Podcasting from Fort Collins Colorado, this is the Startup FoCo podcast episode 04. I am your host Vanessa Pagan, gearing up for the 2018 Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins.
In this pre-event episode, we have 8 guests who remind us to do the work. From getting our message right to resources available at the library.
Let’s get into the interviews.
Leslie Oliver, Comcast
- Coworking: Supercharge your business and have fun doing it http://sched.co/DbmH
- Selling your services without being sales-y http://sched.co/DbmJ
- She Leads: Women Leaders in the Boardroom and Beyond http://sched.co/Deuo
- Overcome Imposter Syndrome http://sched.co/DbmL
- Business Resources at The Library http://sched.co/Deup
- Intro to Self-Publishing through the Library (Old Town Library) http://sched.co/Dam6
- FoCo Nonprofit Networking Group (Harmony Library) http://sched.co/Dbmc
- Value of Mentoring and Being Mentored http://sched.co/Dbmd
- Interdisciplinary Improv in Action http://sched.co/DMmw
- Interdisciplinary Improv in Action http://sched.co/DMmw
- How Do I Talk About What I Do? http://sched.co/Dbmn
Janna Knapp Sanchez and LaunchNo.CO
Ann Baron Northern Colorado Community
Darin, City Manager
Innosphere – Emily Wilson, Mike Freeman
Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
Larimer County SBDC
Do The Work – Episode 04 – Transcript
Vanessa Pagan: Leslie, Comcast is a sponsor for Fort Collins Startup Week, correct?
Leslie Oliver: Correct. We are a returning sponsor this year for the 2018 Fort Collins Startup Week.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Could you tell us a little bit about what’s important about Fort Collins Startup Week for Comcast?
Leslie Oliver: Well at Comcast we see Fort Collins startup week as really the perfect opportunity for companies like ours to engage with entrepreneurs local leaders community members and really help convene opportunities for people to connect with each other and our community and to highlight all of the innovation that’s the future of Fort Collins and the state of Colorado.
Vanessa Pagan: That was good. It was a great take away. Could you tell us a little bit about a share from your experience of one of your best lessons learned that you think attendees would benefit knowing about?
Leslie Oliver: Sure. The obvious answer is that you know attendees should join as many sessions as they can, talk to as many people as they can, and come with an open mind, you know for us we thought engaging in Fort Collins startup week is really learning what makes Fort Collins unique and what makes the startup community, what powers the startup community.
Comcast and has a large presence in Fort Collins we’ve got a new customer service center, that’s employing currently around 300 people. We’ve got a new Xfinity store located at the shops at Foothills and so many other employees across our business who call Fort Collins home, and what we found is there’s really nothing like meeting and connecting in person with the community, with the innovators, with the entrepreneurs that are our friends and our neighbors up there and just be a part of that thought process and that you know that partnership that really is driving the innovative spirit in Fort Collins.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. How would you describe your vision for what the future for Collins can look like in five years or ten years?
Leslie Oliver: Fort Collins is full of innovators and an entrepreneur spirit. It’s a forward-thinking community that offers businesses a competitive advantage with all the educational opportunities, the thriving economy, and it’s really an advantage for not just Fort Collins, but the entire Northern Colorado area to have an opportunity to create and grow. We really think that bold ideas and entrepreneurship are a core part of our DNA at Comcast, and we’re really proud to support that Fort Collins in Northern Colorado Community of these great inventors and Founders and innovators who are building businesses there.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Leslie, if there was someone that you could publicly recognized for their hard work in the Fort Collins Northern Colorado area who would you want a shout out to?
Leslie Oliver: Big big shout out to Andrew Schneider. He’s one of the organizers of Fort Collins startup week, and he has just worked tirelessly to ensure the Fort Collins startup week runs flawlessly year after year. He’s just been the heart and soul of the week and his creative thinking and positive attitude, and you know continuing to to come up with new and different ways to engage in the community have just been key and critical to the success of the week. So we’re really proud to work with Andrew and proud of all the hard work. He’s put in to engage with us in so many other businesses in the area.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome. Thank you so much.
On the line with me now is Angel Kwiatkowski, who is the founder of Cohere, the first and largest community manage shared office space in Fort Collins, Colorado. Angel, hello.
Angel Kwiatkowski: Hi.
Vanessa Pagan: Could you tell us a little bit about what you hope people get out of going to Fort Collins startup week?
