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Episode 165

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It All Begins With a Purpose. Alex Sanfilippo

Episode Description

Many people start a business because they want to make money. That’s understandable, but if you want your business to be successful, it’s crucial that you first identify what is most important to you.

Our next guest is Alex Sanfilippo, the host of the top-rated entrepreneurship podcast, Creating a Brand, and the founder of PodMatch.com, a free service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews. After years of working in different industries, Alex decided to return to his first love of entrepreneurship. From building a globally ranked Christian multi-author blog, to traveling around the United States speaking and coaching people who want to start their own business, Alex has made it a priority to add value to people’s lives in many ways. 

The Money You Should Ask Team loves using Alex’s PodMatch service so much that we just had to get him on the show.


Bob and Alex discuss some key topics that sometimes get overlooked when starting your own business.

[5:11] Learning to manage money at 12 years old.
[10:51] The art of building a business system.
[15:11] Be willing to collaborate.
[18:32] Having a mindest of service and helping other people.
[24:59] Understanding why you want to start your own business.
[25:55] “You’ve gotta be passionate about the solution that you’re offering to somebody else’s problem.” 

Check out Creating Your Brand Podcast as Alex shares actionable content from successful leaders and subject matter experts on topics that help entrepreneurs make their first or next step in business the right one.


Connect With Alex Sanfilippo:

PodPros Website: https://podpros.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexJSanfilippo

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexsanfilippo/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajsanfilippo/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4DJzxAgjypfUeS-mNgi-Jg

Twitter: @PodPros_com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/podpros/


Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Join PodMatch: https://podmatch.com/signup/mysa


Review This Show:

Did you enjoy this episode? Please review this show and help us create more awareness around why we do what we do when it comes to money.
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Episode Transcription

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[00:00:00] Bob Wheeler: Welcome to another episode of Money You Should Ask, where everyone has something they can teach you. I’m your host, Bob Wheeler. In this episode, we are going to explore why we do what we do when it comes to money. As a CPA for the past 30 years, wait, let me say 25, because that makes me sound younger. I have seen it all when it comes to money and emotions.

[00:00:21] And if you think I’m talking about my clients, I’m not, I’m talking about myself. My relationship with money has been, and sometimes still is, an emotional rollercoaster. Maybe that’s something you’re also familiar with. Good news. You and I are not the only ones. Our next guest is going to share their money beliefs, money blocks, and life challenges as well.

[00:00:43] Buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.

[00:01:06] Our next guest is Alex Sanfilippo. He is the host of the top rated entrepreneurship podcast, Creating A Brand, and the founder of PodMatch.com, a free service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews. After years of working in different industries, Alex decided to return to his first love of entrepreneurship.

[00:01:23] From building a globally ranked Christian multi-author blog to traveling around the United States speaking and coaching people who want to start their own business, Alex has made it a priority to add value to people’s lives in one way or another. The Money You Should Ask team and I just love using Alex’s PodMatch services so much that we just had to have him on the show.

[00:01:40] Alex, it’s so great to have you here.

[00:01:42] Alex Sanfilippo: Bob, thank you so much for the kind introduction, and just an honor to be here with you today. Thanks so much.

[00:01:46] Bob Wheeler: Well, I’m super excited because obviously, we’ve used your platform that brought us here today. And I don’t know if there were podcasts back when you were 5, 6, 7 years old. So I don’t know that your envision future was, I’m going to have a podcast “match.com” kind of thing.

[00:02:04] Alex Sanfilippo: Not at all. As a matter of fact, for the majority of the upbringing of my life, and even into my early twenties, I was pretty scared. I was like major introvert. Like when it came to talking in front of people, like that just made me nervous. I didn’t enjoy it at all.

[00:02:15] Something shifted my personality at some point where I actually ended up loving it. But at that age, I didn’t want anything to do with that. So even writing seemed scary to me, but talking in front of people or talking through a mic, nah. Didn’t interest me at all.

[00:02:26] Bob Wheeler: Not on the list. And were you an only child?

[00:02:29] Alex Sanfilippo: No, actually I’m one of four. I have three younger brothers. And funny thing, they are all way more animated than I am. Like, I feel like I’m somewhat more animated now, but when I was a kid, man, I was the quiet one. I was the oldest and the quiet one. Usually I like to think the more mature one out of the bunch as well, but yeah.

[00:02:46] I’m one of four and really thankful I have a great relationship with all three of my younger brothers still today, and they are so much fun and hilarious people.

[00:02:53] Bob Wheeler: Well now, do you think it’s because you were first, your parents were still experimenting and then they made adjustments after number two?

[00:02:59] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, it has to be, you know, it has to be. With me they were, I think they’re really harsh. Like I didn’t get away with anything. And it was funny. This is a little side note story here, but at one point in my life, I think I was 17 years old. I was sitting in my parents’ kitchen. I was obviously still living there, and I think it was eating a bowl of cereal.

[00:03:14] I’m just sitting there. My youngest brother walks in, and so I was 17. So he would’ve been 10. And my mom’s in the kitchen as well. And she just goes, David, my youngest brother, she goes, I told you to clean your room this weekend. I just noticed it’s still not clean. And he goes, I’ve been tired. I haven’t wanted to do it.

[00:03:26] And she just goes, okay. And then he walked out of the room while I got some food. And I just pause for a minute, I looked and I’m like, Mom, and she goes, what? I’m like, you would’ve made me dig a hole and then you would have buried me in it if I would’ve done that as a kid. Like as a 10 year old kid. And she goes, ah, I guess I’m just tired.

