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Hidden Gems: Meet Halley Moore of Calliope Insights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Halley Moore.

Hi Halley, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
On paper, my story seems to jump around quite a lot. I’ve had several major career chapters, with some colorful departures in between. I’ve been a bartender, a server, a massage therapist, a magician, a violin cleaner, a photographer, an actor, a writer, a director, and I even spent some time training to run away and join the circus. When it all comes together, however, there are consistent threads woven throughout: hospitality, creativity, adaptability.

My first career was in restaurants. I learned how to think on my feet, read people, and create an experience that made people feel taken care of and nourished. I reached a point where there was not enough growth potential and security for it to be sustainable. I wanted something that would give me more autonomy and the mobility of a trade.

So, I went to massage school. I spent 7 years building an inclusive, trauma informed, evidence-based practice that met people where they were and helped them by listening to their stories and creating a unique, custom experience where they felt supported and safe.

I’d also been doing some consulting on the side for a few years, advising colleagues on leveling up their businesses, sharing my own experiences and what I’d learned from mistakes along the way. The long term goal was always that this would be the next chapter, but it seemed like it was still a few years away.

Then- a pandemic hit. Suddenly I was faced with the vulnerabilities of my close quarters, in-person business and needed a pivot that would allow me to be location independent and create something that I could adapt and grow with for the foreseeable future.

I took the experience I’ve gained from running a business, creating my own web presence, and advising colleagues and pursuing further technical education (thanks in part to St. Louis’s own LaunchCode!) to create Calliope Insights.

Over the last 2.5 years, Calliope Insights has formed into its current version where I help support overwhelmed small businesses who need help communicating their stories authentically with website design/development, strategic consulting, and brand development.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road, but it has been an interesting one. Pivoting a business during a global pandemic is not a scenario I would recommend, but I also know so many other businesses who had to do the same- thinking quickly on their feet, assessing assets and skills available, and pushing forward in the face of the odds. I know a lot of businesses that tried and didn’t make it over the last few years too, so I am incredibly grateful that I’m still here and continuing to grow.

A constant challenge I face is feeling like I don’t know enough because I don’t have it all figured out all the time. I will share some of the most important advice that I’ve even gotten that I pass on to anyone starting a business:

No one actually knows what they are doing.
Not always. Not fully.
But… the successful people will put the time in to figure it out OR find someone else who has figured that part out and listen to them.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Calliope Insights?
Calliope Insights was created to offer an alternative to many consulting and tech agencies out there, one based on collaboration and communication. I pride myself on listening to my client’s stories and developing a custom pathway that feels approachable, unique, and authentic to everything they have built. I see every project as the beginning of a relationship, and pride myself on being able to offer ongoing support for questions as their businesses grow.

I consider myself a business consultant before a website designer, a developer, or a marketer. Often people think they want a specialist- someone to come in and address the one pain point that feels like the path to success. I prefer to approach as a generalist, taking a holistic look at the business, the client’s goals, their budget, and their comfort level to find solutions. Sometimes that’s building or fixing a website, sometimes that’s making sure the brand the world sees fits with the story they are excited to tell, or sometimes they need a guide to bring their next project to life.

Most people who start a business have a passion that drives them, or else they probably wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of creating something new. I come in as a problem solver and facilitator, taking their vision and finding strategic ways to help connect with their audience. My goal is not just to help make a business better by increasing sales or connecting to more customers, it’s to also find ways to get my client’s TIME back to relax, spend with family, or dream up the next project.

I’m proud to have taken some of the work I did with trauma-informed care in the last chapter of my business story and incorporated it in my current consulting services. While trauma-informed care is becoming more common, there still aren’t enough resources specific to touch-based industries like massage therapy, chiropractic, or physical therapy. I created a special consulting project, calliopemassage.com , as a part of Calliope Insights dedicated to bringing trauma-informed care principals to touch based businesses to improve the efficacy and inclusivity of their practices through strategic consulting, trainings, and coaching.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
I can think of quite a few! I am a big believer in listening when someone smarter than me wants to share any insights. This is certainly not a complete list, because I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by smart, dynamic people who are generous with their support and advice. – My husband, Cesare Venegoni, has been an incredible supporter as I’ve built two businesses now. He is also an excellent systems thinker and that can help untangle things when my head gets full of Big Ideas. He’s an incredibly talented artist, and I often get his input on color palettes when I’m designing.

– I’ve been working with a business coach since last summer. Amber Howlett with Dharma Management provides what I like to call ‘business therapy’. She lets me verbal process and then interjects with the most insightful questions. Being a solo act can be really isolating, so having a professional relationship to discuss business stuff with is a huge help.

– I have a good friend who ran a large and very successful nonprofit for years who was the first person to be honest that successful people can also feel like they don’t know what they are doing. She has been a few steps ahead in her career and personal life, so I like to see her as a glimpse into a potential not-so-distant future.

– Lastly, my dad. Both my parents really, but my dad was a freelance artist and self-employed his whole life and seeing that modeled at a young age really inspired me. He’s been gone for a few years now, and sometimes I really wish I could compare notes with him. He designed my logo, so there is always a little bit of him reflected in the business.

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Image Credits
Virginia Harold

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