About Our Guest:
Sandhya Sudhakar is an experienced former corporate leader, who spent over 16 years successfully managing teams and bringing commercial plans to market. She is now a trauma-informed, certified executive coach, Enneagram practitioner, and the founder of Self At Work.
In this episode of Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast, our special guest Sandhya Sudhakar will share her insights on turning your corporate job into a full-time entrepreneur. Sandhya has spent over 16 years successfully managing teams and bringing commercial plans to market in the Consumer and Hospitality industries. She knows what it takes for individuals to thrive in a demanding workplace. She uses her professional experience, education, and passion for the human side of the business to help others find happiness at work.
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From Corporate America to Entrepreneur: How to Transition Successfully with Sandhya Sudhakar
[00:00:00] Ryan: Hey guys, Ryan DeMent from Chasing Financial Freedom Podcast. I hope you guys are having a wonderful day this week On the podcast we have Sandhya, and I’m not gonna try to mispronounce her last name cuz we all know I’m in the butchered game. But she is a leadership and team culture coach, but she’s also the founder of Self At Work, so this is gonna be interesting.
[00:00:23] Ryan: She has a little bit of a connection to Southern Indiana for all you guys that know me out there, not too far away from where we’re at in Evansville. So Sanya, welcome to the show. Thank you.
[00:00:33] Sandhya: Thanks so
[00:00:33] Ryan: much for having me. You’re welcome. Let’s hear a little bit about your story of where you are, your backdrop and what you’re doing.
[00:00:39] Ryan: And then we’ll get into your journey and see where that takes us.
[00:00:43] Sandhya: Sounds good. Yes, I, You are correct and we’ll get into this later, but I was born and raised in Columbus, Indiana, so I am a Southern Indiana girl at heart. My business self at work, it really emerged from. Me wanting to find ways that I could bring my full, authentic self into my career.
[00:01:03] Sandhya: And so what I do now is primarily emotional intelligence training and coaching for leaders and working with teams. And it’s all about how do we, build both awareness and action toward. Understanding ourselves, self-regulating, working with others, team communication conflict and resolution and wellbeing and belonging.
[00:01:27] Sandhya: So how do we create cultures where ultimately I love big results. And I think you do too, and I think probably a lot of your listeners do as well. We wanna have a big impact and do big things, but how do we do it while we are also feeling good along the.
[00:01:41] Ryan: So before we get into, what you’re doing, can we talk a little about your journey?
[00:01:45] Ryan: I remember talking about it and how you got here because you were like me and you were in corporate America and just not being fulfilled. You went on a journey, a lot different journey than I did. So I’d love to be able to hear that and share that with the listeners. Yeah. And
[00:02:00] Sandhya: my journey was Part of it, quite literally a journey.
[00:02:04] Sandhya: So I worked in the corporate world for about 16 years. I worked for Proctor and Gamble and another consumer products company. So it was like probably the most corporate of corporate environments that someone can be in, and it gave me a great foundation for my career in business acumen and discipline and structure and strategy.
[00:02:26] Sandhya: But there was always this element of, I knew that this wasn’t what I was ultimately wanting to do forever, right? For the rest of my career. And it didn’t really fuel me deeply. Elements of it did. I loved the people that I worked with. There were parts of my job that I really loved, but I always was just moving into the next role, taking a promotion when it was offered to me and doing the things right.
[00:02:52] Sandhya: That led me to exploring for a couple of years. I left p and g through an acquisition, went to a smaller, what I thought was gonna be a more agile beauty company. Then went into the hospitality industry doing similar work around bringing products to market, understanding consumer base, figuring out how to make things work, managing teams.
[00:03:16] Sandhya: and I just got to a point where I was burned out and not in a way that was I’m exhausted and I’m working too hard. I actually just didn’t have a lot of connection to what I was doing, so I went on a journey . I actually took seven months away from any kind of work stuff. I went on a sabbatical. I traveled to a bunch of different countries, and in one of them I ended.
[00:03:44] Sandhya: Doing a workshop for other people. I was traveling with primarily just for fun about a self awareness tool that I had found really pivotal and a big catalyst for my own learning and my own growth. And I shared that with the group. And from there it just became, okay, there’s something here. It.
[00:04:05] Sandhya: Such an incredible experience for me. A lot of people learned a lot of things about themselves. They were talking about it for the rest of the trip, and so I knew there was something, and from there it evolved as businesses do. They very rarely start out being what we start them as , they become other things.
[00:04:21] Sandhya: That is
[00:04:21] Ryan: very true.
[00:04:23] Sandhya: Yeah. Yeah. Which I know you can relate to. I came back for my sabbatical. I worked with my first team, and from there it’s grown.
[00:04:32] Ryan: So what are some cool places you travel to? Gotta ask?
[00:04:36] Sandhya: Yeah. This workshop that will go down in my own history as like such a a big moment, a meaningful moment that I didn’t know at the time I was in b.
[00:04:45] Sandhya: Cool. I also spent some time in Mexico City and Oaxaca and Columbia and Costa Rica. So a little bit of a lot of different things. .
[00:04:57] Ryan: So back up in, what got you to the sabbatical piece? What was like some, I don’t wanna say the piece that puts, pushed you over, but what gets, what got you there to say?
[00:05:07] Ryan: Okay. I’m not in the right role. I need to do something to figure out what I’m gonna do with my life. What got you there?