Angel Kwiatkowski: Sure. I hope that people meet a new friend. I think that’s important, and it’s so hard to do if you’re stuck in the same office every day. I hope that people learn new that helps them either personally or with their business, and I hope that they kind of get their minds blown in some way I don’t know how yet.
Vanessa Pagan: I like that. I like that. And on Monday February 26th at 9am your session is co-working supercharge your business and have fun doing it. What do you hope attendees will get out of hearing you speak?
Angel Kwiatkowski: I hope that our session, which is just a bunch of people who are already members of co-working spaces, I’ll help them tell their stories about how coworking has helped them and their businesses. But I would love to sort of demystify what coworking is for people who’ve been reading about it or seen in the news, but never actually experienced it. That it’s so much more than just a place where you bring your up and work. It’s really about meeting friends and getting to know people that you never maybe would have. To kind of dismantle the loneliness that happens when you work for yourself or work at home, and I hope to just inspire people to explore coworking a little more deeply and to take advantage of all the free co-working days that have our happening all week.
Vanessa Pagan: Yeah, that’s a wonderful thing. I’m a big fan of co-working, and I’m glad that during startup week there’s going to be co-working opportunities for everyone to try it out every day.
Angel, if you could share one of the top lessons learned that you’ve had from your experience with start-up week attendees what would you tell us?
Angel Kwiatkowski: I wouldn’t tell people to go to some sessions that you know absolutely makes sense to you, and you know you kind of have an idea of what you’re going to learn and that will be helpful for you, but then I would also encourage people to try out sessions that make no sense to you in my particular instance it’s anything to do with Block Chain. I just I absolutely don’t understand it and so whenever I see something about watching I try to challenge myself to go to it so that my face looks less confused when people talk about it and to even try to go to places you’ve never been we’ve got some venues for start-up week that are outside of Old Town. I would encourage people to jump on the Max, or take the shuttle that’s being offered and head a little further south to attend some sessions down there.
Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful and while you’re talking about the ability to get out of Old Town could you tell us about what you hope your vision for Fort Collins is?
Angel Kwiatkowski: I think my hope would be that Fort Collins can continue to find its way in the world of startup without subscribing to the way startup is talked about on the internet. The concepts that startups are built to be sold, need to get VC, have to have funding have to go really quickly, have to lose themselves into the startup in order to start up I think is a false fairytale, and I think Fort Collins knows that on a deeper level. And I hope that people who start businesses in Fort Collins and come here and want to start businesses understand that wants to do it a little bit different, and we’re not going to be the next California, and we’re not going to be the next Boulder. We’re going to do it our way, and I think it’s the better way.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great keeping the authenticity of what makes Fort Collins, Fort Collins is a great message because I hear you with the idea of a startup – startups have to have theirs these expectations of what it means to be a startup, and the reality is a start-up can have many different variations depending on the founders the product the audience they’re serving. So I am a proponent to keep Fort Collins, Fort Collins
Angel Kwiatkowski: Yeah, and I want to give a shout out to Andrew. He’s done so much for all of us by changing startup week from what it was just a few years ago and every year it comes around it gets more authentic and we see a broader type of people in type of business doing presentations and getting involved, and I think it’s perfect and absolutely what our community needs.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thank you for being on the line Angel.
I have Arianna Friedlander on the line with me who is the founder of Rosa Bella Consulting and the author of the book, A Misfit Entrepreneurs Guide to building a Business Your Way. Hi, Ariana.
Ariana Friedlander: Hey Vanessa.
Vanessa Pagan: Could you tell us a little bit about what you hope start-up attendees get out of attending Fort Collins startup week this year?
Ariana Friedlander : Oh man I hope that start-up attendees get. some inspiration that’s actionable so and and some grounding. I think it’s really important to just get a true sense of what it takes to be an entrepreneur and to take an idea from your mind to market, and then really get some insights into what do I need to do to make that happen because I think that real learning occurs when you can change your behavior, and you can see ways to improve how you’re showing up in the world and with your ideas.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s Great, and you have a session Tuesday February 27th at 9 a.m.. called the Neuroscience of conversation what every entrepreneur needs to know. What do you hope attendees get out of your session specifically?
