May 24, 2023
Donna Loughlin - Embracing Your Sliding Door Moment

If you are a believer in the old adage when one door closes, another one opens , this is the conversation for you! Donna Loughlin is the founder of LMG PR, a strategic public relations firm that helps futurists and innovators...

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If you are a believer in the old adage when one door closes, another one opens, this is the conversation for you! 

Donna Loughlin is the founder of LMG PR, a strategic public relations firm that helps futurists and innovators move their businesses forward by bringing their unique stories to life. 

In this episode, you’ll hear how getting laid off from a successful corporate career during a recession opened a door of opportunity for Donna that ultimately put her on the entrepreneurial path that launched her public relations agency.

Donna recounts starting her career in journalism reporting business, economics, and technology news at large media organizations, moving from news reporting to public relations, and the life-changing reality check she experienced after being laid off from her executive job during a recession. 

Donna describes figuring out her next move after being laid off, following the signs that guided her toward her “sliding door moment” launching her PR agency, hiring her first team members from the talent-rich pool of stay-at-home moms, and balancing her business with being a mom. 

Donna shares how she grew her agency and differentiated it in the market, her process for creating the “narrative story engine”  for her clients, and the 3 common threads she sees among the innovators and disruptors she’s worked with. 

Finally, Donna reveals how her definition of growth has changed over the years, why it’s important to be selective as a business owner, and the big misconception people have about being a business owner that doesn’t match up with reality. 

Skip to Topic:
1:13 - Working as a news reporter for big media companies
4:30 - Making the shift from news reporter to public relations
5:44 - Getting laid off to landing $50K in new projects in 1 day
10:19 - Discovering an untapped talent resource in stay-at-home moms
12:36 - Becoming known for a niche, differentiation in the market, and global expansion
16:00 - Working with innovative clients in emerging markets
18:17 - Creating a “narrative story engine” for innovators
23:57 - 3 Common threads in the stories of innovators
30:39 - How Donna approaches growth in her agency
33:55 - Being selective about opportunities as a business owner

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Donna's podcast Before It Happened:

