What Works

Tara McMullin

Go behind the scenes with small business owners to discover what really works

All Episodes

This show is called What Works for a reason. Sometimes it's a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it's a question, "What works?" Today's episode is very much a question, many questions, really: What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices? What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff? What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist? And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems? My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business. Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she's used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we're building. To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently. Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist? While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that's why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show. This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I'm confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger. We start out by defining what we're really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices. Now, let's take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems! The post EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann appeared first on What Works.

Sep 15

71 min

Today's guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group. Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world. Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most. And that launch was a smash. Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it! The post EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt appeared first on What Works.

Sep 8

45 min

Today, I'm talking with my friend Autumn Witt Boyd, the founder of The AWB Firm, which specializes in helping online business owners protect what they've built. Autumn and I talk about why she started tinkering with her sales process in the first place, the speed bumps she experienced along the way, why her sales process ended up too automated, and how she's taken a more human approach and actually gotten much better results. The post EP 296: Putting The Humanity Back In Sales With Lawyer Autumn Witt Boyd appeared first on What Works.

Sep 1

36 min

The market is constantly changing. New technology, new trends, new players. We can either treat the constant changing and uncertainty as a threat… …or we can treat it as an invitation to see everything we do as a work in progress. All this month, we’ve been looking at the process of value creation–how we wind […] The post EP 295: It’s Always A Work In Progress appeared first on What Works.

Aug 25

21 min

Hey, it’s Tara McMullin, and this is a special bonus episode of What Works, the show that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how small business owners take decisive action to build a stronger business. This is the third and final episode in a series on how I’ve approached creating and delivering value through the […] The post BONUS: Refining How I Offer Business Support Over The Long-Term appeared first on What Works.

Aug 20

17 min

Refining the product or service you already offer can be as good—or even better—for giving your business a shot of energy as offering something new. When you refine or repackage your offer, new people might notice it who passed it by before. New methods of delivery might give you back some serious time. A new price point might unlock a new level of profitability for your business. A new message or angle on what you really offer could open your eyes to a whole new way to market what you do. In other words, refining your offer could lead to a new, bold vision for your whole business! This is exactly what I talked about with today's guest, Michelle Markwart Deveaux, founder of FaithCultureKiss voice studio and the SpeakEasy Cooperative. Michelle is a voice teacher... as well as champion for voice teachers who want to empower students, performers, podcasters, and voice talent of all kinds to use their voices in powerful ways. Michelle started out teaching voice with the same kind of offer you'd expect any voice, piano, or instrument teacher to use. Students paid her for each lesson and they called it a day. But as she started to hate how transactional that method was and how guilty it made her feel for doing work outside of her lessons, she started to refine her offer—and ended up creating a whole new model for teaching voice. We get into all of that and more, including how she doubled her rates and delivered 3x the value, how she structures her packages, and how she got started teaching voice online. Plus, we talk about how she took what she learned refining her original voice teaching offer and created a new offer to help other voice teachers, too. The post EP 294: Refining Your Offer With SpeakEasy Cooperative Founder Michelle Markwart Deveaux appeared first on What Works.

Aug 18

51 min

In This Episode: Why Sean and Tara McMullin chose to “productize” their full-service podcast production offer at YellowHouse.Media… and what productized services actually are What’s included in the package they offer–and why they don’t often custom or a la carte services How the productized service model allowed them to quickly create a small group coaching […] The post BONUS: Why We Chose Productized Services For YellowHouse.Media appeared first on What Works.

Aug 13

14 min

Offer development is an incredibly important part of running a service-based business. Without a careful strategy and thoughtful process behind how you create value, you are likely to get stuck in the trap of trading time for money or wind up overwork & overwhelmed. That’s why I wanted to make sure we included a bespoke service-based business in this series on creating value. I invited India Jackson, the founder of Flaunt Your Fire, a full-service brand visibility agency, to share her approach to how she creates value and constructs the services she offers clients. India is clear on what her agency does and what it does not do. She’s clear on why her agency offers the types engagements it does and why some projects just aren’t right for them. And, she’s clear on how her team adds value to the services the agency provides—so India isn’t stuck doing everything herself. Even if you don’t run a service-based business, this conversation has a lot to offer. Listen in and consider how you might be trying to do too much with your product-based business or how you’ve succumb to making offers that aren’t aligned with your values or best work. The post EP 293: Offering Bespoke Services With Flaunt Your Fire Founder India Jackson appeared first on What Works.

Aug 11

45 min

This is a special bonus episode of What Works--the show that takes you behind the scenes of how small business owners take decisive action to build a stronger business. This is the first episode in a three-part series taking a closer look at what's worked for me as I've developed a new ways to create and deliver value over the years, both here at What Works and now at YellowHouse.Media. Today I'm sharing how our latest What Works offer, a live program called The Commitment Blueprint came to be—tracing it from its humble beginnings as the seed of a major life and business shift for me to a successful webinar, to a paid template, and finally to the live program version. The post BONUS: How I Created 2 New Offers When People Asked Me, “What’s Next?” appeared first on What Works.

