In this Happy Hour podcast, John, Ryan, and Max are chatting with Laura Gallagher about how the pandemic affected The Creative Company, her goals for the future, and hypothetical time traveling questions from Max!
- (6:35) Who is Laura?
- (10:46) What would Laura say to her younger self?
- (14:19) Was there ever a time where Laura almost quit?
- (18:56) Enneagram.
- (22:03) Creativity, Inc.
- (28:18) Losing business in 2020.
- (51:57) If advertisers don’t support garbage then garbage doesn’t air.
- (56:51) Personal goals.
- (1:19:41) Two truths and a lie.
Ryan Freng 5:32
Yo, hello and welcome back. I’m Ryan Freng, Creative Director here at backflip. And if you’re listening on the podcast, you probably have heard this twice is the second time you’re hearing it. But we’re hanging out today. It’s gonna be a blast. John is on a shoot. So we got a ringer. We’re bringing Max in what’s going on max, how you doing? Doing great. Nice. Busy busy this week. Happy to be drinking with me.
Max Olmsted 5:58
Yes, yes. Very happy to be drinking with you on a Friday. Yeah, so this week has mainly been a writing week for me. So we’re working on a project for Madison College, and I’m working on polishing up those scripts. And yeah, it’s been fun.
Ryan Freng 6:16
Yeah, that’s been fun. I’ve been working on that today as well. And it’s just it’s so much fun. I mean, you never know how it’s gonna get received. We have a meeting next week to kind of review the latest revisions. But what we’re doing we’re having a blast coming up with and figuring out so it’s super excited. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to hang out with this woman. We got Laura Gallagher of the creative company. How’s it going, Laura?
Laura Gallagher 6:39
Good. Um, good to be with you guys. I had so much fun the first time that we met. Not too long ago, I backflip meeting you and talking books and ideas. The tour went on without me. So it’s good to get right. Yeah. Yeah. And this guy is way more interesting than that. So
Ryan Freng 6:59
we’re about this. Yeah. Well, that’s that’s what it’s about. It’s about connecting with people. And it’s fun. I love giving the tours two. I didn’t give that one for you guys. But it’s so much fun. Because I don’t know. It’s it’s more about you guys meeting us and kind of what we do and us meeting you. And it’s always a good time. But we’ve got some good stories, too, because we, we had offices in the same space for many years. And I think we kind of realized it later. You know, we knew it at the time. But fun stuff like that. We’ll hear your whole story. But first, this is a happy hour. So I’d like to go through what we’re drinking today. To celebrate what I’m guessing has just been an awesome week. I had a crazy day yesterday, which maybe I’ll share later on. But we were talking about how the week was going. So what do you got? What do you bring to drink today?
Laura Gallagher 7:56
Well, actually, I got a sort of a drink from Panera, vanilla, Madagascar, vanilla latte. And I’ve never had this before it was it’s really good. So I just needed a little caffeine because it is Friday. And one of those weeks actually where I had to be up early for different events. I went to the bacon and eggs fundraiser yesterday morning at 730. And I had another Oh, I had to be on a on something at eight o’clock in the morning. I know I did my first I want to date Arts Commission. So it’s not I mean, it’s not that big a deal was my first like commissioners meeting. So I had to get up early on another day. And make sure that I was you know, in my office and looking sharp and awake. So yeah. So you know, summer is still kind of like I know it’s October but I’m I was this is my season where I definitely get up earlier. And so this week, I’m you know, going to bed a little earlier getting up earlier. It’s nice.
Ryan Freng 8:52
Yeah. Is it a work thing getting up earlier or because it’s getting darker? And that’s harder? Like we want to go to bed earlier. We want to you know, bed longer?
Laura Gallagher 9:02
Yeah, I think it’s just, you know, just commitment earlier, earlier morning commitments and people are starting to get together again. Right. It just seems like things are almost normal, at least in my world. events and things like that. So that’s nice.
Ryan Freng 9:16
Yeah, no, no. 100% feel that. All right. What do you got? Max? What do you drink?
Max Olmsted 9:20
I’ve got I’ve got a Mango Habanero whiskey tonic. Went out really good. It’s from old smokey Tennessee. So yeah, I’ve seen this seen this on the shelf for a while because we have this big liquor shelf that we never really this this gives me an excuse to actually try some of the stuff up there. So I always always love a spicy drink. So it’s great. Nice. Good.
Ryan Freng 9:48
Yeah, I was gonna say it’s true. There’s there’s stuff that sits on there for a long time. I have my own behind me. Not here. But at the office. I’m going home today because my car exploded. Didn’t really explode. But it’s in this job, so I have my own behind me. So that’s what I’m typically drinking. But today, I’m gonna actually go see black Adam. So in celebration of Dwayne The Rock Johnson, I just want to give him all the money that I can. I’m drinking Terra mana tequila, which is actually really, really good. It’s like my favorite, favorite tequila. And it’s actually really good. I don’t know if you can see a little bright here. So this is really good. It’s super sippable. So I’ve got that today. Got a little bit of that to get it gone. Nice. I’ve also got some energy. We’ve got some Zoa here. Right. So this is also Dwayne The Rock Johnson. The new ones actually have his face on it, but I don’t have those.
Max Olmsted 10:41
Wow. Yeah, yeah, I was about to say we have those energy drinks here. So we’re supporting the rock a lot.
Ryan Freng 10:49
100% Yeah. And people love them, which is good. Like, I wouldn’t have reordered them. But you know, people smashed through them. So we’re good there. All right, let’s, let’s get going. For those of you, Laura, who don’t know, can you give us like an introduction? What’s What’s your bio? We have? We have that in the post. But how do you describe yourself?
Laura Gallagher 11:10
Ah, well, let’s see I am I am a creative entrepreneur. I love life. I have. I’m the president of the creative company, company I founded when I was a senior in college, and is still running all these years later. And very proud of that we just won the Dane County Small Business of the Year award. So that was, you know, exciting. And we’ve done a number of other things, especially over the last five years. You know, one of the things that Max and I were talking about before we got on this call was just how long it takes, you know, for most of us, to, to in that’s your learning the whole time, right? And then it? Yeah, I like where I’m at right now. But it’s it’s been a lot of years of striving and trying and, you know, kind of winning and losing, I guess, are winning and learning anyway, not necessarily losing just learning. Yeah, so I like where we’re at right now. I was the 2019 SBAS Women in Business of the Year SBAS Women in Business of the Year winner. And in 2020, I was a finalist for the governor’s business plan competition. That was my pandemic project for another idea I have. But mostly I love power of a good story and bringing people together to do something good in the world. That’s what we do with the creative company.
Ryan Freng 12:34
Oh, yeah, I love that as a pitch. How did you get into this type of stuff? Is this something you grew up? You know, were you? I don’t know, making things growing up? Did you come to it in college or not? A lot of people, maybe a lot of people dream and like, oh, it’d be so nice to be your own boss. But I think what they don’t understand is how much work goes into that to get to the point where you could sustain yourself where you could actually do it reliably and have a team and do good stuff. And you’ve certainly put in that that time and you know, have survived the travails. So did you set out with that in mind? Or, you know,
Laura Gallagher 13:13
we’re gonna kick you off? Yeah, not not bombing? Yes. I wanted to, I wanted to make it just succeed, for sure. So I think that, you know, there with all of us, with each of us, were there elements in our younger years, that that are clues to what we’re going to be doing later, right. So being the oldest in my family, the oldest in the neighborhood are one of the oldest eliminate my neighborhood, you know, sort of a natural leader in so that fits for me to be both taking care of others, and also, sort of charting the course, you know, so I look back at my younger self, and I’m like, okay, you know, who was the one that organized the softball team for the neighborhood, or, you know, things like that, just that was that was my role, then, and essentially, still is now. I love to write and I loved words, and I love the arts. So all of that plays into what we’re doing. Now, you know, my writing, my dad used to say that I couldn’t make a living as a writer like you, I don’t know how you’d make a living as a writer. And so I studied Business Marketing, where I could write and make a living. Now, do I like to write other things? And am I doing more of that now? Absolutely. But it, you know, it all sort of works together. It’s not. You need a lot of different disciplines to deal in the creative field as both you guys know well, because of the work that you’re doing. It’s not one dimensional anyhow. So you have to you have to study and understand art and video and story and people and how to get things to how to how to move people towards action. All these things are just going to be more of a sales function, even though you might not think of it as such. There’s a lot, watch a lot that goes into running this kind of a company.
Ryan Freng 15:05
Yeah, that’s Yeah, super point. Yeah. Go ahead, Max.
