Episode 87

Mixing Friends and Business with Shauna Haider and Gala Darling

August 30, 2016

Today we’re talking Shauna Haider and Gala Darling all about business besties, balancing friendship and business when you go into business with a friend, doing what you believe in (despite the haters), and how to make friends as an adult.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"The key to having a business and a friendship is to make sure you don't overlap responsibilities."
- Shauna Haider

Discussed in this Episode

  • How Gala & Shauna become blogging/business besties
  • Partnering up to create The Blogcademy
  • Travel and inspiration vs. routine and doing the work
  • The line between business partners and friends
  • How going into business together changes friendship and business
  • How to make friends as an adult
  • Doing what you believe in even if you have haters
  • Living your online live vs. your offline life
  • How to choose what opportunities to take


More from Shauna Haider

More from Gala Darling

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:00
Hello and welcome to being boss episode number 87. This episode is brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting,

theme balls and work and life is being in it.

Kathleen Shannon 0:16
It's being who we are doing the work, breaking some rules. And even though we each have to do it on our own,

Emily Thompson 0:23
being boss is knowing we're in it together.

Kathleen Shannon 0:28
We are so excited to be talking to you Shawna Hayter also known as Nabhi twiglets, in case you follow her blog there, and her best friend gala darling Shawna is a graphic designer and the creative director of her boutique design studio branch, where she specializes in branding, web design and print solutions to help small businesses take their brands to new heights. And gala darling is an author, teacher and speaker who has been teaching radical self love, a selection of powerful techniques and tools which help women transform their lives for close to a decade. Her site gala darling calm helps a million women a month find their voice live without fear and fall in love with life. And in today's episode, we're going to be talking about how Shauna and gala together as friends, launch projects together and support each other as creative entrepreneurs. We're gonna be talking a little bit about haters, and balancing friendship and business. Oh, and making friends as an adult, I know that a lot of you want to know about that. Hey, I want to pause here for a second and give you an important money tip brought to you by fresh books, cloud accounting. So the tip is this stay on top of your expenses to avoid mountains of stress at tax time. I know that it's mid year, and you're not even thinking about doing taxes in 2017. But if you start now, you will be thinking yourself later. You can link freshbooks to your credit card and debit cards and import your expenses automatically. So next time you expense that business lunch or tank of gas, watch it magically appear in your freshbooks account. It makes keeping track so easy. And you can try fresh books for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section whenever you sign up. And you don't even need a credit card to get started? Oh, and hey, you can expense your freshbooks account if you decide to keep going. Alright, back to our episode. Gala. Shauna, it's so nice to have you both on the being boss podcast. Thank you so much for joining us.

Shauna Haider 2:40
Thanks for having us.

Gala Darling 2:41
Yeah, thanks for having us. Always fun.

Kathleen Shannon 2:44
I want to start by hearing individually from each of you a kind of just in a nutshell, your creative journey just to introduce you to any of our listeners who are not already familiar with your work. So who wants to start gala?

Gala Darling 2:58
Sure. Okay. So I'm, I'm originally from New Zealand, the accent kind of comes and goes, and I live in New York City now. And I moved here in 2008. And I have been running my blog gala, darling calm for the last 10 years. And I recently published my first book with Hay House in February. And my whole thing is about radical self love. So learning how to love yourself more learning that it's okay to do what you want to do and ignoring what society says because most of that, let's face it is bullshit. And the way that I got to this is in my teens and my early 20s, I had an eating disorder, I suffered with depression. And I learned how to reprogram my brain when I was 23. And once I did that, I realized how beautiful life could be. And I'm really committed to helping other women see that as well. So that's really my journey. And I've just been obsessed with making my life awesome and helping other women make their lives awesome for the last 10 years. And it's pretty fulfilling. I gotta say, like, can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing. So it's it's pretty good.

Kathleen Shannon 4:05
I've been following your blog for a really long time. And I think that ice hooked in probably 567 years ago. I think that you were really fashion blogging at the time. And I saw you speak at alt summit, like on a fashion blogger panel. Oh, wow. Yeah. So it was a really, really long time ago. And so it's been fun. I think that's a fun thing. And I was gonna mention this to you, Shauna, because we see each other every year at designer vaycay just kind of seeing whenever you're in a creative bubble with other creative seeing how everyone grows and progresses. So I can't wait to talk about how your own brand has grown, and how you've shifted directions or maybe even have gotten more brave about talking about certain things. So yeah, but Shauna, let's hear your story. In a nutshell. This is really interesting, interviewing two people. If I suck at this, I apologize.

Gala Darling 4:58
I'm sure you'll be wonderful.

Unknown Speaker 4:59
All right. Listen, thank

Shauna Haider 5:00
you. So I am based on the opposite coast Gala. Even though we're best friends. I'm based in Portland, Oregon. And I've always been a creative and I've always, at my core wanted to be an artist. But the thing I struggled with as I got older was how to turn art into a career, I couldn't figure out how to make a living. And by nature, I'm a Virgo, so I'm very practical, and I needed to support myself. So I went to school for business, and it was great, but I was really bored and uninspired. So I went back to school for what I was meant to do, which is graphic design. And through that whole time, I blogged regularly. And that's How I Met Gala. And through blogging, I made all these great connections. So once I graduated, even though I had full time jobs at design studios, like Kathleen did, I always felt like there was another way I've always been very independent and driven. And I really wanted to run my own business, and actually going to design our vacation meeting, Kathleen was one of the catalysts because she had already started braid. And I was like, wait a minute, if she can do it, I can do it. So about three years ago, I quit working at all outside design studios, and I started my own and I've been running branch now for about three years solid and actually gala is one of my favorite clients. So every day I get to show up and be who I am and just make a living being creative, which is basically my dream. So it's worked out.

