019: Ryan Koral - Serving others by telling heartfelt stories & guiding sherpas in their video business
With 15 years as a documentary filmmaker and founder of Tell Studios, Ryan Koral’s passion for helping others get success in their own video businesses resulted in Studio Sherpas, where he offers things like the Selling Like a Sherpa course, the Video Business Academy, the weekly podcast with over 100 episodes of amazing interviews with fellow business owners, and The Summit, his first in-person conference that just happened on June 2-4, 2019 in the Detroit metro area.
When not thinking about business stuff, Ryan spends time with his wife of 16 years, Andrea, and their three kiddos, plotting adventures, dancing around the kitchen and being super-duper, incredibly grateful for the blessing of a full life.
In this episode we talk about:
the journey of being a “serial” entrepreneur since childhood and how that led him to the several successful businesses he’s launched and continues to run today
how his need to serve others by telling heartfelt stories with video evolved into sharing his knowledge from years as an entrepreneur with video business owners like himself so they could thrive in this growing industry
he shares how he grew his company from employee #1 to the team he manages now…along with a funny story about feet (heh!)
we talk about the challenges we face as creative business owners from the ebb & flow of business to staying focused on the important deep work that we need to do in order to grow
This episode is brought to you by GATHORA.
Are you an artist, creator, or entrepreneur that creates with purpose and wants to make the world a better place? If so, GATHORA is your media company.
We tell the world about your brand through storytelling rather than sales pitches like most other companies.
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Let us tell your story today. Learn more at gathora.com.
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Ryan Koral: 00:00:00 When people ask me like I'm like, I'm like, I am, I am creative but I'm more business minded. And that was kind of that realization where I knew like, oh yeah, the okay, this is, this is okay, this is me. I'm, I'm, I'm a little bit creative or like, you know, pretty crazy or whatever. But I'm, I'm definitely more drawn to like, you know, this business thing. But as a creative, that creative side of me, there was this feeling of guilt that to walk away from creating, to walk away from, you know, this idea of like, you know, being an artist, I felt bad. I felt like I was cheating on all of my friends that were that really worthy. You know, the true 100% artists.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:00:43 Welcome to The Vitalic Project podcast where you'll learn how to find your own voice in a world filled with noise. I'm Gabe Ratliff. I'll be your host as I sit down with fellow artists, creators and entrepreneurs to learn more about their work and how they serve others so that you can tap into your creative purpose and live a life that's drawn, not traced. All right. I'm stoked. Let's get to it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:01:12 Hey guys, thanks so much for joining me on another episode of The Vitalic Project. Let me just tell you, you're in for a treat today. I am so, so, so excited. I know I say that all the time, but I am super excited for this guest today. On this episode, I sit down with Ryan Koral with 15 years as a documentary filmmaker and founder of Tell Studios, Ryan Koral, his passion for helping others get success and their own video business resulted in studio sherpas where he offers things like the Selling like a Sherpa course, the Video Business Academy, the weekly podcast that I listened to constantly with over a hundred episodes of amazing interviews with fellow business owners and other creatives and just amazing people out there doing amazing work and growing their business and sharing how to do that. And he also has the summit, which is a his first in person conference that just happened on June 2nd-4th last weekend in the Detroit Metro area and that was where he was getting a nice intimate group of video business owners together to have an in person conference to talk about growing their business and where we're heading in this industry of video production when not thinking about business stuff.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:02:36 Ryan spends time with his wife of 16 years, Andrea, and there are three kiddos plotting adventures, dancing around the kitchen, being super duper, incredibly grateful for the blessing of a full life and let me tell you, he does it. He does all of those things. I love his transparency. I love his humor. I love the way he interacts in the world. I what he puts out into the world, the way he shows up. I can't say enough about Ryan. I am so blessed to have him on the show. I really am just thrilled to share his story with you and to share the work that he's doing because he's just one of those people that made me want to do this show. So thank you again, Ryan. I just shout out to you brother. Keep up the great work. Just to tell you a little bit about this interview together, we talked about the journey of him being a serial entrepreneur, which he's kind of on the fence about that word, but since he's his childhood, he has, you know, it's, it's led him on this journey with several successful businesses that he's launched and continues to run today.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:03:44 And we talk about how his need to serve others by telling heartfelt stories with video evolved into sharing his knowledge from years as an entrepreneur with fellow video business owners like himself so that they could thrive in this growing industry. He shares how he grew his company from employee number one to the team he manages now along with a funny story about feet, which we have a pretty big laugh about. It's, it's awesome because if you've ever, if any of you out there are in video production, listen to this episode. If you've been in post and you're in the editing booth and you're chilling with somebody and the story about feet comes up, let me just tell you, you're in for a ride because it's hysterical and we all know how things can get in that editing booth when you're in there tight with your producer or with your editor or vice versa and just, you know, you got your team in there and you're just, you're in the cutting room.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:04:45 You know, speaking of which, funny story, when I was in college and I was taking my first film class, we were shooting 16 millimeter film and my professor came in and he was absolutely hysterical. Kevin Everson is his name and he would come in and he just had such a great way of interacting with the students and you know, we'd been in there for hours cutting and working on our pieces and he would pop in and he'd just be like, "It smells like a bunch of mens up in here". Cause you know you got three guys in a room cutting film for hours just hysterical. I just, I, I every once in a while laugh about that memory, just thinking back to us, just smelling like a bunch of "mens" up in, up in the cutting rooms. So anyway, we talk about the challenges that we face as creative business owners from the ebb and flow of business to staying focused on the important deep work that we need to do in order to grow. So like I said, he's hysterical and it's just, he's devout with his faith. He's devout with his family and he's developed with his calling, with his work and how he's serving others. And so I'm just, I'm so excited to share this with you. And without further ado, this is my interview with Ryan Koral.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:06:21 Ryan Koral, thank you so much for being on this episode of The Vitalic Project. I'm so honored to have you here, brother.
Ryan Koral: 00:06:29 Wait, is this a podcast or something? Oh wait, is this, is this a cameo? Oh, gave I'm, I am honored and happy. I'm glad to be here and this better be fun. Well, the pressure on myself, I'm not, I'm not saying that you'd better make it fun. I I better because this is your show, so I'm supposed to do that or something. No, you, this is your show. It was your bowl. Wait, you're wait, are you leading this or you, you're the interview. Tell me what are you up to? Yeah. What are you up to these days? Tell me how you started. Hi. Wait, what a great segue. I just feel like I ran sector show. I'm so sorry this. No, no, your show. This is episode one 27 Gabe Ratliff. That's good. I like what you did there.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:07:15 So Ryan, I thought maybe we would go back to you because one of the things I love doing on this show is I love it being story-based, which you know a whole lot about. But I also love having the nuggets of wisdom and all the breakthroughs and challenges and all those things come through to, you know, help similar to you, help others on their journey as creative entrepreneurs. So I was wondering if you could take us back to when you first started your video production business and talk about that story from, you know, Epic Motion to Tell Studios and what the catalyst was for starting this journey.
Ryan Koral: 00:07:50 MMM. Yeah. Well, even before Epic Motion, it was a Slideshow Videos, Slideshow, right. Still own the URL Slideshow Videos. Actually, no, I, I think his slide, the slideshow video company that Oh, was amazing. Uh, yes. So, you know, I, it wasn't until I, I've been doing this 15 years, right? Like having a business and, uh, you know, doing this video thing for 15 years full time. And it wasn't, it really wasn't until just a few years ago that I realized that I have been an entrepreneur all my life. I, I, I, I don't like when I hear serial entrepreneur, like I feel like when I hear people saying that in, in, if you say that about yourself, like I'm sorry, I don't mean what I don't like is this idea of like I started a business because I just want to make a lot of money and you know, and, and then I started another business cause I want to do that.
Ryan Koral: 00:08:43 Like that's not, you know, butts. As I kind of rewind and think about like being, you know, five years old and being tasked by an uncle of mine to come up with an idea for, uh, invention thing. I start, you know, I'm just racking my brain, come up with ideas and then fast forward to third grade and then, um, I'm like reading boy's life magazine but more excited about the ads at the end that talk about, you know, magic bundles, 50 tricks for, you know, 1999. And me just trying to figure out how I can save that money and then plotting out like the shows that I want to have at our house. And then my dad telling me, that sounds great, but you know, where are these people going to park? And me saying, oh, they're going to park in our driveway. And then my dad's saying, okay, okay, well, you know, I'm going to charge you for people parked in my driveway, so you better charge them for parking.
Ryan Koral: 00:09:29 And then I'm just thinking, I'm like, oh my gosh, well, you know, I, I, I only wanted to make this much money, but now I'm going to have to, I don't know how I'm going to do this. My Dad's like, well, just charge more money. And I was like, oh, I was going to charge them $5. But I guess if I charged like $50 a person, I'm gonna make so much money. And uh, you know, so that's kind of the progression. I didn't really, you know, I never did a magic show where I charge money, but I dreamed of this and a lemonade stands and you know, just all of these things throughout all of my years selling blow pops in junior high and just like, you know, always. And not because I wanted it to make money. Well, I, I didn't not want to make money.
Ryan Koral: 00:10:07 That was definitely part of it. But I wanted to make something right. I want it to make something other than money. I wanted to create, I wanted to make something that, uh, that added value to people's lives. And you know, whether that was entertainment through magic or, uh, you know, the satisfaction of a blow pop. I mean, who doesn't like a blow pop and you know, fast food. I don't know if you wanted me to go back that far when I'm five years old, but, but realizing that, oh my gosh, like this is always been in me and to finally feel like, you know, I'm 41 years old, I feel like I, I'm starting to finally get a handle on what that means. Like the good of being an entrepreneur in the bad. And you know, the bad is that I feel like I do have a million ideas.
Ryan Koral: 00:10:52 So there is a part of me that, that relates to the quote unquote serial entrepreneur. I'm just the loser that doesn't do all of the ideas. So I'm like, I always feel like, oh gosh, like, you know, this would have been a great idea. Like I, but I just, I don't have the energy of the time or the knowhow to make this happen in so many ideas that I wanted to, to happen or thought I wanted to happen and they didn't. But the good, you know, fast forward all these years later is that I realized like, oh, the only way for me to be successful is if I can really like focus on one, maybe two. And Oh, okay, I got this. Like third thing that's like real small and short and kind of over there in the corner. And when I get, you know, a rainy day and it's all quiet, then maybe I can work on that third one.
Ryan Koral: 00:11:35 But that's just like, there's so much power and freedom for me realizing that, uh, it's a strength than a weakness to be always wanting to create something and create something new and improve on. And part of the challenge in doing video is like always thinking like, oh man, this could be better. Right. And so editing a project to its death and beyond. Uh, that's, that's definitely part of that sort of, I don't know, always wanting to improve and make something better. So again, there's good in that in that, so rewind 15 years with, with me. So this is the shorter, Yup. Yeah. Oh, hi. I'm Ryan and skidding that, that'd be 30 years ago, something like that. So I'm in college, I went to a small liberal arts Christian college in Rochester Hills, Michigan called Rochester College. Now Rochester University, like they got big since I left and met my wife there.
Ryan Koral: 00:12:34 Did a lot of, actually I started a lot of things there. I did, I started this concert series. I help them rebrand their summer camp that they did. I was just doing lots of things and after graduating with a degree in communication, I don't even know what that means. I could just think that I could talk to people or something. Or listen, I don't know. I started working in the enrollment department and I was hosting events and really loving it, loving meeting new people, introducing them to the school that I just, I fell in love with. I fell in love with the community that I built there. I learned so much. I went into that school thinking that I was going to come in, like change people's lives with my, you know, crazy thinking or big ideas or whatever. And uh, so much of the opposite happened where I just learned so, so much, which I think is what's supposed to happen in college.
