Only hire and delegate the repetitive tasks first. I heard everywhere “you should delegate to go further.” Thanks! But what I would love to know is how and what! I first delegated strategic tasks. It was a really bad idea.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Papasodaro from USponsor me.
Sarah Papasodaro was burned out with her job in France and decided to head abroad in early 2014. She received a position in NYC and also gained a new respect for the expat process.
Leveraging her 5 year’s experience as a software consultant, she has a strong ability to understand customers’ needs and manage the development of a tech platform that will efficiently solve their problem.
What started as a blog on her experiences quickly gained a flurry of new readers (reached 500K visitors in just 2 years, and obtained an impressive 65,000 subscribers to the newsletter in 3 years’s time) — and eventually evolved into USponsor Me along with a new full-time career. A talented business developer, Sarah also has 3 years of startup creation / management experience.
Hi Sarah! Thank you for joining us! Ca you tell us a little bit about how you grew up.
I grew up near Dijon, France, in a village where there were only 99 people. I lived in a ranch amongst horses where I was surrounded more by animals than humans. My parents didn’t really like to be surrounded by too many people.
Can you share a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
During high school, I traveled for an exchange with a family in Germany. This is how I discovered what life abroad was like, and how it was to have international friends. I enjoyed it so much! That’s why I decided to go there for one year after I graduated.
I went to live abroad for two years while getting my bachelor’s degree, discovering Germany, Slovenia, and German Switzerland. That’s how I realized I wanted to pursue a career with an international specialty.
When I returned home, I had the feeling of a deep gap between what I became and my former environment. I had to leave again. It’s very painful when you do not know where your home is anymore. You feel like a foreigner even at home. This is a strange feeling.
What’s the most interesting thing that has happened to you since starting your career?
The most interesting thing I’ve done in my life so far was moving to New York and then, starting USponsor Me, my own business, in California. It’s incredibly interesting to do something I truly have a passion for. I remember my first full-time day on my project as a feeling of freedom: “I’m now on my own! And I’m going to help hundreds of millions of people achieve their own American dream.”
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you first started your business? What lesson did you learn from that?
I’ve made plenty of mistakes since starting USponsor Me. But the funniest part was when I got denied my own visa in early 2017. I was blocked outside the United States for three months without the possibility of returning home to California.
At that time precisely, I coached a group of students on how to get a job and a visa in the USA. It was a very ironic situation!
My students were incredibly understanding at that time, and supported me as I supported them as well. Everybody was on the same ship.
At that time, we were so determined to go home, but very confused and we were not sure if it was possible for us to come back home one day.
We finally found a solution and went back to California and fought for the visa again and again until getting the green card. We went through so much regarding the visa application and process that I feel I acquired a huge knowledge on the subject. Mistakes and failures are a great way to learn.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you’re working on now?
The most interesting part for us now is to track the success rate of our candidates. Other job boards do not track it, but we do. We take care of our international candidates. Our goal is to improve the success rate to make sure most of our candidates find their job in the USA and get their visa with USponsor Me.
We want to guarantee, at least, landing an interview at sponsor companies. We are so excited about it!
The other exciting project for this year will be helping companies find the right candidates for them. We’re planning to handle the visa part, so it won’t be a nightmare for the company anymore. That’s brand-new and we’re excited about this new service.
What are a few things you wish someone had told you when you first started? Please share a story or example for each.
“Don’t stay too long stuck” is the first thing I wish someone would have told me when I first started. At the beginning, I stayed too long trying to help people getting their home in New York without listening to the newcomers.
“Find a co-founder, and not an employee co-founder.” Hiring someone to be a co-founder is a bad idea. It didn’t work for us. There is a big difference between an unpaid co-founder, just like us, who would do anything to make it happen, and a fully paid employee who wants to help, but has his own dream that is very different from the business idea to develop.
“Only hire and delegate the repetitive tasks first.” I heard everywhere “you should delegate to go further.” Thanks! But what I would love to know is how and what! I first delegated strategic tasks. It was a really bad idea.
What advice do you have for people in your industry to help them to thrive and not burn out?
I would recommend surrounding themselves with people who have faith in being and becoming an entrepreneur.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
It would be to promote mobility — to travel and work in another environment, country, or culture. It really helps developing confidence and self-reliance, independence and personality, as well as understanding of others, which makes a better world.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are?
Yes, I really want to thank Maxime, my husband, who was and is really amazing. He has supported me all the way from the start. Without his support, I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have done. At times I was feeling depressed and on the edge, ready to give up because of the difficulties, but Max never let me give up. He was always thinking positively when I was hitting rock bottom.