Brie Sodano, Sheep to Shark
Brie Sodano taught herself to trade stock options on the side, while working as a director at a Boys and Girls Club. This hobby inspired Brie to become a financial advisor. As she grew her advising practice, Brie realized most of her clients struggled with issues like credit card debt, student loans, and feeling perpetually broke. In response, Brie founded Sheep to Shark, where she helps women take control of their money and find freedom in the process.
Episode 25 – Brie Sodano, Sheep to Shark
[00:00:58] Sanjay Parekh: Brie Sodano learned to trade stock options while working as a director at a boys and girls club. This part-time hobby inspired Brie to become a certified financial advisor. As she grew her advising practice, Brie realized most of her clients struggled with run of the mill issues like credit card debt, student loans, and feeling perpetually broke. In response, Brie founded Sheep to Shark, where she coaches women on how to take control of their money and find freedom in the process. Brie, welcome to the show.
[00:01:25] Brie Sodano: Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here.
[00:01:27] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, I'm excited to talk to you about kind of your journey, and some money tips at the end. But let's start with you, tell us a little bit about you and tell us about your background.
[00:01:36] Brie Sodano: Sure! So, after college, I worked at a local, my local Boys and Girls Club for about a decade. And at some point, I was the teen director and I was, as a professional, reading episode, well not episodes, but like the Twilight novels and I was playing Wii and so I loved that job. I felt like I was making an impact with the kids, but I was hardly making any money.
And so I taught myself how to trade stock options, to supplement my income. Which I don't suggest or teach to my clients cause it's super stressful. Well for me it was super stressful. Some people can just rock on with all of that. And as time went on, there was another, like I had kind of just outgrown the job, the position, the entire thing.
And so, one day I was just stressed and I was whining to my mom and she was like, well, you already know how to trade stock options. Why don't you go and like, get your Series 7 and be a financial advisor. And this tracked because like my mom worked on Wall Street and my dad was in insurance, my grandfather sold stocks and bonds.
And then, I have uncles that do, so like, it was just like a family, like a family trade. And so I did that, and I went and I got a job. The local, you know, like a brokerage firm and I got my 7 and my 66 and all my insurance licenses, and that's when I started really taking clients and I was working with clients and they were coming to see me, saying things like, well, Brie you know, this credit card debt is from my first marriage or I'm still paying on my student loans and my kids are about to go to college. You know, I make a couple hundred thousand dollars and I have like $22 in my bank account. Kind of like, what's wrong with me? And so, I started really kind of looking at like, well, why are these smart, successful people having so many challenges with their money, like what's going on here?
And so, I started working with my clients on like budgets. Really sexy spreadsheets, like really.
[00:03:33] Sanjay Parekh: I think you might be the first person that has ever said the word sexy spreadsheets together.
[00:03:38] Brie Sodano: No, No.
[00:03:38] Sanjay Parekh: At least on this podcast.
[00:03:39] Brie Sodano: Sanjay, definitely not. There's an entire segment of the world who is into spreadsheets.
I'll tell you. They're my people. I know them. They're like, yeah, show me a sexy spreadsheet. And so, we were working with budgets, and I would be so entirely thrilled typing them out. And then my clients like they'd come back to my office six weeks later, we were going to do a checkup and I'd be like, how did it go? How was it with your budget?
I didn't really do it. No, we didn't, I read the, I read it and I didn't do any of the things. And so, then I started working with clients on habits and then we started working on mindset, and then we started working on emotions that come in with our money. And then at this point in my journey, like I was up before the sun, you know, reading the stack reports and doing everything that it needed to take to be a good investment advisor.
But then I was just falling in love with cash flow and just like the human side of it. And so, I left my book of business to my partner and I started Sheep to Shark a few years ago, and then that's kind of how it started.
[00:04:44] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So when you were getting that degree, what was your kind of vision as to what you were going to do afterwards? What kind of job were you thinking?
[00:04:52] Brie Sodano: You know, I don't necessarily know that I had a super good plan. I think when I was, when I started college, it was like this idea that you would just go and do the things that interested you most. And so, I took a lot of classes on urban studies, and I liked a lot of like political science type stuff and international things.
