The Alimond Show

Mara Bauserman - Chief Marketing Maven of Blue Umbrella Marketing

March 20, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Mara Bauserman - Chief Marketing Maven of Blue Umbrella Marketing
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Imagine stepping off the well-trodden path of corporate certainty into the wilds of entrepreneurship, where the heart of community pulses with possibility. That's the exhilarating leap our guest takes us through, sharing the genesis of a co-working haven designed to nurture small businesses and foster connections. With a tale that intertwines the humility of personal values and the acumen of strategic marketing, our conversation is a masterclass in transforming vision into vibrant reality—a tale that lights up the entrepreneurial spirit.

Our discussion ventures into the delicate interplay of faith and business, where seizing the right opportunities becomes an art form. Our guest opens up about the tools and tactics that keep their bustling hub afloat, from insightful billing systems to imminent plans for expansion. They candidly address the intricacies of shaping a service without diluting the essence of community, offering listeners a front-row seat to the strategic dance of nurturing a growing venture while staying true to its foundational values.

As we wrap up, the conversation shifts to the personal—how the dynamics of family life are deeply rooted in business success. Our guest offers a touching account of co-parenting and the power of setting egos aside for harmony's sake. We also delve into the profound impact our everyday choices have on the world around us, the 'ripple effect' of our actions, and the conscious commitment to sow seeds of positivity. This episode isn't just a story of entrepreneurship; it's a heartfelt narrative of personal evolution and the shared journey toward creating meaningful change.

Speaker 1:

What's been going on with you? Last time you were in here it was for the COVID series.

Speaker 2:

And I was at a construction firm up in Chantilly and then last January, february, about this time last year I think I had a midlife crisis and I just, mike, dropped on my whole life in working life I should say my career life, so family life, great, everything like that. But it was actually my daughter, chloe, who worked with me and I think we were just done. You just get to that point and you're just done and there's just got to be something. You're working for the proverbial man, so I don't mean that like the man, but the proverbial man and you just realize that you're not in alignment anymore with doing the good things that you love doing.

Speaker 1:

And you wanted to become the man.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's exactly yes, but no, I just I didn't know, because I don't even have a leadership bone in my body. I don't want to be in charge, although I am type A, but I don't want to be that misnomer. I don't want to be the executive. I think that's probably also what I didn't like. I was that person. I didn't like it at all. I do not like firing people. That is not enjoyable. I don't like evaluating people on all these silly little metrics that somebody else dictates to you and but at the end of the day, there's actually a really good fundamental human there, because you can't train humanity right, but you can train to statistics and data and metrics. So it's like sometimes you have to mold people a little bit longer, develop them a little bit longer, and I just again, I was just tired of executive. I was like wow, off with their head and that's just not me, and then they sent you in with the shopping.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, because you have to be the one to do it. So I'm like that's, I don't like any of this. And so I had followed, and you know, because I mean you had introduced me to some of my career paths and stuff. So I'd been on a career path here in Loudoun and Fairfax for a very long time and I just didn't. The career path didn't feel good anymore.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, so my friend called me out of the blue and she said hey, there's this great little spot in Charlestown. I only need this much square footage of it. I want to do this thing in there and I need an investor or somebody to rent out the rest of it or do something. She's like hit me with an idea of who you know and I'm like well, I know me. I'm like yes, I'm so glad you asked yes, exactly. And I was like so, and it came to me. It was literally while we were on the phone, like a light bulb moment, and I had the whole business plan done within a week, which I will say this though that's kind of what you do.

Speaker 2:

It is kind of weird what I do, yeah, all the time.

Speaker 1:

Whenever I needed an idea in like 2.5 seconds. Yeah, it's weird, I would call you yeah. And you're like I have no idea. Actually I do. Here's three yes, Continue Sorry.

Speaker 2:

No, no, but it is. Yeah, ideation is definitely my thing, but what I can't stand is ideation without execution. So that's where, if I have it, I want to do it and go with it, or I just move it off the plate. But this one I really loved. We looked at this space and went through some and you know, you've had to rent spaces before and the nightmare of commercial leasing and this, that the other, and we just could not get that building to work. And it was definitely for a reason Because I was driving, I was getting frustrated.

Speaker 2:

I was still working up here trying to get the idea to come together Because I knew there was magic in it and drove by this old building that used to be one of my favorite places when I was a realtor was a restaurant. I always used to sit out there with friends or clients on their courtyard and there was a for lease or sale sign and I thought and it was one of my ex-husband's best friends, Like you know I was like oh you know, call him, Find out what's available, blah, blah, blah. And without you know, sparing you all the boring details it came together in less than 30 days. I mean, we had lease signed. My property owner was just, you know, very gracious with us and it was done. I mean, we didn't have to do anything. We walked into the building completely renovated because it had been a university years ago, so I just had to reclaim the gardens. There was still a lot of sweat equity as far as getting furniture moved in, and you know you know no stranger to sweat equity.

Speaker 2:

No no, no, that too I'm broken. I feel like completely crippled most days for sure, but I love what's coming together and so, yeah, we signed it like February 20th or so and our grand opening was April 1. I mean, it was like whiplash. It is I don't know like right. What's my 32nd pitch? I call it a community center, but it's we're obviously privately funded. We're not, you know, by my empty pockets.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, when you're like I fund it.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know I tried doing the whole. You know there's the SBDC and all these different things in the beginning and you need, like this, lit me and I'm not discouraging about what they do, there's great people out there serving our business leaders and small business owners For me to stand something up this quickly. I could not just sit there and go and give you 50 years of projections Like that's. You just don't know that. But it is a community space that includes co-workspace, private offices, flex offices and then a myriad of other things to support small business owners. So a podcast studio, videography and photography studio, classroom, community room, several community spaces that are like either meeting spaces One gets used as a yoga space in the morning and by night it's actually there's little tap dancers running all around there. Sounds like a herd of wildebeests, but she's there because she got held up in permitting, so she needed to be able to open her business and operate while she was funding getting her build out done, so it's allowed.

Speaker 2:

We've become a small business incubator, which is kind of what I think I had in mind. But it's been great to organically see how and where needs were that I didn't necessarily think of, so that's been exciting to see. The board of education is in there. They've got four offices. That one I love, it's Adult Continuing Ed, which you also know Like I think that's right up my jaw and I get to see these all ages. I mean people are coming in in their 40s and 50s getting their GED, like trying to do self-improvement and taking the next step, so that's, and the teachers are phenomenal ESL, so we have that there, and then job training. So I'm hoping to get to a space where I can actually afford employees and then be able to segue some of these people into the workforce through our center.

Speaker 1:

Are you saying you have no employees right now?

Speaker 2:

No, we do not have any employees. You are employee number one, chloe. We have two partners. Chloe, my daughter has Chloe left you, yeah, but she's there. So, no, she's left. Chloe's your daughter, by the way.

Speaker 2:

Yes, she is my daughter and she is a partner in the business. I mean, she invested in it as well in the beginning, but she's a full-time college student. She has her own marketing agency. I have a marketing agency. That's kind of was my thing is I'll stand this thing up and it'll just be its own thing and I'll have a marketing agency and no, but Suck to it. And she's full-time college. So she has probably about two or three marketing clients.

Speaker 2:

But her focus is sports marketing. So, like you were saying, you love the coaching, she loves football, she loves student athletes and she loathes watching them do disastrous things on social media or not knowing how to represent themselves during interviews or signings. So kind of the etiquette as well as the social media management and reputation management side and trying to develop yourself as a brand. But starting that in middle school and really understanding that with the NIL deals the importance of if you think that you're going to even try to get to college with a scholarship. What's the importance of, kind of maintaining your integrity and your brand reputation. So that's what she's doing.

Speaker 1:

It's just so cool and so niche. Yeah, I know it's specific Playbook PR.

Speaker 2:

Isn't that a cool name? It's totally cool, but yeah. So she's really busy doing her own thing, what she should be. She's 20 and she's adventuring out on her own.

Speaker 1:

I like how you say that You're like, in which I mean she should be, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's the martyr Chloe I'm martyring right now. This is full martyr, no. And then I have a business partner who also has a full-time job and does merchandising, so she's a merchandising shop actually in the space and so, yeah, we're just all really busy. But again, it's super rewarding because special needs events I mean I can say yes to anything, Literally. The Relay for Life called and didn't have a space for their chili click off. I'm like yes.

Speaker 1:

Does that feel good? Oh yeah, because I mean I remember you have done so much in the community. I'm not even going to try to remember it, but I do remember just what comes to mind. What was I called the Jeep event? Oh, jeeps for Jordy, yeah that was super special.

Speaker 2:

That was a. Thing.

Speaker 1:

But that was all. Consuming.

Speaker 2:

And those are the ripple effect of all these things that I always say look, you're going to make me cry already. I feel like I'm on Oprah.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, I'm not going to cry or jump on the couch.

Speaker 2:

Some of those folks that were near and dear to me and that I had never known just from all walks of life that came up to me. They actually helped during the grand opening, like they helped put the furniture together, they helped move furniture, they helped come in and just get it cleaned up and dusting and everything like that. So some of those key people are still very much in my life and they've been huge supporters so and in turn I'm trying to help one of their fire departments with a fundraiser, so it's a whole circle how do you manage all of these filing cabinets in your brain?

Speaker 1:

That I don't know.

Speaker 2:

I really do think it's like some kind of disease, I don't know, because people say that. Well, you know, I actually give a lot of credit to God. You know that about me. I am faith-based, so I figure sometimes I have to check myself and be like Mara. Sometimes it's just you being neurotic, it's not God presenting you with opportunities, you're just taking on too much. But there's a lot of times when something does come along that I just try to lean into my faith and just find an answer or a solution or a way to support it, yeah. Yeah, if it's the right thing, I'm really doing a better job at that, evaluating when it's the right thing, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And there's something wrong with that? It's just because I know how big your heart is. So, now that you have a space to be like yes, yes, you're getting a space, you're getting a space. Yes, it is.

Speaker 2:

It is very much like that and I love all the people that are meeting in the space and like the little oh so like that was one. That happened last week is our health department has a grant for Hispanic outreach and so they came in to the marketing part of Mara, like that personality, and we're meeting in a space yeah, let me put that. And we're having a meeting and then they're like OK, well, we need to, it's done by the end of the year and what's the best way to reach the community? And via social, via print ads, via whatever. And then I'm looking out and I just started decorating our Christmas wall, which is like 40 linear feet of trees.

Speaker 2:

I was not on social, which is really pretty, and my four person sleigh, sleigh all day. I'm so excited. But I was like, ooh, we can throw a big Christmas party and then we can have them all go to each of these booths of all the different services available to them in the county and the kids can come and get gifts and see Santa. And, just like you said, I literally was in 30 minutes I had this whole master plan.

Speaker 1:

You're like hang on, I see it all. Yep, that's right, I went right it out.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. And then I was like, but better yet, we'll get the board of education in here because they teach the ESL classes and they can help us with the outreach. And so then they were all excited. So then in a matter of an hour all these players just happen to be in the same space because I have the space, and that's kind of exciting. All the little synapses firing physically in the space is really exciting.

Speaker 1:

What's the name of your space?

Speaker 2:

Oh, corner Connection. I still don't know if I like it. It seems just like a little wow wow.

Speaker 1:

But it says what it is. That's not the final name, it's not and they're like it Because it's more than.

Speaker 2:

That's exactly when it was in the beginning. I liked it, and the C actually has the USB plug for connecting and powering it. I thought about it a lot and then and I liked it, but yeah, it's just evolved into something else. I don't know what its next iteration is going to be. Wait, it'll come to you Right, right.

Speaker 1:

Rebranding here. So in terms of like how you got, how it's helping you with your marketing business and how it's evolving, do you have any type of your own playbook that you are following, or is it evolving as?

Speaker 2:

it. So I treat my clients much better than I treat myself. Right, I'll tell my clients make sure you're. You know I always say if you're hit by a bus, like you cannot keep all of your planning in here. You have to have backups, you have to delegate, you have to have systems like you know all of these things. I'm horrible about doing that for myself, but I shouldn't undermine. I do have like a honey book, which I do. I know you use it. Oh my God, I love honey book. Yeah, I've heard you like this about it. Oh my gosh, it's amazing. So, like that's my whole billing system, everything. So if something were to happen, there's everything aggregated there. And then I have, like I do have some systems in place trying to get things more automated and especially like our website is such trash like that's I threw it up in like a day. So there's like all these things that I want to improve that I know are part of like marketing 101 and standing up a business 101. But then I get sidetracked by doing that for somebody else.

Speaker 1:

Yeah or like hosting a huge community outreach program.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly. So then I'm like oh well, and and this I cannot like, I cannot give enough credit to our community just a huge adoption rate. That's, that's what I was hoping for, that's what I needed. So the first 60 days was a little bit slow, just getting the word out and getting people to understand. But once it was traffic and I knew it was traffic once people come in and see it, I knew that the light bulbs would go off and then we'd word of mouth, which is what that we're in that cycle right now. So the biggest thing right now would be reputation management, management, excuse me making sure that we deliver on everything that we say that we're gonna deliver on. Staying competitive with pricing, but also with pricing like I'm looking at our pricing models, so it's like I'm doing all of the things that you're supposed to do. It's just right now. It's stuck in here and kind of I'm the one that's in the daily operations.

Speaker 1:

So there's what is it gonna take for you to hire your first person and what's the first position you're gonna hire?

Speaker 2:

I don't know, I don't, you know, I, I, I almost want like a hostess person, you know, because we get a lot of walk-in traffic. I mean, no, like my poor clients know that now, like I can be on a conference call which I can't stand and I'm like, oh sorry, somebody just walked in and I feel it's horrible cause I'm interrupting their time. Most of my people know me and are very gracious about that, but that would probably be somebody that could be there during the day, know the business model, be as enthusiastic as I am about it, love people, like that's the thing. I mean the people that are coming in are from all walks of life with all different kinds of needs. I mean a massage therapist to a, you know, yoga instructor to. We have people that come and do the beauty pageant, dressed fittings in our community room because they can walk the hardwood floors and get their and Hems and all that stuff.

Speaker 1:

Do they pay for all these services?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they do pay. It's just members. So there's membership or rental space I don't get into leasing because that's again that's resident or that's real estate and then you have to like evict somebody and blah, blah, blah. So you're a member and then it's only month to month, so you may only need a flex office for two months. You may be looking at a permanent space and you want to make sure your business could get stood up, like that's the kind of incubator part, and so I would be somebody who really kind of believes in the business model and believes in people and how you know, I don't even need somebody tech savvy, it's just like that customer service, that truly.

Speaker 1:

So that'd be an easy hire, ya.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 1:

No, no hire me?

Speaker 2:

No, I think it's. I think the hiring market's so bad right now. Indeed, indeed, you sound like DC 101. Indeed, have you gone to Indeed?

Speaker 1:

No, because they're the best. Go to Indeed. You don't have to pay for the job listing. Put it on Indeed, you get. Yes, I'm telling you, I have hired my best people. Will I hired you off Indeed?

Speaker 2:

But then I have to pay them, so that I have to wait for that part.

Speaker 1:

I have to wait for a couple of hours, Okay, but I'm saying like I don't know what your fees are, but isn't that just like one new client?

Speaker 2:

Well, for me, I don't want somebody for the marketing side right now Like I would like to offload because no lie, like if there's an event-.

Speaker 1:

You're not even a rental client for the community.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's no, no, not really Okay. Yeah, because our fees are different there. I mean, I would say most of the. I mean my fees are on the website so they're transparent. But, like, our top fee for weekend day is 1500 for the whole day for wedding and that's the wedding fee. Most wedding venues start at 5,000.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna ask this, but I didn't want to sound insensitive. Oh yeah, are you too nice when it comes to business?

Speaker 2:

I am. No, it's the. So there's not a lot of hotels left COVID and other different things. There's not a lot of hotel rental space, but I needed early adoption before, so I was price sensitive to get people through the door and have early adoption. We're also in the middle of a recession, so, and we're also not loud and county. So you know, people are more fiscally conservative in our area because they also don't have the incomes that are here, so when people go here, a $5,000 venue fee is cheap here. That's like your yeah, like that's your lower end right. So it's like there you've got, I think, the racetrack and a couple I like did all of the market research and there's some new places standing up in Hagerstown. There was a new one that just opened in Martinsburg by somebody Actually, you know her, anna.

Speaker 2:

Just the photographer, anna. Do you remember that? She does Anna Cobb, she did. Well, she used to be Anna Lopez. She photographed the Percival Wine and Food Festival. I don't know her name. Yeah, I know it's okay, but she, I know Sometimes, I question my kid's name.

Speaker 1:

Yes, my kid's kid, you know the one that happened.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, she just opened up a great space so it's been fun, Like she did one of her first event photography with me, so. But yeah, so there's other places coming into the market but again, knowing what I am, space like, I can turn the space quickly. We had a football banquet and then before that we had like a baby shower like the same day. So it's kind of like operationally looking at what the highest and best and you do that all by yourself.

Speaker 1:

You flip spaces and-.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, sometimes I have some extra hands there, like Kippy, but if you know, football season, kipsett football, and then she's your son, yes, yes. And then again the business partner, she has kids in sports. So it really just it's a, you know, a toss up. Sometimes it's by myself, sometimes I get some extra hands, but you buy lighter tables. I have learned that you buy lighter tables.

Speaker 1:

I love the oh no I used to have just like the regular banquet tables that we would use to-.

Speaker 2:

I made the mistake, though. The first thing because I was very price sensitive in the beginning, still am, and I was like, oh my gosh, there's this church liquidating all their eight foot banquet tables for $30 a piece, which is super cheap, right. So I'm like I'm driving up to Cumberland. Oh my God, they weigh like 200. It's like deadlifting every time.

Speaker 1:

I go to Did you get?

Speaker 2:

them all. I got them all Because by that time I already driven up to Cumberland. So I'm like, well, these are all going. But now I have the, the thank you to 868 Estate Vineyards they made they don't do their catering anymore, so they let me buy all their nice. The heavy duty plastic game changer in my spine, so oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

So then, so you are building this community center. Essentially, that is also a business hub for businesses that are looking for that space. Where do you see this evolving for you personally within the business, like, where do you see yourself within the business and find this part of your business, because I know you've got your marketing?

Speaker 2:

business Doing another one.

Speaker 1:

I want a second location, yeah, and so what is it going to take to create that second location?

Speaker 2:

I'm going to have to lottery. That's reasonable. Or marry somebody really rich. That's probably not going to happen either. Okay, I'm going down the list. No, so you know, honestly, I think that that's where, now, that I've proven the business model, because, again, we live in a unique area and I haven't worked there for a very long time, my work life has been up here. So, even though I've been there forever and I know so many people in the community, there is still that perception of you've come from Virginia to try to make us like Virginia, and that's not the case at all, obviously, and there's been resistance, so that's been. You know, for me that's frustrating because I don't. You know that I have infinite amount of. You say I have a nice heart, but what the other side of me has a very short bandwidth, sometimes in patients for stupidity, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think we all have that.

Speaker 2:

So there's been some of those roadblocks, that where people have just, you know, been ignorant I just don't have any other words for it and people that are in leadership roles that can impact the business.

Speaker 1:

So I think I'm going to give us a little more. I know what you're talking about, because I follow you on Facebook. What are some things like? What do you mean when you say this? Well, just so we're not vague looking.

Speaker 2:

Oh, call me out. No, I on Facebook I have not been pretty vague, I've been very specific, Without being despondent, because I mean again the we have a business. The real estate itself has had an. The city operates with another board, the farmer's market, and they shut down the street that is the main access to my building and that is South Samuel Street. So the main street through town is Washington, South Samuel's here and I literally have one quarter of a city block. I mean it's a pretty substantial. It's 13,000 square feet and it's just a substantial size building. You can see it on Google Maps and it's on our website. I mean it's big and it's a great footprint and but for years it's not vacant and nobody was there on Saturdays and Sundays and things like that. And so the farmer's market has operated and that was fine. And when we took it over we knew that they were opening that operational year and the vendors are amazing people, Like we had our.

Speaker 2:

My intent with their management was to completely allow them access, like let's work together, you know, if we have events, we, you know, with access and while have the bathrooms open, your vendors don't have to run all over. God's creation. I mean, if you're a farmer's market vendor and you have to leave your booth for 30 minutes from, you're losing sales, You're losing opportunities to meet the community and everything and convert, you know, more loyal clients. So you know, I just really took an approach that we could be great neighbors. That did not happen. That did not happen at all and in very like offensive ways, I mean just being yelled at and not being able to access. We have a parking driveway that we couldn't get access to every Saturday from April through October. So when's when's wedding season? Yeah, When's event season? When's everything happening? So we lost 7,500 in revenue. We lost two. You can take out my whole venue for a weekend for 3,000. So Friday through Sunday. So if you have an extensive event, you want Friday for set up, full day on Saturday, Great deal, Right, I know, but we lost one of those because they wanted their wedding on Saturday.

Speaker 2:

Well, how are people going to get into the building? And that? That access is my ADA access. More than anything, the safety issue is the concern that I've had. That's my main entrance and if you look at our building, there's like this little stoop up. It's your stoop, Like coming in here. Yeah, Would you get a gurney and not stoop Like if there was an emergency issue. No, and so that's my thing. Here's where emergency access comes, here's where ADA access is, and right in that access I have two ADA bathrooms, and so I was like you know, next year there needs to be a relocation of the farmers market and closer in town to the merchants and the other people that would benefit from that. Traffic would be ideal, and I've presented every logical mediation type opportunity. Here's middle of the road solution, here's middle of the road solution, and it has just been rebuked. So, yeah, so that was it. Financially impacted me and the business. I mean again, just in the first two months of operations, $7,500 loss is a lot yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So, especially when you have I mean I'm transparent about those numbers $5,000 in rent a month, more than one month operating costs lost, you know. So that's the stuff I'm overcoming. And then, but I've got you know to counterbalance that the chamber started having their lunches there, the rotary has their lunches there. So I've got these other great business leaders in the community. You know, take out this small pocket of people who just are still kind of stuck for a moment and I think I'm hoping they'll come out of their stuckness. 911 just gave me that official address, the. So you know, there's other ways to work around things. Yeah, that's nice so, yeah, so the and we have other, like I said, great leaders are coming in. We've got other people are running for different open positions in our legislature that are having, you know, parties or gatherings there. So that was a tough one because you know I don't do politics so I was like I hate to say I hate politics.

Speaker 1:

I've been so involved in politics, I am learning so much about it because I realize now that what other people decide actually do Impact. Oh yeah, impact everybody else?

Speaker 2:

Yes, and I make, I am, I have definitely strong feelings, but I just don't because of marketing and because of all the things, I don't put it out there, you know. And so originally when we opened the building, I was gonna say absolutely no political events because I didn't want people picketing outside, I didn't want the overflow and I didn't want people the perception because I've had other friends who are business owners that have had one party or another party stop in, you know, to get coffee or do something or have a gathering, to speak to community members and be assumed that they have different viewpoints. And so I was like I don't want any of that. And then I, just after a few inquiries and I thought you know what? We had drag queen bingo at our fire department. And well, they didn't have it because they were going to have it and it sold out and they had to cancel it because people were incensed and inflamed that they would have drag queen bingo at the fire department.

Speaker 2:

And I'm like, okay, we're an event venue, we're open for all. So then I kind of put this letter out like we may have a political rental, we may have drag queen bingo, like we're not having it, people are renting the space and we are a rentable space for anybody who wants to come in and enjoy the space. So yeah, that was kind of a big decision in the beginning and just trying to double down on that and just make sure that it's a safe and good space for everybody to have fun.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm gonna say that that would be a difficult decision because everybody, no matter where you lean or what you believe in, you believe in that thing. So to be able to open yourself up and your space up for things that you may not believe in, no matter which side or which viewpoint you kind of agree with, I think that would be a and nobody talks anymore.

Speaker 2:

So it'd be one thing if you could have that, like you and I. I know we could sit down and talk, even if we were completely opposite ends of the spectrum. We could talk about something for days and be respectful, but I don't think 90% of the population can have a dialogue anymore or even be willing to listen and educate how another side feels about something. And that's the biggest problem. It's just like the minute you have an opinion, you are now perceived by what 90% of the population thinks about that opinion.

Speaker 2:

Or just muted, yeah, yeah, yeah, or canceled or whatever, and it's not like oh, that's interesting. I want to hear more about why you have that opinion or anything. We don't have that ability anymore as a society. It's very exciting.

Speaker 1:

I wanna have like I've been saying this actually for a while, but I think I'm gonna actually do it, if Lil will let me. Is you know how? I know they canceled the show now, but and I canceled it but they ended the show.

Speaker 1:

But, like the red table talks, you know where they would get different people different or Jada I guess pink and smith, yeah, and they would have conversations, tough conversations, bringing other people into the show Like I would love to do that with like local issue, like where they would get, they could get heated but they say we're smithable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and there's a lot of them locally and important ones to have, cause I mean, you've had so much in Latin and again I think Latin is just another microcosm of just has more money right Of every other community in the area. But you've had issues with race, there's been issues in the school system, there's been you know so many things that again I think something like that where people can have just you know, share their thoughts and feelings and everything, and not necessarily be accosted, but bring different points of view to the table and just have an aha moment I mean no one has to change their mind Just have an aha moment of understanding and be like, oh, that's where they're coming from.

Speaker 1:

Or just the understanding part. I think this is the most important thing from like all of it.

Speaker 1:

Like you just said you don't have to change your mind on something. It would just be nice to be able to be like. I don't agree with that, but I understand how they came to that conclusion or why they feel that way. It's kind of like arguing over religion. It's like all religions can be correct and right, like one doesn't have to be right and one has to be wrong. Just, you have to understand. If you're going to have a dialogue with them, you just have to understand where they're coming from so that you can converse and respect them as a human instead of seeing them as the other.

Speaker 2:

Well, you know, one of the top methods for conflict resolution is the first thing to do is validation. I mean, I say that in marriage counseling, they say it, you know hostage negotiations they're about the same. They're about the same, they're about the same. But it's validation, because in order for me to let my guard down or even have a conversation with you, I need to know that you understand me and that I can trust you. So if you validate me, then I'm gonna be a little bit less resistant to that conversation, I'm gonna be a little less defensive and we can start to have that real conversation and that's. And if you think about it from a societal standpoint, you don't see validation anymore. Like nobody does. Everybody's a keyboard warrior ready to ignite somebody in gaslight. It's just that part.

