Ramon Ray was recently hosted by Bob Sparkins on the Lead Generation Podcast over at Leadpages. The podcast features interviews with today’s entrepreneurs who give the honest truth about what it takes to be your own boss and the significant impact business owners can have on their audiences.
Ramon shared with Bob that from the time he was a small child, he always loved technology. He evolved his love for tech into helping and educating entrepreneurs on the importance of technology in business. But, Ramon really started his own entrepreneurial journey when he got unceremoniously fired from his 9-5 job at the United Nations. No longer able to rely on a steady paycheck, Ramon immersed himself in his side-hustle companies. And that’s when Smart Hustle Magazine was born.
It’s Not Always a Smooth Ride
After starting four businesses, writing four books, and interviewing people like President Obama and Ivanka Trump, Ramon seems like he has it all. But, his entrepreneurial journey isn’t over and his success didn’t come without struggle. He says,
“This has been a journey of mistakes, of learning, of getting back up, and serendipity.”
If you’re an optimist like Ramon, he says it’s important to have someone who can help you realize the significance of your mistakes and setbacks. To Ramon however, mistakes are what make you grow.
“I see failure genuinely as a learning opportunity. I love the word no. It’s a learning opportunity. To me, the word no means: Great, I can get rid of you and get to my yes, faster.”
Choose Your Circle Well
When the hard decisions and challenging times do come along, Ramon says he relies on two things: faith and friends. On the non-business side, Ramon says,
“Having something higher than just myself in this material world strengthens and gives me hope, and gives me excitement.”
On the business side, having a mentor or a friend who understands your business is invaluable. Find that one guy or gal you can call on. Ramon also advises to choose friends that lift you up and provide constructive criticism, that’s how you’re going to get better. You don’t want someone who is only ever going to tell you that you’re doing great at everything but when you are doing great, they should encourage you in that.
Ramon and Bob also discussed what happens when things get tough. Things aren’t always as glamorous as they seem. Ramon admits that of the several companies he’s running right now, not all of them are running perfectly. Like any other growing business, he’s dealing with “cash flow problems, with marketing, with getting clients just like the next guy.” Ramon’s next piece of wisdom: sometimes the road to success is longer than you think. Lastly, he says that it’s so important to be flexible. You have to be ready to innovate and pivot.
Changing Direction for Growth
Inevitably, you’re going to come to a crossroads where you have to decide whether to persist or to pivot. Ramon shares that his dream publication, Smart Hustle Magazine wasn’t picking up speed as quickly as he would have liked. But, his other company, Smallbiztechnology.com, was taking off like a rocket ship. So, he focused his resources and energy on growing that company while he tweaked Smart Hustle Magazine. With several revenue streams, Ramon has the flexibility to make those kinds of adjustments. “This guy who looks like he has it all, I’m even shifting and measuring the market as we go.”
Ramon has different tools that he uses to grow and manage his businesses:
And some publications that he uses to grow himself as an entrepreneur:
- Business Week
- Harvard Business Review
- Google News App
The Key of Entrepreneurship
Ramon says there are two things he believes to be key to growing a successful business. The first is marketing. Who is your target market, what are you trying to get them to do, and appeal to the audience you already have.
The second is the art of the “Smart Hustle.” Ramon encourages entrepreneurs to “just keep going, because the moment you stop, the game is over, and do it smarter as you’re doing it.”
Learn More From Ramon
To wrap up their conversation, Bob asked Ramon to recommend one of his books that listeners should pick up. Ramon shared that in April, he is releasing his latest book, Celebrity CEO. It’s all about the art of how smaller businesses can build a strong personal brand to get more revenue and be different in the marketplace.