051: Ryan Levesque – #1 National Best-Selling Author of Ask

Choose: The Single Most Important Decision Before Starting Your Business

Ryan Levesque is the Inc. 500 CEO of The ASK Method ® Company, and the #1 national best-selling author of Ask, which was named by Inc. as the #1 Marketing Book of the Year.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and Entrepreneur and over 250,000 entrepreneurs subscribe to his email newsletter offering business advice. He is also a co-founder and investor in bucket.io®, a leading marketing funnel software for entrepreneurs.

His latest book, Choose, helps readers avoid making the single biggest mistake when starting a business and guides people through answering the all-important question: What type of business should you start?

What We Discuss with Ryan Levesque:

  • How Choose came about
  • The 4 types of people who start their own business and some examples
  • See which of those types you identify with and some things to watch out for.
  • How do you know if your market is the right size
  • Understanding competition before starting your own business
  • How to find the “green light” market
  • Setting realistic goals for yourself
  • Learning from his mistakes and choosing an evergreen and metronome market
  • Giving up good to go after GREAT
  • Ryan’s book writing process

[01:10] How Choose Came About

The reason people fail is they choose bad markets.

In the book, Ryan chose 23 niche markets that you may find success in. He started on this quest to figure out what it means to be a good market.

The book is about how to brainstorm, test, and choose. 

Brainstorm the possible ideas you have.

Test those ideas against these 7 tests.

Choose which ones to ultimately pursue once you’ve found your niche.

[05:10] The 4 Types of People Who Start Their Own Business

Based on research, Ryan discovered the 4 types of people that tend to start businesses.

1. Mission-based entrepreneurs – people focused on a cause, some wrong in the world that they want to make right. They want to move people away from something negative.

2Passion-based entrepreneurs – those with passion for something they love and they want to find a way to transform it into a business. They want to move someone toward something positive.

3. Opportunity-driven entrepreneurs – those that look around and see an unsolved problem. This is the most classic sense of the word “entrepreneur”

4. Undecided entrepreneurs – those that know they want to be their own boss and do their own thing but they have no idea what that is. They start with a “practice” business.

When you think about your practice business as a vehicle to learn the skills necessary to build your forever business, it relieves the pressure and anxiety of having to pick the perfect business. Think which of these types you identify with. 

[10:45] Things to Watch Out For

Mission-based entrepreneurs –  They tend to be so drawn to their missions and so tied to their core that they can often struggle to make money in that business.

Passion-based entrepreneurs – They take something that was once their passion and then become dispassionate about it when it becomes their job.

Opportunity-driven entrepreneurs – Don’t just build a business that fills your bank account, but one that also fuels your soul. You can wake 10 years from now and ask yourself, why did you spend the last decade of your life doing this?

Undecided entrepreneurs – Watch out for analysis paralysis. You may find yourself in a safe and warm swimming pool that just goes round and round in circles where you’re just dreaming of doing that thing but never actually taking action, stepping off the cliff, and diving right in.

Self-awareness is key. Be aware of the tendencies that can come up. Once you identify those, combat them and recognize them for what they are.

[13:05] How to Know that Your Market is the Right Size

The whole premise behind Ask is to demystify how you figure out what people want to buy in any market and how do you sell it.

The premise behind Choose is demystifying the process of how do you figure out if a market, a niche, or a business idea is going to succeed before you invest time, money, resources, and energy into that.

Every single successful market fits within a very narrow range in terms of market size. This is the market size sweet spot.

Tip: Look for the keyword volume using the tool, Google Trends. Type in any keyword and Google publishes the search volume data for the keyword.

Take the Rosetta Stone Keywords, which serves as the tablet to translate lost language. Type your bullseye keyword and compare it against these keywords and identify whether your market is in the sweet spot. Find out whether you need to niche down or broaden your reach to go for a larger market.

[19:23] How to Find the Green Light Market

“Pioneers get shot, settlers get rich.” – This quote references the importance of evaluating market competition

Look at the most successful companies out there and none of those was the first to market. Instead, they found a proven market that somebody else had pioneered and they settled in that market by building a better mousetrap, better messaging, or a combination of both.

Look to find a market where the competition is succeeding in spite of itself, which means the competition is making money yet making 4-5 obvious, huge mistakes.

Check if the competition is spending advertising online. If they’re doing it over a period of time, that’s because they’re making a return. Find out who is making money.

Look for that sweet spot that represents a market with some competition but not too much. In Ryan’s book, he will take you through how to quickly evaluate the competition dimension.

Once you’ve identified your size (x-axis) and competition (y-axis), look for that market that’s right in the middle of both.

[29:20] Setting Realistic Goals for Yourself

Ryan’s big goal was making $10,000 a month. This past year, they went past the $10-million a year mark.

“We vastly overestimate what we get done in a year, but we vastly underestimate what we can get done in three years.”

[31:35] Learning from Mistakes and Choosing an Evergreen and Metronome Market

In 2008, the insurance company Ryan was working for filed for bankruptcy – a kick in the pants he needed. He resigned from the company and sold everything he owned.

He moved in with his wife, who was in Hong Kong doing a Ph.D. program at that time. They formed a scrabble tile jewelry tutorial business which became a success but went to zero the next month. They found it was just a fab market.

From this, Ryan developed the 5 Market Must-Haves to make sure your market checks off. The evergreen market is the first identifying how different life can be.

Look for a metronome market. The #1 hobby in America for the last 100 years is gardening. Ryan then began to look at sub-niches and niches within the gardening market. They eventually settled on orchid care.

Using the ASK method, they took the business from nothing to $25,000 a month. Then the business grew to $500,000 a year.

[42:12] Go After GREAT

The people in your life that love you the most are often the ones that question you and why you’re doing what you’re doing.

The only people who criticize you and question you are those who haven’t done the thing you want to do.

Give up good in order to go after GREAT.

If you’ve been looking for that sign. THIS IS THAT SIGN YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!

[48:30] Ryan’s Book Writing Process

You’re only a first-time author once. Ryan taught and tested the ASK methodology and framework as outlined in the book multiple times. He taught it and talked to people through it live, virtually on in person. He got feedback immediately after until he was confident enough to have this printed into a book.

The first third of the book, Ask talked about Ryan’s personal story and how the method came about. People either loved it or hated it. From this, he learned he had to weave stories into the methodology.

The tolerance among readers for any form of selling in the book was incredibly low. The only thing they recommended people do and choose is to sign up for free online resources (worksheets, checklists, etc.).

Ryan hired a ghostwriter to help him write a book. But much of the material came from their team’s experience in teaching the Choose method to group after group.

Grab a free copy of Ryan’s new book Choose. Just cover shipping & handling but they’re going to have it delivered wherever you are in the world. It also includes 25 of the most lucrative niche markets for 2019.

Episode Resources:

The ASK Method ® Company


Google Trends

 Listen on:
051: Ryan Levesque – #1 National Best-Selling Author of Ask051: Ryan Levesque – #1 National Best-Selling Author of Ask 051: Ryan Levesque – #1 National Best-Selling Author of Ask