When you put people first, the profits almost always follow. Remember, success is not merely measured by a dollar amount but by the impact you can have on the people around you, your community and even the world.
Ryan Vet is an innovative leader, entrepreneur, speaker and author. He has presented to audiences around the globe on four different continents on leadership, marketing and reaching your maximum potential.
Ryan’s experiences range from start-ups to well-established multi-national, Fortune 500s. From starting his first business at age 14 to launching and successfully exiting start-ups, Ryan is a serial entrepreneur. Currently, Ryan serves as the CEO of Boon—a company geared towards connecting licensed healthcare providers on-demand to temporary work opportunities. In his spare time, he co-owns a series of craft beverage lounges called The Oak House. Ryan has been inducted as an official member into the exclusive Forbes Communication Council and hosts The Dental Experience Podcast. Ryan also sits as an advisory board member for a number of organizations including Elon University’s Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Where did the idea for Boon come from?
Healthcare is one of the largest spaces in the US and is always in demand. With a rise in provider burnout and shortage in the pipeline of new healthcare providers, something needed to be done. Boon exists to connect licensed healthcare providers to temporary work opportunities to provide higher quality care for patients, receive fair pay and reduce the overhead of healthcare system. Imagine Uber meets eHarmony meets healthcare staffing. Boon allows practices to hire providers on demand when there is a need while simultaneously matching them intelligently to a practice.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day, I set out to know what needs to be accomplished. If you do not create daily goals and objectives, you’re just spinning your tires and will not get very far. Typically I will set a checklist the day before or even several days before. I start by looking at what is on my schedule and what has to get done that day. From there, I get to work.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Dreams are just realities in rehearsal. If you can dream it, you can make it happen. That said, there are very few dreams that I can make work on my own. So with any idea, I first define success to try and understand what my true goal is. Once I’ve established what I feel will constitute as success for a given idea, I start surrounding myself with advisors and individuals who can pour into the idea. Sometimes, these individuals provide a dose of reality and other times they provide clear direction and next steps on how to transform the dream into a reality. After a clear plan of attack has been charted, I work tirelessly to see it through. Too often, founders and entrepreneurs embark on a journey only to realize that the obstacles between them and their dream may be larger than they are willing to overcome. Grit and perseverance sets a successful entrepreneur apart from a serial dreamer.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Equity crowdfunding really excites me. Having had the opportunity to raise money from VCs, angels, banks and the SB over the years, I must say equity crowdfunding is an exciting trend. Celebrating 3 years this year, the JOBS Act allows nearly anyone to invest in a private company. For so long, angel investing or investing in start-ups was reserved for the most wealthy. So, investors like iconic angel Jason Calacanis had access to Uber, making massive returns due to their status as accredited investors. However the average American didn’t even qualify to invest and they missed on incredibly opportunities like these unicorn start-ups altogether. With equity crowdfunding platforms such as WeFunder, nearly anyone can invest in and rally behind the next big companies. It is a great way to shrink the wealth gap and provide opportunities for more people.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Simply do not give up. When someone say it is not possible, figure out another way. This does not mean ignoring sage advice. In fact, having trusted advisors that can keep you grounded and focused are critical to success. However, if you are passionate about something, persevere and have the grit it takes to get to your end goal and make your dream a reality. Passion fuels success. There will be plenty of naysayers and people who do not agree, but if you think it is possible, work hard to make it happen.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t do life alone. It is easy to get in the zone and start running for the stars while leaving a wake of people in your trail—including loved ones. Prioritize what is important in your life and stick to your priorities no matter what. Life is full of choices and the world is full of compromises. Do not compromise your values or relationships. By keeping priorities in check, you are able to make faster decisions on what to do and what not do and much more effectively manage your time.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You will always be successful if you put others first. Sometimes doing the right thing by your team members or customers is hard. This does not mean you can solve every problem for a customer, refund everything that didn’t go according to plan, give every team member a raise or make everyone happy all the time. Disappointing people is an unfortunate part of life. However, the way in which you treat people and value people more highly than yourself in those times where disappointment bubbles up will make you far more successful than you can imagine. Business come and go, jobs come and go, money comes and goes. At the end of the day relationships with people you interact with and your reputation never fades. People will almost always remember how you made them feel.