Aug 6

14 min

This month, we’re focusing on how small businesses create & deliver value. How do we develop new offers? Put together new packages? Build new products? We’ll be deep diving into 3 businesses and how they create & deliver value. I’ll also be sharing a series of short bonus episodes looking back at how I’ve created & delivered value over the years—and how that process continues to evolve both at What Works and at YellowHouse.Media. Plus, we’ll close out the series by hearing from a few more business owners who have found creative ways to create and deliver value through the offers they make. As I mentioned earlier, “What’s next?” is often a question that helps you figure out how to create and deliver value beyond what you’re already doing. A product or service that solves a particular problem might shine some light on the next problem that needs to be a solved. A product or service that creates a delightful experience might simply leave the customer asking for more. Or “What’s next?” might simply be a request to go deeper, keep working together longer, or investigate new possibilities. Alisha Robertson found herself with a whole bunch of customers asking her “What’s next?” after she released a book called Living Over Existing. After a lot of thought, some customer research, some soul-searching, Alisha came up with her next move. Alisha and talk about how the LOE Collective came to be, how she’s set up her community to meet those “What’s next” needs, and how she created the Intentional Success Path to guide her members through more “What’s next” questions. Plus, Alisha shares why she also created a physical welcome kit to send to her new members. The post EP 292: Figuring Out What’s Next For Your Offer With LOE Collective Founder Alisha Robertson appeared first on What Works.

Aug 4

41 min

The future is hazy. It's unknowable. And that makes taking decisive action to build a stronger business much more challenging. But we have a choice. We can either fight it--and metaphorically try to shake that damn ball until we have a complete picture of what the future is going to be. Or we can make decisions based on the information we have, a solid understanding of our goals, and an acceptance of the uncertainty of it all. Waiting until you have all the answers you need or want is a great way to keep spinning your wheels. While embracing uncertainty might be risky and it's can definitely be scary, but it's the only way we move forward. This month, we looked at 3 different stories of embracing uncertainty. Lou Blaser told us how a big life change allowed her to look at her business in a new way and see how she could finally build the business she'd been dreaming about for years. Sarah Avenir shared how she leads herself and her team through uncertainty. And Cher Hale told us about getting clearer and clearer on her vision for life and business--and the big moves it required of her. We're rounding out this conversation about embracing uncertainty today by hearing from 4 more small business owners: Podge Thomas, Melissa Dinwiddie, Kat Lu, and Amy Feierman. Each entrepreneur embraced uncertainty in a way that allowed them to move forward despite not having all the answers or a guarantee of what the future would hold. My guess is that you'll hear a version of situation or question you're wrestling with right now in at least one of these stories. The post EP 291: Reply Hazy. Try Again. appeared first on What Works.

Jul 28

29 min

My guest is Cher Hale, the founder of Ginkgo Public Relations. Cher is full of incredible stories of figuring out what she wants and taking action to make it happen—from making a big personal moving, to going full-time with her business, to embracing a bold new "why" for her business. We talk about why she made the move from working on the Vegas Strip to getting weird in Portland, how she used retainer clients to take her business full-time, and how she rewrote some of the harmful mindsets she held. We also talk about her mother's erotic romance novels and how Cher was inspired to make a big shift in who she serves with her business and why. Don't worry—this interview is completely PG. Now, let's find out What Works for Cher Hale! The post EP 290: Discovering Your Vision With Ginkgo Public Relations Founder Cher Hale appeared first on What Works.

Jul 21

42 min

I wanted to dig into what leading a team or community through a crisis can look like, and I could think of no one better to talk to about this than my friend Sarah Avenir. Sarah Avenir—who you might know better as Sarah J. Bray—recently took the helm as the CEO of &yet, a digital development and strategy agency. Sarah is an incredibly thoughtful leader and I knew her approach on leading both herself and her team through this time would be an insightful look at embracing uncertainty. Sarah and I chat about how she became CEO of &yet, how she considers herself a naturally fearful person, and why a key part of her leadership is knowing others have her back. We also talk about how she structures her time, team, and approach to her work so she can focus on her own role and let other people do their job. The post EP 289: Leading Through Uncertainty with &yet CEO Sarah Avenir appeared first on What Works.

Jul 14

51 min

We are all facing uncertainty--as we do every day. So I wanted to talk with business owners who have their own stories about embracing uncertainty this month and the first person I thought of was Lou Blaser, the founder & host of Second Breaks. I've watched Lou embrace uncertainty over and over again throughout the years. I've watched her step outside her comfort zone and I've watched her take courageous action. Earlier this year, she announced that she'd made the decision to upend her business, then a career coaching company for late Boomers and Gen Xers, and move back to the Philippines to help out with her aging m. And while she could have tried to continue with her business as is--she made the bold move to use the change as a way to rethink everything. That's where this conversation starts--and throughout, Lou and I talk about how her business has evolved, the questions she asked herself to create the new plan, how she could use her existing assets in new ways, and how she started experimenting with her new ideas. The post EP 288: Rethinking Your Business Amidst Change With Second Breaks Founder Lou Blaser appeared first on What Works.

Jul 7

59 min

This week, we asked members of The What Works Network to share one thing they thought they knew about money but later discovered wasn't true. Each shared a narrative or bias that held them back from fully embracing their business and their earning potential. As you listen, consider which of these narratives are ones you're currently operating with and how you could start reevaluating them. What would you do differently if you reprogrammed those money thoughts? What decisions would you make if you claimed a new money narrative? You'll hear from Charlene Lam, a curator and social media strategist, Maggie Patterson, the founder of Scoop Studios, Carol Hamilton, the founder of Grace Social Sector Consulting, and Anna Wolf, the founder of Superscript Marketing. The post EP 287: The Things We Thought We Knew About Money appeared first on What Works.

Jun 30

28 min

As you grow as a business owner, you can start to anticipate market changes and plan for the way your cost of goods increases. You can set a goal to position your brand in a certain way and you can become smarter about your target market so you understand the value of what you're offering more fully. And perhaps most importantly... You can plan for the ways your cost of doing business will evolve. You can anticipate the team members you'll hire. You can plan for the software upgrades you'll need. You can build in margin to cover unforeseen circumstances or changes in the market that impact your bottom line. Very, very few business owners do this from the start. But over time, you can get better and better at your pricing strategy—and even your overall financial strategy—so that you're planning for the future instead of reacting to it. And that's exactly what I'm talking about with today's guest, Tiffany Whipps. Tiffany is the founder and designer behind Fire + Mineral Jewelry. Tiffany has been designing jewelry full-time since 2012 and she'd be the first to admit that her pricing strategy has become a lot more sophisticated since she put together her first line sheet on a whim. I originally invited Tiffany onto the show to showcase how money flows through product-based businesses. And we absolutely talk about that. But we also talk about how Tiffany's approach to money has grown more sophisticated over time, as well as how she's now pricing for the business she wants to have instead of the business she has right now. Tiffany and I talk about how her pricing strategy has evolved over the years, why she's focused on products that have more long-term value as opposed to what's trendy right now, and how she's using her goals to set prices for her new work. The post EP 286: Pricing For The Future With Fire + Mineral Jewelry Founder Tiffany Whipps appeared first on What Works.

Jun 23

37 min

This week, we're taking a look at what happens when you're able to go all in on every aspect of building your business—product, marketing, and operations—and how that impacts how money flows through your business. To do that, I talked with Marie Poulin. Now, Marie has been on the podcast several times now. Most recently, I spoke with her about her decision to not build a business that scales. Funnily enough, at just about the time that interview aired, things started to change for Marie. Marie found something she could go all in on. And suddenly her path to the right product, the right marketing, and the right operations became clear—as did the path to making money with ease. In this conversation, Marie and I talk about how she transformed her business when she stopped resisting and found the thing she could go all in on. We talk about how the way she makes money has changed, how she's finding her customers, how it's all impacted her personal finances, and what she's investing in now that her business is growing with ease. The post EP 285: Going All In With Strategist Marie Poulin appeared first on What Works.

Jun 16

42 min

In This Episode: Why grief & trauma worker Jennifer Patterson prices a significant portion of her work using a sliding scale How a sliding scale system increases accessibility to valuable healing work for people from disadvantaged and marginalized communities Why Jennifer priorities clear & direct communication when it comes to how people find the right […] The post EP 284: Pricing On A Sliding Scale With Corpus Ritual Founder Jennifer Patterson appeared first on What Works.

Jun 9

47 min

In This Episode The single most important lesson Tara McMullin learned about money in the last 5 years How that lesson rippled through her business and personal development as a leader Why this lesson also led with taking stock of how much her sense of credibility was tied to the money she makes How Sean […] The post EP 283: Taking Stock Of Our Evolving Relationships To Money with Tara & Sean McMullin appeared first on What Works.

Jun 2

67 min

I was not a girl scout. But I love merit badges. As in, few things thrill me more than earning recognition for learning or doing something. I've been chasing merit badges all my life—so much so that the pursuit of merit badges has often led me away from what I really want out of life... and toward what will earn me the next badge. I've taken numerous jobs I didn't want just to get the merit badge. I've agreed to plenty of collaborations I didn't really want just to get the merit badge. And, I've chased a bunch of goals that didn't really inspire me just to get the merit badge. Every merit badge I earn is just another attempt to prove to myself that I'm good enough, that I'm worthy. And each merit badge I earn only convinces me that the next merit badge will be the one that finally makes me happy. It's only been in the last couple of years that I made this realization. And I did so with the support of my husband, my team, and coaching. Now that I know about my merit badge pattern, I'm always on the lookout for it. I've rearranged my goal-setting, planning, and decision-making so that I have a better opportunity to notice when I'm stretching toward something I really want... or gunning for another merit badge. I know I'm not the only person who always has her eye on the next merit badge. There's a good chance that, as a listener of this show, you're also keen on collecting accomplishments and achievements. Maybe that's been helpful for you... and maybe it's gotten you off track. Maybe it's been a result of your own sense of self-worth... and maybe it's been an attempt to prove it. My guest today found herself in a similar situation to me—always trying to prove she was good enough by climbing the rungs of her chosen career ladder: opera singing. But when she earned the merit badge she had most wanted her whole life, she realized that she still wasn't happy. I'll let her tell that story—but, listener, I can relate. And that's why I so wanted to bring Shirin Eskandani onto the show. Shirin has done a lot of work on rewriting this pattern and she's found support for that work through coaching. Today, Shirin is not a full-time opera singer. She's a full-time coach herself. Shirin is a life coach, public speaker and writer who specializes in mindfulness and mindset work. She has been a featured wellness expert on the Today Show and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Shirin’s holistic approach to transformation is influenced by her background in meditation, spirituality and the arts. We talk about achieving her childhood dream and realizing she still wasn't happy, as well as how she started to choose the thoughts that would help her feel the way she wants to feel, made the leap to coaching, and found her why. We also talk about coaching as a support structure and how coaching can help you embrace who you really want to be. The post EP 282: Finding Support Through Coaching With Wholehearted Coaching Founder Shirin Eskandani appeared first on What Works.

