Developing the Owner’s Mindset with Alex Sanfilippo

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My guest today is Alex Sanfilippo. He owns a company dedicated to helping podcasters. I love and use many of the products that he is creating.

I met Alex some time ago when I was a guest on his podcast, and since then, I’ve continued to watch him create more and more resources to serve this target demographic. And it has been so much fun.

It was great to have him on the show. What I loved about this conversation is we got to get into the mindset of an entrepreneur and how he developed that mindset even before he was an entrepreneur. We talked about the difference between an intrapreneur and an entrepreneur. You could think of it as having an entrepreneur mindset and taking that mindset to your work— even if you’re working for someone else.

It was just a fantastic conversation. You’ll just hear Alex’s passion come through. He’s just an incredible guy doing some incredible things. I think you’re going to really enjoy this one.

Listen in here:

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Resources Mentioned:

Alex’s website

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: Alex. Welcome to The Meaning Movement podcasts. I am so excited to have you here with us. Welcome to the show.

Alex: Dan, thank you so much for having me really excited to be here with you.

Dan: It’s been so fun to, to reconnect. I know we’ve, we’ve known each other kind of follow each other’s work for a little while, but so, so excited to have you have you on the show? The, the question I like to start with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do?

Alex: First off. I wanna go back to something. You just said it we’ve known each other for a few years. You were on my show. I don’t remember what year it was. Was it 2019 or maybe, or

Dan: I don’t even remember.

Alex: don’t remember,

Dan: was a ways back.

Alex: If anyone’s interested, they can just look up discovering your voice with Dan Cumberland and you’ll find it it’s the podcast was called creating a brand at that time.

But anyway, since then, I’ve, I’ve been a fan of your work, so I’m glad to be following it. And that kind of leads right into your question here. Like how do I begin to talk about what I do? I’m I’m through and through a podcasting guy. So I am full time podcasting at that point when we met, I was still an industry guy.

When I say industry, I was in the aerospace industry, working for big corporate. At that point was my beginning stages of realizing that I wasn’t gonna wanna be there forever. I wanted to actually move out of that. And so since then I’ve transitioned, like I said, I’m fully, full-time in podcasting and startup entrepreneurship life.

And that’s how I usually begin talking about what I do is just like making that transition becoming really from a work standpoint and identity standpoint, really stepping into the fullness of what I believe God has for me in my life. And that’s where I am.

Dan: I love it. It’s so, so fun. And so fun to hear about that tradition. That’s often, you know, why people push play on, on the shows. Cause they’re thinking about those kinds of transitions in their lives. So I love, you know, I think there’s gonna be some really relevant stuff, um, there for us to, to get dig into.

So let’s just kind of rewind a little bit aerospace, you know, tell me, tell me about like your career aspirations and like going into aerospace and like that part of your journey.

Alex: Yeah, first off, I gotta give a disclaimer here, Dan, because a lot of people assume I was an astronaut, a fighter pilot, or a sky diver or something else fun. Right. and not saying my job wasn’t fun, but I was none of those things. I, I worked behind a computer.

Dan: Yeah, well, I’m just on that. My, my, my dad was an aerospace engineer when he was, uh, in his career. So that’s where I went with. It is like, I assume that you’re, you’re an engineer by trade and that you were building airplanes or, or, or hardware or software for, for airplanes, but continue. Tell, tell us

Alex: maybe even more boring than that, maybe even more boring. so, and again, I loved what I did. I was, I was a commercial operations director and I worked my way up to that. I started as a part-time warehouse guy and it was a 15 year career. And over that time I worked my way up to the senior executive level.

And I, I was running a division of the company, which happened to be commercial operations. So my job was protecting companies, profit margins, and making our processes more streamlined and efficient across the. I did that for five different apartments to me, a super fun job. We focused on parts of manufacturing below the atmosphere.

So I worked with a team of engineers like your dad, but I wasn’t actually one myself. And here’s the thing. This is how I knew I was gonna make it in podcasting. Is those people thought I was funny. So I was like, man, dorky people think I’m funny. I can make it somewhere. I’m just kidding. Um, but yeah, that was kind of how I, that what I was doing in, in aerospace.

Again, I got in as a part-time guy and I really loved it. And what separated me from other people was a guy who became, went from part-time to full-time was my ability to be really creative in the job. And now there’s a term for it. People call it an entrepreneur, basically an entrepreneurial type person that’s inside an organization.

I was always one of those people and that’s just what helped me climb that ladder. And I wasn’t necessarily overly ambitious. Like I wasn’t asking for a raise or a promotion. Every chance I got, I was just noticed a lot because I really worked hard and I brought a lot of value to the organization.

Dan: I love that. And I love, I love the, the, the phrase, you know, or that the title entrepreneur at that time. Did you, did you kind of like hold onto that, that title or that identity yourself? Or is that something just looking back that you’re like, yeah, that really kind of described that phase of my life.

Alex: You know, it’s looking back. Cause I don’t even know. I’d never heard anyone say that until just a few years ago, even. Um, I, I don’t know if it was your podcast, but I was listening to, uh, maybe it was, has someone talked about that before on your show? Cuz that’s probably where I

Dan: it is come it’s come up, but I don’t know if we really have focused on it, but yeah,

Alex: I love your, I love what you do.

