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Season 2 – Episode 14 – Advice for Startup Entrepreneurs from Venture Capitalist Tim McLoughlin, Partner at Cofounders Capital

Tim McLoughlin Hustle Unlimited PodcastTim McLoughlin is a Trianlge native and partner at Cofounders Capital, a Cary NC based venture capital firm that has raised over $30 million to invest in tech startups. On the show today, you’ll hear how Tim and David Gardner (founder of Cofounders Capital) got connected, why the Triangle is such a special place for Tim and his family, why not all businesses are investable businesses, and why the only way that your investors can help you is if you’re honest with them.

Hustle Unlimited is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and hustler himself, Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provided by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

Hustle Unlimited is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network, visit @EarfluenceMedia on any social media platform.

 

Jason Gillikin, Executive Producer:

Welcome to the Hustle Unlimited Podcast. We’re already on episode four of season two and this one is with one of the most influential people in the Triangle startup community, and you’ll want to hear what he has to say about how venture capitalists can help entrepreneurs, but only if they’re completely honest with their VCs, and really themselves. I’m Jason Gillikin, producer of Hustle Unlimited and CEO of the Earfluence Podcast Network. This season, so far we’ve had on Heather Chandler, former senior producer of Fortnite at Epic Games, Javier Leiva from the Pretend Podcast, and Molly Demarest, the GM of American Underground. And today our guest is Tim McLoughlin, partner at Cofounders Capital. Cofounders is a venture capital firm in the Triangle started by David Gardner. And partners Tim and David have raised over $30 million to invest in tech startups. On the show today, you’ll hear how Tim and David got connected, why the Triangle is such a special place for Tim and his family, why not all businesses are investible businesses and why the only way that your investors can help you is if you’re honest with them. Such a great interview and I can’t wait to share it here with you, but before we get started, if you want these episodes in your feed every Monday so you can be inspired for the week ahead, be sure to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. Give us a rating and review as well and share this episode on any social media platform. That helps find more great inspirational guests; the hustlers, the trailblazers, the movers and shakers, and the people who make their communities a better place. So let’s get started. Here’s Walk West CEO, investor, speaker, mentor, advisor, and all around hustler himself, host of the Hustle Unlimited podcast, Donald Thompson.

 

Donald Thompson, Host:

Hey guys it’s Donald Thompson here with Tim McLoughlin and he’s with Cofounders Capital and he’s here sharing with us on Hustle Unlimited. And we’re so glad that he’s here. So Tim, thank you so much for being a part of that.

 

Tim McLoughlin, Cofounders Capital

Yeah great to be here.

 

 

DT:

Why don’t we start out with getting to know you a little bit as an individual.

 

Tim:

Sure.

 

DT:

And tell me a little bit about you background – married? Kids? Just bring me up to speed with you as an individual.

 

Tim:

Yes. Start with the important stuff. First I have a two and a half year old boy who’s, it’s an awesome age. He’s running around like crazy right now. But my wife and I have known each other since first grade. We both grew up in North Carolina. I’m not originally from here, I was born in New York, but since I was six in North Carolina and our parents grew up about a mile away from each other, so, and they, they still, they still live a mile away from each other. So my wife and I certainly care about this area. We got both of our sets of grandparents. Our son was born in North Carolina. This is where we want to raise a family. And so I think getting to know me and why I’m passionate about Cofounders Capital, it’s important to know that I care about this community, which is important. Some more about my background. I played ice hockey growing up. That took me to Boston when I was 14 I went to boarding school in Boston, left this area.

 

DT:

You must have been pretty good.

 

Tim:

Well, it’s all relative. There wasn’t a ton of hockey down here in a, this is the late 1990s early two thousands so there wasn’t a ton of hockey. So for me to get more than an hour ice time a week, I had to go North. So I went to boarding school thinking it was a hockey school, but it was certainly much more than that. It was all academics and I got some of the best education I could get. Wound up getting in off the waitlist to Harvard. I guess even Harvard admissions make some mistakes from time to time and they me in, and so four great years at Harvard, absolutely loved it. Played a little bit of hockey there and then wanted to start something, wanted to start a business. While my roommates were going to do investment banking and your traditional kind of Ivy league paths, I knew that I was going to start a hockey training business back here in North Carolina. And at that point I’d been dating my now-wife and moved back to the area and grew that business for six or seven years after 2008 and then back to business school at UNC and got heavily involved in this what I’m doing now. So I can happy to talk about that story. But I think the important thing to know from me is I’ve got a family here, plan to raise my family here. And this community means a lot.

 

DT:

No, that’s important. I mean, one of the things is that a lot of folks have this conception, that great business minds, you’ve got to go to Silicon Valley to get funded as an entrepreneur. You’ve got to go out West and what’s really cool, Harvard educated, very successful MBA from UNC, and you guys have decided right here in the Triangle is a target rich environment for you to build a great business from an investing standpoint. Tell me a little bit about that.

 

Tim:

Sure. So I, I think one of the important things with, I say, I often joke that

And so one of the important things to me is just having a network and being in a community, knowing folks. And what I was able to do through my having my own business and being in business school here is create a local network that I can help leverage, help entrepreneurs leverage, help investors leverage. And I think that’s part of what has made Cofounders…some of our company’s success is just kinda knowing, having a really strong network that you can, you can lean on.

 

DT:

One of the quotes that I heard, and I forget who said it, but

And really be a part of doing that. And so I totally echo what what you’re describing. When you guys are looking at businesses and talking to entrepreneurs, what are some of the characteristics of businesses that you think are investible opportunities?

 

Tim:

I think, I think

So it’s, it’s passion, right? Are the entrepreneurs passionate about what they’re doing? Are they doing it for the right reasons? And then their ability to articulate their idea? I know that that seems like you, you need somebody on the team that can articulate what the value of that company is, what the value they’re providing to their potential customers. And if you don’t have that, it’s going to be very difficult to be successful. One small thing we always say is in, you know, David and I say is,

unless you have some other co-founder that comes in and does have that ability to articulate what you’re doing. And so I do think that that’s an important characteristic of an entrepreneur or at least a founding team member.

 

DT:

No, that’s pretty powerful. One of the things when we look at some of the home run investments of our time, we look at the Apples and the Googles of the world and different things. They have been partnerships. Or Microsoft and Bill Gates and his partnership. And then I look at you and David. How did you guys come together and decide that your talents and skills were complementary? Your ways of working together would be able to create a successful partnership.

 

Tim:

Yeah. I, I think, you know, we’re still…it’s, it’s funny cause every day, you know, we’re working together trying to figure out who’s going to take on what responsibility and what role as this fund evolves. But I’ll take you back. When I was in business school, I had some internships and I was working with a couple of the local venture capital funds in the area. So I did an internship with Idea Fund Partners. I got to work with Lister Delgado and John Cambier pretty closely, and they helped me learn my initial ropes in the venture capital community. And I was also interning at the same time with NC Idea, which is a private foundation that provides 12 to 13 grants, non diluted grants for local technology companies. And while I was doing that, I kept hearing this name over and over again and it was David Gardner. And it was David Gardner’s and investor in this company or David Gardner’s an advisor to this company. And sometimes we’d put companies that we’re going to take out of the pile of potential winners and put them back into the pile because we knew David was involved. And the value was that David was so hands-on with these companies where even if they were young entrepreneurs, first time entrepreneurs, knowing from an investor perspective, knowing that David was on their team, they had an even better chance to be successful. And that’s true of any company, having the right advisors, mentors around you are going to give you a better chance of being more successful. So I joked that, you know, I said I’m going to meet this David Gardner guy and finally he had just raised his first $12 million fund with Cofounders and he realized he needed some help and he sent out an email, and the email said,

And that was the start of it. I said, David give me a shot, let me prove my worth. And that’s how we came to be a team with Cofounders.

 

DT:

That is really awesome. I mean, one of the things that I would equate to that is my mentor and good friend Grant Willard is entrepreneur here locally. And I was employee number seven in one of his companies. And when he was offering me a job, the money was like, this was 20 years ago, but it was money. It was $10-15,000 less than market value even then. But what he said to me is that I’ll give you an opportunity, I’ll mentor you, I’ll teach you to be more than just a sales guy. I’ll teach how to be a business guy. And that opportunity to me was so much more important than the short term money. And my life has changed because of it.

 

Tim:

Yeah. And, and we…that’s the same pitch that we give to a lot of entrepreneurs. And I think I can come from a real honest place when I have the conversation with them, which is entrepreneurs know this and they’re very likely not going to be making market salaries. They’re going to be taking pay cuts and they’re going to be working for equity. And starting an early stage venture capital fund is very much the same way. You’re betting on your success. You’re betting on yourself for five, 10 years down the line. You have to keep proving success to your investors in order to raise more money. And it’s very similar to an entrepreneurial journey. And so when I sit across the table from an entrepreneur and have to have that conversation, I know because I’ve been in that same situation, and David and I had to have that same discussion at the beginning. And so I think it comes from a genuine place.

 

DT:

That’s really awesome. Tell me some of the things that you’ve learned partnering with David that have helped you personally grow.

