I’m delighted to be joined by Ryan Levesque, creator of the ASK Method and author of the bestseller “ASK!”
In 2008, armed with nothing but a 450 dollar laptop, an Ivy league background in neuroscience and an insatiable curiosity to understand why people buy, Ryan left a lucrative career on Wall Street and later in Shanghai, China, to launch a multi million dollar online publishing business selling information and software using what’s now become the Ask Method as taught in his book.
Ryan has used the Ask Method to help build multimillion dollar businesses in seventeen different industries, generating over 100 million dollars worth of sales in the process.
Today, Ryan and his team offer training, consulting and implementation services for entrepreneurs and businesses at all levels.
Ryan Levesque Interview
Nicola: Ryan, I’m really delighted to welcome you to the call today, because I am a customer of yours, as you probably know.
Ryan: Nicola, I am so thrilled to be here. I just wanted to say thank you so much for the opportunity to be here.
Nicola: Really looking forward to hearing all of your story, so start from the very beginning. Tell us where you were born, what your family was like, and how you became the entrepreneur you are today.
Ryan: Sure. I grew up in the northeast of the United States in New Hampshire. My family, I have French Canadian ancestry, my background is French Canadian, my grandparents are French Canadian from Quebec province, so hence the name Levesque and the crazy spelling. I grew up in a working class family. My dad was a shipping clerk. My mom cut hair for a living, and I was the first person in our family ever, extended family, ever to go to college. My parents were the first to graduate from high school. Both sets of grandparents left school at a very young age, and both my grandfathers were military veterans and entered into the military, fought in World War 2. For me to go to college was a really big deal. For me to go to an Ivy League school, which is in the States is very difficult to get into, as I’m sure you probably know, and very unusual for someone from my background to get there. Basically, pride of the extended family.
Things get a little bit worse from there. I go to school, and I thought I was going to become a doctor. I studied neuroscience. I thought I was going to be the next great neuroscientist, and that’s what my family expected, so there was a lot of hopes and dreams put in there. Nicola, I realized when I was in university that I tell people there’s smart, and then there’s really smart. I was smart, but I wasn’t really smart. I recognized this when I met someone who went on to be one of my best friends in life, a man by the name of now doctor, Dr. Charles Kassardjian. He and I were roommates, best friends through college, and he went to become a neurologist at the world-famous Mayo Clinic.
Charles was really smart. I was just smart. I realized very quickly that I didn’t have the chops, the-, I just wasn’t smart enough to become a neurosurgeon. I just didn’t have it. He did. I worked side by side with him, and I recognized that. You have to understand, so at some point in college, I had to come to terms with this. At the time, I was also studying something kind of random. I was really into Chinese studies, East Asian studies.
Originally, I was really interested in the effect it had, East Asian-, excuse me, the effect that traditional Chinese medicine had on the brain. I was kind of studying Chinese with the intent of studying traditional Chinese medicine and the effect that it had on the brain and kind of tying science with that.
I very quickly fell in love with Asian Studies and Chinese. I had a conversation with my parents and said, hey, listen, I’m going to spend next summer-, this was my junior year of university, third year of university. I said, listen, instead of becoming a neuroscientist, I’m going to backpack through China.
Nicola: I’ll bet they were thrilled!
Ryan: Loved it. They loved it! I said, don’t worry, it’s just temporary…