Small Business Essentials With Ramon Ray
- 101. Infusion vs. Active Campaign, How to Embrace Disruptive technologies and Lots More
- 159. Rand Fishkin Discusses his New Book “Lost & Founder” and Reveals the truth about startup
- 200. Seth Godin on Marketing Strategy with Ash Roy
- 170. Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer Reveals the 5-Step Conversion Funnel That Turbo-Charges.
- 148. How Julie Cairns used Self-awareness and Mindset to drive a $6 Million Turnaround
Small Business Essentials with Ramon Ray
(This transcript has been auto-generated. Artificial Intelligence is still perfecting itself. There may be some errors in transcription)
Ash Roy (00:00):
What was it like interviewing Barack Obama?
Ramon Ray (00:03):
The brief time I had? A chill guy. Hey Ramon, what’s up? Just like you’re talking to, not your uncle, not even your grandfather, you’re talking like he’s your friend, like “what’s up? Let’s talk.” It’s pretty cool.
Ash Roy (00:20):
Welcome back to the Productive Insights Podcast. This is Ash Roy, the host of the Productive Insights Podcast and the founder of productiveinsights.com. Now last night I had a subscriber, subscribe to our YouTube channel. And when I checked to see who it was, I noticed that it was Ramon Ray, someone who I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and having met about five years ago here in Sydney. Now, Ramon is someone I’ve got tremendous respect for. Ramon started four companies and sold two of them. He also has four books and he’s got an incredible stage presence and online presence, which you will see for yourself. If you tune into our YouTube channel, productiveinsights.com/YouTube or youtube.com/productiveinsights. Ramon has been invited to the White House. He’s the founder of smarthustle.com. He shared the stage with the likes of Seth Godin, Daymond, John, Guy Kawasaki, Simon Sinek, and several others. He’s interviewed President Obama, in the president’s first live Google Hangout. We’re going to talk more about that in a minute. Now, after I saw that Roman subscribed to our YouTube channel, I received an email from him saying I’m launching a workshop with our friend Seth Godin and he asked me if I’d be interested in discussing the workshop with my audience and my response was, “uh, yeah!”. So I’m delighted to welcome Ramon Ray, back to the Productive Insights Podcast. Welcome back. It’s so nice to have you.
Ramon Ray (01:46):
Thank you so much. Thanks for responding so quickly and eagerly, but as you responded to me, I responded to Seth when we first did this. But thank you for having me and thank you for being so generous with your time, the work you do. And I remember the beautiful time we had in Sydney. So thank you so much for being a part of it and spreading the word.
Ash Roy (02:03):
Hey, you’re welcome, man. If you’re listening to this or better still, if you’re watching this on our YouTube channel, you can check out our first conversation at productiveinsights.com/101 where we talked about Active Campaign versus Infusionsoft. It’s quite a contentious topic. And we also talked about things that you can do to help yourself in a constantly changing environment. We talked a lot about disruptive technologies. Here we are again, and this time we’re going to be talking about the Small Business Essentials workshop that Ramon is going to be running with our friends, Seth Godin, through the Akimbo platform. Now all of the Akimbo workshops that I’ve attended and I’ve attended quite a few have been excellent workshops. They’ve had an attitude of service and they really have led in the true, authentic sense of the word. I’m sure that this workshop is no different because it’s being led by Ramon. So I highly recommend you consider it. And we’ll talk a little later about how you can find out more about it. Before we kick into the conversation about the workshop. Ramon, I got to ask you, man, what was it like interviewing Barack Obama?
Raymon Ray Interviews Barack Obama
Ramon Ray (03:09):
Yeah, it was pretty cool, man. I think, listen, you know, He’s wanting to Barack, which he has a swag and a cachet to him, right? But he’s the President. So whether him or another president, but I think it was pretty cool. It was interesting. Actually, Ash, I’m going to tell you something, I don’t know, which was more cooler – that 300,000 people apply and they picked five of us. I was one, I don’t know if that was cooler or if it was cooler interviewing the president. So I must say I’m bragging a little. That’s at least according to what Google’s teams did at the time, they said 300,000 people apply. That’s what I recall them saying. So, you know, it was pretty cool. And I think just, you know, I’m not his best friend at all, but you know, he’s, for the brief time I had a chill guy, “Hey, Ramon, what’s up?” Just like you’re talking to not your uncle, not even your grandfather, like you’re talking to a collegial friend, like what’s up, let’s talk. That’s pretty cool.
