Get your life in order…
At least that’s what Alex’s best friend and Operations Manager Laura Marston says. Listen on as both Alex and Laura read your questions and answer them in a heartfelt way. From adapting to different personalities to becoming more efficient in the day-to-day, together they reminisce and explore what life’s been like for each other before and after they met.
This is On Purpose.
In this Podcast, you’ll learn:
- About working behind the scenes instead of in the limelight
- Why hiring another person can ease your workload
- Embracing your zone of genius
- The ups and downs of working with your best friend
- & so much more
Organize with Laura:
Loved this and want more? Check out our other episodes here.
Spark a conversation! Leave a comment below or say hello @alexbeadon on Instagram.
Transcript Available Below
Alex Beadon 0:00
You’re listening to Episode 24 of on purpose with Alex Beadon, where I asked Laura Marston, my best friend and operations manager, your questions, we talked about what it’s like to work with your best friend, she shares about the transition from corporate life to working from home. And she gives us her best organizational tips for business and life. This is on purpose. Do you ever feel like you’re trying to balance it all, nourishing your health while growing your business and living a life well lived. And no matter how hard you try, sometimes you slipped from purpose driven into autopilot. Take a deep breath, relax, and let’s get you back to where you belong. On purpose.
Hey, friends, today I’m super excited to introduce our guest of the week, Laura Duarte, my best friend, my operations manager, the queen of my business. Here she is in person. Hi, guys. I’m very excited because not only is this the first person I’m interviewing from my personal life, but it’s also my first episode where I’m interviewing someone who’s sitting legitimately right next to me, Laura, how does it feel to be the first person from my personal life on the podcast?
Laura Marston 1:29
A little nerve wracking, but pretty exciting. We’re all here together. And I am usually behind the scenes. So we’ll see how this goes.
Alex Beadon 1:38
Yay. So everyone just giving you the heads up. Laura is new to putting herself out there online as you can tell. So let’s give her a nice warm welcome over on the ground. You can find her at lau lau 43. That’s l au l au four, three. Okay, let’s get started. So you guys actually sent in a bunch of questions to help make my job even easier. I asked you guys what you wanted to hear from the one and only Laura. And those are the questions that I’m going to be asking today. I’ve divided them up quite nicely. So let’s get started. We’re gonna get started asking a background question. Are you ready, Laura?
Ready as I’ll ever be.
Okay, so question number one is, what is your background? Where did you go to college? And what did you do before joining Alex? And this question is from Monica.
Laura Marston 2:30
All right, Monica. So my background is Colombian, I’m from Bogota, Colombia. And I grew up there only for a year, though, because I actually grew up in Venezuela.
So I’m one of those Third Culture kids that was raised all around the world because I was moving about every couple of years because of my dad’s job. That being said, I went to the US for college since I went to an American school growing up. And I ended up in Boston at Northeastern University studying psychology and cultural anthropology and French literature if you believe it or not,
that led me to nothing to be totally honest. And luckily, I got a job actually working in research for a documentary, which is what led me actually to the media world, right out of college. And because I worked in documentary filmmaking, I decided that it was a good idea to go to New York, when the opportunity arose, arose, rock, see when the opportunity came about, someone asked me to move to New York to be their personal assistant, and to finish working on this documentary with them. And I said, Yes, thinking that, if I wanted to get into media, New York was the place to be. So that’s how I ended up in New York. And I worked in documentary filmmaking for about six years, while I got my masters at the new school in Manhattan, and from there, I decided that it was time to do some corporate life. Where, which led me to go to Christie’s and work there in their video production team making videos for to promote auctions and artwork for three years before moving to work with Alex.
Alex Beadon 4:11
So for those of the listeners who don’t know, can you tell us what Christie’s is?
Laura Marston 4:17
So Christie’s is the leading art auction house in the world, their main competitors is Sotheby’s they basically have, I think it is 97% of the market share. So those are the two companies that lead in auctioning off any kind of item really so from handbags, to artwork, to sculptures to musical instruments, to outfits, jewelry, etc.
Alex Beadon 4:42
That’s amazing. Someone asked how long have you been living in New York for?
Laura Marston 4:46
So this October on Halloween on October 31. It’ll be seven years since I moved to New York.
Alex Beadon 4:54
Okay, so now we’re moving into Jessica’s question, and Jessica wants to know how How did you transition from your full time job, but to working full time for Alex and actually, Laura, maybe this would be a good time to kind of give the backstory of how you and I first started working together.
Laura Marston 5:14
So about four years ago, I want to say, well, let me start with this, Alex and I have been friends since we were 10. Living in Venezuela. And as you know, life goes, you move apart, and you sometimes lose touch with friendships. But sometimes, especially with this one, you end up coming back and becoming very good friends again. So in 2010, I went to study abroad in Paris. And I thought it was the perfect opportunity to contact Alex and get together again with her after not seeing her for probably five or six years. So we met up in London for and had a wonderful weekend. And after that weekend, it was one of those things that you’re like, Oh, I’m nervous. I haven’t seen this person in so long. What if like, we don’t get along anymore, and we were only kid friends. But it turned out that we got along perfectly well. And so after that, we started talking again a lot, which led a couple more years, a couple years later, for us to to meet up again in Tampa, where she was living before, while I was doing my masters. And after spending a whole week together just as friends and hanging out. She asked me if I would help her with something simple. The first thing was curating one of her webinars to make sure that all of the comments that were coming through, we’re positive that she was answering all the questions that everyone was sending her way. And I just sat there on my computer from New York and just made sure to text her every time a new question came up. So that was the first thing that we ever did together. And it was just a favor. From then she was like, oh, I need someone to help me launch feel good blogging, would you mind if I bought you your plane ticket to Tampa, if you come for a week hang out, we can hang out, you can help me with this launch. And, and it was kind of one of those things that at that point, a plane ticket to go see your best friend was like, Yes, of course, I don’t have money for that. Definitely, I will go help you with your lunch in exchange of some best friend time. So there was really the first time that we work together in person, both of us with our computers, and both of us with the same goal. And I think we realized then that we had very complementary, very complementary strengths and qualities that the things that she’s good at are the things that I’m not necessarily the best that and I can fill in the gaps for her. Just the same just as well.