Max Olmsted 15:09
So So thinking about this is sort of a philosophical hypothetical time traveling question. But
Ryan Freng 15:17
oh my gosh, I love that that little setup, non sequitur, there we go, let’s go.
Max Olmsted 15:24
So thinking about where you are now, and the journey that it took for you to get here, and then thinking about your younger self, if you could go back and talk to your younger self, and tell them about where you are now. And, and, and how you got there? What would What do you think they would say? And then, well, what would you say to them? And then what do you think they would say?
Laura Gallagher 15:56
Hmm, I think I remind them, to be it remind her to be to be kinder to herself, you know, to maybe not be so hard on herself when things don’t go well, to know that it’s normal to, and that’s how you learn. I mean, that’s part of our culture here at Creative company now is this community of learning. It’s not everywhere, I know that. But that came from my own, you know, sort of Hard Knocks along the way. So I tell her to be kinder to herself. And I think she would say to me, that, like she knew, like she knew, I knew that I was pretty sure it was going to end up right where I’m at, you know, I knew that I do well, and often that I’d make a difference. Through my work. That was always part of the plan. I think I think I’d also asked her, I, I encouraged her to be more true to herself. And, and maybe, you know, that the writing piece is the one that I probably struggle with the most, just in that, I wish I had a whole lot more time to write. And I it’s where my passion lies, it’s where my, you know, whatever, you have free time, like whatever you think about, like, just, you know, really changing worlds and, and, and communities and individuals through the power of the written word. And then other mediums that that can be communicated into that’s, that’s something that I love. So I wish that I had more time to devote to that I wish I would have done more of that younger when I was younger.
Ryan Freng 17:40
Yeah. I love that too. And it’s awesome that you knew that about yourself and where you were going, which is pretty, you know, pretty unique. I feel like because I don’t feel like I had that, like I wanted stuff. Like, I was like, I would love to be a coder who sits somewhere and does lots of technical stuff. Or I want to be a director, you know, out directing movies and stuff. And now I’m somewhere in between, which is kind of fun. And I love it. John just jumped in. He’s usually on board. He had a shoot today, so he wasn’t sure if he was gonna be able to hang out. So I’m gonna bring him in to. I’m assuming you grabbed something to drink with Laura today.
John Shoemaker 18:19
I have coffee at the moment. I could.
Laura Gallagher 18:23
I brought two actually. So cheers. Yeah,
Ryan Freng 18:25
yeah, I like to write this.
Max Olmsted 18:27
We brought it to a 5050 split between alcohol and coffee. So I think we’re good.
Ryan Freng 18:31
Yeah. Well, I mean, I do have caffeine as well. So there’s never any pressure, there’s always encouragement. That’s what I’d like to try to keep
John Shoemaker 18:37
in here. It’s a 5050 split between coffee.
Ryan Freng 18:41
Yeah, I wanted to say to, you know, kind of knowing what you wanted to do. And then getting there. Like, obviously, there’s a big, there’s a lot of story there. There’s a lot of story and a lot of travails. Was there was there ever a time when you were gonna quit when you were like, you know, like pivotal moments of like, I don’t know, if I can do this anymore. I’m gonna, I’m gonna jump out or this is just too much too hard. Because like you said, in writing, like, I love writing, I love directing. There’s a lot of stuff that I do. That’s not that. And even my wife the other day was like, you know, you needed like, take a day and just get out somewhere and just write some of those things that you’ve been intending to write. Because your brain in your head and your heart need that. And I was like, it’s true. Because otherwise we get snatches of it. Like Max is saying, like, we’re coming out of a really crazy busy season on a couple of edits. Now we’re writing which is really nice, but it’s always a little bit crazy. So yeah, any, you know, any pivotal points that you can think of.
Laura Gallagher 19:47
Sure, yes. And interestingly enough, that’s what brings you brings me back to writing it out. So in 2015, I had been at this for a long time. I’m are Yeah. Was it 2015 or 2016? Doesn’t matter within the last, you know, decade, I hit a point where I just was, you know, 25 years I was this, I kind of achieved some of the things that I’d wanted to achieve, not all of them by any stretch, but I wondered about what would be next or what could be next. And so, and I knew that my company needed to be revitalized. And this is something that anyone can do. I wrote a book accidentally. So and which is a great way to write a book, because you don’t have the pressure to write a book, right? Like, you can just do you know, every, like, 90% of the people out there will say, Oh, I’m gonna write a book someday about X, right? And, and then they’ve got that pressure of like, how you write the book, just write a page. Start somewhere. The pressure, right? So I wrote, I started writing these LinkedIn, longer posts about just kind of where my company was at what I wanted to achieve, and set up some goals. And I wrote about the change process very honestly, and candidly, to my LinkedIn audience, which is pretty sizable, and people loved it, you know, we start we were sending out these emails about it. And it was very personal journey, too. And at the end of it, I had enough pages, you know, I had over 100 pages that I could easily turn into a book. So I did. And that book changed my life because it reinvigorated everything, right? So you know, as I had always wanted to write a book, but I didn’t intend to write this book. But then I realized I have plenty of content, I can publish this book, and the book changed my life. So that’s what that’s I mean, the power of writing your ideas down for anyone, you know, prior to that, we did something called the imagined plan, imagine if you will, but it’s five years from now. And these things are true. So we were doing this with clients, long before I did it really for myself. And, you know, same idea, like, what’s your vision? What do you want to move towards? How can I help you? How can we help you get there from here, because the best brands are built from the inside out, no matter how much shoe polish or whatever I put on what’s going on, if the shoe itself isn’t steady and strong and made of good material, it’s not going to support the body.
Ryan Freng 22:23
Yeah, I love the shoemaker example, as well, we talk about that too. And, you know, building from the inside out, like being a marketing company, and not paying attention to your own marketing or messaging, or things like that, right? Doing the self examination, doing going through the brand processes you do with other clients, right? Because you’re super busy, and you’re helping clients, you’re doing the admin of the business. But it’s important to do that that marketing stuff, too.
Laura Gallagher 22:54
It’s the worst. We just spent, like we did this probably earlier this summer, where we spent a couple of hours working on our brand. And then the next thing you know, you know, you’re like, Yeah, we’re gonna meet again, next Friday, or whatever. And then three months go by and you haven’t met again. If you’re thinking we need to pay somebody to do this, because otherwise we’re not going to do it. And that’s really, you know, where it’s at for us. We’re doing Enneagram. We just finished doing Enneagram work two of you guys, do you mean Oh, yeah, that’s fun. Yeah, that’s super fun. So that’s been really helpful to our team, which I know I’m kind of moving in a different direction. But yeah, if you guys have to me, does anyone here know what their Enneagram number is? Or what that is?
Ryan Freng 23:39
What am I like a seven and a 12? Maybe, like a challenger? In something else? I forget. I can look it up. Yeah, we all have done that. I believe.
Max Olmsted 23:51
We’ve done a different different type of, it’s within well, and more recently.
Ryan Freng 23:57
Yeah, more recently, we did another one. But we did Enneagram, maybe two, several years ago. Yes,
Laura Gallagher 24:05
we’ve done five voices and Enneagram over the last couple of years. And it’s really helped us to understand how each person brings something new to or bring something to the organization that we really, really need. And one of the things that we noticed, like I was mentioning to you guys earlier, I just we just hired someone and I was like, Oh, good. She has a number that we don’t have. Because we want different numbers, you know, in the mix, essentially different kinds of people have different strengths. So
Max Olmsted 24:32
yeah, I think I think that’s so cool to take that and take into account how somebody works, and what fills someone’s cup and bringing that into the hiring process. Because then you can you can bring in all these different ways of working and different perspectives and and combine that to make to create a great workplace environment and therefore create great work?
Ryan Freng 25:01
Yeah, it’s it’s that thing of prescriptive versus descriptive too. And I tried to get there with all clients be like, don’t be prescriptive of how we can help be descriptive of the need. Right. And I feel like sometimes with Enneagram, and working genius is the one that we just did recently that Max is referring to, which is really great. Because it talks about what energizes you? Like, what do you enjoy doing, and we found that lots of us do, you know, enjoy disparate things, you know, just different things energize us, but there’s some overlap. And it’s fun to see that because then, when you’re figuring out tasks, it’s like, okay, this is really going to work more for this person, this is gonna work less for this person, and you also acknowledge, but that’s something that we’re, they’re gonna have to step up, and still do it because it’s their job. But, but then, the Enneagram is fun, too. Because you know, all of these thinking, descriptive, not prescriptive, it’s like, Well, I’m a challenger, or I’m a this. But that doesn’t mean that I’m always going to be right in how I behave or act, it just means I do that a lot, or I get energized for it for it by it. Or that’s how I tend to behave. And so it helps us think of how we can work together in in a better way. And I like it, it’s, you know, I like doing all the things.
