Big giant mistakes like that’s part of the deal is you make stupid mistakes, you can really jack up your life, you can jack up your career. But if you are humble and are willing to serve, serve God, serve people, then you will rise to the top.
Boss Uncaged is a bi weekly podcast that releases the origin stories of business owners as they become Uncaged Trailblazers, Unconventional Thinkers, Untethered Trendsetters and Unstoppable Tycoons. We always hear about overnight success stories, never knowing that it took 20 years to become a reality. Our host S. A. Grant conducts narrative accounts through the voices and stories behind uncaged bosses in each episode, guest from a wide range of backgrounds sharing diverse business insights.Learn how to release your primal success through words of wisdom from inspirational entrepreneurs and industry experts as they depict who they are, how they juggle their work life with family life, their successful habits, business expertise, tools and tips of their trade release. The Uncaged Boss Beast in you welcome our host S. A. Grant.
Welcome to Boss Uncaged podcast. On today’s show, we have Heather Dellapi aka the free spirited boss .Heather is an event producer and owner at RedHot Creative. Today, we discuss her journey to success, overcoming life hurdles and her optimistic views. No more spoilers. Let’s jump right into the show. The free spirited boss, Heather Telopea. Hey, Heather, how are you doing?
Fantastic.How are you?
I’m doing great. Thanks for taking the time to come on the podcast today.
Today the first question is just so people understand who you are. Give us three words to describe yourself.
Easygoing, productive, joyful,
OK.How do you utilize those three things on your day to day?
Easygoing. I try to go with the flow and not let things shake me up productive on Sunday nights. I make my schedule for the week and but I have to do and do a brain dump of all the things that are important for that week that need to be accomplished. And then I organize my time based on that week. And by and large, I get a lot done in a week because I’ve allocated the time and joyful because I’ve done the nine to five where like, you’re working your butt off all of the time and I’ve also now I’m in the other side of that where I work for myself and I do what I want. And most all of the time I am enjoying what I want to do and I’m not doing a whole lot of what I don’t want to do. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I don’t feel like going down to the basement to do a hard cardio workout, but I do it anyway, and I guess that goes back to the productive things. So, yeah, those are the three things.
So I guess you gave a really good description of why I’m naming this podcast The Free Spirited Boss. Right? I just defined it in less than 60 seconds.
All right. We’re done here. Thank you.Good night, everybody.
Thank you. Thanks. Appreciate it.
Thanks for playing.
So let’s get into it. I mean, who are you?
My name is Heather Dellapi. I am a film producer and I own my own company called Red Hot Creative. I’m based here in Atlanta, Georgia. The bulk of my work as an event producer is with corporate theater. So like if a corporation is going to have their sales meeting, I’m responsible for making sure that all of the lights and the sound and the videos all come in. They all go up, they all play at the right time. I make sure that the corporations key message is clearly defined and elucidated to their target audience in a way that resonates with them. That’s my producer hat. I’m also a mom. I have a 13 year old son, and that’s how I know you, because our 13 year old sons know each other. So that’s cool.
I’m also a blogger. I have a blog called Seeking and Sharing where I write on natures of spirituality because I believe that as a spiritual being or always seeking to expand our relationship with something greater than ourselves, and I believe it’s important to share those things. And then I also have a podcast that I’m working on with my partner, Rodney. And lastly, I am a yoga teacher in training, so I do a lot of different things. Oh, I forgot the most important one. I am argued tilapia wife, and that is a great joy to me too.
So I guess the whole statement and articles about redheads are superheroes. I guess you’re living up to that right at this moment.
It’s true. It’s true. And you know what happens when you make your redhead mad, right?
Like a firecracker or
That’s hilarious. So how did you get into your production business? I mean, how did that even come to fruition?
