A successful business is a product of a close-knit team behind it who trusts one another. This is one of the key components that made guest, Ryan White, who he is now—a seven-figure digital entrepreneur, investor, influencer, press contributor, and speaker. In this episode, Ryan takes us across his entrepreneurial journey, particularly of starting his globally-recognized social media marketing company, Social Revelation. He shares his hiring process that is greatly rooted in being a family-oriented business as well as his business structure. Sharing his social media expertise, Ryan then gives out tips on trying to grow a brand, business, or market online. Go behind the scenes of Ryan’s company and learn great points that you can consider when starting your own, scaling it, and taking over social media.
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My guest is Ryan White. Ryan, how are you doing?
I’m doing well. I appreciate you having me on.
I know we’ve rescheduled each other a few times, so I’m glad we finally found a time that works for both of us. For those of you that don’t know, Ryan is a seven-figure digital entrepreneur, investor, influencer, press contributor and speaker. He has founded the globally-recognized social media marketing company, Social Revelation, which helps business and personal brands increase their digital footprint and brand awareness online. His company manages a social media strategy for several 7 to 8-figure earners who are top performers in their industry.
He’s curated a personal online network around 500,000 people from all around the world being featured on various entrepreneurial and business podcasts such as Entrepreneur on Fire, Underdog Empowerment, The Daily Grind, No Excuses and much more. We’re pumped to have you on. We’re going to talk about all that, but first, let’s take it gigantic step back. What were you like growing up as a kid? Were you a straight-A student? Were you a rebel? Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I was a straight-A student. I graduated from college as well with a 3.95. I only made two Bs in college when I went and got my Bachelor’s degree. I have the opportunity to also say that I was the class salutatorian of my high school. I did very well in school. I was in athletics a lot. My dad was my baseball coach from the time I could walk to the time I graduated high school. Anyone who is familiar with being a coach’s son understands the parameters and the expectations that were set upon me very early on in my life, which gave me the foundation that I have now to want to go and achieve the success that I have.
Can you tell us a little bit, did you go to college? Did you get a job after college? Did you dive right into being an entrepreneur?
I played college baseball. I went to Carson-Newman University. I graduated in 2012 with an accounting degree. When I got out, a lot of people can’t believe this but my first job was as a bank teller. I was making $11 an hour as a bank teller. After that job, which lasted about six months, because very quickly, I figured out this is not what I want to do with my life. I took my degree and I tried to get into the accounting space. I did that for two years serving internships and whatnot. I realized that I wasn’t meant to be behind a desk punching on a calculator and pushing a pencil. I was like, “I’ve gone to school. I’ve written up the student loan debt and now I have a degree in a field that I don’t even enjoy and I’m not passionate about even doing.” I’m like, “What do I do at this point?” I was living in the State of Tennessee and I decided at that point in time, “The key to life is happiness. It’s to find your passion and to do something with your life that you enjoy waking up and going and pursuing.” That’s when people genuinely find success.
For me, all I knew at that time was baseball. I moved back to the state of Georgia. I was 21 years old, moved back in with my parents and I got an opportunity to get back into baseball. In 2013, there was a top-three travel organization located in Warner Robins, Georgia. They extended me an opportunity to come in and train kids and coaches for the organization. From 2013 to 2017, I was working for this baseball company as an instructor and coach. A little cool pivot, if you will, to my story was when I was back on the field doing something, I was passionate about, it was like I found myself again. All of that drive to go and want to be even more successful and reach my full potential started to manifest again. It was in those moments of being on that field to where I’m shaking hands with parents, coaches, I’m learning networking skills as a baseball instructor with 50 kids coming in to train with me each week. I’m learning how to sell myself. That position prepared me to take that jump in entrepreneurship.
Can you tell me more about your first entrepreneurial endeavor and how that went?
We all have funny stories as we try to get this thing started. I was no different. The first entrepreneurial venture that I had was my aunt extended me an opportunity. She was selling doTERRA oils. She was like, “There’s a lot of local boutiques. Do you want to go in this with me?” I said, “If it’s supplemental money regardless of what it is.” Although I’m not passionate about these, it is what it is. I’m always ready to jump at trying to hustle and make some additional money. I challenge myself to get outside my comfort zone. I went into that venture with her. As you can imagine living in Warner Robins, if you’re not familiar, it’s a town of about 100,000 people. It was a very small shop. That thing lasted a little less than twelve months and we ended up shutting it down, but again you learn valuable things. There were takeaways from that experience.
