EP 131: Optimizing What Works For Your Small Business With Oki Doki Co-Founder Marie Poulin

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Marie shares the role customer interviews have played in the evolution of her online learning software product, Doki
  • How automation plays an important role in how Marie and her partner manage their workload without assistants or contractors
  • What enables Marie to balance managing her business with outside pursuits like rock climbing and permaculture

On this episode, I’m caught up with Marie Poulin, the co-founder of digital agency Oki Doki during another live recording of the podcast.

Marie is a designer and digital strategist who helps small business owners translate their 1:1 services into profitable digital products and programs. She co-founded Oki Doki with her partner Ben, and together they run Doki, their platform for delivering online learning experiences. When she’s not working with clients, you can find her climbing rocks or playing in the garden.

On a personal note…

One of the personal goals that I set for myself this year was:

“Spend at least as much time mastering technique and perfecting form as learning new things”

You have no idea how difficult this is for me. I love to try new things… and I hate repeating things for precision.

You can ask my mom about how well I handled that in grade school.

But I’m in the process of massively leveling up—as I know you are too—and technique counts. It counts big time.

I’m applying this goal to everything from physical fitness to new digital tools to tried-and-true marketing techniques. It always takes a mental cue for me to pause and perfect my technique before I move on but, each time I do, I get better and better.

Without spending time on optimizing what works and mastering technique, you end up piling more and more on your plate because you assume the only way to move forward is to do more. You never give what you’ve introduced into your business (a new social media channel, a sales funnel, a team member, etc…) the time to show you what it can really accomplish on its own.

It might feel slow at first–but it’s the fastest, most sustainable way to make progress in the long-term.

Marie cares deeply about mastering technique and optimizing what works

One thing I always take away from conversations with Marie is her commitment to getting things right, focusing on the details, and optimizing what works. She recognizes that the best way to get big things done is to care about the little things.

You’ll find this theme throughout the whole interview and you’ll see how she’s applied technique and optimization to everything from her product development to her service delivery to the way she sets up her weekly schedule. Listen to the full episode to hear it all.

By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

May 3, 2018

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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!

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