Zev Asch Interviews Smart Hustle Magazine Editor Ramon Ray: What the Entrepreneurial Journey is Really About

Smart Hustle Editor Ramon Ray is used to being on a certain side of the interview table, picking the brains of today’s entrepreneurs and small business owners in order to learn about their journeys and to share their advice in feature stories. Today you are in for a treat because the tables have turned. Marketing expert Zev Asch recently invited Ramon to appear on his podcast “Unfamous Entrepreneurs,” where we got to hear about Ramon’s own story.

Zev, President of Ledaza Inc. and author of the book Are You Sure about That? The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Your Business, summarized the goal of the interview quite nicely:

“Every single business owner or entrepreneur that we know is chasing a dream. And it’s not financial freedom, but it’s more being able to balance life – to make money and spend time with the family and keep their spirituality. And I think very few people get close…and I think you are probably one of those rare individuals who is getting pretty close to that elusive balance. I want to cover your journey in this talk, but I think what we learn at the end is how does Ramon do this and what can we learn from it?”

So what did Ramon reveal in the interview? We’re sharing a quick recap below, but we urge you to listen to the full interview here.

As a Child, What Did You Want to Do When You Grew Up?

Ramon says he was always interested in protective agencies. His first dream was to be in the FBI, and later he became interested in becoming a secret service agent or a Navy Seal.

As it was, Ramon ended up working for the UN, and at the same time began building his own companies on the side. He originally had permission to follow these entrepreneurial ventures, but then that permission was revoked. After leaving the UN, he pushed on in his small business journey and hasn’t looked back since.

What Was Your First Big Win?

In the interview, Ramon shares two of his biggest wins that helped validate his work and push him forward.

One was when he received sponsorship funding from Intuit for his first Small Business Summit event.

The other was a big contract he landed right before being fired from the UN. This gave his family 3-6 months of money to live on so he could continue to pursue his business ideas.

What Was Your Biggest “Oh Boy!” Moment?

Ramon shared the story of a big event series that he tried to launch on the west coast. It failed, and he probably lost about $50K, but he considers it to be a valuable lesson on why you should never try to expand too fast.

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance?

When Zev asked Ramon how he has been able to achieve a routine that maximizes work-life balance, Ramon shared two important pieces of advice:

  • Priorities – Remember to make room in your schedule each day for the important things in life. For Ramon, that is his spirituality, physical health, and family.
  • Tools and Resources for Management – On the business side, you can boost your productivity and efficiency with the right tools. For example, Ramon uses Asana to keep all business tasks organized, keeps his email sorted to avoid a cluttered Inbox, and has hired an executive assistant to delegate tasks and keep him on schedule.

Influences and Favorites

A portion of the interview was devoted to rapid-fire questioning. Here are the highlights:

  • Most Influential Person in Your Life: Jesus Christ
  • Most Influential Person in Business: Seth Godin
  • Favorite Business Book: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
  • Favorite Business Quote: “Life is a journey,” a quote Ramon says to his children, and “Only the paranoid survive,” by Andrew Grove.

At the end of the interview, Zev asks Ramon what he would do differently if he could change things. Ramon says the one thing he would do is start earlier.

“Let’s say I went to Stanford University and got my MBA or did this stuff when I was 16 or 17…then I may be farther along. I started my real entrepreneurial journey a little bit later on in life, and I made a lot of mistakes. So that’s probably the only thing but, Zev, the ride has been beautiful, man! It has been…it IS fabulous, and there is so much opportunity that I have to continue so I am grateful. I am grateful.”

There is a lot more in the podcast that we couldn’t fit into this article, so we urge you to listen to the interview in its entirety. In addition to elaborating on the points mentioned above, Ramon also talks about his ‘typical’ day, the common challenges that entrepreneurs face, and how small business owners can rise above the noise and connect with their audience. Don’t miss this unique opportunity when the tables are turned, and Ramon becomes the interview guest! Click to listen to the full podcast above.

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