Pay Attention To The Things You Don’t Get Paid For

There are the things you get paid for…

…and then there are all the other things you do really well.

Whether you’re looking for a new revenue stream or a contingency plan, it pays to pay attention to the things you don’t get paid for.

Here’s what I mean: every business develops systems and capabilities that help it create, market, or deliver its product or service.

Those systems or capabilities are part of what makes the business work–but they’re not what drive revenue in and of themselves.

However, if you need to quickly develop a new offer (and lots of people do right now), figure out how to be of service (lots of people need help), or just create a contingency plan for the economic ripple effects coming our way, those systems and capabilities can help you make a move.

For instance, What Works has developed really good systems for producing a podcast. Not only that, we have a system for developing content that drives our business.

Now we (rarely) get paid directly for our podcast. It’s a marketing channel. But it’s a significant capability of our business.

So when I wanted to create a new revenue stream last year, I actually spun off this capability into its own business–YellowHouse.Media, the podcast production agency I co-founded with my husband.

It took very little time to get it up and running or find our first clients because we were doing something that we were already known for, just in a new way that people could actually pay us for.

Similarly, it didn’t take me long to realize that there is a significant need for training on virtual conferences and events right now (I actually realized this the day I hosted our last virtual conference). This is another key capability of our business–but not a thing we get paid for directly–since it’s the only way we host events!

So I put together a quick training last week. That training was really well received–and since, has already turned into a bunch of new opportunities.

We don’t have plans to make this a new revenue stream now but it is in our contingency plan in case things get rough. Beyond that, it’s been a great chance to elevate our brand.

So take a look at your business.

What do you currently get paid for? And what do you do really well that you don’t get paid for directly?

What systems or capabilities does your business have that are in demand?

If you’re feeling a bit lost or unsure, the answer to that question can guide your next steps.

With gratitude,

Tara McMullin
Founder, What Works

P.S. If you’re looking for support on upleveling or launching a podcast to support your business, I’m hosting a small group coaching program called Standout Podcast Club over at YellowHouse.Media. Click here to learn more!


I’m hosting a series of live events to help business owners learn new skills for navigating a changing economy. But I know it’s tough to tune in live or even watch a replay! So we’re also releasing these events in a new podcast feed called Small Business Masterclass. You can find it wherever you listen to What Works.

🎧 Click here to listen.


One way to build a brand that stands out is to defy every convention in your industry. That’s what Martinus Evans has done. Martinus is the host of 300 Pounds And Running and the founder of Slow AF Run Club. He’s helping people realize they can become a runner even if they don’t look like a stereotypical “runner.” He joined me on What Works this week to talk about how his story has helped him build an unconventional brand.

🎧 Click here to listen.


My friend Autumn Witt Boyd, who you heard from on our special episode on COVID-19, is a lawyer who is compiling important resources for small business owners with big questions right now. She’s got info on contracts, employment practices, refunds/non-payment, and more.

👓 Click here to grab the legal resources.

And my friend Kate Strathmann, who shared a great session on building financial resilience this week, has put together an evolving list of resources for navigating the financial assistance that’s coming online.

👓 Click here to grab the financial resources.


We’re all feeling a lot right now. There’s uncertainty, fear, hope, lack of safety, the drive to be of service… oh, and exhaustion. But at the root of it? It might be (probably is) grief. This Harvard Business Review article has been helping a lot of people better understand what they’re feeling.

👓 Click here to read.


People are still spending money–and they’re spending it with the people and businesses that they feel a close connection to. Branding (human branding, not fancy websites branding) is what creates that connection. Four members of The What Works Network shared how they’re approaching their brand-building and what it means for their businesses.

🎧 Click here to listen.

Cover of What Works book by Tara McMullin

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