November Cover: Ryan Long


Kristen Crooks



November is a month of being grateful. Life By Design wants to spotlight Ryan Long for his tremendous works and his heart full of gratitude. Ryan is the founder of City Summit and City Gala, which are platforms that help raise funds for charitable organizations and nonprofits. City Summit works with some of the highest level entrepreneurs, celebrities, and influencers to bring awareness, funding, and an expert network to entrepreneurs and nonprofits alike.

Ryan did not start out as an entrepreneur; his journey started when he was twenty-one. At this point, Ryan lived the life of your typical twenty-one-year-old, but that all changed when he got a phone call from a flight attendant in Texas. This is the day Ryan found out he was going to be a father and when everything shifted for him. From that day forward, Ryan knew he had to start taking his life seriously so he could support his new family.

This was when Ryan thought hard about what he enjoyed and how he could make money with it. One of his passions was fitness and keeping active, which led to a career as a personal trainer. By twenty-two, when his son was born, Ryan had eight different certifications, and was rising fast as a personal trainer. By twenty-three, Ryan found himself as the fitness director for LA fitness, a company that was expanding rapidly.

As a fitness director, Ryan felt good; he was paying his bills, supporting his son, and for what seemed like the first time had extra money to play with. But what does a kid that grew up with no money do as soon as he has a little extra? Well, Ryan went out and bought a Lexus, which is precisely when a friend came around asking to go into business together. Ryan’s friend wanted to get in the nightclub business, and Ryan decided to go for it. The first night Ryan had fronted all the money for the space rental, the fliers, the DJ, and when he showed up, the only people that were there were the few he had invited for free. But they didn’t give up, even though the investment had been lost two, even three times, they kept trying.

After Ryan had been let go from LA fitness, he decided he had no choice but to make the nightclub work. Finally, the business had hit and started to become rather successful. But Ryan felt as though he was not living in alignment with who he was raised to be. As he lived life in the fast lane in Hollywood, things started to get out of control. Ryan found himself working with companies like Hustler’s, Penthouse, Playboy, he found himself with a vast network of Hollywood celebrities, and then he found himself at rock bottom.

As Ryan felt he was not living the life he was meant to, his relationship failed, and his grandfather had passed, and it was through these experiences that he decided that he would live a life of impact. This was the moment that the seed of City Gala was formed. With all the connections Ryan had built, he decided he would host a Gala that brought the Hollywood Elite together to raise money for nonprofits, and truly make an impact in the world. As he hosted more and more Galas, he realized the ones writing the most significant checks weren’t the celebrities but instead the business owners.

This was when the City Summit was born, to serve the entrepreneurs and build a network of elite professionals. Now City Summit serves thousands of entrepreneurs and supports nonprofits that make an impact all over the world. As City Summit grows, it will be a world-renowned organization that people of all walks of life want to be a part of. Not only to create an impact but also to learn and network.

Ryan is one entrepreneur that has been through many different industries and stages of business, and with that, he has so much knowledge to share! Sharing his knowledge is one of his values and why even City Summit has a free course for nonprofits!

The first piece of advice is directly to those starting or running nonprofits: Your nonprofit is a business! It has to be run like a business if you want it to survive. This is why so many nonprofits dwindle as time passes. When someone first takes up a cause they are so passionate, but as time moves on, passion fades. When passion fades, if you do not have the proper systems and channels in place, the business fades. Setting up your nonprofit with multiple income streams, a large donor base, grant writers, and an executive director, all make the difference between a nonprofit that succeeds and one that slowly fades.

But Ryan doesn’t only work with nonprofits, so he wanted to give a little extra value to all of our entrepreneurs out there! Being an entrepreneur is something that requires the next level of passion, grit, and determination. As an entrepreneur, you may fall, but the difference between success and failure is that for the truly determined, failure only occurs when you give up.

Level up!

During our interview, Ryan said, “It takes the same amount of time to dream a small dream as it does a big dream, but to achieve that dream; you need to level up!” Everyone starts out with skills and talents, but if your skillset is at a level seven, and your dream requires a level ten skillset, you need to level up to achieve your dream. So how will you level up as an entrepreneur?

Ryan’s advice to you:

Step one: Get out of your comfort zone!

Your comfort zone is like a barrier holding you in, keeping you safe, but within your comfort zone, you only have so much room to grow, and it truly isn’t that much room. Expanding your comfort zone gives you much more room to grow and will help you to get new skills and level up your business!

Step two: Fail often, fail forward.

Failure is something that happens in life, especially as you are trying to carve your own path through entrepreneurship, but again true failure only happens when you stop trying. The key is to learn from your failures and keep pushing with every failure comes a lesson that will help you grow. You can decide to limit failure by following the path of those that have gone before you, but don’t get caught up if you do fail. Simply pick yourself back up and keep pushing!

Step three: Be grateful.

What you focus on grows, and that is especially true with gratitude. As you become grateful for your challenges and the lessons they bring, you will start to gain more knowledge, as you are grateful for your friends, you will gain a deeper connection with more people. Gratefulness leads to abundance and will help amplify your success in every area of your life. Ryan focuses on gratitude for each person he works with, and every opportunity that comes along.

Applying this advice in your everyday life will help you grow your business, no matter the industry or stage of your business. With so much knowledge that Ryan shared with the Life By Design staff, it’s obvious why he is our November cover. So to Ryan from all of the Life By Design community, we would like to say thank you for the impact you create and thank you for the inspiration you share with the entrepreneurship community.

If you want to know more about City Summit and City Gala, visit www.Citysummit.co today!

Kristen Crooks

Kristen Crooks is a personal assistant, ghostwriter, event planner, and speaker. She works closely with all their clients to truly understand their passions, tone, and ideas so their vision can unfold in front of their eyes. In a world that is increasing more digital Kristen hopes to bring her personal touch to each article, and event that she works on. While working with Stegela Success Mastery Kristen found her passion in writing and planning events for those around her. Starting out in Cosmetology and Barbering Kristen has always enjoyed the freedom that entrepreneurship allows but was not living her passion! Now Kristen focuses on helping others through amazing events, and making sure their stories are told, and heard! While events and ghostwriting are part of her passion, the true joy comes form helping people achieve their goals, and ultimately see others dreams unfold before their eyes.


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