Digital Savage – Leveling Up in Life

by Nick

Listen to this episode of The DJ Doran Show and all previous episodes on the player above or check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or iHeart Radio.

Meet Roman:

Roman is a 1st generation immigrant from Ukraine. He arrived in the US with 6 other family members to a 2 bedroom apartment. Roman interned with the Secret Service and held a top secret government clearance. He was forced to become a self taught digital marketer as a result of the 2008 recession, and fell in love with it. Roman has 11 years of experience leading digital teams in senior leadership roles on over 600 campaigns across many industries. He founded Nova Zora Digital in 2012. Roman is the host of the Digital Savage Experience Podcast, a Top 100 Podcast on Apple Podcasts for How To. He is a foster parent, and has had 20 kids in his home since June 2018. He became a foster parent by going through 5 miscarriages with his wife in 3 years, 2 of which happened on Christmas Days. With death, loss, and hardships Roman pushes through no matter what.

Digital Marketing & SEO:

Following the 2008 recession, Roman jumped into the digital marketing word through chance experience. As you’ll hear in the episode, Roman met someone at a gym who handed him a book on digital marketing & SEO. The Stranger turned into his boss with the challenge of “Go read that book and come work for my company.” That was a catalyst to Roman’s career in the digital space. As Roman Describes on his website, he is a “Digital Savage” having learned to make a living and survive out of necessity. 
Now 12 years later, Roman’s company Nova Zora Digital is a highly successful digital agency that serves companies of all sizes. If you run a business and haven’t taken a serious look at your digital presence, reach out to Roman or take a stroll through the blog on his website.

Becoming a Foster Parent:

The first portion of the show is devoted to Roman’s experience as a foster parent. Roman & his wife have been fostering children in the New Jersey area as a way to give back to their community & serve those around them. Throughout the beginning of the show Roman shares his insights on becoming a foster parent, handling difficult situations, Bridging the Gap with biological parents, and advocating for systematic change to better the foster system.

Connect with Roman:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/romanprokopchuk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romanprokopchuk/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/noheartnoglory

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/romanprokopchuk

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@roman.prokopchuk

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/romanprokopchuk

Full Transcription:

DJ Doran  01:29

Pretty good. How are you? Welcome to the show. Thank you. vitiated

01:33

tgis

01:36

Yeah, I mean,

01:38

damn, just 24 seven.

01:41

Just moving. So Friday is just an extension of the six other days.

DJ Doran  01:47

Oh, that’s true. I mean, I’m very similar. I read your bio, very fascinating. And we have a lot to talk about, just to bring you up to speed. So you know a little bit about me, since I know so much about you. So we can we can have a conversation is I own the second largest LGBT media company in the country, and publish seven publications across that spectrum, including having a advertising agency is embedded in there as well. And then I’m also a retired Air Force pilot, I flew c 130s. for 23 years, I’ve been in business in media for 20 years, give or take, and have been a serial entrepreneur my whole life. So I’m based in Chicago. FYI, so so let’s get right into it. Um, so first thing is, I was reading that you just sort of fell into, into the digital aspect of, of what you’re doing. And you had a lot of a lot of setbacks, you know, that kind of precipitated that. So before we begin, why don’t you tell everyone on on our, on our show? A little bit about you, and and then we can go right into it?

03:01

Yep. So I am a first generation immigrant from Ukraine. I came to the US in 1990, when I was five, with six other family members to a two bedroom apartment. My grandparents already retired in Ukraine, and in terms of kind of getting on her feet and stuff like that. They had to, you know, get a job. My grandfather worked for another 25 years after he was 55. Doing roofing and construction, which is labor intensive, you had people coming from Europe just to make a few bucks that were in their 20s and 30s, and would be quitting after a week or two. So you had a, you know, very strong work ethic. And I went to school for criminal justice, Rutgers University. My last semester, I interned with the Secret Service on the counterfeit currency squad, I held a top secret federal clearance in order to attain that internship. And then the 2008 recession hits. So stay local federal agencies stop hiring. And I kept applying for jobs and I was kind of screwed in that aspect. And I got down depressed, you know, I have a degree Am I not good enough to you know, find a job. Any job was looking for just random things at that point, like recruiting and things outside of criminal justice. And one day at the gym, someone basically said, I had a conversation with them. I met him before and they said, Hey, come out to my car. I want to give you something which obviously that conversation and that experience or encounter could have went different ways. But after my workout, I went out to his car, and he gave me a packet about 50 pages about search engine optimization. He said, read up on this, take another month or two, read up on it online, and you can do it for my business. And that’s kind of how I jumped into digital marketing. Adam necessity and at this point, it’s what 2020 so 12 years, I’ve had three director roles on the agency side, worked on about 600 accounts at this point started an agency in 20 1214. clients, seven figure portfolios and kind of took it upon myself to, you know, get entrenched in digital marketing and you know, it became kind of a love. And the fact that the industry keeps changing, it’s something that I enjoy and keep learning. Outside of that I do have a podcast as well, in my personal life in the last three years, my wife and I have experienced five miscarriages. And one reason and we’ve got into also am a foster parent. So from that, we thought starting a family, the foster care system would be another route, or at least helping as many kids as we could to give a safe loving home. So I’ve been doing that for about two years. So as of June 1 of 2018, we’ve had 21 children in our home. Currently, we have four, we actually got a newborn right from the hospital two weeks ago that was born with cocaine in the system and had to spend two weeks because he couldn’t breathe on his own. So he was born premature. But luckily, my wife has bear the brunt of, you know, taking care of the kids. I mean, I try to help as much as possible. But he’s gained almost double his body weight, which is awesome. It’s like night and day. So

DJ Doran  06:09

that’s kind of like, what’s it like caring for a newborn with a cocaine addiction or cocaine in their system?

06:17

Well, I mean, I pray because each child child is different. We’ve had kids from this is our youngest kid, like straight from the hospital, but all the way up to like eight, nine years old. So each child depending on the situation they come from, or a new set of challenges in terms of learning what they’ve been through, comforting them, giving them a loving environment and safe place. So now we just kind of prayed about it before we got into it. And we thought, you know, we had kind of the stereotype or you have a, you know, drug addicted baby crying non stop. And the boy just wants to eat sleep and be health and he has been a blessing.

DJ Doran  06:52

Wow. So what, um, what is your motivation? What was your motivation to that was just with the miscarriages, primarily, the motivation?

07:05

Um, well, we thought it was another way to, I guess, start a family, I mean, we’re still naturally trying and still doing kind of the fertility route as well. And we spend about $100,000 out of pocket at this point on all the fertility treatments and stuff. And we’re, like I said, designated as foster to adopt. So technically, if a child has the rights of the parent or guardian that, you know, they were with, terminated, they would come to us first. In order, obviously, to, for us to adopt them, and if it’s a good fit, so we did that, I mean, I try to do as much kind of charity and help out and have kind of a, a heart led entrepreneur, and you know, me, you know, being a Christian trying to kind of show who I am through my acts and try to help as many people as possible, and in different ways. And you know, people think or see kind of the stereotypical foster home that they’re all bad, or what media portrays. It’s, I mean, there’s a lot of good homes, and there’s hundreds of thousands of kids in the system, that giving them a good home for maybe it can even be only a week can really change kind of the trajectory of their life. So

DJ Doran  08:11

that brings up another question. Well, a couple of questions. One is, what do you get attached? And how, what is that, like, when they when they find if they find a permanent placement?

08:26

I mean, it is a roller coaster. It’s like, it’s like masochism, every time it’s you, if they stay with you a day, two days a week. It’s like heartbreak over and over again. I mean, some situations, the longest placement we had was a year, we thought, and we were told that we were going to be able to adopt them, but it moved to reunification, where they went back to their biological mom. And you know, you get attached, and you have an idea in your mind that, you know, they’re going to be your kids kind of forever, you’re going to be their parents, and that can change overnight. So it’s it’s one of those things, that’s hard. I mean, but we kind of looked at it like, okay, it’s our emotions, but there’s all these little kids in play, that are thrown into situations that they can’t control. And we thought, you know, at that point, we would have stopped after two but since you know, those two boys left after a year, we’ve you know, had 19 other kids and it’s it’s been a blessing. And you know, the kids Teach me more than a lot of the time that I feel like I give the kids and I learned something new about myself from from every child that’s in our home.

