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Transcend the hype and hear from small business owners about what's REALLY working when it comes to running & growing their businesses. Tara McMullin (formerly Tara Gentile) hosts candid conversations about the ins & outs of marketing, management, mindset, operations, product development, sales, customer service, and more. No gimmicks or fads. Just an inside look at how coaches, educators, lawyers, digital product creators, agency owners, writers, consultants, and more make it work.

What Works Tara McMullin

    • Entreprenörskap

Transcend the hype and hear from small business owners about what's REALLY working when it comes to running & growing their businesses. Tara McMullin (formerly Tara Gentile) hosts candid conversations about the ins & outs of marketing, management, mindset, operations, product development, sales, customer service, and more. No gimmicks or fads. Just an inside look at how coaches, educators, lawyers, digital product creators, agency owners, writers, consultants, and more make it work.

    EP 264: Leading A Growing Community With Rebelle Founder Shannon Siriano Greenwood

    EP 264: Leading A Growing Community With Rebelle Founder Shannon Siriano Greenwood

    The Nitty-Gritty:







    * The “fetal position” moment that led Shannon Siriano Greenwood to start Rebelle* Why belonging, inclusivity, vulnerability, and authenticity are the top values the community leans into* How the details and design of each event help bring the values to life* How she sees her role as a leader within the Rebelle community* How she’s managing the growth of Rebelle so that she ensures its values continue on











    Stepping up as a leader takes a willingness to walk a fine line.







    On one hand, you become a leader because there is a community, an organization, a group, or a movement that you care passionately about. Your leadership is an expression of belonging at the same time it is a question of possibility.







    On the other hand, as a leader, you have a responsibility to set the tone, to hold others accountable, to make decisions for the group, and set standards. Your leadership is product of always being a few steps in front of the rest of the group.







    Whether you’re leading a team, a community, your current clients, or a bevy of customers, every small business owner is a leader. Which means you—yes, you listening right now—are walking this fine line whether you realize it or not.







    This month, we’re examining leadership and specifically how we lead with our values—and turn those values into systems and action.







    One way that we, as leaders, can make sure our values are known and that our actions support the kind of culture we want to create within our businesses, is by recognizing our role as members of the group we lead.







    If you’re leading a team, you’re a member of the team.







    If you’re leading a community, you’re a member of that community.







    If you’re leading a movement, you’re a member of that movement.







    Yes, you have a role and responsibility that is separate from that—and often takes up much more of your time and attention. But you’re in it, too. And that’s important.







    Last week, Erica Courdae shared that one of the ways she leads is by modeling how she wants her values to play out. She shows up and does the work just like she wants her staff to.







    This week, my guest Shannon Siriano Greenwood, echoes something similar. When I asked her how she views her role, she told me that she sees herself as much as a member as a leader.







    In my own business and The What Works Network, this is also how I’ve learned to see things. If I model the kind of behavior I want to see play out, others will follow my lead. If I show up as a member in our community, others will mirror what I do.







    That’s not how I used to operate, though. I used to think that being a leader meant distancing myself from the people I lead. It meant being different and doing differently.







    What I’ve learned is that being a leader is both/and.







    I’m both a member of my community and the one that sets the standards. I’m both a member of my team and the one that makes the plans. If I’m careful and thoughtful, I can do both.







    And now, it’s time to get to this week’s guest. I’m thrilled to bring Shannon Siriano Greenwood back to the podcast.







    Shannon is the founder of Rebelle, which started as a conference and grew into a whole community of women ...

    • 38 min
    EP 263: Turning Your Values Into Action With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coach Erica Courdae

    EP 263: Turning Your Values Into Action With Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coach Erica Courdae

    The Nitty-Gritty:







    * The frustrating situation that led Erica Courdae to go on her own and create Silver Immersion, an inclusive hair and beauty company* How Erica has developed her voice and ability to stand up for what she believes in* Why modeling is a key way she leads her team—and her clients* How she made the transition into coaching and decided to specialize in diversity, equity, and inclusion for business owners* Why Erica takes a stand for imperfect allyship and how that plays out in her business











    Values.







