Square One Show: with Dave & Jess

The Secret to Life & Business with Ryan Roghaar

September 16, 2019 David & Jessica Lewis
Square One Show: with Dave & Jess
The Secret to Life & Business with Ryan Roghaar
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Show Notes Transcript

Today we want to introduce you to Ryan Roghaar. He's a serial entrepreneur, award-winning creative director, podcaster, author and business owner specializing in building end to end authentic relationships for his clients. We had a great conversation and really think you're going to find this engaging. Just hearing his stories, his thoughts on what's most important and why. Enjoy the interview with Ryan.

www.RyanRoghaar.com
@ryanroghaar  on social media


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Thanks for listening!!

Speaker 1:

Even though I couldn't communicate all that well, I mean it was as if I was family with all of them, and that was a real shift in my career and it was wildly impactful in terms of the way that we do business and everything else and it helps me understand, I guess kind of what I've been missing.

Speaker 3:

This is the square one show

Speaker 4:

Today we want to introduce you to Ryan Roghaar. He's a serial entrepreneur, award-winning creative director, podcaster, author and business owner specializing in building end to end authentic relationships for his clients. We had a great conversation and really think you're going to find this engaging. Just hearing his stories, his thoughts on what's most important and why. Here's our interview with Ryan.

Speaker 3:

Hey Ryan, how are you?

Speaker 1:

Oh, I am so good. How are you guys today?

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, I'm good. I met my husband Dave here with me as well. Hello meeting you all? Yeah, definitely. So Ryan, you're in Salt Lake City, is that correct?

Speaker 1:

Yup, that's correct. I'm based in Salt Lake City and then I split my time with a r r remote office in Barcelona, Spain. So I spend a lot of time in Spain and then I'm here the rest of the time.

Speaker 3:

Nice. That sounds terrible. Yeah, it's pretty rough. Yeah. How are you doing that? Like in the middle of winter or, cause

Speaker 1:

I wish it was so a scheduled, it's really just when work calls and there's reason to head over. Right. But, but um, so, you know, it's kind of all times of the year, but uh, their winters aren't as harsh as they are here in the, in, in Utah. So appreciate the weather over there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, definitely. So, yeah. Well, so give us a little bit of a background on what exactly you're the CEO and founder of a couple companies, but I think your main one is, is our two mg. So what exactly is that and what do you guys do?

Speaker 1:

So our two is a graphic design, marketing company, creative firm. Uh, we do web design, graphic design, photography, marketing, digital marketing, all that good stuff. And uh, and basically we do it from our, our central location here in Salt Lake City. And then we also work, as I mentioned, over in Spain. So we have a small office over in Spain and so, but yeah, we work for a number of big multinational and global clients doing graphic design and uh, different things like that, advertising, marketing, that sort of thing. And then, uh, yeah, so that's kind of it.

Speaker 3:

Awesome. So when you grow, are you from Salt Lake City originally?

Speaker 1:

No, I'm from Pocatello, Idaho, which is a, it's two hours north of salt lake. So I've basically been in Idaho most of my life. Uh, we moved to Salt Lake six years ago. Okay. Um, I took a job at an ad agency and so, so my business has always been sort of a, a side hustle loan until recent years. It's been sort of the, the side Hustle owed freelance business that I was doing on the side. Uh, while I worked for different groups. And for the longest time I was calling myself a creative agency in Pocatello, Idaho. There's very few of them. There was one. So yes, I had very little experience in agency despite calling myself one. Right. So about six or, well, I guess it's been closer to eight years ago now. I sent out a just a bulk email to all the agencies I could come up with in Boise, Idaho and Salt Lake City just cause those are the two biggest markets near me. And uh, just basically offered a month of my design time for free in exchange for the opportunity to be a fly on the wall somewhere and just learn a little bit about the agency business. And so of all the people I reached out to, there's maybe 25 or 30 different agencies. We had one byte, a, it's an agency called Thomas Arts here in Salt Lake City and at will actually in Farmington, Utah, but it's a suburb of salt lake. And they, uh, they were open to the idea. So I came down, I worked with them for a month and then, uh, at the end of my month we sort of parted ways and stayed in touch though we had a really good experience and built up kind of a nice rapport. And two years later they called me up, said, hey, we've got a creative director spot that we need to fill a, would you be interested in coming down? And at the time I was freelancing but we just had a new baby and it was a time to hold up a little bit on the income. And so a, they gave me a great opportunity and we moved to Salt Lake.

Speaker 5:

Hey, that's awesome. But now you're working out of your own company, right? Yep. Yep. So at what point did you decide to break away from that and decide that, okay, I don't want to be working for anyone else. I want to be working for myself. How, what would, what did that transition look like?

Speaker 1:

Well, so there's been a number of iterations of this. It's, it's come and gone. Um, but basically, uh, right out of college I was working for a New York Times best selling publisher who happened to be in, in Pocatello. And I worked for them as a graphic designer, but I also ran his mail order business and all this other stuff and developed a lot of skills around marketing. And advertising that were sort of outside of my typical design wheelhouse because my trade is, or my expertise is graphic design or that's my background anyway. And so, uh, so I learned a lot of things while working for him. And during the time I worked for him, there was about five years there. I worked for him. Uh, I started doing a little bit of side work, started developing a little bit of a, a side hustle and picking up clients over the, the Internet. So as I did that and I started to build a little bit of clientele, um, and continue to help, you know, polishing my skills while working for this publisher, uh, eventually we hit a point where there was a layoff and you know, we were very small publishing house. There's only three of us working there. And so, but I was laid off. I was one of the, you know, three of us that was laid off. And, um, at that point sort of went out on my own. So I sort of nudged into it. I've always been a little bit, um, I don't know, not, not super risk taking. And so I probably wouldn't have made this step without that nudge. But when I landed or when I, you know, sort of got my head above water and realize, okay, this is my new reality, I found that, you know, I had plenty of clients sort of keep my life afloat. You know, we had a young baby at the time and had just bought a house and just been married, all this stuff. And so, you know, I had real life grown up expenses at that point and uh, you know, but I found that my freelance clients were enough to sort of support that life. And, uh, and so that sort of kickstarted me into, into freelance or into a, you know, sort of real life business I guess. So as we went on, you know, I mean, it was just a one man operation for a long time. And so I did that for about five years, at which point I reached out to Thomas Arts and that's how that began. But we, even when I came to work for the agency, um, down here in Salt Lake, I still ran my business on the side. We still had developed some clientele and we had this good rapport with people. But at that point, I had to bring on some additional resources to help me out cause I was working for the agency full time and then running my business basically from seven at night to two in the morning, five days a week. And so, uh, so we did that for five years and after five years I was laid off at Thomas Arts. Uh, they, you know, lost a client and unfortunately I was part of the cut. And so again, laid off, pushed back into my own business. And, uh, I had built up enough rapport and enough clientele that I was able to support that. So, uh, yeah, so there it goes. And so, and even to this day, I mean like I've got a project for Thomas Arts right now. Like we, we've always maintained a great relationship. We still contract, you do a lot of contract work for them as a freelancer and everything. We have a really great relationship. So it's been great despite working for myself, they've always been really supportive of me and what I'm doing. So they've been a great company and great allies for me.