DJ Doran  09:27

How has your faith played into being a foster parent?

09:33

Yeah, I mean, I think I mean, personally, my my, my views are, you know, Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I try to kind of evoke, or, you know, just just be the best kind of human being as I can to people kind of shows show Christ’s love to them, and just doing it from a genuine kind of basis. I mean, with social media and things like that. You see people donating or you know, videos of people on the street just handing people money or food and it’s kind of like one of the Have those vanity things and doing things just to get cloud and things like that, but there’s so many kids out there that really need help. And, I mean, I, my dad was around, but he was never there for me. I mean, there was domestic violence in my family and stuff like that. So I know what a good male role model or, you know, my, and my wife, a female role model can really have in terms of impact of a job.

DJ Doran  10:25

Um, I, first of all, I’ll just for full disclosure, I’m also a born again, Christian. And, and it makes it difficult to even in my position, because people always, you know, they hold up these bad behaving Christians as, as the model of what Christianity is, and you have to overcome them were held to a higher standard, I also believe that for me, I’m not a preacher, I’m not someone that’s going to witness by standing on the street corner, but I witness by the daily choices in the way I live my life, that’s my witness. And I know, and the harder part of that is, sometimes when you are trying to do good, people always want to assume the worse, you know, they always want to assume that you have an ulterior motive and what have you. So I think that actions always speak louder than words. And, and that’s what really makes me feel that, that when I’m watching someone, do an act of kindness, they’re not doing it because they want the notoriety, as you so often see on social media, you know, they film it, there’s, there’s some guy that goes around, and like, I always say he entraps these homeless people. And then it gives, you know, to see if they’re going to take the money, or if they’re going to share the money, or what they’re going to do, and they pretend that there’s somebody else and, and then they post it on social media, that’s not, in my view, that’s not really doing good. That’s leveraging good, you know, it’s, it’s not the same. So I think that what you said is so true. And I think the Bible even says that, you know, do your good things in private and your your Father in heaven will know, you don’t have to go out and broadcast it, or post it on social media. And I think that’s him. That’s important. When you, um, when you foster children, do you, how do you handle? Me? Let me think of how to phrase this. Do you foster a, a multicultural range of, of children? And if you do, how do you handle that? And maybe it might be too early for multicultural belief, a belief system?

12:28

Yeah, so we we have no kind of limitations in terms of the children we take. So it’s really guided by the county in the area that we live in. So I live on one town down from the capital of New Jersey, so obviously, inner city area, you have more, you know, black, African American, so added the 2021 Kids we’ve had in our home 15 were black, 15, black, for Hispanic, and two white. So it was one of those things where you have to be mindful, in terms of culture and things of that nature, we there’s certain things that we’re kind of abided by, so things like if a parent says you can’t cut their hair, or a child, it doesn’t matter the race. So we can’t even give a child a haircut. Sometimes we’ve had the child six months, and they refuse to get a haircut and we need to get a court order. Or the person can simply say, okay, we’re not cutting their hair for religious reasons, reasons, whether they’re religious, non religious, would they believe in don’t believe in that reason has to be like, taken seriously, and then we can’t really do anything with it. But I mean, the church that we belong to, which, luckily is like two blocks away from my home, is multicultural. So there’s record representations of different different races, different nationalities. And you know, we’ve never really had a problem. I mean, the The main thing is really when it when the child gets removed, so one instance we had four placements right before March or when this lockdown happened. And everything was moved to zoom. So my wife was facilitating about 22 hours of calls a week, which is another full time job, which is ridiculous. But the first time she met the mom that the children were taken from, from two boys that we had in our home. And she said, You know, they don’t listen to you because you’re white, you’re raising him certain way, because you’re white. And so we had to kind of bridge the gap and that barrier in terms of discussion where, you know, our home, we have rules, regardless of what color you are, you know, you come in your green, purple, right? Whatever. I mean, there’s certain things you mean you have a bedtime, you respect the home, you know, you respect your toys and things around you. You’re not violent to the other children in the home, things of that nature. And, you know, she she finally got it. It was just one of those things where she was kind of lashing out because she had her kids removed, but it hasn’t been as difficult because like I said, I mean, I’ve been I’ve been Growing up, and I came here when I was young, so I grew up with with, you know, black kids, white kids, you know, Spanish kids, Asian kids. So it’s like second nature. So there’s no like racism or any like anything there. So it’s just like, I raised them how I raised them and I treated should show the child, not as a foster kid, but as my own child, how I would treat them if they were my biological child.

DJ Doran  15:22

Um, I understand that now I have a, we have a daughter, and we have two grandchildren. And they’re mixed race. And one of the challenges is, you know, how do you teach them about their culture? You know, simple things, like how do you cut African American hair? You know, and think you mentioned that that was a thing for us. And, and so, you know, we are very similar in the fact that the way we sort of interact with our daughter and our grandchildren are, we just treat them as human beings, we sort of are colorblind, but we also understand some of the specific nuances of their heritage, and then we try and so sort of do the best we can with that, but, you know, we’re not, we’re not part of that. So, you know, we can only do what we can do. But you know, that brings up what you just said, just brings up another question, as I asked earlier. How do you and your wife deal with the situation when the kids are either get Reena reunified with their biological parents? Or, or what have you? And you were explaining how your feelings were. But what are their feelings when that happens? Because you know, someone lives with you for a year and you’re their parent. That’s a big upheaval.

16:38

Yeah. And I mean, it’s tough because the kids naturally start calling you mom and dad more. So mom and dad, because you’re caring for them. You’re showing them love. Right? So do your dad duties? Yeah. So you’re not forcing them, hey, you’re in this house. You’re calling him mom and dad. And I’ve been in contention with biological parents, they when they hear on a call, or whatever they run over. Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. You’re not their mom, you’re not their debt, I can’t force your child to call me something when they see every other child in our home calling us that. And we’re showing them, you know, Father, Like mother, like love and affection, what it is to kind of be a family and, and in that sense, so it’s, I mean, it stuff in that sense. And you mentioned kind of the haircare Yeah, that’s been like African American hair. So hair products, biological parents saying, you know, we want the hair braided like this. So unfortunately, because of COVID, a majority of the time from March to now, in New Jersey, at least, you know, salons, barbers for clothes. So my wife had to figure out how to braid and cornrow as best as possible. So there there there have been considerations like that as well. And, I mean, it’s tough, because there’s a lot of flaws in the system. So I try to advocate as best as possible to change the foster care system on interviews and stuff like that. And I think one of the biggest things that there’s an issue with is therapy before reunification. So basically, like, I’ve seen this firsthand,

DJ Doran  18:00

here are the children or both,

18:02

both both and both together and separately. And I mean, it’s happened a lot, and especially when the children are in a system for a while. So our first placement went back after a year. And we said, Hey, you know, the children have started, because right before a child is unified, they have at home overnight visits. So when you get to add home overnight, you know, reunification is coming within, you know, a few months, a few weeks, maybe a month to month and a half tops, so then we start advocating, hey, he needs they need therapy, the mom needs therapy, the dad needs therapy. And usually it falls on deaf ears, but because the children are going back to the environment that that trauma happen, it starts triggering different things and they start lashing out, they start acting in ways that they shouldn’t be. So you know, for one example, we had someone go back in terms of overnights and your unification was coming. So, you know, the child basically pulled on his pants started peeing in front of everybody in the playground never did that never exhibited that. And then, you know, started developing or acting very, very strangely further age. And when we kind of advocated for it a lot of time because people don’t want to do paperwork or what have you, or whatever the reason, we just, you know, that’s part of normal development for that age when they’re living with us. And we know what, you know, how they’ve acted for a year, and if something is abnormal, we would be the ones that could see it’s abnormal. So I think therapy and kind of at Home Services, before reunification, and after or lacking, or at least in New Jersey, I mean, I’ve talked to foster parents and other states and they seem to have similar experiences. But really seeing you know, if the mom, the dad, the grandmother, whoever the Guardian is, really needs any additional assistance, both for therapy in terms of things they’re dealing with, and maybe how to maybe better parent or deal with the children as well deal with trauma, do stress, discipline, things of that nature. And I think if that was coupled together Both, you know, individual therapy and family therapy, the reunification process can go a lot smoother, and the rates of recidivism, recidivism would be a lot lower.

