I am honored to feature Laura Oldham as my first “It Girl.” Laura is a bonafide badass and this site wouldn’t exist without her expertise and support (literally – she built the site).
So, what’s an “It Girl?” A woman who has her shit together. Someone who is doing amazing things both personally and professionally. Someone who is affecting positivity in her local community. Someone that, simply put, people look up to.
Laura is all of that. Plus, she’s damn hilarious. So read on and meet Laura Oldham, official It Girl.
Name: Laura Oldham
What do you do?
I work with local businesses to help with their websites and online marketing. My work time is split pretty evenly among building and maintaining WordPress websites, helping with copywriting and maintaining social media for my clients. I’ll admit that working for yourself often doesn’t lend to much free time, so fortunately I really enjoy what I do on a daily basis.
Recently myself, my husband and Jamie Gentry started the Grandview Craft Beer Alliance, a non-profit to help raise the profile of craft beer in central Ohio. So, a lot of my free time is now spent trying and sharing great craft beers while planning fun events around Columbus. Tough job.
I also am on the Grandview Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, and while it’s not a hobby, it takes up a lot of my time. We just finished our big event, Grandview Digfest, and I think my brain is still catching up with reality.
Outside of volunteering for local organizations and spending a lot of time working, I enjoy working in my yard and pruning my garden. Stepping away from the computer midday to sweat it out while mowing the lawn and pulling weeds is such a nice break for my brain–plus I’m obsessed with hitting my 10,000 steps every day. I spend April through October on my patio, working at my computer during the day, grilling at night–I don’t know if patio sitting is a hobby, but if it wasn’t already, I’ve made it such.
I also really enjoy my German heritage and am working toward becoming fluent once again in the language. Ten years ago I could lead 30-minute presentations in German on the effects of Dadism in culture…so if I can get to the point of ordering food and purchasing train tickets again, I’ll feel pretty good.
I also spend a fair amount of time with my pup, Eleanor. Ellie enjoys lounging on our patio, eating cheese and getting stressed out. We have a lot in common.
**I’m realizing this makes me sound incredibly boring. But I probably am.**
What is the mission/purpose of your site/blog?
My website is simply a portfolio of my work that is always woefully out of date. But, the day that I have plenty of time to actually update it means that work is slow. So an out-of-date website is a happy problem for me to have.
I’d love to update my blog more frequently with “insights,” but truthfully I’m learning as I go just like everyone else. So maybe someday I’ll have the time to share the mistakes I’ve come across working with small businesses every day…but that day is not yet today.
When you think of an “It Girl” what words or phrases come to mind?
Confidence is definitely the number one word that comes to mind–and is something I struggle with frequently. For me I feel the most “on top of it” when the “ball is in the other court” for every single thing I tackle in a day. When the dishes are done, the laundry is folded and put away, and the ball is in my client’s court for every single project, I can sleep at night. I haven’t slept for three weeks.
Confidence, intelligence, kindness, an inspiration, refreshing to be around… those are some of the words and phrases I think about when it comes to someone who has her shit together. I don’t embody those all the time, but I strive to get better at each. Especially confidence…such a tricky thing to tackle when you spend too much time in your own head.
Who is your role model and why?
I admire both of my parents to a pretty great extent. I’ve been working for myself for four years, and while I’m happy with where I am now, I aspire to be where my parents are with their businesses someday. My mom is about to retire as senior partner in a successful law firm, which is amazing when you consider that she raised four smart-ass children while working her way up the ladder.
Never underestimate the power of shoulder pads in the ’80s, I guess.
My dad built a successful business creating custom chandeliers for celebrities and businesses throughout the world. He makes amazing chandeliers that land in the biggest mansions and fanciest hotels throughout the world out of a small warehouse in my farming hometown of Ottawa, Ohio. I can’t even keep up with how many employees he has now, and I believe he’s on the third expansion of his building. He started this business less than a decade ago and has clients worldwide. It’s awesome.
At this point in my business I’d like to get to a point where not only do my clients and close friends know that I work hard, but that friends and family realize that I actually work very hard daily and am not just listening to Frankie Valli while I play on the Internet. I’d like to think that someday soon people will understand and respect that I work very hard, often more than 14 hours a day, and I just happen to really enjoy it. People seem to assume that working from home is license to watch TV all day, and I hope that I’m working toward people shifting that assumption, at least when it comes to me.
What inspires you?
I always have a big financial goal that I’m working toward, and that’s the best way for me to keep on trucking when I just want to sleep. I just finished a big renovation of our basement, and next up on the list is to send me and my husband to Europe, ideally without him needing to spend a dime of his money. (I know, it’s “our money,” but it’s really not when you operate your own business.) You’d think that I’d be working toward saving money…yeah that would be smart, but no. Instead for now, sans-kids, I’d like to spend my money on selfish, amazing trips and home improvements before life shifts to complete selflessness. It’s a lot easier to keep going after new work when I think about the two plane tickets to Copenhagen sitting in my inbox that need 11 nights of lodging and food to go with them.
I’m also inspired by a lot of amazing female entrepreneurs I’m fortunate to know. My friend Aireen Arellano not only started her successful freelance business several years ago, but she’s also started an awesome T-shirt/lifestyle brand company, Snort Monster. She’s amazing. She works longer days than I do, but she always has a smile on her face and a kind word to share.
My friend Rachel Eaton recently started Honeykiss Bakery, and she works NUTS hours–but keeps on going. Her pie is fantastic, and she left behind good money in government and the non-profit sector to cook hundreds of pies each week from her small kitchen near Grandview.
I’m also inspired daily by my grandpa, who died in late 2012. He built a business that now has several dozen locations throughout the world. Despite his career and financial success, he remained humble and simple throughout his life. He insisted upon wearing the same uniform as the rest of his employees and would work side-by-side with them in the factory; his co-workers would never realize they were throwing around profanities with the man who started the corporation. I keep Grandpa’s work baseball cap and ballpoint pen prominently displayed in my office so that as my eyes wander searching for bursts of inspiration or reasons for procrastination I’m reminded to always work harder and treat others with the same level of respect that Grandpa would have.
He reminds me daily to remain humble and enjoy the beauty in simplicity.
Of course, I also am inspired by you, Carolyn, and your passion to start this fun project in addition to your already full dance card (in some of your endeavors, quite literally.) Thank you for choosing to feature me!
If you could impart ANY advice on your 20-year-old self, what would it be?
Just keep on trucking, lady. You’re about to embark on an eight-year journey of complete shit jobs with awful bosses. Trust me, though, the 90-hour work weeks at an advertising agency during the day and bartending at night will teach you marketing skills and give you an insight to the restaurant/bar industry that will allow you to work on your patio listening to Frankie Valli and eating cheese while updating Facebook in just one decade.
Stick it out. The crap jobs, terrible bosses, and awful hours will be completely worth it.
What are you afraid of?
Failure. I’m incredibly competitive with myself, and I set very high goals for myself in nearly everything I do. I hate the feeling of falling short in any aspect (Why is that pitcher still in the sink? Why are you just now filling out Carolyn’s lovely questionnaire? Why haven’t you washed your hair yet today, it’s 10 a.m.?) but I’m working on shifting that attitude. It’s not failure if I get to 97% of my goals for the day, it’s still a solid A.
What is the best or most rewarding thing you’ve ever done?
Honestly, I really killed it in high school. I never got anything lower than an A, I was in every civic and volunteer organization, I worked several jobs and played several sports well.
Like Britney Spears, I hardcore peaked at 18.
I should probably realize that I’m still doing pretty decent for myself these days, but until strangers start giving me random scholarships for life, handing me report cards with A plusses, and giving me varsity letters to wear on a jacket, that likely won’t happen. (Is there a service that grades you in life? I could actually probably use that.)
What was the last thing you ate?
Literally a block of Sharp Cheddar. My husband and I shared it over an episode of @midnight and a liter of ice water, and it was glorious. We’re disgusting people.
What was the best book you’ve read recently?
Who Moved my Cheese. It’s silly and simple, but I still like the message. I read it a long time ago, and I re-read it recently to try to remind myself to stop dwelling on the past and mistakes that really don’t matter. See aforementioned fear of failure–I’m working to remind myself that perfection isn’t always possible in every endeavor, but that I’m still doing well. Plus, I’ve already made my love of cheese very clear.
Who is your celebrity crush?
I’m not a big celebrity crush person, but since we’re in the heat of World Cup action, I’ll profess my love for Bastian Schweinsteiger. He’s by far got the most fun German name to say, and he’s easy on the eyes–even if he’s on the bench. Yell “Schweinsteiger” loudly. It’s phlegmy and wonderful as all German names should be. (I come from German stock and studied the language for 7 years.)
**Author’s note–my biggest ever celebrity crush was by far JTT. SOOOO many Tiger Beat posters of that dude in my junior high bedroom.**
What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
My favorite pastime is having friends over on my patio, sharing good craft beer and fun cocktails featuring herbs from my garden and sharing–of course–several blocks of fancy cheeses. Good beers, great cocktails and fantastic cheeses are always better with friends.
During the winter my guilty pleasure shifts to my bathtub with the best worst show ever–Sex and the City. As a former huge tomboy, this is a pretty embarrassing one, but for me, wine, cheese, Sex and the City in the tub are a solid guilty pleasure.
See?! Isn’t Laura the shit?!
Know an “It Girl,” or would you like to be featured yourself (it’s okay, I won’t judge!)? Drop me a note.