Episode 22

#22 Do You Need a Chief Happiness Officer? Audience Q&A with Tina Roth Eisenberg

How do you build great company culture right from the start (hint: Tina’s answer involved a Chief Happiness Officer)? How do you decide which of the million business ideas you’ve considered is most worthwhile to pursue? What are creative examples of corporate sponsorships? This week on BroadMic Bonus Cuts, Tina Roth Eisenberg answers all of these audience questions and more on our second installment of our first ever live podcast event at LMHQ!

Notes

Deck Network: The Ad Network of Creative, Web and Design Culture

How MailChimp’s irresistible “Serial” ad became the year’s biggest marketing win by Adam Epstein, Quartz

Shutterstock Increases Its Media Reach With BFA Deal by Steven Bertoni, Forbes

Yay, Internet!

My Journey From Middle East Refugee To Fashion Designer by Céline Semaan Vernon, Refinery29

Everything’s Coming Up Roses With Temporary Tats That Smell Like Flowers by Elyse Wanshel, HuffPo

Additional Reading

Temporary Tattoos, Now for Grown-Ups, Too by Courtney Rubin, New York Times

An Exclusive Spotlight on How CreativeMornings Runs 106+ Global Monthly Events by Carrie Melissa Jones, CMX

Two Keys to Sustainable Social Enterprise by Sally R. Osberg and Roger L. Martin, Harvard Business Review

Levo League Office Hours

10 Examples of Companies With Fantastic Cultures by Sujan Patel, Entrepreneur

What Type Of Corporate Culture Do Women Really Want? by WomensMedia, Forbes

Creating a Culture That Women Want to Join by Aaron Skonnard, Inc

The biggest setback for women in corporate America: the 24/7 workday by Betsy Myers, Fortune

6 Tips For Networking in Shared Offices and CoWorking Spaces by Matt Arbogast, Built In Chicago

How to Choose the Best Coworking Space for Your Startup by Matt Straz, Entrepreneur

There Is No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance For Entrepreneurs by Chris Myers, Forbes

Guest bios & transcripts are available on www.broadmic.com.

Bio

 

TINA ROTH EISENBERG - Tina  is a New York based, Swiss born and raised graphic designer. Over the past nine years she started numerous side projects that have organically turned into businesses: a collaborative co-working space called FRIENDS, a global, monthly lecture series called CreativeMornings, a simple to-do app called TeuxDeux and Tattly, a designer temporary tattoo shop. Tina is often referred to as Swissmiss after her popular design blog which is also the name of her Twitter handle.

Transcript

Tina: I think balance is a myth when you do what you love because my life, I don't look at it as work and life. My life is...

Kelly: I'm Kelly Hoey, host of BroadMic. I speak with the most accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders about the issues that matter in building a business. You will get the inspiration as well as the picks and shovels you need to become a better entrepreneur. Be inspired. Take action. Think broad.

We can take some questions. All right, so you don't want to, okay. Here's...

Tina: Should I get my mic?

Kelly: Okay, I got to say, one, two, three, four, five, and then we'll go from there. So let's...your hand was up. Okay.

Participant: Hi, I really love the presentation. Thank you so much. You said that when you first started your website you weren't taking sponsorships and then at a certain point you realized, "Okay, the timing is right and we're gonna take on people that wanna sponsor us." How did you know that that was the right moment?

Kelly: So the question being, when was the right moment with your blog to turn it into a business and passive income?

Tina: Well, I have a good story there. So when I started my own design studio in the freelancing from home, I worked from home first. And then I realized, "Well, that's not gonna work with the nanny and the baby in the same apartment." And then I realized I need to go rent a desk. But anyone that has had a baby and hired a nanny and going on their own, finances were on my mind and I was like, "I'm not sure if I can on top of the nanny also justify renting a desk."

