This is one episode of our FOCUS Coworking Members Showcase Videos. In this series, we interview our members to learn more about them and their entrepreneurial journey.
Jason Mascitti is a financial associate with Thrivent financial. He helps his clients to have clarity with money, use money as a tool, and helps them holistically get a handle on their financial life. Thrivent, the business Jason works through is not for profit, which is actually one of the reasons he enjoys working there. Jason used to work in retail, at American TV. When this company began to struggle, he began thinking of other job opportunities. Jason said he had always wanted to become a financial planner, but did not do anything with that thought until he took that leap and ran with it. He enjoys the flexibility and freedom he has with being his own boss.
Damon Schopen 00:00
Start. Alright. Hello, I am Damon with FOCUS Coworking. And this is a continuation of our focus coworking member showcase where we are highlighting our members and sharing what they do. And today we have with us, Jason. Oh, no, I’m not gonna say your last name, right.
Machete like the knife.
Mascitti, Jason Mascitti. And he is with thrivent. And Jason is one of our members here. So I guess first of all, Jason, go ahead and introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
Yeah, hi, everybody. I’m Jason Mascitti. I actually live in Madison and have an office there. And as well as the Jefferson FOCUS Coworking, which I absolutely love working at. I am a financial associate with the Thrivent financial and help our clients have clarity with money, use money as a tool, and really help them holistically get a handle on their financial life. That’s our company, you may have heard of us, we are a not for profit company. And that’s kind of cool. And one of the reasons that I work there, and that we are fraternally organized, and give all of our profits back to our members who can then in turn, give it to a charity of their choice.
Damon Schopen 01:30
Yeah, that’s very cool. I’ve been with Thrivent for a few years. And it’s fun to get that. Like, I think it’s a letter in the mail every year where you can elect or you go online and elect. But somewhere I know, there’s this election where you get to choose where at least part of the funds go every year. So that’s pretty cool to be able to participate and give back like that.
It’s it’s rather empowering. And, you know, it drives me to help my members not only with their, their own personal finance, but also their generosity.
Damon Schopen 02:02
Very cool. How did you get into being a financial advisor with Thrivent or, even into the industry? Really?
Yeah, well, good question. So. So I spent 35 years in retail, most of them most of the 30 of them with American TV out of Madison. And in my 50s, American began to struggle. And I could sense that in a sense, that I might be needing to find a different career, different place to work. I enjoyed retail, you know, for all those years, but I thought, well, if I’m if I’m not going to have a job at this place, this very wonderful specialty real retailer, I maybe I’ll find a different path. And I always wanted to be a financial planner, I enjoyed money, and I enjoyed helping people and guiding them with 401, K’s and things like that. But I have as a bit of the Golden handcuff kind of guy in retail, spent my whole career there and never really had the guts I guess, to pursue it until I until I had to. So that’s and, you know, in hindsight, you know, wish I’d discovered it earlier, but things are just blossoming in our business. And I’m glad that I did find it in my 50s. And I really, really enjoy my work quite a bit.
Damon Schopen 03:28
That’s very cool. And yeah, taking that leap is sometimes the hardest step, right? Because I know, I worked full time for a software development company before I started my software development business. And, you know, it was always something since college, you know, it was kind of rolling around in my mind, hey, I want to start a business. I want to do this. But for me, to to some extent, it was kind of the pressure was put out in that I had to finally make that change. But I’m glad I did. And like you said the leap was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be and something I wished I had done a lot sooner. So
Yeah, you know, for those of you that, that are starting your own business, there’s a certain amount of risk in there suddenly, you know, the pay the compensation, all the benefits, all the expense and all the income is yours instead of somebody else’s. So that’s a that’s a big change. It was a big change. For me.
Damon Schopen 04:25
It is it is absolutely. I have to think in a much bigger picture than you ever have before, but it can be kind of fun also, you know?
Oh for sure. Well, much of America is driven by small business so so it’s really important.
Damon Schopen 04:44
Absolutely. Let’s See, so what is your I guess dream or endgame? What drives you every day as far as your work?