Speaker 2:

If I was thinking on the way in here today, I was like you know all my dilemmas because I know everybody's. Like you'll never be off Facebook. And I'm like, dude, the minute I don't have to have a career, I don't even know that I'll own a phone. I can't find all of them Right. Like I'll be on a little island or in a tree house somewhere. Like it will not, because I don't know if we what I know what's bond.

Speaker 2:

I was driving through Hillsborough and these cute little girls were on the street walking and taking like selfies and pictures of each other and I'm like wow, how life has changed, like literally. I don't know 46., 30 years ago, if I had to do the math, that's hard math. 30 years ago I was in high school and we didn't have cell phones. I mean, that was just 30 years ago. And look at how technology has changed, how we completely engage with each other. You know, and I don't think it's been for the positive for the most part, I think there's a lot of positives that come out of it, but I feel like there's more negatives, to be honest.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I'm kind of torn on that now. I would have agreed with that six months ago, but I think what it has done at least I can find the positives in it. Where I think social media has been amazing is it actually has not necessarily in the best ways, but it has actually Created communities of that would have never been created.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, if there were not social media anything I've done like yeah, that's why it's so hard to like load it, that's why I'm totally a hypocrite, because I don't, I don't like it. But everything that I've ever done out there, like fundraising and some of my crazy hair brand things that I do to try to Help people or help a community I all that's my first branch for outreach and people step up to the plate that don't even know me, that hear about it or want to support it or it hits their heart In the right way. I would not have that voice if it wasn't for social media. So, oh yeah, definitely a hypocrite about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that voice that answer does. It gives voices to people that would have had a voice. So that, yeah, I think the Transformation part of it. All right. So, in terms of wrapping this up, yeah, we've not solved the world problems, but I have talked your ear off. No, no, what. What's been like a project that you're working on or something that is near and dear to your heart? Truth, I know I just said wrapping things up and then I, like, opened up. Do you want me to get really sappy with you?

Speaker 2:

Of course I do. Okay, this is probably one that's like really private because, like you and I were talking when we came into the circle the privacy factor but you've known me for so long so you know how important this was. In sacrifices I made my it's complicated right my significant other, he is my ex-husband and I still call him my ex-husband and we are not like in a relationship, but he lives in my house. I don't know if you know that he moved into the apartment on the farm two years ago September was two years and we've been through like everything together Divorce, obviously, being one of them, the loss of a child, substance, misuse. I would say with you know again, I'm always never want to try to tell everybody else's stories, but he's definitely struggled. And come to the other side of that struggle, he's done what a lot of people have not been able to do and he did it by himself. You know a lot of people coming out of a place of darkness or recovery Don't have the self-awareness to do it on their own. I'm not saying that they can't, but a lot of them have to lean into other support systems. And he got really introspective and he realized what he wanted for his kids and what he wanted for his family. So we co-habitate as co-parents, which you know. I always I you don't want to have to beat me I eat a lot of poop, hope for the years being a single mom and raising my children. Well, he had to figure out a lot of his damage and I'm we're all damaged, right, we all have our baggage Me very much included, um. But my goal was always when you bring humans into the world, you have a responsibility to them above all. I'm not saying you should sit in an abusive relationship or you should do anything like that or subject yourself to, you know, poor, poor behaviors, but a lot of times people put their ego into it and then they forget that these humans are here for, like, that's that, that's your priority, um, and so my priority was always for them to have a family unit unit, and you know this, um, and that I'm proud of. Like that is something. It's still consistent work, but we are consistently good friends now and we consistently co-parent together. We're on the same page and our kids are almost. I mean chloe is almost an adult, I mean for legal purpose she is Um, but she's at college, and kippy is 16, and then I, I'm a grandparent, I have two grandchildren, beautiful little grandchildren, and so I mean our children are adults, but that you don't stop being parents, we don't stop being a family. So there's still very much a need for us to be on the same page and have opportunities to help our kids and We've worked on that really hard and still doing that, and I think that's to have you know you don't to have that partner, I guess, at the table. And then this year he stepped up like immensely with the business. He has helped, he has invested, he has Literally held down the fort at the farm in the house.

Speaker 2:

This is a person who doesn't like. Anybody who's watching this knows Probably how many animals I've had. I get tagged. Do you know how many? No, no, I haven't. I know how many.

Speaker 2:

Emu is sitting in the county prosecutor's yard right now because she ran away two days ago. And then the sheriff's like hey, the county prosecutor really wants to get your emu, and I'm like I'm trying, um, so yeah, literally. And then like there's this great day in and clark county that went viral the other night, and like I must have gotten tagged 20 times so, but this was a yours, yeah, no, no, they'd know it needs a home. So everybody's like mar, you need the fourth grade dame, you know? So, um, of course, you know exactly Um, but he's not an animal fan.