Ryan Koral: 00:13:18 That experience was amazing. Working for the college was really, really great. Eventually my boss, who was a mentor of mine, a really just believed in me, period. No matter what I did, he supported me. He loved me, a, him and his wife, uh, they let me live at their house, God bless them. Um, me and two other guys at one point and we just, it was stinky and gross and not all of those things that you know, US gross guys do. Uh, anyway, so I convinced him somehow to buy me a video camera and a computer. Right? And so throughout middle school and high school, and even in college, I got to play with video cameras and sometimes sort of haphazardly make some edits, right? Because back then it was just the hardest and most annoying thing to actually edit the video that you shot and a, and so at this, at this point, and it was probably 2002 in 2001 or 2002 that he bought me or he gave me the budget to buy a video camera and a computer.
Ryan Koral: 00:14:15 And this was when I movie, uh, it was, you know, as digital, you could plug in a like a handycam digital eight camera with firewire 400, uh, in actually edit right there in I movie. Didn't have to, um, you know, go tape to tape or anything like that. And so I got my first, uh, experience like doing this and making stuff and in, in a lot more real time and just being like, oh my gosh, this is, this is super fun, you know, making goofy. And I made ton of goofy videos prior to that, but then realizing like, I could make a lot more and do it a lot faster and people wouldn't be saying months later like, Hey, what happened to the thing that we shot? And I'm like, ah, get to it when I can get to it. But it's so laborous laborious is, what's the word? The laborious laboratory today is laboratory.
Ryan Koral: 00:15:06 And so, um, so I started doing all these videos for the college and then, uh, we're going to this church that had this incredible video production department. Uh, I would see these stories week after week that were so inspiring and moving, you know, just individual stories of huge life change. And I said, I want to do that. Like, that is what I want to be a part of. So not slowly, pretty quickly. Um, my, my desires changed from like wanting to promote this college, the same man I wanna I wanna promote people's life change and I just feel like that's way more significant for me. And so shortly thereafter, I left the college. Um, they still contracted me, which was great because he, Andrew and I were newly married. We needed to make some kind of money. She was finishing up school and fortunately we didn't have really any debt and I'm so I had to replace a $22,000 a year salary, making roughly $11 an hour, uh, doing videos, which was not very hard to do, even if you just did a terrible job.
Ryan Koral: 00:16:06 Uh, it was still, you could make $11 an hour. So, uh, we decided that I would try it for six months and, uh, if it, if it's succeeded then great. And if not, then I would get a real job. And through the college contracting me through me doing like weekend retreats with the Church and like shooting all night Friday, all day Saturday, and then staying up all night Saturday night to deliver something at like the, you know, the sendoff session Sunday morning at like 10 or 11 in the morning, uh, and, and crossing my fingers, waiting for files to compress and export in like back then, oh my gosh, everything was so slow. Just for like a, you know, a two or three minute recap video, but, you know, that's where I really learned how to, how to edit, how to edit fast under pressure, how to shoot, you know, for the, for the shot, uh, for the story very specifically.
Ryan Koral: 00:16:53 So I, there just wasn't room to shoot, you know, tons and tons and, uh, and that's, you know, that's, that's where my, my real love for this work began. And, uh, and I, and random people started hiring me, you know, I was doing slideshows for grandpa's 80th birthday and, you know, cousins so and so's wedding and, um, you know, just doing these, these terrible scanning pictures and putting them to music. And it was like, you know, but I, I had calculated, I said, okay, uh, if I need to make, you know, $11 an hour, I need to scan at least 25 slides, uh, I need to land, you know, six clients per day. United ahead. This whole equation figured out of how many people I was going to and I was going to take a flyer and start putting it in mailboxes because I, and I was doing, I was going to do whatever it took to do this work, even if I was only scanning slides and um, and putting music behind them just cause I loved the medium.
Ryan Koral: 00:17:47 I loved making something for special and whatever. And then at six months into doing this work, I had a really good friend from the college who is a graphic designer or photographer, very, very talented. And I learned in, Oh, so much of what, what I did learn, I learned from him, like kind of peeking in. He did the college's website and I, you know, he's in Dreamweaver, like doing stuff and I would, I was making my own websites and uh, learn Photoshop from Jeff and you know, all this stuff. And he had asked me six months into me doing this work. He's like, Hey, I'm shooting this couple's wedding this weekend. It's Saturday and they don't have video, but they've got 500 bucks and they need a video. Are you busy? And I was like, shoot, I don't even if I am busy, 500 bucks, that's like $1 million an hour, you know?
Ryan Koral: 00:18:30 And so I'm like, absolutely, I'll do this and uh, let me cancel all my appointments as sounds very important. Um, so I shot the wedding. I loved the experience. I spent way too much time editing this video because the, you know, the family were blown away at what I created for them. And I was like, I want to do this, this is what I want to do. And so I spent the next few years building our brand around weddings. I wanted to shoot weddings for the stars here in like, you know, the, the Metro Detroit, Michigan area. And so I wanted to kind of build, I had seen and heard some other people doing like really nice weddings and you know, I, I really hadn't ever been to a nice wedding until I shot this first one. I was like, wow. Like this is probably the best meal I've ever eaten in my life.
Ryan Koral: 00:19:14 How do I get more meals like this? Oh, I should shoot more weddings. Okay. I want to shoot the weddings at the nice places. And, uh, and you know, I mean I say that half jokingly, but it was so awesome to be able to get this amazing footage at these amazing venues, you know, churches and reception halls and, uh, you know, in these beautiful people on their happiest day. And I really felt like I could make a difference by telling stories of couples who are promising their lives to each other. I felt like I could create something that would inspire them years down the road when times or months down the road when, when times just aren't awesome and maybe kids enter the picture and tensions are high and there's more arguing than there was day one. I really felt like it was my mission and purpose to create pieces that would help couples remember the promises and the commitments that they had to each other, no matter the circumstance.
Ryan Koral: 00:20:03 And so that's, so that's what we did to build the brand. And I say we, it was me at the very start, um, for, for a little while. And, uh, then I had a mouse in my pocket, so I guess it was we, but, um, yeah, that's kind of, that was the start of epic motion was actually epic creative group. And then, uh, and then epic videography and then epic weddings. And this is all in the span of like a year and a half of me. Like, you know, I'm doing all the branding myself, all the websites, all the business cards and doing all this by myself. And then I had a really good friend that I went to church with WHO's very talented branding and design guy. He's, he's like, I think every time you sign anything of mine who's like kind of cringed and he's like, hey man, I'd love to, you know, sit down with you.
Ryan Koral: 00:20:43 Yeah. And a work work on some branding stuff if you, and I'm like branding, I don't even know what that means, but, uh, you know, I loved everything that he was doing and he's a couple years older than me and very, very talented. And, uh, so we did this branding process where he asked me so many questions about, you know, when I care about what I, where I wanted the direction of this brand and go and, you know, and I thought it was just going to be a logo or something. And it was so much more in the confidence that I gained from that time with Dj. You know, I got this really cool name, epic motion, a really cool logo, really cool tagline, your story beautifully told. I just had in the confidence that I gained from having a very clear purpose, uh, after going through that branding process with Dj was awesome.
Ryan Koral: 00:21:27 And, uh, and that lasted for about five or six years and in five or six years we just need to make more money. Yeah. You know, I had had multiple employees, we had a overhead with renting space, a studio and all that. And, uh, and you know, in Michigan you get six, seven, six good months for weddings, but like outside of that, and we did great though six months out of the year, but there was so much more opportunity for us to not just edit the other six months of the year, which is really what we did edit and market, but to be able to continue creating. And so we created another brand called Tel and, uh, we, we were committed to telling the same types of stories, not the same, similar, similar, committed telling stories for businesses and, and working with them. And so that was in 2012 that we started working with businesses.
Ryan Koral: 00:22:16 We had two br, two brands for, for a few years. And then last year we actually, we didn't shut down epic motion completely. The website is still there, uh, but there's nothing new there. We're really trying to usher people over to tell studios will still still do weddings. Uh, but we've raised our prices significantly, uh, to really try to come close to what we're making when we do work in a corporate space. Just to make things easier for us. You know, my guys now, they all have kids and they're married and they want to have some of their weekends back to so long gone are the days of 30 to 40 weddings in at six month period to where this year I think we'll do two
Gabe Ratliff: 00:22:54 mm.
Ryan Koral: 00:22:55 That was the longest answer to a question.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:22:58 That's it. I've asked, I have, I have another colleague that I had on who is in Vr. He was early to the HD space and he's similarly early to the VR space. And I asked him the same question because he's, he's kind of a legend in the region and he's developing the worlds only first person VR rig. Yeah. Really cool. And he's got a drone VR rig and he's got one called the segue that works like a segway and he worked with, um, Michael Phelps and the u s swim team capturing them. Yeah. And the VR rig he's been doing work with like HR teams and helping them see what it's like to be sec, um, discriminated. Oh, so you can, you can be in the first person position feeling what it's like or the prospective feeling, what it's like to be segregated or discriminated. Sorry. Segregated same thing and yeah, so just doing really great work. His answer was about 45 minutes.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:24:06 All right. I don't feel so bad. Yeah, he finished, he answered about six questions with his, his answer and then the answer will not be that long, I promise. Please edit. You're in good company. Well you were talking about your team and that, that was actually my next question I wanted to ask you about because you're known for your devotion and your support to them. And you were just talking about, you know, your guys are there, their family, they have families now, they're married. You know, as you've grown, they've, you know, they've grown personally and professionally. And I was wondering what was that process like? Because this is, you know, this is vital information to anybody doing this. And you've had a team for a long time, but, you know, what was that process like when you first started growing your team from employee number one to today?
Ryan Koral: 00:24:51 Yeah, that's a great question. My first sort of employee was my wife. I brought her on some of these weddings because I was like, man, we could have this amazing meal together. And you know, maybe it's a date. I Dunno. Uh, she quit, uh, pretty, pretty short into our stint of working together. She just did not like me being a boss, a, even though I think I'm boss, you know. Um, yeah, terrible. Uh, yeah, she just didn't, she was like, you're not sweet to me. I'm like, I know. I need you to move that tripod over there so we can get the shot. I was very focused. Right. I knew I was on a mission, so, uh, that didn't really work out. But, uh, what did work out is I had two friends, my friend Sean Stockman and my other friend John Miller, who, you know, Sean and went to college with John.
Ryan Koral: 00:25:30 We went to church together and these guys shot so many weddings with me throughout the years. They really were the backbone of what we did. And you know, I contracted both of them. They both had, uh, John was a video guy, did a lot of freelance and Sean actually had a full time job working with me. He was able to pay off so much debt, which is awesome. Super Fun. But I was able to, you know, just chart charts a little bit more for the weddings that we were doing. And uh, you know, I was paying them, I don't remember I was paying them but enough that they wanted more work. And uh, and it was nice because they were as excited about creating cool stuff as I was. And, and then two, I didn't know what I didn't know. So it was just kinda like, all right, let's do this, this, be fun to hang out and, and be committed to getting some great stuff.
Ryan Koral: 00:26:17 And then, uh, as we were getting more and more well known, the editing was just piling up and I could not do it all. And this is probably, yeah, I mean really it's probably like your number two, uh, if, if at most, uh, that I was just like, you know, I was feeling overwhelmed with all the editing, but then also like all the phone calls and keeping up on, you know, new inquiries. And when you start, you're so cheap that everybody, if you're good and cheap, everybody wants you. Right? So I fell, I'm like, Oh man, we're the best because everybody wants us. No, no, no, I did. I just didn't realize we were good. And uh, and we were super cheap, so everybody wanted us. And so it was just really hard to manage all of that in, you know, doing stuff that I had never done before.
Ryan Koral: 00:27:00 And in knowing that I always wanted like to deliver great customer service, but I was delivering the worst customer service and, uh, and if I didn't have an answer for somebody there in their email would sit in my inbox and for days and days and then I would always apologize. Like two weeks later, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. And I'm like, Oh, this is not my forte. So I knew I always wanted employees. Early on I said I didn't want to do this alone. I wanted to be able to bounce ideas off of people. I wanted to collaborate. I know I'm better when I'm with others. I like, I love bouncing ideas off of and brainstorming together. And so, you know, these guys are contracting. They're working, you know, Sean was editing for me, which is amazing. Uh, I hired a, uh, contracted editor who came to our, another contractor that, or who came to our house.
