The MARKETER

Special Edition: TRANSFORMING ADVERSITY – The Entrepreneur Who Turned a Prison Sentence into a Life of Inspiration

February 23, 2024 Monte Clark Season 1 Episode 6
The MARKETER
Special Edition: TRANSFORMING ADVERSITY – The Entrepreneur Who Turned a Prison Sentence into a Life of Inspiration
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When life handed Jim Ray the harshest of sentences, he could have succumbed to despair. Instead, he chose transformation, a journey so powerful it's led him to guide others through the depths of their own adversities. Our latest episode welcomes this extraordinary entrepreneur and prison minister, detailing how he conquered dyslexia and a potentially life-shattering prison sentence to earn a doctorate in metaphysics and religious studies. His story doesn't stop with his personal triumphs; Jim, alongside his wife, dedicates his life to coaching people to untap their inner potential, while also providing financial education to the incarcerated. Engage with the narrative of a man who not only rebuilt his life from the ground up but now plants the seeds of hope and success in the hearts of others, both behind bars and beyond.

Discover the intersection where life coaching meets marketing, and personal growth intertwines with leadership. Jim's approach to empowering introverted leaders and unlocking the strengths found within unique challenges, like dyslexia, illuminates how perceived weaknesses can forge paths to success. In this episode, we venture through the transformative power of storytelling, the importance of a mindset shift for overcoming obstacles, and the invaluable lessons of resilience. Jim's synergy of marketing and life coaching showcases the profound impact of finding one's true calling, making this episode a must-listen for anyone looking to inspire change in their personal and professional lives.

Want more? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpz3MJtB5wkuzoESfGd9xVw

Speaker 1:

I made some bad choices in life and I was staring down a barrel of a 20 year prison sentence in 2004. By the grace of God, I only served five years in prison in the state of Georgia, and it was during that time, when I was in prison, I started reading God's word and asking God what he wanted me to do for the rest of my life for him. And he was like you know, jim Ray, I got a calling for you and I want you to do my work, but I also want you to help other people. You are listening to the Marketer podcast for modern day marketing professionals.

Speaker 2:

I remember when we were talking for the first time, I was fascinated by your story and your background and what you're doing today, which prompted me to want to have you on the show here. But the reason I wanted to have you on the show was just so that you could share that story with anybody else that's watching. I think people will get a lot of value from it Kind of where you've come from into what you're doing today, and I know you've got a lot going on right now, both in terms of marketing and how you work with clients as well, as you know, from life coaching to multiple books that you've just written recently, and I'm excited to hear all about those as well. But to get it started, why don't you just kind of start at the beginning for me and walk us through your background and how you've become what you are today?

Speaker 1:

Great deal. Appreciate you having me on here. Good sir, yeah, I come from a very humble background. You know some people that you see in the coaching industry or as an entrepreneur or business owner. They may have grown up with a silver spoon in their mouth, but I grew up in the town of Spartburg, south Carolina. I didn't have a silver spoon, mine was more like a broken plastic fork. The town I grew up in was very prominent and able, ready for anybody to succeed. But I find myself at an early age, due to my dyslexia, fell in the sixth grade. Systematic educational school systems were really a hindrance to me due to my dyslexia and my kinesthetic learning. I learned by doing and so I also. I made it to the 10th grade, but I just could not complete it. So I left the 10th grade with a ninth grade formal education, got my GED and just started to work at early years, 17 years old, and become an entrepreneur at 19,. You know, started my first company at the age of 19. Since then, over the few decades.

Speaker 1:

I'm now 48, well, I'll be 47 in a few weeks. My wife and I have started over 15 different businesses and we've learned a lot through those times, and one of them let me revert back to before I started all these businesses and my passion for prison ministry is in my early 20s. I made some bad choices in life and I was staring down a barrel of a 20 year prison sentence and 2004, by the grace of God, only serving five years in prison in the state of Georgia. And it was during that time, while I was in prison, I started reading God's word and asking God what he wanted me to do for the rest of my life for him. And he was like you know, jim Ray, I got a calling for you and I want you to do my work, but I also want you to help other people and finances. So while I was incarcerated, I started studying every finance, business book, entrepreneur book that I could find science, psychology, philosophy and it was while I was incarcerated actually November 2021, over 18 and a half years.