 

Tim:

Yeah. Just so, so many things. I, I think one is just continuity in the way you treat people in business relationships. So we have very consistent ways that we talk to our entrepreneurs or business partners, our investors, which is, you know, things we’re telling them or ways that we make deals. And it’s very consistent. So I could see, you know, even some times where it’s not maybe beneficial to Cofounders Capital from a bottom line perspective, it’s still the right thing to do, with entrepreneurs or with other investors. And he’s very, very consistent in those conversations. And something that kind of triggered to me very early on that it came from a really authentic place and with the volume of deals that he’s done in his experience in the past of starting companies, selling companies, hiring, firing, the way to do it, that there’s a right way to do it. And in the grand scheme of things, treating people the right way and doing things the right way will come back and you know, come around.

 

DT:

Yeah. That’s really powerful. I remember personally. And I’m a part of one of the funds that you guys have raised and super excited that I got the opportunity to be super clear. And for some of the same reasons – that track record that you guys described, but one of the things that in talking with you and David about that was the authenticity. We’re going to care for this capital. You’re investing as if it were our own. And really, everything I’ve seen has been that. Talk to me about entrepreneurs and that responsibility they have when they start taking other people’s money.

 

Tim:

Yeah. Well, uh, yeah. That, that is, that’s true. And they do have a new responsibility that they take on. I think it’s very important to be open and honest with your investors. I wrote an article a few weeks ago that came out. It was about exit strategies. Just happened to be that the topic of conversation for that one. But it was having open, open and honest communication with your investors and your entrepreneur investors with their entrepreneurs about, what is your exit strategy? What is a successful exit to you at this moment in your life? Because what’s a successful exit might be different when you start a company versus three years in, versus five years in for good or for bad. And just getting your investors’ money back or having a little bit of money to pay some bills that you racked up over the last couple of years. That could be a successful exit for an entrepreneur at a given time in their entrepreneurial journey. And so that is an example of the open line of communication you need to have with your entrepreneurs. And one of the things we kind of pride ourselves on is when we’re looking at a new investment, and the entrepreneur wants to do due diligence on us, we say, well, here are the 23 founders that we invested in through Cofounders. Call any single one of them. Here’s their number, here’s their email, reach out, ask them any question you want. We’re not gonna filter this for you. And we feel confident doing that. We have a lot of pride in that.

 

DT:

That’s pretty awesome. And it comes across both in how you guys operate that I’m aware of and just inflection of voice. When you think about the successes, those are pretty clear and we’ll talk about some of those. When you guys have not been pleased with an investment you’ve made, what have you learned? What’s been a couple of blind spots?

 

Tim:

We like to think that we have a great relationship with our entrepreneurs and we feel that we do in general, but we also have to realize that we’re investors and we’re more likely than not a source of capital for them if they get into any sort of trouble. So how do we separate out the conversation and reporting versus what is actually going on in the company?

We often compare it to the doctor. The doctor’s only going to be able to help if you actually tell them what hurts. And if you keep telling them everything’s fine, the doctor’s not going to be able to help. And not that we can cure all, but we can at least start having conversations about how we’re going to impact the business or change the strategy or do something different to ease that pain point within the company.

 

DT:

So that springs a thought, right? That level of transparency is powerful in a relationship with an investment entrepreneur. If you’re running a company and you have employees, everyone is typically afraid of that admission of setbacks. And really it becomes powerful and you can say, this is our problem to solve together. Here’s everything I know about the challenge. What would you suggest?

 

Tim:

And I think what would you suggest is good, but also for an entrepreneur to walk in to a board room and say, here’s the problem, here are three things I think might be a solution. Here’s what I think I would recommend. What is your input? I think that’s the most important thing because it shows that the entrepreneur is taking ownership, taking responsibility, but then asking for input and guidance rather than a, please fix this for me. And it might get to a situation where it’s, please fix this for me. But we hope that the entrepreneurs put forth the effort to at least have some thought behind, here’s how I think we could fix it.

 

 

DT:

No, that’s powerful. Tell me some of the diamonds in the rough that you took a little leap with that maybe didn’t quite meet your thesis, but just in your gut you said, you know what, we just feel like we want to do this. And then ended up being something that that worked out really well, without getting into specific companies.

 

Tim:

They’ll probably, they’ll probably know who I’m talking about, but, you know, there’s been companies where you just, where you just can’t check the box on something that you think is really important. Like, you know, we had one company we did in fund two, we just invested in fund two where we just couldn’t really get our heads around the market size, the market opportunity. And we just said, I just don’t know if this is a big enough market for us to invest in. And we told the entrepreneur, we told the entrepreneur and I remember we got to the go, no-go decision. And Dave and I sat and we went through the process like we always do. And we just said, all right, we’re both, we both agreed. We said let’s go for it. And we called the entrepreneur and we told them all the reasons we were thinking about not investing, which was, you know, four or five very, very good reasons. And then I could tell the entrepreneur was like, it’s a no-go for that. But then we finished the call, we said, so guys, despite all of that, we have faith, we’re going to, we’re going to go for it, we’re gonna make this investment. And we couldn’t get over the market and we couldn’t get over the price points. So we couldn’t get there, but then it was just something about the entrepreneurs and we said we’re going to do this and we did and they’ve been rocking it since we made the investment. So that’s one. Other things that are harder, first time entrepreneurs. And with first time entrepreneurs, which are most of the investments that we make, they don’t necessarily have the life experience to…What’s the first time that…what’s going to happen the first time they have to hire, they have to fire, they have to close a big deal. That another investor’s trying to cram them down. Just something happens. And what we, what’s pushed us over the edge on those folks is who are the ones that are going to leverage us in that situation to make, to make the right decision, right? They’re not going to let us run the company for them cause we don’t want to do that. Nor do we have the time to. But in that critical moment, are they going to reach out to us and say, guys, this is where I need help. And you can tell a lot about that during the diligence process and working with those entrepreneurs is when are they going to reach out and say, I need help with this situation.

 

DT:

No, that’s awesome. In order to stay sharp, insightful about market trends, what do you read? What’s interesting to you that keeps you learning and growing?

 

Tim:

Yeah, so I try, I try to follow as much of the just daily updates as I can. So if it’s new articles that are coming out on Crunchbase Daily or TechCrunch, Tech Wire, anything that’s coming out on that. But what I really try to do to keep us up to date on our investments, our technologies that we have, is talk to customers. I mean, nobody knows, nobody knows more about what’s going in the market than a customer that’s been pitched to a thousand times for different software products. And I think that’s an important thing. So in diligence with us, most of our companies we invest in are pre-revenue, or maybe the company has one or two customers. So how do we get to know whether that technology is going to gain traction before we write a check? Well, if you go and talk to 20 customers, you’ll figure out pretty quickly that value prop resonates and whether it’s actually a business there because whoever that decision maker is I’m talking to about that product has probably looked at 50 other products to see if it could solve that same pain point.

 

DT:

So that’s super powerful and simple and that’s the genius of it. I was talking to another investor friend and we were talking about building our product based software companies, and one of the things he said is if you talk to a hundred people, you know what to build and you don’t have to build it twice. And a lot of people that are starting companies in the tech space are computer science guys, they’re engineers. So they want to get really, really focused on the product and how to, how do I define that product development process when a lot of the research can be done with very little investment by talking to people? Having maybe a click through PowerPoint or something like that. So the show, the visual, but you can get a lot of market intelligence, like you said, actually talking to those buyers.

 

Tim:

And so one of the last things we do as far as diligence, or maybe it’s on meeting three or four, is we actually look at the tech and we actually do the demo and we go through all that stuff. Because what’s more important than that is, is there a market need? Is there a pain point and can it be solved? If we think we can, then the technology is only…It’s a function of time and money. And you know, the amount of money affects the amount of time too. And if we have the money, we can control that piece of it. Well, we can’t control is the demand in the market. We can’t create market demand, we can help solve that pain.

 

DT:

So when you think about our business landscape in the Triangle, relative other parts of the country. Talk to me about some of the advantages you think we have as we look at growing our backyard as a successful ecosystem and really we’re all helping each other as we succeed and move and learn. What are some of the benefits you think and like and why you’ve really stayed and built a home and a business in the Triangle?

 

Tim:

This morning at a conference this morning, I ran into five, probably five companies that we either passed on or decided to take a different deal outside of ours. I ran into probably 20 different investors that I’ve co-invested with or are raising other venture capital funds or have other venture capital funds in the area, and not a single one of those folks that I ran into, do I have any sort of remorse, any sort of competitive feelings about. I want all of us to be successful. And I think that that is one of the things in the Triangle that is very unique. We’re not all chasing, you know, even if there is overlap of a deal that we’re going for together, the success of one of the funds or one of the companies is going to, you know, rising tide effect, right? Lifts all ships. And we actually mean that here. And we all kind of wish each other well and are rooting for each other.

 

DT:

So from some of the companies that I’m looking at, one of the things that jumps out to me is really what’s the cost of the software engineer? Like when I, when I think about companies and they’re talking about Silicon Valley and different things like that, and it’s, you know, $200,000 for a bright engineer, versus Raleigh Triangle, it’s, you know, $100-$115K, that’s cost-effective there. But I totally agree with that spirit of helpfulness and, and that resourcefulness of people wanting to make it together for the region.

 

Tim:

And on the early side. So when you comparing costs of living costs to hires, how much capital folks need to raise, that stuff matters on the front end. So what I mean by that is, if I’m trying to figure out how much money I need to raise, whether it’s $500,000 or whether it’s $5 million, that matters on the front end where you’re starting and growing that team. On the exit, it doesn’t matter as much. So the company’s worth $50 million or $100 million, it’s worth $50 million or $100 million no matter where it is, it doesn’t matter where your acquires are. That’s the value it has to their business. So here you have the buying power locally to raise less capital or have your capital go further and then exit for the same amount. It’s, you’re not getting diluted on your exit, which, just do the math. I mean, look at the math. It works.

 

DT:

Yeah, that’s really, really powerful. For education of our entrepreneurs, somebody’s got an idea, they think they want to be an entrepreneur. Give them a couple of pieces of advice from a family/personal standpoint in terms of are they ready to really take that leap? And then the second piece of that question is how do they go about vetting if they really have got something.

 

Tim:

Yeah, we always talk about entrepreneurs. We try to be very, very honest upfront and say, Hey, what do you need to live on? Everyone’s kind of in a different place in their life. So some folks are just out of college and $30,000 year, that sounds great. They’ve never had a paycheck before. So they can, they can live and work with that. They got no kids, they don’t have a spouse. They live in their parents’ basement or garage or wherever. And that works. Other folks are very successful business people that have families, have a mortgage, you know, they need a 100-150K to live. And that’s okay. Well, what’s important is knowing that the amount of capital you’re gonna raise, if you need to raise more capital, it’s going to dilute you out a little bit. It’s a give and take, so you’re not going to get your market salary and all the equity you want at the same time, and that’s fine. Just understand where you are on that continuum and what that balance is, and then be honest with your investors about it. So we’ve looked at companies where folks say, Hey, listen, I have to have 150K to live. Well, they’re going to need to raise more money and they’re going to own a little bit less of their company and that’s fine. And we’re okay with that. Or, or folks say, Hey, I want to take as little money as possible. I don’t need to pay myself anything, but I want to maintain this piece of equity. That’s okay. That’s okay too. The other thing I would say to entrepreneurs who want to start this journey is where do you want to be? Where do you want to take this? Does this need to be, do you want to try and build a unicorn? Do you want to have $1 billion company? Do you want to exit for $500 million in 15 years? Or are you happy starting and growing a company and selling it for $10 million and pocketing 95% of that money? There’s nothing wrong with doing that. I think everybody would agree there’s nothing wrong with doing that. So understand what kind of business you need and is it the right kind of business that you need to take venture capital money or angel money or can you bootstrap this thing? Can you do some services work early on where you can get a little bit of cash flow and then you can grow it into a more scalable business? Do you need to grow it into a more scalable business? And I think that, uh, one of the conversations I was having this morning was I think that it’s cool to be an entrepreneur and raise capital and get the series ABC, but it’s not necessary for every business. And

That is, here’s how you exit your company with the most amount of money in your pocket at the end of the day. Which maybe I should start phrasing it like that because people wouldn’t find it so offensive.

 

DT:

No, but that’s a great point. One of the things that, just to reiterate, it’s knowing what you want and what you want for you and your family. A value trade off for your effort is not the same as you may read about in Forbes or Inc magazine. And when you understand that, then you can find the investment team that that can best suit you to help you get what you want. And that’s pretty powerful. You wrote in an article, “Tell a Consistent Story or You Might Not Like the Ending.” Can you give us a little synopsis of that article?

 

Tim:

Sure, sure. So investors in the Triangle, we all know each other, we all talk to each other, entrepreneurs all know each other and talk to each other. And honesty is the best policy because if you’re honest with everything you’re saying, you don’t have to try to remember what you told investor X, Y, and Z. And I’ll be sitting with a bunch of other investors and they’ll start talking about a company and how many clients they have and how much revenue they have and all. And I said, I just met with that company and I just heard something very, very different and that throws up some big red flags. And so you always want to be consistent. And what helps entrepreneurs be consistent with their reporting is to clearly define their metrics. Okay. Let me give you an example. If I ask an entrepreneur, how many customers do they have? And they tell me 10 I’ll say, okay, so you have 10 paying customers? And they’ll say, Oh no, no, no, no. Not all of them are paying. Six of them are paying. And four of them are currently beta testing. Okay. So six of them are paying your regular price? Oh no, no, no, no. Six aren’t paying my regular price. Two of them are paying the regular price. Four are paying this early bird special that I gave them. Well now that is a very different outlook on what is actually going on than saying, I have 10 customers. And so what I encourage entrepreneurs to do is build up their story so that an investor can’t tear it down. So they’ll come in and they’ll say, Hey, listen, I have two customers that are paying full price. I have four customers that are paying this beta pricing. I have four others that are current beta testers that aren’t paying anything, which leads to 10 total what I call customers. How I define customers. There’s nothing I can do to tear down that story, but if we start the other way that I said at the beginning, I have ten customers that gives an opportunity for an investor to tear down that story or disagree with another investor that they’re hearing about this from.

 

DT:

That’s such a powerful example that works at every level of a entrepreneur. If you build up the right story then what the investor will do is ask leading questions forward and not take the conversation backwards and what you want as an entrepreneur is you want that investor dreaming with you. Right? All right. If you’ve got 10 customers constructed that way, what’s the next step to get those two paying customers? Two to 10 fully paying customers and now me and that investor, you and that investor, we’re talking about the future and that’s what you want.

 

Tim:

Yeah, you’re exactly right. The other big example that we see all the time is with users. Users, okay, well how many are active? Okay, well if a 10th of my users are active, well that’s not as impressive as the original number of users that you said. So I would say to an investor, if I was an entrepreneur, I would say, Hey, we have a hundred active users out of a thousand sign ups, and I measure active users by people that have logged into my system once every week. That’s how we define it. That is very clear. I know exactly what we’re talking about and any number now, greater than a hundred, is a step forward. Like you were saying.

 

DT:

 

That’s right. And one of the things I’m seizing on this because, even at the level that I’m playing at, as an angel, and really just kind of looking at some things I want to do. You’re looking for somebody that understands what truth is for their business and if I can’t get through that with you, it’s like how do I, like I don’t, how do I put my check with you? Because then now I’ve got to dissect, when you say use of funds, did you mean you were going to hire somebody full time or you’re going to hire somebody part time and you needed a little extra tuck in? Personally, it just creates a little bit of weirdness in terms of now I have to sanity check every word that you’re saying.

 

Tim:

Yeah. No, and I think that’s, that’s really important is once you lose that credibility where everything that I’m seeing is, is the truth and it’s not, it’s not a shade of the truth, it’s the actual truth. Once you lose that with an investor, it’s very hard to go back the other way.

 

DT:

You’ve probably read a lot of books. We’ve talked a lot of people. What are some of the things you’d recommend for up-and-coming entrepreneurs or even seasoned entrepreneurs that want to sharpen their teeth in terms of books that have a good blueprint for how to think about starting and growing a business?

 

Tim:

Well, I’m going to, I’m going to give a little plug to my partner here because it really is one of the nuts and bolts about starting a business. David has a book called The Startup Hats and it’s right where most of the entrepreneurs around here live. It’s when they’re first thinking about starting a business, it’s do you want to be an entrepreneur? And then all of the different hats that you need to wear at some point to be an entrepreneur. The hardest part for some entrepreneurs isn’t putting on those hats. It’s taking them off. It’s so I’m the, I’m the technology person or I’m the sales person. Well now you need to scale a business. You’re no longer the technology person. You’re no longer the salesperson or you’re no longer the finance/fundraising person. When you take those hats off and listen, it’s great. And I’ll give it another plug because it helped me get my job. I read it the night before I interviewed with him so I knew how to answer all the questions he was going to throw at me. So I cheated a little. And when I reached out to David just to get to know him, I read the book first and just said, Hey listen, here are a couple things I liked on your book. I got a question about this. And then he responded back and we hooked up. But it’s very good.

 

DT:

I agree with that. Recommended totally. It’s also an easy read. It is not something that tries to make running a business, a complex educational dig. It just says, here’s some platform ideas that you’re going to need to understand to be successful. And then it’s spelled out. And so I would echo, I would echo that in a big way.

 

Tim:

I did just also read a Bad Blood. The Theranos story is Bad Blood, I believe is the name of it. And that was a very interesting read just to, as a lot of the topics that we just talked about, honesty with your employees, honesty with your investors. How it’s possible to raise capital just by fudging the truth here or there. Or just saying, you know what you think, saying what you have today is what you think it’s going to be in three or six months or a year. It just shows how everything can go off the rails very, very quickly and how you can get yourself behind the eight ball. So kind of goes back to our theme of just honesty in how everyone needs to be on the same page.

 

DT:

No, I think that’s, that’s powerful. What would you…we’re gonna move away from business just a little bit. Think about our country. Think about everything that’s going on, whether it’s business, whether it’s personal, political. If you had a magic wand, what would you do to change our country?

 

Tim:

Oh. Um, I would love more open discussion. There are certainly people, friends, colleagues, business investors that I can have an open dialogue with on things we disagree about, but I feel like those conversations are getting fewer and farther between, whereas they’re more likely now to result in, you know, defending yourself and getting a little bit more confrontational and, and risking friendships. And I really just don’t like that. Um, where it’s, you know, you should have some open dialogue and open disagreement. And one thing that, that I find from, especially for fundraising with a lot of very successful people here locally is, you know, there’s Republicans, there’s Democrats, they’re all very, very smart people. They can also support their beliefs, right? And that’s fine and that’s great. But more open dialogue. One thing that I see in, in a business I, that I think I’m concerned a little bit for, for our startups in this area is how our immigration laws have been tough on some entrepreneurs. How do entrepreneurs coming out of school here, how do they maintain their work status in this country? You know, you can have entrepreneurs coming out of school, they can raise capital and create jobs for tens, dozens, hundreds of people and be able to get funding. But are they going to be able to, to have that window of a year, two years, three years out of school where they can stay here and start that business. And that’s something I’ve seen. I think that’s a bigger level issue that I’ve really seen impact here. Another thing for this is this is high level tax kind of implications from our country that can affect early stage startups is you look at things like stock options. You look at, you look at, that’s how we’re able to recruit talented people when we can’t afford the market salary is the, you know, future hope of these big exits. What happens if we start taxing some unrealized stock options. Okay. Mathematically and politically, you can probably make a statement that, yeah, this is how we’re going to fix the budget or this is how we’re going to do this. But if you look at the actual impact of legislation like that, how does it affect the entrepreneur that has, you know, on paper they’re worth $10 million because they have all these options in a big company, but they’ve been working for $30,000 a year. So anyway, those are, those are some big things. I know that’s multiple answers.

 

DT:

Oh, it’s good. Just when you see these sweeping political statements or ideologies and then you see how it actually impacts folks at the ground level. I think I get concerned. One of the things you said is very smart people defend their point of view, independent of open-mindedness or not, or facts. I do see the same thing that you do and feel it, that there are less people that I can talk with openly about things that do actually affect all of us. And that shrinking of dialogue doesn’t help any. And so I would absolutely…I would…you’d be preaching to the choir in that regard. As we wind our time together, number one, totally appreciate both the candor and the thoughtfulness of you taking your time. What are any parting thoughts you’d like to share for emerging entrepreneurs? Any points of wisdom that you’d like to give back to our listeners as they chase their dreams and journeys?

 

Tim:

Yeah, I’d say

There are so many cases where someone asks for a cup of coffee and I just didn’t realize, you know, I didn’t see the opportunity there for me, but I’m glad that I did it in hindsight because two years later I said, Hey, you remember that guy? He was an expert in this field, which I never thought I’d be involved in. And help people when you can because that stuff comes back around to you. You know, people want to pick my brain about fundraising, about whatever it is, and then all of a sudden, two, three, four years later, you know, there’s a way we can work together on something and help each other out. So set some time aside for that. So another, another point would be on a similar kind of subject is

People are getting to know me, they’re making a decision on whether at some point maybe they’d like to work with me in the future. You’re always recruiting because at some point you’re gonna want to call on that person and say, Hey, now I have a job open. Or Hey, now I can afford you now. Do you want to work together? And so set time aside just to give back, to meet with people where you don’t know what the outcome’s going to be and set some time aside. If you want to be an entrepreneur and you want to be a manager and you want to grow a team to recruit people even when it’s not obvious.

 

DT:

That’s phenomenal. One of the things with fundraising that one of my lawyers said to me is it’s a full time job as a CEO. So then you’ve got to figure out who’s going to run the company and who’s going to raise the money because fundraising is really, really hard. The other thing back to your point on recruiting is that you have to recruit the talent before you need it because when it’s available, you’ve got to make a decision usually with a window because if they’re good enough, they have other options, right? And so building that relationship before you need it gives you that edge.

 

Tim:

Especially right now when you look at unemployment rates and where it is. It’s very difficult to recruit right now, but if you have a preexisting relationship with somebody and they’re looking the opportunity to work with you, it makes it that much easier.

 

DT:

No, that’s powerful. The other thing I’ve found is if you, you’re, many of the businesses that I’ve run in are in I’m running are bootstrapped and they start really, really small. So we here at Walk West, as a digital consultancy and agency, 2015 we had two people, a couple of hundred thousand dollars in revenue. Fast forward to 2019, second year on the Inc 5000 and 5 million plus in revenue. We’re growing, but there’s people I was recruiting two years ago that I told them what was going to happen. They saw it come true and now when we can afford them, they want to jump on board because they saw the actual progression of what we were pitching even when we were small. And so it gives you an opportunity to give people a seed of what you’re trying to create and then as you’re successful, they’re going to watch you and will be a part of being on that train. And so that’s really, really good advice on several fronts that you’ve shared, which I think is amazing. I think that what you and your team are doing and really not just staying in the community but being embedded and active and giving in the community, spending time with us, we just appreciate it.

 

Tim:

Yeah, no, it’s, it’s great. And this kind of spreads the message and like I said, I think the rising tide will lift all these ships in our local community.

 

Jason:

That was Tim McLoughlin from Cofounders Capital. For more on Cofounders, head over to CofoundersCapital.com or you can Google Tim McLoughlin or David Gardner and find entrepreneurial advice articles that they’ve written on so many sites including WRALTechWire and GrepBeat. Also the book Tim referred to that David wrote, Startup Hats, it’s available on Amazon. This episode was edited and produced by me, Jason Gillikin for Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network, including Weddings for Real, Beyond the Obituary, Backstage at DPAC, and Talk West, visit Earfluence.com or check us out on social media, AT EarfluenceMedia. Intro and outro music for this episode is “You Can’t Stop Me” from Jensen Reed. You can find more of his music at JensenReed.com. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next Monday on Hustle Unlimited.

Full Transcript

81: Creating a Cozy Courtship with Your Clients, with Alisha Chadee

Alisha Chadee is the co-owner of Events by Whim Event Planning in Toronto Ontario, and she comes on the show today to talk about how to make your clients feel like they’re the only ones you’re working with.  It takes strategic time management and boundaries, and Alisha gives some amazing tips!

At the top of the show, you heard host Megan Gillikin mention that she will be speaking at WIPA Toronto on October 22nd!  Get your tickets at Eventbrite now.  This session will remind and enlighten industry vendors that the client experience starts way before the client books you and ends months after the event is over. Broken into three sections (pre-booking, working together, and post booking phases), Megan will highlight some of biggest missed opportunities when it comes elevating your client experience from start to finish and will provide tangible tips and takeaways on how to streamline this experience and exceed client expectations time and time again!!

About Alisha Chadee (and if you listen to the show, you’ll know where she got this wonderful bio from):

Alisha has a project management background in learning and development, plus 5+ years of experience coordinating corporate events and the director of education for WIPA Toronto. She’s developed a proven planning process for couples who want to know how to create magic on their wedding day. (But not throw money off yachts like they’re in a rap music video.) She thinks in floor plans, endorses moving if you find a spider in your house, and has an oyster obsession.

Events by Whim on Social Media: Facebook: @EventsByWhim Instagram: @EventsByWhim Pinterest: @EventsByWhim     Weddings for Real on Social Media: Instagram: @weddingsforreal Facebook: @weddingsforreal twitter: @weddingsforreal

Music for this episode by https://www.bensound.com.

The host of the show is Megan Gillikin, owner and lead consultant at A Southern Soiree Wedding and Event Planning.  She’s also available for wedding and hospitality business consulting and can be reached at megan@weddingsforreal.com.

Weddings for Real is edited and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.

What It’s Like Backstage at DPAC, with Technical Director Josh Anderson

Josh Anderson has been the Technical Director of DPAC since it opened in 2008, and he has some amazing stories to tell (some he can share, and some he can’t) about what goes on backstage.  Find out what it’s like being a technical director, what some of his favorite shows are, who he’s been awestruck by, why comedies are some of the best shows, the challenges of working 16 hour days, and so much more!

Tickets for shows are available at DPACnc.com, Ticketmaster, or the Blue Cross NC Ticket Center at DPAC.

DPAC is the Durham Performing Arts Center, located in the American Tobacco Historic District of downtown Durham, North Carolina, right by the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and within walking distance of incredible hotels, restaurants, and more.  Our theatre has 2,700 seats and we host over 200 events a year. From Broadway shows, to concerts, comedy, family shows, and more – there’s something for everyone at DPAC.  With everything that’s going on here, we thought it was time to take you backstage at DPAC!

This show is hosted by Taylor Zansberg, and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.

Season 2 – Episode 13 – The Diversity You Can’t See & Becoming a Leader, with American Underground GM Molly Demarest

Molly Demarest American Underground Hustle Unlimited PodcastMolly Demarest is the General Manager of American Underground Startup Hub in Durham NC. Throughout her career, she has grown into leadership of the American Underground team and mentorship of aspiring entrepreneurs.  But when she was growing up, she could never have guessed she’d be this successful.  With a learning disability and ADHD, Molly knew she had a different way of learning.  But unfortunately, many of her teachers didn’t embrace the difference, so she also thought she was dumb.

On today’s episode of Hustle Unlimited, Molly talks about neuro-diversity and other types of diversity you can’t see, how she became a leader, why personal health is so important, and the mission of American Underground.

Hustle Unlimited is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and hustler himself, Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provide by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

Hustle Unlimited is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network, visit @EarfluenceMedia on any social media platform.

Jason Gillikin, Executive Producer

Welcome to the Hustle Unlimited podcast. We have a new episode for you today that I’m so excited to share. I’m Jason Gillikin, producer of Hustle Unlimited and CEO of the Earfluence Podcast Network. This season so far we’ve had on Heather Chandler, former senior producer of Fortnite at Epic Games, and Javier Leiva from Pretend, which is a side hustle podcast that has over a million downloads. If you haven’t listened to those, be sure to check those out. Today, get ready to hear an inspirational story and some amazing advice for entrepreneurs. Molly Demarest who is the general manager of American Underground, which is a startup hub and co-working space in downtown Durham. But it’s so much more than that. And a lot of that is because of Molly. In her role at American Underground. Molly is a connector, an advisor, a coach, a boss, a leader. But growing up, she might not have expected to be in a position where people look up to her. In the interview today, you’ll hear why that is why she’s so passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and especially at American Underground. But before we get started if you want these episodes in your feed every Monday so you can be inspired for the week ahead, be sure to subscribe to the show on Apple podcast, or wherever you listen. Give us a rating and review as well and share this episode on any social media platform. That helps us find more great inspirational guests. The hustlers the trailblazers, the movers and shakers, and the people who make their communities a better place. So let’s get started. Here’s Walk West, CEO, investor, speaker, mentor, advisor, and all around hustler himself, host of the Hustle Unlimited podcast, Donald Thompson.

