You're listening to the Uncommon Life Podcast. Whether you're a startup or you've been in business for 10 years, this show is for you. Each week, you'll get mentored by business leaders who deliver valuable strategies, tactics and tips on how you can pursue your passion without compromise. We’ll show you how to achieve balance while sticking to your core values, so you can have an uncommon life.
Now, here's your host, Jimmy Fullerton.
Jimmy: Yes, yes, welcome, welcome to the Uncommon Life podcast, coming to you from Launch Trampoline Park in Columbus, Georgia, into your tiny earbuds, I'm guessing, but regardless of how you're listening, I am in your head, so that's a good thing I think.
Today, you're going to want to listen to this one because I'm interviewing Sasha Pagano. She has a very inspiring rags-to-riches story and she has a very unique personality, very authentic, but dynamic also. And she really has done well for herself.
She built a mega multilevel marketing business with over 10,000 clients. She has some amazing superpowers. One of those is resilience. If you listened to her background, you’d understand what I'm talking about. She also is an amazing connector, and in this episode, you're going to learn some strategies about connecting and the art of connecting other people that has the potential to skyrocket your income.
So, this was a lot of fun. I know you're going to enjoy this, so stay tuned. Here it comes.
… … …
Hello, Sasha. How are you doing today?
Sasha: Hey, good morning or afternoon. It's afternoon.
Jimmy: It’s afternoon now and it's still raining, so thank God we're getting rain, more rain.
Sasha: Yeah, thank God. [Praise Moses? 01:59.3]
Jimmy: Yup, that's right, time to build an ark.
Sasha Pagano is who I'm talking with today—and, Sasha, you have a very interesting story. I would like for you to share that story, please.
Sasha: Yeah, I got down here about eight years ago. I was born and raised in West Central Missouri, so it's plains out there. It's in the Midwest and it was super humble beginnings. I used to be ashamed of saying it, but now I think it built me, the fact that I was born into poverty.
I had a 16-year-old mother and a 30-year-old father, and all the socioeconomic emotional issues that went along with that. The trailer park, everybody else had a skirt. Our trailer didn't even have a skirt, so that was one of those things.
Jimmy: You were at the low end of the totem pole in a mobile home community.
Sasha: Yeah, I was. I like to joke that we lived like Joe Dirte. Joe Dirt. [03:04.7]
Jimmy: Thought you will. Joe Dirte.
Sasha: Yeah, but he looked like Charles Manson and probably nearly as crazy, but that was my upbringing.
Jimmy: So you had no advantages that people often complain about and no connections, except with the mobile home community, which I'm not downplaying that community.
Sasha: It’s a society.
Jimmy: That's right. But you had no connections and you had none of the advantages people often look for when they want to attribute somebody to success. They say they had connections, and they had this and they had that. You had none of that.
Jimmy: And so, you can keep going with your story as far as when you were in the trailer park. And what lit a fire under you? That's what I want to know. There was something that made you realize, because you weren't surrounded with people that wanted to leave, that had that same fire that you did, so something put that fire in you. What was that?
Sasha: Yeah, in fact, it's like the crabs in the bucket analogy, and I do remember my mom saying, “You think you're so much
better than us. You're just like us.”
Jimmy: Really, your mother?
Sasha: Yeah, my own, my mom. But then, I had this dad who, even though by all public standards he was not a fabulous citizen—we had an alternative income that the police would not agree with. In fact, they knew my dad on a first-name basis. It was a really wild childhood, but I had a lot of character built there, and my maiden name is Hogg, H-O-G-G, so if you can imagine …
Jimmy: Strike two.
Sasha: Yeah, if you can imagine, poor, smelly, dirty, last name Hogg. My teeth were in a train wreck fighting for the front. I've always had glasses and they were never the cool ones. Those things could have really defeated a character.
But, instead, I had this cool dad that, outside of school and other society, my dad would empower me with crazy stuff that wasn't traditional cheerleader, pageant-queen stuff. I got to go noodling, which is hand-fishing in creeks for fish, which is kind of wild, dangerous and scary. And then, I developed skills that my dad built drag cars out of wrist bucket, Mopars, and there are photos of me getting his tools for him, helping him build those things, being his sidekick.
There were a lot of things that my dad showed me that built character, and, ultimately, I think that those successes that were nontraditional just kind of reinforced the growth that I had throughout the rest of my life.
