RYB 936: How To Build Brands in E-commerce and Digital Education with Ryan Lee

By Scott Voelker •  Updated: 01/20/21 •  9 min read

Today I am so excited to have another special guest on the show, Ryan Lee. He has been on the show a few times, and we always have a great time. Today we’re going to talk about how to build a successful e-commerce brand and how to get through the ups and downs of running a business.

It’s not always easy, but Ryan has some great insights into how he has gotten through some of the ups and downs. We’re also going to talk about his brand “Freedom” and the story behind selling it and has ended up purchasing it back again and hearing about what’s new with the brand. Let’s get right to it. 

How to Create a Distinct Brand 

It’s more important than ever to have your own brand. To see the most success, you need to surround yourself with what you love and enjoy what you’re doing. Instead of thinking of your brand like a stiff and stale thing, I tell everyone I coach to think of your brand like a band. 

Instead of saying you have customers, say you have fans. What can you do to make your brand more fun and exciting? Think about how you can stand out and be different from other marketers. Look at the bands that have lasted for decades and what they have done to see success. 

I personally think that every successful band has a unique sound. You should use this same practice when you’re building our brand. Your customers should know what they’re getting when they work with you. Stick to what you’re good at and enjoy.

It’s important to stay consistent with your marketing, so you’re easily identifiable. Your brand should be distinct from the competition. It can be really difficult to differentiate yourself if you don’t. 

However, there are plenty of ways that you can make your brand distinct and unique if you take the time to plan things out. You could use elements of your branding, your values, or other things that define your brand. Think about how to make it feel different from everyone else and what you can do to get people’s attention. 

How Ryan Stays Ahead in a Competitive Market 

It’s important to start a business doing something you love. If you don’t, it makes it more difficult to stay motivated when things get tough. You also have to find ways to stand out from the crowd. I put this into practice with my own brand, Rewind. 

Within the health food industry, I’ve noticed that most of the bars and greens that are on the market are very similar. There are only so many things that you can do to be different in a competitive market. Instead of obsessing over trying to outdo my competitors, I focused on my brand as a whole.

We are focused on being fun and giving off an 80’s vibe. Even the look of our logo and packaging is much different than the competition. We ended up moving our logo front and center of our products to be unique and original. You can also infuse some edge and your own personality into anything that you’re selling. In fact, doing something that isn’t normal for the niche you’re in might just give you the edge you’re looking for. 

I see so many people get stuck looking at the competition and trying to do the same thing. They focus on out-hyping each other, and that isn’t very effective. Instead, it’s important to focus on being unique and growing our own brand. It’s important to start with a niched down audience, and you can always expand as you go along.

Ryan’s Biggest Mistakes & How He Overcame Them 

I have made every mistake in the book over the years. The biggest mistake I’ve made is listening to my customers too much. Every time they asked me to try something new or implement a new process in my business, I did. The issue was that I didn’t always take a step back to see how much work and time would be required to implement the new products and processes that my customers were requesting. 

We ended up expanding too quickly and ended up losing a lot of money trying to add too many products. Our margins were too tight, and I wasn’t paying close attention to how quickly everything added up. 

It can’t be all about the customers. You need to focus on the brand experience before customer experience. It’s important to learn to say no. If you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to stay in business in the long run. 

At Rewind, we used to sell mostly protein bars. However, we have recently shifted, and our primary product is powered green. We were losing so much money on shipping the bars, and there were too many delays this past year with the pandemic. 

Our bars were good, but there are so many other good bars out there, so we found it really hard to stay ahead of the competition. With our greens, they taste really good, and that’s not very common for that type of product. So we’re able to stand out more in that particular market. It’s also much easier to ship the powered greens, and it makes it so much easier for our team. It’s working really well, so we’re going to stick with it. 

Ryan’s Simple Sales Funnel 

It’s all about your front end offer. A lot of people spend all this time creating a course or product and don’t know what to do after that. It’s ok if you’re simply breaking even to start with. We have seen a lot of success running ads to our offers.

We have a super simple funnel going right now that works really well. We have ads on Facebook promoting our greens at a discounted price. People who click on the link head to the product page on our website talking about the greens, including a video, FAQs, and testimonials. People can also purchase their greens directly on that page. 

Our page converts at 10%. Our pricing is very affordable, and our upsales are very simple as well. I don’t want to get too aggressive with it. Our average order value is almost 4x higher than what it was before, so we’re sticking with what has been working well. 

For our subscription service, we also keep it very simple. We have a note within all of our emails promoting our subscription and offer 5% on all subscriptions.

You’ll see more success when you keep everything simple and avoid spammy promotions. People want to work with real brands that are authentic and true. 

Lead Your Emails Off With a Story 

I write all of my own emails for both of my brands. Personally, I’ll head to a coffee shop and get to work on writing my emails each day. It’s become a routine that I really enjoy. I like to start with a story and tie in a lesson to be learned from it. The story doesn’t have to be long. It’s just a good way to get people’s attention. The key is to tie in the story with the main topic of the email. 

Focus on Building One Brand at a Time 

 It’s both a blessing and a curse to be an entrepreneur. It can be really easy to get distracted and want to run multiple companies at the same time. If you have two things going at once, it’s important to make sure that one of your brands is running smoothly before you bring on another startup. You can’t pour all your time and energy into both at once. 

It can be difficult not to avoid new shiny objects or move on to work on something new. You do have to stay focused even if you have multiple projects. There are only so many hours in the day, and you can’t do everything at once. Don’t try to take on too much at once or you’ll get too overwhelmed and won’t be able to get anything done. 

You need to figure out what you want in your life and build your business around that. You’ll leave a great life by doing it that way. 

Thanks For Tuning in!

“Remember, I'm here for you, I believe in you, and I'm rooting for you! Now it's time for you to take action and go rock your brand”! 

Take-Aways From Today’s Episode

  1. How to Create a Distinct Brand (4:10)
  2. How Nick Stays Ahead in a Competitive Market (14:05)
  3. Ryan’s Simple Sales Funnel (29:25)
  4. Ryan’s Biggest Mistakes & How He Overcame Them (21:15) 
  5. Lead Your Emails Off With a Story (41:28)
  6. Focus on Building One Brand at a Time (43:40)


Scott Voelker

Over the years I’ve helped thousands of people TAKE ACTION to UNLOCK their true potential on building their ultimate freedom business, by developing the skills to make them resilient, confident and FUTURE PROOF. I’ve clocked my 10,000 hours over the years working in the trenches myself and helping others build and grow their brands. I know the power in TAKING ACTION better than anyone and I’ve seen people lives changed as a result of it...including my OWN!