Ryan Lee sells and services FilterQueen air filters and surface cleaners. He has three locations in Urbandale IA, Cloquet MN, and Omaha NE. Although he is not an owner, he earns revenue from the location in San Antonio, TX, as well. Ryan knows he offers the best products in his business and is willing to face any challenge that comes his way. He hates the word try and believes that when you use words like “try” or “should” you are planning to fail. Actionable “how” questions always achieve better results.
When Ryan started his business selling FilterQueen, he had a degree in Aeronautics, but the industry, at the time, was in decline. To make ends meet, he responded to a newspaper ad for a customer service representative for FilterQueen. He was attracted to the earning potential, quality products, and advancement opportunities. He spent his days dropping off fliers and setting appointments. A few months later he married his wife, Brooke. Then they realized they needed to make a decision. or try returning to aviation? Becoming a distributor meant a major life change, but that’s what they did. They uprooted and moved to Reno, Nevada to open his first distributorship. There was high risk, but he found high reward. His next focus was on creating a loyal and committed team.
To Ryan, mindset is everything. He would rather take a challenge head on than avoid it. Procrastination is a deadly killer. When faced with the storms of life, Ryan asks: are you a buffalo or cow? As a storm blows in, cows try to run away from it. Being very slow runners, the storm catches up to them and they eventually find themselves caught running with the storm instead. Buffalos, on the other hand, wait for the storm to roll in, then charge right through it, minimizing their pain and frustration. Both animals experience the same storm, but one has a more traumatic overall experience by trying to avoid the inevitable, while the other charges straight through it. Ryan identifies himself as a Buffalo and says other business owners should as well.
For a business owner just starting out, Ryan’s advice is to stop waiting for the perfect time to start. You will never find it. Make decisions, then make them happen. If you fail, fail forward. You need to take uncalculated risks and invest in yourself. Surround yourself with people you can learn from and admire. Remember that building a loyal team takes time, and to be a good leader, you must lead by example. Fear is only false evidence appearing real. You can’t let fear and worry cloud your mind. Financial freedom, to Ryan, is being financially diverse and being able to do what you want, when you want. He views success as a healthy balance between his marriage, family, health, spirituality, finances, business, exercise, diet and happiness. Each is like a spoke on a wagon wheel. If they are the same length, the wheel rolls smoothly.
However, if any spoke is too short or too long, you’re in for a bumpy ride. His biggest obstacle was when he and his wife moved four kids under the age of 9 to Iowa. This meant not only starting their family’s life from scratch, but a physical business as well. They faced the storm head on and found tremendous success, even when faced with a global pandemic.Ryan’s next focus is to build up his online sales presence, open two more locations in 2021, sell in Walmart Stores, and work on day trading. You can follow Ryan on Instagram @ryantlee.2020.