Have you ever wondered how Mary Nisi became Mary Nisi? In this episode, Mary tells the story of how her early careers in retail and improv led to her becoming a DJ and entrepreneur. She also explains what it means to live life with your whole ass, and shares some *big news* about the huge business decision that kicked off her 2022.
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Music. Welcome to all up in my lady business I am your host Mary nisi on this podcast all explore the fine line between having it together I'm losing your shit here I share my journey as an entrepreneur a mom a wife a DJ and randomly a beekeeper I have no shame and no filter except the ones I use on Instagram my stories of resilience a little structure and a lot of resource Wellness can show you how to take those same things and live your life with your hole. Music. Welcome to all up in my lady business and I'm your host Mary DC so today what are we going to discuss what makes merry nisi I guess we've all kind of had these thoughts in their heads of who I am. I am a 46 year old white lady I live in the city of Chicago I have a husband and his name is John and he has a job I don't really understand he works season Municipal Bond Trader and that's about the beginning and end of what I know of that he does I have a son he is 7 years old right now about to turn eight my son he goes to school at public school he's in Gerda School here in Chicago and for all of the shit that Chicago Public Schools get his school is really incredible.Today I have a bit of a saltiness because as of last night at 11:
30 they decided to just cancel school because covid knows have gotten so bad and they didn't have a plan and. I'm just sort of having like Suburban fomo to a certain extent where I'm just like God I just wish that I could just go to school at my neighborhood school and it's probably working but. We are in love a pandemic and I've a lot of you know feelings when it comes to the pandemic because I want what's best for my kid but I also wants what's best for the world and I think those things can be the same thing but a lot of opinions out there that are bit fucked right now but anyway on this episode I'll be talking about my early careers in retail and comedy and how exactly that got me to becoming the DJ and business Runner that I am. Then something kind of big happened in my life this week and I want to talk about that so buckle in. I am originally from Nebraska from Omaha and I'm from a huge family I've got five brothers and sisters on the fifth of six kids and there's five years in between me and my older brother Bobby it's funny because my four brothers and sisters that are older than me they were all born like boom boom boom like one year 12 years apart and there's five years and there's me and I asked my mom once I was like Mom was I a mistake and she goes oh honey you are all mistakes as if that was going to somehow make me feel better and I thought it was funny at the time and I realized it was kind of a little bit inappropriate but whatever. Anyway I am here in Chicago right now. I've actually lived in Chicago longer than I've lived in Nebraska I came here for college I went to DePaul and I started with a degree in English and ended with one in art history which for those of you playing at home it makes for a very marketable just you're just ready to Take On the World with that kind of degree so anyway I graduated and I was working in retail I worked like relatively like high-end retail all through college I worked a Henri Bendel which was this fancy department store I worked in the home where Department they're called MacIntosh and I worked there for like three years and then my boss from Bendel was moving up to BB the women's clothing store baby and. He's like you can come but you're going to work in the back room because I was just really I'd never was really all that quite ready for prime time when I worked at in high-end retail I was at my hair was pink and I you know it was a bit more rough around the edges anyway so I worked retail for a really long time and then I started temping because I was like oh well that involves typing and that's much more big girl and important so I work for this woman and there was another one of our clients took improv classes it was like to schedule some fun into her week and I'm like oh I'm funny maybe I'll take an improv class and so I started taking classes at Second City and I literally took them for like 3 weeks and I was like. Okay this is the rest of my life like I'm going to I'm going to just quit my job and I'm going to becoming a professional comedian. So I went and I quit my job and I got a job waiting tables and I just spent all my time and all of my money that I had available taking improv classes I start taking classes at IO at improv Olympic was improv Olympic back when I was doing it and it was funny because I became an intern there because we were an intern you got free classes and so I worked the box office on Wednesday nights in exchange for free classes at the theater and I got on a house team and IO and our first show was the day after 9/11 and we were literally backstage we were trying to figure out what the team was going to be called. And there was a brief moment this was the day after 9/11 and we almost called pentagon. And then another person suggested Osama bin laughing. You guys improvisers man we don't even and we thought we had a lot of Fox Force Five which was the name of the pilot that Mia from Pulp Fiction. Was in there was a TV show that she was on and in Pulp Fiction which at the time was such a like a dated we thought we were so like underground by like calling ourselves that but that was our name we were house team were on the schedule for many years and then I got cut from the schedule as everybody does at some point at IO and I did Comedy Sports. And I was on a team at a place called The Playground. This team was called inside Vladimir and fun fact it was started