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What Works

Author: Tara McMullin

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Transcend the hype and hear from small business owners about what's REALLY working when it comes to running & growing their businesses. Tara McMullin (formerly Tara Gentile) hosts candid conversations about the ins & outs of marketing, management, mindset, operations, product development, sales, customer service, and more. No gimmicks or fads. Just an inside look at how coaches, educators, lawyers, digital product creators, agency owners, writers, consultants, and more make it work.
276 Episodes
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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