What Works

What Works

Tara McMullin
Dec 01, 2020 49 min

EP 311: Finding The Full Body Yes With Being Boss Host Emily Thompson

In This Episode: How Emily Thompson, host of Being Boss & founder of Almanac Supply Co, led herself through a year with plenty of twists & turns How she knew that taking over Being Boss on her own with the right decision for her & the vision she has How she managed herself through turning an in-person event into an online one The practice she uses to stay focused and present with her own experience What she did at Almanac Supply Co to replace a revenue stream lost to lockdown Well, folks—we’ve made it. It’s the final month of 2020 and we’ve been through a lot this year. I can’t even pretend to know what the year was like for you. I don’t know if you felt incredibly lonely or never got a moment to yourself after March 17th (or both). I don’t know if you finally confronted your racist uncle or spent precious energy reminding people that your life does matter. I don’t know if your business cratered or skyrocketed. I don’t know if you lost a loved one or welcomed a new life into your family. But what I do know is that, if you’re reading this right now, you led yourself through it. You found a way to cope. You found the strength to keep going. You nurtured the resilience to grow and adapt. And you should be proud of that. I’ve had the great privilege of getting the inside scoop on how hundreds of small business owners navigated the endless twists and turns of this year. I’ve watched as they rise to the occasion over and over again inside The What Works Network. I’ve observed their new self-care practices. I’ve seen how they reimagine their brands. I’ve witnessed them wait it out. And I’ve seen how how they’ve grown. This month, I wanted to take a look back at how they’ve led themselves through this wild year. So I spoke to 4 small business owners who each had a very different experience this year. What they all have in common, though, is a fine-tuned sense of self-leadership. Sometimes that self-leadership took the form of intentional practices of self-care. Other times, it was finding the courage the make big decisions. And still other times, their self-leadership stared down challenges with intense creativity & imagination. My first guest in this series is Emily Thompson, host of Being Boss and founder of Almanac Supply Company. Emily had a big year—she separated from her long-time business partner Kathleen Shannon. She reimagined the Being Boss business model. She pivoted an in-person event to the online space. And, she got creative about how to replace a major revenue stream for Almanac. Emily and I talk about all of these moments and much more. We’ll get into the conversation in just a minute. But first, I want to invite you to join me for a different kind of annual review. It’s happening on Instagram—and every day this month, I’m sharing a different question you can use to look back on the year. So whether the year has been up, down, or lots of ups & downs, these questions will help you reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how you’ve grown. Today’s question is: what did you create this year? Follow along by finding me on Instagram – I’m <a href="http://instagram.
Nov 24, 2020 41 min

EP 310: Unlearning Default Thoughts With Financial Coach Keina Newell

In This Episode: How financial coach Keina Newell realized she had a mindset problem–plus all the ways she tried to make things work without working on her mindset The personal practices she uses to notice her thoughts and create new ones How her sales process and revenue has shifted since she started addressing her mindset–and the incredible financial results she’s been able to create Why taking a more objective approach to noticing her thoughts has helped her keep her mind fresh and her options open Life teaches us a lot. Some of it is good and helpful—the skills that help us make our way in the world. And some of it… well, some of it ends up getting in our way. But we might not realize the friction that it’s causing or the opportunities that it’s blocking until things come to a head. Once you’ve discovered that there’s a problem with what you’ve already learned, what do you do? All this month, we’ve been talking about leveling up and learning new skills. But this week, we’re going to talk a bit about unlearning. Marga Biller, program director at the Harvard Learning Innovations Laboratory, defines unlearning like this: “Unlearning is learning to think, behave, or perceive differently, when there are already beliefs, behaviors, or assumptions in place (that get in the way), at either the individual or organizational level.” Often, we try to do or learn new things without addressing the beliefs, behaviors, and assumptions that we already have—even when those things are contradictory. For instance, it’s hard to speak up on social media and share your big message if you’ve learned through social conditioning or personal trauma that you can only be safe when you’re silent. It’s hard to ask for testimonials or write effectively about your offer if you’ve learned that humility is always playing down your achievements or ability. It’s hard to charge more for your services or products if you’ve learned that money is the root of all evil. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years: The job of entrepreneurship is so different and foreign to most of us that we don’t realize all the things we’ve learned that block our ability to do it effectively until we’re deep in it. Entrepreneurs have to unlearn trading time for money. They have to unlearn old management habits. They have to unlearn perfectionism. They often even have to unlearn old identities. Truly, the list could go on and on. But I won’t—I want to get to this week’s conversation because it’s a good one. This week, I’m talking with financial coach and the founder of Wealth Over Now, Keina Newell. Keina and I started this conversation with the frame that we were going to be talking about learning mindset skills. And we definitely talk about that. But after reflecting on this interview, I think what we talked about the most was unlearning many of the habits and patterns that she’d learned along the way. Keina and I talk about what she thought the problem was and how she tried to fix it before landing on learning and unlearning key mindset pieces, as well as the self-coaching system she used to final...
Nov 19, 2020 31 min

