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Incredible Exits: Ramon Shares Story of his High 9-Figure Sale
Today’s guest is truly the epitome of what an entrepreneur looks like. As an immigrant to the United States, Ramon Van Meer spent many years self-employed, just making ends meet. So while a rags to riches story it is not, considering that he has been out of school and working for over 20 years, it’s still somewhat of a surprise when you learn that someone in his position just signed a nearly 8 figure deal.
Ramon is sharing his backstory today. A few years ago people wouldn’t have invested a few thousand with Ramon, but today they are lining up to work with him. A high school dropout who came up with an idea for a niche business that has grown exponentially in just a few short years? The growth and subsequent sale of his company, SoapHub, is an incredible story, not just for the size of the transaction, but also because of what Ramon accomplished to get there.
- Ramon shares his difficult upbringing in Holland.
- How that time shaped his life and made him who he is today.
- The lesson here is not to quit school! Why a network and connections are so important.
- How this sale is 20 years of work in the making, even though on paper Ramon looks like overnight success.
- You’ll hear the full roller coaster story of the sale from not one, but multiple buyers and offers that resulted in the final sale price being nearly double of what was originally set.
- What made the difference for the end buyer, both the buyer himself as well as the money behind the buyer.
- What Ramon has learned from his mistakes.
- Ramon shares his number one recommendation when preparing to sell a business.
- How essential the right lawyer is in these types of transactions.
Mark: At Brand Builders Summit back in August … that was August, right? Yes, it was August. Joe you brought somebody to me. You introduced me to somebody. We had dinner with him a couple of nights and he’s a client of ours, we worked with him on multiple deals but he’s just a quiet guy, very very nice kind of understated and didn’t stand out to me too much; other than the fact that he was a client of course and I wanted to get to know him better. But it wasn’t until lunch on I think the third day that we were there and you told me a little bit about his back story which was a heart wrenching, moving, inspiring, all those things in one and you have him now on the podcast sharing a bit of that story.
Joe: I do. He’s really the American dream. He moved to this country nine years ago I think. He had a really really tough upbringing. He could have gone down many different paths. He could have wound up in jail very easily. He dropped out of high school at the age of 15. He started becoming an entrepreneur, working construction, doing whatever he could, has been self-employed more or less for the last 20 years and even up to three or four years ago was living month to month as an entrepreneur. Overnight success? Absolutely not. A long long road but we just closed a transaction that was nearly eight figures and you would never know it. Unless you have an eye for picking out the guy that … I think you told me just pick out the worst dressed guy in the room and he’s probably the best well off or they at least get the most money. This particular gentleman Ramon he was very chill, very relaxed, people just talked to him, got along with him and then heard his back story and just blown away with what he’s achieved. A few years ago people wouldn’t give him $5,000 now they’re just throwing money at him. Of course, he’s not taking it because he’s going to do this all on his own but it’s an incredible story not just for the size of the transaction and what he’s accomplished but what he’s overcome in life to get there.
Mark: Yeah now well let’s get to it. That’s a really good story.
Joe: Hey folks, its Joe Valley here from Quiet Light Brokerage. And today our guest is my friend and my client, Ramon van Meer. Ramon, welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast.
Ramon: Thank you so much Joe for having me.
Joe: It’s good to have you here man. You and I have been working together now for … gosh almost eight months right? We started in January.
Joe: I got a call from our mutual friend and former broker here at Quiet Light, Darren Harden. He sold a smaller business of yours a couple of years ago and he called and said hey look you’re looking to sell your business and he gave me a number that you wanted and I thought okay well let’s see what happens. I took a look at your numbers. I knew you had a good history from Darren about you. And we kind of overshot that number a little bit. It took a while but we did it and I want to talk about that process here today. I want to talk about your background, your history, the type of person you are, the things that you have achieved in spite of your upbringing, and the challenges that you’ve overcome. And I’m going to dig a little deep and I hope you don’t mind because I think it’s a great lesson.
Ramon: Uh-oh, all right.
Joe: So with that why don’t you tell the people listening a little bit about yourself, where you’re from; all that big story there.