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Welcome to the Real People Real Business Show.My name is Stephanie Hayes, and I'm a business strategist who helps experienced business owners design asset-based business models that set them up for growth and exit.I love to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories and the gritty details on how they've navigated their own way through.On this show, you won't hear about the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online, and you won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks.Instead, you can expect to hear real,vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to that have helped create the foundation for each of our.Guests businesses Today, I am so excited to welcome Donna Loughlin.Donna is the founder of LMG PR and known for her work with futurists and Innovators.She has launched more than 500companies, taking them from stealth to market leaders.Since forming her agency in 2002, she's also the host of, Before It Happened,a leading narrative podcast featuring visionaries and the moments, events and realizations that inspired them to change their lives for the better.Donna excels in the realm of storytelling and uses those skills to propel new companies into the mainstream.Welcome to the show, Donna, and thanks so much for taking the time to tell your story today.Yeah, absolutely.Thank you for having me.I can't wait to hear everything.So start from the beginning.How did you end up where you are right now?Wow.Well, it started pretty young.You know, most this time of year the Girl Scouts are out selling cookies and I was a girl scout and I did sell cookies alongside my sisters.But, and around that same age, I was working at the family business publishing and printing business,and I was somewhat of a little, I'm gonna say Nancy Drew investigator.Because I thought I was an investigative reporter alongside my uncles, and it was just a really beautiful landscape for learning about printing, publishing,editorial, and news reporting.And so from there, You there?I took the real path of getting,you know after high school went and studied journalism and and had a, a minor in economics.My, my father definitely wanted me to have something to fall back on, you know, so to speak.And so also gave me a topic, so ultimately, My first reporting jobs, were working in business seg segment of, of major papers.I, I did internships at the Washington Post in DC I did an internship.At the Chicago Tribune.And then I worked in the World, world for Reuters now Thompson Reuters as a news reporter studying business basically reporting on business economics and eventually technology.And then I had a short stint out of the country working for the B B C and doing the opposite reporting on things that are all things in America, but back in the uk.And so that was kind of my tour duty.Literally it was like, Very,you know, lived in a nap sack constantly on the road.Didn't, couldn't have a dog,couldn't have a cat, any, any pets or anything that required me, you know, to be home a great deal of time.But it did give me kind of the, the experience that I needed to ultimately,You know, get eventually a desk job,which is very uncommon in the editorial world, but brought me back that entire tour tour brought me back to the San Francisco Bay area where I grew up and got my master's degree, and then jumped really deep into the technology sector as you do in the San Francisco Bay area.Yeah, I mean, it's one of the agriculture is, is still a huge impact and an economic power.But technology, you know, would be in the convergence of technology and agricultural, you know, is something that's been happening.You know, lately in the last10 years, we're seeing more of that convergence happening.So kind of like back to old school,when I grew up on the Apricot,you know, ranch and there was.Miles and miles of, of cherry orchards and walnut and, and vineyards.A lot of that's gone away from the immediate Silicon Valley.But it's interesting that the convergence of the two worlds have meeting again and that's pretty exciting to see.So you were involved in, and you know, in just immersed in the technology world and in reporting,and then when did the agency develop.Yeah, so I was on the independent side for about prior being to 10, 10years working for other companies.I had no clue what I was doing when I started to tech, to be honest with you.I was a, I was a reporter and got recruited to work in public relations, and it was the opposite of what I thought I'd ever be doing.And, and a lot of editors will, will say that as well.It's like, oh, the dark side.But what I found is the people that I was going to be working with also came from the journalism side.So to be a good public relations communication, cater, you need to, you know, be right, well, you need to speak well, and you also need to be a good problem solver.And so the, the team that I joined, they had all those ingredients plus more.And so once I realized that I didn't need to be the expert on technology, that the engineers and the founders and the.And the the innovators were the experts.I just needed to help kind of carve out their stories.So I did that for 10 years with various companies.And then my real raw story, and I like to call it my, my Dave's Killer Bread story.I dunno if you're familiar with Dave's Killer Bread, but I think it's a really great product.But when you read the label and you go online and you read a story and you go, oh my gosh, what a story.If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it and look it up,but, He was literally a hardened criminal, went to prison, but when he went back to his family roots speaking bread, I don't bake bread.So my raw story was I took a job.With a company.I left a, a nice vice president of com corporate communications position.I