Season 1 Episode 19
Magie Cook, salsa entrepreneur with a purposeManifest incredible opportunities using emotional intelligence and having a ‘why’

Magie Cook’s journey to becoming a salsa expert and entrepreneur with purpose is one for the books. With a can-do attitude and serious manifestation skills, she went from growing up in an orphanage to a stint of adult homelessness to selling her salsa business – which would become part of a post-sale, $231M acquisition by Campbell’s Soup.

Tune in to discover how she tackled product, distribution, management, growth and more – with zero business schooling or experience.

Magie Cook is an entrepreneur with purpose. Before becoming the motivational speaker and coach she is today, her journey looked very different.

After someone entered her into a local salsa contest, Magie overcame all odds to leave homelessness and a challenging childhood behind to become a successful salsa brand founder. With zero business education or experience, she used a positive mindset, recognized the opportunities that came her way and figured out everything from sales to distribution the hard way – through trial and error.

We were fortunate enough to speak with Magie to hear about her company’s rapid growth, eventual acquisition and how having a purpose and emotional intelligence played a major part.

This is part two of our full interview with Magie Cook. Check out part one of the interview first, if you’d like to catch up before this episode.

  1. From orphanage to homelessness to salsa startup
  2. Facing your fears and learning through trial and error
  3. Building resilient, motivated teams via EQ and purpose
  4. Visualizing exactly what you want to achieve
  5. Hiring based on values
  6. The power of purpose – having a ‘why’
  7. Rapid-fire questions and closing

From orphanage to homelessness to salsa startup

Chris Allen: All right, well, good. Well, why don’t we get started? Let’s do the CliffsNotes version of your story, just to give everybody who may not have seen the previous episode a little bit of a better understanding. Give everybody a little bit of understanding of just your roots, where you came from, and how you even got into entrepreneurship.

Magie Cook: So, I’m originally from Mexico. I was born into an orphanage. I have 68 siblings. There’s 200 other kids that live with us. Our caregivers adopted 60 kids, and there’s eight of us biological. So, it’s an interesting thing that I like to mention sometimes because I’m one of their kids, but we actually suffered the most because they were afraid of losing other kids if they paid too much attention to us.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: So we were not orphans, the eight of us, but we had a rougher life. And so I grew up there, and then I was always looking for a way to get out of there to find something that would propel me to the next level. And that’s when I discovered basketball and, yes, I’m 5'2''.

Chris: Yeah, these are the things, like you’re 5'2'', and you’re great at basketball.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: It’s awesome.

Magie: Yes, and so when I graduated high school, I got recruited to play basketball for the Mexican national team in Mexico City, and we waited for about three months. Then I broke my collarbone playing football with my brothers, and I couldn’t go. We got a call, and I couldn’t go. And my father told me my dreams were over. Well, all that propelled me to coming to the US on a bus, which we stopped by Oklahoma, by the way.

Chris: OK, there you go.

Magie: And there was a basketball court that asked us for a picnic, and there happened to be the coach of the University of Charleston. She saw me play, and she told my caregiver that she wanted to give me a scholarship to come to the United States. And that’s how I came here. There’s more to that story, but I went to college. I graduated, couldn’t find a job, interior design in West Virginia. I became homeless. And then, after three months in the winter, living in the woods, and somebody...

Chris: You weren’t going back to Mexico.

Magie: No, no.

Chris: You’re like: I’m out.

Magie: Right, and somebody entered me into a salsa contest, and I won by unanimous vote. This was for the entire state of West Virginia at Capitol Market. And after I won that, I had an aha moment: Maybe this is something that I should explore. And the thing is fresh, fresh salsa wasn’t a thing back then. So, it was hard for people to understand unless they tried the product.

And so, I started the company. Somebody gifted me 800 bucks, and I grew it. Main research source was Google, and I just really started grass-rooting everything.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: And then it just grew and grew, and I had so many rejections from supermarkets and finally had a huge breakthrough and just went on and on.

Chris: That’s amazing. So, day one, you start a company, you’re already an award-winning salsa company.

Magie: Yes, yes.

Chris: That’s super cool, by the way, just to have that on day one.

Magie: Thank you.

Chris: OK, so talk to me a little bit about the person that entered you into the contest?

Magie: So that’s a really good question. And when I was in college, I used to make this pico de gallo salsa. And my friends had me bring it to all my teachers, and my teachers had me bring it to class because it was so good. So, it was popularized. So, when I graduated college, somebody from the school entered me into the salsa contest. I had no idea.

I got a call, finally, and they said, “You’re having this competition.” I’m like: “What?” And it was a blessing in disguise, after being homeless, and having that experience of winning the contest and all the people around me asking me: “Where can we buy this product?” And I’m like: “I don’t know; I’m homeless.”

Chris: Yeah, that’s amazing. So how many other entries were in the contest?

Magie: There were 15 other people, and all cooked salsas, like the Tostito salsa. Yes.

Chris: Yeah, and yours was fresh?

Magie: Yes, like a pico de gallo.

Chris: Wow. So that’s what set it apart. OK, that’s amazing. So, you have this epiphany moment of: You can start a company. So, talk to us a little bit about what that actually means because one of the things, the theme that I’ve seen with you, is that you happen to get these amazing calls. It’s like it’s almost every time. You’re going to hear it throughout the rest of this thing.

At any moment, it’s like: Yeah, and then I got this call, and it was like this amazing thing happened. Oh, I got this call. I’m going to go play for the Mexican national team. Oh, I got this call that I was supposed to be... Somebody entered me into this contest, and I just decided to go, and I just happened to win. It’s a theme. And I’m sure I will...

We’d just like to put a counter on how many times she gets the phone calls. It’s the best. Yeah, so talk to me a little bit about how the idea evolved and what were some of the first moves you made? And how long right after you win the contest do you decide, “I can do this as a company”?

Magie: So, when I won the contest, that’s when I had my aha moment, and I decided that I was going to do some research. And I got online, and I researched the pros and cons. And I said to myself, “If I have more cons than pros, I’m not going to start this company.” And I had slightly more pros, and I decided I’m just going to go for it.

Chris: All right, what was the pro that you remember most, and what was the con that you remember most?

Magie: The pro, even though it was tough to decide back then, is that there was really nothing like it out there. And I didn’t even know that I was going to get a lot of market resistance because it was a niche product. It was a new product, but sometimes markets will fight back. But, in my mind, it was more like: “I just need to get people to try the salsa.” And that’s what happened at the contest. People tried it, loved it. They want to buy it, and that was just the beginning. I think that was the biggest pro for me.

Chris: OK. What was the biggest con?

Magie: The biggest con: I don’t know anything about business. I went to college. I took one business class: Business 101. I don’t know anything about business.

Chris: Yeah, so how did you go figure it out? What did you do?

