In this episode, Michael Gardon chats with Rachel Neill. Rachel is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Carex Consulting Group, Shenanigan Kids (The Figgy), and Talent Bandit. She is passionate about the startup space, scaling companies, raising capital, and women in tech.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:
- Rachel’s background
- The power of networking and how Rachel has networked into all the jobs she has had
- How Rachel transitioned from Nordic to her own company
- The importance of working with a recruiter that can advocate for you
- Top soft skills that companies are looking for
- How Figgy was born and some background on Kickstarter
- How to execute on an idea outside of your core job
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BOOKS AND RESOURCES:
- Carex Consulting Group background
- Epic - Verona, WI
- Start networking with your alumni network or offer to buy someone a cup of coffee
- Figgy - the product Rachel launched during the pandemic
- The Quotebook project Mike is working on
- What is an applicant tracking system? Learn about ATS.
- Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Disclaimer: The transcript that follows has been generated using artificial intelligence. We strive to be as accurate as possible, but minor errors and slightly off timestamps may be present due to platform differences.
Michael Gardon (00:00):
Hey everyone. And welcome to another edition of career cloud radio. I'm your host Michael garden. I'm on a mission to help job seekers build thriving careers of their choosing to do that. I try to have interesting conversations with people that approach careers a bit differently. In today's episode, we go behind the scenes with tech recruiter and entrepreneur, Rachel Neal. Rachel is CEO of care, ex consulting, a tech talent recruiting firm in the Midwest. Rachel's never one to sit still. Recently. She'd turned a small side hustle into a full-time business with a successful Kickstarter campaign all while being mom to five kids. I catch up with Rachel to find out the importance of working with a recruiter who can advocate for you and sidestep the screening process. I also share how Rachel's worked, developing your side hustle, shenanigan kids spurred me to take action on my own side project that I've been putting off for years. If you've always wanted to execute on an idea outside of your core job, you don't want to miss this conversation with Rachel Neal. Rachel, welcome to the podcast. How are you?
Rachel Neill (00:59):
Good. How are you doing? Doing
Michael Gardon (01:01):
Great. As we were chatting just before we started recording, super excited to reconnect with you. It's been too long, but with COVID and everything, it seems like I've got some catching up to do. So I'm doing that on this podcast. Really excited to talk to you. I love backstories. And so every guest that I have on my first question is what was your first job? You can take that anywhere that you would like to start and call your first job.
Rachel Neill (01:26):
Yeah, so that's a good one because I would say my first actual job was a SQL report writer and I was doing stuff for the national council on crime delinquency and quickly learned that that is not my skillset. And you you've known me for a little while. I'm a little more personable than being like in a room. So where I found, where I kind of say, my real calling began was with Nordic consulting. So I got involved in the startup space. I was an early employee with Nordic who did epic consulting and happened to be along for a wild ride where we ended up taking private equity money growing pretty quickly into the world's largest epic consulting firm. And then I also learned that like the early stage startup space is really where I'm passionate. So when, once we got fairly large, I ended up leaving, raising capital and starting my company Carex consulting group. And Carex has been around for about four and a half years now. And we do a lot in the project management, tech and innovation staffing spaces, working with like large companies all the way from fortune tens, all the way down to venture backed startups across the us. And then from there, I also started another side gig during the pandemic, which seems to be getting some legs and, and moving forward in a totally different space, which is product. So it's been a wild, wild ride.
Michael Gardon (02:56):
Yeah. I'm really excited to dig in and to this and pull on some of these threads. You're what my coach calls a multipotentialite, that's what she calls me too. And because I don't know, I've just always had this, I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do lots of different things. And sometimes that's really difficult. Like in my career, it's been really difficult to sort of pin that down on a resume. So I want to come back to that and your experience with recruiting, but for Rachel was talking about her time at Nordic and being an epic consultant just for our listeners who don't know epic is a gigantic medical software company. Is it EHR? Is that what they're really are a electronic health record, essentially
Rachel Neill (03:39):
Medical record electronic health record,
Michael Gardon (03:42):
But for people that don't know, I mean, this is like a billions and billions of dollar company that is headquartered in a sleepy town outside of Madison, Wisconsin, that literally nobody knows about because it's not like it was venture back. It's not like it's public, it's this just mammoth company that was started by really one person and grown over over time. And it's super interesting. Nobody really knows that stuff. So at Nordic, you really did a whole bunch of consulting, probably implementation of systems and things like that. You talked about how you were really more personable. You didn't really like the SQL reporting. How did you, how did you step into that world at Nordic? Like how did you make sort of that leap, I guess?
