Born in Wisconsin but raised in Minnesota, Alex Maeckelbergh wanted to carry on the family tradition of education by becoming a teacher. But that changed shortly after going to college when she realized it wasn't for her.
"I love kids, love them to death. But doing it for a career was a very different story. And now having kids of my own, I cannot imagine. God bless teachers who are parents as well."
So the search was on for a new career. That's when she met an owner of a title company who offered her an internship if she changed her major to marketing. Game on!
That eventually turned into a job at a mortgage company, then a real estate firm, and finally taking the leap by opening her own marketing company. A successful company that's only a year old.
Of course, there's plenty of life to sprinkle in between, including credit card debt, a deepening relationship with an old high school friend, and a blossoming family in the face of a pandemic.
How does a 26-year-old live this much life? Alex is a fascinating woman and entrepreneur with plenty of life lessons to share in this episode of Life Behind the Highlight Reel.
Reach out to Alex: email@example.com
Learn more about her marketing business: http://allgoodthingscreative.com/
William Huffman 0:00
Hey everybody, William here and Sarah. And we just need to let you know that we are licensed real estate agents in the state of Minnesota with REMAX results of GoodLife group. And that's our legal disclaimer. Everybody put him here. And today we're with Alex and Alison to talk about marketing, and like the fight and cobs, and like being a bangle, and we even talk about Fox River. I know those are places just deal with it. Thanks.
Alex Maeckelbergh 0:25
The end of 2020. I was like in December when I was doing my vision board planning, I put this quote on my vision board that said, I'm paraphrasing, there are people out there that are less qualified than you doing what you're dreaming of simply because they believe in themselves. Yeah. And I looked at that every morning and I was like, What Is it annoying? What is my problem? Yeah.
Welcome to Life behind the highlight reel. The podcast that takes things beyond the curated life we all see online. Join host Sarah and William Huffman as they dive in with their friends to talk about the good and the hard things that come with a real not perfect life behind the highlight reel.
William Huffman 1:06
Everybody, William here and Sarah and Deena in heavy N Alex. Alex, your guest today. Thank you so much for being here.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:18
Thank you for how did something just kind of happen? I turned one years old.
William Huffman 1:23
I meant more specific as an on the way here.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:26
Oh, I got rear ended. Yeah, I got rear ended trying to block that out of my memory. It was this poor like high school girl that felt so bad. And I was like, Honey, I've It's okay. Been there done that. I just saw it coming and my rearview mirror and I was like trying to brace myself
Sarah Huffman 1:39
and that's almost like you might get sore tomorrow.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:41
I know. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. But today great.
Sarah Huffman 1:44
If you need a massage tomorrow, there is a great place at the ridgedale Mall. This is a shocker.
William Huffman 1:49
We I did not
Unknown Speaker 1:50
think this would be good. I thought you were gonna send her the lady that comes to the house.
William Huffman 1:54
Well, there she was awesome as well.
Sarah Huffman 1:56
It was awesome, too. But you have to book her out far in advance. And sometimes like two weeks ago when I was just like, I need a massage.
William Huffman 2:03
Did you just use your like RBF voice on that I need a massage.
Sarah Huffman 2:07
And so when I went to the rich Dale mall, second floor over by JC Penney was something dragon.
William Huffman 2:15
It doesn't matter what it's called. It's, it's worth it. Yeah, they did a really good job. I was quite
Alex Maeckelbergh 2:21
surprised. And they weren't like chair massages. They were like,
William Huffman 2:24
both have both. Yeah, you keep your underwear on and back. That's good. Yeah, it's good to know. Yeah, it's
Alex Maeckelbergh 2:27
good to know going into it. Yeah, you have to
Sarah Huffman 2:29
pay $10 for oil.
William Huffman 2:33
Yeah, and it's like $10 more for like the hot stones or whatever.
Sarah Huffman 2:36
And so they just keep asking you and you're just like, yes. Like whatever.
William Huffman 2:39
I honestly did not understand completely what you were asking me if I was gonna say yes. Yeah,
Sarah Huffman 2:43
just Yes. Yes. Yeah, we might go this weekend. Wow, this
William Huffman 2:47
is great. This is riveting podcast. Okay. Alex,
Sarah Huffman 2:51
with we will talk about your one year anniversary slash birthday of your business. But that isn't you know, our podcast. I
Alex Maeckelbergh 2:58
know your podcast. Yeah. That's not what we're here for. Let's just take
William Huffman 3:02
it back, if you will. All right. So we want to know about you where you grew up. Where you were born parents siblings. All the laws you broke when you were young child? Yeah. Yeah.
Sarah Huffman 3:13
Your parents meet? Yes. That's always a fun one. Yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 3:16
yeah. I mean, especially if it didn't end. Well. That's Oh, shit. That's always a story. Yeah.
William Huffman 3:21
I mean, you know, good thing. We prep for these because you have a horrible family life. And we're sorry for asking. That's actually happened.
Sarah Huffman 3:28
I mean, we could talk about you. Oh, that's no.
Alex Maeckelbergh 3:32
comparison. So I was actually born in Wisconsin. Really? I am a big go pack. Okay.
Sarah Huffman 3:39
No, you're not I am, unfortunately.
William Huffman 3:41
Sarah Huffman 3:42
I mean, podcastone
William Huffman 3:45
nobody's perfect, but I thought you were
Alex Maeckelbergh 3:47
I know, I was really close. It's really not acceptable in my household to not be a Vikings fan. So it's kind of we're getting there.
William Huffman 3:52
Yeah, I mean, in all honesty, packers are more fun to watch because they actually do that thing called Win a
Alex Maeckelbergh 3:58
win. Yeah. But I mean, they have the same issue where they just don't get past a certain point. Right. And so they're just going a little further. I grew up in Wisconsin. My parents met when I was what city, Appleton Wisconsin. Okay. Super cute area. And then my parents met when I was four and we moved up here to Minnesota. Do
William Huffman 4:18
you ever do tubing in Appleton to be down the river All right, so see is there a
Sarah Huffman 4:23
river that I don't maybe you're thinking of the wrong place? The Apple river
Alex Maeckelbergh 4:26
Well, there's Appleton like Minnesota to
William Huffman 4:30
know don't know.
Alex Maeckelbergh 4:31
That's Apple River. Yeah, I don't know. There's no rivers Fox River there's a
William Huffman 4:35
foxy See, I knew it. I started to question me and my river ology,
Alex Maeckelbergh 4:40
right. So we moved here when I was four, and I went to Blaine High School lived in the north Metro like my whole we still live in the northwest. Okay,
William Huffman 4:49
hold on, hold my thing. The fight and bangles. Fighting bangles. Yeah, nice
Alex Maeckelbergh 4:54
class of 2014. Well, sorry, age, everybody. ugly, ugly 2019 That makes me feel that is the first time I've been like, aged myself. There you go.
Sarah Huffman 5:06
We're glad we're here for it. Oh my gosh, I know when I graduate schools at 1998 99 I
William Huffman 5:12
need a name for me college 2002.
Sarah Huffman 5:15
When were you guys born? 96 2001. There we go.
Unknown Speaker 5:18
ad for high school in 2003. I graduated college in 2007.
Alex Maeckelbergh 5:25
I think the like, moving on the depressing part is when you're at a bar now and you get carded, and they just see the one and they're like, that's all we need. And I'm like, Oh, shit. That's right. Like kids who were born in 2000 or 21. That's depressing.
William Huffman 5:38
Yeah, that's heavy. sad, depressing.
Sarah Huffman 5:41
We're glad you were born. All right. Happy you're born. But that man that's depressing. So we
William Huffman 5:46
go through it. We go from the Fox River. Yeah, yep. I know. Matt Rivers of Fox. Ding ding ding ding ding. So and then you move to Blaine. So you go from Fox to bangles. So you know, it's different. The same family? Yeah, yep. And then, you know, what did you do in school? Did
Alex Maeckelbergh 6:04
you like school? Um, I didn't mind school. I came from a family of teachers. So school was always like, everyone else worked in real pumped up about school, but I did okay, in school.
William Huffman 6:15
I mean, some sarcasm there. Everybody was super pumped about school. I loved
Alex Maeckelbergh 6:20
Elementary School loved Middle School for like the beginning. And then it got terrible girls are mean. I mean, I think that's something that everybody can kind of empathize. They're literally a movie called mean, girls. Yeah, that's a high school, though, which it doesn't get much better in high school. I don't think.
Sarah Huffman 6:35
And is it because girls are mean? Or is it because we don't know how to handle other girls and emotions?
Alex Maeckelbergh 6:42
Probably a little bit of both. There are definitely some Mean Girls in middle school. But I think it's more so you just have all these big feelings that you don't really know what to do with. And then you just take them out and
Sarah Huffman 6:52
other people like I if I were to like, go back to my seventh or eighth or ninth 10th 11th 12th grade self. Like I probably told myself a lot of stories that weren't true about maybe how people were treating me and now is like a 42 year old. I'd be like, I'd probably totally made that up. But it was really agonizing.
Alex Maeckelbergh 7:11
That's how you felt in that moment. Yeah. So it's like, it's still valid. But yeah, I Middle School was rough. And then high school was fine. I mean, the middle school, I went to all of my friends it kind of split into two different high schools and all of my friends went to the other high school.
