've lost your fiance, you've lost, everything's gone, and yet, here you go and you start again. I'm really curious as to what was the mindset there?
Ryan Flannagan: um, delusion. I think that's probably, you know, ego and delusion. Yeah. Like that's, that's probably the key things.
Um, you know, it's to provide value, right? It's to, uh, control your own destiny. It's to champion something that's bigger than you have always been. Kind of the, the driving factors and I, I, you know, meditate on a daily basis. I go through, I want professional wealth, which is, you know, being a good thought leader, enjoying what I'm doing, adding value, helping people win, right?
Mm-hmm. That, that's the kinda core goal here. My second goal is, is fiscal independence. I don't need to make millions and millions and millions of dollars a year, but I need to provide for my family. I need to not be worried about money. I need to be able to live and be confident in living, right? Mm-hmm. And that doesn't need to get ridiculous, but uh, if you're worried about money all the time and it interrupts with everything else that's going on mm-hmm.
right? And then it goes into physical health, you know, how much time do you attribute to working out or eating right and taking care of yourself so you can actually enjoy the life that you're living? I have a three year old daughter. I wanna be able to grow old with her and mm-hmm. , you know, teach her everything.
So hopefully she doesn't even make the mistakes I've made. But as we know, every person needs to go through their own story and their own. Yeah. And the final thing is really to kind of be great, you know, be a great husband, be a great father, uh, be a great citizen in my community. Uh, be a great friend. and, and those type of things.
So those are my four things that I kind of focus on on a daily basis. Um, and running my own company enables me to, uh, you know, do what we're doing here. Talking about the message, talking about those lessons learned. This is really on the, you know, uh, professional wealth track. Mm-hmm. , you know, helping us, helping people learn, setting up the win-wins and doing those things.
Right. So when I kind of look back to that decision, I think there is a certain amount of. Uh, delusion and ego that drove me to do that. But I also think that some of it's like, who do you ultimately want to be at the end of your life and, and how much is worth risking that? Because if you go work for somebody else or you'll, you are basically giving that opportunity and, and those things to somebody else, which can work out great if you're very upfront about that.
If you're online, you, you can have those things and the values match, but do they always mesh, right? Mm-hmm. And those levels, so, you know, again, uh, delusion, ego, and really sticking to who you core, who you wanna be at your core. Right.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. No, that's brilliant. That's brilliant. So the, so over the years then, you've, you've sort of identified, uh, these sort of four driving, uh, goals that you have, um, which you talked about the professional wealth, uh, fiscal independence, the physical health, um, and so on.
So you've got these sort of the four goals. Um, how long did it take you to identify those, or have you always known what they were?
Ryan Flannagan: Um, overnight, Matt, I, I woke up and I just knew, um, everything's overnight. Um, no, it, it took me a while. Right. I, I think you, you know, you're working every day, you're doing all these things all day long, and sometimes you become a product of the system mm-hmm.
that you don't realize what is defining happiness for you. right? And if you don't define what happiness is for you, and this probably happened five to seven years ago, then how are you ever going to know if you're really happy? And you find that, um, particularly in you kind, these westernized cultures, and I'll put America underneath of us with, you get so capital driven, right?
That's all about the money. It's all about those things. And then you find that some people are very successful, aren't happy with their lives at all. Cause it's all been just about finances, right? And you've never taken the time to smell the roses or appreciate your family or mm-hmm, or build good friends that you can enjoy these rewards with.
Um, and those are my goals based on my life journey and, and what I've done. And those goals are going to be completely different for every different person, right? Like some people are very confident with, I wanna just have the independence to live my life and I'd rather work three hours a day and keep up with my yoga and speaking, uh, French and doing these, which is completely fine.
Mm-hmm. . Right? And that's one of the beautiful things of actually traveling and living in different cultures. Right. I lived in Spain for a few years. I lived in India for a while. To see that different reset when you go to different culture, Yeah. Right, because like one of the beautiful things I really appreciate about Europe, and this was, you know, 20 plus years ago now, was it is okay to to be a server for your life, right?
And, and do those type of things. If you had good friends and good family and all that type of stuff, while in America, you'd be shamed for doing that. Yeah. Right. And then because of that, you, you, and this is a stereotype in general, right? But then you find that Europeans are significantly know more about history, culture, all these type of things around them, arts and those things cuz they're tending to be, smell the roses a little bit more.
Mm-hmm. compared to Americans that were so driven by capitalism and, uh, living to work compared to working to live mm-hmm. Um, that, that at various things. And that's such a cultural level and I'm American. I, I got this beat into me on the capitalist side, right? Yeah. Yeah. But then you have to fight back on that as well, right?
