It's a Wheelie Q&A episode! Lisa and Iris answer our listeners' burning questions about Wheelie, entrepreneurship, manifestation, and the weird things we do at work. Don't worry, we return to regular Outside by Design programming next week!
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Iris: Welcome to Outside by Design, the Q&A episode.
Lisa: That's right. Welcome back all you marketing managers and photographers and writers and outdoor creatives. Thanks for tuning in. We love you. These are your hosts, Lisa and Iris, from Wheelie.
Lisa: Hi. Today is a special day because we are doing a Q&A where people asked us questions on the Wheelie Creative Instagram account, and we're going to answer them.
Iris: So get ready. Let's do it.
Iris: First question. What is Wheelie?
Lisa: Oh, yeah, some people asked us that. So Wheelie is a creative agency that I started in 2009 out of Crested Butte, Colorado. I own it and have... there's a whole crew of employees and they're all amazing and smart and we work with brands in the outdoor industry to help them say who they are and attract their right audiences and sell their products. So we have one person on staff who is an account manager and talks to clients, and another project manager, and we have a graphic designer, and an art director, and an intern, and Iris over here does all our social media for our clients and for ourselves, and I do creative direction and biz dev.
Iris: That was my next question was what you do here.
Lisa: Iris. What do you think I do here at Wheelie?
Iris: I think you drink a lot of coffee. And you do a lot of business, business, business meetings.
Lisa: I do. So many meetings.
Iris: Buying and selling.
Iris: And you make... you give us jobs.
Lisa: It's true.
Iris: Make sure we have jobs to come to.
Lisa: It's true.
Iris: And we appreciate it.
Lisa: Aww. I appreciate that you guys show up all the time. And yeah, I... as the CEO, my job evolved quite a bit from... I started the whole company on a laptop and was a designer and I talked to clients and would design what they wanted and then I got busier and busier and started hiring people to help me do the work and then our services expanded. And now we're full service. So everything from Ambassador programs and Ambassador management, to social media posting and regulating and analyzing, to video production, design, full on branding, package design, large-scale campaigns, all kinds of good stuff.
Lisa: I probably forgot a lot.
Iris: It's a lot of things.
Lisa: What's the weirdest project you've ever done here Iris?
Iris: I don't know about the weirdest project, but I got pied in the face at work.
Iris: It wasn’t project related.
Lisa: No. [laughs] And then you washed yourself off with the hose!
Iris: To celebrate graduating college my co-workers pied me in the face.
Iris: And they did it at like 2:30 in the afternoon. So then I was covered in whipped cream and Jessica sprayed me off with the hose. And then I was soaking wet for the rest of the day and I had to go back to work!
Lisa: Yeah, and one time we sprayed Jessica Parker with champagne and then…
Iris: She was very sticky.
Lisa: Yeah, and then she had to go to meetings smelling like stale champagne.
Iris: We should really schedule our pranks a little later in the day.
Lisa: Yeah. It's true.
Iris: So Lisa, you talked about how Wheelie has been around for 10 years. How did you find your first client?
Lisa: You know, I got my first client ever... I don't, you probably don't even know this...
Lisa: … was a company that is National and they make surfboard racks that go on cruiser bikes. So how you would like bike to the beach. So my very first project was doing package design for their new product and it was so much fun. I was working in a bike shop, and I was still in college when I got that and it was really scary because I had to figure out how to write a contract and how to work with box printing companies and how to do full bleeds on a giant package design. And I made something super cool that really popped off the shelf. So I got that just because I was working in a bike shop and talk to the owner of the manufacturing company all the time and it was a really good fit.
Lisa: But it was cool. It was an interesting Journey for me to set up all the business aspects of running a company when you’ve focused so deeply on a creative skill that... that there's a lot of learning and stumbling over the last decade and there's a lot I wish I knew ten years ago that I know now, but that's life.
Lisa: I want to ask you one.
Lisa: Okay. What's your favorite project right now?