[00:05:13] Sandhya: Yeah. I had gone through like I had said I had gone through an acquisition when I was in the CPG world, left that company, went into the hospitality industry, ended up being in the eye of the swar of another acquisition.
[00:05:28] Sandhya: Wow. And I went from what I would consider probably the highest point in my career where I was doing really exciting work and I felt like the work that I was doing had a big impact. And it was fun and energizing to an environment where I didn’t have much connection to my leadership. And they were slowly undoing all of the innovative things we had done before the acquisition.
[00:05:54] Sandhya: And so I just felt. Disconnected from the people, the work, there was no sense of purpose in it. And there were some values, challenges. And I had looked around and talked to some people about other roles that I could move into and nothing was really painting out. And I took a step back and said, You know what?
[00:06:14] Sandhya: I just need some time to step away and decompress and. Figure out what I actually wanna do, not just the maybe natural next step or the obvious next
[00:06:26] Ryan: step. Was it also, you talked about it not being fulfilling or not being connected, but how did that relate to you personally in your personal side of your life?
[00:06:37] Ryan: Yeah,
[00:06:38] Sandhya: I, for me I love to work. I actually really do love to work. I love to contribute. I love to use my strength. And so when I’m not in a place where I’m able to do that I feel like I feel a little dull in other areas of my life too. And I had a relationship at the time that was really challenging for very different reasons.
[00:07:00] Sandhya: And I got into this place where I felt not in control of my emotions of what I was doing. I just didn’t feel like myself. And so that’s where I knew I needed to take a step back. And it’s also the catalyst that got me to become really curious about what was going on in my life. And that’s where I discovered Agram, which is the personality framework that I now.
[00:07:25] Sandhya: With leadership development and teams. And it was something that for me, brought me a lot of insight that I could make sense of what was going on and figure out where to go next.
[00:07:36] Ryan: What’s the framework again? It’s called Agram. Never heard of it. So I just curious what, Can you tell a little bit about it and why you.
[00:07:46] Sandhya: Yeah. Yeah, and you may have heard of some of the things like strengths finders or Myers Briggs or those types of assessments that are used a lot in companies. What’s different about Agram is that it is similar in the sense of there are nine kind of core archetypes, , so you’re one of nine types, is what your dominant style is.
[00:08:06] Sandhya: The difference is it talks about what’s the core motivation behind your behaviors. Oh, and so many different people can, have a sarcastic sense of humor or be an assertive communicator. . But the reason we do those things is different than it’s individual. And so when we have personality frameworks that talk about behaviors, yes, they’re helpful, they help us understand some things, but we change so much over.
[00:08:35] Sandhya: With any Graham, it’s about this core motivation that’s stayed with you your entire life and how you express it might be different, as we grow and as we learn and as we change, but that core why stays the same. So for me, it’s helped. It’s helped me connect a lot of dots in. Why, why I have certain strengths and why I have certain things that really get in my way as an entrepreneur or the challenging behaviors that we have right stem from the same place that the things that we do amazingly well
[00:09:09] Ryan: come from.
[00:09:11] Ryan: So the core piece, cuz I’m very familiar with strength finders because I worked for mini banks that used it in I to be. It was BS in my mind cuz it didn’t get to the core root of what was going on. Excuse me. But what, how does this differ from Strength Finders? You talk about the core of the why.
[00:09:31] Ryan: My why, and this is just my journey. My why has changed because when I was in corporate America, I was like, you, I was chasing a paycheck. I was chasing the next promotion, and I live to work. Now. It’s all about my why is my passion and what can I do for others and how am I going to change the communities that we serve or the communities that I’m in?
[00:09:52] Ryan: My why’s changed. My core has changed. Does it follow that type of core or is there a different type of core you’re referring?
[00:09:59] Sandhya: Yeah it is that, and I would, challenge you to say, what was it in that chasing the paycheck and chasing the promotion, in the corporate world, what was beneath that?
[00:10:10] Sandhya: And different people could be money . Yeah. But what does money give you? Is it security? Is it status? Is it, there’s so many different ways that same behavior, right? That same. Way that you were going about moving through the world. Could be actually giving you something different.
[00:10:29] Sandhya: So for me, as an example, my anagram type is a type three. And at the core it’s about wanting to be and be seen as successful wanting to be recognized and validated. And so when I distill that down to. Why in my corporate career did I ever really stop and ask myself what I really wanted? It was because I was getting so much validation, right?
[00:10:55] Sandhya: And I’m good at this and I’m getting promoted. And so I didn’t stop to say, Okay, all these things are happening. I’m checking all these boxes, but do I care? Do I care about this work? And When it came to the point where I didn’t have those couple things that were keeping me hanging on like connection to really great people that I worked with or the status of working at a Fortune 50 company, right When those things went away, it was much more evident for me to see, I don’t actually like this work, and so let me now take a step back and figure out, I don’t know exactly what I wanna do, but I know what I don’t wanna do and I need some time to figure that out.
[00:11:34] Ryan: And I think we’ve all gone through that journey. At least for me, I’ve done it multiple times because I’m a three time tryer. I’ve failed twice at business. Being an entrepreneur and coming back and the third time was the hardest, to really go back and understand that and change your mindset.