Ramon: All right very brief story. I’m originally from Holland, the Netherlands. I have a big accent so … but I came to the United States nine years ago. I now live in the Bay area close to San Francisco. I always have been an entrepreneur before I would say before entrepreneurship was a trend; even back home from construction companies, to promoting parties, to selling piñatas online, to running a … bootstrapping a site about soap operas of all topics.
Joe: You seem like a big soap opera guy. You’re really into them right? I mean just a passion that you followed.
Ramon: Yeah because you know I have zero to do between 12 and four o’clock afternoon … no, and you know I know we go on that delay there down the line but I think it’s really cool. A lot of people would say you have to really be passionate about the stuff that you sell or do. I have zero passion for soap operas and it turned out to be probably the biggest exit I have so far.
Joe: Yeah and clearly folks I’m being sarcastic about that because it’s an ongoing joke that Ramon has never watched a single full soap opera in his entire life. Are you going to go to your grave someday never watching a soap opera or do you think you might sit down one afternoon and just watch an episode of Days of Our Lives or General Hospital or whatever is airing these days; just one?
Ramon: The problem is its … okay, so the show is one hour long. Of that one hour its 30 minutes commercials and all that 30 minutes is just very painful to watch. I’m sorry soap opera lovers it’s just not really my cup of tea. I never spoke … said it out loud because of anyone, friends … you know my audience but it’s … yeah.
Joe: These are words from a guy that had millions and millions of people visiting his website and YouTube channel every single day and he never watched a single full soap opera. All right we’re going to get into that a little bit. So as I said for those listening he would not go deep enough so we’re going to go a little deeper. You moved here from Holland nine years ago. Let’s talk a little bit about your upbringing so that people that I think have had some challenges in life and are hoping to do what you’ve done can hear your story. You at one point in your life were homeless correct?
Ramon: I think … well yeah. Well, it was more the fact that my age was very young but yeah I had to … I have slept on the streets. Not really on the street like I don’t want to make it sound too dramatic and more-
Joe: I did that for you. I started off with that question. So at the age of 12 you had to spend a few nights on the street at the age of 12. And then friends’ couches and then eventually worked it out and did you move back in with your dad or did you stay with friends from 12 to 15?
Ramon: Well yeah not to make it too long of a story my parents were separated. My mom eventually … I was living with my mom, eventually, she was not able to take care of me anymore so I had to move to my father’s house. And he basically just kicked me out on the street when I was 12. He had a lot of issues with alcoholism and a lot of other issues. So I was … the first couple of days on the street then at some friends’ houses and then one of the parents of one of the friends I was staying at tracked down my mom and my mom took me back in. But she was actually not in a state of mind to raise a child but there was no other way around it so … yeah.
Joe: And I’ve made you very uncomfortable in the first five minutes of this interview.
Ramon: Yeah thank you, Joe.
Joe: I do it because honestly every time I talk to you and I hear your story, I’m blown away with what you’ve achieved. I think there must be something just ingrained in your DNA that made you believe that you were going to be a success in life. Is that sort of … you always kind of knew you were going to go off and on your own and overcome these challenges that so many would just give up on and go down a terrible different path? Did you have a belief in yourself that you were going to be a successful entrepreneur even at a young age?
Ramon: Yeah and not every day but in the big picture I always believed that one day somehow I would be successful. I always had that entrepreneurial spirit in me. I was not good at school in that same phase of the stuff that happened at home. I got kicked out of some high schools and eventually just stopped going to school when I was 15 because … yeah and I started doing stuff for myself like as a business owner. So I always knew that with hard work and just being … keep on going. I think the stuff that happened to me in the past actually helped me. I almost now have a mentality that I survived all that stuff back then so the things that I’m dealing right now is actually nothing compared to back then if that makes sense.
Joe: No it’s certainly made you who you are today and a better person for it. For those listening just to get the full picture, we just sold Ramon’s business for just shy of nine million dollars. It’s the second business that we’ve sold for Ramon through Quiet Light Brokerage and he’s a serial entrepreneur. And I think you said to me a couple of weeks ago Ramon that just two or three years ago you could not get someone to give you or invest $8,000 in you and now there are people coming out of the woodworks to give you money to invest and buy businesses on their behalf; which you’re not doing, you using your own for the most part. But when you have such a big success like this you’re looked at very very differently. And you’ve done some incredible things and on top of that all you’re a good person which makes a big difference. And the buyer saw that and I talked to him yesterday and he repeated that several times during my interview with him. Now first off for the children listening if there are any young entrepreneurs don’t quit school just because Ramon did and he sold his business for nearly eight figures. Don’t quit school, stay there, please.