Magie: Google.

Chris: Yeah?

Magie: Yes.

Chris: All right, so just Google or YouTube too?

Magie: Well, back then, I don’t remember if YouTube was back then.

Chris: I’m just kidding.

Magie: I reached out to the Small Business Administration back then.

Chris: You did, OK.

Magie: And they couldn’t help me. Initially, I was helping them. They were learning from me. “Oh, can you tell us more?” I’m like, “I’m not here for that. I just need to grow. I need to know, have some resources.” And it was tough, even for them, because the type of product that I was, the type of company that I was building. There was nothing like it. So, it was challenging.

Chris: Yeah, it’s a food and manufacturing and retail distribution.

Magie: Right.

Chris: So, talk to me about how the business was really formed, and what were some of the sales like?

Magie: First sales were the people at the contest and the Capitol Market. They asked me to have the products, so that was my very first store. And I remember selling the product for five bucks a pint to friends and people. That was the beginning. By the way, the comment that you were talking about earlier about: Yeah, and this person called me, and that is because I have this mindset of believing that there’s always something better out there, that something’s going to happen for me.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: Even though I don’t know what it is, I don’t want to put the words down because I know that if I believe that there’s something bigger that I can handle, I’m OK to welcome that. And it could be something bigger than what I even think to manifest that. And that’s why these things happen and continue to happen throughout my life.

Chris: That’s amazing. That’s like you’re a quantum creator or something. You’re ...

Magie: We’re all quantum creators.

Chris: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Magie: Absolutely.

Chris: I think we had a conversation a couple days ago with Amy Downs, and one of the things that’s really powerful was this idea that what you imagine your future looking like, you may not have the details, and you may not be attached to the outcome. But what you can do is see pieces of it, and you can bring them into your today.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: Right? And that’s one of the things that I think is really amazing about entrepreneurship is you have to have some vision. And it isn’t just a vision like: “I’m going to build a great company.” There’s a purpose. There’s a meaning. Those are easier to attach to because you’re in pursuit of something that you’re not 100% sure what the outcome is. Right?

Magie: Absolutely.

Chris: And that’s something I think is really interesting about your story is these outcomes that happen are just huge. You know what I mean?

Magie: I know.

Chris: So small beginnings, right? You’re selling for five bucks a pint. Right? What’s the evolution from I’m at the market to OK, I’m actually going to do a business? What are some of the first things that you started to do?

Magie: The first thing that I realized was that I couldn’t continue to buy the cost of goods, like the tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeños, directly from Kroger. I found out that you could go wholesale, but in order to do that, you had to buy a little bit more quantity. So, there’s some different steps there.

I used to have a big stack of $1 and $5 bills, and I was like: “Woo hoo, I’m a millionaire.” And even though it was just ones and fives, and one of my friends came into the room one day, he said, “What are you doing? You’re crazy. You should get a job. You’re not going anywhere with this.” But it’s just that mentality. Starting out, I had to design my own labels, do my own website, cut my own labels, put them on containers. It was really a slow start-up until a couple other mom-and-pop stores wanted it in town. One was a fish market. The other one was a meat company, retail.

Chris: But how did they discover you?

Magie: I think I was calling local stores, but I got a lot of rejections. And I think the selling point was: Hey, I won the contest at the Capitol Market. You want to try these products? The biggest challenge that I had was I remember writing this list of stores to call, from the smallest to largest, and there were a couple hundred. And the very first 90 that I remember checking off said, “No, we don’t want your products. What? Fresh salsa? What is it?”

And, at that point, I thought a little bit about giving up, but I just believed that I had something. And I put the list down, and I called other ready-to products and manufacturers in the area. And I asked them: How do you get into the stores? And they’re like, “They’re not going to listen to you. It took us five years to get this product in.”

Facing your fears and learning through trial and error

And all these things were happening, but I decided: You know what? This is scary. I’d never picked up the phone like I did and called people. I was so scared, and I decided the next day to take that list and turn it upside down. And now at the top of the list was the Whole Foods Market, in my mind, the largest organic retailer in the United States.

Chris: Yeah, so your list is mom-and-pop shop one, two, three, and then all the way down.

Magie: Right, yeah.

Chris: And you had Whole Foods down there, like the magical 100.

Magie: Yes, they were the last.

Chris: Yeah.

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: And then you flipped the script. And you ...

Magie: I flipped the script, and I was like: I hope they don’t answer. I’m going to call them.

Chris: So, you found a phone number, and you called?

Magie: Yes.

Chris: OK, wow.

Magie: So, I called this number. They didn’t answer. And I was like, “Hey, my name is Maria de la Cruz Garcia, I have an awesome pico de gallo de salsa. I think you guys would love it.” Hang up.

Chris: Yeah.

Magie: And I was parked in the city center the next day in my little car, a little beater car. And I got a call, and this guy says, “Hey, is this Magie?” I said, “Yeah.” He says, “This is Eric with Whole Foods.” And he says, “We heard about you. We want to know more. When can you come?” And I said, “Well, when do you guys meet?” He says, “Tomorrow at 9 a.m.”

The drive from West Virginia to Maryland is about seven or eight hours, depending on what you’re driving. So I said, “I’ll be there.” So, I literally went back to the kitchen, made salsa, drove all night, made it just in time. And I remember walking into the mid-Atlantic distribution center for Whole Foods.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: And I had a little skirt, little heels, my boxes of salsa with chips on top. And I go into this room, and there were mostly men, which was very intimidating to me.

Chris: Sure.

Magie: And I remember I laid the salsa boxes, and I opened them, and I opened the products, and they started to try the products, and they were silent. They were all buyers, so they were just talking about themselves. And then Eric gets up, and he says, “Oh, my God, we love your products. When can we have them?” And I’m freaking out.

Chris: Yeah, you’re like: Well, I did, just last night, make this, and then I put them in the jars. And then I did cut out the labels, and I did put those on.

Magie: That’s what it was.

Chris: So, you can have what I have.

Magie: Yeah. Yeah, no, they said, “Well, your first order is going to be 10,000 pounds of salsa,” and I didn’t even know what 10,000 pounds was.

Chris: 10,000 pounds.

Magie: And I was making about 250 pounds of salsa a week.

Chris: By yourself?

Magie: By myself and selling it to friends.

Chris: By yourself.

Magie: And that was a weekly ask: 10,000 pounds. And, by the way, there were so many other challenges. I didn’t have money. Banks wouldn’t loan me money. I had nothing to show for, so I had to be very creative as to how to get that to be able to buy the cost of goods. And I remember back then, the cost of goods for everything, containers, labels, product, even distribution, was close to $20,000.

Chris: A week?

Magie: Well, just to get started.

Chris: Just to get started. OK, got it.

