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Do you feel that sometimes you plan too much and don’t take enough action? Sasha Laghonh from SashaTalks.com has the solution for you. She shares her secrets to internet traffic, keeping your emotions in check so they help you, and how you can get that tough love alternate perspective.
Sasha Laghonh: Hi Robert, thank you for having me.
Robert Plank: Can you tell me about what it is that you do, what makes you special?
Sasha Laghonh: What makes me special? Well, I have two parallel career paths. My initial career path has to do with business, I have a Bachelors from Austen University with business and also an MBA in Global Management. I started out along my corporate career path where I do a lot of business development and research in the market. That is how I work corporate contracts, helping out executives streamline their business plans and help them with their corporate strategy. On the other side, I also initially started out Sasha Talks where I was selling special counselling services. You’re doing the readings and it’s more metaphysical work and then a common person would say, well those two interests are really polarizing, because one is really rational and judgmental and the other one is really fluid and it cannot be measured. It got to the point where Sasha Talks started growing at a faster rate than I had anticipated, that I had merged my business consulting businesses onto Sasha Talks, so I could standardize the audience and I wouldn’t be chasing two different worlds at the same time.
Robert Plank: Okay, so how did any of this come to be? I know you said that you have this business background and you have this website. How did you get your counselling clients and things like that?
Sasha Laghonh: Sasha Talks was already a part of our ID in theory by the time 2008 came along. When the economy started going down, a lot of my corporate opportunities started getting down sized because of budgets. I told myself, what are some skill sets that I haven’t fully capitalized upon. That’s when Sasha Talks was launched and I went out, I was doing radio shows, pod casting and at the same time, I was employed by third party websites where you get to defend your services. Whether people are paying you by the minute or buying small packages to talk to you on the phone, or for online chat. At that time I was pressed in between 5 consistent platforms, which are websites owned by private owners. That was providing a form of income, but it got to a point where I said that, if I am going to be helping other people off of third party website, why can I not do that through my own.
At that time I slowly started marketing Sasha Talks and it picked up momentum through Blog Talk radio, BBS radio and basically building a lot of speaking engagements where you’re marketing yourself out there. You’re giving people samples of your work. You don’t have to work for free, but you also have to encourage people to invest their resources in you. Slowly that picked up momentum and I’ve gotten this far because of word of mouth. The best compliment you can get is a referral. If people have tried you out and they’ve paid you for your service, they’ll share the good news with other people, but if you have bad news, it will travel faster. You have to be mindful of what type of publicity are you attracting. Even though you cannot control the perception of the audience, at the end of the day keep at it and be consistent in what you’re offering.
Robert Plank: Okay. That makes a lot of sense. I like a couple of things about that. I like that, first of all, when you saw the economic downturn and you saw people getting down sized, you said, well I have the skill, you’re a good speaker or you can feel out someone’s business. Now I’m going to change things up a little bit so that now I can replace these business clients that I’m using. The other thing that I like too, is your use of these third party websites. You said, word of mouth and then get traffic from having a Blog Talk radio show. Is there anything else that you look for as far as the traffic you send to your website?
Sasha Laghonh: Other than that, also when I ran Sasha Talks, I think Sasha Talks is composed of three different blogs up to date. The latest blog highlights all of the guests that I host on the platform. Initially the blog had to do with love and relationships because for some reason, a lot of women and men, men usually don’t talk about it out loud, have this interest in exploring their love lives and they want to have that looked into. It’s usually love and relationships, career and sometimes they want to know a little bit about their life path. Exploring about what goes on within themselves when it comes to the social services. Of course there is a grey area, because those readings fall under the entertainment realm. I’m not delivering a science, it’s not a formula, there’s so many different spiritualists out there that focus on different types of services, so I have to make that clear. Around the business aspect of it, before I started doing professional coaching, I was doing academic coaching. It gave me an opportunity to slowly merge different types of coaching that I’m doing and complement that with Sasha Talks. It’s not completely entertainment, it’s an entertainment platform, but it’s also a very hands on practical tool that people could apply in their lives if they choose to.
Robert Plank: That sounds pretty cool and that sounds like something that can help a lot of people. Can you kind of walk us through, say someone, they hear about you from some other website or word of mouth and they say, okay, I want to hire Sasha to figure out my career path or something. What’s the process someone goes through once they hear from you, they go to the website, what are the steps they take?