Jimmy: Successes that were nontraditional. So, when you say “successes,” you mean the little victories you would have with your dad in restoring cars and noodling, and stuff like that. [06:01.1]
Sasha: Yeah, I actually failed the seventh grade and nobody noticed, because they were too busy partying, fighting and divorcing. I went to live with my grandma and I'm very thankful for that, because at that age, I was 13, and that was super transitional.
So, here I brought all this wild, hillbilly, redneck cuss and fight, and socio thing come in, and my grandma is a church mouse. She's a fabulous lady. She lives on a farm, and so, I was literally removed into this world of the farm. I had to learn to entertain myself and snapping green beans under the tree, the slow pace, all of a sudden.
Jimmy: How did you feel about that slow pace?
Sasha: I loved her, but I went insane.
Jimmy: Yeah, it’s not for everybody, that form of life.
Jimmy: That's a lot to overcome, just right there. That's a stuff, for most people, I believe, that would probably keep them locked into whatever environment they're in. But you found something inside to drive you out of there. So, you decided one day to pick up with [the child]. Did you have a child at that time when you were in [Missouri]? You had a child. When did you have a child?
Sasha: I was a high school dropout at 16, and then I went through a couple of little waitress jobs and paid my own bills and moved out. And then, I got pregnant at 20 with Joshua.
Jimmy: Now were you still in Missouri?
Sasha: In Missouri, yeah. I thought my life was over. I thought I was just like them. I was like, Oh my God.
Jimmy: It’s happening to me.
Sasha: Yeah, I'm repeating the cycle. And I started panicking. I cried there in the doctor's office and he was like, What's wrong? And I'm like, I wasn't supposed to ever have kids. I never wanted to put a kid through what I just went through. I'm just a kid. I don't know where I'm going. Joshua saved me. That was my pivot.
Jimmy: That was your pivot.
Sasha: That was my pivot.
Jimmy: Everybody has to have a pivot.
Jimmy: So, you made a decision that you were going to leave Missouri.
Sasha: Oh, I stayed there still because of the crab bucket. The crab bucket.
Jimmy: The crab bucket. So, you stayed there a little while longer.
Sasha: Yeah, my mom was a bartender, so I became a bartender. Why not? My kid had to sleep at night and I got to see him through the day, and I worked at night and I made cash, and then, I worked in the bar. I was a bartender overall close to 15 years throughout that.
When I was pregnant with Josh, I got my GED, because in that town there were factories and farming, so in order to get a factory job that had insurance, and I didn't have any of that for my kid, I went and got the GED. I never studied. This was in the ’90s before even flip phones, before phones, really.
Jimmy: Before the internet got full going.
Sasha: Yeah. So, I went and did that, and then I went to college. I owned a bar in between.
Jimmy: You went to college, so that's you were breaking the path right there. And you did this in Missouri, right?
Jimmy: How did you get [the money]? Did you get a loan? Did you get a grant? [09:04.8]
Sasha: I am the first person to get a diploma, and then I went [to college]. Because I took that GED, I qualified for a scholarship to the local two-year college, because my town is tiny—it's like 10,000 people—but they have a two-year college. They call it “Plywood University.” I'm serious. And so, I went to school for free.
Then I got some Pell Grants because I was a single, low-income mother. So, I got some Pell Grants. Then I graduated there and I went to the next college, which was the next town over, because I didn't know how to look for my dream college. But I also had all these restraints; I was a single mom with very little income. Over there, I got grants and scholarships, and things like that, and made it through my master's with community counseling.
Jimmy: So, you went to college with the plan of you wanted to do what with that degree?
Sasha: In fact, I've published three times in peer-reviewed journals, one conferences, and I wanted to help single parent, low income.
Jimmy: Why, did you forget where you were from? You can't publish stuff. You're from …
Sasha: Yeah, from Missourah and the trailer park.
Jimmy: No offense to the Missourians out there.
Sasha: Sure, yeah.
Jimmy: You got a master's degree in psychology and were actually published, so you were making some progress.
Sasha: In that direction.
Jimmy: You've already broken the pattern. Okay, let's go from there.
Sasha: My dad was dying of brain cancer and I was forced to look at life a little differently. It totally changed me again and, all of a sudden, I was like, Oh, I do not want Joshua going to high school here. I do not want him having to live these old, predetermined things, what he might have to be if teachers knew that he was my kid, all these things.
