Join Over 60,000 People & Get FREE Weekly Tips in Your Inbox!



Choose: How to Make the Single Most Important Decision BEFORE Starting Your Business

When my dad was a boy growing up in Wisconsin Rapids, it was a paper town of about 15,000 people. Stevens Point — another paper town that’s close by — also had a population of about 15,000.

Flash forward 70 years… 

Stevens Point is now a thriving town of about 50,000 and Wisconsin Rapids has only grown by 3000 and now has a population of just 18,000 people.

So what put one town on a trajectory of consistent growth and the other on a slow, painful decline?  The answer goes back to a single decision about the paper mills in these towns… 

While Wisconsin Rapids made the decision to stick with producing paper, Stevens Point diversified and invested in setting up a college.

Right now, 2 of the 3 paper mills at Wisconsin Rapids have totally shut down and the only functioning mill is at just 60% capacity.

The town’s entire economy was built around paper and it continues to crumble because everything’s gone digital.

The moral of this story?

A single decision can have a lasting effect that stretches out over years — sometimes even decades — for cities AND for businesses.

And this brings me to my latest video book review…

It’s on Ryan Levesque’s book, Choose: The Single Most Important Decision Before Starting Your Business.

Let’s dive in with the first of 3 actionable takeaways from Ryan’s awesome book.

Takeaway #1: Education & Expertise

My first takeaway is that selling education and expertise is the easiest business model in today’s world… especially if you’re a solopreneur.

 When Stevens Point invested in a college, they were really investing in education and expertise.

And because of that decision, they were able to thrive. The town found a way to help people solve problems they want to solve.

Something to keep in mind… 

Education and expertise is NOT like a brick and mortar business where you can only focus on serving a local community.

Case in point…

The major grocery store in Wisconsin Rapids is going under because it’s only serving people in the community and as the town struggles, the store struggles. 

But when you focus on providing education and expertise, you can go out there and get customers anywhere in the world… people who need what you have to offer.

In his book, Ryan also highlights that education and expertise is very different from the software industry. 

He says that with a software, you’ve got to basically “burn” a million dollars and then after the smoke clears you can finally start building a business.

And I can attest to that! 

We’ve spent millions of dollars at this point on our software product, which lets people quickly and easily create gorgeous business-building websites even if they’ve never designed anything in their life (the software is called Heroic and you can check it out here).

Heroic is just now starting to take off and for a long while, we had to fund it with Live Your Message — our education and expertise business. 

Another kind of business a lot of people get into is e-commerce where you have to manufacture physical products and this opens up a whole new world of complexity. 

First, you’ve got to manufacture your products and then you’ve got to store them in a warehouse and then ship them.

Again, the cost is SO much higher and the profit margin is so much lower.

So, education and expertise is one of the most profitable and easiest business models to get into and I’ve built Live Your Message around that model.

Takeaway #2: Winning vs. Learning

The second takeaway from Ryan Levesque’s Choose is about the business you want to start.

After helping thousands of entrepreneurs launch their businesses I know from experience that, “what business should I start?” is the question that stalls people out more than any other, because they feel like they’re making a forever choice!

So, when you’re starting a business, Ryan says you should consider your first choice — your first business idea, topic or subject matter — as a practice business. 

And when you think of it as practice you can get passionate about the process of building a business and making it successful. 

This means when you finally land on the ideal business, the one you really love, you know you’ve got the process down!

When it comes to knowing what business to start, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about winning or learning.

And all the mistakes you make are early learning lessons for the business that you actually want to build… one day.

Ryan shares his personal story to highlight the point…

When he first started, Ryan was in the orchid business. He didn’t care that much about orchids or even know that much about orchids but he knew it was a niche that he could dominate.

Right now, his niche is serving entrepreneurs and building their business and that’s the niche that he absolutely loves. 

But he practiced through his other businesses and mastered the business-building process.

Ryan also talks about why he focused so much on mastering the business-building process: He was scared of risk. He was scared of uncertainty even though he knew that the only certainty of being an entrepreneur is uncertainty.

So what he did — and what he’s helped other people do — is learn how to risk well so they can let go of the outcome and focus on the process.

So, know that it’s ALL practice and that you’re learning with every move and every mistake. 

Think about it like this…

If things go well, you get to make a bunch of money and if it all goes south, no worries… you’re going to learn a lot. So, either way, you win 🙂

Takeaway #3: Settler vs. Pioneer

So, my third takeaway from Ryan’s book is this… pioneers get shot and settlers get rich.

What does that have to do with choosing your business idea and your niche?

Well, so many people are trying to have the most original idea on the planet but the truth is that you want to go into a market where there’s already a lot of successful people.

You want a market where there’s existing demand, existing supply, existing competition and where people are advertising. 

Because you don’t have to monopolize the market to be successful in today’s world. 

Just find an opportunity where you can do something better than the people who are currently doing it… focus on that and NOT on trying to reinvent the wheel.

Don’t try to be the first one or the only one… 

Be a settler, not a pioneer 🙂

Ryan’s got a step-by-step process in the book that shows you exactly how to identify the type of market that’s got enough traffic, enough interest, and enough competition — but not too much — so you can build a thriving business.


Pioneers get shot and settlers get rich so really take that approach to iterate your way to awesome inside a market versus trying to create a brand, new market from scratch where people aren’t looking for what you have to offer.

So, those are my 3 big takeaways from Ryan Levesque’s book Choose: The Single Most Important Decision Before Starting Your Business.

And don’t worry if you haven’t started your business because you’ve been dragging your feet around choices and decisions…

As Ryan says, the best time to start a business might have been 25 years ago but the 2nd best time to start is today!

So, start today and build that business!

And if you’ve got something you want to share around the struggles you’ve had choosing your market, choosing your business, or choosing your niche or all 3, go ahead and leave a comment.


Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Wendy Williams Avatar
    Wendy Williams

    The book sounds awesome. I really like the idea of a practice business and focus on mastering the process. This creates space for fun, joy, curiosity and excitement instead of fear. It’s brilliant! It’s taken me 18 months to solidify my idea and it feels great! Even with a practice business passion is important to sustain progress. If learning the process of business is something you are passionate about then that’s all you need. Pick your starter business and off you go.

    If you are more passionate about who you serve and how you help them, than the secret is to find a go-to-market message that solves a problem people really want an answer to and finding a way to serve your people around that problem. Once that is locked in, you are off to the races.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Totally Wendy, I agree with every word! Thanks for sharing 😉

  2. michael Avatar

    Hello! Thanks for sharing your message! Family! and the Big Why? is Passionate Love! A lot of Babies! children! People! Family! Michael

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks for sharing Michael! 🙂

  3. Shockadelic Avatar

    If you’re the only grocery store in town and you’re going out of business, it’s more a matter of bad management. People can’t eat digital food.

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Good point, thanks for sharing! I was mainly referring to the decisions the different towns made 70 years earlier that led to one being a “ghost town” where not even the only grocery store can stay in business (because population is now so low) vs the other which is still thriving and growing 🙂

Leave a Comment


Top 5 Underrated Books Every Entrepreneur Should Check Out?

Money Mistakes to Avoid for Managing Online Business Finances

The Proven Way to Get Sales Consistently Without Paid Traffic

Revolutionize Your Inbox: Top 10 Newsletters for Entrepreneurs

Join Our Newsletter

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to get updates and all the goodness to your inbox!


Interested in Joining the Live Your Message Dream Team?