So I looked at all these desks in Dumbo, and this is not...I mean, I believe sometimes the universe just sends you a signal that, you know, you have to do this, and this was one these moments. I looked at three desks. I was like, "Can I justify $500 extra expense?" And I went to have a coffee at Starbucks, and I sit there and I check my mail and there was an email from Jim Coudal, who runs The Deck network, which is like a very prestigious advertising network. And he sent me an email, and this was still early on with my blog, and says, "Tina, we would love to take you in and I can offer you $500 to be part of the deck." And I was like, "Hallelujah, there is my desk."

And that was kind of a no-brainer. It's like, a) he's respected, and b) I need the $500 to pay for this desk. So that's how it worked. So that was like the universe saying, "It's okay." And then from there I just added more, just in a very tasteful way. It was only important to me that I don't look like I have banners all over my site. It's all about respecting the visitor.

Kelly: But also too, when you started your blog it was just, you wanted to start a blog as opposed to, "Hey, this is gonna be a business. I can do this and have some advertisements and do whatever." You were just like, "Here's information I wanna put out there," and by the way, we all love it.

Tina: Yeah. I just like to share. But I mean, if you run a blog and you have a cool company that approaches you and you are so proud to have them on your site and you think it's relevant to your audience, then why not? I just feel like the minute you put ads up that are noise or don't go with your value system, then you're selling out and then you're hurting yourself. That's my approach.

Kelly: I was gonna say the values is a big thing. Have you turned people down?

Tina: Oh yeah, all the time. Yeah. I'm also so empathetic so I have a really hard time telling them like, "I'm sorry, but I really don't want your ad on my site." Yeah.

Kelly: I just have a really clear filter so now I'm like, "If it doesn't fit like..." and someone asked me that once, they said, "Is there any company you wouldn't work with?" And I think they were expecting me to say, I don't know, whatever, fill in the blank: cars or automotive or hardware. And I'm like, "You know, it's really easy. Are they sexist? Racist? Homophobic? I don't care what they're producing. They don't...fall in one of those categories, it's not happening."

Tina: See, but at same time I need to let them down gently because in the end of the day we're all humans on the other end.

Kelly: How have not become so crusty after being in New York all these years? I used to be nice and forward too. Maybe I need to move to Brooklyn and kind of soften the edge, I don't know.

Tina: I'm a softy.

Kelly: Okay, next question. I had my first five. Okay.

Participant: My question is, you talked about a different model for sponsorship and I'm wondering what that looks like and how you work with sponsors without making people feel like they're being pitched to for events, in particular.

Kelly: Okay, so the question was what's your idea of a different model for sponsorship and how do you structure those so people don't feel like they got sales on their face?

Tina: I'm gonna say when I started out the global partnerships, I had aspirations that were just through the roof. And then reality hit a bit because the problem is that most companies that will do these big global partnerships, they're just used to something and they want that. So I had to give in a tiny bit. So we're doing a few things that more classical, you know, like there's the logo on every...if you get a confirmation email, and stuff like that, whatever, I get it. But what I'm trying to do, and luckily I've worked with companies like MailChimp that really, really gets it. They, for example, just wanna support the creative community. And when we pitched them, we do campaigns for our global partners and my goal is that the campaign we're doing is making CreativeMornings and the community better, and at the same time elevating the brand that's paying for it.

So MailChimp is the classical example that just says yes to everything. We have made projects with them that were good for the community and or, for example, Shutterstock is a great example as well that we convinced them like, "Hey, why don't we do portraits? Why don't we hire photographers at CreativeMornings that set up a real photo studio, take photos of the people that attend, professional headshots, and then we give them to them for free?" And it's brought to you by Shutterstock. How cool is that? That's giving to the community. It's highlighting photographers that we then push online and, you know, and shine the light on them. And it's making Shutterstock look really good and people love it. So this is the second time that we've done this. So we're really trying to come up with things that are just generous in nature and make the community better. Does that answer your question?

Participant: Yeah.

Kelly: Love it. Next?