took a job with a smaller competitor.They threw a lot of money at me and they threw a big opportunity.And I had been at the other company for about almost four years.So I got wooed.I was, they corded over joined and within three months they lost their funding.Oh.And when you lose your venture capital funding, that's not a good thing,which not only meant myself, but the 300, some employees that were at this, this early stage company,were all going to be laid off.They gave me a severance package.They really didn't owe me one, to be honest, and hadn't been there terribly long.Other people had been there for several years.I was delighted cuz it was 2002.We were in a recession.The economy was just coming out of bubble.It was not a good time to be, be let go.And I remember walking to my car with the check that they gave me for the three month severance going, I need to last size this.This really was a reality check, right?This is not just check.It's a reality check.I need to last size this.I'm going to go deposit it the bank.But when I got in the car, I had another quick inkling, which was, it's like crap.What am I gonna do?I am so, you know, programmed to go to work and to, you know, work, you know, smart and, and, and five days a week and sometimes six days a week.It's just was in my d n a I love work.I, same way, I love being a student, but I just, you know, put everything into it.And so before I can even think about the disappointment and fear and uncertainty, I literally just started driving to the business license office in Silicon Valley, not really knowing exactly what I was going to do.And I remember glancing before I started the car, I opened up my purse.I had my phone at a half charge.I said, I better charge my phone and make some phone calls along the way.And then I looked at my wallet and I had $5.I had more than $5 to my name,but I only had $5 in my wallet.And I think at the point I was thinking,should I go get a cup of coffee?Should I stop by Starbucks?Should I go see a friend?Nope.I just drove something, just told me to drive, and it was about maybe seven miles to the business license office,and I think I had 30 minutes before they closed and I got there on the way I called a venture capitalist that I knew.From a prior company that I worked for,I called an editor that I trusted and knew for some time, and I called one of my former employers, not the one.I left a prior one, and by the time I got to the business office and parked and it's funny, ironic parking, it was $5.So they got my $5 in my pocket.I go into the business license office and I see this literally, it looked like a manifesto of all the different types of business and the codes,and I scanned it and I thought, you don't really know, like I'm not an EL salon, I'm not a auto mechanic.I'm not this.They really didn't have anything that was.Public relations or marketing specific.It was just consultants services.And so I had a conversation with the woman and she was very nice, but while sh I was talking to her and filling out the form,my phone started ringing and the people that called in the car that I didn't reach immediately were all calling back saying, great, I'm glad you're available.I have a project for you.By the time I left the license,getting my license filling, not my form, and in walking out I had three.Projects and my value all of a sudden went up to $15,000.And you mentioned, you know, this is not a, a, a podcast about a hundred thousand dollars, six figures and six weeks.I was just el, you know, elated because I'm like, I feel like I'm valued, right?I, I felt self worth, like I actually had something to do tomorrow by the time I woke up the next day.Cause I made a few more phone calls on the way home.I'd gone up to $50,000 in projects,and that's what I realized.I am not looking back in the rear view mirror.Something was saying the door swung open and I needed to see seize the opportunity.The other thing that was happening in that period of time because of the recession, is that there were a lot of people that were unemployed or had been unemployed already, and that also meant that there was a lot of available talent.And there were a lot of working moms that were no longer doing job share that were home.So within the first 90 days, I tapped into, went to Craigslist.At the time Craigslist was like the place to go find talent and went to Craigslist and posted an ad that I was looking for part-time media relations, writing help.And my first two team members were stay-at-home moms with young kids that couldn't work full-time, but they were available about 15 to 20 hours a week, and they were with me for more than 10 years.That's about the time that I think, I remember thinking quite a bit about that too,thinking, gosh, this is an untapped resource of these, these talented, educated,amazing women who are still.Unable to find meaningful work because,you know, they've had children or they're part-time and they, they,they're not willing to, you know,jeopardize that relationship with their kids.Right?Yeah, absolutely.Well, and to kind of go from, now I'm starting my quote, little infant business, right of literally off my dining table and within the next18 months, I adopted two children.And then I thought, wow, I really don't know how to balance all this.At least I thought I knew, cuz you know, I wasn't a mother, but the fact that I had other women working with me that were mothers, they already had those skills down packed.And so we, we had a little bit of a joke that, that my agency name is Laughlin Michael's Group, L M G.Our joke was, it was Loving Mother's good pr, but it really stands for leadership, momentum and growth.I love that.And I, you know, the, those little cultural things inside of these organizations is really what has always made startups so interesting to me.You know, they, they, they