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Transcript Episode 19

Transcript Episode 19: How Experiementation and Creativity Can Grow Your Business With Sophia Sunwo

Transcript Episode 19

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Welcome to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. The show for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who want to get inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, expand it to your purpose and grow your business in a big way. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski, a globetrotic CFO, whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact, and their income. Let’s dive in.

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. I’m Stephanie Skryzowski and I’m here today with Sophia Sunwoo. Sophia, welcome.

Sophia Sunwoo:

Thanks so much for having me. I’m so excited that you’re doing this and getting your podcast out in the world.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. Thank you. I’m super excited to chat with you today because you have an amazing entrepreneurship story. I don’t know if you remember, but we met via email five years ago because I found you on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and I sent you a cold email about the organization that you were working with or leading, I guess, to see if you needed any finance support because that was the way that I initially started building my business and we’ve just stayed in touch ever since. So I’m so glad you opened up that email.

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah. I’m so glad that you reached out. I think that a lot of people do cold emails in such a cold way, but the way that you reached out was so warm and I could tell that you were coming from a genuine place. So yeah, cold emails work. You just have to do them correctly. And if you are doing work that people are really vibing with, you can stay in touch for five years and keep the relationship going.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Exactly, exactly. So funny. Well, I’m so glad that we’ve been able to stay in touch and now follow each other on Instagram. I would love if you could back us up and tell us about your amazing business journey because it kind of starts when you were basically a teenager, right?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah. I started my business when I was 19. I started it with my college roommate. We were a bunch of punk rock girls that were going to punk out concerts and we were tired of seeing all the baggy band T-shirts that were being sold that looked good on men, but not on women. So we decided to start our own clothing line, mostly out of wanting to have clothing for ourselves. To be quite honest, we just created a clothing line for ourselves. When we first started selling the clothing, it just became apparent to us that we hit a nerve that a lot of people were wanting this type of clothing line out in the world. So it accidentally got super successful. We ended up in 250 retailers. We had a bunch of celebrities wearing our clothing, including Miley Cyrus in People Magazine. So it just took a flurry.

It interesting because I had wanted to start a clothing line since I was a child. So this was a real actualization of a dream, but then once I actually did it, I was like, “Wait, I don’t want to be in manufacturing.” There’s a design aspect of designing clothing, but it quickly becomes a manufacturing job and that wasn’t something I wanted to do. So we ended up selling that company. I wanted to explore more social impact. I had been going to undergrad where I spent my senior thesis exploring this question of how can we use these best practices and theories and whatnot from business and apply it to address social issues and help solve them. So I ended up meeting my co-founder and he and I started a water organization that’s specifically focused on fixing water systems in rural community. 

So we worked out of Cameroon and Northern India doing that for about six or seven years. And yeah, it was an incredible journey. I learned so much as not only a business owner, but also as someone in the international development space. I really grew as an entrepreneur during that time. That was a journey where I having built a business, not only the international space, but also amongst New York based entrepreneurs, I was exposed to a lot of incredible mentors that guided me through that process, but I was also exposed to a lot of bad information. 

I can’t tell you how much bad information I had to shift through and how it took off probably like months, if not years of my learning journey where I was definitely really behind, because I was exposed to a lot of bad information and I didn’t have anyone telling me, “Hey, you should probably skip through this part and you should actually focus on conversion based fundraising or sales and really focus on making money rather than all of this official stuff of writing a business plan and all that.” 

None of that really matters if you’re not making any money. You’re just living in theory land. That’s the thinking process and experience that led me to start my current business called Ascent Strategy, where I work specifically with women entrepreneurs to help them accelerate their success timeline. I do that mostly through marketing and sales, training, coaching. So yeah, that’s where I’m at now. A little bit about my journey and how I got to this place I’m in now of having my own business.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Oh, that’s amazing. It’s really interesting what you said about getting bad information. I’m sure in what you’re doing now, with Ascent, you probably help women entrepreneurs put all of that bad information aside and help them focus on what matters. I know I get distracted so much by what everybody else is doing on Instagram and what I’m hearing on podcasts. A lot of it just doesn’t work for me and so I think that in the last two years, I’ve really had to learn how to discern between, “Okay, that’s what they’re doing and it’s working for them. 