Ash Roy (04:00):
And that’s one of the things that is very charming and appealing about him, about his approach to leadership, which is one of being one of the gang kind of thing. And whether you lean left or you lean, right. I don’t think that’s the point. I think the point is that he embodies certain qualities, at least from what I’ve seen. And that is, you know, live with dignity, be authoritative but not arrogant, be assertive but not aggressive, have humility but be very clear and concise. There’s lots of these qualities of his that I really admire. And even as a speaker, he’s a very, very good quality speaker.
Ramon Ray (04:38):
Yes. Oh, forget about it. The pauses and you know, but we can do it or whatever.
Ash Roy (04:45):
So what was the one tip you had after having spoken to him? What do you think will make us all better speakers?
Ramon Ray (04:51):
Yeah, I think for me two things, and I think not just from there, but you know, seeing some things he did at the democratic convention for those who watched Republican convention, that’s fine too. But point being, I think is that I was going to say can’t say that is an orator but he is. So I think for me, the biggest thing I can give, I think is the pauses. Whether they’re intentional. I think the pauses; I think that catches you. And I think the second thing, I think I heard him being interviewed by Marc Benioff of Salesforce at Dreamforce I want to say two years ago, don’t remember exactly. And I think just very thoughtful, you know, “President, should we, should we have red cups or black cups?” ” Well, I think red cups, if you, so” I may be off a little of my memory, but that’s kind of what I remember just a very, you know, as opposed to some, which is a style, which is more my style, may say off-the-cuff red cups. Absolutely. Of course, red cups, whether right or wrong, you know, that’s just me. He seemed to be more of, you know, when you can think it’s definitely not stupid, but you know, kind of that slight stuttering. But I think part of that’s being thoughtful, like before I say, I know millions are going to be listening, let me just contemplate the weight of every word.
Ash Roy (06:03):
You know, my wife does that too. She pauses before she speaks, and she doesn’t speak a lot. She’s not a very talkative person, but when she speaks, people listen. I’m sure. And I remember the 2008 address when he had just one, there were these poses that he used and I remember watching it closely, and ever since then, I’ve been trying to replace my tendency to say, um, or with a pause. And that pause allows me to plan my sentences. Correct. And honestly, it makes the whole podcast editing process a lot easier.
Ramon Ray (06:43):
I’m sure. And from live stage as well, I find Ash that the pauses for me now I do it to a degree intentionally, which is not a bad part of stagecraft as performance. But I find that for me because I speak very fast. I build on the pauses as best I can. It slows me down. Pardon me. But I think also it adds a bit of cachet with it for meeting. Since I naturally speak fast, like I was giving something at ASBDC in the US it’s Association for Small Business Development Centers, part of the US government’s kind of free help to small businesses. I’m sure they have it in other countries as well. But the point is, is that, you know, I was talking and talking and for example, I said, and so good to be here. As we close out today, understand America needs small businesses and small businesses. They need the ASBDC. I was rushing and feeding, but this one, I intentionally slowed it down to convey that thought
Ash Roy (07:45):
I’ve got it so powerful when you’re communicating like sometimes using the power of the pause is slowing things down. It really is a very effective way to punctuate and emphasize. Correct. Okay. Let’s talk about that.
Ramon Ray (08:01):
We can do a whole talk man on just speaking and, and state and, and sorry, and pausing.
Ash Roy (08:06):
I would love to, after watching you on stage, when I first met you, I was like, I have to come and say hi to this guy because this guy is such a good speaker. And I totally agree. You schooled me, man. I mean, I can learn a lot about speaking.
Ramon Ray (08:21):
You teach me marketing and funnels and I’ll teach you some speaking. We’ll teach each other iron sharpens. Iron.
Talking About The Small Business Essentials
Ash Roy (08:26):
Sounds like a plan. Alright, so let’s talk about the small business essentials workshop. Ramon tells us who would benefit most from this workshop and what results can they expect to see if they take part actively.