Participant: Hi. Thank you so much for being here, like sharing all your knowledge and experience. You mentioned in the beginning that a lot of people are miserable at work and doing labors of love is really important. So my question is, how do you work with building the culture and working on that culture bit in your companies?

Kelly: So how do you build a good culture? What's your advice and tips so that you don't end up with those situations that, you know, I'm wanna say people really being unhappy with work?

Tina: That question always puzzles me because in the end of the day all you have to do is just be human, right? I feel like, and there's a lot of people that believe in this like I do, like Simon Sinek and a lot of...and Charlie Kim from Next Jump. They believe that the impact I can have as an entrepreneur in society is by creating a really healthy work environment where people feel appreciated, they feel safe, they feel valued, they feel like they can bring input. Because then, and Simon Sinek talked about this in one of his TED Talks, is when you feel appreciated and valued and safe in your work environment, and you're happy. Then you go home and you're a better dad, you're a better spouse, you're just a better member of this community, right?

And I feel like everybody that runs a company has the responsibility to create a really healthy work environment in order to impact society. And to me, it's like all it comes down to is just to be human. And because the thing is when you as a boss are really kind and come from a place of where you really care about people that will then impact how your team respects each other as well. Cattiness and backstabbing just doesn't happen in my teams because nobody will allow it. It comes from me and then each one sets the tone, and if somebody like this damages the environment, then we got to let that person go.

So I feel like it probably starts at the top. I don't know how you can fix a work environment, but if the leadership is not working...but you can probably start within your own department if you work in a big company and just sort of set the tone, you know, like kindness and generosity is really contagious. Really believe in that.

Kelly: Well, see. And to go back to your yay internet site, I mean, this is one of the good things about the internet. You pretty much can find out about any company and any one. And if you can't, then you know something's really up. But you know, in terms of being able to unpack the culture, and I'm always surprised when people do particularly job interviews with big companies. They haven't looked into that. They ask the questions of things that you could find on the website like, "What's your HR policy? How much vacation days?" Who cares about those questions? You find that information like, "What's the culture? Can I be successful within this culture?"

Tina: I almost feel like...it's a certain type of personality I go for besides the side projects. So when I interview someone, I usually go for a walk with them and I pay attention to, do they hold the doors for me, for someone else? If I go and get coffee with them, do they let me go first? Are they courteous? Do they maybe hand the milk after? It's the little things. And I remember there was this one guy that I went for coffee with and we were talking, we were in the middle to conversation, yet he noticed this piece of paper that was right next to the garbage can in the coffee shop and as he's talking to me he's picking it up and it's not his. And he put it in and I was like, "Yes, he's hired." I already knew. He is like...

But that's the type of person I wanna work with. It's this rule that somebody told me that his dad always told him. I forget, I need to find out who told me this. It was last week. And I find it so beautiful. Apparently his dad always said, "Always leave a room better than you found it." So if you go to the bathroom, wipe the sink maybe if it's not that nice or pick up that piece of paper. Now, imagine if we all, as a society, did that and applied this to everyday life, and especially in a company...

Kelly: There would be a lot of garbage collectors out of a job. No, I'm teasing on that. No, you're absolutely right. Leave things better than you found them. Absolutely. Whether it's the planet, whether it's a room, whether it's a company.

Tina: And it applies to company culture, you know?

Kelly: Right. Right. In terms of who you add to it and what you do with the job and what your legacy is. Could you, if you would, find out?

Tina: I will. I have to.

Kelly: And put on your blog and let's crush the blog when that all gets posted, okay. So that's right. That was like that and that. Okay.

Participant: So my husband will walk miles with garbage in his pocket if there is no trash can. So he has that ready. Feminist husband. And kind of picking up on some of the questions that the others have asked, I wanna find out more about the chief happiness officer. And my second question is for a friend who is new to America and is looking for an entrepreneur mentor. So some resources for her.

Kelly: Okay, so the first question is talk to us about chief happiness officer.

Tina: Did you see that on CreativeMornings?

Participant: Yes.

