John Corcoran 4:10
Yeah, and but you have the background, you have the accounting degrees that’s got that comes full circle, right? It’s helpful as well, you actually work your way up as an executive in the fitness industry spent a lot of years doing that and kind of coaching and guiding different gym owners on how they could grow their business.
Ingrid Romero 4:29
Well, you know, to be honest, John, I worked corporately for a while and ran a team of six to 8000 trainers instructors at one time across the country. And you know, so there was there’s a lot of strategy and vision and execution around we had a great team of folks that worked on that. It was a great experience. For me. That was the combination of sorts of my time in fitness other than like my side aspect of that as I was a personal trainer, I was a presenter, I traveled the world kind They’re doing all that kind of stuff as well. So I had a great career in fitness loved every second of it never looked back, you know, never really needed to go find a real job.
John Corcoran 5:08
Yeah. And so you, you end up though leaving that industry and you kind of find yourself at a crossroads, thinking about what your next chapter is going to be like, and talk a little bit about what attracted you to going into the role that you’re in now and have been for the last few years in performance coaching?
Ingrid Romero 5:27
Yeah, for sure. So, um, you know that the truth is, some of there was a part of me that felt like, I wasn’t, I was doing something that I was, I was okay. And I was good at, but I wasn’t really, I hadn’t really found the thing that I wanted to do. And so I was, I was kind of searching, I was thinking, maybe I’ll go back to school, maybe I’ll do some things. And then as luck of sorts, fate would have it of sorts. My company did a massive, restructure private equity restructure, and they did 919 or 20 of us were let go in a day. And so that catapulted me, like many people understand, that catapulted me on a very quick road to find something different. And I did consulting, and I worked in the fitness industry across the country working with different club chains at that time. And also was looking at what else is there? So that’s when I started to get into leadership coaching and executive coaching, and really love the coaching aspect, in the end, really understanding what makes a great leader and how can how does each person show up as a great leader, individually, uniquely, true to themselves. And so that was a huge source of, you know, I had a lot of passion for that. And I was also trained at that point to be a facilitator, learning and development was also in my background from all of my experience. And so I was trying to pull all this together and couldn’t figure out, like, how do you make a job out of this, I had different coaching jobs, some would use more, some would use more like coaching aspects, some would be more business consulting, and I was back and forth. And then I happened across Insperity in 2018. And there was a role there called performance specialists. That was the first role I’ve actually on my third role in four years with Insperity. I just fell in love with this company. But the first role as a performance specialist, as it turns out, is a very unique role. To Insperity. We’re there we’re the only ones in the PEO space that has someone assigned to every client that works alongside the clients strategically around mission, vision values, leadership, development, executive coaching, all of those aspects of, you know, not just what are you going to go do? But how are you going to go do it? And how do you make that unique to you. And so I happened into that role, and fell in love with the job with Insperity became a manager of HR services throughout the COVID years, and then this spring actually took a role as a district manager for them, opening a brand new office for us.
John Corcoran 8:07
And I’m curious, you know, maybe it’s a little bit of a cliche to say that business in a lot of ways is like, you know, fitness or as like sports or something like that. But I want to hear your perspective on this from having spent so many years in the gym. And as a personal trainer, working with people early in the morning, late in the day tired, got other stuff going on, motivating them, getting them to do the things when no one else is, is watching. And kind of some of the ways that that relates to the work that you need to do as a business owner.
Ingrid Romero 8:41
Oh, my goodness, how long is this podcast? Take as long as you like. There are so many parallels. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t I don’t think I know, I didn’t know that when I first kind of made the jump. And it’s just it becomes more clear all the time. And so, you know, I’ll go back to some of the mantras that I always I always use in fitness, which is it’s about discipline and consistency. More than it’s about intensity. James Clear talks about that as well. Like intensity is not the thing, consistency, Trump’s it all the time. It’s how you show up every single day. I gotta be honest, as a business owner, as a leader, it’s the exact same thing. It’s the intensity, well, you’re gonna you’re going to run out. Yeah, but how can you show up consistently, and even on the days when you don’t really want to write? So you’ve got to have the discipline to know that the hard yards, the blocking and tackling and the hard yards, show up. The more you do it, right. So excellence, as Aristotle said, is what we do consistently. It’s the habits we’ve we’ve built and so whether it’s about taking care of your physical health, your mental health, your emotional health, the the wealth, the wealth being of your business, it’s it’s all the same principle. It’s, it’s what you do every day, that’s going to dictate the output. It’s not the intensity of how you start. It’s the consistency of how you keep going.
