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Building community in a changed world

Ramon Ray, the founder of SmartHustle.com, joins Small Biz Buzz to discuss how to build a community around your small business in which you can actively engage with customers and see more growth.

Ray emphasizes how important it is to bring people together and serve them value as well as provide solutions to your customers’ problems after they have come to know, like, and trust you.

“This is what community is about. I would encourage you to get people together on a video call, get people together on a phone call, get people together in a discussion group whenever you want it,” said Ray. “Community can even be an email list. Other people can't see each other per se, but I think to a degree, that in a way, is community. Humans were meant to be with humans.”

Click play for more.


Ray (00:10):

About me not saying, Crystal, I've been doing the same old, same old, nothing new. Just speaking at events, hosting events like crazy up the wazoo, hosting shows, hired a salesperson. Yeah. We're cranking along the best we can.

Crystal (00:24):

That's awesome. I was just telling Laura about how great you did hosting Social Media Marketing World in the rooms.

Ray (00:30):

Aww, thank you.

Crystal (00:31):

He was so good at that. You really leave the room feeling you know you personally.

Ray (00:36):

Thank you.

Crystal (00:37):

And the speaker, which is important, because you're introducing them the whole day.

Ray (00:41):

As you know, that's the job of a host. It's not about you, it's to shine that light that way.

Crystal (00:46):

Yeah. Well I think you're an expert and I'm a novice, but I appreciate learning from the expert, so it worked out really well. Yeah, that's great. You guys have been staying busy. Have you done anything to relax at all?

Ray (01:01):

Well, besides being on this call and hosting events and speaking and doing blog posts and hiring my sales person, that's what I do to relax. I'm relaxed right now. Right now I'm taking a vacation. Right now I'm at a state of Zen. Right now.

Crystal (01:16):

Dusey, I knew when I asked that he was going to be like all his work is the relaxation that entrepreneurs are.

Dusey (01:22):

Yeah, right?

Ray (01:23):

And it is sad, but I'll tell you, I kid you not, Crystal and Dusey, during the holidays, Christmas and whatever holidays are, Thanksgiving, there's a sadness that gets over me because which is not good. The emails and everything dropped dramatically, Christmas Day, Christmas before, normal people, because half the world works as you all do, you'll probably have your own gigs. But my point is, Crystal, I don't know what to do. There's 10 days of 13, 20 days give or take, end of Christmas, beginning of January, nothing's happening. It's a sad time, really. Honestly. The emails are less and all that.

Dusey (02:04):

I don't know if you have children or anything like that, but since I got-

Ray (02:07):

I do.

Dusey (02:08):

You do. Since I had children, I've changed from on my vacation times wanting to do a bunch of stuff, to just not wanting to do anything. For a week in my life I can do nothing when I take a vacation.

Ray (02:23):

I might’ve been older. My journey is different than I'm guessing. I'm guessing yours are smaller. Most people, my age don't have kids who are 25 and 22.

Dusey (02:32):

Yeah. Not that old. No. Yesterday was my girl's birthday, twin girls. They turned nine yesterday.

Ray (02:38):

Very nice.

Dusey (02:40):

Well, we should dive right in. Welcome everybody for listening. Hopefully you were able to join us on some vacation talk for a few minutes before we really dive into the topic here, but-

Ray (02:51):

This is the show. Let me fix my hair and my tie. Sorry.

Crystal (02:57):

We like to sneak it up on people, because-

Dusey (02:59):

We do.

Crystal (02:59):

I actually-

Dusey (02:59):

We'd surprise you. Hey, you're on a show.

Crystal (03:02):

Exactly. And I'm glad it's only 40 minutes now that I know Christmas Day brings some sadness because you're away from work. I'm glad the show's only 40 minutes, so hopefully we don't get you into despair by being on here and helping others.

Ray (03:15):

That I enjoy doing.

Crystal (03:16):

Okay. Good, good. Okay. Well, we're excited to jump in here and I'm really excited about our guest. He is a global keynote speaker, event host, bestselling author, entrepreneur. I think I read you've had four businesses sold to. What is it that you don't do, Ramon Ray?

Ray (03:39):

I haven't been a part of the president's United States secret service counter assault team detail. That I have to-

Crystal (03:46):

[Crosstalk 00:03:46].

Dusey (03:47):

Working on it though, I presume.

Ray (03:50):

I'm too old. I don't have perfect eyesight so I can't do it.

Crystal (03:53):

Got it. I really want to be a Ninja, but my eyesight's probably way worse than most people's so I think it's out any of that kind of work.

Ray (04:00):

You and I, we're just...

Dusey (04:01):

Well, Ramon is also a longtime friend and part of the Keap and Infusionsoft family, so it's good to see you again, Ramon.

Ray (04:10):

Good to talk to you. Good to be here. Thank you so much. And shout out, I must say I've learned so much with many of the peers we know, founders of the company. I just want to give that shout out that I've had the time, especially I was there, learned so much about business and purpose values, mission and stuff that I just had no clue what it was. Shout out to the team there, whoever is listening.

Dusey (04:27):


Crystal (04:28):

Well, I love your shout out, but we're not here to talk about all that today because we're here for you to take all the experience you've had and share with our guests, and we want to make sure we get to that. Scott, Clate out there, Ramon has deep respect for you, but we really want to hear what you know and what you've actually been able to do. Today we're talking about something that I think is really important, which is how to build community. The whole world's changed, everything's askew and we're going to talk community today for entrepreneurs.

Dusey (04:59):

Absolutely. Just what do you think of when you hear that a community or a small business community, just what are the first things that come to your mind?