Ryan Koral: 00:27:49 I just shared this story to somebody the other day. This guy had the worst smelling feet in the entire universe. I'll, I will, I will go that far. Wow. And, uh, so we live in this bungalow. We worked upstairs and uh, and everything was fine until he got, you know, at the little edit station. And then he would get really comfortable, kind of sink in as chair a little bit. And then he would, you know, with one foot, one big toe, he'd flip off one shoe and then the other, the other, and then like, you know, 30 seconds later, like, I'm like, what is that awful awful smell? And I didn't know how to, you know, this is, this is so early on I didn't want to offend them. I do. If you do that today, you know, if you're in the office today and something like that happens, I would be like, oh my gosh, like, let's just have a little powwow here.
Ryan Koral: 00:28:37 Your feet. Let's do something. Like, we've got lotion over here, we've got soap over here. I mean, maybe not that that probably wouldn't happen here, but I do feel a little bit more confidence in addressing if there are issues in the workplace. I feel very competent to approach them in a loving way and say, how can we help you? So let me help you. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Help. And then my wife was like, oh my gosh, we, we, you can't keep him working here. This is ruining my, trying to have a nice, clean, nice smelling house. Uh, it was really bad. So he, he was a, and he was pretty flaky to, uh, you know, he'd never had a real consistent job or anything like that. So anyway, that didn't work out super. It did for a little while. But then, uh, then I had, somebody approached me and she wanted to intern for me and that was an amazing experience.
Ryan Koral: 00:29:27 I finally was like, oh my gosh, this is awesome. She came a couple of days during the week and a, and just did a lot of jobs that I couldn't do, didn't want to do. Uh, she was doing, you know, stuff like going to the bank and I was like, this is super cool. And then I hired a bookkeeper was helping with some of the books and I'm like, oh my gosh, I, I, and I knew, I'm like, this is costing money, but I'm feeling a little bit more free. And then, uh, you know, after a couple of other interns, we were about to have our second baby. I had hired somebody a few months before that and he was coming to the house every day and this was my first full time employee. I had just gotten so much work that I'm like, I can't, this, this is, I need somebody who's dedicated that's going to be here longer than, you know, in internship, uh, length.
Ryan Koral: 00:30:12 And so, you know, having this full time a boy, my wife is like, okay, I love you to death, but you can't keep working the in the house and bringing, you know, your employees and your stinky feet contractors. Now he was long gone. Uh, but you know, W we're about to have our second kid. We live in a small house. You just, you need to find a place to, a different place to work. So I got our first office and doing that was added a ton of pressure to like, oh my gosh, I really have to produce here. Like this is not, not a joke anymore. And so in doing that, you know, my first employee was really a, he could sell. So I was kind of replacing, not replacing myself cause I was selling to a, he could shoot, he could lead shoots. Um, you know, I, I, I brought him through, you know, his very first wedding with me.
Ryan Koral: 00:30:57 It was terrible. Like he's running around, I told him to stand this one spot and he wanted to get creative and he starts running over there and I'm like, oh my gosh. Well, um, so that was kind of a nightmare. Butts, you know, fortunately I was able to train him. I was able to set time aside to really show him, you know, how we were going to do what we needed to do. And, and that was when I started building processes and procedures of like, Hey, here's how you burn a DVD and a blue ray disk. Well, back then it was just DVD. And then eventually blueray and getting that off my plate, being able to teach somebody else that amazing. And then I'm like, I want to be able to Mike our people up the same every single time. Okay, I'm going to write this out and I'm going to show how to do this.
Ryan Koral: 00:31:37 I want, you know, when we do interviews, I want the lighting to, you know, it doesn't have to always be, but here's the base, here's where we're going to start. And so I started doing this and like the different areas of the business, especially in areas, things that I didn't want to do anymore. I, you know, I built out like, here's, uh, here's everything that goes in this bag and here's where it should go inside of the bag. So that there was consistency and there was a level of expectation. And then, and then also it was, I was working myself out of a job in those things, things that I did not want to do and we continue to grow. I was able to hire, you know, hired another intern and then I hired, uh, uh, kind of like a business manager type person who helped bring a lot of like, legal stuff into the business because we were not operating how we should have been.
Ryan Koral: 00:32:21 Um, and then I hired somebody else that was managing some of our projects. And you know, over the past 10 years of having employees, you know, at most I think we had nine employees and you know, today we have five, I have five employees that work for me. Uh, and you know, it just fluctuates. It depends on the season. It depends on what's needed. Every time somebody leaves, we kind of reevaluate like, okay, what's the most important thing in our business today? It's not always like we have to have nine employees. That was, that was a crazy season. Super busy, a big, big time of growth. That was when we had launched tell and we were just doing all sorts of corporate stuff and uh, you know, and um, today I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm so glad we don't have nine cause we just don't have the capacity of the margin to be able to pay those people or, uh, even to manage that many people with how we're staffed today. So it's, it's, uh, a lot of trial and error. I've learned so much and I continue to learn what it means to be a boss and to set clear expectations for, for the people that, that worked for me. Did that long answer answering your question?
Gabe Ratliff: 00:33:25 I didn't say it. You did? Okay. I'm so good at this. I love it though because you're thoroughly speaking to the, all the things that I'm hoping that you talk about because it's, it's things that really early, that's the nice way to say you're thoroughly talking about you really are, because that's the thing, right? As creative entrepreneurs, the first word is creative. You know, like we started, like you talked about, you know, you started
Gabe Ratliff: 00:33:55 going out and doing it and learning it. And becoming, you know, storyteller and figuring all the things out. And there's like a lot of other things that follow suit. There's the tech and the this and the that and illegal and all those things that were like super excited to do. Right? Yeah. Love it. Bookkeeping. Yay. And it's really those things though, if you want to go to the next level, and this is all kind of helping guide me to the segue for the other work that you do around helping others take their video business to the next level. And that's part of why I wanted to ask you in this way, because it really is, it's super vital and, and it's not, as we learned doing video production, you can't do it alone. There are the one man bands that are out there, one woman bands that are out there.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:34:43 You know, I, I love that. But I'm also, I'm like you, I'm Fi. I love collaborating. I love bouncing ideas. I love seeing an idea, have an inception and then completely evolve into something new, which is exactly what happens with businesses, right? Yeah. There, it's not just like you were talking about with, with epic, right. It was epic, you know, uh, what, what would you say was sort of at the very beginning rater group, videography, epic weddings, epic motion slideshow, video company. I've gone through, I started out as vitalic productions and have moved through, through and you know, go thorugh and you know, and all of these things. And one of the things I realized, I was like, oh good thorugh I can get the short domain and it's my initials. That's a little trivia for you kids, you know? And I was like, oh, I can get the short domain. And it, and it stems from me is the business, but then I really quickly realized like, Yep, business that's all about know. It's all about everybody. It's all about the team, right? It's all about the people you serve. And it's not about, I just thought, oh cool. It's, you know, it's, it stems from me is the figurehead, but it really, we're all in it together.
Ryan Koral: 00:35:50 Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:35:50 And so the same thing has happened. I've gone through those iterations where, you know, you're, you're the business name changes and this, you know how you serve changes and it just keeps evolving and, and having a team is part of that evolution. So, no, that's great. I love the answers cause I think it's really speaking to how that, how that works. The little things, right? Like stinky feet guy and he's in, you know, stinky feet guys fine if he's a grip outside, totally shooting. But if you're in of editing booth and you're rocking some post production and you've got along edit ahead of you and stinky feet, guy knocks his shoes off. Mm. Something's got to change Bro. Yeah. All of a sudden the popery comes out. Yeah. The, you know, the incense, the sage like lighting the carpet on fire to try to get afraid of it.
Ryan Koral: 00:36:46 I, you know, I, I did like when he left, I'm like, I'm just going to put my nose down here by the carpet. And I'm like,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:36:54 oh my gosh. Oh my God. Just needs to stained the carpet. Oh No. We've decided to go to hardwood floors. We found some money. We are putting it into the hardwood floor budget, we'll just use rugs. They're easier to replace so bad.
Ryan Koral: 00:37:10 So,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:37:12 you know, speaking to that, I'd love to take it a little bit further and just asking her like, what, what would you say have been the biggest gotchas that you can share for others that are beginning to start their business and their team? You know, you, you spoke to a couple of things in there, but others, what are the biggest gotchas that you could share that have or have really, you know, now that you've got 15 years of hindsight, what are those like top few that you could share that have really stood out?
Ryan Koral: 00:37:38 One for sure is that moment when we were about to have baby number two. And you know,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:37:45 we're
Ryan Koral: 00:37:46 uh, see was born in 2010 so this was in 2009. And you know, in, in just a few short years we're winning awards. I think, I don't know if I was speaking at at events but, but I would eventually end up speaking at events and we were doing like, you know, some, some like local celebrity weddings and we were traveling to different states to do some cool destination weddings. And my filmmaking from day one to like, you know, fast forward a few years, it was like it got way better. And then DSLRs came out and then it got like somehow magically it got really good only because I could use lenses. So I, I was loving how has growing as a, as a filmmaker, as a storyteller, as an artist. But what I was experiencing was like, okay, well, you know, six months out of the year we're making decent money.
Ryan Koral: 00:38:39 You know, we're charging a lot, a lot more for our weddings than anybody else's in our area. And so that's really great. But there was, there was a lot of margin for, for more work. And I was really faced with this question of like, did I want to become a, like the best film maker in Michigan, you know, best wedding filmmaker, best eventual, you know, corporate film, whatever. Did I want to build a business? And I knew that they weren't exclusive. At least the way that I'm wired. I knew, I knew that if I really put my heart and soul into filmmaking, I could continue to become better. But it would be incremental. It would not. You know, cause I would see other people's work and I know, you know I, I'm sort of a musician but I have friends who are musicians, right? They can pick up any instrument, they can figure out a song as it's playing.
Ryan Koral: 00:39:31 They, they, it's, they see it in their head. I don't write, I have to pluck away and practice a million times for it to be fine or like almost fine. So in the same way in filmmaking, I could honestly say maybe I would come out with like one thing that's like really, really spectacular and that would be cool. Do I want to give my life up to come up with that? Like one thing I just, I could step back and no, I'm not going to be the best film maker in the world. I can tell stories, I'll tell some great stories, but when I think I can do to, it's just like this serial entrepreneur thing or, or really just as entrepreneur, I have gotten us, you know, there's only four or five years in at that point, but I'm like, you know, we continue to make more money every year.
Ryan Koral: 00:40:16 Uh, I see that this can continue to grow. I was thinking about, you know, having a headquarters in Florida and just kind of adding other place. So I'm like, man, like my, the wheels keep on spinning in. There doesn't seem to be any end in sight for what I could do with the business, with, with what, where I could go as a filmmaker. I saw the end in sight and it, and it was not, it just wasn't, it just wasn't what I was meant to do. Like, I was so thankful to realize like, oh, okay, like this, this, I'm, I'm, I'm, I could if I really wanted to, but that's not where my heart's at. So realizing that and understanding that there was another option that I could still be a part of filmmaking. I could be a facilitator, I could make that happen, but I don't need to be the one on the ground.
Ryan Koral: 00:41:03 I don't need to be the one with the camera in hand getting the shot. I don't need to get the accolades and the, you know, the pat on the back for, you know, getting that shot or making that video or whatever. I, I, I really saw that. I'm like, I could create a team that is doing this and maybe I'll, you know, be a part once in awhile. But I had other goals. I had other dreams with my life and it was to not have to be the centrally needed person for every job. And anytime that I would say like, Oh yeah, thanks for booking us, we're going to send out so-and-so to film your thing. People would be like, wait, you're not going to be the one. And then I'd be like, oh gosh, really, we're going to have to have this conversation again.