EP 309: How To Change Your Perspective

Today, you’re going to hear from four small business owners who have learned to see things in a new way–to shift their perspective–and as a result show up differently for themselves and their businesses. I’ve got stories from writing coach Beth Barany, Work Brighter founder Brittany Berger, business finance coach Lauren Caselli, and speech language pathologist and life coach Melissa Page Deutsch. Each one has a very different story of how they learned something new and it shifted their perspective. Pay attention to how that new perspective helped them see both their challenges and their opportunities in new ways. What Works Is Brought To You By Mighty Networks powers brands and businesses – like yours! – that bring people together.With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place: Your website Your content Your courses Your community Your events online and in real life And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand. Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.
Nov 17, 2020 46 min

EP 308: Leveraging Old Skills & Learning New Ones With Bouquet Stock Photography Founders Dana Kaye & Felton Kizer

In This Episode: Why Dana Kaye and Felton Kizer came together to build a stock photography business–and the important mission behind the company How the process of making things official helped them learn how to work with each other The skills they’ve learned as they have developed the new business, as well as how they’ve leveraged their existing business-building skills to give it a jumpstart Why they’re each playing the roles they are in the new business and how that’s guided the development of the business Starting a second—or third or fourth—business is a great test of your skills as an entrepreneur. On one hand, you’re reminded of all the things you learned getting the first venture or few off the ground. You can put those skills to use faster and avoid some of the hassle you went through when you did it before. On the other hand, there are inevitably new things to learn. You might need to pick up skills that come from using a different kind of business model. Or, you might need to learn some new software. Or, you might want to acquire some new marketing or sales skills to support the new company. Last year, I had to level up my own skills as the co-founder of my second company, YellowHouse.Media. YellowHouse.Media is the podcast production agency I run with my husband, Sean. Starting the new venture was a huge affirmation of skills that I already possessed. It was incredibly fun to design a business from scratch and see it come to fruition really fast—almost exactly how I had envisioned it. I even got to exercise skills around package design and pricing that I had learned but never put into practice. But there were also all kinds of new skills to learn, too. I needed to learn how to run the business model I had designed. I needed to develop new communication skills and new team-building skills. And I had to learn new software, too. Of course, the biggest learning curve was figuring out how to work with a business partner—and how to work with my husband. We’re still figuring that one out. All this month on What Works, we’re talking about leveling up our skills and, this week, I’ve got the inside scoop on a brand new joint venture that friend of the pod Dana Kaye and her new business partner Felton Kizer put together. Knowing what I’ve learned about my own second company, not to mention working with a business partner, I knew this conversation would teach us a lot about the skills that go into building a new business. You might remember that Dana Kaye is the founder of Kaye Publicity, a PR firm for authors, as well as the host of the podcast, Branding Outside The Box. Felton Kizer is a photographer and the founder of Off-Kilter Media. Together, they’ve just launched Bouquet Stock Photography. They wanted to see more people of color, those in the LGBTQIA+ community, non-binary folks,
Nov 10, 2020 51 min

