April 19, 2023
Alyse Maslonik - Paying It Forward as a Mission-Driven Business

Inspired by her own childhood, Alyse Maslonik founded RedefinED Advisors, a development company that raises financial aid for non-public and private schools to give underprivileged children access to quality education and hel...

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Inspired by her own childhood, Alyse Maslonik founded RedefinED Advisors, a development company that raises financial aid for non-public and private schools to give underprivileged children access to quality education and help them break the cycle of generational poverty.

In this episode, you’ll learn about breaking generational patterns of poverty, being clear on the energy you need to foster in your business, and how to build a successful mission-driven business. 

Alyse describes her inspiring personal journey, the unexpected hand-up that changed her life, and how it all led to her starting a mission-driven business helping underprivileged children get access to quality education. She describes leaving her job to go all in on her business and her biggest piece of advice for when you feel like giving up.

Alyse reflects on how her previous professional experience prepared her to go into business, how she took control of her story to launch her business, creating a team that’s a good fit for what you’re trying to do, why it’s critically important to protect the energy of your business, and the tremendous growth RedefinED Advisors has achieved since its inception.

Finally, Alyse shares the types of schools that are an ideal fit for her company, how she has grown her business by adding additional revenue streams, the importance of healing in helping kids break the generational poverty cycle, navigating the cultural challenges that new school environments pose for underprivileged kids, and Alyse’s advice for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs based on her real experience owning a business.

Alyse embodies what it means to be a heart-centered entrepreneur, and I am sure that you will find our conversation to be one of the most inspiring you’ve heard, so grab a couple of tissues and tune in.

Skip To Topic:

1:24 - Altering someone’s life by offering a hand-up
4:17 - Launching a business built around a mission
4:59 - Staying the course when things look bleak
7:49 - Bringing equity to K-12 education
15:25 - The power of your story in attracting customers
18:18 - Creating multiple revenue streams by expanding client support
24:27 - Why it’s critical to protect the energy of your business
28:00 - Saying ‘no’ to clients who aren’t a good fit for your business
33:21 - Why healing is as important as financing in supporting underprivileged kids
38:04 - Alyse’s advice for business owners about what is real about running a business vs. what we see and hear

Find Alyse at:

Website: https://www.redefiningeducation.org/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/redefiningeducation/

