AN INTERVIEW WITH OUR FOUNDER: TINA NOLE

Thank you to the wonderful Jessica McClure for this article: 

BADASS WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

Were you always badass or did you have to learn it?

I don’t know how to answer that because I’m not sure I identified myself this way prior to meeting you….but I’ll take it! Guess that means I learned it….but I was a bully for a brief time in elementary school but got beat up and taken down from my thrown…so maybe it was always in there somewhere.

One thing you wish you had known in your early days:  Failing is a requirement and so is bravery.

What did you think was necessary in the beginning but now doesn't feel like a big deal:  Writing a business plan, having a big chunk of money to start my business

How do you deal with fear:  head on.

What's the one thing you find the hardest to do: accounting

What's the WHY behind what you do:  I love every single thing about it – I am simply compelled to do what I do – it’s almost not even a conscious choice…like “ya, of course…this is it”

Do you, or did you, suffer imposter syndrome (aka feeling like a fraud)?  ABSOLUTELY!  100% ALL THE TIME – it’s the worst.

How do you inspire, or seek to inspire, other women to be a Badass entrepreneur?  I work with a lot of young women and am super honest with them and clear and transparent – I love letting them know when they are doing amazing things and making sure they understand how important they are to me/this business and the surrounding community. I am always looking for ways to help women and young people around me. I volunteer at a school and will be producing a podcast for a teen about empowerment…she’s already a badass. I also feel very humbled – most of the young women I know are naturally better at life than I am or ever was…so there’s that.

Tina was raised in a family in which her mom was liberal and her dad was conservative – they were both smart, feisty and opinionated. Dinnertime conversations routinely focused on politics and thoughtful debate. It's no surprise that Tina landed in the fast paced, lively land of radio. She started as an on-air radio personality for the KidStar Radio Network but when she was introduced to producing, she knew that she had found her “thing”. Production gave her the chance to utilize both the left and right brain, the ability to create and learn.

She started with a five year stint producing KIRO Radio with Dave Ross, and then on to CBS News radio in New York City.  She found she preferred the deep dive into the long news format where she could think completely outside of the box (the creating), while researching and interviewing people (the learning),  then use her brilliance to put it all together to create an interesting story.  Around the time of this realization, Tina met Ron Reagan (jr.) and started producing his Air America Radio show and hit her stride... until it was canceled.  Try as she might, she couldn't resurrect the show. It was here that Tina had her aha moment and decided that she wanted to drive her own content, that she didn't “want to hitch my wagon to anybody [a host] else, anymore”.

Determined to figure out her next step, she came back to Seattle to produce and travel with Peter Greenberg the CBS News Travel Editor. While traveling she was doing what she she does best, researching, but this time, researching on how to build her own company. Podcasting was just taking off... this American Life was gaining popularity and Tina could see the future of radio shifting and she wanted in. In 2011, she convinced Peter to try podcasting his radio show.  With the idea of her company starting to take shape, she reached out to Chef Tom Douglas (a former radio host and friend of hers from KIRO) and just like that she had her first client, Seattle Kitchen.

Tina used all her knowledge from the years of production to build her business.  Without a business plan or any money but her own, she jumped in feet first. What she knew was that she wanted to create her own content, her own team, her own company, her own impact in the world while advocating for the issues she believes in. 

Larj Media was born – a podcast for celebrities, thought leaders and brands. She works with companies to create their content, does the research and then teams up with brilliant people who bring it all to life on air – with the occasional tweaking so the average person, like you and me, can understand and be inspired by what they are saying.

Tina and her crew offer their expertise in an area where others might need help.  There are a lot of DIY podcasters out there today and we, the audience, are lucky in that there are so many passionate voices who want to get their word out.  You can literally listen to a podcast about any subject under the sun - as long as you can find it.   Larj Media can not only help you so that you can be seen in this over saturated market, they can also assist you to insure that the quality, the content, the voice you want to speak from is being heard amongst all the rabble.

