Candid conversations with small business owners about what’s working to run & grow their businesses

“Tara is a master at bringing together knowledgable, generous business owners who have worked hard to build their businesses–and are willing to share it all.”
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About What Works

What Works is a free weekly show that takes the mystery out of how small businesses really work.

With each episode, Tara deep dives with a small business owner and asks about how they manage their marketing, money, operations, team-building, growth, or personal leadership. She asks the nosy questions you’ve always wanted to ask other business owners!

Why a podcast? 

We produce the What Works podcast because it makes learning on-the-go easy. You can take this free in-depth audio content wherever you go and listen whenever you have time using apps like Spotify, Castbox, Castro, and Apple Podcasts.

New to What Works? Try This Episode:

Behind The Scenes Of The Awkward Marketing Video Series With Rachael Kay Albers

by Tara McMullin | What Works

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Browse Our Episodes

EP 273: The Tools We Use To Run a Podcast Production Agency with YellowHouse.Media Co-Founders Sean and Tara McMullin

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!

EP 272: Making Your Brand Personal With Stasia’s Style School Creator Stasia Savasuk

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.

EP 271: Brand-Building Is More Important Than Ever

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!

Introducing Small Business Masterclass

Small Business Masterclass is our new sister podcast where I’m sharing & curating sessions designed to help you navigate a changing economy. We’re covering topics like hosting virtual events, producing a standout podcast, responding quickly with new offers, productizing your services, and building financial resilience. Check it out wherever you listen to What Works!

EP 270: Building A Brand That Defies Stereotypes With 300 Pounds And Running Host Martinus Evans

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.

EP 269: Co-Creating A Brand In Community With Shameless Mom Academy Host Sara Dean

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.

Are you a small business owner with an unconventional or highly thoughtful way of working?

Would you like to share the nitty-gritty of how you do things with the What Works audience?

We’re always looking for guests, especially from unusual industries, using creative business models, and from underrepresented communities.

Here’s how to be considered:

  • Let us know 2-3 processes or strategies you use in your business that are unconventional or incredibly thoughtful that might make a good angle for a 30-40 min deep dive interview, or…
  • Share a personal inflection point in your business–like a mindset shift you made and how it played out in your business
Once we have the potential story in mind, we can see how you might fit into our editorial calendar!

Guest Submission Form

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Meet Tara McMullin

Tara McMullin is the founder & host of What Works. She’s been connecting small business owners through mastermind groups and online community for over a decade. Whether on the podcast or in the online network, her goal is to facilitate the free flow of ideas, information, and inspiration between entrepreneurs.

She believes that no one person has the answer to “what works” in small business–but that, together, we can create living, breathing knowledge-base of real-world solutions to all of our small business challenges.