Sarah Huffman 7:24
Oh, really has a good time. Oh, yeah.
William Huffman 7:26
So are you an only child then? So it's only you
Alex Maeckelbergh 7:28
know, so I am. So I'm 26. And then I have a 17 year old sister, a 15 year old sister and a seven year old sister.
William Huffman 7:35
Tell me more. So it gets a little interesting. Yes. Okay. Okay, so let's keep going. Keep going. We got it's
Sarah Huffman 7:43
awesome. Keep going came
Alex Maeckelbergh 7:44
from a family of educators. So that's what I wanted to do. When I graduated from high school. I went to St. Ben's, and my plan was to be an elementary education teacher. And after I got there, I realized that is not at all what I wanted to do. I love kids love them to death. But doing it for a career was a very different story. Yeah. And now having kids of my own, I cannot imagine God bless teachers who are parents as well. Because Holy smokes, like dealing with children all day, and then coming home and dealing with your kids. I deal with adults all day and then come home with my kids. And it's equally as
William Huffman 8:13
like we're not much better. So
Sarah Huffman 8:15
yeah, I used to be a teacher and it was consistent. Every classroom party, every field trip, the parents would leave and they would be like, God bless you. How do you do it? And it's like, Oh, I love it. And then I got out after six years. You drink your drink all days.
Alex Maeckelbergh 8:35
I mean, you have summers off, which is fine, but yeah, but your
Sarah Huffman 8:38
nine bottles summer. That's true, like make extra money to actually make money and make money. Yeah, those are your like making money days. What grade did you teach first? Second, third. Okay. My favorite. Yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 8:49
I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. Like that was my thing. But I mean, I don't I mean, I wasted a year in college, which is
William Huffman 8:57
okay, so we graduated high school, no bangles, and bagels. We're in Blaine, Minnesota. So you're 18 So do you have two younger siblings at that time then? Right? Yep. Yep. So
Alex Maeckelbergh 9:08
there's too little they are and like at that point, like I had nothing in common with them. Like they were kind of just extra people that I was like, I went eight years being an only child. Why did we need to throw something out into the road? Really? Yeah. And conservative my parents but they
Sarah Huffman 9:21
tell you you were going to be a sibling.
Alex Maeckelbergh 9:23
Um, I don't I think I blocked that. Good story. Good. I was very dramatic when I was that age. So like, it was like the end of the world I think. And I wanted to brother and I got two sisters. I've also so I got two sisters. So I was mad about that. I was mad that I was thinking I know it was they weren't looking rude. I know. So yeah, they were
William Huffman 9:42
I mean, who would want to be in a room with four girls?
Alex Maeckelbergh 9:45
It's a great place to be so yeah, they were pretty young growing up so like looking back at like Prom pictures and my graduation like they were so little so to do a comparison of like Anna graduated last year. I want to do a comparison picture of like just how small they were. And I, I knew obviously how young they were. But looking back, I'm like, that's only a couple years older than like my daughter are you right now. And that's insane to think about that. And then my seven year old sister was born two days before I moved into college my freshman year. So my mother kicked one out of the house and brought one home. There you go.
Sarah Huffman 10:18
Yep. How did you move into college when your mom had a brand new baby,
Alex Maeckelbergh 10:22
she um, so that's kind of part of the whole story. So my mom was like, This baby has to be born on this day because I am moving my daughter into college. Like, that's not we're not I'm not missing that. negotiable. Right? So she was induced and then she was let out of the hospital and then they literally drove up to move me and and thankfully, it was only I mean, it's St. Cloud. So it's not like it was at all Euro husky. Saint Ben's many I got really excited. Yeah, it was like a CSU. Now many, so many, but it was really hard. Honestly, that transition of being so close to home and having a younger sibling, and wanting you know, to be around the baby and have a relationship between stuff siblings, right, super, super young. And it's not like any of my other friends had that, like, oh, their siblings were either already in college or graduated or, you know, in high school at least. So that was always an interest weren't like, hours old. Literally, like 2048 hours old when she came and she people thought it was my kid. Like, I was like pushing the stroller and people were like, Oh, this is your child. Your baby. Yeah, like 14 hours. Like here. I am ready for my freshman year. So
Sarah Huffman 11:21
I always present Yeah, I
Alex Maeckelbergh 11:23
always get that with my siblings, because I'm so much older than them. Everyone always thinks
William Huffman 11:28
I do that with my little brother. He's 22. Yeah, well, your son, first of all, no, no, no, my son. My son wouldn't be this ugly. timewise you could be right. Good. Their parents. Yeah, right. Yes. Could be Yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 11:39
right. So yeah, that was an interesting thing. So what ended up happening was I spent a lot of time at home. And then after my freshman year, the rule was that I had to finish out my freshman year.
William Huffman 11:48
Well, what are you gonna say? Hold on, hold on hold. Let's slow it down a little bit. I want to hear about your freshman year, like, what were you going to school for? Like, you were still thinking about being an educator at this time?
Alex Maeckelbergh 11:56
So early childhood education.
Sarah Huffman 11:58
Did you know that you wanted to go to St. Ben's for a long time?
Alex Maeckelbergh 12:01
I don't know. Looking back. I don't even know why I chose St. Ben's, and it was kind of like the first decision in my life that I realized I was making because of other people. Yes, like a lot of people that I knew were going there or going to St John's or we're going to be in the St. Cloud area. So I really didn't even think of looking at other schools like that was just what I was going to do. Super expensive decision to be making. But at 18. Like, you have no concept of what your dad is going to look like or what you know, if you go to school for something and you choose to change your major, like how much that actually puts you how much off track and how much it costs.
William Huffman 12:32
Debt does not exist. It's just come on. It's, it's not made up.
Sarah Huffman 12:37
I feel like the first time I knew about debt was when I got that, like, it's like, my senior year, maybe at the end of the year. And then you're like, This is your student loan debt. You're like we I have student loans. Where did
William Huffman 12:48
these zeros come from? And why is there not all zeros and there's numbers in front of the zeros, I
Alex Maeckelbergh 12:53
know. And then you just want to keep going to school. So you don't have to start put it on your loans, but they just rack up more debt. Say I went for elementary education did an internship my freshman year at a school up there. And I realized at that point, it was really, really all they did was like test the kids and it was just super analytical. And it wasn't like fun. And I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher because it was so fun. I remember kindergarten being a really good time. And that's just not what I really experienced. And maybe it was that specific school. But I kind of I'm glad I made the decision then. But yeah, my so
William Huffman 13:25
you bailed on the kid they held on
Alex Maeckelbergh 13:26
the children. Yeah. Yep. Got they got out there real quick. Yeah, you're here. And then, honestly, because I came home so much, I didn't have like a super strong like social group. And I would go and visit my friends at their schools and really only spent the weeks like when I was like weekdays when I was in class at St. Ben's, and then was gone the rest of the time. So it was very easy for me to transfer and come. I mean, I was pretty much home all the time anyways, but because of that my sister is not allowed to bring a car to her freshman year of college because they want her to give it a shot. And not come home all the time. The easy option to come home you ruined
Sarah Huffman 14:02
it for where's your sister going? Lacrosse. Okay,
Alex Maeckelbergh 14:05
so not too far. She was gonna go to Loyola. What Loyola in Chicago. Should I tell them? Yeah, homegirls never been out of. I mean, she's never been in Minneapolis by herself. So I don't know how she was going to be all alone without
William Huffman 14:21
go go big. Yeah, go safe.
Alex Maeckelbergh 14:25
But yeah, she had all of these like crazy dreams of where she wanted to go to and it was kind of similar to like, my path like you just pick a school because you think that sounds like a good school or you know, they're good at sports or whatever. And you really have no idea what you want. So but yeah, so transferred back or moved back home after my freshman year and my parents really you're like 1990 Yeah, 90 just turned 90. Okay, cool. So my parents rule is that you have to like it's okay if you don't decide to stay there forever and graduate from there, but you do have to finish out your freshman year, which I'm glad that they made me do that. I mean, I was now I'm glad They made me do that because I actually have like a full year of like school there. And I didn't just like throw in the towel and move home. But at the time, I was pretty irritated that I had to drive back up there. And so when I came home, I was like, Well, I don't know what I'm gonna do now. Like now I'm 19 I'm a whole year wiser What am I gonna do?
William Huffman 15:20
Oh, come on the world is 19 You've got all your shit figured out.
Alex Maeckelbergh 15:23
Right? Yeah, no. And so I was talking to a family friend at the time. My mom was a general manager at a restaurant. She had been that's where all of us worked in high school. It's where all my friends worked. Like everybody just kind of worked at these restaurants in in Blaine. Alright, I'm sorry.
William Huffman 15:38
Okay, we're fighting bangle right now.
Sarah Huffman 15:40
Sorry, we've already we've leveled the
William Huffman 15:41
Fox. Fox River.
Alex Maeckelbergh 15:44
And so one of the guys that came in there all the time, he owned a title company. And at that time, I was like, What is the title company? I don't understand what that is.
William Huffman 15:52
I still don't Yes. telling you. I really don't
Alex Maeckelbergh 15:54
know. I don't know what they do.
Sarah Huffman 15:56
Magic. There's no clouds.
Alex Maeckelbergh 15:58
Yeah, there is they make it happen. But they were looking for a marketing intern. And they're like, the stipulation is that you have to be going to school for marketing or business. I was like, whatever. I'll change my major. I don't really care. Yeah. So then I went to Anoka. Ramsey, and did their program through
William Huffman 16:14
the fighting methods. I'm sorry. That was too much.
Sarah Huffman 16:17
I mean, it's not totally got his day, save 16.5.
Alex Maeckelbergh 16:26
Come on now. So I did they have a program. And I don't know if they still have it, but it's through the Maji. Yeah. And like you could take Bemidji classes at Anoka Hennepin ins tuition rate, which was great. So I did that. And that's where I finished out my school. But at my time at the title company, I was like this marketing thing, like I kind of like it. And at that time, it was very, it was more the analytical side of marketing. It wasn't really like the design and fun stuff it
William Huffman 16:50
What do you mean by analytical side of marketing,
Alex Maeckelbergh 16:52
like it was way more sales driven marketing, and then it likes the four P's? Right? Like it wasn't. And towards the end of my time there, they were trying to direct me in more of a sales type of position, which I never want
William Huffman 17:03
Canada's job, the four P's I'm not telling you what the peas are, because I'm thinking like pizza, pasta, you know, like Aroni and perogies,
Unknown Speaker 17:11
Seram. I know this tune working retail, but it's product, price promotion and placement.
Sarah Huffman 17:18
I do know those I did not know that they were called the four Ps.
William Huffman 17:21
Well, now we know
Alex Maeckelbergh 17:23
now we know, the more now. Yeah. But no, it was a good experience. Because I got like we pulled a lot of reports and we did a lot of like data driven made a lot of data driven decision. So it was good to have that experience. But it was interesting because I'd never thought about marketing. And then looking back on like high school I organized all the events. I designed like our class T shirts. I did all the sales for those like I was doing marketing, but I really didn't realize what it was.
William Huffman 17:47
Did you help run the school that like the the school where you sell stuff?
Alex Maeckelbergh 17:55
Yeah, we call it the DECA den at Blaine. And yeah, I did. So it was all that stuff that I never even like because I was so focused on being a teacher. I didn't even really realize like what that was. I just thought it was fun at that time. But looking back on it. I'm like, That was literally,
William Huffman 18:07
you enjoyed it. Yeah, but let's not do that. No,
Alex Maeckelbergh 18:11
that would be too easy. Right? So I worked at the title company for like, two years. And then I, the whole time I was working as a bartender and I met through my job, I met somebody who worked for mortgage company. And so I started working there for a few years. What
William Huffman 18:29
is your favorite drink to make? Oh, I like men to consume.
Alex Maeckelbergh 18:36
Okay. I mean, I actually liked making the specialty drinks like a lot of people. There was one time it was a super small restaurant in Ham Lake. It's called tea box. It's very good if you guys ever get up there, but super small. So a lot of times they would just have one person working and you could either get slammed or it would be dead. There was one day where it got slammed and this guy ordered like an old fashion and I was like Sir, I'm not gonna get make you an old fashioned right now. You're gonna get beer or wine? I don't I don't have the time for that. So it's you're not you don't need that right now. It's 2pm on a Wednesday. Yeah, that's rude. Come on. I know.
Unknown Speaker 19:11
Yeah, that sounds like wills perfect day, right? That
William Huffman 19:14
was me actually.
Alex Maeckelbergh 19:17
Oh, I know. Yeah, um, so I really actually like making margaritas the most probably because I like to consume. That's my, my drink of choice is margaritas. And if I'm going to do a shot, it's going to be a tequila so
William Huffman 19:29
oh my gosh, you are that type of crazy. Oh, go for
Alex Maeckelbergh 19:33
it. I don't like beer at all. All beer tastes like soap to me. I don't enjoy beer. I've never like in college people. Like just drink it. I'm like, No, I literally cannot. I can't make myself drink the beer.
William Huffman 19:43
What's your favorite tequila then?
Alex Maeckelbergh 19:46
I'm not super picky. I like patrolling. Like if I'm out like I'll get patrolling.
Sarah Huffman 19:51
I remember I liked homemade Corvo Jose Cuervo gold.
Alex Maeckelbergh 19:55
What's the the newer one that I've been drinking? That's in a really cute bottle.
Sarah Huffman 20:00
Well now there's so many.
Alex Maeckelbergh 20:02
And that is it the rock doesn't the rock have a tequila? I think so. I think he does. I think that's the one.
William Huffman 20:07
I think the rock is actually running for president. I mean, yeah, he is. Yeah. That mean, you never know what he's doing for everything.
Alex Maeckelbergh 20:15
Yeah to vote for him. But no, I'm not super picky about my sicula he. Yeah. Have you heard the story about his daughter? So yes, she's like, that's not you see, it stops. Yeah, you're embarrassing. But no, I'm not super picky about my tequila. The only drink I can't drink is anything with gin in it. I cannot do gin. Really? Yeah, that was a bad college because no one's
William Huffman 20:39
there. That's why Yeah,
Sarah Huffman 20:40
well, I cannot drink tequila. He likes gin. You cannot drink gin. You like tequila? Oh, yeah.
William Huffman 20:46
Me and Me and Jose went
Alex Maeckelbergh 20:48
went at it super fast.
William Huffman 20:52
I just don't recommend drinking to red solo cups full of kilo. Yeah, it's about a 20 minute span.
Alex Maeckelbergh 20:58
That's so disgusting.
William Huffman 20:59
I lost a day. Oh, I just
Sarah Huffman 21:01
lost like a year thinking about it. Okay, anyway, so you were you keep going? Me or know.
Alex Maeckelbergh 21:11
Your story. Okay. I could go down to
Sarah Huffman 21:14
a mortgage guy.
Alex Maeckelbergh 21:15
Yeah. So I met a mortgage guy. He was the director of sales at that point. And they were looking for another marketing marketing person for their corporate office. So I interviewed with them and got the job right away. And then I was there as a corporate marketing person for two and a half years. And then I was kinda over the mortgage thing. You were pretty limited on what you could do.
Sarah Huffman 21:33
Like I was super restricted. So regulated. Yeah.
Alex Maeckelbergh 21:37
It was tough because I was starting on all these projects and collaborations with agents, but I never got to see the other side of it. Like I would, you know, make the collateral for it and like, talk about the event with them, but I could never like see the other side. And then my last job before starting my own company was at a real estate company as their director of marketing and tech.
William Huffman 21:58
There, hold on, okay, we got your work history. We gotta back it up. There's some life stuff that happened in between then and now.
Alex Maeckelbergh 22:04
Yeah, I'm trying to think I'm really good at pushing things way down deep. Okay, so that's probably all going to come out
William Huffman 22:10
on that podcast. Well, I mean, you get final editing rights on this. Good here. That's true. So okay, so you're, you're you're going to college because you're doing the title thing. And they say the teacher
Sarah Huffman 22:20
William Huffman 22:21
No, no, I
Alex Maeckelbergh 22:22
was still going to college when I was doing the title, because you had
William Huffman 22:25
to be in school for getting. Yeah. You're also bartending at this restaurant, the place where you didn't serve me old fashioned at two in the afternoon? Because, yes, when are you
Sarah Huffman 22:35
dating at this point? There? I
Alex Maeckelbergh 22:37
was dating at that point, some random guy. Like, I was very much like the girl in high school that was always in a relationship. i Oh, boy, friend. Yeah. Now that's called fear of being alone. That's a problem. No, but I always Yeah, I always had a boyfriend and I shouldn't laugh
William Huffman 22:55
because that really is a problem. It is. Yeah. Like we love keeping the
Sarah Huffman 22:59
Alex Maeckelbergh 23:00
Right. Right. But it's interesting, because now as an adult, I love Yeah. That's why you work with your
William Huffman 23:06
spouse. Yeah, absolutely. 100% Yeah.
Alex Maeckelbergh 23:09
But now as an adult, I love my alone time. So it's interesting how that's changed. But I was dating some guy and didn't really go anywhere. And then I was reconnected with justice. My now partner and we've been together ever since. So we've been together for it'll be seven years in October, we suddenly reconnected. Yeah. So we've known each other since we met up the restaurant that we all worked at, and I was 14. He was 15. And we were really great friends, and I friendzone him real hard. All throughout high school. Yeah, we went to prom together. And I think he had big luck, like and I was like, I'm just trying to go to prom as a sophomore. Like that was He's a year older than me in school. at a different school. I was like, that'll be fun. And I think he had high hopes that like I would be his like girlfriend and I was like, No, that's I'm okay. Thanks. Like Nice. That was like friend. Really fun. Really fun.
William Huffman 24:02
So it's cute. Yes, pat on the shoulder.
Alex Maeckelbergh 24:05
But yeah, so we've known each other for a really long time. So I've known his family for a long time and they're like my second parents and his sister and brother like my siblings to when they're closer to my age. So So Okay, how did you reconnect? We just he broke up with his girlfriend I broke up with my boyfriend at a similar time and yeah it was the best type of rebound I guess but we I kind of always knew that like he was the one but he had a ton of growing up to do and stuff.