Ariana Friedlander : For me personally learning about the Neuroscience of Conversation has been life changing both personally and professionally and so when when we’ve all been part of the conversational dynamics I think where something’s just not working the things are going south. It seems like we’re on the same page, but then we walk away, different things occurred and we anticipate. And so for me understanding what’s happening neurochemically in those moments has just been transformational and giving people that insight so that you can understand like there’s actually something neurochemically happening that impacts the way we engage in conversation and then can impact the way our conversational partners are engaging with us, and once you start to understand that you can change your neurochemistry in the moment. And so you can go from being argumentative or stress about a conversation to connecting on a deeper level with somebody and being able to co-create some amazing solutions to problems and for me being able to apply that and in my efforts to build a business, it has been amazing because my customers have amazing insights and I want to be able to leverage them and build products and services that fit their needs. And when I can have those kinds of co-creative conversations that’s possible. For me, learning conversational intelligence has leveled up my game.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome that’s a great share. You’re giving us tools to be able to have new words of saying what we do.
Ariana Friedlander : Yeah, and understanding just those things that we feel like we all have been in a conversation where seems like we’re getting along really well, and we’re on the same page and then someone goes from 0 to 60. It could be yourself or someone you’re speaking with and all of a sudden they’re shutting down, turning Away not engaging. And there’s actually something happening neuro chemically that explains that and so those feelings aren’t just woo woo.There’s something there. So it’s nice to be able to provide some scientific basis for it, So that it’s like oh we get it. It makes sense now and you can do something about it when you understand.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s powerful. Arianna if you could share one thing about what you found most valuable that you’ve learned as in your professional career, what would you share with us?
Ariana Friedlander : I think for me, it’s been really learning to trust myself. You know when you decide to be an entrepreneur and serve business so many people that have ideas of what you should do and maybe getting for years I really took that advice to heart and questioned and doubted myself and made decisions based out of fear instead of out of what intuitively was right for me. And learning to check myself and distinguish, I say in my book distinguishing between the voice of my inner critic and wisdom of my inner genius has just been hugely beneficial because every time I listen to my inner critic, things didn’t pan out the way I was expecting them to and when I listen to those insights for my inner genius, and we all have one you know, that’s where amazing things have occurred.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing. I like that. The inner genius and the inner critic. Excellent.
Ariana Friedlander : Yeah, yeah, it’s a way to for me it’s a kind of frame it and see that there’s these two distinct voices and one is very helpful, and one is generally just causing me to get off track. Every once in a while you need that fear, fear voice, but not as often as I think. For me, it was presenting itself.
Vanessa Pagan: Great. The next question is what do you see for the future of Fort Collins in five years ten years?
Ariana Friedlander : Yeah, that is I feel like such a hard question to answer. It’s such a big one is you know I want so much for our community I think that we do have a fantastic community as it is. And we have a lot of room for improvement and growth and I know things like affordable housing and poverty and discrimination that happen in our community are really I think concerning and I don’t think that we really bring those to the forefront enough to address, and I think that’s so they’re important issues to address and like I said think there’s some great things that are already happening in our community, and I just do this continuing to happen our commitment to sustainability and walkability and things like that I think are really powerful and profound and it’ll be exciting to see how those efforts level up.
I just imagine those continue to invest in ourselves and and learn from things that are working and things that don’t quite work out right, but I really hope we address some of those on systemic issues in the future. I think that’s really important for a thriving and innovative community.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome and last bonus question, is , is there someone that you would like to acknowledge for their hard work and effort in what they do in the Fort Collins Community?
Yeah, I think there’s so many people that are doing such an amazing work. I mean everyone. That’s organizing startup week. You know really just you know their hearts are in the right place you know. I know Andrew Schneider and Nick Armstrong, then the tremendous amount of work in our community for startup weekend for other events like Comic-Con and things like that.
I think Jessica Rawley’s done amazing work really in the entrepreneurial sphere both at CSU and beyond. She has moved on from CSU and Janna Knapp Sanchez and launchNo.CO are also amazing since there’s just so many great people in our community, and I think all of those people deserve recognition and so many others that I probably forgetting to name and I apologize about that.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s okay thank you for naming the names that you have because this is our chance to recognize and say these people work hard thank you.
Ariana Friedlander: Yeah. Yeah, I am so grateful for the sense of camaraderie and collaboration that occurs in Fort Collins. It’s definitely one of the things I love about our community.
Vanessa Pagan: Thank you for being on the line with me.
We have Chrysta Bairre who is a career coach speaker author and founder of Live Love and Work. Chrysta, thanks for being here.
Chrysta Bairre: Thank you for having me. I’m really excited about Fort Collins start if weeks this year.
Vanessa Pagan: I’m excited about you you have three sessions. Yes. I do you have three sessions you have two that are on March first the first one is at 10:30 selling your services without being sales e and then at 4 p.m. She leads. Women leaders in the boardroom and Beyond and then Friday March 2nd at 10:30 a.m.. You have overcoming imposter syndrome Chrysta, what would you hope that your attendees get out of your sessions?
Chrysta Bairre: What I really want my attendees to get out of sessions that they come through of mine is to be able to walk out of that room feeling prepared to make more offers to their ideal clients and to be able to make more money with the people that they’re working with. Typically I find with a lot of the people that I work with in a lot of the speaking that I do is around how we can own our own value and get paid what we’re worth. Like we’re already doing a bunch of awesome workout in the world and a lot of entrepreneurs and Freelancers, solopreneurs just aren’t getting. Is the right value for the work that we’re actually doing.
Vanessa Pagan: What would you hope that an attendee of startup we get so there’s going to be over 130 sessions? What is your hope for the attendees?
Chrysta Bairre: I would love for people to come to Startup week and really get connected to the amazing entrepreneurial community that exists here in Fort Collins. I often meet with and talk to entrepreneurs that are connected with any kind of community here in Northern, Colorado, and they just don’t know of all the different resources that we have available to us and it’s really hard to be doing this type of work in a vacuum all on your own. And it’s great when you can get connected in with the right resources and the right communities so that you know where to go to for support and camaraderie and just being able to have someone to ask questions and that kind of a thing to help businesses be even more successful.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great because startups don’t exist on an island either we all need other people Chrysta, is there was something that you could share with first-time attendees. What would you tell them?
Chrysta Bairre: I would say definitely go to sessions that might challenge you if easy I think a lot of us might look at the schedule, and you pick out a few sessions that sounds interesting to you but I would encourage you to really challenge yourself with the sessions that you pick out. And go to one that might feel like it’s a little bit over your head, or you’re not really sure if it’s for you, but something about it just sounds interesting because one way that we can really grow individually as well as professionally and in our business is to challenge ourselves to take things to the next level and if we stick within our comfort zone we’re not going to be doing that.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. So out of the nest we go. Out of our comfort zone! Chrysta, if you could share with us what you hope the future of Fort Collins looks like what would you share?
Chrysta Bairre: I would love to see Fort Collins become even more inclusive and supportive of women business owners. I feel like there is some support that’s out there right now, but oftentimes I feel that it misses the mark a little bit in actually appealing to and helping women business owners. There is a boys clubs kind of environment that exists in Fort Collins particularly within the business world, and I think there’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of people that want inclusivity and want to help women business owners succeed just as much as other business owners. There are ways that we can do that was just some tweaks on what the community is already providing and offering.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome is there anything that you’d like to share Chrysta?
Chrysta Bairre: I think when people think of an event like startup week, networking is a natural or thing that we think of and people tell you that it’s good to do, and I have to say that I’m actually a little bit anti networking and I want to explain what I mean by that and that is that I really encourage people to go into startup week thinking about building community and connections versus networking.
I don’t tend to think that most of us have benefit from just trading business cards. It’s really having those conversations and finding those people, building relationships with people that are going to have long-term lasting impact and that really goes beyond just trading business cards. So whether you’re an introvert like me and the idea of networking seems little terrifying or even if your much more comfortable with the idea of networking really think about how can you connect with people on a deeper level, and not just on a surface level. And go beyond trading business cards into actually starting relationships.
Vanessa Pagan: That was awesome because when you said not networking I was like. Oh, what follows that sentence and really you change the meaning of networking from this superficial business card swap to what it means to build community. Which is a much deeper relationship that you have with other people. That’s great. Thank you so much for hopping on this call with me Chrysta.
On the line is Katie Auman, who is from the library representing here for us during Fort Collins startup week. Hi Katie.
Katie Auman: Hi good to talk to you.
Vanessa Pagan: Glad to have you on the line because the library is coming strong for start-up week you guys have three sessions. It’s awesome. On Monday February 26 at 1:30 p.m. there’s a session called business resources at the library on Tuesday February 27th at 12 p.m.. is a session called intro to self-publishing through the library and on Wednesday February 28th at 3 p.m.. Is FoCo non-profit networking group.
