An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
You want to be yourself. If there’s one compliment, I don’t know if it’s a compliment or an insult at this point, but if there’s one thing that people always say to me, they say, I like you Ryan, cuz you’re just you.
At some point in our lives, many of us will have to give a talk to a large group of people. What does it take to be a highly effective public speaker? How can you improve your public speaking skills? How can you overcome a fear of speaking in public? What does it take to give a very interesting and engaging public talk? In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker” we are talking to successful and effective public speakers to share insights and stories from their experience. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Stewman.
Ryan Stewman is a best selling author, CEO of Phonesites.com, Founder of Apex, full time investor, and consultant to millionaires, professional athletes, and celebrities across the globe. He’s been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, The Street.com, The Good Men Project, CNBC and pretty much every other major business publication out there. He’s mastered the mindset it takes to win no matter what forces come against you. Ryan rewires minds and changes lives. Give him the chance, he will change yours too.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
People who know me well, know I had one helluva upbringing and early life. To some, the horrors of adoption, prison, drug addiction, and divorce are unfathomable. To me, they were just a part of growing up and doing this thing we call life.
I don’t talk about my childhood much, however, lessons that come from pain have the biggest impact and give us a sense of wisdom you can’t get from a book or watching a video so I’m willing to share mine.
I can pinpoint the trigger where my life changed. I was five years old. It was my very first day of school. I was so happy to get there and meet new friends. The very first day of school in my life I saw a kid making fun of another kid in the lunch room.
That kid’s name was Charles. I went up to Charles and dumped my tray on him and pushed him. My aunt, who was the principal, took me to her office and paddled me 3Xs. Charles never got in trouble and the kid I took up for never said thanks.
It was at that moment I learned 2 lessons.
1: I hated school.
2: No matter what I did I was always the bad guy.
I was adopted 2 years later and my life got more complicated with a new name and all. So the story and my hatred for school only got worse. I had a painful childhood and I’ve spent my adult life using that childhood pain as fuel and energy to achieve anything I want. The way I see it now, the fact that I went through brutal pain as a kid, makes me fearless as an adult.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was a teenager, I would drive down the Dallas North Tollway and stare at all of the fancy skyscrapers with Ferraris parked out front.
I kept saying, “One day… that’s going to be me.”
I couldn’t help but wonder, “What in the world did those people do that my parents didn’t do, that everyone in my part of town didn’t do? What were those people doing that I wasn’t doing, that I needed to do?”
I couldn’t stop asking myself these questions. The endless curiosity eventually made me take action.
I started going to seminars, listening to audiobooks, taking different classes, online courses, etc. I did everything I could to rewire my brain for success.
One day in particular I was riding in the back of a friend’s S10 pickup truck, hauling it down the Dallas North Tollway. My friends were going to buy some beer and I was going to buy some smoke, planning on having a good time.
I remember looking at those skyscrapers thinking, “What are the people in those buildings doing differently than what we’re doing right now?”
The awakening was powerful, “One day, I’m going to leave these people behind.” I knew I didn’t have much of a choice at the moment. I knew I was surrounded by these people, stuck in the back of a truck that I couldn’t jump out of.
That didn’t matter. I knew that I was going to be in one of those buildings. I knew it was going to be my Ferrari parked out front. And it wasn’t going to come from slacking off.
It was going to come from hard work and effort. I made the decision that I was going to become the person I always wanted to be. It was a rough path though.
I’ve had two penitentiary terms, been divorced three times, and beat a crippling drug addiction. The pain, shame, and regret were tortuous. However, I work in one of those buildings now. I own exotic cars. I am one of those people, it happened.
What did I do differently to get here? I saw that my friends and I were solely taking, never giving. The main thing that got me to where I am today was my shift of perspective, letting my focus go from taking to giving.
