Below is a preview of what we're diving into this month at The What Works Network. Each month, we explore a different Deep Dive and share this kick-off post & table of contents for the month so that everything we offer is easy to access. There's a lot going on...
Obviously, we all got thrown for a loop last year when Covid hit. That wrench in the works played out different for every one and every business—but we all had to adapt in some way.
If you fought, fled, or froze, you’re not alone!
I think we all responded that way initially. I certainly did—big fighting energy over here!
What was amazing to watch though is little by little, the business owners I’m in community with started to ease up on that immediate reaction and started to find a more adaptive, proactive response.
I saw amazing things happen for people when they adapted—even if those things didn’t always lead to financial relief or more time to themselves.
One of those people is my guest today, the founder of The Pocket PhD, Emily Crookston.
Emily is a ghostwriter and editor who works with experts and thought leaders to help them bring their ideas to the masses.
As you’ll hear, Emily’s plan for 2020 was to grow her business through in-person speaking engagements. Her first gig was on March 8—and then… lock down.
But Emily adapted—taking the same strategy she was applying to speaking gigs and applied it to LinkedIn. She’s seen tremendous success on the platform over the last year and I wanted to talk with her about how she adapted her plan, decided on LinkedIn, and then figured out how to make the most of the platform by working her plan.
We talk about how she made the jump from posting spontaneously to planning her content & scheduling it. We talk about the video interview series she started. We talk about how she approaches the LinkedIn algorithm (hint: she doesn’t). And we talk about the results she’s seen for her business.
This month, I wanted to take a look back at how they’ve led themselves through this wild year.
So I spoke to 4 small business owners who each had a very different experience this year. What they all have in common, though, is a fine-tuned sense of self-leadership.
Sometimes that self-leadership took the form of intentional practices of self-care. Other times, it was finding the courage the make big decisions. And still other times, their self-leadership stared down challenges with intense creativity & imagination.
My first guest in this series is Emily Thompson, host of Being Boss and founder of Almanac Supply Company.
Emily had a big year—she separated from her long-time business partner Kathleen Shannon. She reimagined the Being Boss business model. She pivoted an in-person event to the online space. And, she got creative about how to replace a major revenue stream for Almanac.
Emily and I talk about all of these moments and much more.
This year—both as predicted and rushed along by the pandemic—has seen a wave of new community-based businesses.
And lots of people are learning just how different this skill set is!
I wanted to talk with someone else who has experienced this shift first hand and I was thrilled when Christianne Squires agreed to share her story.
Christianne is the founder of The Light House and, formerly, Bookwifery. You’re going to hear all about these two businesses—and what makes them different from each other over the course of this conversation.
You’ll also hear how Christianne has been nurturing her skills as a community builder and how that’s pushed her rethink how she creates value, what her people need from her, and what her role is in the community. Plus, we talk about a bonus skill: discernment.
Today, we’re talking with Annie Schuessler from Rebel Therapist.
Annie helps therapists and other healers move their businesses beyond private practice. She has her own podcast—also called Rebel Therapist—and we talk about how hosting her show has helped to use her voice.
But we also dive into how Annie has been borrowing other people’s audiences all year long through a podcast tour, a concerted effort to pitch other hosts and appear on other shows.
Not only has her tour been successful—but it’s helped create incredible results in her business, like overselling her last Create Your Program group coaching offer.
We talk about how Annie finds shows to pitch, the research she does to pitch them, how she tracks her pitching, and how she’s overcome the fear she first felt when getting started on this project.
I’m all in on curating. And I think it’s something that most small business owners should consider as a potential way to use their voice and highlight their perspective.
So to take things really meta, as I was curating this month’s Speak Up theme, I knew I wanted to include a curator.
Jessica Williams came to mind.
Jessica is the curator behind #jesspicks, a weekly newsletter for side hustlers. Jessica is herself a side hustler, working during the day at &yet, run by previous What Works guest Sarah Avenir. But on the side, she’s been helping small business owners for years.
Jessica and I talk about why she started the newsletter, what she includes each week, and how she manages her workflow to make sure it gets done. We also talk about what producing over 200 editions of the newsletter has taught her and how it’s impacted the level of confidence she feels in using her voice.
Suzanne Chadwick is so good at showing up and connecting with people. In fact, she does it every week day morning—a habit we talk about during this conversation.
Suz is a bold branding, business, and speaker coach who helps women create businesses that fit their lifestyle. Her coaching helps female entrepreneurs show up in bold ways and share their messages online and on stages.
I invited Suz onto the show to talk about how she cultivates the confidence and go-getterness that exudes from the way she speaks up. And I expected to have a conversation about going big—and we did—but my big takeaway from this conversation is in how much she prioritizes the small ways she can connect with people, the little things she does to make people feel seen and included.
So I hope you listen for that and consider how that can apply to the way you speak up and show up, too.
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.
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.
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.
Host of What Works
Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, strategist, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners build stronger businesses for over a decade.