May 26

40 min

All this month, we've looked at the challenges--and opportunities--that small business owners face in getting the support they need to feel confident and prepared. We've looked at mental health support, we've examined peer support, and we dug into coaching. This week, we asked 4 of our community members to share times when they've experienced a profound sense of support and I'm thrilled with how each of them shared a different form of support. Rebel Therapist founder Annie Schuessler shared how being honest & vulnerable with her peers has made a huge impact on her and her business. Business coach Justine Clay shared how a year-long program and accountability partner helped her get a new business off the ground. Voice coach and Speakeasy Collective founder Michelle Markwart Deveaux shared how her team supports her--and has helped her see herself and her role in a new way. And coach Leigh Johnson brings it all home by sharing how important different types of support and mindset about support was key to the growth and then exit from her last business. As you listen, I encourage you to think about the support you already have available to you--because it's probably more than you realize on a daily basis! And I also want you to think about what support you might need to call on more or find new structure for. The post EP 281: Business Support Comes In All Shapes & Sizes appeared first on What Works.

May 21

25 min

I started learning about high-functioning anxiety from our guest today, Nancy Jane Smith. The way Nancy described anxiety was nothing like what I thought of anxiety to be... but was everything about my experience of the world. I've shared on the podcast before that only recently did I realize I was living with chronic anxiety. I had always identified as dealing with chronic depression and didn't recognize my normal-for-me mental state was one of high anxiety. But the more I've learned from Nancy, the more I've learned about my own brand of anxiety. Nancy is an expert in High Functioning Anxiety. Nancy is trained as a licensed professional counselor and therapeutic coach. She's the author of The Happier Approach book and the host of The Happier Approach podcast. And, she lives every day with high functioning anxiety. People with high functioning anxiety respond to anxiety by over-performing, by showing up to do all the things, by trying to be so good that nothing bad can happen. That's pretty much me in a nutshell. And it's absolutely how I started off this whole crisis. I figured that I could perform my way into sanity and certainty. Well, listener, I could not. And neither can you. Now, Nancy and I recorded this interview before the cancelled events, the lockdowns, and the economic uncertainty. So we don't talk about this collective experience explicitly. But if you listen between the lines, you'll hear it. It's there. We might not have known it was coming yet but everything we talk about applies to this unique period of time because high functioning anxiety is so dang predictable. In this interview, Nancy and I talk about how she thrives with high functioning anxiety as a business owner, how she's structured her business to support her with this challenge, and who she relies on for the support she needs. Whether high functioning anxiety is your normal to or whether you're listening as someone who is interested in the many ways we find what works for our unique situations, I think this episode will be really enlightening. The post EP 280: Thriving With High Functioning Anxiety With The Happier Approach Host Nancy Smith appeared first on What Works.

May 19

40 min

Last year, at an in-person gathering of one of the masterminds that we run at What Works, one participant told me that they didn't really need anyone to tell them what to do with their business. They knew exactly what they should be doing. Instead, they said they needed people to ask why they weren't doing it. That's why they were in the mastermind group. To me, that's the perfect illustration of how a mastermind group can support business owners who are committed to—not just learning a new marketing skill or figuring out how to launch a new product—but to becoming a more whole entrepreneur and building a business that works exceptionally well. I've been running mastermind groups of one sort or another for about 5 years and I have a lot to say on the subject. But I didn't want you to just get my thoughts... So I invited someone equally as passionate about masterminding as I am, Sarah K. Peck, the founder of Startup Pregnant. Sarah was on the show before talking about how the Startup Pregnant podcast got started—but the whole business and community of Startup Pregnant has evolved and grown a ton since then. Check out Episode 134 for our original conversation. Today, Sarah and I jam about masterminding—how we participate in masterminds, how we facilitate masterminds, and how we leverage them in our businesses. We also talk about the role masterminding plays in how you get support as an entrepreneur and we talk through how we structure sessions for the best outcomes. The post EP 279: Leveraging Masterminds For Support With Startup Pregnant Founder Sarah Peck appeared first on What Works.

May 12

91 min

This month, we're tackling that feeling of loneliness and the different kinds of support we can lean on to feel grounded and whole. Today, we're kicking things off with Chris Brogan, an author, speaker, and consultant who has been incredibly forthcoming about his own experience with depression and anxiety. Chris helps business owners feel less lonely by vulnerably sharing what he's going through on a regular basis and by regularly offering his support to those who are in the throws of mental health challenges. Post by post, conversation by conversation, Chris is doing his part of reduce the stigma of depression, anxiety, and even failure. You might know Chris from his New York Times bestselling book, Trust Agents, or maybe you've heard him speak on a stage or podcast. He's an incredibly prolific content creator as well as leader, connector, and all-around friendly guy. Chris and I talk about how depression and anxiety impact his life and work, how he's structured his business to work with his mental health challenges, and how he knows what work to push through on and what can be dropped. We also talk about why he's made such an effort be visible and helpful as he goes through the ups and downs he experiences on a regular basis. The post EP 278: Prioritizing Your Mental Health With Chris Brogan appeared first on What Works.