Magie: So, I went to friends because the banks won’t loan me money. And I said, “I need $20,000 for the cost of goods. Will you lend me?” And they’re like, “Well, how are you going to pay us back?” Same thing the bank said. And I said, “OK, let me call Whole Foods.” And I called, and I said, “Hey, can you put something in writing because I need to show that you’ll pay me in a week so that I can borrow the money.” And they’re like, “Oh, yeah, it’s called a contract.” And I was like, “OK.”

Chris: Sure.

Magie: So, we signed the contract. This is just learning as you go.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Magie: And I signed the contract.

Chris: You’re like: You guys don’t put this kind of stuff in writing, do you? We’re shaking hands.

Magie: So, I came back with a piece of paper, and they let me borrow 20 grand. And, when the week was up, and I had delivered the product, they paid me $40,000. So, I returned the $20,000. Never had to borrow it again, and it was just...

Chris: There you go. Week two, you’re ready to roll.

Magie: Right, it just started multiplying.

Chris: Man, that’s amazing.

Magie: And that year, we went from making $12,000 to $1.9 million in just Whole Foods.

Chris: That is incredible.

Magie: And the thing that happened that’s interesting is: You have to be perseverant for something that you truly love and are passionate about because, when you break past that stopping point, all the supermarkets that said no now wanted my products. Because where I was in Whole Foods, OK.

Chris: That’s a credibility signal, yeah.

Magie: Right, credibility, exactly.

Chris: Man, that’s amazing.

Magie: And that changed everything.

Chris: Yeah, that’s a catalytic moment, for sure. So, you’re basically at a 100% margin. You’re at if you spend $20, you can make $40 on it. So in $1.9 you’ve got half that in profit that you can go do stuff with. So, what’d you do in that first year? How’d you start building the team? How’d you inch your way into not having to do everything yourself?

Magie: So, the first order was just me and a friend. And, believe me, our arms hurt from cutting, what was it, 60,000 tomatoes?

Chris: 60,000 tomatoes.

Magie: And we decided: I can’t do this; I have to get help. So, I went to the SBA, the Small Business Administration, and I said, “Hey, I need to hire 20 people,” because I was doing the calculations. And they’re like, “We can’t help you, but the state can.” They gave me a number. I called the state, and they said, “No problem. We’ll have 20 people tomorrow for you.” And I was like, “Really? OK.”

And they supplied 20 people. I remember I rented this room, and I put all the mostly guys in there. And I came, and the first thing that I said was, “Hey, guys, my name is Magie. I have this awesome pico de gallo that sells. Whole Foods wants it. Do you know who Whole Foods is?” And I said, “And I believe that we’re going to become the largest salsa company in the United States, and you guys are going to help me take it there.”

And they were like: yeah. They’re so excited, and I have no idea. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m just so optimistic because I know that it’s different. And I’ll tell you a story. When we started production, every single day was constantly improving and changing the production process because we were growing, so even the layout, even the way we did things. And every day until I sold the company, we would meet for lunch, and we would discuss how we could improve production.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: And I would buy them food, and back then, we would sit outside on the rocks. And, when I finished one lunch day, everybody went in, and this guy stayed back. He’s an African-American guy. And I said, “Hey, what’s going on?” And he said, “I just wanted to tell you: Thank you so much for hiring me. Nobody else would hire me. I went to prison, and I did this and that.” And I was like: la, la, la, la, la. I don’t want to know anything. I said, “Listen, you’re awesome. Let’s just go back to work.”

Chris: Just glad you’re here.

Magie: Yes, and I was shaken. And I went outside, and I called the state. And I said, “Hey, you gave me a person from prison.” And they’re like, “Oh, yeah, they’re all from prison.”

Chris: Yeah, they all need jobs.

Magie: But they’re the best people I’ve ever had. But why? And this is something that everybody needs to talk about is: I married them, I brought them to my greater “why” in that meeting. So, everybody was in it, and I think they were becoming part of something greater that I didn’t realize I was building back then. And they were the best people I’ve ever had.

Chris: They were on board.

Magie: Right.

Chris: That’s amazing.

Magie: That’s the difference between running a company without having a clear “why” and a purpose and everybody really being infused with that because they’re all believing that they’re becoming part of something bigger.

Chris: Yeah. Something that I’ve always been really curious about is: You made the discovery of your “why.” You have a pretty enormous work ethic, 60,000 tomatoes. OK, so that proof right there. You have an enormous work ethic. You have a drive, right, that’s really there. That’s powered by something. Where does that come from with you?

Magie: Yes.

Chris: Why do you have that?

Magie: So, the biggest thing for me was my father, our caregiver. He told me that I would never amount to anything, exactly his words, that I would die in prison and with AIDS because I came out to him as gay. And one of the things that I wanted to do was prove him wrong. So, my “why” was based on proving him wrong, which was based on fear.

And I will tell anybody that I speak to today that when you run a business or anything that you want in life based on fear, you only get success up to some point because it’s a block. And it wasn’t until a week before he passed, he wrote me a letter.

Chris: Oh, he did? What did he say in the letter?

Magie: You want me to read it to you?

Chris: Sure. Yeah, let’s read it. Get that.

Magie: So here we go. This was written in 2009 as an email. He says, “Magie, I’m so proud of you. You will know what I mean, but you’re from the old school, the old generation, maybe 50 years back, the generation that had the work ethic, discipline, and most of all the dreaming willingness to labor and to make that dream a reality. You are so caught up in what you are doing at this moment that you can’t fathom where you’ll be in five and 15 and in 25. Because of your willingness, it’s going to be big.”

And then he says, “I hope you one day have children to carry on your tradition.” And then he says, “America needs more people like you and your values if it is to survive. You’re one big asset to everyone in your life. Sweetheart, I’m really proud of you.”

Chris: That’s amazing.

Magie: And the thing is he really never recognized my success, ever, until a week before he passed. And the biggest thing for me, and it was a huge wake-up call, was: I don’t have anybody to prove wrong. What’s my “why” now? And I realized that salsa was just a stepping stone to something bigger. And that’s when everything else started manifesting.

And it went from being here to having the sale to really changing everything, and that was my rediscovery of my “why.” And I think, as entrepreneurs, we have that. We have to have it in many different points in building our businesses because things change, like COVID happens, many different things. And if you’re not able to pivot and adapt, you can die as a company. So, it’s so important to constantly rediscover yourself, what you do, your teams, what your “why” is.

Revisit it to see how you can change it to become better than what you ... And to serve that greater purpose because really serving ... You’re really serving the community, the people that you sell your products and services to. It’s giving back. There’s a greater purpose, and that specific area that you’re passionate about, that is your big thing. That’s why you are meant to be here in this time and space.