[00:11:49] Ryan: But my core, like I was telling you earlier, is yeah, the money and the money was great. I’ve never been a person for the spotlight. I don’t need reassurance. It’s just, I’m just wired differently on that as I’m an operator. I was running call centers of 2,500, 3000 people at a time.
[00:12:04] Ryan: I didn’t have time to do that cuz there was just not enough time in the data to manage that piece. But the entrepreneurship, I think fuels a whole nother piece in me that it, I could never get from corporate America. One is I’ve become more self-reliant on myself. I, my joke is corporate America never taught me how to be a fisherman.
[00:12:23] Ryan: I was fat and happy, got paid every two weeks, got a bonus. Everything was great. Left corporate America and I. How do I do this? And it just never gave me the skills. And I think that’s what kind of evolved over time is now can I help others do the same thing? We started a nonprofit to start helping people with financial coaching and financial literacy.
[00:12:42] Ryan: Cause there’s so many people that have been left behind, from the schooling, our schooling systems. There it’s rough. School doesn’t teach us to be, open thinkers and it think, show up, do this, memorize and be done. That’s not how life really works.
[00:12:55] Ryan: And it’s hard. And I think that’s where my why and my core changed for that reason, is I was helping people in their worst times, cuz most of my call center experience was running collection agencies or running call centers that did collections or litigation or anything to that extent. So I saw ’em at the worst time.
[00:13:11] Ryan: But most of the people. That we helped or we had to collect from, or unfortunately go to court on. They just were not financially literate. And it, and that’s what really drove me this third time was finding some way how I could help people become financially literate, but also have freedom within that.
[00:13:32] Ryan: Because anybody can earn a living, but can you turn it into something more and something bigger that’s even. More rewarding for me than anything else.
[00:13:43] Sandhya: Yeah. And interestingly, you are teaching people how to fish, which is the thing that wasn’t done for you. Yeah. By all means.
[00:13:51] Sandhya: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, I think that’s, the way that we express things, I think it’s probably not a coincidence that. Your why in like chasing the paycheck, turned into now I can open up and do this for other people. And teach them how to manage their money and how to be financially literate, how to build wealth and all of those things, right?
[00:14:13] Sandhya: So there’s like this connecting thread there with you that I think is super interesting. But we’re not here to psychoanalyze you. .
[00:14:19] Ryan: It’s okay. A lot of people do. So it’s interesting to hear what people have to say. So I’m all, I’m an open. It is what it is. I’m good. So you do your sabbatical, you come back, you start your teams.
[00:14:30] Ryan: Can you talk a little bit about the progression and what you went through? And I’d love to hear some of the struggles because I’m entrepreneurs, we all struggle. We like to hear those rewarding stories. Yeah. But, share some tips, tricks, that type of
[00:14:42] Sandhya: stuff. Yeah, totally. So I.
[00:14:46] Sandhya: Like I mentioned that I happened into becoming an entrepreneur, which I, I dunno how common that is. I think many people have that, that drive in them and they’re like, I’m gonna do my own thing. For me, I was very happy being a part of an organization and as long as I was always learning and being challenged and having fun, it was fine.
[00:15:07] Sandhya: And then when I went on my sabbatical, my plan was right. So I went, I did this workshop, I said, There’s something here. I really wanna dig into this more, but I’m gonna go home and get like what I call a real people job, right? . And like it’s something that I can feasibly do in 40 hours a week. And then I’ll work on this passion projects night nights and weekends, right?
[00:15:26] Sandhya: And I’ll figure it out along the way. I came back in March of 2020 and at the time was looking for a job in marketing and hospitality. And if you remember, March of 2020, nobody was hiring in hospitality. Yes. And so it, I took that as a well plan B time and this idea of getting a regular job while I figured this other thing out.
[00:15:53] Sandhya: Why don’t I just figure this out? And so I went back to school. I got some certifications. I knew that I wanted to work with this framework because it has been so insightful for myself and anyone that I had shared it with. And I knew that I was really interested in like helping leaders become more self aware because what I experienced at that point the straw that broke the camels back and sent me on a sabbatical.
[00:16:20] Sandhya: Was working for leaders who had no idea how they came across to their team. They didn’t know how to motivate their teams or communicate with their teams. They had their own insecurities that caused them to not share things that were potentially really important for us to know. And so I wanted to help leaders become more self-aware.
[00:16:41] Sandhya: I happened to be on this trip to Bali with the company and the CEO of that company was there in my work. So he then went and hired me to work with his team, and that was my first team workshop. And so from there, , I started to package it up and figure out, okay, what are the, how do I build a wor, how do I continue to be better at building a workshop, right?
[00:17:04] Sandhya: And experience learning and taking away the learning and making it really practical and tangible and got referred to another, client along the way. I was in school, I was managing Parttime thing. The process of doing this work, I’m preaching to the choir here with you, but for everyone listening to and anyone that might wanna do this or is in the process for me, experimentation is everything.
[00:17:29] Sandhya: Yes. Your, your three time tryer, some failures along the way. I know that must have. Been great learning for you and helped you then steer what the next iteration would be and then the next iteration would be. Yes. And for me it was just doing it, getting out there, doing it, talking about what I’m doing.
[00:17:52] Sandhya: There were moments at that I, that were I think, most effective for me when I would talk to some of my best friends about something I was doing, and they would be like, I didn’t know you were doing that, or what is it that you’re doing again? And so I learned the importance of messaging and consistency.
[00:18:13] Sandhya: There you go. Clarity.