Who was your first hire? Do you remember? How did that go?
When I got into Social Revelation, the first year of my company, I was new to the whole entrepreneurship game. Both my parents were educators and shout out to them for that. The reality is I didn’t have this clear cut, perfect setup, if you will, to where both of my parents had. They were successful business owners. I had to go out and learn a lot of this stuff on my own. I bootstrapped this thing and by bootstrapping, the first year of my business, I had no contractors. It was me 100% as the website designer and the marketer. I’m having to go out and I’m doing fulfillment. I’m shaking hands. Not only am I doing pretty much 100% of everything on my own, but you can imagine how draining that was for me.
As we started to scale, I started to realize, “There’s that saying, if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others.” I realized that time is the most valuable resource that we all have. I need to use some of the money that I had acquired to buy myself more time. The first hire I had was still my personal assistant now. I’ve promoted her to COO of operations and her name is Kerri Hughes. It’s been an amazing thing. I wish that I would have figured this out earlier and not have waited so long. I do think there is an art to learning when is the right time to hire based upon your growth and what you have in the bank as far as payroll.
Is she a US or non-US?
She is US. All of my contractors that are on payroll are USA-based. To touch on that a little bit. When I started this company, I wanted to go and create a family-oriented business. The tagline is, “Social revelation marketing where family connects business.” To give you a little insight, Kerri is very close to my family meaning my mother was there when her child was born. Even our second hire is also related to me within my family. It’s a very tight-knit community. As far as freelancers and things that we need to go and get done, we do use VAs but the actual core of the business, the most important pieces that hold it together, we have people that we trust and believe in to go and do a job.
How do you structure your business now? How many people do you have? Who’s managing who? Are they all full-time, part-time or any project-base? Give us a little behind the scenes.
I have myself who is running everything. Kerri is our COO. We have Havyn Hughes, which is we call her an Account Manager if you will. She handles customer support and helps with onboarding and fulfilling that. Right now, in our actual day-to-day, we have the three freelancers. When were branches out and how we built this thing was we don’t have this huge sales force? We were able to scale to 600 class because when I first got started, I realized there was value in going to other existing agencies and getting them to see value in what I was doing. Adding me to their pitch deck because these companies may already have 50, 100, 150 or 200 clients.
I knew it would be a great way to scale without me having to go and employ a full sales force. That was how I started. I did it with my very first partner from up in Detroit, Michigan. They now have a little over 200 clients per month with me. Because that model works so well, I kept overhead down. Their team is out using their team of affiliates and salespeople to close and all that traffic flow flows back to us for fulfillment. Now, I’m taking that model. I set up twelve different partner firms all over the world who go and resell our stuff. You have our team of three who handles customer support and fulfillment.
Are there any horror stories? Have you had any bad hiring experiences that you can share with the audience?
It took me a little longer than most to put my faith in bringing someone’s own. I was big on social media. My personal Instagram was verified up to 650,000. People were constantly reaching out saying, “Are you guys hiring?” I’ve had a couple of people send me because I’m like, “Shoot me a video. I want to get to know your personality, give me a little background of what past experiences you have in marketing.” They didn’t make it through the hiring process because some of those were so bad. It was almost comical. I would have more to give if I didn’t take so long to start that hiring process. Being new into entrepreneurship and scaling as fast as I did, I’ve learned a lot when it comes to putting my trust in hiring human resources. That’s taken me a little bit longer to get there. As I said, I wish I would have come to that realization a little bit earlier but again life happens. I’m working through that now. I’m moving more into the virtual assistant freelancer side of things.
Can you tell us what tool do you use for communication or any best practice or tips to the audience on running meetings or communicating with different remote people?
What we do is we have a system with Kerri and Havyn every Monday and Wednesday at noon. We all hop on a team call. Zoom has been instrumental because our team works remotely. We live in a very unique time in 2019 where you can work and have a company without having a physical brick and mortar location. Kerri lives two hours from me. I’m in Atlanta, Georgia and she lives out in Colorado in Denver. We use Zoom a lot to get on touch base at the beginning of the week, middle of the week. TeamViewer is another great tool that we can use if we want to screen share and that can go on and train her. Kerri can use TeamViewer to train Havyn. Those are the biggest things that we use. As far as scheduling, closing clients, and talking to people, we use Calendly.com for our scheduler and stuff. We have synergy there.
You have a large social media following, you spend years and years building it. What tips can you give to the audience who are trying to build their own follower?