Visit Stephanie at:https://stephaniehayes.biz/

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Welcome to the Real People Real Business Show. My name is Stephanie Hayes, and I'm a business strategist who helps experience business owners design asset-based business models that set their businesses up for growth and exit. I'd love to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories on the gritty details on how they've navigated their own way through. On this show, you won't hear about the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online. You won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks. Instead, you can expect to hear real, vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to that have helped. A foundation for each of our guests businesses. Today I am so excited to welcome Alyse Maslonik at age 21, Alyse had only $63 to her name. Fast forward 10 years, and she's in the top 3% of women owned businesses. Alyse and her team have taken RedefinED advisors from $1,500. In revenue per month to more than 1 million in revenue per year. In less than one year. Alyse's childhood inspired her to work in improving the educational system for children in need. Alyse believes that all children should have access to quality education, and she understands the significant role that education plays in stopping cycles of generational poverty and founded RedefinED Advisors to solve that exact problem. Welcome to the show, Alyse, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story. Yes. Thank you so much for having me, Stephanie. I'm excited to be here. So tell me where, how did you get to where you are right now? Tell me the whole story. Sure. So I, um, had a really wild childhood and when I say wild, like it was really a little bit crazy, but I just went through, um, Uh, you know, my biological father, he signed us away. Um, actually, thankfully, um, and he signed us away, was not a part of our life. Went through, um, some generational poverty, that type of, um, situation. But I got to the point where I didn't know much of my biological family, right? So I didn't know, um, my biological dad's side and I didn't know my mom's biological father's. And when I was 20, I had just, um, had to testify in a criminal trial for my stepfather for charges that he was facing. And the next day, um, my biological grandfather found me on Facebook and said basically, Hey, I see that you're struggling. I know you don't know me, um, but I'll give you a place to stay and I'll teach you what I, what you need to know. And he was like a real estate investor. It turns. And I, yeah, I left North Car, I left Pennsylvania for North Carolina. I had $63, that's it, to my name and this really junky kind of car that it was terrible. And I, yeah, I just decided, you know what? I am so fed up with this cycle of trauma and just watching. This abuse kind of play out and this poverty play out within my life. And I just wanted to put a stop to it. I'm so tired and I just didn't see anyone else really in my family like stepping up at that point. And I thought, you know what? It's gonna be me. And so I drove down and I enrolled in real estate school and he really did teach me so many things about like finance and just the outside world, outside of. Trauma of what it takes to be successful and make something of yourself. So I hung on to every single word that he taught me and soaked as much in because I knew like it was my one shot to change my life and I wasn't gonna give that up. What an incredible story. And so you did, you trained with him, you learned from him. And what did you. Yeah, so I came back to Pennsylvania and married my, high school sweetheart. And, uh, I ended up deciding, look, I'm gonna build a business and I'm gonna bet on myself for so long I didn't believe in myself and I just felt so lost and alone and I thought, no, I'm gonna actually put it into action and, and believe in myself. And I created and founded RedefinED Advisors, which is. Development company for non-public and private schools. And we raise, uh, financial aid for underprivileged kids that were like me and give them an opportunity to maybe get out of a cycle that they may have been born into. And so this year we actually raised 8.5 million and it will affect nearly 10,000 students, um, underprivileged students in our state. To give them opportunities to change their life like I was given through my grandfather and other, um, other, you know, acts of kindness that have happened to me in my life. So that is what we built. And we started with just simply, you're right, like you said, $1,500 a month in revenue. And for the first three months I had, I had just had a baby. So I, my. My son, Isaac, was six weeks old when I quit my job and decided to start this business and for the first three months I only had like one school sign and I thought, I can't do this. Like I'm gonna have to like admit to my husband that I made a mistake and I'm gonna have to like go do something else, get back into banking or so. And the next week I signed a contract for nearly a quarter of a million dollars with multiple schools. And it was at a time where I was about to give up, like I genuinely was about to give up. And that next week it happened for me. So if anyone could really take away anything from my story is really just don't give up. And in those moments where it seems so dark and like there's no possibility, Just hold on a little bit longer because oftentimes right before success, there's a lot of darkness before it happens. I, I mean, I can attest to that for sure. And that's, that's very, very true. And I wanna go back to, um, you know, just weighing in on this mission because, uh, you know, I have a, a ch a parallel life that, um, in the education world and in the education space, and I worked down in, um, for Detroit public Schools in their reform school district, which was. So eye-opening because they, what they do is they take sort of their 12. Most underperforming schools, and they put them into this reform school district, and then they work with them until the performance is up, and then they turn them into charter schools. So walking into those schools was just mind blowing because up