Chris: There’s a lot of beautiful things about this letter, but one of them is: I’ve learned a lot about neglect because there are people that are like: “Hey, my parents were great, but I felt more managed than I did related to.” One of the things that I’ve learned about neglect is that it’s probably one of the most difficult to recover from as an adult.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And it’s like a silent or a quiet inhibitor because it’s hard to recognize that neglect was there. So, one of the things that I think is really powerful about you and about this letter is you experienced pretty significant neglect where there was no attention. Right? And it seems like any attention you got was negative attention. Right?

So, you experienced all this neglect growing up, and something in you was a motivator: “I’m going to be great at basketball. I’m going to be great at all of these things.” And there was a driver there. Right?

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And then one of the things that I think is really powerful is: The skills we learn along the way, even if you’re like: I’m going to prove something. And then maybe it wasn’t the most righteous of motivations. You learn these skills along the way, and you’re recovering. And you’re understanding things, like maybe parenting yourself when you were neglected and stuff like that. But, for him, somebody who then rejected you, for him to acknowledge the work ethic, to really recognize the skill that you had developed as a response to your condition and your circumstances.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: That has to be super powerful, and for him to acknowledge your success in the way that he knew how.

Magie: It is. And it really surprised me because I’d never got anything like this from him ever.

Chris: Ever?

Building resilient, motivated teams via EQ and purpose

Magie: Ever. And one of the things that I will tell you is that he had passed, and then my mother came to visit. And she came to visit the plant. And she was in my office. We got a knock on the door. It was one of my team members, Lonnie. And he says, “Magie, can I interrupt?” And I said, “Sure, come in.” He says, “I just wanted to let you know that somebody threw beer bottles outside of the door and brick building, and I picked him up for you. OK?”

He was patting me. And I said, “Thank you so much, Lonnie,” and I gave him a hug. He leaves, and my mom says, “Wow, they really care about you.” And I said, “Mom, that’s really a family.” And I think that for me, the biggest thing is hope for something better. If not this, then something better. And I think, not having that sense of culture when I was growing up, I really wanted to have that.

And I believe that’s one of the reasons we built such a great culture because we were family. People cared about the family environment. Money was the last thing. I could barely pay them minimum wage, but they were so involved because there was that care. I did crazy things to make sure they were OK, everybody. And they became like my kids.

Chris: Yeah.

Magie: And you take care of them. And that’s something I think that was birthed out of that. And I will tell you that the more adversity that you have, the greater chances of success that you can have, if you see it that way, if you see it that way.

Chris: That’s a big deal.

Magie: Because I can see suffering, and I could continue to suffer. But I could see suffering and say I want something better and then build that better future and then help everybody along the way that comes with me.

Chris: I think adversity can have a magnifying glass in front of it, and it looks so big and so scary that it’s almost like this idea that it overwhelms you. And that’s what trauma is. Right? It’s this overwhelming thing.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And so, adversity can have an advantage over you, if you let it. Right? Sometimes what I think is important is to have people around you that can help pull the magnifying glass away and help you see what’s possible instead of what’s happening.

Magie: Yes, yes.

Chris: And I think one of the things that has been really awesome is I have the privilege of hearing other stories and stuff like that from you and having previous conversations and whatnot. But you told me that story before, and I’ve heard a lot of these, but I think one of the things that I think was really powerful about your culture – and we’ll get back to the startup and scale up and all that kind of stuff, but what was really powerful about your culture was you have an ability to foster connection with people.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And I don’t know if that is a skill. I don’t know if that’s a superpower. I don’t know what that is, but what are some of the things that go through your mind when you’re encountering a person? What are some of the things that you think?

What are the ideas that go into your head about how you can really connect to that person? And how can you maintain connection as a group? Having lunch is one thing, but what are the things that go through your head as you’re building teams?

Magie: To me, and it comes back to one of my values is to treat others like myself. And it’s one of the things that really baffled my team because they were like: “Oh, my gosh, you’re down here cutting tomatoes with me. I’d never had a boss do that with me,” and different things. And I think that a big thing that they’re talking about now is EQ, emotional intelligence.

It’s the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes personally, socially in all the components of really growing a company, a culture. When you do that, when you care so much about people, they care for you, and they take care of every aspect of you, your business, everything. I had a team member that I had no idea he walked five miles every day to get to work.

And one day he didn’t show up, and I was asking everybody what happened to him, and nobody could tell me. So, I got his address from his hire papers and I went to his little apartment. And he came out, and he was very swollen. He was like, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t come.” And it was snowing back then.

He told me he had a tooth infection. And back then I offered insurance just halfway. They had to pay the other half. So, people couldn’t afford it, really, to pay for insurance. So I said, “Let me see if I can find something.” So, I called my sister Maria in Mexico, and she’s a doctor but also a holistic doctor. And I said, “Hey Maria, I have a sick team member here. He’s got a molar infection. What can you suggest? He doesn’t have insurance. We can’t go to the hospital.”

She says, “Two things: Go out and buy peroxide and buy a bottle of tequila.” So, I showed up with peroxide and tequila. That story he told everybody, and so it grows from that. But he came in the next day. He was not swollen anymore. Caring, it has different dimensions. When you truly, truly care about someone like they are you. If I had that, I could put myself in pain for him. I could see myself.

When you truly care, they will care for you. And the stories just spread out. And it is just unbelievable what happens culturally in that community with all those people. And now we had a reward system. If you could come up with something that would save us money, you would make money. Right?

Now, everybody was always looking for what could they improve in production? So, it was automatic, I wasn’t even involved. And the only thing that I was involved in was: OK, bring your ideas. We’ll see which ones work the best, and we’ll try them. And if it’s a winner, wonderful. And we would do the sharing of the profits with that with all my team members.

I was not afraid of doing that because I knew that by doing that, they would take care of the business. The thing is they’re in front. They’re there 100% of the time. They know what needs to change, what needs to improve. I don’t know everything, especially when you start growing a big company.

Chris: Yeah, you can’t see it all.

Magie: Right, so that was huge.

Chris: That’s amazing. The thing that is surprising, right, is year one for you is not a typical year one. You’re building a team and building a culture, and you’re doing it from, I’m going to say, not necessarily from a place of experience or skill but just from what you understand about yourself, and you treating them in a way that you would want to be treated the way you treat yourself.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: So, what I’m hearing is year one was $2 million in sales. You had 20-ish employees. Right?

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And you’ve got pretty consistent orders coming in from Whole Foods.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: So, what was the evolution after that? Right? Give us the next scale-up runway. Right? Because that’s a pretty good start-up year.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And so, talk to us a little bit about how you started to scale up from 20-ish employees to having a plant.

Visualizing exactly what you want to achieve

Magie: So, the big thing that happened was the supermarkets noticed me. They said no at the beginning and started to ask if I could come in and meet with the buyers. And we ended up going into Kroger’s, Harris Teeter, Publix, so many supermarkets out there. And then everything that I do in my business has to do with visualization because I understand there’s a great power of attraction. Because I’ve lived it.

