We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Roser and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial, from babysitting and selling jewelry as a kid to designing websites for businesses in high school and college to starting my first “real company” right out of college. For me, starting my own business was never a major leap. It’s just the way I think. In the rare times when I did have a W-2 job, I’d always have a side hustle that would turn into a business. Business allows me the freedom to create my vision, which is risky because sometimes it’s successful and other times it’s a flop. Some companies I’ve started are tried and true–like my marketing agency or real estate business–others are much riskier in terms of concept. Paragon Road, for example, is a riskier endeavor because I didn’t model it off of an existing business. I had to write the book, figure out the processes and determine the market for it. That kind of creativity is really exciting for me, but also is a labor of love and passion. That kind of business is more of a calling. It’s just something I felt I had to do at the time. I started researching about legacy development (passing on non-financial assets such as values, wisdom and beliefs) and realized how important it is and how many people simply don’t think about it. I felt it was so sad to have someone reach the end of their lives and not pass on the most important parts of themselves to their families. There was also a selfish motivation, in that I wanted to determine what steps I needed to personally take to create a life and legacy of impact because I didn’t want to reach the end of my own life and realize I hadn’t lived a meaningful life. And so Paragon Road was born.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My book, “Your Meaning Legacy: How to Cultivate & Pass On Non-Financial Assets” is a resource for people who are interested in learning how to create a meaningful legacy and pass on their wisdom, beliefs and values to their families. My company, Paragon Road, helps people identify their stories and turn them into a beautiful book their family can enjoy. There’s an old African proverb that goes, “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” Our goal is to help you keep that library in tact. Along the way, I’ve met many incredible people and learned many incredible things. Everyone has valuable stories to tell. The art is helping people discover what is so special about them and bringing that out in writing and art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I wish I could be of more help here. The last little while, I’ve been living on a boat, which was docked in San Diego last year, but is currently in West Palm Beach. I spent the summer in Rhode Island, Nantucket and New Hampshire trying to socially distance as much as possible. The places in LA that mean the most to me usually have to do with fond memories with family or friends. I have a friend who is a regular performer at the Magic Castle, so that has some significance. I love the Getty. The Huntington Library is one of my favorite places in the world. Their collection is breathtaking.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are all kinds of people and books that have contributed to my journey. I’m especially grateful to my father who taught me how to learn anything. One summer when I was a teenager, my father dropped a 3,000-page manual on my desk and said, “You’re going to learn how to create websites.” I had never even considered creating a website before, but by the end of the summer (and hours and hours of reading that manual and tinkering with websites), I was designing websites for companies. It was an incredibly valuable lesson. Now when I don’t know how to do something, it doesn’t stop me. I keep going until I figure it out! There were a handful of teachers that were incredibly influencial for me as well. My high school debate teacher, Mrs. Brough, stands out as being particularly wonderful. She taught me how to be a confident, polished speaker. After years of spending my weekends at debate tournaments, there’s a confidence in yourself and abilities that begins to develop. I’ve had fantastic business, writing and art mentors who have changed the way I think and made me push myself. And I’m constantly reading–from literature to spiritual texts to scientific articles to thrillers to biographies to business books, I find wisdom and new ideas from ecclectic sources. I’ve also had so many incredible interviews with impressive people about their legacies and wisdom they’ve gathered throughout their lives. It’s helped me to gain perspective and determine what matters most to me. It also makes me feel better about my shortcomings and failures as I’ve realized that everyone has their struggles–no matter how influencial or successful they are.
Speaking shots and books on table: Photography provided by the Seattle Community Foundation