Rachel Neill (04:25):
Yeah. I think one of the things I am so passionate about in terms of career advancement and career advice about sharing is the power of networking. It's really a skill that you learn it. Some people think, oh, you're just a born good networker, but that's not the case. I think anybody can really truly be a networker. And I have pretty much networked my way into most of the jobs that I've had. And I find that having conversations with people all the time and kind of learning their backgrounds and learning what they do is really beneficial. And so I ended up meeting the founders of Nordic at a conference here in Madison and they were looking to hire and I said, wow, your company seems interesting. And next thing I know I was on board with the team and in a totally different role than I, that I was currently in.
Michael Gardon (05:16):
Okay. Really interesting. Networking is a big one. I would say early in my career, I was one of those that shunned networking. I'm a total introvert people don't always know this about me, but I am like, I'm a total introvert. I can just be by myself in the woods for like days on end, but it really came full circle to me. Like I kind of came out of college in 2003 economy. Wasn't really good jobs, weren't plentiful. And I just sort of figured like, okay, I need to like make connections with people. And that was the process of networking. And I sort of just created sort of like this systematic process around doing that. But it's, and it's, time-consuming when you talk to young people, do you have sort of a blueprint or some bullet points as to how people need to get started networking and, and what, what they sort of need to do,
Rachel Neill (06:08):
Because it can be really daunting, right? Especially if you're young and you don't really feel like you have all the skills yet to go and connect with people and share what you have to offer. And what I always say is if you went to college, you can always start with your alumni network. That's an art. You don't necessarily, if you're an introvert or you're, you are curious about, and you can start there, reach out offer. I always suggest operating to buy somebody a cup of coffee. And it's pretty inexpensive. Even if you're a broke college student or young person, you can usually rustle up the $2 and 50 cents that that would cost. And you can just build a relationship. And from there, you'll find that people introduce you to other people and it just kind of starts organically grow your,
Michael Gardon (06:56):
What I tell everybody, I'm not an expert on networking, but start now like the world changes so much. I feel like when I get a new opportunity, I'm always needing to prepare for the next, just because of the cycle of how things happen and change and the rapidity of change. And I mean, one of the, just easy ways of doing that and staying ahead of the curve or getting a pulse on what, what might be next is to maintain over time your network, and to just be always talking to people and curious about other opportunities there and building your, your end roads.
Rachel Neill (07:33):
I think you just hit on something too. A lot of people start networking when they need something. And I think that that's the wrong way to do it. So when you like need that job and you're like, okay, well who can help me get that job next? That's not the right time. You're going to find that people are less, less enthused. I, that call to action. It's really start building those relationships ahead of time, start meeting with people. And I know I'm always open when somebody reaches out and they're like, Hey, I just want to learn more about this or can we meet up? I'm always open to it. And what I, especially, if it's somebody who might be younger looking to ask questions about making career advice, and I think I've seen my peers and other people feel pretty, pretty much the same way. Yeah.
Michael Gardon (08:20):
So Nordic and medical health record consulting to starting a recruiting firm, that was the, the next path. Talk to me a little bit about the Genesis of that idea, why recruiting and how that sort of came about.
Rachel Neill (08:37):
Yeah, so it, it started because there was a lot of really great talent that came into epic from across the country. I always say epic hires, similar to like your Ivy league schools in terms of acceptance rates. So they really get smart people who are talented and they burn them out fairly quickly. And so those people would end up leaving the state. They're oftentimes young and, or didn't know like what other opportunities they had. And so I saw there to be a need in the market to say, Hey, let's, let's try and keep top talent in Wisconsin and get these people connected in with other opportunities. So that was kind of the start. And then it's just expanded from there. Currently there's big needs across almost every company we work with on the tech side. And so we've really been putting an emphasis on building out a strong tech practice where we can identify talent in that space.
Michael Gardon (09:34):
Okay. How did you bridge the gap? So you had a nice job salaried, I'm assuming pretty, pretty good gig. And you said, you know what, I'm going to go out on my own to some people that sounds crazy. But I think a lot of our listeners are thinking, how do I take more control over my career? How do I capitalize on an opportunity? How did you go about thinking about the risk of doing that and maybe mitigating some of those risks?