Well, I started when I was eight years old and auditioned for a show and I was on stage from the time that I was eight until I was twenty seven when I met Captain Wonderful and sold everything I owned and went off to the Caribbean. And when I came back from that sojourn, I was having coffee with a theatre friend of mine and I was like, I just don’t know what to do. And he said, Why don’t you do what I do? And I had no idea what his day job was because I only knew him as a theatre director. And it turned out that he was providing a pipe and drape for corporate theater. So I was like, okay, why not? And I moved to Atlanta and nineteen ninety eight and I started working in corporate theater as somebody providing the pipe and drape in the ballroom. And then I went on to sell audiovisual. Then I went on to work for creative agency where I sold production, and then I learned that I didn’t like selling it because once you sold it you had to go on to find another piece of business. I would much rather have produced it. And that’s when I started producing shows around 2007.
So I guess define for the audience just a little bit more. I mean what is corporate theater?
It’s when you have a really big meeting, say IBM is going to have all of their salespeople in and they’re going to talk about the new features and value of their new widget. They’re going to need to train all these guys at the same time. So all fourteen hundred salespeople are going to come into some ballroom somewhere in some hotel in America or Europe or wherever. And in that ballroom, you’re going to need big screens. You’re going to need a bang and sound system. You’re going to need lights. And then when the executive walks out onto the stage to tell the salespeople, the State of the Union or the state of the company, you’re going to need to make sure his microphone is on, the lights come up, his PowerPoint shows on the screens. If he has a video that it rolls, that’s what I do. I manage all of that. So I manage the budget. I manage the creative development. I manage the production of content like videos or PowerPoint or speech writing. Like, I don’t actually do all of that stuff. I manage all of that stuff. So actually, I don’t know how to do anything. I just know a lot of people. So that makes sense.
That’s what business is about, right. Is about who you know, always. Right.
Yeah. And finding the right people to do the job that needs to be done.
So it sounds like coming from a kid, you spent a lot of time in front the camera. What made you decide to kind of step in behind the camera?
That’s a good question. I think it’s because as an event producer, it’s a very niche business and it’s consistent. You know, you can get a job in a production company and go to work every day as an actor. It’s job to job. So you might have a contract. My first contract was for nine months and that was great. I had a job for nine months and then at the end of that contract, I had to look for another contract. And then that contract was for another nine months. And that was great, having like a job that is secure and you go to every day and you can count on it. That was pretty cool. Also, when I was in acting school, the teacher said, if there’s anything else that you can think of to do, you should do that. I mean, anything. And honestly, I had no idea that there was anything else that I could think of to do. So I stayed in acting school. Now, I know that there’s a whole other world out there for all you theater dweebs, there’s more than just the artistic theater. You can do corporate theater, get paid better. And if you want to drop me a line on that, I’m always happy to talk about the industry because like I said, it’s niche and not a whole lot of people like there’s no training for it. You get trained by getting a mentor that teaches you how to do it. And that’s how I learned was from people teaching me as I came along being on the job and screwing up and doing it right the second time.
So that’s a real solid segue. I mean, we always hear about the twenty years it takes somebody to become successful and it’s usually perceived as an overnight success story. Was one thing that you could have done differently to get you to where you are a lot faster.
Drop the know it all attitude, yeah, like I don’t know about a lot of people, but this people has a tendency to think that she’s right about everything. And when you think you’re right about everything, that makes it really hard to learn. So it took some hard knocks to finally get the humility necessary to continue to grow, which is why I started the blog, too, because there was a time of my spiritual life that I felt stilted, stymied, like I was felt like I was talking to a wall and I was trying to talk to God and it was because I had stopped seeking God. I’d stopped looking to expand my understanding of what he does and how he works or how she works, whatever pronoun you like to use there. And at the same time, I was also having a crisis in my career where I’ve been promised a promotion on a Thursday. And on that Monday it was taken from me and the guy who took it from me said, well, you know, just don’t lose the lesson. And I’m like, forget you and your lesson. I was promised this title change in this race, like and I was going to come off the road. And that professional struggle, coupled with the spiritual quiet, got me to a place of more humility and then I immediately got another job where I had a boss that was like, well, is the big boss. The client’s boss was no was not an answer. So the answer was always yes. And then you figure out how to do it after that. So I learned a lot about. Yes, yes, of course. I can do the four hours of work in an hour and a half. No problem. Oh, my gosh, how am I going to do four hours of work . And so I guess the short answer is humility. Developing a sense of humility is something you want as opposed to something that is forced upon you.