Tina: Yeah. So Sally is our Chief Happiness Officer. She is in charge of community. She is in touch, together with Lisa, she talks to all the volunteers around the world that host and run CreativeMornings. And she just has to make sure they have all they need and they're happy. That's a title she gave herself, Chief Happiness Officer, and I just love it.

Kelly: Keep everyone like, "Yeah, I guess people are happy, they're productive." Okay, so we're sitting here...so the second question was, you know, resources to and places to find an entrepreneur mentor. Well, we're sitting here in a co-working space in LMHQ and they have these women's events. I don't know if your friend's man or a woman, but...woman, so you know, hey, here's one resource right here in terms of coming here and meeting people and you know one...

Tina: Isn't the Levo League also kind of in that space?

Kelly: Yeah. And then I wanna say and then Levo has, levo.com has an online mentoring and a mentoring Q&A, which I think is an interesting model because a lot of times people don't have time, but you have time to answer a specific question. We've got a CreativeMornings in terms of places to find amazing people who could mentor you on, you know, all sorts of things. Anywhere else I'd want to say that comes to mind for you?

Tina: Well, I definitely think joining a co-working space where you think the people in it. So the one I run out of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, called Friends is definitely...or just starting it nine years ago when it was the first duration. It was called Studiomates and Dumbo, has changed everything because I was surrounded by entrepreneurial-driven creative types. And I would have never started my own companies, I think, if it wasn't for Cameron that sat next to me that always said, "Tina, stop having clients. Stop having clients. Stop having clients. You should really run your own company."

Kelly: And you're like, "I need a paycheck. I need money. I've got kids, what are you talking about, Cameron?"

Tina: Yeah, yeah. No, but it's really...it's impactful when you're surrounded by very smart and driven people that set the bar really high for their own work. And just tell your friend to find that space. I don't know if it's this one or somewhere else. Do some research on who is in those spaces because these moments over lunch when you just sit down and you can ask a question or you can just turn around and say, "Hey, can you help me on this one? Do you have some input?" That's when really...it's so easy when you're surrounded by these people on a daily basis and you can just turn around and talk to them.

Kelly: Yeah, and I think some co-working spaces, membership based co-working spaces will allow you to, you know, have a free, like a trial day or they may have a day rate where you can go and part of it is like observe.

Tina: But then don't talk to everyone like a maniac that day. Because that's not working. We've had that happen.

Tina: No, you wanna sit and observe, what's the interaction? How do people interact? You can find the information on what a monthly rate is and who the types of members are, but how do they actually interact and collide and engage, and what does that mean in terms of being able to meet people? And I think, you know, and shout out again to LMHQ, is doing events like this, right? So giving the chance to meet other people, meet other people in the community, people who work here and bringing members together.

Because I think a lot of the times we do want...you were empowered, put money aside, you were also empowered to go to conferences as a creative person. Other people often use money as a hurdle versus, "I can do this too. I can go and volunteer. I can go and somehow I could be part of this." I think a lot of people just wanna be invited and so finding those conveners to make that happen. There we go, in the black.

Participant: Hi. So I really am moved by...I can see the values that you hold very dear to your heart when you were speaking about everything you've done really has begun as a labor of love, and then how you really respect people that are in community and are guardians of community, like the guy that's taking care of if there's something that needs to be picked up, and the kind of people that you hire. So I guess...Oh, and then the artist on this scarf that you're wearing, she strikes me as a strong social entrepreneur. So I guess my question is in regards to social entrepreneurship, do you see yourself as one? And what's your relationship with social entrepreneurship?

Tina: Can you define your definition of social entrepreneurship?

Kelly: So the question about social entrepreneurship. So what's your definition...well, how are you defining or how do think of social entrepreneurship?

Tina: No, I wanna hear her first.

Participant: Well, for me it's definitely a hybrid. So there is a business that's producing a product or intelligence. But then also it's private proceeds or the way in which this product is developed is going back to the community.

Tina: Yeah. So...

Participant: And it's about improving quality of life.