Alex Beadon 7:35
Yeah, and I think what was interesting for me about having Laura come to work during that time is she was so on top of everything, like I remember there was something that we were doing in the launch. And I was I had forgotten to do it. And I told her, I was like, oh, gosh, Laura, I forgot to do this. And she was like, oh, no, no, I already did that. And like she had figured it out. And it’s something that was quite difficult on the back end of things. And I was like, Whoa, like, she’s not only someone who can, like do what you tell her to do. But she’s someone who’s like thinking five steps ahead of you and filling in the dots. And like she’s just filling in the dots, I mean, connecting the dots. And she’s just so organized and well put together, which is something that I am not like I’m super creative. So that was our first time working together. And I think from there, I can’t remember you came down one more time, didn’t you? To work with me?
Laura Marston 8:25
Yeah. So from there, we kind of realized that we were a good team, and you started realizing that your business was outgrowing just yourself, and that you needed some extra help. And at that point, you’re like, I will pay you hourly, if you could just help me with some of the more administrative things, even if it’s from New York, and sometimes you come to Tampa to help me with launches. So it kind of became that for I want to say about six months, where I would help you maybe one hour a day with customer service and administration. And when it came time for the next launch, I went back to back down to Tampa to help you with that.
Alex Beadon 8:58
Yeah, so that’s what really planted the seed. And I will never forget, at one point, Laura was visiting me when I lived in Tampa, we must have been in the middle of a launch or something and we were having this conversation of like, one day, the business will be big enough for me to be able to hire you full time. And that was like, it seems so far away. But it was such a big goal and a big dream of mine. And then we kind of went our own separate ways for a few years. But that vision was kind of always at least it was always in my head. I don’t know so much about Laura’s head. But in my head, I was always like it’d be so great to bring Laura or someone like Laura on board who has Laura’s skill sets, and Laura’s talents. Because I think that was really the first time that I realized like, oh, you can find people who are like the perfect puzzle piece for everything that that you’re missing. And what I liked about Laura as well as that, like she’s so like, I can feel that she’s in this as much as I am like from a purpose perspective, like even the other day when we went to do the meetup in New York City, which was awesome. Bye. By the way, for those of you who are listening, who came, thank you so much, it was so nice to meet all of you in person. It was so nice afterwards to hear Laura’s perspective. And so reaffirming that she’s such a good fit to be working with me because she was she was like, these are the people who were working for like, it gave her a really clear vision of like, who we’re helping and who we’re supporting, and why we’re doing everything that we’re doing. And so she also has that purpose side, which is super important for me, like, I don’t want to work with someone who’s just showing up to like, get things done and tick things off the list. Like she’s very she can see the vision. She knows why we’re doing this. And she’s very aligned with that as well. Do you have anything to add to that? Laura, before we move on to the next question?
Laura Marston 10:40
I guess the only thing to add is that you said you didn’t really know what what I was thinking for the last three years. Because of my documentary filmmaking experience, I was always very used to small companies working from home, maybe two or three teammates, and going into the corporate world was a big shock for me. So at the end of the day, this I think I’m starting to realize that this is the scenario, the work scenario that I’m more most comfortable with. And I think that once you plan to that, hey, I have an opportunity for you to come work full time with me. I was immediately on board. And I knew that it was a goal of both of ours for three years. So it was very exciting to to just come on board and help you out.
Alex Beadon 11:22
Okay, the next question is kind of in line with the one that we just asked, What was the biggest adjustment changing from a corporate job to working with Alex and this one is from Stephanie.
Laura Marston 11:33
So I think there’s two things that come to mind. One is just the calm that comes from working from home. And I think this is a good thing, because I was the first thing I was worried about when I was going to transition was, I’m so used to be in an office with about 200 Different people who are talking to me all the time, all day, every day, who each have their own individual tasks. And I’m going to go into a world where it’s going to be just me at home, am I going to go stir crazy, am I going to get bored? Is this something that I really want to do? I’m only going to be talking to Alex from now. But at the end of the day, especially because I live in New York City, and I was trying to explain this to her. There’s so much going on in this city, there’s so much hustle, there’s so much bustle the absolute like pace of the city is chaotic and electric at the same time. And I think that I am at a phase in my life where I’m ready for some common quiet. So the biggest transition, I think was going from so much hustle and bustle to a quiet environment where I could seriously focus on the things that I wanted to do professionally and personally, really. And so it’s been a wonderful transition in that way. The other thing that I can really think of is, like I said, Everyone at the in the corporate world has their own individual role they have they stick to their zone of genius, they know what they’re supposed to be doing, you know exactly who you’re supposed to contact when something goes wrong, or you should know or you hopefully know. But the point is that in the last three months, I think I honestly have learned much more than I ever learned in three years in the corporate world. Because it’s just the two of us. At the end of the day, you know, we have a couple of people who help us that we outsource. And that helped us like part time. But at the end of the day, the two people that are working on this full time is her and I and therefore we all have to do everything or every single step from customer service to back end to graphic design to social media marketing. And I have learned so much from that because at the end of the day, you’re responsible for everything. And you have to just learn it yourself. You can’t rely on someone else to do a portion of the job for you. So I think that’s been one of the most exciting and interesting things about working with Alex.
Alex Beadon 13:46
Which leads us on nicely. And I don’t know if you have anything else to add to this. But what is what has it been like working remotely in such a major role for the team that’s from Albie.
Laura Marston 13:59
Again, I think I think it’s mostly just excitement. I’ve always been the type of person that is very behind the scenes from from middle school, I started as a I just have to pause after pause and say this really quickly. But when Alex and I were in middle school, our group of friends were basically three very outgoing, very extroverted type of people. And then there was me who was the shyest person in the whole entire grade. So they wanted to do drama, and they wanted to be actresses and they wanted to sing and they wanted to be on stage and I wanted to be center of attention. And I didn’t want to stay behind. So what ended up happening was that they became the actresses and I became the tech person behind the scenes, which led me to become the production manager for all of the shows at our high school for the rest of my high school time. But it was really funny because that’s how that’s what led me to drama in the first place, but 100% Behind the scenes, which leads me to this to the answer to the question 100% I like being In the back end system of things, and so it’s very exciting to come and be able to help someone with their vision, I’ve always said that if someone were to give me a million dollars for my business, I wouldn’t really know what to do with them. Because I don’t really have the mindset and I’m okay with this, I don’t have the mindset to be like, if I had this money, I would create X, Y, or Z. On the other hand, I’m more of the type of person that’s if you have this idea, I can help you get there. Which I think is what makes us such a perfect team.