    We talk a good game about having values, living our values, and even running a business with our values.







    But, like, what does that really mean?







    It’s not enough to have them written down somewhere. It’s not enough to put them on your website. It’s not enough to talk through them with a new hire.







    No, values can be, should be, the filter for how we do everything in our businesses.







    Part of our job as business owners—as leaders—is to ensure that the values we hold dear are operationalized in our work. It’s our job to make sure values turn into systems, product features, or boundaries with clients.







    Strong leaders turn values into action.







    This month on What Works, we’re talking about leadership—and specifically, we’re talking about how leaders operationalize their values, how they turn values into action, structure, and systems.







    I’m fascinated by the creative ways that entrepreneurs operationalize their values. I’m fascinated by how values make decisions easier, policies clearer, and plans stronger. I’m fascinated by how brands display immense leadership by doing things differently than the norm—all inspired by their values.







    And I’m fascinated, of course, by the results that businesses see because of how they operationalize their values: stronger communities, bigger movements, more brand recognition, and, yes, often more profit, too.







    Displaying strong leadership and operationalizing our values isn’t squishy and it’s certainly not just a nice-to-have.







    It’s become the bar we have to rise above if we want the work we do to be relevant and meaningful.







    Over the course of this month, we’re going to hear from leaders who have operationalized their values in a variety of ways.







    You’ll hear from Shannon Siriano Greenwood, who has built an incredible, values-driven community with Rebelle. Shannon is now expanding outside of the Richmond area and I wanted to hear how she’s taking her values into new territory.







    You’ll hear from Rob Walling, a serial entrepreneur, podcaster, and the founder of MicroConf. Rob has intentionally an event experience that’s different than others in the same field by focusing on his values.







    You’ll hear from Melissa Urban and Carrie Kholi-Murchison from Whole30 on why they’re investing in making the Whole30 community a more diverse and inclusive community—and what steps they’re taking to do it.







    But today, my guest is Erica Courdae, the founder of Silver Immersion, a Baltimore-area hair and makeup business, as well as a diversity, equity,

    • 44 min
    EP 262: Honing Your Craft Using Smart Project Management With Kickass Conferences Founder Isaac Watson

    EP 262: Honing Your Craft Using Smart Project Management With Kickass Conferences Founder Isaac Watson

    The Nitty-Gritty:







    * How Kickass Conferences founder Isaac Watson manages massive projects like organizing a conference* The 5 phases that each event plan goes through and how project management works at each stage* What tools Isaac and his teams use to ensure every detail is accounted for and every guest has a fabulous experience* How he manages the experience on the ground during a live event











    I used to balk at project management.







    It felt like the systems I was supposed to follow were imposing rules on things that didn’t need rules.







    I’d get it done. And I’d do it my own way, gosh darn it.







    But then, at some point…







    …probably the 341st time I didn’t have enough time to execute a project the way I really wanted it to be done…







    …I realized that project management is as much about honing your craft as it is about making sure you hit deadlines or don’t forget a step.







    Teasing out the bits and pieces of how projects happen helps us make better stuff…







    …whether what you’re making is a publicity campaign, a book, a set of complex financial reports, or a podcast.







    This month, Sean and I have working hard on the next phase of our project management at Yellow House Media. Yellow House is the full-service podcast production agency we co-founded back in August.







    The way we look at it, every step in the process of producing a podcast is an opportunity to make a show better—to make it more engaging for the listener and to drive more results for the business owner. But to fully take advantage of those opportunities, we have to have our process down.







    We can’t just throw an episode together. We have to carefully and intentionally work each step of the process so that both the host that we’re working with and our team has the greatest freedom to innovate and improve.







    The structure of project management gives us the space to hone our craft, to get creative, and to make something great.







    And the better we get at making great podcasts, the better our project management gets too.







    My guest today has had a similar experience learning the ins and outs of event planning and hosting kickass conferences.