[00:03:39] And that was the whole conversation. So yeah, things change. I think that’s a true story for just about any parent. If they have multiple kids, they just get worn out over time.

[00:03:48] Bob Wheeler: Exactly. They’re like, whatever. Now, let me ask you this. So being first born, was there a pressure on you to model for the other kids or to do it right?

[00:03:57] Or was there comparisons? What was the environment that you grew up in?

[00:04:02] Alex Sanfilippo: So I’m really thankful for the parents I have. They did a great job of treating us all very similar. Like not obviously exactly the same, but very similar based on our personalities. There was very little pressure from them. For whatever reason, I believe I actually put that pressure on myself to be a bit of a role model for my younger brothers, especially initially.

[00:04:19] And I don’t ever feel like that came from my parents. It was something internal that was driving me that I felt like I needed to do that. And I wish, Bob, I could tell you exactly what that was. But for some reason, I just kind of felt that internal drive of, I need to be an example for my younger siblings. When that conversation never really came up. And my parents did a great job, again, really treating us all equally and giving us all opportunities and things like that.

[00:04:40] Bob Wheeler: And did they talk about money? Did they talk with you about money? Did they teach you about money?

[00:04:46] Alex Sanfilippo: Actually, yes. And this is another thing I’m super thankful for. So for me, at a young age, I had a bit of a learning disability. I was dyslexic, like really bad as a kid. So I was actually homeschooled all the way through school.

[00:04:56] Like I just stuck with it. It actually really worked for my personality type, and again, maybe that’s kind of why for a long time, it took me a while to come out of my shell. I wasn’t used to being around a lot of people. Right? I wasn’t like a total shut in. I had a, quite a few friends, but, uh, at the same time, I wasn’t the guy going to a class with 30 people in it every day.

[00:05:11] But my mom was actually full-time homeschooling, and we had some teachers come in, but she really made a point to teach us practical education. What I mean by that is, hey, here’s how money actually works. Like here’s how you develop a budget. I remember at 12 years old was the first time that my mom taught me how to manage books.

[00:05:27] Right? Like to actually figure out how to do that. And I didn’t even know that that wasn’t something that other kids were doing in school. But when I got married many years later, my wife was like, wow. I wish someone would’ve taught me how to budget in school. That would have been nice.

[00:05:38] So yeah, they were very money conscious and they were able to really teach me and my brothers, how to manage money really well, and how to build a healthy relationship with money, if you will, for maybe lack of a better term there.

[00:05:47] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a term we use a lot here at The Money Nerve. So when you were learning all of that, you didn’t have the awareness other people weren’t learning this.

[00:05:57] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, no idea.

[00:05:58] Bob Wheeler: And they were creating this really great environment. Were there any blind spots on their part that you remember, like, did they ever get stressed out about money or anything that you remember going, oh wow? Money can sometimes be crazy? Or everything was just butterflies and singing birds?

[00:06:16] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. I wish I could say the latter, but that’s definitely not the case. So although my parents were very wealthy, when I was young, they weren’t yet. Like they “hadn’t arrived” if you will, for air quotes.

[00:06:24] Bob Wheeler: Yeah.

[00:06:25] Alex Sanfilippo: No one ever really arrives.

[00:06:26] They made it financially really well when I was in my early teen years, but initially they both came from poverty. My dad was one of four. My mom was one of seven. And they grew up in two bedroom homes at most, at times. And they didn’t come up with a lot of, in abundance at all. And because of that, I think their relationship with money, especially when I was younger, was to be very frugal with everything.

[00:06:45] And I can remember as a kid watching that as they started making a lot of money that, that didn’t change. So instead of hiring somebody to do things now that you do have money for it, they would still say, no, we can do this because we can save $30 if we do that. Again, not talking bad about them, they’ve done a great job.

[00:06:59] And still to this day, they’re both very successful people. And they’ve probably grown in that ability to understand, like where to be frugal, where to splurge a little bit. But at that point in my life, that was where I was. I was watching that. So in my mind, everything was saving money, got to save it, got to save money, got to save money.

[00:07:12] Can’t spend it, got to find a way to do it myself and save money. And that was kind of the mindset for me growing up, going into high school and even all the way through high school.

[00:07:19] Bob Wheeler: Jumping back to your wife who was impressed with your bookkeeping skills. Did you investigate her credit score? Did you know about her finances when you said this is the one?

[00:07:29] Alex Sanfilippo: Um, well, I didn’t dive too deep, Bob. I didn’t like get a full audit done on or anything like that, or call the IRS and be like, you need to go check this girl out. I didn’t do anything like that. But what I did know is that she had a completely paid off car. And when we got married, we were early to mid twenties and she also owned her own house. And she had roommates and she was cashflow positive.

[00:07:48] So like, from what I could tell, she was actually doing really well. As a matter of fact, through some bad investments I made later on, she was actually financially the one that had the money at that point, you know. Like after we got married, we actually agreed to sell her place and move into mine. That was a mutual agreement. We just liked the place better.

[00:08:04] And I mean, she bought it when the market was at a low, I mean, I think she bought it in 2009 or something like that. And I think when she sold it, the profit from what she said she paid for it was like over 50% or something like that. So she set us up very well after we got married.

[00:08:17] So yeah, I explored enough to know that, you know, we’re going to do really well together.

[00:08:21] Bob Wheeler: That’s perfect. So you’re basically riding on her coattails.