Alex Beadon 15:32
And it’s so interesting as well, that you were that way, when you were like, I remember being in middle school and continue, like I used to come back and visit in high school. And Laura is like the production manager of all of the drama productions. And it’s actually so funny how, like life leaves you clues and life leaves you hands. And even if you look at what you were doing back in high school, like being organized has always been your thing. And so now it’s just like, it’s just coming, like leaking into everything in your career, which I think is such a cool thing.
Laura Marston 16:03
And on the same note, this, it’s kind of I feel like I’m coming full circle with my professional life now working with you. Because the last I want to say 10 years has has been a lot of media centric, media focused career choices. And at the end of the day, I’ve started to realize that that’s not really my thing. The reason why I’m good at all those things is because of the production background, because of the organization background, and because of the logistics backgrounds that you need in order to be a producer. And therefore, I could be a project manager, I could be a production manager, I could be an operations manager, which is what we ended up deciding that my title would be. But in the end, I think that this has given me the opportunity to focus not just on the video world, but also to focus on the fact that I can get I can put I can help produce anything if I put my mind to it.
Alex Beadon 16:53
I’m interested in asking this question, because before you were saying how you know that you’re not supposed to be front, or front and center stage, and you’ve never really been interested in that. And I think that’s such a beautiful and unique thing about you, because a lot of people see people who are front and center stage and they’re like, oh, I want to be doing that, like so and so is doing this, I want to be doing that. Have you always been someone who’s stayed super? Like you’ve been very clear on what you do and don’t want and you’ve stayed true to that, or is that something that developed with time?
Laura Marston 17:26
I think that it has always been this way. I never looked back at my life and think like, Oh, I was front and center. And then I didn’t like it. From the first day that I remember having to be front and center. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. So let’s go back to the drama example, sixth grade, one of the projects you had to do to graduate from the drama program or whatever it was do a monologue in front of the whole grade. And I remember that I was panicked, panicked panicked about this for the whole entire month that before it happened, I got on stage and I started crying. I didn’t want to be there I hate being this the I’m really okay with like small groups of people. But I hate in even in like large social settings, I hate being the person that’s talking I’m you can usually find me listening and talking to someone one on one. So I think that it’s just part of my personality. It’s part of the way that I’ve always had fun, professionally and personally, and I’m, I haven’t really ever seen myself in any other way.
Alex Beadon 18:29
And you fully embraced it. Like you just seem to like love who you are. And just be so fully confident in who you are, which is one of the things that I absolutely love about you. So congrats Lau and hopefully everyone listening can take that as a big piece of inspiration to really choose what you want to do in your life based on your natural God given strengths and abilities and not necessarily try to like change yourself or fit into a box or a square or whatever. Like really just learning what works for you.
Laura Marston 19:01
And I think that you also just have to make sure not to feel bad about what your zone of genius is. I mean, not everyone is supposed to be front and center. Not everyone is the type of personality that’s comfortable being front and center. And that’s okay. There are some of us who are more behind the scenes, and are fantastic at what we do, even if we never get the actual recognition because of it. And I think that if you’re one of those people, you need to embrace it instead of trying to become someone that that you feel uncomfortable being.
Alex Beadon 19:37
And there’s so much it’s okay, I have two things to say the first thing is that like I look at Laura and Laura strengths and skills and I’m like this woman is a magician like I’m in her home and everything is so warm and organized and thought out and like earlier I was like What’s this box here on your table? And she’s like, Oh, that’s where we keep our remote controls. And I’m like, of course that makes total sense that you would have one of those So it’s like, I’m not good at those things. And we can complement each other in that way. And actually someone who’s an in a number two position, which is what I would call you, because like, I would say, I’m number one, you’re number two, like you can do just as well as someone in a number one position. And that’s something to think about as well as if you are someone who’s great at supporting and being in that supportive role. Like, you don’t necessarily even have to be in a corporate position, like I actually think you could do better. And there’s more opportunity being someone’s number two. And I think that’s one of the things that Laura likes about being a part of this business is that I think she’s looking at like the long term picture on plan of like this can grow. And if she’s at the number two position, like, it’s only going to get better and better from here.
Laura Marston 20:43
No, I agree. I mean, I’ve always been the type of personality that’s the right hand woman in all of my personal professional settings, even when I was Production Manager, even when I was a co producer, for the documentary, all of that, at the end of the day, my responsibilities were pretty much similar in all of my professions, which was be the right hand person to the person that’s in charge, make sure that you know, everything that’s going on, make sure that you have an answer to everything that that is questioned at the right time. And I lost my train of thought, I don’t know where I was going with this. Cool. All right, let’s go to the next question. The next question
Alex Beadon 21:20
is, how did your friendship with Alex start and evolve?
Laura Marston 21:25
So my friendship with Alex started when we were 10, I had just moved back to Venezuela. And she had just moved back to Caracas, she had been living in a different city in Venezuela. And it was our first day of school. And we unfortunately, both of our parents decided it was a good idea to start us in the middle of the school year. By the way, if you’re a parent, it’s not a very good idea. It’s better to start at the beginning of school because everyone already had friends. And we were just these two, like awkward girls being like, I don’t have friends, you don’t have friends, let’s be friends. So basically, that’s how our friendship started, which was good. And how has it evolved? It’s evolved, in a way missed the
Alex Beadon 22:04
whole. Okay, there’s an entire part of the story that she missed, where, basically, I think we started within two weeks of each other. I think I got there first, and then you arrived, it must have been like days, yeah, maybe days, we moved at the very similar time. And we had missed the yearbook photos. So we had to go and take yearbook photos together, like, probably weeks or months after everyone else had done their yearbook photos. So we were kind of like walking through the school together to find this location where we’re supposed to go and take our yearbook photos. And I remember it was just this really awkward conversation like, Hi, I’m Alex and like, trying to figure out how to speak Spanish to people and figure out where you’re supposed to go. So that was our very first like, encounter.