Tina: So funny, it's a label I never use, but I kind of do it. So CreativeMornings, for example, I mean, all the events are free so that's social entrepreneurship on its own level in some way that we just created a safe space around the world for people to meet and create opportunity around the world. But with Tattly, for example, I really believe that, again, this goes back into, I can really have an impact on this world by running the business not just always caring only about the bottom line. That comes with the people part and creating a really healthy and great work environment.

But at the same time, for example, Tattly, I've actually made it really hard for myself because I say, "Whatever I can, I'll produce in America, will not let go of that." If I don't start...if we don't start bringing production back to America, nothing will ever change. There are so many people that don't have jobs here, right? I, for example, will package and ship everything out of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, which is insane, but there is not enough low income jobs in New York. It hit me at one point when we had a rush job to coaled [SP] like, I don't know, 5000 sets. And we made a posting on Craigslist and said, "Hey, we need 12 people for 8 days and for 8 hours to coaled 5000 sets or something. We'll pay you $12 an hour," which is above minimal wage and, "Go. Apply."

Oh my God, an hour and I had to turn off this Craigslist ad. And the cross-section of people that ended up sitting around this table really moved me. It was from the PhD people that, you know, very smart people, they came from another country and ended up here and couldn't find work, to young students that just, or 17-year-olds that just needed work. It really blew my mind. I was like, "We gotta keep this here," because we were outsourcing it to upstate. I was like, "No, no, no, there's not enough of these jobs in New York City. People are struggling to get by."

So there's things like that. Or the high commission I pay for every Tattly that is sold to the artist because I believe in passive income. My blog was my passive income, has opened me up to do other things, so now I can do the same things for the artist. Stuff like that. So I don't know if you consider some social entrepreneurship as well, but I just feel like there's...I could make way more money and make my life so much easier if I just produced everything in China, but I will not.

Kelly: I sort of wonder sometimes when we say social entrepreneurship if in any way we diminish what the entrepreneur is doing because as soon as we add that social piece on it, whether we...like I said, we sort of put it in this other category. You're an entrepreneur.

Tina: Yeah. I don't like the label. I think we should all run our business with...and the business should make the world better in some way, end of story. There shouldn't be a business that is not doing that.

Kelly: Right. I have to say, I recently interviewed...it's actually, it's on Inc., two interviews with the founder of the company and CEO of the company Leesa, the mattress company. They're gonna be a certified B Corp, that is happening. But one of his things was, "Yeah, I'm an entrepreneur and I wanna have the social impact." For every 10 mattresses they sell they donate 1, and they've completely refitted the beds at The Bowery Mission and they work with homeless, organizations that help combat homelessness.

But he said, "First and foremost, to be a really impactful entrepreneur with respect to a social issue," he said, "I gotta have a damn good product." And I think sometimes that when I hear pitches from entrepreneurs, it gets lost, they're like, "Hey, we're this, but..." and then they go off and what they're doing in the community, it's like, "No, no, do you have a really good product or a really good service that people want?" Because then, if you've got that, you can change the world because people want it.

Tina: I always think of MailChimp as they have...I look at them sort of as a weird kind of angel investor in the creative world. MailChimp, and I've got to meet the co-founder, Ben Chestnut who's an amazing person, and Mark who runs marketing, and they're such good people. I remember when first I started working with MailChimp on several levels, Tattly and CreativeMornings, and I would pitch Mark, the marketing guy like, "Mark, what do you think? Can you support this?" And he would just sit down and go like, "Yeah, mm-hmm."

And sometimes these were big budgets and I was like, "You don't need to go to Ben?" And he goes, "No." And then I found out that Ben basically just told him, "Here's a budget," and it's a big one, guys, "Whatever you think is good, whoever you think is doing something good in the creative world, go support it." And they're supporting the weirdest stuff, like really weird, you know. It's just amazing. I look at them as like an angel investor of the creative world. And I see them pop up everywhere and they never ask for much. Never. They don't even ask to put their logo on there. There's so under the radar and they say, "We just wanna make the creative world a better world." How cool is that? That to me is in some weird way social entrepreneurship as well, right?