Ramon Ray (08:42):
Sure. Yeah. So unpacking it a bit, I’ll go backwards just a slight bit. And then you make sure I come back on course. So we all know Seth Godin is this master, one of the world-class marketers. You know, you have Michael Hyatt – Productivity, Simon Sinek–leadership, you know. So Seth Godin for the few who may not know, but I’m sure most of your audience know Marketing and more, he’s a thought leader. So he created this thing called Akimbo, akimbo.com. People can check it out, which is a series of workshops in the vein of Udemy, you know, if people don’t know that Udemy, other masterclass training platforms, you know, where you can get video and courses. So that’s giving you an essence of Akimbo. What’s special about Akimbo, I think Ash, is that you have not only the coursework, which you know, it’s good, it’s great, but it’s the discussion with other students.
Ramon Ray (09:24):
That’s the gem. So getting to the answer of your point, I think what’s special now about small business essentials. And I’d love your insight on this Ash as well. One running a small business is hard and kind of channeling Seth Godin. We have choices to make, which I learned from him just doing this with him in the past few weeks, just a little guidance. He would give me because I wrote the curriculum, but he would, you know, guide it. It’s like working with a master chef. You’re good at cooking, but the master chef, you know, if you wish at a little more salt. Okay, I will. So that’s what it’s like.
So my point is the Small Business Essential Workshop. It’s where we’re really trying to get business owners who are starting and, or in business, to decide to make choices. So one module. 1 of 12 we have is, for example, I think is something like do you want to have ordinary experience or wow experience? walking people through that choice you have. So that’s what you’ll get. When you come there, those listening today, you may have been running a business already, or maybe you’re thinking of starting, we’ll help you make those choices. What are the essential things to be a success?
Ash Roy (10:28):
You know, I love that about Seth. I learned many things about Seth. But one thing I like about his way of leading is, as I mentioned earlier, he’s not aggressive, but he’s assertive. He doesn’t demand. He suggests, and it’s up to you to do it whichever way you want. And he’s probably cool with either way, but he just sort of recommends and ashes, but it’s free. It’s up to you to make the call. And to me,
Ramon Ray (10:55):
Which Ash is annoying sometimes, which is so annoying, you know? Cause you and I, I’m not sure, I shouldn’t say you, but we’re most of us are used to being more traditional marketers. Like how do you use Twitter, Ash? Me? You take a photo, tweet. Isn’t that it? He’s like, what do you want to accomplish?
Ash Roy (11:14):
But the thing is, he’s teaching us to make choices. And I think that’s the key, right? The choice needs to be volitional. That’s sort of logical, but you know what I mean. It needs to be a choice that we make and we then will, by definition, be more accountable for the choices we make. And that really is one of the key things I feel about most of the Akimbo workshops I’ve taken. There are no dogmas. There’s no, do it this way. Do it this way. “Hey, if you want to do it this way, you can do this it way.” You can. Both will have consequences and you deal with them as you experienced them. But they are just guidelines. You know? You want to act from a space of service rather than a space of how do I make money out of this.
Ramon Ray (12:00):
Correct. And it’s hard to see that sometimes, Ash. And I know, you know this as a marketer, what you serve your own clients, but it’s hard to see it. I just heard I can’t remember who, even who said it, I was something going on where they said that the long road is the shortcuts. To my point, you can harvest email addresses by email addresses. This is spammy stuff. The things that we all teach not to do, but that’s a choice. You may get a buck the first minute when you hit that button, but for the next hour, you won’t get a bucket. You get my little silly example, meaning in the long term, it doesn’t work.
Ash Roy (12:28):
Yeah. Another phrase that comes to mind is hasten slowly.
Ramon Ray (12:34):
I like that sound like something. Our grandmother’s just like.
Ash Roy (12:37):
They would have said to us, but it’s so true, right? I mean, ultimately, if you want to build a meaningful brand, it takes time. I had a conversation with Rand Fishkin in episode 159, about the truth behind Silicon Valley. That’s exactly what we talked about. Right? And if you know, Rand’s story, he was the CEO of Mars, which was a very successful SEO company and some things happened and he discussed those things.