Ray (05:10):

May I start with a slight example? May I?

Dusey (05:13):


Crystal (05:13):


Ray (05:14):

What just happened to me yesterday. Just yesterday as we were taping, I was talking to a gentleman who's a founder of a men's hair care product company called BluMaan, don't know what software or anything he used, but just a guy who, millions of people on YouTube know and all this. Point being, before he started the product, he was just sharing knowledge about men's hair care product. I happen to not be in his target market, but with dudes who have beards and they’re really guys who touch their beard a lot, they like it trimmed and shaped and combed. Guys who have hair.

Ray (05:43):

I can grow a full out and all that, but I cut mine. He's for guys who have a nice head of hair, like to style it and all that, and there's millions of dudes like that. Point is, that's how he started his channel, just serving and sharing it in every which way and all this. Then he sold the product to them. My point being, what I was trying to say in that, because it was interesting to talk to him just yesterday was that community to me is all about bringing people together who share a common cause.

Ray (06:09):

As Seth Godin says, I see it as you raise your flag, whether it's we're the ChapStick people, where the people who are into fashion, into plumbing, into billions of other things that people are listening to us and you're raising your flag and saying, "Here's how we do it. Here's what we're all about. Everybody come around that." That's, to me the simplest, what I think about community and community, it can be as open as you want, or it could be, this is just for left-handed people who like to eat burned pancakes and live in capital ward, New Jersey, whatever [inaudible 00:06:42].

Dusey (06:42):

That's awesome. Yeah, there's definitely... I think of some YouTube channels that I watch a lot and Twitch channels and stuff that they do a really good job of, for them, their content is their business, but they’re are great examples of how to build community interacting with their audience, being a part of with the content, being in there with the comments and responding to people. More than just, here's stuff that I'm throwing at you, but making it a conversation and like you said, giving value and service. I see some of those channels is really good examples of how to do that. That's awesome.

Ray (07:22):


Crystal (07:23):

I think the hair club idea of people with beards or hair, that are really into their hair is such a good one because those community, sometimes they freak me out a bit, to be honest, we have a group at Keap, where it's a group of mostly girls and it's the curly haired girls club. We were when we were in the office meeting once a month for lunch, we talk hair products and styling tips. And I'm telling you those groups, that actually intimidated me, they probably should kick me out because I'm not willing to spend the time that they all do and their hair is all beautiful. Paige spends four hours on a Saturday doing her hair. No, I'm out. But that group is serious.

Dusey (08:07):

I feel like nowadays, if someone were to pop into that group and try to start selling stuff, if they hadn't put the work in, people will smell the disingenuousness a mile away. Right?

Crystal (08:18):

Mm-hmm (Affirmative).

Ray (08:18):


Dusey (08:18):

You got to start from that place of service. Yeah. That's awesome.

Crystal (08:22):

I think you hit on it... Sorry. Go ahead Dusey.

Dusey (08:25):

No, you go ahead.

Crystal (08:25):

I was just going to say, I think you hit on it a little bit Ramon about community, but speaking specifically to entrepreneurs, why is community more important to entrepreneurs than probably a lot of them realize and probably more important than some bigger corporations in some ways?

Ray (08:42):

Absolutely. Two things I'll add to that. One, I often say, ask for a smile before you ask for a sale. Two, which is a correlation to that, my principle book is named of it. Celebrity CEO is that, would you rather have two people buying your thing? Whatever, your widget, your product, your thingamajiggy is, great. You sold two of that. Or would you rather have 50 people or a hundred people you can exponential this, who just know about it, they're happy about it but they haven't bought it yet, but they're smiling. They know, like, and trust you. They're all over the place. I'd rather have the latter.

Ray (09:14):

Now, you may think, "Ramon, you'll starve but they're just smiling at you." You'll starve today, yes. But in 30 days, 60 days, six months, what I'm getting at and y'all can help me interpret this. Sometimes my Ramon English doesn't come out well, but in the long term you will be the king or queen because in the first example, two people bought in this little example, you're done, that's it. They bought from you, but for the long-term players, because I know we are and those listening to us, the hundred people in your fan base, who you serve, who you build trust, who they like you, they're around you.

Ray (09:48):

They will buy eventually. If you take a hundred people in your tribe who are celebrity CEOs who are smile before sales in your fan base who X percent will convert. Now we're going to get into some funnel stuff, but I'm going to quickly leave the funnel stuff. It's just to get that little principles, it's just that, let's say 10%, 10 are buying a month. If you get that kind of makes sense. What I'm trying to say is that I'd rather not have just two buy and it's harder to get the sale, but they two have bought, I'd rather it's easier for me to say, "What's up. I'm here to serve you." You can build that much bigger and then get conversion.

Crystal (10:21):

For sure.

Dusey (10:22):

Were we to say to someone that lives much more in the direct sales route, and then someone who's saying, "Okay, well, I don't want to starve today." I don't know if it's a matter of combining those, if it's a matter of... What are strategies for someone to get started into that realm if they're used to, well, I push out ads of my product and that's how people buy?

Ray (10:47):

Absolutely. Here's what I would say is that A, you need to sell, keep the knowledge you have. You're the expert in selling. That's great. No problem. And I'm sure on this podcast, episodes on selling and sales, which are good. I'm not tearing that down, to be clear. Keep that, and that's a good thing. You hold onto that, learn that. I'm asking to plus one it and listen to us as we're talking today and consider a softer approach. Consider maybe whether it's a different site, a different channel, a different email, whatever you want to call it, where you're just educating.