Ramon: Stay there because look I’m 37 now right? So this is 20 years in the making. It’s not that yeah I started this soap opera website three years ago so someone will say yeah you became … you went from zero to hundred in three years. But honestly, it actually took me 20 plus years to get this. So it’s not the smart … it’s not the easiest, it’s not the smartest way to go about. The more and more now that I’m … especially the last year and I got to know a lot of other super successful entrepreneurs it’s that networking and connections are so important. So if you are in school you will get all these connections and relationships with really key people that are going to be key people in your life and I had to do it the other way around.
Joe: Yeah and I think something that you and I saw at the Brand Builders Summit and the other events that you and I both go to is the connections with the people that are attending those events and the relationships that you build in the masterminds that you join, sharing ideas. Everybody has a different experience. Everybody has a different level of expertise on different things and for the most part, they’re willing to share. Unless you’re a direct competitor which is really … it’s such a vast marketplace, selling … doing content sites like you do which is your niche and your level of expertise versus even a physical product site like Moyes, he … great success; huge story … willing to talk to you about tax liabilities and things of that nature that you have to deal with now; a very good problem that you have to focus on. So let’s back up a little bit. Let’s focus in on your niche and your specialty. I think you’ve looked at now a number of different niches now that you’ve sold your largest business content advertising site in a soap opera niche. You had considered building a portfolio in either physical products or SaaS or content sites and advertising sites, have you narrowed down where you’re going to focus on now for the future?
Ramon: No, I have still not. So my dream is so to speak building a small … you know I call it like a private equity model where we have a small team, an in-house team where we can start or acquire or buy a stake into an existing company. Because our background is content and driving traffic, sales or viewers, eyeballs through content. And so using that strategy to either push sells for a SaaS product or for an e-commerce or for content. But yeah you and I have been going back and forth, I do think I need to specialize in one niche and every … e-commerce has its pros and cons and so is SaaS and so is content. And like you’ve mentioned to me many times before like the grass is always greener you hear stories, the success stories of people selling their e-commerce business for a hundred million dollars but it’s not easy to do and there’s a lot of … there are downsides of running an e-commerce and the same goes for content and also with SaaS. So I’m now taking the time to talk with as many people as possible and do research and then go from there.
Joe: So let’s talk about SoapHub and the site that you sold.
Joe: We don’t have to get into too much in terms of specifics but I want to talk about the path so that business owner sellers out there understand what an emotional roller coaster it can be.
Joe: We listed the business for sale in … I think it was February of this year. We had multiple offers. We listed it I believe at five million dollars and came pretty close to asking price and put it under a lot of intent. I was driving home from Georgia probably I don’t know 20, 30 days into due diligence moving along very well. The buyer was very happy. He flew out there to see you. And things are going extremely really well and you called me on a Saturday afternoon. Can you recount that conversation for the people that are listening?
Ramon: Yeah and I feel still … I still feel bad about that. So … but picture it as SoapHub was doing really well already, not just revenue wise but profit wise. And between the time that you sit down with Quiet Light and come up with a valuation and an asking price until that time you know, there’s … time goes by right? Like I think we spoke first in December. It was the first initial and now we were at three months past and literally the revenue and profit of SoapHub was skyrocketing. And it took me a while to okay what should I do here? Should I keep going with this process and with this buyer that was under LOI with me or should I just say you know what let’s hold off for a couple of months and increase the 12 month trailing? Because most businesses or all businesses that go through brokers their valuation is based on a multiple of the last 12 months of profit. So the more months of higher profit you can show, the higher the valuation. But yeah on that Saturday I also remember I was nervous. I didn’t want to call you but I thought that’s … when you’re dealing with such a big event, this is a life changing event for me. Not just for me but also my family; my mom, my dad, my son, everybody involved, and the employees. I thought I had to do it. So I had to call you up and say “Joe, I’m really sorry but I think it’s best for us to take the listing down for now and then and relist it again in four, five, six months.”
