EP 254: Transforming Your Business Model With Growth & Impact Strategist Toi Smith

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • Why Toi Smith made the shift from virtual assistant to online business manager to growth & impact strategist
  • How she reassessed the true value behind what she was offering her clients so she could rework her business model
  • What eliminating exploitative business practices from her own model has taught her about creating value
  • How her rates, working hours, and client load is different now that she’s built a business that helps her take care of herself

Business is an experiment.

You try something, you get a result, you learn. Then you try something else.

Little by little, the learning adds up to a business that works.

But often, our learning leads us down a path that earns some money and keeps us busy but doesn’t really let us thrive.

Discovering “what works” can feel like a dead end.

In other words…

…success can make you feel stuck.

You’re your own boss. You’ve got good clients. You have plenty of work to do.

By many accounts, you’re successful.

So it can be really tempting to just make do with what you’ve got—even if it is slowly and relentlessly grinding you down.

So what happens when “what works” is actually grinding you down and making it hard to take care of yourself?

That’s the question we’re exploring today.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself several times during the course of my own business.

There have been plenty of times when what’s working in some ways just wasn’t working for me as a human being. There have been times when what works has turned into what worked—and I needed to rethink my business in a way that would contribute more to my own well-being.

Today’s guest is Toi Smith—a growth & impact strategist who has wrestled with this same question.

Toi and I talk about how her identity and business model has shifted from virtual assistant to online business manager to strategist and why each pivot was necessary. We also talk about the ups and downs of making these changes and the impact each shift has had on her rates, working hours, and client load.

Pay close attention to how Toi talks about her mindset shift away from thinking of her work as labor and into thinking of it as thought partnership and leadership.

She’s had to dismantle and reassemble the way she thinks about how she and her business creates value in order to realize the full potential of her own entrepreneurship.

Now, let’s find out What Works for Toi Smith!

What Works Is Brought To You By

Mighty Networks powers brands and businesses – like yours! – that bring people together.
With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

  • Your website
  • Your content
  • Your courses
  • Your community
  • Your events online and in real life
  • And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand.

Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

By Tara McMullin

Writer, Podcaster, Producer. Founder of What Works.

Dec 10, 2019

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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

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

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