[00:18:16] Ryan: Consistency. Let me ask you a question. Was it the doing or the I call ’em setbacks or fall downs or both? Would you say we’re better teaching lessons for.
[00:18:30] Sandhya: Honestly it was both. I couldn’t say one or the other. It’s been both along the way because, and they’ve given me different things, when something doesn’t work out the way I think I wanted it to , it has always led me to something better or different. And isn’t that amazing? Embracing that has not been easy though, you
[00:18:50] Ryan: know, No, it is not. I’m with you first in.
[00:18:55] Sandhya: Yeah. And so that those things have actually taught me to lean back a little bit and let things unfold, let them evolve instead of sitting here.
[00:19:05] Sandhya: For me, and this may be a little bit counter to what, some entrepreneurs do, but instead of playing out the next three years, I need to plan out the next six months focus, pick a lane, stay there, be consistent, and then I can expand, right? I.
[00:19:23] Ryan: I like that. Sorry, not to interrupt you, but I love that because there’s sometimes where you’re in the battle, in the heat of the moment, three years out is so far out.
[00:19:33] Ryan: You have to see what’s on the short term horizon. I am with you 100%. That. Yeah. Planning out too far in the early stages for me, and I digress and I’ll let you go, is was failure because I was already planning my next, next phase of this, the next phase of that when I didn’t have my first phase fixed yet, it still had problems in hiccups, but if you’re.
[00:19:54] Ryan: You keep close, to the, I basically say if you’re not touching the problem or the situation on a daily basis, how can you fix it? And that’s how I view it as I have that short term, three to six months, then I go out a full year, and then I start looking two to three years, sometimes five.
[00:20:10] Ryan: But ultimately that short term I am with you 100%. That is, we miss that as I, I miss that a lot as an entrepreneur when I first started, because. I don’t know. I can’t tell. I had somebody, all joking aside, I had somebody ask me that last week, Why did you not look short term? And I still don’t have an answer.
[00:20:27] Ryan: And it really bothers me, but I’ll learn, I’ll figure it out. .
[00:20:30] Sandhya: I certainly think there may be some hangover from the corporate world in which you and I both grew up in our careers in an environment where if you didn’t have a three year plan, you were. Not well thought of. True.
[00:20:44] Sandhya: That was the point. You had to do that and in such a big machine. For me, in the product space, we needed to know what, where we wanted to innovate or what the big ideas were so that we could get the whole machine moving slowly, get the resources together to be able to get there long term.
[00:21:03] Sandhya: , when you’re an entrepreneur, like I could pivot tomorrow and launch a different business. . I think some of it’s probably how we grew up professionally that we, both maybe had in our heads that I need to have this long term plan and it’s just not, it even adds to the feeling of failure, right?
[00:21:19] Sandhya: Where I didn’t hit this three year thing, but that three year thing was so arbitrary I need to focus on what’s in front of me today, .
[00:21:29] Ryan: So when you were able to embrace that and start looking short term and start focusing on. , how did things start progressing for you on your journey?
[00:21:37] Sandhya: Yeah. Between focusing short term and this whole idea of picking a lane and being consistent in that one lane.
[00:21:45] Sandhya: Okay. I think it’s, our people who become entrepreneurs maybe naturally have a tendency to take risks, but also have a lot of confidence in ourselves and what we can. Can, create. And so that same confidence caused me to want to be like, I wanna do this and this, and I’m gonna do all these different things.
[00:22:10] Sandhya: , and that’s great. And I can do those, but I can’t do them all today. and I need the people that are supposed to hire me to know what I do, . So if I’m talking about four or five, six different things, they’re gonna have no idea what they can hire me for. So getting really clearer on who is gonna hire me and why are they gonna hire me, and how do I talk to those people consistently and clearly.
[00:22:38] Sandhya: And then focusing on what is the next. Big step that’s right in front of me has been a game changer. And I have to come back to it a lot, because my natural tendency, I have comparisonitis and so I see other people with other business models and they’re doing this, or they have this thing and I’m like, I just started, I’m, really like new in this journey and I just need to keep focus and keep my head down and do the thing that’s right.
[00:23:06] Ryan: It is hard. By all means. And if you don’t have that persona put together for your clientele or your customers, however you wanna call them, it’s tough. I struggled with it too. My problem was I was trying to overengineer the persona and giving it so much data and trying to run it through.
[00:23:22] Ryan: And it’s until, and this is this might be a taboo word for some entrepreneurs, but for me it’s not. I love having mentors. . And I’ve struggled with getting a mentor along this route because I thought I knew enough to be dangerous, and when you know enough to be dangerous, you’re in trouble.
[00:23:38] Ryan: And I got in a lot of trouble. And now I have three different mentors that help me in different aspects of my business. But it took me this long journey to figure that out. And a mentor really can, at least for me, square me away, especially my mentors. They understand who I am. I’m direct, I’m straightforward.
[00:23:55] Ryan: Let’s just have a conversation. If I screw something up, I screwed it. I’m gonna take ownership it of it and I’ll fix it, whatever. But asking for help is a big thing that us humans don’t wanna take on. And as an entrepreneur, you’re even dug in even further. And it’s the best way to describe it is it’s prideful.
[00:24:15] Ryan: And it’s once I got over that prideful piece, things started changing. I could actually start seeing nice progress. Personas were coming in consistent messaging now. We’re putting out four to six videos on each of our social media channels daily, all targeted towards our personas.
