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Episode cover_Tanya Alvarez_Reach Your Highest Potential through Community and Accountability

Reach Your Highest Potential through Community and Accountability with Tanya Alvarez of OwnersUP

March 27, 2024

Entrepreneurship can feel lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. You can achieve so much more with business collaboration and support from others. So this week, Tanya Alvarez of OwnersUp sits down with A.J. to chat about the importance of community building for entrepreneurs and how she’s helping owners to team up and scale faster. They go into the details of finding the right network, keeping each other in check, and growing faster together.

About Tanya Alvarez

Tanya Alvarez is the founder of OwnersUp, a platform revolutionizing how service-based founders scale their businesses. She’s a Miami native with Colombian heritage who built a 7-figure ad agency (Blink Ads) from scratch at just 25. But Tanya found her entrepreneurial journey isolating and overwhelming, which motivated her to create OwnersUp. Now, she helps other successful business owners to collaborate, share challenges, and hold each other accountable. 

Beyond her business successes, Tanya is a proud parent and a seasoned marathoner, having completed the Boston, NYC, and a Half Ironman marathons despite living with a rare bone condition. She’s also an avid traveler who has visited over 42 countries and loves learning about other cultures.

What potential pitfalls to look out for in business collaboration?

Business collaboration often comes with a multitude of benefits. However, not all collaborations are created equal, and certain pitfalls can turn an exciting partnership into a tricky situation. Here are some potential issues to be aware of:

  • Speaking Different Business Languages: Entrepreneurs, although united in their drive for success, often have unique paths, ideologies, and business languages. If these do not align, collaboration can be difficult. It’s essential to find a common ground and clear, effective communication language from the get-go.
  • Differing Expectations: A collaboration can quickly go downhill if expectations aren’t clarified and agreed upon upfront. From financials to time commitment, ensure everything is out in the open and agreed upon to minimize potential surprises down the road.
  • Culture Clash: Every business has its unique culture. If the company cultures of the collaborating parties don’t go well, the partnership could face challenges. Ensure both parties share common values and vision before sealing the deal.

Successful business collaborations depend on paying attention to potential problems. If you address these issues from the start, you can achieve a better partnership and accomplish your common goals.

Key Insights:
  • Build your support network. Start by actively seeking out communities of fellow entrepreneurs, both online and offline. Don’t just network—seek genuine connections where you can both offer and receive support and guidance. That’s how you’ll build a strong support system that will help you thrive personally and grow professionally. (01:57)
  • Not every opportunity is worth pursuing. Create a system to evaluate new opportunities that come your way so that you’re not distracted by shiny new objects and lose focus from the bigger picture. This can be a checklist of criteria or a monthly review with your mentor or even a peer group. This process will help you assess if an idea is worth pursuing and help you stay focused on what truly matters for your business. (14:27)
  • Use business collaboration for accountability. As an entrepreneur, partnering with a like-minded individual or joining a business-focused group can keep you accountable. This involves sharing your goals, tracking your progress, and tackling any setbacks together. Regular check-ins inspire motivation, helping you stay committed to your entrepreneurial vision. (15:42)
  • Establish a routine that works for you. Schedule weekly planning sessions to reflect on your personal and business goals. Use this time to adjust your workload and plan future activities, but also incorporate time for rest and personal interests. This routine will help you ensure you’re headed in a good direction with your business but, at the same time, keep you grounded and balanced in all aspects of your life. (20:34)
  • Decide what success means to you. Take the time to define success for yourself, considering both your personal and business values. Once you are clear on that, let these ideas help you make decisions for your business that align with these values, moving steadily toward your vision of success. (30:49)

Tanya’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“Entrepreneurs are always looking into, like business growth, profit… But what about yourself? Your own well-being? Who keeps you in check on that?” (05:17)

 

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Transcript

Tanya Alvarez:
Thanks for having me.

A.J. Lawrence:
I’m kind of excited because I’ve been going through OwnersUp and really liking the way about it. Just the way you came about doing it, reading a little bit about why and how. I thought it’d be really cool to talk a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey and where you are right now as an entrepreneur.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah, absolutely. So I started my first company at the age of 25. Literally coming from like, I still had debt, credit card, and I just went for it. I was like, oh, I have nothing to lose. I’m 25. So it was a New York ad agency. We had an office in Park Avenue and literally, I grew to 1 million within the first year having no clue what I was doing.