That’s great, but that’s not my business model. That’s not my style. That’s not my personality,” whatever it is and understand how to filter that. So I love that you’re coaching women on how to do that as well. You’ve seen three different business models and you know what works. So how do you help them filter out what’s going to work for them and what’s not? 

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah. I think a big part of it is adopting experimental mindset rather than, “I’m going to spend six months reading all the books.” And then accepting that or taking that in as law and then moving forward that way. So with me, what I recommend and what I’ve found to work is you have to let go of this idea that there is a Bible of sorts out there that will tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t be doing, and that there are governing laws that are end all be all. You have to adopt the mindset of, you can learn as much as you want, and you can take the advice of mentors as much as you but at the end of the day, the only thing that’s going to work is you aggressively experimenting with the starting points and then see if it has a productive end point for you because it’s going to be different for every single business. 

So yeah, for me, I really encourage my clients and work with them through taking an experimental mindset and just not being afraid of that because that’s also really challenging for a lot of people to tell them, “Hey, you’re going to experiment a lot.” And then being like, “That sounds really risky. I don’t want to do that.” So really coaching them through that process and making it feel comfortable for them.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I was just going to ask you about exactly that, about the fear, because for someone like me, who is like, “I would much rather just check the boxes and follow the rules and follow the plan.” Having somebody say, “Well, you’ve just got to try new things.” Like, that is a very scary to me. How do you coach them through that mindset and maybe how have you had to do that in your own journey? Because all three of your businesses, they have similar threads, but they’re all very different. So how did you work through some of that experimentation fear yourself? 

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah, that’s such a good question. I think that my second business working out of Cameroon really pushed me in that direction because when you’re working in a rural area, especially where I was working, there wasn’t much helping me as far as if I needed to get a ton of pipes into a village and there was only one driver that knew how to drive a semi truck on that terrain. I was dealing with a lot of constraints. So it forced me to surrender to the resources you usually have available to you in the US or anywhere else, it’s not available here. So you need to be really, really open to experimentation and what other possible options that are available. 

So in that situation, what ended up happening is I just surrendered to the situation. I was like, “I’m going to express to people that this is a really pivotal moment where we need to get these pipes into the community.” Or the projects live for six months and people don’t have water. It’s a crappy scenario, but that’s just the reality. So I just became an incredible communicator because of a result of that tension and that restriction. And what ended up happening is that a bunch of people in the community volunteered and they’re like, “We’re going to just physically bring in these pipes and walk it through.

There’s no way that I could have been open to that unless I opened myself to this idea of experimentation and just being communicative of that. For me, that’s what’s really pushed my brain to just think outside of the box. And with my clients, when it comes to walking them through that process, it’s always a question of like, “Do you want to follow the rules or do you want to get this right and step into your full potential? And almost always, everyone says, “I obviously want to step into my full potential.” And under that guideline and that north star, if they continuously resist and push back on things, not working and trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.

That’s also something where a lot of the times I’ll let the individual experience that so that they can experience almost like the suffering that they’re feeling of like, “Wow, I’m really pushing hard. I’m really trying to fix this, but it’s not working.” And letting them experience that so that I can jump in and say, “Okay, I have another way and it’s going to require risk and you’re going to have to experiment a little bit, but you have a better chance of finding something that works for you. Are you game?” 

So it depends on the person and what they’re specifically struggling with when it comes to experimentation. Because I think a lot of people have different entry points of why they find it uncomfortable to take risks and experiment, but that’s just an example of how I adjust to the person and what their specific fear is around experimentation. Does that make sense? Did I answer your question? 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. Totally. What I was thinking about as you were talking was reframing experimentation and risk to creativity. You just have to get creative and I think that that probably lands with people differently. Like, “Oh, I can be creative. I can try new things.” Versus like, “Oh, you have to experiment on this risky thing. You don’t know if it’s going to work. So I love that. Doing experimental things and taking small risks is really just a way to be creative. So I really liked that, and I like how you gave an ultimatum. You can either follow the rules or you can step into your full potential. Who is going to be like, “Nope, I don’t want my full potential. I’m just going to stick with the rules. So I love that. I love that because the rewards are always so worth it when we step outside of our comfort zone and what we’re really comfortable.

That’s where the name for my business started, where the even thought for my business started was all around sitting in your comfort zone and the change and the impact both in your self and in your life and in the world happens outside of that. So I love that you are helping women through that. I would love to hear about mentors. So you had mentioned a mentor and this is actually one of my questions before we had even started talking. But if you had mentors or advisors along the way, and I’m thinking about your journey as a very young college woman, but even beyond that, I can’t imagine negotiating a company sale at 22 years old.