Rachel Neill (10:01):
Yeah. So for me, that was definitely, I had a family and I depended on my paycheck and benefits and things like that. So to help mitigate some of that, I ended up going out and raising capital. And what raising capital allowed me to do was really start up the company, make sure I had the right people in the foundation and also be able to take not the same salary I was making, but enough to, to where I could like cover my important bills. And so that was what I needed to really give me the boost and the security to really dive in full force and build something out. And I think it was the right decision because it allowed us to scale a little bit quicker as well. Wow,
Michael Gardon (10:43):
Interesting. So I mean, you and I have done similar things in terms of, you know, maybe leaving a corporate type job and doing our own thing. And my track was sort of opposite. I had done a venture backed startup prior to taking kind of a corporate job. And then when I was ready to leave that corporate job, I did it. I said, no, I don't want to take, but I wanted to figure out how to make it work. And so I did it through the client route. I took one client and I kind of separated how I was going to do things. And it took the slow path, I guess you could say, but I was comfortable with that because what I needed to do with my family and how I'm just wired is I needed to take that pressure off. You can do these things in different ways, but it's really thinking about like, what is your risk and what are you willing to do and not do and accept and not accept. And so it's funny, Rachel had took, you know, di did a very similar thing, but took two completely different paths, which is really interesting. I think
Rachel Neill (11:51):
It depends on your company, right? Like with my side company, I guess it's not a side company anymore, but shenanigan kids, we, we launched on Kickstarter and that was a way to mitigate some risks. We thought, Hey, we'll put this out there on Kickstarter. And the way Kickstarter works is if your project doesn't fund, meaning people don't buy the product or pledge the product, then you don't have any obligation to actually make it or produce anything. And so then that way you get the capital to make whatever it is that you're making or offer. And then you don't, you're not putting out a lot on the line,
Michael Gardon (12:26):
Right? Yeah. I agree. There's a ton of different ways to do it. And I do think one of the obstacles for people to sort of not explore that, that I guess, prevent somebody from exploring a side gig or whatever is they get caught up in the risks or the different scenarios. And I think it's, it's a really important exercise to just sort of like lay out what your like, be really clear about what you're willing to accept and what you're not willing to accept. And you can build a way around that. It might take some more time and you might have to do a couple of different things in there, but there's always a way and a path that you can sort of chart on the front end to reduce risk for yourself and keep in good standing, maybe it's with an employer or whatever to make it work. Yeah. It's really, really good advice. I want to stick with recruiting for a little bit. So you're really in tech a lot. Where are you seeing job growth really coming from in the next five years? Where's the high demand for talent?
Rachel Neill (13:30):
Yes, it's interesting because I think if you watched the media during the pandemic, you heard a lot about how there were people were losing jobs. There weren't jobs out there. And what wasn't being kind of told was that certain jobs were going away or certain people had trouble maintaining their jobs because of COVID and different changes. But then there was a whole sector of professional level jobs that just moved remote and companies that continued to grow and need to hire. And one of those spaces really was like the tech space, which is encompasses really everything around like cybersecurity has been a big one, any type of development in the health tech space, it's been integration and being able to connect into other systems. And so we've seen so much demand. And what else has happened to make the talent market even tighter is because companies have gone remote in the last year, year and a half. They're now recruiting across the country instead of just recruiting in their area. So one of the things that used to happen was if a company required somebody to be onsite, it would limit their candidates because they'd have to have people willing to live in that area. Now your east and west coast companies that have typically paid hire are pulling talent from anywhere in the U S and it's made the competition heat up quite a bit. So we we've been seeing people with multiple job offers, turning down roles, like really kind of it's been challenging.
Michael Gardon (15:06):
So how has that change, maybe your approach in your business, if at all?
Rachel Neill (15:11):
Yeah, I think we do a lot more educating the company. So one of the things that we've seen is sometimes the companies aren't aware of what it looks like from the talent side and what the competition looks like. And they may be used to only hiring in Madison, Wisconsin, and having people with boots on the ground here. And now we have to tell them, like, you need to be competitive with companies who are looking to hire that same person in Madison, Wisconsin at a higher salary or with these perks. So really kind of educating the companies right now. And it's very much a candidate market in the tech space.