here we live in this, you know, the cradle of privilege and we have. We don't have inner city, we don't have the same conditions. And w when you walk into those schools, you realize that what those teachers are fighting for is to get the kids to school every day. And they might show up at one school one day and another school another day because the family has, you know, has had to squat somewhere and then has been, you know, displaced and has to go somewhere else. And even getting the kids to commit to school. Is challenge in itself. So it was really, really eyeopening to see how much education and, and poverty and financial status is so tightly coupled. And I wondered if you could comment a little bit on, on that mission and, and how important and, and critical working on both those things at the same time as Yeah, absolutely. So, Our entire goal for our company is to bring equity to K-12 education because we know that that is the key for the next generation to be stronger, more vibrant and more whole, right? To give back and to flourish for the generations to come. So for us, what we learned, very much like your experience is there are, um, what's called underperforming schools in our state.. And just year over year, it's the same schools. Right. And how unfair is that for students that are kind of stuck in those, um, situations where they don't have the resources or those, um, tools to really get out of where they are? And I look at my life and that education that my grandfather gave me and through real estate school, like if I did not have. By every account and every statistic out there, I should not be where I am. But thankfully I had that kind of intervention that said, okay, you know, I'm gonna teach you something that in your current situation, you're not being taught. Right. So for us, getting those funds for school, for students that are underprivileged, they come from a family that needs financial. To give them those scholarships so that they can attend another school and get out of that system. Gives them the opportunity, kind of like I had where it was a hand up and sometimes all you need is a hand up. And that's why it's so important to me because for a few thousand dollars I got a scholarship and it changed my life. And here we are at $8.5 million. And 10,000 students lives are being changed. And you think of what that can mean for their entire family and their entire generation beyond them is phenomenal. And I think it's, it's, it's also about them seeing that there's another possibility, right? That there's another way. Cuz when you sit and talk to some of these students, they, you know, they just. Their lives are not the same. Right. Their lives are not made up of, oh, get up in the morning, have my morning routine, go brush my teeth and get ready for school. No, they're waking up and they're like, I'm hungry. Mm-hmm. Or, you know, mom and dad need me to go and work, or, you know, this isn't a priority because I'm trying to stay alive. Mm-hmm. And so that generational poverty is incredibly, Effective in terms of, um, whether they do or they do not stay in school, and understanding that there's another way to live is so critical. I, I agree with you and I, I always say like, you know, poverty is one thing, but oftentimes poverty, poverty breeds other, you know, forms of like domestic abuse and other issues that oftentimes just go unnoticed or just ignored because it's hard to talk about. Right. But you're right. There are kids that come to school and they're sleeping through class and they get in trouble, but they're sleeping through class because mom and dad were fighting and throwing fists the night before and they didn't get any sleep. You know, like that is the reality for so many kids, and oftentimes those situations breed. Trauma responses, right? So it's not necessarily the child being defiant or you know, a tough kid. It's, they are constantly in this state of fight or flight and beyond just the monetary, uh, scholarships that we raise, our entire goal is for kids not to just escape that, but heal from that. Like, it's important to heal because I learned you. Getting up after that, uh, criminal trial with my stepfather and, and moving away, like, I was like, wow, I did it. I got away. But running away from your trauma is a race you will never win, and it will always catch up with you until you heal. And so for these students, what I want them to understand is, and give those that give them the opportunity to not only just escape, but to heal. When you have stability. Oh, you're gonna make me cry. Oh, I'm so sorry. Of, of all of the things in my life that, um, I will put my money and my resources towards. It's, it's giving kids the ability to, you know, move beyond their trauma or their home situations or their education and what have you. Um, so, so let's go back to you for a second. So you had this opportunity, By chance to move down and, you know, get the support of your grandfather. So what did you do? So you got your real estate, you went to real estate school, and did you practice real estate? Did you, you know, did you work in finance? What happened? Yeah, so I started, um, with property management. I started, uh, managing a company under Riverstone residential. And it was like this, I started 20 years old. I went down, I was just waitressing at an apple. And then once I graduated, you know, real estate school, I ended up, uh, being a property manager and I loved it so much. I ended up working for like a home builder, a developer, and selling new construction and custom homes, two people. Um, and so I did that for as long as I stated North Carolina because the housing market was wonderful down there. But I ended up reconnecting with, um, who is now my husband's and he lived in Pennsylvania. And when I moved back to pa. The housing market is not as strong as it was in Charlotte, North Carolina. So I did go, um, and choose to get into financing and banking. So I did a lot of banking. I worked with a lot of businesses and business and commercial lending. So that gave me a great background, I think for my business. While I didn't have this idea of creating my own business at the time, it really did give me kind of a