The Boy They Called “Different”

He was so excited to start school, just like his big sister. Filled with energy and excitement, Joey got ready for school. Like every other kid, he layed out the clothes the night before. His G.I. Joe t-shirt and some blue jeans, his new shoes, and his backpack- filled with crayons, paper, scissors, and kleenex were all ready to go.

Joey was ready for school. He was a kid, like any other, always filled with excitement to learn new things, to play on the playground, meet new kids, have fun, laugh, and do things kids do. The only difference was, Joey’s motor was always running. It seemed as though he didn’t always want to sit down. He didn’t always seem to be listening to quiet time, to what the teacher was saying, or following instructions.

The school didn’t quite know what to do with him, because he was always wanting to move around, always asking questions, and didn’t quite understand why everyone just had to sit quietly and stare. So he would get up sometimes and move to the play area. The teachers would get frustrated. They would yell, they would send him to the office, and they would send him home.

This became a patter for Joey. Suddenly, the kid who was always excited, always asking questions, wondering how things worked, trying to find answers to everything, and coming up with creative ideas for future tools, hated school. He was sick of being yelled at for asking a question when it wasn’t the right “time”. Sick of being sent to the principal’s office. Sick of being at school. So he started getting “in trouble” on purpose because he knew he could go home.

You see, Joey was much smarter than they gave him credit for. Little did they know, Joey would come home and tell his parents everything he learned today in class. From science to math and what he played in gym class. So while the teachers thought he was NOT listening, they didn’t understand that Joey learned a bit differently. At his own pace.

Yet, the daily struggle in school continued. This led to them placing Joey in “special ed”. At this school, what this meant was he was to be placed in a separate classroom away from the “normal kids”.

Joey was miserable. “Why am I so “different” from the other kids?”, he would ask his dad.

“You’re not different, Joey. You just learn differently, and that is ok!”, said dad.

“But they put me in a “special” classroom, with the kids with down-syndrome, and the kid that bangs his head on the desk the whole time. Why can’t I be in the room with Eric and them? My friends.”

Tired of being “different”, Joey began to become more defiant. He HATED school. He no longer had any desire to learn. No desire to ask questions, because he always got in trouble for it. He was the kid who was “different”.

As you could imagine, this continued through grade school, then high school, and eventually put him behind the rest of the students his age. He would get sent out of classes, couldn’t go on field trips. He couldn’t stay in school. Was suspended constantly for being ”disruptive”. He felt hopeless. He couldn’t play sports because the school doesn’t let kids who are missing credits play. He didn’t build relationships with many people.

“I am different.”, he would say. “They won’t let me play. They won’t let me go on field trips. They won’t let me do the fun things in school.”

He hated school. Throughout his school life, he never experienced the “fun” elements of learning, classrooms, playgrounds, field trips. He learned mostly at home from his parents and online.

Then, one day in high school, he met Ms. Erikson. He was sent to her office. Like every other time. He was ready to be sent home…. So he thought.

“I’m not sending you home Joey. I’m looking at your history and it seems like people just wanted to send you home because that was the easiest way to do things.” She said. So instead, you’re going to finish the day with me in my office, and we’re going to work on some of your homework and missing assignments.

Caught off-guard, Joey reluctantly said, “OK”. Ms. Erikson called his dad and told him. He was also caught off-guard, as that had never happened. She told him that she wanted to help him, and see where they can get his credits up. Sometimes it is hard for kids to ”get it” and even harder to hear it when it is coming from those closest to them.

You see, it turns out Joey wasn’t so different after all. Ms. Erikson said, “This happened to my son, and I don’t want to see it happen to you. I believe you will finish high school and be a great person as an adult. We just need to help you believe”.

As time went by, Joey continued to progress. Daily visits with Ms. E became less frequent, if only to check up on him and say hi. He went on his FIRST field trip as a Junior in high school. He was able to play high school basketball. He was for the first time, feeling “normal”. He was finally able to enjoy school. Which is all he EVER wanted to do.

Joey went on to graduate high school on time. All because someone took the time to show him he was never so different after all.

Sometimes in life, all it takes is for someone to believe. Someone to show you that you are not so different, and for someone to take the time to just treat you like a human being. 

This is for all the kids that are told they are “different” every day. The kids that lose hope. The kids that want to give up… and for those that don’t let them. 


It’s Okay to Say No!

In our pursuit of entrepreneurship and financial freedom, we often push ourselves to limits we cannot fathom.

This means that we are constantly stressed, tired, ready to quit, losing faith, regaining faith, and many other feelings that makes us feel crazy! That also means that we are over-committing ourselves to things that we shouldn’t commit to in hopes that the commitment will somehow, some way come back to us, or help us get to where we want to be.

