Ryan Blair – From Street Gang to Millionaire
Ryan Blair is an American entrepreneur and multimillionaire. A successful consultant and author of ‘Nothing to Lose’, which was a New York Times best seller and is a strong advocate for entrepreneurship. By the age of 21 Ryan had established his first business 24/7 Tech, however, the journey to becoming a multimillionaire was riddled with complication and bad choices. Sleeping on the streets, gang violence, a confrontation with death, his future was destined for a dead end. Then the turning point transpired when Ryan made a conscious decision to alter his destiny, reinvent himself and master his mindset for success.
“I came from nothing, I had nothing to lose.” Ryan Blair
Born on 14 July 1977 into a middle class family, his father was an engineer earning substantially providing all the indulgence a young teenager could desire. Ryan was fortunate to be blessed with abundance and then suddenly the extravagance vanished when Ryan’s father succumbed to drugs the family home, the cars, the material possessions all disappeared. Ryan’s destiny was now vastly altered and on route to disaster.
Suddenly, he was confronted with a different lifestyle, one of despair and poverty. He noticed the change in neighbourhoods, the difference in schools and witnessed first-hand how differently people treated you.
“My teenage years were hardly the typical starting point for a normal productive life, let alone a successful business career. Turns out that didn’t matter.” Ryan Blair
Gangs and a Life of Crime
Ryan joined a gang, took drugs, shoplifted and committed a string of other petty offences. He admits that there were moments when he reflected that his life would come to an end, become a professional criminal, end up in jail or be killed. Eventually he was in front of a judge facing a possible 4 year jail sentence. He recalls the incident when the District Attorney advised the judge that Ryan may not resemble a hardened criminal but that in fact he was. Ryan realised then that he had to sway the judge before his sentence was passed. He decided to write the judge a heartfelt letter, sincerely apologising for his actions explaining that he had acted out of anger. Upon reading Ryan’s letter, the judge was convinced that Ryan was remorseful and said that he should be writing in college and not in prison. Ryan was released. After release Ryan wanted out of the gang and called his old gang members to inform them of his decision. Totally elated that Ryan had been released they welcomed him back and once again Ryan was back to his old ways.
Sometime after his release Ryan was confronted by another gang, with one gang member pointing his gun at Ryan. Ryan managed to pull his gun and aim it back at the gang member. This was a dangerous confrontation in which Ryan was able to back away and escape. This scenario had the potential to have tragic consequences but ended with his life still intact.
The Defining Moment
This was a defining moment when Ryan realised that he had to change his environment and do something different. He preoccupied all his time with work, working a range of jobs from dry cleaning, roofing mostly odd jobs that he loathed. Finally, he was able to get a job where he could study computers, he absorbed his efforts into learning everything he could about computers. The decision paid off, he was promoted, eventually being able to buy his own home and a black BMW.
Ryan was finally back in the middle class at the age of 20. On reflection Ryan states that most people are so afraid of losing everything they have that they never do anything. They stay in the same position their entire life.
“Most men die at age 25 but they don’t get buried until 70.” Benjamin Franklin
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Ryan ventured out on his own, secured a loan and started his own business, his goal was to make $75k which he accomplished in the first year. He then aimed for $750K, which took several years to achieve, this was followed by $7.5 million and later $750 million.
Ryan’s life was by no means a smooth journey. There were many defining moments and had he made different choices, his outcome would have been grim. Nevertheless, he still had the presence of mind to make informed and life altering decisions. Many of us have this realisation that our lives are in disarray yet choose to settle because it is convenient and easy. Unless we are willing to rock the boat, our circumstances will remain unchanged. Challenge ourselves and the roads to new discoveries will be unveiled.