When I approach sales, business, or life, my outlook is to give 100X more than anyone could ever take away from me. I approach business relationships intending to give more value than they will ever be able to give me. That is the difference.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
That would have to be when I discovered the Force of Average (FOA). You see, we have been coded on this planet to have an average lifestyle. So anytime you’re about to break through that average lifestyle the struggle (FOA) is waiting around the corner to stand in the way of your success. Not only have I discovered the Force of Average, I have found what I consider to be the weapon that must be wielded against it: Focus.
The truth is I wake up each day knowing that I’m going to face struggles, not a day goes by that somethings not going to throw you a curveball, that’s the way this planet is coded. By discovering this, I’ve learned to walk towards those struggles and take them head on to succeed in life. I wouldn’t have known this, had I not discovered it and it’s the most interesting thing that I’ve ever had happen to me in my career.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was doing a mastermind with Fredrik Eklund all the fanboy clients rushed in the elevator with him and caused him to get stuck in the elevator. The NYC fire dept had to come fix the elevator and rescue everyone. I learned to have control of the crowd and security that day.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
In 2010, I lived in a neighborhood directly across from a trailer park. The house was 1,700 square feet and reeked of cigarettes. I had been let go from my mortgage job, due to being unable to renew my license. I was unemployable and unready for the journey I was about to embark on.
On this particular day, I went to lunch with an old friend of mine. We met at the Genghis Grill in Frisco, Texas. When my friend sat down, he was beaming. My homie is a natural energy producer, but he was really on fire for this meeting.
“Ryan…man I’m telling you… The Internet is like the Wild Wild West. You can go into saloons and walk out with all the cash you want.”
What he said appealed to me so I questioned him more and more. He went on to jaw about funnels, continuity and costs per click. At the time, this stuff was Greek to me. I had no clue what in the hell he kept spewing. His vibe was contagious though. I was definitely intrigued.
After we finished our meals, I followed him out to his Hummer 2 and he handed me some CD-ROMs. He told me he’d paid $8,000 for the CDs, and that I had to return them when I was done. At first, I asked him what in the hell he was thinking, spending eight grand on CDs.
He said they were worth a million.
I was hooked! Eight thousand dollars, and I got it for free. I just had to get the CDs back to him in a few days.
After I returned to my house, I put the first CD in my drive. I watched the video and it spelled out the basics of how Internet marketing worked. I must’ve watched the entire CD set like a normal person would binge watch Netflix.
Flash forward two days: my first website and product were already up. While most people wait to take action, I just put something together. Next, I launched an ad on Google and boom! Sales rolled in. It was nuts. I doubled down on the ad spend and lost every dollar I had made.
Not only did I lose the initial ad spend I’d invested, I lost the profit I had made, too. Lesson learned. The only thing that mattered, was that I knew earning an income in this way was possible. If it worked once, it WILL work again, I told myself. I just needed to get back to the drawing board. And that’s exactly what I did.
A few weeks later, I launched a course that taught loan officers how to get leads from real estate agents. Slowly but surely, I sold the product, one-by-one. It was all done right from the extra bedroom in my house across the street from the trailer park.
In 2012, I moved to a nice home in a nice neighborhood, thanks to Internet marketing. Again, I put my desk in the extra bedroom and kept at it like a rapper in the lab working on beats. By the time 2014 rolled around, I had officially taken in seven figures in gross sales. All from products made from the extra bedroom.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
The answer is simple: practice. I’ve recorded over 2000 videos. I’ve been on over 1000 podcasts. I’ve spoken on hundreds of stages. The first video of mine is still up on youtube. It’s terrible.
My first podcast episode is on iTunes, it’s horrible. My first time on stage I didn’t sell anything and the people who let me speak asked me not to come back (true story). But I kept practicing and doing it despite the rejection.
Today I have a consistent top 50 podcast, millions of views on youtube and I’ve spoken on stages with legends. I worked on improving until I leveled up. Stay focused, practice your craft, and refine your talent.
What drives you to get up everyday and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?
My goal is to help reach and impact the lives of over 300,000,000 people across the globe. In order to do that, I must stay motivated to reach that goal. At the same time, that goal motivates me to get up each day, keep pulling from my reserve account and working on.