The very first thing is getting a clear cut on your image. How do you want to be perceived? I tell people that social media and the other side of what we do to be in digital marketing, it’s very similar in the sense that we get to control that first impression. If we don’t know what we want our story to be and how we want to be perceived, we get all over the place. The first thing I tell people is to get clear on what is the image that you’re trying to put out into the world. The second thing is, I don’t want this to sound cliché, but engaging with your audience. I feel like a lot of times, we need to be more intentional about how we’re using and spending our time on social media. What does that look like?
What does that mean? It means we don’t want to be consumers so much of the platform. When I talk to my clients, I’m like, “Be very intentional with your time.” Let’s say on Instagram. Don’t get on there and scroll for three hours, double tap, comment, and then wasting your time. It would be very intentional about trying to, “I’m going to try and give value to three people and try to establish a relationship, get them on a call and see how we can collaborate and do future business.” Knowing how you want to be perceived and make sure that you’re interacting within your community and being very intentional with the time that you’re spending on the platform.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see when people are trying to grow a brand, business, market or run social media?
In this world of digital influencers, you’ve seen many people that are very quick to pick up anything that anyone offers them to throw up on their stories and swipe up. We’re bombarding our followers with like, “They’re trying to make another quick dollar from me.” What happens is the market becomes saturated with that stuff. You lose quality engagement where someone might have bought something for you if they felt you believed in the product or it was a business that you curated and you had passion behind. They could sense that you want to deliver value to the consumer. I feel like too many times I scroll through people’s stories and they’re trying to sell anything and everything to make a 20% commission and I know that’s the wrong way to go about it because they don’t focus on building the relationship first.
What other advice or tips can you give the audience out there?
The biggest thing on social media is you’ve got to be consistent. I’ll try to hit the highlights, and I know you may hear this a lot but the reality is these social media platforms, they reward activity. They want you to use their stuff. If any new tool drops, like Instagram, drops a new tool, Stories is a great example when they came out. The more you use Stories, the more you rank up in their algorithm and they show you to more people. It’s the same thing when IGTV dropped. If they’re spending time secure to tool, make sure you are interacting and doing research to figure out how you can implement that new tool into your marketing scheme. The more you use it, the algorithm is going to reward you for that. A big question people ask me, “How often should I post on my social media accounts?” I tell people like, “If you want to keep a good trust score, you need to be posting at least a minimum three times per week.”
If you can’t post every other day, then you’re not investing enough time to grow on social media. You shouldn’t be so surprised when your growth ladder is a little bit difficult to climb. I try to tell my class to post daily if they can. If you get to a point where you have 100,000 followers and above, you can even get it to where you’re posting 2, 3, even 4 times a day. It does dictate the size of your account. If you’re only a 10,000 account, I do not recommend posting 3 or 4 times a day because you’re saturating your audience and they’re going to only your stuff over and over repeatedly. I try to break it down and a good guide is below 10,000 try to post once per day. If you get up to 50,000, you can open it up to two times per day. You get over 100,000, you can get up to that three or four times per day range and then you should be good.
Ryan, it has been great. Where can people find out more about you and what are you most excited about going forward?
You can connect with me. If you want to shoot me an email, shoot it over to my team staff at OfficialRyanWhite.com. You can find me on Facebook at @OfficialRyanWhite. I have a website OfficialRyanWhite.com. The biggest thing that I’m most excited about is starting to get on stage. I’ve had a lot of opportunities where people are reaching out, asking me to get on stage and share my story, my experiences, and my testimony. All the things that are coming to the forefront of this social media wave because it’s getting so big. We live in a digitally-driven world. I’ve had the opportunity to be asked to speak at a TEDx event, so that’s going to be super cool. That’s going to open up Pandora’s Box of speaking opportunity.
Thank you so much for your time.
I appreciate you for having me.
Ryan White is a 7 figure digital entrepreneur, influencer, investor, press contributor, and speaker.
Ryan founded the globally recognized social media marketing company Social Revelation which helps business and personal brands increase their digital footprint and brand awareness online.
Ryan’s company manages the social media strategy for several seven to eight-figure earners who are top performers within their industry. He has curated a personal online network of around 500,000 people from all around the world.
Ryan has also been featured on various entrepreneurial and business podcasts such as Entrepreneurs on Fire, Underdog Empowerment, The Daily Grind, The No Excuse Show, The Millionaires’ Hot Seat, and on the live television shows “Good Morning LALA Land” in West Hollywood and the “Mountain Morning Show” in Park City, Utah.
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