foundation in how cashflow worked and how finances worked. So I think I did get very fortunate in the, the roles that I picked and the jobs that I had before the business really set me up to understand how it works. And so, and, and so the, you had your. And then, and then, you know, where did the, the impetus for this business model come from? Like, was it something that you sort of imagined, uh, you know, one day or was it something that developed from another opportunity? No, that's so good that you, I'm so glad that you asked that question because, um, I ended up, I was, uh, pregnant with my daughter Gracie, and seven months pregnant, and I left the bank. And I started working for this guy that raised these funds through his company and they were the same funds that I received as a child and I just became like so passionate about my work and his company was just growing. I was going out and we were getting more businesses, looked, more schools, signing siding and more partnerships and his company like doubled in the 12 months that I was there. And I kept thinking to myself, I could do a lot more good if I did this right. Like it's my story that he's selling and it felt very like someone else was stealing my story for their gain. Right. And I didn't like that. Mm-hmm. And I felt like my whole life that's everyone was trying to speak for me and tell me how I should feel and just kind of use me as a prop. And I got so tired. So I said to him, I said, you know, I'm really thinking about going out on my own. There was a school, and it was my old high school actually, that would not sign with him. Like they would not go into a partnership if he was part of it. And so they reached out to me and they said kind of like, if it was you, we would do it. And I, they were like the fifth partner, like partnered school that had said that to me. That said, Hey, if you ever go out on your own, like you have to let us know. And I had like other employees at the company that said like, Alyse, you can do this. And I thought about it and I said, you know what, I'm in it for the right reasons. And I was kind of tired of this person, just like paying employees like 12 bucks an hour when they were making him all of this money and they were doing all of the work. And I knew I wouldn't be like, I would pay my employees like what they deserve and like a living wage. So I had my third child and six weeks later I was like, no, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna do it. And I eventually, it has grown so much. We went from one school, I think we're at 42 schools now. We started at just $1,500 in revenue. One service that we offered and now we're at 42 schools and six different revenue streams, which has been phenomenal. And I think I got tired of people treating me like I couldn't do it. Like, and I don't, maybe don't have a great, you know, um, When a guy says that to me, it's not a good thing for them to say that to me because then I just wanna prove that, oh, year after my heart. But it's so, it's so true. Like I can take it if a woman says that to me, but like if a man tells me or treats me like I couldn't do it, it's not a good sign because I will do it and I will do it 10 times better just to prove that I can't. And so I think that was like the moment where I thought, Yet now I have to because I'm not gonna sit here and feel like less than. Oh, what an amazing story. So tell me about the business model. So you mentioned you have multiple revenue streams, so you started with. The, the, the more simple kind of funding, um, revenue model. And then what happened? So we did that and we charge schools like a flat fee. So we do not charge commission. So if we raise a school a million dollars, they still pay us the same introductory monthly fee. And that was really important to me. Um, and so then once that happened and we kind of got our. Feet wet, and we were like, wow, like we're really growing in this. We started realizing there were so many other things that schools needed help with, right? There were so many other things, and I thought, well, why would we have these schools outsource seven different services where they could just, we already have the relationship with them. You know? Why don't we offer all of these, so we do like website building, seo, digital marketing, print advertising. We do, um, enrollment lead generation, which is super cool. Um, so for private schools, only about 4% of uh, prospective families go onto a school's website and leave their contact information. So there's 96% of interested families leave without the school knowing who they are. And cuz oftentimes they see the tuition and they think, well, I can't do that. So they leave not knowing. There's so much financial. So we have this capability that now identifies at other 96%, which gives the school the opportunity to be proactive in their admissions process. Um, but yeah, we just kind of grew as we were doing the funding. We grew into what's the next thing that they need help with, what do they need help with? And that was always our goal. Wasn't about what can make us the most money. We don't care about that. I've been poor, I don't care about money. And what I've learned is if you're just doing good and doing it the right way, it will follow, which is a nice thing. But we just always had in our mind, what can we do to help? And that allowed us to develop services above and beyond just fundraising. And being able to listen to those opportunities and recognize those opportunities. And how are you deciding what you are going to invest in and what you are not. So I love the team that I have, and I value every piece of input that they give to me and. Two other women that I meet with that, uh, employees every morning at 8:00 AM we jump on a Zoom and we hash it out and we, I'll give an idea and their names are Brooke and Cat, and they will say if it's a good idea, and we just kind of like beat it up as much as possible until it's something that makes sense for everyone and we feel good about. So I listen to my. So much and take their input. And I, I always say I'm very much the visionary person, but I need implementers, right? And so they are, uh, women that think very differently