John Shoemaker 26:26
I wanted to go back for just a second. Laura, you had mentioned, the book writing process, and kind of how you came to that. I was curious to know, have you read creativity, Inc? Are you familiar with that book?
Laura Gallagher 26:40
On My Shelf? But I haven’t looked at it in a while. Why, what’s what’s good about it?
John Shoemaker 26:43
Well, what reminded me was, he’s talking about his journey in that company, and how like the goal early on, was to do the first the first feature length film that was fully 3d animated. And once they had realized, once they created that with Toy Story, he found himself like, suddenly kind of like, lost, like, and it’s an interesting thing that I don’t think everybody is aware of, or prepared for, that can happen to you, like, you think about pursuing your goals, but like, what about when you have like a really big goal? At least when you’re younger, it feels like a really big goal. And then you actually get there. And then you run into that period of time where you’re like, Okay, I did it. Now,
Max Olmsted 27:39
right? Well, it’s
John Shoemaker 27:40
my, my next thing, and you’re kind of describing that, but in the in creativity, and he discovered that his new passion was finding the sort of hidden roadblocks and hidden problems that would get in the way of their staff and their company succeeding, you know, just like, just a lot of very interpersonal stuff. I’m just curious to know where you landed. You know, I mean, you wrote the book. But what’s the thing? You know, have you found like that new, like, if your initial passion was making the successful business, and then you’re like, Great, I’m there. Like, what’s, what have you shifted to is like, the thing that’s driving you today?
Ryan Freng 28:32
Yeah. What’s what’s next after you’ve made it?
Laura Gallagher 28:36
Well, so there’s, there’s usually something some new hill to climb, right. That just sort of shows up, it seems. And you’re absolutely right, in that. There is this letdown after you’ve done certain things, you know, so we produce the woman’s I, after I published the book, I one of the things that they said at the award ceremony was that, or I’m sorry, I was nominated for the award. And one of the things that they mentioned in about my from my interview was that I’d always wanted to return to college and just study business, like in an Ivy League, at an elite college, you know, something like that. And it was out there and I thought, oh, gosh, you know, like, What are my chances of doing that? Because I was parenting two teams. I was single parenting it. I my business did okay, but, you know, we weren’t, we weren’t twin grade or anything where I had money and you know, getting kids ready for college and all that kind of stuff. So, I didn’t think I had much of a chance but then, I think because it was out there. I got this. I got a scholarship, a $50,000 scholarship to go back to school at Babson College. Many didn’t just like it didn’t just land in my lap like you know, but it kind of ish did. I was part Have a Milwaukee cohort with a Harvard program in the fall of that year. And then the following year, in the early part of 2017, I went back to school, and I, they flew me out there at the beginning of the end of the program, it’s just like 16 weeks. So it’s meant for entrepreneurs like me who are already in business, average age of a scholar is 47. When I finished that program, or when I was actually when I was in New York, for graduation, from the other program, I went to the United Nations to an event that was happening. And that led to me becoming an ambassador for women’s entrepreneurship day. So then the fall of 2017, and 2018, that’s when I produced these big conferences, here at the minority tears for women. And I paid for it, I backed it too. So that was like, kind of the next hill to climb, are you tracking, you know, and then eventually, like, when the pandemic hit, we Well I’m so after the second year of the conference, my my mom got really sick and passed away unexpectedly. So a lot of things shifted. But then that summer, my landlord came to me and said, Hey, Laura, I don’t want you to worry about anything. But I’m going to tear down this building. And that you’re in that you’ve been in for five years that you like, and build a new building, but don’t worry about anything, we’ll figure it out. So that was right before the pandemic now. And so we were, you know, we that was like the next hill to climb, right? Where you are dislocated, you got to move into another location, we moved two weeks before the pandemic started into into temporary space, which was hard to find before the pandemic, plenty of space after the pandemic. And stay there for 15 months, and then move back into this space, which is now a brand new five story mixed use building in downtown Madison. And it’s gorgeous, you know, so but we did a build out and all those kinds of things. So it just seems like, you’ve like I finished one thing. And there’s another new challenge. So there’s, there’s another new thing to do. And right now, I guess I don’t know, I mean, I’m probably more focused on my own personal goals, company’s doing well, we just want steady increases, making sure that during the pandemic, I really felt like I had to put my arms around everybody here, it was very much like from the from my perspective, it was taking care of employees and taking care of clients. And it was more of that more of everything, because people were just less people were just scared. I think that’s the best way to put it. People were just scared. And so there was a lot of that a lot of putting around other people putting my arms around others and not necessarily. I need I need some time for me now to me. Yeah.
Ryan Freng 32:41
Yeah. And that’s, that’s interesting, kind of to bring up as well. Like, there’s always something coming up, there’s always something to address and handle. And thinking about the focus there. And it’s it, I guess, it kind of comes into that, like, the work life balance, which is interesting, because sometimes people say, you know, don’t make mix business and pleasure. But if you’re in our business, like it’s all intermixed, right, like, I had two one hour phone calls yesterday with clients who are also friends. So maybe half of the phone call was business, the other half was just catching up, and how are you doing type of work. But then it’s interesting, like thinking about goals, too, because there’s obviously like business goals. But then the business goals are also somewhat personal. Like, for us with COVID, when COVID hit, we it was like, I don’t know, a week or two, when and we had a management meeting, zoom, you know, whatever. And we were like, this, this team is the best, like, Let’s do everything we can, you know, we had no idea what was gonna happen, we’re like, we have six months of editing, that we have kind of in the tank, right? We have this much business already. if business doesn’t keep coming, you know, here’s the steps that we’re going to take to keep the team, like, we’ll take pay cuts, we’ll you know, we’ll do things before we do anything that has to, you know, mess with the team. And luckily, you know, people adjusted and digital marketing got a little crazy. And we were able to supplement in other ways. And it turned out really, really well. But, you know, that was an instance where, like that personal in that that professional really overlap too, because we’re like, we don’t know what this is going to be like, we don’t know what, you know, opportunities anybody has. But we have a business that can make this work in a certain way. If we take that approach. And then we were able to, you know, get through it be stronger, do well through it. You know, there’s a lot of things that weren’t great, but there’s a lot of things that we had to figure out and ended up making great through it. And it’s it just kind of comes back to that point that you’re making, where there’s always a new thing, a new challenge, but I’m just curious To more about the inner kind of intermixed nature of what we do, because I was talking to somebody yesterday, and they’re like, yeah, 12 hour shifts, and I go home, and I don’t think about it, I’m like, That is not my industry at all.
Laura Gallagher 35:14
No, it’s not, it’s not you, you brought up a, you were lucky that you had six months in the pipeline, you know, we have ongoing contracts, or retainer agreements in our in our business, too. But that second quarter going into pandemic was, was our worst, you know, it really was bad. And, you know, it was a scary time. And I just think that, you know, it’s interesting how businesses, and business owners responded to that, you know, I chose to just I know, because of the crisis communications training I’ve had, so I’m certified in crisis, comm my background in my power, my superpower is in public relations. So you know, so I just pulled out some of those tactics, which is, you know, we get to decide what happens next, since I’m not giving my power and control over anybody else, we’re going to do whatever we can, within our own power, to make sure that every client experience is good to make sure that we’re taking good care of each other, you know, stay focused on like, it gave me an opportunity, quite frankly, to focus on the build out more, because I wasn’t at every, you know, lunch and breakfast, dinner thing that you know, PR people are supposed to be at.