Kathleen Shannon 6:24
Okay, so I want to hear when is the first time you to? Well, okay, let's start with your friendship. Your friends online. First, when did you first meet offline, I just want to hear your love story.

Gala Darling 6:38
It's pretty it's already beginning. It's good. So we met partially through live journal, and partially partially through a group on Flippa called wardrobe underscore remix, which was run by this girl called Trisha, who had one of the first ever fashion blogs. And so when we met on live journal, I think I must have been living in New Zealand. You were living in Portland still. And yeah, we we kind of I guess we just met each other instead of like leaving comments on each other's stuff online. I

Shauna Haider 7:16
mean, I remember how I found it. So I knew Gallus. I knew gala through live journal, but the catalyst that sort of brought us together was one of her actually her first ever blog post on gala darling, calm. Yeah, she was the first person I knew that jumped from like, you know, just like a group blog to running her own self hosted blog. I didn't even know that was possible. And we had a mutual friend, named star and star called me one day and said gala just wrote this amazing post about fashion advice for recovering golf. And she leaves you and I was so flattered. I'm like, wash me because I don't just wear black. I wear red too. Great. And that's how that's actually how we sort of connected.

Gala Darling 7:55
Yeah, I linked to like a photo of Shauna is on Flicka, that was like, she was wearing this crazy red overall dress with like a stripy shirt and stuff. And I was like, if you still go off, but you want to branch out, this is a really good example of that. And yeah, that was kind of the start of it. And then we met for the first time in 2008. When I had first arrived in New York City. Shawna just happened to be in town. And it was an accident, like I wasn't stalking

Shauna Haider 8:24

Gala Darling 8:27
And yeah, we met up for like, I know, lunch or something. And we basically became inseparable. And I remember her coming to my sublet in the West Village in the middle of summer, it was so hot, and I like talked her into signing up for Twitter actually have a video of that on Flippa of her signing up for Twitter and being like, I don't know about this. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 8:49
it's true. It's like the epitome of internet friends.

Shauna Haider 8:54
A great thing is I've been made with you. Girl is always about six months ahead of the curve. I play it a little bit safer, but she's always on to the next thing. So I just kind of watch what she's doing. And if she thinks something's really good, I jump on.

Gala Darling 9:08
like Instagram stories. That shit is so fun. You got to get up, you quit periscope

Unknown Speaker 9:13
for Instagram stories, or

Gala Darling 9:16
I quit Periscope, Snapchat, and then I quit Snapchat, but Instagram stories.

Kathleen Shannon 9:21
Good to know.

Emily Thompson 9:22
Nice, right? Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 9:24
here's where we're going to get into becoming business besties. So going from being, you know, just real life best friends, to doing business together. What was the first project that you worked on together collaboratively? Or did one of you hire the other person to do branding? Like, how did that go?

Gala Darling 9:42
Yeah, I hired Shauna to help me redesign my blog a few times. And like, I think the first time you know, she just designed Heather because we couldn't, I couldn't afford to have someone develop the rest of my site or whatever. So it was really just like making these little changes. So she really started working with me on branding. Probably in like 2009 or 2010, probably 2009. Yeah, and only as much as I could afford at the time, which was not a lot, even though her rates were really low, because she was just starting, I was just starting to I had no money really to spend on my business. And I'm really against going into debt for business and don't do that. So I ran. Yeah, so I would just spend what I could afford. And then in one year, we stopped Academy 2012 2012.

Shauna Haider 10:28
And that was sort of a happy accident. I think with a lot of a lot of businesses that formed from friendships, you can't force it. And so a couple years before blog, khadem II gala, and I had started traveling together, we both had a passion for showing up rent, like just traveling to random places. Like she would literally email me and be like, hey, you want to go to Vegas? And then the next day be like, actually, let's go to Iceland. I'd be like, okay, so we went on all these random crazy trips together. And as we traveled, as you know, traveling without a purpose is really expensive. And we started thinking, you know, is there a way for us to travel together and see the world but also, maybe help people along the way and have a purpose for going somewhere versus just sightseeing and blowing up? Exactly. So that's how ball Academy came about. We had this idea that we wanted to travel, we wanted to help people in some way. And that was the catalyst.

Gala Darling 11:23
Yeah. And then we ended up meeting our stuff. Our third business partner, Katt Williams from rock and roll bride in Las Vegas, she just happened to be there. While we were there. She was working with Shauna on some magazine or book or something. And they met up in person for the first time ever to like, discuss whatever and we were like, This girl is rad. Like, let's do some shit. And yeah, basically,

Kathleen Shannon 11:47
I think on that trip, we were like, yeah, we should do this thing. And we launched blue Academy A few months later. So blog Academy was an in person workshop that was teaching other people how to blog. Right? So I remember whenever you guys launched that thinking, it was genius. I could kind of see behind the scenes as an entrepreneur like, wow, this is a really great way to travel and get paid for it and to even build up your own brands. And then I was actually kind of surprised whenever you guys stopped doing the in person workshops did you do in person workshops for a year is that

Gala Darling 12:20
I think like two and a half years, maybe three years, like we ended up teaching, maybe like 2000 people or something like we taught a lot of people we did over 30 classes, I think, in basically like every continent, and accepted our blog.