build a really, really firm culture within, and that's what keeps, you know,everybody sort of in momentum.So you build your team, you've found the opportunity, and then what happened?So by the time I got to 2010,there were about 10 of us.So we went from being kind of a cottage home-based business to a, a boutique agency, and we were working on The time.Cybersecurity was a really big topic.It's still a big problem and it's a big topic, but we were, we were known as being the cybersecurity agency.Like if you wanted anyone to work on cybersecurity and, and your deep data center infrastructure, you, you called us.I, there were a lot of.Bigger agencies, but that was our specialty.And over time, security got immersed into other products.So in, into our homes under iot, ot, and to our cars, right?Smart cars, smart homes.So our, we started differentiating and expanding ourself out more.We started having c clients that were outside of the San Francisco Bay area in, in Europe and South America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Australia.So within the first 10 years it was pretty exciting.It was also heck of scary at the same time because all of a sudden, you know,I have these young children that are in elementary school and then I have this other family that my, my work family that I was responsible for as well.And so, Having, being able to have, constantly have an eye out looking for business.A lot of our business and, and still to this day is referral based.It comes from venture capitalists or prior Clients that we worked with.Sometimes we have clients that are kind of re, you know, repeat business, but it, it was fostered in a whole other set of, we wanna talk about, you know,reality is that at the time, reality TV shows were really booming and, and having the safety network of your team and knowing that I wasn't doing it alone, you know, was really rewarding.Also being able to be empathetic to our clients, knowing that I was that person with $5 and a half a tank of gas and started my business.And our, a lot of our, our emerging earlier clients were facing that same scenario.Do I downgrade the dog to a cat?Do I mortgage my house?Do I sell my car?I mean, I could really, I, I could really relate to them.So important, and I think a lot of small businesses serving small businesses, it's, it's a almost a perfect scenario because you've got.You know, that understanding.And I think when you see you know,I've been in boutique consulting agencies and I've owned my own boutique consulting agency that is serving big corporate,and there's an element of that for sure, that where, where those two can work.But I love that, that synergy of being a small startup and understanding that you're serving small startups, sometimes bigger, I'm sure, but that that sort of alignment is really important, isn't it?Yeah, well we worked with in a number in, in, in, in, in this last year as well, publicly traded companies as well.And we do a lot of company launches and bringing comp products to market.But we've also helped companies go through i p o, so that oscillates and changes to textures, that things very quickly.And then we've had companies that we were so good at where we, what we did,they got acquired and then it's like, oh.Why did, why were we so brilliant with that?Right?And, and so now fast forward 20 years looking back at our portfolio and where we've, where, you know, the,all the places we can go and Dr.Seuss's, my, one of my favorite books is I.They just kind of imagine the, the possibilities.If I look back on the types of clients that we were working with when I first started and where we are now, we're working with autonomous,working artificial intelligence,we're working with robotics, we're working with, you know, electric vehicles, tractors, electric cars,electric motorcycles, and, and the.The need to, you know, have the backend understanding of how deep learning and insights in security and intelligence, all these things over time have all just continued to converge, which keeps it exciting.And also, you know, working with.You know, with the entrepreneurial and really understanding, you know, the,the legacy of where they've come from,there is a lot of fear in, in creating,you know, leaving your corporate job.I spoke to somebody recently and they left, you know, their, their job at Boeing, a very secure aerospace engineering position.To create his own, his own business, to follow his passion.And I think that's, you know, very important.I followed my passion at the time when I happened.I didn't know.That's exactly, I never, if you had told me you're gonna start your business in TW 2002, I'm like,no, I wanna do three more IPOs.You know, I, I really, I, I enjoyed working in, you know, hands on in the corporate world, but I, I had that experience and I, I think I just kinda need to that shove.Yeah, it's always, that's always it,isn't it?Like we, maybe we're not quite mentally there yet or haven't made the decision that something happens and then you just go,like, I started up my first business a month before I gave birth to my first kid.I mean, like, that's not ideal, but it just, wow.It's just, that's a double infant starter.Oh, listen.Yeah, we could have a whole other episode on that.So you've, you've been running the agency and you are also creating like a platform for the disruptors.For the innovators.Tell me a little bit more about that.Yeah, I, it's really comes down to what I call the narrative story engine.It's kind of funny cuz I love cards.Like, my joke is I, I like slow food and fast cars and I, I have worked with a lot of transportation.The narrative story engine basically is, I.A dashboard for creating stories.And so our goal is for, is not to be press release dependent,but to actually create stories.So common stories are the founders stories.The, you know, the, there's