Ryan Koral: 00:41:40 That's not what I wanted. The freedom to be able to say like, I'm going to go on vacation for two weeks and nobody's going to need me. And I, you know, and I want to have a, a college savings for my kids and I want to be able to afford a little bit bigger house and I want to have some, you know, some financial goals and, you know, being a wedding filmmaker for me, I knew, and I know this is not to knock any wedding filmmaker out there. I know that there are plenty of people out there that are very successful in are killing it. But for me to say like, wow, do I really want to trust what I'm able to do, what I think I'm able to grow in this work? I don't, I don't trust it. I, I, I, I, I need to have something else that I can use to, to be financially free.
Ryan Koral: 00:42:22 And then also I didn't want to just have intern level pay, uh, just for the people that were working for me. I wanted to be able to pay them and then also to be able to increase my pay for them and then for them to be able to have savings goals and to be able to do some of the things that I'm doing. So that was a big moment for me to say, okay, I rather than go to all the conferences about filmmaking, storytelling, all that stuff I love and that's my tribe. Those were my people. I am going to figure out what it means to grow a business. And that's where, you know, since what it was that 2010, um, I have just put all my stock in learning, growing, uh, you know, occasionally I'll buy some course or something like that, but, but really I'm like buying it.
Ryan Koral: 00:43:07 I'm like, okay, this is cool team. Or here you go, watch this, learn that. This is, this is great stuff, but it's not for me. And, uh, and that, that was, that was a little bit hard to separate myself from the filmmaking process. Uh, but as I look back, I'm like, I, I'm, I couldn't be more thankful for what I get to experience today when I get to work on how my focus is different in it's clear. I think back then it wasn't clear. I was, I was trying to build a business. I was trying to be the best film maker. You know, I was trying to do them both at the same time and it just wasn't working. And as soon as I said like, Oh, I'm going to do one of these, then it was like, oh, okay. Like you've got more focus when you have more focus and you're not doing 10 things at once. It's a lot easier to be really, really good at it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:43:51 Mhmm. I totally connect with that. I totally connect with that. And that, that's resonated with me for so long, that story around that recognition for you. And it's funny because when I heard it the first time on your show, Segue Aye was in this the beginning stages of that same metamorphosis. And I remembered having that click as I was being a technician, right? Like as I was doing the work and and w and listening and I was fortunately I was in a studio where I was able to be, you know, shooting and it could have it playing while I was shooting. And I was just thinking like, oh my God, preach brother, preach. Because I totally, I got it. And I, it's, it's been such a fascinating shift for me to also step into that role and to see the expansion that can occur when you yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:44:45 Yeah. Like you said, when you get focused and you really start to look at that cause I think that you also nailed it with your other comment about, you know, when you really start to look at where you want to go in your life as a husband and a father and congratulations on that, you know, to be able to do what you do and to bring that to your family, right into, to be able to grow this thing, but then also be able to do all this other work that you're doing, serving others and, but all of that leading to the goal around being able to fulfill what you're looking for in your life and the goals that you have with your family. And I, that's something that's been really frontal lobe for me and my family this year. Um, we don't have kids. We love to travel and that's something we have furry kids.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:45:31 And that's something that's like really, really vital to us as we love going out and seeing the world and, and being able to share that culture with people that might not, I didn't get to travel a lot when I was a kid. I didn't go out of the states until I got older. And it's so impactful to be able to do that. And, and so the, I'm, I, that's something that I like to talk about is it's getting out of your back door or your backyard, you know, go and see something else. Go see a third world country, you know, go, go to Paris and see what it's like to eat French food and like, know what that is. You know how that's different and those adventures have been so fulfilling to us. So like I said, this is that segway, so I wanted to talk about that next step that you took.
Ryan Koral: 00:46:19 Can I, can I interject here? Yes. Segue, alternate segue, segue there. The only thing I wanted to add to that is, as creatives, I feel like when people ask me like, I'm like, I'm like, I am, I am creative. But I'm more business minded, right? That was, that was kind of that realization, right, where I knew like, oh yeah, okay, this is, this is okay, this is me. I'm, I'm, I'm a little bit creative or like, you know, pretty crazy or whatever, but I'm, I'm definitely more drawn to like, you know, this business thing. But as a creative, the creative side of me, there was this feeling of guilt that to walk away from creating, to walk away from, you know, this idea of like, you know, being an artist, I felt bad. I felt like I was, uh, like cheating on all of my friends that were that really worthy, you know, the true 100% artists.
Ryan Koral: 00:47:09 Um, and then as a Jesus follower, there's this concept of like being poor and, you know, not making money. And you know, my first job I made 11, it was, it was technically a minister's salary. Like it wasn't taxed or anything. So I did make it actually a little bit more, or I brought home a little bit more than most people because just because of the way the tax structure was set up and whatever, but for so for so many years I just felt like my motivation was not to make money. I was like, oh, I'll make no money. Like if I just have food and a place to stay, like this is fine. Because I thought I thought it was a bad thing. So I, I there, there were a couple of things that were sort of against this idea, I think for a few years.
Ryan Koral: 00:47:49 You know, I, when I was, I had this vision of doing these slideshow videos for 20, it was like 25 cents of slide. I was charging people. Well, I just wanted to make enough money to get by. I had no vision back when I first started to say like, Hey, what would it look like for us to pay off a house? You know, like to buy a house with cash. We have not done that. Not yet. Um, but what would that look like? And there's no way that those thoughts never could have come in my mind. But then, you know, as my sort of understanding of, of really who Jesus was about, he, I don't, if I'm doing something great with my money, if I'm helping people, if I have a lot of it, then I can do a lot of good with it. Coming onto the other side of that and realizing and understanding, that was a huge epiphany for me to say, it's not bad to make a lot of money, uh, in, in, and maybe your, you know, whoever's listening, isn't that spot where I was a long time ago or were, that was not the thought.
Ryan Koral: 00:48:43 It was like, no, no. If you, if you make a lot of, and I had judgments against people that were rich and I was shooting these weddings for like iconic brand owners for their sons and daughters and feeling like, oh my gosh, these are going to be the worst people ever are. They, you know, they've got more money than God and you know, I'm going to the inn and there were the kindest, nicest, most generous people. And I'm like, wait, no, this is not, this is not what I thought. And then I started realizing like, oh my gosh, and they're doing like really good stuff with their money and I'm like, I want it. I want to be able to do that instead of like, you know, people come into us and say like, Hey, like we're doing this project or we're doing the scene and we need, you know, $1,000 or 10 then I want to be the one that says like, yeah, we'd love to write a 10,000 we've felt like this was something that we really want to be able to partner with somebody on and we want to do that.
Ryan Koral: 00:49:27 And that's like the world needs people that have a lot of money. And so for me to, to come to a place where I said, you know, it's, it's, it's okay as long as we're always in check and you know, Andrew and I check in, check with each other, but then we have a small community of friends that were open about our finances and we say like, here's where we're at. This is where are, you know, this is how much debt we have. This is where we're wanting to give money. And so, you know, we're not alone in this. We have other people that are alongside of us and in obviously they are different, but they share this, this similar idea where it's like, it's okay because you can do good stuff but don't hide it. Don't, you know, don't like try to figure this all out on your own. But having the people that we've had in our community come around us and walk with us on this journey has helped me realize like, okay, it's not bad to have money. And I didn't make a bad decision by saying like, okay, I'm going to do this. I'm going to, you know, focus really on building a business. It's okay. I love that because I have similarly gone through that same transformation of the judgment, the, you know, just
Gabe Ratliff: 00:50:28 cause I didn't grow up with a lot. My parents, they kept me, you know, they took care of me, white privilege, all of those things go into play and a male. But I think the thing though was that I had the same and I didn't even necessarily classify it as that, but this, you know, it's all these judgements and then you start to realize like, no, they then you're just, you're just stereotyping people.
Ryan Koral: 00:50:54 Right.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:50:54 And like you said, you meet, start meeting people and you're like, oh wait. You know, and then you start seeing people like the Richard Bransons that are out there that are really trying to make an impact. Yeah. That really give a shit that you start to see that and have the understanding that you can do more if you have more and it's not going to be bad. It just means that you, you know, you made a comment earlier, that's one of the words that I come back to constantly and it's around freedom.
Ryan Koral: 00:51:19 Mm.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:51:19 And I think you can have impact and you can, you can, that's part of why I do this show. I think you can be a creative entrepreneur. You could, you don't have to be a starving artist. You can thrive. You can do what you love doing, have the clients you want to have. You can, you can do the work you want to do and you can have freedom. You can have the freedom that you, that really is what so many people are looking for. You know, when you, when you don't have debt, when you have money in the bank, and you can say that you've just like what you've done was tell and be able to have a team in place where you can be like, honey, let's go spend a couple of weeks somewhere with the kids, you know, and take them on this really fascinating adventure, you know, whatever that looks like.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:52:04 And then they take that journey, that, that story and that adventure and then that changes them, you know? And just having that experience with you and you being able to do that and then be present with them and not be on your phone and checking messages and calling back clients and all the stuff that we go through. You know, you can let that go and like just be present. And that's the stuff that they can then take with them as they get older. Yeah. And it's all those things you're talking about, like where you give and having that support network, all of those things add up to make the world a better place. Yeah. And that's why you're here. And thank you for that work that you do.
Ryan Koral: 00:52:41 Yeah, man. Yeah. And that's, that's beautiful. And that's that really, I think in a lot of what I do. And I think I wrote that down actually just recently. I want to help people get free, right. I want to, so that's my kids. That's, that's us being able to do those little adventures or whatever it may be. A, that's the studio Sherpas community. That's the, that's the corporate clients that I'm sitting across from interviewing for this video project that we're working on. I want people to understand that, uh, that they don't have to be shackled to whatever idea or belief that they've always held. That isn't true. And as soon as you start to experience like real freedom, that's, I mean, that's, that's, it's a huge gift to be able to, and uh, and then you can pass it on to else
Gabe Ratliff: 00:53:25 here, here, here, here. And I think that's where you can really start to make that impact, right, is when you can share it and you show it, right? It's like you how you show up in the world and you know, it's, it's like Gandhi says, it's all about living the example, you know, and being that example, I come back to that quite often just to remember like live your example. You know, and that's one of the things that I really am just so impressed and, and just really appreciate about how you show up, you know, is that you're, you're constantly out there working for those of us out here that are, you know, on this same path. And I think that's where we all have to come at it. You know, it's, it's, it's coming back to, you know, how you show up and, and one of the things I keep hearing whenever I hear, well, one of the things that we deal with a lot of self doubt.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:54:16 Yeah. Humans and in general, but especially creatives, right? We're so self deprecating and perfectionism is rampant and self doubt is always there. One of the things I hear all the time that I think is such a great thing to remember is that you can let go of that when you're helping others. Mm. That can go away because you're not thinking about yourself, right. You're not inside, you're outside and you're, it's just like this conversation about how you've helped me. Hm. How this show will hopefully help others. Right. It's the same thing. It's all reciprocal and it's all helping us elevate what is a topsy turvy world. You know, things are kind of crazy right now and I think those of us being out here trying to put love and light out into the world,
Ryan Koral: 00:55:07 yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:55:07 Are the ones that are going to save it. You know? And I get like, it's like really important to me. I think the work that we're doing is important and I think creatives and what they put out into the world really, really is important. You know, I think there's tons of things in the world, doctors and so many different types of careers that are vital to the progression of our world and our species. But I really think that creatives are a part of what is the lifeblood of humanity, you know? Yeah.