William Huffman 24:34
Boys we never grow up. He does grow old. And I
Alex Maeckelbergh 24:37
did too, like I knew that I needed if we would have started dating in high school. I don't really know what our relationship would have looked like because we were so young. So yeah, he went to school up in Moorhead so at that time I was doing dragon fight he was a copper Oh fight for combat Concordia Moorhead hills a copper literal copper airborne Well, model they're like guy was a corncob
William Huffman 24:59
Unknown Speaker 25:01
Sad a little. Like you guys couldn't have thought of anything.
William Huffman 25:04
You ruined the whole podcast telling me that.
Alex Maeckelbergh 25:08
Like fighting cop was one of the ones that yeah, no, not at all. They would say roll cops,
William Huffman 25:13
but are so angry. They pop. Yeah. So that's popcorn.
Alex Maeckelbergh 25:18
So I went, I spent every single weekend up there, and then we just kind of morphed into spending so so it kind
William Huffman 25:24
of so kind of changed. You were up there driving back on weekends. Now you're down here driving up there on weekends. Oh, the tables have
Alex Maeckelbergh 25:31
turned right. I would have been more convenient if I would have stayed at same time. Yeah. And I've only been an hour and a half instead of two and a half. Yeah. And at that time, I did one of the things that an 18 year old does, I was like, Okay, Dad, I'm going to lease a car. Because that's a really great investment for me. And I want to have a new car while I was driving from blean to every weekend, you killed your mind. I crushed it. Like the guy was like, I don't know if I've ever seen it be this over and I'm like, yeah, no, that makes sense. So you bought it, I'm assuming well, so they're like, what we can do is we'll forgive it, we'll just wrap you into a new lease. So I got like, because I wasn't saving the money. Like my dad was like, Well, if you're going to lease a car, make sure that you save the money, like just the additional for the car pay, right? And like if you go over on your mileage, you'll be good. Why did not do that? No, come on. No, I was 19. There's no really smart financial decisions being made at that point for me. But yeah, I went way over. So I had to lease another car. And that was kind of like the start of like, my financial like downfall is I got a bunch of credit cards. I got a I started at least I leased my car. And that was just not great. I didn't really have anything I was renting an apartment, obviously at that time. But yeah, it was just a lot of money going out and not really seeing any money coming in.
William Huffman 26:43
That's that's that's called negative cash flow. Yeah, yeah.
Alex Maeckelbergh 26:47
Really bad. And that's the kind of stuff you know, would it be helpful to be taught and at least in college, but for sure, in high schools do
William Huffman 26:54
not bring your logic to this podcast when it's want to hear the dirt?
Sarah Huffman 26:59
No, but I, there's a time where I have literally thought about like, how can I get into the high schools or get into college and be like, Do you realize how credit card debt can affect you how like, the weight of it, right? And like, it's really, for me, it was more about student loans, because it's way more than just signing off for him. It's like, No, this actually impacts your life. And people don't realize because there is no education around it unless you have parents who are savvy, right. But like my parents were not savvy, they remind you
Alex Maeckelbergh 27:33
neither remind mind were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. My mom was an emotional spender, and was in a ton of debt. And my dad is the cheapest person you'll ever meet. So I didn't really have like a healthy example of what, like financial health, like wellness looked like. So that's kind of where I always felt was I either was super cheap on things, mostly, usually emotional spending. But yeah, and I mean, just swipe the credit card. And I was really good. At first I was like, I'll just buy what I you know, I had store credit cards, which were like the worst like Macy's and burgers and target and all of the ones that were associated with some kind of a deal if you sign up for that credit card. And then it was I think, like December like shopping for Christmas gifts. And that's when I got so far in the hole that I couldn't get myself out of it.
William Huffman 28:18
But at least you had a great time emotional spending great, it is fine. It really is fine
Alex Maeckelbergh 28:21
it is and then you realize you have to deal with the shit
William Huffman 28:25
that for 30 to 90 days later, when they really start to call you and blow you up because you're behind on payments, right?
Alex Maeckelbergh 28:31
And I let it go away heard from a friend? Yeah, not from her. I let it go way further than that. And I was like in really bad like collections. And I think at that point, I was like, Oh, this is serious. Like, I didn't realize that that could happen or how much I would affect, like trying. I mean, we went to go get approved for an apartment and they were like, Girl, your credit sucks. And I'm like, What do you mean? They're like, you've never looked at your credit score. I'm like, I don't even really know like, what what is what that is
William Huffman 28:55
let's I want to re establish a timeline on this because we're back. We're driving up to see justice. We've We've reread we re released our car, the car, and 20 You're 20 All right, and then that Christmas of being 20 or 21 is when you're just like, and I'm a baller and
Sarah Huffman 29:19
don't realize like you just think oh, the minimum payment is Yeah, yada yada realize
Alex Maeckelbergh 29:24
how long it will take you 27 years
Sarah Huffman 29:26
and or until you're like oh, I just spent a lot more now my minimum payment is actually this. Like yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 29:33
and I got way too comfortable with not making payments. like way too comfortable with being fine skipping a payment. It's not easy to do. You just don't do it. Because once
William Huffman 29:41
again, debt is not real, right? I'm dead serious. This is I'm this is I've been there and you're just like it's not real.
Alex Maeckelbergh 29:49
No. And then you just avoid it and then it doesn't exist. And then until you try to do something like rent an apartment or go to buy a house you're like, okay, like that's an actual problem. And at that point, it's hard to get out Did that takes a long time. And obviously, to rebuild my credit, I needed to be able to like have a credit card, but to like that was impossible to so that whole process of like getting out of that was really tough. But that was the winter where I was 20. I got pregnant with ARIA in January of 2021. So you mix in huge amount of credit card debt with a baby. And us being in college still. And that was an interesting assortment of things.
William Huffman 30:27
So lots of ways you were 21. Not 2021 not No,
Alex Maeckelbergh 30:31
I was 20. We're 20. So December of 20. December, when would I have been 20 2016? Yeah. Okay, so 2016 ton of credit card debt in December, January of 2017. I found out I was pregnant, and kids are cheap, super cheap. Yeah. Well, your first kid is cheap, because everybody gives you like you have this huge baby shower and people are very gracious. And then the second kid you're like, okay, okay, this is real life. This is on me. So we had Aria, that was a really tough time when I was pregnant, because at that time, Justice had gotten into a little trouble up at school and Morehead okay. And he accepted a job and then got into some trouble that night. And that kept him from getting the job that he had accepted. And thankfully, we have a great family friend who's a lawyer and helped us with that situation. And he would have essentially gotten charged with like, he punched out a paper towel dispenser at a bar.
William Huffman 31:23
Yeah, well, I mean, first of all, he's a fighting cop. Yeah, he's
Sarah Huffman 31:27
drinking. tequila shot probably
Alex Maeckelbergh 31:29
many tequila shots.
William Huffman 31:30
As we said, before we grow older, we don't grow up, or boys, we are not smart humans, right.
Alex Maeckelbergh 31:35
So it was like the last day of school for them. Like they were graduating the next day, he punched out this paper towel dispenser, which was so stupid. But I don't think we realized like, if he would have gotten charged with property damage, we wouldn't have been able to rent an apartment like we wouldn't have been able to do these. I guess I didn't think of that. Yeah, yeah. So we had a great family friend who helped us with that case. And it was one of the situations where they were kind of trying to make an example out of him. They were asking for $7 in restitution. $7 and he that night was like, just charge my card. 150 bucks. Like, I don't care. Like I just don't call the cops. Like, we don't need to make a big deal. I'm really sorry, I'll replace it. But it was one of those things where they're like, nope, like, you can't, we can't just keep having college kids come in here and do whatever you want to do, which I get. But it could have been something that like majorly like change the trajectory of like, our life, everything. Yeah. And it's like for something so silly.
William Huffman 32:26
It did change directory in a good way. Yeah. Because that would force somebody to be like, seriously, this paper towel dispenser almost really screwed up yet? A lot of things. Yeah, we
Alex Maeckelbergh 32:41
almost couldn't have our own apartment to bring our first baby home to wow, like we would have had which is fine. If we had to live with our parents like you could have made it we could have made it work. But that's not how I wanted to start out Arias life, you know. So a lot of debt, that whole issue going on and him getting, you know, jobs that were just kind of like here and there didn't work out a bunch of empty sales jobs that had like big promises when they first hired them. And there's a lot of them out there. Yeah. And then nothing happened. So yeah, that was kind of 2017. She was born in September. And after that, we kind of started to get out of debt and get some real jobs going. And at that point, I was still at the mortgage company. And then when she turned one is when I was at the real estate company. And that's probably where I grew the most into like, my, like, marketing self. The other jobs were kind of like I was an assistant, I was just kind of assisting somebody else and just kind of doing whatever I needed to do. And the real estate company was way more like, Okay, I'm in charge of this. Like, how can I help this grow?
William Huffman 33:40
You did you did a marketing for a kW Market Center. Correct? Yeah, yeah. Yes.
Alex Maeckelbergh 33:45
It was the one in Blaine and Kuhn rapids. They had about 300 agents. So that's gene gold schmutz. Yep. So he is no longer the team lead. Crystal Scheppach is the team lead. But yeah, Jean is still there is a bomb. He does coaching now.
Sarah Huffman 33:56
Yes. So how did you manage? Like, I just think literally, I just How did you manage like child care? Getting out of how do you get out of debt with a new baby? Because Child Care diapers, all of them? I just hear I just say,
William Huffman 34:10
eat a lot like food is a thing,
Sarah Huffman 34:13
right? And it just it's like, how did you manage that?