Matt Edmundson: That's so powerful. That's super powerful because you, I mean, you're right. It's like your identity can't be tied in what you do. Really, and I think if it is, it's, it's on very shaky ground. Because what happens when you don't do that or if you don't do that well, how, how does that reflect on you? Um, and I, I, I like that.
And I've never thought about that with the Europeans. Maybe they've got a, a sort of a broader sense of, Identity because they've got a bigger connection with their history perhaps. Right. I don't know. Because obviously the states are still quite a new country. Well, it is for me.
Ryan Flannagan: Yeah, it, well, for me too,
Matt Edmundson: Do you know what I mean?
It's um, it's one of those, isn't it? There's a, I mean, my house that I live in was built in the early 1800s and I think, you know, goodness me, it's just, it's really interesting, isn't it? The whole history side of thing. So
Ryan Flannagan: yeah, that's, uh, 2006, the House. Similar.
Matt Edmundson: Similar, probably face the same energy, uh, efficiency issues, the same thing.
Ryan Flannagan: Yeah. The Street outside's amazing too. I'll tell you.
Matt Edmundson: Oh, it's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. So, um, let me ask you about, uh, being so push to be. So we, we talk about being, what do you, I mean, you've talked a little bit about exercise. Obviously you meditate every day. What is, what are some of the things you do to fill your tank to recharge?
Ryan Flannagan: Yeah. It's, um, uh, the, the exercise is a thing and I've let myself go, right? I need to get back into it. Particularly being over 40 now, your body changes, you need mm-hmm to be healthier, you can do those things. So one of the core levels is exercising and doing that at least 30 minutes a day cuz it resets your metabolism.
Um, it gives you that oomph in the day. It gives you a little bit of that endorphin rush and it really helps you kind of be the best version of yourself that you can be. Mm-hmm. Um, the second level is the meditation that we kind of spoke about. Focus on what your goals are in those levels. Um, and then the, the third element of that is affirmation.
Right? Um, what am I thankful for? You know, cuz you, that's, again, it's really interesting looking at the religious aspect of this, and I'm not a very religious individual, but you know, when a child sits down and does their prayers at night and goes through thanking everybody for what they've done. That's affirmation.
Mm-hmm.. Right. And that didn't just happen overnight. Mm-hmm. , that's really sitting there and appreciating what you actually do have, because as, as humans we tend to appreciate or not appreciate, we tend to focus on what we don't have. Mm-hmm.. Right. And then wires your system in line to focus on like, no, I actually have a lot.
you know, I'm living in a house here that was built in 2006. I, my wife can work from home. I can work from home. We can do these things. But then you're focused on like, well, why don't I have a boat? Or why don't I have, you know, these type of, uh, materialistic elements. Right. Um, so taking the time to really focus on what you're thankful for and how happy you are in your life at this moment.
And even if you're not, that don't have that much to be thankful for. You still got something.
Matt Edmundson: Oh, geez. Everyone has, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm with you.
Ryan Flannagan: You have to program and you have to focus on those type of things. Mm-hmm., right? Mm-hmm.. So those are the, the key things that, that I try to do with that. Um, just to keep myself centered and do those type of things.
And it's funny even, you know, with travel or vacation people focus on those type of things, and I really do enjoy travel or vacation. Mm-hmm. You know, they find out there's been research that people actually get more joy about planning the trip than actually being on the trip.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Wouldn't surprise me. Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it?
Ryan Flannagan: Yeah. So it's about smelling the journey and enjoying the journey you're on.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, I, I like, I like the idea of gratitude as well, you know, and, uh, not focusing on what you don't have. And that's, that's hard to do in a society that is consumer focused. Um, I'm not just talking about America.
I mean, England is, I would put in the same bracket, but, um, it, it's very hard to do. And it's interesting actually with the, the rise of consumerism and you talk about not being a religious person, but the fall of religion as in the declining numbers of religion. And you, I'm intrigued by reasons as to why people think certain ways and often, uh, they cite as a reason for the fallen religion is not because of, um, rational explanation.
i.e. Uh, I think that science has now disproved God, is, it tends to be more emotional. I e uh, God didn't do this for me, or he didn't do this for a people group, so I focused on what I don't have and what, and what I think should have happened, and that causes me there to disengage with that. um, society or that tribe or that faith or, or you know, whatever language you want to use.
And so I find it fascinating. You talk about gratitude like this and actually focus on what you do have, um, is a, is a remarkable gift I think if you can do it. Um, because I don't think many people can these days. Uh, and I dunno whether that is because of the society in which we live, but I. It just seems to be like a, I dunno, something that not a lot of people can do, and I dunno why that is.
I dunno if you've got any thoughts on that.
Ryan Flannagan: Right. Well, on, on the, the fall of religion, I think alternatives is another major thing that has to come into that too. Mm-hmm. like, you know, uh, religion was community for such a long time and the only real way to engage in the community was to be religious.