Well, my purpose, my dreams, really helping people and seeing them accomplish their goals and protect their family along the way, enjoy their family, find time to shut it down, whether it be the weekend or nights or holidays, but, you know, just to get away from work. But yeah, my real passion is helping people and, and enjoying that.
Damon Schopen 05:22
Yeah, that’s great. And striking that balance between work and life can be very difficult, especially when you’re running your own business and working independently. Any advice or suggestions on how to do a good job with finding that balance? I know, that’s a struggle.
Well, you know, I, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably going to totally understand this. But I seem to work more and I don’t know how it’s possible. But because I worked a lot in retail, I seem to work more now than I ever have. I don’t count hours. So maybe I don’t, it just seems that way. But here’s the catch, I seem to have a lot more free time, more than ever. So how, how is it that the same 24 hours a day in retail, where I constantly ran out of hours on both work and play? Now, I never run out of hours on work and play and it’s the same amount of hours, I can’t really explain it. I do think I my secret to work balance, though, is so in my business, I don’t stop working till the work’s done. And in that case, it might be making a certain number of appointments or, or doing follow up or whatever. You can’t You can’t go play golf or go over to Wales for a burger, right? Till till the works done for that morning or day. That’s kind of my operational rules. And if it requires working on six or seven days a week, so be it. We did that in retail when you know a manager didn’t have enough people to work the sales floor, then he or she had to work his day off to to cover it because you have to be there for the customer. So yeah, I don’t know if that answers the question or not. But it’s a it’s a magical thing. For me the work balance, work life balance, I seem to be have more than enough free time, and certainly plenty of work to you know, you see me in your office? Quite often?
Damon Schopen 07:37
Absolutely, you’re here quite frequently and meeting with clients. And yeah, absolutely. And I can absolutely relate to that. Having more time It feels like than I did before, but yet I am working more and having more free time. It is kind of a funny, you know, I don’t know where the time went, quite honestly, when I was working. in the corporate world, I think that’s part of it too.
You know, there might be something about the control factor. So when you’re not controlled by a boss, now, it could it could free up. Obviously, literally, the time is the same. But it could free up your mind. It could free up your life that you don’t have any boss good or bad. breathing down your back demanding results. You’re the boss demanding those results. So perhaps that that control that you now have frees up maybe your mental capacity, but not really the physical time.
Damon Schopen 08:39
Right. It does. It does. And I think maybe the flexibility comes into play a little bit because, right, all right, on a Tuesday afternoon, you can take off to go see your niece’s piano recital, or just do those things that you couldn’t normally get out of that normally.
I think that is so true. And no one really cares that you do it in a bad way. No, certainly would appreciate that. Yeah,
I mean, I’m always making up the time. I mean, well, that made me not making up the time, but getting everything done still. Right. You know, so I’ll take that afternoon off, but then I’m probably catching up a little bit more the next morning or, you know, I worked the weekend a little bit more. It all balances out right, you know, but no one’s saying you’re locked into this schedule, which is a nice thing. Yeah, absolutely. What’s your favorite part about kind of being that independent business owner versus working for a company?
Well, I think I just said, I mean, I didn’t know you’re gonna ask me that. But that’s okay. My absolute favorite thing is not having a boss and I had great bosses at American and I had a few bad ones, but for the most part, just not having one. Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. So I enjoy you know, punching my clock and not worrying about anybody else’s clock? That would be it.
Damon Schopen 10:01
Absolutely. Let’s see, what is some of the mistakes that you’ve made along the way that you wish you could have changed? Or one? Or
In my current operation?