In that episode, I recommend you check it out at productiveinsights.com/159. And I talked about the truth behind Silicon Valley in that, you know, when people get external funding, they celebrate. And they’re so excited. But for me, if you got external funding, it also means that you’ve probably handed over your independence. Okay. Maybe the first six months, it’s a honeymoon period.
Ash Roy (13:34):
We’re all friends and stuff, but soon your investors are going to say, well, show me the money. And the minute you bring this unbridled greed to the equation, and let’s, let’s be totally honest about this. Sure, there may be exceptions, but my understanding of private funding or external funding, there’s a lot of great around.
So if you’re not turning around obnoxious amounts of profit, then they’re going to be asking you, well, where’s the money. And suddenly, the authenticity of the business just crumbles at the expense of short-term gains, right? And I think that that is something that we need to be more cognizant of not just in Silicon Valley, but just around the world.
Ramon Ray (14:17):
Yeah. I think you’re so right. And I think that’s where this myth, I think people, you know, saying let’s take Netflix great company, but let’s remember they’re billions of dollars as I understand it in debt and I don’t think they’re profitable.
So, and maybe they’re not the best example, but to your point for a small business owner, hence small business essentials is that we can think we want this thing. We have to be the billion-dollar company, the big company take venture funding. But as you know, again, Seth, there’s those things, but there’s nothing wrong with being a small business.
Having a core team of linchpins makes a good profit. As you asked me, I think offline or online, I can remember we recording then, but I’m making a good profit Mike Michalowicz with, right? And growing your company. So that’s, I think the essence of being, that’s the choice of being a small business. Yes. You’ll never be a billion-dollar venture on wall street, but you may save your marriage. You may save your family. You may have any other things that could be beneficial.
Ash Roy (15:11):
Probably sleep well at night. I mean, different people have different value systems, I suppose. And some people couldn’t care less, but for me personally, it is important that my business is aligned with my beliefs and my value set. And I’m not saying I’m perfect by no means, but I am saying that whatever it is you believe is the right thing, your business must reflect that otherwise you will have internal conflict and you will pay at an emotional level. Could you share a little bit of a framework or some topics that you’ll be touching on in this workshop and what’s covered in the workshop and what’s not covered in the workshop?
Framework For Starting A New Business
Ramon Ray (15:46):
Sure. Let me get to, what’s not covered in there. Oftentimes if you just go on Google, how do I start a small business? You get the typical things with people here in the US I’m sure. Maybe in Australia is a little different in Europe, but LLC, S Corp, C Corp, for those who aren’t familiar, those terms, I do these have the same terms everywhere, or there’s a different term
Ash Roy (16:03):
Proprietary limited Pty LTD here. And, um, yeah, there’s a few other similar
Ramon Ray (16:08):
Point being, you know, the business structure. You’ll get people to understand that. So that’s that, you know, you have those questions. What color’s your logo, you know, should you have a website or not? None of that’s covered in small business essentials, none of that because for Akimbo style, which Seth Godin’s about, he gets deeper than that. And I would say even possibly Ash, more important things. So we cover the choices of one is what type of freedom do you want, even, which means do you even want to have a small business? We cover things like, and this is from Seth, Is that what type of scale do you want? So that’s what we get into really. I would say Ash, the DNA as it were of what it really means to be a small business and help people understand, ah, if I choose this, I’m probably going to be one of those billion dollar publicly traded companies.
Ramon Ray (16:55):
If I choose this, I’m more freelancer which Seth talks about a lot as well. Is that helpful, Ash? It’s like we are guiding people, the essence of being a small business. And I think the bottom line is that it’s not just Ash by himself, but it’s not Ash in a gleaming building with 10,000 people. It’s Ash, who probably knows this company, Customer’s names with a small group of people to help them scale to some degree, but not too much to live the life want as we tinted. And I think that’s really the definition of a small business. You sleep well at night, you give to others, hopefully, you’re building a business and you’re living well. And that’s a small business.
Ash Roy (17:31):
Yeah. In episode 200, when I had the honor of interviewing Seth, we talked about this idea of finding your smallest viable audience, find a few people you can serve and help, and they will tell their friends provided you do an excellent job in serving them. That’s a good way to approach growth that doesn’t involve doing massive amounts of Facebook ads. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying that if you have an Epic enough product, if you have an Epic enough service, people will eventually tell their friends and it will grow through referrals.