Michael Gardon (15:50):
Interesting. Are you seeing a lot of your clients say we're going to reduce our office footprint going forward?
Rachel Neill (15:57):
Yeah. There are clients that, that we've worked with who have put build projects on hold completely like exited and said, we're not going to grow here and are looking for like alternatives to be able to have these remote teams. I think it's a lot more affordable they're finding and they're able to attract better talent.
Michael Gardon (16:17):
Obviously you work directly with companies and I've never personally worked with a recruiter before at all on either side, but as a job candidate, what is a process like in terms of working with you? Do you guys have education or do you have services for the job candidate? I don't quite understand how that all works from the candidate side.
Rachel Neill (16:41):
Yeah. This is like, regardless of it's like whether it's our firm or another firm, I always tell candidates they should be working with some kind of staffing agency or recruiting firm because the advantages are candidates never pay a recruiting firms. So if it's a ethical legitimate firm, it should be no cost to the candidate, but a company gets paid and the way care X gets compensated is by the company. So candidates can really benefit because they can really understand the lay of the land. And recruiters are a great resource for kind of understanding. Like if the resume look good, does their salary align with what the recruiters are seeing in the market? And then oftentimes they're bringing in opportunities that have not yet been published or released out there on job websites or that maybe difficult for a candidate to find. So the way it typically works as a candidate will come to us and say, Hey, these are what I'm looking for. We kind of boil it down to what type of role, what kind of location and what kind of salary are you aiming to hit? And then we, we really dig into that and try to understand what types of companies would be a good fit for that candidate and really do that career matchmaking. And then we help them with their resume and then help them get submitted in directly to hiring managers. If there's an opportunity that fits what they're looking for,
Michael Gardon (18:06):
Uh, on the resume front, I've always had a little chip on my shoulder for the resume. I don't like mainly because I feel like, again, from my career track, I just never felt like I fit on a resume. Right. I've had, I've worked in multiple industries, multiple roles, I've left places to start my own company that failed. And it looks like this just mismatch of crap on a page. And I get it right. Like if I, if I was a hiring manager, I'd want to see signs of stability and like all this stuff, like, are we anywhere closer to getting rid of abolishing the resume? And if not, like, how do you, how do you help someone like me with, with a resume? It's just, it's flabbergasting to me. I know the resume. It's funny because people
Rachel Neill (18:56):
Say like, we want to get away from the resume. I've heard companies say it, I have talked to people, but then nobody actually does. And this is where I think somebody with your background can really benefit from a good recruiter because what they're going to do is they're going to have a relationship with the hiring manager. And they're going to go to bat for you as to why you would be a good fit. So they kind of take that instead of just having a resume show up that looks mishmashed, or that the, maybe a junior recruiter sees first or somebody on the front lines and doesn't understand and puts in the discard pile. You have somebody who's saying, Hey, I know you, I know your team, I know your company, and I want to help you build the best, the best team out. So here's why I think this person would be a good fit or they're worth having a conversation with.
Rachel Neill (19:45):
And I think when you have a mismatched resume, it's so important to get to that conversation because it's often so different than what is actually on paper. That's one of the pieces of advice that, that I would have. And then the second would be is look across your roles. If you worked in like startups or kind of like different types of backgrounds, make sure that people can translate what your title was. I give the example, epic calls. They have a role called a BFF, which stands for be a best friend forever, and it's their customer successful. But if somebody's putting out there on the resume that they were a BFF, right? Other hiring managers and companies, aren't going to decipher that. And so having alignment or tweaking your title can be really helpful.
Michael Gardon (20:32):
Okay. That makes a lot of sense. And I always, in terms of title translation, I, I agree like what you said about get to the conversation. I mean, ladies and gentlemen, that's the power of networking also, right? Like to circumvent that those filters on the front end, right? I mean, a lot of these companies and we talk about this on career cloud.com. A lot of these companies use application tracking software. They use systems that systematically screen resumes out. One of the ways you get around that is networking. And now we're hearing, you know, right now a second way to do that is by using some type of staffing firm or recruiter that can go to bat for you and have a conversation to sort of circumvent that, that problem,
Rachel Neill (21:13):
Or even a resume writer like you, like you mentioned for a professional resume writer who sees hundreds and thousands of resumes, that would be a good, a good one as well.
Michael Gardon (21:24):
Yeah. Great point. I want to end this kind of section before I got, I got to start talking about figure, I'm just going to die, but I want to end this section by asking, you know, about, again, we know how much change is going on and how fast the world's moving, but what are the top skills I'm really looking at soft skills. I think what are the top soft skills that, that companies just can't get enough of? Like what are they looking for above anything else?
Rachel Neill (21:50):
I think having like that emotional intelligence to like ask questions and know how to be personable and communicate that goes so far. And it's something that everybody can, everybody can work on. I think nowadays there's more and more cross-functional teams and you have to be able to interact with other pieces of the business. So having the ability to listen and relate and build quick rapport, those are all really important stuff.
Michael Gardon (22:18):
Excellent. Because I'm having a emotional intelligence expert come on the podcast, uh, in a few weeks, he's a former, he's a former professor of mine and he started a [inaudible] Institute for entrepreneurial leadership and he does all EDI training stuff. So that's going to be awesome. Yeah. Thanks for teeing that up for me. All right. All right. I got to talk about Figgy. So we talked about it earlier. You happened upon an idea over the pandemic, probably spurred by your children, I assume, which you have five children, if I'm as all right. One on the way. So you have one on the way. Congratulations. That's amazing. I have three and I think, I think I have zero on the way. I'm pretty sure. So tell me about Figgy. What is a Genesis of this product? How did this come about? Go for it.
Rachel Neill (23:08):
Yeah. So it's a, the biggies, a play foam couch that kids can connect and build forts with and do all of this creative play and up there. Yeah, yeah. What we were really, I, I teamed up with my friend, Chris, who I had known for a while has an opposite background of me. He's a expert in supply chain. He worked as an executive Atlanta. And so he really had the retail background. And we were thinking, man, in the modern home who wants to buy these primary color, bright foam pieces or all of these big things that crowd up your living room, that your kids play with a couple of weeks and then they're, they're there and you don't know how to store them. And then also how do we get our kids moving during the pandemic and away from screens? And so the biggie was born with the idea that it would be aesthetically pleasing to the modern home.
Rachel Neill (24:01):
You could set it up like a couch when your kids weren't using it. And it would blend right into the background. And then it had all these plate features from thick foam to waterproof liners, to a connection system that let kids be kids. So we ended up going and launching on Kickstarter, this test, the market, we sold $40,000 in eight minutes. We closed out our campaign with over $220,000 in 30 days. And we were suddenly like, okay, I guess we're doing this. And we had done all of the marketing for our Kickstarter organically. So that was like a business decision we made. And I think it was right for us. And it was a good way to test.
Michael Gardon (24:43):
Yeah. I mean, I think the age-old adage is when people are running to give you money, you know, you're onto something. So it sounds like, it sounds like you guys hit the nail on the head there. So tell me, give me the timeline. When did you start this? Because I know obviously we have this whole pandemic in the middle of this and there's like a huge trend or maybe a micro trend of people just really spending on their homes on their kids, on these experiences within the home. Did you start before the pandemic hit or was this during, I can't remember.
Rachel Neill (25:16):
This was during, so we actually launched, I think we like came up with the idea in October. We like worked pretty diligently for a November launch because we wanted to launch around Thanksgiving so that we could try to hit like black Friday and holiday. And so it came to fruition really, really quickly. I think we're, we're not, we're just about in six months of a business to this point.
Michael Gardon (25:42):
Tell me about a little bit about the Kickstarter process as much as, you know, as much as you can, because like, I, I kinda told you, I have a little side thing going and I thought about Kickstarter, but what was that like?
Rachel Neill (25:54):
Yeah. It's funny. Cause like many times in my life I've learned ignorance is bliss. You know, I think it's going to be easier than it is, but it actually wasn't that bad. You just learned that there's so many strategies that people take. So with, um, with our Kickstarter, you kind of have to, you fill out this detailed form. You don't have to have a, a product, but you have to have a pretty good page upon launch, which is a combination of like different sections in pictures. And it gets approved by Kickstarter and you really want it to be good because they'll mark it as a project they love, which will help drive traffic to your final product. So that's really, it's pretty simple. What you need to get started. Kickstarter takes a fee of any of the revenue generated. And then we learned that there are also a lot of firms out there who work with Kickstarter companies to really boost their campaigns. So one strategy, some people take is like heavily investing. We're talking like over 50 to a hundred thousand dollars in a Kickstarter campaign to drive their sales up and visibility where you can go the organic route. So it was really good people pledge, you set the time of your campaign. And then at the end you basically get a backer report. They cash out the money and you're responsible for fulfilling all of the rewards pledged.