It motivates me to think of changing that many lives. Another motivation of mine is to leave a legacy for my children. When I pass away I want to leave a legacy that says I beat the odds.
My kids will take the ball from me and run up the score. My job is to teach them how to properly play the game, so they don’t get a flag thrown.
Every day I wake up and make sacrifices for my family. They are the reason I do what I do. I’m gonna give them the head start that most of us never got. I’m gonna leave them the money most of us wished we had.
I’m gonna show the love all of us wanted from our parents.
My mission stopped being just about money years ago. It’s what that money can do for those I’ll leave behind, that motivates me now!
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
My most exciting project would have to be my Apex program. With that program, I’ve been able to help thousands of individuals become the most elite version of themselves. Let me explain:
One of the guys the program helped is from the southern part of the east coast. Before he joined Apex he was making $60k a year. He’s been with us for about 2 years now and now earns 6 figures monthly. In two years, following our program and advice, he now earns in a week what used to take him a year.
Another is this hard nose dude who lives in the land of Oz (Aus). We helped him set up a business selling to Americans. He’s making 7 figures a month now and has helped close over a billion in roofing deals.
I could go on but you get the point.
Here’s the best part though. These dudes have better lives. Not because of the money, but because they have lost weight, leveled their marriage up, and are celebrities in their own market.
They represent what winning looks like at all times and it shows. With the Apex program, we get you in, tune you up, supercharge your life and drop you on the track to success.
Currently, I help thousands of Entrepreneurs and in the coming years I can see that heading into the hundreds of thousands. Since my mission in life is to help others, I never plan on stopping this project or slowing it down.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Ramps Over Roadblocks
As you travel down the path of life, the Force of Average will throw you roadblocks. For most people, roadblocks stop them dead in their tracks or force them to turn around (retreat)
Let’s say you get in a relationship with someone you really like, they like you too. Then you go out drinking together and get in a fight; that’s a roadblock.
Let’s say you start a new business and unexpected bills pop up; that’s a roadblock.
Roadblocks stop ambition, drive, relationships and dreams. I’ve had more than my fair share of roadblocks in life, BIG ONES, and I got tired of running into them or turning around. So I figured out a better way.
Ramps over roadblocks.
I can’t run through a roadblock but if I put a ramp over it, I can avoid it stopping me all together. If I’m PREPARED to build ramps along the way, it’s better than turning around. Ramps take time to build, but they keep you going down the path.
Roadblocks stop you dead in your tracks. The key is to be prepared. Preparation comes from taking action and learning lessons.
Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker?” Please share a story or example for each.
It’s been my personal experience that as long as you hit just a couple key points when speaking you’ll become a good speaker, have a good stage presence, and be somebody that folks wanna watch.
Number one, you want to be yourself. If there’s one compliment, I don’t know if it’s a compliment or an insult at this point, but if there’s one thing that people always say to me, they say, I like you Ryan, cuz you’re just you.
You know, I had to have a conversation with a close friend and potential business partner the other day and I had to tell them, “Hey man, you gotta be careful when you get involved with me, cause I’m gonna be me. I know you have a lot of relationships and stuff like that and I don’t want to mess that up for you. So just know up front that I can’t pretend to be anything other than myself.”
I’m not the pretend person. I can’t be fake. I’ve just got to be myself and I think that’s why people watch me and listen to me the way they do. There might be a lot of public speakers out there, but there aren’t any like me.
Number two, you gotta be able to command attention. I usually have a presentation when I speak, because I have it down pat and I know what all it does for the audience.
One of the first things that happens is I have a video I come out to and it goes dark in the room. It talks about how I’ve never had a salary job and after two times in prison I’m a multi-millionaire. People in the audience ain’t used to all that, no matter where I go, cause I’m over the top. So as soon as that happens, they’re like, “This video’s crazy, he’s yelling, screaming and stuff like that.” That video hypes everybody up and as soon as I hit the stage, I make ’em scream after me, I command their attention.