Yeah, yeah. Or maybe even making that transition? Or in your hands? Yeah,
well, probably the biggest one would be the startup cost. So, you know, in my case, I went from a six figure salary to zero, now, and I really wasn’t prepared to go to zero, you know, and, I mean, when you go to zero, you got to have, you know, a stash of cash to take care of that it really didn’t it put undue pressure, unnecessary pressure on me, you know, to trying to think of the word to almost feel desperate, I, you don’t want to feel desperate, in any job. And I really wasn’t desperate, but I felt desperate
Damon Schopen 11:08
your customers, I think, can, can see that or feel that. And so, so if you start your own business, I’d have, I’d have certainly a large emergency fund that you could tap into, on the weeks that the work doesn’t go the way you designed it. Right. That would be a big thing. And then, you know, having enough support help. So in my work, I have a full time office assistant, and I haven’t always, but having that from the start, if you could afford it would allow you to do what you really love. And like what I really love is being in front of the people doing the planning work. Yeah. And you almost can’t afford not to do that. But but it’s you know, it’s tough. That to me, it’s tough, first of all, to make your own wages, and then to have the support the wages of a full time employee. But with that being said, if I, if I started over again, I find a way to have more money up front so I could pay the full time assistant. The two big things are
Damon Schopen 12:15
absolutely Yeah, I know, when I started my business, too, I saved up. And I thought, Oh, you know, three, four months, I’ll get profitable, this won’t be so bad. And it took a lot longer, right? Because I was just learning so much. And you know, it’s like you say things don’t always go as you expect, right. It’s a lot of surprises. So yeah, if I could go back to I would have built up more of a cushion myself. Yeah. Because it just adds unneeded stress. You know, I mean, you got to have that fire under you to keep you going and get moving. But you don’t want it to be too much stress either. But yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. Yeah. Right.
Yep. And then yeah, having it set up so you can do what you do best, right? You know, like, for me doing bookkeeping, that’s a waste of my time, it would take me three times as long then my bookkeeper does, you know, so, exactly. It’s tough call to make those expenses at the beginning. And I didn’t, but I would do I would look back now and go, Okay, I would have a bookkeeper from day one, if I can at all figure it out. You know, because
Yeah, right. So like I don’t currently have it’s funny you say that I don’t currently have a bookkeeper. And my bookkeeper, I’m looking at my drawer here for my, my 2020 envelope. And, you know, not not good. 2020 receipts are right here in August. Yeah. They’re not. They’re not. They’re not logged yet. And so that’s something I don’t enjoy. And that’s something that is another mistake, like giving that to someone in January to say, hey, just do all my receipts. Right,
Damon Schopen 13:59
right. Yeah. Yep, absolutely. Yeah. You know, it says, do what you do best. Right. Because, right. The business comes to you. And you’re not procrastinating either. That way, you know, and it’s a nice way to know where you’re at throughout the year to by having that information all up to date, for sure.
For sure. Yeah. It’s not that we haven’t entered any of that, but it’s on my mind.
Damon Schopen 14:23
Right. Yeah, I’ve been there. I totally get it. Absolutely, but good. What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who’s just starting out with a business or doing their own thing?
Well, you know, it’s interesting, your questions are logically linked to each other. And we’ve been talking about this so, so have a plan. Yeah, I have a plan financially, who is going to do what jobs when are they going to do them and you know, and by by what date. There’s a great book I’ve read, and I’d recommend to new people starting out or even existing ones called “Traction”. Okay, the author doesn’t pop into my memory, but the name of the book is “Traction”. It’s a fun cover, because it’s a picture of a big tractor tire in a bunch of mud, hell on the cover, and thus the name traction, but getting traction in your business. But you know, having a written plan, super important. Having a market plan, I was just looking at my 2020 market plan today. And, you know, keeping your your plan in the book, and then kind of looking at it occasionally.
