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

In This Episode:

  • Shameless Mom Academy founder & host Sara Dean shares how her brand developed over time and in partnership with her community
  • Why she started the podcast in the first place, as well as why it was key she didn’t have a business in mind at first
  • How she came to understand the rewards of imperfect action
  • Why she took some big risks to bring her community together in person and how it paid off

It’s tempting to think that you control your own brand.

After all, you’re the one paying for the logo art, the web design, the copywriting, the photo shoots…

Your money, your decisions.

Your story, your brand.

Except…

A brand is really only as strong as the idea of it in your customer’s mind.

Let me say that a different way: you can put loads of thought and money into carefully crafting a brand for yourself or your business but, at the end of the day, if the customer thinks of you or your company as something else entirely, none of that thought or money matters.

Your brand is what your customer thinks it is.

Your brand is what your customer thinks it is. It’s the impression they have about who you are, what you do, and how you help them.

So in essence, all brands are co-created with their customers.

We saw this in my conversation with Gina Bianchini from Mighty Networks in Episode 267. Gina and her team is in constant contact with their user base to understand how people want to use their product and what that means for leveling up the brand.

We saw it again in Episode 268 with Alyssa Catalano from Studebaker Metals. Alyssa shared that their unique approach to genderless accessories was always sparking conversations with new customers. Those 2-way conversations go a long way to create a stronger brand identity for Studebaker.

And I’ve experienced this first hand. The hardest part of my business transitions and pivots over the years hasn’t been the process of changing a name or redoing a website. That’s the easy part.

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.

Now, let’s find out what works for Sara Dean.

What Works Is Brought To You By

Mighty Networks powers brands and businesses – like yours! – that bring people together.
With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

  • Your website
  • Your content
  • Your courses
  • Your community
  • Your events online and in real life
  • And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand.

Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Mar 17, 2020

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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.

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!

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!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support