EP 307: Mastering A New Model With The Light House Founder Christianne Squires

In This Episode: Why Christianne Squires created The Light House, a community for contemplative leaders, and how it differs from her first business, Bookwifery How she uses discernment to explore potential decisions and choose what action to take How the way she creates value has changed in her new community-based business model What she’s done to hone her skills for community building and how she sees her role in the business now Different kinds of businesses require different skills. Okay, maybe that’s obvious—but hear me out. I’m not talking about the skills that you offer as a product or service. I’m talking about the skills that you use to actually build and operate the business itself. Learning how to run a wholesale product business is different than learning how to run a creative agency is different than learning how to run a training company is different than learning how to run a digital products business is different than learning how to run a software as a service business. There is plenty of overlap. There are plenty of foundational concepts and skills that are key to each of these different business models. But when it comes to the specific craft of building a particular type of company, that is its own unique skill set. This month, we’re taking a closer look at how entrepreneurs level up their skills to build more effective and profitable businesses. I’ve been reminded just how specific the skills required to build a certain business model can be at least twice in recent memory. Most recently, I’ve been learning the ins and outs of building a productized service business and creative agency model as we grow our podcast production company, YellowHouse.Media. I had to reacquaint myself with retainer pricing, writing proposals, and managing projects—as well as helping clients navigate the ups and downs of birthing something as big as a podcast. A few years ago, though, I pivoted my coaching and training company into a community-based business. I’ve spent the last few years unlearning the expert marketing and product development model my business was originally based on and learning a new skill set around subscription pricing, retention, and community building. It’s been a ride! I had to rethink how we create value (and what that value even is). I had to take a fresh approach to how we market and sell. And I had to reconsider what leadership looks like in a peer-to-peer support community. This year—both as predicted and rushed along by the pandemic—has seen a wave of new community-based businesses. And lots of people are learning just how different this skill set is! I wanted to talk with someone else who has experienced this shift first hand and I was thrilled when Christianne Squires agreed to share her story. Christianne is the founder of The Light House and, formerly, Bookwifery. You’re going to hear all about these two businesses—and what makes them different from each other over the course of this conversation. You’ll also hear how Christianne has been nurturing her skills as a community builder and how that’s pushed her rethink how she creates value,
Nov 03, 2020 53 min

EP 306: Finding A New Way To Communicate With Writer Kris Windley

In This Episode: How writer Kris Windley learned illustration skills to level up the way she communicates The process she uses to figure out what she’s going to draw and how it’s going to enhance her writing The 3 ways she coaches herself through the hard parts in learning a new skill Where she draws motivation from to continue to learn new things and level up her skills The very first online course I ever created taught students how to build a WordPress website. I created the course about 10 years ago before drag & drop page builders were the norm and before premium themes were easily customized. Back then, building a website was a special kind of skill. If you wanted something custom, you had to know some HTML and some CSS and you had to know where to put it to make it do the things you wanted to do. The first time I taught the class, the sheer newness of what was involved hit the students like a tsunami. They felt in over their heads and they were quickly drowning among the flotsam & jetsam of page templates and child themes and stylesheets. I felt horrible. I wanted to teach them this new skill so badly. I wanted them to feel powerful and in control of their online presences. But instead, I felt like I had resigned them to the horrible fate of feeling confused and overwhelmed by something that seemed so central to building their businesses. We worked through it… but I knew I didn’t want a repeat of that. So the next time I taught the class, instead of diving into the first lesson, I shared a video with them where I explained what was going to happen—not in the class itself, but in their minds. I asked them to remember back to the last time they were learning something brand new—something that they had no point of reference for. I asked them to remember that it was hard at first but, little by little, it started to make sense and they were able to apply what they were learning. After I set this expectation, it was a little easier for everyone. There were still plenty of questions and problems learning the material—but there were far fewer freakouts and panic attacks! Not only were my students learning to build their websites, I was learning a valuable lesson about what it takes to learn a new, foreign skill as an adult. This month, we’re exploring how we level up by learning new skills. We all bring a unique skill set to our businesses. Some of us bring the skills we learned in school or corporate careers that transfer directly into the work we’re doing today. Others bring certifications and licenses from careers that no longer serve us. Some of us bring skills from our hobbies, personal adventures, or relationships. Others bring skills they had no idea would be useful but have been invaluable to their growth. The way we leverage our existing skills and learn new ones helps us to creatively solve business problems, invest ourselves in future outcomes, and differentiate our brands. Over the course of this month, we’ll hear from a number of small business owners who have spent time and energy on learning a new skill so they could level up some aspect of their businesses—or, in one case, start a new one. You’ll hear from Christianne Squires who committed to leveling up her community-building skills so she could serve her people in a new way.
Oct 29, 2020 33 min

EP 305: How To Keep Speaking Up (Even When Things Go Wrong)