And then I finished college, and I was working at a Boys and Girls Club.
[00:05:18] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah.
[00:05:18] Brie Sodano: That I don't know, then we changed and it all tracks, it works.
[00:05:23] Sanjay Parekh: Now when you're looking back, obviously, you know, all the pieces kind of fit into place, but probably when you were at that place, it maybe didn't make sense.
Maybe it did. I don’t know.
[00:05:33] Brie Sodano: Yeah. It didn't make any sense. I didn't really have a good plan. Like I remember my dad asked me kind like, well, alright, so look, cause when I started college, I was going for a management major.
[00:05:44] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah.
[00:05:44] Brie Sodano: And if you know me that you would know a hundred percent, that is not a good, that's not a good fit.
I do not like to manage things. I do not. Like even like when we hire people, somebody else generally manages them. Like I have leadership qualities to lead people, but not to like manage tasks.
[00:06:00] Sanjay Parekh: Day to day management.
[00:06:01] Brie Sodano: Very stressful for me.
[00:06:02] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So let me ask you about your history then and like your family history.
Is there entrepreneurship in your history or in the family's history? Like, do you have any entrepreneurs in the family?
[00:06:14] Brie Sodano: No, not really. Not when you say it like that. No, but there was a lot, like a lot of my family was in finance and those are, you know, those are commission-based jobs. So, there was a lot of commission-based work, which is like, kind of the, in between like that salary work and entrepreneurs, but like my dad sold insurance and he worked on commission.
And so there was, yeah. And my mom, when she was on Wall Street, she was there for a few years. She didn't, you know, she didn't do a full career there, but that commission-based work. That was pretty common.
[00:06:45] Sanjay Parekh: That, that hustle that you need to be an entrepreneur and kind of get the sale closed and done.
So, okay, so then you're working your job. You've got these clients and then at some point you realize like, yeah, you know what, I want to do this on my own. Like, what was that aha moment? What was that thing that tipped you over and said, like, you know what, I need to put my own shingle out and do this on my own directly.
[00:07:11] Brie Sodano: So, it was a couple things. It was that I was really stretched thin. So, to be good at the things that I do in Sheep to Shark, and to also be good at investment advising are very, two really very different skill sets and two different levels of research, right? So, like if I was researching what stocks and bonds and mutual funds to sell you, I'd be reading the, you know, the research reports and seeing how the business was doing.
And I like, you know, looking at the charts and things like that. And when I'm doing the work that I do in Sheep to Shark, it's very much understanding the psychology and the human and the holistic, and like the ways that our psychology impacts our behaviors and like, they're two really different things.
And so I did it for a while and then like, I was just tired. Like I was just like, Ugh. Like, it was just a lot. 'Cause it was essentially really doing two different things. And so, once I started really charging for the planning and knowing that I could do it, then that was kind of it. It was like once I started getting some clients and I felt like, I felt like I could do it, like, and I had some evidence that I could do it, then it started to make sense.
And then it, so then I went out on my own.
[00:08:25] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So, now what you're doing is more the planning side of it, not the kind of day-to-day stocks and bonds and recommending which ones to invest in. Is that what you're doing or..
[00:08:37] Brie Sodano: Yeah.
So, Sheep to Shark, I create a lot of courses for people and a lot of my work, so, we look at money in like five different ways. So, like there's the strategy aspects, like what money needs to go where. Like, that's typically when people think about money, they're like, all right, well, what do I need to do? Like where does my money need to go? Like, that's the level of like budgets or, you know, systems or things. Then there's habits.
You know, so you have to work on your habits. So that way your plan goes, cuz if you have a plan, but you don't literally do it, it doesn't get done. You have to literally do it. Right? And so, then you see what gets in the way of building out those habits and then it's how, you know, then that's where we start to look at our money mindset.
We start to say, alright well, what do I think about money? And then we look at like the emotions that go into it. So, when you put all of those things together that's kind of like the basis of the work that I do. So, I have courses and I create content. And I do some high-end consulting for like, for business owners, but that's really kind of the work.
It's more about like, you being able to expand yourself into whatever your next level is. That's really like the work that I do. I don't really sell, well, I don't sell investments at all. It's not like I don't really. I don't. I do not sell investments. I do not sell insurance. I don't sell anything like that.
