Joe Pardo is a profit growth strategist, inventory optimization strategist, business coach, and consultant. He delivers customized business solutions and strategies, renowned in-person and virtual events, and emboldened solutions to optimize work in non-standard situations. Pardo is the host of the podcast The Super Joe Pardo Show.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA (USA) in Southern New Jersey (and still living there to this day) has been a blessing. Being so close to Philly, New York, Atlantic City, Baltimore, and Washington DC has had many benefits over the years. In fact, I still live in the house that I spent nearly my entire childhood because I purchased it from my Dad in 2009.
I am the culmination of the many people that have come in and out of my life. Too many names to mention here, too many experiences that helped shape who I am and what I stand for. One key thread in my life was when I was about 6 years old and I had decided for myself that I didn’t want to take over the family business when I was older. I cried on the floor at my grandparent’s house because I wanted to be a child psychologist when I got older to help other kids like me who were dealing with divorce. My grandfather (who started the business) and my grandmother told me that they would be proud of me no matter what I decided to do with my life. As long as I did it to the best of my ability. That day changed the course of my life, along with many others.
While I never wound up becoming a child psychologist due to not really liking school as I grew older. I have gotten to speak at schools and inspired so many kids to discover their true passion and follow their dreams.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
That I always looked for other people’s approval before I would act on my own instincts. In the years leading up to 2014 and me leaving my family’s business, I started to let that go. It’s still a struggle from time to time, but I have gotten better at it. One thing I do is constantly remind myself that no one has this thing called life figured out.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
There is a trend over the last decade towards businesses feeling like they can automate everything in their sales process. Business is still built on relationships and that happens between people. Automation is great and can enhance the relationship between you and your business, but it still comes down to people. People like to deal with people and know that there is someone they can talk to when there is a problem.
Over-complication of a business’ offer. Having too many offers on the table can be too confusing to people. We as business owners aren’t big enough, have enough resources, or money to market around the clock like Disney, Walmart or Coca-Cola does. Keeping things as simple as possible on the offer will help reinforce in the customer’s mind why they deal with you.
One big issue I see with new businesses is that they don’t know how to properly explain what they do to people. This leaves potential customers saying “I don’t know” when it comes to if they should deal with you. That response leads to them not being able to give you a word of mouth business. Creating a short concise explanation of what you do, is key to getting people to say “yes, I need this” or “no, I don’t need this”. Invoking that reaction is important because they can understand and even if they don’t need your services. They will be at least able to explain what you do to someone else who may need what you do.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
Leading up to leaving my family’s nine-figure enterprise in 2014, I was feeling burnt out. I was constantly unhappy and did not love what I was doing anymore. This desire to create my own business, and my own life around that, even though I didn’t know what that looked like at the time was a real burden on the relationship between my Dad and me. The rift it created would take several years to finally be healed up and put us in a better place.
My dad and I have learned to better communicate with each other and in some ways work together. Having an open heart and mind and realizing that people are people and not perfect. They have their own hopes, fears, desires, and master plan for how they expect their life to go. The other person has lessons they need to learn just like you do. Putting unrealistic expectations on yourself, them, and the relationship between you two is very unhealthy. Which is something I’ve always struggled with, even as a little kid.
Every day I’m working on getting better at listening, understanding, and standing up for myself against the people I love.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Giving myself the room to think, dream, and imagine. Running has been my best form of meditation for me to be able to take a step back on a daily basis and re-measure, reevaluate, look at things from a different perspective.
What is your morning routine?
The goal is to wake up at 4 AM, though through 2020 that has mostly been pushed back to 6-7 AM due to staying up later. Making sure I spend time with my wife at night to help keep both of our sanity going through this crazy year has pushed my going to bedtime from 9:30 PM to 11 PM.
I grab my laptop (Macbook Air 2020 M1) and head to the bathroom to run through emails, get caught up on the news, and start outlining any projects I have for the day. I’ll get dressed, and depending on the weather I will go for a run. If I don’t go for a run, I come downstairs and spend some time with the family before heading out to my studio (previously a second garage) and start getting work done. I will usually try to get my run in by 12-1 (in the winter) so the temp can be as warm as possible.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I’m always working on improving my ability to not beat myself up over taking time to spend with my young family. My kids are 2 and 4, and while 2020 has been a roller coaster of a year in terms of emotions and income. I have worked very hard to make it a productive year while spending as much time as possible with my wife and kids.
It is hard to let time slip by because I feel like I am constantly falling behind, and then I start to beat myself up and feel guilty that I am not doing enough. I’m always striving to do more in my business, for my clients, for my media productions, for my podcasting community.
This is constantly a work-in-progress for me, but I am enjoying all of the extra time with my family and will cherish this for the rest of my life.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
When comes to getting focused, because I definitely suffer from shiny object syndrome, I utilize music to my advantage. Mostly electronic dance music with little to no words, often looping a single song over and over while I do writing or anything I need to concentrate on. It helps fill the mental pipeline so I can stay focused on the task at hand. In fact, as I am answering this I am listening to a version of 4 AM (Adam K and Soha Mix) by Kaskade over and over. I tune the music out but it really helps me concentrate and stay on task. Another song I will listen to in the background over and over is Strobe by Deadmau5, but really almost any song by Deadmau5 is good enough to help me stay focused. I’ve always used brain.fm to help get me in the mindset to get work done.
I am a big fan of using a to-do list like Trello to help keep my many projects straight. I also use it as a way to track the number of tasks I’m checking off week to week so I can feel good about the progress I’m making each week in comparison.
One strategy that I’ve found to be effective for me in recent months is the Eisenhower Matrix. This has been great in knocking down my shiny object syndrome. If you haven’t heard about it, it helps you really get focused on the things that matter and delegate the things that matter less, while completely eliminating anything that is not necessary to be done.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
I try to keep my book, and media consumption down to a minimum. One of the two books that stand out in my life is Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner. I read it when it first came out while still in high school and inspired me to want to design my own life on my own terms.
The other book that has influenced me a lot is The Myth of Multitasking: How “Doing It All” Gets Nothing Done by Dave Crenshaw. It really has helped me to get and stay focused on one task at a time and shed the guilt that others impose by claiming to be able to multitask. I’ve used this to my advantage over the years to improve my ability to switch tasks when needed.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Don’t Panic.” from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. When we panic we can’t think clearly and find another way to solve the problem.
“Dreamers and Haters, the only difference is Haters gave up on their dreams.” – Kanye West. I will always push myself and the people around me to pursue their dreams.
“Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway. Smile. Be goofy. Take chances. Have fun. Inspire.”― Dawn Gluskin
“If owning a business was easy everyone would do it.” – Dominick Pardo