You know, I think that that’s definitely major. I mean, just how self-aware you are. And to be able to just project that, I mean, most people would have kind of by bit their tongue and not of just put that out there, but you freely do it without hesitation. And I think that’s part of the progress of growth. Right. Right. Definitely interesting. With your entrepreneurial background, did that come from like your parents? Did you grow up in entrepreneurial household?
My mom is an entrepreneur and my dad is not. My dad is career Air Force. He got a job in the Air Force. He did it for twenty five years. Then he got a job at the DOD company, the contractor for the DOD. They he made a bunch of money doing that and then he retired to fifty. Then my mom, on the other hand, she opened a frame shop in 1980,something and has been framed in pictures for the last thirty years and she owns it herself. She also has a couple of Airbnb properties. She got have a couple of rental properties. So she’s been a really I’m going to get kind of get emotional. She’s been really key to my belief that I can do whatever I want to do. She used to say, you’re perfect and wonderful just as you are, and she didn’t mean it. Like you’re literally perfect, but rather who you are is fine. Like, you don’t have to fix or change or anything like it’s in you. Everything you need is in you already is kind of her message. And so now Jan is got a shop in Cocoa Village, Florida. It’s called Jans. You frame it, you can go in there and say, hi, I heard about you on the podcast. And then she also has an Airbnb. It’s called the Kit Fox Art Gallery on Airbnb, and she’s loving that. And she’s got another couple of irons in the fire to open up a couple more properties, and that’s going to free her up to eventually sell the business. And then she owns the buildings. So, you know, she’s set herself up beautifully.
You think that’s a bit of understatement, right?
I think, you know, the answer to this question goes without saying. I mean, do you think that was a factor to your current success?
I do. But I also, like I said earlier, that having the husband that I do is key because before I got married, I was a single mom for ten years and I couldn’t be a single parent and be an entrepreneur. I needed to have the nine to five. I needed the insurance. I needed the stability and security of a paycheck every two weeks. And once I got married and I had a partner, it was easier to take that risk. And I’m not going to lie. You know, the first year it was like, oh, this is great. The second year I did my forecast, I was like, holy crap, I’m down 70 percent. How can I run a business with only 70, 30 percent business from last year is repeating what am I going to do? But the business came and I wound up in my second year, you know, making twenty percent over but I did the first year and then now I’m in my third year and I’m tracking to be another twenty percent above. So it you just do the next thing and it comes. Well yeah.
I definitely agree with you, I mean the whole single parent thing. And I think that’s another commonality that you and I both share for at least a period of time, that it becomes very difficult, whether it’s male or female, to juggle that work life balance and figure out how I’m going to get this kid to school, how am I going to pick them up? How am I going to do a late night meeting or how am I going to commit to something that I’m not sure? How am I ever going to get my kid to basketball practice? It just goes on and on and on. So. The fact that you found a partner that’s not only a life partner, but essentially a business partner to support you is a win win situation.
Absolutely. And he’s in the same business I’m in. So he is like a business mentor on top of being a fantastic husband. He’s been in the business for over 30 years. I’ve been in the business for just under 20. So he’s got 10 more years of experience on me. And he’s also has a higher level of experience like I do shows. He does massive shows and also he’s run. He was an executive in the largest audiovisual firm in the country for a long time for almost the full 30 years of his experience. So he understands how corporations work. He understands how an executive thinks. He understands how business works. And I didn’t have that. I learned that as I went along because that I mentioned I went to acting school. They don’t teach you that in acting school. They teach you how to use a standard American stage dialect and how to study people’s movement and how to create a character. But they don’t teach you how to forecast your business or how to make your nose sound like a yes
yes, an unfortunate downside to any creative field, because my original background was graphic design and I went into it loving to design and loving art, but not realizing how to turn that into a business that was never on the agenda. It was never one of the classes that you could actually take to figure out, OK, now I know what I want to do, but how do I make money with it?
Right. Yeah, it’s great to be an artist, but you need to have some. There are theater management classes and you can even major in theater management. But as an actor, you know, I was so I mean, you might have been the same way that’s so self focused and how I am going to be the next Larry Olivier.