Laura Marston 22:49
Yeah, I definitely forgot about that. Um, how has it evolved? I think it’s evolved in a very beautiful way where most friendships, I think, you don’t really work with each other. And therefore you are friends, you are wonderful friends, best friends, but you are friends. And with us, I think it’s evolved a little differently that because of our strength of working together, our friendship has evolved even more than more than usual. Because we are able to work so well together, we keep coming back to each other in that way, and therefore we get to hang out and we get to work. Okay, let me let me start this over. What I want to say with this is that I think we’ve realized, especially in the last couple of months, that socially, we are very different people. So we if it was just up to us, hanging out in groups of people or going out in our personal life, I don’t think that we would be as close correct me if I’m wrong, if it was if it wasn’t for the business side of how we respect and admire each other. Because, you know, Alex is very outgoing. And let’s take this this past weekend. For example. I wasn’t here I was in Philadelphia, but she went out clubbing in New York, do you realize when the last time I went clubbing in New York was like, what, probably in college. So, point is that we have very different social activities that we do. And therefore I think that the friendship has evolved beautifully and a lot more because we’re able to admire and respect each other as co workers.
Alex Beadon 24:28
I think we complement each other really well as well. And like we make such a good team and it’s fun working together like with a What’s his called end goal in mind? Like we’re all we’re working towards the same thing. So it’s like teamwork we’ve got going on we’ve I think our personalities were very different socially, but I think our personalities mesh really well. Like we’re both super respectful people to each other and to strangers. And so I think we just were were a good fit. We suit each other well. Okay, the next question is what are both of your purse analogy types, I haven’t been reading the names but Oh, well. I’ll let you take that one.
Laura Marston 25:07
It’s funny because we have, it’s like 5050. So 50% of the time, Alex and I are have very similar personality types, we are very good with one on one conversations, we like going into very deep emotional conversations. And we’re really fantastic at being able to talk about all these things. And the other 50% of the time, I think that our personalities are completely opposite. You know, the more than anyone you guys know, Alex’s outgoing personality, and therefore, that is something that clashes with my personality all the time, just because I’m more of the introverted kind of personality. That being said, I talk a lot, I am a lot and woman talks a lot. And so whenever it’s just the two of us, oh, we have conversations for hours. So it’s funny to see how, how we can be so different, but at the same time so similar? I don’t know if that answered the question that answer the
Speaker 1 26:10
question. I think Laura is more introverted than I am. We’re very different work styles, which we should elaborate on. I like to work and then take a break, and then work and then take a break, which I think Laura likes to as well. Laura likes to be very focused and like get work done by certain time and I’m like, at five to work during the night. I’m totally cool with that.
Laura Marston 26:32
I have to say, yes. One of the best things from the corporate world is trying to develop that nine to five job in with your own flexibility, like you are now you are the person that’s dictating your time as a business. So you can choose to work at six in the morning, or you can choose to work at 9pm. But my question is, why would you? Why would you want to spend a whole day always trying to think about work. For me, I rather try to stick to the nine to five schedule, knowing that I can be flexible and sometimes change it so that at five o’clock I can turn off and I can solely think about my personal life, you know, time with my husband time with home time with talking to my parents on the phone, you know, all of these things that that I want a balance and I want to barrier. And instead Alex is very much what she was saying she could start at six in the morning, and then take a three hour break during the middle of the day and then work again at night. And so that’s our that’s where we’ve been clashing a lot the last three months, just because I’m like, why can’t we just focus and work from nine to five? And she’s like, No, but this could be done later.
Yeah, and I think as well, our lifestyles are very different. So like Laura’s husband is gone all day. So when he gets home from work, she obviously wants to be with him and have that personal alone family time with now her most adorable dogs Zia, who by the way is napping as we speak, and it keeps doing these really cute stretches that are super distracting. Whereas for me, Nick is a freelancer, I’m a freelancer. So it’s like, we just like we’re at home together working during the day. So maybe sometimes I’m like, Hey, let’s go and have like a two hour lunch. And that’s fine, you know, or like, Hey, let’s go to the beach for a few hours, like what my personal dream is like every Friday to just go super early in the morning and spend like four or five hours at the beach, whereas like for Laura, that’s not really an option. So in that way, we’re very different. But I think we we work really well. I think we’re both super respectful of each other. I think if at any point, there’s any issues, we talk about it like we’re both very communicative, we’re very emotional people, we’re very emotionally intelligent. And I think that is, at the end of the day, what has always kind of kept us connected as friends is the fact that we can have, like, yes, socially, we might be super different. But we when we are together, and when we can spend that quality time together, I think we connect on a really deep level, which is very unique, at least for me to find like I definitely don’t find that I have that connection with most people.
I do think that something to note about our personalities is that we’re both Third Culture kids. And therefore we have a lot of the same issues underlying issues of our anxieties, or identity identities. So one of the biggest things with Third Culture kids is the fact that you have a very big identity identity crisis. You really are you were born in a place but you’ve never lived in that place. And therefore you don’t feel from that place. But that’s the only place that you technically can call you know, home. So for example, I am Colombian, I am 100% Colombian, I only have a Colombian passport and therefore, I can’t say I’m anything but Colombian but I have lived one year out of 29 in Colombia. So I have this massive identity crisis and I know that Alex can really identify with that. So on on this deeper level, deeper love For level, we’re able to have wonderful connections and kind of understand our personal anxieties. Very well.
Speaker 1 30:09
Agreed. Okay. Next question is from Stephanie. She said, was Laura 100% supportive of your dreams from day one? Or did it take time? And I’m going to start with this. And then you can tell me what because I actually don’t know the truth. I think, Laura, I don’t I don’t actually know how to answer this question. I don’t think that I’ve ever really thought about it. But I’m pretty sure she’s always been supportive since day one. Maybe she thought I was crazy at the beginning, but she never told me.