And I remember I made this list of things, and one of them was: “The largest supermarket in the United States is going to call me.” And I didn’t say which one. And I wrote: “I’m going to meet with a buyer. I’m going to shake his hand,” and I could feel his hand. I’m going to open the products. I can smell them in the distribution center.

Chris: You totally have to read “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.”

Magie: Never have.

Chris: Never? You’ve got to read that book.

Magie: You’ve got to send me that.

Chris: I will send you that.

Magie: Awesome. This is exactly that. This is exactly the stuff.

Chris: Really?

Magie: This is so good. Yeah, yeah.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: And so, science says that it now takes up to 15 days. Back then, I was reading 20, 30 days for something to become believable because, when you put something in your subconscious mind, at first you don’t believe it, but you keep repeating that and meditating upon it, it becomes a reality.

I was sitting in my office in my little house, and my business partner was in the living room. And I get a call, and this lady says, “Hey, my name is Dee. We’re looking for a salsa company that can come and sell our products, send them to our stores. We were looking at 10 different companies, and we thought you were the best. You want to sell to Walmart?” And I was like…

Chris: Please hold.

Magie: “Please hold.” And I told my business partner, I said, “Hey, Walmart just called, and they want our products.” She said, “It’s a prank. Hang up, hang up.” And I’m like, “Wait a minute.” Well, I did answer. And I said, “Is this a prank?” I did ask.

Chris: Did you seriously ask that?

Magie: I did.

Chris: That’s awesome.

Magie: And she’s like, “No, this is real.” And I just had a pause, and I had to say: Wait a minute. I’ve been meditating about this, and it’s here. Why am I not believing this?

Chris: Oh, wow.

Magie: A month later, I was in Bentonville, shaking the hand of the buyer.

Chris: Yeah, this time you knew to get a contract.

Magie: This time, yeah.

Chris: OK.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: Yes, lessons learned.

Magie: But exactly as I put it on that list, and I believe it’s in my book, that list happened. And pretty soon we were distributing products all across the United States with Walmart. And that was really the next step of the evolution. And that was the time when we really started producing 24 hours a day in my company. I bought a little bed in my office that folded up into a little chair, and I would sleep there.

In case they had an issue, they could knock on the door. And we had truckers coming from Mexico with tomatoes, California. So, I had to be there, and it was just 24 hours that period of time.

Chris: All right, so from year one to that moment, how many years have you been in business at that point?

Magie: So I started in 2004. 2007 was the Whole Foods because, when I started that, I finally got a job, and I was working at a job, but I was making salsa at night, driving it an hour away, and coming back. So, it took a little bit before I decided to have the guts to call, to make this list and call, so 2007. I can’t remember what year exactly was Walmart.

But, at the time where I was before Walmart, my business had hit a plateau, and I was looking for something bigger, better. And this shows up. And, again, when I went to Bentonville, the buyer was telling me, “Do you see all those people in that line?” That’s all the people are trying to get in. And that means that there’s a lot of more people coming out. The thing that amazed me was that I didn’t call. They called me.

Chris: Yeah, this is number four, by the way. I’ve been counting the number of phone calls. I don’t know if these guys are counting. I’m counting the number of phone calls.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: That’s amazing.

Magie: And so that’s how that happened, and that was really the next level of everything.

Chris: That’s really powerful. So that’s a few years in, right, that that happens. And you’d hit a plateau, so then that creates a whole different level of scale. So, what did you have to do to meet those expectations of Walmart?

Magie: Planning.

Chris: Yeah?

Magie: We had these huge refrigeration units, because we ended up going into an old supermarket. I was asking to manifest the supermarket, and I couldn’t. And I was passing it every day, and it was an old supermarket that didn’t have a supermarket inside anymore. And you know how they have in the back these big, big coolers? Those were our production areas.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: They’re huge. And outside these walls, I had these huge calendars, and that’s how I was planning everything. How much cost of goods do we need? What needs to go out? What time does it go out? Make sure it gets there in time because it’s a fresh product. It’s not going to go bad. All these logistics had to be carefully thought out to be able to continue to supply because keep in mind we were not only just supplying Walmart; we were supplying other supermarkets as well in 38 states.

Chris: Oh, yeah. And this is all from where?

Magie: From St. Albans, West Virginia.

Chris: Oh, West Virginia, OK.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: So, you’re still in West Virginia at that point.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: OK, great. Are you still in West Virginia?

Magie: No.

Chris: No? You’re like: No, not anymore.

Magie: No.

Chris: No. Well, that’s good. Well, so all of this keeps going, but there’s a big moment, and it’s an acquisition moment. So, I think we’ve talked a little bit about all of the planning and having to scale up and take all these orders. And there’s probably a lot of lessons that you’ve learned about what it means for distribution and all of that kind of stuff, like obviously getting sales and things like that. Team members that are helping you do things that you don’t know how to do. We’ll get to the acquisition. What are three lessons that you learned that are practical business things as it relates to maybe distribution, production and sales?

Magie: The distribution part of it; I decided to do it myself because, when I ran all the numbers, it turned out that I would be making less. So, I got my own fleet of trucks, and I initially started driving them myself. I got my truck driver’s license.

Chris: You would. You would. That’s awesome.

Magie: Oh, and, by the way, that story is amazing.

Chris: I could just see you in a truck.

Magie: I couldn’t reach the pedals. Right?

Chris: I was saying I could see you in a truck.

Magie: So, I did it. I looked at the route for specialty food distributors and all that, and my margin was going to be cut a lot. So, I did all that until I started hiring guys who were class-A drivers, and then that really helped with taking it to the next level. As far as production, I had the banks now calling me because they wanted to loan me money. And I was like, “I don’t need your money.”

Chris: Don’t need it anymore. I needed you back then.

Magie: Right, but I still got money because it’s good to have a cash flow. And it was more about growing with manufacturing equipment and finding state-of-the-art equipment that ... Because, at the beginning, even the FDA told me that I was not going to make it. Because I had a fresh product that lasted 10 days.

So then, I discovered technology like MAP, modified atmosphere packaging. You insert oxygen, and it pulls out all the oxygen out of the tomatoes. It reduces the residual oxygen in the tomato. Makes them go bad less and slow.

Chris: Yeah, slower, yeah.

Magie: Right, and then I found HPP, hydrostatic high-pressure processing. And that’s where you submit products to pressure below sea levels with this million-dollar machine. You can basically take avocado and mash it, put it into a packet with nothing. It lasts 60 days or more.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: So, the evolution of that was another thing. And then just the team, we had such a great team, everybody that came. And initially, I had an issue with retaining employees, but then it came down to my values. And I wrote them down, and I would hire based on values. When I hired based on values, everything changed because they were together with me. This is so important because it’s so easy to have a bad apple in your company, and it starts the negative attitude…pudriendo. It starts decaying everything.

