In the last 15 years, I’ve created multi-million dollar brands, published bestselling books, and worked alongside experts in the publishing, advertising, and creative marketing space. Today, I use my experience to offer free and paid services to authors, entrepreneurs, and brands.
Here is a brief summary of my experience & how I can help you build a better business.
Ryan Stable has published over 40 books to date, including the Small Business Marketing Essentials series, and Author’s Guide series.
Today, Ryan Stable work as Director of Operations at Words Are Swords Publishing, the small press publishing agency founded by Ryan Stable in 2014 to help talented authors turn exceptional writing into a lifetime career by providing turnkey publishing, distribution, and book marketing solutions.
Join the Advanced Book Marketing Strategies Newsletter where I share the specific tactics I’ve used to help hundreds of authors launch their careers, become bestsellers & dramatically increase sales.
Want to know how I created multi-million dollar brands and helped new authors reach the bestseller list? Read on…
The Ryan Stable Story
Having worked for various music, lifestyle, and culture magazines all throughout college, my initial background was in journalism and English. I had hoped that getting a 4-year degree would land me an editorial role at either VICE, AXS, MXDWN, or the L.A. Examiner, where I was a staff writer at the time.
Unfortunately for me and the thousands of other college graduates who earned their degrees at the height of the recession, there were zero job opportunities. In fact, each of the publications I wrote for were in the process of downsizing and completely eliminating print media.
By 2009, I came to the realization that all of my academics, my two degrees, and everything I learned leading up to that point were completely useless in a receding economy.
Spent that summer with my friends and fellow unemployed alumni drowning my sorrows, sneaking into concerts, and partying on the cheap. I was as hedonistic as any 25-year-old most nights, but during the day, I never stopped writing.
I’m a firm believer in pragmatically not letting anything go to waste. Years later, the adventures my friends and I shared around this time became the premise for the TV comedy I wrote, The Dropouts.
Of course, that didn’t help the fact that I was still unemployed at the time.
Then it hit me.
There was something that kept coming up again and again. Not just amongst my circle of friends, but something that also resonated with other 20-somethings I met.
There was no centralized culture or lifestyle magazine for us. There was no singular website we could go to look up happening events in our area. There was nothing out there that spoke directly to our generation and the things that were important to us.
I felt a cartoonish lightbulb click on directly above my head.
I noticed a gap in the market, one that I would potentially fill using my knowledge, skills, and experiences up to that point.
Follow Ryan Stable for even more marketing strategies, news, and industry trends.
The Youth Culture Brand We Didn’t Know We Needed
The following year, I enrolled in the MBA course at USC while simultaneously working on a business plan. Then, in 2010, I started my first business.
Ultra Vulgar Media was where I had many if my firsts. I initially didn’t have the capital to hire employees, so I had to learn to wear many hats. I learned web design. I learned graphic design. I learned accounting. I learned affiliate marketing. I learned to negotiate with corporate sponsors. And eventually, I learned how to recruit passionate interns.
Our brand of in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is journalism was well-received. People loved Ultra Vulgar, and they were not afraid to tell their friends. This created rapid, viral, and 100% organic growth.
Ultra Vulgar Media wasn’t a corporate giant and it certainly wasn’t profitable at first, but it had all the vital components that are essential to any brand. If success is something measurable by social proof, then Ultra Vulgar Media was a tremendous success.
I attribute this initial success to the fact that I knew exactly who our target audience was before the company launched. The entire business was created to fill a specific gap in the market. I had a comprehensive understanding of what our target audience wants to read, what they don’t want to read, how they spend their money, and the gaping void of everything in between.
I through all of my time and energy into the company. After 3 years, I had over two dozen contributors and over 200,000 unique visitors to the site each month.
I don’t remember the exact moment I realized that Ultra Vulgar had evolved from a business to a brand, but can recall in great detail everything I did to cement our brand in the culture of our target audience.
Ultra Vulgar Media was named as such because the literal definition of the word vulgar, which means “relating to or constituting of the ordinary people in society.” Truly, Ultra Vulgar Media was a publication for the masses.
Once we hit the big-time and looking into securing larger and more lucrative corporate sponsors, we hit a wall: many of the other brands that we wanted to partner with refused simply because they didn’t want to be associated with anything that had the word “Vulgar” in the title.
I was shocked. Suddenly, the number of readers we had meant nothing.
The moment I realized that there was going to be a boundary in place preventing Ultra Vulgar Media from scaling past a certain amount, I was done. After all my years in press and publishing, one thing I learned is that there is only so much you can do with a news website.
Regardless, our target audience loved the Ultra Vulgar brand. When a handful of people reached out, asking if they could buy our logo on T-shirts or hoodies, I saw the perfect way to pivot.
Apparel soon turned to merchandise. As I learned more about the needs and buying behavior of different demographics, I built and automated several e-commerce stores in different niches to fulfill those needs.
By the time I had Ultra Vulgar Apparel fully automated, a new gap in the marketplace had drawn my attention – health supplements.
My Million Dollar Brands
At first, supplements seemed like the perfect product to sell. They are small and lightweight, making them easy to ship. When the customer receives the product, they consume them all before coming back to buy more.
