Why You Need To Ask For A Smile Before You Sell: Creating A Strong Personal Brand With Ramon Ray

AL 47 | Personal Brand


Do you need a complete guide to creating a strong personal brand? Alicia Dunams presents Ramon Ray, the Editor and founder of Smart Hustle Media, and the author of Celebrity CEO. Ramon shares two vital principles to create a strong personal brand: ask for a smile and build a community. Before you ask for a sale, ask for a smile by being nice, having clean teeth, and saying hello. And if you can, invite your potential client to join a community first before asking them to buy from you. It’s better to have a long-term fan than a one-time buyer. Want more tips on how to create a strong personal brand? Tune in!

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Why You Need To Ask For A Smile Before You Sell: Creating A Strong Personal Brand With Ramon Ray

We are talking to Ramon Ray. Ramon is a great friend of mine. Not only is he a friend of mine but he is also a powerful international speaker, businessman and specifically, we are going to be talking about his book, The Celebrity CEO: How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive by Building a Community and a Strong Personal Brand. Ramon, without further ado, I would love to introduce you. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Alicia, thank you so much. It’s good to be here and to be in your circle. We have crossed paths several times and especially online. Both of you and I know uplift support and respect one another, for sure. Hello to Alicia fans. In a nutshell, I’m an entrepreneur. I used to say, in fact, now I have updated my RamonRay.com website because it used to lead with small business experts, which is what you have known me, much the world has known me for years. I realized because I have launched a fifth company that I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I love to do stuff. The risk of failure, for whatever reason. It excites me. God’s made us all different.

Some people, “Do you want to go bungee jumping but one of the cords is frayed?” That excites me. Other people are like, “No.” I hope that helps people understand but I’m a speaker, writer, event producer. How do I make my living? I work with very large tech brands, host, emcee their events and part of that whole package, and am an author. My company is SmartHustle.com and the newest company is Zone of Genius. I’m glad to be here. Thank you, Alicia.

I know that you are a speaker. You spoke at Traffic and Conversion in San Diego.

That was amazing. I was there, Alicia. It was like the outward air. They have the main ballroom for the Marie Forleo’s and all the cool people. They had me outside in the exhibit area with fifteen or so, with little white couch-type chairs. The chairs are little squares like kindergarten chairs. I’m like, “I will speak to the five people here.” Everybody is crowding around and not listening. There are 75, 80, maybe 100 people pack into that small space. It was better because in a small space, having 80 people, you look like a baller. I spoke at Traffic and Conversion and it was nice.

Ramon, you are magnetic. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Let’s jump into your book because I know you have two books. Specifically, you are going to be talking about The Celebrity CEO. Tell us why did you write The Celebrity CEO? Why did you decide to write a book?

When I decided to write The Celebrity CEO, I didn’t spell well, my Math was bad, and I slur my words when I talk. After I act, there are a lot of problems. One thing I do well is personal branding. As you may get a sense, my expertise, my jam, how I do it is an inordinate overwhelming amount of social media. Most people, 80% to 90%, “Sir Ramon, I see all the time on my feed, and I love it.” I’m sure not everybody but I know that it’s working. That’s why I wanted to do The Celebrity CEO.

Social media content has to be engaging and relevant.

Why I wanted a book, as you know so well because you are the book whisper. I don’t have an MBA. I don’t have a PhD. I’m not the president. I’m not Oprah. “You’ve got to have a book.” The credibility that that provides, not that I needed after a certain amount of years, like, “I’m nothing. I need a book.” For those reading, to help them, it is credibility, and it is a hook.

This is not a crash thing but it’s the game that Alicia and I play. Somebody has a new book, of course. That’s a reason to have you on my podcast. If you said you woke up that morning. I need some more than that. “You have a new book. Let’s have you.” Credibility and a hook to build that Ramon Ray brand again and wanting to share with others about The Celebrity CEO concepts.

