#110 – How to Go from Beginner to Professional with Melanie Ramiro

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Melanie Ramiro is a self-proclaimed artist, photographer, circus freak, fantasy geek, eternal optimist and romantic.

In school, she was in the world of pageantry where she learned how to speak in front of people and interview skills.

Melanie was the first person in her family that went to college, and she set the bar very high by graduating from Stanford.

After college, she saw a Cirque du Soleil show, which inspired her to become an acrobat. After being an acrobat for ten years and working in the entertainment industry, Melanie decided to start her own business. She coaches speakers, thought leaders, and authors on how to scale their businesses.

In today’s podcast episode, Melanie shares experiences from her acrobat career on how to go from beginner to professional. She also shares how putting your whole heart into something and going all in can grab the attention of the right people. We also discuss the importance of connecting with your audience.

“Your heart has to be in it first; then you learn how to become a professional at what you do.” - Melanie Ramiro Click To Tweet

In This Episode of the Start Fierce Business Podcast:

  • Melanie shares her journey from amateur acrobat, to professional and discusses how you can relate that to your business.
  • We discuss how loving what you do and putting everything into it can grab the attention of the right people.
  • She talks about struggling with letting go and delegating some tasks in her business.
  • Melanie shares the two things every entrepreneur should do themselves.
  • She explains why speakers are the same as rock stars.
  • We talk about having a heart for what you do first and then learning to become a professional at it.
  • Melanie discusses why knowing what your audience needs and giving it to them needs to come at the very foundation of your business.
  • We also discuss the pressure on women leaders to fit a certain mold.

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Welcome to the show. Melanie, thank you so much, Cindy, thank you for being on. Tell us about yourself outside of your business outside of the business. I am an artist, a photographer, a circus freak, a fantasy geek, and an eternal optimist, and romantic awesome. Tell me about your business and how you got started with that I actually got started. Well, let me let me sum up what I do first, and then I can take you back to how it all began. I coach speakers and thought leaders and authors on how to scale their business through the use of high touch, customer service and brand positioning, backing up a step. I spent four years working at a speaker’s bureau cultivating talent, managing talent, helping them book business, helping them increase their feet help narrow down on new topics, and new places where they could build a new vertical in their business. And of course, then a resulting new revenue stream before that I worked for an event production and talent buying agency for about six or seven years. I know it’s all blurring together now.

And there we managed events for for clients, public and private clients. So we were putting the talent on to the stages for them. It was a one stop shop kind of business. So everything from soup to nuts, as they say, concurrently with this, I was an acrobat for about 10 years. Oh, okay. So that’s where it all really began. is in in, you know, right out of college. I was like, Oh, my God, you know, I just graduated from Stanford. So now, what do I want to do? I want to join circus, you know, that’s interesting. How was that completely like a right, you know, sharp, right? Turn out after graduation. Long story short, I saw a Cirque de Soleil show got completely inspired. It was the first time in my life I had ever felt like, Oh, my God, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And so I, you know, I set myself to the task with zero prior experience, mind you to learning how to become an aerial Acrobat. And so I spent a year, so training, and then I sent off my demo and got invited to audition for Cirque, which was huge, huge, like, they don’t just do cattle call additions that were like, 10 people at my audition. So that made me nervous. But then the weird thing was when it all went down. Um, you know, I spent a year or two training and then I sent off my tape. It was a year before I heard from them. And then when I did hear from them, you know, with my invitation letter, it was another year before the audition actually took place. So it’d been like four years by this point, and you’re getting deeper and deeper into the work that you do. I had gotten engaged by this point. And, you know, that’s a very hard thing to think about leaving by the time the audition rolled around, part of my heart wasn’t in it anymore. So I still went through with the audition. But in the end, it wasn’t the right decision for me at that time. And so I continued working in the event planning company, and, you know, concert production business, oh, well, you know, the first time I saw Cirque du Soleil, I wanted to join also. But I didn’t start training or anything I discovered a surprising number of my fellow Stanford alumni had actually gone into the circus after it was more than you’d think, not as many as it would make national news or anything. But when you’re looking at, you know, our own alumni database were like, wow, yeah, most of them had been, like, career gymnast, or something like that, here I was, you know, I’m a frickin Amazon. So I’m really tall. No prior gymnastics experience, I have some dance experience, but no upper body strength. So I mean, I’m the perfect case study of if you love enough, and you put your whole heart into it. And you just go all in for, you know, a year or two training as hard as you can, you can get the attention of the right people on you in the right way. So that at least you can get your shot. And so I put some of that as well as my, of course, professional experience of putting talent on stages. And looking at it from the exact opposite side of the stage, looking at it from the person who’s producing the show, what do I want, what do I need to get, you know, bums in seats, and to sell these tickets so that in the end, this is successful. So I’ve got a weird trifecta of experience that comes together, you know, between my actual performing experience combined with my event production experience, combined with my experience of actually representing speakers that most other people who are in this business space just don’t have most other people come at it from the perspective of you know, here I am a successful author. And here’s how I did it. It’s a very singular story. And I’ve worked with a lot of really talented people, really amazing people. And I’ve seen how it work differently for different people. So I come at it and look at it from that. And it’s not a one size fits all option. It really does have to be customized not only to the person, but to the expertise that they bring to the table.