I was like that, but I was in art school. So imagine A type personalities that are also highly creative, that everybody has a vision of being the number one top selling whatever it’s going to be.
How do you juggle your work life with your family life?
Well, the beautiful thing about being self-employed is that I get to decide what I want to do. So I work with the people that I want to work with. I do the projects that I want to do. And also back to this. I don’t want to say too much about my relationship with my God, but I do believe that he gives me just what I can handle in terms of the work that comes my way. Almost all of the work that I do, almost all the selling, rather, that I do is organic. I don’t have a marketing platform. I’m not actively trying to drum up new business. I’m simply doing really good work. And then the clients are coming back and asking me to do more really good work.My brand is to be as helpful as possible. How can I help you? And if helping you is putting you in touch with the speechwriter, then I’m going to put you in touch with the speechwriter. I’m not going to try to write the speech for you and I’m not going to try to broker the speechwriter through me and introduce you to Tommy. You can hire Tommy directly like you don’t got it. Use me to get to him.I think that the basis is that that weekly schedule, that’s the how to that your listener wants is on Sunday nights I put in what’s most important, what are the things that have to be done. Like we’re working on this project with this client. They’re going to have a meeting on Wednesday. What do I need to do to prepare for that meeting on Wednesday? I need to slot out some time on Tuesday to do that. What else is important to me is my yoga practice. So where am I going to fit in the classes that I want to take? And I put those in and then I have another spiritual activity that I do to keep myself sharp. I have to put that in. So I plan out my time and that’s how I balance it all. Also, I try to do it all and the time that my kids at school. So if somebody wants me to come out and do something at seven o’clock at night, I’m probably going to say no because that’s the time for me to hang out with my kid and my husband.
Hmm, so what are your morning habits, morning routines?
Before I even get out of bed, I’m talking to my God and I try to spend at least five minutes in meditation. That’s even before my feet hit the floor. Then I do all the things that I take care of the House. You know, I make the breakfast. I make the coffee. I feed the pets, get everybody out the door, and then I do my physical physical workout. So first I do my prayer, then I do my meditation, then I do my physical workout. And that could look like cardio on my Spen bike. I have one of those Echelon bikes. It could look like walking on the treadmill most of the time. It’s me in a yoga studio. I practice at two studios locally at Courcey Hot Yoga and lift over on Main Street. So usually in the yoga studio or on my spin bike and then I guess this morning happens. Yeah. Then I eat breakfast, take a shower and rest my day.
I mean what time I usually wake up?
About seven. Fifteen, 7:15.
I’m not an early riser. I’m telling you, my life is beautiful. My life is beautiful.
This absolutely is a superhero right here, man.
It’s like the luck of the gods are on your side all the time.
I think to that there’s a verse in the Bible, the. He says he has been trusted with little will be trusted with much, and I think that over time and I’ve been practicing being trusted with little. So as I’m maturing and growing in this walk, I’m being trusted with more. So I have more time freedom. I have more financial freedom now than I had 10 years ago than I had 15 years ago. So that makes sense.
Yeah, definitely. It’s a balance as well as a balance of life, right?
Yeah. But honestly, I think that’s it’s a gift. I don’t necessarily think it’s a self manifested thing. I think it’s God saying, all right, girl, you’ve been doing a good job here. Let me give you a little bit more to handle or a little bit more to stretch
push you to the limit a little bit
or allow me a little more time to not necessarily be pushed as much as to grow, expand. I’m holding my arms out. You can’t see me.
Hey, guys, let’s take a quick break and hear from today’s sponsor.
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How do you usually end your days?
Honestly curled up in my bed watching Netflix with my husband,
which shows you guys watching
right now we’re watching Massiah. We’re watching. Better call Saul. And if he’s not in town, sometimes he’s traveling on business. I’ll be watching Heartland, which is so sappy. And everybody that I talk to says, why do you watch that show? It’s so boring. I love it because it’s so sappy. It makes me cry. Or if I’m done with TV, because sometimes I watch TV with my boy. Before we go to bed, I’ll be reading something and writing. So a lot of the writing happens at night, although it’s supposed to happen in the morning, but a lot of that happens at night. I was writing before you and I got on my way. We were waiting for the time to become available. I was doing some writing.