They're empowering the creative world. They're allowing people to start magazines. Like Tattly, to be honest, when I started it and I invested money to have the site built and I designed the site myself, whatever, but then I kind of ran out of money and I was like, "Man, I don't have the $5000 to run the print run for the tattoos." And then Rusty was helping me, says, "You know what, what if we send out the bonus Tattly with every order?" Granted. We haven't even launched it yet, guys. It didn't exist yet. Oops.

Kelly: You didn't even...I wanna say, here you have the bonus Tattly for the...was the bonus Tattly in your wholesale catalogue?

Tina: No, is this gone? I think it's gone.

Kelly: Might have gone here.

Tina: Need to try it on? Maybe I'm muted, what did I do? Anyway, so Rusty said, "What if we pitched MailChimp that we would send a bonus Tattly with every order, a custom Tattly, and we just ask for $5000?" Which is what I needed to do the print run. And I pitched it to Mark, I held my breath and he was like, "Yeah, let's do it." I mean, I had nothing to prove for, he just believed in me. He believed in, "Maybe this is fun," right?

Kelly: And thank God their logo is a cute monkey.

Tina: Yeah, it was cute. We made the custom monkey, Tattly with a monkey wearing rollers, like, you know, to curl your hair, curlers. I mean, how great is that? I am forever grateful for MailChimp to helping me kick this off.

Kelly: Wait, and you know, so a company that's so generous and has such a sense of humor, that helps as well.

Tina: I know.

Kelly: We had a question here and then we had a question there. And then I'll...yeah, okay, and then I'll do this and I'll segue back that way. All right, [inaudible 00:23:37] in the second row.

Participant: Good morning. Hi. Thank you for being here this morning, it was great event. My question is kind of for both of you. I just turned 30 last week and I see it as sort of a milestone in your life, so I'm just wondering what advice you would have for women in their 30s, any kind of wisdom to share?

Kelly: So the question is on, I'm gonna say the wisdom and advice on turning 30. So I turned 50 last year so here is how I'm gonna give my advice, is sort of like how I have seen my life progress. I think in your 20s you wanna feel like you know it all, and I think there's sort of like you feel this urgency. And I wanna say urgency in this feel of you have to have accomplished things and know things. And you hit 30 and you're like, "It's so odd, I didn't learn it all."

And you get to 40 and you're like, "Really don't fucking care that I didn't know it all." And then you hit 50, and let me tell you, the profanities. It's like, "Whatever, I'm gonna try it now." I think in terms of turning 50, what's the worst that can happen? I know the worst that can happen. I can go back to practicing law. And so I think, I hate to say it, you're really entering the fun part. And there is a confidence from experience in front from knowing yourself and knowing that you have, like Tina and I talked about this before, when you know you have great friends and great community, nothing can really knock you off your game. You're like, "Bring it on. What's the worst that can happen? I can go and grab a glass of wine and cry with my girlfriends."

I think you're more likely to have more fun and be more successful because there's a confidence comes with that as opposed to shrouding it in these expectations and these sort of inner demons and uncertainties that you have in your 20s. So belated happy birthday and enjoy.

Tina: Do I need to add to that?

Kelly: Well...

Tina: All right. Well, all I can say...

Kelly: You're spring chicken in your 40s. How are you feeling about it?

Tina: I love my 40s. I actually threw myself a prom because I never had a prom. So I didn't have a prom in 1992. And we all had creamed hair and big dresses. Anyway...

Kelly: That's awesome.

Tina: Embracing the 40s. But all I have to say is, and I wish somebody would have told me that when I turned 30, is I didn't...for some weird reason I thought I am changing the most and growing the most as a growing up between 20 and 30. And for some weird reason I thought between 30 and 40 I kind of know who I am. That was not the case. I feel like I've grown more than ever between 30 and 40. So brace yourself that you might not be the person when you end up at the other side when you turn 40 than you are right now.