Speaker 3:

That's awesome. And uh, you've got a couple other companies too, I think I read about and uh, you also have a podcast and I was listening to one of your episodes and you described yourself as an introvert. So I'm curious how you, how you manage to make these connections and kind of, it seems like you were a really proactive and going after some of these connections and relationships. Like how do you manage that as an introvert?

Speaker 1:

Well, it's interesting, you know, it's one of these things that I'm trying to sort of even come to terms with on my own is every time I tell somebody I'm an introvert, I always get that sort of, Huh, kind of look and a, you know, and it is the way that I, I saw myself and actually for a large portion of my twenties, basically my whole twenties, I was nose down, you know, after being laid off by the, uh, the book publisher. I basically, you know, I got a little office space. I started working on my own clients, uh, in an efforts, you know, do what I thought was best for my family. I was working my butt off, you know, 15 hours a day, 14 hours a day, uh, all day cranking, sitting in this office by myself. And meanwhile, during that period of time, all my sort of relationships and friendships, you know, everybody went on and started lives and got married and went to college and did whatever. And meanwhile I was just sitting those down in my office. It actually wasn't until years later. Um, they actually right after we moved to Utah when I had the opportunity to meet who is now my partner in Barcelona, um, that I had the opportunity to go to Spain. And that sort of helped me realize what I'd been missing out on. And so while I felt really good and like I was doing all this service for my family to, you know, by killing myself and working all these crazy hours to try and, you know, make as much money as I could, all these like sort of relationships and everything had slipped away. And I didn't even realize that that was a problem until actually my first trip to Spain shortly after, uh, brokering our deal with my now partner, I went over to Spain and, you know, I didn't speak a lick of Spanish or anything and I was immediately sort of sucked into their familial groups and social groups and everything. And even though I couldn't communicate all that well, I mean it was as if I was family with all of them. And that was a real shift in my career and it was, you know, wildly impactful in terms of the way that we do business and everything else. And it helped me understand, I guess kind of what I'd been missing. You know, most people when they go to Spain for the first time come back raving about the party scene, you know, whatever it is. But for me it was really the importance that Spanish people put on personal relationships and that connection or having that new understanding or shifting my dichotomy to where I now believed in the sort of, in the importance of relationships pushed me out to where I felt, you know, more comfortable or more interested in, in going out and trying to seek new relationships. As a result of doing all this new relationship development, I started to become much more comfortable in a room talking to other people, things like that. And my sort of introversion has begun to slip because of that. Um, in fact, just two years ago, um, I had come off a big consulting relationship with Thomas Arts, with my former agency. I was out in Boston working for them for about four months and uh, and came back and I worked the, you know, another six months or so for them on the same client here from Salt Lake. And at the end of that term, you know, it was for a health insurer and at the, you know, their health insurance sort of cycle, uh, peaks and ends around November. And so when November came around and they did another round of layoffs, they laid me off again as a consultant. And at that point my wife was like, okay, we're done with this. She's like, no, no, no more going to work agency. Yeah. She, she was so tired of our livelihood hinges on some agencies, relationships or whatever, and basically said, here's the deal. Either commit full time to this business and make this business standalone and make this our future, or quit it completely and go find another job. Like, this is what you've got to do. You've got to, we've got to find some stability for us. We've got two boys at this point, you know, house payments, car payments, all the usual stuff. And, uh, and it's important that we have some sort of, uh, s some stability. So I sort of went back into that bag of tricks that I had. The, the thing that inspired me or gave me the thought to reach out to all these agencies for free back, you know, so many years ago. Um, I did a new version of that where I basically went out on linkedin and I reached out to every CEO, CMO, c, whatever. Oh, I could get my hands on and um, and basically went to them without solicitation. I wasn't trying to sell them anything or bring them into our design business or anything. It was just I need help becoming a business person. You know, I, I've been leading creative teams for a long time. I know how to do like management and design and everything in the context of an agency. But in terms of being a real life business person, I didn't see myself that way and what I discovered, which was kind of interesting. And so taking the really long way back to your question, um, basically what I realized is after meeting all these CEOs and sitting down and seeing how they carried themselves and how willing they were to share and help and talk and discuss, it really sort of allowed me to turn another corner in terms of sort of what I've perceived as my introversion. And I basically learned that I would much rather be speaking to these guys and out trying to foster relationships with these people than I would like to be sitting behind the computer doing work. And, uh, and so it was a big shift for me because up to that point, my entire career had been sitting behind the computer working on design projects and, uh, and all of a sudden, you know, just two, two years ago, two years ago, and some change at that point, it became clear to me that actually what I really want to do is get out and build relationships. And so while I still sort of see myself as a insecure introvert, um, I definitely get accused of lying on that front a lot now. So