Ray (11:17):

You're just nurturing, you're stepping back just one or two feet saying, "Not that I don't want you to buy, but this is not about buying. I'm just here for the love, brother. I'm here to serve, girl. I’m just here to talk to you." Try that for 30 days, 60 days and yes, you know how to sell, but see if you build your list, your funnel, whatever, the things that most of us listening know that. Build it in the longer term, and you'll be like, "Wow. In a year, I have a thousand people, 500 people, 200 people who are following me, liking me." That's a beautiful place to be. For the salespeople in there, you keep it, that's a good thing. We need that.

Dusey (11:54):

Yeah. That's a great sale.

Ray (11:54):

But also, be a fan builder.

Crystal (11:57):


Dusey (11:58):

I recently got an above ground pool and I did not realize that I'd have to become a chemist to keep it from turning green every few months. I found this website that was just, they sold a bunch of pool supplies, but they had tons of content for me to go figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be doing to keep this clean, so it doesn't get an algae bloom on me. And you better believe when it's time for me to go pick something up, I'm going back to the place that I know that gave me so much great information.

Ray (12:29):

And to that point, Dusey, taking that example, just to repeat what I said is that I bet that site, whoever it is, and I'm pretending numbers, let's say in their case, they have a hundred thousand people in it, following it around it, maybe once a month, a hundred sales, they get. People are like, "Really?" But they're sharing. Dusey is talking about, everybody's in there as opposed to the other of their competitor, "Buy the anti-green, anti-algae home today."

Dusey (12:52):


Ray (12:53):

[Crosstalk 00:12:53].

Crystal (12:53):

I don’t know. That sounded pretty exciting to me as well. I actually think, Ramon, that you have problems, not building community. Even when you're trying to give an example of not being a community, it's so enticing that I want to join.

Ray (13:06):

Thank you.

Crystal (13:06):

I was like, "That sounds fun." And for some reason, Dusey, with your hair going on today, the way it is, I feel like I could really envision you being a chemist in a lab coat and your little chemical, whatever those are called.

Dusey (13:20):

I do have some mad chemist there right now. Yeah, it's right on it.

Crystal (13:21):

It's impressive. I'm here for it. Go be a chemist. Okay. Ramon, here we go. Here's another question. How do you decide what type of community you want to build? Because I think people get nervous. Actually I get nervous all the time, I should say about what do I even have to talk about? Why would anyone want to join my community?

Ray (13:43):

Great question. I think a few things come to mind for me. Let's define community, meaning there's many ways to do it, but let's take, and should we get a bit technical? Maybe a community could be a Facebook group.

Crystal (13:52):


Ray (13:53):

Okay. Community could be a Facebook group. There's a billion ways to do it, but let's start there. Keap has Facebook groups that I'm in for that matter, and those listening, if you need help, you should join, but I can't help you. I go there for help. Have a Facebook community. Great question Crystal asked, what should I do in there? Few things to start out with. One, you have knowledge in your head right now. That's one. Those of you who are saying, “Ramon, I ain't got nothing." You do, but I'll take that.

Ray (14:22):

Two, when you're walking around life, your daughter burps and daddy, [inaudible 00:14:28] calls his dad, or outside somebody gets in a car wreck or you're seeing the sun. Some of us, I know like me, I think of as I'm moving through life, that's two, what you could just share. "Hey, I was going outside today, here's what I thought. What do you think?" It's two. Three, if you really are going to tell me I ain't got the first or the second, the third, ask somebody else. "Hey crystal, how are you? Listen, you got amazing hair. I have a hair company too.

Ray (14:54):

Could you tell me 10 ways to do XYZ?" Those are three ways there. What you have, what's around you, that you're thinking about that prompted you or ask other people, and fourth, what are your customers asking? And the example that Dusey gave, people are asking, I don't have a pool, so I'm going to make it up. "How do I get rid of the algae? How do I make my kids enjoy the pool? Should I put a plastic tarp or a wooden tarp or a metal tarp or a Styrofoam tarp?" I don't know, man. A thousand questions. Just answer that.

Ray (15:26):

That's help right there, and I bet, I'm guessing how we're able to serve even in this podcast. People are asking Keap a billion questions. All we got to do is just ask the guests. You think? You have a show.

Dusey (15:39):

I love that. I love that.

Crystal (15:40):


Dusey (15:41):

I also like the one of your saying, just stuff that you see in life. I subscribed to a mail letter recently that was called the Brew, and it's like to get your news, their pitch is like, "Stop getting your news off social media, come get it from us. Curated, well-written." And the beginning of that, every time is like, “Marco got a puppy today. We're happy for him." The beginning is always something personal and not, I don't want to say about them. Not that they're making it about them, but it's just showing some of their personality and then they dive into the rest of it.

Dusey (16:18):

And yeah, that's a great way to connect with people. Just things that share a little bit of yourself. I love that. Awesome.

Ray (16:25):

And that I think is one of the... It may not work for everybody, but I do the same tactic. Every Thursday at 02:00 PM, I have an email newsletter that goes out and I'm telling you I was little scared in doing it. It may not work for all, but that tactic I do has worked the best. Now, mine's not so personal. Most of it's not, but it's things like, for example, I was going from a church event, my car, I had a flat tire. So the subject line, "My tire got flat. What's your excuse?" Things like that. And over time-

Crystal (16:51):

I like it.