It's just really helping people get out of their own way in their relationship with money.
[00:10:05] Sanjay Parekh: So, let's dive into a little bit, because given that you're kind of a financial planner, you're making this decision from moving from, you know, what some people would consider a safe job of, you know, working for somebody, into your own thing.
What was that process right there for you of deciding like, okay, yeah, I can make this leap like it makes sense financially. You said you had a couple of clients, you had kind of proven out that you can do this planning work, but what was the process that you went through? Because a lot of the folks that are listening to this podcast are probably thinking the same thing of like, how do I make the jump into doing my maybe side hustle that I've been doing and making it my full-time thing?
Like when do I decide to go all in? How did you take that decision and plan that and make sure that you were going to be okay on the other side of it?
[00:10:56] Brie Sodano: You know, so for me, I didn't have a whole separate side hustle. Like when I started doing the cash flow work, I was able to do it in my current business, because they fit together.
So that's probably a little bit different. It wasn't like, I was like, you know, still working at the Boys and Girls Club and then selling financial planning totally on the side. So I was full time, you know, and I think too, there was like this middle step of the commission based work. Right? So like, you know, when I was at the nonprofit, I had a salary and then, I moved to commission based work, which is very, very different.
It's kind of like an in between step where you then have to, like, become self-reliant. And so that's where I learned how to like, fill my pipeline and make the calls and do the uncomfortable work of like, you know, at that time, selling was super uncomfortable for me. Now I love to sell. I'm like, I'll sell all day, but then it was like, oh!
Am I gonna...
You know, so doing that uncomfortable work. And so, for me, it wasn't really like a full side hustle. It was just an additional service that I was offering.
[00:12:05] Sanjay Parekh: Right.
[00:12:05] Brie Sodano: And then there were, it started to be time when I was like, when I was stretched too thin. And I was like, just like, honestly, like I would get like annoyed.
Like I, and it wasn't that my clients were annoying or anything like that. It was just like, I was doing so much that I just couldn't really sustain it, and so that's when I started to really look at it. And what was it? I hired a business coach that helped me kind of put my offers and my packages together because at this time, like, you know, like I could sell, but I wasn't like a great salesperson.
And I knew what I wanted to offer, but I didn't have it nice and neat. It was kind of just this sloppy, weird offer.
[00:12:50] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah.
[00:12:50] Brie Sodano: I could help you with all of your money junk.
[00:12:54] Sanjay Parekh: Right.
[00:12:55] Brie Sodano: You know, and so for me, it was once I hired the business coach, that really helped me to solidify the offer, to get my sales process kind of dialed in.
And from there, that was when I started to really feel the confidence. And so, you know, it probably took me nine months of, uncertainty and that like kind of inner conflict. From the time that I actually really knew that I was not going to be a stock broker forever to the time that I actually left, was probably about nine months of just wriggling in uncertainty.
[00:13:28] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. Let's zoom in, you made me, you reminded me of something when you said that you were uncomfortable at first of selling. Reminded me of this episode, I don't know if you're a Friends TV show fan. There's an episode where Monica and Phoebe are doing a catering business and Monica has to ask for the bill to be paid on a catering job they're doing for a wake.
And she's very uncomfortable doing that. How did you get over that hurdle of like, you know, asking for, or selling you know, deals and asking for money? Because I think a lot of people have that uncomfortableness of selling. And how did you kind of push yourself through that hurdle and get to the other side of being like, yeah, I can talk to anybody, I can sell to anybody now.
[00:14:14] Brie Sodano: So, the, at first it was just literally learning the language, right? Like at first, like dialing in on the sales process. So that was kind of it. So, like my process is I asked people like, well, what's your frustration or challenge, you know, kind of help them figure out what's the gap, figure out what it is they want, like, what are you working toward? What do you want?
And then like, there's some questions and then I'll just be like, all right, well, here's the thing I have to offer, and here's how it goes, and here's the price. And so, at first it was the language. And then it was learning to be okay in the silence of letting them think about the answer.