Joe: You’re having as much trouble telling … say we’re just recounting the story as you did the day you called me on that Saturday. It’s kind of-
Ramon: I know.
Joe: You still feel bad about it. I knew when that call came through on a Saturday I thought okay this can’t be good. Ramon’s calling me on a Saturday afternoon and that’s really odd. And I knew it was going to be a tough phone call. So you had recounted that basically we went through the numbers on the call and you had said look just I got to think about my family. This could be … this is a lifetime event sale and the business is growing so much that this initial … I think we’re at a four time multiple now is dropping so low that you feel like you’re giving the business away. And I think you and I went through the numbers and we said all right look if we wait another six months even if we just held the same multiple we’d be at a valuation at around seven and a half eight million dollars. The goal at the end of the phone call was just to step back, run the numbers, talk on Monday, and then break the bad news to the buyer if we needed to. And we did that and it was hard and he felt bad. He felt … he was very upset because it’s great opportunity. So we pulled it back and we were going to just wait right? We’re going to take the listing down and wait another six months more to pass. We updated the financials just as a recounting of the story. The numbers jumped tremendously and we reached out to the backup buyers based on the conversations you and I had. At the very least we’ve got to tell the current buyer of the situation and what we’re going to do in six months or so. And then of course two other backup buyers were constantly reaching out to me and said if anything changes please reach out. So we pulled out of that LOI, it was a non-binding letter of intent and we backed out of that and ended up having multiple offers. It pushed the value of the business up well in advance of that six month period because we ended up closing well before that time ended. Was that an easy process? You know a lot of sellers think oh I want multiple offers. Oh, I want to be in a situation where it’s getting bid up over asking price. Was that an easy process for you? Was it comfortable? No stress, really easy to go through or was it emotional?
Ramon: It was super emotional because you have multiple offers that most of the times are not identical. They’re a little bit different and you also have to think who is this buyer? Of course, you’re talking on the phone a couple of times but you have to think about “Okay who is most likely to close?” Because it’s one thing to make an offer and sign an LOI but not everyone will be able to close. And then if the buyer at the last minute is not able to close then you lose two months of work. Due diligence periods and also lose that momentum where there are several buyers trying to outbid them. You know you have that momentum going that you are getting more over your asking price but if you have to go back after two months then you kind of lost that momentum. So yeah it was a very tough decision because especially the two top offers were from two buyers that I was … would like to work with them … both of them.
Ramon: So it was a difficult decision.
Joe: All three buyers were highly qualified and heck of a lot smarter than I am and brought a really good offer to the table. The difference for those buyers out there that are listening when you’re in a multiple offer situation, the difference for the one buyer that ended up eventually buying the business was that he had some investors behind him and he brought them to the conference call, Ramon, right?
Joe: So we got to not only speak to the buyer itself but the money behind the buyer. We got to have conversations with as well. Did that make a big difference for you?
Ramon: Yeah, definitely. Because that gave me confidence that this buyer is most likely to close and also close faster. People that are more experienced is more easier to work with. And so as a sellers point of view … because I’ve been sitting on both sides of the table, as a seller’s point of view yes, of course, you look at the money, at the offer, the money … you know a mug money first but you also look at okay who is the buyer because you’re going to have to work with this person for quite some time. How is he financing? Is this person being able to close this kind of transaction? So if you are in the race to buy something try to also make sure that the seller knows that yeah the seller goes with you that you’re ready to close and you’re able to close and you have experience and it will be a smooth transaction.
Joe: So we were going to close in … I think it was going to be 30 to 45 days. It was investor money behind it and we were marching along doing very well and then it fell apart again right? You pulled out of one LOI and then the money behind our buyer disappeared. They’re … it was a family fund for those listening. It was a family fund and the two people that came forward and were on the call with Ramon and the buyers were fantastic … are still fantastic and I would still work with them if they came forward to buy a business from Quiet Light with either this buyer or another but the general manager of the Family Fund made a decision that he never makes and he said soap operas no I don’t think so kill that deal. Just like that, it was gone. And did you call me and let’s say vent … did you vent to me on the phone shortly thereafter? Out of stress and emotion, you said that you’ve yelled at me a few times but I call it venting. How were you feeling when that fell apart quickly and we put it back together obviously because we’re having this conversation today but I mean what was going through your mind when you were literally … I think probably what two weeks away from closing this transaction and having an enormous amount of money deposited to your account and life changing life for you and your family. How were you feeling that day?