I love, I love the meaning movement. So I just, I figure everything. If I like the content, I figured it came from your show, but maybe that wasn’t the case, but, uh, but you know, like going back to that time, I definitely have that identity of like, man, I’m, I’m here to be creative. I’m here to kind of flex like what I’m able to do.

Um, not to show it off to people, but for myself to see how I can grow this organization. And when I started with that company, it was, um, I would consider like in, from the like American standard perspective, it was a midsize. Privately held company. When I left 15 years later, it was a publicly traded company that was a multi-billion dollar organization.

So like, you can imagine the internal changes that happened over that, that period. Yeah. It, it was wild. So like obviously the culture, what I was able to do, all that stuff changed quite a bit over time.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Well, I, I think it’d be really fun to kind of explore, you know, in entrepreneurship. I wanna, and then, and then of course your, your transition to entrepreneurship, but, um, just to kind of further define that and kind of fill that word out for folks, cuz they might be similar to you where they’re like.

I’ve never heard that word before, but maybe that, that could be a, you know, a good way to think about my work. What is the advantage of, or, and you, I think you’ve begun to, to define it, but let’s maybe let’s start there. How would you define entrepreneurship? And then what’s the, what’s the advantage of it?

And I have a couple more questions, but let’s let’s, let’s start, let’s start there.

Alex: Yeah. So to me much like an entrepreneur, which is somebody who I think is like a creative problem solver, ultimately is what that person is. It has a lot of ideas, ambition, the. Execute. If you’re a good entrepreneur, right. You’re doing that same thing, but inside an organization. So instead of saying, how am I going to.

Make this company or build this brand for myself instead, you’re looking internally and saying, okay, here’s the organization I’m working for? How can I make this organization look the best it possibly can using my skills, my creativity, my ability to lead. I find a lot of entrepreneurs don’t need to be managed.

Like I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have any accountability or any managers or anything like that, but the end of the. They’re never gonna be the person who’s in an office, getting written up for doing something wrong from the perspective of, Hey, you showed up four hours late, you know, or like you didn’t call in sick.

Like the other people are going to basically act like an owner, but inside an organization. And that’s definitely what I carried the whole time I was there. And I mean, as humbly as I can, but I showed up with that perspective, it was an internal drive that honestly, the money, the perks of the job, they didn’t really directly affect that.

It was more my internal self of being that entre.

Dan: Yeah, I love that. It’s such a good, such a good way to think about it. I love that you said, you know, act like an owner. And I think that that really encapsulates it really, really well. Where for you, where did that internal drive come from?

Alex: That’s a great question, man. Like, I mean, for me, I happen to follow Jesus and like I’m here to push that on anybody or anything like that. But for me, I believe like my faith, like I really figured out who I was at a young age through that I say young age, like late teens, early twenties. And from there, I just knew that like, man, I’m I’m.

Called to be the head, not the tail. Like I am called to, to really help the world in, in a meaningful way. And if that means I’m in an organization to help, I’m going to do that to the best of my ability. And I just think it got drawn out there. In addition, my, my dad was an entrepreneur. Uh, my mom, she was, she was like a, a, she was like an in-home person who like style and cut hair and stuff like that.

So she was a bit of an entrepreneur as well. So I think I just kind of had it my DNA at a really young age though. This is kind of an interesting story at 10. I started selling used golf balls to wait my, my across the street from my house. There was a, a golf course and we’d go over there. And I, I found a golf ball one day and I picked it up and I didn’t know much about golf.

We was always playing football and run around the, on the golf course. Like we weren’t supposed to. And somebody, a golfer goes by and goes, Hey kid, what does that ball say on it? I was like pro V one Titleist. And he’s like, I’ll give you $3 for it. And that man, I kid you not. That was the first time a light bulb went off, like for me, 10 years old.

And I was like, I bet there’s more of these in the, in the water. And I bet if I find them more people will buy. And that’s when I kind of started my like, journey of like, realizing, Hey, I’m good at sales. Like, I love this idea of building a business. So like me and a whole bunch of neighborhood kids every Saturday morning, we’d go find golf balls and sell ’em.

And it was a fun thing, but that was kinda like my first introduction to realizing like, Hey, I can show up and I can add value in this way. I was never a good athlete or a good student or anything like that. Like I tried hard with everything I did, but the one thing I really found that I’m good at was, was business.

So I really just leaned into that. And as I found my, I. In Jesus, as I mentioned, like that really just helped me hone in on that and apply it in a way that could really benefit other.

Dan: I love it. It’s, it’s really, really great. And just the many, the many facets of that drive and, and where that’s come from in, in your life. It’s, it’s really fun. Really fun to hear, uh, for, for folks. I mean, just to kind of circle back to this, this entrepreneur thing, I’d love to just hear you contrast the benefits or maybe like, an entrepreneur approach.

Maybe let’s start here and then we’ll go to the benefits, an entrepreneur approach to a job versus a maybe traditional approach. And then I, then I wanna talk about like, and then what’s the benefit of, of taking an approach like that to your work versus, you know, a, a traditional approach.