Can you tell us a little bit about what is the library hoping to have as an impact as having these sessions?
Katie Auman: Alsolutely. so one of the reasons that we’re excited about participating again with Startup Week is that there’s still a large sense of our community that doesn’t immediately think of the library as a natural partner for them in their start-up or the expansion of a business or whatever part of the life cycle that they’re in. So the different types of programs that we’re offering and some of the resources that will have available we really hope that attendees come to recognize the library is sort of a natural partner for them in fostering their business growth whether that working with our research databases or working directly with some of our specialized business Librarians to get the research and information that they need really to succeed in our community.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great, and what do you hope attendees get out of the entire event so there’s going to be over 130 speakers sessions. What do you hope attendees get out of being part of this?
Katie Auman: It kind of goes along with our own Library goals. There are amazing resources and opportunities here in Fort Collins for businesses whether it’s a you know a tech type startup working with Innosphere or more of a creative startup, food beer, artistry all those sorts of things really have a place here in Fort Collins and really strong community support. I feel like our city government and all of our various agencies the library the Small Business Development Center really do a great job of supporting local business and helping them kind of achieve their dreams.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s wonderful, and if you could share with us one of your top Lessons Learned with the startup week attendees. What would you share with us as your insight?
Katie Auman: You know one of the funniest things that actually that you ask that because we hear it not just at Startup Week but occasionally in other areas in the community and people are shocked that were more than just books. Certainly the library have a passion for books, and we will always have books, but when we start talking about all of the other resources available or services available whether it’s a 3D printer or the fact that people can test out of GoPro or a Fitbit. They’re just sort of in awe of what a modern Library actually has available. And so last year when we participated there was a lot of great discussions, not just around the resources for business and startups, but also these other fun conversations like oh yeah, you can download comic books, or did you know that you can check out a Colorado Parks pass and get into a state park for free, so it’s it’s really that idea that libraries, a modern library really caters to information and entertainment and creativity in a lot of ways.
Vanessa Pagan: Katie, you know this is coming. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Katie Auman: Sometimes we do.
Vanessa Pagan: I know I know. And I know that’s not your lesson learned, but I just feel it’s so appropriate to say right now.
Katie Auman: It fits in so many situations doesn’t it?
Vanessa Pagan: OK no more book jokes with the library. I got it. I got it. Alright, my my last question for you Katie is as someone representing a very modern Library what would be your vision for the future of what for Collins looks like?
Katie Auman: That’s a big question and you know I I can only speak sort of on what I’ve experienced as a staff member with the library and and the different things that we’ve been involved in but I feel like the community is moving in a very positive direction and not just with its support for businesses and entrepreneurs, but we’re seeing some really strong conversations around key issues that that certainly we at the library encounter around homelessness and mental health and diversity and those are starting to become very critical conversations in the community and our neighbors and friends are having voices in those conversations.
I think that to continue to be a strong and fantastic community we have to have those conversations, and the library is very excited about being part of those and in fact hosting some of those conversations.
Wonderful that. That was a great answer. Thanks so much. Bye.
I’m on the line with Renee Walkup, CEO of Sales Peak. Hi Renee. Get Hollow Hi Renée. Hello. You hsessions during startup Hi Renee.
Renee Walkup: Hello.
You have three sessions during startup week on Monday February 26th at 1:30. You have a session Value of Mentoring and Being Mentored. On Tuesday February 27 at 3 p.m.. Top tips for securing new customers and you’re moderating also on Monday the 26 the 2 p.m.. Mentors speed dating.
Renee, can you tell us a little bit about what you hope attendees get out of the sessions you’re a part of well.
Renee Walkup: It’s a very exciting week and so for the mentoring program our hope is that mentees, business owners people will come and find a mentor during this kind of speed dating session. The mentors will you know maybe find a mentee as well, so we hope this will be a valuable session. I’m going to spend a few minutes on top tips of mentoring and top tips for being a mentee during the session, so hopefully people will get some new ideas that they can use when they are speaking out somebody to either help or be helped by.
Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful, and can you share with us a little bit about what you hope attendees get out of the overall startup week event?