Ryan Freng 36:28
So it was actually a nice feature. It was I
Laura Gallagher 36:31
called it the perfect storm. I mean, it gave us a chance to give others a chance to so it was you know, suddenly we were getting branding projects, or a new name project or a new logo, like people were just like, oh, well, I’ve got some time to think about this. Now. Let’s work on it. So I thought it was kind of nice, in a way. And then I, I, I had been a judge and a sponsor for the governor’s business plan competition. Are you guys familiar with that? Oh, that competition? With that Wisconsin Technology Council? No. Yeah, so um, they award 1000s of dollars of prizes every year. It’s a non it’s a bipartisan kind of thing that Wisconsin Economic Development apartment in the Wisconsin Technology Council put it on. And I had been these things. So I’d watched a lot. And I that was my pandemic project. So when we went into the, I guess, the full calendar year, the following year, after we moved, I thought, You know what, I wonder if I could win that competition with a new business idea I had. And it’s a publishing company. And so I just started to, you know, I started to enter, and I had friends of mine who entered too, and I, and I’d like to, I’m pleased to let you know that I kept winning, right? Like, I kept winning, I went all the way. Like, I went, there’s five rounds, and I got all the way to the end. And I thought, yeah, she’s still got it. You know, what? I was pretty proud of the fact that I made it all the way to the end. And I was in the top three, and the other two were already in business. So I was, yeah, I was very, very pleased with that endeavor. That was fun. And I think that’s the thing is that, you know, you may be you may not always get a great economy or a great or the, you know, like, a perfect team around you or, you know, whatever the things are that make you successful. So what else can you do? You know, pivot, pivot, pivot, pivot, pivot, right.
Ryan Freng 38:22
Yeah. And it’s that next challenge,
John Shoemaker 38:23
it’s encouraging to hear you, you know, news about thinking about, you know, yeah, she’s still got it because it’s, you know, like, with a company named, like, the creative company, reminds me of a Brian Regan joke, where he’s talking about the audience being like, Alright, come on, funny guy. Give us something funny. Make us laugh, you know, like, it will show it’s like, great, you’re creative. Do the creative stuff. Give me the credit, you know, and you you at times have to like fight that impostor syndrome. even still today, where you’re like, Am I still creative? Do I still have Yeah.
Laura Gallagher 39:04
Well, I think from that was, you know, from that was more from the business perspective. I know, I know what creativity is. And actually, I haven’t had anyone say that to me in a good you know, 15 years or something. And I that client was fired. Because you know, it’s just, you’re so fired. Yeah, in my circle, because we you know, we just inherently are first of all, all of us are creative. I believe that all of us are born to be creative. And the world kind of, you know, kicks that out of us on some level if we let it. I don’t know about you but I still get excited when I see a paragraph or a set of you know, Box of Crayons. I don’t ever see a large piece of white paper and not want to do something with it. You know, big giant post it note makes me very happy. We don’t draw enough. We don’t make enough pictures. We don’t make enough art. We don’t play enough. I just got a clock at creative company that says aura at labora. And it means play and work in Latin. Yeah, it’s got it in you when you come here, you have your place your backflip is very playful and fun to. It is like that here as well. I have swings in the lobby, because I want people to feel like they can just take a minute, you know, before we meet, just relax. And the swings are really fun. They’re made in Wisconsin. And they kind of wrap around you like a hug. Yeah, and all that stuff’s intentional, right? Because I, it’s an unbelievably I was thinking about this, my first office didn’t look like that I had two chairs from Goodwill, and a desk from a college friend of mine, right. And this woman from, which is a furniture company, a business furniture company, she came into my office, and she was very tall woman. So she’s like six feet tall. And she’s got her legs out, kind of like her knees together and her legs out. And she looks around and she goes, You can’t do business like this, we’re trading something printed out. And so my good wheelchairs went away, and I got real chairs, and a real desk. You know, it, there were a lot of moments like that, right? That changed your life. You guys are in a business that requires a lot of equipment and things. But I didn’t start out in that business. And although creative company does video production, we don’t have the big studio and all the things that you guys have. That’s why we’re at your location to look at what you’ve got. But you have a lot more of an investment from an equipment side with me, I could start with a Mac Plus, seriously, that’s what I started with. And you know, in my ideas, books, marketing knowledge, not as much of a startup cost.
Ryan Freng 41:49
Yeah, and we’re kind of coming back to that. It’s interesting, like, you know, we get a lot of clients from traditional agencies, just because the way that things change every five years, every 10 years, right. And being agile is important. And we got into it. In 2008. Yeah, 2000, right. Yeah. What doesn’t seven, right, because this is our 15th year.
John Shoemaker 42:18
What was that? I accidentally was trying to share the post and I had audio going,
Ryan Freng 42:24
Oh, nice. Bubba 2007. So we got in when you could buy the 5g mark two, which is a Canon camera that people like, we’re shooting commercials on and shooting the show 24. And they’re like, Wow, this digital camera, which costs I don’t remember four Grande, you can produce really great images. So there’s a democratization of creative, right. So we were able to get in through that democratization of creative and started heavily in video. Now, we also do web digital strategy. And that’s something we’re slowly building. Because we also found that, okay, we create this great stuff, but then nobody knows what to do with it. And that’s, you know, key, like, it doesn’t matter how great the stuff you create is if it’s not shared Well, or in on the right platforms, or whatever it is. So it’s interesting, because we kind of have our, our equipment and our stuff. And really what it is, is honing in on creative and honing in on strategy that is helping us us to grow, which is kind of a little bit backwards. From from how a lot of people do this, right, starting maybe more strategically more agency, and then adding that capability. And in going back and forth. Like we also have another client who hires a bunch of contractors. So strategic agency, and they do a lot of great work through contractors. And so I think there’s an opportunity for a lot of different models, but I love hearing your story. Just to see things that you’ve gone through, you know, because I feel like that kind of builds me up builds us up.
Max Olmsted 44:02
Yeah, it’s, it’s interesting to think about, to me, we’re talking about the right content for the right platform. And just thinking about how there’s, there’s so many platforms now. And there’s so many things demanding our attention. And we have too much.
Laura Gallagher 44:21
Yes, too. There’s too much I agree too much.
Max Olmsted 44:24
And we’ve got we’ve got the real world that’s happening around us, but we’ve got this whole other world what’s existing on our phones that’s constantly demanding our attention. And then as as marketing people, we’re just one notification on that phone. And, and how do we how do we make that thing attractive enough to be like, Okay, I am going to take the time and take this attention that I really, sometimes don’t even have and devote it to whatever piece of content that At that we’ve made
Ryan Freng 45:03
Yeah, it’s so hard now. Yeah,
Max Olmsted 45:05
that’s more of a statement than a question. But it’s just, and I guess, I guess the solution that that, that we, that we’ve found is just making, making something that that’s unique and stands out and is fun and funny and bright. And because you’ve got to be loud, you’ve got to be you got to be loud and unique. And because cuz, you know, otherwise, people, people aren’t going to click whatever it is. What do you do?
Laura Gallagher 45:38
Yeah, it’s an interesting, that part of our current reality is a question mark to me. So I don’t know where it was at recently. But they were talking about kind of scaling things and growing things. And I said, What if we didn’t? You know, just throughout the question, what if we didn’t? What if we made things just smaller and better? What if we had great relationships with all of our oh my gosh,
Ryan Freng 46:08
no, no one ever no one ever thinks that, because it’s always like bigger, better, more, better margins, but like, what if it’s just more concentrated? And better? As it is? That’s interesting? Yeah.
Laura Gallagher 46:20
And we actually, I don’t know, just, yeah, it doesn’t. Some of the things that are happening in the digital media front, like, yeah, we, there’s certain kinds of, I think that some of it can be. Okay, I know, I’m kind of all over the place. But I’m trying to figure out what I want to really say, which is that
Ryan Freng 46:45
we’ve basically described the podcast
Laura Gallagher 46:51
Yeah, we’re losing the ability, like you and like, the four of us right now actually having a real into in person conversation, right, in community with each other. is, this is this takes more effort in some regards, than just sending a text or communicating with somebody on Facebook, right, or Twitter or, you know, showing that you like, their, their Instagram post, or, you know, whatever the thing is, this, you also have the risk of being known of maybe stumbling over your words of not saying the most brilliant thing of, you know, starting out the conversation, like I did, where I tell Ryan that, like, you know, I’m your guest on your show, and then I, I started out by saying, like, I really wasn’t that interested in the tour, I just wanted to talk to Ryan, because he was interesting, you know, but I was there for the tour, I did enjoy the tour. But you know, just those moments of vulnerability of stumbling, like, when we are in these other spaces, we can be who we most want to be.
