"What do they know that I don't know?"

Probably quite a bit. But you know something they don’t, too.

The What Works Network helps you trade notes, fill in gaps, and share your experiences as you work to build a better business.

Let’s Talk Business

The What Works Network connects small business owners across industries and business models to get real about what’s working–and what’s not.

We trade notes on marketing, sales, operations, management, technology, trends, and pricing. We share what’s happening behind the scenes and talk candidly about the ups & downs.

When you join us, you get access to frank, ongoing discussions about the inner workings of businesses like yours.

What Works Weekly

Our weekly free newsletter for small business owners that transcends the hype and algorithms to bring you hand-selected conversations, resources, and ideas for running and growing your small business your own way.

The What Works Podcast

Host Tara McMullin talks to small business owners about how they run the marketing, product development, management, strategy, and mindset that powers their businesses. Click here to learn more.

The What Works Network

Our private support network where seasoned small business owners trade notes and talk shop about what’s really working to run their businesses. Click here to learn more.

What People Are Saying

So refreshing in a sea of “do more” and “grow faster.”

Tara is fantastic at really looking at the nitty-gritty details of running a business.

Every small business owner should listen to this podcast. Tara, thank you!

Being here puts me in contact with entrepreneurs that make me stretch my thinking about my business.

Listen To The What Works Podcast

TOP EPISODES OF WHAT WORKS

EP 380: When does overdelivering become overcompensating? with Allison Davis

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: underpromise and overdeliver. But is that really the best way to do business? Or does it just give us a permission slip for self-exploitation? When does overdelivering become overcompensating? And when does being generous just morph into entrepreneurial martyrdom? I sat down with sales coach Allison Davis to talk about overdelivering, generosity, and when it all gets to be too much. We talk pricing and scope of work—but we also talk about familiar relationship patterns and how they play out in our expectations for ourselves or others.

EP 364: The Abundant Value of Virtual Assistants with Janice Plado Dalager

Consultant and virtual assistant Janice Plado Dalager joins Tara for a conversation about the unique skill set that virtual assistants and other support professionals bring to small businesses. How VAs end up mistreated by entrepreneurs—and the gendered and racialized components of these relationships that make mistreatment more likely. Why emotional labor is an undervalued skill for support pros, as well as why it should be a key part of how this work is compensated. How small business owners can check their own behavior to make these working relationships more humane

EP 363: Making The Hard Call With 90-Day Business Launch Founder Michelle Ward

I’ve known When I Grow Up Coach Michelle Ward almost as long as I’ve been working for myself. So when she emailed me a couple of weeks ago to ask if she could come on the pod to talk about how she’d retired the When I Grow Up Coach brand and gone all-in on her 90-Day Business Launch program, I said: hell yeah!

This is a story about wrestling with long-term success and the decision to go a different way. It’s also a story about recognizing that, any time you make a big move, things like money and marketing won’t magically stay the same. And finally, it’s a story about recognizing abundant long-term opportunity over short-term consistency.

Now, let’s find out What Works for Michelle Ward!

EP 357: Building A Business Based On What Matters With Coach Mara Glatzel

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much we take existing systems and ways of working for granted—and then find ways to operate within those conventions that make us feel like we’re honoring our values. Instead of getting clear on what actually honoring our values looks like and then deciding whether we can participate in existing systems and ways of working—or whether we need to create something new.

And that’s where today’s conversation with coach, podcaster, and writer Mara Glatzel begins. Mara is the host of Needy, the creator of Tend, and the kind of person I naturally think of when I think about operationalizing values. But what you’ll hear Mara tell me first is that, a while back, she realized that the kind of life and work she wanted for her clients wasn’t the kind of life and work she had structured for herself.

That’s easy to understand since Mara’s values and the values her business is built on run counter to the values of capitalism and workism.

What I’d love for you to think about as you listen to this important conversation is what you take for granted as you build your business. What assumptions do you bring with you? What shoulds and supposed-tos get in the way of fully realizing—and operationalizing—your business’s values?

Mara and I unpack how she did that for herself and what’s come out of the process—and I think you’ll find the conversation a creative jumpstart for considering how you could do things differently too.

Now, let’s find out What Works for Mara Glatzel.

EP 341: Taking Better Care Of Each Other with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

What can you do with your business if you look beyond your individual needs and your individual success?

That’s a really exciting question to me.

What kind of impact on the collective could this business have? How I can I use this business to meet others’ needs, too?

These questions don’t have many easy answers. But they’re fertile ground for imagining different ways of doing business.

It’s with this in mind that I want to share my conversation with Kate Strathmann. Kate and I share many similar concerns about the state of online business and the even the broader small business, freelance, and gig economies.

As always with my conversations with Kate, this might be confronting at times. You might be nodding along, digging on what we’re saying, and then all of a sudden feel a twinge of recognition that isn’t as nice.

But none of this is aimed at your personal responsibility for where we’ve gotten as a market or even the things you’ve done in your business.

Our goal is to explore some big, hard questions about how we do business and how we can better take care of each other.

Stay tuned to hear us talk about the messages we consume that make it hard to imagine things a different way, why focusing on individual success causes us to devalue the care work that goes into making our businesses work, and why small business owners feel trapped between the worker class and the owner class.

Plus, Kate offers some powerful questions for reframing the potential of your business and gets super pragmatic about the choices we can make without becoming a martyr for the sake of positive change.

EP 336: Marketing Without Scale With Brand Strategist Felicia Sullivan

Today, I’m talking with Felicia Sullivan, a brand strategist who has built a thriving business on marketing activities that don’t scale. Felicia works with startup founders and small businesses doing $10-20m in annual revenue—folks who aren’t looking for business help on Instagram.

So Felicia spends her business development time on 3 things: coffee dates, writing long-form articles geared directly to her prospective clients, and referrals.

This episode answers some of the questions I’m most frequently asked about when it comes to marketing businesses that aren’t built on online courses (which, you know, is most of them).

Get ready to take some notes.