EP 236: Leveraging Your Special Sauce With Speaking Your Brand Founder Carol Cox

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • How Speaking Your Brand founder Carol Cox realized she was at capacity and hungry for more
  • Why she chose to hire & train another speech coach instead of moving into online courses
  • The mindset work she needed to do to prepare herself for the transition into scale
  • How she found her first hire and got her started with clients

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When it comes to small business, there are plenty of special snowflakes out there.

And before I inadvertently offend you, let me explain what I mean.

A special snowflake business is one that’s focused on the unique talents of the owner. It’s the “only you can do what you do” mantra so many fluffy business classes preach.

When you have a special snowflake business, customers buy to get a piece of you. They want what you can do for them.

Look, some people genuinely like it that way. Cool.

But special snowflake businesses don’t scale.

Oprah is truly special—but she didn’t create a culture-shifting television show, her own entertainment network, and O Magazine by being a special snowflake.

Oprah figured out her special sauce and channeled that into all sorts of ventures that grew the capacity of her work & impact beyond her own personal capacity.

Working out the recipe to your own special sauce is a key to crafting a company that scales.

When many small business owners start thinking about growth, they think about all the tasks they don’t like to do and outsource them. The dream is to be left with only the task of making the product or delivering the service that you love.

Regardless of whether you ever reach the point of living that dream, eventually, you’re at capacity and stuck at a ceiling—again.

If you want to really scale, you have to be willing to train other people to create value for you (and for your customers). You need to get others in on the game of making the product or delivering the service.

That’s the plan Carol Cox devised. Carol is the founder of Speaking Your Brand, a speech coaching agency that helps women entrepreneurs and executives craft their signature talks.

I wanted to ask Carol how she worked out the recipe to her own special sauce so she could start training the first speech coach she brought on board.

Carol and I talk about the time and energy she put into working with clients 1:1, paying attention to exactly how she worked her magic. We also chat about how she knew it was time to hire, what have been her biggest fears throughout the process, and how her mindset about the business she’s building has shifted.

Now, let’s find out what works for Carol Cox!

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Cover of What Works book by Tara McMullin

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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