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E134: The alchemy of building extraordinary businesses with Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer

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Ryan Deiss is a best-selling author and founder of multiple companies, collectively employing hundreds of people around the globe, and one of the most dynamic speakers on marketing in the US today. He is the founder and CEO of Digital Marketer. Ryan is the creator of the Customer Value Optimization methodology and has introduced and popularized many of the digital selling strategies that modern companies now take for granted. He’s also founded and grown the Traffic & Conversion Summit, the largest digital marketing conversion conference in North America.

If you have a digital agency and haven’t heard of Ryan, you may be living under a rock!

Episode highlights:

  • Like most entrepreneurs, Ryan started out creating and selling. Here’s how that’s evolved. HINT—he went through something that all successful founders must.
  • What Ryan learned about managing tasks that aren’t completed to his satisfaction—and the better way he handles it now.
  • How Ryan makes accountability work, with step-by-step examples of interacting with an employee. HINT—it’s not “Ooh, I caught you.”
  • How Ryan manages to pull together several “shiny objects” into a successful, coherent range of businesses and projects.
  • How to tackle the management of a side business or product that isn’t your core offering. Ryan breaks it down in relation to any business’s three primary functions.
  • Run time: 48:16
  • Best advice ever received: Go to bed angry. Take a moment to pause.
  • Habit that contributes to success: Keeping a daily planner, documenting how the day was spent.
  • Recommended tools: The Pocket app
  • Recommended book: The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky, The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt, The Wizard of Ads Trilogy by Roy H. Williams



  • “I had a buddy that made origami and I was like, ‘We can sell that!’”
  • “I’ve hired people to do the things that I am good at. That’s the hardest thing in the world for an entrepreneur to do.”
  • “It can really rock your identity.”
  • “It was a hit to the ego, a hit to pride. But it certainly wasn’t a hit to the bottom line.”
  • “There are lots of ways to do things the ‘right way.’”
  • “Agreement on what ‘good’ is, is so important as a leader.”
  • “I always assume that it’s my fault.”
  • “You should apologize to your team.”
  • “We are entrepreneurs who enjoy building businesses…. we just enjoy the alchemy.”
  • “I would make the product a client of the agency.”


  • Have clearly defined accountabilities and scorecards for your employees.
  • Consider the three primary functions of a business when deciding how to divvy up resources on a side project. Treat it like a business!
  • Give yourself (and others) time to pause in a heated moment. Then come back later and figure it out.




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