Chris: Yeah, it permeates.

Magie: Right.

Chris: Yeah, it does.

Magie: So those are some of the things that were really key in the growth of the company. And I think the biggest one for me was, when I was starting out, was I wanted to do everything because I thought I could do it best.

Chris: Yeah, and then you learned different.

Hiring based on values

Magie: Yes. Hire the people that play at what they do, and they’re experts at what they do that you don’t necessarily are an expert or like to do. Even if it costs a little money, it pays off in the end. And be able to delegate, automate and eliminate the things that, as a person, as a CEO, to be able to grow the company, to be able to step back and see the whole picture. Because, when you’re in there, you get lost in doing all those things.

Chris: Oh, yeah.

Magie: And that’s one of the reasons that a company could fail.

Chris: And that’s the difference between working in the business versus working on the business. Right?

Magie: Right, right.

Chris: And some of these discoveries with what you just talked about, with the scientific discoveries, and going buying a million-dollar machine, so you could have more time to distribute and more time on the shelf.

Magie: Right. Yes.

Chris: Yeah, that’s incredible. I think one of the things that is really, really powerful is you are self-taught. So, you’ve got lessons that you learned along the way. You’ve obviously got really good instincts, but there’s lessons that you’ve learned along the way.

And what was maybe a painful lesson, what was a bad-apple story? You’ve got somebody that was doing something that was degrading the value of the culture. And what drove you to write those values down? What’s a story that you learned?

Magie: I have many.

Chris: And you can change the names.

Magie: I have many stories, and I came back from surviving the orphanage. I had a guy that came up to me and was going to attack me. And there was an old filing cabinet right here, and the team was around. And it’s one of those filing cabinets that is really, really old, and it’s really hard. You know those old metal models.

Chris: Oh, yeah.

Magie: And I just went, “Ah,” and I punched that thing and put a dent in it, and he stopped. That was my reaction to stopping something because out of survival, how I grew up.

Chris: You acted crazy.

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, and it worked.

Magie: So he went like this, and everything stopped. And I actually did something that I do with my horses growing up in Mexico. So, I gave him my back right behind me, like: I’m not afraid of you. There’s the door. And told somebody: “Call the police. Leave.” But he was this close to me. I knew he was not going to do anything to me after what I’d done.

Chris: Yeah.

Magie: And, when that happened, he left, and I had to tell my team, “Listen, I’m not like that.”

Chris: I’m not really that crazy, but, yeah, these are my ninja skills. Yeah.

Magie: I had to do something. Sometimes you need to do something that is completely unexpected to stop something bad from happening, and that was my moment. And I was like: Oh, my God, the orphanage Magie came out. I don’t want this to happen again. So what can I do?

And that’s when I really started looking at: OK, who are we going to have here working for us? What kind of people? What kind of values? And the beautiful thing is, if you have people with great attitude and energy, if they don’t know how to do certain things, and they’re coachable, that’s a great thing. A lot of people ask me, as a minority and Latina and LGBTQ, how did you know how to do it? What were your struggles?

And one of the things that I’ve always said is: I never really saw myself any less than anybody else. If people treated me differently, it’s because I thought that that’s how they treated everybody else. So, I never hired people because they were minorities. I had a lot of minorities, but I hired people.

I attracted minorities because I was a minority in the leadership position, but never saw myself as any less. I think that really helped me because the moment that you think that you’re any less, you become that less. And that’s actually an impediment for growth in your business and your company.

Chris: It’s true. And I think one of the things that is something that I’ve learned, right, about leaders or even entrepreneurs is: Typically, how you grow, your business grows.

Magie: It’s a reflection of leadership.

Chris: It really is.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And it’s like, if your team isn’t flourishing, if your business isn’t flourishing, you have to take a pretty hard look at what’s going on with you.

Magie: Oh, my gosh, yes. You’re right on point. I get asked to speak to these large corporations, and they tell me, “Hey, come speak to our team.” And I said, “Wait a minute. Let me speak to your leadership first because they’re a reflection of leadership.” I’m not going to do anything for them if I know that the leadership is broken.

Chris: And not coachable.

Magie: Exactly.

Chris: Yeah, that’s good. So, I’m sure that you’ve had some interesting run-ins with people saying: “So you’re not going to come? We’re going to pay you all this money, but you’re not going to come?” You’re like: “No, no, I’m not coming because, number one, I don’t have to. Number two, it wouldn’t help.”

Magie: Right? Exactly, and in the point is to be able to help people with what you do. And if you know that it’s not going to work, then why even do it in the first place? I don’t care how much money you pay me.

Chris: Yeah, one of the things that is awesome, and I share this philosophy that you hire based on your values. And so, you screen people based on your values. And then, if you’ve got the same thing for your mission, a documented mission, you can really screen opportunities based on your mission. So, you have people with values and opportunities with a mission. Did you ever write that down or make it plain for people or make it plain for yourself?

Magie: I did. And actually, I wrote the values, and I had to print them on big boards, and they were all over the production area. And when I did that, my hire questionnaire went from a couple pages to a booklet. And people would initially complain. And the thing that I did is I learned that I could ask the questions about the values, but I would ask them in a different way. And I found that the people that were not invested in focused on what they wanted you to hear.

Chris: What you wanted to hear?

Magie: They, at first, answered everything correctly. But then, later, in that simple thing, our turnover was almost zero. And even the people that I work with, accountants and attorneys, were baffled by the lowest turnover and the procedures and the steps. Because every day was a learning thing. Every day, maybe once a week or twice a week, another sheet of paper was added into that manual. And everybody signed it, and everybody knew this thing happened. It’s not going to happen again. And so, we reviewed everything, and everybody was on the same page. We were learning together.

Chris: That’s amazing. There’s this thought that I have every once in a while, and this is a vulnerable moment. This is a thought I have when I’m talking to you.

Magie: OK.

Chris: I have this first thought. And I was like: There’s no way that this, all of this actually happened. And then the next thought is I’m like: It has to have happened. It’s unbelievable. So I find myself here with you where it’s like: What is your secret? What is the thing that’s so unbelievable that is so common to you?

The power of purpose – having a ‘why’

Magie: I think that the biggest thing that I can tell you is it all comes down to my “why,” why I do what I do, and bringing everybody together with that. For me, the thing for my “why” was to come out of suffering to become something better than myself, something bigger, and be able to make a difference.

I always had this thing when I was growing up in the orphanage, like: I’m suffering. And I would look at the skies, and I would pray to God and say, “I’m going to become something really huge and big. And I’m going to inspire people, and I’m going to inspire the kids in the orphanage.” And so that was my motive.