May 5

51 min

We've covered a lot of territory with the tools we use to run our businesses over the last month. And we're going to cover a little more today. But I think this mindset shift around how we use technology and develop systems has been a thread that has tied all of our episodes together. Whether it was my conversation with Sean, or Jessica, or Prerna, or Holly & Arryn, I hope you picked up on the strategy that these business owners use when it comes to picking and working with tools. That strategy isn't just about what tools or systems they use. It's really a bigger mindset around how they run their businesses. They expect to be running, building, and growing these businesses for years to come and so they choose tools, systems, and workflows that make that easier. Today, I want to share 3 more business owners and their favorite tools with you. You'll hear from designer & illustrator Cynthia Oswald, operations manager Heidi Johnson, and software engineer Rachel Ober. Each one is sharing a tool that's dramatically changed the way they do business--each in completely different ways. The post EP 277: 3 Tools These Small Business Owners Swoon Over appeared first on What Works.

Apr 30

15 min

My guests today are Holly Myers and Arryn Grogan from Lift With Holly And Arryn. They were running an online personal training business before taking your personal training business online was corona-cool! I found Holly and Arryn through my Instagram gym family and fell in love with their joy, strength, and precision. Their content is incredibly useful and very fun and real at the same time. Because Holly and Arryn specialize in training other coaches on the techniques they've mastered, they realized that online coaching was a great fit for them early on. Instead of constraining their client base to their hometown, they're able to coach people from all over—and coach while they're on the road, as well. In this episode, we talk about the tools and systems they've used to build their online training business—including the equipment they prefer, the software they use for coaching, the system they use for putting together programs, and how they build content for Instagram. We also talk about some of their favorite tools for working on the road. The post EP 276: Tools For Building An Online Personal Training Business With Holly Myers and Arryn Grogan From Lift With Holly & Arryn appeared first on What Works.

Apr 28

35 min

And this week, I'm talking with Prerna Malik about the tools she uses to run her copywriting agency, Content Bistro. Yes, Prerna and I get into the specific tools she uses—things like Google Drive, Notion, and CrazyEgg. But we also talk a lot about her process—how she does what she does. Like I said, process is the most valuable tool in your business and your process should determine the tools that you use. Prerna's approach certainly demonstrates this. Her tools help her make her process work. They help her make her process more efficient. And ultimately, it's her process that's helped her build an incredible business. The post EP 275: Tools For Building A Copywriting Agency With Content Bistro Founder Prerna Malik appeared first on What Works.

Apr 21

45 min

We're continuing our series on the tools we use to run our small businesses by taking a look at the tools a content-driven business uses to create, manage, and publish all that content—as well as how it actually drives revenue, too. I could think of no one better than my friend Jessica Stansberry to talk content & tools with. Jessica is a YouTuber, podcaster, and fellow lover of tools. She's the host of Grit, a podcast about business and lifestyle design. She's also produces videos on planning, productivity, business, and marketing for over 66,000 subscribers on YouTube. Jessica and I chat about the hardware, software, and systems she uses to manage it all—plus her criteria for selecting or switching tools! I also asked her about the tools she uses to manage her life outside of business. The post EP 274: The Tools That Power A Content-Driven Business With Grit Host Jessica Stansberry appeared first on What Works.

Apr 14

44 min

This month, we're going to take a deep dive into the tools that different businesses rely on to run. We'll talk software, systems, and processes—plus how it all works together. We'll talk about how things have changed, what's stayed the same, and how to know when it's time to switch up your tools. And, we'll talk with business owners that run different kinds of businesses—digital products, 1:1 services, and agencies. Focusing on tools is especially relevant right now because many business owners are looking for ways to run more efficiently and more effectively so that they can boost profit or create new streams of revenue as the economy is changing. We're also trying out new tools to cope with interruptions and stress. So in this kick off episode, I wanted to talk about both of those pieces of the puzzle with my podcasting partner-in-crime, my husband and the production coordinator for What Works, Sean McMullin. Together, Sean and I run YellowHouse.Media, a full-service podcast production agency that specializes in helping small business owners create standout podcasts that power their marketing and sales. We'll get into the tools we use to run YellowHouse—including how we set up client dashboards, manage projects, edit audio, and consult on content strategy. But first, we wanted to share some of the tools we're using to mange stress and anxiety right now. Let's get into it! The post EP 273: The Tools We Use To Run a Podcast Production Agency with YellowHouse.Media Co-Founders Sean and Tara McMullin appeared first on What Works.

Apr 7

72 min

Today, I'm joined by Stasia Savasuk, the creator of Stasia's Style School. Stasia helps people find the courage, clarity, and congruency to rock their personal style. Stasia's personal story—and how she's turned her passion into a thriving business—will shed light on all the hangups you might have about your personal style and the way your personality plays into the brand you're building. The post EP 272: Making Your Brand Personal With Stasia’s Style School Creator Stasia Savasuk appeared first on What Works.

Mar 31

44 min

This weekend, I spent money at my local brewery because I want to support them as they try to keep their workers employed. I spent money at a local cafe. And I spent money at Whole Foods, which might be a big corporation but one that does a helluva lot of good for its workers and our local economy. These brands are really important to me. They represent my home, my friends, and the world that I want to live in. I value their presence and I want to see them thrive. They've worked hard to build brands that truly connect with people. The small business owners we support at The What Works Network are doing the same. We asked 4 of them to share how they approach brand-building and what they've done to create a genuine connection between how they show up and the people they care about. Now, I want to let you know that each of these contributions was recorded before the outbreak had fully hit North America. But I think sharing them with you and inviting you to think about how you want to approach your own brand-building is more important than ever. You'll hear from Layla Pomper from Process-Driven, Lou Blaser from Second Breaks, Julie O'Hara from Hearts & Brains Consulting, and Margy Thomas from ScholarShape. Let's get into it! The post EP 271: Brand-Building Is More Important Than Ever appeared first on What Works.

Mar 26

25 min

My guest today is Martinus Evans, the host of the 300lbs And Running podcast and the founder of the Slow AF Run Club. Martinus isn't very "on brand" either if you consider a runner someone wears short shorts and only eats salads. But Martinus is very much a runner. And Martinus has built a brand around rebranding who you think of when you think of a runner. Today, we're talking about building a brand that defies convention and stereotypes. Martinus and I chat about how he got started sharing his journey to become a runner, how his first race changed his own idea of who a runner is, and why Toastmasters played a big part in him finding the confidence to go big. We also talk about dealing with negativity online and why he chose to create the Slow AF Run Club as a standalone community instead of a Facebook group. The post EP 270: Building A Brand That Defies Stereotypes With 300 Pounds And Running Host Martinus Evans appeared first on What Works.

Mar 24

39 min

The hardest part of rebranding has been rebuilding the idea our customers and community have about who we are and what we do for them. That process is never a one-way conversation. It's collaborative and co-creative, especially in a community-based business like ours. My guest today also runs a community-based business and she's intimately familiar with the role that her community members play in the brand she's building. Sara Dean is the founder and host of Shameless Mom Academy. As the Shameless Mom Academy podcast started to take off, Sara realized that what she was creating wasn't just hers. It wasn't just her sharing her thoughts and stories behind a mic and her audience listening, all from their respective houses, in their separate communities. No, Shameless Mom Academy was a connection between women wrestling with their identities as mothers and ambitious women. This connection was the real story, the real brand powering an emerging business. Today, Sara leads the Momentum Mamas membership community, the Tenacious Mamas business & leadership mastermind, and Shameless Mom Con where she brings the whole community together to co-create the foundation of this brand—and celebrate their shameless motherhood. Sara and I talk about the personal identity crisis that inspired her to start the podcast, how she started with a vision for making a big impact but not making a big business, how she's leaning into imperfect action, and how the Shameless Mom Academy brand has evolved. The post EP 269: Co-Creating A Brand In Community With Shameless Mom Academy Host Sara Dean appeared first on What Works.

Mar 17

41 min

What impact with the global coronavirus pandemic have on small business owners? Some are already feeling the crunch. Others are planning for the long-term fallout. Tara McMullin talks with financial behaviorist Jacquette Timmons, event organizer Lauren Caselli, and lawyer Autumn Witt Boyd about how they're experiencing the impact of COVID-19. The post SPECIAL: COVID-19 And The Impact On Small Business Owners appeared first on What Works.

Mar 14

51 min

This week, my guest is Alyssa Catalano, the co-founder of Studebaker Metals—a metalsmithing and accessories brand that epitomizes focused and intentional choices. Alyssa and the Studebaker Metals team have made careful brand choices about everything from how they style their products to how their products are categorized to the tools they use to craft their products to the messaging behind the products. Alyssa and I talk about the unconventional choice to produce unisex accessories, why slow is fast and what that has to do with their brand positioning, and how their brand plays out in advertising, plus the roles of timelessness and place in how their brand is built. The post EP 268: Creating A Focused & Intentional Brand With Alyssa Catalano from Studebaker Metals appeared first on What Works.

Mar 10

43 min

Today, we're talking to Gina Bianchini from Mighty Networks. Now, as you probably already know, Mighty Networks is a sponsor of What Works. Plus, we're proud users of their community-building and course delivery software. And, as such, I've seen the Mighty Networks team go through a careful brand evolution over the last 3 years. In fact, Mighty Networks brand evolution is a perfect case study in co-creating a brand with the people who engage with it and that's exactly what I wanted to talk with Gina about. Gina and I chat about what's stayed the same and what's changed over the last few years as Mighty Networks has grown and grown. You'll hear about Gina's light bulb moment, how building a community for Mighty Networks users helped her see how people were really using the software, and why she decided to build an online course. Plus, you'll hear how all of this learning helped Mighty Networks create a stunning new visual brand, in-house, in less than 1 week. The post EP 267: Leveling Up With Customer Feedback with Mighty Networks Gina Bianchini appeared first on What Works.

Mar 3

52 min

While there are many white women entrepreneurs who are on this journey with me, few have been so public about her learning, her missteps, and the action she's taking in her business as Whole30's Melissa Urban. About a year ago, shortly after I finished my own life-changing Whole30, I noticed that Melissa announced she was searching for someone to lead diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for her company. I kept my eye on those developments and always enjoyed seeing her update her audience on the hire and progress they were making. So when we decided to do this month on leadership, I knew I wanted to talk with Melissa and the woman she hired to fill this role, Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison, now Whole30's Director of People & Culture. I wanted to find out why and how Melissa has been leading so publicly on this front—and I also wanted to find out what Kholi was doing to lead this change internally in the organization. This conversation has been several months in the making—even though we recorded it less than a week ago! And I am so excited to share it with you. Alright, here's what Melissa, Kholi, and I talked about in this conversation: how Melissa gradually woke up to the lack of diversity and inclusion in the Whole30 community, why she thought free equalled accessible and open to everyone, and the work she's had to do to not immediately get defensive when someone points out something potentially harmful. Kholi shares how she pushed Melissa on whether Whole30 was just a wellness cult for while women, the challenges of doing DEI work with an internet business, and the specific projects they've launched to make the Whole30 a more inclusive community. The post EP 266: Building An Inclusive Community With Whole30’s Melissa Urban & Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison appeared first on What Works.

Feb 25

60 min

Today, my guest is Rob Walling and Rob is committed to doing things differently. Rob is best known for his leadership in the world of bootstrapped software-as-a-service businesses. He is the founder of Drip, MicroConf, and most recently TinySeed. He's also the host of Startups for the Rest of Us and the author of Start Small, Stay Small. Rob has chosen, from the beginning, to do things differently—and the reason is his values. His values led him to realize that he could build a business without playing by everyone else's rules—and that's made him a leader for thousands of others who are looking to do things differently too. I talk with Rob about the throughline that weaves his different ventures together, the values that define his work, how his community and events are a reaction to the "standard" in his field, and how he views his role as a leader. Plus, I ask him how he's ensuring his values continue to play out as his community rapidly expands. The post EP 265: Leading Differently With MicroConf Co-Founder Rob Walling appeared first on What Works.

Feb 18

37 min

I'm thrilled to bring Shannon Siriano Greenwood back to the podcast. Shannon is the founder of Rebelle, which started as a conference and grew into a whole community of women who believe they have the power to define, design, and create her own version of success. Shannon and I talk about how she became the leader of the Rebelle community in the first place, how she and her team design each event to bring their values to life, and what her role is within the growing community and event series. We also talk about how Shannon is ensuring that the values that make Rebelle great are represented as the community grows. The post EP 264: Leading A Growing Community With Rebelle Founder Shannon Siriano Greenwood appeared first on What Works.

Feb 11

39 min

But today, my guest is Erica Courdae, the founder of Silver Immersion, a Baltimore-area hair and makeup business, as well as a diversity, equity, and inclusion coach. She's also the host of Pause On The Play, a podcast where she shares insight and expertise on fulfilling your values for diversity and inclusion in your business. I met Erica at She Podcasts Live! in Atlanta last October and I knew she'd be a perfect fit to kick off this month on leadership. Erica and I talk about the frustrating origin story of her first business and whether she's always been someone willing to speak up and share her truth. We also talk about how she models her values for her team members and the clients they service—and why that's a key part of how she leads. Plus, we talk about why she ventured into the world of coaching and how she settled on diversity, equity, and inclusion as her specialty. This is a great episode to listen to if you've felt the call to bring your own values into your business more concretely but don't know where to start or how to lead the change. The post EP 263: Turning Your Values Into Action With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coach Erica Courdae appeared first on What Works.

Feb 4

45 min

My guest today has had a similar experience learning the ins and outs of event planning and hosting kickass conferences. Isaac Watson is the founder of Kickass Conferences, an event strategy and production studio based in the Pacific Northwest. Isaac helps community leaders develop and deliver transformative events for their audiences that inspire them to build a better world. So far, he's planned and managed events that have touched over 21,000 lives across the US and Europe. Isaac is a natural event planner. I know because I've attended a number of events that he's planned and I hired him to plan a conference for me 4 years ago. But Isaac hasn't relied on his natural aptitude for creating meaningful and engaging experiences. Instead, he's designed a process he can rely on to pull off one great event after another. This process and the way he manages his events is clearly a product of the way he's honed his craft over the years. He notices what works, he notices patterns, he notices the things that go unnoticed—and then he adapts the way he manages future projects. In this conversation, Isaac and I talk about how things have evolved since his very first event, the 5 phases that every event goes through from vision to completion, how he works with clients within that process, and what it's like when it's go-time and an event is live. The post EP 262: Honing Your Craft Using Smart Project Management With Kickass Conferences Founder Isaac Watson appeared first on What Works.

Jan 28

48 min

Today, you're going to hear from 5 business owners--all member of The What Works Network members. They're sharing the project management software they use and how it fits with the way they work. Susan Boles shares how she manages her projects in ClickUp. Joe Taylor, Jr shares how he and his team manage projects in Basecamp. Ayelet Marinovich shares how she used Trello to manage writing & publishing a book in just 6 weeks. Melissa Emler shares how she got used to managing--and automating--projects in AirTable. And finally, Jonathan Stewart shares how he took a windy road to managing projects in Notion. Keep an ear out for why each business owner uses the software they use and how it lets them manage the work they way they want to. Remember that the software is there to help them manage projects the way they choose to manage projects--not because it's fixing them or the work itself. The post EP 261: 5 Project Management Tools These Small Business Owners Can’t Do Without appeared first on What Works.