Ryan Koral: 00:55:39 Here, here. Yeah. That's real. That's solid. I love that. And I think it's really good point. And uh, yeah, Korea was definitely, I mean it's like, you know, art is, it's sort of like just that thing. It's like the sixth dementia, I don't know, like whatever. But you know, it's hard to put it into words, but yeah, the world needs the world needs it more artists. And uh, if those artists can be free and uh, and not feel intimidated or feel like they, they shouldn't share their work because, you know, they, because of self doubt, like, man, the world really needs those people to step up and to keep making and to keep putting stuff out. Uh, because it, it does something in, in our souls that does something our spirits and uh, in, in passes freedom on, right. Just, yeah. This, I mean, this conversation, it does that in a different form, but it's totally necessary. And just like we need, uh, uh, whatever the three or eight basic food groups are,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:56:37 how many are there now? Way Different than when Dino pod save America. Are you familiar with that? Nobody has. Sounds cool. It is, it's awesome. My wife absolutely adores that podcast. And recently I saw on, I think youtube, they had a little clip where they talked about the food pyramid and how it's just a joke and it was so hysterical how they just shredded it. It was awesome. I highly recommend it. So is the food pyramid still like a thing? Cause it was when we were little, but it was, but you're not, not right now. Let's say that it feels like an hourglass. Maybe. I don't know. Or it's like the Andes mountains all over. Who knows? These days. I love how like there'll be a new study that's like fis and then a week later they're like, nope, not that. And you're like, well, can't do that study. Oh yeah. I love it. So I feel like that's a really great place to kind of segway...
Ryan Koral: 00:57:34 Yeah. Cool man. Thanks for having me. And I'll have a great day.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:57:39 Bye.
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Gabe Ratliff: 00:58:17 So I feel like that's what's a great way to segway into, um, the Studio Sherpas and where the idea from that came from and how did that idea of what did with the inception of that come from? Yeah,
Ryan Koral: 00:58:28 yeah. So, you know, early on when I'm doing video stuff, uh, I'm, I went to a conference in 2016 and I got to see all these amazing, oh my gosh, the work I was seeing and most of these guys were just doing wedding films and people were like waiting for, like, I remember early on people were like, you do wedding video wall graphy ah, that sounds tear. You know, we had a, we had a wedding videographer at our wedding 20 years ago and it was, you know, big camera, big light, super annoying, put a Mike in People's faces. Everybody was drunk. Nobody wants to remember why, why do you want to make videos that nobody wants to watch? Or we met and I'm like, no, no, no, that's, that's not what I'm in. And I'm seeing all these guys work in gals work at these conferences. I'm like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. And so really inspired about, you know, what I was seeing,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:59:13 uh, what, what am I answering right now? So inspired,
Ryan Koral: 00:59:19 I really want there, I'm like back in 2006. Did I say 16 or 2006? Oh yeah. So I'm seeing all these people from stays sharing. Uh, some people, they're just sharing their work. Other people are talking about the equipment they're using. Everybody's asking the question, the question like, oh, well, camera, do you use what, uh, what audio stuff for you? And as I go, okay. And then, uh, a guy named Brett culp gets onstage and uh, he's been, I'm fortunate enough to have had him on our show. And uh, just one of the most amazing human beings on the planet earth. And he showed work, which was incredible. But his story and his ability to communicate is off the charts. I mean, this guy's the most inspiration he's like the Oprah for was the Oprah for wedding film makers. Now he's just kind of like the, the male Oprah that's touring the world and just motivating people.
Ryan Koral: 01:00:08 I saw what he was doing and I'm like, I, this is incredible. I want to, you know, I want to do what he's doing. I want to, you know, I want to be on stage, I want to share. I feel like I have something to offer. I don't know what the heck it is yet because my work doesn't come close to. But uh, but I want to help other people. Like I'm, you know, I'm in this boat where I'm just receiving a ton of stuff and, and I want to, I just want to help too. I just want to, maybe it's just cause I like hearing my voice. That's why I started a podcast. That's why I'm like 100 something episodes in cause I just like hearing and on this thing it sounds, I sound so good. Everybody needs a heil PR 40 said that they can listen and be like, wow, I actually do sound good.
Ryan Koral: 01:00:40 Yeah, it really does sound good. So I started applying to speak at this event and that didn't happen. And then there was a smaller event and I applied to speak at that and they took me in and I did. And I was like, this was amazing. And I got to share, you know, my, my dad passed away like a few months after my wife and I got married and I got to share some of that stuff and just be really vulnerable, but then also kind of tie that into my story as a filmmaker and, and I'm like, this is a, this is really cool and amazing conversations, sidebar conversations before and after. And then I got to speak at another event and I'm like, this is, I love doing this. And um, every time, you know, when I'm at home or at these conferences or whatever, I'm constantly having lunch, coffee, whatever with other filmmakers, with other creatives, with are business owners and, and I have all these ideas for how a small business should run.
Ryan Koral: 01:01:27 And I'm very, I love sharing my opinion. Right, right. Again, I love hearing myself talk and so, but some of these people are like applying the things that I'm telling them and they're like, oh dude, that was, that was really helpful. Thank you for, and then I'm realizing like, okay, I do have something in the space to offer. I'm realizing that there are a ton of people that just love the gear and the stuff and making, but when it comes to building something that's sustainable, not everybody talks about that or has like, I wish more people were talking about that. I feel like I'm one of the only people that's talking about that. So, so then I'm like talking to other people outside of the video industry about business and I'm reading business books that aren't related to video. And I'm like, oh my gosh. And then I'm applying those things to my video business will then, uh, you know, my friend Matt Davis from Wilmington, North Carolina, he's been coaching ray.
Ryan Koral: 01:02:11 He's been, he's been doing a lot more speaking and traveling than me back back in the day and in every time I'm like, oh dude, like we're kind of like two peas in a pod. We met at, uh, at one of these conferences and I'm like, this guy's awesome. Just loved him. And, but he's, he's really, he's got time to speak. And I'm like, this is it. And he's really good. Well, he started this coaching business and he's helping other wedding filmmakers, you know, he's coaching them in business and I'm like, oh my gosh, that would be so cool. And I'm like, why can't do that? Cause he's already doing it. So I'm like, you know, I, I'm not going to compete with him. I'll just let him do his thing and I'll always wish that I was doing that. Well then he stopped. He just had some personal stuff that he had to step away from that work.
Ryan Koral: 01:02:48 Then after a few years, he had hired me to shoot a wedding with him down in, I think it was West Virginia or Kentucky or somewhere, and I flew down in North Carolina. We're, we're on this like three or four hour road trip to this wedding. On the way back from the wedding. He's like, Hey, I'm thinking about starting this coaching thing back up and dot, dot, dot. And I'm like, can I help with that? Like I, man, I, I, I felt like this was my chance to like, you know, not have to compete against them, do it, you know, he's already done it. Like he kind of knows how to do it or whatever. And uh, so I could, you know, learn from him and be a part of it. And, uh, his, he looked at me, he's like, are you serious? And I'm like, are you serious?
Ryan Koral: 01:03:24 That are, am I serious? I'm like, oh my gosh. And a, and so then I knew, I'm like, yeah, he totally wants to help. And so that was, then we talked for the next, I don't know, ever many hours we were in the car and we said, let's do this. Let's build some kind of a company where, you know, we can do, we can do online webinars or, you know, host a conference or, you know, just do, how can we help more people rather than just at these conferences, which were happening less and less, at least in the wedding industry. So we're kind of like, the opportunities weren't there, but we, you know, at this point online learning is like, you know, it's through the roof. Everybody's online learning stuff. So we said like, let's do it. And we spent a couple of months kind of, you know, coming up with this brand, trying to figure out how we're going to like run this as a business alongside of our other businesses.
Ryan Koral: 01:04:07 And the whole intent was to not not become another muse storytelling or story and heart where we're going, you know, talk about, you know, story and show you how to, you know, make really cool, beautiful stuff that moves people. Hopefully we're learning how to do that and doing that in our businesses. But Matt and I were like, let's just help people with the business side because nobody, at least nobody that we knew of in that during that time was doing that. So we're like, this is great. We're, we're, we've got a niche here. We can focus here. We're not stepping on anybody's toes. And the, the thing that's going to help other video people is for them to have a sustainable business. So that they can, you know, 10 years from now say like, Oh cool, I'm glad that we put these procedures into place so that we could learn how to hire people or not learned so that we could actually hire people so that we can make sure that we're profitable on all of our jobs and, and be doing this years and years down the road instead of like me after the first couple of years just being so like, oh my gosh, there's so much work, I can't keep up.
Ryan Koral: 01:05:02 This is crazy. Had I not hired somebody in and helped with the workload and kind of been fortunate enough to take some of the room, make some of the right decisions back then, there's no way I would have lasted longer than two or three years. I would have just made everybody unhappy that I was, that was a client of ours. I would have been, I was so stressed out. Oh my gosh. So I would go to bed every night thinking like, oh, don't forget about, I got to follow up with so and so. I got to do this. I, you know, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. And eventually I was able to come out of that, thank goodness for employees, but that was, that was kind of like, let's let that be our focus. So in 2016 January we launched a, we just said, hey, doors are open.
Ryan Koral: 01:05:43 We're here. We sent out an email to a bunch of people, I think we posted on Facebook and we just said, we're doing a live training. We're going to talk about how to build a corporate filmmaking business. People came and people bought this, I don't know, four week, five week training that we didn't even have built. It was just like, we knew the, the guts of it, what we wanted to talk about, and people raise their hand and said like, yeah, I need that. I want that. And, uh, and that was kind of the foray into it. Uh, from that we realized how cool would it be to have a podcast and be able to interview other people that are either in the industry or can speak into, you know, running a business, growing a business. And, uh, you know, that was, uh, probably I think in March or April of 2016 when we said let's do a podcast and a, and so that's just kind of become its own sort of animal and, uh, it's been super fun.
Ryan Koral: 01:06:31 126 episodes. Is that later? Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah, it's crazy. I was telling you before the show, like my favorite line in 2016 this, this, this line has literally changed my life. Uh, I can't remember who to credit Jason Zook, maybe you don't learn until you launch. I hits for so long wanted to do something like what Matt and I were doing. I didn't do it. I didn't want to step on mass toes. Really what I should have done is maybe had a conversation with him and said, hey, I'm thinking about doing this. I know this might be stepping on her toes, but I've just got this fire inside of me. I want to do this. I want to help other people. And, and he would have been like, oh my gosh, let's do this. Or he would have been like, cool, dude. Like go do it.
Ryan Koral: 01:07:10 And you know, same thing with the podcast. I'm like, this would be so fun. I feel like this would be so helpful. But like, you know, seriously, I'm listening to, I think back then it was Pat Flynn and he had a hundred maybe at 200 up, I don't know what, he had so many episodes and I'm like, oh my gosh, like we'll never get there, but maybe we will. And so let's number our episode zero zero one and when we hit that 100 episode mark, I was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe it. This is actually, you know, we stuck to it. We committed to it and a and it happened. Yeah. And it's funny cause I would essentially flip flop listening to you and pat who would be, yeah, I bet. Some to like that's awesome. Wow. A couple of episodes of you. And then ed flipped a couple of sets of pat in, you know, back to you. And then I should tell pat that Ryan who surround you, I'm coming after you Pat Flynn. Then he started the ask pat show and now he's opened like that, that oh my gosh, yeah, I forgot about it. I had the same kind of thought of like Eh, Eh, we'll get it. Cause I cause you know, this show of its longer
Gabe Ratliff: 01:08:16 format, I've been doing it biweekly. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, so my, I'm like half where I could be potentially, but I'm actually developing a new podcast that will be the regular schedule and shorter format and things. So yeah, just threw that out there. Where are you guys listening? Ya teaser teaser alert, podcasting on what podcasting woo. Yeah. I was constantly flip back and forth between your show and his and you know, I also love Chase Jarvis, a huge fan of his show. So it was just like inspiring creative entrepreneurs shows, um, or you know, just entrepreneurial shows. And I just would just, it was so funny, I would just jump around and be like, Ooh, Ryan's got so and so on this week. I just started them last week on something and I'd be like, wait, where did I hear them talk about? That was that own Ryan show or was that on pat show? Dammit. You know, uh, they just start to bleed together.