Donald Thompson, Host 2:06
Hey guys, this is Donald Thompson another episode of Hustle Unlimited. And I’m here with Molly Demarest. And we are super excited to chat with you today.

Molly Demarest:
I’m excited to be here.

DT:
And get a chance to get to know you better personally, and then talk about things you’re doing at American Underground. So as we introduce you to the hustle unlimited team, just take a minute, and just tell us a little bit about you personally, where you’re from, brothers and sisters, how you got to North Carolina, just a little bit of background and as we talk as friends.

Molly 2:30
So I moved to Durham when I was seven years old. And I’m the oldest of four kids. We’re all very close. I have two brothers and a sister. I went through Durham public schools all the way through and went to Appalachian State.

DT 2:47
Nice, My daughter went to App State, she’s having a great time.

Molly 2:55
Oh, she must be fun. You’re fun or you leave App. So I grew up with my family. We moved to Durham for my dad to do his postdoc at Duke. And so it was this interesting experience of being around a lot of very like intellectual people, but from a socio economic standpoint, because there were four of us and he was in grad school, we were on the grad school salary. So it was this like, really weird experience moving here where I don’t know, like my life look different than my peers did. I think that formed a lot of things. I don’t even know why I was just thinking about that came up as you brought that up.

DT 3:30
Because our experiences our family life, and all those different things shape us now. Now at App State what did you study? What were you interested in? And how did how does that weave into what you’re doing that?

Molly 3:40
I took an accounting class I did really well in it. I was like, this is weird, I guess my brain kind of works like this. I had a mentor say if you get accounting go for it, you could still do marketing down the line. Accounting will open doors for you. And if your brain works that way, just keep moving. And so I did.

DT 3:58
That’s fantastic. Now, one of the things with education, and then as we weave into our professional career, tell me about your first couple of jobs, and then how you ended up as General Manager of American Underground.

Molly 4:10
Oh, man. Okay, so my first job was working for Mad Hatter’s in Durham as a coffee barista. And it was really important, I think, for me and for my parents, you know, from a work ethic standpoint, like you need to work and interact with people and I remember realizations around the differences with people just from that job specifically. And like you, you just interact with so many different people on a daily basis. So I did that and then, what did I do after that? Oh, then I started working for criminal defense attorney.

DT
Vastly different.

Molly
Totally different, but this is the true story, this happened. So I really love Law and Order and loved Matlock. I loved all of those things like they came on as a fourth grader and I would watch Matlock.. And I said to this attorney, I said, I really love Law and Order, I think I want to be an attorney. And he was like, I don’t know about this, but let me get you a project and see what you can do. And so in high school, I started working there, That turned into a whole slew of jobs through college, where I worked on a couple death penalty cases, the racial justice act in North Carolina, and that really started forming so much of how I saw the world, which was different than accounting. Meanwhile, I worked on a death penalty case in Stanley County, then a death penalty case in Durham, researched all the murders in Durham over five year span and compare the race of the defendant and the victim, and the rate at which the death penalty was applied.

DT
And starting with that kind of a socio economic threat.

Molly 5:44
Yes and building this database, I’m touching All of the court files. I mean, I spent an entire summer pulling, every single court file, and all the medical examiner documents and all the newspaper documents. And I mean, the data showed it like the race of the defendant impacts the rate at which the penalty is put on the table. And there was no denying it. And at the same time, my first cousin was murdered. And so I have this really weird experience of like, kind of what side am I on here? What does this look like? I’ve seen how this impacts family. And one of the attorneys that I worked for, I went with him to the Durham County Jail one day and he said my role as an attorney is to make sure that my client knows all of the details they need to make the best decision that they can make. My job is not to sway them, but to empower them, and ensure that they live a better life beyond this point at whatever capacity. So we go in there, I remember sitting there like having this conversation watching how he led this. And then we leave and he looked at me, he said one thing you need to know is that the only thing that’s different between you and him, the two things are the color of your skin, and the neighborhood you were born into. And If there’s one thing that you need to remember in your future is that you are at this point for these reasons, and you’re working hard. There’s not a discredit to that.

DT
Sure.

Molly:
So I’m doing all of this, while I’m studying accounting and I’m like, what am I doing? I couldn’t justify the two.

DT 7:16
The point that I’m taking, right, is our experiences do shape us.

Molly
Yeah.

DT
And your ability to chase different experiences, right, has built a foundation for what you’re doing today.

Molly 7:28
All because I loved Law and Order.

DT 7:34
And cause you love TV

(laughing)

Molly 7:39
I love TV.

DT
(Makes noise) That sounds or whatever, isn’t that Law and Order? Yea (laughs)

Molly
My ringtone was even Law and Order, how bad is that? That’s how much I loved it.

DT 7:40
Yea, that is awesome. When I was doing some research, and we’ve known each other for a couple years, but when I was doing my research, ADHD in high school.

Molly
Yeah.

DT
I mean, still now probably but like, that’s where you were diagnosed. Like, a lot of times when we think about diversity, we think about gender. We think about skin color, right? We think about sexual orientation. But it’s all deeper than that, right?

Molly
So much.

DT
And there’s there’s so many things that we’re all working with, that nobody else could see, right? Tell me a little bit about that challenge for you, and how it shaped you how you’ve had to overcome it.

Molly 8:15
So I remember the first time I realized I learned differently. And it was actually when I moved to Durham. We moved in the middle of the year. And I had gone to a small private school up in like the Falls Church DC area. And then went in the first day back from winter break into Durham public schools. And so it was this like vast difference. I didn’t have as much teacher attention. And I remember still to this day, I have no idea what they were doing, some sort of song with the alphabet and something and I just remember thinking like, I don’t, I do not understand what this rhythm and pattern is here. And they kept doing it every day. And it just didn’t make sense to me. And then I started realizing I would get to the same answers as people but I would never get to it the same way that they got it, so much that one of my teachers in middle school called it Molly Math, and it became this joke. That seems funny, but what it did for me was it impacted the way that I I perceived the way my brain works. Because I would get to the solution a different way it was taught and they’re like well that’s not how we’re teaching it. And so constantly I was always thinking differently than the traditional environment. And I took extra time and so I’m like, I literally thought I was dumb, but I was also in honors and AP classes. So it just didn’t..

DT:
Match up

Molly
Match up and I didn’t know what to do with it.

DT
So, what did you do? What did your parents do like how did you work through that?

Molly
So I think with ADHD there’s a couple things I have a learning disability and ADHD. And so those are different, with ADHD, there’s a lot of impulsivity, and you know you want to do a lot of different things it’s all about like managing my energy, and I didn’t know how to do that super well but I played sports and so I think the activity and the exercise and the team stuff that really helped me. Then I realized I was having trouble focusing and then I think I was not the best highschooler. I mean I hope I never have kids like I was when I was in high school. And you see that come out from a behavioral standpoint oftentimes with kids that have ADHD. And so you can diagnose it with a lot of different things like is it anxiety, depression, are they just a crappy kid? And they actually, this is real, there was some stuff happening. My family and I knew I was having a hard time and I said to my doctor, I don’t think I’m right. I don’t know what it is. I’ve been reading that like you could get a therapist and all of these other things and he’s like okay well like why don’t we look at that. But you can’t do medicine. If you’re not, he said, I would not advise that you do medicine if you don’t also do therapy to learn how to effectively manage those things. So my parents were all on board with it. And I went, it turned on me getting learning testing that showed like I was really strong, and I think it’s called perceptual organization so it’s like taking complex pieces, and it was like the 98th percentile.

DT
That’s awesome.

Molly:
Kind of dealing with ambivalence. Reading and verbal was a lot lower initially so what I realized is the ability to get stuff out of my head, written is harder than out of my head, verbally. Arithmetic I was a lot stronger at so anyways I get this insight, start getting accommodations my senior year, so it didn’t really impact my education, up until college.

DT
Okay, got it.

Molly
But one of the reasons I picked App was because they had a really good disability services. And so from the beginning, my parents made sure that I knew all the resources I had.

DT
That is powerful like one, because I love overcomers, and just people that have a different little slice of life but they don’t let it steal their dreams, right? They keep pushing and that super super cool. A lot of times people hide their challenges and they never get the help that’s available to them.

Molly
There’s a lot of shame in it, sometimes, and what I’m grateful for is parents that like this is how you’re created like there’s no shame in this. And you have these resources available so might as well take advantage of it like you and I can walk to the same spot. It might take me longer to get to that spot, but I can still get there. Let’s make it easier.

DT
That’s right. And one of the things you said and we’ll we’ll kind of transition to some of the business things you’re working on, but we all learn differently.That goes into diversity that goes into personality.

Molly
Yes

DT
Yeah, right. It just so happens we all may have different degrees of things that we’re working through, but there’s different methods that create productivity with different types of people based on all of these factors, and what schools do a lot of times and I’m not anti-school, but schools, a lot of times are cookie cutter approach. And if you don’t fit in the box, then you don’t get the attention that you need.

And you’re supposed to sit in a small desk and not tap your feet and not move your hands not draw on a board.

DT
Right, for hours. That’s so hard but

whether you have a learning disability or not that’s just anti-child. That’s just against how children are created.

Molly
And then you stop doing art in Middle School, then creative expression and all the other things go away then how do you? There’s only one vehicle for expression is academic performance.

DT 13:30
And I think that you and I look at our society, and some of the companies now that are no longer requiring a degree some of the different companies that are looking at what you’ve done in school but more emphasis on what did you do outside of school? What are your extracurriculars? You said you played sports and different things so did I. I think that our country is evolving to really looking at the whole person which I think is better. We still have a million challenges with all sorts of things but I think that looking at the whole body of work now we can find the winning elements of people, not just the challenges that they might have, and that part’s pretty cool.

Molly 14:03
And when you’re saying that I’m thinking about Duke Integrative Health has been really formative and how I see myself as a whole person, but also how see business. And I had a Duke Integrative Health Coach, her name is E.D. Oakley, and she’s now like one of my best friends. We bartered like I’d babysit and she’d coach.

DT
That’s great.

Molly
Seeing all of the aspects that make you a whole person like spirituality. For me, it’s my Christian faith but that doesn’t have to be for other people but we are spiritual beings. And so looking holistically at who you are and you can’t drive on a flat tire. So you want to be a full circle.

DT
That’s right.

Molly
And so thinking about how can I do that and what levers do I need to pull so that I can be the full circle I can be, which is the exact same thing from a business standpoint, you want to have the healthiest wholest company.

DT
That’s right.

Molly
And the people need to be that way within it and so that really formed how I saw Taking care of myself in my early 20s. And so I know in my head, like when I’m not whole. And so I kind of do these periodically, I’m just like, “Hey, how am I doing with these things?”

DT
Yeah, that’s really powerful I was talking at an entrepreneur conference this afternoon, and a lot of times I’ll get questions about how do you look at the business, how do you evaluate an opportunity, how do you evaluate risk? I try to cycle it back to what are the characteristics of an entrepreneur and do you have them? What is your temperament towards failure and are you ready for it? And a lot of people want to make things fact based when really it’s a lot emotional.

Molly
So much.

DT
And so the question I have for you is, now that you are working with American Underground, that’s your driving focus from a professional standpoint, tell me a little bit about your mission in American Underground, and then tell me a little bit about how you got involved.

Molly
So, we have this belief that and this has been core from the beginning that startups are a vehicle for increasing and diversifying economic opportunity. So, at the core that’s our why. So, when I look at kind of our three main areas, I think about connections. So access to connections in the network that opened doors. Sometimes people need education and access to information from that standpoint, a lot of times the thing that’s holding them back is that one expert or that one person that can open the one door and that we all have stories of that, like my experience on the legal side was one attorney that gave me a shot and opened up a door to a million other things. So there’s the connection piece. The content and educational side of it and then there’s workspace, but workspace is part of what we do. I believe we are also relational beings. So there is an element of you can connect online but you also need the in person.

DT
The community.

Molly
Yeah and so, we have an organizational goal right now that hundred percent of the companies that we work with, will connect with at least one customer investor if they’re raising employee, if they’re hiring a resource through the AU community in the next year so that means that you have to have healthy people. You have to have founders connected to other founders, employees connected with other employees. We need to have healthy relationships with our city with other local regional global partners, and with a healthy environment, more connections are going to come out of that. So that’s kind of big picture at AU you know, we tracked job creation, over 3100 jobs have been created by companies just headquartered in the AU that’s not even companies that might have a second office in the AU.

DT
So repeat that again right because that’s powerful right, 3100 jobs.

Molly
Over 3100 jobs as of last September, so that doesn’t include this past year we’ll have our new report come out later this fall. Over $211 million dollars in funding raised from companies just headquartered here, the numbers go on and on, but we tracked that stuff because it’s important and we also look at who are the people raising it. What is their makeup? What did the employees look like? And I think the more transparent we are and the more we’re tracking it, the more we’re able to hold ourselves accountable to that and then continue to make structural changes.

DT 18:20
So there’s the fact based component, but it also creates a pretty powerful niche of care, outside of your singular demographic, right? That diversity being part of the mission starts to become a part of your language, starts to become part of your behavior, it’s like part of who you are. And when I look at the American Underground, one of the things that stands out is everybody’s welcome, like I don’t know if that’s a marketing phrase but that’s just how I feel like once I’m in the building I see the different startups, and I hear the story. We were talking on the podcast last week, I don’t know if we’ll do them in this order, but Tim McLoughlin over at Cofounders Capital, and the powerful thing he said is that in this rtm area everybody’s really for helping everybody

Molly
So true, you win, I win.

DT
Right. And as I talked to entrepreneurs as I talked to other business leaders that thread is similar, it’s authentic when it’s said, it’s how do we permeate that messaging, as something that really defines our region is an open question.

Molly
Yeah, I, I think about that a lot, especially with all the people moving to the area, how do we one welcome them, and also say, this is how we work. This is how we do work here. We do work by saying you win I win so I’m going to give you 15 minutes of my time and help connect you where I can, because you’re worth it. And my hope is that you will do that same thing for somebody else. Adds a little bit of the southern hospitality that I think is natural to our region.

DT
That’s pretty good. Southern hospitality for startups.

Molly 19:45
But I like your line, we actually put on, on one of our front windows a couple months ago, it says “Welcome We’re glad you’re here” and I really, really hope that people find themselves not just their companies. So when I think about what wakes me up every day. I want Ursula, meet the founder Insight to come in and say, I can not only be a CEO, that is building this company that’s leading the company and the people side that’s married, that has kids, that is pregnant like all of those things, I want her whole self. And I think the way that we go about our work needs to speak to those things so even, what do we celebrate? Are we only celebrating funding raised?. Is that where we stop? Or are we celebrating other things that are core to who they are? So I hope that people discover themselves, beyond just their companies.

DT
When you look at American Underground and the startup ecosystem. What are some of the common threads you’re seeing around leaders and companies that make it, that are progressing right, that are doing well?

Molly
Focus. The ability to say no. Knowing enough of where you’re going, so that you can say no and not feel bad about it. I really really appreciate what people say I really wish I could do that I just don’t have the capacity for that right now. Because it says to me, when you say yes to me you’re going to say yes because you actually can do it. And when people say that I’m like, “thank you for saying that. That is exactly what I would love to hear”. They’re focused on their whole selves, they’re focused on their health, their family, they’re focused on their companies. There seems to be a trend with industry experience all across the board but I do think we’re getting some more mature founders, not necessarily age, but from an industry standpoint, so they have a connection or network in some cases, and enough of what they’ve seen needs to be fixed or is broken. And so they felt the problem, I think feeling the problem is really important. And you kind of pair all that together. And that seems to be the recipe. I mean when I think about Neil I remember the early days of Archive Social, and I remember the point that he and his wife they had their first child, and that was a big thing he was like, “Molly. I’m going to be out the next week.”I don’t remember exactly what it was but I remember those moments, because that is the community that is there. And to see how he’s prioritized that and the midst of Archive Social’s growth, I think it’s one of the biggest ones beyond reason 53 million and growth which is huge in itself.

DT 22:23
Which is amazing. So I want to repeat these for audience right, we talked about success threads right focus, the ability to say no, and if you don’t have a really strong kind of vision or picture of what your outcome is, then you will say yes to anything right and so that focus and ability to stay say no I agree with. The industry experience I think that’s on trend in that more and more people are seeing entrepreneurship as a path for them personally. And so by sheer force of numbers of people starting businesses we’re getting people that started out in corporate America, started out in medicine and started out in XYZ, and then taking that knowledge into a startup, and there’s a maturity level there that you described that I do think it’s important, because then you understand you’re not going to be 10 minutes to the next Google, you know that there’s some level of process of mobile traffic and adjust. And then the fourth thing you talked about is feeling the pain of the problem. And a lot of software companies a lot of startup companies struggle with finding that product market fit. But if you felt the pain of the problem, then you can explain it to others because you’ve lived it. And so I think those are four elements you described that are really really powerful. That’s awesome. What do you read, what do you listen to what do you watch that keeps you from a business standpoint, fresh and learning and growing?

Molly 23:43
Man, I struggle with this. I think a lot of people probably can relate to this there’s so many inputs and a day of information and decisions that oftentimes outside of work, I am trying to find more ways to decompress and metabolize my stress. That’s kind of the way I think about is how do I metabolize my stress so I box two to three times a week.

DT
Oh that’s awesome. Let’s just stay friends (laughs).

Molly 15:07
The repetition in it, and I love my boxing coach.

DT
And where do you box?

Molly
Back to Basics, that’s off of Alston Avenue, it has changed my life. It has seriously changed my life, from a confidence standpoint. Coach Harrell, there’s something about his style and coaching that translates the physical aspect with the life aspect, and it feels good to be a participant and not lead. So I also try to put myself in situations where I’m not always leading. I think that’s also hard for leaders, because you just fall into it all the time, but I want to be coached so I have an executive coach. I have my boxing coach. I like to golf I’m getting more into that but I had a golfing coach. I kind of like going these spurts and this is the ADHD side of me, I got my body moving and trying something else, who literally it doesn’t matter if I’m good or bad at it, which is so nice because I can just do something totally different. Nothing’s on the line. I go on a lot of hikes, on the Eno and Hillsborough I do a lot of just reflection and journaling and just trying to sit. Nature is everything.