Alex: Yeah, fir first off, I’m gonna recommend a, a book and I’m not affiliated with this person at all, but Liz Wiseman wrote a book called impact players. I can’t remember how many steps she had in it, but basically like how to be, she calls an impact player, same, same concept we’re talking about. I think she even uses the word entrepreneur in that, but she really just dives deep into like how to like step by step, become somebody who’s really valuable to an organization.

And so, but put in my own terms, it’s really like, it’s you taking ownership at the end of the day? Like it’s not just like, here’s something I never said. And I, I, you can tell an, an entrepreneur versus just a regular employee by this, this line alone. Oh, I just work. Oh, that’s not my job. Oh, I don’t know about that or, oh no, you have to go over there for that.

Right. And I get some people like the, the, the temptation to say that can be pretty easy. Cuz then you’re like, well then I don’t have to take any ownership for it. But at the end of the day, in my mind, everything rose and fell on me. Now, granted, if someone’s like, Hey, I need Alex. I need you to look at this.

I need a senior, uh, aerospace engineer to look at this. Then I would say, Hey, let me help you find the right person. Not, no, I don’t do that. I’m not an engineer. I don’t work there. I would say, Hey, let’s, let’s find you the right person. Here’s my three contacts within the organization that do a good job with that.

Let me get an introduction to your department for them, right? Like that is taking that ownership and saying, okay, no, it’s not just not my job. I’m here to better this organization. So it is part of who I am. And man, like learning to here’s the thing. I always tell people that they’re entrepreneurs.

There’s a lot of people like you. And I probably both know people at this stand and some succeed, but most don’t, I find people who get straight outta school, whether it’s high school or college and they go straight into entrepreneurship, they, they struggle. Often. I find the best entrepreneurs are ones that started off in some sort of traditional job where they can learn how to operate around.

People like can learn, operate around corporate and the people that succeed the most as an entrepreneur, the ones that were being that person in a big organization as well. Like they’re, they’re still shining those colors. When I left that company, man. The simplest way I can put it, man. Everybody said the same thing, including the CEO I poured directly to he’s like you are going to do so good.

He goes with anything you do. And it’s not because I was just a good employee who showed up on time. It’s like, no, this, this guy can solve problems. He show, he knows what he’s doing. He’s here to be an owner. And still this day, those people all support me. Um, that, that I keep in contact with, from the company.

But anyway, it’s a long way to answer the question, but I just think it’s it all fall rises and falls on your level of independent ownership that you have, uh, within the organiz.

Dan: Yeah. Oh, I love that. You’re circling back again to that idea of, of ownership. And I wanna check out that, that book, um, impact players. I’ll definitely find that and link up to it in the show notes for folks. Um, cuz it sounds like, you know, right up, right up my alley and, and just talking about ownership, just remind me of some of like, um, you know, like with Choco Willox, um, you know, extreme ownership.

I dunno if you, if you’ve read that book, but like, and I it’s something that I’ve kind of put into place in the organizations that, that I lead as much as possible that like. You’re as an employee, a hundred percent. This is the people that I want to have work for me. The people who are a hundred percent responsible for whatever happens in that organization.

No matter, no matter, you know, if it’s their fault or if it’s in a different department or if has anything, if something goes wrong, like to have someone who steps up and takes ownership of it, even if they’re not the one that caused the problem like that, those are the kind of people that, you know, you wanna build, build organizations around, uh, because.

You, they could just get so much more accomplished than someone who’s just, you know, oh, that’s not my problem. Or, oh, I just work here or this is just my job or whatever it is. So we’re just speaking, speaking my language in. So in so many ways, and I love, I, I don’t know for, for people listening. I, I think, you know, just a challenge just to think about how can you contribute.

Reframe your contribution to your, your company into a, a contribution of more ownership and more taking on that kind of owner, owner mentality. Um, I think it’d be a really interesting, um, thought thought experiment.

Alex: Yeah. If, if I could add to that challenge real quick, Dan, a thought around there, cuz one thing that I found that happened, and this happened to me a lot and at first it was really stress. Is as you become that person who takes ownership, responsibility, follows ownership at the end of the day. And like, yes, that does get you noticed, but also gets you piles of work that have nothing to do with your core function at an organization.

And for me, that started happening. So like I took on. The whole entire like RMA, so like re return material, authorization forms like that whole process hit my desk. All these random things started just piling up. Cause people were like, oh, Alex, he’ll do it. Like everyone else just pretends, like we never showed it to them.

Alex will do it. And it takes a level of, and this is where I think that you really learn to become a good entrepreneur as an entrepreneur is when you can learn to say. And delegate properly for me. I started getting stressed out. I started working like tons of hours and I’ll, I’ll say this at that point I had become, I was the most valuable player in that organization and I’m not trying to sound conceited.

I just know what value I brought to the table. but I was not valuable to myself anymore. And then my performance started lacking cuz I had no energy left and it’s because yes, I took ownership, but that also meant responsibility was following me. And the best thing you can do for yourself, and this goes for an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur like anyway, like if you have your own business is learning to delegate really well.