than I do, but it's so valuable and I need them to make it come to life. And so they walk me through like, what is it realistic, what we want to do? And if it is, how, what is the plan to make that happen? So that's kind of how we've developed and decided like what we're gonna invest in and what makes sense by listening to everyone on the team and having more voices than just me. I don't want it to be the me show. I want it to be a team. And how did you find the right people? Because that's one of the biggest challenges I know a lot of business owners face. I love that you asked that question. So, uh, the. How I find the right people, the, the two women that I work very, very closely with in my business as employees. One I, her name's Kat, and I was, uh, like com commercial lender and a, a branch manager for a bank. And I just loved working with her. She knew she was like my right hand woman, like she knew what I needed before I even said it, right? She was just that. I would give her an idea and she would make it happen. And I knew that they paid her very minimal. And I always said like, I will always come back for her. I would always come back. And so I called her every day for like probably four weeks and said like, please come work for me. Like I please, like I need you. And she said yes. And then the other, uh, woman, same kind of thing as I worked with her previously and I just really respected. How strong she was. And she was always one of those employees that other business owners just kind of took advantage of, right? Like she was so smart, but then they piled so much more work on her. So I always look for those employees that are adaptable because especially in a startup, right, Stephanie, it's like, I don't, I can't have an employee that wants to fit in a. Because I don't know what that box is gonna look like in six months. Right. So tomorrow. Tomorrow, yes. Yes. That's so true. So for me, it was very much finding adaptable employees that have been impacted by something like this. So both of, um, the ones that I work with daily, they both have been impacted by E I T C or funding or poverty in some way. So this to them, It's a mission that they can get behind. That's amazing. And you, you've grown out your team with additional resources and uh, and they scale it and they scale down. Mm-hmm. Yes. Yeah. So we, um, one of the biggest things that we did is I utilize a lot of partnerships, so I'm very, Strict, I guess, on who I hire as an employee, I will hire a partnership or um, uh, like a contract employee way faster than I'll ever hire an actual, like employee. So it's very important to me that I protect the energy in my office and the energy on my team, and I don't gamble with that at all. I will not gamble. I will hire it out for another company to kind of out. Before I bring someone else from the outside that has the potential to throw off the energy. That's amazing. That's about it. Yeah. Yeah. And I think a lot of people don't, that's such a great lesson, and I think a lot of people don't think about, um, about the energy that we bring to, and I, a lot of people look at, um, cost. How much is it gonna cost me for a particular employee, or how much is it gonna cost me to have this role on my team? Instead of looking at, um, you know, how's it gonna feel to have this person working with me? What's, where is the energy aligned or not aligned? And that's critical. Mm-hmm. It's absolutely critical, especially in those early phases of growth. You know, you're running a multi-billion dollar company and you know, you've got big teams of people you can afford to have different personalities or different, you know, energy profiles, I guess. But at this stage it's, you know, it's, it's absolutely imperative. It is the most important thing I've learned in growing my business. Protect your energy. I had to. I actually, I had to let someone go. Mm. Because it was just like always like the mission was taking us this way. And they were very much wanted to be in the box, right? They were comfortable in like moving with the mission and in a startup like you can't have that, right? Like you just absolutely can't. And I was so devastated. So it was the hardest thing. I actually probably three months went by and I just couldn't, couldn't do it. Right? Like I knew I needed to. And now we look back and I'm so glad. I am so glad that we did our team. The energy is just back, and if there is any business owner that's just starting, especially like I said, a startup, there's only, you know, a handful, you know, under 10 staff members. It is vitally important to protect that energy. I agree. It's so important. Yeah, I agree. And I, I'm so glad that you said that. I'm so glad that you said that because even if you're just a solo entrepreneur, the energy that you bring to your business matters so much, and that's going to change the, the success that you have and the course of your work. A hundred percent. It's not about, you know, your strategy and it's not about your tactics. It's about, and if you don't have the right business, your energy, There. Right. It's not aligned. And so I think that that's, that's so smart of you to protect that. Tell me a little bit more about what, um, you know, what growth has meant to you and h and what's worked for you in terms of growth. Sure. So growth means to me that I'm doing exactly what I need to be doing. Um, so that's, that's what it feels like. Um, but growth to me, I, we are very. Again, strategic in what schools that we even pick up. We have told schools no that wanted to hire us, but if the energy, again, going back to that, if the energy and we have like an onboarding meeting and it just doesn't seem, if there's any like. Thing off at all. We're at the point where we should say, Nope, we'll move on and we'll find another client that fits best. So I think understanding no is so important because again, going back to when you're starting and creating a growing, like if you pick up a problem client, right, or one that like doesn't necessarily align with what you are trying to do or can't get behind those expect. It's gonna take more energy from your team and it's gonna hold you back from growing. So we've always