So what style of writing are you working on?
It’s the blog stuff. A lot of introspection, a lot of what I’m learning currently. I’m writing I was writing about the new Yamas, which is like a guidepost to the ethics of yoga. And there is one that is self discipline, self study and surrender. And I was writing about those three things and how they intertwine.
Nice. I Remember the last conversation we had was I think we were talking about sound therapy.
Yeah, there’s one of those coming up. It’s going to be at Fernbank and.March 31st.
So they’re doing it in Fernbank, like?
Ahmm. The planetarium.
Oh, nice talk about the acoustics.
that’s crazy. What do you see yourself in 20 years?
I see in 20 years, I see blue water. And stand with my grandkids, hopefully.
Yeah, what do you see your company in 20 years?
Oh, I’m done. I’m done with the company in 20 years,
but you just plan on selling it or ?
currently my company is me, so I don’t have visions of this is me being completely honest again. And I guess this is important to like not every business has to grow into something that can be sold to make profit. Like you could invest your money in real estate or in the stock market or in something else. Like I don’t see Red hot creative is going to be picked up. I don’t really see red hot as growing into a production company that has staff because to me that feels like work. And let’s go back to the beginning of the conversation where I’m easygoing and joyful. If it became work, I don’t know that I’d want to do it. And I’ve thought about that. Like, I don’t think that every single person is meant to be the absolute best. I’m damn good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a really good producer, but I don’t feel like I need to be the best producer. I don’t feel like I need to be up there competing with the work with the New York producers. I don’t feel like I need to be trying to outgrow and rice. And I might have even said it wrong for Jack Morton or some of these big production companies. I feel good in the groove that I’m in doing the work that I do, helping the people that I help him.
that I try to say nice things. I try to be helpful,
hilarious. What are some tools that you would not be able to do your business without?
I second that nomination.
Here’s one Grammarly. I don’t know if anybody is using family, but it is fantastic. I use it in the writing work because it notices grammatical errors. But then it also says things like this sentence is written in passive voice. Maybe you should rewrite it or you’ve used this verb three times. Maybe you should pick another verb and it helps the writing being more clear and more effective.So I use grammarly. I also use Dropbox and the production work because large files don’t necessarily transfer easily. So I’ll create a Dropbox for me and my clients and we can share information back and forth. And then lastly, I have a client who uses all of the Google Docs. So like Google Sheets, Google Doc, the Google Drive and at first I was like, I don’t trust that my stuff is going to be OK in the cloud and now I’m like, all right, this is awesome, because while we’re on the call, I can see my colleague, my client colleague making changes in real time. And the document, she’s like Jodis and they’re going to take it, take it, take it. I can see her moving. It’s so cool. And then that that I don’t have to worry about. Version control in that document is alive and breathing and we’re working together and it’s more collaborative and that’s something that I’ve learned from working with the Millennials as an exer a much more like I’ll walk by myself and the Millennials are way more collaborative and I’m learning from them that there is a richer solution and it’s so much easier when we’re collaborating together.
A lot easier. This is the way I run everything on my business. I mean, all the tools that you listed are ones that I use and for the same reasons. I mean, Excel spreadsheets are great, but Google Sheets online, it’s a living, breathing thing that you can give access to many different people across the world and they can get things done and you can see what’s happening. And you don’t have to really worry about the version control because, you know, every single version, every time they click, delete, change, anything, it’s all backed up in the cloud.It’s a beautiful thing.
Yeah, it is
definitely a beautiful thing. So what’s the final words of wisdom that you have for anybody that would want to follow in your footsteps?Coming up from behind?
Be humble, serve from a place of gratitude. And love. If you do that, everything else is cake,
yeah, I think coming from you, I think it’s definitely believable because I know that you’re 100 percent genuine and I know the way you live your life and you eat, you breathe and you sleep everything that you’re exuding on this podcast. I just don’t think that some people may not be able to comprehend it being that simplistic of a thing. Have you ever been to any, I guess, difficult times to where you had to kind of overcome to get to where you are currently?