by Tina Fey Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch like like 5 years before. I was on it so like I never was on it with them but it was a team that they had started back in the mid-90s. And with Fox Force Five I got to perform at a couple of Comedy festivals in New York City and I actually performed in a show that was right before a show that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did and I actually got to talk to him about it once. Anyway I digress I did improv for a very long time and I did a lot of corporate comedy. I did audition for us for Saturday Night Live didn't make it past the first round I did audition for boom Chicago which was a comedy that plays in the Netherlands it was like a it was like a chicago-based it was a Chicago started comedy club in Amsterdam. And I actually made it through a couple rounds of callbacks for that and there was a period but I might go back I'm moving to the Netherlands this is it baby this is like my future and then I didn't make it past the second round of callbacks but. I basically came to realize that like I was good but I wasn't great and I was just sort of keeping this comedy thing alive and at the same time. In the midst of all of this in 2001 I started DJing on a community radio station that was at a university here in Chicago and I was on that station for seven years I did the morning drive and when you do a morning drive show people are their crazy fans they're like very rabid and because you're like part of their routine and you know they want to have a positive fun ridiculous human and I was you know 25 and had a lot of energy so I started doing the morning drive I did that for a long time for seven years as I mentioned before and one day somebody called the request line and they were like hey would you want to DJ my wedding and I was like sure how hard can that be and so I think I charge them $300 and I had a five disc changer and I borrowed a friend's crappy mixer and then I had a Discman so a Discman of five disc changer and I had a big book of CDs and I went to their wedding I just crushed it like it was great I did a great job like I had a great Instinct for it and people went nuts it was great Kristen Katie Brown I love them I'm stem friends to my Instagram and Facebook I've done all their cousins and nephews and siblings weddings like I love them so much Kristen Katie Brown fearlessness us you know I love you so much anyway so I did their wedding and I just had once again my another Eureka moment of this is the rest of my life like the first one was The Improv. But the second one was with DJ and that one's that's the one that's stuck and so I had a friend that worked for a DJ company here in Chicago and she got me a job at the company and I started DJing for them he needed help in the office so I got to work in the office for a bit and kind of see how things were running and things that worked maybe things that could be improved upon. And I was turning 30 and I was just like you know what I don't want to work for their people anymore I'm a terrible employee I've been fired from their jobs and I've quit and I just wanted to be like you know what I'm I'm done with trying to work for other people so one day I was on a trip with some improvisers to go through a corn maze. But detail is irrelevant here and we were kind of working on names and we were kind of riffing on Words that had to do with weddings and I came toast and jam like. I remember I was driving down the street and I came to me and I got a chill through my body and I was like oh my God this is it I Incorporated the next day and I had a friend my friend Greg all's Greg he made me a website he designed me an ad I took up I took the last chunk of money I had in my life at four thousand dollars to my name I dumped it all into an ad. In Bride Chicago because wedding Bride wedding magazines were how you would make it happen and I started getting more clients than I could handle and I went to the radio station and there were these two women that DJ their Kate and Rachel they had a show called Kate and Rachel's old style show and it was one of my favorite shows on this channel and I emailed them and I was like hey would you guys want to get together and maybe work for me and I met with him I met with them at there's a bar here in Chicago in Ukrainian Village it was called the pizza bar and it's now the Continental which are equal there but when it was pizza Bart was so gross it was like a disgusting bar but it was It was kind of wonderful and now the Continental still gross. Less wonderful. Neither here nor there but I talked to them at the time when I went with them I didn't even know which one was Kate and which one was Rachel but now I hired them and they're still working for me that was 2005 and they are still working for me to this day. And. From there I brought on Dustin who for many years was our token male I like to make the joke that I had him there to keep the EEOC off my back but they were my first real hires and then I've just always kind of brought in people to work for me that have never really done this job before I love training new people to work here so I've always just kind of brought in friends and friends of friends and and kind of created this little ragtag team of DJs and we went from having just them I mean I've we do at this point now like 700 weddings a year is part of the pandemic we're doing like 700 weddings a year and then. We moved along with the radio station in 2007. Things kind of fell apart at the radio station that we were working at and a big group of us broke off from there. And we're like What if we started our own radio station and that was where trip radio came along there were eight of us we met at Moody's Pub up in Rogers Park here in Chicago and we ate burgers and we basically sketched out how we can start our own radio station and we started out as a lobbying organization which is a whole other episode all in its own but in 2007 we came together and we've amassed like 200 volunteers and we were able to get the online station up and running in 2010 and then I believe it was in 2017 I believe we want up getting our terrestrial license at 107 .1 FM so we really were a Grassroots organization that came together to like start a station and we really do it we've got a good thing going there and. It's awesome and so now I do a show there on Mondays from 12 until three got out of the morning drive and havethe best spot in the world Monday's 2:
48 I love it and I started the record fair that was one of our biggest fundraisers we started it when I was at the other station and then continued it with trip I was the director of that for ten years is and I grew it into the largest file fair in the Midwest and then I left that after I or what I got pregnant I think was when I when I stopped doing the record fair and I've done I did music quizzes and things like that with the radio station so this radio station is always gonna be part of my life. Music. When the pandemic started I got a Peloton like so many people did I am an avid exerciser like if I don't get if I don't exercise I am a raging horrible person. Like I'm I just I need to exercise and when the pandemic started I was like oh my God my gym clothes down I don't know what to do I bought a pellet. And there is an instructor on there is name is Cody Rigsby and he is just. A gem of a human being he's so funny and he's he's really funny gets a little dirty at times. You really got me through so much of the dark days of the pandemic was doing his shows but he had this this playlist one day where every song mentioned asses and he was like you're going to do this class with your whole ass you're gonna put your whole ass into it okay half-assing this class you doing either whole ass and it was so funny and I I couldn't believe that it had never occurred to me. To like live something like you know like do something with a whole ass like I was half-assed is definitely a thing that was like always kind of a statement butthole assing it. Really living life with your whole ass doing things through whole ass and that's it really spoke to me and I think part of it is because I've got a juicy butt I've got a I got a thick can with two seas and I think it really kind of spoke to me both metaphorically and physically because I do live my life with my whole ass and so hey got me idea of like you know what is what does it mean to run my business with a whole ass what does it mean to parent with my whole ass or be a friend with my whole ass I feel like that's what where we should all be striving for is like kind of having this whole asked living. And so you know the a whole ass person they care they're Global thinkers they work really hard and they. They want to be inclusive and professional and make money and get respect and those are the things that I strive for personally and professional myself is to just try to do my best I know we're all trying to do our best but this is my version of doing my best. My goal with this podcast is to show how I am living my life with my whole ass how I have been at times half-assing maybe even a quarter assing maybe an eighth assing. Is 5/8 of an inch Asing I don't know but I probably have done it and so I'm trying to show my whole ass to you. While you're up in my lady business. It's all got very dark very moist all of a sudden so every episode I'm going to try to tie in the whole a stance of it all and and how we can you know I can maybe show you the ways in which I have half asked and how I tried to give it a whole ass spin and this week this was a crazy week I'm not gonna lie I bought a building in 2017 and started another business inside of it called a sankoh work and it was a co-working space and it did pretty well but I got an offer that was too good to refuse and I sold it and I don't own the I don't own the building anymore and I just kind of close down a sand which I feel like took a lot of balls. It was but it felt right so that's my that was my big movement of the week is that I sold a business I saw the building I close down a business and I'm starting this podcast that all happened this week and so it's kind of a lot and it seems like. It's almost like I had to shed the weight of the building and shed the weight of a sand in order to to get the Clutter out of my brain and not just do what half-assedly I've been trying to start this podcast since the end of 2019. I came up with the name of it at the end of 2019 and I came into 2020 and I had the name of it I had the idea for it and I couldn't figure out what it was going to be. And I you know I was thinking about it I was getting my notes together and then the pandemic happened and that kind of knocked it out of the out of my brain for a while for reasons I'm sure I will get into on this podcast later on but all of this is to say is that. It's the beginning of 2022 I don't know about you I'm feeling 20 22. And I'm not saying this is gonna be the best year ever because we need to kind of come into this with a very calm. And rational don't make sudden movements kind of behavior because we don't know what's going to happen let's get this year started let's live our lives at their whole last let's make whole last decisions. All right guys thanks so much for tuning in every time you tune in you're going to hear me rambling and losing the thread somehow tie it all back together again with a little shiny pink bow so smash that like hit that subscribe button comment only if you have something nice to say I'll be back next week please live your life with your whole ass thanks for listening to all up in my lady business I have been your host Mary nisi you can find resources and links from this episode in the show notes at all up in my lady business.com. If you enjoyed this episode smash that subscribe button and follow us on all your socials and don't forget whatever you do this week do it with your whole ass. Music.