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.

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

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Browse Our Episodes

EP 266: Building An Inclusive Community With Whole30’s Melissa Urban & Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison

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.

EP 265: Leading Differently With MicroConf Co-Founder Rob Walling

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.

EP 264: Leading A Growing Community With Rebelle Founder Shannon Siriano Greenwood

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.

EP 263: Turning Your Values Into Action With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coach Erica Courdae

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.

EP 262: Honing Your Craft Using Smart Project Management With Kickass Conferences Founder Isaac Watson

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.

EP 261: 5 Project Management Tools These Small Business Owners Can’t Do Without

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.

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.