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always learn. Whether you are reading, attending courses, listening to podcasts or just sitting across the table from someone, you can always learn. And don’t just think you can learn from someone older and with more experience. In every conversation and every situation there is something you can glean that can help you better yourself and leave a positive impact.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One of the most overlooked forms of business growth is customer experience. It is this weird intersection of sales, marketing and customer service. If you can create an experience worth sharing for people, your business will inevitably grow. When Chick-fil-A runs to your car with an umbrella when it is raining or Delta Airlines shuttles you between terminals in a Porsche when you have a tight connection, you remember it and you tell others. The simple power of a handwritten note or a “check-in” phone call to a customer that has no agenda other than saying thank you goes such an incredibly long way. People begin to share their experiences with others and your business begins to grow organically.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Every single time, without fail, that I do something for the money, it fails. Whether it is the most brilliant idea, a quick and easy consulting gig, or an investment opportunity that I put money into with the primary and sole intention of making more money, I end up with less that what I started with. I think of my first software start-up where I turned down a promising investment from an angel because my partners and I did not want to give up equity. While there is nothing wrong with preserving your cap table, we let money fuel our decision over the growth potential of the business. There is story after story where, in my various companies, I have put profit above a person, a potential future exit over building a solid platform today, or quick returns from an investment that always ended up failing. It has been a road riddled with failures where I have learned there is absolutely nothing wrong with working to earn more money. However, when that becomes the focus instead of making the world a better place because your product or service is in it, the initiative almost always falls short.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
This is totally selfish but would be a great product—a smart garden. With the IoT there are so many things you can control, but there is yet to be an affordable, intuitive smart garden. As someone who spends a great deal of time on planes and away from my home, it is super difficult to take care of my garden. While I love growing vegetables and being able to use them to cook, sometimes my garden under produces fruit because I cannot care for and monitor it remotely. There have been several companies that have popped up to measure soil moisture, soil nutrients, sun light and that have water valves that turn on and off. None of them use great AI (artificial intelligence) and they are not easy to use. If you could program by zones and have spikes and valves that water my tomatoes differently from my peppers from my eggplants from my berries based on what they need, that would be awesome. If you can make this happen, call me and I’ll consider investing and help market it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
An annual Audible membership is worth every penny. The ability to listen to the latest and greatest books and continue to learn and grow is invaluable.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Calendly has saved my life. It is a simple app that connects with your calendar and allows people to easily schedule, change or cancel their appointments with you. I used to spend forever trying to schedule calendar appointments with people and going back and forth. While Calendly, at times, feels a bit impersonal, the organization and smooth user experience for everyone involved is tremendous. People can add to my calendar when they want and I can send out different calendar appointment types to people. It also works well with coordinating different time zones for phone calls. Highly recommend it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I could list dozens of books but for now, I will list Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. First of all, Knight wrote the book himself which is impressive because it is extremely well written. But more importantly, it shows the true grit and perseverance it takes to build a massive company. Companies like Nike aren’t born overnight and on more than one occasion are met with being mere seconds away from closing down the company. In a riveting story, you are walked through the ups and downs, twists and turns of a true start-up. Some make it and some don’t.
What is your favorite quote?
While I’m not a big hockey fan I am a huge fan of this quote from Wayne Gretzky said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Love this forward thinking quote.
- When you put people first, the profits almost always follow. Remember, success is not merely measured by a dollar amount but by the impact you can have on the people around you, your community and even the world.
- Launching a new business is extremely difficult. If it was easy, everyone would be self-employed. When you hit a wall do not give up. Innovation is often born out of times of desperation. Persevere. When you look back at the end it will have been worth it. Even if your venture does not go as you would hoped, the lessons you learn along the way are invaluable.
- Don’t stop learning. Every meeting, conversation and situation is an open door for you to learn if you simply take the time to look for the lessons. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and become an avid reader. Develop a yearning to learn and grow.