I thought I was really cool. I was working for a law firm in Manhattan at that time. And I thought I was just so awesome. I can’t even imagine selling a company and having all these partnerships with retailers, but either in that experience or otherwise, have you had mentors or advisors along the way and what has that done for you and for your business?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah, it’s funny. I was talking to a friend the other day about this pretty deeply actually. So in New York, in the social impact space here, there is a woman who we affectionately called the godmother. She mentored a lot of female social entrepreneurs during a specific span of years. And I think for me, mentors have taken a different definition over the years. I think that in the beginning, I thought that mentors were knowledge-based mentors.

But I think that honestly, as I’ve reflected on this, the mentors that are the most helpful are the ones that take it a step further and view their mentorship as an opportunity to help you walk past your fears, your comfort zone, and actually have the hard conversations with you, because there are plenty of people that will give you knowledge, but there are very far and few mentors that will have the hard conversations with you that you need to have.

So this particular mentor, she was talking to a good friend of mine, and she actually had mentored her through helping her realize that she was taken advantage of in a co-founder relationship and that she was hiding behind the relationship. She has intense capability and can take on the world except that she was letting a co-founder dampen that. So I feel like mentors have that hard conversation with you of reflecting back to you, “Hey, I see you and I see your ability, but I’m here to tell you that you are hiding right now and I want to know why you’re hiding. I want to know if you are ready to walk away from that and step into your full self.” 

So that mentor, she did a similar thing to me where she definitely helped me step into my full potential and ask myself the hard questions of what do I need to do in order to become the leader that I want to be, and that I know I’m capable of. So I really encourage people if you are looking for mentors, definitely look for that person because I think that’s the person that helps you do quantum leaps for A to B. I find that mentors that are only knowledge based. Knowledge is great, but everyone has knowledge. Not everyone has the ability to crush their mindset obstacles and make those huge leaps towards being a stronger entrepreneur. 

Another thing I tell people a lot is I have a lot of people approach me about mentoring them, but when I take on that responsibility, about 90% of mentees drop off because they don’t follow up with me. So as a mentee as well, if you’re really serious about your growth, make it a regimented thing for you to actually foster that relationship with the mentor. I’m so available to mentoring people, but honestly, 90% of them don’t even follow through. So they don’t have the opportunity. So that’s a tangent, but it’s something I think about a lot, like, “Wait, I gave you the opportunity to mentor with me for free and you just dropped off the face of the earth. It’s interesting.”

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. That’s squandering a very, very valuable opportunity and resource. So do you feel like in the work that you do with female entrepreneurs now is mentorship and those types of hard conversations, is that a part of what you’re doing right now? 

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yes. I find that you can be the smartest person and know everything playbook wise that you need to do for your business, but your mindset will always keep you in the place that you started. Knowledge doesn’t get activated until your mindset tells you that you have the permission to take those steps. Mindset really blocks a lot of us from feeling like we have permission to even make six figures or seven figures, especially with women. This is something I’ve talked about with women a lot is a lot of us have a struggle because of socially, how we were raised of at least like for me, growing up in a traditional Korean American family, where a lot of the more traditional of the man being the breadwinner. That for me has been a storyline that has been very present. So this idea of stepping into my power and being more visible. 

Visibility is a huge thing with a lot of women were because we were told for such a long time that you seem conceited if you’re constantly posting pictures of yourself on your Instagram, except as a business owner, you need to be visible and be having conversations with your audience in order to foster deep relationship with them. Those two things are in contention with each other of like, “This is how I was raised but this is what I need to do for my business.” So those battles are a conversation I have with women a lot of deep programming, what they’ve grown up to believe to be pleasant for a woman to carry themselves. 

How they should carry themselves versus if you’re a business owner, you need to be a shark and you need to go after the goals you have and you need to do whatever it takes from a visibility standpoint. You have to take those photos of yourself because they perform well with Instagram algorithm and that’s just how it is. Just things like that.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. I love that. I feel like everybody needs someone like you in their corner as a business owner, because like you said, these are things that we have internalized since childhood. They’re also the things that if we are able to get past them, that’s what’s going to be the catalyst for growth and for impact, but if we can’t get past them, we’re going to stay small. We’re not going to be playing to our full potential. 

