Podcast Archives | What Works
EP 306: Finding A New Way To Communicate With Writer Kris Windley

EP 306: Finding A New Way To Communicate With Writer Kris Windley

This month, we’re exploring how we level up by learning new skills.

We all bring a unique skill set to our businesses. Some of us bring the skills we learned in school or corporate careers that transfer directly into the work we’re doing today. Others bring certifications and licenses from careers that no longer serve us.

Some of us bring skills from our hobbies, personal adventures, or relationships. Others bring skills they had no idea would be useful but have been invaluable to their growth.

The way we leverage our existing skills and learn new ones helps us to creatively solve business problems, invest ourselves in future outcomes, and differentiate our brands.

Over the course of this month, we’ll hear from a number of small business owners who have spent time and energy on learning a new skill so they could level up some aspect of their businesses—or, in one case, start a new one.

Today, I’m talking with Kris Windley, who realized that she could level up her writing business by learning illustration skills.

Kris is a professional writer, certified teacher and curriculum developer, and describes herself as a happily amateur illustrator.

In this conversation, not only will you hear how Kris learned to illustrate and how she uses it in her writing—but you’ll also discover the way she’s learning how her ADHD brain works and how it influences the way she thinks and processes information.

We also talk about why learning new things is hard—and what to do when you feel stuck.

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EP 305: How To Keep Speaking Up (Even When Things Go Wrong)

EP 305: How To Keep Speaking Up (Even When Things Go Wrong)

Speaking up for yourself and your business is no joke.

Putting your ideas, stories, or information out there can be daunting. Any number of things might be going through your mind:

Is this really helpful? Hasn’t this already been said a million times before? What if someone yells at me? Who am I to say this? What if they think I’m weird? Is anyone paying attention at all? What if it goes viral and I get inundated with replies?

And it’s not just the head stuff that stops us!

Sometimes the challenge is finding our people and speaking directly to them. Sometimes the obstacle is finding a message that makes a connection. Sometimes it’s the logistics or the technology that throw you for a loop.

So many things can stand in the way of us speaking up for ourselves and our small businesses.

Today, I’ve got 5 stories for you. Each story is from a small business owner who identified a hurdle they had to speaking up and found what worked for them to overcome it.

You’ll hear from Pocket PhD founder Emily Crookston, photographer Janeris Marte, brand strategist Helen Tremethick, Niche Partnership Consulting founder Mary Beth Simón, and speaking coach Johanna Walker.

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EP 304: Speaking To New Audiences With Rebel Therapist Founder Annie Schuessler

EP 304: Speaking To New Audiences With Rebel Therapist Founder Annie Schuessler

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.

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EP 303: Creating A Curated Newsletter With #jesspicks Creator Jessica Williams

EP 303: Creating A Curated Newsletter With #jesspicks Creator Jessica Williams

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.

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EP 302: Connecting With Confidence with Brand Builders Academy Creator Suz Chadwick

EP 302: Connecting With Confidence with Brand Builders Academy Creator Suz Chadwick

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.

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EP 301: Taking A Stand With Tell Me A Story Founder Hillary Rea

EP 301: Taking A Stand With Tell Me A Story Founder Hillary Rea

My guest today is Hillary Rea, the founder of Tell Me A Story. Hillary helps entrepreneurs, leaders, and change makers identify that personal narratives that create powerful communication.

Now, you might think Hillary had this whole speaking up and taking a stand thing under control.

She did, too.

In fact, in episode 226, Hillary shared how she’s found the confidence to stand on stage and share vulnerable personal experiences through storytelling.

But earlier this year, just after Covid-19 upended her business, Hillary realized she had let herself, her story, and her stand get watered down. She was trying to squeeze into a mold that she assumed other people wanted her to fit into.

This is the story of how she reversed course, started speaking up for real, and the challenges she faced as she did.

Hillary and I talk about how her business shakeup this year helped her see what had become a big problem, how she tried to fit in and avoid looking like a weirdo, the concrete changes she made to how she presents her work, and the ongoing challenges of continuing to speak up in a stronger way.

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

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EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

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EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

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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.  

Tara McMullin, What Works Weekly Newsletter

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