DJ Doran  20:09

Well, that brings up the my next question, what do you do when the parent wants to reunification but the child does not?

20:17

we’ve, we’ve, we’ve never had that, because the oldest child we’ve had in our home was about eight years old. So it was one of those things where you go back, and you don’t necessarily have a choice. I mean, I don’t know how it is with because, you know, there’s teens in the system, kids closer to 18, what their legal rights are in terms of, you know, well, I mean, like,

DJ Doran  20:40

like a child who sort of gets, you know, they come from a troubled environment, now, they come to a stable environment with loving parents clearly, you know, and then they, and then, at some point, someone says, hey, you’re going to go back to that environment. And even though that environment may have changed, the only memory they have, or the last memory they have was not a good one. And I was just wondering, do kids even at a young age, say, I don’t want to go there, you know, Daddy drinks, or mommy is does drugs or whatever? And how do you deal with that? How do you how do you and your wife help them get over that so that they, they, you know, they don’t go back kicking and screaming?

21:19

Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, we’re the ones that face that the burden of actually preparing them for that reality. So once we find out, obviously, you want to find out as soon as possible, but sometimes it’s, you know, you have a few weeks, so reiterating it every day.

DJ Doran  21:35

On that point, do you when you first get a child, do you if they’re, let’s say old enough to have an understanding? Do you start in the beginning saying, hey, you what you’re here for however long but but there’s a possibility that you will go back to your, your birth parents? Do you start that early? Or when do you start that?

21:56

I mean, it depends on the age, majority of the children we did we have had are in like preschool age, so that

DJ Doran  22:03

they don’t they bond, I mean, don’t they bond. So

22:07

like a bond almost right away, because you’re showing them love. I mean, we’ve had reunification because sometimes we get calls in middle of the night, where they’re literally like knocking down a door and taking the child. So the child comes he’s in what he’s wearing with a with a garbage bag of clothes and like a dirty, you know, teddy bears something. And we’ve had, where children have come and they’ve had, you know, bloody nose, black eyes, that my wife has to take them to the next day. And the kids are like two, three years old. And then the nurse for this situation, the nurses are Yeah, we saw we saw him six months ago. So that means he was about two and a half with a fractured skull. So it’s one of those things where it’s like the craziness, like that you see is is ridiculous. But yeah, younger kids really bond a lot faster. And I think they bond also because of the trauma they experienced. So they want some kind of, you know, some meaningful bond as soon as possible, do you.

DJ Doran  23:03

I’m sitting here myself thinking if I had a foster child, and they had a fractured skull, and they were two years old, I would immediately go into protection mode. And I’m, I didn’t mention this, but I’m from New York as well, I would beat the shit out of someone that a parent that that hurt a little kid like that. Now, I don’t know if I could control that. How do you control that?

23:25

It’s hard. So situations like that we don’t necessarily meet the biological parents ever. So if the situation is like very hectic or chaotic, or the caseworker knows that, like the parent is unstable, and there may be an altercation of some sort, we don’t necessarily meet them, we usually give our given opportunity, what’s called bridge the gap. So become a resource for the biological parent Guardian, or, you know, biological family, if reunification is imminent, and their sound of mine, and they’re doing the steps and things they need to in terms of what the Division of Child Services deems they need to do in order to get the kids back.

DJ Doran  24:05

Okay, another question. And the reason why I asked this, I’m fascinated by this, because first of all, being a foster parent is amazing. And so, you know, kudos to you and your wife for for giving back in that way. But, but I’m curious and fascinated by the process, like I think to myself. So, the system as as we will call it is so overwhelmed, right? And you always hear about these kids that that that suffer horrible fate because of social worker had a huge caseload, and couldn’t follow up and set etc, etc, etc. The Yeah. How confident are you in the recommendation? The caseworker when they come to you and say the parents have been going through therapy and they are now ready to take on the role of being a responsible loving parent. Do you ever feel like that Does not connect, you know, in some way.

25:04

So like if in any other industry or whatever walk of life, there’s good people and bad people, sometimes it’s not even like the character of the person. It’s just simply like you said, Hi caseload burnout. So I know for a fact that there’s a lot of the time where they don’t do what’s in the best interest of the child, because it’s reunification over everything. And like you said earlier, that your current environment for the child may be the most loving, secure and safe and stable environment, but it’s really reunification of everything. I mean, we’ve had instances where we’ve advocated and you know, said the communication isn’t good, you know, we’re waiting for weeks to get this for this child or do this and that we’ve had caseworkers flat out, say, you know, it doesn’t matter what you say, you’re never gonna get me fired. So you know, you it’s falling on deaf ears, you can complain to everybody. I’m not going to get fired, nor is my job in jeopardy. So with that kind of attitude, I know, there’s instances of caseworkers and other people within the system that, you know, touch a case aren’t doing what’s best for that case, or that child.

DJ Doran  26:05

Well, well. So before we go on to the next next subject, I want to ask one other question about the fostering process. And and, and this is something that I would I don’t I don’t even I’d never heard of this. But after a child goes back to their birth parent, do you ever keep in touch? Do they keep in touch?

26:28

Ideally, like you would want to, but a lot of the time, like our first placement, like I mentioned, that we thought we’re going to adopt, the caseworker actually messed up that bridging bridging the gap process. They basically told the biological parent an allegation that was made and said, We accuse the bio mom, that she burned the kid with an iron, which isn’t what we said, we said, Hey, he has a mark, Where did it happen? We’re just we’re just curious. School, otherwise, we’re just trying to figure out what it is. And we had a good relationship. My wife texted her, we we met her up for Christmas pictures, we took together Easter stuff, actually tried to give her more time with the kids. And then it’s like, you know, it completely dissipated that whole relationship. And then my, my wife and I probably worked, you know, six, seven months to get on a talking relationship with the mom, she led us see the children actually about three times in the last few months. And then she kind of went dark again. So if nothing’s really guaranteed, another case where we had kids for about six or seven months, a bio dad that got custody basically said, Oh, yeah, we’re gonna be this one big happy family, I wrote you down as a resource. And then he just like blocked everything and you know, no communication. So I think it’s, it’s one of those things that sometimes things are said by bio parents and guardians just to kind of like, look more favorably in a way. And other times I can see where they’re coming from maybe us is the last thing that’s reminding them of having their kids in the system for a year, or whatever amount of time. So I’m not angry that they do it. But you know, we, my wife and I are resources, and we would do anything for these kids. So it’s just kind of, I guess, foolish in a way on their part. Because if something happens, we’re more than happy to jump in and try to get get them back on their feet. But it’s just one of those things that we don’t necessarily control.

DJ Doran  28:18

How do you feel? How did you how do you and your wife feel when a child leaves to go back to their parents, and there’s a disconnect or severance of, you know, of a parent child relationship.

28:33

I mean, we just, we expect it, you know, and I mean, it’s just one of those things, unfortunately, and just seeing the whole process, and we’re seeing things that your normal adult has an experience in their lives in terms of family dynamics, in terms of what’s actually happened in terms of trauma to these kids. So like, the whole situation is just like, not a normal kind of state of events from day one here. So it mean you it, nothing really surprises me at this point. We’ve had mentally unstable biological parents that can pass psyche valves to see their kids one on one, call the police on us and make false, you know, abuse claims, where they’ve done that in the past. In this instance, the child has been in several homes. And each time the home says, Listen, I can deal with this kind of, you know, mental instability and have police show up to my house for no reason. And the judge basically warns, you know, don’t make false claims, but it’s kind of like, in my opinion, a lot of situations, the biological parents just get kind of like a slap on the wrist and they’re very lenient. So it’s just like, Oh, well, don’t do it again. But we have to experience the trauma of the police showing up before Easter dinner, and the other children in our home thinking what’s going on because from their situations, the police were there when they were removed. So what’s going on? So it’s like, this situation of chaos is being created. That shouldn’t even happen because nothing happened because this person’s mentally unstable. So it’s just like, a lot of craziness all the time,

DJ Doran  30:03

and you don’t have you guys don’t have any recourse?