The truth is it’s not about just doing things HOPING they will help you. You need to do things with purpose. They must fulfill you or they must bring you something of value in return. Sound selfish? Well it’s not. Here is why…

“If you aren’t happy and healthy, you are worthless to your family.”

You are only as successful as you feel. If you are constantly saying yes to people and getting nothing in return, it is taking time from you building yourself and your career , and it is draining you. It is draining you of everything that is left in you that you can give to those who need it, appreciate it, and will give you the same back in return to refuel you. It is stealing from your family. It is stealing the bit of energy you have left inside of you that you can use to give to your family. If you aren’t happy and healthy, you are worthless to your family. THEY NEED YOU.

Now I know people are going to say, “ You are suppose to give without expecting anything in return!”, and while that is true, this isn’t about that. There is a difference between supporting those who need it and being taken advantage of, and being stolen from. If you are constantly giving, you have no room to receive, and that is not fair at all! You cannot do things without expecting something in return if you never feel fulfilled. Keep trying that and tell me how you feel. It’s different if you are feeling fulfilled, but I bet if you keep saying yes because you “know it will come back to you”, you will be drained, and you’ll die waiting! You can be a good person and support people and STILL say no to their requests.You can say yes to those who help you, support you, and nurture your growth, but you need to rid yourself of those who constantly ask, take, and disappear when you are looking for help with with your own growth. When you say yes to the right people, you do so because you truly do not expect anything in return because you simply know that if/when the roles are reversed, there is not even a question that they will be there.

When you are constantly helping people build, build, build, you have to remember what you are helping them build… THEMSELVES. Not your dream, but THEIR dream. Everyone is successful when each helps the other build their dream. If you are constantly helping others build their own, you leave no room or energy to build your own and no energy to help those that respect the process.

So when you are tired, stressed out, trying to get your business to the next level, be selective in your yes’s and be at peace with your no’s, because in the end, you have two types of people. The “givers” and the “takers”. People will take everything from you, but only a few will give. Sound contradictory? Go back two paragraphs.

Have no regrets through your journey. It’s okay to say no to people, and it’s not selfish one bit. In fact, it is selfless, because you are saving room for your family, your loved ones, and your dream…

Joe Ruiz, Jr. is a Social Media Manager ( , entrepreneur, and coach. You can follow him on social media as well:

Why You Need to Start Utilizing Video for your Business… NOW!

Video viewing has been on the rise for some time now…

Back in 2006 when we created the first film festival to stream film online (we hosted an online competition where people would watch and rate the films, taking the top 21 to the festival in NYC see:Manhattan Film Festival), we were told that people would NEVER sit and watch tv shows and movies over the internet…

Well, fast forward to today, and you will notice that not only are people streaming tv and movies over the internet more than anything, you will notice that video is also the most SHARED content online as well. In fact, video generates 135% more organic reach compared to photo posts on Facebook alone and on average they generate 8 BILLION video views per day!

“To succeed in business, you must adapt to the trends or you will be left behind!”

What this means for you

Like everything else in business, things change and evolve. Social media (the internet) is no different. If you look at your Facebook feed, and you think about what it is that you tend to view the most, share the most, like the most. Chances are it is a video of some sort, an inspirational quote, or some deliciously looking food shot.

So what this means is that like any other time, in order to succeed in business, you must adapt to the trends or you will be left behind! That is the truth my friends. You need to stand out, you need to get people’s attention, and you need to stay relevant. If you notice, social media moves very fast. Algorithms are in place to show people things that the algorithm finds relevant based on actions the user has take in the past (like watching videos, liking photos, commenting on certain posts, people they interact with and many, many more things). Facebook alone has pretty much shown us that they give higher placement to video and even higher placement to Live Video. In my opinion this is because the internet as a whole and content itself is trending towards becoming a more video dominant arena.

We humans have very short attention spans, and we are spoiled with instantaneous information that is available to us right in the palm of our hands… literally! So we no longer read as much information because we keep receiving more immediately. It is easier to get our attention visually. Especially the younger millennials. Video SHOWS us what we need, what we want, how to do something, and much more. It shows emotion, it shows information, and it shows real life. People want that more than anything.

So when creating your social media plan, I implore you to insert video content into that plan and begin using it immediately across platforms (I could go on and on about how to use it on each, but we’ll discuss that later… Just get started!). If you need help doing this, please do not hesitate to ask for some ideas! I am here to help. Please join our Facebook Group Social Media for Small Business for great tips, ideas, and free advice as well.


Be REAL. Be Genuine. Be Blessed.



