Designing a Global Small Business with Laurie Millotte

Episode 4 title graphic: Designing a Global Small Business with Laurie Millotte

This week’s guest on the 21st Century Creative Podcast is Laurie Millotte, designer and founder of

Laurie MillotteOn a round-the-world tip, Laurie spent time in Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Hawaii, Mexico and other countries. And not only did she manage to keep running her existing design business from her laptop, she designed and created an entirely new business – Outshinery.

Outshinery takes a new approach to product photography for the wine and beer industries, using 3D digital technology to create images without the hassle of shipping bottles of alcoholic liquid to photographers’ studios. It means they can deliver ‘bottle shots before the wine is bottled’.

The Outshinery team are spread across 3 continents and 4 office spaces, but use technology and teamwork to get things done together.

If you’re curious about the idea of combining exotic travel with your creative work, or if you’re a creative service provider who would like to have more income and impact without having to work longer and longer hours, you’ll find this an eye-opening and inspiring conversation.

Illustration of designer creating photo of a wine bottle using a laptop

As well as her websites, you can connect with Laurie via Instagram and LinkedIn.

In the first part of the show, I talk about why 21st Century Creatives should stay small and go global, for the sake of our creativity and prosperity.

Take Laurie Millotte’s Creative Challenge (and win an original desktop background and one of my books)

Every week, at the end of the show, I ask my guest to set you a Creative Challenge – something practical you can do that will help you put the ideas from the show into action.

Here’s how you can take part – and maybe win the prize of an original ‘world map’ desktop background designed by Laurie Millotte, plus your choice of one of my books for creatives – Productivity for Creative People, Motivation for Creative People, or Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success.

1. Listen to the interview part of the show, either in the player above or on iTunes or your favourite podcast platform.

2. the challenge is to design your ideal round the world creative adventure and leave a comment describing all the places you’d like to visit. Laurie is asking for at least 6 places, so be bold!

And tell us WHY you want to visit these places for inspiration – whether it’s the people, the landscape, the culture or something else.

Finally tell us what you want to create as a result of your trip – maybe a biz, an artwork, a book or another creative project.

To make it more fun, and to show you how easily it can be done, here are two round the world trip planners:

Skyteam Round the World Planner

Star Alliance Round the World

You can use these sites to build round the world tickets without actually making a purchase (unless you’re feeling really adventurous!).

No, we’re not sponsored by these sites and they are not affiliate links. We’re not affiliated with them in any way – Laurie just wanted to share them as fun tools to help you daydream.

3. Once you’ve completed the challenge, leave a comment below this post describing your imagined virtual world, and how it serves your visitors, as vividly as possible.

You have until midnight United States Pacific time on Friday 23rd June 2017 to complete the challenge and leave your comment.

4. Once the challenge has finished, I will pick 3 winners at random from the comments, who will receive the prize of the desktop background and your choice of one of my books for creatives. I want to stress I’ll pick the winners at random, I won’t be judging the comments as the challenge is not a competition.

5. Over the weekend I will send a bonus recording with my feedback on your comments and what we can all learn from the challenge. I’ll be looking through the comments for common patterns, whether that’s ways a lot of you get stuck, or great solutions you’re finding to the challenge. I’ll also be sharing reflections and advice from my own experience as a writer and a coach.

6. As usual the feedback recording will NOT be released on iTunes or anywhere else the show is syndicated. It will only be available via the 21st Century Creative mailing list – click here to join the list (and get a free Creative Career course).

One last thing…

If you’re enjoying the show it would be a huge help to me if you would take a moment to subscribe to The 21st Century Creative in iTunes.

And if you’d like to leave a brief review in iTunes, that would be even more helpful.

The more people who subscribe and review the show, the more visible the show will be in the iTunes store, and the more creators I can help with it.

This is particularly important in the first few weeks of a podcast – so if you enjoy the show, and you’d like to support it, taking a few moments to subscribe and/or review will give the podcast the best chance of success.

Thank you!