I have heard people saying that you can’t grow a business through referrals. And I think that’s nonsense. I think you can grow through referrals. Maybe you can’t grow sponsors through referrals, right? There are companies that have grown quite substantially through what is effectively referral marketing. Word of mouth is still in my view. One of the most powerful forms of marketing and a great quality product will elicit that kind of behavior. Correct.
Ramon Ray (18:34):
So Ash, let me give you the essence of what this course is like, ’cause you just did it and I do it too. So I’m not, you know, it’s your show, but I’m going to give, you know, twist your ear, but I’m going to do it. Seth has done to me. You’re just very tactical.
Ash Roy (18:48):
Ramon Ray (18:49):
Meaning and I have done it in the course and Seth would push back, say, Ramon, this is too tactical. We’re not going to talk about referrals. We’re going to talk about, if you do great service, your business will grow and leave it a bit gray. You see what I mean now? So that’s the beauty of it. That referrals will happen. There’s books that we can talk about referral marketing, but the beauty of the Akimbo is they shy. Just step away from calling it referral marketing. They’re just saying, do great stuff. Sing a great song, paint the room well and watch your business grow.
Ash Roy (19:23):
Why did they do that? What’s the logic behind that?
Ramon Ray (19:26):
Well, this goes back to, I guess, the style of letting people chart their own course, letting people discover the magic. I think kind of, as Seth says, letting people understand, discover themselves, I think in a way. Don’t tell the child as you turn the thing, something will pop up. Just say, here’s the box, the child, let’s see if the child turns the wheel or not. And then it pops up. Not saying here’s a pop-up toy. Don’t say that. Just saying here’s a toy.
Ash Roy (19:58):
Okay. So it brings back that volition and that involvement, it requires the other person to actively participate. Because if you don’t turn the wheel, it ain’t going to turn, nothing’s going to happen. So it’s up to you to take the step.
Ramon Ray (20:14):
Exactly. Right. That’s exactly right. And so that’s, that’s the beauty. I mean, this is, you know, Seth didn’t have to ask me to do this, but I must say the beauty of Akimbo it’s about that discovery. You know, like I think they even had a lesson on podcasting.
No, it’s not about how to plug the mic in and all those things that most of you. And I would probably jump into it’s that softer version of community. I think I didn’t take that course, but community and building and your voice, as you do so well, connecting with your audience. Yes, but not quite getting to here’s the image you need to put it on iTunes, which everybody else covers. I’m guessing the akimbo version of the podcast course doesn’t cover that.
Ash Roy (20:52):
Okay. So that’s interesting. I’ll keep that in mind to leave something to the imagination and interpretation of the other party and inductive approach to teaching.
Ramon Ray (21:03):
I like that. Correct. And of course having said that there’s room in the market, of course, we have to talk about funnels, right? That’s your genius. So some people want to know there’s room for that. I’m just saying, his style, it’s more of the, you know, he skips the, not I wouldn’t say skip the detail, but it gets more into the thought behind it or the why or things of that nature. So, which has been very interesting.
Ash Roy (21:23):
I mean I got to say that to me, a funnel can be something as simple as, “Hey Ramon. I’m glad Joe blogs referred you to me.” I’m getting back into tactics here for a minute. But to me, this is a funnel, “Hey Ramon, thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to serve you. I’m so glad you spoke to Joe blogs who use a membership. I have a membership program that was a member of the Productive Insights membership program. It’s wonderful to have you here. Here’s a page to sign up for me. That’s about it. It doesn’t have to be this sophisticated stuff. It is just something that enables me to make you an offer that serves you by solving a problem that you are willing to pay me to help you solve, right? That’s it. Now you add Facebook ads to that. You add landing pages and conversion tools and pop-ups and squeeze out. Doesn’t matter. Not important. What’s important is can I give you something that is of meaning and value to you that you are willing to compensate me for financially? And ideally, it is a far more value to you. Then the value that you will pay me in dollar terms, hopefully by a factor of 10 or something, we both walk away from the situation feeling enriched, empowered, and better off.