Unknown Speaker 12:41

Gala Darling 12:42
polar bears don't do that much blogging these days. But yeah, though, I know they have so much insight to show. But we were still teaching the same content. And we weren't sure that there were enough people to support us doing like a level two of what we had already taught. And we were really big on giving value. We don't want to sell something we don't really believe in, we wanted to make sure anyone who came along was really getting their money's worth. And we really felt that with level one. But thinking of like a second way of expanding it or growing it like it just didn't seem to come very naturally. And we also all got really busy. I got a book deal. Shawna opened her design studio cat launched her magazine for real and it just became like, we don't really have time to take two weeks out of the month, every month to travel and you know, it just, it just our our whole thing shifted. Yeah, and I think a lot

Shauna Haider 13:35
of times with a business model, you have to figure out how to scale outwards. So after traveling for two years, you know, we'd be on the road literally for sometimes two and three weeks at a time, there was one time where we were on a trip literally for a straight month, which was insanity. And there's a point where you miss, you know, you miss your family, you miss your pets, you miss your life. And we do two or three years ago in London, we decided to do a live recording. So that's actually still available. So if people really want blood Academy, they can watch the live version, which is the exact same content. But yeah, you have to find a way to sort of have that work life balance. And if you're always traveling, and you don't have a life, then you know, what's the point?

Gala Darling 14:14
Yeah. And also like being in routine is really great for your creativity, as boring as that sounds like, yes, you have to leave the house and have adventures to be inspired and get fodder for your stuff. But then you have to go home and like do the work. And this year even like I have traveled so much my feet have barely touched the ground. Shawna and I go to Italy and Morocco on Sunday. Like I'm dying to just sit in my living room and get some fucking writing done for you. So yeah, you know, like it has its pros and cons and I would never complain about traveling. It's amazing. But you got to know when enough is enough and it's time to like do some work again.

Shauna Haider 14:51
Agree. I love that.

Emily Thompson 14:52
So I have to ask you guys like traveling that much because Kathleen and I are about to start traveling a whole lot together. Tell me about that. Tell me about like, whenever you're traveling out and doing these things like what is the what is the divide between like business and friendship? Like? Do you turn it off and on easily? Like, what is that like when you're hanging out with each other that much

Shauna Haider 15:15
the only. So I would say like a friend, the only way that it's worked, the only reason it's worked for the three of us is that we really are without, before we even met, we didn't even know this. But we really do keep the same schedules. So it doesn't matter how late we stay stay up. Like in Vegas two weeks ago, we were up till four in the morning some nights, but we still popped out of bed at eight and 9am. And because we keep the same schedule, and none of us are really hard partiers. We all really value our work and have a strong work ethic. And I think because of that we're really it's a really seamless experience. And also, even when we were running blog Academy, we never really clashed because we all had separate duties. So the key was having a business and a friendship is that you want to make sure that you don't overlap. So I always did 100% of the design gala always did 100% of like the media and outreach. You know, everything from our mailing list of PR inquiries. And cat did a lot of the social media and emails. And because of that we never really had a reason to get annoyed at each other because we were basically doing the jobs that each other didn't want to do

Gala Darling 16:20
so right. But yeah, we were working on our own strengths. Like I'm the best person for writing sales copy, I would never be like oh, Shawna, can you help me like, no, like, that's not her thing. She makes it look amazing. And it's my job to make it sound amazing. So if you're having those clearly delineated roles is important. But as for like friendship and business, switching it on or off, like there is no such thing, really. But I think another one of the reasons why this works for us is that we always really clear that friendship came first. And money and business was totally secondary. And it was more important to us to maintain the friendship than to be like, well, I want to make more money. So like, that has never been our attitude. And I think that's really essential.

Shauna Haider 17:00
Yeah, like, it's funny. This is like one of those like inside things. But as funny as it sounds the day before we did our first ever blog Academy, my God, yeah, in New York, we literally pulled out a single sheet of paper and gala has the best handwriting. So she hand wrote this. And we wrote out a little contract and her and Kat and I signed it, basically saying friendship would always come first. And if one of us decided not to do it anymore, the other two could go on and do whatever they wanted with the content. And because we always had that in the back of our minds, we never really tried to try to you know,

Gala Darling 17:33
swindle each other.

Kathleen Shannon 17:36
I'm so glad that you say this, Emily, and I actually hired a lawyer to help us with our operating agreement. And our lawyer was thrown for a loop whenever we came back with a Don't be an asshole clause, an Oprah clause, which is like if someone gets invited on Oprah, like, whose brand is being represented? And do we try and get the other person on? And then what was the other one there is something else, but basically saying, let's support each other Oh, a non compete, that we don't have a non compete in place, because that kind of falls under Don't be an asshole. And it got too confusing because our points of view overlap so much. So I thought was interesting that you say if at any point, you want to dissolve the business, you can take the content and do what you want?

Gala Darling 18:20
Yeah, I mean, thankfully, we are very respectful of each other. And also, we probably have so much dirt on each other now, like if some shit went down, like the things we could tell the internet are just like, mind blowing. Yeah, I

Shauna Haider 18:36
mean, you're sitting on a flight to Australia for 14 hours next to a certain person. And you know everything about them when you're sharing beds, sharing couches, sharing bathrooms, like we know so much about each other that like when you're struggling shoving your laundry all into the same washing machine and you have to sort it out like you know everything about that person, so just not not rock the boat.

Emily Thompson 19:05
Oh, I love that though. So you know, we have we have the clubhouse. And even in our Facebook group, and just our tribe in general, like they're also they're all so friendly, and they all like they all want to cultivate their tribe of people and most of them are looking for that business bestie like that person that they can share their business with and whether that's just like, you know, conversations where they're talking about like revenue or you know, clients or whatever it may be, we're actually sharing a business in collaborating on projects. And I think so many of them have trouble visualizing what that relationship actually looks like. And I think you guys like hit it right on the head with know your friends first, like you're human beings first. And and then the business is second and having those roles is everything. Knowing what one person is doing and the other person is doing and making sure there's no overlap and playing to the strengths of both is what makes these like a business. As besties not only like fruitful, like, as friends, but as businesses as well.