[00:08:23] Alex Sanfilippo: That’s it! I should say, I’m not like a gold digger. I wasn’t like, ooh, she’s got a lot of money I’m going after her. I actually liked the girl, so…

[00:08:32] Bob Wheeler: Oh, that that helps.

[00:08:33] Alex Sanfilippo: Yes, it does.

[00:08:34] Bob Wheeler: Now you started being an entrepreneur when you were 10, you started selling golf balls and just going throughout the neighborhood. Was that from like diving in the pond and seeing all the balls at the bottom? Or were you just collecting them in the woods and near the golf course? How did that come about?

[00:08:49] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. So the first time that I ever had the light bulb moment, if you will, was, I was actually playing on the golf courses across the street from the neighbor, the house we lived in. And I was out, probably weren’t supposed to be there, but a bunch of kids in the neighborhood, my brothers, were all out there on the golf course.

[00:09:02] And we’d like run down by the lake and hide when golfers were coming. Well, I ran down there and I found a golf ball and it was just on the grass. Like someone must’ve just tossed, I don’t know. Someone put it down there and I was looking at it, and that golfer would come up and saw us and goes, “Hey kid, what’s that golf ball say on it?”

[00:09:15] I was like, “Titleist Pro V1.” And he goes, “I’ll give you $3 for it.” And I was like, “I found it.” And he’s like, “It’s okay.” He’s like, “I’ll give you $3 for it.” So I gave him the ball, gave me $3. And that was like a light bulb moment. Even at 10, I was like, if there’s more of these and they’re worth $3 each.

[00:09:29] And I knew like watching golfers, listen golf is the liars club group. Right? Everyone claims they’re so good, but they all hit 30 balls in the water every time they play. So I’m watching it every day. Like golfers get angry, they’re cursing and they’re hitting golf balls in the water. I’m like, we can find a way to get those out of these lakes. So we got these like, golf ball retriever things that literally is just like a long stick with something that can scoop up a golf ball.

[00:09:47] We started looking around the lakes. We started looking in the woods. Everywhere we could. And started organizing them. And so me and my brothers, I shouldn’t say all of them, but me and my next brother in line, and then some neighborhood friends, we just started like a little system here.

[00:09:59] And so I was basically doing sales, somebody was going and finding them, someone was cleaning up, someone was organizing them, and we just kind of made a system out of it. And that turned into our Saturday morning routine from the age of 10 to 12, I was actually doing that.

[00:10:10] Bob Wheeler: Well, that’s pretty amazing. It’s like, most people would look and just see a golf ball, and you look at it and you see three bucks.

[00:10:16] Alex Sanfilippo: Right. Exactly.

[00:10:18] Bob Wheeler: And that looks really attractive. And then you started doing sales, and that sort of was maybe the bug? Do you think?

[00:10:24] Alex Sanfilippo: Oh, for sure. Yeah. I know it’s a young age, but I was a different kid. Like I wasn’t really great at school. Like having some learning disabilities, I had to kind of figure out how to do things differently. Because of that, I also wasn’t great at video games, my younger brothers were all musicians, I wasn’t. So it was kind of like an awkward space.

[00:10:38] Even at 10, I had the self-awareness to realize that I was really different. And it wasn’t necessarily something that upset me or depressed me as a kid. I was just like, I don’t know if I’m really like everybody else. But when I started selling golf balls, like strangely enough, at 10, I realized I’m like, wait a minute. I love this.

[00:10:51] And it wasn’t making the money. It was more of the art of building the system that created something, right? Like it was like, we have nothing and now we have something in a day. I was never overly attracted to the money. It was more, again, just that system. So I would say, yeah, at that point I got that bug of like, wanting to be an entrepreneur.

[00:11:06] And really, if you had told me that at that point, I wouldn’t have even known what that meant, but that’s ultimately what it was that really was starting to get pressed upon me.

[00:11:13] Bob Wheeler: And then you decided to go into real estate, and then that didn’t go so well. You had this great ideas and fresh off the success of golf balls, you go into real estate and it sort of tanked.

[00:11:26] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. Now it’s like hindsight’s 2020. Like I look back and I’m like, oh man, I should’ve been able to call the 2007, 2008, 2009 recession. Like I should have been able to see it. But the truth is, especially as I was between the ages of 16 and 19, during those times, there’s no way that I could have ever called that.

[00:11:42] But yeah, I started working on doing some virtual tours of homes. I started a business, I had seven employees working for me at that point. And I started that when I was 17. When I turned 18, I started investing in real estate and getting rental properties. That was like something I really wanted to do. And then when the crash happened, I mean, obviously all that burnt. And truthfully like real quick a side note, I don’t look back at that as being a bad thing.

[00:12:00] For many years that like haunted me, but now I look back, I’m actually really thankful for it because there is no successful entrepreneur that has not failed more times than they succeed.

[00:12:07] I needed that failure to one, humble me first off, but two, open my eyes to the fact that you know what? The money I’m bringing in, the success, isn’t everything. Like there’s, part of the process is the journey that you’re gonna be able to learn and grow from. So a little side note there I had to mention, but yeah, that’s what happened there.

[00:12:21] Like it crashed completely. And I went from doing really well to doing really bad overnight.

[00:12:26] Bob Wheeler: And how were your parents in regards to this? Like, I can think of my own parents and, God bless them, they did the best they could. But they might’ve been like, well, I told you that was a stupid idea. Or, you know, I don’t know that I would’ve gotten a lot of, oh, it’s going to work out.

[00:12:39] And I would have learned from it, as I have, from my mistakes or my learning curves. But how was that with the family, with like a clear, obvious fail? Like it’s gotta hurt the ego?

