HUFFPOST LIVE

Ryan Blair: From Gang Member To Millionaire Entrepreneur

03/28/2013 09:27 pm ET | Updated Mar 29, 2013

Despite dropping out of high school as a freshman, joining a gang, and going to jail, 'Nothing To Lose, Everything To Gain' author Ryan Blair is a multi-millionaire, CEO, and mentor. Blair joined host Abby Huntsman on HuffPost Live to discuss how he went from gang life to starting his own business at the age of 21.

"I lost my dad when I was 13 years old due to drug addiction, and that tore apart my entire family. My mom had to work 7 days a week just to make ends meet, so as a result, I got caught up in the wrong neighborhood, started making bad decisions, went to juvenile hall, dropped out of high school," Blair explained. "I was in and out of trouble all the time, but I didn't like it. I didn't want that life."

Blair's life changed when his mother introduced him to a real estate entrepreneur, who hired him as an assistant at age 17. Though Blair's day-to-day tasks were menial, he learned an important lesson. "I saw the way the wealthy made money, and I thought it was very similar to the way the poor people in the 'hood made money. Gangs are entrepreneurs -- it's just illegal business versus legal businesses, right? But you have higher risk, lower reward, so I said 'oh, I'm just going to be a legal entrepreneur.' "

In 2005, Blair later became the CEO of ViSalus, a marketing company for weight management and dietary supplement products. He converted the company's $6 million debt in 2008 to $150 million in revenue less than two years later. As of 2012, ViSalus was valued at $600 million.

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS