Sometimes it can feel like you don't find opportunity, opportunity finds...
This week, my guest is Justine Clay, a business coach for creatives. Justine is one of the most thoughtful decision-makers I know. And her story proves that taking the time to really weigh your options doesn’t mean you’ll never take a big step in a new direction.
In fact, during this conversation, you’re going to hear about a number of really big opportunities that Justine made—including moving to the US with her rebound boyfriend, taking a job she had no experience with, starting her own business, and then making a big pivot in the midst of the Great Recession.
Justine shares how she processes her opportunities and, ultimately, how she makes the choices she makes.
I have a confession, dear reader: I’ve been learning how to draw. I’m a 38 year-old woman who spends each evening making and erasing little digital lines on my iPad in the hopes that one of those lines will make me happy enough to continue. Like countless others, I...
Our core competency gives us a big leg up on creating operational sustainability, financial sustainability, as well as personal & social sustainability.
And that’s the thing about investing in your core competency. It’s not just an opportunity to make an aspect of the business work better—it’s an opportunity to make the whole business more sustainable.
This week, as we continue our series on opportunity, keep this idea in mind because my guest has fantastic example of this at work.
Anna Wolf is the founder of SuperScript Marketing, a content marketing agency serving financial brands and professionals. Anna’s story can be told through a series identifying core competencies as opportunities.
First, she identified as personal core competency and pursued that. Then, she identified a new capability—and core competency—the agency could use to make their work more impactful. And then finally, Anna focused on an overarching core competency that’s empowered her to make her company much, much stronger across the board.
Anna and I talk about how she got into content marketing for the financial sector in the first place and how freelancing turned into an agency that, eventually, focused on productized services. We also talk about how getting obsessed with systems & processes helped her to clarify the agency’s key core competency—and the operational shifts that have come with it.
How do you know what works for your business? And once you have something that's working, how do you maintain your confidence in the face of outside influence? How do you objectively weigh new information without denying your own knowledge & experience? These...
“The Squeeze” occurs when you’ve run out of capacity in your business.
You simply don’t have the time, energy, or mental bandwidth to do more, and so you can’t really see a way for the business to grow. Still, The Squeeze convinces you that if you just rearranged the pieces or tried a little harder, you could force some fresh growth.
But alas, you just end up squeezed into a different arrangement of the same pieces.
In other words, you use what’s familiar to try to work your way out of the Squeeze… and so you can’t quite escape because “what’s familiar” is what got you into the Squeeze in the first place.
To actually alleviate the Squeeze, you have to take a completely different perspective and see things in a new way. And that’s how talking things out with others and learning how they see things differently really helps inspire opportunity.
Now, I know it’s challenging to have those conversations or connect with people who see things in different ways. That’s one of the reasons I started this podcast 5 years ago; I desperately wanted to bring wildly different perspectives to small business owners like you who were feeling The Squeeze. It’s also why I bring business owners together through community and events, as well.
I don’t have a new conversation for you today, though. Instead, I want to share my own observations—sort of a grand total of what I’ve added up over the years of my own business-building, my interviews, my personal conversations, and my coaching & community-building.
This is a look at what I see when I look at a business and what I hear when I talk to a business owner.
It’s the overlap of opportunity and sustainability that drives the work I do with small business owners.
I could sum up the existential journey of most business owners like so: Make it up as you go. Learn the rules. Break the rules. Make your own rules. Our culture and economy organize around rules. In school, we learn the rules (both explicit and implicit) so that we...
All this month, we’ve been examining the relationships in our businesses and how we make them stronger. We looked at our relationship with our customers, our relationships to our team members, and our relationships to our community and internet neighbors. We even looked at our relationships to ourselves and our businesses.
This week, we’re going to step back and take a look at the patterns that often make nurturing our relationships difficult.
A couple of these patterns are overt–and a couple are more stealthy. As you listen, I encourage you to pay less attention to the specific patterns and stories we’re diving into today and pay more attention to your own curiosity at how your own relationship patterns are at play in your business. You may or may not see these exact patterns and stories as your own–but I know that your own patterns are influencing YOUR story.
You’re going to hear from 4 different business owners today and I’ll help you unpack the very common patterns that I see at play in each story. My goal isn’t to pathologize or armchair diagnose. I just want to help you hear what I hear in these stories and celebrate the ways these business owners have overcome their patterns made really great choices for them and their businesses!
Today, you’ll hear from coach Carla Reeves, real estate broker Page Huyette, coach & podcaster Shawn Fink, and attorney-turned-community-builder Ali Zucker.
There’s a difference between being busy—and being squeezed. Neither is very pleasant. Nor are they sustainable. But one—busy—is a state that you’re moving through on the path to greater sustainability. And the other—squeezed—is the end result of the structures,...
This week, we’re examining how we nurture the relationships we have with the people who work with us.
I’ll be honest with you: there are so many different places I’d like to take this episode. There are so many of the lessons I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on. Luckily, the lessons I’ve learned have largely come through conversations I’ve had on this very podcast!
And there’s one conversation in particular that I come back to time & time again. It was my first interview with my friend and founder of Productive Flourishing, Charlie Gilkey.
Looking back on this conversation, I can see that there were already lessons that had started to come into focus about how I work with people and what it looks like to nurture relationships with team members. But what I can also see is how much this conversation actually helped to solidify those learnings into how my thinking & approach have changed since.
Charlie and I talk about the operational components of the mindset shift I just dug into. We talk about the art of management, whether for one or for many. We discuss what prompted him to bring his core team on as employees instead of as independent contractors. And how we keeps his team—and himself—from becoming over committed and overwhelmed, as well as how he structures his time to enhance his creativity.
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.