Renee Walkup: Well, I just want to say this is this will be my second startup week. Last year I was new to the area, and I will tell you that startup week changed my life. It was just amazing. I didn’t know people in the community. I didn’t have connection in the business environment and in the area so by going to startup week I made lots of friends. I had learned new things it was just a very exciting way to get to know people in the community and learn more about Fort Collins and the area so that was great and I’m more of that this year this year one contribute and give back.
Vanessa Pagan: Wonderful. That’s so great to hear that that has been your experience and you’re already turning it around and giving back enhancing what’s available out there.
Renee, can you tell us a lesson learned in your. experience from your career. That would benefit start-up attendees to know?
Renee Walkup: I think it’s important to go with an open mind. I mean certainly that sounds like a cliche, but you know going having an idea of you know attending different sessions being involved getting to know the community meeting new people having fun, a week of getting information. New friends and having fun if I were to synthesize it into three different areas, so it’s just it’s a really exciting time around and I can’t wait to see who’s there and what we’re going to do.It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s amazing Renee, can you tell us a little bit about what you hope the future of Fort Collins looks like wow well I just attended the mayor and the city manager’s event last night, so it’s fresh on my mind, so there’s so much exciting things. There’s so many exciting things going on in our community. This is such a great place to live and you know I think that for the future. We’re looking future is bright. We have a highly educated community. We have people who are motivated and excited. We have a friendly area. I shouldn’t be advertising this should I. but anyway we have such a great place It’s just such a great place to live and I love it personally. I mean I feel like I’m finally living the life. I’ve always wanted, being in Fort Collins and living in this great place with so many kind wonderful intelligent people. So has its downsides to but I I just choose to ignore those, but most things are so great here. I love it.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome, and if there was someone that you could recognize for the hard work that they’ve done in the Northern Colorado area who would you like to recognize?
Renee Walkup: Recognize Ann Baron. Ann Baron is such a terrific connector and the community she brings people together. She has an organization NOCO Northern I never know the whole name of it, but anyway Ann Baron, fabulous. She brings people together has event always such a wonderful connector. I think that our city manager Darin is fantastic. He very supportive of our business Community. I want to recognize, feel like I’m at the Academy Awards. Innosphere is fantastic and all the events they have there. So Emily Wilson and Mike Freeman. Then our mayor too I think that Mayor Troxell does a fantastic job of connecting people and being supportive and being around I see him regularly, I mean we’re not personal friends. I just see him at events I see him at at places that you wouldn’t expect to Mayor to show up. Just because he really does care about Fort Collins, so I again. It’s just such a terrific place to live and there’s such terrific community involvement.
Vanessa Pagan: Those are great answers. Thank you Renee.
I’ve got Nick Armstrong who is the Geek In Chief of WTF Marketing on the line. How are you doing Nick?
Nick Armstrong: I’m doing great. How are you?
Vanessa Pagan: I am wonderful. You have been so involved in startup week Comic-Con tedx foco. There’s just so many events that you have been critical in putting together and rallying around in Fort Collins. What would you say is your hope for people who attend the 2018 startup week?
Nick Armstrong: My hope for people who attend startup weekend 2018 is that they meet people that they haven’t been exposed to yet an idea is that they have never heard of before you know traditionally startup week has been you know the place where you go if you have an app and you want to know how to monetize it. Well it’s not that way anymore. Especially with Andrew Schneider at the helm who I am just absolutely thrilled to work besides, and you know I was funny because. As telling people I you know, I really want to work with Andrew. I really want to work it with Andrew I’ve never had a chance to have a project with them and finally finally he let me on the team for startup week, and it’s been a lot of fun ever since. And so one of the first things that the Andrew did was he pulled in some content captains and content captains are folks who are in charge of different areas of expertise and so they’re going to be pulling on there folks that they know who are experts in certain areas so for instance Angel Kwiatkowski who is one of the I would say she’s the foremost expert of coworking in Colorado, if not the country. She is really high up there, and so she has access to all these freelancers who know different things about freelancer concerns and freelancer issues, and she takes really good care for her community, and so we’re exposed to a whole new plethora of knowledge just because of that introduction, then you’ve got folks from the Innosphere, you’ve got folks from CSU you’ve got folks who are in charge of nonprofits and Sarah Scobey from the Poudre River Public Library District and. Anne I don’t remember her last name at the moment, but Anne, from the McDonald, Anne McDonald from the Poudre River Public Library District who is doing some awesome stuff in the realm of business research, and she’s the business librarian for the Poudre River Public Library District, so you’ve got this awesome awesome amalgamation of knowledge where what you know normally that just doesn’t happen unless you pay a bunch of people or go to college, right and so you pay a bunch of people or you go to college you can get that plethora of knowledge, but just. This is the one place where it seems to exist outside of that realm.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s awesome. You have two sessions at startup week the first is on Thursday March 1st Storytelling pays as a marketing technique at 9:15 a.m.. And then at 10:15 a.m.. You have negotiation and conflict management for Freelancers Nick. What do you hope people get out of attending your sessions?