Alex Maeckelbergh 34:16
Yeah. So we had so when I say we got out of debt, we got out of collections. I thought it was in debt to my family that helped us get out of collection up big appearance, right? It's a thing and it was my grandparents. And they're the sweetest people in the world in the entire world. But another thing that helped is we had a friend who worked for I think it was Abbott and they had a partnership with Similac. And he just gave like we literally got free formula for a full year. Wow. I wasn't able to breastfeed, so that was huge to be able to have that for free. Because that was I mean, that's expensive. Yes. We had a Huggies and chug ease party before she was born. You guys brought a thing of diapers so we didn't buy diapers for her until she was after her first birthday. Oh my god. So we had a lot of great people in our lives to kind of help us through that point. But yeah, it was crazy. And then we had family watch her, we didn't have to pay for childcare. But if we had to do all those things I don't know. And what was crazy is like, I didn't qualify for WIC, really. And I was because I had to include Justice's income. Even though we weren't married, we still live in the same household. And I was making $40,000 a year. And they were like, That's significantly over our threshold. And I'm like, significantly. I was like, this is I mean, it's like,
Sarah Huffman 35:25
there are no luxury items. No, you have to like pick and choose your basic item. Right.
Alex Maeckelbergh 35:29
And so that was crazy. But we made it work. And Justice was working a couple of other jobs to to kind of make ends meet. So I would say probably by 2019, is when we were like, in a much better yeah, place better flow.
Sarah Huffman 35:45
So how did that work socially? Like how many of your kids had kids at this age,
Alex Maeckelbergh 35:50
none of our friends had kids. So that was really, it was harder for justice than it was for me. For me, I've always I have younger siblings, so I'm very much used to I'm very maternal person. So that was an easy transition for me. But for him, he's the baby of the family, they'd really don't have any cousins or really a big family at all. And so for him, and guys, again, don't they don't grow up, get older. It was hard for him to for his friends to understand, like, hey, he can't go out all the time. He can just you know, 10 minutes before you guys go to the bar go with you. For the boys. Yeah, like long No. And like, every once in a while, like he's a much more social person than I am. I could literally be at my home for like, three, like, quarantine was great for me. But he was. So socially, it was a lot harder for him. I found a lot of my connections, like through mom groups on Facebook, with moms that were maybe older than me or had more kids than I did. And that's kind of where I found a lot of my advice. Obviously, my mom and mother in law and grandmas all interject their opinions, you know, as they do out of love. But sometimes it's not helpful.
William Huffman 36:53
Usually unsolicited. Yeah, always.
Alex Maeckelbergh 36:57
But I think I did feel a sense of like, I don't know what the word is because they were watching and helping out so much with Aria, I felt like I kind of had to obligation Yeah, I was obligated to listen to their advice and to take their feedback. And so I'm a much different mom now than I was back then. But yeah, socially, it was it was tough. I mean, I was lucky to be able to find that community. And also at my work, there were a lot of moms who worked with me. Justice didn't have that there weren't a lot of dads that worked where he worked. So him and I think even still, he would probably say that it's hard for him to find like his community of people that are like dads that are our age. Our friends are just starting were 26 and 27. Starting to get married, starting to have kids, like some of them have been divorced. Like we're kind of just starting to get into that portion of life. But yeah, it was tough when we had REM.
Sarah Huffman 37:47
Oh, that's a big one. She is absolutely adorable.
Alex Maeckelbergh 37:51
She is very sweet. And she was a very good baby, too. So we brought her like we still were able to do things. We weren't the people that were like, well, our life isn't a stop because we have a baby. Like we just brought her everywhere. And she was great and public because we just brought her everywhere. The day after she was born. We went to snack shack. That's where my mom works now. We went to snack shack and she came out to eat with us. And that's just kind of what we did. We just brought her everywhere. That changes when you have two kids. You get cocky. So you got really cocky and especially because it was such a good baby. She slept through the night after like two weeks. Of course she did. She was like didn't curse child. Yeah, they trick you thinking you can do it. Guess what? And then your second is like a Holy smokes. And he's still very good. But it was very different. And you said he Yeah, so Asher was born in January of 2020.
Sarah Huffman 38:38
Would like you had a pre COVID baby.
Alex Maeckelbergh 38:40
I did. So what's interesting is they were asking all these questions about like, Have you been to Chicago? Have you been to New York? And I'm like, nope, what's going on there? And they're like, oh, just some like different things we're asking for and I'm like, okay, interest sounds good. didn't think anything of it. And then the I came back from my maternity leave. And then the next week, the world shutdown, so I kind of got an extended maternity leave,
William Huffman 39:02
just like to point out that I started prepping seriously in November and December of 20. Yeah. 2019 Yeah, just because I'm a weirdo. Thank
Sarah Huffman 39:09
you. Oh, so like we're indebted to you.
Alex Maeckelbergh 39:12
So like January was like paper, didn't we? So yeah, he was born pre COVID But we still kind of dealt with all the COVID Yeah, like I didn't deliver when it was cold thank god yeah, I don't know what I want my cash but yeah, his delivery and birth was traumatic all around. So really, yeah, I probably I it would be really hard for me to have not like I could have another baby but mentally I don't I don't know if I could do it. Yeah, I almost died. So there was that. So yeah, it's tough. And even when I drive by the hospital like mercy, like I get like, I like start to hyperventilate. Yeah,
William Huffman 39:46
so I'm gonna ask you if you want to tell us more on that.
Alex Maeckelbergh 39:50
Probably not because I'll just start crying. So that's cool. No, that's cool. But no, it was something that I wasn't really expecting. Like, you have your whole like, I didn't really have a birth plan. I'm not a big way. Yeah. I'm not super woowoo with the babies and things like that. But I kind of went off of what my experience was like with Aria, which was super easy. She basically it was to our situation, my epidural work just fine. And it was great. And I got pushed to a point with Asher that I didn't never prepare myself for. So I didn't feel like well, I did it. Like I didn't if I if it would have been opposite where Arias experience was really bad. And like, I got pushed to the same point I would have been like, okay, cool. I did it. But I felt so defeated and like, horrible after. And I do think it affected like the first couple weeks with him like feeling connected with Yes. And then COVID hit and then everybody's at home and that whole thing and it was posting dynamic.
Sarah Huffman 40:36
People don't talk about postpartum Yeah, but it is I don't know if that's what you experienced as well. But like that is a real thing. Because when you think about it, like and I have to answer your
William Huffman 40:47
question, I honestly don't know what the real meaning of postpartum depression is. I've heard it said a bunch of times.
Alex Maeckelbergh 40:54
It's also like baby blues, or like they call it it's basically it can. I mean, I'm obviously not a doctor. Yeah, but like for my friends who have experienced it, and for myself, like, I kind of just had a dis disassociation with that be the right word like with my baby, like, I was having a hard time like pulling myself out of your hormones are whacked after you have a baby, your body's trying to go back to normal and my body just didn't quite figure it out. So I was kind of stuck in like the really high of highs and the really low lows. And there are people I mean, their postpartum depression can be terrible. And they can have, you know, thoughts of harming themselves and like that can be really Oh, okay, I didn't know that. Or their baby. I mean that it can be really scary. Okay. There's a lot, I don't know the stat on how many moms ended up taking their lives because of postpartum depression. I think I had more postpartum anxiety than I did depression. I was okay. I was in a good mental space, but I was just anxious about every everything throw COVID on top of it with my baby who has no immune system. That was pretty scary, too. So the transition of you know, being a family of four was a little bit rocky, because the world was partially shut down. And everyone was like, Oh, what do we do? And how do you handle babies in this environment? And it was, it was tough. I mean, it was thankfully, I think I was okay. But I know a lot of my friends who had babies in 2020 that had a really hard time kind of pulling themselves out of that. Yeah. But yeah, I remember after your six week checkup, they asked you all the questions of like, you have to do a screener for your postpartum depression. They asked you do you have thoughts of harming yourself or the baby? Every person goes? Yeah, it's a part of your six oh, postpartum checkup, it comes and goes, so I'm sure people know why they're asking and could lie and say that they don't have those feelings and actually do because they're embarrassed and think it's something to be ashamed about. And having a baby should be the greatest moment of your life. And for some people, it's not. And that's how I felt with pregnancy. And Jen, like, everyone's like, it's so beautiful, and it's great. And birth is beautiful. I'm like, No, it's not for everybody. And that's okay. That was a lot of what I was getting from, like family members and people who had babies 30 years ago. They're like, it's so great. Like, it's the most beautiful experience and joy every moment. Yeah. And it's like, it's okay. And then you and then you start to feel bad. Like why am I not enjoying it? Or why am I not having a good experience? And just learning to be okay with that, like, I will tell everybody that it's like, I do not enjoy being pregnant. I love my kids to death, but I do not enjoy being pregnant. I have hyperemesis, which is an extreme morning sickness. So
Sarah Huffman 43:18
I was oh, isn't that what like, Kate?