Ramon: Well it was two ways like of course I was disappointed because we put a lot of our work in to it. We were literally two weeks out right? So not only me but the whole team, everybody involved. We moved all our lives around that magic closing date of … in my case it was June 30 I believe or something like that right? It was the end of that month, we were two weeks out and then the deal fell through. So it was just more like man we worked so hard, we were so close and it now falls through. And it shows that there are so many moving parts and in my case or in this case everybody involved wanted to get this deal done but still, something small happened and out of everybody’s control and that made the deal fall through. So there are so many moving parts in order to close a deal like this that yeah everything has to fall in place.
Joe: It was tough for sure.
Ramon: But it was tough and more also that a lot of the employees they got proper chance to sell and they were already in their mind shopping around. And I felt really bad to break the news to them because all this time leading up to it was like okay guys we’re almost there, a couple more weeks let’s keep the hard work going and stuff like that and then I had to break the news like oh sorry guys we have to move it up again. But I did … I did was you know … I knew that eventually, we’ll be able to sell because it’s a great website and it’s you know … so.
Joe: Yeah that’s the thing it fell apart for the strangest reason. One, because it was growing so fast you made a very tough but obviously financially intelligent decision and you took a little bit of a risk but you pulled back and said this is growing so so fast. And we’re not talking about 10% month over month growth here folks. We’re talking 200, 300, 400% month over month growth. So it was an easy decision yet tough on your part because you were disappointing the buyer and making a tough call to me. And then it fell apart but we go back to the value of having multiple calls with buyers in advance of signing a letter of intent. Because this particular buyer he really wanted the business and he had other sources of revenue or investors and he pulled it off. He convinced you and I that he had another path that he’d been working on the whole time. He hadn’t gone down to that out of respect for the other buyers but as soon as the other investors as soon as they were out he opened up that other path and went down it very quickly. You and I did the same thing again. We needed to jump on calls with other people to have them instill confidence in us that they could get the job done. And you’re right it was June 30 was the initial close date with that buyer and then I think it was near the third week of August where we ended up closing so another six or seven weeks does that sound all right? Okay, so the downside-
Ramon: Those were the longest weeks of my life.
Joe: I know. But the downside is that they are the absolute longest weeks, days, hours of your lives. Boy that does sound like a soap opera; days of our lives.
Joe: But looking back in the blink of an eye it’s gone. The time passed. And you benefited financially from that because you got to hold the business for another let’s call it 60 days and got the profit from that business for another 60 days.
Joe: It’s almost like a bonus because you closed anyway. Was it worth the extra 45 days, 60 days that it took or do you wish that you went back instead June 30th I would have taken it all day long even today knowing what the end result is closing 45, 60 days later? Would you do it all over again and close on June 30th?
Ramon: That’s a good question. Probably now, no I would have taken the extra because it’s … we’re talking about a lot of money. Two months extra of profit plus the buyer increased his offer a little bit as well when the deal fell through. He said I’m working on other things just give me some more time I will be able to close up if you give more time and then he increased his offer also a little bit. Now that everything fell exactly how it was supposed to be yeah I would have taken the money but it was a really good learning experience for me going into this. I’ve sold a bunch of websites; I bought and sold a bunch of websites but way smaller all in the … not even close to this one. I think the most was like around 200,000 I sold. And then dealing with an asset purchase agreement you don’t really deal with attorneys, you don’t really deal with a lot of things that now came on my plate. And it was dealing not just with my own attorney but then the other side’s attorney and it’s just so many people are involved and it was an emotional roller coaster. So I think now looking back its good because now it made me better for the next transactions if that makes sense.
Joe: You know most people would hang up their shoes and say I’m done with your kind of transaction sale but you’re already focused on growing other businesses, buying other businesses and building up portfolios so kudos to you. You’re a young guy you can do that.