John Corcoran 10:18
Yeah, something really interesting about Insperity is that the category that we’re talking about here, that Insperity in is P O, which What does that stand
Ingrid Romero 10:30
for? Professional employer organization, okay,
John Corcoran 10:33
that’s kind of a wonky term. But basically what it means is, there’s all these small businesses that don’t have collective buying power, they don’t have 5000 employees, maybe they have 510 50 100, whatever. But they don’t have the leverage that they would if they were a much larger organization to provide those benefits. And it was kind of an aha moment in the in the 80s, that they realized that there needed to be even a change of law. And so actually, the founder is he of Insperity was involved in that. So talk a little about
Ingrid Romero 11:03
that history. So Paul Sarvati is our current CEO. And he’s also one of the founders of of Insperity. And, you know, as as the story is passed on, and we started in 1986. And it really birthed out of failed on entrepreneurial efforts of sorts, or numerous, because I don’t I don’t ever believe an entrepreneurial effort is is necessarily failed, because if you’re, you’re winning or you’re learning, right, so there’s a lot of learnings in this entrepreneurial efforts. And I think one of the big learnings that Paul would talk about is that love this quote from him that I think most business owners would relate to, which is knowing gets into business, to be an employer. Right? You got into business, because you had a dream, you had a goal, you wanted to go do this thing. And then lo and behold, you had to hire some people. Yeah. And there’s, we call it an administrative burden. I don’t really like the word because I’m a I’m a believer in people. And I do love people. I don’t like to associate the fact that you’re hiring people, but that it’s a burden. But there is an administrative burden that happens as an employer, we know that it’s just reality. And so if there’s a way and I think this was the the hypothesis originally, is there a way to minimize and mitigate the administrative burden and the risks associated with being a small business owner, so that small businesses can find a way to thrive quicker, because we know and it’s our mission statement, that we help businesses succeed, to communities prosper. It is the SMB that creates and really helps drive the the prosperous community. And so when when you’re a believer in that, how do you come alongside and support SMB owners, so that they can alleviate not just the burden, but the risk is, as you’ve also mentioned, and help drive top line and bottom lines so that you can be more successful. And that’s the idea. That’s, that’s where the idea was created. And so
John Corcoran 13:09
where it shows up are the areas in which it’s helpful, particularly our health insurance, different benefits, or one case to talk about some of the different workers
Ingrid Romero 13:19
compensation, EP ally, so I’ll, I’ll go through that cuz I don’t want to presume that everyone knows, but employer Practices Liability Insurance. So this is anytime that you might be named in a wrongful term and II owe claim, etc. In the state of California, that’s very, very real. Workers Comp, obviously, also very real. And then, you know, in benefits administration, and so as you’ve mentioned, one of the unique things about PEO and I think especially about Insperity, in terms of how we administer benefits, is that we do have huge buying power, and unique to Insperity. We don’t use we don’t broker our benefits, we don’t sell our clients benefits, we actually buy benefits on behalf of and Jen just administer the benefits. So the clients that are joining with Insperity have the same benefits I have it, you know, it passes on it’s it’s the same, it’s our buying power allows smaller businesses to have those fortune 500 benefits at a fraction of the cost, because we’re one of the largest buyers, with our insurance partners. And of course, that will pass on with workers comp, with EA PLI as well. You’re you’re entering a very large pool, that obviously not just in terms of your first time, but especially as renewals come up. And because of our buying power and our multi year contracts that we that we secure. We were not as subject to the fluctuations in the market, that if you broker insurance you would you would suffer from. So that’s it. To unique aspects, so any PEO can give you the the leverage of larger by of larger scale. But I would I always tell people just make sure you know how they’re getting their benefits and make sure that it’s not just at the date you’re signing up. But what does your renewal? How will your renewals be affected later? And how subjected are you to the market at that point, and to your own loss claims? Because let’s face it, insurance companies make money when the premiums outweigh the claims. And so any small business knows that any year that claims are high, their insurance renewal will suffer. They have the insurance company has to make money back. Well, what if you’ve got that large buying or you’re in a larger pool? And I’m not playing against that? It’s a smaller wave.
John Corcoran 15:50
Yeah, yeah. And talking about some of the other categories. So there’s also EAP programs, there’s Dental, there’s division, there’s 401k, something that, you know, a small business with a couple dozen employees, or even five or 10 employees could never call together all those different programs.