Ramon Ray (22:48):
Yes. And that’s important too. I don’t know if Seth said it, but I know as we, as you and I, both being business people, I think that’s so important too, Ash. You know, there are a few people, not a lot, but a few people I’m sure you’ve run across them. Maybe you haven’t, but you know, who am I have to win. I have to destroy Ash and I can’t remember the business icon, but something they were saying, Oh, maybe Warren Buffetts. Somebody was saying, no, that’s not businesses. I’m destroying Ash. Or I’m thinking wink, wink. He didn’t know that I kept some of the money. No, it feels good. Ash could look at my bank account, read my contracts. I can do the same. And we both got what we wanted or whatever. If you know what I’m trying to say,
Ash Roy (23:25):
You don’t have to lose for me to win.
Ramon Ray (23:27):
Thank you. You said it that’s it. Thank you. That’s exactly right. Yes, sir.
Ash Roy (23:32):
By the way, if you aren’t interested in traditional funnels, you might find episode 170. Years ago, I spoke to a guy called Ryan Deiss who is one of the founders of digital marketer. In that episode, productiveinsights.com/170. But remember the core behind the funnel is value. If you don’t have value, incredibly fancy funnels will not solve your problem. And for the record, I have noticed some marketers have extremely sleek funnels. And when I see a really sleek funnel, I get a little bit suspicious because funnels can make business owners lazy. If you have a very compelling funnel with upsells and downsells and sites and all sorts of sales. Yeah. You can make a lot of money in that initial transaction, but if you’re not fulfilling by delivering value in exchange for what all those upsells and down sells inside sales, yes, people are going to feel disenfranchised and that will hurt your brand longterm. Yes,
Ramon Ray (24:25):
For me, I don’t know if it’s the same example, but for me, it’s like the guy or gal with perfect hair and perfect teeth. I’m kind of teasing, but that’s a problem for me. I mean like some things you have nothing as we all do nothing on your face or in preventing me. It’s like, you know what? I think Barbara Corcoran’s like that and it’s weird because on Shark Tank. She’ll go, you know what? And you see the entrepreneur getting excited. You gave the perfect pitch. You have the perfect amount of profits and money. Everything is great. Something doesn’t sound right with me. I’m out. And the guy’s like, she’s like, I don’t, can’t tell you what, but I just can’t do it.
Biggest Challenge For Small Businesses
Ash Roy (25:06):
Okay. So Ramon, tell us what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve seen? That’s small business owners face when it comes to growing profitably online and what’s worked in terms of changing and addressing them.
Ramon Ray (25:18):
Yeah. And I love that. You keep saying Ash growing profitably. I think that’s so powerful because profitability is so important. I think a few things that I’ve come across, I think one, sometimes people are not willing to take enough risk. And again, I’m not talking about going into massive debt and things like this, but I think some people just don’t start.
They don’t take enough risks. They’re not willing to launch. So that’s one, I think two, another challenge I find is the systems that it takes to grow. Again, not growing to be a billion-dollar company, but systems in the most generic sense where you don’t have a team, you’re not willing to let go, you think it just has to be you for the guests too. And I think a third challenge I can see is the aspect of pricing. There’s so many issues I could mention Ash, but I think pricing, you know, my wife sometimes, or, you know, you’re working with a scissor company and they’re like, we want to help people. So let’s make the scissors to dollars and then Ash dumps into their numbers and he realizes, wait a minute, the scissors cost you a $1.99 to make. There’s a problem.
Ramon Ray (26:16):
Or a few, a few things. And that’s, by the way, pricing is one of the things we also talk about in small business essentials. But I think those are few things and there’s so many things I think that people have to get. Right. But can I ask you, Ash, if there’s time, if you have a few minutes, what do you find? Anything that you’re seeing? Uh, what do you find is a challenge? Cause you work with, with companies, clients as well.
Ash Roy (26:34):
Yeah. Thank you for asking, man. I’ve got to put my hand up and say that first point. You mentioned, dude, it took me, I think two or three years before I launched my membership. And I was terrified. This is one of the things that helped. One of the many things that held me back was I was worried that if I launch my membership site and it was going to be a ghost town. So that’s taught me from launching for like two or three years. Eventually, I plucked up the courage and I was going to launch it for $19 a month. And someone told me that is a really silly move. You need to be charging more than that because one of the reasons is because I was giving away 4 hours of my time valued at about $2,000 in the first month. So these were onboarding courses and ongoing because I was giving away four hours of my time. And this doesn’t say, you’re crazy. You should, at least $99. I launched it for $99.