So when did you know that you are an entrepreneur, I think I was always looking for something to be bigger than just a job. You know, again, even when I went to college, I was the first person in my family ever to go to college ever. And here, I went to Stanford, I set the bar really high for all of my siblings and cousins following me, right. So I’m first generation college student and first generation college graduate. And I didn’t really know what to do with the college experience, it seemed like, this is great, you know, I’m learning all this stuff. But now what you know, and then you come out into a job and you’re like, oh, like, it was so like anticlimactic after this amazing, you know, college experience where it like, your mind was so opened up, and all of these people around you that we’re doing, like, big thinking, big, big, big thinking, like, very creative outlook, and very, you know, like, problem solving approach, it wasn’t just a show up and, you know, stick there till from nine to five and, and just do what you’re told, which is what a job felt like. And so even when I was in my very first job, my, my mentor in the entertainment business, he was a really cool guy. And he was very tolerant of the fact that I always kind of had a side gig going on, or two side gigs, I was also an interpreter. So, you know, I would get this call to go interpret for Russian at court. And, you know, I would go interpret, and he was cool with me taking the morning off to go do that. So I think even back then, you know, very early 20s fresh out of college, I knew that the traditional job model wasn’t the best fit for me, whether it was because I have this creative streak, or because I’m always seeing problems and solving them 10 steps before anybody else even sees them. And then when I when I found my way into the world of you know, entrepreneurship, it was probably probably around 2011 2012 and I was like oh my god y’all are my people you know like second only to you know, the the circus freak Acrobat world were like, these people get me, you know, this was the only other place I ever felt like, these people get me and I get them like, it’s, it’s a really cool tribe and vibe to be in. So it took me a while longer than most other people. But I think if I had been born a decade later, I would have found it a lot sooner. Because this world of, of online business and everybody kind of just sharing their brains. That’s a very cool vibe for me, because it’s, I’m a firm, firm believer in the rising tide lifts all ships. And if we help each other out, and everybody helps one another, we can truly make a strong and lasting impact on this world to make it different, make it better, make it something that our kids will be proud to inherit.

And what’s your greatest entrepreneurial challenge that I am a control freak, and I tried to do everything by myself. Me too, I’m still learning the art of delegation and, and learning that I don’t have to be good at everything, I can actually hire other people to do those things. But there is a part of me and maybe it’s this goes back to, again, my mentor who was a very firm believer in like, there are certain things that a business owner should always do. And his his two things were always open your own mail and right and sign your own checks. Because, you know, he had seen some things where people got burned by doing things like that. So I’m still feeling out what are going to be like my Three Things that only I always do administratively. And what else can I hand away and because my leader model within my own thing is still evolving. I haven’t I have yet to nail those down. quite friendly. But I know that I’m getting closer. So that’s good. So what’s your favorite business book, I have a couple and I’m looking over here I’m looking at I’m trying to be like, verse in the ones that I pick. One of my personal favorites is the millionaire master plan by Roger Hamilton. Okay, because taking his test helped me to understand that why I was so frustrated doing what I was doing. And in short there, you know, multiple personality types in in his test. And here, I was working with the talent all the time and constantly chasing because I was like, Oh, you know, like, there was a part of me that was like, I would rather be on that side, you know, not behind the scenes. And lo and behold, I take the test and I find out it’s because I’m a star creator supporter.