Iris: One of my favorite projects going on right now might be the campaign for 10 Barrel Brewing’s Softcore Cider. We've had a lot of fun coming up with some mildly an appropriate tag lines and putting together some really fun photo shoots with Granny Smith AKA Ya-Ya. And it's just a joy to work on and we've been having a lot of fun with this project.
Lisa: Part of your job is casting talent to be in our photo shoots.
Lisa: I always joke that we're casting agency.
Lisa: I feel like that's like 50% of your job in the summer.
Iris: Pretty much, when we’re really really busy shooting all the time, you gotta have people in your photos and you gotta find those people. So, tracking everyone down.
Lisa: Tracking, paying ‘em.
Iris: Paying ‘em.
Lisa: Making sure they felt model releases so we can sell their face.
Iris: Yep. [laughs]
Lisa: So we can slap their face on grocery store displays everywhere.
Iris: Yeah. So we're working on that one really soon and I think what's going to come out of it is going to be amazing.
Lisa: It's true.
Iris: So keep an eye out for that.
Iris: What's your favorite project that we're working on right now?
Lisa: Wow. I don't know as the owner of the agency if I'm allowed to say what my favorite project is because I appreciate all the business. But I will say, my favorite project right now is... is this one, is Wheelie.
Lisa: My favorite project is like, building and crafting and kind of like, my secret plan for Q4 that I haven't revealed to anyone yet. And I'm really enjoying the creativity involved in being a CEO and I'm having a great time with it. And I also enjoy high pressure, high intensity sales pitches. Because I love... I love the pressure and the competitive drive and I love closing deals and helping our clients. Like I love the chase.
Iris: So you've put together a pretty great team here at Wheelie. What do you look for the most when hiring new talent?
Lisa: Oh, wow. Goodness. I look for... optimism. Because this job requires you to figure things out on your own a lot. No two projects are the same. We do end up in ridiculous situations sometimes, depending on, you know, how wild of an idea we are executing and the strategy behind it. So if someone has the ability to be optimistic and know that they can trust themselves to figure it out, they're going to be a good fit. I also think someone who doesn't thrive in a corporate structure is a good fit, meaning, sometimes when you work in a corporation, there's a lot of lanes to stay between and ladders to climb and a lot of people thrive in that environment. And we are kind of the opposite of that. So it has to be someone who is okay wearing a lot of hats or doing something kind of random that might be outside their job responsibilities because we're a small team and everybody has to pitch in and make it work and that's when it's a good fit.
Iris: So what kind of podcasts or blogs or social media channels, do you follow?
Lisa: So, I love the podcast Beautiful Anonymous. Because the whole concept behind it is comedian Chris Gethard just talks to random anonymous people for an hour and they have a conversation for an hour and it's amazing and such a simple idea and so brilliant. So that's my favorite podcast. I also really like Finding Mastery which is about optimizing your life. I really like The Moth Radio Hour because it's creative and I listen to like, a lot of boring HR podcasts because I'm our HR director right now. And those are the podcasts I listen to.
Iris: What about like social media or anything that you follow for creative inspiration?
Lisa: Unfortunately. I feel like I am a little too addicted to Instagram.
Lisa: So I've been trying to cut back on my instagramming lately, but I certainly adore lots of accounts on Instagram. I love @rubyandrevolver because she makes motherhood just looks so badass and runs a business. I like how her photos are all dark and stormy and moody, they're beautiful. So that's one of my favorite accounts. I like following all my employees. That brings me a lot of joy to see what you guys are doing during the work day as well as on the weekends.
Iris: That could sound really creepy, but I know that you mean it genuinely.
Lisa: I mean it genuinely I really enjoy following them.
Iris: Like, supporting us in our adventures more so than…
Lisa: following you to your car?
Iris: Being big brother. Yeah.
Lisa: Yeah, totally. And... what else. I like following my twin sister. She's @sarakins316 give her a follow and…
Iris: Speaking of Sara.