30:06

No, I mean, in New Jersey, there’s no even foster parent kind of Bill of Rights, they’re kind of working on it. And my wife and other kind of foster moms and foster parents have met with representatives in terms of kind of having some kind of right to something in New Jersey, other states have kind of a bill of rights. So like, a lot of times, if we experienced something, or we want to make a statement in court, for the reunification hearing, we can’t even do that a lot of the time. So like, Union, so like, we we should have an opinion, if we’ve had the child, maybe six months, maybe a month, maybe a year, maybe over a year, wouldn’t we know and see his behavior or her behavior, and the parents behavior and d be able to offer some kind of, you know, opinion about that, or what we think and a lot of the time, that’s not even the case. So

DJ Doran  30:53

well, that’s really, that’s a tough position to be in. Uh, I don’t even know what to say about that. You know, I mean, it seems to me that the, the agency or the, or the caseworker or whatever would be your advocate, you know, for that and go to court on your behalf or with you to say, Okay, listen, these are these are our agents for us to help place these children, and they’ve been vetted and re vetted. And this is, there’s no basis for this allegation, and the parent has had a history of this or that or whatever. And you would think that would be enough for a judge to step in and, you know, be a little bit more firm in what they what their ruling is.

31:42

Yeah, I mean, nine times out of 10. We’ve had good caseworkers, but majority of the time, the caseworker as their role is not the ally of the foster family or foster parent, you have a resource worker that basically kind of like petitions on your behalf, and has you as as a family under them, and they kind of go back to bat for you. But a caseworker, majority of the time takes the side of the by a biological parent, and their goal is reunification, regardless of what you have.

DJ Doran  32:14

Right? Or do you begin to get

32:15

that case off their off their plate? I mean, we’ve had an issue. Like I talked about the the first placement we had the caseworker wasn’t the best caseworker. They’re the ones that basically he said, You can do anything to get me fired. And because they’re moving to a different role. They just wanted to get the cases out, because when they got a match, they can move to that role faster. So we found out through, you know, other foster families and foster parents, we know in the area, and we we’ve had to take and get licensed. So we had to have in class time, one of the families there we met, we we kind of went over their house after probably a year after the fact. And they had two children that were, you know, cases under that person. And what happened with them was she rushed it. And the mom wasn’t ready. And she panicked. And she was overwhelmed. And she just jetted, she bolted to Georgia. So now these two kids are with them. And then they have to move the case, because she kind of rusted because she wanted all those cases off of her plate. So I mean, it’s not like me talking about it. And it’s just like my opinion or how I feel about it. Like I know for a fact from other cases under that caseworker, that that’s exactly what happened. So

DJ Doran  33:24

Wow, that’s a lot. I mean, I could literally talk another hour about about that. A quick question, though. The last question about this is how did you become a? How did you become foster parents? What is the process? And is is it easy? Is it hard? Is it is it time consuming?

33:42

Yeah, so obviously, you have to come to the decision that it’s something you’re interested in, or at least getting more information. So you basically call wherever your local offices usually it’s, you know, you have one or two offices, depending how big your county is, it’s on a county level, at least in New Jersey, and you go to an orientation where you know, a caseworker speak sometimes a foster child that was you know, in the foster care system, their experiences, they give some statistics and then if you’re interested in more, you kind of get the process started, they give you a few things to fill out. And then you start doing in class. So we did about I think it was like 1212 or 13 Wednesday’s in a row. And it was three hour at night. So you have to make that commitment for class class time in terms of kind of we had a book in text about how to deal with certain things the kids are coming from developmental things from like every stage of a child. And then during this time, they’re doing this pretty good putting together this whole case study. So it’s like who you are as a family as an individual why you’re doing it. You know, your experiences things like obviously our miscarriages and stuff like that were in our file, then they interview people. You have to write give recommendations of people that have known you for like five years, 10 years or, or longer in terms of like your time character, or what you’re doing, you don’t get paid, there is this common stereotype or a fallacy in terms of a foster parent, but each child does get a stipend. So that has been abused in the past from people. So they, you know, get like 10 kids, and then all the stipends, they just keep for themselves, and then obviously, don’t give anything to children. So there’s instances where like, if you’re financially stable, they have to see if you’re obviously doing it for the right reasons. And this can take, I would say, probably, seven months to longer, it actually took us about a year in total to get licensed, because my wife was in Georgia, actually, for a while and worked in Georgia. And then like, they couldn’t reach Georgia in terms of validate that employment. And it was just a lot of loopholes. So if like, if you lived in a lot of places, or, you know, you had a lot of jobs, or whatever you switch profession, sometimes it takes longer, because they have to kind of compile all that information. And then once that kind of goes through, you need your house licensed to so you get a license, as an individual foster home, and then you have to have your home license in terms of the amount of children you can have in your home based on bedrooms based on space, how safe it is things in terms of modifications, if any, you have to make things you need, like obviously fire extinguishers, different things like that, and then your home gets licensed to and that gets relicensed every year. And then there’s additional trainings you need to take every year as a foster parent as well.

DJ Doran  36:30

Oh, um, do you have any say in the type of child that is placed in your foster care?

36:37

Yeah, so basically, this is what happens. So my home is licensed for five children, we can I think have up to seven. And if it came down to it, because we have a reputation, obviously, of being, you know, genuine people, and taking care of all the kids and kids coming into our home and doing a complete 360 coming in not being able to even speak or being nonverbal. And then two, three months later, they’re having full conversations. So we get basically call. So there’s a person in charge of calling there’s lists of foster parents and their availability, and say, Hey, we have this, it’s either an emergency removal, which is on the spot, and you can get it at 11 at night, and like, Hey, we have this child, can you take them even short term, until we find them a place to, you know, stay permanently or somewhat permanently? Or it’s gonna be court ordered? So you know, they call you, you know, we’re probably removing someone we’re going to court tomorrow. So this removal is probably going to be in two or three days, are you able to accommodate and based on the amount of kids you currently have? And you can ask questions, you know, do they have developmental delays? Do they have any behavioral issues? Do you know the trauma that they suffered? Is there anything else we should know? And it’s, it’s up to that person to disclose as much as possible? Obviously, some, some information is private, I guess. But you try to ask as many questions and then see if you know, you’re willing to take them. Obviously, some things, some situations, we weren’t able to take the children based on the children we had currently in our home in terms of special needs and things of that nature. But you essentially get a call, you ask as many questions as possible. And then you really have a few minutes to decide on your own or, you know, with your significant other if you’re open to take them and then they just show up and you basically start that chapter of your life.

DJ Doran  38:24

Okay, last question, I promise. What is it like when a kid shows up, but let’s assume that they’re old enough. And they have some sort of cognisance? They show up? They’re scared out of their wits. They’re in a strange house with a strange person. How do you how do you deal with that? How do you make them feel comfortable? And what is, in your experience has been like a common emotion or feeling or anything when they first show up?

38:51

Yeah, I mean, it’s tough because a lot of the first thing a lot of them need is a shower or a bath. And obviously, you they have to be comfortable with you, if they’re past a certain age you that you have to let them bathe or shower on their own, then it’s kind of monitor them if they’re young, you have to assist in that and kind of like, obviously, that’s, that’s impactful, because they just went through trauma, I’ve seen trauma, but I mean, the easiest thing to kind of bring bridge the gap or making you feel comfortable, is have a meal ready or have some toys in a common area, or obviously both, because a lot of them are most of them that I’ve experienced in terms of all the kids we’ve had, they’ve been neglected and you know, underfed, not fit at all. So food is one of those things that it really kind of builds trust. And like I said, food, you give them a clean pair of pajamas, you have like a teddy bear ready and you just spend some time with them not like overly smothering or try to hug them or whatever, but like kind of feel them out. See if they need anything as questions just be as open as possible. And then show them their room that it’s okay that it’s safe. This is where you’re sleeping, and then spend as much time as possible with them and see and monitor them. Those those first few days that night, if there’s any nightmares, are they crying? Are they not sleeping? And they’re scared? And then, you know, deal with those things that come up as as they come up?