The book is the hook and that’s so important. What you mentioned about credibility, I know a lot of my clients write books for credibility, to get on podcasts, on TV, speaking, on stages, which you do so well. All those reasons, creating your personal brand. Those are reasons to write a book. Let’s jump into your book because you are a personal branding guru. What are some life lessons that you share in your book, Ramon?

AL 47 | Personal Brand
The Celebrity CEO: How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive by Building a Community and a Strong Personal Brand

There are two principles that are very important to me that everybody will get something out of, I hope. One is the principle of, I’m smiling now. It’s to ask for a smile before you ask for a sale. Before you ask, Alicia, “Can you buy from me? Can you do this for me? Can you give me $1?” Be nice, brush your teeth, smile, and say hello or be like, “How are you, Alicia? How is your dad, your family? That’s a pretty this or that.” The point is as our friend John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing know, like and trust. That’s the one principle.

The second cousin to that is what Ramon tries to do in my playbook. You have to sell but let me build a community of bands that I can nurture people to then buy because I would rather have Alicia not buy from me first but a fan. “Ramon, yes,” or me to Alicia. At some point, we are going to do some business together as I have referred Alicia to people, as she said my name. That’s because we are in each other’s fan base.

I’m glad that you mentioned, get a smile before a sale because it’s about building relationships. You and I have known each other since probably about 2008-ish. We are talking about over a decade and some change.

The reason why I know you, is to prop you up to your email newsletter. You may do social events. If you do a lot, forgive me but that’s how I keep your name at front. Another tip and those that are sharing is your email newsletter. It comes out regularly, always has something interesting and as it should. Bestseller in a Weekend and all that but you provide value. I props back. That’s why your name is at the forefront. I subscribed to your stuff.

You are very omnipresent and we are talking about omnipresence. You are everywhere. Every time I look on my Instagram, I see your face smiling. When I go on to Facebook, I see your face smiling. You are very active in terms of doing lives. I know you are active in Clubhouse. You are a big networker and connector. One thing that Ramon and I know you like to refer to yourself as a third person. It’s the one thing, “Should Ramon run for president? Should Ramon speak at this conference?” This is how you present yourself. I love it. With that, you are showing and exemplifying the power of omnipresence, which is important in terms of personal brand.

I send out a weekly newsletter and what I do, and I’m sure you share this in your book and etc. is the power of repurposing content. I put a newsletter out. I put it on Instagram, social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. You recycle that stuff because one thing that I have heard is that it’s 20% content, 80% distribution because you want to make sure people see your content. Assume people are not seeing you because it is very saturated out there. What are your thoughts?

You are exactly right because the moment that I saw Alicia’s offer or her thought, Jenny bumped and moved Alicia out the way and said, “We are going rafting with my family.” I think the frequency of social media is acceptable, especially if it’s engaging. It can’t be, “Ramon, buy my book.” Alicia will unfollow in a heartbeat but if it’s me or those of you reading if you are adding something fresh like, “Alicia sees it ten ways to smile better. Three ways to buy a nice green dress.” Whatever you want, she will follow.

That’s the importance of it. It has to be engaging and relevant. Social media can be much more frequent and email newsletter weekly. It shouldn’t be Alicia. I don’t want to get political. Once every two weeks maybe but people like, “We publish an email. Emails are great.” How often does it come out? “We try to do it once every six months.” Stop, you are not even serious.

I have a big proponent of sending it out once a week. I always told my clients, “Would you have a newsletter?” They feel it’s very scary. I always say, “Do you remember Oprah was on every day at 3:00 PM and Ellen was on every day at 2:00 PM before Oprah is.” It’s the consistency that attracts people because when you hear from someone every six months, you are most likely going to delete or unsubscribe. When it’s a consistent force, you will miss them if you delete them. It’s hard getting used to, so it’s important. The Celebrity CEO, I would love for you to share 1 or 2 more secrets from your book for our audience at home.