[00:12:52] Alex Sanfilippo: Definitely, first off, the ego is the number one thing that was hurt for me. And I was dealing with some pride at that point. When I was 17 and when I first turned 18, I was doing really well. Like I really was, especially for my age, I’d be considered very successful on paper at that point, especially for the age in consideration.

[00:13:05] So it built up some pride in me that I’m not proud of. And the humbling factor that happened during this was the best thing for me ever.

[00:13:12] But my mom, she’s always been like a nurturing mom. So she’s like, oh, I’m so sorry. If you need to move back in, you can, you know, she started with all that. But me being independent, I’m like mom, I’m not gonna move back in. I’m okay. I can still eat. Like, I’m going to be all right. I’m staying out on my own and things like that.

[00:13:25] My dad, more so being an entrepreneur himself and having these ups and downs along the way, was somebody who just, he didn’t say much about it actually ever. I think he maybe said, oh, sorry. I wish I could have given you some insight there. I didn’t see that coming either. But what he ended up doing instead is helping me get a job in the aerospace industry.

[00:13:41] Which, in the sector that, that I ended up working in, wasn’t affected negatively by that whole recession. So that was more of my dad’s style was just like, hey, let me help you out. You can go get an interview here. They’ll help you out. Like, they’ll give you a job type of thing. And that’s the industry he was in.

[00:13:54] So I had like, Alex Sanfilippo, my dad’s named Andy Sanfilippo. I had a bit of like, I guess, clout in the space, people would be like, oh yeah, we know who that is. We’ll hire him. You know? Like his dad’s a legend. Let’s see if he can be too who type of thing. Right?

[00:14:05] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, and absolutely. And I want to touch on that.

[00:14:07] I know a lot of people who have people that can help them out or open doors or make a connection for them. And people will say, I’m doing this on my own. Nobody’s going to help me. I’m going to be able to say I did this all by myself. And I just wonder if you can speak to that, especially for people out there that want to be entrepreneurs. Like, when an opportunity is there for somebody else to help you, do you take it? And why?

[00:14:32] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’ll share my story of this in a moment, but first off, there’s a scripture that I love that just simply says, pride comes before the fall. All this comes down to a pride issue. And I don’t know anyone in business has ever made it being prideful. I mean, it takes collaboration. It takes partners. It takes having people in your corner to help you. At that point in my life, I’m actually, again, how thankful I was like, I lost everything at 18 and a half or 19 years old.

[00:14:55] However, I was at that point that it humbled me and allowed me. Because previously if my dad would have been like, hey, I can help you get a job. I’m like, nah, like I can do it alone. But at that point I was so desperate, everything that I had, any sort of front that I had or was showing, it was gone at that point. So I was just like, thank you so much Dad, I appreciate it.

[00:15:11] Like, I’ll do anything. And the job I ended up taking was a part-time receiving clerk position, which is a fancy way of saying I broke down boxes that had taken, parts taken out of them, and I emptied the trash. And talk about, again, talking about like, a humbling experience, but I’m so thankful for that. I just think that my advice to anybody is to be willing to collaborate.

[00:15:27] Don’t try to do everything on your own because you will drastically limit your ability to grow and impact the world if you won’t allow others in to help you. And it takes a level of humility, but I’m telling you, if you can learn that early on, it’s going to serve you really well throughout business.

[00:15:41] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. And as I’m hearing you talk about breaking down boxes and things like that, hard work is hard work. And doing a job as doing a job.

[00:15:48] And so there’s, to me, some people will say, oh, he’s a janitor. Oh, she’s a, this. Hey, in the end of the day, they’re showing up and they’re working and they’re contributing. And so I give a lot of respect to people that are doing those jobs that so many other people won’t do.

[00:16:02] And it reminds me of, I have a friend who has a bed and breakfast. And people say, oh, that must be, you live the life of luxury because you get to run this bed and breakfast and all this stuff. And she said, no, it means I cleaned the toilets when nobody else shows up. I get to do all the nasty stuff that nobody else is doing because it’s my business. And at the end of the day, I’m going to do what I have to do to get where I need to go.

[00:16:28] Alex Sanfilippo: A hundred percent. I couldn’t agree more. And you know, for me looking back at that experience, again, it being something that humbled me, but also gave me the opportunity to look at a business from, that was considered like, the ground level in that business. And I was able to see the business from that perspective and over a 15 year period, see it from the top executive level as well.

[00:16:45] But my ability to serve that company would not have been the same if I would have been brought in even like, let’s just say middle management. Like not that there’s something wrong with getting in at that point. But being from the very bottom of that thing, I just saw how everything worked along the way. And it’s what made me such a valuable player in the organization.

[00:17:01] Bob Wheeler: I would imagine that in that position of starting from the ground up, there’s a bit more empathy, sympathy, compassion. All of those things for the people as you’re climbing the corporate ladder, so to speak, of all these people that help put that ladder in place.

[00:17:18] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. Because you’ve been there, you know it. It’s hard to be empathetic towards somebody if you don’t know where they come from or what they’re doing, right? And for me, I just imagined anybody who came in as a part-time clerk is somebody who just needed a break at that point, like me.

[00:17:31] And that wasn’t always the case. There’s some people, there was a guy there who ended up taking that job and got into full-time. But he’s been there for like 10 years and he loves that job.