Joe Ruiz, Jr. is a Social Media Manager ( , entrepreneur, and coach. You can follow him on social media as well:
Follwo me on Snapchat: elraven

The Importance of VALUE


I cannot stress to you how extremely important it is for you to consistently bring value to your customers, fans, friends, etc. People today lose interest and they lose interest FAST. So if you are not providing value to them, they will leave you for someone else. Why? Because we get things so instantly today. The mobile game has changed things. In one to five seconds, if you do not give me what I am looking for, I am able to find whatever it is that I need… because it is right in my hands.

“So if you are scratching your head daily, trying to figure out what it is that you need to do to get more customers or clients, then figure out what they need or want and provide them with that.”

So if you are scratching your head daily, trying to figure out what it is that you need to do to get more customers or clients, then figure out what they need or want and provide them with that. If you are beating your head against the wall trying to find new marketing ideas, and spending more money on outreach to places outside of your general sphere, you need to ask yourself if you are providing them the right value incentive to shop or use your services, OR, if you are targeting the right market. You can only provide value to those looking for what you have to offer. Otherwise you need to solve an issue that people have with your product/service and be able to put that out there.

Value is what drives your following, and it is what drives your business. If you do not provide quality content, people will not find the value in it, and they will go elsewhere. So keep this in mind when you are posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and all of these other platforms. People will recognize the REAL VALUE as well as the FAKE.

Be REAL. Be Genuine. Be Blessed.



Joe Ruiz, Jr. is a Social Media Manager ( , entrepreneur, and coach. You can follow him on social media as well:

Follow me on Snapchat !

Use Pokemon Go to your Business Advantage

We have all seen it. People playing this crazy, stupid game… But you are trying to run a business. You are not worried about stupid little games. Right. That’s a trick question!

I always talk about keeping up with trends, changes in social media, and adapting to the current state of business. Well, if you haven’t noticed, for the first time in a long time, people are walking places. People are meeting at places. ALL FOR A STUPID GAME!

I know what you are thinking… That is annoying. That sounds stupid. Another thing I often talk about is that it is NOT about you. Get over yourself. It is about your business and your customers/clients. I get that you would not want anything to do with Pokemon Go. You don’t want to learn or hear anything about Pokemon Go… but your customers do. Your clients do.

So why not take advantage of that. Remember… ADAPTATION. Adapt to the market. Adapt to the trends. Set yourself apart from others. Take advantage of this opportunity. Chances are, people are walking by your shop, business, restaurant tying to hunt some Pokemon!

Here’s what you do:

Find a Pokestop or gym near your business or if Your business is one.

There are ways to do this. Google them. (Sorry)

Set Lures

Lures increase the rate of Pokemon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for one half hour. There are a bunch of in-app purchases people take advantage of within the game, and this is one. Essentially they are power-ups for their avatar. These lures continue to bring people, and even keep some there, as they are available for one half hour.


This is where you get to have some fun and be creative! Here are some ideas I’ll lay out for you:

  • Set specials for Pokemon trainers. (It’s not hard to spot them playing the game)
  • Offer something free. Even if it’s just water. People are walking.
  • Promote yourself as a charging station for Pokemon Go players.
  • Promote on Social Media what you are doing. Reward people for finding special Pokemon at your store, shop, restaurant, etc. Utilize the power of SM!
  • Run a special just  for the app itself (pokemon go special)- Doesn’t have to do with them even playing it. Just mentioning it will gain attention.
  • Have a team member or employee playing the game during the day and purchase lures or incense, or any other object within the game to bring people in. (The cost is minimal).

GET CREATIVE WITH IT!!!  This can work for MANY businesses! Think about customers. Not yourself. This is what it comes down to. Even IF this is not long-term, you are creating an emotional connection with a customer. All data shows that this leads to more sales and customer retention. I guarantee ALL of you are consistently scratching your heads trying to figure out just how to get more customers. This is why I tell you just how powerful technology and SOCIAL MEDIA is for your business. It’s right there in your hands, and in your customer’s hands.

People will talk about you. People will share your business place. (See below)





Joe Ruiz, Jr. is a Social Media Manager ( , entrepreneur, and coach. You can follow him on social media as well:


Instagram: jruizjr



Go All In, Or don’t Go At All!

Sorry, that probably sounds harsh, right? Guess what, it’s the truth. Too many times I see people lose for one of two reasons. They are either too afraid to take the chance or they are full of excuses. Usually these two things go hand in hand.