I’m like, No wonder I get along so well, with the talent, I’m one of them in terms of personality type, in terms of what makes me tick doesn’t mean I need to go out there and be a rock star, it means that I need to kind of embody that type of energy, and I do with the world. So now, that’s why I’m doing this. Instead of booking talent and managing talent, I’m helping the talent become bigger stars and the talent meaning, you know, speakers and stuff, basically, it’s the same, it’s the same business, most people don’t realize that speakers are in the same business as rock stars, but they are. But so that’s one of them, because his broken down plan, actually isolate that by personality type. Because the action steps for a star, somebody who’s doing like, the type of stuff that speakers want to do, is going to be different from somebody who’s going to be like the chief financial officer, you know, your path to wealth is going to look very different. So I love that one because it’s individualized. And another one that I love that comes from somebody else that I admire in the industry. It’s called worth every penny. And it’s by Sarah petty. So I’m, I’m a photographer, I do that as a hobby. And I also I got good enough at it that people pay me too. So it’s not my primary business. But I do that on the side for fun for fun and profit, right, and her perspectives on brand positioning and pricing. It’s just one of those that I really enjoy. And I love that it’s coming from a female author. So that one’s wonderful. And then there’s another one on think by Eric wall, all about discovering your creative genius. He’s one of my favorite keynote speakers, just because his approach to it is so different from what most other people do. He’s one of those rapid speed painters. And then that the story that he tells him that book is about his own journey to becoming this thought leader in this new new platform, and how, you know, he failed and then he came back this way, it’s just a really fun journey to read. Plus you know, his his philosophies on life are really enjoyable if you could have lunch with one business thought leader who would it be that one’s really easy and it’s it’s so fortuitous timing right now but by the time this airs at won’t be but Denise Duffield Thomas who is the founder founder of the lucky money boot camp, which is being rebranded at the moment just money boot camp, I was in, I think, the very, very first iteration of this boot camp five years ago. And I signed up almost immediately, because I just felt this immediate click about like, okay, she sees the world like I do, again, it’s that vibe you just pick up on she lives in Australia, so I’ve never had a chance to actually meet her in person. And I think it would just be so fun to hang.

So what advice you have for someone that is just getting started or wanting to get started in business, anybody who wants to do anything, I think your heart has to be in it first. And then you learn how to become a professional at what you do. If you want to use you know, being an acrobat as an analogy, right, you have to first take the classes to learn the skills. And then you start as an amateur, you know, maybe you can get a gig here to maybe somebody will pay you enough money to be like, Yeah, I got money, you know, but you’re not a professional yet, you got to keep doing it. And you never stop like practice never stops, even the highest professional Acrobat will still practice every day, every day multiple times, they’ll run their act back to back before they put it on stage, so that their stamina is actually double what they need it to be for that performance. And if you start to hate it, then you’ve got to get back into that groove of what made you love it in the first place. Otherwise, it’s just going to fall flat for your audience. And this goes for anybody who’s on a stage, whether they’re a dancer, a musician and actor, a speaker, you know, an acrobat if your heart is not there, if the passion is not fueling your performance, it’s going to be boring to the audience. And ultimately, that’s who we’re here to serve. It’s all about that person who’s paid money to see you perform, did they get what they wanted out of that experience, you know, because that’s who you design it for. And if you don’t know how to analyze an audience, if you don’t know how to break it down, so that, you know, you’re giving them what they want from what you’re there to share, then you’re there’s going to be a disconnect. So that has to come at the very, very foundation of everything.