Michael Gardon (27:12):
So this is one just specific question. The page that you talked about, did you guys have prototypes built to use in images or videos or anything like that? Like how did that work? Cause I'm in a, again, I, and I can talk a little bit about what I'm doing, but like that's sort of like chicken or egg thing. Like I, you know, I'm dealing with manufacturing in China and getting something sent here. So then I can finally take some images and stuff. It's kind of slowed my process. I feel like,
Rachel Neill (27:40):
Yeah, we did get one prototype need because we wanted to be sure that our product works before we sold it to anybody in the state. We needed to have some imagery. So we had put together a supply chain had prototypes. I think we actually got to sent to us. We tested them out. Some of the artwork that we did was from drawing the CAD and things like that. So we were first kind of doing, putting our Kickstarter together. I think that was all we had as well. And then our prototype came in, we were able to do videos and things like that.
Michael Gardon (28:13):
Okay, cool. So yeah, a little personal story. Like I'm, I'm on LinkedIn, I'm following you. I'm seeing, I'm seeing this shenanigan kids and the Figgy and we launched in two months and all this kind of stuff and I'm thinking, God, dang it. She did it again. And I'm like, why am I not? I have a Evernote folder, just full, a little business ideas that I've had over the years. I mean, literally you pushed me to do this. I'm not kidding. So lots of different things. And obviously I have built some businesses, but I've got all these little notes and I'm looking at the pandemic and I'm saying, what are we doing? You know, like my kids are growing up. We need to be closer. Well, the best idea I got here that I just have never pushed forward. Cause I haven't thought it was big enough for whatever is this concept called the quote book, my wife and I, going back to when we lived in Chicago, before we had kids, she was in medical school and I was working and we would just write down the hilarious or funny inside joke, like things that we would randomly say to each other.
Michael Gardon (29:17):
We just wrote them down in a notebook spiral bound notebook. And we kept it. We kept it ever since. And with the kids, we've been continuing to do it. And you know, my four year old, my youngest and he's the most quoted kid in the book. So I was like, you know what, I need to actually make this into a product. And it's just one of those things where I don't, you know, if it doesn't do well, it doesn't do well big deal, but I just gotta do it cause it needs to get done and it needs to get put in the world. So that's what I, that's what I'm doing. I'm actually creating like a notebook type product, just for people to kind of capture quotes. I've always been obsessed with moving quotes for whatever reason. Obviously you can take videos and you can take pictures and all that kind of stuff. But like, I dunno, just the handwritten deal and kind of this history. So that's what I, that's what I'm doing. And it was literally, I'm not kidding. You kicked off by watching a lot of jealousy.
Rachel Neill (30:12):
Uh, I think that's such a good idea. And it's such as actual keepsake to pass down to your kid or when you were saying it with your, with your wife, I just thought that's so romantic. It's such a way to connect with somebody and to share that connection. And I think that's such a cool idea.
Michael Gardon (30:30):
If you saw what was written in there, you probably wouldn't think it was romantic, but it definitely does just transport us back to that time. And you know, you always laugh. You're always, every time we open it up and my kids want to read from it at night, like before bed and stuff like that. So we're always ending the day on a laugh, which is great. And I've got some other ideas, you know, in the same vein, but I did want to just say, thank you for that. Cause you, you pushed me to actually like do it. So that's my side project. Anyway, I had a hard time starting, right? Like starting just that project. A lot of people I think listening are, you know, again, thinking of like, how do I start a, something on the side or I've got this idea, right. But I'm not doing it. It might be a year or six months or five years have passed and they haven't done anything with it. Like what do you say to people that have an idea about, and maybe aren't acting on it. How do you get yourself to sort of just take action on some of those things?