Mark McGuinness is a poet, a coach for creative professionals, and the host of The 21st Century Creative Podcast.

The 21st Century Creative Podcast

The 21st Century Creative Podcast

Hosted by poet and creative coach Mark McGuinness, The 21st Century Creative podcast helps you succeed as a creative professional amid the demands, distractions, and opportunities of the 21st century.

Each episode features insights from Mark and interviews with outstanding creators – including artists, writers, performers, commercial creatives, directors, producers, entrepreneurs and other creative thought leaders.

Guests include Steven Pressfield, Scott Belsky, Jocenlyn K. Glei, Joanna Penn and Michael Bungay Stanier.

Responses to this Post


  1. Before Best Beloved and I spent a year traveling the US and Canada doing house sitting, we’d already built a location-independent business. As a result, we’ve already done a fair bit of traveling. But this week’s challenge has me thinking 😉

    1. San Francisco. The entire city, but especially the waterfront and the trolleys, fire up my creativity. I’d want to start my trip with a total immersion in a city that has always inspired me.

    2. New Westminster, BC. It’s a cycling city, designed for non-auto traffic. I want a place that makes it easy to be physical and be outdoors. Activity always gives my brain downtime to do the heavy lifting that only happens unconsciously.

    3. New York. I’m terrified of New York. I’m a homebody (a travel-loving homebody, yes indeed.) Huge cities make me nervous. New York is the epitome of the megalopolis in my head. I don’t get enough edge in my daily experience because I’ve designed a safe and comfortable life. NYC would either kill me or more likely fill me with adrenaline for the next step.

    4. Killorglin, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Little village with a pub where I want to have a pint or a few and play music. After New York, Ireland’s restorative powers will be just what I need to ruminate and meditate. Also, there’s Guinness.

    5. London. As a wordsmith, I need to see the places Shakespeare walked. Not much interested in the historicity of his birthplace and whatnot. I want to see the streets he roamed when he was creating the world’s greatest writing.

    6. Brussels. About 1,000 years ago (in 1066, to be exact) one of my ancestors crossed over to England with a guy named William. The family came from Belgium. With no Dutch or French and severely limited German, I’d be somewhere totally out of my depth—which is where I’ve always been when it comes to my family. Exploring roots and rootlessness and how my songs and stories combine my history with neophilia.

    7. Johannesburg, South Africa. I lived 7 years in rural Texas and was appalled by the rampant racism. Apartheid has always been my mental image of the same on a grand scale. Things have changed, I know, and hearing the music that’s come out of South Africa and that region in the past decades, it’s clear that cultures are melding. It’s a fascinating process and it reminds me that art often brings together people who wouldn’t otherwise mix.

    8. Timbuktu. Because, like, Timbuktu fer cryin’ out loud. It’s a real place. In my childhood the name was an imaginary place that meant “as far away from reality as you can possibly get.” An imaginary place I learned was real. Isn’t that what art is, making the imagined real?

    9. Ulanbaatar, Mongolia, for the same reason, almost. When I was a kid, instead of rock posters, I had a world map on my wall. Most of it was jam packed with text. Except Mongolia. It was blank, except a single dot labeled (back then) “Ulan Bator.” Arriving there would be like finding a real actual flying carpet. Once again, I would have no connection, no frame of reference linguistically or culturally. I would be figuring it out from scratch, depending entirely on my good nature to find my way. Cutting it from whole cloth, as the saying used to go. Yet another metaphor for acts of creation.

    10. Alice Springs. When I read Nevil Shute’s “A Town Like Alice” 40 years ago I was smitten. His book revolves around creating an entire town, all the work, thought, struggle, heartbreak, and joy of a monumental undertaking. Seeing Alice Springs, knowing that bit by bit, this real town was created from nothing but dust, heat, and sweat, would set me up for the hard work of art once I got home.