Sasha Laghonh: If they’ve gotten the contact tapes, there’s a drop down for requesting a certain type of service and I will follow up with them, usually they hear back from me within 2 to 3 days max. Usually I try to do it within 24 hours. Then I ask them a couple of preliminary questions, to gauge their interest and if they happen to be the right clientele that I work with. I will only work with people who are ready to take action in their life, they’re serious about it and they’re not just fooling around because they’re bored and they’re just sending out requests to find out what services are available.
Even though a lot of people have money out there and they’re willing to pay you, I’m not only out there for the money, but I want the satisfaction that they’re making the right investment. When they walk away, they can say that working with Sasha was worthwhile, because I learned a lot and now I’m applying what she shared with me. Sometimes people are under the impression as, I hate my job, I want this to happen, how come I don’t have love in my life, let me go to a coach or spiritualist, pay them and overnight they’re going to fix my life. The fixing can only be done by the client. I can only provide you with the ingredients and the tools of how to go about fixing it, or how to find your perfect career opportunity. Or how to have a healthy relationship, how to attract money, how to build a business. Those are things that can be taught to a degree, but if the person doesn’t want to apply it, it doesn’t mean a thing to me and they’ll be out of money.
Robert Plank: Basically, you have this initial meeting to figure out if they’re coachable, and if they’re someone that you’ll actually feel fulfilled with by meeting with them I guess.
Sasha Laghonh: Yes, because I’m looking for results. Initially, when I started out, I think I was a bit more hopeful, but you are more invested in your clients’ well being, but I would find clients that didn’t care that much. They thought that I could just go to one person, have a one time meeting, pay them, and they’ll fix my life problems. It doesn’t quite work that way. It’s more of an engagement, and it’s a two way street. I am there to help you and there to coach you. At the end of the day, once they walk away, I want to make sure that they’re able to sustain the level of success that they want once they achieve it.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense, you can only kind of show them the way. You have this first meeting and then if you decide that they want to move forward, then what’s the next step.
Sasha Laghonh: Once we decide that we’ll be working together, then I give them a handful of questions and then we start our sessions, whether it’s on Skype, chat or phone and then I work them through, what are their challenges and stuff that they want to learn new stuff about.
Typically, when clients come to me, lately the questions that I get have to do with entrepreneurship. How do I take the first step? Part of it that I usually drill into them, is that plan ahead of time. You can’t go to work on a Monday morning if you’re working corporate and thinking, I hate my job, I’m going to run out and just start a business. All that requires planning and a process. There’s the other hand where I meet people where they plan so much to become an entrepreneur, but they haven’t put any of the plan into action. It says they haven’t taken any steps to move away from being dependent on, whether it’s corporate America or any third party that’s providing them with an income. You have to learn how to strike a balance, but also have to explain to people that want to make a change of why it’s necessary to take action. I know a lot of people who will plan, but they will not take any action.
Robert Plank: What’s the fix for that?
Sasha Laghonh: Typically, I ask them what is holding them back and what are the emotional blocks within them? It could be anxiety and fear, because you can understand anxiety, if you’re getting paid bi-weekly, you’re going to go from getting paid bi-weekly to whenever you make your first sale. The goal that entrepreneurship has to do with, not only working for yourself, but having the passion that will drive you to the point of creating consistent form of income. Unless they could answer those health questions, I cannot help them. It’s one of those things, you could give a person who needs help, all of the resources out there in the world, but if they’re not ready to take that leap of faith, it’s as they haven’t done anything yet. They need to feel emotionally secure to say, I’m going to take a leap of faith and no matter what happens, or what the outcome is, I can live with it.
Robert Plank: How does someone get to that point?
Sasha Laghonh: I feel that some of my clients get to that point with time. Not just time heals, because I think time accommodates. Once somebody brings your attention of what is holding you back, what do you fear and if some of you know how to plan and you have a contingency plan and you have the right support telling you, you have a good idea. This is the time to take those steps. If you have the wrong people surrounding you, whether its friends or family, or people who care for you, and you want to be an entrepreneur but your idea, I don’t like to say, it sucks, a lot of people will hold their true opinions back and kind of set up a person to fail. They don’t want to be that messenger. People are entitled to their opinions, it doesn’t meant the potential entrepreneur has to agree with them, but you need someone to give you objective and honest feedback. At the end of the day, I don’t have anything vested in there. I’m not investing money in them, I’m investing tools in them and I want them to do well.
Robert Plank: Would you say that that’s a big part of what you do? Being that objective person and maybe not being mean on purpose, but also not just telling them what they want to hear?