Joe: What would you recommend to people that are listening that are in a position to sell their business for a lifetime event sale for them, whether that’s 100,000 a half a million, a million, five, ten million dollars; what are the most important things to consider as they begin that process and go down that road, things that you’ve learned?
Ramon: So the thing that I’ve learned and I did wrong … and you hammer on this on many podcasts is clean books. Clean books people, I made a mistake of having … it was not on purpose it was just out of laziness I think that I co-mingled different websites in what … so I had one LOC, one bank account, one account with Google. The issue is that Google does not allow you to have multiple AdSense accounts. So even if you have 100 websites with AdSense tags on it and all comes down in one Google account. But yeah I had … I bought different content sites in that last three years. I sold content sites. I invested in things all from that one bank account. So thankfully we were able to make it work but it was a lot of work from my end to really … I had to go back literally three years and every transaction I had to … oh this was for SoapHub, no this was not for SoapHub. And then whatever was not for SoapHub I also had to be able to back it up with proof or listing this was for this and here’s the proof. And so it was a very tedious, long, stressful work including my CPA and my bookkeeper and thankfully it was able to … we were able to work it out. But I know for a fact in other cases that where people co-mingled and then they had real issues with their valuation. They were not able to get the top dollar because the buyers were not able to really dissect what is the real profit of that company. So that’s … learn it from me, I did it. I learned it the hard way. So now I’ve set up different companies, different LOC’s and run everything as clean as possible.
Ramon: So that’s one, the second is read on asset purchase agreements. The first time when an asset purchase agreement got sent to me it was so complicated for me, I didn’t know what to look for, what did we have to be in it and then whatever my attorney advised me I basically say yeah well it makes sense why not you know. So the notes of my attorney I just blatantly copied and then send that to the buyer and said this is what we … I want to change in the asset purchase agreement. And then the buyer’s attorney they came back with their notes and then went back and forth back and forth. I think now looking backwards now I kind of know what is important. I think attorneys try to … and I understand the reason but they try to overprotect their clients. So my attorney tried to overprotect me, the buyer’s attorney tried to over protect them and somehow we have to find a middle. There are tons of examples where attorneys ruined the deal. You probably will have a lot of stories of that. So I think it’s good if you kind of get advice from people, learn, read up on it online and see what is really needed and what not. So now I’m working on the deal right now with a great attorney but now I’m more experienced and I can say well this is what I don’t want in attorney. I don’t … I understand why you advised me that but it’s not needed. I’ve done it before this is not needed and let’s just keep it as simple as possible. Because … yeah, attorneys can ruin deals. Those are the two biggest advises.
Joe: Well I can agree with you on the attorney part wholeheartedly. I’ve been in situations where a relative of the seller completely killed the deal. I had a deal where the young guy just out of graduate school and he had a great business that he started in his undergrad and literally graduating from graduate school about to start his professional career and we’ve got a business that was under contract with three quarters of a million dollars … way way over the standard valuation but there was a problem. The problem was that his mother and father were both attorneys and his wife was a law student and they took that asset purchase agreement, shredded it, and fought tooth and nail for the tiniest tiniest little thing and were completely unreasonable to the point where the buyer who honestly was very reasonable walked away, threw their hands up in frustration. At the Brand Builders Summit you and I attended in Austin a few weeks ago Richard Jalichandra from 101 Commerce got up and he’s bought three businesses from Quiet Light in the last six months, eight in all. And their goal is to buy 101 hence 101 Commerce. They’ve got enough experience where they are going to say look you can only work with this group of attorneys, there’s no conflicts … [inaudible 00:36:00.5] have conflicts with us and our legal team. But these attorneys understand e-commerce and contract negotiations you got to work with one of those. It’s almost you’ve got to have a contract attorney that understands fairness and balance and that it has to be a good deal and a good transaction for both sides. So I agree 110% on both of those points.
Ramon: Well just to piggyback up that also when you look for an attorney make sure this attorney not only has experience in internet space but also the niche where you are. Because an e-commerce deal is totally different than an asset … a content site where you’re just buying an asset or a SaaS, so also try … if you find a … if you go out there and try to find an attorney that can assist you with an asset purchase agreement is see if they have experience in not just internet marketing but also the niche.