Ray (16:52):

Thank you. My audience loves it. it's not being cute. I'm not talking about it, but we came home one day and the power was out. We were away for the weekend. I got home. My refrigerator was... Our meat spoiled. Subject line was related to the water and I'm getting replies back. "Ramon, thanks for sharing how you feel bad about this. Thanks for sharing how you and your daughter have a date night together." Or whatever, but I'm blended. They know it's into business. That's another way. Get personal as you're looking to build a tribe, build a community that you don't have to say, "Here's my credit card number." Or, "We're going to break up next week."

Dusey (17:29):

Not that kind of personal.

Ray (17:30):

Things like-

Crystal (17:32):

Yeah. Don’t go into emotional, what I would call emo. No one wants that.

Ray (17:36):


Dusey (17:39):

Personality is important. Yeah, that's awesome.

Crystal (17:40):

I always think when I really am sitting here, why would anyone want to follow me? Why would anyone want to see what I do? My life is pretty boring. I try to remember what things my friends like about me. What are things we all community connect together with. We love board games; we love... Whatever those things are. Those are where you can find communities for your own personality and it's the same for business. Think about where have you seen your customers, your current customers connect with you. Those are the areas that you probably have some space for a community. Would you agree? Is that a good way to look at it?

Ray (18:12):

A hundred percent. I think that that's the challenge that many people think a little bit too much of themselves. Like you just hinted, and I'm going to say it because you called yourself out. What would I have? I ain't got nothing. I go home all day and I play Scrabble with the board closed. How boring can you get?

Crystal (18:30):

[Crosstalk 00:18:30].

Ray (18:30):

But, what I'm hearing you say is, what am I friends say? My friends say, we love how you tell us stories with the scrabble board closed. We're having fun here, but I think you get it.

Crystal (18:44):


Ray (18:44):

To help people listening, you may think, what do I have? And I'm going to go back to Dusey's pool example. We're just a pool company. What do people want from us? You got to go a level or two deeper. You're bringing memories to life. You're enabling grandma and grandpa to come over and enjoy your kids. You're enabling, we can't go out right now, keeping people in your yard. Many of the reasons that people are using your service. You're an accounting firm. We're just an accounting firm. No, you're helping people maximize their wealth.

Ray (19:14):

You're helping legacies with their grandchildren. On and on. "Ramon, we're just a pizza company." No, you're enabling this hardworking guy to have a quick date night with his lady because they don't have a lot of money. I’m even feeling like crying up as I'm saying this.

Dusey (19:29):

I know. That's awesome.

Ray (19:30):

They don’t have a lot of money, so he can take $3 where I've been before, he can take $3 and just have a pizza.

Crystal (19:37):

Yeah, I love it.

Ray (19:39):

That's what you’re doing.

Crystal (19:39):

I feel it too, Ramon.

Dusey (19:40):

That's so great.

Crystal (19:41):

Especially the pizza. It's like pizza during COVID, I have been a lifeline like no one ever expected. I've always loved pizza, but I've been so grateful that DoorDash, Postino, Uber Eats, that all of them have stayed open during all this. Because I'm like, "I'm not going to a restaurant right now, so bring me that food." And I tip well, because I'm like, "If they're risking themselves out there." But yeah. I feel you with the pizza and with really any of those restaurants staying open right now. That's a community I would join for sure. Those ones out there working hard like that. It's crazy.

Dusey (20:15):

I'm actually wearing my shirt from when I worked at Apple and we would talk about that a lot at Apple, is digging into those whys. It's like, "Hey, why do people want to buy this iPhone?" "Well, because it has all these features. You can email from." "Okay, but why is that cool? Why is that good?" "You can stay in touch on the go." "Well, why is that good?" "Well, it lets me live that kind of life that I want to where I'm not tied to my desk all day." Okay. Now we're getting somewhere. And for me, I always go back to this, I would teach people how to use stuff, how to use their new computers and stuff there.

Dusey (20:50):

And there's one person that came in, that she asked for me to help her make a slideshow, and as we got into it, I realized it was for her son that had passed away, and she came in and she was really frustrated and having a hard time and I was able to help her make that, get it out. Then she was able to have that available for whatever she was going to use it for. I always think of, it wasn't about, hey, just having this cool technology to me, helping people with this stuff was so that I can help that person who's going through an emergency, a family emergency or that I can help somebody have a stronger connection to their family or whatever that end goal is.

Dusey (21:31):

Keeping that up front and talking about that stuff in your community, I think is fantastic.

Ray (21:37):

It's powerful, and Crystal, may I have your permission to give another reason, another side of community, but it's going to plug Keap, and I know you guys are careful to share knowledge, but can I do that?

Crystal (21:47):

I'm a shameless plugger myself, so let's do it, let's plug Keap.

Ray (21:53):

It's indirect, so it's not too hard. I know we're not so many but it's important. Here's the thing I want to add is that I have a friend of mine who has a fitness company. He's starting it, bumbling along, so I'll call it a company though. He brings people together every Saturday in a park in Brooklyn, New York. Bottom line, great, good for him. He's bringing people together, but where he's struggling, he's not enabling them to register, to sign up, reminders, segmenting. These are senior people from all that. I'm not trying to get tactical too fast. We're not trying to teach you everything about marketing.

Ray (22:23):

I know the show's not for that per se, I want to say it's community. But to me it's important because also, Crystal and Dusey, many people can do the community like we're having people together. We had 10 people at our office or whatever. We have the pizza and all, that's cool, but make sure you enable them to self-organize, is what I'm trying to say. I just want to underline the email list, the sign up, even permission, texting, all that's important because as your community grows, people got stuff to do. "I forgot to come to Ramon's Shave Ted event." Those who can't see me, I shave my head every Friday over a bathtub. Point is, that's important. That made sense.

