Claim Ownership


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“Positive thinking” comes in many forms: New Thought, the prosperity gospel, manifestation teaching, self-help guides, and more. It’s hard to argue with thinking positive thoughts! But when positive thoughts become a substitute for curiosity and inquiry about real challenges, positive thinking can lead us away from real solutions. In this episode, I explore my own encounters with the world of positive thinking and how facing reality has actually given me more hope. The post EP 387: Context Clues: Is there hope beyond positive thinking? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
Who doesn’t love to get paid? So we’re going to talk about how that actually happens. Not the dollars and cents of getting paid, but the form and structure. In the previous two episodes, we examined our relationships to work—both paid and unpaid. And it got me thinking about how we actually account for the ways paid work, well, pays—and especially how that impacts business owners and independent workers. I’m talking the difference between wages and profit, how surplus labor creates profit, and specifically how I structure my own pay in order to have a better perspective on my work. The post EP 386: Extra Context: Getting Paid appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
It seems like every business owner or freelancer I know wants to quit social media. But very few people are actually doing it. It seems easier to imagine the end of your business than the end of social media, to paraphrase Mark Fisher. There’s something about our relationship to social platforms that makes them feel inescapable. And, perhaps without even noticing, it’s started to see like we’re working for them more than working for ourselves. In this episode, I unpack our relationship to platforms and who profits from our labor. And it starts in an unusual place: the recent Etsy strike. The post EP 385: Context Clues: Who do you work for? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
I grew up expecting to love what I did for a living. I was encouraged to choose a career that I was passionate about. But when I did, I bumped up against the stark reality that work I loved didn’t pay the bills. At least not in any straightforward way. In this episode, I explore the context of “doing what you love” and how it shapes the way we build our businesses or careers today. The post EP 384: Context Clues: Do you love your work? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
“Rugged individualism” is the very language we speak in America. It shapes the way we approach work, family, and society. And rugged individualism has a direct impact on the decisions we make about our businesses and careers. In this short Extra Context bonus, I unpack where rugged individualism comes from and highlight a different way forward. The post EP 383: Extra Context: Rugged Individualism appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
No one likes being asked for a refund. In fact, I find the thought of it stomach churning. And when what’s being refunded is the product of your time, experience, and expertise... it’s tempting to put every obstacle you can think of between a customer and a refund. In this episode, I’ll take you on a journey from the 17th century all the way through the modern era of online business refund policies to answer the question: What make for a fair refund policy? The post EP 382: Context Clues: What makes for a fair refund policy? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
At the end of 2021, I stepped away from my business: left our community, off-boarded my employee to another company, and focused on my mental health. Over the next 4 months, I wrote a book and thought about what might be next for me and my work. In this episode, I share what I’ve been up to in that time and what I might do in the months to come. The post EP 381: What happens when you take a 4-month break from business as usual? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: underpromise and overdeliver. But is that really the best way to do business? Or does it just give us a permission slip for self-exploitation? When does overdelivering become overcompensating? And when does being generous just morph into entrepreneurial martyrdom? I sat down with sales coach Allison Davis to talk about overdelivering, generosity, and when it all gets to be too much. We talk pricing and scope of work—but we also talk about familiar relationship patterns and how they play out in our expectations for ourselves or others. The post EP 380: When does overdelivering become overcompensating? with Allison Davis appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
I’m bringing our Time & Money series to a close this week by exploring why we choose squeezing more in over taking time off. I share how The Squeeze works, why work gets more intense over time, and some of the economic incentives that keep us from making different choices. The post EP 379: Why do we choose squeezing more in over taking time off? (Time & Money 8) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
A lot of the work we do today doesn’t much look like “work.” The divide between work-life and life-life is flexible and porous. So what does that mean for the way we spend our time? Or how we earn a living? In this episode, I share designer, coach, and consultant Anne Ditmeyer’s story of rethinking how she works thanks to a big move to Paris. And, I argue that perhaps we need a radically different way of thinking about what work is—instead of a better “work-life balance.” The post EP 378: How much time do you work? with Anne Ditmeyer (Time & Money 7) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
The systems we operate in all have different incentive systems: our business models, the social media platforms, our economy, the culture at large... And many of these incentive systems have become simplified and gamified—changing the way we view the results of our work and the goals that we hold. In this episode, I explore how the philosophy of games can help us identify when we’re just trying to “game the system” instead of taking effective action based on our own values and goals. The post EP 377: What game are you playing? (Time & Money 6) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