And so, when you are so laser-sharp focused on that “why,” that goal, nothing is impossible. Resiliency, the fire that you have for doing the things that you do, the passion...where there seems to be no way, there’s always a way. And it might not be right in front of you in the beginning, but it shows up. And the key here is you have to be mindful to recognize when it shows up, so you can take massive action immediately to make it happen. Because we miss our angels. We miss our opportunities sometimes.

Chris: You got to pay attention, yeah.

Magie: Right.

Chris: And I think you have to have maybe a clear mind and maybe, I don’t know, be clear inside to be able to recognize those opportunities. Right?

Magie: Absolutely.

Chris: Because they’re whispering to us. Right?

Magie: Yes.

Chris: And we got to pay attention.

Magie: Yes. It’s like when I had a vision board, and I had this really nice convertible car on my vision board that I now call it the action board because you have to act. And, when I put it up, I realized that I started noticing all the cars out there that were just like it that I didn’t notice before. Why? Because I was super focused. When you focus, and then it appears, then you act. But, see, all the opportunities started to come in. You won’t recognize them if you don’t have that laser-sharp focus on the end result.

Chris: Yeah, if you can’t envision it.

Magie: Right.

Chris: Yeah, that’s really good. All right, so probably one of the biggest moments is: You take this company from startup to scale up to a point of acquisition. So, who is the company that came? I guarantee you there’s another phone call coming, but, I’m just saying. How did that happen? How did the acquisition conversation start? And tell us a little bit about what transpired.

Magie: I went into a food trade show, and I looked up every company that was going to be there. And I’ve been eyeing another fresh salsa company that was out there, Garden Fresh. And I made sure I got a booth right next to them, and I had no idea what was going to happen.

I ended up meeting the owners, and we automatically hit it off. And that started the relationship. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but several years later, they offered to purchase the company and then ended up selling it to Campbell’s Soup together with my company for $231 million later on.

Chris: Wow. Unbelievable.

Magie: Yes.

Chris: $231 million to Campbell’s. That’s incredible. So how long was the relationship between you and Garden Fresh? How long were you guys connected?

Magie: Oh, we were connected for several years. When my company sold, I moved all production up to Michigan from West Virginia. And I think I stayed for about a year and a half, maybe two years, to just make sure to carry on the manufacturing processes and make sure that all the supermarkets still got the products.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. OK, wow. Well, post-acquisition, right? So, you stuck around for a couple years. What happened after that, and how did you get to today?

Magie: So, when I sold the company, it was probably like a year, I got a call from Mexico.

Chris: I told you.

Magie: No, this is a different call.

Chris: OK, got it. Understood.

Magie: And it was my brother. He was working at the orphanage. He was leading the orphanage. And he said that a group of people…I don’t know where he got the number, 50 people were coming. And they were taking the children, related to the cartel and human trafficking. I took the flight from Michigan to Mexico, and it was the quickest flight I’ve ever taken, quick.

I arrived there, involved the Federales, the military, and set up camp. And it was a whole thing where we had guns and everything, and we were protecting these kids. And that, to me, started a new thing for me because I always wanted to go back and save the kids. And I had these nightmares growing up.

And it’s like that Paulo Coelho story, “The Alchemist,” that we all have this thing, the circle that we go back to, and I came back to that place. And, because of that, I’ve started a foundation, Matthew 25:33, and we help other orphanages and kids that are involved in human sex trafficking. And right around that time, I was speaking for many, many years. I was asked to speak in many corporations. And I didn’t realize that you could get paid to do it. Well, why not get paid and raise funds and be able to do more?

Chris: Yeah, do more.

Magie: And so that’s where that whole speaking and foundation and helping kids and young adults in Mexico started the journey.

Chris: That’s powerful. What are you doing today? What are some of the things that you’re doing today to still help?

Magie: So, I have the foundation. And the thing with me growing up in the orphanage was that we had donors from the United States, from churches. And, most of the time, the goods that came down, even money, we never saw. They were delegated somewhere else, so that’s why we suffered. That’s why we didn’t have food for two weeks or three weeks. And I had to become a hunter. And this is my original knife that I used to hunt with.

Chris: Unbelievable.

Magie: And, when I saw that, I said to myself, “I’m not going to just send money. I’m going to go.” And so, with this foundation, I’m working with attorneys. And everything that we give, everything is by volunteer, and everything is given in blankets for these kids, pillows, something that I never had. So that’s very exciting for me.

Chris: Yeah, I had somebody say something to me once, because I think a lot of us in the western world think: Oh, man, if I want to help, I can just give money to somebody who knows what they’re doing. And it’s almost like there’s this mentality that I’ve got a bunch of seeds. I’m going to give that to people. And it’s like it all kind of blows away. But, if you give them bread, that’s totally different.

Magie: Exactly, yes.

Chris: And that’s one of the things that I think is really powerful. That changed my mindset. If I see somebody that’s struggling on the street, I’m like, “Hey, let’s go. I’ll go get you a meal, if you’re hungry.”

Magie: Exactly.

Chris: It’s not, “Hey, I’ll give you money, and you do what you want with it.” Right?

Magie: Yes, yes.

Chris: And I think that that’s really powerful, that you’ve discovered the: I’m going to get involved rather than I’m going to contribute financially.

Magie: Yes. Well, I was doing that, and I thought we grew up with the same thing happening. So that’s when I decided to change everything. And I was going down there and buying powdered milk, rice, beans, and filling the bodega completely because I knew now they had it and you can’t take it away with money. Right?

Chris: Yeah.

Magie: And so for me that revolutionized the way that I know that I can help people, that I know that 100% of the things that I’m sending are going to get to the right hands, and people are not going to suffer. And, again, I can’t take care of the entire world, but I can do what I can with what I have going on there. And that’s perfectly enough for me.

Chris: What’s an amazing thread is you’ve had this practice of discovering and then revisiting your why. And so, you took that as being in business and maintaining connection with people and being involved and being in the foxhole with them to transitioning out of, really, the business or entrepreneurial world into this cause where you’re doing the same thing. You’re helping people, but you’re in it with them. Right?

Magie: Right.

Chris: So what do you think is, I’m going to say, chapter three for you? You know what I mean? Or chapter four? What’s the thing where you’re like, “You know what? This is the thing I’m looking at now. I’m envisioning this as my future chapter to revisit my ‘why’ again”?

Magie: Yes. So, my “why” right now is to be able to create products and services and speak to inspire people with what I’ve lived with. Right in the middle of COVID, I got an offer to create a movie from the Hollywood International Film Festival. And they finished the script, and that was the next thing. But the man passed with COVID.

Chris: Oh, no.