Crystal (22:59):

That's quirky of you, man.

Dusey (23:00):

Do you livestream that? Can I be a part of that community?

Crystal (23:05):

I know. I was just going to say, if you're making a community over that that's more giving than I'm willing to be. No one better be shaving in my bathroom, for anything. If you are, you've overstayed your welcome.

Ray (23:17):

That came out a bit weird, but I think hopefully people understand.

Dusey (23:19):

No, I do.

Crystal (23:19):

We do.

Ray (23:22):

Don't just build the community and be happy with, "Hey, we're gathering, gathering." Also, have the tool set to enable people to get together and register and reminders. I just say it because it's important because at the beginning people I noticed can just be happy with we're gathering. You got to do more.

Dusey (23:37):

I think it's good to spend a couple of minutes here because before I started working at Keap, my marketing experience would have been what I got through osmosis from working at Apple and that's very brand centric marketing. Yeah, I learned a lot of what you are saying when I started here, which was, these processes that we can put in place to activate that community. And like you were saying before, we don't have to do a hard push or hard sell, but when you've built the community, you do have to make sure that you build those avenues into your business.

Dusey (24:10):

Make sure that there are pathways from that community into your business and then they'll take advantage of it when they're ready and when it makes sense for them [inaudible 00:24:21].

Ray (24:20):

And because people want to, going back to your pool example, Dusey. I learned from Keap team is that it's selfish. It sounds weird that Ramon [inaudible 00:24:34].

Crystal (24:34):

Whoops. Sorry.

Ray (24:34):

It's all good. That's cute. I hope we don't edit that out. If people heard the little dog barking there. I can see it in my screen anyway, we'll move on. I'll start clean. Just in case they decide to edit all this out. Derek, I'm going to be listening, Derek or whoever is editing.

Dusey (24:48):

Yeah, it's Derek.

Ray (24:49):

All right. The other thing that's important with this and I learned this from the Keap team as well and etc. Is that the importance is that it's selfish of you not to have a solution for people after they come to know, like, and trust you. As I was saying, in Dusey's case, we'll go back to the pool. He's in there, he's getting free stuff from them, he's learning and then he wants to say, "You know what? I need to buy whatever it is. I want to buy it from them." And they don't have a way for them to buy. Not only are you losing money, but now he's frustrated because he's built up trust and wanted to buy it from you.

Dusey (25:18):

Right. In that situation, I want to go to them if nothing else Is just as a thank you. So having those easy paths and reminding people, "Hey, we've got this thing that's coming." When it makes sense and when it fits with the community, reminding people that you've got the service. Nothing wrong with that. Have that be a part of getting people in. Yeah. I feel like that's good. We talked to both the extremes. The ones that are just really good at the community side. Like, "Hey, here's some softer ways you can bring people in." And then people that are maybe really on the hard sales side of like, "Hey, here's some ways that you can start to build some top of funnel stuff to get in." I love it. That's cool.

Crystal (25:56):

I know I hate to be the downer, but what are some commonly missed community opportunities or community building tactics that people just miss?

Ray (26:06):

A few things. I think one, not being engaging with your community. Somebody asked a question and you, or your team, or in some way you didn't respond. I think two, the dangers, we said already, but I want to repeat. I got 30 people, 500 people, 5,000 people in my community, whatever it is now, let me sell, sell, sell. That smells bad. Don't do it. I think three, not serving enough and giving information. She's asked the same question, they keep asking me, I can't sell them yet. No, it's a community, serve. And then four, letting that guy, there's always that guy, they take over your community. They're selling, you're trying to build your community.

Crystal (26:48):

There's always that guy.

Ray (26:48):

Yes. And they’re like, "By the way, you can buy my phone, click on the link." And you don't either privately, however you’re going to do it, you have to give him a chance. Hey, listen, dude or gal. I think those are a few things that people can do wrong because there's nothing worse, even in physical meetings. We'd had it, or those who may go to church or something, you have that person who's dominating, taking over, and the leader is there on the side. What do we do? What do we do?

Crystal (27:13):


Ray (27:15):

People are going to start leaving if you don't take control, that's for sure.

Dusey (27:18):

I would love to hear in that situation because that's one that I tend to be pretty optimistic. I'm an optimist at heart, and I'm like, "Build this great community. Everything will be perfect and you won't have any problems." No, that sucks when that happened. What would you do?

Crystal (27:34):

You will have problems.

Dusey (27:36):


Crystal (27:36):

Especially in the online digital world, there will be problems. You have to be pessimistic first, in the sense that-

Dusey (27:42):

I know Crystal; you've done some of that stuff.

Crystal (27:44):

...you build for that.

Dusey (27:44):

So I would love to hear from both of you how, when somebody is coming in hot like that, what do you do?

Crystal (27:51):

From a-

Ray (27:51):


Crystal (27:53):

Okay. I was going to say, in terms of like, especially in the Facebook group world, or any online community you’re building, I would say you build the rules before you start. So when you think of the community you want, you build those rules out and luckily, unlike events or other communities in real life, you can't have rules when you go talk to people, but in online communities you can, and you should, because it's building the group you want. If you want the group to be productive and helpful, you'll set that out from the beginning. Then you have something to fall back on if someone's not really following those.

Crystal (28:31):

It's an easier coaching conversation or a warning, if you say, but it's a lot easier if you have the structure built from the beginning. That's what I would say.

Dusey (28:42):

That's good. I agree-

Crystal (28:45):

[Crosstalk 00:28:45]. What about you?

