Ramon Ray on Personal Branding Playbook [F.R.E.E.]

In this 15-Minute Strategy Podcast episode, we talk with Ramon Ray from ramonray.com about his personal branding playbook.

He shares what you should focus on and how long it might take to build a personal brand.

Ramon also shares his mindset on why a personal brand is important, how authenticity plays a part as well as where a personal brand focused in the right direction has gotten him and others he knows.

👉🏻 Sprocket Talk's Mission

At Sprocket Talk, our mission is to help you navigate the HubSpot tool. We will help you get 100% ROI across the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, the Service Hub and yes, even the HubSpot CMS. Our videos will educate AND entertain.


About the Expert

Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray is an entrepreneur, author and speaker who loves burnt pancakes, bacon and eggs.

He's the founder and producer of Smart Hustle Media, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Alice and he's started four companies and sold two.

Ramon has authored four books and his latest book is "Celebrity CEO - How Entrepreneurs Can Thrive By Building a Strong Personal Brand"


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations build with your strategy gold, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast Rocketeers, it's your boy George B. Thomas. And yes, we're back and you're back. Thank god listening to another episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast where we try to find a strategy that for your business, your sales, marketing and service professionals you can implement and grow your business and succeed. That's what it's all about is you succeeding today. I'm super excited because we have a brother of mine a friend, a guy that I have loved to watch Online do the thing that we're actually going to be talking about. But before we get to the deep end of the pool, Ramon Why don't you let the sprocket tears know who you are, what you do and where you do it at

Ramon Ray 1:10
absolute yours. Thanks for having me with you, man. I'm so glad sprocket tears What's up? It's good to hear you. Good to be with you good to share knowledge with you today. I'm Ramon Ray smart hustle media is my company. And in short, George, I do about two and a half things. Well, three things. I love the burnt pancakes and bacon every Saturday morning love to doing it with a whole bucket load of high fructose corn syrup. Sorry for the health people out there. But I'm a speaker. First and foremost, I fly around the world speaking on stages, usually associated with large brands, who want to reach small businesses and point to we have a small agency that produces a lot of content for these very specific brands who are looking to reach small businesses, but I'm an author, writer, event producer, and people can reach me and I do that smart hustle.com Smart hustle calm or Ramon ray.com no NDA No. Why no de nada. I'm on Tito, just Ramon Ray.

George Thomas 1:57
I love it. So I have to ask you. Probably the most important question of this episode then are the pancakes Bert or is the bacon burnt?

Ramon Ray 2:06
The pancakes, three pancakes, but this size, they're burned to a nice crisp on the top and the bacon here. But you know, I wasn't going off tangent, let me

George Thomas 2:16
so let's dive into the deep end of the pool which is personal branding. We've talked about this in a historical episode with dp canoed and sprocket tears, viewers, listeners, if you haven't checked out that episode, make sure you go back and listen. It was amazing talking about corporate brands, personal brands growing inside a corporate brand stallions and all sorts of other crazy things. But Ramon, what are the foundational pieces when you start to think about personal brand and the importance of that for small to medium sized businesses to really crush it in this digital space? What are the foundational pieces that we need to know to carry on the conversation today?

Ramon Ray 2:49
For sure, thank you again, George for having me excited to be here man and share and I wish we had 1500 hours. But I know we have 15 minutes but I think it's and you help me keep track of my brain. I don't know about you or We get scatterbrained sometimes to pull me back anytime. But you're the three pillars of elements are as follows. I think one is building a fan base or community, Seth Godin, many of our peers and fathers in the industry talk about this, but it's building a fan base. And as you've seen me do, this is really what I'm about fan base building. I often say it's easier to ask for a smile than it is to ask for sale. That's one as you have your fan base. Now, how are you different and this can go many different ways people have said this for years. But for me, it really is George, speakers are dime a dozen. You're a rock star emcee and host man. I've seen you work. But how can I add the value that Ramon does that I do for the people who like me? So that's point two, how can I be different showcase? Why do we want Ramon, and then the third, which has many legs to it, but the third one is a stuff that we're doing today? Do you have a book? Do you have an event? Are you producing content? Are you producing video? All kind of in the rubric George have Are you educating your audience? So I'll pause there for a minute but for me, George that's really the core fundamental building. A fan base a community not trying to sell fan base to a building, How are you different? You know how what poses and what makes you different? And then three? For me, am I saying this the only way to do it. A lot of people do other things. They're focused on sales and word of mouth or mailing postcards. But for me, it's an ordinate amount carpet bombing amount of content that people will love. If you don't love it, hit the subscriber, don't follow me. But that's really what I do to build a personal brand, which is you see people no Ramon in my little community.

