Ryan Robinson is a writer, content marketing consultant, podcaster and side hustle advocate. I've learned a lot by reading Ryan's content on business, freelancing, writing, marketing, and efficiency. What I like the most about his writing is his ability to clearly explain things and force you to think for yourself.

In this interview, Ryan Robinson reveals his need for discomfort, rituals, and challenges among other habits and routines that make him successful.

Ryan Robinson

Ryan Robinson is a writer and content marketing consultant. He teaches more than 250,000 monthly readers how to start and grow a profitable side hustle on his blog, ryrob.com.

What Are the Most Influential Habits in Your Life?

The most influential habit in my day is (by far) forcing myself to wake up early and get a head start on the day. I do my best creative thinking in the early hours of the morning—before 9:00 am so I make sacrifices that allow me to carve that time out at least a few days each week.

How Do You Set Goals and Manage Time?

I work with one of my friends who's also an entrepreneur and we set goals together, hold each other accountable with weekly check-ins, and loosely follow the personal OKR format.

How Are You Modeling Your Life?

I'm a huge fan of using discipline, discomfort and physical challenges all as a means to build my mental strength.

This year, I've been doing the plank exercise a few times every week—each session adding 5 seconds to my time, and I recently crossed the 5-minute mark. Accomplishing that goal every time I train gives me a huge boost of confidence across all areas of my life. If I don't feel like going for a run or hitting the gym on a particular day, that's the clearest possible sign that I need to stop what I'm doing and work out.

Can You Describe Your Work Process and Thinking Behind It?

I'm a very linear thinker when it comes to my content marketing work, which means I typically do a ton of upfront research and planning before getting started on a big project—whether it's for a client or for my own site. After I have a clear goal I want to achieve, and exact keyword phrase in mind for the piece of content I'm working on, I'll outline the major components of what the piece needs to cover, then dive straight into tackling each section. I'll jump around throughout the piece if I get a jolt of inspiration or see something from elsewhere in my life that pulls me to a different section of the post.

Finally, I'll tie up any loose ends, make sure the transitions are logical and tackle my intro & conclusion.

What Do You Eat for Breakfast?

Breakfast is usually a pretty big meal for me—typically either a few eggs or a bagel and cream cheese. Food is fuel, and if I get into my day without something substantial in my stomach, I won't be thinking as clearly.

How Do You Train Your Body and Mind?

In recent years, I've gotten really into distance running and I hit a few half marathons every year. To me, it's more of a mental exercise than anything else because I'm forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other despite the fatigue for at times a couple of hours per run. I do weight training a couple times each week to help avoid losing too much muscle mass from the constant running. But in general, I just get such a rush from how good my body feels after an intense workout that I'd never want to give that up—it has such clear benefits that crossover to the quality (and efficiency) of my work.

How Do You Meet and Connect with People?

I've been fortunate enough that my blog has become a place that incredible people now discover the content I've published & many of them feel compelled to reach out and strike up a conversation with me. I've seriously made dozens of friends I keep in regular touch with because of my blog. Other than that, speaking at occasional conferences, introductions through mutual friends and a lot of cold emails to cool people I come across pick up the rest of the slack

What Are Your Sleeping Rituals?

Ritual is a good way to put it for me. I tend to be a little obsessive about making it to bed between 9:30-10:00 pm and getting 7 and 1/2 hours of sleep, regardless of when I make it to bed. I've done a lot of testing over the years with what my optimal sleep number is, so I stick to it religiously.

What Are Your Investing Habits?

I save as much as I can and tend to be pretty frugal with non-business growth purchases over in my personal life. Lately, I've been reinvesting a lot of what I make into scaling my content marketing process so that I have a few reliable writers that can work off of my plate and help me focus on doing what I do best—which is build relationships and pitch new business.

What Books, People, Experiences Shaped Your Thinking?

Oh man, I'm a huge product of the books I've read.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell has been a huge influence on me—from taking his thoughts on deliberate practice and applying them to building my own writing skills to the style that he writes in, I've learned a lot about how I want to shape my writing from Gladwell.