Joe: Okay. So overall the moral theory is that when you’re selling your business it can happen very quickly. We put it under contract very quickly and we could have been through the entire process from listing it to closing inside of 60 days, 75 days tops the first time around. But you made the tough decision to pull back because the growth was astronomical. You made a good decision and you ended up almost doubling your value and that’s a pretty huge number when it comes down to it. And not only that you made a lot more money along the way because you still held on to a great business that was doing great numbers and growing. There were times where it was tough and we collectively said look there are multiple options here and one of them is to stop this process, hold your business, take care of your family, take care of your staff, hold the business and keep running it. It got that frustrating at times and that emotional at times because it is a big deal if you sell a business of this size. And again it’s actually a big deal to sell a business whether it’s 100,000, 500,000, a million, or 10million, it doesn’t matter. It does get emotional. I think the number one thing that people need to look for in an advisor is one that will set realistic expectations and that can manage emotions. And not just their own but those of the buyer and those of the seller and sometimes the third parties that are involved with their investors involved as well because no matter what most of these deals go slightly off the rails and it’s our job to get them back on. But I couldn’t have done it without you, Ramon. You’ve been fantastic. You’ve set some new goals in life though so I want to kind of wrap up with this. You and I had a conversation so people understand a little bit more about who you are and what you’ve accomplished and what you’re gonna do in the future. You have a goal to help a certain number of people be successful in life based on the goodness that you’ve received I think. Is that … am I somewhere along the ballpark? Can you touch on that just briefly if you are comfortable enough sharing that?
Joe: Am I embarrassing you by the way?
Ramon: Everything I told you you’re using against me, Joe. No, I’m just kidding.
Joe: Not quite everything.
Ramon: I just … as you might know, like I don’t really like to be in the spotlight. I never really do podcasts or I had … I made one exception for a news outlet to do it but yes. So because I’m very entrepreneurial I think it’s almost … it’s your duty so to speak that when you quote unquote get to a level that you have to give back and help other people and which you can help … you know there are millions of ways of how you can help other people. I think for me is that I want to help people … like I see that I was blessed to achieve the American dream so to speak and I want to help achieve other people to to do that as well. And I have a number in my mind, I want to help 500 people not just by helping a … you can pay a year for school or something; no, helping to change really their lives how my life has changed. Like three, four years ago I was really literally going from paycheck to paycheck and not knowing where … how next month is going to look like. And three years ago and now three years later I’m in this position. So change can really happen and I want to help 500 people by … if they have a business idea by funding their ideas and helping them in starting their businesses or maybe I am able to acquire a business and then have somebody run that for me stuff like that. So it’s more or less helping 500 people in achieving the American dream by starting their business or helping them grow their business.
Joe: Do you write down these goals? I think in talking with Ben the other day when he said he came to visit you in your office that you had some stuff on a whiteboard and he looked up and he said man just incredible goals that you’ve set and he said it’d be foolish for anybody to bet against you. Do you write these down on a white board? Do you just think about them in your head? Do you hear about a goal setting? How do you … what’s your process?
Ramon: Yes so I write them down … actually, because I’m about to move today I’m at a house office and because I’m packing, I’m moving next week but I have notes almost everywhere of my goals. So for some weird reason I believe in re-civilization and so when I wanted to buy a specific house that was my dream I would print out pictures of my quote unquote dream house and I will just pin them everywhere. But I have a list of life goals so to speak and yeah I have printed that and that’s in my office at the house.
Joe: Amazing. Ramon it has been a complete real pleasure working with you for the last eight months. For those listening, we’ve got somebody that overcame some pretty serious challenges in life. He has been an entrepreneur for 20 years even up for the three or four years ago as he said living paycheck to paycheck, buckled down, worked hard. As my baseball coach used to say … and I was not very good, he always used to say the harder you work the luckier you’ll get. And I think Ramon worked very hard, visualized those goals, wrote them down, put them up on the board, and has achieved them. He made some tough decisions along the way. It was not easy. I can tell you that now. Some of it was quite emotional but it worked out in the end. Ramon, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for sharing your story with me and with the audience of Quiet Light Podcast. You’re a good man; I look forward to doing business with you for years to come.
Ramon: Same here Joe, thanks a lot.
Joe: Talk to you soon.
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