George Thomas 4:32
I love it. So I do want to go back to the very first tip out of the three and building the fan base. I'm super curious, your thoughts, Ramon around the amount of time, one should allow them to have expectations around building that fan base, right? Because one of the things that I think when we talk about personal branding, people almost assume that it's like, well, if I start to build it, they will come and while that's a great movie, I think it's a crappy strategy. for building or the expectation of building a personal brand, so talk to me about the amount of investment, maybe the patience, or whatever it is that you think can be correlated or connected to this. Listen, this is how you need to think about when you're building your fan base. And what it might take you to do that

Ramon Ray 5:17
is very insightful. You're right, because I'm sure you have people listening, writing down notes, scribbling down because they're watching what George does on sprocket talk. But listen, I'll give you two quick scenarios. One is about 1520 years ago, this same playbook I did with email marketing, I had an email newsletter called the Small Business Technology report, one of my first interviews to some big executive at Microsoft, what I'm trying to say George, is I did that email newsletter day one, nobody was watching me or reading me six months to a year man before the email and this was back in the days before social media started to build today, fast forwarding, I think I would guess toward but I love your input. It's probably a similar time ish, a month or two months, unless you're buying bazillion ads and then it's not personal branding. It's To short, six months to a year, I think probably where you're seeing an inkling where George may be even just possibly hearing your voice once a month. So for me, I think if you haven't been in the game a year to three years, you got to keep doing it, as one of a friend said, who I just interviewed a few hours ago as we're taping this, he was like, Ramon, I've been used for 10 years. So that's ish. Good rule. Mark. I think you got to do it for a while.

George Thomas 6:25
Yeah, I think you hit it right on the head with that one, because for me, I always tell people, six months to nine months, you're gonna see that little tiny light at the end of the tunnel, and you know that you're starting to get somewhere by the year, year and a half the light you can kind of see a few trees are a little blurry. You know, the circles a little bit bigger. When you get into year two, year three. Now all of a sudden, you're like, Oh, I'm in this huge Park, and I have no idea which way to go in this huge Park and that's when you have to talk about what your tip number To is really honing in because you can kind of bounce around in that dark tube a little bit. But once you get into the light once you get into that park, being able to know well this is my journey because this is how I differentiate myself. Ramon that's what I want you to talk about is tip two and when you were trying to figure out who you were going to be to the world what you were going to bring to it, or there's some tips tricks hacks that you put yourself through to understand this is the direction that the sprockets here's the viewers or listeners might be able to implement for themselves.

Ramon Ray 7:32
Sure. I think two things that come to mind for me George and one You and I, I think knowing you a bit dude very naturally. But my point is, I think a some people do have to strategize and find your take the blender company that won a very famous example, Will It Blend? It's a stupid, boring, idiotic, dumb Blender dude. But they're like, how can we be different? We're going to blend iPhones and Lamborghinis. One third of your audience knows the story. You can just look it up, Will It Blend? So that's really thinking how we can be different whether it's Burt's Bees, Are whatever brand you want to pick. Now, the better case I would be, God has given us if you don't believe in God, you know your audience, whatever you believe in point being, George has an engaging personality. I do as well. This is natural. This is us. 24 seven waking me up at a dead at night. So my point is ideally, to do this, the the easier way is, you have something inside you that really pops in sizzles. So again to repeat, you can find it you know what, we're going to be black water bottles, but we're going to do this cool, if that makes sense. What I'm trying to say, you may have to think about it and find it. But ideally, if you made a water bottle that was pink and round, but of course personal brand is not product, really it's focusing on you. So does that help a bit? George this second thing is, is it helpful? What I'm trying to say?

George Thomas 8:44
Yeah, I think it's very helpful because what I hope the sprocket ears heard is you have to find who your authentic self is. You have to find kind of your passion point and then it's really mapping out how do I actually drive revenue? How do I make money off of being my authentic Passionate self and turn that into a brand. So here's the thing I do want to get kind of into the branding side of this meaning you're you've gone down this timeline, you've gone through the tunnel, you see the light, you're now trying to figure out how you're going to, you know, separate yourself, you're finding your authentic, passionate thing. And you're tying that to driving revenue for your small to medium sized business. What are some elements, some physical or digital elements that you One has to have in place for the audience or the fans to actually kind of attach onto to start to feel like they're that tribe or to visually see or understand you? Or even maybe auditorily? Like, oh, that's remote. Talk us through that a little bit.