DJ Doran  40:10

Sure. Wow. I literally could continue on but I want to talk about some of the other things in your life. What was it like a Roman growing up as a first generation? immigrant I read on your on your bio, what is it? What was that like?

40:26

For you? Me It was interesting. I mean, I came here in 1990. I came at a good age, I would say if you if you want to immigrate somewhere at that age, that is a great age five years old. Because you get infused right into the culture into the system, I had to take a class called English second language, I think I was in it about a year and a half, two years where you’re taught English and

DJ Doran  40:47

no English when you first No, no

40:49

nothing. And then learning English or any language at that age. I don’t think I have an accent at this point. And the way your your brain is getting programmed and everything like that, like in terms of learning languages, you can pick up languages a lot faster, and you have an native kind of tongue so you don’t retain an accent. Because obviously, my mom has been here and my parents grandparents, the same amount of time, but they still retain their accent. So I came here at a at a great time. And a what, I think it was harder for my parents and grandparents because all they really did was really go to school and play and have, you know, kids that spoke English, I think that helped me to to learn really quickly. And you know, kind of took it from there.

DJ Doran  41:29

Do you have any memory of what it was like to live in the Soviet Union?

41:34

Yeah, I mean, there was, you know, religious oppression and persecution. In terms of communism, you’re seeing the same thing in China right now. They, you know, demolished churches, you know, burning Bibles and presenting pastors and stuff like that. So in communism, like the the system, or the state is, who you serve, or who you worship. So basically, it was I mean, it was similar to that. We still kind of we went to church, I guess, I don’t know if you would say undercover or whatever. But you know, the KGB would be outside of the church writing down, who’s coming out was leaving different things being tapped in terms of other things, like hot water being shut off at night waiting and breadlines with my mom for like, a loaf of bread or whatever. It was like a treat to get something that wasn’t from that area. So like, Orange is tangerine stuff that’s not in that native climate. Like if you got that it’s like, oh, it’s it’s a holiday or whatever, you know,

DJ Doran  42:31

where your parents Christians?

42:33

Yeah, I mean, technically, one reason we left was religious persecution. And it was one of those things where it was like the perestroika and lessening of different things in terms of restrictions that come and go. And we were part of the the, the, the, at that time people leaving, we had a sponsor here, a distant family member. So basically, you know, if you sponsor someone, you basically, for a certain amount of time, you take kind of legal and financial responsibility for them. And it was a distant family member. And from at that time, it was it was like a weird set. So you had to go through Vienna, Austria, and then Rome, Italy. And then here, so I was about two or three weeks in Vienna, Austria, I think, a month or two in Rome, Italy. And then we came here and initially, I was supposed to go to San Mateo, California. And then I ended up in New Jersey, which to reflect on that I think I would have been a lot different in terms of the variables West Coast, the East Coast, but sure,

DJ Doran  43:27

I’ve lived on both. I lived in Southern California for a bit. And as a New Yorker, in Southern California, I literally was a fish out of water. It’s a complete different lifestyle viewpoint in everything. And I didn’t care for it myself. But, and they didn’t have any decent Italian pastries, and they didn’t have conditioners or White Castle, or any of the stuff that I grew up with when I was a kid. So when you do you have a recollection, Roman, like when you first do you have a recollection? Or is there a moment when you you were like, Oh, this is so much different than where I came from.

44:10

Um,

44:13

it’s interesting, because like I said, like, being in Ukraine, and then I think my parents were saying, We’re leaving Ukraine. And then we got to Vienna, Austria, my mom and my grandfather could speak German and stuff like that. So it was an issue for them. And I stayed at home and communicate in Ukrainian to my parents, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. And then there are other Ukrainians with us they you know, the we they put us in a hotel in Rome, Italy, and that wasn’t really that big of a deal. So it’s just like, I mean, it added like I did so much traveling before the age of five technically, right? It’s just one of the thing I don’t know maybe that instilled the love of traveling and learning about new cultures. But it wasn’t like something that was like the shock now I’m in the US, but it was like, I mean, there. There’s a lot of stuff like around Europe. At that time that was in the US. I mean, we came here, people were showing us around, there’s like, Oh, look, this is a mall like, like, acting like there wasn’t any mall said, You earned your place. All right, it’s a big bill that would have boots, but just stores you have those everywhere. So it was like, one of those things, I think there was a lot of it, it wasn’t like we were living in, you know, Rubble, I’m from vive, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a 70 750 year old city. So it’s, you know, one of, in my opinion, the the nicest looking cities in Europe. So it like the culture and stuff was there, but it wasn’t that much of a culture shock, at least for me, at five years old.

DJ Doran  45:40

So, um, what do you since you’ve come from Ukraine, you’ve come from that sort of society where the government was really overseeing a lot of your life or life, or your parents lives? What do you how do you make the comparison to what’s going on? Now here in the United States, I hear it all the time, you know, that, oh, you know, socialism, or communism or Marxism or whatever is so horrible. And yet, here it is, in on the front pages of our, of our country’s news media.

46:18

Yeah, people, people that haven’t lived through it often define it as this great Savior. And no one can name me one country that, you know, communism, or socialism, to the level of that I’ve experienced, it actually was worthwhile, or actually, what was in terms of, you know, playing out. So it’s, it’s awesome, when you read about this utopian society in the book, it’s not awesome when it’s implemented. And there’s still a certain group of people that hoard all the resources and everybody else’s, like, you work for the common good of those people. And that’s basically it would have I mean, you look at the Soviet Union, when it fell, look at all the billionaires and all the guards in Russia, they’re all former KGB, or former people that just, you know, snatched up natural resources, different, you know, mineral companies, oil companies, and made it their own. So it’s one of those things where I feel like even here, if there’s a lot of people that haven’t experienced, you know, different trials, or things or like a tough life in the sense that, like your whole government, or your whole country, like you can’t do anything, like, they have the option to express those opinions, but the way that people are expressing their opinions in terms of violence, just because of a political viewpoint, you can’t have a dialogue, you know, whatever your your, I don’t have to agree with somebody’s lifestyle, or viewpoints or whatever, but I can still be civil to them, you know, I don’t have to adhere to that or live within that, but I can still have a conversation, and still be a decent human being, and and see what maybe our common commonalities are, and what the differences are. I mean, yes, there’s issues the US has, but I feel like just burn down the system and rebuild it, I don’t think that’s necessarily going to end the way that people think you will.

DJ Doran  48:00

Right. And I I agree with that, completely. And I think that I’ve traveled extensively over my career in the Air Force. And I’ve seen other countries that, you know, you stand in line at the grocery store to, to, and, you know, there’s five tomatoes or something like that. And I remember, I tell the story, I came back to the United States, first time after I visited Russia. And I and, and where we were, they had two grocery stores, one for the tourists and one for the regular population, I went to the regular population one, and saw that I came back here, you know, you go into any grocery store, and they’re everywhere, and they have 500 types of tomatoes, all of them, you know, overflowing in the thing, and you realize how rich and, and, and how almost gluttonous this country is that we throw away, we throw away more food, and some people even have access to, you know, even in the basic, and I just, you know, I agree that there are a lot of problems in the United States and, and everything, but this is still a country where in one generation, you can go from nothing to something it’s still possible to do that. And reading your bio, you know, you were you were at the end of different apparently pretty depressed and didn’t know what to do and you reinvented yourself. And then you now created this whole new career. And tell me a little bit about that, what that process was and what it was like, starting your own company, you know, you’re you didn’t have it looks like from what I’ve read, you didn’t have a formal education and SEO or, or any of that or any of those digital things. So so you’re like, I’m from Ukraine. I’m an I’m an immigrant to this country. I you know, I I don’t have any opportunities right now. I’m at the end of my rope I depressed I’m jobless. And, and then from there, you self taught yourself and then became an entrepreneur. So let’s explore that. A little

50:00

So I think anyone will how’re they’re feeling today, if they wake up and have kind of breath in your lungs in a heartbeat tomorrow, they can do something to change that, you know, that you keep complaining or feeling that their situation is holding them down, or they can make some kind of change. So yeah, like you said, it’s funny, like from that person that initially I met, I ended up I pretty much worked for free for a few months, the money I was supposed to get paid their cat unquote, unfortunately got cancer and the money that’s supposed to pay me went to the cat. So that was kind of my start. Uh huh. And, yeah, so it was one of those things like, Okay, well, again, the experience, I’ve at least know. So I was like, 20 G’s on a cat that passed away of cancer. I’m not gonna hate the person because I had my dog actually, at osteosarcoma. She had a tumor and part of her shoulder removed last October, and she’s still with us, she had to do chemo. And I can understand from a pet owners perspective, but that’s, that’s all dependent on the person and, you know, people from the outside in, how are you spending this money? The cat may have been part of their life for you know, 15 whatever years and is like a family member. So I’m not gonna eat

DJ Doran  51:05

like, it’s great to understand that, but it still doesn’t put food on your table.

