Joe McDonald of Open Road Consulting

Joe is the CEO, Founder and Creative Director of Open Road Consulting based out in Boulder Colorado. Open Road writes lively, on-point content across industries, with clients ranging in size from small operations to the Fortune 500. No matter the size, scope, or industry, Open Road works with you to develop a cohesive narrative that impresses your audience and drives them to action.

What made Joe go off on his own? (0:40)

  • After graduating with an English degree in comparative literature, Joe knew that he did not want to become a teacher or anything along those lines.

  • At this point, Joe experienced his first transition which was actually technology.

  • His first company was wayfarer.com, and when Joe joined them, they were busy expanding internationally to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Germany.

  • Joe enjoyed the experience of watching the business grow into what it is now and being a part of the first 100 employees that started the business.

  • After working for Wayfarer he moved back to Colorado where he worked for a company called Camp Minder. They specialized in web-based business systems for summer camps.

  • At Camp Minder, Joe was director of a team of software engineers that developed products through from ideation all the way through deployment, this also included marketing.

  • Once done with Camp Minder, Joe finally caught the bug and decided it was time to go out on his own and do something.

Having done so much, how did Joe decide to narrow down? (2:41)

  • Joe says that this was not a really tough decision to make since storytelling has always been a huge force in his life.

  • He is an avid reader and was even part of an improv group in Boston, so coming up with engaging stories quickly is something that he has always had the ability to do.

  • Joe has been able to merge the storytelling and technology worlds and bring his skills and experiences into Open Road.

  • By doing this he is always able to engage the client, and ensure that work is done on time, on budget, and within scope.

How did Joe deal with the transition from running Open Road part time to full time? (4:39)

  • Joe says that is was not a case of just quitting his job and starting the business. He kept his job and ensured that the business continued to perform well.

  • He had to balance raising his two-year-old daughter, and spending nights, early mornings and weekends taking care of his own business, all while still working full time.

  • Joe explains that the transition was good because he had set everything up, had clients lined up, and knew that the business was running well.

  • He says he would not advise anyone to just quit their job and go into business on their own without having done the vital groundwork.

What kind of work is Joe doing now? (5:51)

  • Joe says that right now he is focusing on engineering firms. Whether it is renewables, infrastructure, oil, and gas, he has found that he can relate well.

  • He has had many engineering friends and his parents are also engineers, and one thing that Joe appreciates is that engineers are really good at what they do.

  • Joe explains that engineers are very detail orientated, very plan based and practical, but they also know when something is outside of their wheelhouse.

  • He says that when it comes to re-branding or the creative side of things they know it is not their skill set, and they don’t want to touch it.

  • Joe indicates that even though engineers accept that something is not their skill set, they know how important it is, and they know that they need to find someone to do it for them.

Using contractors to get the work done (9:00)

  • Joe explains that it is not his goal to have a massive agency, for him, it is about flexibility, and the ability to work with people that he likes.

  • He has been fortunate enough to find a team of other independent contractors who do quality work.

  • Joe has been able to pull these contractors in for several projects and they have in turn returned the favor.

  • He says it has been fun finding a strong network of like-minded individuals who enjoy getting the work done and taking on any challenge.

Building relationships and trust (12:57)

  • Joe says that no matter where he has worked, be it in his past or what he is doing now with Open Road, it has always been relationship driven.

  • He explains that building trust is being able to show any customer when they visit your site that you’re legitimate, you’ve done work in the past, and here are the people they can speak to who can mention the work you have done in a positive light.

  • Joe says he is putting his face and his name out there and even though he does so much work locally, he still has clients that come from all over the world.

Joe’s Recommendation

The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit. 

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Craig Thomas