EP 295: It’s Always A Work In Progress

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The market is constantly changing.

New technology, new trends, new players.

We can either treat the constant changing and uncertainty as a threat…

…or we can treat it as an invitation to see everything we do as a work in progress.

All this month, we’ve been looking at the process of value creation–how we wind up building the products and services we sell.

We heard from Alisha Robertson about how she turned her book into the idea for a membership community. India Jackson shared how she she went from modeling to photography to running a brand visibility agency. And we heard from Michelle Markwart Deveaux about how she took a tried-and-maybe-not-so-true model for offering voice teaching services and turned it on its head to improve how she delivered value AND to make more money.

Along the way, I also shared stories from my own companies about how things have evolved and what I’ve learned as things have changed about the ways I create and deliver value–from business support to podcast production to leadership development.

So back to change and uncertainty…

…like I said, change and uncertainty is a given.

There is absolutely no point in fighting it–trying to get things exactly right or anticipate what’s going to happen next.

And you know what? That’s great!

Because at this point, it should be clear that creating value is always a work in progress.

As the market changes, our offers can evolve.

As we learn more, we can try new things.

The challenge in this is actually treating your business as a work-in-progress.

So often, I see business owners work in fits & starts–trying to solve one piece of the puzzle once and for all… only to get frustrated, take a break, and then find something else to fixate on for a while.

Whether it’s creating value, making your systems more efficient, or growing your audience… the trick to treating your business as a work in progress is consistent action. Business-building has to be a habit, not a one-off project you have to get right.

To make business-building a habit, you need a solid system to focus on what matters, a structure of getting the work done, and the support of peers and mentors who can inspire you to keep going.

That’s exactly what we do at The What Works Network.

When you join The What Works Network, you commit to making business-building a habit. Each month, we give you the focus, structure, and support you need to take your work in progress and make it a little stronger.

Together, we take consistent, strategic action to build a more effective, efficient, and sustainable business.

The What Works Network is accepting new members right now through the end of August. This is the LAST CHANCE to get in on our current pricing. The next time we accept new members, the price will be doubled.

Now, I’d actually like to introduce you to 3 members of The What Works Network: Brooklyn Resume Studio founder Dana Leavy-Detrick, Paint Is Thicker Than Water founder Jennyann Carthern, and Simple Creative Marketing founder Anfernee Chansamooth.

Each small business owners has a story about how their business–and the ways they’re creating value–is a work in progress.

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With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

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  • 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.

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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.

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!

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!

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