Ray (28:45):

Yeah, I agree. If Crystal's going to take the hat off, she's going to be the more slightly harsher one first. I don't think she is, but we'll give her that title in the side of extended love, extended love.

Crystal (28:55):


Ray (28:55):

Let's say with Dusey, I'd be like, "Dusey, listen, I know you want to serve. I know you want to help." Kind of like he's a puppy. "I know you have a good heart. I know you didn't mean to spam the community. I know that link went to a bad site. You didn't even mean it, Dusey. I know it." Do that in the group. "We appreciate you. Yay, Dusey, we appreciate you." I'm teasing, having fun. But the point I'm making is that give them a chance, say here's how we do it and explain, and hopefully 80 to 90% of people they'll get it and say, "My bad, didn't mean to do that." And teach people how to do so on a group. Here's a tip on that.

Ray (29:32):

I do it in groups. Some groups that I'm specifically targeting and this may sound bad, but I do have a reminder to every week or so, post to that group, but it's 99% gems starting other conversations. Just by the fact that I'm posting great stuff, I'm now rising as a star. I do have a subject line. That's important, Ramon Ray, founder, smarthustle.com, people can see it. I hope for a few clicks, but the point is the long term over time. That's helpful. That's how then you build, know, like and trust. And you're hearing things we're saying as people listening to us, these are long-term gain strategies.

Ray (30:10):

And I'm sure the podcast, other things are more faster, but what I'm about is the long-term. That's how you add value. Let's pick on Dusey again, instead of him saying, "Buy my ChapStick."

Crystal (30:18):

Why not?

Ray (30:21):

Why not? Yeah. "Buy my ChapStick, buy my ChapStick." I'm holding up some ChapStick here. Instead of him saying that, he's posting, "Hey, listen, I went to the beach, my lips started splitting. We got chapped. Here's a few things. I took water with me. This kind of lemons in it." Whatever it is. The next post he's doing, "Hey, listen, you know what? I was at a rock concert; we were screaming with my friends. My grandmother told me, take milk, heat it to 102 degrees and put some salsa in it, with some pepper and then I left for work."

Dusey (30:44):

I like this. Where this is-

Crystal (30:47):

Don’t try this at home.

Dusey (30:47):

Yeah, it's-

Ray (30:48):

[Crosstalk 00:30:48] was that? The fourth, the fifth, the 10th time in this chill example, but I think the audience is smart enough. My point being, he's now the guy, if you follow what I'm saying, who knows about ChapStick. Now he's earned the right, so over time he'll help. Crystal, did that make any sense, what I just said?

Crystal (31:02):

Tons, a hundred percent sense.

Dusey (31:05):

Now that you've put it that way, I can see that I can name those people in some of the communities that I'm a part of. A few years ago, I got into hammock camping and there was this one guy that everyone calls Dutch, that he is in the forums, helping people learn how to build their own hammocks and figure the best materials. And you better bet over the years because of that, he's built a great business selling his own hammock gear, and that's what he does full time now, I believe.

Ray (31:30):

And you're talking about him. People who want hammocks out of the five million people listening to us, I bet there's a few hundred who are like, "I want Dutch, the hammock guy."

Dusey (31:40):


Ray (31:40):

I may go Google him.

Crystal (31:42):

Totally. I was thinking of one too, Vincent Orleck, the downtown Phoenix, well, Phoenix whole community, small business guy, social media guy. If he says something in either of those areas, I'm listening because he's built the trust up and he is very active in the community. I think we're hitting on the fact that community is really about connections and community means people trust you and want to do business with you, which is what all entrepreneurs at the end of the day are probably going for. Right, Ramon?

Ray (32:14):

Absolutely. Trust, trust, trust is so important. And listen, we waffle or waiver between the aspect of attention, which I know we had taught for some years at Keap and that's important. Attention, but I think the other side of that is attention is you have to get the attention, but trust. Once I trust you, I can raise my prices or the corollary, I think the English word, I don't have to lower my price. Once I trust you, if that happens, you could even make a mistake. Oops. We're sorry. It's okay. I trust you. I'm going to tell my friends about you.

Ray (32:43):

Trust, Crystal, you hit the nail on the proverbial head and I hate clichés, but I'm going to use it. You hit the nail on the head that trust is awesome. Trust is important.

Dusey (32:53):


Crystal (32:54):

For sure.

Dusey (32:54):

It gives you some cache to be able to, like you said, when you do make a mistake, if they have that trust boy, you can go a lot further than if you don't. If you don't, then you have people raged, quitting.

Ray (33:08):

And the corollary to the community-

Crystal (33:08):


Ray (33:08):

And the corollary to the community is that trust makes it easier to sell. I hope people see the circle we're building. As you have the community on this side, free for the marketers, as it were just to set the stage here, free, education, education, value, value, value, value, value. We do know Keap talk about quite a value. The trust is now built. People, let's assume that in this group that the fans, they're going to buy the hammock. They're going to buy the hammock from person A or person B that's a fact, it just they're scared. Is it going to return, is it going to work?

Ray (33:37):

I don't know how to do it. Well, this is a little more, but I trust Dusey. Dusey, please take my card, please charge my card because I want to a hammock. In that example that I'm trying to-

Dusey (33:46):

[Crosstalk 00:33:46]. Yeah, for sure. We've talked a little bit, we've hit on some Facebook groups and some of the assumption of doing some stuff online, but I'm just curious to hear if there's anything in the much more remote world that we're living in right now, if either of you have tips for what we should be thinking about when we're building community, when the weekly get together, local get together, whatever, might not be as great of an option for a little while. What are your tips for this crazy year?