Gala Darling 20:04
And I think people, I mean, people are looking for that that business partner relationship. And so they're, that's what they're looking for. But really, you should just be looking for friends and some people you're gonna click with and some people you're not like my friend, Grace Smith is a hypnotherapist, and she's amazing. She's in New York City. And I just started this doing this new thing called Bad witch workout, which is a workout that employs like spiritual concepts. And she came and did like hypnosis at the end, and it was amazing. And, you know, I'm gonna promote what she does. And I'm an affiliate for what she does, she came to my house like yesterday, it sat on my couch and talked to me and my boyfriend and brainstorm some business shit with us. And like, we may never start a business together, but it's great to have her as someone I can collaborate with and talk to. And that happened totally randomly, I went to a speaking workshop in New Mexico, and she happened to be there as well. And everyone else in this workshop was like, 50 Plus, and she was the only person my age and we were like, you're awesome. This should happen way more often. So those things just happened very organically. And I think you have to go into social situations with the mindset of like, Who can I meet? What can we do? How can this be fun? Not like, I need someone to be my angel investor, or I need someone to be the business mind to buy creative, whatever, like, I don't think it works when you go into it with that intention.

Emily Thompson 21:21
I completely agree with that. I think going into I mean, in your relationship, mining Kathleen's relationship like they're not planned, like they they just sort of happen. You meet people randomly people are accidentally in New York City when you're there. Like that's how these things work. And and you have to be open to it. And you never know what could come out of it.

Gala Darling 21:45
Just as an aside, Shawn, I

Shauna Haider 21:47
look at my cup, I decided that

Gala Darling 21:50
I drink coffee every day. It's your blog

Kathleen Shannon 21:53
Academy cup. So I'm curious to hear about starting a project together being blog Academy? Did you guys learn anything about your friendship? Do you feel like it deepened your friendship? Or did it change any sort of dynamic? And what do you think about doing more projects together? Or has it opened you up to doing collaborations with even other people that aren't necessarily each other? How has it changed your friendship and your business?

Shauna Haider 22:23
I think blog catimini made us so much stronger. Because like I said, it's one thing to go on a trip for a few days with a friend just for fun. But when you're literally on the road for two weeks with other people like to other people, and everything goes wrong, you know, we've literally had everything go wrong. Like we've had a toilet break. We've had crazy cab drivers. We've had Airbnb, places that were misrepresented. And Oh, boy. It's like we've had so much crazy stuff happen. And I think in those situations, when you're really stressed, and you're just freaking out, and you're like in a foreign country and your phone doesn't work, having those two people to depend on and know no matter what happens, they're going to somehow help you out of it is is everything. It's like, if you wouldn't do amazing race with the person. Don't go into business, we would win.

Emily Thompson 23:11
We would totally win.

Gala Darling 23:13
Totally. But yeah, it's definitely deepened our friendship. And also when we first started, blood khadem II was the first project any of us had done with somebody else. We were all very independent workers. And we every time we would get together, we would be like, Oh my God, we can get so much more done as three people than as one person like holy shit. And it opened all of us up. Shawna is doing a bunch of collaborations. Now I've done a few as well. And so it's really just made us see like, there's another way of doing things and working as a team is so great. You just have to be less of a control freak. That's the only trade but that's a good thing. That's a good thing.

Shauna Haider 23:51
Boy Academy was so easy for gal and I because we hate answering email. And cat loves it. She just lives to open her inbox in the morning and she can send emails.

Unknown Speaker 24:00
I need her in my life

Gala Darling 24:02
food. I need her in my life. I'm always like, we need you to do that because I hate this shit.

Shauna Haider 24:09
Yeah, she's so good at it. So honestly, like meeting cat was the best thing that ever happened to us.

Kathleen Shannon 24:15
Awesome. Do you guys have any tips or advice for adults who are looking to make friends, so maybe not even necessarily the business bestie but just showing up and being seen and making friends, especially a lot of our listeners are introverts and get itchy at the idea of networking. I put that in air quotes. So I would love to hear your take on that.

Gala Darling 24:39
I have a couple tips because I've really been working on my social interaction skills this year. It's been something that I've really been like, you know what, I kind of suck at this I need to get way better at it. So there's two things that I keep in mind. One thing is this friend of mine told me when you meet people, you can either put them off by having like resting bitchface and being closed down and shut off. Or you can disarm them by being charming, outgoing, generous, like even just leaning towards them when they're speaking to you completely changes the perception of how you are. So I go into each interaction with the goal to disarm the other person, like that's what I'm trying to do. I want to be the first person to smile at them, I want them to feel at ease. I want them to feel comfortable. And the second thing is my boyfriend's really charming. And he can like talk to anyone who's very social. And I would always be like, Oh, why can't I be like that? And I had this really shitty mindset about it for a long time. And then recently, I was like, What if I made this a game that he doesn't know about? Or like, I make more friends, and he does every time we go out. And I just kick his OS at this. And he has no idea that I'm doing it. But every time we go, and I'm like, Hey, what's up? I love your tattoo. That's such a cool dress. Like, he has no fucking idea what's going on. I am schooling him in this shit. And it's amazing. So for me, making it like a competitive game is the easiest ship ever.

Emily Thompson 26:05
I love that I love how you've totally like, I don't know, made it a game for yourself. I need to do that Kathleen is on.

Gala Darling 26:13
Sweet. I love that. Now, when you guys are together, you're gonna be like, Guess who I just met? And fuck you. I just got us in here. So what are you gonna do about

Emily Thompson 26:21
it? I'm gonna make it rain business cards on you. Totally.

