In this exclusive interview, we delve into the captivating journey of V. Michael Santoro—a seasoned entrepreneur and former SEO virtuoso. From crafting successful marketing strategies in the high-tech industry to co-founding an award-winning SaaS company, Santoro’s entrepreneurial narrative is a rich tapestry of innovation, resilience, and adaptability.
Beyond the boardroom, Santoro shares insights into his mindful leadership style, revealing how a harmonious blend of spirituality, gratitude, and the Law of Attraction has influenced his business decisions and team dynamics. As we navigate through the corridors of his career, Santoro opens up about his transformative approach to diet, the rituals that fortify his workspace for creativity, and the sleep hygiene practices that fuel his peak performance.
Join us on a journey that goes beyond the conventional business narratives—a journey with V. Michael Santoro, where success is not only measured in profits but also in the mindful orchestration of a life well-lived.
Name: V. Michael Santoro
Company: Brand Velocity
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Thank you so much for joining us. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
V. Michael Santoro: My name is V. Michael Santoro, and I’m a published author and experienced entrepreneur. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve held senior marketing positions in the high-tech industry. Additionally, I’m a former adjunct professor with the computer science department at Western Connecticut State University. I have a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Haven and received my master’s degree from Central CT State University.
As a side interest, I immersed myself in Internet marketing and became proficient in digital marketing. I built websites part-time that ranked in Google. I earned enough part-time selling other people’s products to put my daughter through college. My specialty was search engine optimization (SEO). This allowed me to obtain marketing positions with two start-up companies, as I wasn’t ready to start my own business.
Following that experience, I, and a business partner founded an SEO company that provided services for local businesses. We decided to use video screen recordings of potential clients websites to pitch our services.
The videos required effort to process, and we were initially adding a graphic to the email’s body and linking it to the video on YouTube. The viewer had no way of contacting us unless they went back to the email message and replied. The “aha” moment was realizing that we could design a system that would automate the process and have the viewers respond back directly from a full-screen video without the need for a website.
Our SEO company transitioned into a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company. The company began with a Flipchart design and evolved into developing a video communication system that was awarded a US patent in 2017. We successfully exited the company in 2020.
I now work with entrepreneurs to help them build their brands online. This is a necessary first step to communicate authority and trust with Google and potential customers. It also helps to protect their online reputation.
On the personal side, I was a drummer with a group for several years. I’m also a published author. I coauthored a fiction thriller, The Dyodyne Experiment, that won an IPPY gold medal for best fiction in the year it was published. I just published a book this year for entrepreneurs. “Rite of Passage:
Transitioning from Wantrepreneur to Successful Entrepreneur won the Goody Business Book Award for its social impact. The book helps entrepreneurs understand the human challenges they’ll face during their entrepreneurial journey.
As an entrepreneur, how do you incorporate mindfulness or spiritual practices into your leadership style? Can you share an instance where this approach significantly impacted your business decisions or team dynamics?
V. Michael Santoro: When I realized that my stress and trying to control every business situation were not producing the best outcomes, I knew I had to get out of the way to allow energy to flow naturally.
I had to accept that my low-vibrational behavior was adding stress to my team members and negatively impacting them. I studied the Law of Attraction. I watched the movie “The Secret” several times and read other material to truly understand how it works and how to apply it. I also took the time to unplug.
I started with a short meditation in the morning to express my gratitude. I also began taking walks and just being present. I felt better, and my fear was greatly reduced.
I transitioned to becoming an observer of life rather than a participant. I changed my mindset and communicated to my business partners and staff that it was time to have some fun building our business. Helping customers was the priority, and by doing so, money would follow. This improved our business culture and increased productivity.
I use this approach with clients. Most are stressed, and I seem to have a calming effect on them. This allows them to think more clearly. Intuitively, we can feel which direction to take. The issue is second-guessing what we feel when we don’t know how to implement the direction. The goal is to build trust that we’re guided and that the path will unfold when the time is right.