Speaker 1:

In my studies, I earned a doctor's degree in metaphysics of religious studies through self-education, while I couldn't again Learning the way most people learn. I don't learn that way. So over the past couple years, since I've been out of prison and all, I drove trucks for 13 years and that's where I got a lot of my education. I would go Before streaming, I would go rent. I took at the library, I would go rent Lectures, college level lectures on different subjects business, psychology, eschatology. I'm metaphysics and 13 years behind an 18-wheeler, driving 18-wheeler will. That's where I got my education and my doctor's degrees. So, and you know, that's what led me to go into the prisons and Now I teach financial education in prisons as well as minister preaching a gospel also.

Speaker 1:

So that's the main passion, my wife and I as a prison ministers. But over the years, starting all these businesses, we was like you know, we would build businesses, bootstrap businesses, go in and help other businesses, you know build a value and you know take percentage in some of them and then we would sell the businesses, kind of like some people you know Flip real estate. We were flipping businesses.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm, so we finally decided after, you know, answering our true calling, not only in a prison ministry but to coach other people and life career. My wife's got over 35 plus years in the corporate so it was like let's sort just coaching people and teaching, you know, helping other people become the best version of themselves that God created them to be. And also, you know, in a business venture to you know, help an entrepreneurs not go through the things that we went through, and help them, you know, to start their businesses and grow, market themselves and their business as well.

Speaker 2:

That's really awesome and, again, that's kind of why I wanted to bring you on the show. It's so unique. So let me, let me cycle back and ask you a few questions, if you don't mind, really kind of playing off that personal experience. So you found yourself in prison and I imagine a lot of time in your hands you could choose to do. You know probably a number of different things. You chose to educate yourself, start learning how to Live in a way that Number one was glorifying and honoring of the Lord, but, in addition to that, benefits yourself if you get out of prison, right, but and you mentioned that you were going to be Potentially in prison for 20 years that had to be defeating to you. With that notion, what, what change that allows you to get out earlier? Would do you mind sharing that? No, I don't.

Speaker 1:

Well, I was 10 months in when I was going to. I was in a county jail for 10 months and it's actually February 1st of 2005, after I've been incarcerated for 10 months, that I went to court, just right before my birthday. My birthday is February 2nd, so February 1st 2005. The judge told me that you know I was looking at a 20 year prison sentence due to all my charges and he asked me if I had anything to say and, you know, told him. You know, this is the first time in my life and my mid-20s that I've ever done anything you know, a felony, gotten in trouble or anything like that.

Speaker 2:

My youth.

Speaker 1:

I've done some things in my youth, but not my adult years, and I just explained to him my vision that you know I wanted to help other people and stuff.

Speaker 1:

I just made some bad choices at the moment. The things I went through and I'm requested the first offenders act, which in a state of Georgia, the first offenders act is if you can request it from a judge, and this, you know, at his discretion, to honor it or not. And you know, with the charges that I had, I had a lot, of, a lot of double charges why I was looking at so so many years like double jeopardy and so he looked it over and After, you know, I told him my, you know aspirations of getting out, you know Starting some businesses and you know straightening up and not getting in trouble again. He, he honored that. He, he suspended my 20 year sentence down to five years in a penal system and once I, you know, as long as I didn't violate or catch any other charges, as they say in prison, and I've become a model, model prisoner, then I would be released with a clean slate. So, by the grace of God that I only served the five years.

Speaker 1:

Actually, april 12, 2024, in a few few months, will be my 20 year anniversary. So I've been out nearly 15 years. So the 15 years that God gave me back. I've utilized it by starting businesses and Everything, and my wife and I looked at it, you know, like the 15 years that God gave me extra, like a king Hezekiah In the Bible, when he, you know, turned to God and asked, you know, for more time in his life. God added 15 years to his life, so my wife, and I see it as you know it was the 15th year and now we are really Headstrong and promoting.

Speaker 1:

You know the prison ministry and a life coaching business to help other people on a daily basis, and everything we do is, you know, we give 50% of every, every dollar that we make into the prison ministry, and that's what God's called us to do. Well, not trying to, you know, pat ourselves on the back, but ever since we made that decision to do that. You know, god's just blessed us with Help another people and being able to fund the prison ministry.

Speaker 2:

What's amazing. Now walk me through a little bit before we get into your business experience and what you've been doing there. Tell me about the prison ministry and what you do when you go into prisons.

Speaker 1:

So our prison ministry is distinguished group ministries. We have a few subsidiaries that we're going to have marketing services, marketing the arc and poetry and helping men and women write books, put their poetry and their art into publications. So it's called claims. It's one of the subsidiaries of our ministry is Kayla Lent's Art of the Inconciderated Marketing Services.