Speaker 3:

do you think that a lot, maybe it was more insecurity than introversion, cause it sounds like maybe it was more of a fear of that you didn't have what it took or the, you weren't at that level that they were at, but then as you got to know them and relationship, you start to see, well they're just like me and they have the same issues that they have.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think there's definitely something to that. Um, it's not real uncommon for designer types to be a little bit introverted or, and, and like to sit behind their computer and do their work and just kind of crank away. Um, you know, if you're working a lot with creative people, you know, designers and our directors and people like that, you know, to find people who are also great at design and good with people. That's kind of a good, you know, a difficult blend. So I think that there's some bit of just sort of my personality as a designer, as an art guy that I was sort of naturally inclined to work on my own. But to your point, I don't think now sort of in retrospect, it feels a little less like introversion and it's more like a hyper focus on what I'm doing. Right. It was an attention to detail. It was all this other things that were driving that thing and just as a side effect or as a result, I wasn't being very social and so, but it didn't have that much to do with me being afraid of being social as much as it had to do with I wasn't making time for it or it wasn't as big a priority to me. Right. And so, and, and to your other point about, you know, maybe finding a little more common ground as I'm meeting these guys who I perceived as very high level. Um, and not to say that they're not that, I mean, you know, definitely they, you know, are also just human beings, you know, and we're all kind of the same and we all have our own struggles and I might have things they don't have and vice versa, you know, and, and it did kind of level the field. It made it much easier for me as an aspiring business person to stop keeping these guys up on like a pedestal and rather see them as peers that we could work together and learn from.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So I want to dive back, kind of go back a little bit. You talked about the importance of relationships and you went to Spain and that totally changed your mindset of what that looks like. So now that you're, what, a few years into this now, six years in Spain now, six years in Spain. So coming back, what is that look like on a daily basis with how much time you spend work compared to how much time you're spending with family and how do you find that balance? What does that balance look like for you?

Speaker 1:

You know, it's funny, I was just talking to my wife about this this morning, a, you guys had sent over some notes that one of the things you wanted to talk about a little bit was this balance and how that works. And, and I was putting a little thought to it and I was trying to decide, you know, do I get anywhere near achieving this work life balance, you know, obviously a version of me in the past when I was working in agency eight to five and then my business seven to two in the morning, you know, didn't allow a lot of time for family. Now we still traveled on the weekends. We still did things together and everything. And I worked from home largely, so I was around, but, you know, obviously I was busy and, and it wasn't maybe as balanced as you would hope for. Um, nowadays the way things seem to go, um, especially in the summer is I actually have too much life and not enough business. Um, so I, I mean, I don't know if I kind of ebb and flow a little bit and that's how I cope with it. But, um, I think striking that balance is a really difficult thing to do, you know, because it really depends what your balance is. You know, for me, I, when I go to work, I don't feel like I'm working. I really enjoy what I'm doing and, and it's this the type of thing that I really, I don't know, sort of for me, it's not a stretch or it's not difficult to do this. So I'm not feeling the burden of somebody that maybe has to go work at a factory or do a job that they hate or whatever it is. And, uh, and so I guess for that I'm grateful, but it does make it, I guess kind of blurry to see where the work in the life part is now. I definitely, and maybe it's just age and I definitely am having more thoughts about legacy and my kids growing up and stuff like that than I did even five years ago, which I assume is just me getting old. But, um, but I think that that maturity or whatever is allowing me to balance out a lot more than I used to. And so, but I don't know if I would have gotten to this stage of balance if I hadn't sort of a grant grounded out first.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And I think that's interesting. You're talking about not having enough work almost. And it's such as interesting cause a lot of people, I think a lot of our listeners and a lot of people today, their aspirations are less work and more play and yet we find a lot of purpose and work or we can, and I think maybe the difference is it's not purposeless work, but if we have purpose in our work, like you said, it doesn't feel like work. So I don't think the goal should necessarily be to avoid work. It's finding purpose. And for you it sounds like once you found that purpose is in the relationships and developing those even said that's what helped you with your, overcoming your introversion and some of those insecurities. So I think, yeah,

Speaker 1:

yeah. No it's so true. And I mean right after coming back from Spain the first time we immediately started putting on our website that we're in the relationship business. Yeah. It took me about three or four years to really understand what that even meant. I started tiptoeing around that idea. Right. You know, like I could recognize the fact that, you know, advertising or marketing and design and all the services that we provide are, you know, aspects of relationship development, right? None of those things work without good customer relationships, but they also don't work within, you know, without end-user relationships. Like we, we sort of look at the spectrum, you know, from top management inside the company, all the way down to end user and sort of look at all the different relationships along the way. And, uh, and so, and as I, as I said, in terms of trying to figure out what this idea of being in the relationship business even means, and in hopes of trying to be able to articulate it, that's one of the things that we sort of landed on was this idea that, you know, relationships are basically the fuel that drives the machine. You know, we may not always think about it, but I mean it is, it's, it's how an end user perceives your business or it's you know, the relationship that you have with your employees for example, or you know any, anywhere in between, you know, from literally top management to end consumer. There are these little relationships and any sticking points along the way, it can cause issues. And so we always use the example, we had a client who came to us and they were like, hey man, we need a new website. This is our thing. We need a new website. And back in those days I was quick to just take whatever project came along so I didn't get real heavy into why they needed a new website. We just were like, sure thing, let's do it. And so we built out this new website for them as basically an ecommerce platform. We build this thing out, looked great, you know, it functioned awesome and did all the things they wanted it to do. Well, you know, started operating this website. It ran for a few months. And God, there just was no bump in sales. There's no bump in anything, like nothing got any better. And then you know, come to realize or come to find out much later. But there was an issue where some of the customer service reps didn't like their internal manager. So even though our site was building more leads and generating more, you know, driving more traffic to them, those front end guys were having such a bad relationship with their, their supervisor or their internal person that they just weren't passing them along. They were just giving, you know, 50% effort instead of a 100% effort or 80% of her. And so no, you know, so we were kind of hamstrung because here we are, we've done this website, we assured them it's going to work, it's going to do all this great stuff. And then something inside was actually the problem. And so now we have shifted our language a little bit and we try to identify some of these kinds of problems early on. You know, it's difficult to find them. Obviously it requires a certain amount of transparency within a company to get there, but, but we're much more critical of the why do you want a new website? And the question, because we may have been able to derive, you know, or at least hypothesize some kind of theory that would have led us to say, well, this isn't a website problem. This is a something else problem. Right. Um, had we had, we ask the right questions and so now we, we do that. And so, but you know, at its core, those are relationships and, and how they're negatively or positively affecting the outcome.

Speaker 5:

Right. And in some ways, I imagine since you're focusing on the relationships, that's actually probably more work in some ways. Dealing with people and investing time into the relationship is a lot more than just, yeah, we'll take your money and make this website.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's true. It is. And, and it's a harder sell, you know? I mean, obviously we're talking about things that are really ethereal and really, yeah. You know, subjective. You know, how, how do you know that my relationship is bad? You know? And most of us think all our relationships are Hunky Dory, right? Like, I may not even realize there's issues, you know, most of us just sort of, you know, naturally assume things are going all right, unless there's a real problem. Right. And so, uh, you know, but by taking the little extra time and delving into some of these metrics and trying to take our work and actually put it against business objectives versus just, you know, taking that check. Yeah. Uh, we, we found that not only are we generating better results and yeah, the engagements are a little bigger and the costs a little more and they take a little longer, but they are delivering more results. Right. You know, there are a lot of people in our industry, um, you know, design and web development and all these guys, digital marketing, there are a ton of people in this space that are just going to take that check. You, the client, know that you want to new websites. So therefore I will make you one. Yup. Um, this, this switch or whatever where we're actually empathetic to our client and we actually care about what they're doing and why they think they need a website. And the discussion that ensues from that will help us make so many better informed decisions and allow us to actually create things that perform that, uh, that it makes all the difference in the world. We can actually do fewer engagements that are more highly involved and create much better outcomes for our clients and we ever could just to operating on their base assumptions.

Speaker 5:

So then it sounds like you probably have a lot of clients coming to you. Are there some clients where you say, you know what, we're just not a good fit because you can see that they're not in a relationship business and you can see it play out. Are there any instances where you say, this isn't going to work out?

Speaker 1:

Sure, yeah. A big part of, of our sort of client acquisition process is that, I mean, basically if they don't buy into this premise, you know, if they, if they don't see any value in relationships, then we are just taking their mind[inaudible] that feels to me a little bit scammy.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So you tell them upfront, this is our process and this is what we're going to go through and kind of root out. And if you don't want to go through that process and really pay us to help you go through that process, we're probably not a good fit.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And there's variation, right? I mean, most people will buy it by the premise that good relationships are better than bad relationships. Right. I mean, most, most people will buy it in its most core form, right? Yeah. And these big year long engagements where we go in and we do focus groups and studies and all these things like that version of our engagement, you know, we don't do a ton of those. Those require big, high level companies. Lots of money and lots of time and investment. Um, and so that's, I mean, you know, we still have to keep the lights on around the house. So we, we do take other projects, but in terms of the type of people we work with, we generally interview our clients up front. So we sit down and sort of just do a little bit of a chemistry test to make sure we feel good, make sure they at least will go with us on our, uh, philosophy, even if they don't fully buy in or even if they don't want to do, you know, a full heavy level engagement. At least they understand where we're coming from and the lens we're perceiving things through. So that as we make choices and we make decisions, they, I guess, have some background on why we're choosing what we're choosing. And, uh, and that seems to, I mean, that will sort of satisfy, you know, our requirement that they sort of buy in on the philosophy. They don't necessarily have to pay for the whole philosophy. And so, uh, yeah. So, but, but it is, you know, I mean generally if you're coming to us, you're not coming to us, you know, because we're just any other digital marketer, you know, the idea is that you've, you know, at least on some level agreed with this premise that we can develop better relationships and by doing so you'll do better in business. Yeah. And so, and, and it's funny because it seems very, you know, very rudimentary or like the most obvious thing in the world, but it is a departure in this space or in this industry, you know, that not everybody is thinking that way. A lot of people are more tactical. They're like, hey, you know, we build banner ads so therefore I want to sell you banner ads. You know, that kind, that kind of thing. And a lot of people don't spend a lot of time doing this, consultative that of the business where we actually try and work on it. And we will commonly talk people out of what they come to us for. Yeah. They'll come to us and say, you know, hey, I need a new logo. And then we'll get into, well, why do you need a new logo? What makes you think you need a new logo? Well, you know, business isn't going that good. We, you know, Nike just came out with a new cool whatever and we want to be cool like Nike, you know, or whatever. And, and you know, but that's not a good reason to do the logo. You know, I mean like we've got to sort of drill down into these topics and so we'll, we'll have these longer formed discussions before we actually put pen to paper and try and, you know, make sure we're not selling them something they don't need. You know, just about everybody could leverage more marketing or more advertising or whatever. But we need to make sure that what we're doing or the tactics we choose are done so you know, that we choose the right thing versus just doing what is their gut. Because you know, especially things like logos, color palettes, things like that. Like, people get tired of stuff. You know, when you work in a brand all day, every day you get tired of purple or whatever your color is here now. Like, I mean, you know, you get that fatigue but the rest of the world doesn't, nobody else knows what's going on with that. You know, they're still trying to figure it out. And so we get a lot of people who are just fatigued with whatever their current thing is and it's not really tied to some metric or there's not a real problem they're trying to solve.

Speaker 3:

And you're on it. Yeah. So I want to talk real quick too. You have another business that you started recently I think. Is that right with the, with the whittling, is that still something you're doing with your wife as well?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so widdle is, is an idea actually it was born out of the, the conversations I was mentioning earlier where I was going around and meeting all these CEO types. Uh, one of the guys I met, um, you know, he's a really well known prominent investor or venture capitalist, you know, business guy here in Salt Lake City or in the valley. And, uh, I, I was down there and I was talking to him as the first time I'd ever met him and I was talking to him about, you know, what's the future of ad agencies look like and Blah, blah blah. And I could see his eyes just glazing over cause he didn't know anything about the agency business. You know, he's an investor, he's a business guy and you know, he has no idea about this kind of thing. And so the first thing, so what I did is I just kind of flipped over my notebook and I always have like these sticky notes with just all these ideas on them. And the first idea in the list was this thing widdle. And so I pitched it to him right away. He tried to offer me some money. Uh, we ended up not taking it just because I didn't know when we'd work on it, but he really liked the idea. So he and I sort of started this relationship and we've stayed in contact. And most recently, uh, we, me and my wife over the summer and my wife teaches school, so she was off for the summer. So we went to this thing, uh, it's a e-commerce school in Lehi, Utah called a tangible. And this guy that I had met is named Scott Paul Scott. Paul is one of the founders. And so I saw this as an opportunity to a work on this project under sort of the, to tillage of him without having to take his money. Um, B I got to, you know, this was some way that I could kind of bring my wife into my world because she doesn't really have an understanding of what I do in terms of business or, or whatever. And it's really funny. I mean, even for me to articulate, it's tough, but like if you asked my mom, or if you ask my wife or your know or ask my kids, like nobody knows what, I just, you know, for some reason people keep writing the checks. And so, um, yeah, so it, so I thought that that would be a cool opportunity. We had this business that I wanted to launch and, and you know, this was a good opportunity to do it together. So we set this goal of trying to knock out this business, basically be launched in 10 weeks. Unfortunately we hit some like logistics and legal documentations, Sta snags that have delayed us back. I'm still waiting on stuff to come back. But um, but nonetheless we're going and uh, this tangible school is about to kickoff again. So we're going to go, well I'm going to go back cause she's gone back to school. I'm going to go back for the next 10 weeks and we'll try and launch it again. And after this cause I'll have all the documentation in order. So, but in theory we want to be launched in time for the holidays. So that's the grand plan. But what it is, so to sort of answer what would leave in is, is a, it's basically the way we pitch it anyways. It's the dollar Shave Club of woodworking. And so basically in your first month you receive a block of wood, a pocket knife, sharpening stone in a little paper insert, we call the warm or the widow of the month. And it's got some design inspiration, safety tips, all that kind of stuff on it. And then each subsequent month you receive another block of wood and another one. So you have new ideas every month and a new piece of wood and a, and so we started going down this path. But it's funny because it all circles back to this relationship stuff. So I have this, this theory, and I'm, I'm not alone in this, but one of the things that I, I work on and talk about is this idea that we've hit a sort of a technological saturation point where iPhones and things like that have sort of lost their novelty. And you know, everything's become so commonplace now and, and now we're kind of pushing back naturally and looking for tactile, you know, experiences. So you're seeing a rise in, you know, food, food movements and, and craft beer and craft everything, beard oil, all this kind of stuff. And it's all basically us pushing back on technology and looking for tactile relationships. And so back to the relationship idea, my thought or my, my theory behind widdle is basically we need to step away from technology and reengage in relationships, not just with, you know, other people like a traditional relationship but also with ourselves and also with things, you know, like the relationship with this block of wood in this case and so in the idea is that you get to experience the satisfaction of having done something with your hands. You get to sit on your porch and whittle away for hours and spend that time with yourself and your own thoughts and you do all that without your cell phone. You know, basically technology offered us kind of the promise of greater human relationship. Like basically that's the allure to Twitter and social media and stuff like that is getting more and more human relationship. But the problem is it sort of misses the mark, you know, it doesn't really deliver on that idea. You know, you get to talk to other humans or whatever, but it's different than sitting down and having coffee with somebody. That's just a different thing. And so the idea behind widdle really is more to do with this, you know, idea of developing relationships with self and things and a lot less to do with the woodworking and uh, you know,[inaudible] and so would being just the modality, but relationships being the key. And so, yeah. So that's kind of the, the business in a nutshell. Basically the, you know, like I said, hopefully will be launched in time for the holidays. Do you want to try and launch mid-October? Uh, we just got all our wood back. We're waiting on knives and then we'll be ready to be[inaudible]. That's awesome. That's one of those ideas that you're like, why didn't I think of that? That's amazing. It's so cool. Yeah, that's really cool. One, what I love about it too, you know, because it has this like deeper back, stronger know, and there's some fun, there's some fun components to it too. I mean our wood comes from a little tiny family farm out in the middle of Wisconsin, run by guys named Tim and Dale like, I mean, it couldn't be more perfect, you know, I mean it's exactly what you would want this story and yeah, it is. And you might have some ideas how to market that. So that's, that's good too. But it's, it's interesting too though, because I'm, I'm notorious for starting ideas like this all the time. Like I have, you know, these kinds of visions or these kinds of thoughts all the time. I mean, you know, I've launched clothing companies, I've had all kinds of little side hustles over the years that have all been, you know, these things. But the one part that I haven't spent a lot of time in is actually developing product. You know, I'm, I'm all day long creating new things, you know, building digital assets and things for people. But I don't often delve into real products where we have to source materials, produce materials, you know, we'll have to pack and ship, we'll have to do all this. So it's kind of an exciting adventure for me cause it's a little bit of, you know, for me too, it's a tactile thing. It's taking me out of my computer into a woodshop product that you have that you can, yeah. Well, and what I love about it too is, you know, because of this relationship backstory and because I think that's important in woodworking, just being the modality, this gives us a lot of range to blow out other ideas. You know, like, I don't know, painting kits or sculpting kits or whatever, you know, any of these things sort of allow you to break away from technology. And even in like our whittling crowd, you know, we've had a lot of people talking to us who've been doing a lot of surveying and things like that. And we recently were talking to just some parents, um, who are really interested in just ways to get their kids off of their cell phones. You know, I mean, they're little kids now and everybody is on an iPhone or whatever. And, um, so one of the ideas we can come up with is putting together a kit for little kids that's basically a soap, you know, block and a plastic knife instead of block of wood. And the real night the phone, here's a knife. Well that was the thing, you know, parents were asking me about this and I've got a, I've got a little trepidation around in mailing knives, six year olds or whatever. And so, uh, no, but that was one of the ideas that we came up with is maybe we send out blocks of soap and plastic knife. They do the same sort of exercise, but they do it in a safe way. There's also some really interesting things that have emerged in our research too. Like for example, there's a group of, uh, green woodworkers and these guys are like hipster types, you know, late twenties to early forties kind of people. And all they want to do is carve wood that hasn't been killed yet. So it's not completely dried out. It's still green. And, um, and so, but I mean, we're in a Facebook group of 60,000 of them, you know, and it's like, who knew that that was even, and that's just this one group. I mean, it's insane. And Yeah, and, and there's a million different aspects of this. There's the woodcarvers. There's the guys that do canes, there's the guys that do little figurines. There's the guys, you know, and there's whole subsections around each one of them. And so it's a, it's really been interesting to kind of learn all this about woodworking. Cause I mean, it's not like I've grown up doing woodwork or anything, you know, and, uh, and so it's been kind of a, an interesting journey. So we're having a lot of fun with it. And like I said, hopefully we'll, we'll have it ready to go mid October. And how is that working with your wife? Um, is the communication and relationship they're strong

Speaker 5:

or do you find that you're learning more about each other and trying to communicate in different ways?