Nick Armstrong: Well the first is I hope that they stop doing boring things in their marketing. It’s really my run a business called WTF Marketing as you mentioned earlier, and it’s a it’s an entire company, built around the premise that marketing can be fun and not just slogging through stats and Google analytics and tweeting on Twitter every single hour and making sure that you have influencers who are creating content and all my goodness right everybody’s falling asleep when they hear that.
Why don’t we have fun with our marketing? Let’s make sure that we’re actually connecting with our audience our customers and having a lot of fun doing so giving them memories that they’re going to take back with them to their friends their family and people telling you will not believe what happened when I shop with such and such when I went into their store, and this is what happened so that’s what I hope to get out of the first one. The second one I want freelancers to stop being abused, and it’s really really simple for a new freelancer because I know it happened to me to be abused in contract negotiations, and there’s just no reason for it. The best bet for a freelancer to get good negotiation expertise to hear it from fellow freelancers and what I’ve done is in this session. I’ve compressed all of my knowledge about negotiation, conflict management contract negotiation rate-setting I put it all into one place so that a freelancer could come and learn from one of their fellows who’s been there and done that.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great also sounds like a great connection with Angel because I had an interview with her yesterday, and she was so modest about the the role that she’s playing in creating co-working as this expansive reach for all kinds of Freelancers and Founders to be able to have somewhere to go.
Nick Armstrong: Yeah, and Angel really Angel was one of the people that I came up with in Fort Collins as well, and so we back in the day hosted what was called freelance Camp back when pod Camp was a big thing that was happening around the country and so she and I sort of co-organized this freelance Camp thing, and it was the largest Conference of its kind at the time for its like 150 to 250 Freelancers that got together and 2010 and just started talking about best practices. It was an unconference, so everybody got to decide what they wanted to talk about in a sort of you know form focus groups around that but it was a really fun time and that same energy and spirit is very much present in startup week, and I think that no matter if your solopreneur or a freelancer or a CEO of five to five hundred-person company you’re going to get something out of startup week. There’s so much content so much community involvement. I think that it’s something that you’ll really you just go and five minutes, and you’ll absorb some amazing things.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great. Thank you so much for sharing Nick. We are about of time, but I am so glad that we were able to connect and do this interview.
Nick Armstrong: Of course. Thanks for having me.
Vanessa Pagan: I’m on the line with Kristin McMahon the founder of Einstein Creations. Hi Kirsten.
Kristin McMahon: Hi.
Vanessa Pagan: You have a session on February 27 Tuesday at 4 p.m. called, How do I talk about what I do. Can you share with us a little bit about what you hope attendees get from your session?
Kristin McMahon: Sure from my session you know it’s talking to people about what you do, right? So my intention is that intend attendees will feel empowered and equipped to network in a way that is fun, easy and effective for the desired outcome. Whether that’s exposure of their art new connections for their business or increased sales, so there’s a lot of preconceived notions or ideas about networking. I hesitate to use that word because of that but networking can feel like big scary things it’s really intimidating, or you could be the person that feels really confident in your networking, but when you look at your results from time money and effort put in your business business may not be growing as you had hoped so we have to think about networking as more than making friends or connection. Networking is really your face-to-face marketing and when you do it with intention it can be really easy and super profitable. The trick is to develop a way to talk about the what you do in a way that connects your target market. So when you’re asked the dreaded question, what do you do? You’re prepared to respond in a way that feels authentic is comfortable and easy and generate your desired outcome.
Vanessa Pagan: Wow. That’s a that’s a very succinct and clear answer. Thank you. So Kristen my next question is what do you hope attendees of startup we get over the course of the entire week?