In a way that enables somebody else to be more like you as well, and might say more like you not to follow your personality traits, they still need to be their own individual, but to learn, to take that level of ownership as well. And it took me a couple years, but man, lemme tell you what, once I got that, my that’s when I got promoted to the executive level was when people were like, wow, he’s.

He’s taking ownership, but he’s not doing any of the work, which sounds weird. Um, it goes back to the old, I dunno if anyone saw office space, but office space, the guy gets promoted as soon as he stops working. Right? Like that’s what people are looking for. Like they were looking for somebody who can still have all the work, getting done somehow, but not be, be able to sit back in their chair every now and then.

And I’ll tell you what that’s. When I learned to become a good entrepreneur was actually through that process of realizing I don’t have to be the one to do all. I just have to pass it. People that I can also equip and enable and trust that they are going to make it happen. And I know that’s a longer answer you’re probably looking for, but I wanna challenge everybody with that.

Like that’s how you can really experience mastery in what we’re talking about here today.

Dan: I love it. I love it. As you’re talking through that, it just, you know, reminds me of that, you know, that quote, that fam that famous line from a Spiderman, right. That with great power comes great responsibility. And what it feels like we’re saying though, is like, it’s a, it’s a inverse of that with great responsibility.

Comes great power, right? Like the more responsibility you take on the more, the more people will look to you to, you know, to as a, as a leader. Uh, and I assume along with that comes, you know, promotions comes, you know, title, you know, and that, I imagine that’s how you worked your way up from, you know, working in the warehouse to, to having so much responsibility and title, you know, it within the company.

Is that true?

Alex: Yeah. A hundred percent and that’s super well said. I love reversing that quote. Cause that’s like a quote that I love, so that that’s

Dan: There you go

Alex: to me. Thank you.

Dan: you could take that and run with it. I love it. I love it. When you were at the, you know, at the, at this organization, like, what did you think, what you thought about your career and your, your future? Was it, did you think like what’s, what is my question here? I think, I just wanna know, like, how did you think about your path and where you were going.

Alex: Yeah. For a long time, man, I was confused. Like, I didn’t know what to do early on. At first, like being a part-time receiving guy, like basically what I was doing was taking out trash and breaking down boxes for people more or less. And it’s, it’s a good, humble place to start, but like, I, I couldn’t see a future.

Like I knew that it’d be great to get full-time and have some benefits. Right. Like I knew that that would be a good thing. And then that started happening. I was like, okay, I’m close to being able to bring in money that like, I could, I could have a family or like a house. Right. Like I started getting closer to that.

And so like, along the way, I just kind of follow that journey. It wasn’t until probably about year 10 that I started realizing, you know what, I can really do good in this company. I can actually step into high level leadership. At that point. I was, I was in management, but like probably lowest tier of management, if you will.

And that’s when I realized that, like, you know what, I, I can do more here. I can, I can serve more. And so I started doing that and, and then things changed when the company went public and, and we can get into that in, in just a minute here, but like for a little bit, I was like, you know what, I’ll probably be here.

30 years I could be. I could be here for, for 40 years. Like, I, I love what I’m doing. It’s a good organization. They’re taking care of me. Like I’m at a really high point where I’m leading and it’s a growing organization, but man, like if, if you don’t mind, I’d love to talk about like my transition out of there if

Dan: Oh, absolutely.

Alex: um, yeah, I wanna make sure I don’t, I don’t ever step here and we just, anyway, um, What, what happened was the company went public, which I guess ultimately might be the goal of most organizations, like everyone, dreams of that. And, and then one day something happened, man, that like changed my whole perspective of this thing.

So again, I was thinking I’m probably like a lifer at this company cuz like I really enjoyed it. It was great. Never had a dull day there. I really, I shouldn’t say that I never had like a dull quarter there. Like I really just enjoyed what I was doing for the most part. Um, like I can’t say it was always beautiful, but anyway, um, I walk into my CEO’s office because one of my departments had a really great achievement.

We had, again, I was controlling the company’s profit margins in these departments and we. Save the company, like 10%, like in we’re talking like millions of do like huge. And I was amped up, like I wanted to kick his door down and like put my feet on his desk and be like, yo, did you see what we did? And I, right.

Obviously I didn’t do that. I had a little bit more respect my head. That’s exactly what happened. I sit down like, Hey, did you see those numbers? And he is like, yeah, I did. And I, I could feel his body language and his tone. I’m like, we, uh, I’m like, you notice, like we saved that money. Like we didn’t lose that money.

You know, that. I’m like, I’m just making sure you understand, cuz he seemed like not happy. He’s like, yeah, no, I know he goes, yeah, the shareholders are furious. And I was like, what? I’m like, we saved a ton of money. He goes, we didn’t tell anyone we were gonna do that. He’s like they could have been selling these stocks at a much higher like rate.

If they knew we were gonna grow at that level. He’s like, you can’t, he goes, you can’t exceed the status quo anymore. Like that. He goes, you cannot do that. He’s like we have to have meetings about that. And man, I remember leaving that office and it was a total. Paradigm shift my mindset of what I was gonna do there.