DT
Don’t mean to interrupt you there that was really cool. My question was, what are some of the things you read and stay sharp, and your answer was really powerful in that your fight, is how do you get that peace back right after a tough day, so that you can recharge, right? Your answer was like, I get that it wasn’t the answer to the question that one would expect, but it’s no less powerful right, because you as a leader, have to be at a high energy level, a high engagement level so that by the time you’re done, how do you replenish? And this is one of the things that I’ve struggled with as an entrepreneur so I’ve had to deliberately learn how to rest.

Molly
It’s hard, and your mind works and it keeps going.

DT
And that’s been a real thing, personally, and so I can relate. For me it’s racquetball, I love the high octane sport of it, racquetball. Nobody really in my racquetball crew knows what I do in business.

Molly
And they don’t care.

DT
They don’t care like we’re just chatting playing racquetball. We’re just talking smack we’re just playing racquetball, right, nobody’s asking questions, “Hey, do you know so and so do you know this”, we’re just playing a game, and that return to childhood. For a couple times a week a couple hours a week is a big deal so I get it, I appreciate that perspective,

Molly
I do read, so I don’t like posting a lot of things on social media, mostly because I find myself getting so distracted with that, that I want to be present in the moment. And so usually I say okay great we’d rather be present than dealing with all this other stuff but that is how I get a lot of my news. This is kind of funny but my mom is like an avid podcast listener. And she just gives me downloads of things all the time she’s like, so I was listening to this. And here are the three things you should know from this podcast. She is on the cutting edge of these things. And then I don’t talk about this a lot, but prayer is a really big thing for me. And this is where when I’m trying. When I think about the future of the organization and where am I leading and what am I listening to and paying attention to. I find that that is one of the ways that orients how I spend my time and what I listen to. And so that’s relational. So, I also think, “Am I going to read a million articles or am I going to talk to founders?” I’d rather listen to founders, hear what they want to do, but I also need to get out and travel and see what’s happening in other places. And I need to be reading. And with all of those aspects, how do you discern what to give power to and your decision making process?

DT
So we’ll let this go where it goes. But one of the things that I pray for and ask for, I don’t ask for money, I don’t even ask for business success, it’s for wisdom, judgment, understanding. And if I can be blessed with wisdom judgment, understanding, then everything else is gonna be fine.

Molly 28:25
Yeah. I pray, I have it built into my schedule my week and I walk, and I pray and I even pray for business model. I prayer for those things and it’s been really interesting to see how like affirmation has come. And like, okay, is this the direction that is honoring of this community and honor for where we need to go, or is it glorifying to me, or some other thing, and it has been really cool to see what has fallen into place beyond my control.

DT 28:57
And the people that come into your, your path.

Molly
Yeah, right.

DT
You mentioned earlier in our discussion that sometimes a founder, is one connection away from business success. And that is how do you create better odds of that happening. That’s why the community at American underground is powerful, or other communities because if you have a small business, you’re alone with your market. You’re alone with your product that you’re building. And so you actually become a little bit sequestered so to speak, but a lot of great ideas about your market are going to come from random people that are outside of your line of sight. If you don’t have those happy connections. You’re never going to feel that magic, and that’s what those communities do that, coworking like you describe more than just renting office space, those powerful connections and so like I’m a super fan of that, and even for somebody that’s listening that you don’t share a Christian faith that Molly and I may share, or you’re not deeply religious that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of prayer being quiet time for all the synops of your mind to move away from the hustle and bustle so that you can really rest and let some of those things naturally pattern mash together.

Molly
Yeah, it’s my version of mindfulness and I still meditate, like that I don’t discredit those things.

DT
That’s right. That’s super cool, I asked and you answered some of the threads you see in successful founders. What do you see in people that don’t quite make it like what are some of the blunders that you see. I wish they weren’t thinking like that I wish they were a little bit more open minded about this?

Molly
I think it’s some of its open mindedness. I think it can be very easy when you are building a company to emotionally attach your identity to it. And some of it is like feeling the pain is is helpful. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that are like when my time is up, I’m happy to bring on another CEO, I don’t need to be in this forever. The ones that I worry about are the ones that their identity and worth is tied to how long they’re in it, like, a Mark Zuckerberg is not that to me just should not be the thing that we are like using as our North Star. That is like totally random, to me. But I think the healthiest entrepreneurs say I am good at this season. And for the sake of this organization and business. This is the kind of person I need to prepare for the next season. Otherwise, the whole thing falls apart,

DT
That humility is tough right because the type of person that becomes an entrepreneur thinks a whole lot of him or herself.

Molly
You kinda have to.

DT
They’re risk takers, he or she is very powerful and creative, and to think that the future of the company might not be you leading it, that’s a pretty big maturation step, but the right one, but a pretty big maturation step. Let me ask this, think about our macro environment in our country. If you had a magic wand, what would you change? Like, like a magic wand, what would you change?

Molly
Where do I start, I think, if I could wave my magic wand, what I would like to see is, and this sounds like another like kind of like theoretical thing, but I think that the more effective and healthy people are individually, our ability to solve problems on a macro level would be much greater. And so I think that would be the approach that I would take something around that.

DT 32:39
No, that makes sense. If you were to look at American underground and what you guys are doing into the future. And, you know, without going into all of your strategic plan like what should we expect next what’s to come? You talked about the powerful impact you’re making now talked about the diversity now, 3100 jobs and that those are all amazing things and you’ll continue. But what’s the big picture thinking about what you’re trying to take the AU to the next level?

Molly 33:06
So I have a hunch that there’s something around the future of work that’s going to impact what it looks like to support startups and for startup growth. So I think I think a lot about that back in May we rolled out a virtual membership to the AU, and it’s been really interesting to see how people have really appreciated that. Couple examples, K4 Connect based here in Raleigh. They don’t need real estate cable, K4 Connect really wants the programming and the community and the connections, and the job postings and access to space when they need it for team off sites. But why is it that real estate is the deciding factor for that? And so, as our region has grown there more companies of different sizes evolving our model for that makes a lot of sense. So that’s one example, distributed teams. So regardless of what happens from an economic standpoint, if we go into a recession more and more teams are going to be are and will continue to be fully distributed more people are working from home. I think you get that a lot when you look at this region when you have a lot of people focused on family. So how do we make it easier for people to both show up in their personal lives and connect professionally when they need it. I had a call a couple weeks ago with the founder based in Dallas,co founders in Minneapolis, CTO was in Seattle, when they’re ready to raise, they want to hire in the Triangle and make the Triangle, essentially be the environment that feels like their home base. So they would come to when they might need to do a team off site. There are not models in place right now, to really accommodate that and we have that in place now with what we’re doing. And so, I don’t know exactly where it goes but my hope is that our same philosophy and values can now extend to and by the way, this CEO is a black founder, and got connected through the black founders exchange so he’s not in an entrepreneurial desert, but think about the ones that are, how do we also make what we’re doing here accessible? There will also encouraging the in person experience. I think there’s something there and I think the future of work will drive that.

DT
No that’s awesome. So one of the things as we as we look at kind of weaving your story right of the barista, accountant, working the law firm to now the leader and a coach for businesses, a leader of people. How did you make that transition from those roles those perspectives to the leader that you are now?

Molly 35:41
Alright, so I’m a bit of an open book so I’m going to tell you what this looks like. So I worked for Fleet Feet Sports right out of school. I did a public accounting internship in college, realized it was not what I wanted to do. Worked for Fleet Feet sports at their corporate office, and there was a program called CFO in a box where we did turnkey financial management essentially for the individually owned franchises across the country. So right out of school I started working with these business owners and helping them think holistically about their businesses and separating personal finances from business finances, making it a great environment for their employees, on and on. Love Love loved it. And they went through management buyout I got some of that experience and I was like I’m ready for the next thing, and in the meantime I was studying for the CPA exam. I passed three of the four, missed the fourth by a point, and you have 18 months to do all of them. So I found myself at this point like what do I really want to be doing? And I went on this retreat. And I was talking to someone there. And the next day they said I believe that you are called to be a leader of people, and continuing with the CPA exam is going to be a distraction from some of that. It felt so right and I put it to rest and I never looked back and that’s when my whole world opened up so getting connected to Adam and American Underground. Literally, it was like we’re looking for someone who has an accounting background, is from the area, understands and values that economic development side of it. Even if I didn’t have full experience in it I saw the purpose of it. And it’s just going to roll their sleeves up, and I had enough of supporting entrepreneurs from my previous job, and really didn’t know what I was getting into. But this has been an environment where I have discovered myself and my gifts and there’s no reason why I’m thinking like, “if I’m the Goodman’s who own Capital Broadcasting or if I’m Adam”, me at 31, why would you hire me with an accounting degree from App State? There’s nothing wrong with App State but like, it’s so easy to just look at one profile, to our point earlier about education, and say this is what we need. But they saw my work ethic and the way I think and the support that I have to make the decisions and to fight for what I know is right and always be asked what do founders, say, like, all the time it is what do our founders say they need. This has been an environment where I’ve been able to grow my career and become a leader, and I have an executive coach. He’s been phenomenally helpful. I also see my therapist, every week. And that’s another piece of how have I transitioned into a leader, a lot of being a leader of an organization is like family therapy, you are literally leading a family, and it sucks sometimes it just sucks sometimes. And so how do you effectively manage yourself, how do you have transparent conversations conversation and honor them but also where do you draw boundaries? And so, I often think about leading, I’m not a therapist, but from a family therapist standpoint. And a lot of those things translate and so I think the mix of all of those has been helpful. And I really don’t know what I’m doing half the time.