And so, I had a job. I took a job that traveled me around the United States and, honestly, every city I landed in that they put me into work, I would look at the school system and I would look at the culture. I wanted Josh out of there. I wanted something better for my kid, and my whole life, I've been running from that black hole of the trailer park, one paycheck away from you're going to be right back where your mom started. “You're no better than the rest of us.” And that’s how I got down here.
It was between Columbus High School—I know that a bunch of people listening are going to be like, Woohoo because they're all about their Columbus High—or Round Rock, which is north of Austin. I know that people listening will be like, Heck yeah, that’s a great school also. But Columbus High had a 98 percent rate of placing their students with full-ride scholarships, and I had nothing saved for my child, so I had to have that angle, and so, this is where we came. [12:01.3]
Jimmy: Okay, so let's go forward. Let's talk about Thrive. Progress me from what you were doing with the school system. So you went from there, and how did you get into [Thrive]? Let's talk about Thrive. What is Thrive?
Sasha: I am an independent brand representative for a supplement company called Le-Vel and they have a product called Thrive, and I started using that product because I was doing all the stuff that everybody in my Facebook timeline and in my circle were doing. They were swilling back coffee and I was drinking energy drinks on bad days.
Jimmy: Is that not healthy? Just kidding.
Sasha: If you pee and it's green, there's a problem. And so, I just switched up. I had a friend I trusted and she introduced me to it, so I ordered. From there, I saw the business side of it and it was kind of a no-brainer to share with other people. In five years’ time, there's now 10,000 accounts within my personal branch of this exploding industry, and that's around the world.
Jimmy: That must translate to a substantial amount of income that somebody coming from a trailer park is probably not used to and probably weren't expecting. So, you came to Columbus. You were in Columbus when you became part of Thrive, is that right?
Jimmy: You'd been in Columbus how long when you started Thrive?
Sasha: Literally months.
Jimmy: This type of marketing, also known as multilevel marketing, is notorious about having and it’s going to have a sphere of influence that you can connect with. I guess this is one of those types of businesses that’s overdone. It's not geographic-specific, but it does help your community.
Jimmy: How did you build your network? What are some key things that helped you to build your network?
Sasha: Facebook is free, and I'm also a no-filter friend and everybody that knows me knows that, so if I'm going to tell you something, you're probably going to get it straight. I'm a no-B.S. And so, when people saw me just saying, Hey, I feel better today, or whatever—Hey, I made this much money. Hey, I got a free car and I gave it to my grandma, which I did. Hey, I got another free car. Hey, I got this. Hey, I'm on these vacations—people, I think, authentically knew that it wasn't because I had any advantage over them. The people from back home were seeing this and they were like, Dang, it’s that girl.
Jimmy: If this girl can do this, the Hogg girl.
Sasha: The Hogg girl. That Hogg girl is doing this. Now, down here, making connections is really difficult because this is a very patriarchal society down here. When I moved here, the first thing, I don't have the accent. [15:08.6]
Jimmy: You have an accent.
Sasha: It’s just not this one.
Jimmy: It’s just not the Columbus accent, right.
Sasha: Yeah. And so, what's your last name? And I'd say it and then they wouldn't recognize it, and then they'd be like, Well, who's your daddy?
Sasha: Only, down here, it’s diddy. Who's your diddy? And I was like, Oh, he's dead. He wasn't from here. And then it's, Who did you marry? And, at that point, I wasn't married. And so, I went through this whole patriarchal line of questioning. I literally had to win people over with friendship.
Jimmy: Okay, you won them over through friendship. How did you connect? Let's back up for a second. You mentioned you use Facebook. How did you use Facebook, free Facebook, I might add?
Sasha: That’s right, build your [inaudible 15:49.9], yeah.
Jimmy: So, you used Facebook how?
Sasha: Okay, it's what everybody does. When I met people, I would put myself in networking events. Okay, I had to put myself out there. You can't build … you can't push a button right somewhere that you're a promoter and the money doesn't just funnel in. The phone doesn't just ring off the hook.
So, I got out there and I started meeting people face-to-face because they have to see me to know the energy that I bring and that's what I sell, and when people are like, Oh my gosh, I just wish I could have that energy you have, my line is, Well, it's for sale.
Jimmy: That touches on something I was talking with Rachel Schmidt about on our earlier podcast where we talked about how the things you could only know face-to-face, you can't know through social media. You’ve got to know and kind of get the whole aura of this person that you're dealing with, and sometimes face-to-face is the only way to build that really deep connection and trust that so many people have trouble with today. So, you did it. You did it face-to-face.
