Hey Guys, Just finished an interview with Ramon Davis, a young entrepreneur with an amazing story, I spoke to Ramon before the interview realised how he managed to turn his life around, unlocking his hidden potential and following his passion.
I would also like to thank Enitan Sarr for introducing me to this amazing young man.
Hope you enjoy the interview.
How are you doing today? Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Thanks for asking; I’m having a pretty healthy day so far. I was blessed to see another day, so everything else is breathing, believing and achieving. A little background on me well lets see, I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and recently moved to London in October 2009.
I am Managing Partner of Media Basement as well as the founder for Evolutionary. Both companies deal in the creative marketing solutions arena. However while Media Basement is headquartered here in London, my other company Evolutionary deals with USA clientele.
Tell us a little bit more about your company and what role do you play?
Media Basement is a design agency based in London that was started about a year and three months ago by my business partner Pia Cabble. I recently became partner with the business in October of 2009.
As Managing Partner some of my duties include: overseeing projects from start to finish, strategically implementing new ways to acquire market share, make sure we are always consistent with our message and branding as well as building and maintaining relationships with clients, universities and government. And the list goes on and on and on… It doesn’t stop until the job is done.
How did you get involved in this company?
I became involved with Media Basement through a shared mutual passion for creativity and innovation. We both agreed that our skill sets complimented each other that we had a winning business recipe if cooked the right way. As my strengths are more focused on strategy, creative vision and new business development and Pia’s strength is more focused on the creative executions, ambition and forward thinking so it worked out for both us.
Is this your first business?
No. To date I can safely say that I have had almost 7 business ventures under my belt. Some were successful and some were not at all. Its just part of the game.
How did you get finance to start the business?
All financing came from personal funds and from client invoices. The beauty about a small creative based business is that the initial overhead is quit low. All you need is a smart phone, laptop, ideas and the drive to push the ideas. We have recently moved into our first office space as our team has grown a bit since we first started.
How has your market changed in the past few years? How has your business changed to keep pace?
One significant market change has been the expansion from USA to London. I had to learn how to adapt to the different cultural differences and adjust strategies to meet the market. Due to the recession we have seen an increase in business as more people are turning to entrepreneurship as a form of financial freedom. Fortunately for us that means that there are a lot of new business that needs a website and marketing solutions to push there companies.
Who are your customers?
Our customers range from companies in the wine investing industries to photographers and music groups. We definitely have a variety of clients at the moment. However we are starting to focus more on the creative sector and E- Commerce related companies.
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow your business?
Because we have realised that website design and marketing will not take Media Basement to the next level we have extended some of our services. For example this spring we will be launching a series of seminars for creative’s that will help them with their business practices. In addition we will begin hosting networking events at various locations to enforce the Media Basement brand.
What inspires you? What motivates you to keep going?
You know how when you sit down and contemplate on your life and you reflect on what you have done so far and what you plan on doing in the future? Well both motivate me, because my past was not a smooth road I am inspired by my progress. People that no matter how hard their situation might be, they still beat the crap out of those odds, they inspire me.
I’m a big dreamer, when I ride the train or bus I imagine my next stages of my life. I see it, I feel it, and I believe it and then it becomes a part of my mission in life. I’m motivated to constantly turn my dreams into reality and to defy the odds. And finally I’m motivated by God’s grace over my life.
You’ve had some rough times in the past especially growing up in an environment where drugs and crime were constantly being shoved in your face, Tell us about that and how you manage to escape that lifestyle?
Initially growing up as a youth in the city of Chicago I was definitely influenced by the streets. I cannot say that I did not indulge in the lifestyle for a long time. I dropped out of high school, ran with gangs, smoked weed all day went to jail a few times etc… But then I think I was like 17years old and I saw all my friends preparing for graduation and I guess it did something to me.
So I ended up moving with my father because it was only so much my mother could do for me. From there after getting in trouble a few times out there my pops gave me the book of Proverbs and the rest was history.
I graduated from high school and was fortunate to meet someone who gave me a full ride scholarship to go to school in Atlanta. From there I guess I adjusted to my surroundings and made it work for me. Overall I give all credit to God for changing my situation and blessing me with a divine purpose in life.
How do you manage your time?
I try to live by the 60/40 rule, meaning 60% enjoying life and having fun with loved ones and investing in my hobbies and learning new things and 40% strict discipline business executions. You have to enjoy life it’s to short handle your business but also try to enjoy just living, listening and learning. I believe it makes you a more balanced person.
What is your own definition of success?
The main stream always tries to manipulate the masses with success being material gain such as your car or you home or clothing. I think that you are success if you create a goal in your mind and honestly try your very best to accomplish that goal.
What do you think it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
A mental disorder loll…. I think that you just need to have laser beam focus, believe in your idea no matter what all the critiques say, persistence, discipline, a hard work ethic and a ton of faith.
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
Sure we are in the process of developing a social networking site that will be based around the global creative industry. My lawyer told me that’s all I can tell you for now (LAUGHTER)
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs looking to start their business? Those entrepreneurs caught making a choice to follow the streets or change their direction and develop their hidden potential?
Yes, you have to decide early in your life if you are going to be the low-key leader that’s developing self or the famous follower losing self. You know a lot of people turn to the streets because of the image it gives them, basically copying someone else’s lifestyle.
All I can tell someone is spend more time investing in things that you like to do instead of participating with activities and people that will take up your time and money because time is money. I would say if you are the smartest person in your group get out of that group. Surround yourself with people that are smarter, wealthier and more well off than you or who have the same goals, it keeps you on you’re A game.
Entrepreneurs hang around entrepreneurs. Don’t get me wrong I’m still cool with all my friends that are still living the street life, but they respect my hustle and there is no love lost. The great thing about life is you can write your own story, so when your contemplating what direction in life you want to take, think about how you want your story to end and move forward. But always let your next move be your best move.
Any last words of wisdom?
I would like to leave readers with two quotes that I live by.
1. Consistent persistence takes you the distance.
2. Amaze people never amuse them.
Thanks for your time Ramon