[00:24:34] Ryan: But it’s not about marketing. It’s not about selling anything. It’s just messaging and it’s just telling a story. And once you get to that point, it’s, it just it feels so much better cuz I don’t want to be marketed to all the time. I know that feeling on the other. But once you get to that point, you start just putting a message out there and people, resonate with it, then you know you’re on the right place.
[00:24:55] Ryan: But it also is rewarding inside for me. It tells my heart, Hey, I’m in the right place. And it’s cool. Yeah.
[00:25:01] Sandhya: And I’m curious cause I also had a. A similar thing where I had a, an audience that I picked and then different people were coming to me, or , I recognize that, hey, there’s some reasons why this isn’t maybe my best audience, and yes, I can serve this group of people.
[00:25:17] Sandhya: But where is my work most effective? When, at what point in their careers or their leadership journey is my work most helpful for them? so targeting in on that one thing and starting there has been really helpful for me as well. And it’s helped me get clarity too, to say, Hey, if you know a leader who’s six months into a new company and they’re struggling with assimilating to the culture, but building trust with their team and also delivering big results.
[00:25:45] Sandhya: I can help them. That is super clear, right? It’s so much clearer than I can work with any kinda team .
[00:25:51] Ryan: That is very clear. I don’t know if you read the book called Credibility Nation. I always forget his name, but take a look at it. He talks about these very specific things. I don’t have my phone with me.
[00:26:02] Ryan: I’d pull it up right now and I’d look at it, but I read it several. It was probably last year or year before, but it’s, he’s got more iterations of it. But what he talks about. You as the entrepreneur or the marketer until you have. That’s, are you calling that statement, your slogan statement?
[00:26:19] Ryan: Are you calling that statement? What would you call that statement? You just told me that if you basically are a leader six months in your position with a new company, I can work with you. What are you calling that?
[00:26:29] Sandhya: Yeah, I don’t know. I would say it’s my ideal client profile too.
[00:26:32] Sandhya: It’s my icp. It’s like that person in that phase struggling with those problems.
[00:26:37] Ryan: So then how do you, and I’m just asking one other question. How do you market to that individual? How do you get to that person from a messaging standpoint? Yeah.
[00:26:45] Sandhya: And here’s the cool thing, right? When you become clear in your messaging and clear in who you wanna work with, it’s so much easier to find them.
[00:26:52] Sandhya: I can now tell everyone in my network, Hey, these are the people I’m looking for. Do you have those people? Do you know those people? I can create content that adds value for those people so they naturally see what I’m posting on LinkedIn and. Oh yeah, I am struggling with that thing. It’s like the thing that’s hardest to do is the thing that makes it so much easier for us to run our businesses.
[00:27:15] Sandhya: And so for me, my business, I’m not at this point at least trying to grow a huge organization or have a bunch of passive income. I want to be involved, I wanna do this work hands on. I don’t need a lot of clients at a time to make a pretty decent lifestyle. And I’m mostly going through my network and LinkedIn and things like that where it’s like the people in proximity to me, if they know really what I do, they can think of me when somebody brings something up at dinner or at a networking event or in a women’s organization.
[00:27:49] Ryan: So is your program over several weeks? What is, what does it consist of and what does that individual do while in the program? Yeah,
[00:27:58] Sandhya: I have two main ways that I work with teams. One is, and I work with individuals as well, but again, in, in service of picking a lane, right? I’m really talking a lot more about the teamwork that I’m doing.
[00:28:09] Sandhya: If you have a larger group, 20, 30, 50 people, I’ll do large group workshops. Different topics, things like, yes, building self-awareness, of course, understanding intrinsic motivation, but also energy management for wellbeing or how to really recognize and leverage your strengths and all of these things rooted in this kind of personality framework that I work with.
[00:28:33] Sandhya: And then if you’re a smaller team, high interdependency. A need to move really quickly. Works great for startups, works great for executive leadership teams. I’ll do a series of team coaching sessions. I’ll do a one on one session with each leader in the team, and then we’ll go through okay, what do you need in order to thrive at work?
[00:28:54] Sandhya: What do you need from each other? What do you maybe need to do for yourself from a balance standpoint? What’s your communication style? How do you meet each other halfway? And then developing kind of team norms around, there’s this big buzzword, psychological safety, right? But how do we build environments where people feel like they belong and they feel like they can bring all of their ideas to the table?
[00:29:15] Sandhya: And in essence too, like creating less angst around conflict. And more ability to communicate effectively with each other. And it’s really that two way street of I know myself well enough, I know how to self regulate. I also know how to meet someone in the middle because communication is not one way.
[00:29:37] Sandhya: And so when you talk about we didn’t. Get. We didn’t learn in school how to manage our finances. We also didn’t learn in school how to communicate effectively, which is like absolutely wild, but like some of the most important life skills
[00:29:59] Sandhya: from our parents, or learn by example or learn by example of what we don’t wanna do. . there’s so much in effective communication that’s really about understanding yourself first and where your barriers are or where maybe you’re not able to see another person’s approach as okay and acceptable also.
[00:30:19] Sandhya: And so those are really the things that I focus
[00:30:24] Ryan: There’s a lot more under the hood than most people think. And until you actually get underneath the hood and actually. Are honest with yourself and want to take a, a good picture of where you’re at and what you’re trying to accomplish.