Ryan Koral: 01:09:13 Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:09:13 One of the things I wanted to ask you about the shows, but separately as we kind of unpack studio Sherpas and what you do with that. Yeah. One of the things I was wondering is like how do you choose your guests? I mean you've brought on some amazing guests and I just wonder about how you go through the process of choosing them and then prepping your questions for them. Cause you're, you're really a great interviewer and that's the tone thing I wanted to call out, but also see how do you do it?
Ryan Koral: 01:09:38 Yeah. Oh that's a good question. I don't know. Finish this out mats and actually ended up stepping down from studio sherpas about a little over a year ago. He, he really needed to focus on his business and it was just too hard to juggle. And I, I get it, I respect it. We had an episode where we kind of talked about the exit and it was sad, but it just kind of was one of those things that had to happen. So, you know, I've, I've carried the torch and, um, in, in it's, it's, it's hard. It is hard to balance and to do excellent in both, you know, tell, tell studios where I have employees and see, but where I'm just like, I know there are people counting on a, you know, great stuff for them to grow their business. So early on, you know, Matt and I, we brainstormed, you know, a ton of the, hey, who, who should we have on?
Ryan Koral: 01:10:23 And it was like people in our network, you know, people who had spoken at these video conferences so early on, you know, there's a lot of like wedding filmmakers, people that are doing maybe a little bit more than just wedding filmmaker. But you know, that's, that was our pool of people because we're like, we have no credibility. Nobody really knows this except for this, you know, this very small niche. And so let's go, let's go for it. And then, you know, listening to Pat, I, I listen to a couple of other podcasts and I'm like, man, I like that person. I like that, you know? So then I would start sending out random emails to people I read, I listened to a lot of books and I, I reach out to almost all of the authors of the books that I read. And it's, it's, I'm, I've been happily surprised at how many of those authors, how many authors just they, you know, they want to promote their books, they want to promote their thing.
Ryan Koral: 01:11:08 And so they would say to a goofy looking guy like me, like, yeah, I'll be on your show. And I'm like, wait, seriously? Uh, so that has happened so many times where I'm like, oh my gosh, like I'm going to have, you know, whoever, I've had so many people on the show where I'm like, oh my gosh, they're going to be on the show. Like I, I feel like I just tricked them like this. This is back to my boy's life. You know, I just did a magic trick and it works. I think a mix of, you know, courses that I take books, I listened to podcasts, I listened to people that I just know of in the world. You know, I've got a long list and Tina are amazing. Virtual assistant reaches out, does the initial reach out for most people. Sometimes I'll hop on Twitter and just reach out to, you know, some author that I just finished reading.
Ryan Koral: 01:11:47 Just give him a shout out and then say like, Hey, I'd love to, you know, I think that you could really speak into the lives of these creative filmmakers and stuff. Would you please, please, please. And, uh, and so, you know, Twitter has actually been good in that sense for, for me, uh, not on there a lot. So, I mean, feel free to follow me, but it's really just nothing to write home about. So I don't have a great like rhyme or reason how, where that list came from. We started with a huge list and you know, we've interviewed quite a bit of those people. And then I also, man, one of my favorites are just the people in our community and the studio strippers, community people who have gone through some of our training or they've just, you know, listened to the podcast for a long time and are like, man, this has changed my life and here's how those stories are super fun to hear.
Ryan Koral: 01:12:31 For me, it's very, uh, you know, cause I can interview all the authors and all the motivational speakers in and that's great. I'm always inspired by that stuff. But the thing that really keeps me going is when people are like, dude, I got the budget maximizer, I did this training that you had and I am making more money, or I was able to hire an employee or this change in my business because of something that you put out there in the world. And I'm like, oh my gosh, that is the coolest thing. Okay, this Internet thing sort of works and I'm going to keep doing it until there's crickets and it's not doing anything. And people were like, okay bro, you're, you're way too old. Your Business, you had to close the doors and your business, you know, whatever the thing is we're done listening to you. Then it's like, okay cool, I'll go spend more time with my family or I'll start another podcast. Okay.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:13:17 Aye. Yeah. Can also speak to exactly those things. I mean the budget Max because I'm also a student. I'm not just a fan. I'm a student. That's been amazing. I mean that one piece and you know spreadsheets. My wife is uh, she's hardcore left brain spreadsheet person. Yeah. But that game changer, I mean that, that one piece was worth it. That's awesome for paying for the course. So hopefully any of you listening out there that are just, that part was worth it. Not to mention all the other stuff. I mean the, the capturing discovery meetings and discovery calls and like all that stuff. I mean just all those things. I mean cause I was actually so impressed by that piece because when you're in those, you're not thinking, I'm going to record this for posterity and I'm going to share this because this will help others.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:14:11 Right. You're, you're like thinking about the project and what they're at, what their questions are, what your questions are, you know, you're trying to answer all of those things, right. But to then be like, oh, hey, I'm going to think ahead and I'm going to record this and I'm going to repurpose this because, and, and, and having the buy in from the prospective client to be able to utilize that in a way that can help others to figure out how that can work for them. I mean, that's, it's just that stuff's really, really powerful, you know, and that's where that value comes in. I wonder, now that you've been doing Sherpas for studio shoppers for awhile, what are some of the biggest lessons that you've gotten from it? I mean, the podcast and the courses and all those things. Like what, what are the biggest lessons that have come out of doing this separately from tell studios and the video production business?
Ryan Koral: 01:15:00 Well if you, I would have a different answer in about a week because Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I've got 22 people, 23 people that are coming from as far as Hawaii, Canada, all over the u s that are coming to Detroit, coming to hear, uh, coming to hang out at our studio for, for uh, a conference. And I, I, when I sold the video business academy, we came out with that like a few months ago. I said, hey, if you're finally member, if you pay for this portion here, we're going to do a live event here in Detroit and you get a free ticket. And I did that. Not really thinking anybody would take me up on it. And then I started getting emails, Hey, when is the conference? Hey, when is the cow? I'm like, you know, the conferences in Detroit, right? Which I think is the, you know, one of the best places in the world.
Ryan Koral: 01:15:52 And people are like, yeah. Was like, I need to, I want to look at flights, I'm looking at hotel. I'm like, oh my gosh, like you guys really want to come hang out. So I, I think for me it's, it really has been this idea of community, like as a creative, as a filmmaker, it is so easy to sit behind your computer and work away. That said, there is no end to the work. You know, whether you're finding, trying to find new clients, whether you're catching up on emails, whether you're editing, whether you're scripting out a new piece, there is just always something that can be being worked on. Even if you've already delivered everything to a client, there's 40 hours of work sitting there that you could do marketing sale, you know, whatever. So to know that there are people that say and understand the value in personal relationships, the value in being with other people, the value in building a community, not just online, which definitely is a huge asset for people, period.
Ryan Koral: 01:16:55 Online community is better than no community at all. But to know that there are people that say, Hey, I believe that there's going to be value in being together with people that essentially are doing the same thing that I'm doing. So other people could see that as competition. What I'm learning personally is like, hey, no, this is collaboration and we can really help each other. And, and that's why I started, you know, back when I started studio Sherpas, I'm like, there's going to be my local competitors can buy my secret sauce. Like I'm putting it out there. I'm saying, here's how we budget our jobs. Here's the budget. Maximizer is exactly the spreadsheet that we use to price out to, you know, build out our profit margin, all that stuff. These are the contracts. This is the, these are some of the stories of clients that successes and failures.
Ryan Koral: 01:17:36 And typically I try not to drop names, but I could have said, oh no way. I don't want, I don't want my competitor to find that. And seeing other people that are like, yeah, no, I'm, I'm good. I believe in abundance. And I think that there's a lot, so much that we can learn from each other. And I always share the story too. When I first started doing video, I was reaching out to all the other video guys in the Detroit area and was taking them out to lunch and coffee and that was, I got so much work just from being referred by these guys who, you know, you can only shoot so many weddings on a, on a given day. And uh, so when they were booked, they were happy to send work to, to me y'all was nice and my work was good and so they looked good by referring me.
Ryan Koral: 01:18:18 And so I learned very on very early on that building relationships in, in sort of saying like, how can we help each other was way better, way more freeing. There's that word again, a then like, you know, me holding this business close to my heart and saying like, well, I've got my family, I've got to provide for, I've got to, you know, I got to protect and blah, blah blah. It's like, okay, yeah, but like when it comes to business, if I can be open handed and just say, how can I help you? What can I do to serve you? Like what, what is it? I was listening to my friend Graham Cochran, who I met at the Kajabi conference a few weeks ago, sharing today. Dude. I mean this guy is just amazing. Uh, he turned me on to this book called the go giver. It's, and it's really, it is a brilliant book.
Ryan Koral: 01:18:59 He is such a, Graham is such a great example of this and you know, talking about collaborators versus competition, uh, that, that has been for me the last few weeks has really been resonating big time. So I think one of, one of my biggest takeaways is a real recent takeaway and it's to know that, you know, we're in a few days, I want to be with these people and we're going to be sharing stories. We're going to be sharing wins and losses together and really trying to figure out what does it mean to be, uh, collaborators. What does it mean to be a community that, that looks out for each other, that wants the best for each other, and it's all going to become real in a few days, you know, 23 people, 20, whatever. Like that's not a ton of people. I wanted to keep it small. I did, I wanted between 20 and 30 people because I'm like, I'm like, oh Geez, I don't, I don't really know.
Ryan Koral: 01:19:47 I've never, like I, I've hosted events, but this is just a little, this one's like real close to the heart here. So I didn't want to screw it up. And, uh, I figured the more people there, the more people I could make unhappy. So I said, let's start small with people that really, really, really want to be here. You know, I looked at my wife, I'm like, there's people, there are a couple of people flying here from Hawaii to Detroit. I'm like, this is like their skin in the game for these people. Um, but I think it's because they believe that there's value and, and that's so rewarding to me. It's really cool to think, you know, and even to hear all the nice stuff that you said Gabe about me and about the stuff that stewardship has is done. It's still hard to believe sometimes cause I'm like all of this stuff or most, all of the stuff I apply, I have a lot of ideas, things I just haven't gotten around to be being able to do. But most of the stuff I talk about is stuff that I'm doing in my business. So regardless of whether or not people are listening, I'm doing it right. And you know, some stuff is working, some stuff's not a, so I'm just kind of sharing the journey when people are saying like, oh my gosh, I'm like, oh cool. Like great again, I'll, I'll keep doing, you know, I'll host more events. Like I think that's going to be a really fun addition to what the stewardship is. Community can be and can become.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:21:04 Yeah. And one of the things I love about you is that you are so transparent. You're so open to share this journey. You know the good and the bad, right? You're just talking about how, you know, it's so close to the chest and you're only having it be so many people. But I have to say one of the things I was really excited to hear about that is that it is small. I think that's one of the things I'm really starting to see in some of these creative conferences. Is this the pendulum swinging the other way where it's not the Adobe Max, it's not these, you know, the, the Ceb and nab and all these things where it's just ridiculous and it's like gear, gear, gear, you know, and stuff and deals schmooze. You know, and one of the guests that I've had on the show, actually, her and her husband, both Heather and Greg there in bend and bend is really starting to push forward with their little creative community.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:22:02 And they are doing their own design conference and it's really small man. And they've made it even smaller. They said after the last year is that they realized it was still a little too big. And so they pulled it back a little bit. And I just, I love hearing that because the thing that's so impactful about having a conference like that and, and congratulations to you for doing that. That's awesome because that is scary. I mean the speaking is one thing, but when you got people flying specifically to come to your home turf, it'd be like teach me, share some stuff.