Ryan Freng 47:59
Yeah, that’s, that’s super interesting. How do you how do you mark it? How do you sell that? Or how do you help somebody understand that, right? Because everyone’s like, Ooh, I mean, especially when somebody comes to us for like, a video, like, that’s probably the worst. They’re like, I know, video works. I need a video. And we’re like, ah, that’s just not a perspective, right? It’s not a good perspective, like a video will not speak all of your brand messaging, or, you know, hit all the points. So now we’re trying to strategically talk to people about, okay, what does that actually look like, right, because we do want some authentic, you know, people absolutely will smell things that aren’t authentic. So the fact that, you know, we jump on, and we might say something a little goofy, I think endears us to an audience. And so we need some of that. We also need some of the perfect looking marketing, we need some pieces that are shared on LinkedIn that are like super businessy. But also we need stuff shared, other places that are goofy and silly, and, you know, personal so yeah, just more more reflection on kind of what you’re getting at. Because, like, I think with the tour idea, and by the way, flattery will get you everywhere. Like, that’s, that’s what it is for me. Like, if I was on a tour, I would just be like, Well, tell me about yourself. I want to I want to know more. Okay, what’s your story? What do you like? And when I try it, when I meet people, I’m like, what do you do? Okay, we got that out of the way. What’s enjoyable to you right now? You know, I try to ask questions that kind of take people out of that comfort zone. Because, yeah, we can get those moments because, like, I want people to know where you’re coming from. But really, like you had mentioned to like personal goals, like, I want to get to that, like what are your personal goals? And why are those important? You know, because that’s, I don’t know. That’s what shows the uniqueness of each of us. Like you said, we’re all creative. Like, let’s let’s see some of that.
Laura Gallagher 49:56
Yeah, let’s see some of that. That The other one video idea, we get that a lot too. It’s not going to make an impact. And then having this idea that anyone can do this, you know, like, I got the latest greatest iPhone here, and I’m sure I can make a wonderful movie with it. That doesn’t mean that or, but I can also make a lot of other stuff that nobody cares about with it. And that doesn’t have any, you know, do this storytelling and creating something that is compelling and that, you know, create somebody to move in a new direction. It takes a lot of intention, a lot of thought, as you guys know, it’s not. Yeah, and I don’t know that. I don’t know, I don’t know what happens next. I also think there’s too much of it. And I wish that I could quiet things down, in a way, just personally. So I go through certainly seasons where I’m taking apps off my phone. Oh, yeah. Like that. Because I feel that too much.
Ryan Freng 51:05
Right? Well, how how do we? How do we do what we do while acknowledging that, you know, like, I like to put my phone away when I’m at home as much as I can, and especially on Sundays. But then part of what I do is like, Okay, how do I figure it out? To be the most interesting thing on all of these devices? It’s like this weird headspace and it’s overwhelming.
Laura Gallagher 51:28
Yeah, it is, and what does it do to the rest of our relationships? If we’re looking for? If we’re always kind of creating this story that others will view and think certain things about us, right? Like when we all go, I don’t know, humanity isn’t that isn’t isn’t always taking vacations, or, you know, you’re like, it just it’s this, it’s this world that isn’t exactly real. So, I don’t know, the digital world is both compelling and concerning, you know, and as creators in it, and what’s our responsibility to it, and to the people who want to use it as a tool, because it’s also a very effective tool. You know, what’s our goal? Are we are we trying to inspire? Or are we trying to draw someone in? We’re trying to convince them to buy something? Or, you know, are we encouraging them to lead a new story? You know, like, we do a little bit of work in higher education, too. And we do a lot of work in nonprofits. So we’re, you know, those are powerful stories, you know, who’s the hero? You know? And how many of those things are we seeing that make us feel like, like, we should act or do something throughout the day? How many times are we asked to change something? What’s realistic, you know, I don’t know, these are?
Ryan Freng 52:54
Well, there’s an sometimes you can’t win. Like, we created this really great project with one of our clients and with community members. And then the some, some may be vocal members of the community reacted strongly negatively towards it. Which is fascinating. They’re like, this is not authentic, or, you know, just didn’t appreciate the the messaging and we’re like, Well, this was kind of, for the community, by the community, and we help facilitate it and, you know, kind of the some of the marketing around it is like, well, let’s not share too much. And let’s try to back off because we’re just getting some flack. So yeah, we gotta handle this, you know, like the PR, like, you’re saying, like, the damage control. But I it’s funny, because, like, I feel like if you if you’re putting content out there that somebody doesn’t dislike, you’re you’re maybe not going far enough. And I feel like you always need a little bit of that, but how much is the right amount? I don’t know. Like, because this this is like, to the point where it’s like, well, we can’t share talk about it. It’s like, oh, no, it’s so good. And people, you know, are brought to tears by it and love it. But, you know, it’s it’s a tough, weird space to be in.
John Shoemaker 54:05
I think you have to, I think you have to understand the reality of the virtual space and the social media space and whatever and, and that it’s not fair, but it like, the, the mass, I can’t think of the vocabulary I’m looking for for this, but just like the, the mass population effect, the they will decide. And once they’ve decided and started staring at a particular direction, it’s, it’s lost. It’s not yours anymore. So like if that, you know, and it’s, it’s the negative connotation of words and things like canceled culture and stuff like that, like, that’s a thing that we live with and deal with now. So you really just have to be, you have to be ready to not take things personally and then have To be ready to, like, react to like, Well, if that piece of media, that piece of marketing or whatever that I put out, got gets cancelled, then then it’s canceled, I can’t, I can’t force it back, all I can do is just move on to the next thing and try to try to pivot, you know, but yeah, it’s just, I’m constantly thinking about the thing that I actually yeah, these are heavy, deep philosophical, you know, areas, but is my connection to technology and media and the various platforms, like, okay, so I’m trying to, like, you know, get a gauge on that and have good balance in my life and give the appropriate amount of attention to my family and my kids, and, you know, but I’m, but then I’m participating, and I’m creating something, to catch more attention and to hold attention. So I’m creating the thing that can be problematic. You know, it’s like, I guess it would well, okay, there was an analogy, I guess it would be like running at a brewery, you know, or, or like, Well, some people are gonna, like, have very difficult problems in their lives with the product that I’m creating. So,
Laura Gallagher 56:19
yeah. Oh, that is a deep philosophical question. Yeah, you know, in the early years that I was in business, we didn’t buy any trash. So I was buying TV advertising. And we were creating television advertising. And by the way, those were the easy days of video production. Because he might do, you know, like, we worked with a health care of one of the hospitals in the region. And, you know, I might do I don’t know, six to eight ads a year, you know, one for the birthing clinic and one for the General Hospital, and one for the occupational therapist, and so on and so forth. And we were done for the year, can you even imagine any pieces of content or something for an entire year. But anyway, when I would place those ads, I wouldn’t buy any violent television, places where people are getting shot or killed. And I wouldn’t buy any trash talk shows. So and we did some publicity around it, too. It was just my way of saying like, if the truth is that if advertisers don’t support garbage, garbage doesn’t air, and I and that was, you know, my way of handling that. And I think that, you know, throughout my career, that’s been it’s been a filter that I try to still keep on, you know, what we’re, what we’re doing, where we’re placing things, and what we’re creating, you know, so that’s just one way and you know, did my little bit of whatever makes a hill of beans a difference in the multi gazillion dollar advertising world? Probably not. But I felt good about it. But it
Ryan Freng 57:52
did. It did for you. It did for you. And those those around you, right, yeah. Because like, we have a John and I have a good friend who talks about your sphere of influence, like, okay, Company X does company, you know, does something politically, right? Does you not buying company X, you know, when they are kind of a primary store, Does that have an impact? Maybe, likely not, however, you have a sphere of influence, like you, yourself, your family, your friends, if you’re an influencer, it could be a lot more. But those things that you do, sorry, if you’re hearing the drilling, or doing or modeling, those things that you do, right, can affect your sphere of influence. And that’s certainly important. And obviously, staying true to yourself, is super important. Because again, in marketing people smell when you’re not authentic, right? It’s such a stupid catchphrase. Like, be authentic, but it’s, like, it’s so true. And I, I feel like I have to, like, remind myself, like, not to be showy, or not myself and be like, Yeah, you know, I’d save this and go out, kind of in front of whatever media it is, in a way that’s authentic. And I feel like people, you know, can resonate with that. And that’s how we can do anything.
Max Olmsted 59:16
So yeah, speaking of that, too, I think that just because something has a small impact, even if you’re affecting only your circle, or even only one person that is still worth doing, because it’s, you know, that’s still affecting an entire life. And if you get enough of people, enough people thinking the same way and having that attitude and just wanting to bring good in the world, no matter how small, that adds up to a lot and that can have a domino effect that affects generations. So I just think that’s, it’s just a it’s an outlook that that I really appreciate.
Ryan Freng 59:59
Yeah, I think that like, you know, how do you change the world? I’m like, Well, I have a bunch of kids. So, you know, I’m gonna help them right along with their philosophy to be maybe a little bit further along than I was or maybe a little bit better just give them the tools to to handle things. And, you know, maybe they’ll have a little bit better chance because that’s definitely my sphere of influence.