I have a confession to make. This month, I committed to speaking up on Instagram Stories every day. I pledged to share something–not necessarily profound, not necessarily useful or valuable–just something. I didn’t follow through. In fact, as of the time of this recording, I’ve been hiding out for more than a week–not really publicly posting anything anywhere. What had been a consistent effort to creatively share my ideas, reflections, and stories has ground to a halt. Today, we’re talking about all the things that keep us from speaking up–and how we can work through them. This is far from the first time I’ve gone dark on social media. It’s the first thing to go when I start to feel overwhelmed and depressed. I’ve been fighting back a period of depression for over a year now and it’s just gotten to be too much. There is something different about going dark this time, though. So far, it’s only impacted social media. And, frankly, I don’t need to constantly post to social media to run my companies. What’s really different about how I’ve kept speaking up outside of social media is that systems and routines that I’ve put in place to help me maintain a consistent practice of using my voice and sharing my ideas. The What Works Weekly newsletter has still be going out every week. This podcast, of course, has still been produced every week. I’m still showing up to share and lead The What Works Network. My businesses can surviving without social media. They can’t survive without me speaking up. Twelve years into this small business leadership thing and I KNOW that my mental health impacts my ability to share. But it doesn’t have to stop me in my tracks. I can focus on systems that inspire me to share my thoughts and give me direction when I need it. I can commit to a sustainable pace for using my voice and pull back on any extra effort when it gets to be too much–without feeling bad about myself or my capacity. Speaking up for yourself and your business is no joke. Putting your ideas, stories, or information out there can be daunting. Any number of things might be going through your mind: Is this really helpful? Hasn’t this already been said a million times before? What if someone yells at me? Who am I to say this? What if they think I’m weird? Is anyone paying attention at all? What if it goes viral and I get inundated with replies? And it’s not just the head stuff that stops us! Sometimes the challenge is finding our people and speaking directly to them. Sometimes the obstacle is finding a message that makes a connection. Sometimes it’s the logistics or the technology that throw you for a loop. So many things can stand in the way of us speaking up for ourselves and our small businesses. Today, I’ve got 5 stories for you. Each story is from a small business owner who identified a hurdle they had to speaking up and found what worked for them to overcome it. You’ll hear from <a href="https://www.thepocketphd.
Oct 27, 2020 43 min

EP 304: Speaking To New Audiences With Rebel Therapist Founder Annie Schuessler

In This Episode: How Rebel Therapist podcast host Annie Schuessler found her voice as a podcaster—and how her show has evolved over time How she plans her content for her podcast and selects the guests she’ll have on the show Why she decided to start pitching other podcasts to have her on—and the process she uses to do it The techniques Annie uses to break through the fear of asking to be on other podcasts The number one way I’ve built my audience might surprise you. It’s NOT through especially useful or creative content. It’s not through some top secret ad targeting strategy. It’s definitely not through social media. It’s not even through this podcast. The number one way I’ve built my audience is by borrowing other people’s audiences. When I had a craft and design blog, I borrowed other people’s audiences by doing extensive write ups on makers I loved—who then enthusiastically shared that write up with their audience. When I started doing more business coaching & education, I guest posted on big name online marketing sites and their readers followed the links back to my site. As time went on, I borrowed audiences by appearing on podcasts and speaking for free. And of course, I borrowed the audience at CreativeLive for years—which is a move I still benefit from to this day. There are other ways to grow an audience—things like search engine optimization, PR, and—of course—advertising. But even at the heart of these tactics is the strategy of borrowing audiences from other sources. Now, even though borrowing audiences is something that I know works for me, I all too often forget to build that work into my plans. During our last What Works Network virtual conference, sales strategist Allison Davis shared that it’s the only way she’s working to grow her audience. Sure, she has some social media presence but her core strategy is borrowing other people’s audiences. Once Allison shared that, it became a hot topic of conversation: how do you borrow someone’s audience? How do you get in touch with the people who have the right audience for you and your work? How do you make the most of these opportunities? Today, we’re answering a bunch of those questions with Annie Schuessler from Rebel Therapist. Annie helps therapists and other healers move their businesses beyond private practice. She has her own podcast—also called Rebel Therapist—and we talk about how hosting her show has helped to use her voice. But we also dive into how Annie has been borrowing other people’s audiences all year long through a podcast tour, a concerted effort to pitch other hosts and appear on other shows. Not only has her tour been successful—but it’s helped create incredible results in her business, like overselling her last Create Your Program group coaching offer. We talk about how Annie finds shows to pitch, the research she does to pitch them, how she tracks her pitching, and how she’s overcome the fear she first felt when getting started on this project. Now, let’s find out what works for Annie Schuessler! What Works Is Brought To You By
Oct 20, 2020 45 min

