I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Val Haller Interview: Bringing Music to the People!

Diana Landau | February 16, 2021

 

This week's episode is an interview with Val Haller, Music Fan-Genius. After raising a family, Val launched her music business at age 50 in Chicago. Now 63, Val has authored a weekly music post for NYT called "Music Match" where she pairs classic artists with new artists. She is also a music festival producer (Winnetka Music Festival, year 4, 15,000 attendance), has her own podcast “Band in the Basement”, plus she’s created programs at Wrigley Field and the Botanical Gardens, and has been featured in Oprah magazine. 
 
If you are reading this, you must check out her site, Valslist.com. Val realized all the way back in 2003 when the music world began to go digital, that people of the Boomer generation were still focused on careers and raising their families and had little time to learn about the exploding music universe. Val recognized there was a need and capitalized on it. She wants to help older people to be exposed to and appreciate new music. 
 
On her website, you will find curated playlists that combine the groups we know and recognize from our generation, but paired with brand new bands, plus a little bio about them. I don’t know about you, but this blogger wanted to learn more about new music and did not know where to start. With Val’s playlists, you are way ahead of the game. You expand your music horizon, keep up with the times and (possibly) impress your kids with your incredibly cool playlists.
 
Val was entrepreneurial at a young age. Growing up, her family’s conversation around the dinner table was not typical. Her father was an entrepreneurial engineer so the questions were not, “How was your day?” but instead, “What would you invent? What would you change to make the world a better place?” 
 
In college, she started a side business offering hair cuts to students. It grew it into a successful little side business, earning thousands. Ironically, Val gave a bad haircut to one particular student—who is now her husband and business partner.
 
Now, running a successful business takes up most of her time. On becoming an entrepreneur and working with your spouse, she offers these tips:
 
1) Define which rooms of the house you can talk business in. 
2) Let each person be heard.
3) Stay in your own lane. It’s hard to do when you are both “Type A” people working hard together on something--but it works.
 
Bonus tip: Val goes full throttle in the high-energy music business, and is a fan of power napping. (This blogger is too.) Commit to 20-30 minutes each afternoon and you will feel refreshed and ready to keep going.
 
"I tell music agents, bands, producers that we're not your sexy audience, but we're your lucrative audience. We are important!" Val’s mission has been to make the world a better place, one creative playlist at a time. We think she’s killing it!
 
• For more information about Val Haller: https://www.valslist.com/
 
• To subscribe to the "I Used to be Somebody" newsletter: https://pickleballmediahq.com
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.

 

Tags:    blog   interview   val haller   music   entrepreneur   baby boomers   naps  

I'm Not a Big Deal Anymore

Carl Landau | August 04, 2020

The Carl Diary“How are you going to deal with not being a big deal anymore?”

 

It’s been about 8 months since my wife Diana asked me that question over a happy hour glass of wine. I had sold my company a few months before and was working a part-time one-year stint with the new company to show them the ropes.

 

"What do you mean?"
 

"Once you leave your job, the emails and phone calls stop coming and no one really cares about your opinion any more".  And then she joked, (I think), "And I don't need you following me around the house, showing me the right way to make toast.”

 

It didn't take long for this information to worm its way into my brain. I knew she was right. This was the third company I’d started and sold. Way back "in the day" as they say (early 80's), I’d  launched a computer magazine for software developers; the 1st magazine about Artificial Intelligence; plus a national conference and tradeshow. Then in the 1990s I started a craft beer / wine publication and event during that first wave of microbreweries. 

 

After I sold those companies it all ended. Once you’re gone no one cares! Sure, you remain friends with a few of the people that you were close with but the company -- your “life’s work” -- moves on without you. It’s weird.

 

And now, after 20 years of being the Grand Poobah of my company Niche Media, creating hundreds of events for niche magazine publishers, it was all going to be ending—again.

 

So when you're an entrepreneur or corporate exec, a lot of your self worth is wound up in that job. I've always felt like I've been a pretty good dad, brother and husband. But, it's the work creation that I know I was good at. To me it came more naturally than the family stuff. 

 

Within a few days I realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to start a podcast for people like me.  Like anyone my age (63) I want to spend more time with my family and go on really great vacations, (which of course is sort of a bad joke for everyone now, but they will be back!) But I still want to do work in new ways!

 

I really get a lot of energy from the work and creating. I just don't want the day-to-day grind. I want to have more fun and control the pace. So I've made a deal with myself; Try all sorts of new things. So I’m sort of the guinea pig for this Second Act journey into (un)retirement. Join me for the ride...

 

Cheers, 

Carl

 

P.S. Why the Tiki diary? I have a fun Tiki bar instead of a garage —where I’ll be producing the podcast from! The "I Used to be Somebody" podcast debuts September 15th.

Tags:    the carl diary   podcast   entrepreneur   unretirement   second act