Speaker 1:

Well, it's interesting what it did to sort of our sort of normal operation. You know, we, we met each other in high school. We've been married since we were like 24, you know, now we're pushing that knocking on the door at 40, you know, so we've known each other a long time. We've been through a lot of these sort of ups and downs in business and all this stuff. And we've always sort of managed it and work to have totally separate lives. She was school teaching, I was always doing my thing and we just, you know, our roads don't cross paths very often. Right. And so, and then just, we come home and meet in the middle and then we have, you know, kids and family and stuff to sort of have that sort of central, uh, bond I guess. But what happened with this is we had this realization like I had no idea how far removed she was from things that are pretty commonplace to me now. And so for her, she was stressing a lot because she was learning a lot of new stuff that she had no idea. You know, she's always been the person who bought the product, not the person who made the product. Right. So she didn't, it didn't ever didn't really understand all that goes into, you know, I mean, and really for most people, they probably don't realize how much thought and how much planning and how much everything else go into a product set, said no idea. And so I felt much more comfortable in that space because these are people that I talked to all the time, whether I'm trying to sell them services or develop a relationship with them. And you know, so for me it wasn't that scary, but I didn't realize just how scary it was going to be for my wife or how difficult it was for her. Um, just because it's totally foreign land, you know, it's totally different. So learning it did give us, yeah. So I mean it did lead to, you know, a few little skirmishes and things like that. Mostly because she was stressed out and I was trying to say, hey man, just relax. Go with the flow. But yeah, nothing and never works. Never works. And so, uh, so that was, you know, the, the worst of it was a little bit of that. But she's supremely organized. She's, you know, a great like pass master puts stuff on a, on a to do list, get things done kind of person. I am a super loose creative and I'm all over the place all the time. And so, uh, so we actually have really complimentary skill sets so they, I think, you know, sort of helped us in this thing and it's unfortunate she can't spend more time on it now. Right. Cause I would like to launch this with her, you know, but we'll, we'll drag, our oldest boy is 12 so we'll drag him down and got them chopping wood blocks before long. We'll try and turn it into a little bit of a family operation. So, you know, which is cool and unique and different from basically every other operation I've ever dealt into. I've always been sort of solo shows. Yeah. That's cool. It'll be interesting

Speaker 5:

how all that comes out. So just looking into the future, Ryan, where do you kind of see you and your family? Where would you like to put yourself in the future kind of things that you're going to be doing? Obviously doing the whittle work and more advertising and design, but is there something that you are looking at in the future that think I still want to go after this?

Speaker 1:

Well, I think, you know, I mean there are a lot of things and it changes by the day. So this is a hard question to answer. You know, somebody like me, I've got this laundry list of stuff and I spend all day like, you know, each day is a new future for me, but largely, um, the idea is to continue to grow our too. So continue to, uh, build the agency, uh, develop better high quality relationships with our clients that are meaningful and impactful. And, you know, by doing so, that becomes something that's really rewarding to me and to those that work with us. So that's kind of the goal on the[inaudible] front. Um, although I do intend to be doing less of the work myself, start moving out and try and, you know, augment my position and the work that I do in the company with other people. Yeah. Um, with the express purpose of allowing me to have more time to work on other things like widdle and, you know, this other laundry list of things I've got. I'm also, you know, and you know, the reason we were interested in doing a podcast is in addition to our show, you know, I'm trying to do more on sort of the personal branding front, things that are sort of related to just me as an individual. Uh, I'm doing a lot of writing and a lot of things like that. Lately I anticipate doing more sort of content creation and developing a little bit of a probably consultative practice on top of all this stuff that will sort of be a big part of my future going forward and allow me the freedom to, you know, ultimately I'd like to be spending, you know, half my year maybe in Spain. Yeah. Um, you know, and get to where I can do even, you know, I mean, my whole business was built remotely, so I mean, we've built the whole company, you know, from the ground up to be able to work from anywhere on the planet. Right? So I can, I can handle my work from, from Spain and I'd like to get over there. Of course, I probably got to wait until the kids get out of school or something or are off to college. Right. But, uh, but that's okay. That'll give me a few building years and we'll, we'll work on all that stuff. So there's sort of that, that three, three phase attack. There's the agency, there's personal branding, and then there's sort of any other projects I'm working on. So the podcast is one of those. And with our podcasts, we're looking to, uh, well, right now we're in the process of launching our podcasts network, so we're going to start rolling, you know, launching several shows out of our studio. Um, you know, some other things like that. So we're looking to sort of grow that presence as well. And then, uh, and then, yeah, the personal branding stuff, the writing and you know, eventually we'll do a book or something else.

Speaker 5:

Amazing. You've done so many different things. I think a lot of our listeners are sitting there in, in a desk job nine to five desk job or driving to and from work and thinking, Gosh, I'd like to start something. I'd like to do something, but I'm not sure how. I don't know where to start. What advice would you give them?