Ingrid Romero 16:08
And so again, you’ve got, you’ve got the the large scale of that and state of California, in fact, if you’re over five employees, starting next year, you have to have a 401k. And if you don’t provide one, the state of California is happy to provide one for you. So there’s, you know, John, would it really speaks to because we could talk about all the programs and part of benefits being employee assistance, EAP, which is a phenomenal program that allows for, you know, Cara loop, which is some caregiving benefits, it allows for, you know, legal advice, it can allow for therapy, a few therapy sessions, and it’s for you and your family, it’s just this wonderful add on, that’s not enough, like you, a lot of people have it, they don’t take full advantage of what EAP can offer. And really EAP came through for so many folks during the pandemic, helping find dependent care and elderly care. And there’s just so many services that they can put you in touch with, or that they can contact and help with. And so there’s the depth of service right now, is, is available. And yet, what some folks are saying is, I feel like I’m paying more for insurance and getting less. And that is not what should be happening. Right? At that point. And this is just one of those things I didn’t know about before I got to Insperity. You should be shopping around, you should make sure just like you shop around for everything else. Don’t take for granted that the first, you know that what you’ve heard, forever is still true. Make sure, and there’s lots of avenues to go, you know, just understand what options do you have. And that’s that’s a lot of the, the education we love to provide. I gotta tell you how I know that the PEO space was something when I was in corporate America, it would have been life saving on so many levels. I wish I would have known. Yeah, it really helped. And it’s not, you got to keep in mind, we don’t replace, we we we become a resource for HR. So it’s, it’s not that you won’t need a full HR team, which is really helpful in the SMB. Like, you don’t need to go hire a lot of HR people.
John Corcoran 18:28
Yeah, hire manage all that stuff. Yeah, yeah, that
Ingrid Romero 18:31
can liaison, and yet be fully resourced as an HR team, because that’s what standing behind them,
John Corcoran 18:38
since you mentioned the pandemic. Talk to me a little bit about what that experience what you observed since Insperity works with and you work with so many different businesses, some businesses are way up, some businesses are way down or going out of business. What were some of your observations going into that and what the experience was like?
Ingrid Romero 18:59
It’s one of those experiences to be quite honest, that will probably live with me forever. We, because to your point, John, we walk some businesses through terrifying times, and horrific times of having to lay people off or close their doors. There was just not. And then we also, you know, you’d go from one of those calls to another call where someone had figured out a pivot of sorts. And the company just was like jumping and thriving. And so it was like this up and down. That was really hard to manage from just an emotional standpoint, because some of the calls were really hard
John Corcoran 19:38
kind of coaching, right? I mean, like coaching, you could have clients that are way up and clients that are way down.
Ingrid Romero 19:44
And yeah, you know, we are my team adopted this mantra that we’re going to keep the human in human resources. Like we have to keep this really human. We’re dealing with humans, and people are struggling. So how do we show up in that space? As and how do we give resources and tools, to our business owners and business leaders so that they have options? And they understand their options? And what do I do? This person is saying this thick, what do I do? This person needs to leave? What do I do? How can I do it? What? What form? do I file? What’s available to these folks in terms of leaves? Because there were all these new leaves that were available? What do I do? It was just helping and talking folks through, which meant, in short order, we had to get up to speed on everything the government was passing national, as well as state, like federal and state to get up
John Corcoran 20:35
does another thing that was very confusing about the, you know, the early days, is there big laws that were passed that were very confusing? Yeah, I remember in those days being on calls with a bunch of other entrepreneurs and business owners that were trying to figure out, does, can this help save my business? You know, and for many, it was a lifeline.
Ingrid Romero 20:53
Yeah. And I will tell you that regardless of which way some of those, you know, things went to have people call back and say, Thank you, like, I think, you know, like, sometimes the best you can do in these really difficult situations is make sure that there’s dignity in the process. And so ensuring that we, we help people do that, because that’s what business owners, you know, it was so hard. And yet, let’s make sure that we’re taking good as good care of people as possible. And then also celebrating with people that all of a sudden business was exploding. And we I mean, we also saw businesses go from, like, 20 employees to 90 all of a sudden, because they, they, they found an avenue that was like, Oh, my gosh, and look, and, and they were going and so it was really, it was exciting at times, and it was, you know, you get off the phone in tears at times, because it was just really sad. So I can’t say enough about the team I was working with and the work that they did, just to be available to people it was, it was some of the hardest. And also most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. Just being lockstep with so many of our clients,
John Corcoran 22:08
there’s, there’s been a movement over the last, I don’t know, 10 15 20 years of people moving more towards independent work, whether it’s, you know, starting with freelancing, or starting their own small business, I think the pandemic, you know, accelerated a lot of that where people now can live wherever they want, they can start these digital businesses, they can, you know, leverage talent from the other part of the country or the other part of the globe. So what are some of your observations and in terms of the future going forward, now, as we come out of the pandemic, head into 2023? For the economy in general, and small businesses in particular? Yeah. Oh, my goodness.