So, at first, I would be like, over explaining and over justifying rather than just like being quiet for a minute and letting people just have their own mental process. So, learning to be quiet and in a meeting, learning to use silence to let somebody else fill the silence around what it is they want or their objections or whatever, that was a big move. And then probably the really, the biggest move was that I learned to be very okay with rejection. Like not just a little okay, like I'll eat a rejection sandwich all day and it will not ruin my day. Where like at first, you know, I would get a rejection, somebody wouldn't want my offer, wouldn't want to talk to me, wouldn't, you know, wouldn't want my appointment or whatever that, whatever I was selling.
And I would take it personally, and I would be disappointed, and I would be discouraged. And like my whole like energy level would drop. And at this point, like, it's not like I love rejection, like I go looking for it, but the sensation of rejection I got very, very, comfortable with and I find it like a little exhilarating, to be honest. And so, like learning for me, learning to just really like, be okay with the rejection sandwich was really like the main thing.
So, like if I have back-to-back sales calls, if person one doesn't want what I have, it doesn't matter. I'm taking the same level of energy and attention to level two. Like I don't need to go back to my meditation mat and lick my wounds anymore. You know what I mean? Like it's just like, oh, alright. Oh, got rejection sandwich. Okay, cool. Onto the next thing. And we're just going with it.
[00:16:27] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah.
[00:16:27] Brie Sodano: That was really the game changer where it stopped being about me, for a long time when I, when somebody would or wouldn't want my thing, it would be like, I would make it, my ego would make it about me.
It's like, and now I'm like, well here you have this problem, and I have this solution. Is it the right solution? Yes or no. Okay, cool. It's not about me or my offer. It's like you and your choices and that moved the pressure off of me, you know, for the longest time I'd be like, is the offer not right? Did I price it wrong?
Was it too much money? Did I do a bad job on the sale? I'm like, no. At this point, it's like, here you have a problem. I have a solution. Would you like it? And if you don't then, it's fine, but it's also not about me.
[00:17:12] Sanjay Parekh: Right.
[00:17:13] Brie Sodano: It's about you and wherever you are, whatever commitment you want to make with your time or your money or your energy and,
[00:17:19] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah.
[00:17:19] Brie Sodano: And it's fine.
[00:17:21] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Yeah. I like that. I like that a lot.
[00:17:27] Adam Walker: Support for this podcast comes from Hiscox. Committed to helping small businesses protect their dreams since 1901. Quotes and information on customized insurance for specific risks are available at Hiscox.com. Hiscox, the business insurance experts.
[00:17:47] Sanjay Parekh: So, let's, switch gears a little bit. And this is still somewhat related. Let's talk about stress. I mean, it's really stressful moving from, you know, not having to worry about all of the overhead stuff, because you're an employee, even though you were on commission, and then now moving into your own thing and now you're having to, you know, worry about all of the things, right?
Like all the books and the taxes and the this, and the that, and how do you deal with that? How do you balance that with life? Like, are you a big exerciser? Like, what do you do to help you kind of take away some of that stress?
[00:18:23] Brie Sodano: I meditate very regularly, and I do, I mean, I go to the gym a few days a week and I lift weights, which for me is what I like. It's like the way that I like to do it.
And other than that, it's really just, I don't get too worked up about things. Lke I've kind of learned to really manage my energy in the day to day where you know, we take our time. We get our work done, and actually I feel that one of the things I've recently started to do that I think helps to reduce the stress is I started to really say no to a lot more than I say yes to.
So, we started to really streamline our operations and really look and evaluate. So for instance, so I create content, so we're on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. And on Facebook, I have a Facebook profile, a page and I think two or three groups. Right? So, we have these and all, you know, and then I'm on LinkedIn and we have an email list and we have like, and so when you really look at all of the things like, all right, well, do all of this makes sense? Like, are we, do I have the capacity to do all of these things well?
And so like, for example, I have a LinkedIn, but I do not pay a lot of attention to LinkedIn. Why? Because it's not exactly where my clients come from. Most of my clients come from Facebook or Instagram, so I'm not putting a lot of time and attention in. Could I? And if I did would it work? Yes, but I have limited resources of time and attention.