Sasha: Yeah, and then you pull your phone out and you're like, Are you on Facebook? And they're like, Yeah. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, give me a second. Let me find you. Because I really was trying to make friends here. I'm staying here. And so, they would tell me their name. I would connect on Facebook, and that is for a no-pressure way for them to see who I really am, because we all do it.
You and I were just having that discussion earlier about applicants to businesses. Your timeline, the typical person's timeline is in their own head. They don't realize the rest of the world hops over there and goes, What in the … are you doing? You know? So, this was their way to stalk me on Facebook without ever having to answer a question or feel any pressure about an MLM.
Jimmy: So, you were very intentional about the content you were putting out there.
Jimmy: Right, you were very [intentional]. I'm making a note. Intentional about the content you're putting out there. So, you were networking, face-to-face and then networking. How did you choose your networking? Were you just out there on everything or were you more strategic about it? How did you go about that, deciding how to network, formal networking? [18:08.6]
Sasha: Yeah, you're right, formal. Networking is work. That's why it's called “net-working.” If you show up at an event, and I went to tons of events in the beginning—I went to them all trying to figure out what had the best ROI. I knew I had to—upfront you’ve got to spend, and I didn't have a lot of money, so I was spending my time because I had plenty of that.
I got out and I got into everything, and it's been years now. It's been five years that I've been thriving in that business. I learned where my return on investment was. I learned where my pool of people are.
Jimmy: Can you walk me just really quick, if possible, through how you determined what your ROI on networking was?
Sasha: I don't treat it like speed dating because I'm not memorable and they're not memorable. If you just go through and boom, boom, boom, see how many cards you can give out, see how many you can get back. That's nothing. They don't remember you. You didn't establish anything.
Jimmy: Connection. You're looking for a connection.
Sasha: Absolutely, every time. So, the return on investment is we get to connect. I ask a few questions and let them lead the conversation, so I say, What are you doing here? because they're going to tell me. If you ask enough questions, they'll tell you all the things that you can provide a solution for. At that point, you’re seeing somebody stand there and they're holding coffee, and I've got the answer for that. Not that I'm anti-coffee. I still will have a decaf on a cold, rainy day like today. But pots of coffee is a problem.
Anyway, I'm looking at them and then I listen to them complain about how they're not enjoying their job or they're not finding enough whatever, and I just spend enough time that I had a mental impression of them that I did not forget them. Later, I would go back and reach out and say, Hey, man, it was great meeting you. Thanks for spending time with me.
Jimmy: You had certain things you were able to measure about a specific interaction. I'm not trying to make it into a mathematical equation, but certain things you were looking for.
Jimmy: If you can make an authentic connection with somebody that you’ve just described what that looks like, then that's how you would use that to evaluate that event. And then, you would see the value of how, I guess, networking events differ from whatever.
Sasha: They're all different, so different.
Jimmy: What are some of your favorites? I don't want to put you on the spot. Yeah, you don’t care.
Sasha: Yeah, I don't care. I really don't care. So, one that I love and I love, love, love is BNI, Business Networking International, and that one, I tell ya, if you are looking for money funnel and category exclusivity, those are the things I wanted, man, so that I don't have to compete. I don't have to shout to be the loudest or be the voice heard in the room. [21:03.7]
And then, I also enjoy the fact that they practice Givers Gain. When I'm going into a room, and I don't want to make all my connections sound like everybody that I've ever met and friended is not intentional to be part of my path. Everybody has. I believe that all the people that I let in that I actually picked my phone up, opened up and said, “Will you be friends with me?” I didn't do that to every single person. I've been specific and that's how I’ve measured if the ROI on that event was good. BNI is different because they check all your references. They interview you. They check your background. You’ve got to be legit to get in that group, and then, we practice Givers Gain.
The other one I love, I love Chamber. I love all my chambers. I'm a member of four of them and I am an ambassador at two. The reason why is that they're actually a not-for-profit and I love that part because all that stuff that people pay for is actually fundraising, so they can look at the demographics of an area and determine how to best grow business and economic development. If the people in the town don't have business, then they don't have [jobs]. If there are no businesses, then there are no jobs. If there are no jobs, then there's no money, and if there is no money, then that's a crappy town. I'm not living there.
Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. There's the formal networking and you touched on a couple you love. Obviously, you love chambers. You love BNI. Did you do any other kind of organic networking? Just for an example, I know me and my wife got heavily involved in tennis here at one point. I've been working out at gyms for a long time and I meet people that way. Is there any other? Did you use any of your hobbies and stuff to meet people?
Sasha: I just shoot deer. I don't think they want to network with me. No, I'm joking. That's my hobby. Let me think.
Jimmy: You kill hogs, too, don’t you?
Sasha: I do, and fish and …
Jimmy: Just not yourself.
Sasha: Oh yeah, but not that. I'm carnivorous. Yeah, I'd say, after meeting my husband and stuff, I have a motorcycle. We ride motorcycles. We know motorcycle people. That's a common bond. We end up talking. The side-by-side things are fun because it's a lot of couples, and so we get out and we meet other couples and ride around these parks, and have fun and get dirty and. It's, basically, the knowing someone, the liking someone and then the trusting someone, and at the trusting point, then they will be interested in furthering business with you, with their business’ life or not.
Jimmy: Yeah. I haven't always been an avid networker to my detriment. Definitely, the light came on for me, I don't know, about five or six years ago, but I don't do as much formal networking as you do. Mine is more organic, I guess, through my real estate business. People will call me and a lot of times I'll build relationships that way, and if the conversation goes a certain way, I might take them to lunch and we'll talk. A lot of times I use lunch as a networking opportunity for me, because I generally eat every day. [24:16.2]
Sasha: Yeah, there’s that.
Jimmy: I don't miss a lunch, so I might as well use that time. And I have to do it if I find the person interesting as well. So, I tend to do it the more organic way. I don't know, I've changed lately, but the whole thing about going to a Chamber event used to bug the you-know-what out of me because I don't really like to small talk, chit chat, but I've gotten a lot better at it and more comfortable with it. Being in real estate, you have to be able to have those elevator conversations.
But, yeah, so your networking played a huge role in probably elevating you to where you are now.
Sasha: Right. I think introverts and extroverts, it's birds of a feather will flock together. Extroverts are drawn to me and I'm drawn to them. I'm also heavily drawn to confident people in the room. Your wife, I told you, when I saw Jessica in a room, she handled herself, and I was like, I’ve got to know a girl like that.
Those are the people I want in my life. That's how I determine if I'm going to make a connection. It's not like speed dating, so you're not talking to every single person. I specifically watch some behaviors in a room, and then I'll go find someone I don't know, but also I can see that they've got themselves together or that kind of thing.
An introvert can do the same thing. An introvert can go and in their mind they need one conversation, because one genuine conversation beats the crap out of 500 fake.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's the way I've always looked at it. I’d much rather have [a genuine conversation]. If I'm in a room full of people and I can find one or two people that I can get into an extended conversation with, I'm not one of those that will go intentionally work the entire room and talk to everybody in there. I'll find somebody, and I'm not saying this is right, but what I've done in the past is I'll find a couple of people that I can really connect with and usually it'll wind up being a good, genuine, authentic relationship.
But I see the value of that. Sometimes if you don't work the room, then you don't really know who's in there. But I know you made a comment to me that I found interesting when we talked earlier about knowing who's in front of you and how that affects how you … This is in terms of if you're speaking or if you're just in a networking event. Both?
Sasha: Yeah, depends on where the conversation goes. Okay, so I do a ton of stuff right now, and it's not like I woke up one day and was like, blink, I have four Chambers and this many BNIs, and this much network and four businesses between my husband and I. This is a process that is integrated and it's something like going to the Olympics. [27:04.0]
I don't know how many hours Michael Phelps spent in the water, but I'm going to guess it's a lot. But I only saw him for how many minutes at a time in a pool, but he was phenomenal. I think that's part of how I determine where the conversation goes. I'm in the pool and so are all the other fish, and I’ve just got to figure out. By letting them talk, they're going to tell me what they need, and then I have all these options that are integrated into my being.
It's like I am a representative of an auto repair garage. I am a representative of this organization, of that organization. I'm a representative of this energy thing. I'm a representative of a cleaning company and also real estate investments. And so, when somebody talks to me, I have a lot of things that I can bring to the table of conversation with just about anybody.
Jimmy: It helps you be relevant with the person that's in front of you, which is pretty key.