[00:30:34] Ryan: It’s hard to change that. It’s the same thing with the individuals that come to us that, look to buy a home cuz we do affordable housing and they’re, I call ’em unbankable. They have FICO scores in the fours and fives. They’ve got a lot of, they’ve got a, they’ve got a lot of challenges and they just.
[00:30:50] Ryan: They don’t wanna take that, that introspective of themselves and say, Okay, here’s where I’m at. I’m at this point and here’s where I want to go up here. It takes a lot. And so we have a saying that says, We’ll be here when you’re ready. Because we can’t change it for them. We can guide them, we can support them.
[00:31:06] Ryan: We can help them. We could be their cheerleader. We can hold ’em accountable. There’s so many things we can do. We just can’t do the. And that’s where I think we fall as humans and we’re hardwired for instant gratification. And I tell people credit finances is not something you win overnight unless you win the lottery.
[00:31:22] Ryan: And most lottery winners are typically bankrupt within two to three years afterwards. So why not earn it the right way? Do the hard work, put the time and effort in, and sit back and look at all the things that you did to accomplish. And you change as a person along the way cuz your finances and your money habits and your spending habits all change because ultimately you’re not gonna be chasing the Joneses looking for your next thing.
[00:31:47] Ryan: You, you’d be wanna be putting money away to create an experience with your family and you’re not racking up so much debt where you can’t afford it on a monthly basis and can’t pay your rent or your mortgage or whatever the case is. It’s daunting. And us as human beings, I think we’re.
[00:32:00] Ryan: I don’t know. I just really think we’re really disconnected when it comes to this aspect. The communication piece is one and two is understanding finances and then understanding what we can and can’t do and work within those guys. It’s challenging, but anybody can do it really.
[00:32:16] Ryan: Yeah. And
[00:32:17] Sandhya: I think the thing that, the place we overlap in our work, I. Can help people develop emotional intelligence by giving them new insights and new tools and resources. I cannot do the practice for them. Yes. And it’s the same thing in what you’re saying. Behavior change is really hard.
[00:32:39] Sandhya: and understanding that as a coach or as someone who does help to help people make positive changes in their. You have to have clients that wanna take that ownership . And you’ll have some that don’t. And that’s okay. And, that’s another piece of learning too, is in your ideal client, like who’s, who are gonna, who’s the profile of the type of person that’s gonna take this work and run with it, and be more effective?
[00:33:04] Sandhya: Cuz ultimately the more successful your clients are, the more successful you are. And that’s a, it’s also an important thing to consider.
[00:33:13] Ryan: It is, and it’s hard to front load that, to understand who’s gonna take it and run. It’s trial and error. There’s some science there. Yeah, there’s some science there.
[00:33:22] Ryan: But once you, you start getting 5, 6, 10, 12 people under your belt and you know what you’re looking for, it really then starts, chugging along. And I’ve noticed that when we first started that I, it’s strange was talking to the executive director of the, of our nonprofit and he was talking about some people that have come in lately and I said, Where are we at on messaging?
[00:33:40] Ryan: Let’s go back to it and take a look at it and understanding what that is and how we’re attracting, people in, and they tweak some of the messaging that we originally set out for this year and it’s okay, so let’s get back to what we were doing. And go from there. And the funny thing is everybody knows Gary v Gary Vanerchuk.
[00:33:56] Ryan: One thing that I take away from him, and I love his messaging, is I don’t get high and I don’t get low about social media. And unfortunately, A lot of people do, including me at times, but I truly try to tune it out. I don’t care about likes, I do get Chucks chuckles out of the comments when they’re nasty.
[00:34:13] Ryan: Oh, you don’t need to be talking about this or that. I love that cuz that means I’m on the right messaging. So it works, but, They got away from some messaging that we were doing with the nonprofit. It’s see guys, let’s go back to some of that older messaging that was working and getting your ideal client.
[00:34:29] Ryan: Let’s see where it goes. Maybe that needs to be tweaked too, but let’s go back to what was working. And then they started over the weekend and I think they got three or four appointments. So we’ll see how those turn out. But it’s, it is truly messaging. I mean it’s messaging and connecting. . And it’s funny is the sales process, whether it be nonprofit or anything that we’re doing, and I don’t know about on your side, maybe it’s shorter, but typically, we need probably anywhere between six to 12 touches with somebody before they say, Okay, yes, I’m in.
[00:34:58] Ryan: And that’s probably our sweet spot. Our sweet spot’s probably around eight or nine. Touches they need to see eight or nine pieces of content, interact with it at least 50% of the time before they say, Okay, check the box I’m in. I’m gonna sign up on your landing page. It’s amazing that you need that many touches.
[00:35:16] Ryan: To convince somebody to say they need help. And we can go down a rabbit hole with this cuz this is all about the help mentor, I don’t need it type of thing. Now on, on your side, what does that look like? How many touches, what are you looking at, and how do you work within that marketing elements to make sure you always have a funnel going?
[00:35:33] Ryan: Cuz that’s one of our problems with entrepreneurs is we get focused on, the end result. Most of the time we gotta be focused on the front end because you gotta keep fresh clients coming in to make sure the end result works.
[00:35:43] Sandhya: Yeah. It’s like whackamole, right? , I need to get really good at what I’m doing, the work itself, right?