been in that mindset that we would rather say no to a company, I mean to a school than. For a school, us to get into a situation where it ruins our reput reputation. Our entire goal right now is to build that reputation, keep that reputation that we raise schools a ton of money for a really small cost. Mm-hmm. And I don't ever wanna get into a situation where we sign on a school that we didn't really feel good about, weren't sure if we could do it. We signed them and were not success. I don't want that. So we only grow strategically in, in that kind of way. And that's important to us. It's important to us. So who are these ideal clients? Who are who, who is a good fit for you From, from the sort of profile of schools that are out there? Yeah, so we are actually really looking, um, to. Help schools that are, you know, small to mid-size. Um, maybe we're not really looking for the big, big schools, private schools. Um, but oftentimes it's schools that are in an economically disadvantaged area that so often parents don't explore the other options because they think there's, there's no way I could even afford a hundred dollars a month. You. So it's those types of schools that are in those areas and geographic locations that they need to get the message out that there is financial aid and it is affordable. And these families that think that they don't meet that threshold that they do, and they're, they're welcomed with open arms at these schools. So it is very, very much small to mid-size and schools. Have a team that is willing to do it a new way, right? So if they're in the, well, we've always done it this way, we can't really change, then oftentimes we walk away. Because if you're doing, if you're struggling as a school and you're still wanting to do things in the same way, that struggle's gonna continue. And I don't feel like, you know, hashing that. I want a school that's open to change. Are these independent schools? Yes. Yeah, primarily. And you don't, you don't work with any, uh, public school boards? Yeah, unfortunately, our service, it's not that I have anything against public school, it's just our services don't really align. So public school doesn't really have issues with enrollment, right? Because Yeah, people just enroll. Um, so. That is one of the things that we don't go after or spend our resources on public, cuz oftentimes they don't need our services. Yeah, no, I know the market very, very well. I sell, I sell into the K to 12 public education system. Um, but, you know, from a technology perspective, and so it was, you know, it was curious to me whether there was a fit for you guys in public schools too. But I've also worked with a lot of independent schools and, and, um, you know, getting their, their systems and their processes all up and running. And I can totally understand that a lot of these, you know, little independents, they're, they're pretty, like, tight on staffing and mm. And I've, I've seen the, the, uh, willingness for change. Mm-hmm. And sometimes it can be even harder to get those clients to be open for change than with a, like a public school system. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Absolutely. Some, some of 'em, it's like we kind of gauge it after our first meeting, the three of us, we kind of jump on a Zoom and we're like, okay, what did you feel like, do you feel like. Is pliable staff, right? Like, are they going to be able to kind of move and shake in the way that we need them to, to make them get, get them funding, right? Yeah. Um, but you're right. It's, it is very different depending on the school and, but I think a lot of independent schools and private schools, they're at a point where cost of education. Skyrocketing and they know that they have to do something different because they're not gonna survive doing what they've always done. So I think we've been lucky with that. Yeah, and I love that. And I, you know, at some of these schools, I remember seeing a few of the kids that had come from, come from public school on scholarship and you know, it's an interesting sort of cultural conversation because the kids who came fully fund. Um, have a slightly different, you know, sort of culture than the kids who came from public school. And I remember talking to one of them and they said, and they were saying they always felt a bit like an outsider because they weren't, you know, their family didn't have the money and that sort of thing. So how do you, how do you s navigate that? That's such a good question. Oh, you have some good ones, Stephanie. Uh, but I actually felt that, so I was one of those kids. Came from public school, like I got a scholarship. There was no way my family was gonna be able to pay for it. And you know, all of the girls that I was friends with, like their parents were lawyers and business owners. And like I did struggle with that for a little bit cuz I'm like, I don't want them to come over to like, how am I supposed to have a birthday party? Right? Like they're living in these mansions and here I am like in this house. Like it, I would be embarrassed, right? But I also think. Being exposed to families that have achieved those things is far outweighs I think that nervousness or that feeling of like an outsider, because at least for me, like I got a glimpse of what life could be and that was really cool. So I tried again, I, I did, I felt like an outsider for a little bit, but I think that's, Normal for you to feel like. And I think any child going through or being in a different group could be like that. And I, I had to move at one point and I, there was not a ca uh, private school in my area, so I had to go back to public school. We had to move. And so even going like from private school back to public again, it was like, I remember going and like tearing up feeling like such an outsider. So I think it's a lot of. Is just the new environment, feeling like an outsider. Well, and I, and then they come home and they're, they're not like one of their community anymore because they've grown up in a community of poverty or, or, you know, even just like lower middle class or whatever it might be. And I, you know, I, I think that in that environment, the family unit is, You