Ramon Ray 9:45
Yeah. And I think Listen, everybody is going to do this differently. But I'll just pull up here, George, I didn't plan this, you know, but listen, even to small things like my business cards, you can see this is just me. They're different. So I think that Listen, I'm a firm believer in the tactical things you're doing a Do you have good Visual look at Georgia screen man that like stands out, right? A YouTube thumbnail, right? You can tell it, it's either going to be a what Virgin Mobile, you know, ad or it's going to be George one of the two. So if there's something like that, so I think Listen, are you doing events? Do you have a book out? Are you pumping a great amount of content? Your visuals? How do they look? Some of you I know already, I'm overwhelming you. You're thinking remoteness? There's a lot. I'm just sharing with you my journey, one of the few, you know, experts that George has, how I've done it, and it could be for some of you but events, content, the images, you had the graphics, you have podcast. Some of you, you're ready to do this, because this is the game of education. And if you have a runaway after doing your sales, your word of mouth, keep doing those things to pay the rent and get in sales. But it's a good deal, George and I know you agree with me to wake up and have three inbound leads 20 inbound leads, saying Ramon, George, whoever we want you. That's what I've been blessed to have at this stage in my career. It's inbound, inbound, inbound, because I've heard That to the content.

George Thomas 11:02
I love that. And that's where I want to go next. Because I think that most of the audience will say, Okay, I'm willing to put in the time, I understand I've got to, you know, get these elements together, I've got to differentiate myself. But when it comes to content, I've seen so many people get paralyzed. So if you're, if you're building that personal brand, what are some ways that you can actually leverage or lean into the type of content that you should be creating? What is going to give you the most bang for your buck? And how do you navigate that space from when you was like, well, I should do a podcast? No, I should do video. No, I should write blog articles. No, I should. Holy crap. What should I do? How did you figure that out? Yeah, I think Listen,

Ramon Ray 11:43
if you're doing it one thing is, is I've asked a lot of questions of a lot of smart people, people like George and again I can talk about tech and marketing and all this you your agency. You guys do this if you know what I'm trying to say, you know, you guys are practitioners of it. But my point being how I figured it out. I just did it and I wish it could some more scientific But I'm just a firm believer for me. I do a lot of stuff. It's not necessarily seeing what sticks. But based on what I hear from people, George, when I go to a room, remote is around their head, not everybody, but me meaning in my tribe, or remote, I see you all the time on LinkedIn. They say it in a good way. Or ammonia. I love your tweets. Something's clicking. So my point being it's hard to say, I just have an email newsletter that goes out once a month. This prescription which I'm giving George, I think it's too little man, I think so to figure it out. I would say that social, everybody has to dive into that email newsletter. It is a critical must and I would start there, dip your toes and do a video. I think it's powerful. it humanizes and personalizes your brand. And then the rest you can take from there and things that George's priority, talked about podcasting, all kinds of things. But I think this it's important to be one thing I say frequent, relevant, engaging, and measure what you're doing fra free. That's my playbook.

George Thomas 12:58
Oh snap spread. It tears we officially reached that moment where you have to hit the rewind button rewind, write that down free. What does free mean? And by the way, Ramon, let me just say, I love that answer. Because I am a firm believer in, throw it against the wall, see if it sticks create that Content Test other content. Because here's the reason why we all start to get in this mode where we think we're really smart people. And I can tell you some of the most successful videos that I've ever put out are the ones that I thought were the dumbest videos when I was creating them. So you've got to test you've got to see what that tribe what that fan base enjoys. Then once you find those, make more of that test somewhere else but make more of that and it's so it's like, here's the fire. Let me pour gasoline on it not literally don't do that. That would be weird and destructive. Ramon, if the sprocket tears have more questions for you about personal branding about really designating into who they are, and they're free moving on the internet, where do you want to send them?

Ramon Ray 13:57
Thank you. George has been honored to be here and listen three things I can share out and thank you so much Ramon Ray, calm ra mo NRAY, Ramon Ray calm, you can find typos and all kinds of other things at Ramon, Ray, calm, boy do smart, hustle calm. That's for kind of the content we put out to help freelancers, entrepreneurs and small businesses, smart, hustle, calm. Those are two things you want to check out my book, celebrity CEOs, the name of the book, I'd love for some people to check that out. But it's been an honor to serve your audience George and be here. It's been fast for years. But man, you're a great interviewer. And thank you.

George Thomas 14:28
I appreciate that in sprockets. here's here's the deal, definitely check out the book, think about free seriously rewind that. Think about what free stands for when it comes to remote in this content and personal branding. And please think about building your personal brand to grow your small and medium sized business because that's going to be a strategy that will impact and while you're doing that, we'll wait for you here and we'll see on the next show. Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that level Going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership and in that membership area you can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George B. Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just a talk about your favorite Marvel superhero. I go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.