Speaker 1:

Naming claims is claiming that the men and women in prison want to use their talents to help people in the free world, as they call it, from inside the prison walls, to help give back to the free world. So the marketing services would be marketing their art and their talents, creating content, creating a portfolio for when they're released, or even people that's doing life sentences. They just want to give back to the communities, letting the community know that they're sorry for what they've done, and they just want to help other people become profitable and have a better life when they're released. So all the money and the proceeds that come out of that go directly into the other when people are released, to help them start their own businesses, reunite with their family, get their children back.

Speaker 1:

We work with another nonprofit here in Dallas. It's a single parent advocate, helping single parents after their incarceration, giving them the resources to get their children back, get a roof over their head, start their own businesses, become entrepreneurs. And then we also do go inside of the prisons with a prison entrepreneurship program here in Texas and the empowering women out of prison. We both go in and teach financial education, help them structure business plans everywhere, anywhere from home budgets to learn how to pay your bills, because a lot of the men and women don't know how to do that and also to structure business plans.

Speaker 1:

And that's the main thing, you know, we really push the financial education how money actually works, getting out and utilizing building your credit and understanding how money works to start your own business. And we help fund some of the businesses too and we coach them up.

Speaker 2:

I think this is yeah, so everybody that's watching can now understand why I wanted to have Jimmy Ray on the show. What you're doing I find to be fascinating, and the fact that you're going into prisons and you're working with people who want to improve their lives even if they can't improve their life for a long period of time or for life, they're still wanting to give back into our communities and everything else is just amazing. And so you're working with men and women, I take it, who are in the prison system. You find anybody that has talents of any kind, and then you are helping them grow those talents in prison and serve other people. From a marketing design poetry I heard you mention Any other things are like inmates doing search engine optimization, or are they doing website development or anything like on that nature.

Speaker 1:

They are currently ever since COVID. After COVID we're able to. Now they can't access the internet. We have to do market research for them when they're structuring business plans. They actually have competitions inside the prisons, where we go in as a panel, like short team style presentations. But we also do market research for them because they do not have access to the internet but they do have access to software where they can.

Speaker 1:

If someone's wanting to be a digital do digital marketing or create, put their designs into a digital platform they do have access to that software behind the prison walls and they do have tablets that we're being able to get in there, that we're funding with them and they are learning a lot of computer skills on IT and actually a lot of AI information. We're finally getting to them to help them understand the AI.

Speaker 2:

That's really awesome. Okay, so they develop some skills. They work with some people on the outside. Their sentence is over. They're not. You've worked with them to help them establish Financial viability, how to manage their finances, how to use their skills in the real world. So when they get out, they're not just going back to what they known before. They're doing something new that's productive to society. And the Funds that they earned while they were doing that, to my understanding, you're putting into an account that they can then use to establish that company when they get out of. Was that correct? Yeah?

Speaker 1:

and and not a direct way for them, but what? What we do is, as we're building a portfolio and the money that we're utilizing to help people that's in a free world while they're incarcerated, we in return do the same thing for them when they get out. That way they're not getting out and just with $50 that the state gives on, they're getting out with a portfolio, built, army behind them to help them get started. We also we work with a company called cornbread hustle here in the Dallas Metro flex. The founder of that, sherry Garcia, a colleague of mine.

Speaker 1:

She actually works with companies and she's actually taking Companies in behind the prison walls where people that's getting ready to get released like 30 days of being released and Taking companies in and interviewing these men and women and they're getting job offers before they even hit the streets. So we do have a platform on that also working, you know. So when they go through our programs that we offer, they're getting out, and within Within days not weeks, months, years within days they already have a job. As soon as they get their ID and their second form of Social security card, a first ticket that we help them get to. As soon as they get that they're they're working Within days of being released from prison.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely amazing. So that's kind of one of the primary things you're going. Anybody that listens to this are they able to give to this and Support what you're doing in the prison ministry?

Speaker 1:

There's definitely a way If you can provide a link. It's also I can't and. I can you know if you could provide that link is with our distinguished group ministries. They can donate to that right or work with us. Our main thing, and why we want to do this marketing too, is we want people to utilize our marketing services or coaching services.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and when you utilize us and hire us as your coaches. 50% of everything you know. So, whatever our monthly fees are to you, just know that 50% of that's going to help these men and women. And also, you know, the life coaching, career coaching we that's another aspect that we have these men and women, and it's just not the people that's getting out of prison or been affected by the prison system, we also everybody in a free world. You know we offer life coaching, career coaching and business coaching also.

