EP 163: Profiting From Partnerships With Branding Outside The Box Founder Dana Kaye

The Nitty Gritty

  • Why speaker, author, and publicist Dana Kaye prefers intentional slow growth in business — and how she manages her company’s growth today
  • How growing too fast can negatively impact you, your clients, and your business — and, on the contrary, how growing more intentionally can change everything for the better
  • How Dana uses strategic partnerships to grow her business and serve her clients in an out-of-the-box way
  • How she collaborates with other service providers to serve clients in an organized and comprehensive way
  • Why she schedules in lunch dates in person (or on Zoom) every week — and the importance of sending out thank you notes

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Dana Kaye does things differently. She won’t give you the same run-of-the-mill advice that other publicists will… and that not only helps her company grow, it also helps her clients reach new heights. In this episode of What Works, Dana describes how partnerships lead to smart and intentional growth. She also discusses how important networking and expressing gratitude is for small (and big) business.

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Using partnerships to grow your business

“The reason I was able to grow my PR company so quickly was because I was bringing something to the table that the publishers weren’t. I was implementing out of the box strategies to promote books where the publishers weren’t.” — Dana Kaye

Dana started her book PR business in 2009 at a time when “book sections were dying and newspapers were going under.” How do you help authors stand out when people seemingly aren’t buying books (or maybe not even reading) anymore? That’s precisely the question that Dana asked herself — and realized that the only way to make it work was by thinking outside of the box.

One of those ways was partnering with companies that shared something with her clients. For example, her first client Jamie Freveletti wrote international thrillers about an ultramarathon runner. “My first thought was to partner with a running company to sponsor her book trailer.”

And that’s exactly what happened — and more. Dana secured a partnership with specialty athletic wear company Sugoi. Not only did they sponsor the book trailer as hoped (they even sent Jamie some of their clothes to wear in it!), they went even further. They included the book in their newsletter and on their website and co-sponsored in-store book tour events.

Overall, it was a win-win for both Jaime and Sugoi: they both got in front of a new audience and grew brand awareness for their products. On top of it all? It was fun!

Curious if you should pursue a partnership? Dana created a sweet quiz you can use to vet any opportunity or idea.

Intentionally growing slow

“By slowing down and focusing on the types of clients that you want to work with on the projects and services you really want to offer, you’re going to offer a higher level of customer service, be overall better at your job, and I predict be happier and less stressed, which we all want.” — Dana Kaye

One of the loudest entrepreneurship stories you hear is on hustling and growing your business fast. “I see a lot of entrepreneurs jumping in and trying to scale really fast,” says Dana. “They see one thing that’s working and try to do it 10x that.”

“But more money, more problems,” she adds. “Are you really equipped to deal with those problems?” And the answer is usually no. That’s why Dana is a proponent for deliberately growing slowly.

“By growing slowly, you’re going to improve the clients’ experience, you’re going to hone your skills, you’re going to become an expert in a few things rather than a mediocre person in lots of different things.” Indeed.

Creating a system for networking

“Every week, I have a task that says write a thank you note to someone in my network who has either helped me through referring business, introducing me to somebody, elevating my platform, or someone who did me a favor. This is a really easy to way to make connections and stay current. Even though you may not get a response, you’re getting in front of them without being salesly or needy.” — Dana Kaye

Dana believes that we could all use a bit more gratitude in our lives. And one of the ways she infuses more of it into her business is by sending thank you notes. She uses Asana to schedule them in as well as other general networking things like weekly lunch dates. It’s such a simple system to implement that builds warmth and gratitude into your reputation.

Listen to this episode to hear more from Dana Kaye about using partnerships to grow your client-base and on growing your business slowly and intentionally.

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Read More

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