Laura Marston 30:35
This is gonna sound really bad. But I honestly at the beginning, don’t think I was really thinking about whether I supported you or not. I know that there was a time when she just had started with the photography and everything that we were close, but not close enough for me to actually feel like, Oh, she’s crazy for doing this, she should be doing something else. I think I was really like, on the side of like, Oh, cool. Look at what Alex is doing. She’s doing photography, she’s doing this now she just switched over to YouTube videos. But really, I do think I have been supportive from from the get go. I have not thought that you were crazy. And I think it’s because you’ve proven yourself and all of the hard work that you’ve put into this company, and this business. And you’ve shown everyone that you that all this hard work is for something more than that. Look at how much I was telling her this the other day, we look how much you’ve achieved. Look how much. And this is all by yourself, like you now have me but it’s only been three months, you’ve been doing this for eight years by yourself and you have achieved so much. So I think on the underlying, and the underlying of all of this is more than support. I’m just so proud of her. I’m really proud of you to be honest. And I think that I will will be supportive from now until you know we continue this journey because I truly believe that you are helping out people that need it. So something for with last Saturday when we had the meetup that I mean, Alex was talking about it before, but that was super touching to me was that we ended up having kind of like a hot seat mastermind session where someone would say what they’re struggling with in their business. And everyone else would give advice, and just hearing all of your struggles and knowing that we are in a position to help you remedy remedy those struggles, was so touching to me because for for the first time in a long time. I I feel like I’m doing something with a lot more purpose in my profession. I mean before, yes, documentary filmmaking has positive effects on the people that you are documenting and showing their stories. But this is this felt so much more on a personal level, because I got to meet some of you even through like just Instagram followers and comments and the blog posts that we’ve been getting. I find them so heartwarming, and just to see how much people are supportive of you, that just makes me so proud of all the things that you’ve done.
Speaker 1 32:55
Thank you. Oh, so sweet. Hey, guys, it’s Alex here. Just a quick break in the show, because I wanted to personally invite you to something that I have been working on very hard over the last few weeks, something that I’m incredibly proud of, it’s called double down on your DMS. It is a five day free Instagram challenge that I’ve created specifically to help you learn how to use Instagram stories, to create more engagement to feel more connected with your audience. When people DM you, you’re able to create a real relationship with them a relationship in which your know like and trust factor is stronger than it was before. And a relationship in which they’re more likely to actually buy from you because of that know, like and trust factor. So if you’re interested in learning how to use stories to build that know, like and trust factor, how to get more DMS every day so that you can wake up with new conversations waiting for you in your Instagram inbox, then this is the challenge for you, it’s going to be amazing because there are going to be 1000s of business owners from all over the world coming together to do this challenge together. It starts on October 8, you can sign up for free at Graham dash slam.com. You can find all of the details there. Make sure that you sign up because if you’re not signed up, you won’t be invited to get the challenge delivered straight to your inbox. We’re also going to have a pop up Facebook group, which I’m so freaking excited about. It’s going to be so much fun to hear from all of you to see how the challenge is going. And I think it’s going to be one of those things that is just super awesome and life changing. So definitely go and sign up if you haven’t already. And that’s it. Get back to enjoying this episode. Laura by the next question is a question that I think everyone has been asking you behind the scenes. Maybe not everyone but some people. What has it been like having your best friend as your boss, this one’s from Albie.
Laura Marston 34:46
Hi, Abby. So I just had to do that. This is a question that actually a lot of my personal friends and people who know us both have been asking me a lot because they think it’s kind of strange for all of a sudden my best friend Come my boss. And the answer to this is that I don’t. And this is gonna sound condescending, but I don’t see you as my boss, because at the end of the day, we complement each other so well that I feel like we’re really working as a team. We, again, we’re very communicative when things are going wrong. And so I don’t feel, and this is something that’s such a positive about working with you, it’s I don’t feel like ashamed or fearful to tell you that something is wrong, or that I’m feeling off about the way that we’re doing things, I feel like I can just be upfront and tell you right away, and then we find a very constructive way of fixing it. And same with you, I think that you’re able to tell me when something’s off, or when you’re not feeling like so here’s a behind the scenes thing, I create a lot of the scheduling, and a lot of the So on Monday, we’re gonna do this on Tuesday, we’re gonna do that. And Alex then goes and says on Monday, I don’t know if I want to do this. And then we have to rethink the whole schedule, day by day, which is totally fine. But again, it’s something that we’re able to talk about. And because we’re able to talk about it, it does not feel like I’m in a position that’s 100%, like, lower in a negative thing. I know, I’m lower in the scheme of things, but at the same time, I don’t feel like emotionally lower because we talk about everything in the business. And it seems it feels like to me that you have you want to know my opinion, and you want me to help out. And and I think it’s good because we’re trying to get to the stream together now. And it’s it’s feel supportive instead of kind of like a boss, employee type of situation. Yeah, and
Alex Beadon 36:36
I think Laura’s role is such that, like, we work very much hand in hand. So it really is like a team. It’s like, I don’t know, I feel like she’s my boss just as much as I’m her boss, if that makes sense. Like we’re both really just trying to create the best outcomes for the business and for our clients and for each other. And so, yeah, it’s, I feel like we’re very equal in that way.
Laura Marston 37:01
I think that one thing that I’m learning a lot from Alex is this whole, having a balance of work and life play, and it’s been fantastic for my boss to be as caring as my of my personal life as I should be. Because she’s the one that sometimes is like, Laura, we’ve worked enough, we need to stop swimming. Or Laura, you shouldn’t be swimming. FYI, guys, I should be swimming every Friday, and I haven’t done it since March. You guys should keep me accountable, accountable for that, hopefully, back to what I was saying is, she’s the one that’s able to say, we need to pause, we need to think about our balance of our you know, let’s let’s stop, Let’s meditate, let’s you know, jump around on a trampoline for 30 minutes before we can continue. That was something we did three years ago for feel good ballgame, by the way. Point is, is that it’s been a wonderful mix of her teaching me to be more flexible, and me teaching her to be more structured.
Alex Beadon 38:04
Amen to that, because Laura has brought my business so much structure, like, if you look at the way it’s structured now compared to it was before Laura joined, it’s like night and day. It’s and I still am so resistant for those of you who are not organized people like it’s so it’s like something that you need to adopt and really start to implement into your life. And it’s still difficult for me sometimes to like, do the things that I know are best or do the things that Laura has set out. But it’s been so fun, because I feel like I’ve learned so much about how to stay organized and what’s like she has organized things in ways I never would have even thought to organize things. I still mess it up. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, you did this. This makes so much sense. Wow. I never thought of doing it that way before. So that’s fun. Okay, the next question is, what is the most difficult thing about working with your bestie This one’s from there.