Speaker 2:

So let's let's talk about that a little bit, because For me, it's very evident that you have a passion and a heart for people, especially those that have experienced some difficult and challenging times in their life, of which that includes everybody. I mean, not all of us have gone to prison, but all of us have gone through periods of our life where you know we've needed some help, we've needed some guidance, we've needed somebody to come alongside us, be a friend, be a coach, be a mentor, and that's an all walk of life, right? I firmly believe in that. So tell me about how you're working with individuals and then people today, both from a life coach standpoint, but also, you know, maybe from a business standpoint, and how you're helping them. Is it mostly focused on marketing? Mostly focused on marketing when you're working with companies? And then Talk to me a little bit about your life coaching approach.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So in life coaching and marketing they kind of go hand in hand. You know, A lot of people say, well, I'm not good at sales. But you know, on a daily basis we're always selling ourselves and we're always marketing ourselves.

Speaker 1:

So, marketing is telling your story, your why, whether it be an individual or a company. When people know your story and your why and your passion of why you do things, and they can join in on that mission or vision with you. That's 90% of marketing. You got to just tell your story, like I just told my story, and how we get other people to break out of the you know people have the fear factor.

Speaker 1:

That's the other book that I wrote, the last book that I just wrote. It's breaking out of the fear factor. You know, some people are just either they're scared of success or they're scared of failing. You just got to let that go and you know, enjoy life and marketing yourself is telling your story, not only as an individual but as a business.

Speaker 1:

When you tell your story and people understand your passion, they can jump on board and help you with achieve your visionary goals and a lot of times you know you got people. Maybe they're not an entrepreneur, but they have that spirit where they want to help other people. That's got a great mission and vision. They just want to jump aboard, you know, and work in the internal, behind the scenes, and not everybody wants to be upfront or the entrepreneur or the face of a company, but they can run the operations and everything behind it and every company needs that. So marketing is just telling your story and living out your story and when people see you do that on a daily basis, you know it's inevitable that you'll always be successful. So in our life coaching business again, I'm dyslexic and I'm a kinesthetic learner, so we focus on trying to help people that are insecure and don't think that they can go to the next level because they may have a disability or they may think they have a disability.

Speaker 2:

But with my dyslexia.

Speaker 1:

just like you know, sir Richard Branson, barbara Corkin, damon John, they're all short on short tank, every one of them. In Mr Wonderful also, they're all dyslexic and they, they, they say their dyslexia is what give they gave them the opportunities to be so creative and to be able to step out and grow the businesses the way they have grown the businesses and it's the superpower, not a disability.

Speaker 1:

So we like to help people and a lot of people don't understand that they may be dyslexic. You know, and we our life and team coaching and career coaching. We build cultures within sight of organizations and we teach people to get out of their comfort zone and not be afraid to work as a team and help other people. And sometimes the introvert may be the wisest person inside of an organization. So when we go in and we're team coaching.

Speaker 1:

The introvert might be the best leader of the organization. They just haven't given the chance, or given themselves a chance, to understand that, and that's where we help companies thrive as far as a life, career and team coaching Now in the marketing when we help people, companies to understand, to tell their story better by creating a market dominating position in the marketplace.

Speaker 1:

You know, sometimes these entrepreneurs and business owners and leaders, they don't know what they don't know Because they're so held up in the middle of the businesses. Ten of the businesses that we've done failed dramatically I mean 10, we put 10 or $15,000 in the one business that didn't even start, you know. But we've had hundreds of thousands of dollars that we've lost and learned lessons. But we've also had millions of dollars to flow through our hands, but it was all because we had to learn how to tell our story and through all that we don't want people to go through what we've been through. So that's why we started the coaching business to help people understand that sometimes we don't know what we don't know we may know everything about that industry.

Speaker 1:

They'd be passionate about being a restaurant owner or a culinary artist or you know, and me you know 20, almost 20 years in the trucking industry. I like to work with owner operators in the trucking industry. Sometimes you're so called up in the frame and the everyday business operations that you can't step back to see the meta vision and do like a helicopter. You know, set the frame, take the frame off the wall, put it on the floor and, you know, go up a couple thousand feet and then try to figure out why can't you break out of that frame? Because your frame is too small. Sometimes you've got to widen your frame out to be able to see the meta vision of how to help your organization grow and build your marketing, because most people don't understand that because they're inside of it. We help people. We have unlocked that vision for people and to see the, you know, reframe and redirect their priorities to be able to tell their story better.