So, what I started to realize is that the level of things that are available to do, and that will work to get more clients, get more leads, get more revenue, whatever, is infinite. There are an infinite number of things that you can do to make money, that will work. They will all work if you do them. That is a lot. That is totally overwhelming.
And for a long time, you know, like I was, I've been in Masterminds and I would go and I'd write down 57 ideas and come back to my team and be like, there are 57 ideas that we should implement. And I would watch the horror descend. And then I was like, all right. 'Cause do we need to do, will any one of those 57 ideas work?
It sure will. If I do 57 ideas and don't execute on any of them well, will that work? No. So I was like, all right. So let's just assume that what we're going to do is going to work and just do less, better.
[00:21:04] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, yeah. I like that. So, in thinking about kind of everything that you've done here so far are there any tools that you use that you absolutely could not live without now?
Right, like getting into this, you probably didn't have that many tools, and then over time, you found these things that now are just critical to succeeding and continuing everything going. What's the biggest tool that you think is important?
[00:21:30] Brie Sodano: So, we use Trello, to keep the whole team organized and nice and neat, and the checklist and you can have pictures, and that's something that my team, that my business really is like, it's probably like the backbone tool of the business.
[00:21:45] Sanjay Parekh: And for listeners who don't know what Trello is, can you explain a little bit?
[00:21:49] Brie Sodano: Oh, well. Trello is this, alright, do you guys know the very big post-it notes, the post-it notes that are like the size of like a half a door? Well, it's kind of like that you could put other small post-it notes on there with all of your task lists and you can assign the post-it notes to other people.
So it's like one big one, the big piece of paper, and then you just move little post-it notes around it. That's the way that's probably the best way that I have to describe it, but it helps. You can keep your checklist. You can assign tasks. You can attach files and you can put your, you know, you can attach links and all of the things.
So, it's just a place to really have like central organization. So, it helps for like project management or for keeping tabs. And we even use it for CRM, which is probably not its absolute best use, but for the size and for the level of leads that we're managing, it works for us. And it's a very customizable tool. You can attach it to your Google docs and to your calendar and to your emails. And it pulls a lot of things in.
[00:22:52] Sanjay Parekh: And you can get started with Trello for free. You can just jump right in and there's a free version of it that you can use.
[00:22:59] Brie Sodano: Yeah. Yeah. And it's really not that expensive for the amount of functionality that it has.
I think ours is like less than $50 a month. But it goes up as you add more and more people to it.
[00:23:11] Sanjay Parekh: Exactly. So, okay. Last question for you. We've been kind of talking about money this whole time, but I want to give some tips to our listeners. Like what are one or a couple of tips that you would give our listeners of things that they should think about to help them be better at managing their money?
[00:23:30] Brie Sodano: So, if somebody's in business, then the number one most important thing that I think you can do for your relationship with money is to understand scarcity. What scarcity feels like in your body and how to manage yourself through scarcity. Because that is, because as an entrepreneur, you are 100% going to encounter moments, days, weeks, where your revenue is down, or your expenses are up or something happens, or you need something to be able to expand, and you are going to experience scarcity. It's going to happen.
And so, when we don't manage ourselves well through scarcity, what ends up happening is we get, like, I call it like jam hands. It's like, you get scarcity on your hands and then you go and touch everything and then everything turns sticky and then you have to clean everything up. And so, if there was a thing that like I could go back and really learn, it would be how to sit with myself in a moment of scarcity, rather than making decisions from that place and making a mess and then having to go back and clean it up.
[00:24:32] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So don't make rash decisions when things are going wrong.
[00:24:34] Brie Sodano: Yes.
[00:24:36] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. I love that. That, that is great advice and a great place to end on, Brie. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast. This was awesome.
[00:24:45] Brie Sodano: It was my pleasure. Thank you.
[00:24:49] Sanjay Parekh: Thank you for listening to this week's episode of the Side Hustle to Small Business Podcast, powered by Hiscox. To learn more about how Hisox can help protect your small business through intelligent insurance solutions, visit hiscox.com. And if you have a story you want to hear on this podcast, please visit Hiscox.com/shareyourstory. I'm your host, Sanjay Parekh. You can find me on Twitter @sanjay or on my website at sanjayparekh.com.