With consistency and frequency, you can be anything you want.

Here’s the thing and Alicia does it well but I will give another example, so people don’t think Ramon, “Alicia had you. We need to talk about her.” Here’s another example. The point being is what we are trying to do to showcase that you are the dominant, the go-to source, and you are the one to be. When I wake up in the morning and think about a topic, who do I think about it? That’s the position you want to be in to be the celebrity CEO of your industry. To be clear for those, some people don’t get it the first time. This is not talking about being Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian. Those are the top 1% of people like Barack, Trump or LeBron. Take your pick. These are global celebrities. We know this. The vendor is everybody else like Alicia and me.

AL 47 | Personal Brand
Personal Brand: You can be an expert in your niche.


The point is what Celebrity CEO is, in your industry, books and personal branding. Who do you think of when you think of dirty jobs? Mike Gro. I saw a video, and these are on my mind. With all of these examples, you can be an expert in your niche. That’s the principle that we lay out in the book. It’s things like events, using social media, writing a book, having a good personal brand, and being cognizant of your imagery. Get those good headshots. I know you do that very well, Alicia. Be careful. Before I came on, I said, “It’s a video?” I went up and glammed up a little bit and guys can climb up in like two seconds by changing my shirt.

Those are some things we talk about, how to have that illusion and the reality with the content, the warm smile and imagery. All that together, over time, you will dominate your forces. If you haven’t done it yet, your personal brand will go up and you will be dominant in your industry. I would say within 3 to 6 months from scratch. Those of you that are already ballers who are already doing it, do it a little bit better, and you will be fine.

What I’m hearing from you is consistency, omnipresence, being able to create content, being consistent with that content, and being able to create a brand from scratch. It’s okay because I know, for me, I’ve been helping people write books for several years. At the beginning of my career, all I talked about was how to write a book and we all evolved. You get older and smarter. I said, “I don’t want to talk about how to write a book anymore because I have been doing it for such a long time.” I have a whole course on that called Bestseller in a Weekend.

I want to talk about leadership, emotional intelligence, how to make the world a better place, and I want to be of service. I have created all of my how-to-write a book and made it an eCourse. The transition that I have been making is turning my thought leadership platform into authoring leadership and life videos. That way, I’m interviewing authors, thought leaders, and I’m writing a book now that’s going to be out in 2022, hopefully, Q1. We are working on it now. That book is a service project. It’s how can we all get along? It’s conscious communication.

What I have done is like, “Hire me to help you write your book.” I do that. I have been one of the longest people out there doing it. I have been getting corporate speaking, keynotes, and facilitation around leadership, conscious communication, and emotional intelligence. There is an opportunity for us to do some, I call it Rihanna. Rihanna is not only a singer. She is a fashion designer and artist. She’s a hyphen of J-Lo. Look at how people are not one thing anymore. They are fanning out to have empires. Oprah Winfrey is a great example of that but I’m not comparing myself to Rihanna.

Alicia, I’m going to give you the sound clip now. “Alicia, thank you for having me here. You, Alicia Dunams, Rihanna, and Oprah Winfrey, all of you amazing and powerful women. You are helping to uplift the world.”

Success takes time, effort, and hard work.

I am uplifting the world indeed and the consciousness. That’s what I’m committed to doing. We can reinvent ourselves and still have a core business in which we are helping people. It creates a bigger reach, more value. I wanted to put that in there because you as well, Ramon, have reinvented yourself from the small business expert into the smart hustle, then being a host and a speaker for major conferences.

Thank you for illustrating that. Again, I have done it but as those who are reading to help others. I keep saying that because it’s important in these interviews that I want to be cognizant of the audience. Alicia may be alluding to. I used to own SmallBizTechnology.com. That was a blog that I sold. That was focused on technology and small business. To expand on that point, I was tired. Not in a bad way.