But I was literally working hard, hustling, and in some ways it was luck and opportunity. But here it was, and as your company’s growing, you’re hiring more people. There’s so much pressure. And then you start seeing like even though your revenue, the top line revenue is high, you’re having to make more decisions to sustain it. Right? People, systems, everything. And there was nobody I could really talk to. I had competitors, yes, but you can only share so much. Your family and friends, unless they’re entrepreneurs, they really aren’t gonna, and it depends what level they are. So where do you go?

So here I was training for the Boston Marathon, and I still, no matter, I was a collegiate athlete, a runner, and I still joined a team to train. So why do I do that? Because training for a marathon’s hard. You can do it by yourself and really suffer sometimes, or you can do it with a group of people who understand what you’re going through. Like how to say no, you can’t go out because you have to wake up early to run 13 crazy miles on your own. So you do it with other people. And so within that group, when you’re running with others, you kind of share stories. You learn.

Like if there’s injury, hey, take this, or you know, hydration. You have a coach that’s course correcting you. They see their blind spots. And I’m like, why the heck don’t entrepreneurs have that? And so that’s what I created. It’s something what I wish I had, which is OwnersUp. So it’s small group of people, five, because there’s so many big communities, but I get lost in big communities. So that means I’m one of those that are a little bit of like, I listen, I’m a lurker, but I won’t post. It happens in everywhere. It’s in those communities, in classes, only 10% of people actually participate. Everybody else is kind of lurking, right? And the only way to get intimate is when you have a small group of people.

You could be a big community but in small groups, so you’re able to kind of like say, hey, this is what’s going on in my personal life that I’m really not handling. I’m not able to sleep. I don’t know what to do. Had to fire one of my employees I’ve been with since the beginning. Like all these things. Because a lot of times people assume that you’re just talking about business growth. No. Business growth, there’s a lot of underlying challenges underneath that.

A.J. Lawrence:
It’s a constant and it’s always changing. What I like, sort of, about that approach of putting together the group. I’ve done masterminds at different events, I have people I’ve been talking to that I met at different masterminds or stuff, and then kind of we just went off our own. And I know their business intimately. I know about their hiring processes. I know the new people. I know the unofficial discussion of like, this person is driving me wacky, instead of this speak of like, well, we’re not quite hitting the metrics. So sort of instead of going the route of like, hey, we’re going to throw, and I’m being overly negative on some communities, but like, why did you decide to kind of create this more structured approach? How did that come about to create value here?

Tanya Alvarez:
It’s literally through sports. So it’s kind of like the structure of like, hey, I need to do this marathon at this time. And marathon’s just like a business. It’s very long, right? You have to withstand all the challenges. So it’s like, how do you reverse engineer this and how do you, because it’s not only physical, it’s mental. So how do you keep yourself in check personally so you don’t burn out? Right? And these are metrics that not many people, entrepreneurs are always looking into like, oh, business growth, profit. What about yourself? Your own well being? Who keeps you on check on that?

A.J. Lawrence:
That’s an interesting way of phrasing it. And because I was having this discussion, I’m in the middle now of an acquisition and it may blow up and whatever, but just kind of generally going through this process and what I’ve been doing is like, okay, it’s going to be stressful no matter what happens. Increasing my sleep, my workouts, the time I go to yoga, my meditations, my food, diet, my medical checkups, partially because I have the time and flexibility to them all now that I might not. And I’m that focus of keeping it because I’ve been like, all right, less for more, but I haven’t thought of it and keeping myself in check. That’s an interesting thing, not to let yourself get too far ahead, not to kind of burn a little bit more. Can you maybe just what this keeping in check, just because I know this was kind of just a throwaway line when you said it, I think. But it was like, that is a really cool way of phrasing it.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah. So for me, I actually list down everything that kind of keeps me sane. And then I have metrics to that. Yeah, I geek out on metrics. So I actually rate my day every single day. And what I do is I just rate it simple one through five. And then what I try to do is reverse engineer it, because what I realize is when I measure what’s going on, then I’m able to kind of see the pattern.