Balancing a busy professional life with healthy eating can be challenging. What strategies or habits have you adopted to ensure your diet supports both your body and spirit, especially under the pressures of entrepreneurship?
V. Michael Santoro: It’s easy to rely on processed foods and fast food when you’re a busy entrepreneur. The challenge is transitioning to a better diet. With all the nutritional advice available, it can feel like we have to become a degreed chemist to eat healthy or give up what we like to eat and have to live on roots and berries.
The approach I took was to first reduce my sugar intake. I stopped drinking soda and began drinking water. This included flavored water and mineral water. I did have unsweetened ice tea, and I added a squeeze of lemon. This took some getting used to but it was worth it.
I also learned how to cook. I started with simple meals. When grocery shopping, I learned to read the nutrition labels. I avoided items with high sugar or sodium content. I bought fresh rather than canned fruits and vegetables.
Rather than viewing meal preparation as a chore, I viewed it as a new hobby. Mindset is everything. I researched easy recipes and learned how to add flavor through spices. For example, I buy plain Greek yogurt and add cinnamon and fresh berries rather than eat the flavored kind.
Cooking is a good hobby because you have to be present during the process, which is task-oriented. Now I use Sundays to shop and prepare meals for the week. This makes cooking meals faster. Another benefit is that I lost 9 pounds and have more energy that is natural rather than stress-related.
Cooking has another advantage. When word gets around that you can cook, it’s amazing how much company it can attract.
How have you transformed your workspace to enhance focus, creativity, and inner peace? Do you have any specific routines or environmental changes that have made a significant difference in your workday wellness?
V. Michael Santoro: I work from my home office. It’s easy to take a less than casual approach to my work day, and this can become a problem. I found it was causing me to get sloppy at times. So I made the following changes to my work day: I have a wall that displays the awards and accomplishments I’ve made during my career.
It even includes a picture of my first parachute jump. During challenging times, viewing it like a vision board reminds me of my previous successes and the grit it took to earn them.
I also changed my routine. I set the alarm to rise at the same time. I make my bed, shower, and get ready for work. I then meditate for a few minutes to express my gratitude and ask for guidance. I communicate that I will take the action necessary to ensure I appreciate the help. I feel this demonstrates a sign of respect.
I start my day by reading any new business material about digital marketing. I want to see if there’s anything new that can help my clients. I follow that by making a checklist of what I need to accomplish that day. I begin with the easiest tasks. This provides a sense of accomplishment early in the day.
Around 11:30 a.m., I go for a long walk and have lunch when I return. The rest of the day is dedicated to the more challenging projects, Zoom, and conference calls. I now end the day at 5:00 p.m. and prepare dinner. The rest of the evening is my free time. I may go out and meet my friends or family or watch a movie. Weekends are free.
Once you have a routine and an actionable daily plan, your productivity increases, and it reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Quality rest is crucial for peak performance. What sleep hygiene rituals do you follow to maintain high energy and clear thinking? How have these practices contributed to your success and well-being as a business owner?
V. Michael Santoro: It is amazing how important sleep is to our health. When I was mentally engaged as an entrepreneur, I had interrupted sleep patterns, which made me feel like I had jet lag during the work day. It felt like I was experiencing brain fog. So I had to make some changes.
I stopped snacking after dinner until I went to bed. I no longer eat after 7 p.m. I also don’t drink water or other beverages. This prevents the nightly bathroom interruptions. I turn in at the same time. 11:00 p.m. works for me. I learned to unplug mentally in the evenings and conditioned myself that everything would be there in the morning when I got up.
Nothing was so life-threatening that I should lose sleep during the night. So there was no longer a need to worry about it. I strive for 8 hours a night. When I wake up, I no longer feel like it’s time for bed.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to WellnessVoice and the host of this interview would like to thank V. Michael Santoro for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with V. Michael Santoro or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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