Unknown Speaker 26:28
I love that. It's awesome.

Shauna Haider 26:30
And I would say that like my number one tip, because I'm a total introvert, I'm you know, I'm a graphic designer, I like spending time by myself. And you know, creatives can be very socially awkward. But the one thing I learned from blog Academy, because we had a networking section was that it's always a good idea if you're showing up to an event or so you know, a party or whatever, or just walking down the street to wear a conversation piece. Because if you're shy and the other person's shy, it gives them an in. So that's part of the reason why why I always wear interesting shoes, like I'll wear gold sneakers, because it gives somebody a way to say hey, I like your sneakers. And then you can say what's your name and you know, get the conversation going really organically. Whereas if you're just in head to toe black and looking at the ground, you know, you're gonna scare them away. So, you know, that's

Gala Darling 27:14
like, that's a good tip. Like I was literally at an event last night and this woman stopped me and she was like, I love your sneaker wedges on Instagram. Where do you get them? It's like, okay, let's talk about that. Easy. So easy.

Emily Thompson 27:25
Yeah, that's always my number one tip we did recently did a an episode with Christie Gillette from venture pop, where we're talking about like conferences, like you're at a conference bigger when people like how do you make it do just compliment someone's shoes, that's all you got to do. And then you are totally in

Kathleen Shannon 27:41
my number one tip, and I haven't shared this in a while on being boss is to turn on your taxi light. So to imagine that you are a taxi car, you're the car and just walk into a room and imagine that you've turned on the light and you don't have to do anything more than just have your light on. Right. I

Gala Darling 27:59
like an energetic shift.

Kathleen Shannon 28:01
It's completely an energetic shift that warms you up. And I think what it also does is it it makes you available right just like a taxi it makes you available. And I think also remembering that everyone is kind of freaked out and worried about what everyone else thinks like even meeting you, Shauna, a designer vaycay years ago, you were like one of my biggest design heroes. And I was so nervous.

Shauna Haider 28:25
I think I felt the same way I was, I was so freaked out. I wouldn't even respond to that original email for like two or three days. I'm like, Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God, do I go? Do I not go? What do I do? And it's funny because everybody, everybody feels that way.

Kathleen Shannon 28:39
Everyone has jitters going into these things. And the I love what you said gala about disarming the other person. And if you can almost gamify it, then you don't take it. So personally, if they aren't very receptive, you just move on to the next person.

Gala Darling 28:54
Yeah, just think of it as like you're trying to like get a high score on something. It's totally not personal. And I went with Shauna and I and Kat just went to Vegas. And I went into that week with that attitude. And we were like, everywhere we went to clubs, we met people, we were like, behind the DJ booth with Steve Aoki, like, shit was wild and only because I was like, hey, let's be friends. Yes, let's text your promoter. Awesome. What can you hook us up with? Like, if you don't do that, then your experiences just stay really small. And really, the key to having a great life, I think is just to be open to other people. Because that's what makes life interesting. Like you can only do so much on your own. Your life can only be so interesting when you're focused on yourself. So

Kathleen Shannon 29:34
I also heard a trick I don't I don't know if this can go anywhere. But I've heard that Tony Robbins. Will I

Gala Darling 29:42
love him. Oh my god. Sorry. Can I just interrupt it dude, did you see his documentary?

Kathleen Shannon 29:46
I watched it but it almost creeped me out. In the beginning. I like almost made me really uncomfortable. Well, I

Gala Darling 29:52
think Mansur like he's trying to snap out of your ship.

Kathleen Shannon 29:56
So speaking of snapping you out of your shit. Like he'll be going into a real deep conversation, sometimes it goes to dark places. And then he will instantly disarm the person that he's talking to, by cracking a really vulgar joke or dropping an F bomb or like doing something kind of unexpected. And it literally, I think I've heard him talk about it before that it literally kind of like cuts the pathway like the neurons in their brain to snap them out of whatever it is that they're into.

Gala Darling 30:27
Yeah, it's like a neuro linguistic programming trick. Like, if you're in that rut, where your brain is on that autopilot, the thing that it always does, the only way to break it is have a shock to the system. And you could punch someone in the face, but that's not very fun. So saying, like, Fuck, or talking about someone's red shoes, or whatever is like the way that you snap them out of their thing. And then they can, then they can see other opportunities and their brain opens up. But otherwise, they're like locked in that little shitty sphere of wherever they are. I love Tony Robbins, man, he did a super soul Sunday thing recently. And it's like an hour long. And he talks to Oprah about like his relationship. And it's, it's some good shit mentally.

Kathleen Shannon 31:09
I think he's fascinating. I read his money book, which was quite a bit to get through.

Gala Darling 31:14
That doesn't sound fun at all. I was all about trading and investing.

Kathleen Shannon 31:18
A little bit about investing, all you need to know is get a 401k from a trustworthy person there.

Unknown Speaker 31:25
Check number one.

Unknown Speaker 31:27
Yeah, this book, this book is this thick.

Kathleen Shannon 31:31
So speaking of kind of maybe shocking. gala, I'm curious about the direction of your content, and even being open to talking about things like masturbation and feminism and kind of going into the witchy. area. And I've even seen you get a little bit of backlash on Instagram, where like haters,

Emily Thompson 31:52
I've seen that he went mad for you.

Kathleen Shannon 31:55
Not, I want to talk about it or bring attention to it. But I'm just curious about how you get the courage to really be who you are in such a public sphere.