Iris: We had a great question from her. She wondered why she hasn't been on the podcast.
Lisa: Oh, my twin sister Sara should be on our podcast. And Sarah you'll be on there. We can schedule it and maybe I can interview you about being a math professor because you're so smart.
Iris: So you just finished a marathon so I have a few Marathon-related questions.
Lisa: Oh good.
Iris: Question one. Will you do it again?
Lisa: I don't know. I don't think so.
Iris: That's a good answer. Question two, what are the similarities between running a marathon and running a business?
Iris: Both use the word run.
Lisa: Yeah, they both use the word run. Um, actually, I thought about that a lot while I was training and you can't go in as a sprint. You have to constantly be thinking long game and be thinking about that final mile. And so you kind of have to pace yourself and then use the momentum around you to be faster, like use the downhill to try not to exert as much effort but go faster.
And so that... it reminded me a lot of running a business and that I'm constantly thinking about the long game and maybe I'm in mile 5, but I'm thinking about mile 26. And maybe you know, I'm in month 5 but I'm thinking about what's happening in 26 months. Like, there's always a game plan because I owe it to my employees to know, you know, to basically have a plan for the next 1, 5, 10 years. And maybe, you know, sometimes I worry it pulls me out of the present to constantly be thinking about the future but I think our operations director is so good at living in the present that it makes up for it.
Iris: Are you different after your marathon? What's different about you?
Lisa: Oh, my body is different. I have like little bird arms now. And it was really interesting, actually, to see how much I was able to change my body through running. In an interesting way in that I stopped lifting as much while I was training and I used to lift every day. And so I got a little bit scrawnier and I like how I look now, but it's definitely very interesting to see that you can have a powerful effect on your body over a short period of time.
Iris: What is your work life balance? Like, we talk about that on the podcast sometimes.
Iris: So how do you approach that?
Lisa: Wow, my work-life balance is... it's something I strive to get better at every month. And I think I've made a lot of headway. I think the last two years, the last three years, maybe the last four years have been absolutely unbalanced. I'll be the first to admit. We are in total growth mode right now and I was working 60 hour weeks. I mean, I was actually pretty miserable Iris, but you’d never know it. But I was working every single day of the week and it was hard and I grew the company a lot. And now we have such a kick-ass team that I'm able to work 40 hours like a normal human and that's been amazing. It's a thankless job, though. Not that I'm asking you to thank me right now.
Iris: Thank you.
Lisa: Yeah, it's a thankless job because entrepreneurship is hard. It's kind of lonely. It doesn't stop and like, if I don't sell enough this week, I'm not... you know, I need to sell twice as much next week to support everybody. So... noy that we're living paycheck to paycheck by any means, but just to meet the goals and meet the quarterly goals. I'm like, I'm super Benchmarky so there's always a million benchmark that I’m hitting.
Iris: So follow-up to that, what keeps you sane?
Lisa: Movement keeps me sane. Velocity, like using my body in nature because my method of yeah, it's my method of movement and kind of shaking it out and I love to run and ride my bike and I love to snowboard in the winter. Nothing makes me happier than snowboarding. I also love to write so I try to do that as much as I can and I'm trying to get back into my morning routine of yoga every morning and I meditated for an hour this morning. I've been getting up like really early in the woods lately because the sun comes out. So this morning I got up at 5:00.
Iris: Wow. How do you keep organized?
Lisa: I don't.
Iris: Yeah, that question made me laugh a little bit.
Lisa: I know. Iris, how do I keep organized?
Iris: Um, you've hired a lot of great people that are good at organizing and you've created the team that keeps you organized. Because you have to think big picture and we bring you back down to the little picture sometimes.
Lisa: You guys just make fun of me for like destroying things and like no one wants to ride in my truck and you guys all make fun of my truck and all my coffee cups.
Iris: If you're at Wheelie and you're trying to drink coffee, and there's no coffee cups left just go check Lisa's office because they're all there.