Participant: Okay, thank you.

Kelly: Awesome.

Participant: Yes, hi. Good morning. Thank you so much for coming and sharing the insight. I really am curious to know as a mom entrepreneur, how do you find the balance?

Kelly: Can you find balance as a mom entrepreneur? Are you just surfing, managing the waves?

Tina: I don't know, maybe. See, I believe in...I think balance is a myth when you do what you love because my life, I don't look at it as work and life. My life is, and that is with my kids and that is with my work. And I think that's...like when you are so into what you're doing, if that is your thing, and your kids are in bed and you start doing it again, that to me is not going back to work. That is going back to my life. So I think maybe that's...I was very blessed. It sounds cheesy, guys, I'm sorry if it does. But I think that's the difference between having to go back to work when you don't want it. I mean, I never had a hard time putting in way more hours even with little kids and juggling it all because it was just what I do. Does that help you?

Kelly: It's so cool that your kids are so...I wanna say they're so inspired by you and they're so proud that they are also part of it.

Tina: Maybe that's the key, that I include them in it. I don't know, but I mean, don't get me wrong. There's moments where I just wanna throw everything down and run away and say, "I can't do this."

Kelly: Go yodeling into the hills.

Tina: And also I must say I couldn't have done it without a good partner. I guess I'm leaving out the biggest chunk here, guys. The father of my kids is the most supportive partner I could have ever had in starting all the things I started.

Kelly: Putting yourself in that position both with who you're with, who your friends are, who are around you in your co-working space, some of that is get all of those pieces in order before you take that leap because that's the stuff you're really gonna lean against. All right, one question here and then I'm gonna take one, two, three, and we'll make them really quick because we're at 10:20. All right.

Participant: I have to say real quickly I used to do email newsletter with MailChimp, and now that I don't do it anymore every time I get on my computer my daughter is like, "Where is the monkey?"

Kelly: God bless MailChimp, where's monkey?

Participant: But I wanted to ask you is how do you conceive of the creative world? You keep talking about the creative world, but I feel like there are such divisions between designers, writers, media, literature. How do you think about it? When you're thinking of planning an event, when you're writing for the creative world, who are these people to you?

Kelly: Who is the creative world to you?

Tina: See, this is the whole purpose of CreativeMornings, is to break down the barriers. I don't wanna just hang out with graphic designers, that's just boring. The purpose of CreativeMornings was to be, a) welcoming anyone that considers themselves creative, and b) breaking down the barriers between the photographers and the developers and the marketing people. And when you get them all in a room, it's the same concept as my co-working space. Hello?

Kelly: You're good.

Tina: Okay. Beauty happens when you put the different traits of creative types under one roof. And also when I write on my blog. There's a lot of people that read my blog that are not in traditionally creative fields, and they oftentimes email me directly and they say, "I feel like a fraud." I was like, "No, you are obviously into this and you're inspired by it so you are a creative person." Our mission statement of CreativeMornings starts out with, "Everyone is creative," and ends with, "Everyone is welcome."

Kelly: I'm just thinking, thank God Cameron is not answering those emails because the person will probably get something really absurd that would upset them.

Tina: Yes.

Kelly: All right, one, two, and then I had one more over here. Okay.

Participant: I love your approach to building businesses that you're talking about and solving problems if you complain you're gonna work on it. So I'm guessing that there must have been things that you've decided not to really invest your time in and maybe you started on a track of building a business or thinking about the idea, but then decided not to follow through and you've had a lot of successes. So maybe you could talk about an example of that or how you decided that, "This is a thing I'm gonna dig in on, and this is maybe the thing that I'm gonna let go."

Kelly: So with your whole approach to building a business, and there have been ones where you've said, "No, I just need to show. I could complain about this, but I don't wanna turn it into a business."