Jimmy: I'm learning also. Yeah, I like what you said that, when you're talking to somebody, so many people when they're having a conversation about trying to get their message out and present themselves the right way, that's why so many people forget names, myself included. But I have learned that I have become a much better listener because, really, it's all about finding out what the person in front of you needs and how you can help them out, without expecting anything in return. For me, that's what's worked the best. It really helps develop an authentic relationship, and if you do that, it tends to come back to you.
Sasha: Yeah, so what I've learned is when I do that, I'm a good listener trying to make sure that this person is—I'm going to be kind of cocky and say—worthy of the circle, of my time, because I've only got so much. I've got to make sure I'm spending it right. So, they're valuable.
And once I figure if somebody is valuable, the thing I do is I try to help them and connect them with other people in the room that would share the same clientele base or be somebody who'd be a great business partner with them, or help them solve their issue if I can't. By sending somebody out of my network that I already know, that I can trust, and my person treats that new person like a rock star.
So, all of a sudden, that re-solidifies the relationship I had with the prior person I brought in if I can't serve the purpose of this new person. And the new person, I suddenly have a concrete foundation with him or her that's like, Hey, that girl knows everybody. She's the connector. Can you believe in ...?
As long as that good cycle of referral happens, then I keep that relationship, too, even though they're the ones actually doing the work. They remember me because I'm the one that put it together, and the next time, now I've got two people out there. They ask me, Hey, do you know somebody who ________? and I normally do because I've been years working in this area on all these groups. And so, it's interesting. [30:15.3]
Jimmy: Have you ever read Michael Maher’s book, The Seven Levels of Communication?
Jimmy: Because it’s almost verbatim the way you're describing how you connect people together, if you're looked at as a connector, and how that can multiply your circle of influence.
Sasha: I’ve been told that. The connector, yeah.
Jimmy: I know a lot of people. Definitely, you fit the definition of an entrepreneur.
Jimmy: A lot of people that I've talked to, plenty of them are like, I'm just not an entrepreneur. I'm just not. I don't invent things. They think of an entrepreneur as being someone to invent stuff or innovative, or stuff like that. I've come to learn that being an entrepreneur is more about developing a certain set of skills. What would you say are some skills that you can learn over time?
Obviously—go ahead and jump on this first one—is the skill of relationship-building/networking, which go hand-in-hand. Learn it. That's a skill. That's not just something you're born to do. You can learn how to do it. That's a perfect example. There's a lot to it. It's an art to doing it. A lot of people that are listening to this probably did not realize all the little …
Jimmy: “Nuances” is exactly what I was looking for, the word.
Sasha: That’s the word.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's the word. There are nuances involved in how you network, how you build relationships and how you communicate, and I think a lot of people don't really get that.
Jimmy: That is a good segue into something else I want to talk about with the skill set for entrepreneurs. You also recently started a new company called MaidSafe, right?
Jimmy: That started basically, and I'm going to let you tell me, but basically you identified and saw something. You paid attention to what was happening and you saw there was a problem that needed to be solved, and you wanted to solve that problem.
Jimmy: Which is another skill set of learning it, just basically observing and figuring out how you might and can solve a problem.
Jimmy: Right, so that's what happened with MaidSafe. You can tell us a little bit about MaidSafe.
Sasha: It started because I was a consumer. I'm busy, man. I'm really busy.
Jimmy: You are.
Sasha: Yeah, this whole being the entrepreneurial and working for yourself is you can set as much freedom as you want, okay, and I think we're all working towards freedom. The American dream is freedom. So, how do you get there and what do you do? And freedom, for me, was not cleaning my house anymore.
So, here I was, and I have 10,000 customer accounts in one business and it's a constantly changing business. It's high-speed. It's all day, every day. Then, my husband has a business he's had for 10 years, and I'm representing it and some other networking groups, so I've got a full schedule. I've got a part-time job that doesn't pay me specifically to go. [33:17.2]
Sasha: Yeah, directly to go to all these networking events and represent his company. Then, we've got an 11-year-old. I've got a bonus kid. He's 11, and so, we've got school and baseball, and I'm all of that. And so, I was working towards freedom and freedom is not cleaning my house.
I went through some experiences and I'm probably one of the easiest-going people ever, ever, ever. Hang out and you'll figure it out. I'm so easy to get along with. But a couple just really let me down and I was like, Okay, this is a problem.
Then, in my search for a good housekeeper, I also found out that housekeepers aren't treated very well, and I don't want anybody to be offended, but there was a scary experience out there also that came to me. It was like Post Malone's roadie crew showed up at my house and I was just like, Whoa, I can't let these people in, but I really want my house cleaned because I don't like doing that.