Laura Marston 38:54
So I think the most difficult thing that we’re finding is this idea of control. Alex has been part of the business or part of the business. She’s been in the business for eight years, and she has a very difficult time giving up control. And I keep telling her like the more things that I take off your plate, the more things you put on your plate, but you cannot be doing this because we need to get you to a space where you’re just solely being creative, so that you can really be the best in the content side of things. So give me the things that are administrative or backend or logistics and I can help you but it has been kind of like a tug of war of her giving me control and me showing her that I’m capable of doing it and I don’t think it’s because she doesn’t trust me or believe in me. I think it’s that she genuinely has trouble has problems with control.
Alex Beadon 39:48
You guys know this if you’ve been listening so this is definitely something that I struggle with. But I’m getting better. And I think I’m doing a better job of not adding things to my plate when I take things off my plate. I think when you’re on the couch scenario position and you’re in those beginning phases. It’s like you’re so used to being Go, go, go, go, go go, what’s next? What’s next? What’s next? What’s next that it’s almost weird to be like, oh, like, I actually don’t have to do that anymore. So yeah, we’re still adjusting. But we’re getting there. And it does get better. Like I would say, every two weeks, we get better and better. Do we ever fight or disagree? Sorry, I said that with very, a lot of contempt. We don’t fight. I don’t think we fought once since we’ve been in. In business. We disagree with each other sometimes. Like, sometimes it’s like, no, I don’t think that should be the subject line.
Laura Marston 40:37
Or are you sure you want to email again, which, on that note, in the New York City meetup, I got confirmation that sending out that last email to get RSVPs for our meetup was necessary, because someone said to me, that had it not been for that last email they wouldn’t have been able to join. So we’re learning together that sometimes she’s right. And sometimes I’m right. And it’s been a really fun time. It I don’t think, again, it goes all it always goes back to the fact that we’re able to communicate. So I think that if you’re looking for a team member, just make sure you’re able to communicate with them, because you will avoid a lot of disagreements and a lot of fights if you’re able to really constructively talk together without taking things personally.
Alex Beadon 41:19
Okay, I feel like we’ve we’ve done a lot of questions here. And we’re running out of time. So I’m going to skip the rest of those types of questions. I think we’ve answered everything pretty pretty well. We’re moving now into the organizational tips and tools, questions, so get excited. Someone wants to know, it’s Ali, how do you create an organized process when starting something new Laura,
Laura Marston 41:41
I think I start from the very end and go backwards. So let’s say for a video if the if the video is we want to create. Okay, I’m losing my mind here. Okay. So if the video is alright, we want to interview two different people in a New York City’s you know, Park location, put it out there, like come up with the concept first, whatever it may be, and then start route start thinking step by step what you need to do for that. So kind of break it up into Yeah, work backwards, break it up into into different things. So like for video location, what do you need for location, you need permissions from the park, you need to pay the park in order to work there, excetera, etc, etc, then the people you need to contact them you need to and write all of these steps down. So like work backwards, and make sure that you’re writing each step of the way. So like, I need to contact people. What does that entail? The next step, I need to actually email them I need to get release forms from them. I need to get bios and pictures from them, etc, etc.
Alex Beadon 42:48
Sorry to interrupt you. But this goes really well. So the other day I posted my Asana to do list and a bunch of you guys on Instagram Stories message me you were like, Oh my gosh, your to do list is so detailed. I would love to know, Laura, like is that something that you recommend? is having a super detailed to do list so that you know exactly what it is? Or is it better to have something more broad?
Laura Marston 43:07
No, I think I think the more details, the better. And sometimes you’re like but do I really need to put here read emails for an hour like maybe sometimes you do. Maybe you you are the type of person I mean, Alex is the type of person that needs that reminder. But maybe you’re the type of person that needs to see it in your task list in order to actually do it. Asana PS has been fantastic. I had no idea about this website before I started working with Alex. And it’s been absolutely fantastic. Because not only does it give you tasks in a checklist, which gives you like that, that like sense of like reward of like, Oh, I get to check it off when I’m finished. But you’re able to color code things from based on project. So this is one thing that I saw one of my first days working with Alex, it was like, okay, organize asana and I just looked at it. And I was like, oh, no, actually, no, let me rephrase that. It was kind of like, make sure that these tasks are on asana and I looked at the asana project. So basically, you’re able to in Asana, you’re able to create projects, and then put tasks in those projects. So let’s say for us, we have Instagram podcast, Grand Slam, that’s those are three projects. And from there, you can do checklists. I was not able to spend, I wasn’t even able to input tasks into Asana until I organized Asana because that’s how my mind works. It was like, unless it’s organized, I can’t move forward, I just cannot move forward. So I spent my first full day here, deleting projects that had that made absolutely no sense grouping projects. Before it was something like, All right, we have Grand Slam marketing, Grand Slam, customer service, grand slam this grand slam dunk, and it became so broad like so two specific actually. So now back to your other question. Maybe some things do have to be more broad, and we grouped them all together. We organize Asana, we color coded everything which it took Alex three months to realize that all the projects were color coded.
Alex Beadon 44:57
I just realized like literally two days ago I was like wait is Second, these are color coded. That’s amazing. I thought there was just like random colors.
Laura Marston 45:05
But that being said, I do think that a task list that’s very organized and very detailed is a positive thing. I think that even if it, if you hate doing it, try it out, try doing a task list, a daily task, like a task list and sticking to it, and see how that helps you with your organization.
Alex Beadon 45:24
Okay, the next question is, how do you keep track of multiple things with deadlines so close together?
Laura Marston 45:30
This one, I’m going to have to say, unfortunately, as my personality, I’m able to have in my mind, many different things and still be able to keep track of them. If you’re having trouble with this, again, I would go back to writing things down, do not put things just do not leave things just in your mind, use the calendar calendars are your best friend. So start from that, again, work, work backwards. If you have deadlines, put the deadline in the calendar and then start going back and be like what has to happen two days before a week before a month before in order to make this happen. And keep track of your calendar, count your calendar and your task list are two things that you should be looking at, at the very beginning of your workday to make sure that you’re not forgetting anything, because it’s that it will be so easy to let things slip by if you have not written them down your mind is capable of many things. But remembering every little like thing that needs to happen for multiple projects is not one of them. I can tell you.