In being full of excuses, they typically end up blaming someone else, some circumstance, or something in their life for their failure. “I didn’t have enough time”, “I had a rough upbringing”, “I was dealt a tough hand”. Yes, there are very unfortunate things that happen in life to many people… but that’s just it. It happens to MANY people. There comes a point where you have to be able to look in the mirror, find yourself, and just live. (Trust me, I KNOW how difficult life is. I’m not going to get too far into that, but trust me, I have seen the lows that life can throw us into). You need to decide if all of these things are going to define you or fuel you. You need to decide if you WANT something so badly that nothing else matters. Not your past, not your present, not any other factor. None of that will detour you from your end goal if you want it as bad as you say you do.

This is why I say, if you have a dream, protect it. If you have something you want to accoplish, GO ALL IN! Drop everything else until you get it. It is called sacrifice. If you are not willing to do that, then you have no business even talking about it. That is the reality. Don’t call yourself a professional whatever it is if you are not willing to put in the work to become one. Too many people WANT something but aren’t willing to give or put in the work to get it. Too many people EXPECT without offering anything in return and doing the things necessary to get anything. Too many people ASK  for things without giving anything. Give your all for something, then ask. Give your help to someone. Then ask. Don’t be selfish. Give and you will get… but you have to be all in. That is the only way it will mean anything… because you are vested. You are a pro. You have given to get there.

If you have a dream, if you have a vision. See it out. Go down swinging. If you are going to fail, you might as well fail having tried, rather than fail withouth trying. Who knows, you might just win if you tried. First you need to go all in, or don’t even bother going at all!


You can follow Joe Ruiz, Jr. on Facebook: @joeruizsuccess

Social Media…

Very vague title for 2016, right? I guess I am just going to talk about the importance of this thing we call “Social Media”. I always tell everyone this:

Remember in the 90’s and early 2000’s when every business KNEW they needed a website… but didn’t quite understand WHY?

Well here’s the deal. Social media today is the website movement of this era. Don’t believe me? Well guess where people are going to check out your business prior to them stepping foot inside of it or contacting you… It’s not your website. That is secondary. So this means TWO things. 1. You must be present on Social Media. 2. You Must be ACTIVE on Social Media. In a world where we have everything at our fingertips (literally in our hand), and everything has become so instantaneous, people want to make sure your site, AKA SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE, is current, active, and BUSY. This is what customers are looking at. They want to see that you are real. They want real time. They want real people. They want to see that you are responsive… to customers, to trends, to real life. Luckily for you, technology and Mark Zuckerberg among others have provided this for you and your business.

I cannot tell you how many businesses just are NOT comprehending this yet. Many are stuck in yesterday and their current situations that they are failing to prepare for the future and adapt to the current changes. Many are afraid, many do not want to spend the money, and many just do not think it is going to last… Remember when people said the internet itself would never last… those people are now lost in the shuffle. In fact, technology is evolving so fast, that things are changing daily, and many are failing to adapt and keep up with the market. There are BILLIONS of people on social media every day. It is the best word of mouth tool there is. When used correctly, it can be a great addition to your marketing mix.

Don’t Miss Out Because of Your Pride.

In 2006 when we created the first film festival in which selection was done via online competition (we were the FIRST festival to stream films on our website), EVERYONE told us that it would never work. That people would NEVER watch film or tv online. A University professor laughed at us and told us it would never work. IN 2006. Fastforward to today. What is EVERYONE doing??? Streaming movies, watching tv shows on fu**ing HULU and some other shit ton of streaming services to their phones, tablets, and computers.

Here is my point. I was lucky. I seen the trend and the possibility with technology. You need to see what is going on RIGHT NOW and WHERE IT IS GOING. That is key. So as a business owner, you have a decision to make. You can adapt and evolve, or you can crash and burn in a technology driven world where everyone wants and HAS information at their fingertips. You need to either invest in social media, or create something that provides purpose through technology and your product. So you either have to invest time into a proactive social media plan, or you need to invest the money for someone to do it for you. Don’t be cheap for the sake of being cheap. You invest the money now, to save you in the future (I’ve seen too many people go cheap and end up spending 30-100k to fix the cheap route’s screw up). Good news is, you can still run social media rather successfully with a small budget, if you have the time. If you do not have the time, do one of two things: Invest in someone that specializes in social media and can do it FOR you (or train your staff to do it), or learn it (sacrificing time and money, so be aware of that).


Did I mention that word? Time is something none of us gets back folks. It is the most precious commodity in our lives. Never sacrifice time, and never sacrifice happiness. So in your business, PLEASE take that into consideration when it comes to social media. If you can find a way to free up time, take advantage of it. To be a GREAT leader and GREAT business person, you need to understand your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. This frees up time and builds your business further and faster.


Joe Ruiz, Jr. is a Social Media Manager ( , entrepreneur, and coach. You can follow him on social media as well:

Instagram: jruizjr

Snapchat: FB_IMG_1467174293093