Kristin McMahon: So for me this is my, the favorite question that we’ve got and that is I hope that they get exactly what they’re looking for. At one of the most important things anyone can do before they attend startup week or quite frankly any endeavor is to set an intention of what they want to get out of it. Take a minute, write it down. Exactly what they want to learn who they want to meet what they want to experience see feel and encounter. I mean that list could go on and on they may be looking for new connections, new ideas, new clients or that one thing that will change their business. And I would recommend may even do this before they go into each session. Write it down in a note before the session begins. What happens is this gives your brain something to focus on. If they do this, their subconscious mind will be working for them to find exactly what they’re looking for their thoughts their words their beliefs and expectations will make all the difference and start up with being an amazing experience or not. Intention is powerful, and I want them to get exactly what they hope to gain and it’s all possible with just a little bit of planning.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer. You’re talking about the strategies for Neuroscience.
Kristin McMahon: Yeah. That’s exactly right.
Vanessa Pagan: Kristen, could you share with this one lesson learned from your experience in your career that would benefit start-up attendees to know about?
Kristin McMahon: Well, let’s see one lesson learned. I don’t know that I could narrow it down to just one let’s see I would say. Have a plan more than anything. It’s that kind of this kind of this place of having two documents in front of you at every moment right.
I think there’s two pieces of information that an entrepreneur needs all the time in front of them. One is their purpose and their mission the why they are in business and the second is the business plan, right. The business plan is the map of where they’re headed – their strategy. They work out the logistics of the business the how, the vision the goals of the business if it isn’t their strong suit there’s so much help around.
There’s so many incredible resources available that can guide them through that process. Their plan will never be perfect. It’ll never be done because as you learn and get in the grind of running a business things come up, and you have to change course. You’ll have to be willing to pivot businesses are always evolving and changing their like liquid right so fluid. Technology changes Trends change, and you have to stay relevant to your target market however having your purpose in your mission or your why in front of you that is the being of your business that doesn’t change. This is their guiding force of the business. Since it’s so important to keep your purpose, your why in front of you, or you can get caught up in the minutiae of running your business plan and be pulled away from your passion the reason you’re in business to begin with I like to think of it as your Why your destination, but your plan may take you many different routes and detours to get there.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s a great answer. Thank you Kristin. Can you share a little about what you hope for the future of Fort Collins?
Kristin McMahon: You know I have to tell you I’m super excited about the future, Fort Collins. We are so blessed to live in this phenomenal community the work of city has done in the Fort Collins Chambers done to help businesses thrive is quite frankly bar none. And it’s been a while the numbers may have changed, but the last time I heard it was forecasted that they’re expecting a population growth in northern, Colorado area to be around another 500,000 in the next five years. I get excited about that. I think it’s wonderful with more people comes more opportunity for them to experiences the businesses that we have and that we’re starting right now, so I think it’s a phenomenal time to be a business owner.
Vanessa Pagan: That’s great and in the Northern Colorado area is there anyone that you would like to recognize for the hard work and efforts they’ve done.
Kristin McMahon: You know since we’re talkin about businesses, and we’re talkin about startups. There’s so many great. Different nonprofits and people at work behind the scenes that I have a huge shout out for our local, Fort Collins area Chamber of Commerce. They’re the only five-star credited chamber and all of Colorado. That’s a big deal. It’s kind of like saying they’re the superstars right. They really are advocates for businesses in Fort Collins. Everything they do is to help support businesses, and you don’t have to be a member of the chamber to receive the rewards of their tireless efforts are going to accommodate these people that are coming, but then just to make our businesses thrive, and the other is really just for people who may not be aware of the Small Business Development Center the SBDC in town they offer incredible business connections to business resources. They have classes the classes that you wouldn’t believe at very low costs and free business consultations in just about every topic of business that there is doesn’t matter where you are in your stage of business. It’s one of the most I think underutilized resources that are available to businesses and business owners out there, and I just think that if we could just take advantage of what they have to offer it could have really helped your businesses grow. Just phennomenal resources.
Vanessa Pagan: Thanks for giving those organizations a shout out because I actually have not heard them before in the recognition and and I’m glad that they’re there because shining the light means that more people will have access to them even though they’ve been there, it’s just can we know that they’re available to us.
Kristin McMahon: For sure.
Vanessa Pagan: Awesome Kristen that was our whole interview, thank you.
Kristin McMahon: Okay, you’re welcome.
Vanessa Pagan: Have a good day, bye.