I didn’t leave with a bad attitude. I left knowing, okay, this is where I, this is where I am today. I’m still gonna remain faithful and do what I’m supposed to do. But my head, I was like, I can’t stay here now. And that was at year 13. So from 10 to 13, I had this vision of being there forever. And that year 13, I was like, I it’s time for me to leave.

I have to leave because now I can’t be that creative person anymore. I now have to follow really simple structure, which. I’m not dogging that organization, cuz that was the goal. And still this day they are growing at a healthy pace or doing really well. They did get through the pandemic, but I just knew that this was no longer the place for me because I could not flex my creativity or be that leader I wanted to be.

I was for lack of a better term, a cog in the system, even in an executive level.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And I think, you know, as you, as a company grows, like things change and there’s different expectations, different, you know, bottom lines and, um, yeah, it, it, it sounds like a really, I don’t know, frustrating disempowering. Moment. I’m curious, like, so what did you do with that energy or, or lack of energy or that disappointment and how did, and, and then I, I wanna get into this, you know, this transition from being that entrepreneur to, to stepping out and starting your own thing.

So let’s, let’s fill in some of those gaps there.

Alex: Yeah. You know, so the first thing I did is started doing some side hustles, man. Like I was like, man, I’m gonna find something that I like, and I will say this, I need like this disclaimer, to be heard because it’s really important to me. I, I was there three year or two years after. This, this I, this mindset shift, right?

This paradigm shift in my head, I was still there for two years. And I will say this those last two years were my best two years, especially the last year was like by far my top performing year that my personal evaluation was the best that’d ever been. All five. My departments were actually the top five performing departments in the entire organization.

Like I never had all five do that. They were a full year ahead on all their goals, which. Unheard of, and they’re like, Hey, if this, they told me that, like, if, because I left in 2020, like if you weren’t leaving, my CEO was like, you would be getting a massive bonus. I just wanna let you know if you hang around.

Um, anyway, backtracking. So I wanna make it known that I left on really good terms, cuz I’m a firm believer that the way you end one season is the way you begin the next, if you end on a bad foot, I believe you start the next one on a bad foot. And so I just wanna make sure I left as faithfully as I could.

Not burning any bridges so that, that I could start off the right way. But what I started doing, going back backtracking now, Dan is, um, I started some side hustles failed right out the gate multiple times. I was like, man, I I’m good at, I can try some coaching stuff. I didn’t know how to set that up. So it immediately fell flat.

I was actually decent and I thought web design was fun. Started that totally failed. Couldn’t deal with the clients and a few other things like I’m gonna fast forward through all those. And I finally was like, you know, I need help. Like I need some help. And that’s when I started my podcast and you and I met shortly after that because I was like, I need to talk to people like Dan who are much smarter than I am, who can help me along the way, figure out how to get the right mindset, how to enable the right skills.

Because going from an entrepreneur to an entrepreneur is actually a bigger transition than you than just one letter. And then that you might think, because again, I’m under someone else’s covering and roof. If I fail my paycheck’s probably still coming in, but when you’re out on your own, if you. You fail, that’s it.

Right. And entrepreneurs fail a lot. So I, I started a podcast to learn how to become an entrepreneur, as weird as that sounds. So it was free coaching for me, more or less, just talking to people smarter than me. So thank you. I appreciate that.

Dan: I love that. Well, like you’re, you’re, you’re saying, you know, you’re talking to me, people like me cuz you know, who are smarter than you now. Like you’re the smart one here, dude. Like you’re, you’re the one who’s getting free coaching. It’s amazing. I love it. Well, I think that that’s, you know, that’s one of the great byproducts of.

Podcasting, um, which I wanna get into, but I wanna circle, you know, highlight a couple things about what you said, but I’ll just, I’m just putting a pin in this for later. It’s just like the relationships that start out of it, right? Like that, like you and I, you and I know each other that I, you know, I consider you one of my internet friends because of, because you had me on your show and we, you know, we we’ve exchanged, you know, emails, you know, once a quarter or so, you know, like we’ll, we’ll just touch base and like, it’s so cool to see.

Like how podcasting can be such a interesting, and helpful networking, networking tool. And I just love that that’s, you know, that was kind some of your, your motivation in, in doing that. Um, one of the things I just wanna circle back to, cause I think is really, really important is, is you said, you know, that you’re a big believer in how, how you end is, is how you begin.

And I. A hundred percent, uh, agree with that. There’s a, a model of transitions by, um, William Bridges. I dunno if you’re familiar with his book. I think it’s just called transitions. I’ll make sure to link up to it in the show note, but he, he talks about this idea that like anytime you’re ending something, something else is emerging.

And like that the two, instead of it, we think of it as a timeline, you’re going along then there’s an end point in the start start point. But really like, there’s like this overlap where like, as you’re still ending, something else is starting and a even after maybe you’re not in that job emotionally, you’re still transitioning.

And your identity you’re per like the way you think about yourself, think about your work, all of that. Like it all overlaps and interplay together. So. Just to go back to that point. Just makes so much sense because like, cuz because the way you end is, you know, it, it’s how you begin because you’re already beginning while you’re ending and you’re still ending while you’re beginning.