    Isaac Watson is the founder of Kickass Conferences, an event strategy and production studio based in the Pacific Northwest. Isaac helps community leaders develop and deliver transformative events for their audiences that inspire them to build a better world. So far, he’s planned and managed events that have touched over 21,000 lives across the US and Europe.







    Isaac is a natural event planner. I know because I’ve attended a number of events that he’s planned and I hired him to plan a conference for me 4 years ago.







    But Isaac hasn’t relied on his natural aptitude for creating meaningful and engaging experiences. Instead, he’s designed a process he can rely on to pull off one great event after another.







    This process and the way he manages his events is clearly a product of the way he’s honed his craft over the years.







    He notices what works, he notices patterns, he notices the things that go unnoticed—and then he adapts the way he manages future projects.







    In this conversation, Isaac and I talk about how things have evolved since his ve...

    • 47 min
    EP 261: 5 Project Management Tools These Small Business Owners Can’t Do Without

    EP 261: 5 Project Management Tools These Small Business Owners Can’t Do Without

    The Nitty-Gritty:







    * 5 small business owners share the project management tools they can’t live without* Why each tool is the right fit for the way each business owner works* How they incorporate the tools into their workflows* Plus, what tools haven’t worked for them











    Project management is so much more than software.







    But if you think about tools like Asana, Trello, Clickup, or Notion (referral link that helps to support What Works) when you hear project management, you’re certainly not alone.







    I remember when Asana first started gaining popularity among digital small business owners. “Finally!” we thought collectively, “We can figure out how to get it all done.”







    Of course, most of us quickly realized that software like Asana doesn’t solve the problem of having too much work, unclear priorities, and a decidedly nonlinear project to complete.







    Project management is as much about how you approach the work that needs to get done as the software you use.







    So if project management is as much about how we approach the work as it is the software we use, why do we spend so much time stressing over that software?







    My hunch is that, despite all indications to the contrary, we believe that there’s a piece of software out there that will make us more productive, more organized, and more effective.







    Here’s what I’ve found to be true, instead:







    My project management software is only as good as I am. I can’t expect it to do for me what I’m not willing to do for myself.







    But if I commit to doing the work of project management…







    …if I organize my projects and get real about what’s required to bring each of them to completion…







    …if I’m willing to do the work I say I’m going to do…







    …if I consciously balance my big picture goals and my daily to-do lists…







    …then I can find project management software that helps me do that. But it starts with me and my own approach to the work.







    Now if that sounds personal, I can assure you that it is. I thought I was “broken” when it came to project management and that maybe there was some piece of project management software that could fix me. I tried a bunch. For while, I tried managing projects in Evernote–but that really just turned into me relying on my own brain, as per usual. Then, we dabbled in Trello… but it just didn’t work for us.







    Then, I tried using Asana. My team used it for 2 full years but I could never get the hang of it.







    That’s partly because I needed it to do something it just didn’t do–but it’s also because I wasn’t fully committed to doing the work of managing my projects. Then, I decided to grow up and do hard things.







    At the same time, we switched to Notion.







    Yes, Notion lets me do things I could only dream of in Asana or Trello. It combines content with task management in an completely customizable interface.







    But the most important piece is that I decided to manage my projects. I decided to work the system. I committed to following through–and Notion helps me do that.







    Today,

    • 27 min
    EP 260: Tracking Complex Projects With On-Demand CFO Christina Sjahli

    EP 260: Tracking Complex Projects With On-Demand CFO Christina Sjahli

    The Nitty-Gritty:







    * Why clear client communication helps on-demand CFO & cash flow analyst Christina Sjahli manage her complex financial projects* The system she uses to keep track of documents and change history* How she uses deadlines for herself and her clients to manage the progress of her projects* What Christina learned from her corporate finance experience that’s transferred to her own business—and what she left behind











    Can I really learn project management as an entrepreneur?







    A few of years ago, it became trendy to explain away the operational problems in our businesses by saying something like, “Dammit, Jim! I’m an entrepreneur, not a manager.”







    This trend was fueled by a book called Rocket Fuel, by Gino Wickman. In Rocket Fuel, Wickman argues that entrepreneurs are Visionaries.