Most of us learn the value of our time in our first jobs. Even as we get more experience and our hourly jobs turn into salaried jobs or freelance projects, the specter of selling your time for a particular wage looms. In this episode, I talk with Wealth Over Now founder & Money Files host Keina Newell about how she thinks about the intersection of time and money. I also offer up a light history of wage work and how that history influences as business owners. The post EP 376: What Is Our Time Worth? With Keina Newell (Time & Money 5) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
I’ve been talking about the “new economy” since about 2010. But more and more, I recognize that the economic possibilities created through the internet aren’t nearly as new or innovative as I’d first thought (and hoped). It seems that the old economy is just making itself over as the not-so-new economy. In this episode, I explore 3 processes of the old economy—speculation, financialization, and liquidation—to pinpoint how they’re showing up in our digital world of independent work. I weave together the housing market, creator economy, Great Recession, and crypto promises to help you situate yourself in this strange, not-so-new world. At times, it’s a bleak story—but ultimately, understanding where we’re at gives us a better opportunity to make different, more humane choices. The post EP 375: Is this really a new economy? (Time & Money 4) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
There’s more than one way to measure success—and there’s more than one way to measure time. How do you account for the time you spend working? And is it really the most effective—for you—to spend it? In other words, what constitutes quality time when it comes to the way you work? I talked with business operations coach Elisabeth Jackson about how she changed her overwork habit, how she measures quality time for herself & her clients, and why she doesn’t love the word “productivity.” The post EP 374: How do you measure quality time? with Elisabeth Jackson (Time & Money 3) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
We spend money on lots of tools designed to save us time and work. But all too often, those tools just end up raising our expectations. Why do work in less time when you could do more work in the same amount of time?! In this episode, I examine “the egg beater effect” and why we should, just maybe, lower our expectations a bit. The post EP 373: Should we lower our expectations? (Time & Money 2) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
“Time is money.” Ben Franklin gave us that chestnut in 1748—and ever since, we’ve been trained to think of our lives as opportunities for making a buck. This week, we start a series exploring the “time is money” construction. But before we think through how we spend our time, we’re going to think through money: what it really is, how we relate to it, and some of the factors that make it “weird.” I talk with Paco de Leon from the Hell Yeah Group and author of the brand-new book, Finance For The People. The post EP 372: What Is Money? with Paco de Leon (Time & Money 1) appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
Emotional labor is an under-appreciated, under-compensated type of work. But it’s essential for navigating the 21st-century economy. Entrepreneurship almost always brings with it a need for managing our emotions to lead and care for others. And this expectation is only doubled when the entrepreneur is a woman or marginalized person. What’s more, the type of marketing that many of us are told to do today is thick with emotional labor: showing up with confidence, using your personality as leverage, banking on your sense of self. It’s no wonder so many business owners are burning out. In this episode, I tackle: What is emotional labor? And how does it impact our work as entrepreneurs? The post EP 371: How does emotional labor impact our work? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
What is the creator economy? And why are so many creators... miserable? Mighty Networks founder Gina Bianchini was the first person I knew talking about the creating economy. She’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs, organizers, and creators see why building independently beats trying to amass huge audiences on the usual platforms. In this episode, we talk about what the creator economy is, how the game is rigged, what’s making creators miserable, and how she sees a different way forward. Plus, we’ll discuss research from the massive independent study that Mighty Networks commissioned. The post EP 370: What is the creator economy? with Gina Bianchini appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
The way we set goals often invites a load of comparison and competition. We can even create a moral hierarchy of more and better. In this episode, I explore the roots of moralizing around the goals we set, borrowing from Dr. Devon Price, Max Weber, Kate Manne, and Simone de Beauvoir. The post EP 369: Do your goals make you a better person? appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
“What does growth without striving look like?” Rita Barry posed this question 3 years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since. In this episode, I talk with Rita about the journey she’s been on to answer that question as her company has exploded. We dive into validation-seeking, social conditioning, and identifying what you really want in the face of so much “common sense” about what success looks like. You’ll hear Rita’s story, plus commentary from writer Anne Helen Petersen (via Librairie Drawn & Quarterly) and psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe (via Renegade Inc). Find out more about Rita Barry at This year on What Works, I’m exploring how we can navigate the 21st-century economy with our humanity intact. Read articles, listen to the archives, and sign up for What Works Weekly at The post EP 368: What Does Growth Without Striving Look Like? with Rita Barry appeared first on What Works with Tara McMullin.
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