Alex Maeckelbergh 43:21
Yeah, that's what everybody that's what everybody says. Yeah, no, Princess Kate has? Yeah, so I was hospitalized. I had like a nurse coming to my house every day to give me I like had an IV line in my arm for like three months had for both pregnancies for Asher for the second one. I should probably should have for ARIA, but I didn't know. And I never said anything to my doctor. I was like, I don't know. I just have really bad morning sickness, I guess. Yeah, sure. I couldn't eat or drink anything. I was bad. So that was probably another reason why I had a disassociation with my pregnancy because I was so sick. But now we're great. Now he's my little buddy. And now look at him. I know, he's so sweet. But it was an interesting time. And I think when you're going through it, you forget to look back and like give yourself credit for like getting through really hard. Right? Right. Because you're like, I'm just doing what I have to do, like, you're in survival mode at that point. But yeah, it's crazy to like, it's one of the first times I've really ever talked about like, looking back on what that whole timeline looked like.
Sarah Huffman 44:18
I I'm taking this class right now just about like, it was called Create and there's like seven steps to like different things that we can create in our life and the opportunities and all these things. And you look back at your life and you you think like did I celebrate what I just experienced? Right? Right? Because so often it's like oh no, that's just what I had to do. No, no, like we actually have to take a moment and actually celebrate right that you made it through right
William Huffman 44:42
that you are the you are you are the badass you are today because the badass you were two years ago, three years ago.
Alex Maeckelbergh 44:49
And I think for me, like I always like don't give myself credit or acknowledge certain things because other people had it worse. Like other people want to pray. Yeah, and I don't want to seem like I'm being Dramatic about, like thinking about like my childhood, like so my mom was 18 when she had me, my grandparents raised me. And then we moved here. And I was four. So I got really taken from the only family I really ever knew. So that was tough to kind of adjust to that. My dad's so my dad Dan is technically my stepdad. But I would never ever call him that he's my dad picking up what you're putting down, right. So his family was, I mean openly with welcome arms, like they were welcomed me with open arms. There we go. So they were great. But I think a lot of what happened throughout my childhood. I mean, I think I discredit like I don't acknowledge it or talk about it, because it's not as bad as what other people potentially have gone through. And it's like, that is not doing me any favors by not like talking about the certain things that I experienced. And so I've gotten better about that. Yes. Like, I would always preface it by like, I know, people have it worse, but like, I've stopped, I've eliminated that whole sentence from my vocabulary, because that's not, that's not productive for anybody. So their healing journey,
William Huffman 46:04
somebody on our team the other day said, I have to prove my worth. And we immediately put a stop to that. And I said, No, you have to earn your keep. Right, but you don't have to prove your word, you know, in. The reason I bring that up is because it's sometimes when we use those words, we do it to make ourselves feel okay, for where we are what we're doing. Yeah. When in actuality, all we're doing is really just beating ourselves up, right? Because you don't have to justify like, that sucked. That was shitty, like, that was a horrible time in my life. Cool, right? I want to acknowledge that. Yeah, I'm not saying it was worse than yours or better than yours. It was mine. So deal with it. Like, you don't have to come at me and say, but other people have it worse, right?
Alex Maeckelbergh 46:51
Who gives a shit, which I think social media has done a terrible job at doing that. Because when people do share their stories or do share their truths, there are people that jumped down their throats, say, oh, my gosh, you grew up in this beautiful house. You have parents? Yeah. What do you see what yeah, like, what could you possibly complain about? And I think that social media in that capacity has been
William Huffman 47:09
those people will just eat shit, right? I mean, just gonna put it out. Right.
Alex Maeckelbergh 47:13
It's terrible. And I mean, thinking about like, my, like ARIA, when she's in high school, and what social what social media will look like at that point? That's crazy to think about. Like, I'm hoping that it'll
Sarah Huffman 47:24
I'm glad I didn't live through those years, right. Like, social media really wasn't. I mean, when did Facebook start?
William Huffman 47:32
The 2000? Yeah, one 2001. Yeah.
Sarah Huffman 47:35
Yeah. I mean, so it was like, end of my college years, I was just starting my professional life. I think the Lord,
William Huffman 47:43
I'd be in prison. I'm not exaggerating, it would have put some stupid out to put some stupid stuff online.
Sarah Huffman 47:53
I just think like, like young adults today, even middle schoolers, like with all that pressure. It's like, oh, my gosh, it's it's a lot of pressure. Right. And even as an adult, it can be hard. And like, when you see stuff for Yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 48:07
when I mean, yeah, you can delete posts and things like that. But like, you can screenshot that. I mean, once you put it out there, you have that digital footprint lasts forever. So
Sarah Huffman 48:15
it's like you can always like, what's that story? Where, like, if you have to apologize for something. It's like a broken plate. Yeah.
William Huffman 48:20
Yeah. Take a plate.
Alex Maeckelbergh 48:22
Like eat once it's out of the tube. It's hard to put it back. Yeah, you can't really like go back on that. Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, social media has been great for me, like with connecting with like, a community of people, but in the same sense, like it also, on the flip side, makes you question like sharing your story. Yeah, with people. So So you
Sarah Huffman 48:41
injustice really grew up together? Like not only like grew up as in like an age like 14 1516 years old, but like, you really grew up together just even figuring out adulthood,
Alex Maeckelbergh 48:52
right? And still are figuring
William Huffman 48:54
out what to do. If you figured it out. You got to share that secret. Yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 48:58
we're still it's been nice though. Having I mean, we've really seen each other in a lot of different stages of life, which has been super cool. And I mean, obviously everybody the goal is to marry or be with your best friend but like he truly is and has been my best friend since we were 14. So that's a great base to build the relationship off of, but
Sarah Huffman 49:17
that's awesome. Okay, can we talk about
William Huffman 49:20
Yes, you you had you skipped way ahead? And you're like, I turned one today. Okay, first of all, we know that's not true. But what do you mean tell us tell us let's let's talk about this.
Alex Maeckelbergh 49:33
Right. So another thing that COVID did for me was it made me realize that I was not super happy with what I was doing. It wasn't I kind of knew I had already hit my cap where I was at I wasn't going to grow there was no room for like, sat like I was that's all I was gonna get paid. Yep. And there were really no other like revenue streams that I could take advantage of at that point. So I did for I guess for a year I did join a team, an individual team, just by Actually one person. So is that a team? I don't know. It was me and her. We were the team. Absolutely. And at that point, I realized I could start I had a much more flexible schedule. And what did you What did you do for this person? I was the Director of Client Experience. Okay, aka I
William Huffman 50:13
did. Every everything. Yeah, yeah.
Alex Maeckelbergh 50:17
Because it was just her and I my like skill set kind of grew and grew and grew. And so I just took on a lot of stuff that I mean, I just did a lot of stuff. So I think that job particularly is where I, like most of my skill set came from like knowing a lot of different parts of the business because I did her finances. I did her client care i transaction coordinated for her. I
William Huffman 50:37
did usually agent fluidly. Yeah, very, absolutely. Not
Alex Maeckelbergh 50:41
being an agent, I kind of have no reservations. Yeah. So I was there for about a year. And at that point, I in the back of my head, I always knew I wanted to start my own thing, but I never thought of myself as like an entrepreneurial person. Like, I never thought of myself as like, Oh, I'm such a I'm gonna be such a boss one day, like, I hate confrontation. I am like, I don't know how I would be able to run a business. And so I kind of always like push it aside. And I think the only thing that's worse than somebody else telling you that you can't do something as yourself telling you that you can't do something. And I told myself, I couldn't do it for so long. That I believe that. Yeah. And so I think it was the end of 20. The end of 2020. I was like in December, when I was doing my vision board planning. I put this quote on my vision board that said, and I'm paraphrasing, there are people out there that are less qualified than you doing what you're dreaming of simply because they believe in themselves. Yeah. And I looked at that every morning, and I was like, What Is it annoying? What is my problem? Yeah. Yeah. What in the heck? Yeah. So I looked at that. And then I would say, probably in February or March of 2021, is when I was like, Okay, I'm gonna do this. And we had this trip to Hawaii plan, and it was gonna be magical. And then we got COVID When we were there. So it wasn't as magical as it was supposed to be. I was gonna sit on the beach and you know, plan out my whole business plan. And that's just not how it worked for us. But I mean, I did have a lot of time with myself. Hawaii just can
William Huffman 52:02
throw some curveballs. Yeah, we Yeah, Hawaii. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Sarah Huffman 52:06
It just means you've got to do a trip number two,
Alex Maeckelbergh 52:08
I know. So we have family that lives there. So it's an easy place for us to go and visit, we just have to Geralyn get there a wahoo. Justice, his brother, well, he just retired from the military, but he's in the Navy. And my sister in law is actually a real estate agent in Hawaii.
Sarah Huffman 52:25
Oh, that's amazing. Yep.
William Huffman 52:27
Very new stuff all the
Alex Maeckelbergh 52:28
time. So I decided I was going to do my own thing. And then, up until that job where I worked as a Director of Client Experience, I didn't know what I wanted it to be. I knew I didn't want to just do social media, I knew I didn't just want to do like, I didn't want to put myself in a box. So throughout that job, I realized that I was really going to be a catch all for people and meet my clients where they were at. Yeah. And in some capacity, I probably made it harder on myself that I meet my clients exactly where they're at. But I've also gained clients for life. I haven't lost a client yet. There are probably some I should think about our partnership.