    11. San Francisco, again, this time in a 5-star hotel to vegetate, ruminate, incubate.

    After all that absorption of people, music, food, culture, climate, architecture, work, and play, hearing stories and watching life, my fiction would certainly take on greater depth, broader scope, a spicier edge. And there’d most certainly be an entire album’s worth of songs out of it, and probably a good bit more than that.

    Best Beloved is certainly hoping this trip isn’t really going to happen. She’s much too tired for all that.

    • Hi Joel,

      wow! Really cool list you have here!! Mongolia is definitely on my own bucket list of destination. Something about the huge grassy landscape attracts the heck out of me! (minus the horses… not a huge fan of horses…)

      If ever you make it New Westminster, please do send me a note: it’s so close to Vancouver!!!

      Cheers, Laurie

  2. Off the bat, I would love to check out all the major cities of the world – just because I can.

    1. New York. Last year I spent only 6 days there when a show I was in toured the USA. The entire experience in New York was beyond surreal – the whole vibe was exactly what I’ve seen on movies and TV, but just 20 times more beyond what I’d expected. In my 3 off days there, I hit all the free spots in the city and just went sight seeing. Admittedly 6 days in this metropolis was not enough and the next time I go, it will be for at least a month. What a vibe!

    2. London. I may actually visit London on a tour this year as well – initially our producer said we’d be there for 2 months playing on West End and if it does happen, it will be a dream come true. Especially as an actor from South Africa, playing at a place you only just hear about as a theatre hub with so much world-class culture is just brilliant. Of course I will also explore this city as much as I can.

    3. Tokyo. Japan has such a vivid culture, something I’ve only seen portrayed as completely ‘other’ in media. I figure this will be a totally immersive experience!

    4. Rio de Janeiro. Just a beautiful place with such a rich, experiential culture. I’ve studied a lot of the music that comes from there and the various South American rhythms. It would be great to experience this first hand. Also, the beauty, the diversity and vibrant people.

    5. Jerusalem. To walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

    6. Cairo. I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt and its mysteries – a fascination that will only truly be realised if I go there and see it for myself.

    There are many other places I’d like to see and experience too, but those are my top picks for now. As a songwriter, I think my tank will be topped up to the brim with life experience during and after this trip and will be totally assured that some great art will be gleaned from it all.

    • Hi Josh,

      loving your destinations!!! May I suggest not to forget South America? I was amazed by Chile and Bolivia, and yet you never hear about it 😛

      … and you just reminded me that I must go to Egypt (and Jordan)!

      Thanks for taking this challenge on,

    • Ah, I’d have to book another entire tour for all the places I forgot in Africa: Cairo, the Mountains of the Moon, the Kalahari, Lake Victoria, The Gambia, Marrakesh and Casablanca.

      And speaking of South America, the rare boat from Ushuaia to Antarctica would be a mind-altering experience.

  3. Olga A Kochergina says:

    I’m not a traveler in actuality at the moment, but I do have places I’d love to visit!

    1. Moscow and Saint Petersburg in Russia.
    I was actually born in Moscow, though I remember little of it and my family didn’t travel within Russia until we immigrated to Maryland, USA. The thing is, as I grow older, my exposure to “russianness” is exclusively through my parents, and I’m finding myself projecting them onto my whole understanding of Russian culture and people. I envision a whole country of dysfunction and poor coping mechanisms. As examples, I find myself reluctant to read russian books to my new daughter, and when we go to the playground, my initial urge is to avoid russian speakers. I also end up viewing my parents out of context. It’s hard for me to understand why they’re the people they are today. I’m thinking, if I were to travel to Russia as an adult and a tourist, I would gain a new association and appreciation for the russian people and the culture. Maybe would be able to notice parts of myself that grew out of that influence. Perhaps would have an easier time passing on some parts of russianness to my kids.

    2. England/Ireland/Scotland!
    No particular cities in mind. I have watched a great many BBC shows, and would love to just roam the historic parts of the older cities, and to travel between cities on country roads to get a feel for the landscape. The british isles have some fascinating geography, and a long history (something I feel lacking in US – the oldest buidings/places in our area are 200 years old).