[00:17:39] That’s what he wants to do. He’s basically turned into like the maintenance guy for the entire one sector of the organization and building. And while I was at that company, I had a great relationship with that guy and he loved it. But at the end of the day I was always empathetic toward, okay. Maybe I shouldn’t throw fish away in this trash can because it’s not going to get picked up till tomorrow morning.

[00:17:56] And everyone’s gonna be mad at this maintenance guy, cause it’s gonna smell terrible. They’re gonna think it’s his fault. But really it was my fault for doing that. Like, I’m gonna go take this out to the dumpster, myself. Little things like that. So small, but they make a big difference in somebody’s life. And you don’t know that unless you’ve actually been there.

[00:18:09] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. I think understanding impact is so important. And I think so many of us, especially in the US, there’s a sense of entitlement. There’s a sense of, I don’t need to think about anybody else because I need to just get forward. I’m busy and I got stuff to do. And to actually stop and think about impact of other people. That’s not something that everybody does.

[00:18:32] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. It really isn’t. But I think that it’s one of the biggest lost arts that are out there right now. Like you’re saying that like, we’re all becoming more and more entitled. I mean, myself included, I do my best to constantly go back to having that mindset of service and helping other people. And the more I do it, the more I realize I have a bigger impact. And people need it more than ever.

[00:18:49] Just a little encouragement these days goes a long way. So man, anybody who’s out there who’s in business or has a good relationship with money, get out there and be a positive light to people. Don’t feel entitled for what you have. Get out there and just try to be a blessing to other people.

[00:19:01] I don’t mean give all your money away or anything like that. But just, even speak a word of encouragement. That stuff just goes such a long way in today’s world, because it’s so rare that it happens.

[00:19:09] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. I think there’s the saying, a smile costs nothing.

[00:19:12] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. That’s well said. I like that.

[00:19:14] Bob Wheeler: The world is a little crazy out there right now.

[00:19:16] And with all the social media and all the distractions, it’s easy to get lost in our own stories. And forget about the connection that we have with other people. One of the things I noticed when I was reading your story is that you talk a lot about service or being able to give value or being able to, and I’m making this up but what’s, what I read into it, is paying it forward. And can you speak to, I want to hear your perspective on why it’s so important to pay it forward and to actually be of service.

[00:19:47] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. It all kind of goes back to what we were just talking about there, like the whole idea of empathy and just serving other people, taking care of people. It’s just such a rare thing in today’s world.

[00:19:56] If I get overly focused on the profit my company makes and yeah, you want a good, healthy, profit margin. You need to make money to stay in business. Those are all important things. But I always want to make sure that that is secondary to me adding value to other people’s lives.

[00:20:08] End of the day, I don’t want to just make money so I can just make more money. I want to know. Okay. It’s just because of a direct impact on the value I’m having on somebody’s life. And something I write down, I have a notebook sitting right next to me, like literally right here right now. And some words I write down every day, these words. I say, “Alex Sanfilippo seeks to be a person of value, not a person of profit.”

[00:20:25] And I want to always make sure that I lead with that value. I don’t want someone’s money if I can’t help them, I want to make sure I can help them first. And by doing that, one, it makes you always have the mindset of serving other people, but at the same time, weirdly, it makes me feel really good about when I do make money.

[00:20:40] And anytime I make money, I know, you know what? This is a by-product of me helping somebody. Like somebody has been served and they’ve gotten more value than they paid for. And I want to make sure I do that with everything. And since I’ve really developed that mindset, and that was really after the whole aerospace career that I started getting that, cause I was in sales for a long time. And I was just money, money, money, money, money, profit, profit, profit, profit, right?

[00:20:59] It doesn’t matter if the person got what they need, I gotta get what I need first.

[00:21:02] Bob Wheeler: Right.

[00:21:02] Alex Sanfilippo: And that was always my mindset. And I always found it, it gave me this bog down mindset of like, never feeling truly fulfilled. But once I went to that more value first idea and paying it forward as you were saying, when I’m going that way, I just always feel great about what I’m doing now.

[00:21:17] And maybe that’s not the case for everybody, but I have just found that to be so true as an entrepreneur that now I feel good about what I’m waking up to do every single morning.

[00:21:24] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. I think that’s so important, because if we stay in our integrity and if we stay with our heartfelt senses, the rest is just going to naturally, organically show up.

[00:21:37] Alex Sanfilippo: Right.

[00:21:38] Bob Wheeler: And I want to be able to sleep at night. And the clients that I work with, one of them basically says mission values first, bottom line second. It’s the bottom line, yes, we want the bottom line. At the end of the day, though, not at the expense of integrity, not at the expense of taking other people out.

[00:21:57] Like I like to win, but I want it to be a fair win.

[00:22:00] Alex Sanfilippo: Right.

[00:22:01] Bob Wheeler: Right? Actually like win-win-win, I want it to be a win for my employees. I want it to be a win for my customers. And I want it to be a win for me, so that we can all lift each other up.

[00:22:11] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think that if everybody had that mentality, Bob, that the world would be in a different place today. If everyone could have that mindset. And honestly, like we’re saying, it’s a healthier mindset in general. If we all had that, just imagine how much different this place would look. I can’t imagine, but I know that all I can do is do my best to leave an impact and help and encourage other people to do the same.

[00:22:28] And obviously I believe that you live the same way. I think that as long as we keep on multiplying ourselves, like, we’ll see the world really change. I believe that entrepreneurs are kind of the backbone of making that happen.

[00:22:38] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. And I think for me, I have to remind myself to stop and breathe. Right? Stop and pause. And I think I read, something had a phrase, doing more by doing less or something like that.

[00:22:50] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah.