Ash Roy (27:27):
At the time I remember thinking about this. I don’t remember whether it was a case study or was a theory that was proposed when I did my MBA. And it talked about price being a signal. And at the time I thought that was nonsense. I didn’t agree with it. But I have since learned that is actually true. Price is a signal and can be a valuable signal. After I launched at $99, I noticed that I was attracting a certain kind of clientele. And then when I raised my prices to $399, which is now what you would pay for the same program, the people who started off at $99 are founding members and they get grandfathered in. They never paid over $99 a month. If you join now today from the front end of the website, you will pay $399 a month for exactly the same product.
Ash Roy (28:10):
You still get onboarding calls. But I used to get a right 4 face-to-face calls, drop them down now to 2 face-to-face calls. And these are onboarding calls, not ongoing calls. The idea is to stack up so much value to give the person so much of a kickstart, that it keeps them going for a significant amount of time and nobody canceled after the first month. No, you’re right. I think that one, I like pricing as a signal. Two, getting started. Now, way back in 2008, I remember Seth had written this thing about, I think it was about writing every day or something. And this was when our friendship first kind of began. He had written this article about writing every day. And I wrote this email back to him saying, Oh, but how can I write every day? You know, you’ve got to read at least 2000 words to be an authority according to Neil Patel, who was a guest in episode 1 of this podcast, by the way, you got to write every day, you got to start you to write 2000 words per article, this, that, and Seth just replies with two words, typical Seth.
Ash Roy (29:10):
He said just begin. So, okay. So I just began and I wrote every day for the month of November. In 2008, did I say 2008? I meant 2018. Sorry. I wrote every single day and my traffic went up fivefold, but the average time on site dropped and it turned out a lot of them were bots and so on. And so in my conversation with Seth and episode 200, I raised that with him and I said, number two years ago, you told me this and I did it, but I just found it was all bots and I said, was that a mistake? And he said, well, I don’t know if it was a mistake. I think you were writing for you, not for the bot. So not for Google. I thought that was very powerful as well. Now, how does that connect to what you’re saying?
Ash Roy (29:53):
Well, the way it connects is if you will outwardly focus and that’s what’s stopping you from getting started, right? You’re anxious. Like, Oh, as my pricing going to be too high because my customer is gonna laugh at me because I’m launching at $99 instead of $19 or $399, whatever it is. Then you are probably going to get hamstrung. You’re probably going to freeze. You’re going to have trouble starting. But if you say, I said often says, and I love this. Look, I made this and you just say, this is my art. I’m putting it out there. I’m taking a risk and I’m not equally focused as I’m not self-obsessed. I’m not narcissistically obsessed about it. But rather I’m outwardly focused in a positive way. I’m thinking about how I can give value to the world. And I believe that it’s this value and I’m putting it out there and Seth, often says is a freelancer, he says, as a freelancer, you’re saying, this is my art. This is what I believe it should be worth and I’m putting it out there. It’s not for everyone. You don’t have to buy it. That is a massive, massive thing that helps you get past that initial hurdle. And I would say upwards of 80% of problems I’ve noticed with business owners, I’ve worked with, are associated with not getting started.
Ramon Ray (31:12):
Wow. Wow. That’s so, yeah, you’re right. I think you’re right. And, and I think Ash, to the point about putting things out there is that the other part, the other half of that, well, two things I’ll say just riffing off of what you said. I think the pricing and all that it matches with who you’re trying to serve as well. If you’re, if you’re being the Walmart, I bet your price would be 99 cents, but Ash has made the choice. I can’t eat on that. Neither can Ramon.