So aside from not wanting to work for someone else, and aside from your family, what is your why I think that with the weird combination of skills that I have, if I empower other people to get positive ideas of change in front of audiences, and embraced by the right people, it will create a huge ripple effect in the world that truly, truly shifts our global culture toward a more positive, diverse, you know, I hate the word tolerant, because it sounds like we’re putting up with stuff, but like a culture that embraces differences and sees that there is strength in having people who look at the world differently on your team. And the more people we have that round out the skill set, the better What’s your favorite internet resource or app that just makes your life easier, I couldn’t do anything without Adobe Creative Suite. I love that stuff.

I spend so much time working on designs and layouts and stuff like that. And there’s stuff for I love that they’ve diversified what they offer because their stuff for like the very, very beginner like Adobe Spark, where you can do like simple graphics, or videos all the way up to like this super pro stuff where you’re like, in, you know, in design or Illustrator, or like, Adobe Premiere, like everything, like it runs the gamut, so much stuff. And I think that number one, it’s super fun to play with it all. And I’m constantly learning every day. I’m still learning new stuff to play with, with that stuff. But, um, at the same time, once you kind of figure it out, it’s actually pretty user friendly. People are so intimidated by Photoshop, and they’re all like, Oh, you should be using camera. And I’m like, why I can do so much more with Photoshop than I could ever do.

Yeah, I don’t get those things. I mean, I guess if you don’t know how to use Photoshop and canvas fine, but I even tried using like GIMP well. I was doing a tutorial for a blog post on how to resize images and I’m like, Well, okay, so I’m going to do it with Photoshop. But everybody doesn’t have Photoshop. So let me just do GIMP because GIMP is free. And I had to look up how to do in GIMP. Because it’s not like Yeah, and I know how to use graphic software. So yeah, I have not yet tried, like spark or any of the new stuff. But I do need to check it out. Especially for like little videos. Because I think I need to start doing videos even though I don’t like video.

Yeah, I know me too. I’m gonna do my hair just do the messy been it well, and again, it’s a can’t think like that, to me is another part of my Why is like, there’s so much pressure on women as leaders to kind of like, fit a certain mold and look a certain way or be a certain way. And I remember like, when I was working in the concert production industry, I was very often the only girl with the only woman however you want to say it. The only girl on set, right? And all the tech crew was guys, you know.

So here I am. I am like the point person. And I’m in charge of the person who’s in charge of this whole crew of guys. And there’s just a different vibe that you know, you have to work from, then when you’re in charge of a bunch of women, it’s it’s a very different vibe. Like you got to kind of like be more down home one of the guys with the guys because if you’re too hoity toity, they’re like. Um, you know, yeah.

Whereas if you’re with the women, and you’re too It’s like the flip, you know, the opposite. But I think that is shifting. And I think more and more people are embracing just being real, instead of being you know, like the old Hollywood, your hair’s always going to be perfect. You gotta have your perfect red lips. And, you know, high heeled shoes, you know, with the seam straight up the back of your stockings, you know, like all this old school stuff that our grandmothers had to fit. Like, my grandma used to tell me stories all the time about like, Oh, my God, if my seem on the back of my stockings was crooked, I was mortified. And I’m like, Whoa, that’s a lot of pressure and looking at your perfect all the time.

And I think it’s not serving us. I think it doesn’t serve women. It definitely doesn’t serve our daughters.

Yeah, I don’t want my daughter to grow up feeling like she has to be any certain thing to be accepted or to be successful. I think success really comes into dialing into your own heart and understanding what you are truly called here to do. And I think in my own path, I’ve truly felt like when I deviate from what I’m supposed to be doing, I can feel the obstacles popping up. I’m like, Oh, it’s getting hard. I must be off my path. Because all of a sudden, all this stuff is just in my way. Whereas when you’re in the state of flow, it’s just like, just goes it’s almost sometimes it’s like, too easy. It’s, it’s for me, I get suspicious.

You need to read I gay Hendricks then okay. You know, it’s all about that one. Or the War of Art. That’s another good one about resistance. That one is, I just blanked on the author’s name.