If that, if that makes sense. So just wanted to

Alex: so well said, man. I’m yeah, it’s so true. I mean like nothing just ends and there’s nothing else, right? Like, I guess, unless you, you die, right? Like not to be more, but like that’s the only time that like, things that are happening in your life are gonna stop. Other than that, you’re right.

As soon as a door closes, another one opens and, and often more than one. Right. So, yeah. I love that. You said that, man. I think that’s really valuable to, for listeners to hear.

Dan: Yeah, and well, and, and good on you for like ending, ending well, right. Because it’s really easy to like, it’s like the equivalent of senioritis, you know, where it’s like, okay, I know I’m wrapping up here. Like, let’s just put this in neutral and coast for a little while, while I get my side hustles off the ground or whatever.

So, um, I, I just respect your, your, your hustle to, to, you know, fulfill your obligation, to fill, fulfill your commitments, to keep, keep your responsibility high and, and, and, and well, so, so good, good on

Alex: You know, I saw people end incorrectly and not just senior people, but some people that are really young, like they get a new job they’re out, man. If you ever wanna come back later or wanna use that. Now you can’t cuz you burnt that bridge. The coolest thing that happened, man, I’ll keep this story really brief a year in a couple months after I left, I got a call from the company that I left and they had a really senior person leaving and they asked me if I’d come speak at their going away party.

And I was like, man, like I, I was like, yeah, I don’t work. I was like, I’d be honored. Like I’d love to be there. And I, I, I only knew about half the faces cuz the company had grown so much, but I’m like, man, the fact they left on such good terms that they’re inviting me back just to talk to the organization.

That was like a really cool moment for me, man. So anyway. Yeah. And, and faithfully is what I wanna just share with.

Dan: I love it. I love it. Well, and just to, so let’s talk about that transition and talk about, you know, how that, how that went for you. How much, how much did you have in, in the works at that point? Did you already have, you know, income? I know we’ve talked about this a little bit before I hit the record button.

Did you know, did you have a safety net built in, was it just like, I’m just, I don’t even know what’s next. Like, tell me about, like, how did you think about like now was the time to quit

Alex: Man first off I’m, I’m a strategic person. So, uh, I’m not the guy to just be like, I’m I’m I didn’t come home one day and be like, Hey, guess what, honey, I left my job and we’re gonna figure it out like that, that just, if that happens, then someone took my body. Um, because that, that is just not me. Um, So, no, it was very strategic.

As a matter of fact, like I, I talked to the company and told them, Hey, I wanna leave in the next 90. And, uh, and they, they were, again, very kind. So I went from 40 hours to 30 to 20 to, to out the door, basically, um, over a 90 day period. And that was my transition. And that was like my last, my last paycheck.

And I knew that my wife and I were gonna have to go a while. We, we budgeted two years for the, the company we started, uh, saying it would be two years before we pay ourselves. So, what we did is we just looked at what do we, how much do we need to save every month? Like, or not spend every month I should say, right?

Like, is we need to look at all that to see how can we float this far? Like what, what are the sacrifices we have to make in? Are they worth it? And at the end of the day, what, what I, what I tell people with this is man, that I know that sounds so scary to people. And like, it was scary for me too, knowing, okay, I’m been making a substantial paycheck for the last five to eight years at that point that was like substantial to, okay.

Now I don’t have health benefit. Now I don’t have a paycheck. I have no income, like nothing, right? Like that that’s that’s serious. But what I did, and I always tell people, man, like making the move to being an entrepreneur takes courage, takes a lot of courage like to pull that trigger was one of the toughest decisions I made, but here’s what I was doing.

I was sacrificing the sake of the good for the take the sake of the potentially. Great. So sacrificing the good for the sake of the potential. Great. And I say the sake of the potential. Great, because there was no guarantee. But it was a calculated risk. I said, Hey, here’s the growth of our company at this pace, we will be making a paycheck before we run out of money, like calculated.

So I knew that it was going to happen at the end of the day. There’s some faith that has to be involved. Right. Like, and I, I’m not gonna bring it back to like my actual faith, but that was what kind of kept me grounded in that time. But again, I was sacrificing what I thought was good for what could be great.

And to me that has paid off like tenfold since making that decision, but it was tough, man. And it took that courage for me to step.

Dan: I love it. And just, just that idea of sacrificing the good for the sake of the great. I wrote that down in my notes, cuz that’s like, I don’t know. I kind of, I, I look, I just got goosebumps just thinking about like that is, it’s such a hard. Hard thing to do, to say no to something that’s really good in the hope.

And I think it’s the hope piece, like in the hope and the expectation and it, I mean, it sounds like you were very, very smart about it like that. It’s not just in the hope, you know, you don’t just wish upon a star kind of hope that something great will emerge, but like, so that, so that you sacrifice the good, so that this great thing that you can see.

On the horizon that you can actually get there. And, um, yeah, just ver it’s just a great, a great phrase. I, I wanna, I wanna think about in my own life, how much did, was in, in the works, how much was in motion? Well, maybe before I get there, like, let’s talk first, you know, what is, what is pod pros? Like? What are all the things for, for listeners?