My husband is fabulous. I have a thousand words to his one, but when we come to the table, we're fabulous business partners. I said to him about a year ago, “This is crazy. There's a gap in the industry and I can fill it,” and he said, “Okay.” I was like, All right.
And so, over the course of the last year, this has been a little side thing. I've got a notebook and I would sit in the deer stand this past season, and write down things and experiences, and how to make it personal and what I wanted.
Then I started looking at it as an employer because people are going to depend on me, and that's huge. That's something I take very seriously. I had to figure out how I was going to create a culture in my company that would be sustainable, but be something that … I want people to stay because, as an employer, you invest time in teaching somebody how to do it your way.
You invest in all kinds of heart you pour into them. I want them to stay and want to stay. So, that was part of that culture that I had to create. Then the other part was I wanted to make a fabulous footprint, but I wanted to walk lightly, so this environmental sustainability.
When I put it all together and I presented it to my husband, he was like, Yeah, that's it, and he called the attorney and we had the paperwork drawn up.
Jimmy: Time in the deer stand well-spent.
Jimmy: So, you out a lot of that still, quiet time you had to think.
Jimmy: Yeah. I think people often don't really. That's been a big thing for me this year. I've always been one of those kinds that I like to fill as much space as I can. If I'm driving, I like to listen to something, whether it’s a podcast or whether it's a book or whatever. I like to always fill myself with something, which is good. [36:07.0]
But there are a lot of times when I just need everything cut off and I've learned to appreciate just silence, and being still and quiet, and been able to think and process things. You can't always do that with all this. So much noise out there. If I have a lot going on, I just can't keep filling it. I’ve got to have time to process and make connections.
I think a lot of people don't really get the value of that, of being still, spending hours in a deer stand. They think, I can't take that much time. Even if they like to hunt, it still is productive time. It's not just relaxation. It's productive time. It recharges you, which was my next question. With all the crap you've got going on, all the good stuff you got going on.
Sasha: All the good stuff, yeah.
Jimmy: I say that in jest.
Sasha: I know.
Jimmy: So, self-care is big for me. I try to make sure. I can't neglect me. Otherwise, I'm not going to be good for anybody else. I'll walk my dog.
Sasha: You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Jimmy: Yeah. Obviously, hunting and fishing, being outdoors is one way you recharge. Is there anything else on a regular daily basis that you do? Because you keep a pretty busy schedule. Do you have a daily thing you do to kind of recharge?
Sasha: I listen to podcasts in the car.
Jimmy: What about in the morning? I'm really big on morning rituals. I like to hear what people do in the morning.
Sasha: I'm going to be the person that psychologists want to prescribe to. I wake up to messages in my inbox from people who have woken up before me and done my supplements, and they're at the gym killing it and I wake up an hour later to all these fabulous messages.
But the first thing I do when I roll over is I look at my phone. There are a lot of people that are like, Oh, that's horrible. You need to read your devotional first, and you need to stretch and do this many yoga poses. I don't.
Jimmy: I was just talking to somebody about that, about how a morning ritual, you can't just boilerplate it. It's not everybody's different.
Sasha: So different.
Jimmy: Some people, some person I was talking to, they always start off exercising because they use that to clear their mind. Some people like me, I usually start off kind of being quiet. I need quiet to start off.
Sasha: Me too.
Jimmy: But I don't want to prescribe. What works for me may not work for you, but everybody's got something.
Sasha: You're right.
Jimmy: It might not always be the same every day. If I have a lot going on up here, I definitely need to spend more time just being quiet or meditating, or whatever you want to call it. For me, it’s just being quiet and shutting up, and thinking. So, the morning ritual thing, you obviously do that because it fires you up.
Sasha: It does. I wake up to happy people every day, man. And I wake up, look, as a servant every day also. That’s what it is.
Jimmy: It reminds you of who you are, so that's good. To some people, because the world can be a heavy place, especially if you're going through a lot of difficult stuff, which we all have.
Sasha: Entrepreneurship is lonely.
Jimmy: Yeah, it is and that's a good way to characterize it. It can be lonely and it can be heavy. It's the most rewarding thing in the world because it allows you to express yourself, but can also be very heavy, and sometimes I know some people who will start the day off watching a sitcom. If I could, I would incorporate that. If I had enough time, I'm a big [fan]. Me and my wife loved to watch Impractical Jokers. [39:20.1]
Sasha: Oh my gosh.