lots of product stories, David and Goliath, purpose-driven stories.But what we do is go through the process and look for every case scenario.Right.So, and that requires going through a discovery process.Sometimes I've been talking to, you know, a, an innovator and they're just so passionate about what they're bringing to market and they have their PhDs and they just have all this lab experience, but you gotta take 'em all the way back to their childhood.Cuz I wanna know when that curiosity first happened.Was it in, you know, was it, you know, with, with a, a robotic spur,were they playing with Legos or.Whether they read a book or what, or was it a, you know, did they have some mentor?And really understanding what that is.And they, and it's no different for men or women.There's no gender driven stories.Sometimes there, there are, I, I find with, when I work with women that maybe like myself, I, I, I went, math was considered kind of gender-based,so like, what is gender-based math?I was told I couldn't be in the boys' math class.And I thought that was ludicrous.And now today you see what kids are doing in with STEM education and there's the boundaries are just, there are no boundaries.Right.And it's unlimited.But taking them, you know, discovery process and really exploring exactly some of the things that I call your kind of your unique thumb prep.So what's unique to you?We're all born with a story,whether we like it or not.Our, our, you know, I always like to say we're, we're all born naked but we all have a story that comes with that from our family, from our zip code,the surrounding areas, the environment.But then as we start e evolving, we start getting influenced by other things.And that's could be education, it could be pop, you know popular culture, the city,the country, the state that you live in.And be honest with you, until I started sitting down and writing my own book,I don't think I fully even understood my full story that I, that I, I started to share with you, which was when I was a kid, how important that was,how, how much that influenced me.And so my authentic origin story is very unique.Most people who run a PR agencies didn't studied journalism English for some liberal arts, and they likely they would, you know, journalism or they went straight into pr.But the fact that I actually walked in to nationally acclaimed media houses with a resume when I was 18, then I had, I had10 years experience was not the norm.No, I would say not.It was not the norm.The fact, yeah, it was not the norm.So the discovery process is really important.The other is to look at all the elements outside the things you can control.So when a, when you look at a company,you look at the company assets, the people through IP and all those components,you look at the product and you look at, you have to look at the competition because that could challenge you.And you also have to look at the trends and things that are happening.So, In in the.Example in the autonomous harwell, the a d a S world in which is a big market.A few years ago that really wasn't a trend story, but it's a really big trend story now, and there's lots to talk about it.And I think it's because there's more reality and, and, and companies like Tesla have made it more tangible for people to be able to say, oh,okay, that car, you know, it's Smart Card has these capabilities.10 years ago, it wasn't a trending story.And so my job is to help kind of thread those, look for those stories,and then we have to make sure once we create those, those types of stories,that they have some agility to it.Because without having, you know, I'm gonna say the elastic pants elasticity to them the story might get a little tight or it might get a little old and then you have to, you know,kind of revisit and re embellish it.And, you know, so for example,you know, founder's story doesn't have all the working components until the product or service ships.And when the product and service ships, then you have to keep an eye on everything that's related to that.And so, to me, it's a lot of fun.It's, you know, it's, it's not just a one size fits all scenario.It's each.Company and each founder and innovator has their own unique story, and it's really about bringing that to life.I love that you talk about the people, right?And I think that that's what's always been really interesting to me too, is you know, everybody we have on the show is.A business owner, it's in some way or another, and they are all very different people, but I feel like there's potentially a thread that is common amongst anyone who's willing to take, to take this on and go the distance and persevere and what have you.So have you noticed,or can you pull out of all of the stories that you've,you know, been involved in?What, what are the threads of these, of these disruptors?What are, what's common amongst them?Well, there's, there's a common thread of just being bold and fearless.I think, you know, you have to, you,you have to really have passion or purpose or be able to like, leave your job right, and leave that safety net of, of having, you know, a paycheck.I think the other is, The ability to wanna change, you know, solve a problem.So the problem solving component,so Damon Motors as an example, is an electric high performance motorcycle.The founder of the company is an average snowboarder and was working in the Whistler area of Canada and.He saw the news and you know, about the,the fu the, the, the fuel feuds that were happening in the, in the Middle East and continued to happen to this day, right?He thought, well, what can I do to change that?And that wasn't his, you know,his expertise, but it became his passion and his drive.It ultimately working in the transportation ev space, and then eventually establishing a, a motorcycle company.And so that particular moment in time, that