So it’s like, oh, wow, I rated it one. Why? Okay, these are the challenges. Did I handle this challenge well emotionally? Right? And then if I’m not working out or doing what I’m supposed to do, it instantly is always one, two, three in my days. But if I’m on check in, the sense of working out, doing everything I need to do, it ends up being five. Right? So it’s kind of reverse engineering all that data. But it’s still, like, you could do the workouts, and if you’re not doing the inner work, that’s a whole ‘nother level. And sometimes people need to spot it for you to, like, someone who knows, he needs to be like, hey, Jay, did you meditate? Or, like, hey, you’re distressed.

A.J. Lawrence:
Are you following your process here?

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
That’s interesting because not to kind of play why game, but, like, let’s just talk about this daily check in and this daily ranking, because I’ve, from time to time, followed, like, and, of course, the Ben Franklin, the daily rate yourself. Like, did you live a life of super. He has his ten vices or things. Ten. And you’re supposed to. Great. I’m doing a great job of explaining.

Tanya Alvarez:
Oh, wow. You do that every day? You rank yourself on that every day?

A.J. Lawrence:
No, I haven’t done that in about a year and a half. Which just shows because I’m completely forgetting what I’m supposed to be following. Yeah. Temperance, did you speak quietly? And it’s like, you can tell some of it was written in the 17th century, 18th century, because it’s like, speak quietly just means, basically. Did you say what you should say? I’m not talk extra. Did you talk out of class type of thing. But. Okay, so I’ve seen those.

I’ve seen different areas, but where did this daily ranking? And I love that concept because especially in 105 and then tracking, you know, I have the aura ring. I look at that, and I try and map the days where I have great readiness or I feel I have great energy afterwards, and then go look at the ring and look at what patterns, alcohol, exercise, friends, et cetera, that came about. But, like, this is cool. And your ability to track that over time is really neat. So how did that come about?

Tanya Alvarez:
I’ve been doing it since I was young, so just a little bit background on me is, like, I came from my family. My mother was a single mom, immigrated from Colombia. We were in low income household. My oldest sister has a rare disease, osteogenesis imperfecta. And so for me, and which is brittle bones, and I also have another level of that. And so for me to kind of, like, go be defy the odds, I had to figure out, like, how do I improve? Especially when you’re from starting from the real bottom, how do you improve? And it’s measuring bit by bit by bit and seeing the progress, right? Because if I didn’t see progress, let’s be Craig big. I would have given up. It’s kind of like when people say, hey, Tanya, I’m gonna start running, and then they go for a week and they’re like, this is miserable. And they stop.

And I was like, they didn’t see anything. If they’re losing weight, they go on the scale. And they’re like, I didn’t lose any weight. And I was like, did you go faster? Did you go farther? Did you measure it? You need something to show that.

A.J. Lawrence:
Were you deliberate?

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah. So I think it came from that. And then just, you know, reviewing my days.

A.J. Lawrence:
That was a very tough experience. But from that, to be able to do that, I mean, it really is that like incremental daily things building up over time. Such capability. That is cool. I literally have a single instance of a ChatGPT where now that you can kind of talk with it, they have it in the thing. I say, okay, repeat the questions back to me. Let’s reframe based upon my answers. Let’s reframe and focus based upon five different things. But I like that. I think adding it, because then I can extract that data pretty quickly.

Tanya Alvarez:
And then you reverse engineer things. You can figure out what you really enjoy. One of my favorite is just writing down what you actually accomplished that day. Because I feel like some days I’m kind of like, whoa, what the heck did I accomplish? And then I write it down. I’m like, yeah, I actually did a lot, and then I feel better. Or some days I feel like I did a lot, then I write it, and then I was like, damn, that was a lot of busy work. Like, this is not where I should be.

A.J. Lawrence:
It’s funny, I go back and forth on like how to kind of track those things because a lot of times when you have the online dashboards and we’re running through all sorts of automated things, you can look up what has been accomplished. But it’s a little different than versus like spending the extra five minutes in the morning just writing it all down and just like crossing out again and again. It feels so old fashioned but sometimes at the end of day, it’s like, ooh, look, there’s lots of lines. That’s a good.