Speaker 1:

And once someone can do that, sky's a limit on where their company and organization can grow together as a team.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's a great, great strategy Because we're often so close, you know, to our own puzzle. You can't see all the pieces and you know, I think the best storytelling, as it relates to the marketing standpoint, are ones that come from a position of pain and, if you are able to excuse me, like your story share. You know, here's where I started. I had a disability called dyslexia that prevented me from achieving like most people can achieve naturally or easily. Right, that led to a life where I found myself into circumstances that were not optimal for my life.

Speaker 2:

Yet each step of the way from what I hear from you is that that was not defeating. That took you further down, into more trial, more tribulation, more pain. You use those things as stepping stones and you turn that around from a mindset standpoint to be able to gradually achieve what you've become today, and that is a very powerful story. And it's a powerful story because people can relate with it. Right, I don't have dyslexia, but I can certainly imagine what that would be like to overcome. I have my own things that I deal with. I have my own trials, tribulations, different things in my life that have been stepping stones into where I am. Yet, like I said before, everybody still has those moments and those times where they need somebody to come alongside them and maybe look at things from a different side of the table, right? So talk to me about your books that you've written and what you want to achieve with those.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I want to start off with the life and career coaching and the team coaching book that my wife and I both Stephanie is my wife. Here's the cover of it. It's sold on Amazon.

Speaker 1:

Dyslexic Empowerment Coaching Via Kinesthetic it's where life coaching empowers live action, visionary growth. So, again, I utilize my dyslexia and my kinesthetic learning to come up with creative ways to help other people and organizations look at their organizations and team in a different perspective. Kinesthetic learning we're a live action. I get people moving in action and taking action and helping themselves and, as you pointed out a while ago, your greatest miseries, your greatest pains, is your greatest ministry also. So, utilizing my dyslexia and my kinesthetic learning and the help of other people that may be dyslexic or learn different ways in an organization, we help unlock those strains or those chains that are holding people back from progressing inside the organization.

Speaker 1:

Now, as far as the marketing, I co-authored this with the company that I have my coaches. I have a few coaches myself. Coaches need coaches. So co-authored this with the software company that I've invested into that helps me do my coaching as a business coach marker. It's called the MarketMax University 10,000 Challenge. I can unlock in 45 minutes and sit down with someone via Zoom or face to face. Within 45 minutes I can unlock $10,000 or more that's hidden inside their organization money that they're leaving on the table on a monthly and annual basis. Nine times out of 10, when I sit down within that 45 minutes I find on 40 or $50,000. There's been some cases in 45 minutes I found over $150,000 that people were leaving inside their business on the table that they did not even know that they were leaving on a table that could build their business and help their business grow.

Speaker 1:

And the latest book I wrote is about the breaking of fear factors of becoming an entrepreneur and not allowing those fear factors to hold you back to becoming an entrepreneur, and how to start your own business and create generational wealth. Meaning properly setting up trust funds, holding companies, your LLCs. If you're doing real estate, make sure you understand how to utilize holding companies and every resident or property that you own via separate LLC. So I go through that fundamentals. It's not a big book, it's just fundamentals to get people to understand.

Speaker 1:

So the name of this one is how to stop the entrepreneur drama so you can add to zeros and commas and actually my 12 year old daughter helped me design this book with the zeros and the little man with the comma. So this is helping people go from entrepreneur to entrepreneur and how to properly structure generational wealth utilizing trust, holding companies, llcs, insurance. How to become your own banker. I've been very profound. I've been teaching at for about six years also how to use whole life insurance policies to create your own banking through the infinite banking concept and actually you can utilize that to help your businesses grow and start your own bank so you don't have to absolutely all the time get funding from a regular bank.

Speaker 1:

You can just go to your trust and utilize your whole life insurance policies through your trust fund and help your businesses grow.

Speaker 2:

That's brilliant and I know that those strategies work for sure. I'll have all of the links below in our about section for people to view. All the books are on Amazon, correct? Well, those links will be below, jimmy, thanks for coming on the show Number one. I just got to say right at the end here you've got the coolest mustache on LinkedIn. So that was the first thing I appreciate it.

Speaker 1:

I worked on it for a long time.

Speaker 2:

That was the first thing. I want to draw me to you. I don't know. So you have a fascinating story, fascinating business, and one that I hope people resonate with and really get involved in. So thank you for coming on the show for everybody else. Please connect with it. Jimmy, I'll have his links down below in our about section. Also have links to his books and his ministry so you can get involved with him there. Please do reach out to him. You're gonna be thankful that you did. Thanks again, Jimmy. Greatly appreciate it, Monty.

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