51:10

Yeah, I mean, I took that, like, I learned this skill set, I put my resume out there. I got picked up by a company called LexisNexis. So I

DJ Doran  51:17

worry, I know.

51:18

Yep. Yeah. So they have different departments, I worked in the legal aspects. So I did a marketing or digital marketing for small, medium and large sized law firms all over the country. So I had a portfolio at one point of about, I would say, close to 100 clients, it was about seven figures and kind of spend. So that’s SEO, social media paid search, different digital marketing efforts. So I started with them. And it was a great place because you had websites to work on. So for me, if you go to school for digital marketing, that’s all well and good. But I think digital marketing, you really need websites, you really need campaigns to run to really get it.

DJ Doran  51:53

Let me ask you, let me ask you that. So when you when you say you had websites to run, what does that mean? So basically, people are listening may not know that,

52:04

yeah, so I mean, if you’re a company or brand, your your website is kind of the the cornerstone of who you are online. So all your digital marketing efforts, get driven campaigns get driven. I mean, it’s a representation of your brand and what you do. So every, in that case, law firm had their own site. So what they offer in terms of areas of practice, different social proofs, you know, vertix, you know, 1 billion verdicts, lifetime verdicts, about their attorneys, other information, their blogs, or their other assets. So basically, like, I would get a website, and they would say, hey, I want to rank for XYZ. And when they show up, and these regions, these gios, let’s say criminal justice Attorney, Lawyers and related terms in New York City and or New York State. And then with my knowledge, I would propose a content strategy, I would map things in terms of different keyword strategy for on site, basically, on site, the pages themselves, different titles, different description, different metadata, and then basically infuse all that with obviously, there’s a technical aspect of SEO as well. And then an off site in terms of link acquisition and authority building, and basically own that campaign so that the site would launch or relaunch or we would redevelop the site or refresh the content. And then I would monitor and manage it and and up to optimize it throughout the duration of the campaign, which usually the contract there was a year.

DJ Doran  53:25

And when you optimize what was what were your measurement? What were your measurables for success.

53:34

I had my own but it was guided by what was sold in the contract, really. So I mean, my efforts in terms of driving organic, paid social traffic, and then monitoring and from that, distinguishing the leads that came from those specific traffic sources. And then obviously, if those leads lead to cases, or whatever I’m doing in terms of sales or inquiries, and if that obviously developed, added ROI to that business company or brand.

DJ Doran  54:03

And and did you get paid as a commission? Or?

54:08

No, I wish. No. So I started there, it was another thing. So I basically got contacted by a recruiting firm. And they, they dictated what, whatever. So at that point, it’s like, Okay, I need something else. So that was 16 bucks an hour. So I started with 16 bucks an hour, I kind of re evaluated that, like at this point, should I be making more whatever, I’ll take it more experience. They were getting paid about $45 an hour and then giving me $16 of it and then paying me through them. So for about a year and a half I was contract and then I I got full time salary there. And they had you know, different people come in in terms of management teams and stuff like that President. And then eventually I was kind of on the lead team. So it was a SEO and social media strategist on elite clients that spend 100 K or more with company So I had, I would say, like 20 accounts, and each of them were, you know, $100,000 or more.

DJ Doran  55:06

So when you say a social media campaign Did you buy, you bought, um, social media advertising,

55:15

paid in organic social, so a lot of the time it was organic social strategy. So a content calendar content created for the duration of the month or whatever, as well as supporting and including blog content for longer tail keyword targeting is zero.

DJ Doran  55:34

You know, I always hear people say, Oh, don’t don’t boost any posts on Facebook or Instagram, it’s not worth it. What would be your opinion about that?

55:44

I mean, currently, like your, your, your pricing is, is not that high. So if you want to spend a few dollars to target the audience that you want to see that content, but may not be able to reach otherwise through it, I would recommend you I always recommend to test you know, one of those things that I’ve was reluctant about is Tick Tock and then I tested it. And now I put content on Tick Tock because it performs so well, in terms of promoting my podcast, providing content about being being a foster parent about the struggles I deal with stuff like that. And Tick Tock because of the pandemic has gotten really a lot older than pre pandemic, in terms of like the the audience, right, there’s a lot of 2030, you know, 4050 6070 year olds that are like influencers? I see some people that are like, 7080, with millions of followers and just putting content about their everyday life. That’s right.

DJ Doran  56:38

What do you think about what President Trump is doing with Tick Tock? I mean, I saw something recently that, you know, you weren’t gonna be able to download it soon.

56:47

I mean, it. It’s like a slippery slope, because I mean, India already banned it. I mean, India has their beef with China and that like region where they had like skirmishes and stuff like that, in the Himalayas? So it did, do they steal information and have spyware within within that company? Bite dancer? Well, bid answer, whatever it’s called, that owns Tick Tock. They may or may not because it’s state controlled. So I see from a from a position of limiting in that way. I mean, I see a lot of pro Trump content more. So I think Trump supporters a lot more active than Biden supporters in terms of putting content out there on Tick Tock. So from that perspective, I don’t see him banning it from a political standpoint. But I mean, if he was given information in terms of the CIA, like, this is a security threat. And it’s not a US own tech company like Facebook, Instagram. I mean, it’s a double edged sword, I feel it personally, I feel the government works with each of these entities that are, you know, US control. So Twitter, Instagram, obviously, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and, and they work in terms of cooperation, if they have to get information and things of that nature that the public doesn’t necessarily know about. I mean, I personally think that happens, like all the time, in terms of that kind of relationship with the CIA, NSA, whatever. So I don’t know if it’s just about not being able to control the information, but what have you, if it fit, if it really does impact the security or something is, is being taken that China can use against the US, then I think there should be some limitations. And I guess it’s sold to what Oracle with the support of Walmart or the North American business, or it’s being operated by Oracle or some kind of array. And I think

DJ Doran  58:33

that’s what they want is, I think, what they don’t want to ban the plot the technology, or the platform itself, or the access to the platform, they just want to have a buffer between the platform and the and the originating company control by state run on China. So I think that’s the I think that’s their end goal. Because I agree, there’s a lot more pro Trump content on there, I didn’t understand why he would ban that when it’s mostly in his favor. But I think that he’s trying to get the best of both worlds. He wants to keep tik tok going, but he wants to sever the the tether to, to that company in China. And, you know, before we get into politics, which is the last segment I want to talk about, I want to talk about your entrepreneurial path. So when you, um, you start out, you’ve got all of this experience, you started to realize that you had a talent for it, but no formal education. Is that right? Yep. Correct. You just taught yourself and what is it like as an entrepreneur myself, I know this answer, but tell everyone else what it’s like to say to yourself, Yo, I’m going to go out and do this on my own. I’m going to create my own company, and I’m going to create my own paycheck.