William Huffman 53:02
We've talked Yeah, that's not us. It's not
Alex Maeckelbergh 53:06
we're not gonna have that conversation. Oh, no. Yeah, take that off it. Yeah. Um, but no, it's been. I haven't lost a client, which is great. I have all my original clients, which I'm really proud of. But like, I didn't celebrate that until like my one year anniversary. So like,
William Huffman 53:20
which was like literally a couple of lines first July 1.
Alex Maeckelbergh 53:23
So I started what is your company name? Well, it started out as Alexandria McKenzie marketing company, which is way too long. And nobody knew how to spell my name.
William Huffman 53:32
I can't spell Alexandra our McKenzie. Yeah. DREW. Yeah. And it was
Alex Maeckelbergh 53:36
always Alexandra that people would say, and then McKenzie, they would not spell that correctly. I'm like, Okay, we've got to rebrand. So I rebranded in. One was that March of this year to all good things, creative company, same amount of letters, but just a different assortment of letters.
William Huffman 53:51
I remember it like, Oh, my God. All things Oh, good. Oh, good thing.
Alex Maeckelbergh 53:57
So I rebranded to that in March turned one in July. And I started taking on clients in June of last year, actually, because it was really important to me that I had clients before I just quit my job. So I matched my salary pretty quickly before I even launched and then quadrupled my salary by the end of the year. How awesome is that? I think money feels different when you're working for yourself. Yeah. But now I'm at a point where I have to grow. And that's a really scary thing for me, because that's letting go of control. And I'm a big control freak. So that's scary to think about. But I know that in order to grow more, I need to hire and leverage people out the same way that people I work with, leverage me out. Yeah.
Sarah Huffman 54:36
Absolutely. leverages, once you can learn leverage, there are no limits.
Alex Maeckelbergh 54:40
Yeah, so that'll be a really exciting next step for me. This year, I say it's the year of actually running it like a business like on the financial side of things, hiring, doing those things. The first year was kind of keeping my head above water and proving to myself that I could do it. Yep. A big reason why I named the company after myself at the beginning, is because I had one worked for somebody else for so long that I wanted to, I think I, if I, I knew if I put my name on it that I wouldn't give up. It was it was my name. And that was me behind my brand. But then I quickly realized that it's not about me, it's about my clients. So I changed the name kind of that was a big reason why I changed the name to because I didn't, if I wanted to grow, I didn't want people growing my name. I wanted them to grow, like what the mission is, and what we were standing for in the work that we put out versus like growing my name. Yep. So we
Sarah Huffman 55:29
love it. Well, I'm so glad that we were able to meet we Gosh, when did we meet? vision boards?
Alex Maeckelbergh 55:34
Yep. So November of 2021. We did this number we did
Sarah Huffman 55:39
a vision board session. And number one, you came really prepared?
William Huffman 55:46
Yeah, it was like, it was
Sarah Huffman 55:48
way more than just looking at stupid vision
William Huffman 55:51
boarding thing again, we got to cut things out of things. And like, wow, and like, you know, here they all are. And I'm like, no,
Sarah Huffman 55:57
yeah. But it was even more than that. Like you actually let it through what what vision boarding is is and how, like, how to actually think about your year. And every other time I've done a vision board, it was like, Oh, I like that picture. Like that picture
Unknown Speaker 56:11
it put like the purpose behind Yes. Yeah, sure.
Alex Maeckelbergh 56:14
And I saw you were my first like, actual vision board workshop that I did. One of my other past clients had asked me to do a vision board workshop, and I was like, I don't know, and they're like, just put something together, it'll be fine. I'm like, okay, so I put together a booklet. And that's kind of what I go off of now. But I've done like four or five of them. And it's fun. You know, you
William Huffman 56:31
get another one coming up?
Alex Maeckelbergh 56:32
I do. So yeah, it's been super fun. And I think it's helped me too, with my own goals. Because when I worked at KW, and I love Keller Williams as a company, their goal setting structure never made sense. To me, it was way too high level. And I was like, I don't know how in the world, I'm supposed to set these goals, how I'm supposed to achieve them. I feel like I'm just setting goals that other people want me to set, I have no idea what I actually want to achieve. And so that vision board workshop that I created, like essentially has helped me with my own goal setting too, and to set the goals that I want to set versus what I think somebody else wants me to set. So
Sarah Huffman 57:06
well you can put us on the books for December, because we will do it again.
William Huffman 57:10
I would say from a from a non crafty person, you make it really easy because it's kind of pin the stupid things onto the stupid thing. And then I just it's not stupid. But you know what I mean? I know it's easy to easy to do. It's not like, there's no glue sticks. I feel like
Alex Maeckelbergh 57:24
everyone doesn't need to be an arts and crafts project. Yeah. Which is
William Huffman 57:27
the part I don't like about it. I like the vision boarding part of it, because I like the planning and the dreaming, setting the standards and
Alex Maeckelbergh 57:32
manifesting and all that. Yeah, yeah, the Whoa, what's funny is that Jonah had said something during our session that I like stopped me in my tracks, and one of her goals was to celebrate herself. And at that point, I was like, oh shit, like, I don't do that. I don't do that at all. Like I was at that point six months into my business and had never looked like I was kind of just go go go. And I never really celebrated where I was. So Jonah inspired me to celebrate myself more often. So
William Huffman 58:00
does that she is
Sarah Huffman 58:01
inspiring. And celebrate, like when we talk about celebrate and what that means it looks like it doesn't have to be this like gargantuan thing. Right? True. But you have to take the moment yes. And the time to recognize what you've just done.
Alex Maeckelbergh 58:16
Right? When I think with goal setting to like, people, if you're not emotionally connected to it, like you're not gonna care if you don't hit it. Like if you don't achieve your goal and you're not emotionally connected to it. Why would you? Why would you just like you're like okay, if sweet didn't hit that didn't really care. Yeah. And like with agents, a lot of times like their volume Connor unit count, they think they have to, you know, increase by X amount of per year. And it's like, that's okay to not do that. If you're in a comfortable spot with like, your family life is like you have a healthy family life. That's okay.
Sarah Huffman 58:44
Well, I think it is just like redefining what success is. And I know Will's probably like, he or she goes, Yeah,
William Huffman 58:48
this I mean, we it's almost like we talk about this all the time. But because we're weird. And we like to set goals and standards and improve our quality of life route. But quality of life is actually one of my goals. I don't want to work this hard just to work this hard, right? I want to work this hard to give back to travel. You know, just
Unknown Speaker 59:14
live your unreal, unreal life.
Alex Maeckelbergh 59:16
Some might say, Yeah,
William Huffman 59:19
I will say I do want to say it does take a lot of freaking time to get to that point, right. I'm going to start my own business to live my unreal life. Yeah, hopefully. I mean, that's the goal, right? But there is there's a lot of 24/7 365 for several years. I already get that running.
Alex Maeckelbergh 59:37
And that was the biggest thing. I think for my business. When I started. I was like, yeah, no, like, I'll have a more flexible schedule. And I'm but like, yeah, you're flexible, because you can do your job from wherever but you're working 24/7 There's no vacations, there's no sick days. There's no we went through a pretty rough like cold and flu season with my kids like they are in daycare. So of course like everybody gets sick all of the time. So that was really tough. If that was the one point that I've been like, I don't know if I can do this, because it just feels too hard. Yeah, but coming out on the other side of that, I'm like, that would have been such a silly reason to give up on something just because it was hard at that time.
Sarah Huffman 1:00:13
Dean, it made us listen, while you didn't make us. But you had told us about a podcast, isn't it?
Unknown Speaker 1:00:21
Is it the expanded pod? Yes. About tests? Yes. Yeah. You know, like, when something is hard, it's a test. And if you push through it, like something great is gonna be on the other side. And sometimes it takes a lot longer than you think. It's not just like one test, and multiple, like a series
William Huffman 1:00:38
of six and a half and B seven years, right? Yeah. What the f am I doing?
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:00:42
Right? Well, you guys are so like, I love like, I feel like I felt like I knew you guys before I actually met you because of how like real you guys are on social media. I think I had been friends with well on Facebook for like years. And I was like, I don't know who this man is. But like, I feel like I know him. Yeah.
Sarah Huffman 1:00:55
People have said, I feel like I've been in your house before. Yeah, it's only there there on the Facebook Live.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:01:02
But you guys are so good about being real, real and authentic. And obviously, that's what this whole podcast is. But there's not a lot of people that do that. They do it. But like they still like put a filter on it and are like, Okay, we just wanna make sure it looks pretty like we can still be like, somewhat real, but still sugar coated a little bit. But you guys are like, truly your authentic selves. And that's amazing.
William Huffman 1:01:21
I'm wearing my clothes from the gym this morning. Still right now,
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:01:24
that doesn't surprise me. We know there's Yeah. We know.
Sarah Huffman 1:01:28
I would like people to know, I did bring a secondary outfit.
William Huffman 1:01:31
It's been a hell of a day. It's been a hell of a day started at 4:55am. And it has been nonstop and it is 136. I mean, it's been it's been a great day. But wow, this is not about me. We keep talking about
Sarah Huffman 1:01:44
Well, Alex, I'm really proud of you. You're one of those people that I feel is just like wise beyond their years. Like to me if you were to come in and be like, Oh, I'm 26 what?