I just love that you help people past that. I’ve had lots of different mentors and coaches over the course of my business. What do you think about the word coach? I looked through your website, I don’t feel like I saw the word coach all over the place and coaches are everywhere. Everybody’s a coach and I don’t know. How do you feel about that? I feel like there are great coaches out there and then there are just like people that have never done something that are now coaching it. What do you think?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Totally. Oh my gosh. The industry is absolutely insane. It’s wild for me to witness because here I am, when the coaching era started, I feel like I was probably at year 11 or so of being an entrepreneur. And then all of a sudden I see all these coaches that only started their business two years ago and that’s the only experience they have with entrepreneurship. So it’s been really strange for me to witness. I don’t use the word coach purely from a marketing standpoint. I am very sensitive to the use of language that I use in relation to how the marketplace has interpreted that word while they’re window shopping. So I always think of in terms of when a potential of mine is window shopping, who are they looking at in relation to me and how can I really show up authentically and communicate who I truly am rather than borrowing words that feel authentic to someone else when it doesn’t feel authentic to me. 

The word coach hasn’t felt authentic to me because of the history of the word in recent years. It’s just been so muddled and it hasn’t been a sacred word for a long time. People have been using the word that technically do not have the experience to say that their coach. To me, a true coach is transformational. I’ve had the blessing of having a coach that has changed my life from a personal standpoint, trauma standpoint, business standpoint. She has really helped me grow into my potential. So to me, that word is sacred, but from a societal standpoint in our marketplace, it hasn’t been sacred. So yeah, I stopped using that word because I’m just like, there are just too many very definitions and from a marketing standpoint, I just don’t think it’s smart for me to use this word. So yeah, I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful, but about just taking back and owning the language that I use and hoping that it’s representing me authentically to my audience. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yeah. I love that so much because you are doing what is right for you and your business versus what everybody else is doing. I love that. Just because everybody else is calling themselves a coach, you’re not jumping on that train. Again, that’s something that I’m just constantly learning in my own business as well, just because this is the thing to do. It doesn’t mean that it makes sense for me and who I am and my business and the people that I serve. So yeah, I love that.

You hear me talk all the time about how important it is to know your numbers as a business owner, but you may be thinking, “Well, how in the world do I do that? Where do I even begin?” So I have a free resource for you. The Profit Playbook is an amazing template that you spend about 15 minutes getting it all set up and you can literally see into the future of your business revenue, expenses, cashflow just like a crystal ball. It is a huge resource that will absolutely help you create a roadmap to reach your goals in your business. It is for free over at 100degreesconsulting.com/profit.

Speaking of transformation, you mentioned you had a coach that has helped you see some transformations, and I’m sure that in the work that you do with women entrepreneurs, what is the transformation that you’re seeing in them? So when they come to you, they’re X and when your work together is done, or once you go through your process or whatever, what are they like at the end? What is that journey that you take them on?

Sophia Sunwoo:

In the start of the journey, a lot of my clients come with a ton of questions and then by the end of our relationship, those questions are now transformed into, “Oh, I hear you saying this in my head that,” let’s say the client’s name is Jessica. Hey, Jessica, Sophia would say this to you and at that point they’ve now molded a thinking process of answering questions rather than just having questions and just being completely blind to what the answer is. They now have a framework in their head of how to think about the questions and how to answer them, rather than just feeling totally lost from that standpoint. So for me, it’s really about helping people step into ownership of trusting themselves when it comes to asking themselves hard questions about their business and having a framework of understanding what’s the right business decision and balancing with that. How does this affect my numbers? How does this affect my vision of the business 10 years from now? 

So for me, the transformation that I’m proudest of is just helping women trust themselves and having a internal thermometer and barometer of, “I do trust myself, and this is the framework I’m going to use to get from point A to B in my thinking process.” So there’s that, and then I think another transformation I’m really proud to see is just helping women believe in themselves and actually see that demonstrated. So a lot of the times when people come to me, they’ll usually have some kind of problem. A lot of the times that problem is I have a business, but I’m not making enough sales as I’d like and to walk them through the process of, by the end of our work together, we’ll actually see them make more sales than they’ve ever made before. We’ll see them boost their revenue by X amount. 