Laura Gallagher 1:00:22
Yeah, good points.
Ryan Freng 1:00:25
Let’s see. We’ve also got my guy here, savage ASCII creative. One of my old old neighbors and friends. Great conversation insights, really enjoy learning. Thanks to you. Let us know if you have any questions. Or any other ones from from Laura. Now we’re getting serious to this standing is happening. I’m standing right now as well. I love it. I noticed the telltale sign. Yeah.
Laura Gallagher 1:00:51
I just have to move I have to move. You know, you’ve probably seen the seen the research that says that sitting all day is like smoking a pack of cigarettes or something. So yeah. So after a while I have to I have to get up.
John Shoemaker 1:01:07
Yeah. And you can smoke all the cigarettes you want? Yeah.
Ryan Freng 1:01:14
I love it. That’s, that’s smart, smart marketing there. Okay, so you had mentioned Laura, you’re kind of focusing a little bit more on some personal stuff. Kind of those are some goals, you have some personal goals? What What were you kind of meaning when you’re mentioning that?
Laura Gallagher 1:01:29
Gosh, well, I’m thinking I’ve actually been interviewing coaches. And, you know, should should the coaches be listening? I’m good. I’ve got a lot of coaches in my life. But I have been interviewing coaches, and I’ve been thinking that I’m gonna need a buddy. You know, like, when I went to Babson, the Babson College entrepreneurship program, it was structured in a way to ensure that they got a 97% graduation rate. So you had a there were 166. In that cohort, there were 47 people in my core group. And then I was in a smaller group of eight, and I had a peer partner and a coach. So, you know, when you think about all those layers, they told us at the beginning, don’t question it, it’s for your good, like having all of these different layers. And this is kind of how communities breakout and how many people you can reasonably know well enough. And that small group of eight is really important too. And when I think about any of the new things that I want to do, even though I’m, you know, pretty self directed and, and can achieve things. Like even even the competition element, like with the governor’s business plan competition, I didn’t have a pure partner, or group that was, Well, I kind of had my I had my other people who are somewhat involved with the business plan. But mostly it was, you know, pretty solo endeavor, but you’ve got your, you’ve got others who are also competing, so then there is some sort of a loose community there. And what I noticed with my current goals is that, you know, like, you guys should probably, if you’re, if you’re working with clients, and you’re working with staff, you’re waking up in the morning, and you can, you can have sort of a reactive day, right? What needs to get done. You know, your,
Ryan Freng 1:03:23
Laura Gallagher 1:03:25
doesn’t happen until later. And, you know, weekends or nights or whenever you actually can grab an hour or two to yourself, it just seems like I’m in that mode all the time. And I need an accountability partner, for myself, you know, I’m my, my staff and I set goals together and we and clients set goals, you know, we align, and then we hold them accountable. But then, when I have something I want to do, I don’t have anyone that is going to, you don’t necessarily want your partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or whatever to you know, be that accountability. Yeah. Somebody? Yeah. So I’ve been interviewing some coaches, and I think I found one that I’m going to work with now that I’m excited about, but you know, personal goals. You know, actually, that’s one of the first things that she gave me was a list of, you know, some things I want to accomplish and what I’m going to work towards, I definitely would like to be more physically active in the next year. Because I’ve just, I just haven’t been as much. And I have a gym, just down the hall here at Creative company. So it really isn’t like it’s not accessible to me.
Ryan Freng 1:04:32
Laura Gallagher 1:04:34
No excuses. And, you know, but how do I make sure that I come first that I get that in, you know, because what happens is that my schedule ends up filling up with all kinds of other things. And then it’s the end of the week, and I haven’t done anything, you know, so that’s probably, yeah. Does that sound familiar?
Ryan Freng 1:04:52
Oh, I feel it’s so much like it’s one of the nice reasons of working at home or working late at night. I’m like, There’s no phone halls, there’s no emails, there’s no one on Slack late at night, and I can like crank through stuff. And same thing. You know, working at home, the office is great. And you get a lot of great centered synergy. And like, you know, you can have a random conversation that moves something along really, really fast. But there’s a lot of times that things can be interruptive. So then being at home, it’s like, well, I’ve two solid hours where no one’s going to talk to me. So you know, I can get some stuff done. Yeah, yeah, totally, totally feel what you’re talking about. So
John Shoemaker 1:05:33
there was an interesting thing at a recent American advertising Federation speaker event. And I was looking for the notes. And I cannot find that feel like also
Ryan Freng 1:05:44
pro move bringing that up president of the American advertising Federation, Madison’s nice, maybe? Yeah.
John Shoemaker 1:05:51
A little plug there. A Yeah, I can’t find the notes. But the speaker was talking about a shift from the work life balance phrase to work life integration or something like that, that. Like I said, I wish I had the notes because it was better than that. But it was talking about how work life balance can get a little bit messed up. Because really, you find and we are the employers, Ryan and I, so like, we’re not, you know, we know it. But what you can end up having is you can have employers just kind of it’s more like this, like, oh, yeah, well, let’s, let’s make sure you get enough time with your family. So that you can like work incredibly hard, like all the time, and put in huge amounts of hours. And it kind of, it’s still, it gets the wrong skew, it gets this like skew of just like, oh, yeah, make sure you do that. So you don’t just keel over. But I still want like, you know, all all of your time and all of your energy into work. And they were making a case for was finding a way to, like, integrate it into your life. This is this has more to do with if you have a flexible situation, if you’re able to work from home, if you’re able to work remotely or whatever was like, like working I forget her exact examples, but it was I think it was she was talking about something about with her husband, I think, and finding a way to make it part of her life. So that it’s like an art, like the family’s goal is like alongside that. It sounded really cool. And I know it’s probably it’s not reasonable for everybody. It’s not reasonable if you, you know, work in construction, maybe, maybe it is, you know, maybe like maybe, but it was just kind of a cool thing, because it reminds me of I don’t know if this tangent is tied into what you were saying Ryan, or if it just made me think of that when you were saying as I’m speaking now, but
Ryan Freng 1:08:15
yeah, no, absolutely. That idea of like, do you do you live to work? Or do you work to live?
John Shoemaker 1:08:20
What kind of makes me well, what it makes me think of, and what I got a taste for that I really want to figure out more when I got a taste for during working at home during COVID was like, when everybody was farming. We were working like with our families and friends and communities all day long, working incredibly hard. And, you know, not making not earning as much as people do today. But when we were in Agra Garyun society, like we were close together, and working. And now everybody just goes their separate ways, works and then comes home. And when we say work life, we just try to say, Well, can you preserve, like, at least an hour for me in the evening? Can you you know, instead of like, can we? This looks like different things for everyone. But can we as a family, community friends who are like, can we move in the same direction together and have that, you know, it makes it it does mean something different? So I don’t know how that ties into what you’re saying, Ryan? I it’s it’s just the idea of like, do I need to wait until everybody’s asleep in order to work by myself in my basement in order to get something done? Or can I integrate somehow into my family life to be like, like, oh yeah, let’s be helpful to like, you know, carve out space for you to get that thing that you need to focus on done? You know? Yeah. Well, and it’s, it’s
Ryan Freng 1:10:05
interesting because like, what do we do? I mean, we’re not farming, where it’s interesting, like, what are the lessons we can take? And what are the lessons we’ve learned? Like we can take, you know, like support and knowledge, right? So knowing what is going on. And what is needed is very helpful in a family. Like, when I haven’t talked to my wife or the family about what’s going on for the week, that’s crazy, hectic, and never works. So the the goal is like, on a Sunday to talk about it. And everyone knows the expectations, I’m gonna, I can’t take the kids in, I’m going to be working all day, or I’m going to be working late or we have a thing or I’m traveling, right? The reality is the kids. It’s not like the kids can come in and like, okay, that, you know, that Hey, over there needs to be over there. And I’m, if I’m doing that, I’m not doing something else. I can’t be like, I need you to write this script, or I need you to hold this thing. I mean, until they’re a little bit older. Yeah, come on. So there’s yeah, there’s the different, you know, the different kind of nature to what the work is, but at the very least, the lesson is having everyone understand what the need is and supporting that need. In in some way.