Ryan Koral: 01:22:35 Right. That's what I have. I'm having all my amazing friends teach there
Gabe Ratliff: 01:22:38 to be here and if it's a failure I get to blame them. But yeah, you know, having, having all of that calm and being the facilitator again, right, you're facilitating all of this collaboration and connection and contribution all within one space and that's just awesome. But I love that you're looking at it from that lens and it's interesting cause the, the way that you're, the way that you're setting it up is actually going to have such more impact for the people coming because it's not got an extra couple of Zeros behind the number of attendees, you know, so I that's great. I was wondering about, I'm going to start kind of winding this down cause I know you got to go soon. One of the things I was wondering about is, you know, all this work that you've been doing, do you have any, is there like a favorite story from a project or from your studio shoppers work, the courses or I know you've also got the video business academy, now you've got this conference coming up. Do you have like a favorite story or just something that's just really stood out where someone was, was really impacted by the work that you've done that you could speak to where they just have it just really hit it home?
Ryan Koral: 01:23:50 Where's the cricket sound effect? Uh, that's a, that's an awesome question. I think my, my silence and lack of a, an immediate answer I want to blame on, uh, I'm, I'm always looking forward. I'm always looking ahead. So I have read, you know, I use it on the podcast, I'll read a testimonial from iTunes or just an email, a nice email that somebody has sent in and a, and those are super fun. But you know, it's like I read it and I'm like, okay, like in this Facebook ads manager that we work with, she's like, Hey, you know, get some more testimonials. You know, what are people saying? And I'm like, I'm like, I dunno. I don't know. And I've asked multiple times for people to get in. I like, I hear the stories, I'm like, oh, that's super cool. But like, I'm just, so just like in, in this is actually, I don't know, we're sort of trailing off here, but I'm going to have all these people here this weekend and I know that they all have such different stories.
Ryan Koral: 01:24:52 And I'm like, oh shoot. Like I hope I remember, you know, what was significant for so-and-so? And like, you know, because every time I do like a coaching call or whatever, I'm always trying to ask them like, well what's, or if somebody comments and says like, oh I love this, this episode I'm, I'm, I'm always like quick to follow up with like what do you, what'd you love about it? Like what stood out? Like what, what changed? Like what are you doing different because of it. Like, because otherwise it's just a cool show and it's fun to listen. It's entertaining and that's fine if like if it's entertaining. But if you're going to tell me it's good, like I want to know like are you going to do something different? Because if you are then like I'm going to feel even better than just like, oh cool, great intro, great officer or whatever.
Ryan Koral: 01:25:29 It's as far as a specific person or story, I mean a recent, a recent episode, the Guy said, Ryan is my, my Oprah. Yeah, we just talked about inspiration. And I think that theme of where, where I have experienced freedom and where I have come to understand and know my identity more today than ever before, and to have people say that they still like me, that they appreciate me, that they get something from me. It means something different to me today. And, uh, I, I, I have not grown boastful. I, my ego is in check, uh, for the most part, unless I'm with my friends and I like to joke about stuff like that. But, but really, I firmly believe that I stand on the shoulders of giants in that I've only been able to do what I have been able to accomplish because of the, the amazing community of people that had been surrounded by ensure.
Ryan Koral: 01:26:27 I have made some good decisions to say, I want to hang out with this person. I want to ask this person for some advice and wisdom and I'm going to try to do, you know, that thing that they say. So I've played a part in it. But being surrounded by people that have been for the success of Studio Sherpas and have been for the success of Tell Studios in the success of my family, that for me has been the thing and it, and it really is a theme that surrounds my entire life. So to, to, to narrow in on one person, I totally can't think of one story or one thing, but a common theme that, uh, you know, and I, I journal almost every morning, especially during the week and on the weekends. I don't do as good of a job, uh, hardly ever actually. Uh, but when I do journal, you know, one of the very first always sentences that I, I, you know, I open my journal, I just take a breath and, and I just sit there and sometimes, you know, there's, I do want to be a little bit with, and this is weird, but like a lot of my journal are our prayers to God, but there's this like, I want to be creative sometimes in how I am thankful.
Ryan Koral: 01:27:31 I don't know, it's just this weird creative thing inside of me. But usually typically the first sentence or the first paragraph is just gratitude. It's, it's being thankful for, you know, for my family and for, I mean, as silly as it was like last night, we were in our backyard playing pickle, you know, it was my wife, myself and our three little kids. And I'm like, I, I grew up playing pickle, you know, my best friend pup in my, my older sister Chris and her best friend Julie. And uh, we played pickle. Like it was nobody's business and it was just the most fun Goto and we've never played it before. And the kids started playing it this weekend and we all played it in the backyard last night. I know why I'm talking. Oh, I'm talking about being, being thankful. And so as I'm journaling, that's what I'm thinking about this morning.
Ryan Koral: 01:28:16 I'm like, man, I mean it's so silly, but I am just thankful that I'm free enough, my kids or we can hang out in the backyard and play this amazing game of pickle and in, I know so much of, of what I am thankful for. It's because, uh, because of the, the community of people that I'm surrounded by that really have, you know, my success, my best interests, their best interest. I don't know how to say that they, they, they want the best for, for us and not so that, that we just enjoy this stuff, but so that we can pass that on so that we can pass the same ideas and stuff to our kids, into other people in the community that you know, that are, that are really hurting, that are lonely, that are, uh, that they don't have, they don't know who they are and who meant to be.
Ryan Koral: 01:29:01 And, uh, they don't know that as an artist, they really need to put their stuff out there and show it and share it. Um, that, that's, that's the stuff that, that will make the world go round and that that's the stuff that's gonna make them come alive. So anyway, long, long way to answer your question, and I don't know if that's even, did I sort of answer it? Just say, yeah, yes to the next one. Yes. Yes and yes. And pickle. Pickle. What a great word. Pickle. Just fun to say. Pickles. Fun to say. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna start wrapping this up here. I have several more questions, but I, I'm getting, if you want, if, if you've got some that you really want answered, we could do lightning round and I could just stick to like one or two sentence answers. This is your, this is your deal man. I will fire off quick ones or, uh, or I'll just give really, really long one. So I did have a couple of things. What, what advice would you give your younger self? You don't do it? Oh, sorry, sorry. More context.
Ryan Koral: 01:30:04 I love you man. Uh, what, what advice would you give your younger self if you, you know, you've had 15 years now as a quote unquote serial entrepreneur. I just wonder, you know, like what, what would you tell your younger self that you've learned over the years or, you know, is there anything that you would do different or anything like that? Hmm, uh, that's a great question. And I think for the longest time I've always been about like wanting to leave a legacy. So I've been very mindful of that kind of question. And I also, I think, I think I embody this, uh, this idea of my favorite tattoo is one that I have is it says, uh, no, what was supposed to say, no regrets, but they spelled it wrong. So it says no regrets, but, uh, just getting, I don't have any tattoos, but if I did, I, that's, that is definitely one that I, but, but I do live that.
Ryan Koral: 01:30:57 Like, I, I, I, if, if I mess up something really bad, I'm just like, I will do whatever I can to fix it. But if it's not fixable, I'm going to do whatever I can to, to be helpful to try to mend this relationship, you know, whatever. But at some point it's just kind of like, it is what it is. Like we need to move forward. So I don't know. I mean, I, I've definitely made some big mistakes. Uh, and I would say mostly like relationally. And I think I've had some really hard conversations with people who have held stuff against me for a long time. And I think had I known that I was offending people in the ways that, that I was, uh, I, I, I would really want to change that stuff, but, but sort of not, because I think on the other side of that, I've, I've been able to have those really awkward conversations in have been able to be really challenged in those conversations and really grow.
Ryan Koral: 01:31:48 So it, you know, that's a bad question ask me because I would say like, everything that happened that wasn't good has made me appreciate even more. So today in, and I'm, I am a better person for complete and utter jerk that I was 20 years ago and yesterday copy that. So you were, you made a couple comments earlier and you just sort of references the same thing there around moving forward and you're always looking forward. And I, and I really appreciate that and I wonder what's next for you. You got a lot going on. You've got this conference coming up. I mean you're already, you're lining it up, man. You've got so many great things that you put out there to the world where you're offering value and that's just, it's just what exudes from you. So what's next for you? Like what, where do you see this going for you? To the top of the mountain. Knock on the wall. I actually referenced that in the Title II now Hayes, well you already have a title of this show and you're like way better than me. It's like I learned it from watching the relative. I learned we didn't learn that because I definitely don't come up with the titles and they don't. Yeah, whatever. Anyway, keep it up. I like that. What was the question? Oh, what's next?
Ryan Koral: 01:33:03 What's next? I love to turn this question about a couple of times you're like, wait, what was I talking about that that happens? They see when I'm not asking the questions like I've gotten all the questions there. So it's like easy reference. What's next? So the conference will happen this weekend after the conference. I'm really excited to get feedback from people in and really gauge is this something that was useful, helpful, that people are going to go back and, and really be different because of it. If so, holy crap, I want to do, you know, twice a year. I would love to do this once a quarter. I don't know, that's maybe a little aggressive, but I would love to, I think I would love to do more events like that. Um, you know, years ago I was the president of the Michigan Video Association and so we would do events, you know, and it would be all video guys from, from this area and it was super fun.
Ryan Koral: 01:33:46 But then actually one of the reasons why search, she still your shirt business cause I kept doing that event once a month and it was so much time and I got paid $0 million, which is fine and people should do stuff like that. It was just, it was at the peak of having three kids or two and a half kids and, and meet really trying to create this new business and in make it successful. And I'm like, I'm spread way too thin. So I would love to do more events. And with Telus studios were, I'm trying to figure out how to productize what we do so that we're not just trading time for dollars and that way I can pay my people more and I really want to be able to do that. I want to restructure how we do bonuses and hopefully they're not listening to this episode.
Ryan Koral: 01:34:27 I'm just kidding. I mean they all know that I want to pay them more. And that's, that's kind of why I get get excited when we get bigger clients and bigger jobs and retainer clients and opportunities that are like, hey wait, we can create a course for, we could partner with a, with another artist or creative and build a course for them and you know, sell it. Like kind of how we've got to do sherpas built. So a couple of my big goals for this year are to productize what we're doing inside of tell studios to help people that maybe can't hire us to do all the brainstorming for them for a video project. But, hey, here's how we do it and here's how you can do it too. You know, maybe create some kind of online community where people can ask us questions and we can, you know, be a great resource.
Ryan Koral: 01:35:09 And then for those people that eventually, like, you know, what we tried to do in our own, we just can't, so we need your help too. So we're going to hire you for this project. That's, that's sort of where I want to take. Tell Studios, the studio Sherpas, you know, we launched the video business academy a few months ago and, and then life has happened. You know, I've, I've wanted to do so much more inside of that community and inside of the courses and stuff, but it's just, you know, I've got way too many things. So once this conference is over, kind of revisiting that, I've got a few different tutorials. I don't want to create a couple of different modules inside of that. And, um, and I want to get, uh, a clearer focus. I want to do or at least feel like I'm doing fewer things, feel like I have buckets that I can put stuff in, whether or not I can work on them right now at least the ideas or the things will go inside of the buckets and can sit there until I'm ready to, to work on them.