I had a client that we were so lucky. We had the initial goal of switching her marketplace. She used to sell at markets in person and we had the goal of replacing all of that in market income with online sales and we did that and it was in perfect timing with COVID. So just stuff like that, where if you’re aggressive about, “I should do this, and rather than sitting on this, I’m just going to take the time piece by piece slowly to do this now with someone like me.” And it paid off. It perfectly aligned with COVID. So yeah, those are the transformations I see with working with clients.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that. I love that it’s a mix of tangible. We’re seeing revenue increase, we’re taking action, we’re making pivots in the business, but also that mindset piece and being able to trust ourselves, because often as entrepreneurs, we feel very alone. Like we’re in this, we’re in our houses, we’re doing our thing and we’re Googling and following people on Instagram, but without that personal connection, we feel like we’re just on this island. And so knowing that like you can actually trust yourself and you do know what you’re doing, and you have this framework for making decisions and knowing that those are the right decision for you. That’s really, really impactful. I love it. 

You said something about numbers and you know, I’m a CFO, I’m obsessed with numbers. I really love hearing how other entrepreneurs manage their numbers, manage their finances. We’re not going to obviously get into any detail with your numbers, but I would love to know what’s your process for managing not only your finances, but also maybe other KPIs in your business that you’re tracking. What’s your process? What tools do you use? I love hearing what other people do.

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah, definitely. So with my bookkeeping, I love QuickBooks self-employed. I think they’re great. Super easy. So I use that to manage my books and then honestly, even though I have QuickBooks self-employed I still always have my own projection sheet of what’s coming in for the next quarter. That’s a great tool because it really allows me to understand how much pushing I should be doing from a sales perspective, because I see the whole thing for the next six months. My numbers, I do a lot of that. I do a lot of comparison between like, I’ll see a full year snapshot for the last three years on a month to month basis and look at my numbers that way. 

I actually cross reference that with the spreadsheet where I record data, as far as it’s not common, but it’s something that’s helped me where I think that when I only have numbers base tracking methods, I just become so obsessed with the numbers and I lose sight of the impact I want to make as a business owner through the work that I do. So I also find that when you only track numbers. You’re completely negating the mindset piece of where was your head at during that month? So I actually have a spreadsheet where I record every month. What were my biggest challenges for that month? What was I mentally struggling with? Was I just not feeling it? Did I like not really feel like working that month?

I also record wins. What were some things in the pipeline that ended up manifesting that were really, really beneficial for my business? How was I feeling that month? Was I super energetic that month and just crushing my to-do list. So I record these anecdotal things to understand how that affects my numbers, because when you’re a business owner, especially if you’re a solopreneur, your numbers are so sensitive to that. So obviously, I have my structures in place so that my businesses making money regardless of the clients I sign up for that month. So there is like a passive income element for sure, but I don’t run the type of business where I’m totally productized, just because I don’t want to run a business like that. I like interacting with people and working with people one-on-one. So therefore I have to just be way more sensitive about how my month to month ongoings personally, mentally, mindset wise impact my numbers. 

So yeah, that’s been something. I also from a KPIs recording perspective, I record a lot of data on when I go on sales calls with potential clients. I track, where was this person referred from? And then I track on a year to year basis, which of my lead gen channels produce the most sales leads for me. I look at that pretty intensely and it’s really interesting to see trends where, for example, pre-COVID my channels such as Instagram and Medium, that cultivated a lot of leads that were just cold and I don’t personally know them. That was hot for me before COVID, but then now post COVID or during COVID actually, all of my leads have been coming from referrals and people that have some kind of link to me or first or second degree link. 

So it’s just interesting to see these shifts according to what’s happening in the world. So it allows me to understand that and see that and get on top of it where rather than blindly being like, “COVID is happening in businesses and doing as well, but things will get better.” It’s like, no, I have data that says I need to aggressively tap into my referral pool and just ramp that up because that’s just working right now. So yeah, those are kind of some of the tools and things I use. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that. I am a huge proponent of really understanding what’s working in your business and doing more of that. Often I talk about it in terms of financials. So looking at each of your revenue streams and the expenses associated with that, what’s doing really well. Okay, let’s do more of that, but I love that you look at that in terms of lead sources as well. And so rather than saying, “Okay, I’m just going to keep plowing away at Instagram and putting my entire focus there.” When actually that’s not where most of your clients are coming from right now, and you know that because you have the data that you’re tracking. 

