A leading internet entrepreneur, marketer, and brand management expert, Richart Ruddie has built, created, and sold companies from the ground up over the last decade.
He has a unique approach to business development with outside of the box strategies that have proven to be successful thanks to hard work, dedication, and the willingness to refine until a successful outcome is met. Richart continues to build on his Angel funding projects, growing startups in the Technology field, 3D printing space, SaaS, and factoring company entities on the east coast.
With a true passion for making a difference in the world, Ruddie volunteers at orphanages around the world as a constant reminder that we should take nothing in this world for granted and be thankful for everything that we have each day of our lives.
Richart Ruddie was born in the Baltimore suburbs of Owings Mills, Maryland and currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg, Sun-Sentinel, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, and numerous other publications for his entrepreneurship.
How did you get started? What inspired you to start this business?
It all started with a late night meal discussing internet marketing and my abilities to promote a startup I was working on as an employee – not an owner at the time. The question was posed, “Why don’t we do something together utilizing your skills?”
At first, I was a little skeptical, but then I posted a craigslist advertisement for a client who might need our service. I forgot about the post, but then fast forward two weeks later and the first potential client inquired.
Before we knew it, we had our first client with no business cards or website. The inspiration came from following my efforts not a passion. You find out what you are good at and you follow course naturally.
How do you make money?
Today the main focus is from helping clients to manage and promote their brands while protecting their personal assets online.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
We were profitable before a dollar was ever spent. We made $500 from our first client and parlayed that money into a website and did some SEO to start attracting clients and less than a year later the $500 investment was over six figures.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Being confident in what you’re able to do is a key to success. The only doubt that I ever had was “having enough time”. It’s our most valuable commodity and everyday I wish I could have more of it.
How did you get your first customer?
Craigslist. Posted an ad with some fancy infographic in the pre-infographic days. After showcasing Google Analytics and a straight forward approach we had locked in our first client.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
In the ORM business we solely work on referrals and in bound leads that we have received from our positive press coverage. Other companies in our space spend 1 million dollars a month marketing and we spend exactly $0.00 each month for the last two years. By cutting out this cost we are able to put more dollars into our clients campaigns something our competitors can’t and don’t do.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Sometimes you have to let go of old friends and colleagues. People change and it’s important to realize that people change some for the better and some for the worse. Those that spiral out of control need to be cut loose before too much damage is done. In the end its nothing personal just business.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Hard work. People say they want to live a great life and really believe buying a lottery ticket is the path to success. Edison said it best – the harder he worked the luckier he got. I feel the same way.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I went back to school to receive an accounting degree and to become a CPA. Taking the safe road after the hedge fund days were over. When I dropped out 6 classes shy of a degree and my mother was nagging to go back to school and get a safe secure job I said if I go back to school that will have meant that I have failed as an entrepreneur. A year later she finally stopped nagging and understood. Getting my mother to understand is extremely satisfying.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
There is a bright future ahead but the important thing is to think of marketing and the internet as a curve. You never know whats around the bend. The key is to move with the road and adapt. If you don’t then you become a dinosaur. I am continually working on refining proprietary software and techniques that make my businesses a success year in and year out.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how would you like to be contacted?
Absolutely. I am asked to speak at conferences and am mentoring the founders of Fia.biz (future innovators of America) currently.
Whats the key to hiring good employees?
Finding good workers is difficult in any business. Nobody will ever have the same tenacity and passion for your business as you do. That’s okay because if they did, they would start their own operation eventually.
When interviewing potential employees I like to ask them “What have you won in your life?”
I want to hire people who are competitive and are winners in life. I do my job and provide them with the tools to succeed as long as they want to win.
What books do you recommend?
I just finished Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. His story from building Zappos to how he put it all on the line is truly amazing and inspiring. My other favorite book is How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.