Jimmy: Yeah, so it puts me in a good frame of mind. I don't do it in the morning, but we usually do it at night. My daughter, too, and some of that might not be age-appropriate, but still -
Sasha: It’s all right.
Jimmy: - we try to mete it out if we have to. But the point is, yeah, the morning ritual should be wired. It should be tailored to however you're wired.
Sasha: I agree. My productive time is probably, first thing, okay, so I wake up first thing in the morning and I am quiet, and I get real focused and then I hit the computer, and I figured out what I need to do for the day and I knock it out. By noon, I'm ready to go do all those other things. So, by lunchtime I'm ready to network and meet people.
This town is huge for lunches and I think it's genius because, you're right, everybody has to eat. So it’s, Hey, what are you doing on Thursday? You want to go to lunch, and you can get that one-to-one knocked out with that person.
Jimmy: That’s what I did.
Sasha: Yeah, that's what we did. You can get that one-to-one knocked out with a person, and, honestly, if you do it right, you can share networks. You can come up with solutions and it's awesome.
Jimmy: It is.
Sasha: It’s really awesome. And then, the rest of the afternoon, I work out. I work my own business right now because it is a startup where the MaidSafe business, we didn't just throw money at it and be like, Okay, there's a business. John and I are doing it very small. We bought business cards and tee shirts, and some supplies. Like that's it. There's no fancy website. There's no extra billboards. There's no extra anything. It's a startup.
Jimmy: Literally, organic stuff you're doing right now.
Sasha: Yeah, it's a startup and I'm working it like that. I want to be a debt-free company. I want to be, like you all, you guys, you and Jessica, I want to be in several locations in a few years and I want to be a national franchise or something in five to 10 years, and I know I can do it and be debt-free.
Jimmy: I definitely believe you can.
Jimmy: We're coming up on about 43 minutes. There's so much more I would like to talk about, but I guess to finish it up, how can people find you on social media?
Sasha: I'm everywhere. I am everywhere.
Sasha: TikTok is my new … It's awful. I can get stuck in that. I’ve got to stop.
Jimmy: TikTok is your …
Sasha: Yeah, but I have an alias there, because I don't want …
Jimmy: You can hide a little bit?
Sasha: Yeah, that's true, and entrepreneurs probably ought to think about having a professional page and then their personal page on any social media, because Facebook people are not ready for all the extra. So, you can find me. I'm Sasha Pagano on Facebook. I think there's two of us out there and I'm the one with camo in my profile picture. [42:20.3]
Jimmy: I like that picture. It’s very cool.
Sasha: Yeah. Then, on other social media, you're going to find me in a super variation of “SuperHog77.”
Jimmy: SuperHog77. That's one of your aliases.
Sasha: That’s one of my aliases. So, be ready. If you're not into hunting or mudding, or hillbilly culture, then just don't.
Jimmy: That's a good point, though. Just because those are things you love, which fit right in down here anyway. But just because you might be into the hillbilly culture doesn't mean you can't connect with all different kinds of people. They're just all colors of the rainbow out there. You don't have to be all cut from the same cloth, so you can function in that circle, but you can also function in other circles.
Sasha: Yes, business should be fun, too. I really feel like I'm the person, because I am a no-filter friend, that by the time people are done talking to me, they end up talking about things they might only tell their best friends normally. I'm the no-filter friend.
Jimmy: That's going to be your moniker. Really, the no-filter friend.
Sasha: Yeah, I am. I live in a no-judgment zone. Once you figure out that’s where I came from, people are like, Oh yeah, well my mama stories or …
Jimmy: Tend to be more open when they sense they're around somebody that's authentic, and willing to be vulnerable and share what they've been through. It does open them up. I’ve found that, too.
Sasha: Absolutely, and business doesn't have to be stuffy. It doesn't have to require a suit and tie. If anybody knows me, I show up and I've got these boots, some jeans and a regular shirt, and I don't wear makeup and I don't do my hair. So, the business can be very profitable, and authentic and laid back.
Jimmy: I could not agree more and I guess it's a good time to end the interview, but you know, what has been a pleasure.
Jimmy: It’s been a great interview. I would love to do this again sometime.
Sasha: Yeah, let's pick another topic.
Jimmy: We sure will. Anyway, thank you. I appreciate it, Sasha.
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