March 11, 2021
 by 
Liz Hershey

Q&A With Lori Freeman, Owner

Q: What got you started in recruiting?

I sort of got into it by accident. I interviewed at an agency for a role they had open and they must have seen a little crazy in me because instead of sending me off to their client, they offered me a job at their firm.

Q: What made you want to start your own business?

As a young girl I had aspirations to be either a ‘business woman’ or a truck driver (just to prove girls can do anything) so in my 20’s I made a proposal to the company (a motivational services firm) I was working for asking them to sell me their MN office. They said yes and I began living the dream of being able to decide what the place I worked would be like, who it would serve and, best of all I got to choose the people I worked with!

Q: What's the best piece of advice you could give to someone looking to start their own business?

In addition to your core skills, know that you will be involved in all of the general areas of a business. You're going to wear a lot of hats. Let's say you want to open a bakery. Even though you want to have your hands in dough all day, you're also going to be thinking about finance, IT, sales, and marketing - to name a few. I could go on! The point is, unless you're fortunate enough to have employees or consultants to help you from the start, you may find yourself calculating payroll or designing a web site. This isn't all bad news. As your company grows, it will be important that you have some knowledge of all the main facets of running a business. Being in the dark around any of them is risky to the health of your company. Another thing that people underestimate is the time it takes to build your clientele. "Build it and the will come" might be a thing in Hollywood - but not real life.

Q: What's your favorite thing about your job?

I would say it’s the people interaction. Whether it’s strategizing with my team or collaborating and guiding our clients in transforming their businesses, the energy I get in working with so many remarkable professionals is incredibly satisfying.

Q: What's the most challenging part of owning your own business?

People! This includes customers, competitors, employees, vendors, and advisors. Basically, any humans you're interacting with. I don't mean challenging in a bad way (okay, let's be realistic, sometimes in a bad way), but they force you to continually refine your process, products, and policies. They all have an impact on your business, which gives you the opportunity to keep getting better. Fortunately I work with an extraordinary internal team. They have an insatiable desire to improve our services and outcomes for our clients, who are some of the most extraordinary business leaders and companies around.

Q: Is there anything you wish you had done differently in the beginning?

Yes, I wish I hadn't started my business with a non-compete in the middle of a recession right after 9/11. How's that for a starting point? But looking back it's what really helped me grow as a business owner. Nothing was easy. I had to work harder, be better, and go the extra mile for my clients. That really has stuck as the nature of Inside Talent. In the end, it's made me more resilient and has given me full confidence that this is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Q: What has kept you inspired through quarantine and the challenges of 2020?

Seeing change and innovation become somewhat normalized. It's been so inspiring to see how much change - for good! - has exploded as a result of need. Our model has always been ahead of its time in an industry that has changed very little since its inception. Over the last year we've seen leaders recognizing this and wanting better; they're not holding on as tightly to traditional ways of recruiting.

Q: Do you have a favorite hobby or new quarantine hobby?

After an entire life of having to answer the ‘what’s your hobby question?’ with ‘uh, reading?’ I FINALLY acquired a ‘real’ hobby in acrylic painting. The act of creating something helps me be more mindful and when I look at my paintings, I feel so much joy. I’m hooked.

Q: If you had to choose another profession, regardless of talent and ability, what would you choose?

I can't imagine not doing this business, but I'd love to drive a race car. I'm competitive, I love to go fast in whatever I do, and I'm pretty good at anticipating the moves of other 'drivers' -both on the road and in life.

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