[00:22:51] Bob Wheeler: But I think there is that place where if we can pause long enough to see impact, pause long enough to take a breath, look at the bigger picture, we can then readjust. Whereas if we’re just, gotta make it, gotta make it, gotta do it, good.

[00:23:05] And I’m running and running and running. I’m going to run over people. I’m going to miss people. And I’m going to hurt people negatively. If I’m not being more intentional and much more conscious in the way I bring myself.

[00:23:18] Alex Sanfilippo: You know, there’s that old saying, stop and smell the roses, which really so many of us, we just don’t. We live in such a fast-paced world and everyone is so busy, which just means to be employed with constant attention. That’s what the word busy means. And yet, like whether it’s our TVs, whether it’s our phones, whether it’s our work, whatever it is. You can literally live your whole life without actually living any of it.

[00:23:38] You can just go from, okay, done, next thing. Next thing. Next thing. Next thing. But learning to stop and sit back and be like, wow, I really impacted a life today. Like, I’d love to talk to that person. Let me just sit down and reflect on that. Or let me tell a friend about it or my spouse about it during dinner or something like that. Slow down, breathe a little bit, because I believe that’s what makes life meaningful.

[00:23:55] Sure, you can have all the achievements in the world, but if you just grind every minute of every day until the day you die, did you really, what was the point of all of it, right?

[00:24:02] Bob Wheeler: Yeah.

[00:24:02] Alex Sanfilippo: So you’ve got to slow down and for me, I’ve just decided, here’s the main thing, like doing less with more, as you were saying, here’s the main things I’m going to do. These are the main goals I’m after. I’m a hustler. I’ll go after them, but at the same time, it’s like, okay, what are all the things I don’t need to do? Like, can I slow down? Can I stop? Can I breathe? Can I enjoy life and cause somebody else to also sit back and take a breath? And to me, that’s really where I found the meaning in my own life.

[00:24:25] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, absolutely. What would you say to entrepreneurs out there who are thinking about doing it, who didn’t get the teachings of your mom, who didn’t have the loving support of letting failure happen and everything still being okay? What would you say to somebody out there that wants to take the risks, they’re a little afraid to take the risk? What would you say?

[00:24:46] Alex Sanfilippo: I think that first and foremost, it would go down to the purpose of it. So if somebody is like, I think I want to do this and maybe make a jump to some serious side hustle or even a startup, just jumping into full-time entrepreneurship. I would tell somebody that it all begins with the purpose.

[00:24:59] So why are you doing it? And a couple reasons that I don’t think are good enough, if I can just be totally transparent here, Bob. I hope that’s okay on your podcast. Is to experience freedom for yourself. Or to make more money than you’re making your current job. Those are great things, but those should not be your primary purpose for why you want to start something.

[00:25:16] Again, it has to be more directed toward a group of people that you want to serve. And so the framework I always give for that is just finding an area of passion, find a group of people that you’re passionate about. Find a problem they have, and then offer a solution to that problem. So you’re serving them first.

[00:25:30] And then again, as a by-product, the profit will follow. The freedom will follow. All those things will follow. But if that’s your main intent as to why you want to do this, or maybe you just have autonomy, like you just want freedom of your own schedule. Those are all great things, but it’s the wrong reason to start a business.

[00:25:43] You start a business to start a business, not to experience the by-product of what they could provide one day in one point. You’ve gotta be passionate about the solution that you’re offering to somebody else’s problem. And that’s something that, I preach that. I mean, that’s what I believe, Bob.

[00:25:55] Bob Wheeler: I am totally in agreement. I believe if you follow your passion and even if the money doesn’t come, you’re following your passion.

[00:26:03] Alex Sanfilippo: Yes.

[00:26:03] Bob Wheeler: And that’s much more enjoyable and fulfilling in life than just chasing dollar bills and chasing these things that we think we have to have, these material things. And so for me, the question I always ask is, am I having fun?

[00:26:21] Like, is it fun? Cause if I’m not having a good time, if I’m not having fun, if I’m not enjoying, what’s the point?

[00:26:28] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah.

[00:26:28] Bob Wheeler: Count me out. Yeah. It’d be really cool to have an extra million. Oh, it’d be cool to… But at the end of the day, at what cost?

[00:26:34] Alex Sanfilippo: You know, I had a conversation, this reminds me so much of a conversation I had with David Heinemeier Hansson. He’s the guy who invented Ruby on Rails, Basecamp is his company. He’s a great entrepreneur. And he compared himself at one point to Mark Zuckerberg. And he’s like, am I jealous of Mark Zuckerberg and his wealth, would I rather be in his position than mine? And he used some choice words I won’t use, but he’s basically said absolutely not.

[00:26:56] He goes, you ever seen a picture of that guy or video of him? He goes, he’s miserable. He goes, I enjoy my life. He goes, I get to race cars for fun on the side. I love doing that. He’s like, so I wouldn’t change this. I’m having a great time doing what I’m doing. He goes, I can look at that guy and tell you he is miserable and his life. He goes, so you couldn’t pay me all the billions, that guy makes.

[00:27:11] When this guy probably makes hundreds of millions. So he’s making a lot of money too, but he’s like, I would never trade that off. And I think that that’s the point that you’re making there. Like, we’ve got to enjoy what we’re doing because at the end of the day, if we’re not doing that, it goes back to the point of one day, we’re all going to pass away one day.

[00:27:25] Did you enjoy life? And everyone at the end of their life is always like, man, I wish I’d taken more time for X. I wish I would’ve done Y. I wish that Z could have been more of a priority. And it all starts with you being fulfilled and having a life that you enjoy.

