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TURNING HIS LIFE AROUND: FROM CRIMINAL TO MILLIONAIRE ENTREPENEUR

TURNING HIS LIFE AROUND: FROM CRIMINAL TO MILLIONAIRE ENTREPENEUR

(Photo courtesy of niec.no/ Interview by Dan Schawbel) 

Ryan Blair, is a serial entrepreneur and author of the new book "Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain." Ryan established his first company, 24-7 Tech when he was only twenty-one years old. Since then, he has created and actively invested in multiple start-ups and has become a self-made multimillionaire. After he sold his company ViSalus Sciences to Blyth in early 2008, the global recession took the company to the brink of failure resulting in a complete write off of the stock and near bankruptcy. Ryan as CEO went "all in" betting his last million dollars on its potential and turned the company around from the edge of failure to more than $150,000,000 a year in revenue in only 16 months winning the coveted DSN Global Turn Around Award in 2010. In this interview, Ryan talks about how he re-branded himself after being in a gang, the issues with the education system, and more.

How did you shake your criminal record and re-brand yourself?

I remember when I was working my way up in the first company that employed me, I used to have nightmares that one day they'd find out about that I had been in a gang, call me into the office, and fire me. In the beginning I didn't talk much about what I'd been through. But eventually when I got to a point where I had established myself as a professional entrepreneur, I embraced my past, used it as part of my branding, and crossed over... (more)

What's your take on the educational system? Will a college degree help or hurt your chances at starting a successful business?

As a product of Los Angeles's public school system, in a state with the highest dropout rate in the nation (about 20 percent), I can tell you from personal experience that some of our brightest minds are being misidentified because of a one-size-fits-all learning environment. Because I had ADD and dyslexia I never got past the 9th grade.

I recall sitting with a career counselor in continuation high school, being told that I didn't have the intellect or aptitude to become a doctor or a lawyer... (more)

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Article by FORBES.com | Read full article here

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