Tina: I have them all the time. I don't know. I mean, I have ideas all the time, but they're not ideas that would keep the fire going for years. Does that make sense? I would be excited about it, let's say I had an idea for a pin business. That will keep me excited for a little bit, but then I'd be pinned out, right?

So at time of CreativeMornings I just knew I had that idea and I'm solving so many things that are so inherently part of what I believe in that I will never lose steam around it. So I think that's probably what you have to. I mean, I just saw on my Facebook today Steve Jobs how he always talks about what differentiates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is the successful ones they're just, it keeps you awake. The thing you wanna solve or build is so in you that you cannot not do it. So whatever idea you have, you have to really test yourself.

And that's why I think when you start out with a labor of love, I'm repeating myself, and you keep at it, then it's probably a sign for, "You know what, maybe I have to stand and to actually turn this into a business because I've been doing this for two years and I still love it," right? Does that answer your question?

Participant: Yeah.

Kelly: That's great. Just refresh my memory, CreativeMornings website is creativemorning...CreativeMorning or CreativeMornings?

Tina: It's plural, creativemornings.com.

Kelly: Plural, .com? And I know I've said this to you in the past because when things get really busy and sold out, is there a place to sign up to volunteer? Because I know you are a volunteer organization, is there a place for people to volunteer for events? Because heck, sometimes that's the way to get in.

Tina: Yeah. Chances are when you get on the wait list right after our appeal, then you're most likely gonna get in, by the way. Also when you start to bribe me on Twitter, oftentimes you get in as well.

Kelly: Now you know the secret. All right, question right here.

Participant: So my question is about your businesses were all about having this labor of love and then giving a little and then getting a whole lot back in return. That could be expensive, especially for somebody who doesn't necessarily have the resources to put into what is initially a labor of love and down the road can become a business. So what is some advice or some things that you did to support that labor of love, and at the same time be able to have a salary, and you have a family, and cover expenses in your daily life?

Kelly: So how can you fund the labor of love? When you started your business, were you still creating websites and keeping a few clients at the moment?

Tina: Yeah. I kept working and running CreativeMornings and running TeuxDeux. I made sure I still have my sources of revenue. I never just dropped everything saying, "I'm just making CreativeMornings happen right now," because I knew I'm not gonna make money for years and years and years. I mean, I just started paying myself a humble salary a year and a half ago. We're eight years old now. But again, it didn't matter. It was not about the money but what I got out of it. And that's the thing that I oftentimes...sometimes people forget is that the connections I made out of this. The credibility I got out of it. You are being rewarded oftentimes in other ways that are not necessarily financial. Just pay attention to those rewards of the labors of love that you're building.

Kelly: And those kind of rewards that lead to more of the clients that you're like, "Yeah, I've gotta do some, you know, graphic design work. I can now do it for companies that I want to do it for." Because those are the ones also coming out and seeing and believing everything else that you're doing.

Tina: Mm-hmm.

Kelly: That is a mix. So on Twitter you're @swissmiss?

Tina: I am Swissmiss.

Kelly: No hyphen?

Tina: No hyphen on Twitter.

Kelly: And CreativeMornings, go and sign up.

Tina: CreativeMorning on Twitter.

Kelly: CreativeMorning on Twitter, but creativemornings.com and get on that community. What else should we know? Anything else coming up that we should know about?

Tina: Oh, I just launched "Sent a Tattly" which, by the way, are the bomb.

Kelly: You launched what?

Tina: We launched sent@temporary tattoos for the first ones we've done that. They're amazing. Yeah, so a little plug at the end.

Kelly: Got to love that. Thank you.

Tina: Thank you for having me.

Kelly: Thank you for listening to BroadMic. We welcome your feedback. Find us on Facebook where you will have show notes and additional references for a deeper dive into today's topic. Subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Please review our podcast on iTunes which will help other listeners discover BroadMic and grow the BroadMic community. BroadMic is produced by Christy Mirabelle with editing by John Marshall Media. Our executive producer is Sara Weinheimer. Think broad.

Listen to more episodes