snapshot when someone says, I think I need to fix this.And so I've seen that over and over and over again.Another great example is I work with night scope crime fighting robots who are autonomous dated machines and they help law enforcement and city municipalities reduce crime.The.CEO and co-founder of the company.He came from Ford Automotive.He didn't know anything about crime.He was a, he was a transportation automotive guy, but when he teamed with someone else who came from the law enforcement side, who the two of them actually had all the collective d n a that you could to bring this pro,solve this problem and bring the product to market, but it was because of the shootings in schools, particularly the Sandy Cook shooting that they realized.Somebody needs to do something and we have the call to do it.And sometimes I think we all, we think about, when I was talking about doors swing open, you're thinking, why didn't that door just swing open for me?Right.Have you ever had that moment where an opportunity's presented to you and you just meet somebody in such a random place and you're just not quite sure?Was this an opportunity or was this like a, you know, sliding door moment?And I think that's one of the things that I see constantly with the, the visionary's passion is that they, they, they have these moments or these glimpses into like, the future and they wanna change.So agent of change and,and tackling a big problem.I think the third one is, is just this unstoppable, relentless, but humble approach to tackling that problem.That you can't have an ego and,and slay dragons at the same time.You just do it.Oh, I love that.I, that's,that's the quote of the day.You can't have an ego in slide dragons at the same time.Awesome.Well, I, I used to have this theory in in particular, you know, people are constantly showing me their, their gadgets and I'm like, do I need that?Do I want that?I'm actually kind of a late adopter.I like to wait to see things kind of, you know, iron themself out and let the price drop.And, you know, I get that from my father cuz you know, it was like, dad, can't we get it?You know a video recorder back when they were like the rage,no wait till prices dropped.And every year the Consumer Electronics Show is, is literally like a, is like a, a toy store for all these consumer electronics, but for me it's like,okay, just wait for the price to drop.I think the other thing that I'm excited about is that you know, women in such, you know, like yourself,like you went out on your own and you created your business, and I did too.There's.Fear of women that, that venture out to do that.But I think they're, I think the next generation, the, the generation Z, my daughter's generation is, they seem to be more, more fearless than even some of the millennials than I work.And I think generationally there might be some nuances there.I, it's kind of a wait and see and I don't wanna trivialize anything, but I,I think it has to do with the fact that.The kids that are going going, that are in college, that are coming out, that are in the, you know, the, the Z era,they were the ones that have always been connected and always had access to STEM related activities after school, robot programs and computers and, and more.And I say just more access.More access.Access.We have access as well as, you know, not just access, but access.And I think as, as a parent, it's really important to set some parameters and, and boundaries of what's acceptable and what's not acceptable.I mean, I didn't allow my kids to go All you can eat buffet, you know?Searches and, and TikTok and Snapchat and that stuff.But by the time they got to teenage, teenage years, it was a little harder to control.Totally.And I think that that comes down to the, the age old question around, you know, what,what are you, are you policing them or are you educating them?And I, I think that's the, you know,I, I remember, you know, that sort of tur tipping point with my kids where I realized that it, I'm no longer here to.Tell them what to do.I'm here to keep them safe.And if they don't keep themselves safe, then I'll step in and tell them what to do.Right.And so, yeah, well, smart and safe.Right.And that was my message to my kids was you need to be smart and safe.And I remember, I.Fainted.When I saw that my daughter created a Instagram account and she put her first name and her last name and her address,a physical address of where we lived.And I'm like, you can't do that.And it wasn't, it was, you know, it was out there and I said, what's the password?She couldn't remember the password.I said, we need to get this down.It took me a bit to, to make it happen, but I, I think, you know,going that, In the world of, you know, constantly being connected.It's so, it's okay to be unplugged.I have to unplug and I think that's important.I had this conversation with a founder a couple weeks ago and I said, when was the last time you unplugged?You gonna remember, was he even during the holiday season?He wasn't unplugged.The other one I have is look up, look above the waist, look up the world.There's amazing things that are happening so changing taxes a little bit in your own business, cuz you're a business owner, what has worked for you or what has growth meant for you?It's changed.I think now the most important thing for me is, is choices and being able to choose the right business based on.The opportunity, the, you know,is it a emerging market, not a me too opportunity product?The founder's passion is very important in integrity and ethics and how we bring it to market.So I don't do vanity public relations.I don't do anything that you might see on a reality or Kardashian type thing.That's not what I do.Leave that to Hollywood.But, so it's very important to have the transparency and understanding and knowing the insight out of the