Jan 23

28 min

I wanted to know how people who work with lots of data and reports manage the process, communicate with their clients, and organize all the work to be done. So I asked Christina Sjahli, an on-demand CFO and cash flow analyst, to share her process. Christina started her career in corporate finance and now brings that experience to established entrepreneurs in the process of scaling to $1 million in annual revenue. In this conversation, Christina shares how she manages the financial reports that help her do her job, how she tracks changes in those reports so the history of the project is never lost, how and why she uses Trello boards to interact with her clients, and why being deadline-oriented helps her manage her own work. The post EP 260: Tracking Complex Projects With On-Demand CFO Christina Sjahli appeared first on What Works.

Jan 21

46 min

Joelle is the founder of Brooklyn Book Doctor. She works with authors to help them complete their book projects—whether it's crafting the proposal or completing the manuscript. Her job is to be as much creative partner as it is project manager. After Joelle and I wrapped up our conversation, she told me: "the human element is a huge piece of the puzzle." And, honestly, if you listen for this idea throughout this interview, I think you'll see what she means. Joelle has become a master of managing for the human element in the creative process. And while Joelle has to manage the human element with her clients, we have to do this for ourselves every day. Joelle and I talk about the tools she uses to manage different types of writing projects, what she's learned about managing projects for creative people, and how her project management system blossomed into its own offer for working clients through the book proposal process. The post EP 259: Managing The Creative Process With Brooklyn Book Doctor Founder Joelle Hann appeared first on What Works.

Jan 14

42 min

The Nitty-Gritty: How Kaye Publicity founder Dana Kaye plans and manages multi-layer book publicity projects The tools she uses to track progress, run reports, and organize the information that goes into every project How her team members take ownership of different areas of each project Why she’s learning to take a more top-level role in […] The post EP 258: Managing Multi-Layer Projects With Kaye Publicity Founder Dana Kaye appeared first on What Works.

Jan 7

56 min

We've had a helluva year here at What Works. We've talked to over 100 small business owners, published more than 80 episodes, and tackled 12 different themes this year. What Works is special because we focus on the people who are making their businesses work every single day. We believe we all have a lot to learn from each other—and the more honest & transparent we are about how our marketing, operations, tools, product development, or sales processes work, the better chance we all have for success. On this episode, it's no different—except, instead of me being the one asking the questions, you are! The post EP 257: End-Of-Year Mailbag Episode With Tara McMullin appeared first on What Works.

Dec 2019

63 min

Today's guest mentioned early on in our conversation that she found herself taking the work that came to her, growing her capacity to be able to bring in *more* work, and never really stopping to ask herself how she was designing her business. Her name is Hailey Thomas and she's the founder of BrainSpace Optimized, where she helps entrepreneurs plan, execute, and complete projects in 90 days or less. Unfortunately, Hailey suffered a big, personal loss that made her rethink the way she'd been doing business to that point. We talk about how her tunnel vision led her to skipping her initial grief, why she let go of her clients and contractors, and how she started to process what she truly needed from her life and business. The post EP 256: Discovering What You Need From Your Business With BrainSpace Optimized Founder Hailey Thomas appeared first on What Works.

Dec 2019

41 min

This week, my guest is Elsie Escobar. Elsie is the co-host of LibSyn's podcast The Feed as well as their community manager. She's also the co-host of She Podcasts, a podcast and community of over 14,000 women podcasters. Her mission is to help more people use their voice and make an impact through the craft of podcasting. With everything she has going on, it would be easy for Elsie to forget what she's accomplished in a year. It would be easy to dismiss the small wins and important insights she's experienced. That's why Elsie has developed a personal process of looking back, assessing her opportunities, setting intentions for the new year. Elsie and I talk about the energy of the end of the year—and how it can contribute to feeling like we need to catch up no matter how much we've achieved. We also talk about the experience that catalyzed her will to look back and set intentions, as well as how she's trained herself to recognize her true capacity. The post EP 255: Taking Stock & Setting New Intentions With Podcasting Advocate Elsie Escobar appeared first on What Works.

Dec 2019

45 min

Today's guest is Toi Smith—a growth & impact strategist who has wrestled with this same question. Toi and I talk about how her identity and business model has shifted from virtual assistant to online business manager to strategist and why each pivot was necessary. We also talk about the ups and downs of making these changes and the impact each shift has had on her rates, working hours, and client load. Pay close attention to how Toi talks about her mindset shift away from thinking of her work as labor and into thinking of it as thought partnership and leadership. She's had to dismantle and reassemble the way she thinks about how she and her business creates value in order to realize the full potential of her own entrepreneurship. The post EP 254: Transforming Your Business Model With Growth & Impact Strategist Toi Smith appeared first on What Works.

Dec 2019

46 min

Our self-talk keeps us on the edge, always wondering if we're good enough, smart enough, or tough enough. Tonya Dalton would like us to know there's another way. In fact, Tonya has worked hard to rewrite her own stories, clean up her own self-talk, and embrace the joy of missing out. Tonya Dalton is the author of The Joy of Missing Out and the founder of Inkwell Press. She's also the host of the hit podcast, The Productivity Paradox. I wanted to talk with Tonya about how embracing the joy of missing out has transformed her own self-talk as an entrepreneur. We chat about the glorification of busy in today's culture, the litmus tests we subject ourselves to, how we can rewrite stories that aren't serving us, and how Tonya actively chooses what she wants to miss out on so she can embrace more of what she really wants out of life and business. The post EP 253: Discovering The Joy of Missing Out With Inkwell Press Founder Tonya Dalton appeared first on What Works.

Dec 2019

47 min

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