Unknown Speaker 1:01:55
I don't I was shocked to learn that information. Yeah. And
Sarah Huffman 1:01:59
it's it's not like, you're old. It's not like, oh,
William Huffman 1:02:03
it's not a looks thing. It's maturity.
Sarah Huffman 1:02:05
It's just Yeah, it's it's pretty cool.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:02:08
I've gotten that throughout my whole life. And I think because of like experiences in life, like I think sometimes I like resented the fact that I was more always more mature than other people. Like I could not let go and have a good time. I couldn't just be like an 18 year old like because I had responsibilities. Like I have these younger sisters that dependent on me too. And so that's always just been built in. So now having my own kids, it's a whole different shebang. Yeah,
William Huffman 1:02:28
I would say, barring all of that crap, you're just really good at what you do. Like from a pure from a pure standpoint of a business acumen and having hygiene been working with you and seeing what you can accomplish and how you accomplish it. And you truly do show up. Like, it's you're not, okay, you do marketing, but that's you're not like a marketer, if that makes sense. Like, I mean, you come to the photoshoots like you do help us plan our events, like you very quickly have become a pretty indispensable part of the team in in a fantastic way. So you're if anybody's listening. Yeah, she doesn't sock She's amazing.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:03:10
Thanks. Well, I was terrified to start working with you guys to be honest, because really scared me a little bit.
William Huffman 1:03:14
I want you Yeah, you're
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:03:16
just very like, yeah, what do you see is what's good. This is good. Yeah, let's get it done. So I was like, I can't if this one. Yeah. Thank you. Well, you haven't even come close.
William Huffman 1:03:25
You haven't even come close. I
Sarah Huffman 1:03:27
think that it's your communication delivery method. Well,
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:03:30
it's got direct and honestly, it's gotten better though. I think it's gotten better.
William Huffman 1:03:33
No, you've just adapted? I have not
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:03:39
on the team is like no, you just start. Yeah.
William Huffman 1:03:41
He's not being an asshole that says, well,
Sarah Huffman 1:03:44
he joined us in January ever you have because you've adapted I feel to will like, Well, how long did it take? Like, probably as of a month ago, I've been like, I feel okay. Now. In their six month learning.
William Huffman 1:03:59
She talked back the other day, and I was like, Oh, good job. Yeah. I was like, yeah, she was like I said, do something. She said bah bah, bah, bah, bah. And I'm like, good job. Like she just gave me access.
Sarah Huffman 1:04:08
Do you know what was? Like? These are the tests
Unknown Speaker 1:04:10
will these are? Well, well, it's just an ongoing task. You know, like he's just one of them. I
William Huffman 1:04:16
promise you you work with me for a year or two. Nobody else on this planet is going to be able to bother you. Because that all you have to say, please. Yeah.
Sarah Huffman 1:04:24
I mean, I should get an award
William Huffman 1:04:31
it's not a lot. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on. And as always, we like to wrap up by asking you your five favorite restaurants and as I always say, they don't have to be because they're the best food in the world. Maybe because it was one gentleman always said he said I took my mom though. I was Olive Garden because he always just go there with mom. So it's very nostalgic. Yeah, so let's start with number five. In no particular order, correct. Just I just like to say the numbers. Okay, sounds good.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:04:57
I love redstone love Hands down horrible okay, I live in Andover. So like not a whole lot of like,
Sarah Huffman 1:05:07
what's your folder at Red's? Yeah,
William Huffman 1:05:08
let's let's start there. Usually get the
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:11
steak like there's like a steak salad. Yes, that's what I get usually.
Sarah Huffman 1:05:15
It's pretty good. Yep.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:16
I tried to get their pineapple drink one time like they're like their specialty like
Sarah Huffman 1:05:20
plums in the pineapple. Yeah, I like could not it was bad sugar.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:24
It was so strong,
William Huffman 1:05:26
strong weak. That's not a bad thing but
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:29
it was that day okay, apparently
William Huffman 1:05:30
I'm not Wednesday at two in the afternoon who
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:33
was there like girl you can have wine? I do love redstone Capital Grille is one of my others. So
William Huffman 1:05:39
number one, number four. Do you ruining my favorite Capital
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:43
Grille? I haven't been there forever though.
William Huffman 1:05:46
Sir. We've been to the capital. grille. Yes, yeah, she's
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:50
like we went to the Capital Grille. I was like,
William Huffman 1:05:51
you've been there a couple times. So they got good food.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:05:54
We have Marjorie's and and Oh, yeah. Number three. Margie is in Andover is like one of the only non chain restaurants up in our area. And they've done a really nice job. They opened as a test kitchen in 2020. And I was like, great. The one nice thing that's coming to Andover is gonna go out of business because it's friggin COVID. Like, we didn't know really how well it would do. But they've done really, really great. They're super, super nice people. They give back a lot. They partner with local charities. Really? It's called Marty's Yeah, Margie is kitchen and cocktails is what they're from love it. It used to be a gym. Okay. It's a very we're
Sarah Huffman 1:06:29
gonna be on a tour. So right and
William Huffman 1:06:31
I love first of all, I love I love kind of hippie places like that. And if they have cocktails on their name, I bet they have the good ice cubes.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:06:38
They do. Yeah, they do have the good ice cubes. Okay, number two, number two, Jelly Bean and Julia's and Anelka. What is this barbecue? Sound? Tanaka? So the North Metro has some hidden gems downtown
William Huffman 1:06:51
and Oka like Jackson Street. Yeah. I actually think downtown
Sarah Huffman 1:06:55
and Oka is charming. It is super
Unknown Speaker 1:06:57
cute. Yeah. Where it's
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:06:59
so there's like an Noca meat market. It's like Pat. So you drive through downtown and Oka and then you've crossed that intersection. I'm so directionally challenged. So please do not just Google it. Okay, just Google it. Yep. But it's a super small place. They actually bought out last year they bought out the business next to them. So they've expanded but they've got grape jelly jelly bean and Julia's. They catered my mom's wedding. They Yeah, they're super sweet. They have a heart attack burger.
William Huffman 1:07:23
Nice. I bet they do not have the good ice cubes, but they got really cold beer. They have pull
Sarah Huffman 1:07:31
William Huffman 1:07:31
they don't know. That's one of the things that really elevates a restaurant and I love the cardboard.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:07:42
II tabs. No, Justice has been winning big on E tabs lately. Oh, he won like 2500 bucks last week on E tabs app. All right. And nothing on the there's just something about
Unknown Speaker 1:07:52
like some cardboard cracked. Cardboard cracked? Yeah,
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:07:55
hard to me felt like the tabs were like, like, rigged.
William Huffman 1:07:59
Perfect is it was honest. As long as you got the money, that's all better. All right, and we're gonna go for number one.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:08:05
Oh my gosh. Number one. Churchill Street in Shoreview.
Sarah Huffman 1:08:10
I don't know that when II that's when you asked me about on Instagram. Oh, that was so cute.
William Huffman 1:08:14
Oh, no, it was on the Insta, it was on
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:08:16
the Insta story but they opened last year. So that was another business that opened kind of during the pandemic that I was a little worried about used to be an Ace Hardware. So a lot of the older people that come in are like I remember when this was Ace Hardware, the hammers were right over there. And it is really sweet that they've kept a lot of the like, the nostalgic pieces of the hardware store love me and Ace Hardware. You'll drive up and be like, This is so nice. But they source all of their ingredients from local farmers and local you're speaking their language super cool. They have sparkling water on tap. That's a big so you walk up to the counter and order your food and then they deliver it to your table. But yeah, they have like a whole like center. Organic type thing. Yeah, yep. So they have sparkling water on top. That's a that's a big thing. They have a full Sunday right? They have a full bar so they have great cocktails. Nice So yeah, that's probably my newest favorite place is Churchill Street and shore view on Churchill Street
William Huffman 1:09:07
and it's instant worthy from when I'm here it is because I was like where are you?
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:09:11
Yeah, so they do really great breakfast their breakfast starts at 10am and then their dinner they just started doing dinner from six to nine. Their breakfast starts at 10am Yeah, so they do like pastries and coffees and stuff until 10 and then they open up like their breakfast burritos and avocado toast and all that kind of stuff. So that's like a you need a pre breakfast you did before
William Huffman 1:09:32
Yeah, you're speaking millennial with avocado toast. I
Sarah Huffman 1:09:34
do love a good avocado cherry
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:09:35
blueberry flapjacks are supposed to be like, I don't love pancakes but my mother in law like swears by them. They have like bacon. I think it's like bacon fat Sarah,
Unknown Speaker 1:09:44
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:09:48
Yeah, that's it's a super cute place. They have a little patio and they have like their herbs and vegetables growing on the patio and it's a very like small, small town field but like it's very well done. It's like a full on like restaurant restaurant.
Sarah Huffman 1:10:00
Don't need to take a week off just to go to these places. You
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:10:02
guys should round up all of the recommendations you've gotten and just go on a tour of yeah, let's see.
Sarah Huffman 1:10:07
I know somebody who does marketing.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:10:08
Yeah, right. That could just be a serious great idea.
Sarah Huffman 1:10:11
William Huffman 1:10:12
Yeah. Now you have to execute.
Alex Maeckelbergh 1:10:14
I'll come as long as I can come. Yeah, they're fine, but
William Huffman 1:10:19
that's not a great bad idea. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I really do appreciate it. It's been super fun. And as always, we out deuces.
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