The Local Look: Idea Lemon

Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan believe everyone has an “inner awesome.” That was the governing philosophy behind Idea Lemon, a 2012 side project that has turned into a full-on personal branding and marketing educational platform that helps individuals stand out from the crowd and make their mark on their field. We talked to co-founders McGovern (the company’s “Inspector Gadget,” as his title will tell you) and Nathan (“Curious George”) about how they’ve built a company by helping Chicago’s “creative entrepreneurs and midnight hustlers.”

Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan help creatives and entrepreneurs turn ideas into lemonade with creative branding.

Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan help creatives and entrepreneurs turn ideas into lemonade with creative branding.

Why did you choose Chicago?  

Chicago is in our blood. We both grew up in the suburbs and have lived in the city for almost a decade. We both attended DePaul, and that’s where we really started to come into our own. We always tell people to “create the things you want to see in the world.” Architect Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans.” Our mantra lines up with the man who built the Second City. Pretty cool, right?

If you could go back in time before you became involved in running the business and share one piece of advice with yourself, what would you tell yourself?

We each have a piece of advice for our former selves. Rajiv’s is don’t try to be fancy and buzzwordy with how you talk to people and brand your work. Talk like a real person to attract real people. Martin’s is don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you put it out there. Say it and share it.

What are your next steps?  

We’re accepting applications to pre-enroll in our new online course, designed to help creative entrepreneurs and midnight hustlers better brand their work and make an impact. The course is titled Launch Your Side Project: Craft Your Voice, Find Your Tribe, Get Noticed as an Expert.

We also take our Discover Your Inner Awesome podcast on the road in August, headed out west and back for a month-long road trip where we’ll interview people who have built lifestyles they love.

We want to be in the know!  Name one person, place or thing that you think is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets—a secret until now, of course.  

Martin recommends the flotation Space Time Tanks in Lincoln Park. Think of it like packing a month of meditation into one hour and enjoy the ride (or stillness?)!

Rajiv recommends The Gala Open Mic Night in Wicker Park. It’s held on the second Monday of every month, and it’s filled with Chicago’s most creative performers. You’ll probably even catch me on stage rapping.

Q&As are edited for clarity and length.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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