Alex Beadon 46:28
So I have a question on the back of that, which is a lot of times I recommend Asana to people because I think it’s the best thing ever because to have it all systematized not just that when I started using Asana before Asana I was using like pen and paper. And that was a disaster because then you have to write down your to dues like every single day. And it’s just like, what it’s it’s a mess. Whereas at least if it’s in Asana, literally all you have to do is change the due date if you haven’t done something the day before. So do you think that it’s possible for people who are just using pen and paper to like, totally be organized? I guess I know, it’s possible. But would you recommend going over to something like Asana? Or do you think it’s just like,
Laura Marston 47:05
No, I think it’s personality, I think different people will have different ways of organizing, organizing themselves. Someone could it could be on their notes on their phone, someone could be pen and paper, someone could have it. I used to have it on, you know what I actually used to do. Every time I had something to do this is personally more than professionally, but I will email myself and I will not read that email until I’ve done it and having unread emails. To me, this is a whole other thing that we could talk about. Having unread emails to me is horrible. It like sticks to my mind that there’s unread emails, and therefore, I want to do the tasks because I want to read the email. And so it’s like something like get contact lenses, which has been on my email list for like a week. I know I have to do it. But that only works if you actually read your emails. PS when I started, Alex had something like 4000 unread emails, and I was gonna go crazy. So I got it down to 25. So that’s fantastic. But point is that different ways work for different people. So try different things and see if something’s not working. If it’s not, if you’re not sticking to it, then move to the next task, use a monthly planner or weekly planner or Trello Trello also could work really well. That’s another website.
Alex Beadon 48:17
Yeah, I think the important thing is to just find something that works for you. But to find something like find a system and stick to it and don’t just be all willy nilly, because that never works. Okay. Stephanie wants to know, how do you manage working together virtually? What are the pros and cons? And do you have any tools that you’d recommend?
Laura Marston 48:35
So one of the things that I think has helped us a lot that we’ve done was implement a weekly, very flexible but weekly schedule. So basically, I made it so that Alex works on administrative things on Monday, on creative things on Tuesday on podcast things on Wednesday, on interviews on Thursdays and on evergreen grandslam Facebook ads on Friday, this again, this is very flexible, and it switches day to day because of our priorities. But by doing that, I’ve now virtually I’m able to say like oh, okay, so I’m going to accept this interview request. I know to put it on a Thursday, or Oh, Alex needs to create this video. I mean, I know how to put it on a Tuesday. So it’s that’s help that’s been helping us create a systematized way of working together without me always having to ask her like when is when is the best time for you to do this, at the same time, like being able to work. So the things that we use the most, again, are asana and slack. So being able to always talk on Slack and like just stay up to date has been fantastic. The last thing that I’d recommend, whether you’re a group of two or 15 people is having a weekly production meeting on Mondays. We started it and then we stopped at one our team started getting smaller, but I think we’re going to try implementing it again. Just making sure that everyone on your team is up to date. It can be a 15 minute catch up call on Mondays, virtually, but make sure that everyone’s on The same page.
Alex Beadon 50:01
Yeah, we also talk every single day, which I think is key, like you need to be in constant communication, especially when you’re working together so closely. For those of you who don’t know, Slack, well that Laura just mentioned, it’s pretty much just like a an organized chats room with like, you can have different projects, you can talk about different things in there. And it’s quite organized, but it’s pretty much like a chat area. This is where I’m Stephanie, I think I know the answer to this question. What is your favorite organizational tool and why?
Laura Marston 50:33
I mean, I don’t want to say Asana, but it at this point, it is asana and but I want to think so I guess the My Favorite organizational tool, I would say is just checklists. And that can be manifested in any way if it’s a planner, Asana or post its, but just definitely keeping a checklist to keep you accountable.
Alex Beadon 50:59
This one’s from Ali, she said, What are your best words of advice for someone to become organized if they can’t afford to hire anything out yet.
Laura Marston 51:07
So I’m gonna give you guys just because I want to a personal organization tip. Always, when you’re walking around your house, grab something to take to like, let’s say something’s out of place. So if there’s a cup on the living room table, that should be in the kitchen. When you’re walking out of that room, bring it from the living room to the dining room table and drop it off at the dining room table. And the next time that you walk past the dining room table and grab it and take it to the kitchen. So always see, like, on your way of doing other things, what you could be doing at the same time, just to keep your house organized. I know that’s not what you were asking me. But that’s just a personal tip from me to you. If you’re not able to organize it to hire someone, immediately, I think systems find systems that work for you. Again, it could be a checklist, it could be a program, it could be voice noting yourself to to be like, don’t forget this. Don’t forget that. But it just has to be things that you will actually work with, and you will actually do.
Alex Beadon 52:07
Yeah, that was a great tip. And she told me that tip when she came to visit me about going from one room to the other. And when I remember to do it, it really makes a big difference. When I remember, okay, Holly wants to know, how do you manage your work and life balance. I have an almost two year old who takes up all of my time, but everyone else seems to have kids and balance while working from home. FYI, just a disclaimer it Laura and I do not have kids. Laura has a puppy now. So that’s good. Look at look at her she’s running in her sleep. So take it away, Laura.
Laura Marston 52:40
I’m work life balance. I think this is one of the things that I fear, most honestly about my future I want I’ve known from when I was very little that the thing that I will probably be the best at is being a mother. And I dreamed about being a mother and I can’t wait for it. But at the same time, there’s always that fear that you won’t be able to do it all. And I think what in the end comes down to it is I think one of the hopes for me working with Alex is that if we’re able to create this wonderful work from home kind of lifestyle, then it’s easier for me, especially in New York City to have kids and to have the type of lifestyle that it is. This is totally different because it’s a puppy. But one of the things that I’ve been doing with Zara just this week is she actually has a playpen that she works, that she that she’s in while I’m working so that she learns to entertain herself. I mean, obviously, this is not a tip for kids, but but at least trying to find ways that that to segment your personal and professional life. So whether that’s hiring a babysitter to come and work for the two hours that you’re able to hire them. So you focus 100%, on, on work, and then you focus 100% on your kids might be the way to do it. But it’s just finding ways to be able to segment things. Try not to mix them. Because sometimes mixing it just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you can be working and taking care of your kids or your puppy. Maybe it’s some it’s finding kind of like Alright, I’m gonna go to a coffee shop for two hours. While they’re at their, you know, flute classes, that’s a really random thing, piano classes. And I’m going to focus solely on work for those two hours. So, again, sorry, I don’t have kids, but I’m hoping that that’s something that I can achieve in the future i i would suggest you guys giving me tips anyone who has them for my future,
Alex Beadon 54:39
I recommend a podcast by my friend Nikki Elledge, Brown called the naptime empires. I think she talks a lot about what it’s like to be a mom and an entrepreneur, and how you’re trying to like do everything. Definitely check that out. But I think you answered the question. Well, and Laura has been a genius with this puppy because I used to have a dog and I was on elegant enough to get a playpen like this. It’s so smart because it keeps her in one little area. Okay. So two people messaged in and they wanted to know what your tips were about creating Facebook audiences, because they know that that is something that you do. So do you have any tips for creating good Facebook audiences? I know the other day you said he watched an entire video about it, where you were hoping to learn a lot about Facebook audiences. And you realize that some of the things that guy said were off, so anything you can share with everyone would be greatly appreciated.