Crystal (34:21):

Ramon, I'm going to defer to you.

Ray (34:23):

Sure, yeah. I think of my friend, Adrienne Millar, Adrienne's Network and one thing that she'd done, even, she started in person. So this is not a Facebook online thing to a degree, but it works for remote world as well, just bringing together. Now you have to have the long-term, you have to have other things going, but several times a week, we meet in calls like this, we just chat. Sometimes she has drinking night or whatever you call it when you have a couple of... I don't drink. I don't know these things, but drinking night or what people doing like this and go, and they do that.

Crystal (34:53):

A night cap?

Dusey (34:57):

Like a happy hour.

Ray (34:59):

That's the word I'm looking for, that thing.

Crystal (35:02):

I'm like, "Leave it to the drinker on the call." I’m like "is it a night cap?" Because I really do enjoy those.

Ray (35:07):

Exactly. Thank you, Dusey. You can tell, I'm miming what you said. My point though, being, getting back to the point, bringing people together on a regular basis, serving them adding value. So yes, you don't need a Facebook group, anything too digital, but if you have Zoom or team call on a regular basis, you're a law firm, an accounting firm, financial planner, whoever you're doing, just bring people together. And by the way, this lady I'm talking about Adrienne Miller, her call started with just a phone call. Even she was doing it. Just bringing us together on conference call lines.

Ray (35:41):

We couldn't see each other. This is what community is about. I would encourage, you can get people together on a video call, get people together on a phone call, get people together in a discussion group whenever you want it. Community to a degree, it can even be an email list. Now, other people can't see each other per se, but I think to a degree, my community is there. When I email, I get back several replies, Crystal saying, "Ramon, thanks for this." Or, "Ramon, help me through that." Or, "Ramon, I was feeling bad too." That in a way, is community. Humans were meant to be with humans.

Crystal (36:13):


Dusey (36:14):

Yeah. That's awesome.

Crystal (36:15):

I think that newsletter example, I hadn't thought of that and when you brought up the newsletter example, I was like, "Wow, that really is." I think of the ones I get excited to read every week, and that is a way to build that community. And it might be an easy place to start if you haven't thought about community yet. Switch up that newsletter, but make it a little personal without going into the full detail like Ramon was talking about. I think that's a great way to start to see what community can do for your business if you haven't delved in before.

Ray (36:44):

Does this mean, Crystal, that in about 30 to 60 days, pending the powers that these permission we're going to see, are you ready, Crystal?

Crystal (36:52):

I'm ready. Hit me with it.

Ray (36:54):

Crystal's Keap Corner?

Crystal (36:57):

My gosh.

Ray (36:57):

A special email newsletter to the zillions of Keap customers, but a little personal, it's from Crystal, about her day, but infusing. You have to be business focused, but because we're running a business here, but meaning is that the challenge that we're getting?

Crystal (37:10):

I definitely think you've thrown the gauntlet out. I think it's not a bad idea, but also, I try to do that by putting everyone else in the line of target by putting them in front of the camera at least, but I hear your... You know what-

Dusey (37:26):

Ramon's giving a good finger waggle right now.

Crystal (37:29):

...Ramon, within the next 60 days, I'll make some form of that and maybe it'll be video through our social because that's what I have control over and I'm going to tag you. So, you know I followed through, but within 60 days I'll have Crystal's Keap Corner.

Dusey (37:43):


Ray (37:43):

Or something. Crystal's Corner.

Crystal (37:47):

Something, yeah.

Ray (37:47):

Look for something that rhymes better.

Crystal (37:47):

Yeah, there go.

Dusey (37:48):

I got a really good example, for anyone wanting to check out how to do it, rev.com, they do transcription services for videos and their newsletter is a great example of having that personality and making you feel like you're a part of community in a newsletter like you said. Even though they're not necessarily talking to each other, all of the community, they really make you feel like you're part of the family. My favorite thing they did, I just have to mention so great is, they do transcription for video and audio. It's pretty niche and around the holidays last year-

Ray (38:18):

And boring.

Dusey (38:18):

And boring. Yeah, exactly.

Ray (38:20):

Meaning it’s not a fun thing. Go ahead.

Dusey (38:22):

Yeah, exactly.

Crystal (38:23):


Dusey (38:24):

It's not get this new toy, get a jet ski or whatever. There's so much email that goes around the holidays in terms of, "Hey, here's some gift giving options that you can get from us. Everybody, if you're on any list anywhere, you'll get an email around the holidays, and I guess they were feeling left out because they sent one out that was like, "Give the gift of Rev was the big thing, of transcription."

Dusey (38:52):

Then the subtitle was like, "We know you're not actually going to give this gift, but here's some fun things that you could do if you were going to give transcription as a gift." And then just add a bunch of silly examples. It was keeping them front of mind and making a connection that I thought was really fun and all of their... Maybe not all of their stuff, but very many of their emails just, they make you feel like you're part of the family. It's really cool.

Crystal (39:18):

I'm down for anyone who can make fun of themselves, because life is too-

Dusey (39:21):

[Crosstalk 00:39:21]. Yeah. Right?

Ray (39:22):

And that's another tip just to underline that. It doesn't have to be mean per se, but I think the example I gave, being lighter and making fun of yourself, don't take yourself too seriously. Depending on what you're doing, it's enduring. Now, if you’re a bank please take yourself seriously, but all the rest of us, the marketing companies and other fun companies like that, I think, Crystal, that's a really good point because some people, I think they're so careful to be perfect, to be right, everything got a deadline, I get it. Maybe Tory Burch can do that. I only say that because they sent me, I got a purse for my wife and that was all legit, but other things just be a little chill.