[00:35:50] Sandhya: And I look forward to a day where, I have it so locked in that I’m like, I know exactly what’s gonna work for these types of clients and I know exactly how to attract them. And then at that point I’ll probably be bored of what I’m doing and move on to the next thing . It’s just gonna be a constant, but for me, it’s really leveraging my network and it’s something that I.
[00:36:13] Sandhya: Do well certain times, and I don’t do well other times and but I have to constantly be working on both tracks, right? Delivering the work for the client, but also building new relationships for what’s gonna be three to six months down the road. And I’ve had clients where I’ve had a meeting to talk about building out a program and creating a proposal, and they come back to me six or eight months later and hire me.
[00:36:38] Sandhya: Yeah. And it, so it is a long. Life cycle. It’s also, a kind of more product based strategy versus what I do is very high touch, and so I have to build trust and credibility with people before they hire me because they’re paying for me, right? They’re paying for my capability and me to come in and work with their teams and, spending on my coaching versus other things that they could be spending money on.
[00:37:06] Sandhya: if there’s not an ROI on this, they’re gonna look bad in front of their boss. There’s just a lot there. And so for me, it’s really just how do I talk about what I believe in and where I think the gaps are today with what companies are offering people. I came across I had this conversation recently where it was like my biggest competition is status quo.
[00:37:30] Sandhya: We’re fine. Our team culture’s fine. We already have a leadership development program and it’s working. And it’s talking about what I think isn’t working and talking about how things could be better and people could feel better at work. And we’re not doing enough to challenge burnout.
[00:37:45] Sandhya: And it’s all about knowing yourself better. So the more I’m consistent with what I believe in putting it out there, the better my flow of, that top of the funnel clients are gonna come.
[00:37:58] Ryan: Is the slowdown in the market affecting you at all?
[00:38:01] Sandhya: I haven’t noticed it, but it’s also something where, somebody recently was talking about like for independent consultants in the corporate world, recessions are actually, not helpful, but they’re okay because that means companies aren’t hiring full-time people to do. What we do, and they’re not creating their own programs or investing in headcount. They can hire somebody like me who can come in and out and they can get a huge ROI off of a much smaller spend and not have to, pay for healthcare and all those things.
[00:38:31] Sandhya: So it, I don’t think so necessarily. Some of the startups that I would work with, quite possibly yes, because they’re in a situation where people are taking reduced salaries and things like that, right? So they’re not gonna necessarily go spend money on. on other things, but corporate is diversified enough that it hasn’t really been a problem.
[00:38:52] Ryan: That’s good. Knock. Yeah knock on wood cuz that’s, I’m in the housing space but it’s interesting in this end of the market, cuz I went through 2008, 2009 also, and it lets up a little bit, but not very much. People always are looking for affordable housing that’s sustainable.
[00:39:08] Ryan: Built well And there’s a lot more options for buying for them at that point. And it’s interesting it’s, we’re going to a different dynamic right now, especially as states and the federal government are looking to fund more housing deals because there’s not enough people taking care of taking advantage of the Fanny and Freddy’s down payment assistance.
[00:39:25] Ryan: There’s so many different things. Demand is up right. In the 30 years fixed right now I think is at 6.39 or 6.5, something like that. This morning I didn’t watch it. It’s like watching Dr. Paint drying. It’s, I’m not gonna do it. It’s crazy. But you’d be, People are amazed when I tell ’em that demand does not wane during high interest rates or a slowdown because people.
[00:39:46] Ryan: Rents have increased almost 35% in five years. At some point rent is gonna be dramatically more expensive than owning a home. And especially if you get a new one. Cuz that’s all we do is build new homes and it’s yeah, it’s about time. You gotta look at some stuff. And there’s options out there.
[00:40:01] Ryan: Five year arm, three year arm, 10. There’s all types of stuff. But anyhow, I digress. See Rabbit World, I have that problem. I love that cuz I get to do that here. I try to keep it outta the business, but I do it here. Yeah. Where if you’re networking on LinkedIn, do you take clients on you, You talked about individual and I don’t think we really touched on it.
[00:40:20] Ryan: Can you talk a little bit more about the individual one-on-one coaching that you.
[00:40:25] Sandhya: Yeah. Yeah. Most of my one on one work is customized to what somebody needs. Okay. Depending on what they, what challenges they’re coming in with. But a lot of times it’s, I’m not sure where I want my next career move to be.
[00:40:40] Sandhya: I don’t know. I can’t like articulate what I’m good at, And there’s this element of we have these natural strengths that we kind. Forget about because there are things that come really easy to us. So that’s a passionary of mine, is helping people recognize those strengths, use them more in their work, align their work with their values and their motivations so we can have that kind of natural engine.
[00:41:02] Sandhya: Be, especially because entrepreneurship is tough. You have to be connected deeply to what you’re doing. So I’ll work with that. I’ll work with leaders that wanna, manage their team more effectively, things like that. But ultimately, like no matter what, if there’s some interest in talking to me, working with me, you can set up an appointment.
[00:41:19] Sandhya: It’s on all of my socials, on LinkedIn, on Instagram, where you can just set up a, 30. Chat and we’ll see if there’s a good fit between what you’re looking for and what I can do for you. So that’s really the place that people can find me. So my Instagram is Self at Work Sania and on LinkedIn, it’s just my name, of course, and my website is Your firstname.lastname@example.org
[00:41:45] Ryan: That’s cool. I didn’t even have to ask you the question. That’s no fun cuz I was hoping that was gonna be where you went next. Yeah, . Yeah, that’s where I was gonna go next. And it’s okay, now you’re taking my thunder. You’ll work with individuals, but you also work mostly predominantly with corporate or corporate America.