I think that that’s so important for every single business. Every entrepreneur is to determine what KPIs matter to you, because my KPIs are going to be different from yours, which will be different from somebody else’s. So first figuring out what they are and then consistently measuring them because it’s really, when you’ve got some data over time, then you can kind of draw trends and analysis and I love that you’re using that to actually take action in your business. Then the other thing I was going to say was, I love that you connect your numbers to this anecdotal data. What’s going on in my life and my personal life, my business, the world. How do I feel? Because you’re right. 

When we’re looking at just cold black and white numbers, let’s compare March of 2020 to March of 2019. That’s only a piece of the story. And so I love that you’ve got that other piece of it as well. Have you found patterns or maybe a month, when you feel like really busy in your personal life, your revenue decreases or maybe your sales leads decrease or maybe I don’t know in the summer things go up because you’re more energized. Have you seen patterns after doing this for a period of time?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah. I mean, it’s like every time I’m about to go on vacation, I make a ton of money. If I’m about to leave for vacation for a month, I just make so much money and I think it’s funny, it’s so hard to be detached from your business and to be like, “Okay.” To trust like, “I done everything I’ve done and now I’m just going to let this play.” Press play and do its thing. It’s really hard to do that, but the numbers show every time I do that, where I’m like a little bit lax about how I’m doing this and trusting that the systems in place are working. That’s when the numbers do pretty well. And yeah, I mean, I think for me, what I’ve observed is honestly the emotional piece of running a business has affected my numbers more than anything.

It’s something I’ve talked to a lot with my coach who is honestly a life coach, more than anything. But I think a lot of us aren’t tapped into how important our ability to stabilize our energy whatever that means from emotional mental standpoint. The more you’re going like this in your personal life, in the mental space you’re at, your numbers are going to reflect that and that definitely has been the case for me. So for me, I’ve had to get into the habit of figuring out how do I stabilize my energy, where when I’m sitting down and working, I’m working. I’m not going on Facebook and Instagram and just screwing around, going down a YouTube rabbit hole because that’s what happens when I’m in front of my computer. 

So just doing things like I put up an Instagram post today about the Pomodoro Technique and I’ve had to aggressively implement that for myself of that really helps me stabilize my energy, where I can completely focus on my business when the 25 minute clock is on. I only need to do that. So for me, the huge realization of, well, I have an energy management problem I really do and it’s reflecting in my numbers. So I’ve had to do the Pomodoro Technique. I’ve had to really be intentional about my routines and how I structure my day so that I can really, I sit down and focus on my business, my focus is all there and my brain isn’t somewhere else.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Yes. Oh my gosh. I love that so much because I mean, who hasn’t done that, right? You sit down to do a task and then you pop over and half answer one email and then you’re on Facebook and then you go finish the email and then you’re to the next thing. It’s so unproductive and at the end of the day you were busy, but you got basically nothing done. And so I feel like, yeah, when you’re thinking about your numbers and wanting to grow your revenue or make a shift in your numbers, somehow it’s not just a numbers problem. 

It’s so connected to everything else. And so I love that you’ve tied that to your energy levels and knowing what you need to do for yourself to keep them where they need to be. And then I love that because you’re writing some of this anecdotal data down around your numbers, you know, my routine was a hot mess this month and okay it showed in the numbers, which is awesome because it just helps you focus so much more. I think it all comes down to focus. I love it. 

Awesome. So I have just a couple quick questions to wrap us up and just first thing that comes to mind for these three little questions. So the first is, we were just talking about this, but what is your favorite productivity hack either in your business or your life or favorite tip tool or trick whatever you do?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah, I mean, I’m a huge advocate for the Pomodoro. Even if you do only two rounds where you do 25 minutes on and then a five minute break. It just kicks your brain into a flow state. And even if you do it once or twice, it’ll set you up for success for the rest of the day. I’m an environment person where if I’m working, I need to have quiet music. I can’t have words in my music otherwise it screws me up. There’s this platform called Brain.fm. And Brain.fm, they work with scientists and musicians to create music that kicks your brain into a flow state and to a work state. It works really well. I highly recommend that especially if you’re an environment person. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love it. 

Sophia Sunwoo:

But yeah, those are the two productivity things that are really working for me now.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love that so much because I’m the same way. Everything has to be just so in my environment. Definitely no words to music at all. I am definitely going to check that out. Love it. Okay. What is a favorite book that you’ve read? That’s very broad.