Laura Marston 55:33
So the number one thing I’ve been doing with the Facebook ads is really honing into what our target audiences and the funny thing is that the more you do Facebook ads, the more you know who the Facebook ads are work, or, like, who’s converting well, so for example, I started quite general. And then day by day, I’ve been kind of taking things off these audiences. So I started with males and females and then realize males are not converting. So I took the males off, I started with all English speaking countries. And then I started taking away the countries that weren’t converting well, Ireland, for example, not converting well. Point is, is that I started sorry, I started from from a much more broad audience to more specific, and I think that the more that you do it, you can look at it day by day and say like, alright, the ages 46 to 75, are not working so well for us. So let’s soul these stick to this. And the more that you’re able to then narrow down your audience is better, what the one thing that I was learning from that video that Alex was talking about is that the person was saying, start with very specific audiences so that you only have 5000 people so that they convert better, but honestly, bigger audiences have been working better for us. And I think it’s because it’s easier to sell to the many than to the few when you don’t know exactly who it is. But by doing this, I’ve started with a with a sample size of 2 million, and I’ve gotten down to maybe 20,000. Because I’ve every day I’ve been able to say like, okay, California is better than Washington state, for example, I don’t actually know if that’s true, but and then take away states. So at this point, I’m not even in the US, I’m doing it by states, I’m not doing it by actual like the full us. And I think in the future, I’ll even start doing cities instead of states. My other tip would be to really pay attention to the time of day that you are putting your Facebook ads at. So I started doing a 24 hour cycle and then realizing that, like, if it’s the US, no one’s gonna buy at six in the morning or not buy but convert at six in the morning. And actually Facebook, I would suggest highly downloading the app for your iPhone, or for Android. I’m sure it exists in Android too. But it’s been a lot better, because it shows you a lot of the little statistics. So it shows you like what time people are buying or converting. And you’re then able to say like, okay, it’s better if I turn on my Facebook ads starting at 10:50am and turn it off at midnight, then have it running all 24 hours. So just really look into the statistics that Facebook actually provides for you. Because it’s actually a fantastic source of information to go from there. And then really cater it to yourself, like have two different Facebook ads running one that only runs at nighttime so that people in Australia or in London can buy can convert. And on the other side is the other one just works for the US. So just really try to use their statistics and find a way that works for you.
Alex Beadon 58:32
I loved your answer. That was awesome. Okay, the next question is from Diane, what is the one thing you do when you wake up?
Laura Marston 58:41
Oh, gosh, I am horrible at all these like, morning rituals that everyone talks about. I mean, I know I should drink a glass of water. Do my gratitudes I know I should stretch and I don’t do anything to be totally and completely honest. The first thing I do is listen to the annoying alarm clock and I’d probably from there try to start waking up my husband that is probably the thing I do in the mornings. And then from there, I drive myself shower, and I’ve been stretching in the shower and doing my gratitudes in the shower. I think the shower is a really great way to have a moment to yourself. But honestly, I’m really bad with all the morning things that I’ve been trying to implement them because I know that they’re very beneficial to my mental health.
Alex Beadon 59:26
Laura also has the best shower, just sign. I love taking showers in her shower. Okay, so we went through most of your questions. I skipped some of them because a few of them were already answered in the answers to the other questions. Laura, is there anything that you would like everyone to know or something that you’d like to share that maybe we didn’t talk about or a question that you wish had been asked?
Laura Marston 59:52
I don’t think so. I guess this was not as scary as I thought it would be to be honest and I just want to share that. That It can be intimidating for me to think about how many people might listen to this. And I hope that I don’t you know, I didn’t ramble on that you guys actually enjoyed this. But I think I think we were able to provide, you know, really nice answers. And this is like a huge milestone for me that I’m actually able to put myself out there in this way. So I just wanted to say thanks, and really know that it’s meaningful to me that you’re allowing me to talk to you.
Alex Beadon 1:00:25
You’re so cute. And that was a good thing to say. Because I think a lot of people, even me, like I was telling Laura, I still struggle when I’m wearing now. Like, I think this is episode 24. Every time I listen to the episodes, especially guest interviews, I get super self conscious, and it’s really hard to hear myself. But when you do it, it’s not so bad. So that’s good. So that’s just a reminder to everyone. Also, I realized I use Laura’s old last name, she just got married last month. So it is Laura Marston everyone putting that out there. That’s the name that we’re gonna be having at the front of this podcast. I just realized, thank you guys so much for listening. Laura has one more thing to say.
Laura Marston 1:01:07
On that same note, I just wanted to thank everyone for all of your wonderful well wishes for my wedding. And for my dog. It’s been really, really wonderful and kind of strange to be getting so many beautiful messages from people that I don’t really necessarily know. But it’s been giving me a lot of insight into this wonderful community that the online world can be.
Alex Beadon 1:01:26
Yay. Thank you for listening. And definitely go and check out Laurel at Lau 43 on Instagram. Send her some love. Let her know if you enjoyed this episode posted to your stories. This is episode 24 of on purpose with Alex Beadon and we’d love to hear from you guys. Enjoy the rest of your week. And we will talk to you guys again soon. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. If you enjoyed it, I would love for you to get me a shout out on your Instagram story or anywhere. Just letting me know what your biggest takeaway was. You guys have no idea how helpful and useful it is for me. When you messaged me telling me what your aha moments were telling me what it is that you took away from the podcast. It helps me understand what is most valuable to you. And it helps me understand how I can be of the highest service to you. So if you could take two minutes to do that, I would really appreciate it. Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope to hear from you over on Instagram. You can find me at Alex Beadon and I will talk to you again very soon. Bye
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