DT 39:05
But knowing that allows you to ask the next question. Yeah, right, like the danger is if you think you know what you’re doing all the time.

Molly
What I know I’m good as problem solving. And if I can trust myself from that standpoint, I can see gifts some people, I can be honest and transparent I can draw boundaries for myself, I can solve problems and find the people that can help get to a solution that I can do really well. And that’s really what it takes, but I didn’t really know that I just thought people had all the answers.

DT 39:35
Yeah, and they don’t.

Molly 30:56
That’s hard.

DT 40:58
Yeah, Molly I’m sincerely appreciative. I’ve had a great time.

Molly:
Yeah we should keep talking, we should do this again.

DT
Like it was, it was really cool. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Jason
That was Molly Demarest from American Underground and Durham, North Carolina. For more information on American Underground, head over to AmericanUnderground.com or visit them on social at AMERUnderground on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. And AT AmericanUnderground on Facebook. And remember, even if you’re not in the Durham or triangle area, American Underground connections could be a fit for your startup so be sure to check them out.

So Molly I talked about a lot today, what makes a successful entrepreneur, what traits lead to failure, why it’s so important to be well rounded and health, and also why diversity inclusion are so important. And sometimes it’s that diversity, you can’t see like different ways of learning that can lead to inclusion of different ideas on your team. Donald is actually leading a discussion on this called diversity beyond the obvious at the startup summit in Raleigh. On October 10. Be sure to grab your tickets for the summit by going to meetup. com, or eventbrite.com or simply googling startup summit rally. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there as well.

This episode was edited and produced by me, Jason Gillikin for Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network including the upcoming Talk West podcast. Visit Earfluence,com, or check us out on social media, we’re AT EarfluenceMedia.

Intro and outro music for this episode is You Can’t Stop Me from Jensen Reed, and you can find more of his music at Jensenreed.com. Thanks for listening. Everyone, and we’ll see you next week on Hustle Unlimited.

Full Transcript

80: Time to Stop Neglecting Pinterest, with The Bridal Theory’s Amanda Writesman

Amanda Writesman is screaming from the rooftop that – if you’re a wedding vendor – you need to get your Pinterest game back on point!  Will you listen to her?  If you want an easy way to put content out there that you already have, with the purpose of driving couples to your website, in a place where your competitors are slacking, you’ll want to tune in!

Also, at the end of the episode, Amanda mentions a place for Weddings for Real listeners to go for Pinterest resources, and that at https://www.curatedmarketingsociety.com/weddingsforreal.

Also, in the intro of this episode, you heard a message from Wedding Business Bosses about the live show, which you can find at http://www.weddingbusinessbosses.com/wbb-live/.

WBB Live is for wedding industry entrepreneurs who are looking for an in-person workshop experience to help them grow themselves AND their business. It’s from January 19-22, 2020 in Birmingham, Alabama at the historic Tutwiler Hotel.

It has 3 components: presentations from educators, masterminding with fellow attendees and an entire day dedicated to creating an action plan for your business based on what you have learned at the conference for 2020 & beyond.

Come learn from Laura Foote, Lauren Carnes, CeCe Todd of CeCe Designs, Kristin Kaplan and many more!

Early bird registration ends October 14th so grab your ticket now at WeddingBusinessBosses.com.

About Amanda Writesman:

Amanda  is the Editor and Creative Director for The Bridal Theory.  She also owns Bel Momento Photography, a Memphis based wedding photography studio available worldwide.  Amanda’s passion for helping both engaged couples and wedding vendors lead to the creation of The Bridal Theory, a publication with the goal of celebrating the beauty and joy surrounding weddings. Amanda also runs CuratedMarketingSociety.com.

Amanda Writesman on Social Media: Pinterest!: @TheBridalTheory Instagram: @TheBridalTheory Facebook: @TheBridalTheory   Weddings for Real on Social Media: Instagram: @weddingsforreal Facebook: @weddingsforreal twitter: @weddingsforreal

Music for this episode by https://www.bensound.com.

The host of the show is Megan Gillikin, owner and lead consultant at A Southern Soiree Wedding and Event Planning.  She’s also available for wedding and hospitality business consulting and can be reached at megan@weddingsforreal.com.

Weddings for Real is edited and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.

Season 2 – Episode 012 – How Pretend’s Javier Leiva Turned a Side Hustle to One Million Podcast Downloads

Javier Leiva Pretend Podcast on Hustle UnlimitedJavier Leiva is a creative director at Red Hat and former Emmy winning TV producer. But today, we talk to Javier about his podcast side hustle, Pretend, which now has over a million downloads. We talk about how Pretend started, its successes and opportunities, sacrificing sleep, keeping priorities straight, and advice for all the side hustlers and podcasters out there.

Hustle Unlimited is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and hustler himself, Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provide by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

Hustle Unlimited is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network, visit @EarfluenceMedia on any social media platform.

79: Going the Extra Mile for Your Clients, with Entertainer Artem Lomaz

Artem Lomaz is DJ Times’ Entertainer of the Year two years in a row, in 2018 and 2019!  Today he talks about what he does to go the extra mile for his clients, from sentimental cards, to trying (and still trying!) to get Lil Jon to send a message to one of his clients.  Artem gives some great advice and tips in this episode so that we don’t just do the bare minimum – and instead, we truly make it memorable!

On the show, Artem mentions Lil Jon schools in Ghana, which you can see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrRiWry8Djg

And the organization, Pencils of Promise, is at https://pencilsofpromise.org/donate/

About Artem Lomaz:

Artem Lomaz is a multi-award winning event entertainer, public speaker, and entrepreneur. Known for his extreme attention to detail, personalized methodology, and refined performance style, Artem continues to personally cultivate his top-tier event entertainment entity, NinetyThree Entertainment, while in high demand with event planners and selective clientage.

Artem Lomaz on Social Media: Instagram: @ninetythreeentertainment Vimeo: @93entnj   Weddings for Real on Social Media: Instagram: @weddingsforreal Facebook: @weddingsforreal twitter: @weddingsforreal

Support this show by supporting our sponsor, HelloFresh!  Get $80 off your first month of HelloFresh (!) by going to HelloFresh.com/WeddingsForReal80 – with code “WeddingsForReal80” – and start enjoying some of their 5-star recipes!

Music for this episode by https://www.bensound.com.

The host of the show is Megan Gillikin, owner and lead consultant at A Southern Soiree Wedding and Event Planning.  She’s also available for wedding and hospitality business consulting and can be reached at megan@weddingsforreal.com.

Weddings for Real is edited and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.

Michael Callahan, Dance Captain in Disney’s Aladdin National Tour

Michael Callahan is the Dance Captain, Swing Captain, and understudy for just about every male character for Disney’s Aladdin National Tour! Michael tells us all about his time at Elon, how he got into Aladdin, what life is like in the show, favorite things to do on tour, and his obsessions with coffee, comics, Beyonce, and Ali Wong!

Tickets for shows are available at DPACnc.com, Ticketmaster, or the Blue Cross NC Ticket Center at DPAC.

DPAC is the Durham Performing Arts Center, located in the American Tobacco Historic District of downtown Durham, North Carolina, right by the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and within walking distance of incredible hotels, restaurants, and more.  Our theatre has 2,700 seats and we host over 200 events a year. From Broadway shows, to concerts, comedy, family shows, and more – there’s something for everyone at DPAC.  With everything that’s going on here, we thought it was time to take you backstage at DPAC!

This show is hosted by Taylor Zansberg, and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.

Season 2 – Episode 011 – Former Fortnite Senior Producer Heather Chandler on Being a Trailblazer in Gaming and Her New Hustle

Heather Chandler on Hustle Unlimited PodcastHeather Chandler literally wrote the book on how to make a video game, and was the senior producer on the most popular game in the world, Fortnite.  She chats with Donald Thompson on this episode of Hustle Unlimited about her career as a trailblazing woman in gaming, why she wrote the book on how to make a game, her time at Epic games making Fortnite, mentorship, and now transitioning into entrepreneurship with her new company, Whole Brain Escape, in Apex NC!

Hustle Unlimited is hosted by Walk West CEO, mentor, investor, and hustler himself, Donald Thompson.

Music for this episode provide by Jensen Reed from his song, “You Can’t Stop Me”.

Hustle Unlimited is edited and produced by Earfluence. For more on the Earfluence Podcast Network, visit @EarfluenceMedia on any social media platform.

78: Check Yo’ Site: 3 Easy Audit Tips Before Engagement Season

Engagement season is right around the corner, and you don’t want a website that repels your ideal client right? On this episode, Megan and Jason Gillikin give 3 easy tips to audit your website so you can book more clients!     Weddings for Real on Social Media: Instagram: @weddingsforreal Facebook: @weddingsforreal twitter: @weddingsforreal

Music for this episode by https://www.bensound.com.

The host of the show is Megan Gillikin, owner and lead consultant at A Southern Soiree Wedding and Event Planning.  She’s also available for wedding and hospitality business consulting and can be reached at megan@weddingsforreal.com.

Weddings for Real is edited and produced by Jason Gillikin for Earfluence.