So let’s just have an understanding what your company does and, and, and the many, the, the many components to it. And then I wanna know like how much was in place and, and how much has grow, how, how it’s grown over the last, you know, couple of years.

Alex: Yeah, sure. I’ll, I’ll keep this brief, cuz I think we’re having a really good conversation around the idea of like the, the actual journey. Right. So I’ll keep brief what I do, but I did mention starting a podcast for the free coaching. Right. So I met Dan, Dan made me smart and then I left my job. Right.

That’s basically.

Dan: I could take zero credit.

Alex: But, so what, what happened is I actually one learned to become an entrepreneur. So I’m very thankful for that. But in the process, I also found the lane that I wanted to be in, which was podcasting, which was unexpected. I thought I was just using the podcast to learn what I wanted to learn and hopefully grow an audience along the way for whatever I did.

But what I found out is like, no, I love this podcasting thing. So when I stepped out of my organization, that point I had this show, which was doing well, and I’m very thankful for that. But I also had started, started a service company. Uh, the organization is called pod pros and we just built softwares for podcasters.

And the thing that we built at that time was called pod match. And to simply put it, it automatically connects podcast, guest and host for interviews. Uh, it works like a dating app, but instead of connect people for dates, it connects for podcast interviews. It’s probably the simplest way I can say it, but basically if you’re like, Hey, I wanna be on some shows to talk.

The anything like I, I live in Jackson, Florida near the beach. If you wanna talk about surfing, it’s gonna find you surfing podcasts that are looking for surfers to come on and talk about their experience in the water, right? Like, so it’s gonna automatically match and put you together. And man, that’s what put us on the map.

And at the point when I left the company was bringing revenue and we had enough history. Cause that point we had six months or almost seven months of history. So I was able to see the projection of like, In the next two years, here’s what we’ll make. So if I leave, I was able to do the calculation. What’s put it that way.

So I left as early as I could took a lot of courage, like I said, but I didn’t leave too early. And that’s basically what our organization does. So pod match being one of the few products we have, but everything is around podcasting, cuz that’s just the vehicle that I chose to be an entrepreneur in.

Dan: I love it. I love it. And for listeners, you know, who who’ve listened to to many episodes of this show, I’m sure you’ve heard guests that, um, that have been sourced through pod match. So I we’re, we’re active on pod pod match. I’m all, you know, My, um, my podcast, um, producer is often, you know, touching base with people and coordinating conversations on pod match.

So it’s a tool that, that I personally use. And

Alex: Made my day. Thank

Dan: for it. Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s awesome. I love it. It’s a fantastic, fantastic tool. And so that was already in the under works. Sounds like you were, you know, kind of had, you could, you could see those projections, so it wasn’t like a total leap in the dark.

And so all that makes, you know, makes a ton a ton of sense. What was the most, um, challenging aspect of that transition for you?

Alex: Weirdly enough, man. Like, I’m not like I’m not anti confrontation, but it doesn’t come natural to me. So like having the tough conversations. After being there for so long and having to go to my CEO, when I, I had things planned out for two years, projects that were gonna work on together projects. I was working with other people to, to say that I was gonna leave.

That conversation was so tough. I can remember going into the office and there’s multiple floors. I’m like working my way up toward his office. And man, I give you my, like, I don’t get anxious or stressed much, but my anxiety, like I felt like anxious for the first time. Like I was sweating before I got to his office, which is weird for me.

And. In my head. I’m like, what if pod match fails? Like tomorrow people could just be like, this tool sucks. We’re we’re not gonna use anymore. And I’m like, well, what if like me and my wife have like a medical issue and all of our savings we’ve planned out for the next two years, that’s gone. Cause we don’t have health insurance.

Right? Like all these things started hitting my mind of like, what are we gonna do? Like this is in my head. Like, you know, at some point your, I guess your primal instinct kick in of like danger. This is a terrible idea. Don’t do this. You are safe. You’re secure right now. And man, as I was getting close to the office, I actually remember saying this out loud.

Um, I was probably praying as well, but what I said is courage means being afraid than doing what you have to do. Anyway. Courage means being afraid than doing what you have to do anyway. And I went in the office and I just sat down. I just was like, Hey man, I don’t know how to say this. So I’m just gonna say it.

I’m like I’m leaving and uh, You know, it was one of those things where he just looked at me, he’s like, are you serious? And, uh, and, and he just goes, man, I that’s where the whole thing started. Like, Hey, I know the type of person you are, you’re going to succeed. You’re going to do well, just super supportive.

And man, I left that day and like, it was, it was interesting cuz I was working, it was during COVID. So I was working remote. So we barely ever went to the office, turned around and like. I’m not like a crier man, but like I shed a few tears when I looked at that building. Like, this is the last time I’m gonna step.

Like I’m not gonna come here to work ever again. And that whole thing man was crazy. And by the time I drove home, 15 minutes later, cuz it was only 15 minutes away from my home. I felt a weight lifted off me that I didn’t know existed. It was weird. It was like I was wearing like a, a weighted vest and I didn’t know it was on.