Magie: And it’s held up. But I’m OK. Sometimes things are not meant to happen at that time. Whether it happens or not, I just believe that it could be very powerful as far as inspirational to help other people. And I’m all in for that. If it happens, amazing. If it doesn’t, then I’m going to continue to do what I do, which I absolutely love.

Rapid-fire questions and closing

Chris: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, I have some rapid-fire questions for you.

Magie: Uh-oh.

Chris: These are different than last time.

Magie: Oh, OK.

Chris: These are different than last time. So, we know about salsa, but are you a guacamole gal?

Magie: Hell, yeah.

Chris: Yeah? OK, well what’s the secret to good guacamole?

Magie: Two ingredients.

Chris: OK.

Magie: Avocados. You know the Mexican La Costeña® peppers? They have vinegar. You know in the cans?

Chris: OK, yeah, yeah.

Magie: Or any kind of pepper that’s, what do you call it? The vinegar is inside of it.

Chris: Like pickled.

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah.

Magie: You just pour the juice in there and mix it.

Chris: Wow.

Magie: That’s it.

Chris: That’s it.

Magie: If you want to spice it up, use shallots or anything else. Not even salt because all the ingredients and the spices, and the goodness of that juice gets transferred into the guacamole.

Chris: Now I’m hungry. All right, well, if someone were to play you in that movie, who would it be?

Magie: Actually, they talked about Halle Berry.

Chris: Yeah?

Magie: But then they were thinking she might be a little too old. I mean no disrespect to Halle Berry.

Chris: Yeah, no disrespect.

Magie: But maybe she could be my grandma or something. She’s great. I think she would do an amazing job. They thought about me being in it, but, for the impact, I’d rather have somebody else who’s done it to do something like that.

Chris: That’s good. Well, that would be classic Magie Cook to actually give acting a shot after doing CDL license and all these other things. So, if Halle Berry were to come to your house for dinner, what would you make her?

Magie: Chips and salsa.

Chris: That’s it?

Magie: Guacamole, yeah.

Chris: All right. OK, good.

Magie: Because you could use it with a lot of things, so why not?

Chris: If we were to run into you at any given weekend, where would you be, or what would you be doing?

Magie: I don’t know because I’m always very wild and trying new things, traveling. And so you never know where you’re going to find me.

Chris: OK. What’s the wildest place you’ve been to in the past month?

Magie: Oh, wildest place.

Chris: Because you used the word “wild.”

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: So I’m like: I have to know.

Magie: Yeah, I just took a trip in a motorhome and just went around and didn’t know anything about how to take care of it or anything. Because it’s a different ball game.

Chris: Oh, yeah.

Magie: And just go by the beach and sleep there and open the door, unbelievable.

Chris: And meet people.

Magie: Yeah, and meet people. Yeah.

Chris: All right. When’s the last time you shot some hoops?

Magie: Oh, gosh, years.

Chris: Really?

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: It’s been years.

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: It’s not your thing anymore.

Magie: I’ll tell you one thing is you’ll never forget how to make one. It’s like riding a bike.

Chris: Yeah?

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: That’s really good. All right, so how do you say entrepreneur in español?

Magie: Wait, I don’t know. That’s a good question.

Chris: We thought this one would be a good one.

Magie: I don’t know.

Chris: You don’t know?

Magie: No.

Chris: How about “small business owner”?

Magie: Empresario, entrepreneur, empresario.

Chris: Ah, yeah. OK.

Magie: See, now you’re going to switch me into Spanglish.

Chris: Yeah, it’s coming out in the next three questions. You can answer. All right, so Mexico is beautiful. What’s one thing you recommend that someone does or a place to visit that really isn’t on the tourist map there?

Magie: My husband asked me this question, and I sadly had to tell him I don’t know because I just grew up in the orphanage my entire life.

Chris: And where was it?

Magie: Michoacán.

Chris: OK.

Magie: In the mountains. So, I didn’t have any outlook of the city, not even in Mexico. I was at a conference for Latina CEO entrepreneurs earlier this year, my first conference in Spanish. And I had to tell them, CEO ladies, thousands of them: “I’m just going to confess to you that I came from Mexico to here, so I’m going to speak really country Mexican. So, if I screw it up, please bear with me.”

Chris: “I’m going to speak really country Mexican.”

Magie: And, by the way, I did something that I didn’t know that I did. I walked up the stage, and the first thing that I said was, “I’m so excited to be with you guys.” But I said it in Spanish, and I translated one word incorrectly.

Chris: Oh, OK.

Magie: I said, “Estoy muy excitada de estar con ustedes”. “Excitada” – excited doesn’t translate to the same thing. Excitada means sexually aroused. So I was like: “I am so sexually aroused to be with you.”

Chris: And everybody’s like...

Magie: I had to Google it because I don’t know why they laughed at the end of it.

Chris: Oh, my God, Magie.

Magie: I know.

Chris: So, I played drums in this band. And I remember I was in Brazil, and I was walking on the stage after we had done soundcheck. And I was doing this [snaps fingers]. And I just heard this rumbling among the people, and apparently that is like flicking them off. So, I’m sitting here on stage walking after I just did soundcheck, flicking everybody off.

Magie: Oh, my God, oh.

Chris: So, I definitely ask these questions when I go to other countries. I’m like, “What are the warning things?”

Magie: Yes.

Chris: Need to have that. So, I definitely think you probably won’t say that word again, I’m sure.

Magie: No, but I’m going to Colombia and speaking at a big event later next month, and I’m like...

Chris: What am I going to say?

Magie: Yeah, I’m nervous.

Chris: What’s going to happen?

Magie: Because the Spanish is different.

Chris: Oh, man.

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: All right, well, what entrepreneur inspires you and why?

Magie: Oh, there are many, but I think Steve Jobs is one of them because he had this vision, and then he brought everybody else together to take the company to the next level. And then the self-growth that he did for himself, so much with that story.

Chris: It’s powerful.

Magie: And the thing that really amazes me the most is that a lot of really successful entrepreneurs out there didn’t even finish high school or college, and it baffles me. But that goes to say having a really powerful “why”, you don’t have to have a college education or all these degrees to get there.

Chris: You can just be self-taught like Magie Cook.

Magie: Right, absolutely.

Chris: That’s good. All right, well, where are you headed to next? What are you doing next?

Magie: Oh, I’m doing a speaking tour. Next is Vermont, Chicago, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia coming back down, and then Colombia.

Chris: Colombia.

Magie: Yeah.

Chris: Man, that’s amazing. Well, I just want to thank you so much for round two. It is so awesome to get to know you and to spend time with you. You can tell I’m super curious just about your life and who you are and all of the amazing things you’ve done.

Magie: Thank you.

Chris: Thanks for being a part of the Entrepreneur’s Studio and for being with us.

Magie: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

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