EP 303: Creating A Curated Newsletter With #jesspicks Creator Jessica Williams

In This Episode: Why Jessica Williams created #jesspicks, the curated weekly newsletter for sidehustlers who love their day job How each edition of the newsletter is structured Why going “all in” has been the key to growing her subscriber list What her weekly workflow looks like to put the newsletter together How curating the newsletter has helped her to find her confidence as a writer When you think about someone sharing their message, you think about the writers, the speakers, the artists. You think about people who are creating original work. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to constantly be creating original work and finding something new to say. After all, that’s how we prove how valuable we are, right? But creating original work isn’t the only way to use your voice. Curators use their unique perspective and keen eye for connecting the dots to create value. They build and share their message by surfacing the work of others. They tell stories through the relationships between the pieces they choose to display side by side. I see my role as the host of this podcast as one of a curator. The way we choose the topics we’re going to cover, the conversations we’re going to showcase, and the small business owners we’re going to talk to is all an act of curation. I take a lot of pride in curating this show and thinking through how each theme relates to the next, how each conversation builds on the last, and how each guest is the opportunity to highlight a different story. I also send out a weekly newsletter where, yes, I do write an original little piece as a letter, but I also share a set of links that have caught my eye over the last week or so. It’s an opportunity for me to show my point of view by highlighting ideas and voices that don’t necessarily “make the rounds” in the small business space. By the way, if you don’t get What Works Weekly, can can subscribe by going to explorewhatworks.com/weekly I was inspired to add curation to my communication and marketing strategy by Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and currently creating & curating at Unemployable. Brian started talking about curation versus creation as a way to share your message and make an impact in the summer of 2019. He said that he had started to elevate the role of editor over writer because while there is a surplus of good writing, there was a poverty of attention. In that way, curation does double duty. It’s not only a way to share your perspective with your audience, it’s a way to do them the service of wading through the sea of original works to deliver what’s important to them. I’m all in on curating. And I think it’s something that most small business owners should consider as a potential way to use their voice and highlight their perspective. So to take things really meta, as I was curating this month’s Speak Up theme, I knew I wanted to include a curator. Jessica Williams came to mind. Jessica is the curator behind #jesspicks, a weekly newsletter for side hustlers. Jessica is herself a side hustler, working during the day at &yet,
Oct 13, 2020 46 min

EP 302: Connecting With Confidence with Brand Builders Academy Creator Suz Chadwick

I started my very first blog back on Xanga in 2003. I might be your internet grandma. I used my Xanga blog to share what I was thinking about my senior year of college and process a lot of the reading that I was doing about my field of study, contemporary and postmodern Christian theology. It was also full of personal updates and the musings of a 21-year-old young woman. Through my Xanga blog, I got to connect with people online. Some were old friends from high school. Others were strangers from the internet. It was exactly the kind of online social interaction that I loved as a hardcore introvert. Back when I was writing my Xanga blog, we were blissfully ignorant of the possibility that the companies that we used to facilitate this kind of online social interaction could conspire to use our data and online activity to manipulate us. All most of us saw was the possibility of a connected online community. I’m Tara McMullin and this is What Works, the show that takes you behind the scenes of how small business owners are building stronger businesses through uncompromising commitment and decisive action. My little Xanga blog didn’t last more than a year. But when I did find my way back to what was now being called social media, it was like rekindling lost love. I fell head over heels for sharing my experiences and opinions while meeting new people and cultivating new relationships online. I happily admit that I spent loads of time on social media connecting with people—and, in the process, connected my way to a large audience and plenty of authority. But then, things started to get a little rocky. I started playing to the audience instead of connecting with people. The updates and emails I shared were less about connecting and more about broadcasting. I stopped writing for one person at a time and started writing for thousands. These relationships that felt so natural and genuine started to feel strained. My interactions started to be less about connection and more about transaction. Over the last few years, I’ve been working on things. I’ve been focused on prioritizing connection again and sharing more naturally again, instead of trying to work the system and grow my audience. And I like it. I’m back to meeting new people, having loads of side conversations, and sharing without some grand plan. That leads me to today’s guest. Suzanne Chadwick is so good at showing up and connecting with people. In fact, she does it every week day morning—a habit we talk about during this conversation. Suz is a bold branding, business, and speaker coach who helps women create businesses that fit their lifestyle. Her coaching helps female entrepreneurs show up in bold ways and share their messages online and on stages. I invited Suz onto the show to talk about how she cultivates the confidence and go-getterness that exudes from the way she speaks up. And I expected to have a conversation about going big—and we did—but my big takeaway from this conversation is in how much she prioritizes the small ways she can connect with people, the little things she does to make people feel seen and included. So I hope you listen for that and consider how that can apply to the way you speak up and show up, too. Now, let’s find out what works for Suz Chadwick!
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