40 over 40: Ramon Ray says don’t be afraid to think small

Entrepreneur Ramon Ray was feeling like a million bucks—or, more accurately, a few hundred thousand bucks, which is the amount he got when he sold his third company. But his biggest success was not worth mentioning, as far as business publications are concerned. “Magazines like Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company—so many of them focus on who’s going to be the next billionaire,” says Ray, a WeWork member based at Penn Station. “I just said to myself, ‘Who’s covering the small guys?’” So he launched his latest startup, a digital and print magazine called Smart Hustle. It covers “entrepreneurs who still need to write their own checks and know their own bank balances,” says Ray. “You know, people like me.”

Ramon Ray

It’s important to know how to bring people together to execute your ideas. Hire the right people for the things you need to get done, and just do it.

Ray didn’t have a background in publishing, but he didn’t let that stop him. “I surrounded myself with smart people,” he says. “I have a butt-kicking designer and a great editorial team.” In the meantime, he’s written hundreds of articles about business and is the author of three books, including the bestselling Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing. He’s a frequent speaker at business conferences, and hosts annual events like the upcoming Smart Hustle Small Business Conference. And he’s a part-time puppeteer, performing for kids on church mission trips to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. “What can I say?” Ray laughs. “I love acting, I love having fun, and I like being silly.”

Photos: Katelyn Perry

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