Oh, my God, Stephen. Press field. That was my spiel. Thank you. Yeah, I do find myself getting little suspicious sometimes. But I was gonna go back to what you were talking about stockings. Thankfully, in 2017, we don’t really need to wear stockings. And we have Instagram filter the Instagram stories, you have those little filters for your face. So you don’t have to wear makeup. And Snapchat has amazing ones that even like slim your face and make you look towards so that helps. It does help. But then it again gets back into the the idea that our value lies and how we look. This is what we say or what we do. Trust me. Like, I love me some concealer under my eyes. I am miss that.

But here’s a confession. I am a former Miss California Empire. And I say that with a little bit of snark, because I used to get so much for it at Stanford, right? People were like, um, you know, oh my God. Oh, my God is so much. I can’t even sum it up.

But, um, so I I came up through the world of pageantry, not that I ever chose to put myself there with no other prompting, like, my PE teacher recruited me, she was like, hey, I want to train you. And I looked at her like, what? Like me? Are you kidding? I’m okay. You know. But one thing that I took away from that experience? Well, two things. Actually. One, I was definitely afraid of being in front of people of talking in front of people before that. And let me tell you something, there is nothing that will crack you out of your shy little shell, like parading around on a stage and four inch heels. And that will do it will make you a little bit more nervous at first, but it’s like exposure therapy, the more you do it, the less afraid you become. And you’re like, Oh, dude, if I can do this in a swimsuit, and four inch heels, I can do this in anything like address, no problem, I got this. So that’s one thing for me. I’m not saying everybody should do that. But that that did help me. The other thing is, interview skills are something that will serve you the rest of your life, learning how to give an interview and talk to another person without constantly being afraid of them, judging you, that serves you in job interviews, it serves in situations like this, if you’re being interviewed by the, you know, the mainstream media like I will be forever grateful that I spent four years training on that exact skill set in that world. And when I got to call I, you know, I officially retired at the ripe old age of 17 from and that stuff, all this stuff about like the super poofy hair with all the hairspray and all that I left behind me. And if you’ve ever seen Miss Congeniality, it’s all true the hairspray on but the other things, the lasting life skills that I took away from that gold, it’s absolute gold.

I love that, man, you’ve done a lot of cool stuff, and been able to apply what you’ve learned in these different experiences to your business. And it’s so cool. Yeah, it definitely makes for an interesting thing. Like when you look in, like the, you know, the personal arsenal of toolkit, like whom, which, which box Am I going to pull from today, you know, and it it comes in handy, because I believe everybody’s got this, this crazy, interesting story of their life of where they’ve been, of what they’ve been through and what they’ve learned. And I think that if you try and treat everybody like, you know, you’re a one trick pony. And you always do the same thing with every single person that’s not really serving them, because the best thing you can do is listen and find out what they need based on where they are. And then looking also at where they want to go. I’ve struggled for years at wanting to put everything that I know, into an online course for people to learn. And I finally, finally, finally, for two reasons, at the point where I’m ready to do that. One reason is, it’s it’s taken this long to crystallize, because it’s not a one one size fits all process. But I finally figured out a way that I can make it work. And the second reason is, you know, when you work for talent agencies, there are these funny little things called confidentiality contracts. So you know, that contract is finally up and I can share my knowledge with the world and let it serve people and let them their knowledge serve other people and it just goes on and on.

Awesome. When are you going to start working on that immediately by the time this airs, it will already be available and people can go to my website which is just my name Melanie Romero, calm and find out more.

Okay, perfect. Where else can we find you online where you add on social media?

I am so easy to find. As long as you spell my name, right. It’s just Melanie Romero at Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, all of the above. It’s me, LA and i. e, Ra m, IR O. So my last name is spelled like Muto, but most people can’t spell that if I say it like that.

So but it’s Ramiro not Romero and they can’t say it either.

Unless you’re Latina. Yeah, but even then it’s a dude’s first name. So I get confusion all the time. Like, why is your last name a guy’s first name.

That’s so funny. Melanie, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today.

Well, thank you. And I appreciate you having me on here. And I would love to connect with anybody. So if anybody has questions after this, feel free to tweet me or post on my Facebook wall and I’m happy to answer. Okay, awesome.

Thank you so much. It’s been like one of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever done. Thank you. Well, thank you. I’m honored. Thank you so much.