[00:27:38] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. Otherwise, what’s the point?

[00:27:40] Alex Sanfilippo: Right.

[00:27:41] Bob Wheeler: What is the point?

[00:27:42] Alex. We’re at our Fast Five, sponsored by PodMatch.com, a service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews.

[00:27:50] So, Alex, first question, what’s the most cringe-worthy or embarrassing thing you spent money on in the last year?

[00:27:57] Alex Sanfilippo: In the last year. Let’s see. Wow. I don’t even know what I spent money on in the last year, my goodness. Oh, yes. Okay. I got it. This is not a big investment, is that okay?. This is something small.

[00:28:07] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, totally great.

[00:28:08] Alex Sanfilippo: Okay. So this was a smaller investment that I made, but my wife and I decided to try to be like, a little bit more, I guess, healthy. Like plastic isn’t that good for you? But silicone isn’t as bad.

[00:28:18] So we decided to replace our Ziploc bags we were always buying with, it’s like a silicone alternative for it. And she bought like this huge pack of them. Cause she was like, oh, we’ll use it all the time. You can’t clean these things. And I’m telling you, once you put something like zucchini or squash in it, they are disgusting and there’s nothing you can do to clean it out.

[00:28:38] And sure. We probably spent like 80 bucks on the whole set of these things, but at this point we’ve actually thrown away every single one of them. Because you just can’t replace a Ziploc bag. I’m sorry, but that was a terrible investment. Cool idea. But disgusting.

[00:28:50] Bob Wheeler: Terrible execution.

[00:28:51] Alex Sanfilippo: Yes.

[00:28:52] Bob Wheeler: That’s so funny. Can you name a song that best describes your relationship with money?

[00:28:57] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, probably “More Money, More Problems.” I actually, can’t think of who actually sings that song right now, but anytime I seem to get a lot of money and decide to buy more things, I end up having a lot more problems, which has caused me to simplify my life quite a bit.

[00:29:09] I’m like, I don’t want another nice car because it costs six grand a year just to change the tires on them. Right? So um, yeah, “More Money, More Problems.” I cannot remember who wrote it. So sorry if that artist ever listens.

[00:29:19] Bob Wheeler: They’re listening right now. They’re contacting me.

[00:29:22] Alex Sanfilippo: Right?

[00:29:22] Bob Wheeler: What’s the last purchase you tried to hide from your wife, and did you get away with it?

[00:29:26] Alex Sanfilippo: I gotta flip this on her, because I’m pretty open with anything that I buy because I’m not one to like, go out and buy a lot of things. I’ve never been that way.

[00:29:32] For a long time. She got like all this advice to tell your husband how much money you saved before you say how much you spent. And like before we got married, people were telling her that. And apparently I’m just too smart for that, I’m like, the first time she’s like, guess how much money I saved today?

[00:29:43] Like, well, did you spend money? She’s like, yeah. I’m like, well then you didn’t save any money if you spent money. She literally goes, she goes, this is supposed to work. Everyone said this would work. Anyway, what she was doing for a long time. I didn’t know. Like we cut out all fast food, but she was taking cash and getting Chick-fil-A once a week.

[00:29:58] And like one day, like she left a bag in the car. I’m like, Chick-fil-A, who’s in the car that had Chick-fil-A? She goes, I have a confession to make. She goes, I’ve been eating Chick-fil-A once a week for a full year. Which I don’t care about. Like, I’m super easy going. I laughed so hard, and now it’s a joke. We have certain friends that will give her cash every year for a birthday and they just call it Chick-fil-A money. So Alex doesn’t find out. But, uh, yeah, so I had to turn that on her because I’m not one to buy very many things.

[00:30:19] Bob Wheeler: That is hilarious. Aside from housing, which bill costs you the most money each month?

[00:30:27] Alex Sanfilippo: It would actually be, well okay, hOA for, I live in an HOA, so I’ll pull that one aside as well. It’s actually car insurance would be the next. And I have a fairly good record, but I am a guy in my early thirties and my wife doesn’t have as good of a record.

[00:30:41] So we have like, in her early twenties, she was a mess. And here we are 10 years later still paying for that. But yeah, the insurance for our cars is pretty high.

[00:30:47] Bob Wheeler: Yeah, it can get up there. What was the last time you felt regret about making a purchase, and what was it?

[00:30:53] Alex Sanfilippo: It was actually buying a TV. The TV I had before the one I have now had no issues. And honestly, I waste, all of us have wasted too much time on TVs. Right? So I got this newer model for virtually no reason at all. So that was kind of like, I just consider it to be a complete waste. And then I kind of gave the old one way, which was nice to give someone a nice TV, but I’m like, why did I do that?

[00:31:11] I’m like, it was a good deal, but that, the whole profit thing, right? Like, oh, I got a good deal. And it’s like, but I didn’t need it. So I lost money in that transaction. But yeah, that was probably the last one I’d say that I regret doing.

[00:31:21] Bob Wheeler: That’s too funny. Yeah, I take like, years to purchase a TV, and then the technology has changed three times.

[00:31:27] Alex Sanfilippo: I will now.

[00:31:27] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. By the way, “Mo Money Mo Problems” is by Notorious B.I.G.

[00:31:33] Alex Sanfilippo: Ah, Notorious B.I.G. See, I should’ve known that. It was Anthony who figured that out for us?

[00:31:36] Bob Wheeler: He did. It was not me.