know, is not used to and can be actually almost, um, agitated about money and people with money and there is this us versus them. So I imagine some of those kids have to also kind of deal with that, that they go back to. Their family unit. Their family unit is, you know, foreign to them now too, because they've got this other community that they're part of. So it's such an interesting, um, such an interesting conversation that's about more than just, you know, giving kids financial opportunities. It's like, well, within what do they need to be? How do they need to be supported, supported to be able to live inside these two different environ? Yeah, I, I 100% agree just because everything that you're saying, I have felt like you go to a new school, all these, you know, well-to-do families, and then you go back to your family and you do feel out of place there and you feel kind of out of place at the school. And I do think going back to, you know, it's all about healing on that journey, not just about the finances that we give to kids. Mm-hmm. I would love to see going forward, us at our company at one point, start really diving into how to help these kids in the sup, more support services that they may need. You know, because I don't necessarily know that that infrastructure has been built up at public or private. For kids really. Um, so I would love some more emphasis on that because if you're saying that, I'm saying it and I've met so many other people just like me that say the same exact thing. And it would've been nice to maybe had something to help combat that at a young age. Yeah. And then there's also the kids, you know, in a lot of the independent schools, they're away from home. They're away from their families, they're away from, they're on their own at very young ages. And even though they're well, well taken care of, they're still alone. Right. And they're still without their, their core family unit. And so I think there's all sorts of things that go along with, you know, the, the privilege associated with being able to, you know, get the kind of education that really was gonna. Propelled them forward. Um, Alyse, you're just fascinating and I, I have just really, really enjoyed this conversation. I have one question that I ask everyone on the show before we go, and I'd love to hear your perspective as well. Show's all about being real and the real stories and the, you know, the, the sort of nitty gritty of what it takes to build a business. What to you is the difference between what we hear there out there in the business world and the online business world and what's real about being a business owner? I think that it is, oftentimes we see these business owners just like, you know, in their headshots, right? And they're, you know, pretty little magazines and all of these things that, at least for me, it's not like that at all. Like it is a lot of me running around like, In sweatpants trying to get my kids ready, like trying to make sure I can get to soccer practice and make sure I, you know, do these podcasts or these recordings or other things like outside of my family life. So I think oftentimes we see all of this glamorized business owner, like, look at me, look what I've. But so much it's about the team that they have around them. Mm. That is such a shame, I think, and such a disservice to business owners or and aspiring business owners that we only show, like the people in front, like the c e O or the founder. Like I'm not afraid to admit like, I would not be here today without those two women behind me that have my back and the rest of my team. Like I would not be here and they. All of the praise, all of the award and recognition. And so it is about those women and those business owners that get up every single day without the applause, without the recognition, and without the fanfare. But yet they still continue through hard times and struggling situations, and they still go on because they're trying to complete a mission. So I would say don't get hung. On all the glamorized stuff that you see. And it's never about one person. It never is. So don't get stuck on that. I love that. I love that. Thanks. Amazing. Thanks. We're coming up on time. Can you let people know where they can find you? Sure. So, um, I have, uh, our website is redefining education.org. That's where you can find, um, more stuff about the business and what we do. I am on LinkedIn actively, always on LinkedIn. It's like one of the only social medias that I, I really actively post on. And I'd love to stay in touch. Um, I'm currently writing a memoir on all of the things about my life and how important the work that we're doing is for the future generations. So I'd love for anyone interested to keep in touch. I love it. So go and, and we'll put all those links in the show notes so you can find Alyse and you can connect with her and you can follow her journey. So we're gonna wrap it up. I'm so happy. So happy we had the opportunity to chat with Alyse today to hear more about how her business came to be, her experiences along the way and what the future of her business entails. And thank you for tuning into this episode of The Real People Real Business Show, where we get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to. The show notes, resources, and links from this episode are available on my website and social media platforms. If you've enjoyed today's content, I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on to help us share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience. Until next time, keep building. Keep dreaming and keep being real.

Alyse MaslonikProfile Photo

Alyse Maslonik

CEO & Founder

At age 21 Alyse had only $63 to her name – fast forward 10 years and she’s in the top 3% of women-owned businesses. Alyse and her team have taken RedefinED Advisors from $1,500 MRR to more than $1M ARR in less than 1 year.

Alyse’s childhood inspired her work in improving the educational system for children in need. She understands the significant role that education plays in stopping cycles of generational poverty and founded RedefinED Advisors to solve that exact problem. Alyse Believes that all children should have access to quality education.