Right. And now we're finding different ways of community, your yoga studio, that could be a variety of different things. And then honestly, you get into yoga and there's a lot of meditation with those. Those tend to, you know, be other forethoughts that kind of come into that way. And how do you do your personal journey?
Right. Um, and again, to really the the point. Sorry, Matt, what was the last question? I kind of got side.
Matt Edmundson: No, no, no. I was just kind of curious as to why do you have you, is it just me that thinks people are finding it harder and harder to be grateful? And I'm just curious if you, if you do think that way
Ryan Flannagan: I, I think the, the issue now too.
So here's, here's a quick example, right? Um, we really limit or try to limit how much my daughter who's three sees television and when she does, she's in a bilingual school, so we make her watch everything in Spanish, right? Mm-hmm. and not Castiano, not from Espana, but from Mexico because that's what everybody speaks around here.
Mm-hmm. my, my accent's very interesting cuz I did start learning until I was 24. And then I speak Castiano, Spanish and Mexico. So no one understands me. It's . Um, anyway. So, but the, the things that you see is when she does engage in television and maybe watches an hour of tv, you take the iPad away and then she's a little bit of a horror, right?
Mm-hmm. Because it is like, I want my show, I want my show type of thing. That I think what happens with us and why we may be so much more consumer focused is we made everything bite size pieces. Like look at the. Puff, puff go, or any of these apps where I'm gonna get my Cheetos, I'm gonna have 'em delivered to my house.
Cause I don't wanna drive to the local vendor mm-hmm , to get things right. That you get so much instantaneous on this, which is really taking away from your own time for processing, for thinking, for appreciation, for any of these things. So I do think, um, consumerism is one of the levels, ease of life and also that there's so many different things happening all time.
We are in a time that I can put on my, you know, quest VR system and virtually be in Hong Kong in two seconds. Right. Um, and there's so many different opportunities for engagement in those things that does push more to consumerism and distracts from your own reflection journey as well. Yeah. Right. So, and that's where all that is.
it has to be really self-driven because, you know, even 30 years ago, uh, no one had a VCR and there was no TVs, right? Mm-hmm. , there are TVs, but you only had a, i I grew up watching like superhero friends or whatever. I had to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning to catch my cartoon for half an hour and everything was done by 10:00 AM Yeah.
Right? Yeah. Uh, compared to just being on demand all the time. So civilization has really taken a journey with that. And then, you know, uh, on the news cycle when the 24 hour news, uh, cycle was introduced, it kind of changed how media was done because you had to create news all the time. Right. It wasn't okay to be like, yeah, not, not much happened today.
We got your half an hour level. These are the, the highlights. And you call at six o'clock on a Monday. Right now it's CNN or Fox or whatever you listen to. Right. And it has to be all day, and it has to be dramatic, and it has to be all these type of things. Mm-hmm.. Um, those are all the impacts we have because we're in kind of a, in society now, you need to always be up and moving with it.
Matt Edmundson: Right? Yeah. No, it's true. It's true. It's fascinating, isn't it? And the, just the impact of sitting in that new cycle, that constant new cycle just generates fear. And so you, you then become less and less grateful because, so all of these things sort of count, don't they? Right.. So I like, I, I mean I, you know, we talk about, um, sort of being grateful and, and being a good husband, being a good father, financial independence and so on and so forth.
What do you want to grow more into over the next few years? What do you want to do? What do you see the future sort of having for you?
Ryan Flannagan: Um, focusing on, you know, providing more value and growing that way. Like, what I really enjoy is, um, helping people when being a good leader, that kind of thought leadership area in doing that, and I've realized that I don't have to execute to do all of that, right?
I, I can do more consultative level and that's some things that nuanced is focusing on is how do we make more impact without having to do everything ourselves mm-hmm. to make sure that it happens, right? So that's kind of our up next, next goal and my personal goal is how do you get more on the thought leadership area?
How do you convey that knowledge a little bit? And, sorry, I got my dog barking, which is great. Wouldn't be an official podcast without a dog barking. Right in the background, right? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So anyway, those are the things that I'm really focusing on. The next step is how do you amplify the message and how do you provide more value without having to do it all for yourself?
Pretty right. Um, and those are things, Matt, I know that you're working on too with mm-hmm. , some of the other things that you got going on, right? Yeah. Yeah. Same, I think being, uh, agency or whatnot, you always focus on. I have to do it all myself compared to the more consulting level and taking what you're doing, providing more value that way.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Ryan, listen, I'm, I'm getting aware of time here. So, uh, let me ask you my penultimate question. Uh, as you know, this show is sponsored by the Magnificent Aurion Media, which specializes in helping folks like your good self set up and run their own podcast. I'm curious, right, if you had your own podcast, uh, out of the people that sort of have impacted your life, Who, who would be a guest who'd be on your guest list and why?