How do you think I came up with this philosophy? Yeah, 14 years ago, I had a hard bottom where I had to make a choice to change everything about my life. I had to completely surrender because I had completely run my life off of the rails. And so I did that. I completely surrendered. I gave my life up to something greater than me and I started taking steps to clean up the mess that I made, started making restitution for the mistakes that I made, started repairing relationships that I damaged, started practicing spiritual principles and the work that I do. And as a result, I come out later, almost 14 years later, with a life that I could never have imagined living. And it didn’t happen overnight. You know, the first year of this new life, I’m having a baby. I was twenty two thousand dollars in debt. I lost my job. It was absolutely awful. Like, imagine you’re like, OK, I’m done screwing up. I’m going to start living. Right. And then four days later, you lose your job and then three months later you’re having a baby. And then you had another job. But it didn’t have benefits but the benefits kicked in right at the 90 days, which was right about the time that I realized I was pregnant. And then those benefits covered my entire pregnancy. Like I didn’t even have any dollars to put out for the hospital when I had the baby. Like, I paid nothing out of pocket to have that baby from some job that I was overqualified for that only paid me fifteen dollars an hour. I had to clock in and out in my mid thirties, like talk about humility. So all of this stuff that I’m telling you, it’s not like Heather is this great, glorious being on high. It’s that I have really messed up and even ten years later I make a big giant mistakes like that’s part of the deal is you make stupid mistakes. You can really jack up your life, you can jack up your career. But if you are humble and are willing to serve, serve, God serve people, then you will rise to the top, bringing your best self, striving to be your best self, becoming self aware, recognizing that your actions have consequences, that there are some things, some habits, some attitudes that you need to outgrow, that you need to drop that aren’t helpful anymore. They’re stories that we tell ourselves as individuals that no longer serve us. I have a story in my head that I was an idiot for the longest time until I realized idiots don’t necessarily get trusted to do the things that I do. So I must not be an idiot. So that’s a lie. And I had to drop it. But I know that I can’t drop it on my own, that I have to have God’s help.
That was the fire in the belly I was hoping you was going to answer with the first time that you came, the first time I was like, that’s good. But the second time was obviously a lot better.
Can you elaborate on that?
Yes. How could people find you alive? You have Facebook, Instagram, phone number, hair samples. Where can I find you?
Yeah, I do have redhotcreative.com is my production company. I am on heatherdellapi.blog for the blog. And you know, I’m on Facebook at Heatherdellapi, you find me there and all the fun things that I put out there. Sometimes I put things like, you know, pictures of my kid without his braces and my beautiful bird and my silly dog and sometimes I put out things like serve God only, you know, just depends on the day.
Hey, I got two bonus questions for you, and I’m really looking forward to hearing your answers to these two questions. The first one is, what’s your most significant achievement to date,
so far? Yeah,
I can’t argue with that. I mean, kids are always going to be our greatest achievements, right? They keep our legacies going.
The next question is, if you could spend twenty four hours with anybody dead or alive, uninterrupted, who would it be and why?
It would Jesus, that guy is the bomb. That guy, he like. He is the perfect blend of justice and mercy. Have you noticed that he’s like judge not lest job judge and then he’s all like love you. Even though you do things that I should judge you for, I can’t even imagine. And then he’s like, oh, grace. All compassion, all joy. Being with Jesus in real life must have been absolutely amazing. Without a doubt. My first thought. Now, that’s definitely my first thought. My second thought is really controversial. So I won’t say that one
print superbrain parents.
Oh yeah, that would be cool.But Prince was a little weird. His music’s amazing, but I read one of his biographies. He had some stuff going on my head.
Prince is definitely unique .
got it. Got it. Well, I definitely appreciate you coming out to the show today and taking a time out of your busy schedule. I appreciate it.
Oh, I appreciate you asking me in. Let me have room to talk.
I mean, yeah, I mean, you have a great story, so let the people hear it.
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Boss Uncaged. I hope you got some helpful insight and clarity to the diverse approach on your journey to becoming a Trailblazer at this podcast. Helped you please email me about it, submit additional questions. You would love to hear me ask our guests and or drop me your thoughts at ask sagrant.com post comments, share it, subscribe and remember, to become a boss Uncaged, you have to release your inner beast. S. A. Grant signing off.
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