[00:31:38] Alex Sanfilippo: Okay. Thank you, Anthony. Appreciate it. I was like, that was quick. Okay. Notorious B.I.G. Thank you.

[00:31:43] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. Well, we are at our M & M Moment, our Money and Motivation Sweet Spot. Is there a financial tip or a piece of wealth wisdom you can share with our listeners?

[00:31:53] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, two things. One, just to reiterate what we’ve already talked about, Bob, throughout this conversation, and that is first off, that money isn’t everything. Like you shouldn’t just only seek money, like seek the ability to serve other people.

[00:32:03] The other thing I’d mentioned is, it’s okay to spend money. And a lot of us, again, going back to my upbringing, like that was tough for me to understand for a while. It was tough for my parents to understand for a while. Like it’s okay to spend money if it buys you more time. And if you really value your time properly.

[00:32:17] So for me now, there’s certain things in my business that even though we’re not making millions of dollars at this point, we’re getting closer to that, but we’re not at that point yet. But I will still sub out jobs and hire people and spend money just so someone does a task that I’m not very good at or that I just don’t enjoy. Because then again, it goes back to the extra margin we have.

[00:32:34] So I always tell people like, don’t be afraid to spend money. Like obviously be smart with it, take a calculated risk, be careful, but be willing to spend money on the way. Don’t feel like you have to hoard it all and save as much as you possibly can. Look at your quality of life as well. And if you have enough excess that you can improve your quality of life by spending a little bit of money, by all means, please spend it.

[00:32:51] And that way you can also stay in your lane and stay focused.

[00:32:53] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. It’s finding the balance and figuring out where we can actually best serve ourselves in spending or not spending and all of the above. Well, Alex, this has been such a great conversation. And one of the takeaways for me is that I didn’t really hear any blame.

[00:33:10] Like when you had the experience with the real estate failure or different things happening, or even with the TV, even though it was like, ah. What I don’t hear is a lot of, oh my God, my parents didn’t do this right. Or I’m a victim when this happened. And maybe it comes from a sense of, even though it wasn’t spoken, maybe a sense of gratitude or appreciation.

[00:33:31] But I really hear this place of curiosity and willing to just pivot, even if it means taking the lower end job. But to actually embrace the humility, embrace the lessons that we learn, and see the gems in them so that we can continue moving forward, and still assessing that sometimes we bring our past with us. That we’re still, oh, I have that place of frugality.

[00:33:57] I have that hesitation to spend money, even though I know I can. And just having that continued self awareness and continue just moving forward in bringing everything to the best version of ourselves and being able to pay that forward to other people that might not have opportunity.

[00:34:15] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think you really hit the nail on the head there. And one thing that I’d add that is also something that’s just become a core value of mine, is ownership. It’s ownership of my own individual life. Like I’m never going to blame somebody for something that happens to me, because I’m a product of my choices and my decisions. I have free will. I’ve been able to choose what I’ve done up to this point in my life.

[00:34:32] And sure there’ll be some other factors and people had something to do with it. But at the end of the day, I’ve always told myself that, you know what? It’s on me. It’s me. I can change the situation. The second that anyone in business or in their personal lives starts to believe that they don’t have ownership and control is the day that you really start getting yourself trapped and stuck, because I believe you lose that ownership and control if you don’t believe you have it.

[00:34:49] It all begins with the mind. So for me, I just make sure I always remember that, you know what? I’m in control of this. I made the bad decisions I made, but I also made the good decisions I made. And I’m just going to own those. And like you said, a place of gratitude is just so important.

[00:35:00] Like for me, I’ll make sure that I’m thankful all throughout life because it’s, one, healthier, but two, also just keeps me happier in general, like remembering the good things that happen along the way, even in the bad situation. So I appreciate you recapping all that, Bob, that was really well done.

[00:35:12] Bob Wheeler: Oh, well thank you. Well, Alex, it’s just been so great and I really think that our listeners will have something to take away and actually go out and take action. And start that business and look at things differently regardless of what they’re doing.

[00:35:25] Where can people find you online and in social media?

[00:35:29] Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah. So this is the first time I’m actually mentioning this on any podcast, but we’re relocating everything we do. So like my company PodMatch, podcast is called Creating a Brand, as you mentioned early on, but everything is now at PodPros.com. PodPros.com.

[00:35:42] You can find everything I do, all my social links, everything is there. But I want to give a quick shout out to you.

[00:35:46] I’ve been listening to your podcast and just thoroughly enjoying it. You recently had Sean Tyler Foley on, and he talked about, I’m just going to give out the title of it, cause I thought it was so creative, that The Power to Speak Naked, is what it was called.

[00:35:57] Some powerful stories there that I believe will change people’s lives. So I encourage listeners. Yeah. Come check me out, but really hang with Bob and go back and listen to that episode specifically, go find some others that you like, because I believe it’s just going to be very impactful for people. So thank you again for having me and for what you do here, Bob.

[00:36:11] Bob Wheeler: It’s been such a pleasure and I look forward to staying in touch. Thank you.

[00:36:15] Alex Sanfilippo: Thank you so much.

[00:36:22] Bob Wheeler: We hope you enjoyed this episode. Did you learn something new about your relationship to money today? Maybe you have a friend who has some financial blocks or beliefs that are holding them back. Please share this podcast so they too can get off the roller coaster ride of financial fears and journey towards financial freedom.

[00:36:39] To learn how to have a healthy relationship with money, visit themoneynerve.com. That’s nerve, not nerd. We’ll be back next week with another perspective on money and the emotions that bind us.

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