Ryan Flannagan: That's a good question. So, um, it, a would just depend on the topic, but if it was more of an entrepreneurial topic, I think I would, uh, start with probably my, so I come from a serial entrepreneurial family, right. And I'd probably start with my uncle. Mm-hmm.. Uh, he actually, I worked at his law office for three years.
When I was under delusion, I wanted to be an attorney . Um, but what he did was he is a, a standard formal, uh, lawyer. And in the eighties he got involved with, uh, representing veterans and veterans in the United States at that point, couldn't have attorney representation and the veterans wouldn't be able to compensate an attorney for this.
And, um, in the US we do a really strong job at saying, go join the military, do all these great things, and then as soon as you come back. Um, and you don't have any legs or you have PTSD we say, oh, you're 50% compensated for what you're doing, so mm-hmm, basically you this big pitch on the front end, and then veterans are horribly treated on the backend.
The VAs always back up. So basically what he did is he formed his own law type representing veterans. and he's made that extremely successful company, um, overall in practice of law. He's had a few cases of forensic Supreme, Supreme Court, but he is literally changed how veterans are represented in this United, in the United States.
Which is very impactful. A very formative person in my life. And I'd love to talk about that journey, um, and those type of things. So when you look at entrepreneurism mm-hmm. And to pivot, right? Cause until his early forties, he was doing this journal type of law and they found his niche. And then it took down a different life journey, which he's still extremely passionate about, um, and kind of handling those other levels. So,
Matt Edmundson: fantastic. Fantastic, I'm really curious to hear his story myself. So if you ever record the episode, send me the link. Uh, I'm genuinely curious. Uh, Ryan, listen, uh, how do people reach you? How do they connect with you if they want to do that?
Ryan Flannagan: Sure. Um, I'm on LinkedIn. That's probably the easiest way. LinkedIn, Ryan Flannagan. I'm also on Twitter. Um, those areas, or you can always contact us, uh, directly through the, the Nuanced Media website too. Mm-hmm. . Um, it's always interesting being an entrepreneur, uh, is, you know, you and your company are always one. Um, I obviously have full staff handling everything over there, but, um, Uh, nuanced media and me I think are always gonna be kind of tied to the hip, so, yeah.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, I can, it's same with me and mine, right? It's just, it is what it is. Yeah. Uh, I'm just opening up the Twitter app now to find you on Twitter, so I'll connect with you on Twitter. I'm sort of starting to reengage with Twitter cuz of the whole Elon Musk drama and it's like, oh. I should probably re-engage with that platform.
Ryan Flannagan: Well you can go get your blue check mark right now. It's only $8.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think I might do it, you know, just, just, just cuz I can.
That's brilliant. Wonderful. Well listen, we will of course, uh, Ryan link to your LinkedIn profile, will put your Twitter profile on there and all the links to Nuanced Media we'll put those in the show notes, which you can get for free, along with the transcript at pushtobemore.com. Or if you're signed up to the newsletter, they will come direct to your inbox.
Uh, Ryan, honestly, mate, uh, I've enjoyed, I think I've enjoyed this conversation more than I think they just get better and better. Uh, so, uh, appreciate you coming back on the podcast, man, and, and sharing your thoughts about sort of life, leadership and, and, and, uh, what you see happening. It's been a, a real, real treat.
Uh, you're an absolute legend, honestly. Uh, thank you.
Ryan Flannagan: Thanks, Matt. I've really enjoyed our conversations as well. It's been, it's been phenomenal. Thank you.
Matt Edmundson: Ah, it's been great. Great. So huge thanks to, Ryan, for joining me today and also a big shout out to today's sponsor, Aurion Media. If you are wondering, uh, if a podcast is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.com.
We will of course, link to them on the podcast show notes, uh, which you can get, uh, for free at pushtobemore.com or they'll come direct to your inbox if you are subscribed to the email. Now, make sure you follow, uh, push to Be more wherever you get your podcast from because we've got some more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.
And in case dear listener, viewer, wonderful person engaging. If no one's told you today, let me be the first to say you are awesome. Yes you are. It's just a burden you've got to bear. Ryan has to bear it. I have to bear it. You're just awesome. So just, you know, only awesomeness.
Uh, push to be more is produced by Aurion media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app. The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Josh Catchpole, Estella Robin and Tim Johnson. And our theme music is by Josh Edmundson. And as I mentioned, if you would like to read the transcript or show notes, head over to the website, pushtobemore.com, uh, where you can also sign up for the weekly newsletter and get all of this good stuff direct to your inbox totally for free. It's totally amazing.
That's it from me and from Ryan. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.