Ryan Koral: 01:36:06 So getting clearer on what it is that I should be doing is, is kind of one of my big goals after this event. I know a couple of the big projects that I'm moving toward and um, yeah, I just, I feel like, you know, you've heard me share on the show for the past few weeks. I've been talking about the high performance planner in how that, that thing has been such a great tool for me and has really allowed me to be, I mean I do have a lot of stuff going on, but my email inbox has grown. I have way more unanswered emails in my inbox today. Then prior to me doing the high performance planner and I would have way more to do's in my two dualist app than I have prior to doing. But it's because I'm able to focus on what's important on the, on the biggest goals that are right in front of me and this other stuff. It's like, you know, it's fallen to the wayside and right now that's okay. And that's, you know, like with sue to Sherpas, I would love to have done, you know, a bunch more like live trainings and other little breakout lessons, but I'm like, that's not what's most important right now. And it just, it's got to be, it is what it is right now. So, um, yeah, that's, that's, that's kind of, I think what's, what's ahead,
Gabe Ratliff: 01:37:11 you know? Yes. It's just, you know, finger to there. Yeah. I hear you on the focus, man. I, that was in your questionnaire and I definitely resonated with that when I was asking about the biggest challenges because I really like asking that question too. Yeah. Tap into the things that we all run into as creative entrepreneurs. You know, cause I think that's something that we all face is things like that. Like you talked about the ebb ebb and flow of music or ebb and flow of business and focus and those kinds of things. And uh, yeah, it's, it's, it's a common thing, especially to be visionaries, you know? And Yeah. Uh, I think one of the episodes you have talks about the integrator
Ryan Koral: 01:37:47 Mhmm
Gabe Ratliff: 01:37:48 And being a visionary and I totally connect with that one too. And it really brings a whole lot to light. I'm actually sitting down with integrator Wednesday to have our big Sop meeting, you know, and all those things. And it's those stages where you're like, ah, I mean just having that conversation around the clarity that can come from those conversations. And then being able to delegate and hand things off and have that focus to do the deeper work is just powerful.
Ryan Koral: 01:38:16 Yeah. That's where your greatest value is. The deeper work is where your greatest value is and we can get lost in. And I've gotten lost in all of the tasks, all of the emails. And it's like, no, no, no, this is not the most important thing. Why am I doing this? So I haven't a virtual assistant that can assist with, you know, some of those menial, menial tasks. It's been incredibly huge. Oh, in the, you know, one other really big thing for us is I'm going to hire a new integrator this, uh, this year. So that's really big. Lindsay has been amazing for our team in that role, but she's really had to step back and be a full time mom and you know, we get her like one day a week, which is not nearly as much as we need. So we're hiring somebody to come in and help us with the operation of the business. And that's, that's, that's a, that's a big deal for what I've seen and learned that we need. So that's, that's another big one.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:04 Wow. Nice. It's nice having those that it's like having, like you're, you're eating and young, you know, it's like my wife and I, we were always kind of joking about this things of like Dory and Marlin and all these different characters that are sort of the ying and Yang with each other. That was in our wedding vows and we're always kind of laughing, um, like princess bride and all these different people, how they've just sort of feel each other out. And it's like that person is so vital to people like us. Just being able to keep us that look like the bumpers and keep us focus, keep us grounded. It has, you know, so. All right. I got a few questions for the lightening round and then we'll wrap it up. Favorite film or film that has moved you the most?
Ryan Koral: 01:39:44 MMM,
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:45 big fish. Really don't, I don't, I don't think I've ever shared that one. It
Ryan Koral: 01:39:49 definitely, I just blubbered like, oh, it was shortly after I had, my dad had passed away. I watched that film in the movie with my wife and Oh my gosh, I was a hot, hot mess. But it was beautiful. I just loved that. Um, yeah, it was, it was great.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:40:03 I just watched that again about a week. It can need to, yeah, so good. Especially that ending where he tells him when he tells the story back to his dad caring, you know? Yeah, it's good. And then he turns into the fish and you're just, and then when he's at the funeral and all the people show up and he sees them in the way that they were, but how the story was, ah, love legacy baby. I actually, speaking of a Tim Burton, I just saw Danny Elfman, he just came through for his new classical piece. Oh, a violinist from, which I call it the a Cirque de Soleil. Okay. Yeah, so he wrote this piece for her. It's like the toughest piece. The composer or the conductor came out and they were talking about how it's the toughest piece out currently to play. Yeah. It's so hard.
Ryan Koral: 01:40:54 They worked on it together and it's so hard to play, but they just kept pushing each other, so it fascinating. Fascinating. That was cool.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:41:01 What is the book you've given most as a gift?
Ryan Koral: 01:41:04 Uh, the Bible? That's such a dumb answer. Oh No, I'm just kidding. Yeah, probably that one.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:41:16 Okay. I, you know, I think that's another thing about you that is so great is that you're very open about your faith and how that interjects in your life. And that's awesome. I love it. I actually had a fellow filmmaker, I worked with her for a long time. She was out in La writing. She's got some stuff coming out. It's getting made now. She actually now works for, her name's Maggie. She works for a company that does films around sex trafficking, which I know is important to you. Yeah. And so she's now doing that work. She actually left Hollywood to go do this work a little bit back east. So we actually had a conversation about her faith and how that it takes place in, you know, how that can be problematic when you're a writer, director in the industry and have that be a part. So I actually really appreciate that. That's something that you're devout about.
Ryan Koral: 01:42:06 That's cool.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:42:07 Do you have a quote that you live your life by or think of often?
Ryan Koral: 01:42:11 Uh, well I mean really since 2016 I got, I do have you don't learn until you launch. You could die today. That's how I motivate my team with, we do joke. I have said that before and it's, it is funny. And now people like my team, we'll finish a little meeting and there'll be like, hey, and I'm all like, look, I'll seriously, and like, like what you're going to see it? And they're like, you could die today. I'm like, Oh yeah, that's good. I see what you did there. Um, but yeah, I mean it's based out of legacy and a, yeah. So whatever.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:42:38 I love it.
Ryan Koral: 01:42:40 So
Gabe Ratliff: 01:42:41 final questions. Is there anything else that you'd like to say or you know, any last parting words?
Ryan Koral: 01:42:46 I've sent a lot. I am super thankful to have been able to share all of this. It's fun to, it's fun to reflect and you know, as the question asker, most of the time I don't, I don't get to do this. So it's fun to, you know, think through my story and to again be filled with gratitude and think even the stinky feet guy, you know, I am thankful that I had that extra. Okay. Maybe not him. Everything else now. I'm just kidding. But yeah, I love gave, I love that you have this show. I love your heart behind it. I love, uh, I think you did a great job as a host and uh, your, your curiosity. I just think it's super cool. I love how you and I could, we could say like, Hey, let's, let's both do separate shows, but like we could do the same thing.
Ryan Koral: 01:43:30 It's going to be totally different, right? Your personality, my personality, there are different. We bring different flavors. Uh, I think what you're doing is awesome and I'm just really grateful and I know that it, the way that when people have a platform to be able to share, you know, what moves them, what inspires them. It's just a beautiful thing. So thank you for giving people that opportunity. Thanks for giving me this opportunity. I'm so keep it up and, uh, looking forward to episode 100, uh, which you know, biweekly, that'll be like two years. Believe me, I've thought about it. So thank you. Thank you. Said I'll have to say thank you. Thank you. And, and that means a lot. Thank you so much. Last question, where can people find you on the interwebs? You already said last question. So I don't know. Is this, was this going to make the final cut or no, this, okay.
Ryan Koral: 01:44:18 Sorry. Yeah, we can go wherever we want now. Tell studios.com studios, sherpas.com I'm at Ryan Koral on Instagram. I'm at Ryan Koral on Twitter. Uh, it's k o r a l like under the sea, but spelled totally different. You know, I'm sort of online. Uh, I wish I was more online, but then I again, I'm glad that I'm not more online. And can we just talk about this for a second? I have, I told a friend recently, I said, hey, I tire of seeing so many, like I don't want this to come across the wrong way. I, I seize it. There's so much garbage, right on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and just ever so much garbage. People that are selfish and self serving and you know, this is all this in it. And, and so I have battled for a long time not posting stuff every day.
Ryan Koral: 01:45:06 You know, if you looked at my, my journal, you'd be like, wow, this is the maybe the most thankful guy that I've ever met because I'm just like, that's just like, you know, positivity just typically oozes from me. I'm most of the time like this, I'm happy, I'm thankful. You know, and I, there is a part of me that has hesitated for so long to share online because I feel bad for, for my friends that are hurting, right. And for my friends that, you know, that my friends that are trying to have kids in it that don't or can't. So I've had this and it's just been an interesting journey, uh, sharing this with a friend a few weeks ago and he's like, what if you can get over that and in add to the noise, add to the mess, something that is meaningful. And that's rich and that's authentic.
Ryan Koral: 01:45:49 And, and so I'm, I am wrestling with that and how to do it in a way that is authentic and true to like who I am and who I want to be a that, that adds, that doesn't just, you know, contribute to all the other noise and cass and, hey, look at my life. I, I do have a beautiful family. I am, my wife is gorgeous. My kids are so adorable and I need to not feel bad about just saying like, Hey, here's what we're doing right now. Here's what we're learning. Here's how we're growing. Uh, you know, I want to be an encouragement to people. Uh, so anyway, uh, think about me as I struggle through like wanting to post more on Instagram, but, but also, you know, spend less time on my phone and make a different sort of, in that little way. So anyway, I'm a hot mess. I get you. I mean it's, it is tough. It's a love hate relationship or love, dislike. I don't like saying hate, but it, you know, it is that kind of relationship. I struggle with that same thing. You know, it's like I want to talk about the things that I'm doing and I want to share it. And people talk about you need to share your story and share your journey. And it's like, yeah. But I also, and I agree
Gabe Ratliff: 01:46:50 and you know, recently someone actually said to me that they were having a rough day and this was kind of one of those moments for me that I've had listening to you, but I saw them out. We were actually at a, like an entrepreneurial workshop and she said to me, I was having such a rough day and I just needed something to lift my spirits. And she's like, who? What would help? And she said, I wanted to hear your voice. Mm. And so she went and listened to one of the episodes of the show and I was like, you know, trying to hold back tears of just like, oh my gosh. Okay, thank you. That's amazing. Is My voice really that cool? And yes, no, no. But you know, I'm just like, wow, you know, it, it was, that to me seems in a similar way what we're doing with our work, right?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:47:43 Like whether we're, you share every week, you're constantly sharing your journey and we're all out here. I mean, honestly, we're all out here, but all of us who listen are where out here listening, you know? And I'm hoping the same thing for the people listening to this show because it's a struggle, man. Life really is a struggle and especially for those of us trying to do something that is personal and creative work is personal and doing work where you're serving others is personal. It's not just business. It's going to a new level. And when I hear things like that, it's actually what reiterates to me like, yeah, when you put something out, whether it's the podcast or it's something on Instagram, showing an experience you're having with your family, a trip where you're traveling somewhere, whatever it might be, a dinner that you had, it's amazing that one little thing can inspire somebody that it could, they could be having a really bad day.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:48:37 That could be their last day. And you never know where that can take them. By having that one little thing where it doesn't have to be this vain thing, right. It doesn't have to be this like, my life's amazing. It's just I'm enjoying my life and that's it. And I wanted to share that because of that can, that's one thing that I think is so great about you is you, you don't come from that space of look at me. You know, you come from this space of authenticity. It just is how you are. And I attempt to do the same thing. I hope I'm doing the same thing during great, but I, I really think that's what the work that we're doing. That's why I wanted to have you on the show, uh, as I wind it down because I think that that is really the power that we have by doing these shows, the power of audio and the, the power that we have with the work that we want to do, serving others, it really can make an impact and it can change the world.
Ryan Koral: 01:49:31 Yeah. Drop it. Walk away. That's beautiful. I love it. Thank you. That's, yeah, that's really good.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:49:36 But I get you. I totally understand. It is a, it is a love, dislike relationship for sure. With the, with all of the interwebs. Yup. Well Ryan, thank you for your time. I know you got to get out of there and go be with your family and much love to you brother. Keep up the great work. Keep fighting the good fight.
Ryan Koral: 01:49:55 You too, pal. Thank you so much Gabe.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:50:03 Well that's it for this episode. If this is your first time listening, thank you so much for being here. I really hope you enjoy the show. The Vitalic Project podcast comes out bi-weekly and is available every other Thursday for your enjoyment and all links and show notes for this episode can be found at vitalicproject.com if you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show and leave a rating or review on iTunes. If you'd like to be a guest or know someone that would be a great fit. Please go to vitalic project.com/guest if you want to follow us, you can find us online by searching @vitalicproject, and thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep being vitalitic!