When I got, by the time I was home, I just felt like light and I felt free. And like, I was able to like dream again. Cause for the last couple years, remember like when it went public, I wasn’t really dreaming the way I was. I was, I was more, again, a cog in the system, but now I was free once again, man. And I’ll tell you what, like that feeling was so worth the anxiety that came before it, the tough conversation came before it, but that was like a, a beautiful exchange for me.

And this all happened in like a two hour period, but man, I’ll never forget those.

Dan: So good, man. What a, what a, yeah, just a, meaningful significant vignette into, into that transition and I, I can like, feel, feel that weight lifting off your shoulders as, as you tell it, which is just, yeah. So, so good. So, so well, so well told, uh, for folks who like. Thinking about making a transition like this, you know, and maybe, maybe they’re a few years out, like you were, you know, um, and when you were starting to kind of plot things out, but like, do you have any, I, I just wanna invite you to, to just speak straight to those folks who are listening right now, if you have any words of encouragement advice or, you know, anything to say to them, what, what would you say?

Alex: Thanks. Thanks for the, the, the stage right here, man. I really appreciate it. Um, what I’d share obviously is like take courage, right? I think that’s really important. Um, sacrifice the good for the sake of potential grades. We talked about take a calculated risk, like be smart about it, but when it comes to being an entrepreneur, I found these four things to be the most important.

Number one, finding area of passion doesn’t necessarily need to be purpose, but needs to be passion. Like something that you really love dive into the community of whatever that is. So wherever your passion is, dive in the C. Then from there, what you wanna do is as you get into the community, like fully engraved, like become part of it, search for problems that people in that community have talk to people, ask them what they’re struggling with.

Look around, see what you can see when you find that problem create a solution for it. And when you create that solution, I find that you are already in the community. These people are going to embrace it. So for me, the reason that that pod match and pod PS worked so well is because at that point I was already in the podcasting space.

People. I was friends with so many people that started off on the platform. So I encourage you. Like if you’re thinking, man, I know I wanna do something. Don’t keep on shooting in the dark. Stop. Find that area of passion, dive into the community, find the problem that they have and then offer a solution.

And when you do these things, I find like, even if you fail, you’re still adding value to people that you care about in an area that you’re passionate about. And there’s really no way to lose when you do that. And you just keep on trying to find that next problem in solving.

Dan: I love it. It’s such a good, such a good framework. Find the area of passion for second dive into the community, third find problems, and then fourth create solutions. And that’s really, I feel like the map of any, you know, really good entrepreneurial endeavor, right? Like as entrepreneurs, our, our job is to find, find problems and create solutions for those, for those problems.

Um, and so that’s yeah, just. Great words of encouragement. I know we’re, we’re coming up on our time. I feel like I have so many more things I wanna talk to you about, but you’ll just have to save those, save those for another time. Cause I wanted to, I wanted to get more deeper into your expertise around podcasting and everything like that.

But, um, I know we’re, we’re coming up

Alex: This, this was great, man. I think this direction for, for the meeting movement, just as a listener to this podcast, I think this was like a great direction for, for listenership. I know it’s it’s one. This is the type of content I seek out. Not, not obviously, I’m not gonna, I’ll be real, man. I might skip this episode, but I’ll listen to the next one after just cause it’s me.

But, uh, but no, in, in general, man, I think this was just really valuable. And yeah, I, I do a little bit in podcasting, which anybody can find by doing a little bit of research, but I think what’s really important is what we’ve just talked about and how it really is going to cause a meaningful movement in somebody’s life.

For lack of a better term.

Dan: Yes. I love that. I love way, way to pull it way to tie it all up in a nice bow for me there, Alex that’s that’s so that’s so, so awesome. What I think that like these, these kinds of questions and the things that, that we’re talking about responsibility of, of, you know, making these, these transitions of, you know, um, You know, not, not leaving be before it’s too, before you’re ready and not burning to bridge all of this.

Like this is stuff that everyone goes through and questions that everyone thinks about. And so I really just appreciate your, just your openness and, and, um, expertise and your wisdom that you’ve gained along along the way. And you sharing that with folks. So thank you. Um, for, for all of this for folks.

Wanna follow along with you, your work, you know, connect with you, uh, start a podcast, you know, anything like what are the, what would you like to invite people to wanna find you on, on the internet?

Alex: Yeah, thanks, Dan, making it really simple. It’s just pod Pod You can find anything I’m doing there. All the projects are listening like super. Parent and however you reach out, you’re going to reach me. I like to be really accessible. So, um, however you decide to you’ll find me, but everything I do is at that [email protected].

But man, I highly recommend hanging here the meaning movement and where Dan is taking you guys, like this is an incredible platform and I’m just, I’m, I’m honored to be here and it’s like a dream come true. So for the last few years, this has been something I’m just like, man, how cool to be here. It’s like, I’ve arrived.

But uh, thank you again for having me and I really appreci.

Dan: so great. Well, thank you so much for just the ki the kind words it’s been so great to, to have you on the show and to, to reconnect here and, uh, look forward to staying connected.

Alex: Thanks again, man. Appreciate it.

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