Number three, you gotta blow the audience’s mind. When I’m up there on stage and I’m telling my story about how nine years ago I was sweating inside solitary confinement in a federal prison but now I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in north Texas with my dream companion and my four children. I go and I tell ’em about how I’m a multi millionaire and have assets. All these things that I go out there and talk to them about is blowing their mind.
At the end of the day, what happens is I’m also blowing their objections away. They can’t say, “Well this won’t work for me.”, because it worked for me. I did it all alone, and it blows people’s minds that you can come from such a subterranean level and climb all the way up to the peak of the mountain.
Number four, you wanna give thanks to the host. I learned from Garrett J White that if you give a good testimonial, they’ll put your name out there. So I’ve always given really good testimonials.
When I took the stage at an event last week there were about 800 people there. I told the crowd, “You know, before we get started, I just wanna thank Mike and Jay. Without them, not only would it be impossible that I’d be on this stage, but it would be impossible that I’d be a millionaire in business doing what I love and building a life, my way and let’s also give a hand for the previous speakers as well.”
I wanna make sure that I give this feedback because the host is there to make money. The host is there to get attention. So it’s our job to make sure that we Edify that form. We want to make them feel like we promoted them, because they’ll feel good about putting us on stage and will want to bring us back again.
Number five, if you’re gonna be good, you have to engage with the crowd. What I do is I like to write offers for people. I’ll ask them what they sell and what objections they receive. When they give me those objections I handle them right there on the spot.
While I’m talking, I have the audience raise their hand with me. I’ll sit there and demand that somebody raise their hand in order to get them engaged. I ask questions that challenge the audience. I make them laugh. I get them in on my inside jokes. So that by the time I’m done talking and making jokes about kangaroos, they feel included. They become part of our culture. They’ll remember me.
As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?
The number one fear in America is public speaking. We are scared that if we get up in front of people and we take a stance for something that we will be judged. To overcome this fear, you must decide what your worst case scenario is and plan for it to happen. People are paralyzed with fear of the worst case scenario but when you accept the fact that you can lose, but take the actions of a winner, you’ve already won before the victory is awarded. Once you overcome that and you step outside of that fear, you’re able to become fearless. When you get up in front of a room full of people and you are fearless, you command authority and you instantly become the expert.
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My mission is to help as many people as possible become the best version of themselves.
My mission isn’t “to be paid by those who become the most elite version of themselves” my mission is to help as many people as possible do it.
So I work daily to make that happen. For 12 years now I’ve done it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. I’ve struggled more times than I can count along the way. I’ve had massive setbacks in the process.
But I do the work every day because my mission is greater than money or things. Money and things are a result of me staying focused on my mission day in and day out.
Today I’d ask you to dial in your mission. Not dial it in in relevance to how it helps you fulfill your dreams and goals, but dial it into where you can fulfill your mission.
If you do it right, the mission will lead you to the material things you want. But it won’t happen overnight, it will happen over time.
Your mission determines your position in life. Figure out your mission, work for it and you will have everything you’ve ever dreamed of and then some.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
There’s not too many people who like Jay Z more than me. I listen to reasonable doubt like 2 times a week. I remember when Hard Knock Life hit the charts, that song was out of this world. See, I grew up in an era where music was good. Not this techno-mumble stuff you hear all over the clubs today.
Jay Z has been sharing business lessons since his first album. On Reasonable Doubt, he boasts about making six figures. That was 1996. Fast forward 23 years later and he has turned six into 10.
There are a lot of people in the world who have been earning six figures for 21 years, who still only have six figures. So what’s the difference between them and Jay? Jay aligned himself with the right advisors. He didn’t make his money and sit on it.
In my eyes, he’s one of the best businessmen on this planet, and I’d like a chance to learn from him.
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
I am on every social media platform out there. You can go to https://onespotsocial.com/closer and follow me from there. I post different types of content twice daily, so I recommend following me on every one of them.
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Ryan Stewman Of Hardcore Closer On The 5 Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Public Speaker was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.