Lisa: It's pyramid.
Iris: Yeah, she starts just stacking them.
Lisa: It's called Coffee Cup Nation. I am it's Queen.
Iris: But you know your weaknesses and you've surrounded yourself with people who fill out those weaknesses.
Lisa: It's true.
Iris: So I think that works.
Lisa: I also like that everybody here kind of makes fun of each other in a loving way.
Lisa: It keeps everybody in check.
Iris: Who is your woman crush and why?
Lisa: Well, you know, as a hetero lady, I have no qualms admitting I have a total woman crush on this firefighter here in town. And her name is Sarah. And she... I see her trail running and she's so fast and I see her like crushing everything. And then one time I was leaving a lake with my boyfriend, and I... she waved down the truck and I've always wanted to be a firefighter and I'm not. And she was like “hi, could you help us?” And of course, like, this is like, the moment of my life and like in my mind, I'm like, “Yes! Yes, I can help you!” and like Travis just like, looks over at me and I'm like, “yeah, we could probably help you. Sure.” So then we got to help her carry… this woman had fallen off the trail when we got to like have this woman in this tarp carrying thing and we got to help carry this lady back up the trail and she was like screaming a lot and we were really strong and we got to lift this lady over a tall stump and while she was screaming and it was like highlight of my summer. And then I got all shy. She was like “thanks so much!” And I'm like, oh whatever.
Iris: It's fine.
Lisa: It’s fine. But really inside I was like, oh my God.
Iris: Lisa, we're wrapping up the month of May where we had four guests talk about their thoughts around the word manifestation. And I know you have a lot of thoughts around it. So let's hear yours, what does manifestation mean to you?
Lisa: Oh gosh, you go first.
Lisa: I just flipped that! Flipped it and reversed it.
Iris: Um, I think to me manifestation is like a combination of wishing and doing. So it's like a two step process, is you dream something, you form plans around it, but then you take... you set out the steps and you take the steps to do it. And I think it times in my life I've approached things like if it's meant to be it will happen? And then I realized, like, no, if it's meant to be, it… like, if I want it, I'm gonna go get it. So I feel like manifestation is wanting and then going and getting and that's kind of encompasses manifestation to me is just having a dream and then not letting it stay a dream - that's really cheesy, but setting out a goal and then figuring out, okay, that's a lofty goal. How the hell am I going to do this? And then figuring it out from there.
Lisa: Iris, that was beautiful.
Iris: Thank you. [laughs]
Lisa: Wow, that was very insightful.
Lisa: That's good. We should trade jobs, you can have this one. That was really good. I don't know how to follow that up.
Iris: Well, that’s what you get for making me go first.
Lisa: Manifestation. So, I believe in manifestation very deeply and I… I think that if you visualize - I'm like, really into visualization. So if you visualize something I think you can make it happen. And I definitely believe that what you what you give is what you get. So what you put energy to, and what kind of energy you're putting out is going to be what you receive in return and I think that I try to ground everything I do in gratitude. And everybody here makes fun of me that I always say thanks for being here. But like, I mean it so much and I think... I think I do try to just start... I try to start from a place of gratitude and then my visualizations tend to be really, really powerful because I know what I'm grateful for and I focus on that rather than what I don't want. And so, it's like skiing if you look... like snowboarding or if you look at the tree, you hit the tree or mountain biking if you look down you go down. You look at what you want, not what you don't want and I think that's what manifestation is. Is to focus on what you want.
Iris: I think that's a great way to wrap up the podcast. Next week we're starting a new month and a new word of the month and we have the incredible Katie Boué on the podcast. I'm really excited to get this one out, have the people here it. Learn from Katie. She's amazing.
Lisa: Well, Iris you're amazing for making this podcast so good.
Iris: Well thanks. We'll see you all next week.
Lisa: Thanks for being our listeners. You're amusing too.
Iris: Thanks for being here.