Gala Darling 32:05
Oh, I just think life's too short to pretend to be someone you're not. And especially if you have a business that you've created from nothing, like why do something that you're not enjoying, you might as well go work in a fucking office, and I would rather cut my own head off with a bread knife, then do that again. So but my business has been a really interesting evolution, like I started as a fashion blogger. And I wanted to move more into the self help realms. And I remember having like a massive crisis of confidence, thinking about that being like, do I really fit with those people like the Danielle Laporte and the Gabby Bernstein, the Jonathan fields, like, I don't know if they're going to accept me, because what I do is really different. And I, you know, I'm interested in aesthetics and style. And like, I don't want people to think I'm shallow, or whatever. But I just decided to take the leap, and really my blog and the stuff I write about, it's just an extension of whatever I'm interested in at that moment. And that's constantly changing. You know, I wrote a post today about some, like, emotional work that I'm doing on different things like learning to be in my body and not in my head, and like, just all these little things. And so I don't know, I just think honesty is really important. And like, people have hated me on the internet for like, since I moved to New York, so since 2008, so I've got like, eight solid years of grief. And the thing is, they're going to hate me no matter what I do. So I might as well actually believe in it. And it should be fun for me, because otherwise, like, why would you bother but the other thing is, like, the trade off is like, I get to do whatever I want. I don't care what they say about me because I'm never gonna meet you. And even if I do, you are way too gutless to say anything to me in person. So fucking Bring it on. I'm not afraid of you. And I think having that attitude means I can just do whatever the fuck I like.

Kathleen Shannon 33:48
And I think that the you know, it's easy because you can get one hateful comment or see one forum of hateful I feel like Shauna kind of who walked me through that. Five I think my first slew of haters years ago, yeah, I found out at designer vacation when I was like, you have an entire site of people hating on you and I was like, What?

Gala Darling 34:09
Wow, that's so helpful and tell you shut the fuck up. I thought Gabby Bernstein speak last night and she was like, I don't attract hateful shit on the internet because I don't go fucking looking for it. And I don't either. And I get like, like one shitty comment every like two weeks on Facebook or something. And it's usually some like right wing Pro, pro life man, idiot who is like completely irrelevant. I don't care. I don't

Kathleen Shannon 34:38
well, and what is missing is that you are helping so many people. So sometimes whenever I feel scared to talk about something, I just think about how how will this help give someone else permission to think these things or do these things or to show up and be seen out loud and not be afraid to be who they are. So you're doing great work.

Gala Darling 34:59
Thank you. I believe that as well. And that's another one of the reasons why I can share what I'm sharing because it doesn't feel like I'm being self indulgent. It feels like I'm actually doing it for a reason. I'm reading daring greatly by Bernie brown right now. Oh my god, it's so fucking good. I was reading on the plane to Florida is like crying my eyes out. It's amazing. But it's all about like being authentic, being vulnerable, and how that can transform your life and other people's.

Kathleen Shannon 35:23
That book changed my life.

Gala Darling 35:24
Yeah, it's amazing, so

Unknown Speaker 35:26

Gala Darling 35:26
I'm a bit of a hater. Like when there's like something that everyone loves, like, I kind of want to do it like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, I won't do it. But this book is, it's actually as good as people say it is.

Shauna Haider 35:37
On the back on the topic of haters on the internet. That's one of the things that I've always admired most about gala is that she doesn't give in, like, she always stands true to herself. And that's taught me how to be more true to myself. Because, you know, you can back down because somebody hates you. But that's not going to do anybody any good. And, you know, from the very first time I met gala, like close to 10 years ago, she really wanted to have a book. And I remember probably five or six years ago, you know, we were talking and she was like, you know, I'm, you know, the book deal hasn't happened yet. And I feel like it should have and she was a little bit disillusioned, but she didn't give up. And, you know, when she was finally when she finally decided that she was going to self publish, and she wasn't going to let anybody tell her that she couldn't do it. I was excited to design it. And you know, she, you know, she hired the person to prove it, she hired me to design it, she paid for all of that out of pocket. And if people saw the behind the scenes of us, you know, editing it a gazillion times, just to get signed to look right on Amazon on CreateSpace. We would read that book so many times. And all these little details would be off. But we didn't give up. We kept doing it. And you know, we were just excited for her to self publish. That was the goal. And it's like, well, if somebody won't publish my book, I'll tell my own story. So to see everything come full circle, you know, she had given up because people hated her, Where would she be now she'd probably be working in an office. So right, I think there's something to be said in business. You know, even with wall Academy, not every single person that came to our course was happy that didn't stop us. I think if you believe in what you're doing, you can't let all those people get to you.

Kathleen Shannon 37:19
And I also think that that's why it's so good to have relationships with other creative entrepreneurs who you can bounce ideas off of, and even share, share your stories and experiences and just say, Man, this shitty thing just happened. And knowing that you're not alone in that. I also think that what you said about not everyone being happy at blog, cat me. I mean, this is the reality of it is that not everybody is going to like you, right? We all know this, like we all know it in our heads. But whenever it actually happens, it still stings and it still sucks. And it shouldn't not suck. Like it should kind of actually feel bad to get negative feedback, right? But what should feel good is going to someone that you trust and love and saying you too, have you had this happened? Because everyone's had it happen, right?