Crystal (39:55):

Yeah, totally. I agree. Dusey, do you have something?

Dusey (40:00):

Yeah. Before we wrap up completely unrelated. Thank you all, first of all, for the fantastic conversation. But completely unrelated. We have our unsponsored sponsorship of the show, which is Cleancorp. Cleancorp is our unsponsored sponsorship.

Crystal (40:17):

Say that three times.

Dusey (40:19):

I know. I'm going to do this again. Brought to you by Cleancorp. Cleancorp is a business that is based out of Australia, run by Lisa and Hamish Macqueen. And they do cleaning, for [inaudible 00:40:36]-

Crystal (40:36):

Thank God, or the name would be confusing.

Dusey (40:38):

Yeah, right? Also, for businesses and stuff like that, and they have the fantastic story that I just wanted to highlight of. There was a point in time before Lisa started doing it full time with Hamish where she says that she was getting paid monthly and it was getting to the end of the month in between he was working his butt off, but they did not have any money in the bank. They were literally down to the last dollar and they were stressed out and they took a moment and said, "You know what? We're going to take the family to the beach and we're just going to forget about this for half a day or whatever.

Dusey (41:13):

We can de-stress a little bit and then, "I don't know what we're going to do after that, but we'll figure it out." They went there and while they're hanging out there, Hamish actually found I think it was $20 just sitting in the sand and they pick that up and they're like, "Okay, you know what? We can make this happen." And I loved that part. They turned it around at that point. Now, their company Cleancorp, it's probably better than this because this stat is a little bit old, but they do $375 million a year.

Crystal (41:47):

That 20 was a blessing.

Dusey (41:49):

Yeah. Right? I love their story and I would love for everyone to go check out more about their story. They talk about how they’re regularly able to take vacation stuff now, they're not working like mad the way that they used to. It's fantastic. You can check out the story at Bitly, that's bit.ly/cleancorpkeap. Tells mostly their story. They are Keap customers. Just in case you don't understand, Ramon, this is just a moment where we like to shout out one of our customers. They don't actually sponsor it; we're letting them sponsor it.

Ray (42:24):

Can I ask a question for you though, Lisa and Hamish the tall couple with that radiant smile?

Dusey (42:28):

I think so.

Ray (42:29):

Are they the couple who have just a rocking business, is that who Lisa and Hamish are?

Dusey (42:33):

Yeah, that's them.

Ray (42:35):

And when you shake Hamish's hand, you just feel like he just understands you and Lisa, when she, "Hello, Ramon." That couple?

Dusey (42:39):

That's the couple. That's them. Yeah.

Ray (42:42):

Got it. Cleancorp. I know you're talking about Cleancorp.

Dusey (42:43):


Ray (42:44):

What was the link again?

Crystal (42:45):

That's an amazing story.

Dusey (42:46):

Bitly, bit.ly/cleancorpkeap, that's with a P Cleancorp.

Ray (42:51):


Dusey (42:52):


Crystal (42:52):


Dusey (42:52):

You can go learn more about their story there. They’re some customers of ours that we just absolutely love.

Crystal (42:57):

I love that story too. I think that's a tough time to work through and a lot of entrepreneurs out there are probably feeling that. I think with the right processes in, a purpose and mission that you're driving towards, I hope all those entrepreneurs keep going, because it's tough out there, but it's so well worth it.

Dusey (43:16):


Crystal (43:17):

With that being said, Ramon, where can they find you? And how can they connect with you and your community if they liked what they heard today?

Ray (43:26):

Thanks for asking. I think one thing that people enjoy most is every Thursday at 02:00 PM, which happens to be powered by Keap. I have an email that goes out every Thursday at 02:00 PM. If people go to ramonemail.com, ramonemail.com and they'll find that out. My bio and all that, ramonray.com, R-A-M-O-N R-A-Y and I'd love people to check out smarthustle.com. In fact, if Keap wants to change their domain name and reroute it to Smart Hustle, you can do that too. It's great, no problem, but no.

Crystal (43:51):

We'll talk to your buddies, Clate and Scott, about that.

Dusey (43:54):


Ray (43:55):

Crystal and Dusey, it's been good to be here and serving the Keap audience, all regard for Keap, but thank you, Crystal for inviting me and Dusey as well.

Dusey (44:01):

Thank you so much.

Crystal (44:01):

Thanks so much. One last question, I thought you had a podcast.

Ray (44:05):

I do.

Crystal (44:05):

Yeah. You have a podcast. Where can they find that? Don't be hiding that from them.

Ray (44:11):

I appreciate that. smarthustle.com/podcast smarthustle.com/podcast, and if you're listening and you're an entrepreneur, that has an amazing story like Cleancorp, we'd love to highlight you too. Thanks.

Crystal (44:21):


Dusey (44:21):

Yeah, I'm going to throw the pitch in here as well towards Ramon's content, Smart Hustle.

Ray (44:28):

Thank you.

Dusey (44:29):

He understands small businesses, there's so much great stuff for you guys to go learn over there. Definitely go check out what he does.

Ray (44:34):

Thank you so much. Good to be here.

Crystal (44:36):

Awesome. Well, that's a wrap for Small Biz Buzz today.

Dusey (44:39):


Dusey (44:44):

Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five-star rating. It helps keep the show going, and, if you need a hand with growing your small business, head over to keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com and get started. More business. Less work. That's Keap.

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