company, not just the.The, the product and how it works and it looks, but what's the customer feedback?What are the partner opportunities?What's, you know, what's down the pipeline engineering wise, do you need for funding?The talent that, you know, that's the collective in the team having access to not just the C-suite, but to the experts within the different groups.So whether it be marketing or engineering or in sales.I'd like to come in and operate very horizontally, you know,with the, with an organization.So I really understand the company inside out and I think that's one of the things that makes, you know, a unique approach because we are boutique, so we can operate like when your team members plant myself in your office if needed,or we work, you know, we work remote.But I think having that, for me, it's being able to say, it's hard to say no.But I do say no, no, frequently now, I didn't used to say no.I used to say yes to everybody.If they were thirsty and they had a product and they wanted,you know, bring it to market and.You know, and that's the way to grow the business.But then I also learned that, and I,and by taking the, making the wrong choices and taking the wrong business and the wrong business would be something that maybe doesn't ab, you know,match our skillset or an impossible goal, which is the budget restrained.Somebody who wants to, doesn't wanna spend, you know $10,000 a month, but they,you know, if they want $10,000 worth of service or 20,000, then they want 40,000.And so just really being able to gauge the expectations as well.Yeah.I, I think that's one of the most, the,the critical sort of turning points we all reach in our businesses is understanding what we, we do want, but also understanding what we really don't.And, and it's okay to, to turn some of that down and, and almost wish that some of those, I remember being in that position where I would almost, I'd get on a call and I'd wish that maybe this person.Doesn't wanna go forward, and that's okay.You know what I mean?And so I think that that's a level of maturity, right?That we get to.Yeah, I think it's, it's, it's, you know, there's two things that immediately came in my head when you said that.It's a little bit like a French, you know, a meal.Like, you know, it's all about quality and not quantity, right?So I wasn't joking when I said I like slow cooking and fast cars.I'd much rather have a really nice, you know, Filet of, you know, salmon and some vegetables and something that's quite elegant and nice and substantial.Then a big old, you know,hamburger or something.And I think that's the,that's those choices.I think the other thing that came through in my head, you know, was almost like a a a a A billboard, you know,a big neon billboard, is that we as business owners need to be selective.Everybody's not going to be, Our,our, our perfect match, you know?And so having a billboard on the side of a road would not do my business any justice because not everybody is, you know, is a prospect.And the same way with, with, with dating, if you look like, you know, business relationships and,and, and dating and, and matching.I had this conversation with somebody recently and I said, well, you don't need everyone to say yes.You just need to have the right person to say yes, and, and, and they always on hyper swipe, left right world that you know, some people are in, they want a yes every time.I think Why do you want a yes every time?Because it's okay to say no.Yeah, it's receive fried green tomatoes.I did.And that movie and Kathy Bates goes into the parking lot and she said,I'm older and I got more insurance.Maybe, maybe it's a little bit of that.I would never have thought of that reference at all.And I'm also not much of an authority on dating cuz I'm not very successful at it.So I'll let the, the metaphor stand.I have nicknames for all of them.I like in the office, we came up with joking names.So there's a bumble, it's called fumble.And Tinder is called the Great Pretender.And we just, we gave 'em all funny names just for fun.I don't, I don't, I I retired myself from from apps a long time ago.So we're coming up on the end of the show, but I have a question that I ask all of all of my guests and I, I would love to hear your, your thoughts as well.What's the difference between what we hear out there in.The business world and the online business world and all of the,you know, the, the, the stuff that, that is constantly being, you know, spread.What's the difference between what we hear out there and what's real about being a business owner?Well, it's, it's not a a, it's constant,but for me it's seven days a week.And I think when I first started, people like, oh, you're gonna have so much free time.I, I think I have balance.I don't think there's such thing as, you know, duct glass ceiling and being able to have, but I think it's, it's more,you know, a, a balancing act of agility.I, I can prioritize what's important to me.When my, my kids were little, they were, my pr, they were a priority.I would get my kids to school.I would go to work, I'd go pick them up, and then I would work again later.And I think that was just because my, those were my priorities.Now, my, you know, my daughter's in college and I, you know,she's independent agent.So I have a lot more time, but now I'm using some of my time that I would've spent in some of the clients that I didn't wanna work on in writing my book or in my podcast.So I think that gives us the freedom to make choices of where we spend our extra time.The hardest thing is to, for me, is to totally unplug and take a, a vacation.A what?I don't, a vacation a.What I don't like.Exactly.Really.So I don't even know.I, I mean, I take, I, I think I take, like people take micro napps,I take micro vacations, like yes.A three day weekend to me is a vacation.Yeah.And I,you know what, I, I