Ingrid Romero 22:49
Like, once again, you’re opening like a whole bunch here for me. So
John Corcoran 22:53
I have a tendency to ask questions that are too big, I apologize about that.
Ingrid Romero 22:57
But they’re, they’re interesting questions. These are the things I love to talk about much to like probably my family’s demise. Because it’s really probably only interesting to me. Yeah. But I think there’s, there’s a lot of things that that need to be considered. And so I’ll try and go through this. And keep me honest that I’m I want to talk about what I think it’s going to be like employee, I want to talk about what I think it’s also going to be like for employers. I’m going to touch on that. And just some things to think about. So let’s start with the employees. It’s an employee market, right now, we know that employees are kind of calling the shots or at least thinking that they can call the shots. They’ll, they’ll tell you where they want to work, how much they want to work a little bit. You know, now well, I just want to be hybrid, I want to be, I want to be this, this is what works for me. And so there’s this, and they’re also demanding a higher price for all of that. And so, I think that that is do I think that’s going to stay forever? Probably not. But I think right now, employees are calling a lot of the shots, they’re making good money. And they feel like they’ve got a lot of control over the job. And so what that backs into is what I really believe in this is my years of leadership. This is probably I don’t know that this is Insperity’s take on it. But this is me, working in leadership for as long as I have I really believe that the challenge leaders today are facing and are really struggling with. And I don’t know see if see if you would say this rings true for the folks you’re talking to is this counterbalance between accountability, because by the way, I own a business and I need things done, and compassion. Because I’ve had to be so compassionate and so empathetic for these last two years. I now feel like I can’t be both of these things anymore. And I’m having a hard time having accountability because the moment I hold you accountable if If I if I speak really bluntly, it’s almost like a spoiled child that goes with it. I’m just going to quit. Right? And I think leaders today are like, but I need results, or none of us are going to have a job. Yeah. And yet, we might be able to find people. But to the point you just made, a lot of folks are, are doing their own kind of thing right now, because people keep asking, Where are all the good employees? Well, a lot of them started a, a part time gig on their own. And they’re like, I’m making it up, like, do I really need to go back to that kind of job, I can just kind of do this, and maybe a little of this, and maybe a little of this. And I’m fine. Like we, we all kind of figured out that life didn’t need to look like it used to look like, yeah. And so owners need to create and leaders need to create a more compelling reason to root like, You got to find the people that really want to do this versus just a person. And it’s harder. It’s harder right now. And so I think we’re pressing in to our ability to lead and to be clear, and hold folks accountable and yet be if you’re, I think it’s always been said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses. They leave mediocre bosses now. They’re just as bad. Yeah, yeah. You know, so they’re, you don’t have to be bad anymore. You just have to not if you’re not great. You’re at risk. And so that the quality and caliber now for some of us were like, I love that challenge, like, bring me in, like, that’s what I want to do. Other folks probably need some upskilling in that, because by the way, we as owners and leaders, we’re also tired. Yes, yeah. And so I think that’s, you know, like, we’re, we’re just running up against some things. And we’re, this is where I love the EO network. So I’m going to turn this around on you guys. This is because I believe that the quality of your community and your network as an owner, is one of the most critical decisions you’re going to make right now. You have to be among like minded people that can empathize and also push and where you can see great things happening and go, there’s a great idea, there’s a great idea, let me you’re going to need that you’re not going to you can’t operate as an island anymore. As a as an owner, I don’t believe you’re gonna need people around you. You need a circle around you that’s going to hold you up, lift you up and keep you going and hold you accountable to being better.
John Corcoran 27:36
Yeah. Well, Ingrid, this has been great. Where can people go to connect with you ask you any questions? Yeah. And learn more about Insperity in the work that you guys do there?
Ingrid Romero 27:46
Yeah, absolutely. So you can find me. First and foremost, you can always find me on LinkedIn, very active on LinkedIn, Ingrid Romero, this picture or something like this will be right there for you from Insperity. You can also I’m very happy to just provide my email, which is my name email@example.com. And I’m happy to talk to anybody, anytime. around any of this stuff. These are the conversations I love to have things. Yeah,
John Corcoran 28:14
yeah. And and, you know, just pointing people to your LinkedIn, you share a lot of resources, their webinars, trainings, things like that. So that’s a great resource. So go connect with her. Tell Ingrid that you heard her right here. Alright, Ingrid, thanks so much. Thank you.
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