Sophia Sunwoo:

Business or? 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Doesn’t matter. Any favorite book. I feel like everybody I know is always like, “Oh, what’s a good book I should read?” So any favorite book you’ve read.

Sophia Sunwoo:

I’m a huge advocate of you should let your brain play outside of just the business world, because that’s actually where you hit innovation. So I think it was Michelangelo. He was someone who liked painting landscapes in his free time and he was the first one to realize before the telescope was powerful enough to see it, that there were landscapes and mountains on the moon or some other planet. And the only reason why he tapped into that innovation was because of what he did in his free time. It allowed his brain to roam and to connect the dots. 

So I’m a huge advocate of pursuing things outside that really interests you. So I’ve been really diving into these books by Carlo Rovelli. He is this physicist who just writes beautifully in a way that’s digestible to understand and he explores questions of time and reality. I just finished reading his book in Order of Time. It’s a book where he breaks down the fact that time, as we perceive it as humans, it’s actually not something that’s cohesively the same all around the world and that us using clocks is actually ridiculous because it’s not grounded in any scientific reality. 

So I love stuff like that because it just helps me realize the structure that I’ve been brought up in of time being a singular thing that everyone agrees on. It’s actually not real. So I love reading about things like that, of just deconstructing and challenging my reality and what’s true. So yeah, in Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, amazing book and it just help me think outside of the box a lot.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Oh my gosh. I love that so much. I’m reading this book called A Happy Pocket Full of Money and it sounds like a business book, but they go into quantum physics and also the concept of time. I feel like I’m going to have to reread it like four times to really wrap my head around it. But I love that because it is, we just operate within this box of our daily routine and our house and our business and like, this is just what we do. And so I like what you said about expanding beyond that and exploring different concepts that we’ve just been brought up to think are like, “This is the way the world works.” Well kind of, but not really. I love that.

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah. That’s called Happy Pockets of Money? 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

A Happy Pocket Full of Money.

Sophia Sunwoo:

Pocket Full of Money. Okay, well.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

So it’s like some mindset and manifestation type stuff, but I mean the first two thirds of it is all about quantum physics and the concept of time and it’s really interesting. Yeah. 

Sophia Sunwoo:

Awesome. I’ll check it out. 

Stephanie Skryzowski:

All right, last question. Imagine you had a weekday, so not a weekend, a weekday just completely free from work. What do you do?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah, so I love writing a lot. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry and prose as of late. So that’s something I do all the time when I’m not working. I’d probably be doing that. I’d probably be out hiking somewhere. I love the outdoors. My dog he’s very needy so have to usually take him out for an hour long walk. So that would probably be mixed a couple of times throughout the day too.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

I love it. That sounds so beautiful. I feel like every time I ask someone that question, there’s always the outdoors. Like clearly we’re all not spending enough time outdoors because our perfect day always includes being outside. I love that. Okay. Sophia, before we hop off today, is there anything that you would like to share with our audience? Any resources, your website, anywhere you want to point them to learn more about you and what you do?

Sophia Sunwoo:

Yeah. So my website is ascent-strategy.com. I’m really active on Instagram. So on Instagram, I’m @ascentwithsophia. I put stuff on there weekly as far as tips for your business and it’s all easily digestible. So definitely follow me there. And then yeah, I’d love to share a free challenge I have. So I have a free five day sales challenge and this is the starting point for a lot of people as far as just making quick changes and having quick wins to just elevate their business via their website, their social media. So if you go to ascent-strategy.com/makemoresales, you can get access to that. It’s free. It’s quick 10 minute lessons that changes you can make to your business right now and it’ll have huge impact and help you hit huge strides and make a big difference. So yeah, you can check that out there.

Stephanie Skryzowski:

Awesome. Great. Well, thank you so much for sharing that and we’ll be sure to link everything here. So it’s really easy to find and definitely go follow Sophia over on Instagram. She does put out awesome content and her weekly Friday emails are great. Full of lots of really, really good value. So check her out and thanks again, Sophia for being here, and we’ll catch you next time on this next episode of 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship. 

Thanks for listening to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100degreesconsulting.com/podcast. Make sure to snap a screenshot on your phone of this episode and tag me on Instagram @stephanie.skry. I’ll be sure to share. Thanks for being here, friends, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcript Episode 19

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