    He writes, “Entrepreneurs hunt. They don’t manage. They explore rather than analyze. They build companies with vision, creativity, and tenacity; not with policies and procedures.”







    He continues by suggesting that every Visionary needs someone to be their Integrator. The Integrator’s role is to manage between the entrepreneur’s vision-driven ideas and the people on the ground actually making those things happen.







    I bought it. Hook, line, and sinker.







    The ideas in Rocket Fuel felt right to me.







    After all, the idea of creating, managing, and—dear god—following procedures made me feel all sweaty and claustrophobic.







    Finally, someone was telling me what I suspected all along: I just wasn’t good at managing. I wasn’t built for precision execution. I would always suffocated by routine, analysis, and consistency.







    Lots and lots of other small business owners I know bought this argument too. Soon we saw job descriptions for Integrators everywhere. We saw virtual assistants and online business managers start advertising themselves as Integrators.







    The language might be new to you—but I have a feeling that this distinction between the idea-creators and the idea-managers feels familiar.







    Here’s what I’ve realized since I myself caught the Rocket Fuel fever:







    While it’s true that some of us are gifted with natural aptitude toward one side of this spectrum between vision and management, that doesn’t get us off the hook for taking the time and care that’s necessary to manage projects well.







    Just because I’m an idea machine doesn’t mean I can’t also be a procedure machine.







    Just because I’m creative doesn’t mean I don’t have to follow systems.







    Just because I’m fueled by vision doesn’t mean I get a pass on thinking through the process behind my vision’s execution.







    Plenty of people will say that you’ve got to stay in your Zone Of Genius to be successful. At the risk of mixing metaphors, I say cross training is important.







    I’m not either/or, I’m both/and.







    And the more I’ve stepped into everything I can bring to the table,...

    • 45 min
    EP 259: Managing The Creative Process With Brooklyn Book Doctor Founder Joelle Hann

    EP 259: Managing The Creative Process With Brooklyn Book Doctor Founder Joelle Hann

    The Nitty-Gritty:







    * How Brooklyn Book Doctor founder Joelle Hann manages the process of book writing for her clients* What her book coaching experience taught her about creating and managing a group book proposal writing program* The tools Joelle uses to track her clients’ progress and coach them along to completion* Why it’s key for Joelle to consider the human element at every stage of managing a book writing project











    What happens when project management and the creative process collide?







    I think we expect a mess. A gnarly pileup of missed deadlines, unrealistic task lists, and artistic prerogative.







    But what if the creative process was manageable?







    What if there was a way to do your best creative work while also honoring your commitments to the more objective pieces of your project?







    That’s the question we’re asking today.







    Managing the creative process is exactly what my guest, Joelle Hann, does.







    Joelle is the founder of Brooklyn Book Doctor. She works with authors to help them complete their book projects—whether it’s crafting the proposal or completing the manuscript.







    Her job is to be as much creative partner as it is project manager.







    After Joelle and I wrapped up our conversation, she told me: “the human element is a huge piece of the puzzle.”







    And, honestly, if you listen for this idea throughout this interview, I think you’ll see what she means.







    Joelle has become a master of managing for the human element in the creative process. And while Joelle has to manage the human element with her clients, we have to do this for ourselves every day.







    I believe that all business owners are creatives in one way or another. Whether your version of creativity is expressed in product development, code, design, marketing, or management, you’re creative.







    And that means we’re tasked with managing the human element—that’s us—in the creative process each day.







    It’s the reason we can fail so epically at developing systems, documenting our work, or shipping new work. It’s the reason we can expect a team to follow our procedures while ignoring them ourselves. And it’s the reason why the technology we use and the way we approach that technology can make such a difference in whether we follow through on the work or not.







    Be sure to listen to this conversation for not only some ideas on working with your customers or clients—but working with yourself.







    Joelle and I talk about the tools she uses to manage different types of writing projects, what she’s learned about managing projects for creative people, and how her project management system blossomed into its own offer for working clients through the book proposal process.







    Now, let’s find out what works for Joelle Hann!











    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.

    • 41 min

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