Sasha Laghonh: Right and I will say my strategy is tough love, but I’m not someone who’s loud, vulgar or into yelling or any of that. I do bring alternative perspective, where I ask them all these questions that say, what are you going to do if this, this doesn’t work out? What is your backup plan if you get rejected for funding, do you have a business plan? Do you even know the market that you’re selling to? All of these questions that they should be able to have an idea. Sometimes people are in love with the idea of starting a business, but they have no clue where to begin, which is okay. They have to do their own homework and paying a stranger can only get you so far, but on a bad day, let’s say if you’re working for yourself and the economy goes bust, and we can’t afford all of the talent around you, you still need to know how to run your own home. You still need to know how to run your own business. Somebody has to come in and say, have you thought about these things? Of course, with everything that we do in our life, no matter how many years you’ve been working for yourself, there’s always something new that we learn in the process. You can’t depend on other people forever.
Robert Plank: Right. That makes a lot of sense. Out of everything we’ve talked about today, or maybe there’s something else, but you have all these coaching clients and some of them are uncertain about transitioning out of a day job, or some of them have these missing pieces in their business. Do you see a common problem or like a number one problem that you keep seeing over and over with these coaching and consulting clients that you have?
Sasha Laghonh: One of my pet peeves is that usually they pay too much attention to what everybody else is doing that they jump on the bandwagon without even questioning, do I need to do what my competitor’s doing, do I need to do what my friend is doing. My family member told me it works out perfect for them, so I should do it too. I want individuals to question things that they’re exposed to. Question information that comes your way, question the source. People may mean well, but at the end of the day, if you’re putting up your own resources and your own money and you run dry, you don’t want to be standing there alone in bankruptcy court, blaming everybody else. I would say, just be accountable for the financial decisions you make, be accountable for the people that you bring into your professional path. We don’t get to control who comes in or leaves, but be responsible for those who become part of your business. At the end of the day, you’re the one putting the food on the table.
Robert Plank: I like that and yeah, I like that whole message. I think that it’s really easy to get bullied and get pushed around by someone else’s opinions that it’s easy for them to make because it doesn’t affect them, but it sure as heck affects you.
Sasha Laghonh: Yes, and even though it is a business, you should bring your passion and your energy into it, but keep your emotions in check. Sometimes people get so emotional, whether for better or worse, that we forget to be rational when you have to make these decisions. They get caught up in the moment and then they might realize, somebody goes to the bank and they end up walking out with a larger loan than they need and later in time they realize that I didn’t need all that money and I don’t have the resources to pay it back. Or they get excited with a friend doing business that they’re not well equipped to navigate through the friendship when the times get rough, because this is getting in the way. There’s so many different variables about balancing the rational and the emotional aspects of running a business and living your life day to day.
Robert Plank: Interesting, it sounds like a big part of this, it seems like there are a lot of things that can trip people up, but having that objective person to talk to and listen to, sounds like it’s super important. I like the way that you explain your coaching, that you don’t just necessarily tell someone what to do, but you kind of ask all the right questions and get them to think things through about their life and about their business.
Sasha Laghonh: Yes and I want people to know that even if they go seek out a coach, a spiritualist, whichever type of professional, to know that they are qualified to grant you guidance. To always question your source, it doesn’t mean that it’s a one way type of communication that they come to me. They could ask me questions about what my thoughts are, but at the end of the day, I always tell them, it’s not what Sasha will do or what your friend will do, or what your family member will do, you are the one making the decisions and you have to live with the ramifications. You have to feel comfortable in your own skin. If you feel you’re getting bullied by people, then chances are high that you need to change the type of people you are seeking information from, or doing business with. You’re working for yourself and if you don’t feel comfortable in your own home per se, then something is wrong.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah, it’s hard to disagree with that one. Kind of along those lines as far as people who, if someone out there they want to make a change, they want to fix things, they want to get a coach, they want to read about what you have to say and they want to find out all about Sasha, where can they go and where should they go to find out all that information?
Sasha Laghonh: Sure, they’re welcome to go to SashaTalks.com. Even thought they don’t need a session or a package of sessions, because I’m not in the business of keeping people to become a forever client. I’m there just to help them and I always treat each client as if we are not meant to meet again, this is what I’m parting with so they know how to proceed forward. If they need a critique for their business or something, I am available again at SashaTalks.com.
Robert Plank: Awesome, so thanks for not only sharing what you have to say about people helping themselves, but I also like the little behind the scenes bit about how you kind of adapted yourself and kind of adjusted a coaching business so that it would continue to grow, even when the whole outside world changed on you. Pretty cool stuff, SashaTalks.com. Thanks for being on the show Sasha.
Sasha Laghonh: Thank you Robert, for having me.