The True Story Behind Outspoken Media

February 16, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Announcements

Outspoken Media, Inc. launched last week. But in the craziness that was SMX West, we didn’t have much time to get into the details. That’s what this post is dedicated to.

On October 2, Rhea Drysdale and myself (Lisa Barone) moved from warm weather climates to Troy, NY and excitedly joined We Build Pages. About a month ago, in an unstable economy and with nothing to fall back on, we resigned. Here’s why we left, how we found Rae Hoffman, and what in God’s name we were thinking when we formed Outspoken Media, Inc.

Working for Bruce Clay, Inc. changed my life. There’s no other way to say it. That job, that company, and what they taught me put me on a completely different path and opened doors I never knew existed. When I left Bruce Clay, I left because my heart knew it was time. I had moved from NY to CA for reasons that were not my own. The people at Bruce Clay made me stronger and put me in a position to move back to NY and to start a new chapter, on my terms.

That new chapter was meant to be We Build Pages. It was to be that for both me and Rhea.

lisarheapubconWhen I moved to Troy, I didn’t know Rhea Drysdale. We had met a handful of times at various conferences but I didn’t know anything about her. I didn’t know about her incredible work ethic, her passion for her clients, her insatiable need to always be doing more or the fact that she’s a closet mumbler and you never know if she’s talking to you or herself.

But after working with her for three short months, I learned all of these things. She was someone that had a completely different skill set than me, but someone who wanted similar things. Like me, she’s s a bit mouthy, she fights for things and for people, and she creates her own rules because yours just hold her back.

As passionate as we were about our new jobs, sometimes things just don’t work. Just shy of a month ago, Rhea and I made the decision to leave We Build Pages. We will forever be huge fans of Jim Boykin and we thank the team for everything they taught us, but being there didn’t fit.   So we made the hard decision to resign. In a crap economy. With nothing else planned.

And that’s when I started to panic.

But Rhea didn’t.  She suggested we talk to someone who has always helped guide us to awesome before — Rae Hoffman.

The ballsy Rae HoffmanRae’s one of those people I don’t ever remember meeting. One day I was living a normal life and the next I had the infamous Sugarrae yelling at me and threatening challenging me to be better.  And she’s recently taken on the same role with Rhea. We don’t know how or why it happened, but we know it makes us lucky. And we don’t question it.

When we told Rae what had just happened, that we had just left We Build Pages and that we needed jobs, she did what she always does, she tweeted.  But after that, she gave us the push we needed to do the very thing we knew we needed to do.

Rae is known for being ballsy. She’s known for creating her own path and doing things on her terms. That day, she challenged us to do the same.  She asked us what we wanted, why we were unhappy, and where we wanted to be.

We told her we wanted more control, the ability to fight for our clients, to do things our way, and to make our own rules. Slowly the conversation went from “who can we get to hire us?” to “what if we did something…together?”. What if the three of us combined our very different talents and used them to complement one another? Then we could get the best of both worlds — working for a company we controlled and doing it with people we trusted.

That’s the day that Outspoken Media, Inc., an Internet marketing company founded by Rhea Drysdale, Rae Hoffman and Lisa Barone, was conceived.

Today we’re in start up mode. That means when Rae IMs me at 2am with an idea, status update or a thinly veiled threat on my life, I can’t ignore her like I used to. I have to actually answer her and act on it. It means we’re all working 14 hour days on the weekends. It means that Rhea pretty much lives out of the “office” in my Troy apartment where her “desk” is actually my chaise lounge.  It means lots of calls with clients, lots of work and lots of coffee (or tea, if you’re Rhea).  It means a lot, but this company means a lot to us, too.

We have big plans for Outspoken Media and you’ll hear about all those in time. But for right now, know that we’re here, we’re taking over, and we’re not going anywhere.

We want to thank everyone who has shown us an incredible amount of support over the past few weeks. We love this community and we love that you’re excited for us. We’re excited too.  If you thought Lisa, Rhea and Rae were forces to be reckoned with individually, you don’t even know what we’re capable of now.

Together, we’re Outspoken.

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