Even today, the supplement industry is one of the most competitive marketplaces around. That’s why to get a competitive edge, I spent months researching everything I could find out about the demographic within this industry.
I wanted to be much more than an Amazon or eBay merchant. When you’re selling products on a 3rd party marketplace, you need to obey a long list of constantly changing and often obscure rules. But when you get customers to come to your own brand’s website to make a purchase. It’s your house and your rules.
Using everything I had learned about brands, businesses, e-commerce, demographics, market research, advertising, and more, I created a new brand that would dominate the supplement industry, aptly titled Supplements for Work (S4W).
Our customers quickly disregarded the silly name, which was designed moreso for search engines than anything else, and accepted Supplements for Work as a brand that is synonymous with high-quality and excellent customer service.
From supplements, home goods, toys, concert tickets, digital products, marketing services, and more, every time I saw buying trends shift, I was right there to fulfill the need. I learned everything I could about sourcing products, fulfillment, and creating an enjoyable customer experience.
I wasn’t just building e-commerce websites anymore. I was building brands.
Then, it finally happened. That moment that every self-made entrepreneur dream about.
By 2017, I was grossing over $1 million dollars annually.
Although I was operating multiple brands simultaneously, it was Supplements for Work that did a majority of the heavy lifting. By 2018, Supplements for Work was grossing nearly $3 million alone.
You never forget the moment you make your first million. Unfortunately, like most millionaires today who made their fortunes online, it’s not some climatic Hollywood-style moment. For me, that moment came when I did my quarterly audit on my laptop in my home office while snacking on dried mangos and sipping white tea. All the same, those mangos tasted particularly sweet that day.
Creating Business & Personal Branding Today
A mentor once told me, “You learn a lot about the true nature of a person once they have achieved financial security.”
After creating, growing, and automating multiple brands in different niches, the safety net provided by multiple revenue streams has allowed me to return to the passions and activities that I enjoy most in life: writing, telling stories, and helping others build businesses and brands of their own.
One of the things they never teach in business school is that entrepreneurs become extremely susceptible to a disease once they get a taste of success. It’s a highly contagious illness with no known cure and is virtually impossible to get rid of once the unsuspecting entrepreneur contracts it.
In English, it’s called ambition, and some of the side effects include restlessness, workaholism, and inflammation of the bank account.
Anyway, that’s my cute way of saying that even though I am done with building brands of my own, I still yearn for the thrill of helping others learn the building blocks of branding as they grow and scale both their business and profits.
In 2014, I launched a small press publishing company, Words Are Swords, as a way of publishing, distributing, and monetizing my own books as well as the books of a few other talented authors. Today, Words Are Swords has grown into a turnkey author solutions company that helps authors all over the world sell more books with creative marketing services.
Having published and distributed hundreds of books through Words Are Swords, many of which went on to become bestsellers, I have witnessed the growth of many authors as they turn their pen names into a personal brand.
Whether it’s the entrepreneur and small business owner who wants to be seen as an expert in their field or fiction authors who want to simply capture the imagination of their readers, personal branding plays a fundamental role in success and quality in the eyes of each specific demographic, a topic we will review in more detail later in this book.
This is a game that major corporations know terrifyingly well – you don’t just build brands. You built brands around your demographic. Your customers will tell you what they want. It’s your job to listen and be responsive.
Today, small businesses are making a hell of a comeback. Even though the world’s economy has been through a lot of up and down in recent years, there has never been a better time than now to build your brand.
Customers would rather spend their money with little, designer, and boutique brands rather than major corporations. The paradigm is shifting, corporations with ridiculous amounts of money are having a hard time winning over customers who would rather pay a little more for a product or service when it comes from a small brand because it makes them feel unique.
Anyone with a few dollars and a driver’s license can start their own business, but it takes relentless determination and a firm understanding of the marketplace to create a brand that will withstand the test of time.
Part of my job now is to help people and businesses build their personal or business brand, create their brand story, find their brand identity, and help them along their brand journey.
Similarly, at Words Are Swords Publishing, we help every author of ours develop the elements of their personal brand in order to flourish. Because we work in such a fast-paced environment, we usually don’t have more than 3 days to set up one of our clients with all of the necessities that make up a personal brand.
Our 3-year marketing strategies, on the other hand, are proven to turn authors, influencers, entrepreneurs and businesses into an iconic brand whose logo alone is associated with knowledge, success, and quality to their respective target audience.
If you need help creating your own personal or business brand strategy, send me a message at Info@ryanstabile.com. I will work with you to build a better, long-lasting, and highly profitable brand strategy in the short or long-term. If you need help with other aspects of marketing your business, I encourage you to contact me on my website here.
Lastly, for authors who are interested in learning more about cultivating their personal brand and other ways to sell more books, I recommend my Advanced Book Marketing Strategies Newsletter here.
Feedback & Reviews
The best part about my job is that I get to work with a wide variety of interesting and successful people from different backgrounds and in industries.
Here’s what they had to say.
What Can I Do for You?
Because the state of the economy has been completely unpredictable over the last few years, one of the services I pride myself on offering is free business consultations to anyone who needs them.