I started my business back in 2009. Back then, our sole service offering was writing LinkedIn profiles for professionals. Our services and processes back then were quite different than they are today. Back then, I provided a single live session in which I talked to the client and furiously typed out the content into their LinkedIn profile. This worked out well when it was just me providing the service, but the strangest thing happened-- executives started to seek me out-- executives from all over the world. It got to the point where if I wanted to keep the business going, I would have to expand.
After much thought, I brought on two writers to help me (Dionne Carrick and Audra Hammer Ross), and I changed up our process. I created a fun but intensive branding questionnaire for clients to fill out. Once the client submitted the questionnaire, we scheduled an upfront interview to discuss their career, life, and future goals. The new process allowed us to write much more high-level and thoughtful profiles that showcased our clients and allowed them to see themselves in totally new ways. Clients would come back to me and say how much their lives change after their project with us. They were colliding with amazing opportunities, but they also felt better aligned to their real future (not the out-of-date one their brand had been clinging to), and they felt more confident in the value they offered the world.
It wasn't just their lives that changed from these sessions. I LOVED the interviews with these high-level professionals and executives. It was fascinating listening to their hopes and dreams, hearing their keys to success and the process they used to accomplish their desires. I found my own thinking starting to change, and as my thoughts changed, so did my life. Struggles that had kept me alone started to disintegrate, and I found my soulmate, got married, and had two children. I also began to realize that my team, our business, and I had so much more to offer, and we began to expand our branding services.
In the back of my mind, I always thought, "More people need to hear these interviews -- how can I harness the lessons, ideas, and insight from these conversations so others can hear it and blossom too?" The funny part is people used to tell me that I had a nice voice and I should start a podcast. I always dismissed it because I didn't think anyone would be interested in hearing me talk about LinkedIn for more than an hour.
Finally, in the summer months of the Covid Pandemic 2020, I began to think beyond LinkedIn. I realized that I could tap into my clients and other executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals and provide them a platform to tell their stories while helping people learn from their lessons and knowledge. I reached out to an old friend, Scott Kent Jones, and together we began to brainstorm ideas. I was a fan of his Give and Take podcast and loved his thoughtful questions and fearlessness in asking his guests deep questions that got to the root of who they were and why they do what they do. When he agreed to be my co-host, I knew we had something that had enormous potential.
What would be the name of our podcast? I remember, a few months before my father died in 2011, he said to me, "Donna, my biggest regret in life is that I didn't dream bigger." At that time, I didn't really understand the magnitude of what he was telling me. "Donna, dream big. The only thing that holds us back is our own thoughts and goals." I tucked that piece of advice in the back of my head and trudged forward. As the podcast concept began to take form in my mind, I kept thinking, "Dream Big... with our big dreaming guests... Dream Big with Big Dreamers!"
We interviewed our first two guests, Craig Coffey and Carol Schmekel, in October 2020. As the holidays loomed, coupled with the pandemic, we took a little time to really think about what we were trying to accomplish, and right after the new year of 2021, we hit the ground running. So far, as of this blog post, we've interviewed:
- Craig Coffey
- Carol Schmekel
- Scott Mesh
- Eric Bartosz
- Kristi Diemoz
- James George
- Cole Silver
- Larry Kaufman
- Nelson Squires
- David Marchi
As we roll out these interviews, I hope our audience will get inspired and find keys to guide them to new and different ways of thinking and dreaming bigger.