Speaker 2:

But even when things have, you know, like I've gotten stuck in the middle of a wedding and that I can't get home, or something like that, and or something at the business, he's like do you need me to let the dogs out? I chuckle because I know he's not capable of doing that, but he offers. Do you know what I mean? So, um, he's just, he's definitely been a really good human and I appreciate that, I think, when two parents can be good humans to each other, and that is a work in progress. So that is probably my, my probably favorite project right now.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's, so special.

Speaker 2:

So there's my sappy.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna say, yeah, I wasn't expecting that.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I like it for a loop.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you did, expecting some big marketing project.

Speaker 2:

No, you know, that's so status quo. I mean that's there is marketing. I've got great clients doing great things, but those are their stories to tell you know what I mean? Like, I think you know Linda. You know Linda's building velvet and pine. Um, linda boo singer, she just moved it yet so she's building a whole lifestyle brand. Yeah, she's. So she still has her HQ in Florida, plus, she's added an HQ year and she, she lives in both as well, but, um, she kind of, uh, I have we have coined her a, um Personal design advisor, because if you think about it like project managing, you've done home renovations and stuff before.

Speaker 2:

It's such a nightmare and there's everybody kind of has their own slant but nobody's really invested in taking you through the journey. Yeah, you know, and that's kind of what, from design to choosing a contractor, to what are the right questions to ask, to Blah, blah, blah. Is this normal? This is what my contractor is doing. Is this normal? Yeah, your contractor is going to tell you, yes, right, so so she's doing some of that as well as, again, this lifestyle brand all under that, um, and so she's doing a great job. I mean, so I've got marketing, fun stuff that I'm doing professional modeling organization. I work for them health department, so I've got these really cool clients doing Closed Up, but that's that's.

Speaker 1:

I like, though, that you understand what's like the actual important things in life.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's it.

Speaker 1:

That's my little close, that's my little circle, I love it All right, and then I have to wrap it up with yeah, do you give one advice, piece of advice to the world? I always ask this you, you should know this what would you say to the world?

Speaker 2:

I have to go back to that ego thing. I mean, just, it sounds so stupid about being nice and being kind and trust me, I can be the world's biggest a-hole. You don't have to beat that one out, do you? Trying to find alternate house words? Right, I really can. I know that about myself. But I really I mean going out of your way to be kind. It makes you feel better, Like, honestly, the most selfish thing you can do is be kind, because your heart will feel better and you'll feel better about the way you left the world going to bed at night, and it's just, we would just all be a better place if we, why do you think people aren't?

Speaker 2:

kind I don't know. That's another whole hour conversation. I think that people are just very much inside their own space right now. I mean, I think a lot of people are lost inside of the ego, and I mean that like from a like, almost like a psychological ego, not like egotistical ego. Like there is a mindset, there's something people are lost inside, how everything impacts them, how everything is, instead of again not necessarily being a little bit more selfless, but just being a little bit, you're one of a sum of part, like, you know, like an ant, like ants, like the colony this is a colony and you really do your little ripple effect. Like the way that you behave has a ripple effect on so many that you'll maybe never even know.

Speaker 2:

So do you want that to be a negative? Like the you know, the Karen's, whatever. I don't like that cause poor people named Karen, but right, like I feel bad for all of them. We have a Karen at the office and like I love you, karen, don't act like a Karen. Yeah, I think so, but she does it. She's so sweet, but like, but the? So do you want that to be a negative ripple effect or do you want that to be a positive ripple effect. So you know, if every action you took and you were just about ready to step off that ledge of being a jerk, just dial it back down a minute and think like today, I could just make this a kind moment. You know, I think that would be my altruistic look on life.

Speaker 1:

I love it Half. What is it Glass half?

Speaker 2:

always look for the good Sometimes, but behind that sometimes that can be a really dismal and dark individual. Trust me, it's been some dark days getting this business.

Speaker 1:

I'm a human though, yeah, just a human who's alive in today's world. Every, I'm sure this era has had this, but, yeah, there's that darkness and there's that light. So if you try to claim, yeah, that you're all, light is being able to take control. I think is the most important thing. Yeah, thank you so much, love you, thank you for having me. I know we could talk for, like find us.

Starting Community Space and Business Incubator
Faith-Based Entrepreneurship and Marketing Strategy
Challenges With Neighbors and Community Events
The Importance of Family and Kindness
Mindset and Ripple Effects