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, this is a really interesting subject and it's actually something we put kind of a lot of thought to because, you know, for example, as I've, you know, I mean I'm, I'm guilty of, of this and so are probably many of your listeners if that's sort of where they're at. You know, we get online and we watched the, the Gary V's or the Tony Robbins or the whomever, and we look for business advice and we try and learn whatever we can from them. And I'm having a really hard time articulating it or pinning it down. But there's some step in between that we're all missing. So we are hearing the advice, but being able to act on seems impossible and you know, I mean they make it sound so easy, right? Oh, just produce 25 pieces of content today. You know, go out and start public speaking and blah blah blah. You know, the Horse, right? I mean obviously those are the things, but that the ability to actually take that step and move into it as really hard. And so like right now, at least in the podcasting sphere, uh, we're developing a, what we're calling our show is called eggs. And so we're developing the eggs podcast academy and basically it's kind of a educational program for this. And one of the things that I'm spending a lot of time, you know, studying up on and trying to explore is how do we communicate these skills? How do we share these skills and actually allow people to do that? Because it is one thing to be told, but it's totally another thing to, to be able to move forward and actually make that happen. Well, and that was one of the struggles, you know, just to bring it back to like the whittle experience and working with my wife on that stuff. I told her things that we should be doing. And so my inclination is, oh well she's very capable and when she could go out and do whatever, but then, you know, I would find that she was having trouble moving on it, which is very uncharacteristic for her because she's such a go getter. But um, you know, but that's what sort of made this start clicking with me that I was like, okay, there's something and I don't know what it is. It's an intangible something. Um, I suspect it's probably based in fear or something like that, that it's really difficult to make those moves if you've never made them before. It's like you almost need someone, you know, to hop on their back and have them carry on through some training with others in order in order for you to understand it. And I was even talking to the guys that run this tangible school, this e-commerce academy that I was going to with our um, product because you know, they're doing a lot of the stuff. They're trying to train people on how to launch ECOMMERCE businesses. And I found that the sessions that I was at with them where a person, you know, for example, they did a session on like paper click marketing and you know, and we do this in our business. I mean I understand this, but to sit down and do it for my own product is still different. And so, you know, they had whoever it was that came in and spoke that day, but that guy got online and everybody logged in on their computers and everybody did those couple things together and we all walked through these steps together and then like, I was totally prepared to go do that for my business. Where on in other classes I had people tell me their experience or explained to me what they'd done to make their business successful. And yet I could do almost, I could take almost no action against their advice. And so, so anyways, so yeah, so we're working on that a lot. So it's really difficult for me to give advice on, uh, how to actually make stuff like that happen. I think the biggest thing is a, I mean, some of it, as much as we go out and we look for somebody to inspire us or whatever, it kind of has to come from within. So we're all looking for cheat sheets and we're all looking for easier ways to, you know, do something. Oh, you know, I want to have a personal brand yet I don't want to be on camera. Or I have like, like internally, there's some stuff that you have to fight through and no matter how much Gary v yells, you're not going to be able to. Yeah. Yeah. Like you're not going to be able to make that step or feel comfortable on camera just because you should. Right. Like, you know, it's going to require a little bit of internal fortitude. So, you know, maybe it's not a very satisfying answer, but I think that largely it's finding something in yourself and pushing through it and sort of going, you know, fighting against resistance. You know, um, there's this guys named Steven Pressfield. He has this book called the war of art or the art of war. And, uh, he's, I mean, he's got several books that are really good, but in that particular book he talks a lot about this, this intangible or this idea of resistance. And I think that that's a really clever way or an interesting way to sort of think about this because you're holding yourself back, you're being held back by the expectations of others. You're being held back by whatever. But for some reason you're running into this resistance. And so I think if you can sort of acknowledge that and understand that there is this resistance, but you can easily just side step it, you know, that might sort of help people to, to overcome that because it's, it really does come from within. And like I said, I mean, I'm, I'm not even to this day, like I'm not a wild risk taker. Most of the stuff, you know, even like the startup businesses and things that I started looking into, like, you know, I've, I've never just quit a job and jumped off a cliff for an idea, you know what I mean? Like I'm not, I'm not that guy now those guys exist, but I'm not. And so, um, so for me, I've always baby stepped in unfortunately. Well, fortunately, and unfortunately I've, I've not experienced a lot of damage either. You know, like I didn't give up everything for something and then lose everything. But I've probably not moved as quickly as I could if I had been a little bit more of a gamble. Right. And so I think, you know, there's that balance and, and understanding that balance. But I think also just understanding that there is no magic bullet. There is no anything. You just actually have to go out and do something. And, you know, like I said earlier about sort of not having a, uh, a clear path or being, you know, you're able to hear something but not converted into something actionable. We kind of have to stop looking out to everybody else and, and stop and listen to our own gun. Cause usually we kind of know what the answer is. We just have, we just have to do it. And you know, like for example with me in this personal branding experiment, you know, like, I mean, up to two years ago, I remember I missed your introvert. So this idea of putting myself out there and being on camera and writing and being on podcasts or whatever, like this is a totally different world. Like I'm not like the same guy, you know? And so I'm not looking for that kind of attention. You know, I don't like to be the center of attention, generally speaking. And so, um, you know, so this is a challenge, but I recognize that if I'm supposed to develop my business, I'm supposed to have some sort of consultative life down the road. I'm supposed to take what was a freelance career and make it a business because my wife mandated it. Then, you know, I have to hook up, I have to overcome what is my natural inclination to do it. And so, you know, and hopefully it's not that dire for everybody who's listening and you know, hopefully it's not, you know, down to you've got to make this work or else. But um, but sometimes that little added pressure, you know, whether it's something you can self-impose or whether it's split against something real, you know, is kind of what you need to be able to push.

Speaker 5:

Well, resistance. I love that. Dave and I were out for a walk this morning and we were talking about, you know, we're interviewing the square ones, the ones who just don't seem to fit in that round. Peg, square pegs, square pegs in a round hole. I still can't get that right. Um, but I think you, you perfectly fit with that is, you know, you kind of challenge the status quo. You ask questions, you take action and there's no particular formula. That's what we were saying. There's no formula for that kind of stuff. You just kinda step into like one step, one step ahead and yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, and I imagine for some people they, you know, maybe, you know, going down the straight path, you know, getting an education. Like for my wife for example, she's very a type very driven. She went to school to become a teacher. She became a teacher. You know, like she, she went written down a very linear path. Mine is like this insane meander. Yeah. You know, that eventually tends to manifest in, you know, US getting, yeah. Hopefully. So, but it requires all this weird stuff. Yeah. I mean, you know, it basically, I've come, I've come up with this phrase and it's not very eloquent, but I have to tell myself this, you know, usually once or twice a day that basically it took all the decisions I've made to this point to arrive at where I am, that, that this moment. So, because a lot of times, especially if you get caught up with the youtube crowd or whatever and you're trying to keep up with the Gary V's or the Tony robins tapes, you know, you can sometimes end up putting yourself down or feeling bad about your state in life because it doesn't feel like you've accomplished anything. I mean, look at this guy, he's so successful, you know, and so I, I've had to resort to using this phrase, you know, like I, we had a woman on our podcast the other day, um, she's 26 years old, she's creative director, our director, you know, woman of many hats in the ad, like advertising, design business. But like in our conversation, she was sort of solving a lot of the life truths that I've just been working on in the last year or two. And immediately I was thinking, oh my God, like, I should have solved all of this stuff 20 years ago. Like, I'm so behind the curve. Like, you know, I, I mean, what am I doing? I'm such a failure, all this stuff. And then, you know, I sort of think about this phrase and I go, okay, well it took me every choice I've ever made to this point to arrive here to hear her story. And so there's no other way, there wasn't a shortcut, there wasn't a straight line, there wasn't anything. I had to do all this in order to meet. Yeah. And so, and by doing that, it gives me a little bit of solace and helps me not feel like I'm behind the curve or whatever. And uh, and that sort of seems so, yeah.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. And[inaudible] sleep at night, that's the biggest thing. I try not to compare ourselves to other people. It's so easy to compare. Yeah. That's tough.

Speaker 1:

Especially nowadays with social media and Instagram where it appears that everyone, you know, is always in Hawaii. I did, I don't know why, but everybody's always on vacation or they've all got yachts now. Like, I mean, it's the craziest world. I didn't realize people are so wealthy, but, um, but apparently, you know, people are, and so when you sit and you, you spend a lot of time on social media, you know, it's really easy to fall into those traps, especially as young people, you know, who don't necessarily understand the economics of owning that and can, you know, sort of roll their eyes and recognize it.

Speaker 3:

Right. And it actually, eventually the truth will find you, right? There's so many people on Instagram influencers reading books on that and how it's a complete farce. It's like you're, you're building this brand or business on a, on a lie, and in the end it's not worth. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, yeah, I mean, what's a four, you know?[inaudible]

Speaker 3:

no, honestly, that's what we always ask. And what is your definition of success? Because if you're just chasing that and the money and the status, you're going to be let down and empty every time. That's why I love what you're talking about building these relationships and putting your energy and effort into that cause that that is where you'll find some of that, uh, fulfillment. And, uh, that, that to me is more success than any kind of yacht or status or,

Speaker 1:

well, and, and, you know, generally speaking, I mean, not always, but I mean a lot of times, you know, the financial bit of success or whatever will come as a byproduct of building the relationships, right? I mean, you build these great quality relationships with people and then they want to work with you and then they want to do this and that, you know, so, so it does sort of, you know, yeah. I mean, to give it, you know, just a quick example, like right now I'm coaching my oldest son's football team and we've got a, you know, these, these 12 year old kids and, you know, they're, I mean, hormonal, they just started seventh grade, they're all going crazy right now. And, um, you know, we, we are having a really hard time because, you know, we'll come in, we'll teach them these plays that are really complicated and they just can't execute the camp, can't figure it out yet. And so we've been spending a lot of time this season focusing on really fundamental stuff. You know, going back and just how do you, how do you block, how do you catch up, you know, how do you catch a pass? How do you hand off something, you know, our, our plays have become very simple, you know, this is your route. Just run a straight line, easy peasy. And you know, by doing this now all of a sudden our kids are performing at a much higher level, right? And then you can tack on little things and you can give them little tricks and stuff and help them evolve. But it all starts with this really basic fundamental thing. And for me, relationships are the core. They're the building block or the foundation that we build everything else on. And so in terms of finding success or finding everything else, you know, without the relationship component, there is nothing else, you know, if you don't have that cornerstone or that, you know, foundation to build on top of, well, you've just got to, you know, a mess of, you know, bricks everywhere. You don't have something to actually build upon. And so, uh, you know, so to that idea of success or whatever, I mean, yeah, of course it's very subjective. People want different things and that kind of deal. But I think largely, you know, focusing on relationships will allow you to eventually achieve that sort of financial wellbeing you're looking for. But even if you don't, the happiest people with the best relationships with no money are still to have his phone. Yup. I love that. And so, yeah, so I think that's a, you know, a pretty great, yeah.

Speaker 5:

Awesome. Well, Ryan, it's been almost an hour. We really want to, I respect your time. We appreciate your time and all your thoughts going into all of this. I think this will resonate definitely with us and hopefully with our listeners as well. So before we leave, is there a website, Instagram, Twitter, email that people can connect with you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, if you don't mind, if, uh, if I give a couple of them, um, our, our to our to m g.com is the creative agency. You can find all my sort of reading, writing, all the, all the stuff I'm working on in the personal brand space. It just Ryan Roghaar.com. That's r y a n r o g h a a r.com. Uh, you can find me on Instagram, uh, Instagram, Twitter, you know, I'm not very active though. It's boring, so you don't to spend a lot of time there, but it's just that Ryan rogue r and a, our podcast is called eggs, eggs, the podcast and the website, just eggs cast off. And what about the widdle does there, oh, widdle is just whittle it.com. So Andy, yeah, if you're interested in learning more about it or getting on our mailing list so that you can be notified as soon as it becomes available, which will hopefully be in the next month or so. Just visit WhittleIt.com- There's a little form you fill out. Just some super easy first name and an email address and we'll be in touch. I'll definitely be signing up for that. Yeah, you would love that. Yeah. Cool. I'll look forward to it. Well, thanks again Ryan. We appreciate it. Yeah. Great. Of course. Thanks so much for having me guys. Explore dream, discover. That's what we're all about here. Sharing People's stories and engaging with each other. We hope you found this conversation helpful and encouraging. Well, we'd love to keep in touch. We just created a Facebook group where you can connect on a more personal level. It's called the square one lounge. You can find it by going to our website, squareoneshow.com. Just look at the top and click on the lounge. Well, until next time, this is David and Jessica Lewis. Enjoy your week.

Speaker 4:

[inaudible].