She's created this company and I hear no ego in her success – which has been numerous in regards to rewards and accolades. In her career she's come across a lot of people “who were pretty terrible to me, so building this business with a culture of being kind and open, certainly willing to fail and argue, but not be nasty to one another. There is no fighting to the top here”.  She uses our often, as in “proud of our work”,  she speaks of the brilliance of ourteam, our interesting and fabulous clients. Though she shares all the credit due to her company with her team, she takes on all the suffering, all the crashing fear of building a company and having mouths to feed, all by herself.

There is a skill and a benefit to knowing your strengths and weaknesses in business. Tina knows, "what I'm good at is working. Learning, research, hearing, having really good taste, identifying a personality, hiring the greatest team.... surrounding myself with humbling great people...” She is also freakishly good at seeing the landscape around her, the mesmerizing story, and how to move quickly to capture it.

But she is even better at knowing her weaknesses and those are what keep her up at night. The things that come effortlessly for her she sees “no value in”, what she wants is to be really good and conquer the things that don't come easily to her.  

The majority of people who reach out to me for coaching at some point say they want to have a job that they love doing, but they need help in pin pointing what that looks like. They want to do something that gives them purpose and a day filled with passion, making the world a better place, not existing to only replace one day with the next.

Then there is Tina, and others like her, who is creating a life built around her passion, utilizing her natural gifts and talents, working because she loves what she does and is trying to make a difference in the world. But what Tina see's is that she should be working harder. That in order to be truly successful, it shouldn't be so easy.

I wonder if this is because many of us have been raised with certain values and morals around what work is. We have been told the gauge of having a good work ethic is how hard you work or how much effort you put forth. We have been taught how to study for good grades, create routines and structure around responsibility, how to set goals and take pride in accomplishing a difficult task, how often we were rewarded for mastering something or trying something we weren't good at or for doing something we had no interest in trying. 

When we are young our parents oftentimes dismissed the things we were good at with an “oh, you always have your head in a book.. math comes so easily to you... you are a natural at baseball.... ” and we were encouraged and praised to work harder at what didn't come naturally “good job for reading 20 minutes a night... I am so proud of you for focusing on your math homework and figuring it out...  Practice makes perfect.... ” We have this tendency to put so much more value on working through things that are difficult for us, as opposed to the value we place on accomplishing something we are good at. As a grown up it almost feels like cheating the system when you get paid for what comes so easy and naturally for you.

And of course we should always try to better ourselves, learn a new skill, try our hand at the books - but when we try it and if we see no joy in it, no desire to learn more, then let it go.  Hire someone to do that task or pass it on.  There is no shame in having your husband do laundry because you hate every minute of it or having your editor do the editing and leave you to your brilliance.  

But (and I need to remember this the next time I am encouraging my own children) there is greatness in doing what you are good at and having faith and hiring others to help you with what you aren't. Tina works really hard, but because it is fun and exciting to her – it doesn't feel like a job, it doesn't feel real, it doesn't feel like she's working hard enough because it isn't actually hard for her. So, what I see, is that she adds in a layer of focusing on what she hates, what she doesn't enjoy doing, what doesn't come naturally to her and beats herself up for it, because the other option is what? Happiness? Joy in the everyday? Being proud of what you have built? It sounds so pompous, so conceited, right? Because we were also raised not to brag... it feels so right and so true for Tina to be proud of the team, the content, the company that she is building.  To brag a lot.

And she is doing this little by little, learning to grow with her strengths in order for her company to best succeed. Be it letting go of some of the control by hiring a project manager, by realizing that editing is not her forte nor her passion.  By surrounding herself with people who are brilliant at what she is not. By taking on new habits and new mindsets like this quote from Tina that I think deserves to be framed, “every time I fall into the rabbit hole of self-doubt, I fill up the hole a little bit higher so I won't fall so deep the next time."  If we all did this, filled up our hole every time we fall into that pit of fear or despair, we'd be standing on solid ground in no time.

If you have always wanted to have your own podcast, now is the time to learn from the best.  If you are local to Seattle, Tina is offering a workshop on how to podcast from the ground up.  A three week course beginning on March 15, 2017.  For more details:  http://www.larjmedia.com/events-1/