I wanted to shift what I’m doing from being the technology guy for small businesses. I was tired of reviews. “Ramon, we have a new printer. It no longer prints four pages per minute but it prints 4.1 pages a minute. Could you cover that?” I’m like, “I can’t be the tech crunch and seen it.” That doesn’t excite me. Hence, I bought it to the mainstream.

I didn’t know that you sold it. Congratulations.

I bought SmallBizTechnology.com. The domain then built a media company around it. That was my transition and it took us some time from being Ramon, the technology guy, the geek, the nerd, nice, and digital things. It took a bit of time to be the small business expert. I want to underline that this does work with consistency and frequency. You can be anything you want.

Again, you can get Ramon’s book, The Celebrity CEO, on Amazon.com. Ramon, we are going to jump in and do lightning round. I hope you are ready and I hope I don’t stump you here.

You probably will but that’s okay.

What is your legacy, Ramon?

To give a lot of money away to underprivileged kids so they can live a better life.

What is your favorite book?

AL 47 | Personal Brand
Personal Brand: During interviews, it’s essential to be cognizant of your listeners.


I have many. I will pull one out of a bookshelf. This is by Seth Godin called This Is Marketing. That’s one of a few that I have on my shelf.

Who’s your favorite author?

Besides Alicia, Tom Clancy. I have always wanted to be the Jack Bauer Navy SEAL. We don’t use AK-47s. We use M16s of the military.

That’s fiction. You could turn it into your fiction reader.

We used to do a lightning round, Alicia, so I’m trying to honor the moves.

What’s on your bookshelf or what are you reading next to your bed stand?

What I’m reading is a Rachel DeAltos, Relatable book.

I saw that on your Instagram. That’s a perfect example of influencers sharing other influencers’ work and love. I love that. The next question is, what are you writing next?

I built a new company called Zone of Genius at ZoneOfGenius.com. I am preparing hundreds of articles to launch in a few months at Zone of Genius, which is my fifth company.

With that, how can people find out more about you, Ramon?

The best way is RamonRay.com. If you have any big events where they pay people $100,000 for a speaking gig, I will do it for $25,000 or I will do it for $50,000 and I will bring Alicia on as well. SmartHustle.com, where you can get some of the free insights to Celebrity CEO. Another book I have out is called Grow Your Solo. I did it myself. It’s a thin more like pamphlet. Those are some things.

You can find him also on social media, @RamonRay. Finally, I would love for you to share one final lesson from your book that you want to leave to small business owners and entrepreneurs out there. What is one final lesson you want to share with our audience?

It goes throughout the book directly or indirectly. This is hard work. Alicia didn’t say, “I did this last year.” She has been doing this for several years, and so have I. It takes time and goodwill to reach a level of success. As by God’s grace, we have done it. Serving into those of you who are reading and some of you could be our peers. That’s what I want to say. For those of you who are starting, you can’t expect to write a book. You can do Bestseller in a Weekend but you get my point. You can’t expect to sit there and type, and tomorrow, CNN covers it. It takes time, effort, and hard knocks. Alicia, thanks for having me. I’m so glad to be here with you.

Wonderful, Ramon. Again, you could go to Amazon.com and buy The Celebrity CEO and visit RamonRay.com. Ramon, It has been so great to have you.

Thank you.

Thank you, everyone. Until next time.

Thanks for joining us on this episode of Authoring life. Sign up at AliciaDunams.com for valuable tips on life, leadership, and business. You can also subscribe to the show on iTunes or via RSS, so you will never miss a show. While you are at it, leave a review or simply tell a friend. Remember, buy my book I Get To: How Using The Right Words Can Radically Transform Your Life, Relationships, and Business on Amazon.com.

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About Ramon Ray

Author, “Celebrity CEO – How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive by Building Community and a Strong Personal Brand”. Ramon is a Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur and Best Selling Author. Ramon is founder of Smart Hustle Media. Read Ramon’s FULL BIO at http://www.ramonray.com

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