    3. Japan!
    I consumed a lot of manga and anime as a teenager, and feed Hayo Mizayaki’s animation to my kid. From that narrow exposure, I suspect there are places in Japan that still have memorials of quiet spirituality to them. I’d want to visit Kyoto, travel by train through and out of Tokyo, probably get disillusioned off some of my envisionings, and gain a more realistic idea of the place.

    4. Almaty, Kazakhstan.
    I have friends from that city. I hear it’s a funky combination of Soviet and Middle Eastern, kind of quiet, all under a mountain. Overall, I’d be interested in traveling through the older cities in the old Soviet satellite republics, since I think the rest of Russia saw a lot of resources and influences from there.

    5. The places with the tallest and weirdest trees: Dragon Blood Trees (Island of Socotra), Bombax trees (Cambodia, India), Baobabs (Madagascar, Australia), Great Banyan Tree (India), the Redwoods (in US)

    6. South Africa.
    In thinking about this list, I’m realising how little I know about everything south of the equator. I’ve met a number of people who have been to South Africa, and have all said that it’s beautiful, different looking from around here. (That’s what I’m mostly about, I think. Seeing places that would look alien to my brain that’s used to Maryland).

  4. Here are some of the places I would love to travel to…

    Canada – Log cabin, trees, lake, mountains, natural world, friendly local community

    New England – Awesome Autumn Tree colours

    Norwegian Fjords/Niagra Falls – Breathtaking

    Northern Lights – Wow!

    Tibet – Curiosity

    Italy – Slow movement – simple, connected, slow way of being/living – friends gathered round a table chatting/connecting

    Anywhere there is Awesome views and natural world.

    Enjoy chatting to locals – connecting and meeting with different people is fascinating.

    Through travelling, I would like to create a Wider view of Life rather than the inconsequential. Reflecting a greater presence, appreciation and connection with Life. Helping inspire others to connect with and follow their deepest dreams, living how they truly want to be.

    Interestingly what came up reading other responses is how easily we get used to, and take for granted our own lives and wonders of where we live.

    We live half the year in the natural countryside and London – Theatres(musicals), Art exhibitions, Tate Modern, Thames, Shard, London Eye, Tower of London, Convent garden, Contemporary & Old Architecture jostling together along with interesting people from all over the world. All now seen with fresh eyes 🙂

  5. Kathleen Kettles says:

    I loved this podcast, thanks Laurie! I particularly like her commitment of offering excellence to her clients no matter where she is in the world – and by doing so gives her clients peace of mind and a knowing that she will come through with her promises.
    Regarding my dream round the world trip…it would have to be based on 60degrees north. My paternal great grandfather was from Shetland, and I spent 8 years working there running a clinic every month. I absolutely love it there and I feel so at home in Shetland. An author called Malachy Tallack wrote a book called, “Sixty Degrees North: Around the world in search of home” I would love to follow his journey, so I would start my journey off in Shetland and then I would visit:

    St Petersburg

    What a trip!

  6. Since my creative expressions tend to be either writing, or baking related I think that the places I’d visit would be tied to those.

    1) New Orleans during Mardi Gras, the mixture of the carnival atmosphere, the fantastic cemeteries, and that mixed celebration of both life and death as well as other aspects of witch craft, voodoo, and Christianity would be fantastic to experience.

    2) Machu Picchu, a lost city at the top of the world (or at least pretty high up) is classic fodder for thriller fiction.

    3) Paris, Not only a cultural hub for art, but also a culinary hub – wonderful baked goods.

    4) Ireland, the Giant’s causeway (and well the whole place). There’s a grit, and spirit to the Irish people that lends itself well to characters.

    5) Munich during Oktoberfest, because well sometimes a guy just has to have copious amounts of beer, music, dancing, sausages, and of course lederhosen.

    6) Crater Lake, Oregon. Just my favorite place.

  7. Thank you everyone, great entries. This week’s Challenge is now closed, I’ll shortly send the feedback and announce the winners via the mailing list.