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The SuccessLab Podcast: Where Entrepreneurs Collaborate for Success

Sep 1, 2015

Ramon Ray says he is first and foremost an entrepreneur and lover of small business success. On paper he is a best selling author, publisher of Smart Hustle Magazine, and the small business evangelist at InfusionSoft.

He had spent many years helping large brands reach small businesses, but his true passion was educating small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, technology and best practices.

“My real passion is educating small business owners,” Ramon said. “My first venture was Small Biz Technology, my second company was The Small Business Summit, which I sold, and this [Smart Hustle Magazine] is my third.”

Ramon is a high-energetic, hustler, not afraid to approach and build relationships with some of the most notable entrepreneurs. He even got Seth Godin to speak at one of his Small Business Summits and attend another event he produced called “Small Biz, Big Things.” But he admits, he’s just a fan boy of Seth Godin, like so many others.

Beyond his knack for building relationships, Ramon has authored three books, publishes Smart Hustle Magazine and works with small businesses through Infusionsoft. Where does he find the time and the energy to do all of this?

He said he focuses on consistency in everything he does, whether writing a book, speaking or working with a small business.

“I love it. I wake up in the morning excited about educating small businesses,” Ramon said. “Since I love it and it’s something I’ve done for many years, it comes very effortlessly to me, but I use a lot of good tools to keep me managed, and I have a good team.”

Finding Success Amidst the Challenges

Of course everyone faces challenges, and Ramon has had his share too. But he said the key is being adaptable and immersing himself in education. For that he turns to books or simply asking others. He also shared a few tips from his “23 Rules for Success in Life and Careers”:

  • Be nice
  • Explore
  • Expand your network
  • Be a great professional
  • Dial in your skill set

Ramon also shared a few things he tries to teach all entrepreneurs who are just starting out: Have smarts behind your hustle, surround yourself with good people and expand your network.

He is also a big believer in integrating technology into business to help streamline and simplify various aspects. But this comes with a caveat. “Technology is not going to save your business. At the end of the day you need to know how to shake hands firmly, hire good people, and not have idiots in your business. Technology only helps businesses that great, be greater.”

Some core fundamentals every biz owner should understand when it comes to leveraging technology, however, include:

  • Have your marketing tool dialed in
  • Social is real - understand it in some regard
  • Mobile - are you ready?
  • Leverage video - it’s growing and only going to continue
  • Get some sort of accounting tool

Quick and Dirty Tips and Tools:

Building relationships: Ramon is a people person, but he puts effort into it. “There’s a few things I found important,” he said. “Meet them offline. You have to start somewhere. You don’t have to go straight to the top, start somewhere. Just be a nice person.” He said a good read for this is Gary Vaynerchuk’s, “One Is Greater Than Zero.

Dealing with overwhelm: He admits it happens about twice per month. “To prevent being overwhelmed today, you have to discipline yourself a month or two months earlier so that point doesn’t happen. I try to discipline myself with task management tools and plan in advance.”

One quote Ramon lives by: “Life is a journey.” His point…live is going to keep moving. You always have a chance no matter which direction you go.

A couple others: “Keep hustling.” And one from Seth Godin, “Make a ruckus.” It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just do it!

Favorite tools for business:

  • Asana
  • Infusionsoft
  • Office 365 and Google Apps
  • TripIt app for travel
  • A good smart phone and mobile hotspot

Favorite conferences:

  • ICON
  • SxSW
  • Inc.’s Grow Co.
  • New York Expo
  • Market New York
  • Smart Hustle Grow and Thrive
  • HustleCon Collision
  • Small Giants in Dallas

BizHack: Social Mention, a real-time social media search and analysis tool. It can be used to search specific terms and see what types of conversations are happening around them, or find current trending topics.

Quote of the Week: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” ~ John Wooden