Tanya Alvarez:
It’s true. But I have to say, all that automated stuff is great, but I’ve seen so many people, they’re like, I track my time, I do this, everything’s automated. And I was like, did you actually take the time every single day to like, look at it? And that’s the hard part.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. Where are you in the business? Yeah. It’s like I had a conversation and someone was automating something, and I’m like, that’s really good, but what is the impact of this? And it was something that I believe you should spend a little time evaluating, sort of what is. You don’t have to every day, we were going back and forth, but like, look, now I don’t have to worry about it. I’m like, I can look up and I can look at it in one big thing, but I’m like that daily cadence of kind of like carrying the water, sweeping the floor. It’s that like, if you ever want to do something, it’s like this. And then when you actually get good at it, you still carry the water and sweep the floor. But all right. I like that kind of concept in so many ways.

I’ve heard other people talk about, like, oh, I keep track of, like, my training. I jokingly say I’m an ex-athlete who constantly forgets that I’m in my fifties and can’t believe that I don’t just go back to the gym and it all comes back. But one of the things I’ve looked at starting to do is, like, oh, when I was doing x, these were the workouts I’ve done and try and reverse engineer. But I like your approach because it gives you a little more ongoing data and a little bit more ability to evaluate how you came to that. Not just, well, I was doing x, so I’ll do y. You have more depth to it. I like that.

Tanya Alvarez:
But I will say with workouts, I actually just show up to a HIIT workout, and just because, like, there’s so many decisions to be made, and at this point, I want a decision where it’s like, the workout’s gonna challenge me, the music, the timing. I just show up and have peers around me. But even I’m gonna be doing, I’m training for a century ride, and I’m finding others who want to do a century ride with me because by myself, I can get into, like, a mindset. It’s either can be good or it could be bad, just like, entrepreneurship, and it’s just funner with others.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, it’s true. And it’s nice to not have to do the planning of it. Like, sometimes analysis paralysis is fun or, like, oh, doing a basic workout is fine, but, oh, I’m kind of working, you know, this. I want to. How do I kind of get okay and then, yeah, 20 minutes later of like, all right, did I add any value? All right, so you were going through this experience. You kind of had come up with ways because of your experiences growing up. You had your businesses. You were sort of hitting here.

You were doing this marathon training this group, and then you realize that while there was value in there, the structure kind of came in and how. Let’s kind of pick that back up. I’m sorry. It took us all over the place there. But, like, back to, like, really putting a structure into this community, because the vast majority, you’re kind of thrown to the wolves and, like, cool people, but you’re paying a club a lot of money just so you can hang out with cool people and not get anything else where you seem to really work on that structure.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah. So we break it down to grit. So G is for goal prioritization. I think that a lot of, no matter how big you are, you have bias. Right. There’s things that you think that it’s going to move you forward, but sometimes it’s just your comfort zone or it’s your default and maybe there’s more opportunities you see and you need an outside perspective. So it’s your peer, five people that aren’t in your business. That’s like, they don’t.

They’re not. Like, they can say, hey, based on what I view, your strength and your weaknesses, this is going to go. And then you analyze it. So it’s really important. And entrepreneurs are. We are known for shiny object syndrome. Right. We want to create, create. And how we process is to make sure we’re going the right direction. So that’s the first part. Rhythm is not only about your personal side. Like, not to burn out because there’s a sort of, every entrepreneur has this like addiction to success.

Like, well, I’ll work harder. And then we forget. Or we keep saying we’re doing it for loved ones, and then we’re barely with the loved ones. Right? Everything takes a backseat. So how do we keep that rhythm?

And then the other one is iterating. Iterating. Having a KPI or stack to kind of work with the group to say, hey, this is where I’m going. Like, getting that feedback and getting the iteration. And the last one, which is really hard, especially when you’re in a seven to eight figures, is accountability. Right. You do have an accountability to your team, but as the owner, you can move, like deadlines. Right. Or you can, like, push back a bunch of things. So it’s accountability. And when you’re in, when everyone’s in the group kind of in that same value system, believing and like being able to hold somebody accountable, that’s when all the magic happens, right?

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. And it really. That accountability is really interesting because as someone who has set numerous goals and then sort of my magic trick is sort of evolving it as new information comes to be. And I know just from my back years and years ago, I was an auditor and I’ve been a project writer. It’s like, great having an estimate and having an actuality is fine, but, like, tracking that variance and accepting that versus sort of just like, oh, we’re now doing this.