Gala Darling 38:08
I think the other thing about you know, negative feedback, especially online is because you're reading the words, you can see them in your mind forever. Whereas if someone in person comes up to you, firstly, they're likely to be a little softer. Because there's like the social stigma of being a total bitch in person, most people won't do it. And secondly, like, when someone has a conversation with you, and you don't remember everything word for word, it's impossible. So, you know, like the I feel like the waiting on like, something you read is way heavier, rather than something like a casual interaction where someone's like, yeah, I bought your thing, and I didn't really enjoy it, which is different than someone typing like, I bought this and you are a scam artist, and you have ruined my life. You know, like, you know, like, yeah, I'm gonna tell you that in person, because most people aren't psychotic

Unknown Speaker 38:55

Shauna Haider 38:56
another level, like when you see it online, or you see like an Amazon review, or you see like a crazy long Instagram comment, because you're right, like, you know, and especially if you don't have control to you know, get rid of it, and you just have to keep seeing it, then it's like keeps replaying in your mind. Yeah, yeah. Oh, well, it

Gala Darling 39:14
is one of those things. Like, I mean, you just develop a thicker skin over time. And eventually you're just like, Yeah, I don't give a fuck. But in the beginning, it's tough. It's tough, you know? Yeah, I

Shauna Haider 39:23
think the funny thing is, is that and I learned this when we were teaching blog Academy, we always had an open q&a at the end, which I love because the questions were so random, you know, is like how gala did her eyeliner or whatever. But um, yeah, the question we got every single time I think people because maybe they're embarrassed or ashamed. You know, when they get a hateful comment or something. They don't really speak out about it. It's almost like oh, I did something wrong when really like, it happens to everybody. And every single class we had somebody stand up and say, you know, how do you deal with negative feedback? Like I got my first negative comment. You know, and I think just by opening up and talking about it, you realize that It's not so bad It happens to everybody.

Kathleen Shannon 40:03
I know I think it's like talking about any tough topics like money, haters,

Emily Thompson 40:08
fear of rejection, or like, I mean, all the things like we all feel it. And yet the whole time, we're feeling like we're the only ones that experienced this. And I think that's one of my favorite things about like, finding your people is, is having the person to mirror back to you that you're not in it alone.

Kathleen Shannon 40:27
So do you guys think that you might work on another project together? Do you have anything brewing? Wait already?

Gala Darling 40:37
Yeah, we're working on something that we're really excited about. And it's, it's cool, because I don't want to give too much away. But it's cool, because it's not totally internet centric. It's gonna take people off the internet a little bit, which is, that sounds magical. I'm right. Like, it's just, I think I feel really strongly like, that's what people really need. And so we were working on something in that realm, and it's gonna be amazing.

Kathleen Shannon 41:06
Can we talk about that a little bit, actually, because I think that all of us have very strong online identities. And whenever you live a lot of your world online, I absolutely believe that online is real life. Like it is also real life, you can make real friendships online. But lately, I've been getting into a little bit of a mind loop of like, what am I doing offline, like, I just, I spend so much time focusing on my online business, or my online presence, or social media and all of that, that it's easy to get caught up in that I wonder if you guys ever have that too, too.

Shauna Haider 41:40
I think everybody does that has an online business. I don't feel like I do as much just because branch still is mostly service based. So most of the time, I'm not sitting online, I'm on my computer for 10 1214 hours a day. But I'm working directly with clients. And I might check email or check a news site or something. But I'm not really hanging out. And I think that kind of keeps me sane.

Gala Darling 42:04
In my case, like, I'm a writer, so that's super solitary. Like I literally need to be alone to get my work done. But I started dating this guy a year ago, and he has kind of just reminded me like, there's more to life than work. And so we go out, and I don't really work on the weekends anymore. And I'm making an effort to meet more friends who live in New York City, because because I've been so internet focused, a lot of my friends are in like California or, you know, New Zealand or whatever. So yeah, it just, it takes effort. Like, it's just like with anything, you have to prioritize it. And I've really been prioritizing my offline life. And it feels amazing. It feels amazing. So yeah, and I also think like, I actually wrote about this, in my post today that I'm working obsessively can be like a way of avoiding your problems. And in my last two relationships, I worked all the time, because I was like, I don't really want to hang out with this person. So I'm just going to work. And it's a really good way of like, if you work all the time, you don't have to do any emotional processing, like you just do to stay busy. And we're rewarded for it. Because society Loves a Woman that hustles these days, like it's you have the same amount of hours in the day is Beyonce, blah, blah, blah. It's like Yeah, but Beyonce also has a fucking life.

Kathleen Shannon 43:24
And a team of like, I don't know, 200 people, right?

Gala Darling 43:29
I just think it's really easy to use these things as a way of avoiding your real life. And I don't want to look back on my life and be like, man, I'd never like my fingers. Were always on a keyboard. That's not satisfying as much as I love what I do. And I love writing. And it's very important to me, I have to remember that is just my walk is not all of me. So I'm constantly battling with that.

Shauna Haider 43:50
Even if you are busy, you have to take a timeout, like we're leaving on I'm leaving on Saturday, I'm flying overnight to New York to meet gala Sunday morning. And I mean, now is not a good time. I have so much work to do. But it's not going to stop me. I mean, I'm not going to miss that flight. I'm getting on the flight and I'm going to Europe for two weeks. And that's just the way it is.

Gala Darling 44:09
We're gonna ride camels and Marrakech. We're taking a fucking belly dancing lesson. It's gonna be amazing. Yeah, it's dreifuss for living, I'm telling you.

Emily Thompson 44:19
So I want to talk about opportunities for a second. So either together or like in your own businesses online and off one of the questions that we get a lot from from our bosses is how it is that you choose what it is that you're going to do next. And especially like as you begin growing businesses, like you get tons of opportunities and you have to be particular so I'd love to hear from both of you about about how it is that you choose what opportunities to take and what opportunities to say no

Shauna Haider 44:48
thanks to for me it's really easy. I have to like the I'd have to personally like that person in full connection. I felt a connection with gala from the first time I met her so that was easy to start ball Academy same with cat With the other project I have with Paul Jarvis. You know, we were friends on Twitter first, and he was friends with most of my clients. And the first time I talked to him, it was the same same as meeting Gala. Like, immediately. You know, we could crack jokes and have a good time. And, you know, the projects, obviously, they started with both gala with wall Academy and then with Paul, when we've done project prescription, both of those have been hugely successful. And I think that's because we actually liked each other. And we had a great time doing the work and never really felt like it was this monumental task. It was

Gala Darling 45:35
a hard slog. Yeah, yeah. And in my case, like, I just have to be really excited about it. Like, I get so many people who want to do a thing, I get invited to be part of a summit like every, like three times a fucking day, and I just want to shoot myself in the head. But yeah, I have to be really excited about it. Like I am working on my second book right now. And it is demanding, like, all of my brain. So anything else that comes in has to be like, super awesome. Otherwise, I just I don't like No, no.