Laura Gallagher 1:11:27
Yeah. Yeah, this is some, these are the things that I’ve been thinking about in this stage of my life, too. I’ve been, I was called. So about six weeks ago, I had a letter saying seven weeks ago now saying this little church that I grew up in, was going to close. And it’s still me close. But I’ve spent some time back there, bringing my marketing leadership skills to the table. And one of the things I’ve loved about it is the community working together for a goal, right, and it’s small. So literally, like, we walked around this little town, my my friend, Cindy, who I haven’t had any contact with in 30 years, we walked around this little town handing out flyers to people and just talking to people that haven’t been there yards or whatever that night. For a movie night, we did a movie night in the church basement. And it was a movie that would inspire people to you know, like, what do you want to do with this, and it was about this, this church that was going to close. And then they these refugees show up from Burma and and they ended up deciding to farm, the 30 acres that are there. So to your point about farming, and the whole community comes together to save the church, and they do save the church. You know, sorry, just kind of ruin that I didn’t tell you the name of the movie. But the point is that we had 19 children show up, we had 31 adults for the movie night, somebody made a big dinner, somebody made cinnamon rolls, somebody made cookies, and oh my gosh, I had the best time like to take you can’t even begin to explain how much fun this was for me. And I also on Monday night, like went to vomfass with Rotary which delectable and had, you know, a five course dinner with wine pairings, which was fun. That was fun, too. But this journey with this, this little town and the work I’m doing there, it makes me so happy from the inside out. You know, so what is that? And it’s because it’s because to when I’m there, I don’t have to wait a week to talk to somebody, you can just go knock on their door. Like you don’t have to you ever do that with your best friends like one of my best friends, it’s her birthday today, we’ve been trying to find a date together to get together for you know, a month. And that’s just kind of, you know, this life versus these other lives. And I wonder if we’re not going to have sort of a rural Renaissance. If people aren’t going to move, you know, we all left those the small towns to go to the city, you know, will there be some of us who return, especially when we get broadband and you know, we have some of the tools to these other places where the housing is more affordable, and our kids can be safe and, you know, so on and so forth. Or at least that’s the perception. There’s pros and cons of Yeah, it’s wonder like, creative people, I need time to rest and play. So when I go there, it’s a very creative space for me.
Ryan Freng 1:14:21
Yeah, well, and you’re kind of getting into that idea of community versus technology a little too and like we moved out here in the Fitchburg because there’s 10 or so families that we know and so we’ll get a you know, a text you know, on a Sunday afternoon or random evening and it’s like, Hey, want to drink, be like alright, we’re gonna hang out for like a half an hour, it ends up being two hours but like to commit to something like that would be so hard, but you’re in the area, and there’s a different experience, right or the kids will just go hang out and then we’ll go pick them up and then we we end up hanging out as well. And it’s it’s interesting because I So I’m a What am I, I’m an elder millennial, almost, you know, a couple more years into the, into the Gen X above me, but we grew up and Simon Sinek says John’s John’s the same I think, let’s see, Max, you’re a little bit younger than us. So you’re solidly a millennial, but you don’t have any of those bad traits. It’s great. So John, and I came out of school and got jobs before, like the 2008. Crash. And Simon Sinek likes to say like, those people have a different work ethic, a different different kind of style. But even so, our technique, you know, we grew up with technology, the internet became something people had, right. So there was a time for us, you know, in in time for you before there was internet, right, you know, and we, we had telephones and you had to call and you had to talk to somebody, right? When they call, you couldn’t put it, you know, you couldn’t screen it, you couldn’t text back, you couldn’t do any of that. So it’s like this immediate communication, then technology comes, and we have a way to keep community and people at arm’s length, to not reply to right to whatever, see if we want to answer or whatnot. But I feel like now, I’m, I’m returning to kind of that immediate numbness of community of like, oh, this is happening, let’s go, or let’s connect right away, as opposed to screening everything and keeping everything at an arm’s length. And I have no idea what that means for like, was it Gen Z, or the next generation, where technology and communication is so ubiquitous and so different? Because kind of that idea you were talking about? You know, it’s like, can we plan this thing? I don’t know, if we’re gonna be able to plan this thing. But today’s the day like, Hey, can we go hang out right now, you know, there’s something to that that is unique and special. And, and I’m sure there’s some lesson in marketing somebody can get from here. But more importantly, I think, I want to community is important.
Laura Gallagher 1:17:09
I want to there’s a part of me that wants to go back to when I was eight years old. And we all decided that we wanted to play softball, like you went, we’re putting together a game, do you want to go play softball in, you know, in the back yard, if so, and so’s house, like, I loved I missed that. You know, and I think the pandemic just sort of brought out how much I needed, I want that I need that, I want to be able to Yeah, like, just be able to just make it less of just run into people to have like,
Ryan Freng 1:17:47
less of an anxiety, less of an anxiety inducing schedule thing. And more of a, you know, not general, but just a random happenstance of like, Hey, you wanna hang out,
Max Olmsted 1:18:01
this is gonna be fun and fulfilling, I’m gonna go do it. And, and as a kid, as a kid, you don’t, you don’t realize how much of a privilege that is to just be like, I have no obligations, I literally have three months where I can do anything I want. And, and, and there were times, you know, during that time, when we were children, as we all have where we sat there, and we were bored. And thinking about that now, I’m like, I would never be bored. If I were in that situation. Now, I would, I would savor every moment of that time where I could just yeah, just literally do whatever I want. Whenever when a friend called and was like, let’s go, let’s go hang out. And, you know, play, make believe and, and just have fun. But
Ryan Freng 1:18:55
creatively, creatively, I feel like we need to be bored at some point. Like, you know, if I don’t have something to do, it’s like, here’s a show, here’s a movie. Here’s, here’s this, here’s that. So like, you know that thing that you’re talking about? Like how do we get that back? Right?
Laura Gallagher 1:19:12
You wouldn’t think it would be so hard, but that’s what I want. I don’t want I don’t want the long to do list. I don’t want the endless list of chores and obligations that keep me from being in real community with others. I think that’s the you know, that’s the I think that’s the stuff that makes me really happy. And as a creative person, I need time to wander and how do you do that? When you’re a business owner are ridiculously in charge in some other way. You know, you’re either taking care of like at this stage of your lives, it seems like you know, I’m a Gen X or my kids are both in college. They’re both juniors and they still need me but not at all like when they were little right. And work life balance for me then meant Oh, good. I get to take my kid to work where they call or they you know crawl underneath the desk while in color while I work. I mean, you know, that was that was kind of part of it. So, yeah, we’re having like a, this is a really important conversation, though, because I think it’s what, you know, maybe it’s it’s a couple of days a month that we carve out where we don’t have anything scheduled where we have free time or at an afternoon. I mean, that’s one of the things I’m looking at. As I look at November, it was something and I thought, No, I want to leave this time. I want to start walking off, you know, chunks of time, where I’m not scheduled. It just says, Laura out of office. Yeah. And even that really I get to be, because that’s because I can get called in. Other times, I’m actually free to go do the thing I want to do.
John Shoemaker 1:20:39
I think you even have to be careful to to not try to be productive, then. Yes, in that because this same wife, friend of ours, talking about sphere of influence was we talk, the reason that we we muse on these things is he leads his trip to the Boundary Waters, like every summer, so I’ve been there many summers, Ryan’s been there once. And it’s just a wilderness camping trip, we’re up there, and you’ve got like seven days, you’re just in the wilderness. And you just, I mean, that’s like what is the epitome of just, there’s no, there’s nothing to do other than just be in the moment. Maybe somebody’s like, I might go fishing this afternoon, but like you’re just there. So you have time to think about things, you have time to just do nothing. But he’s talked before about, like, if you have a Saturday where there’s nothing planned, and you just kind of sit around and think about doing something and decide not to and then you know, watch something, and then whatever, you will end that day feeling not refreshed, because there wasn’t a specific plan to do nothing. And so your spirit will be like, I didn’t do like I didn’t achieve anything unless you say like, my plan is to do nothing. All right. So because otherwise, yeah. And then if you take a day where you’re going to just do nothing and let your head be clear, but then you have plans to be productive, because I have an open Saturday. And it’s like, alright, well, let’s fix that thing that I was going to do. Well, that became a thing that I’m doing. And it’ll be good, but it’s not. It’s not the brain space that we’re talking about.