59:49

I mean, it’s scary. It’s a lonely journey. I mean, having like everything on your back in terms of providing for either yourself or your family. If you have employees, your employees And, you know, you don’t have the luxury of failing most times, it’s like, you have to figure out what happened and pivot from it, if if it’s something that it’s like a dead end. So from that perspective, it’s, it’s tough. I mean, in terms of like mental health, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot in terms of a burden on that, too. I mean, it is like entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. And if you haven’t kind of lived it, you don’t necessarily understand it. So, I mean, the rates of suicide are higher with founders and, and different CEOs and stuff like that, or, you know, a lot of the unicorn companies and just, you know, tech, in general, because they’re, they’re putting all this pressure on themselves, and not really releasing it, or having some kind of way to, you know, harness it in a positive way or, or just let go of it. And a lot of time they turn to vices, or, you know, like I said, suicide, mental health, having panic attacks, anxiety attacks, stuff like that. So, I mean, it’s been hard, I mean, you experienced kind of the growing points, people screwing you over in terms of business, not paying you in terms of clients. So you go through all of that. And I think it’s just one of those things that when if you do go through it, it makes you a lot stronger, and you’re like, a different breed than, you know, your average kind of, you know, office corporate, you know, climbing the ladder type of employee,

DJ Doran  1:01:21

you know, I, I often say, I have, I have a big company now, and, you know, financial stress is not as keen as it was when I first started. But oftentimes, the younger people that work in the company, they’ll come up to me, and they will be chatting, and they’ll say, Oh, you’re so lucky. And I have to remind them, that luck has very little to do with it. If you work the longest hours, you create your job every day, you pay yourself last and you hope that on the back end, it’s going to pay off. And and and then you you know, it’s it’s it’s tough, not only the mental stress of like you just said people screwing you over, or clients not paying or not paying in a timely fashion. And you’re counting on that. How did you? How did you provide for your family? or What gave you the mental strength to provide for your family? As you were developing your business?

1:02:14

Yeah, I mean, at first, I didn’t phase 100% out of it. So like, I did nine to five, and then six to whatever, six to 12, or eight to two, I worked on accounts and things of that nature and built relationships and scaled it that way. So I mean, at one point, I think a big thing is leveraging your relationships and really networking and having a circle of people that you can not even come to in terms of you know, maybe you have some work, but advice, you know, mentors, people I found is, is

1:02:43

so important.

1:02:45

Yeah, people don’t understand kind of your mindset and some of your struggles, I mean, it’s the same thing, like you, you can relate to somebody that’s been through something that you’re going through a lot more than me just talking to you, like, Oh, you know, get better or whatever, it’s not as genuine and you can connect as much I mean, I’m not saying that person doesn’t care, but it’s the same thing where I’m going through something as a foster parent, I have different groups of, you know, support systems, in terms of other foster parents that know exactly what I’m going through, it can really offer like a word of wisdom. So I think that’s really important of having people around you, friends, family and people within the industry that you’re in to really kind of get your back that way and, and never I don’t think ever if you if you have the opportunity to don’t kind of build a burn your bridges either. Because you don’t know how that will come into play in the future. And, you know, I yeah, I try to nurture I guess relationships and, and be at least on a cordial kind of level. Because I mean, if I can help somebody great if somebody can help me in some way, not that I’m looking for it, but the opportunity comes about really taking taking advantage of it. And that luck comes into play, I would say only a few percent of that total equation. Yes. Sometimes, you know, stars align and, and you happen to be in the right time and you meet the right, startup founder, CEO, a person that really gives you a chance and you get your first big client or whatever. But you can depend on that you do the other things that you know, you can do and can control and then the rest falls into place.

DJ Doran  1:04:09

You know, a 2.0 and add to that one is the thing that I learned it took me a while to learn because I’m trusting person by nature, is get rid of negative people quickly. You know, keep your circle of people that are positive that support what you’re doing that believe in what you’re doing and that they are to help you. But it took me a while to realize that having people around you that that don’t support what you’re doing or have fear about what you’re doing and they want to project that fear onto you. is like having a gorilla on your back as you’re building it. So now as a as an older business person, whenever I find someone coming into my circle that is that I very quickly am able to identify and and push them off to the side. Now I may not discount them as a human being they may be good human beings, but I get rid of that. negativity. And I get rid of that, that, that sort of a Debbie Downer attitude, because it’s a distraction for, for me to achieve my goals. And the other thing that I think is, is so important is if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, then how can you expect anyone else to believe in what you’re doing. So you have to have a clear vision of what you believe you can accomplish. And, and a lot of times, you have to, you have to do that with people, like I said earlier, that are fearful. And I would never do that, oh, I wouldn’t risk that. And, and I used to find myself second guessing, and saying, maybe I shouldn’t be doing that, maybe I would have you, it took a while for me to figure out that I, the the equation, the part of the equation that is going to make this successful is me. And I know what I’m capable of. And that’s what’s helped me helped me succeed in in what I’m doing. Now, when, um, now that you have this, this company, where you see yourself in the next couple of years, you know, how do you see? How do you see your company evolving? And where do you see yourself in the industry?

1:06:12

Yeah, I mean, at this point, I just for the last five years, so like the the business model is fully remote. So I’m not I don’t have overhead of office, I can work anywhere personally, or jump on calls. And basically have people from usually across the US, you know, some kind of on a more full time basis, but some on a project basis, knowing how many hours they have, and what their talent base is, and you know, their bill rate and stuff like that. They have it’s like I mean, a team, you have a you’re kind of first string or you know, your starters in the game, right, and you have your bench that you can put in and plug in where you see fit. So I mean, just growing that way in terms of kind of where the industry goes in general. And then what I enjoy doing for kind of like passion, project wise is my podcast. So I mean, I would like to do more of it. And it was like one of those things people like you’re wasting your time on the podcast, and it was, you know, we actually grew a lot.

DJ Doran  1:07:09

I was gonna just get into that. I want to I want to end the last segment talking a little bit about politics and things. But I wanted to ask about your podcast, what motivated you to start a podcast because even myself, I’m very, very busy. But I really enjoy doing my podcast. And I’ve met so many interesting people as a result of that. It’s sort of like my disconnect from my everyday business life. And this is this is me, you know, meeting other people and talking about things that interest me, and and hopefully them as well, is that what motivated you?

1:07:41

Yeah, so I guess in December, it will be three years. At first, it was just me talking about foster care when I became a foster parent, tactical implementations of businesses, what they can do in terms of like real world strategies in terms of top level kind of scenarios that only informational it don’t necessarily play out in the real world. And then my grandfather passed away February of 2019. In March of 2019, I switched over to an interview format, I think it helped in the grieving and coping process where I would talk to people, sometimes the topic would come up, we talked about loss from where they came from different struggles and hurdles. And it kind of really helped me, in my opinion, when I look back on it, like, part of the grieving process and helped me kind of get through it. Obviously, it’s still with me, but it’s one of those things that happen. And you know, it’s it’s part of me at this point.

DJ Doran  1:08:33

It’s part of life. Yep. And, and it’s, it’s important to learn how to deal that you never get over it. My mother passed away in in 2001. And it doesn’t, it’s been 19 years, and it’s still, you know, you never get past that. You just learn to cope with it.

1:08:53

Yep, like you said, it’s part of you at that point. But it’s not like crippling at that time of it, where you feel like you can’t even function. And since March, at this point, I think I’ve interviewed about I would say like 250 people, all different walks of life. And like you said, some people I don’t think I would ever talk to otherwise. I mean, people from Australia, South Africa, South America at this point, I think every for most of every continent, people are like founding members of like the Mexican drug cartel, which I personally would have never ran into. And just like their takeaways and how they and that specific instance, you know, we’re ministered to, and basically turned their life over to God and willingly went to prison and fessed up and atone for what they’ve been through and just gave away 10s of millions of dollars and forfeited it or they could have just said, you know, got off with it and kept that money, things like that, where like, I try to learn something from each interview itself that I can apply. And it’s just like you said, it’s just like, interesting to me, to really learn what makes people tick, how they became who they are. At this point, I want to create like a database or a network of all my guests, and also create some kind of maybe a book at some point, what makes all these people tick and figure out what overlaps, you know what situations people that overcame and, and really be a resource because there’s instances where I haven’t met any people yet. And I met someone that had opposite, oppositional defiance disorder, and ADHD at the same time, which is what one of my foster kids had. And they were just like, all over the place, just being defiant, violent. And this person, you know, sold seven, eight figure companies, you know, went past and that was a speaker wrote a book. So really understanding what they went through how they dealt with it. And then now I can take that and talk to that child and show that child Hey, there’s somebody that made it that looks exactly or went through whatever you went through. And it’s just like, it’s really cool finding that

DJ Doran  1:10:52

very empowering. Is there a guest or topic that stands out to you that really had an impact?