[00:42:02] Ryan: I should.
[00:42:03] Sandhya: Yeah, corporate leadership teams, also startup teams and entrepreneurial teams. It’s really any teams and where it’s most helpful is rapid growth, high interdependency environments where you can’t really afford to have mis miscommunications or interpersonal issues that get in the way of getting the work done.
[00:42:26] Sandhya: And. All of the work I do is very relational. It does help us feel better at work, but it also helps us get to those results faster. ,
[00:42:36] Ryan: that’s awesome. That’s what you’re doing is one cool because you’re trying to solve some problems. Not saying the banks in the institutions I worked for couldn’t have brought you in, but they kept everything a lot in house, like you said, in house, it’s standard.
[00:42:49] Ryan: We’ve got all these great things, but The culture, good culture just didn’t push people to be their best. It kept them kind of status quo. Literally. I would have managers that worked for me, or directors that worked for me that were in their roles for 20 years. 20 years in the same role. I was like, Are you kidding?
[00:43:11] Ryan: It’s like you, you got that far, why would you not go to the next step or whatever? And it just was astonishing to me. I never worked at a financial institution. This is a Fortune 50. Both these companies were Fortune 50 companies that I worked for and never saw people stay in their positions that long at any other place that I worked in.
[00:43:30] Ryan: It was just amazing. And they would talk about the customer the employee centric. Environment that they created, but it almost created to be people, to be complacent. And it was hard to motivate people, especially when you had a big project and you had somebody that’s in the role forever.
[00:43:48] Ryan: And then you had me, the outsider. I came in and I was a director when I came in and I had senior managers in VPs above me that have been in roles for many years. And when I came in, I was a hard charger. and it was like, you brought me in for reason to clean this up. And I started doing that, and these people just moved at a s nails pace and it was like, it was okay.
[00:44:10] Ryan: It they were, they the company culture embraced it. But then when you got down to an annual review and just that aspect of, okay where you at on your performance? , You never were honest. You couldn’t be honest. You literally, as a director as an officer of the corporation, I could not submit my directs review without it being reviewed by hr.
[00:44:33] Ryan: I’m like, Are you kidding me? Never done that before. Every place I worked prior to that, I got to do it. My boss could review it if he or she wanted to, but most of the time I was already an officer of the corporation. I think I had an idea of what my people could and couldn’t do, but HR had to approve it.
[00:44:48] Ryan: And then if HR didn’t like any of your language in there, they would poo it and red mark it up, and then you’d have to change it and then send it back to ’em for re-approval before you could adminis. I’m like, Oh my God.
[00:44:59] Sandhya: Yeah. It’s, it’s this I think it’s a misconception that good culture equals comfort.
[00:45:06] Sandhya: Amen. . And so if we can be more honest with each other, if we can communicate more clearly with more candor and accept feedback, you probably had these 10 directors that were sitting in those roles, taking up those roles, and someone like you who was up and coming. Had nowhere to go. And that doesn’t breed a great environment either, I think.
[00:45:27] Sandhya: Nope. Kind. Kindness gets confused for being nice to each other and allowing those things. And so I do think there’s a huge role for like psychological safety and clear communication and organizations and how that can benefit everybody.
[00:45:43] Ryan: I’m with you. I’m not. People say I would be direct, but my direct was still open and honest, and I was very p i very polite.
[00:45:51] Ryan: I just was, just didn’t, I didn’t wanna lie to him and say, Hey, you’re doing great. I wanted to be honest and say here’s your areas of opportunities, but you also have some good stuff too. You couldn’t even talk about the areas of opportunity and even areas of opportunity was turned down to, I can’t even remember.
[00:46:08] Ryan: Shoot, I can’t remember. It was something even softer than that. The fluffy term about
[00:46:11] Sandhya: Yeah, . Exactly.
[00:46:13] Ryan: It was tough. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry I digress. We’ve we’ve gone pretty much the full limit here. So you’ve already, Why don’t you share your website and how everyone can get ahold of you first before we wrap this up, and then I’ll put your information in the show notes.
[00:46:27] Sandhya: Yeah, great. You can message me on any of the social platforms. You can go to my website and just, put in a contact form or anything like that. My email’s there as well. It’s hello email@example.com and the website is firstname.lastname@example.org. So you can reach me there look me up on LinkedIn, connect with me, send me a message and I’d love to chat.
[00:46:50] Ryan: What was your Instagram.
[00:46:52] Sandhya: Self at work.
[00:46:53] Ryan: Sanya. Okay, cool. Sanya, thank you very much for coming on. I will share all that in the show notes. It’s been a great conversation. I really enjoyed it and it’s awesome what you’re doing and your journey is inspiring and I hope we inspire some people to go after, their true happiness, their passion, cuz not a lot of us.
[00:47:14] Sandhya: Yeah I’m right there with you. . Doing work that is meaningful and fuels us is amazing. It is not easy, but it’s worth it.
[00:47:24] Ryan: It is worth it, for sure. Thank you for coming on today. Thank you. Thanks for having me. You’re welcome.