Max Olmsted 1:22:29
And I’ve I’ve been working on that, personally, too, is changing how I define doing nothing, because doing nothing is doing something for your mental health. And you just need to, or at least personally, I feel like I need to carve out that time and be like, No, it’s it’s not doing nothing. It’s it’s recharging. It’s rejuvenating my mental state. And it makes me think of this. I don’t know who the philosopher is. But there’s this story about a tree that is that grows in a way that it is useless to useless to a lumberyard can’t be chopped down can’t be used for anything. But it is useful to the tree. Because the tree, the tree is living the tree is existing. And that is enough. And that story kind of resonated with me and struck me as the Confucius
Ryan Freng 1:23:37
could be, but great. Yeah. Yeah, it’s awesome. And this is kind of how I always hope these go. We’re about it’s a 120 on respect your time. We do have one more thing to do. So we’re just getting into the good stuff, which means we have to have you back. It’s going to be great. As long as you’ll come back. It’s time for something a little special here. That’s right. Time for two truths and a lie.
Max Olmsted 1:24:13
I didn’t know we have that. That is amazing. I love that’s great.
Ryan Freng 1:24:17
Yeah, it was like a pandemic thing that I made. When the kids were down here. I was like, Come here, come here, come say this. So we’re gonna play two truths and a lie with Laurie to get to know her a little bit better. I did prep her. I did give her heads up at the very least that this was coming. Do you need us to vamp a little Laura, are you ready to go?
Laura Gallagher 1:24:38
I’m ready to go.
Ryan Freng 1:24:40
All right. And for those who are listening at home, if you get it right, send us your address and we’ll send you some swag. We’ll send you some sweet Ooh, do I have it here?
Max Olmsted 1:24:50
Oh, I guess
Ryan Freng 1:24:53
because of kids, it’s all over the floor. And we got some great let’s make awesome coasters here. Keep keep your desk all clean. We’ll send you some stuff to Laura. We’ll get you some good good supplies. But if you’re at home if you’re on Facebook or YouTube play alone.
Laura Gallagher 1:25:12
Alright, so do I just I just tell you my my three things.
Ryan Freng 1:25:17
Yeah. And I’ll write them down. Okay, so
Laura Gallagher 1:25:19
the first one is that I went to school, originally to be a court reporter.
I’m often asked about my vehicle because I drive a 2013 Volkswagen Rabbit. And I raced in a regatta on Lake Michigan during the pandemic, and I won
Ryan Freng 1:25:52
what’s a regatta?
Laura Gallagher 1:25:55
So it’s a race with boats. So catamaran my boyfriend races catamarans and regatta is a sailboat race.
Max Olmsted 1:26:05
That’s so cool. Yeah.
Ryan Freng 1:26:09
The rabbit, I’m looking up all these things. And if you’re at home, you can you can ask questions as
Laura Gallagher 1:26:16
well. That’s not fair. Is it?
Ryan Freng 1:26:18
Oh, it’s 100%. Fair. We have the internet. Yeah. Thanks to the Al Gore. Alright, let’s see. So you went to school to be a court reporter. You are often asked about your vehicle, you drive a 2013 Volkswagen Rabbit. And you raced in a regatta on Lake Michigan during the pandemic and one I would be that would be the promo right there on number three to just change one of the details. You know to have it mostly true. That’s the best way to lie. All right, what are you guys thinking?
Max Olmsted 1:26:52
I’m thinking that you have a Volkswagen Rabbit, but it’s a different year.
Ryan Freng 1:27:02
Ooh, so Max. Max is number two. Different year. That’s that’s a really good way to lie. We’ll learn how good you are at lying. Oh, we
John Shoemaker 1:27:13
gotta guess online. Yeah,
Ryan Freng 1:27:16
yeah. How many? Last one. Yeah, Aaron. We’ve sent you stuff before right. Aaron. We sent you a coaster
John Shoemaker 1:27:24
ride. It’s not scum. Oh, maybe?
Ryan Freng 1:27:27
Yeah, just stop. I’ll give you some glasses. All right, John, what do you think?
John Shoemaker 1:27:36
And it’s a tough, it’s tough. The regatta sounds like, unexpected but I also know that there’s a lot of a lot more boat people and boat racing that takes place in this area than you might realize. So it’s not I’ve met a lot of people that are like, Oh, wow, you do boats and you boat race and like, just a lot of surprises that I I’m inclined to say the first one just because it’s like, the one of these things is not like the other it’s just it’s like shorter. There’s less detail involved.
Ryan Freng 1:28:22
Yeah, there’s less specifics. Yeah.
John Shoemaker 1:28:26
And it’s Yeah.
Ryan Freng 1:28:30
And Aaron uses the coaster every day nice promo I’m
John Shoemaker 1:28:33
gonna go. And it couldn’t be. But I’m going to go with court reporter because I have no way of knowing what car you drive. And seems reasonable. Maybe you’d like it. And Boat Racing is a thing that lots of people do in this area.
Ryan Freng 1:28:57
Alright, so John, you’re number one, Max. You’re number two, I guess. I mean, I’m going to jump into it with Aaron. I’m gonna go number three because there’s a lot of details there’s like four things you’re racing and regatta on Lake Michigan during the pandemic and one so it’s like 1234 things that could be lies
John Shoemaker 1:29:21
and I won seemed like an add on to that. It did
Ryan Freng 1:29:24
it did. Yeah. We got Phil second. Yes.
Max Olmsted 1:29:31
Hey, let’s hear amaze here
Ryan Freng 1:29:32
Amana on the coaster Here we go. I’ll hook you up. You guys just come on over. We’ll get we’ll get you some of this will drink together. That’s the requirement. Okay. I think we got our votes locked in what’s what is the lie?
Laura Gallagher 1:29:51
So just out of curiosity, what were the let me let me get this right. So a couple of you voted on the on the Volkswagen right? The SLI
Ryan Freng 1:30:00
So that was Max. I think Max was the only one. Sorry, Max, Max and Phil. Savage ASCII creative.
Laura Gallagher 1:30:06
Okay. And then John voted on which school to be a court reporter, right?
Ryan Freng 1:30:12
Yep. Yeah. We’re the Regatta.
Laura Gallagher 1:30:16
All right. Well, um, and the winner is the I did actually go to school to be a court reporter, which is just hilarious to me. Because I have no business can imagine me sitting still for an hour at all. Doesn’t happen yet, but I could play the piano when I could type fast. So I actually did start out studying for a recording. And I liked I thought a lot, I think, yeah, that is an I didn’t last long. I did race in a regatta. And no, I don’t drive a Volkswagen. So.
Ryan Freng 1:30:50
So number two?
Laura Gallagher 1:30:54
Is there is that I do drive a 2013, Toyota Sienna. And that part usually, they’re like, Why are you driving them on ban? Well, I’ve been driving the exact same make and model since they came out with a new one. And like, whatever year that was 2003 or something, I just keep buying newer ones. But the 2014 one is the most recent one. And it just it’s great vehicle so yeah, but I don’t drive.
Ryan Freng 1:31:18
Nice. Love it. Yeah, that was that was a really good specific detail. Yeah. That was awesome. So
Unknown Speaker 1:31:26
different ones X.
Ryan Freng 1:31:28
Max, you get whatever you want. You can take some swag if you don’t already have. And Phil, you got to take. You have to drink the like really old wine that’s probably super alcoholic.
Max Olmsted 1:31:43
It’s probably vinegar by now to find some use for 100% Vinegar.
Ryan Freng 1:31:47
Yeah. All right. Let’s see. That’s what we got for today. Like I said, I think we’re just getting into it. That’s, that’s what’s so much fun about this. And I appreciate Laura, you coming on? And just hanging out with us? Is there anything we can plug for you?
Laura Gallagher 1:32:04
Oh, gosh, ah, yeah. Well, you know, I feel a little bad saying this, cuz it’s John’s the president, new president of American advertising Federation. But the American Marketing Association is doing a new series, starting in January, a lunch hour series that I’ll create a company sponsoring. So that’s going to be fun for a few months, John, feel free to ask me to sponsor things. I’m pretty good about that. So, so that’ll be good. And I think that’s yeah, that’s really it. I just, you know, I want everybody to just like think about, you know, rest in play and restoring and being good to themselves. That’s really important. And it’s just, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. I knew it would be and thank you all. You’re wonderful. It’s good to meet with you. Again.
Ryan Freng 1:32:45
Check. Yeah. Good. Thank you so much. This was awesome. All right. And we do turn this into a podcast. So you might be listening to this as a podcast, but check it out down below, if you don’t already. Thanks, everyone, for jumping in. We’ll report back when we’ve got somebody new on the calendar. Thanks, Laura. Have a great weekend. Enjoy the weather, you guys. It’s gonna be awesome.
Laura Gallagher 1:33:08
Absolutely. Thanks. Take care everyone. Bye. Thanks.
Ryan Freng 1:33:14