And, you know, am I executing that plan, the way I designed it way back in in, you know, December of last year. And it’s, it’s fun to look at. And if you don’t look at it, I guarantee you’re not executing it. Right away memorize that. But I think that that would be important is, you know, what’s the vision? You know, what are you hoping to accomplish? Yeah, what’s the mission, that that really doesn’t change, that vision does does change. And, you know, what are your values, what’s important to you. And if you’re going to go to your niece’s recital on Wednesdays, you know, getting being organized, getting that on the calendar, and here at Thrivent, we teach, plan your personal activities first, and schedule your work around that. Sure, then then then if you so Friday’s your, your golf day will then then leave, leave Friday away from your work so that the rest of the work and all the rest of the week can all be work. So you know, the old adage, plan your work, work your plan, and writing it down, I’m really, really big on writing down I happen to use. And I’m not paid for this, but the full focus planner, I really love it, but you can just buy a blank book and use that. But planning is important. And I happen to like Michael Hyatt processes. And so I’ve used that for about three years, helps me a lot helps me remember things that I forgot, you know, like, things I put in there for yesterday, you know, this morning, I peeked back yesterday, what I didn’t do, and there’s not a chance I would have remembered what I didn’t do from yesterday. So it’s it’s good to have the written the written word. So planning, organizing, and, you know, delegating, we’ve already talked about that. I think those are all good suggestions to be successful
Damon Schopen 18:01
Absolutely, yeah. And I think the planning and the goals, right? And that’s great about looking back, you know, because you set these goals and you create this plan. But even if you do memorize it, you just get in the day to day and you forget about the bigger picture sometimes because it’s like, Oh, I got to get this task, done that task done, help these people answer this question, right, because you serve everybody. But if you’re not following that plan, and looking back at it on a regular basis, yeah, it really, really off track, you know,
So, what Hyatt teaches, what are your daily Big Three, and all the other stuffs fine if it gets done, but the big three need to be done, you know, every day and the big three are related to your big three for the week. So they might not be the same thing. But what are the three big things you want to do this week? And then make sure that the daily Big Three is related to the weekly Big Three? It’s pretty fundamentally simple. And it amazingly, works beautifully, if you do it.
Damon Schopen 19:04
Absolutely. It’s that step by step right to achieve a goal. It’s not today I achieve the big goal. It’s what is the one two or three things or whatever, right? The couple of things you can do every day that just yeah, inch you forward every day. And you’re there before you know it as time goes on. Right.
That’s right. That’s right.
Very cool. And I like the plan your personal life first. And then the business around it you know, I think everybody does the opposite. Pretty much right here. Yeah, this is what I got to do for work this week. And then we’ll try to squeeze in the fun where it fits right and yeah.
It’s, it’s, you know, if you don’t do that, it inevitably will catch up with you. You know, like I’m doing a golf outing on September 10. And hey, I’m not perfect Far from it. And I don’t always do this but today, August August
Is it 18th I put in September 10 is not a day I’ll be doing appointments, that’s going to be like an off day. And, man, if you don’t get it on the calendar, well, then your your helper and your team doesn’t know what you’re doing. And so they’re going to book appointments for you and then then you’ve got to reschedule them. And you know, all that costs time and money. And if you’re going to run your own business, you can’t waste time and money. Absolutely. And you can plan ahead then and be prepared for that day, right?
Damon Schopen 20:27
There’s no worry or rescheduling or not being ready for the week. So yeah, that wagon in advance is key. Absolutely. So one last question for you. What’s your favorite thing about FOCUS coworking?
Oh, Damon, there’s no doubt that it’s Damon. Damon’s affable. And he he made it super easy to get the space. And quite frankly, it is why I signed on you were you’re polite and enthusiastic about the space now the space is just wonderful for me. There’s not any one thing. And I thought you might ask me about that. So I’m the guy. I’m the guy that shows up. I need my workspace. I like a nice cup of coffee. Yeah. And I need a bathroom. So I don’t have to go somewhere else. Right, right. And FOCUS has all that it’s it’s quiet. It’s friendly, if you want to be social, but you can also you know, most of my times private there. Yeah. And it’s just an
ideal, ideal work environment. For me.
Well, great. happy to hear that. And thank you for the glowing recommendation. I appreciate it.
Well, it’s a good deal to right?
I mean, to be reasonable. Yeah, you know, we want to help people get started. That’s really right. You know, and provide a lot of flexibility for people who don’t have to be there all day every day to you know, right, right, right.
Yeah. My clients like it. It’s easy to find. You just tell him it’s across from the post. All right. Yeah.
Damon Schopen 22:02
Couldn’t get easy there. Absolutely, Yeah, no, it’s all good. I like it a lot. Great. Well, thank you so much for being a member. And thank you for your time today, Jason, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Yeah, make sure all your members come and see me too.
We’ll do absolutely. We got your cards in the front. And then if anyone’s looking for contact info will be posted along with this or see me and I’ll be sure to connect.
Excellent. Thanks a lot, Damon.
Thanks, Jason. See you later. Bye bye.