Ray Rico. On #EntrepreneursDay we wanted to take a moment to highlight the man behind the name. He’s the reason RRF exists. But how did he get here? Why did he start this Marketing Agency?

Read on to learn more about Ray Rico, who most of you know as a business guy but who we know to be silly, kind and full of laughter! Give him a shoutout and tell us how you met Rico, and how he has impacted your life!

Where did you go to school and what did you study?

I went to U of M. Studied communications design.

Name one person who has inspired you throughout your career?

I am inspired by my peers. So many teach me lessons that are so valuable in life through their experiences.

What is your favorite piece of management/leadership advice?

It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.

What was your first job in your professional career?

Right out of high school, I worked for the local newspaper, The Dyer County Tennessean and The Dyersburg News.

How did you end up in the digital marketing/print industry?

I’ve always been in this industry. I started out in high school on the newspaper staff. After school, I started working at the local paper. Taught them how to go from old-school layout to digital. It became a valuable tool. When a job in Memphis opened up, I tried out for it. I drove down to Memphis, applied for the job, showed them my skills, and luckily — they hired me! My first job at The Commercial Appeal would have lasted most of my twenties. I worked there for almost 9 years.

As the Founder, what was the impetus to start Ray Rico Freelance (RRF) / Focus Mid-South?

I saw the decline of the local newspaper industry and after I tried for other positions to move up and failed, I decided it was time to leave and use my skills on my own. I put my notice, got a loan for my first Mac, and started with one client. My business was born in my duplex and with each client, I gained more knowledge, had more confidence, and started laying my foundation.

Even though I knew about the downfall of newspapers, I did my homework when it came to Focus. I wanted something that people were craving. It is totally a niche media that fits a need that doesn’t typically get filled. Expanding our footprint and serving our allies was intentional to spread the mission of inclusivity.

If you had to boil RRF down to one sentence, what would it be?

A group of talented humans who come together to create effective marketing and publishing strategies for our clients.

In just a few keywords, describe the culture of RRF:

Hardworking, dedicated, integrity, creativity, excellence.