have, I think it's only in the last year I have gotten quite diligent about.Just my weekends being work free because no, we're not saving lives, right?Like nobody's gonna die if I don't work on the weekend.And it's, you know, it's, it's really sort of shifted my per I, there are weekends that I sit there and I'm like, I don't know what to do.I don't know how to fill my time.And I, I kind of just wander around.I must look like a zombie or something.Take a walk.I mean, that's what I do with my, but in doubt, I take a walk,take the dog out, and she looks at me like we're going again.And I'm like, yeah, we're going out for a walk.In the pandemic.I think that was one of the things that I really made sure I was factoring in because I didn't have the, the in-person engagement and the frequency that I was used to.Going to meetings.Yeah, getting dressed up, putting hills.I would still put my hills on and walk down the hallway to my office and my daughter was like, mom, what are you doing?So I'm going to work.And she goes, You just walk down the hallway and says, I know, but I have to,I have to, like, we, I have to think,put my myself in the mindset that I'm operating a business, even if it was at home, and then also force myself to take these micro breaks because getting out and walking the dog is therapeutic.It's, yeah, good for me.It's good for her.Yeah.And so I think when you, when I say it's constant, it's also constantly, I always feel like I'm challenging myself.That I am on the verge of excellence.I'm about ready to create something big and I, I know that when I worked in a corporate environment and I've actually gone to some companies for meetings that were partners with one of my clients and they're like really big companies, I get a little itchy because I don't think I would have the freedom.To color outside the lines.And so being, I think being independent and into your own business gives you that freedom.Like a kid when you were little and you could just run outside and play till the sunset.You don't get that in the corporate world, but it's not for everybody either.So No, no, it's, it's true.And you can't just create a business.It's because you know, you, you think you're not gonna go to work because there's a lot of work involved.No, but I think that, I think that the difference that we're look is that we're looking for choice, right?We're looking for the ability to choose whether I do this or I do that.And it doesn't mean that we work less.It just means that we get to decide.And I, to me, that's the number one value and it's the number one thing that will always, I'm unemployable, right?I, yeah, I've been on my own for so long that I can't even imagine, but I work within, well, my joke is either I,you can hire and fire yourself daily.Right, or you're either really good at being gainfully employed or you are unemployable.That's me.I'm,I'm fully unemployable and I work within when I do corporate consulting, I'm working within a very rigid corporate environment.And it's nice to be the consultant that comes in because I can go home and I don't, I'm not, I,all the rules don't apply to me,which would absolutely kill me.It would be stle me anyways.Yeah.Well leave it.And there's certain things you could just leave on the table and walk away, so I don't, I I don't own that.Yep, yep.And that is worth every.Bit of financial stability that I have sacrificed over the years,and, and I think that's what makes us entrepreneurs, right?We're, we're, we're comfortable with that and we're willing to, to make that a priority over everything else.Absolutely.I wanna thank you for taking the time to be here today.Can you tell all of our listeners where they can find you?Yeah, abso my favorite place is LinkedIn.It's just Donna Loughlin and it's l o u g h l i n.My pr agency is lmg and my podcast that I, I host before it happened is just before it happened.Dot com.And excited that we're coming up with a new subseries called Making It Happen,which is kind of taking a twist instead of just talking to the entrepreneurs, we talking to the, the leadership and coach experts that work with the entrepreneurs to help them get to that next level.So venture capitalist and branding experts and like, like bookkeepers, accountants,and all those types of people, you need to bring your business to market and excited for that, that new extension.That's amazing because we have amazing stories too, from.You know, working with so many different businesses and so many different awesome entrepreneurs who are doing so many different things.I love it.Alright, well we're gonna wrap it up and I am so happy we had the opportunity to chat with Donna today to hear more about how her business came to be,her experiences along the way and what the future of the business entails.And thank you for tuning into this episode of The Real People Real Business Show, where we get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to.The show notes, resources, and links from this episode are available on my website and social media platforms.And if you've joined today's content,I would love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on to help us share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience.Till next time, keep building, keep dreaming and keep being real.

Donna LoughlinProfile Photo

Donna Loughlin


Donna Loughlin is the Founder of LMGPR and known for her work with futurists and innovators. She has launched more than 500 companies taking them from stealth to market leaders since forming her agency in 2002.

She is also the host of BeforeItHappened, a leading narrative podcast featuring visionaries and the moments, events, and realizations that inspired them to change our lives for the better.

Donna excels in the realm of storytelling, and uses those skills to propel new companies into the mainstream.