Emily Thompson 46:09
Love it. So last, I want to know how it is that you guys say no to things. Like if you get one of those questions like how kind are you I guess?

Gala Darling 46:19
I have an assistant called Audrey who rocks my world and she kind of does my dirty work for me. Like, she'll send me something and she'll be like, what do you think? And I'll be like, Ah, no, and she'll write back and be like, thank you so much for writing. Unfortunately, gala is really over committed right now that it whatever. I don't know why she says something amazing.

Unknown Speaker 46:37

Gala Darling 46:38
I also try. I mean, like, when I have to say no to somebody myself, I try not to make excuses, either, because I feel like it's just kind of gross. Like, it's easy just to be like, thank you. But no, you don't have to be like, thank you. But my kid has tuberculosis, or

Kathleen Shannon 46:54
that's a good point, whenever I was asked to be on the board of IGA, and it's a program that I feel so thankful for and committed to, but I just don't do well on boards. And I said exactly that. And I was nine months pregnant at the time that they invited me and I so badly want to be like, Oh, I'm having a baby. But I'm not gonna let my baby stop me from doing all the other things I want to do. So I kind of just wanted to say I don't want to do this. So I did.

Gala Darling 47:21
Yeah. And it's freeing. It's almost like, it feels really clean. to just be like No thanks. Rather than making up an excuse, and then having to like, remember it for next time or whatever. Like, just be honest, people won't hate you for saying no, but they will be like, oh, whatever. If the if you come up with this, like long winded bullshit, just be honest.

Shauna Haider 47:42
And I think it's a little different. When you run a service based business, I think, you know, it's great to say no, but I always try to come up with a suggestion. So if I can't do the job, I'll recommend five or 10 people that can you know if you can turn a no into a positive and it's it's great. Now, if somebody keeps emailing me over and over again. I'm not so nice. But I think on that first communication, it's always it's always good to take the high road. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 48:04
I where can our listeners find more from each of you?

Gala Darling 48:08
Well, my site is gala darling, calm and I'm gala darling everywhere else on the internet pretty much. And my new book, which came out in February is at gala darling.com, slash book, links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all that good stuff. So

Unknown Speaker 48:23
good. I

Kathleen Shannon 48:24
downloaded it to my Kindle. So I didn't get to see Shanaze beautiful design. Oh, Baba, you made writing that book look really easy. I just feel like it's so digestible. And it's full of actions and tactics. And you can kind of almost read it. Like, I'll just pick it up and read a chapter or like half a chapter before bed and it gives me one new thing to try the next day to be a better happier, more radically self loving.

Gala Darling 48:50
Yeah, that's awesome. I

Shauna Haider 48:52
really appreciate that feedback. It's great to because it makes selfhelp seem it makes it feel accessible. It doesn't make it feel like some crazy far fetched thing. You can read it and go Actually, I can apply this to my life today, which I think is, you know, the whole goal of self help so

Unknown Speaker 49:07
well and whenever self help involves an orgasm, like

Gala Darling 49:11
how can you go wrong?

Kathleen Shannon 49:13
Well, your book is all about just having orgasms. But that's the part that stuck out to me.

Gala Darling 49:18
It's a good prescription. It's a good prescription. Like I don't know what to do with my life. Okay, have an orgasm and come back to it. Why not? Just Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 49:27
And then Shauna, what about you? Where can people find you and your work?

Shauna Haider 49:30
So my design studio is called we are branch and that's it. We are branch COMM And then my personal accounts are under nubby toilet and I also have a blog at Natalie toilet calm. And then the side project I'm most excited about right now is with Paul Jarvis, and that's called the project prescription. And that is basically a set of pre made documents that designers can customize and now photographers as well. So they can get their processes sorted out really really quickly and make more money.

Unknown Speaker 50:00
Amen. Oh, and

Gala Darling 50:01
if people are interested in blue Academy online, it's the blog academy.com slash online. And yeah, if you want to see what our live class was like, it's all there.

Kathleen Shannon 50:11
And then if our listeners sign up for your newsletters, will you be letting them know what that next project you're working on together? Is

Unknown Speaker 50:17
that definitely

Unknown Speaker 50:19

Kathleen Shannon 50:20
Well, thank you so much for joining us. I feel like I could talk to you all day and not even know like, where to begin. So totally.

Unknown Speaker 50:27
Shawna, I

Kathleen Shannon 50:29
can't wait to see you in November.

Shauna Haider 50:32
I can't wait I'm so excited.

Kathleen Shannon 50:34
I know vaycay Emily will be there too. I'm friendly dragging her along.

Emily Thompson 50:39
Right finally getting me there and Gala. I

Unknown Speaker 50:41
hope that our paths cross in real life

Unknown Speaker 50:43
off meter line one

Unknown Speaker 50:45

Gala Darling 50:45
I'm sure that they will. Thank you for having us. It's

Unknown Speaker 50:48
been really thank you so much, so much, you guys.

Emily Thompson 50:52
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Unknown Speaker 52:09

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