Tanya Alvarez:
What?

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about. X. It’s like. Like that it takes the right type of people because there is something about, especially early entrepreneurism, that first brush of like, this is working ego is such an issue. So finding the right mix of people with the right expectation that you are going to have to check your ego, I think, is a big, big thing about making sure accountability works, because really, I’ve never had issues with that myself.

Tanya Alvarez:
Meaning getting like in the sense of like I’ve had people where it’s, it was easy. They were not- I mean, it was interesting that accountability, when you hold somebody accountable, they’re like, well, I kind of. I did in most of the days. I just missed one day. You know, it’s like. Well, no, you said this.

But accountability is a tricky one. You don’t want to shame the person and do it another time. You kind of want them to understand what’s blocking them. Why are they not doing it? I think people miss that step. They just want to go to the consequence immediately. And with us, our big thing is we have people sing.

A.J. Lawrence:
Sing.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah, sing in front of them.

A.J. Lawrence:
I was like, wait. Sing. Oh, my God. I can never join your group because I would just ruin everyone’s ears. Okay. All right, so sing. So you sing it. And I take it you record this.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yes.

A.J. Lawrence:
And is this for blackmail purposes if they don’t behave? Or is this just?

Tanya Alvarez:
Just the experience. Because it’s an instant like I have to sing so then next time you’re thinking about like not doing the task you said you’re going to do or that goal, you think like, do I really want to sing this song? You know. Because money after a while, like let’s say A.J., is like, okay, if you don’t get this done, it’s a big project. You have to pay a grand. You’re like, oh, I really don’t want to do this. Is this worth a grand? I don’t know. It just you start kind of like justifying things, right?

A.J. Lawrence:
Picking from, well, think about it. Nursery schools found that when they thought that charging an extra bit by minute that parents were late, picking kids would actually get parents there on time, actually increased the amount of time parents were late because they were just like, okay, I can pay the difference. Like, the guilt process. It’s like, I’m just paying for it. I had one of the really great coaches I’ve had in my life. He never. He was like, when we would talk about the things I had said I was going to do and what, like, I realized pretty quickly he didn’t care if I did or didn’t, but why I sort of justified or not justified or what that was, you know, the bright, the KPI is, the McGruffin.

It is or it isn’t. It just exists. It’s what I did towards it. And then my discussion of, well, you know, this. And he’s like, are you hesitating around this? Is this something you’re afraid of? What’s going on? Be like, oh, God, real questions, damn it.

Tanya Alvarez:
How do you dodge them?

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah, that’s the tough thing. But I like it. Okay, so sing it. So here, tell.

Tanya Alvarez:
All right. You’re not gonna happy sing, are you? No.

A.J. Lawrence:
No. I mean, all right. I want to get more of the personality here because this is just so cool. So, like all right. Someone joins. I know one of the things I really liked was you had the 90 day plan incoming in. I saw that. And I was like, that’s really cool, because I always ask, like, how can I get more value from it? And you gotta let go. Just ask questions.

And it’s like, thanks. Great. I’ll ask questions. Just introduce yourself. It’s like, okay, how can I? All right, so what is this process? And let’s talk about sort of the culture you’re creating. If you’re getting people to sing, and not to be horrible, but it seems like a great mix of people from the different, you know, pictures of your team, of the people, of the meetings and groups. So it’s not like, you know, you have just one type of audience. You have a group of different entrepreneurs, solo entrepreneurs, et cetera, in this group. Let’s talk about this culture you’re creating within this.

Tanya Alvarez:
That’s actually a really good point. We are not creating the hustle culture. We are creating the culture of people who are really passionate about what they’re doing and want to make an impact, but also want time with their loved ones, right?

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. Okay.

Tanya Alvarez:
So they’re not. And that’s huge because there’s so many ways you can. Most people, if they really wanted to, can grow a business really quickly. Right? You have no life. Your health might go away, but you’ll get there. But there’s other times. The hard part is having it all be in harmony, and that is the hardest part, especially when you have little ones or your family and everybody wants your time and attention. How do you go about this? And these are the things that we kind of work on.

