We had the good fortune of connecting with Ruben Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ruben, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I always wanted to have my own business but I wasn’t sure how to go about it so it was one of those things that would be nice to do.
In 2002, right before I left to compete in the Salt Lake City Olympics, a 5th grade kid from my neighborhood asked me if I would be his “show and tell” project at his school when I came back from the Olympics. I took my sled, the Olympic torch (I was a torchbearer) and my luge helmet to the school.
The Principal took me to the cafeteria where 200 kids were sitting on the floor and said, “You have 45 minutes.” I thought I was going to die. I’d never delivered a speech before and I’m an introvert to boot. But I went ahead and told them how I had made it to the Olympics and gave them some tips on how they could reach their dreams.
Afterwards, the Principal said, “You have a gift! You’re better than the people we pay! You need to do this for a living!” I said, “You get paid for show and tell?” He replied, it’s the speaking profession. Don’t you know anything?”
I was a copier salesman at the time. The Principal’s enthusiasm got me thinking, Three days later I quit my job. I figured, “If I can sell a copier, I can sell a Ruben too.” I found a local successful speaker and he became my mentor. He taught me how to grow my business. He showed me how to write a book, who to contact, how to market myself, etc. The first few years were tough but now I speak around the world. Since 2002, over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies ave booked me to speak for their people.
Find a mentor. Follow in the footsteps of someone who has already done what you want to do. Then outwork your competition. Keep your costs as low as possible and focus on making a profit. Give incredible service so that you develop a great reputation and so that you can create a word-of-mouth buzz.
I’m not in the speaking business. I’m in the “promoting my speaking services” business. You have to market yourself and sell yourself all the time no matter how good you are.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a four-time Olympian in the sport of luge, a bestselling author (over 300,000 copies of my 5 books sold), and a keynote speaker. I speak for corporations, associations and schools about what I had to do to make it to the Olympics and how you can achieve you goals faster by following the same success principles.
I got started speaking professionally in 2002 after a 5th grade kid asked me to be his show-and-tell project. I’m an unlikely Olympian. I’m not a great athlete. When I was 21, inspired by seeing Scott Hamilton win Olympic Gold, I decided I would become an Olympian. I lived in Houston and I picked the luge!
My story inspires, equips and empowers people to take action. They walk out of my presentations thinking, “If THAT guy could make it to the Olympics, then I can go ANYTHING!”
Since 2002 over 100 Fortune 500 companies have brought me in to speak for their people. I’m a good investment because after listening to my story, their salespeople and employees get fired up, they become more focused, and they produce more.
My clients tell me that I inspire people to see opportunities in their challenges. These days (2020) I’m doing a lot of virtual presentations all over the world. I love it! OlympiaVirtual.com has information about my virtual programs.
I love sharing the principles of success. Recently I started a Facebook Group called “Goal Achievers Club.” It’s filled with entrepreneurs and go-getters from around the world who share best practices and encourage each other. Learn more here: RubenU.com
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was born in Argentina. My family came to the states when I was 6 years old. Like most Argentine people, I eat a lot of meat, like to drink wine, and I love soccer.
Since I live in Colorado Springs, I’d take my friends to some Denver spots and some in the Springs. I’d pick them up at DIA and we’d head to Boulder to get some empanadas, choripan (Argentine sausage sandwich), Milanesa Napolitana and some good Argentine beer or wine at Rincon Argentino Restaurant (RinconArgentinoBoulder.com). Then we’d catch a Colorado Rapids Soccer match. In the evening we’d watch a band play at Red Rocks.
Then we’d head to Colorado Springs. We’d tour the US Air Force Academy and the US Olympic Training Center. After that we’d walk down Tejon Ave and get something to eat in one of the many great restaurants. Then off to Garden of the Gods and we’d finish off the second day at the Broadmoor Hotel. Relax for a while there and dine at one or the Broadmoor’s great restaurants. The final day we’d drive to the top of Pike’s peak and hike or bike down. Then we’d get something to eat in Old Colorado City or Manitou Springs. A fabulous Front Range itinerary!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Jim Jacobus is the professional speaker from Houston that helped me out in the early days of building my business.
Jonathan Edwards and Don Akers were instrumental in helping me make it to the Vancouver Winter Olympics when I was 49.
Other: Goal Achievers Club – https://www.facebook.com/groups/thelugeman