1:11:01

Yeah, I mean, that one episode about like, being in the drug cartel and, and ending up in the drug cartel and coming from a clean cut background. And, and getting into it, because the person had worked for the Federal Reserve was one of the youngest employees. And an opportunity came about to basically do the books for one of his professors while he was still in school, because he spoke Spanish. And then he saw a large amount of money moving in, he asked the people like you own a store, and you have like, the hundreds of thousands of dollars coming in a week. And then they said, Hey, we’re drug dealers nonchalantly, and I mean, that kind of stuff, learning how that seduces somebody, you know, in their youth. So somebody’s 2021 22 you see all this money moving around, you know, we’re all human, you know, we’re not perfect, and how somebody from kind of a clean cut background ended up in that kind of life, and then how they found their way after the fact. So I think that was, that was a great episode episodes where like, where they force you to kind of examine who you are, and, and who you become through some of our all the things that life throws at, you know, like my my situation in terms of miscarriages and miscarriages, laws, accidents, that lead to death, murder, all kinds of stuff like that, just some of the most horrific things in life, how people can overcome them. So episodes that include those really like, you know, rather than

DJ Doran  1:12:23

So, as a person of faith, when you watch the news right now, what do you think about the removal of God from just about everything? You know, I know that, you know, people like to say there’s a separation between church and state, but the United States was founded on some of the principles that were were religious base? And how do you how do you view that? How does that reconcile with your faith?

1:12:49

Yeah, I mean, it’s tough, because anything you look, if you turn on the news, and media and entertainment, everything bad is good, and everything good is bad. It’s just like this reversal of everything. And it just kind of tried to be a lighter beacon and everything that’s going on. I mean, people don’t use any kind of guiding force at this point. I mean, like you said, they took God, I mean, God was in schools guide was in this guide was in that, and, you know, re evaluating what’s actually going on. And like I said, actually having a conversation or people, people rather, you know, ride or destroy property, then, in my opinion, me and discuss, and there’s no doubt that there’s issues in every country, and every population in terms of some of the things that are going on. But sitting down and understanding that or having having just a calm conversation or just showing love to each other, not agreeing with with how people are what they do, but just coming at it from a non violent perspective, I think would go a long way. I mean, there are there been a lot of protests that were positive and, you know, peaceful, and then, you know, a lot that weren’t. So it’s just one of those things where, you know, it’s an issue, and I mean, I think I’m independent. So I’ll vote for who I think is the right candidate. But I think Democratic Parties supported when these things turn into riots. And then when the riots actually like, became like, the protests became riots. And all these people started to be negatively impact. And my issue is like, the communities that are being burned is the communities that you’re talking about. So you hear other people like you burnt down every store in my area, I can’t go buy food. Now I have to take a bus for like 20 minutes or 30 minutes, right? Go get groceries, like you’re literally burning your own communities to make a point, you know what I mean? So it’s like,

DJ Doran  1:14:44

it’s a crazy time that we live in and you really can’t have civil discourse, even if you disagree or even if you agree, it’s either all or nothing, and it’s you can’t have a conversation. Because of the loud noises of people screaming at each other. I don’t know what the what the future holds. But it’s 2020 is one for the history books for sure. And I don’t think it’s done, you know, messing with people quite yet I think until the election is over until the coronavirus is subsided, or, or they find it vaccine, people are just going to be crazy. And I think a lot of it is, is exacerbated by people being stuck, stuck inside, you know, and restricted and, and they’re lashing out and, and all that stuff too. But But what do you think? What are your opinion? What is your opinion about how this country? How has it changed from when you first came here and what you first believed about it when you were able to sort of have a Cognizant understanding of how the country worked to what it is now? And where do you think it will be? In the short term future, in your opinion, is all subjective. So there’s no right or wrong answer?

1:15:58

Yeah, I mean, I feel people, people were less offended by things, people are more concerned about being offended about things and actually, like, figure something out. So if it makes people sad or upset, then automatically it’s it’s, it’s bad. I mean, sometimes things are tough, and you have to feel things. So I feel like, my whole thing is like, facts don’t really care about emotions, in most circumstances. And I feel like a lot of people, regardless of their differences, we’re willing to whatever, like not be as harsh to each other, but also agree with with who they are, what they believe, or whatever. But they can be at least civil, you know what I mean? They don’t have to give violence like that. Obviously, I remember, obviously, there were Rodney King riots and things of that nature. But it’s just like, you know, everything kind of boiled up, and now it’s spilled. And it’s like, the pandemic, this and that. And like you said, it’s kind of like the perfect storm.

DJ Doran  1:16:52

And what do you think about the defend the police movement? You know, I’m not sure what I believe about that. What I think about that, you know, it’s like, Okay, if you wanted to fund the police, let’s just have all the policemen fired in your city and see what happens. That’s, I

1:17:09

mean, that’s been happening to a certain extent, and people are calling 911. and things of that nature, like, well, we can’t get somebody to there for like, 1520 minutes, or the same people that are like destroying things are calling 911. Because they’re afraid of like the counter protest. So it’s like, you can’t have it both ways. If you have you want no law and order. See how that goes for you. Because you need some kind of look at any part of history, they have some kind of governing body that has some kind of rule of law, you know what I mean? Something that has to govern something, or it’s gonna be like vandals attacking Rome, or, you know, just just hordes of people just destroying and doing whatever they feel like, I’m just taking, like, whatever you work for, I’ll just take it, because there are no consequences.

DJ Doran  1:17:51

That’s what I don’t know. It’s a bigger question. But I was just curious what you thought about that coming from the Ukraine, where government was so on top of everything you’re doing to a situation now where you have local governments not doing anything, or very little to protect the majority of the people by letting these these minority groups. And when I say minority, not ethnic minority, meaning not, not in a in abundance, you know, basically just run rampant, just run rampant. And I hope that after the election is over, and I hope that after the pandemic goes on the backside, that things sort of stabilize a little bit, but I have no interest in reimagining the the basic tenants of the United States. And I think that people are, are I think a majority of the people feel the same way. What do you think about that? Because it seems to me like these, these groups, they really want to change the fundamental precepts of what the United States was founded on.

1:18:55

Well, I mean, then they can run off to Nicaragua or wherever I don’t see and everybody, you know immigrating, or trying to get into Nicaragua, you know, jump the border countries like that, that are oppressed. You see the US being the melting pot, and people represented from every nation, and still want to come because they know the alternatives, you know, people that are founding different unicorn companies, fortune 500 companies, they’re coming from direct first generation immigrants or have parents of immigrants. So I think they have that extra grit and understand where they’re coming from. So although there’s all these limitations, and there’s, you know, instances of racism and discrimination and things like that, it’s still the freest society and free a free is kind of incubator that you can really become, who you can become regardless of where you’re coming from.

DJ Doran  1:19:44

I agree. I agree. On that note, Roman, I literally could talk to you for another hour about so many different things. But before we wrap up here, why don’t you tell everyone where they can find you where they can follow your podcast, your website, your business, everything and Then we can we can have the closing.

1:20:02

Yep. I appreciate you having me on and horse Roman for Coach Chuck. Obviously it’s a little tough last name, but you can find me on any social media channel you can feel free to dm or, you know, message me about anything I talked about or if you have any questions. My website is no bizarre digital.com that’s the company and then my podcast is the digital savage experience that’s on every major podcast platform.

DJ Doran  1:20:28

Oh, one last thing I meant to I had just written down to ask you what is Nova zorra mean?

1:20:33

The direct Nova Nova zor means the direct translation new star. And Ukrainian obviously it’s written out in English, it would be in Cyrillic, but it means new star, kind of like growing your own reputation or having a fresh start, or becoming who you want as a business and kind of having your own trajectory online.

DJ Doran  1:20:52

Sure, sure. Well, Roman, it was an absolute pleasure to chat with you. I I like I said, we could have talked for another hour really easily. I hope you’ll come back sometime in the future and we can cover some of these other topics.

1:21:04

Yeah, sounds good. I really appreciate it. Take care. Have

DJ Doran  1:21:06

a great weekend. All right. Take care. Take care.

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