So, for example, one of my members, he’s running seven figures, wants to eight figures, but also it has two little ones. So how does he make the time to do this? And he can, but he’s going to be working crazy hours when he gets home. Even though he’s present with them, he’s really not switched off. Right. He’s still there and he’s still kind of in that space of kind of managing it all. Right? Delegating, has team, but not fully delegating, not really letting go, not getting that leadership.

They’re like, oh, this person’s making a mistake. I need to step back in. So how do you make those constraints? I think constraints are everybody’s best friends, right? Constraints get you more creative, and it makes you think, do I really need to do this? So we go through those conversations in that culture. So allowing people to remind them, like, what are they doing this for? And then how can we get constraints? So my big thing is trying to get entrepreneurs to every quarter, go away from their business for two weeks.

A.J. Lawrence:
Two weeks. Wow, that’s pretty aggressive. I like that, though. You have to get it ready and capable of being without you for two weeks.

Tanya Alvarez:
Okay. That allows you to see if actually you have a company, right? If your company can run without you, you have a company. And then it allows you to decompress and also get you back to those creative juices. Like, you have time to actually reflect and not be, like, interrupted or have, like, all these things going on. Like, you can really, really kind of see, like, okay, where do I really want to take my business? What has changed? So I think that’s really good. And it gives you that kind of balance. Kind of like we were talking about the Europeans, right? They work hard, they play hard. Maybe they work a little bit. Right?

A.J. Lawrence:
It is a misnomer, I think, a lot of times of the less working because it’s like, what is it? Finland has the highest per capita entrepreneurism. Yeah. And it is a high.

Tanya Alvarez:
Wow. I did not know that.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yep. But a lot of Scandinavia is that way. And what’s sort of coming up, I think in tandem some of this early basic income initiatives where they do the research, 50% of people actually work harder when they’re given basic money, they take on more work because one of two things happened. Either a, they can use that money for childcare, which especially in the US is a little bit of a fun thing. As we were chatting ahead of, say, I mean, I, it was expensive when I was in New York and raising kids, but it’s gotten insane. But like, also, it just some of the fear of if this doesn’t work, what’s going to happen? And I’ve been curious, like, when I see some of the entrepreneurs, very sophisticated and whatever, it’s like they’re very comfortable with the trade offs of their system to kind of allow them, because I can work hard. Yet if things don’t work, they don’t have our bankruptcy laws, but more of, you know, the personal impact of what that does.

Tanya Alvarez:
In Germany, it’s different though. Germany, it’s really hard to be an entrepreneur because of renovation. It’s hard to fire somebody. Yeah, fascinating.

A.J. Lawrence:
And it’s also they have a great, they have this culture of more of being part of the system, the company, the union, the guild, if you’re being apprenticeship. So it’s like, great. You have some advantages there, but then, yeah, a lot less in other areas. All right, I’m like, oh, let’s go. Let’s start talking about different business cultures because it is so much fun doing it. But no, back to the point. So you’re helping people. And I like that you kind of are setting these goals because as being a member, singing the things, working towards creating this regular ability to step out of the business.

I had a friend who’s in this one more real estate focused, where the whole goal is everyone, you have to have two times your living expense or your goal is ten times, but to get in, you have to be two times your living expenses generated from passive real estate income, whatever. And it was just like, okay, I get it because that’s the thing. But this is interesting because it’s more about having the corporate capability to structure corporate business structure, to be able to handle it. And that takes work. So is that some part that’s also, is that something where you’re like, you got to go do that? How? How does that work within the community?

Tanya Alvarez:
So what we do is we help people be more creative with their constraints, because what is that? Have you heard that story where I think it’s an investment banker, he’s in Mexico. That story, it’s like where the guy’s going fishing and he’s, oh, yeah, yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
Oh, if I do this, I do this. I can go. And I can go.

Tanya Alvarez:
And they got retiring doing.

A.J. Lawrence:
I don’t do anything.

Tanya Alvarez:
Exactly, yeah. So it’s the same thing. Like, we’re working hard for what? Right? And at the end of the day, we’re working hard for loved ones. Like, there’s so how many more movies that happen like, that we have to see over and over again of all these successful people, they’re miserable or they’re sick, and they’re like, my regrets or what I like. Success wasn’t all that. Like, how many times we have to see it? So how can we have both? You know, there’s always a cost to everything. So, for example, running in high school, I wanted to get into a top school, right? So there was a level that I wanted to compete, and I had to. There was a sacrifice and cost for it.

