Before we began, let's set the stage. The purpose of this interview series is to inspire and encourage millennials to take the leap into entrepreneurship or give advice to those currently on the journey.
This series will highlight millennial entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries who are offering services, products and resources to their audiences.
Throughout the next couple of weeks you will have the chance to read the stories of millennial trailblazers who are designers, social ambassadors, photographers, and more. I hope you are inspired!
In this Mindshift Interview, I have Anthony J.R. of Laidback Allure. During this interview, we deep dived into all things business, influencing the future and more. This interview was great. His passion for his brand is infectious, and I foresee big things for Laidback Allure. Our conversation was full of some many noteworthy 'aha' moments. Check out a few below...
Behind the person.
Tell us about a little bit about yourself and what you do.
I am an Atlanta native, and a graduate of Georgia State University. I am a media personality by which I host and coordinate events. Radio is a passion of mine as well. My experience in radio has been influential to my most recent venture into the Podcasting world. Currently, I reside in Seattle. Here I work as a developer and IT contractor with Microsoft. Its safe to say, I am a man of many traits.
What is one quote you live by? Give an example of how you have applied this quote on your journey.
This quote has become something I have embodied. As I mentioned before, I am from Atlanta. I would hear others talk about traveling and exploring new places, but that was never a focus of mine. I was in the mindset of let me conquer everything possible in Atlanta before moving on to another city. This soon changed after I was offered my current job at Microsoft. Like the famous speech by Steve Harvey, I jumped. I took the leap into the unknown aka Seattle. This forced me to make new connections and find new resources out here. Thus, pushing me of of my comfort zone. Because of my work I am required to travel, and with traveling often it became hard to maintain a healthy diet. Now, I take the time to cook and care for my body. I hardly ever eat out anymore. Except, for the occasional brunch with friends, and fast food is not even a question. Health is wealth.
What’s one habit you have developed that you feel as though has aided in your overall journey?
This is not to get confused with being lonely. I used to always be with company. Then, I realized this was more of a distraction than anything. Being alone has allowed me to become focused. My productivity has increased exponentially. For example, when moving into my space in Seattle, I decided not to purchase I a television. Everyone thought I was crazy but I honestly do not miss it nor do I regret my decision.
All things business.
What does Laidback Allure do? What pain points are you trying to solve through your Cognac Small Talk?
The term, Laidback Allure comes from our description of a lifestyle that showcases a relaxed persona but also displays artistic desire to explore and discover. Our brand, practices art direction and lifestyle consulting through the appreciation of design, sartorial style, travel and minimalism. Our belief is that speaking this lifestyle into existence ultimately plays a role in our overall well-being.
We want to remove any stigma against lifestyle self-expression— Focusing on all things that matter and make us happy has ultimately allowed us to produce the best content. As a collective, our goal is to take notes from the things that inspire us, understand its purpose and value and then finally express that throughout our day to day activities
Cognac Small Talk is the voice of creative millennials who are over the normalcy of society. I talk from personal experience with actionable tips and advice to save my audience time and move forward further in their industries.
There are a lot of misconceptions about running a small business or being an entrepreneur, like lack of freedom or difficulty growing income. What’s the biggest myth you’ve learned to be untrue?
This could not be further from the truth. There are so many instances were this muth has been disproven. People still need they need a degree in order to start a business. In reality, results and experience are what really matter.
There's different ways to achieve the same goal. For example, person A's wants to be an actor. He decides to go to acting school. Person B wants to be an actor as well but is discovered through his platforms on Vine and Youtube. The same goal is achieved just in a different way.
What tools or systems is a necessity for your brand to run smoothly?
Squarespace has been huge for us. Specifically, for our podcast: Cognac Small Talk. Not only does Squarespace allow us to have a clean, attractive, and minilist design, but the RSS feed (what is needed to have meta data for the podcast) syncs seamlessly with itunes.
Social media with emphasis on Twitter has been beneficial for our platform. Twitter allows the ability to engage with a lot of our audience at once. I am able to ask questions to include in the podcast, and just get the direct opinions from our audience.
Adobe Suite is another tool that has been a great resource for us. This helps our brand when it comes to imagery, video, and editing.
The consumer’s overall experience is crucial when it comes to a brands longevity. What experiences have you created for your audience?
Laidback Allure produces content that is relatable and relevant Through the Cognac Small Talk podcast, we talk as a resource not as a sales lead. We genuinely want to help our audience achieve their best in their industries.
What are some accomplishments of Laidback Allure? And where do you see its future?
The podcast is our number one accomplishment. We have a lot in the reserves for our audience. Our studio vibes and mixes will be releasing soon as well. (Here's a sample) I am very proud of the brand from originally just being a blog or mood board on tumblr to growing into a functioning brand. It's been an amazing journey. In the future, I would just like to see more brand awareness. #LaidbackAllure
Influencing the Future.
What advice can you give to other entrepreneurs?
1. Be willing to adjust to change. 2.Develop a work ethic. 3. Be consistent.
I describe a Mindshift as a moment in time, where one realizes, there is more to life than what society has told. Can you describe your Mindshift moment?
I touched on it a little earlier in the interview. It would be taking the leap and moving to Seattle. It forced me to leave my comfort zone and essentially conquer a new territory. I had to change my mindset and see this move as an opportunity and not a setback.
For example, media is huge in Atlanta. Radio is my speciality, and radio in Atlanta ranks within the top five in the nation. Whereas in Seattle, radio is ranked around the eighteenth. I had to readjust to say the least. I threw myself into the Podcasting world. I gave myself a one month deadline to launch. And I am proud to say on November 7, 2015, Cognac Small Talk launched on time.The transition to Podcasting has been great. Throught this platform, I able to reach audiences around the world. Location is a thing of the past now.
Lastly, think about what living life on your own terms means to you. Describe your ideal situation.
I would be able to pay off all my debts and my parents debts. And be able to wake up and do the things for personal happiness. Simple.