Rachel Neill (31:24):
That's always like my most frustrating thing when I hear people with great ideas is they, they think that it has to be perfect and ready to go before they take action. And that's not the case. I see so many people who sit on something because it's not perfect or they don't have it completely flushed out and then it never comes to fruition. So I think it's just about taking those first little steps. And by doing that, you get the ball rolling and you, you start to learn like you don't need to have it fully baked and fully completed by the time before you're ready to show it to the world. And an example with the Figgy like Chris and I realized on our prototypes as we, when we got the one and we were doing it with Kickstarter, we're like, you know what? We don't like the way the Velcro actually is. We ended up Chris came over with his sewing machine. I don't. So Chris, does he sewed on and created, he's an engineer by background. This really cool secondary flap that we were able to patent pend. And you know, we were mid Kickstarter campaign and we said, Hey, we like found this glitch in our product and we're going to fix it. And here's why we think this is best. So I think that you can really start something, go lean, launch it, get feedback, and always make changes and continually improve your product.
Michael Gardon (32:43):
Yeah. I think that's perfectionism is a huge stopper, right? There's always something that you can say is better that you could do better. You could always wait and it's like, you just got to push, push it out. Right. And for me, it's, I don't know how the masses are going to want to use this book. Right. For me and my family. It's all about comedy basically. Like, I mean, we just write funny stuff down that is going to, again, just take us right back to that moment of, of when it was said and it's auditory and I've had people tell me, oh, we should figure out how to do this on an app and all that kind of stuff. I'm like, yeah, maybe later, like I'm not going to design that yet. Right. I just want to figure out how people are going to use this and then go from there.
Rachel Neill (33:27):
That's such a good point too. It's like, when people wait until like, they have this fully baked product and vision and it's all perfect. What happens when they launch? And if nobody wants it that way, like you've spent all this time building something that you could have iterated on during the process. So if you put your book out there and people are like, maybe people absolutely buy it up and they love it. Then why would you build the app? Right. You have a successful product. People want what you're selling, you get it out there. And people are like, well, we also want a way to connect this online. Well, now you can deviate and figure out and continue to build upon your idea.
Michael Gardon (34:07):
Yeah. This is important for peoples in their careers too. Like I think this concept of perfectionism is it's really like a cover for your worry, I guess, about being rejected or laughed at or looking silly. Right. I mean, this has happened to me. I mean, I think one of the reasons I haven't done this in all the years that I've had it in my, my book of ideas is like I've iterated on, on paper, right? Like over a years, it's just because like either thought it wasn't big enough or it was too hokey. People would say like, whatever, that's just kind of stupid. And you have to get over that. If you want to put anything out into the world, like if you want to have a chance. And I think the biggest part of taking control over your career in life is like, just giving yourself a chance, sort of stepping out of your own way. I love what you're saying, because it's like find the smallest thing that you can do next and knock that down. And then you just keep going and you just got to ship it, ship it. And you gotta see, you gotta let the world decide.
Rachel Neill (35:09):
You gotta be okay being wrong and making changes. And I think people who are successful are the people who listened to what the feedback they're receiving is. And they say, okay, I want to make changes. Or I, you know, like maybe this isn't right, but yet you just gotta go for it. And like, I think there's when you were saying like, oh, well this might be silly. My brain is going, oh my gosh, wedding gifts, like photos of children, your gifts would be, that'd be perfect to give to somebody it's, it's fun. It's timeless. And I just see so many, so many opportunities.
Michael Gardon (35:43):
I've given it as a gift at weddings, by like in years past, by just buying a moleskin notebook and writing in a card like, Hey, this is what we do as a family. And I hope you do it as well or something like, so that was my first audience too. I was like, oh, wedding, like I've already done this, right? Like I've literally given this as a gift. How many gifts do I actually give and take the time to think about that. And so that was natural for me as well. So I'm excited to see what happens and I'm kind of over the, oh, whatever. I've developed a heuristic with certain things. And it's, if this just has to get done, no matter what the results are, then that's a really good place for me to spend my time if I feel that way. So awesome. Rachel, this has been amazing. We need to catch up again. Can you tell people where they can find you it's shenanigan kids.com for the Figgy, right? And then tell people where else they can find you recruiting wise or social or anything like that.
Rachel Neill (36:42):
Yeah. Rachel Neal on LinkedIn and Facebook or Instagram, feel free to connect with me, shenanigan kids.com and then ex consulting group.com. And we'd love to hear from anybody and always up for a conversation.
Michael Gardon (36:57):
All right, Rachel, been amazing. Thanks so much. Appreciate your time.
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