So we’re going to have to price it here. And once we do whatever we want with our families and all that we can give back to others, which we probably already do. That’s one. And I think point two, going back to that, here’s what I created. Ash, I made it. What do you think? Whatever the thing is, is that the point is, is that I always look here like that because I wasn’t sure what logo showing I didn’t want to, you know, but here’s what I made. Ash may say, Actually, Ramon it sucks. It’s crap. Now I have a choice to come back and say, thank you. And I don’t know if, if, uh, did the guy, the, um, the guy we talked about Rand Fishkin,
Ash Roy (31:12):
Ramon Ray (32:08):
I know part of the startup is also you, you do a minimum viable product to have people kick the tires better version one is not going to be the same as version 20 that’s okay. You keep iterating and going.
Ash Roy (32:23):
Okay. I think it’s perfectly okay to say to those people, maybe this is not for you because it’s not for everybody. That’s very true. And that’s true. That’s another important point. Actually, you know, your pricing is a function of your target market and it is important. Get clear about your target market or your ideal customer who you believe you can serve. Again, I’m quoting Seth a lot, but what change do you see to make in the world, and by extension to whom do you seek to deliver that change? It’s not going to be for everybody. So it takes a little bit of courage. It requires you to step out there a little bit. Maybe you don’t go and seek to change every teacher that has ever lived. Maybe you seek to just serve math teachers. Or as you guys say in math teachers of grade three, who are working with children with learning difficulties,
Ramon Ray (33:23):
Right? Which Seth calls famous to the cousin. I think that was one of his blogs
Ash Roy (33:27):
Ramon Ray (33:29):
You got to leave Google, look that up over talking. But something like that, where it means is that you’re, you’re not famous. Everybody. Just your cousin knows who you are. That’s something like that. He wrote Famous to your cousin or Famous to your uncle something, meaning everybody doesn’t, but your cousin knows you and that’s all you need.
Ash Roy (33:44):
That’s it. And that’s enough to build a meaningful and lasting business. And sure, you may not be the next Amazon and you might not be the next Netflix or the next Facebook, but Hey, maybe you don’t want to be. And if you want to be sure, go for it. But just remember that they come with a unique set of challenges. As a small business has one set of challenges, a big business, other sets of challenges, be aware of the challenges before you go to flushing. Okay.
Ramon Ray (34:10):
That’s right. And, and I, can I show you something? Uh, I wrote this down. I just posted it on Facebook, my 2020 goals, which says no debt, more pay, more giving. So for a small businesses, it’s not about being a billion-dollar company. I’m very modest in what I want to do in life. That’s it. I wrote it on our little piece of paper.
Action Steps For Small Business Owners
Ash Roy (34:31):
So do you have any other action steps our listeners can take from this conversation, Ramon?
Ramon Ray (34:37):
Yeah. No. Thanks for asking. Ash again, thank you for your generosity. Thanks for all you do. And I can’t wait to give you a hug and a high five in person again on your side of the world. I can’t wait. But a few things I would say is I think just to, it’s really summarizing what we’ve said, Ash. I think one just launch that’s one. Just launch, get out there, and do it. I think too, we all have fear. I think the difference between me and Ashton, somebody listening, what you do with the fear, we all have fear. We all suffer with this, that, and the other, but I think take your fear and chew it cry a little bit. And then go, go on. And I think three running a small business is hard, but if you get the fundamentals, the basics, right? And remember, don’t try to be Netflix, but don’t try to be just a solo painter, be a small business owner your win. And people can check it out Ash at 12SMBessentials.com. The number 12 (one-two) SMB centrals.com, or they can check out the whole Akimbo platform at A K I M B o.com. But 12SMBessentials.com.
Ash Roy (35:31):
Awesome. And we’ll link to that in the show notes, but how do people find out more about your Ramon? Ramonisafriendofash.com
Ramon Ray (35:38):
Ash Roy (35:45):
And Hey, I pronounced her name wrong. It’s Ramon Ray. Sorry. I said Ramon. I’m sorry. No, it’s the international flavor. It’s all good, man. Well, then it was just such a pleasure to have you back. And dude, we got to do this again. I just love talking to you. You have so much energy and this time we got done on video, which is a bonus,
Ramon Ray (36:10):
I will come back and probably before I come back, I’m going to have you share your knowledge with the Smart Hustle audience who needs to know all about marketing from you.
Ash Roy (36:17):
Sounds good. Well, it’d be my honor. I would love to be on.