So I wasn’t maybe socializing as much, or I socialized very, like, rigidly. Now, when I went to college and I was running, like, what’s the next level? The Olympics? No, I don’t want the Olympics. I was. I don’t think I was at that level. But that’s a whole thing. And I think in business, I think everyone sees, like, elon Musk and all these, like, things, and they’re like, are you willing to pay the cost to be that person? Right?

A.J. Lawrence:
No life.

Tanya Alvarez:
So when you see all these entrepreneurs, it’s like, you want to see the ones that at least for me, the ones that actually embrace living life. That if they died or something happened, you know that they lived life on their terms.

A.J. Lawrence:
Just a quick side. What event did you run?

Tanya Alvarez:
Which one? For the race?

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. No, what did you run in track?

Tanya Alvarez:
Oh, cross country. So cross country tackles a long distance runner.

A.J. Lawrence:
Nice. Okay. I was a 400 meters hurdler, and then they tried to search for me. It was. But it was fun. It took me two years to actually learn how to go over a hurdle. In a way that made it fun. But, yeah, I mean.

But no, it’s like anything. It’s that mindset of high school. There was another level, college. I mean, I got. Blew my knee out pretty quickly. But I also was realizing I’m like, okay. I thought I was. I was really good at this one level.

Now I get to this. And I’m like, I’m fifth on the team. Okay.

Tanya Alvarez:
Right? And then academically keeping up with everything.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah, that was easier for whatever reason. So I was kind of happy when I was like, up the knee’s not gonna ever come back in the way, but all right, I like that. And you kind of come up, you create that. You bring that balance, and it is, I always call it the Goldilocks. And the way youve kind of referenced in other ways, can you maybe talk about that tension that you help because that is such a big part of our journey as entrepreneurs. Its like, great, we make money, but then how much we take out, how much we reinvest, how much we pay for ourselves, its like, too much. Your company will end up floundering. Not enough.

And then you personally flounder. Time, effort, constant. You’ve used the term constraints. You’ve used the term checking yourself. Can you kind of like how you guide, you know, some of the suggestions of how you guide entrepreneurs. You see in these transition points of, like, growing complexity that they’re facing.

Tanya Alvarez:
So first thing we do when we onboard them is really understand what would be an ideal life for them, what do they want to do? And then coming from a place of, like, just being creative and then holding that to their why. So one person wanted to live in Italy with his whole family, right? And it’s like, you can make this happen, but you have to let go and start building leaders on your team, leaders of that. So all of that helps understand, like, how much you really need, what kind of lifestyle, all these questions, because when you’re in a business, you’re kind of just going for it. You’re just, there’s this number you want to hit, revenue goal. You keep on, keep on going, which is great, but at what cost, right? If we’re going back to running analogy, you can, you can’t continue running. You have to actually rest. And at some point, every athlete you’re competing with is almost at the same level.

A.J. Lawrence:
The difference, incremental difference.

Tanya Alvarez:
But it’s the mindset.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah.

Tanya Alvarez:
When you’re going to race and you’re saying, like, I don’t know if I can do it, you’re instantly lost a race. So I don’t think entrepreneurs also have that support mentally of where they are, like reminding them of what they achieved to keep going. And I think most athletes have it that strong mindset. And sometimes, like everybody, like, they flounder. Like they have some experiences. You see the gymnasts, you see basketball players, like, they had to go through that roadblock. But first you have to be acknowledge it, be aware of it, and be able to change it.

A.J. Lawrence:
So being aware, taking the action and mapping it up. Okay.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah.

A.J. Lawrence:
So easy, but so easy. Not, but I do like how you build it into a community. You build it into a plan. You add the ability to reiterate and evaluate and track it over a period of time, especially since I’m going to be stealing your daily scoring. Very interesting. I think that’s a really cool way to kind of bring in pieces of it, but then directionally adding towards where you’re going. So how are you, you looking to define? Maybe just let’s talk a little bit how you talked about, like, this definition of, like, you have to be able to do two weeks every quarter. Not have to, but the goal. And you ask them where they want to go. How do you help them define that success as an entrepreneur within your community?

Tanya Alvarez:
It’s in the beginning, the questions and then kind of figuring out most of them, like, they already get aware of it. They’re working literally 13 hours days. They’re coming to me working 13 hours days. They’re burnt out. They’re dealing with some issues, you know what I mean? But they still have this ambition to even grow more and more. So then it’s like, what is enough? And how do you get that and continue? Because once, sometimes when we reach success, we stop doing the things that work, the habits that work to get us there, or all these things. We just stopped doing it. So then how do we get your back there? And usually it’s never. It’s really hard to do it by yourself.

A.J. Lawrence:
How do you go about defining your own personal success? I mean, not for owners app, not for your other business, but for you, Tanya. I mean, you have your two young kids, you’re living in Minneapolis. How do you define your success? And how do you go about making that definition?

Tanya Alvarez:
So for me, it goes back to my kids. If anything happens to me, my kids are the ones who are going to remember me. Really. Like, think about Michael Jackson. We probably remember him for a bit, his music. Ten years from now, who knows? He was a legend. He still is a legend. But ten years from now, we don’t know.

So it goes back to your kids or your family. That’s where your legacy is. That’s what keeps continues to move forward. So for me, being present with them is huge. And not, like some people say, being present in the same room, but really, like nothing else is on my mind. But. But then when I’m doing other things, I’m so involved in those other things. And the biggest thing I do that makes me happy is I try to find a physical and mental challenge every single year.

Tanya Alvarez:
And so this year, it’s doing a century ride. So that’s 100 miles. Yeah, yeah, it’s a hundred miles. And it’s just getting the time. Now that I have two kids, it’s like one three year old. And then running my business and doing everything. Find those times to do those long rides and then doing it with a good time. That is going to be my next.

And I try to find every year a different challenge because that builds a mental resilience that I need to keep forward. And then in your mental resilience is more about, like, figuring out some stuff, like subconsciously, like emotional regulation, keeping my mind in check. Right. That is just doing things that are uncomfortable sometimes a little bit woo. Woo side. I don’t know what you want to call it.

A.J. Lawrence:
I do say woo, but the thing is incrementally, directionally correct, consistently done. It works.

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah. And just immersing myself in those, opening my mind and my perspective, because to me, it’s like the achieving and doing is a little bit easier for me. But going in and delving the inner side is very different. I think it’s hard.

A.J. Lawrence:
So where is going to be long term success for you?

Tanya Alvarez:
I will love to see more and more people achieve any monumental goal and finding a squad to help them make that happen. I’m a real strong believer in that. So being able to share my frameworks so no matter what goal, like for me, it could be from business to, I had two kids through IVF. I had a less than 7% chance of having one. Right? All the support, and just like when you have a group of people all learning at the same time, teaching one another, you can just scale and move.

Humans are pack animals, right? And anything 2020 showed us that we all need community. No matter what AI, whatever it is, we love human interaction. Even the introverts are like, this is too much for me. Like, I need some interaction. So if find more people that are your squad, you can actually achieve any monumental goal. And so that overall is my mission.

A.J. Lawrence:
Well, how can they learn more about OwnersUp and learn more about the journey you’re on. The people in the audience. How can people in the audience learn more?

Tanya Alvarez:
Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on LinkedIn, Tanya Alvarez, or you can direct message me on tanyac.alvarez on Instagram.

A.J. Lawrence:
Cool. We’ll put that link up, we’ll have the link for owners up. And look, I really appreciate you coming on. I think there’s a lot of cool things and I am definitely stealing the daily score from this. I think there’s a lot more you shared that is really cool and worth exploring. But right off the bat, I know I’m stealing that. So I’m just telling you ahead of time on that. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Tanya Alvarez:
Thank you for having me.

A.J. Lawrence:
Hey, everyone. Thank you for listening. If you know someone who could actually learn from what Tanya was talking, they have their own business or their own community, and they’re looking for a community. I sometimes speak well, but not today, it seems. But if you know someone who is, share this episode with them. Tell them to check out Tanya’s OwnersUp. Tell them they should subscribe to this podcast because that helps us bring on other really cool entrepreneurs like Tanya to the show. So everyone, thank you so much for listening today.

I really appreciate it. I hope you have a wonderful day. Bye.

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