102 episodes

Join award-winning small business mentor Donna Maria Coles Johnson as she shares her best advice for creative entrepreneurs on making money selling handmade products, starting a business, increasing profits, effective marketing strategies, leadership, confidence, and more. Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization serving handmade entrepreneurs. She has been featured in dozens of media outlets including ABC World News, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, Ebony Magazine, and more.



Through this podcast and the Indie Business Network, Donna mentors and coaches thousands of women on how to maximize their potential in life and in business. Enjoy your life! Build your business! Have your way ... Join us today at IndieBusinessNetwork.com

Indie Business Podcast Donna Maria Coles Johnson

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 27 Ratings

Join award-winning small business mentor Donna Maria Coles Johnson as she shares her best advice for creative entrepreneurs on making money selling handmade products, starting a business, increasing profits, effective marketing strategies, leadership, confidence, and more. Donna Maria is the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, a trade organization serving handmade entrepreneurs. She has been featured in dozens of media outlets including ABC World News, National Public Radio, the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, Ebony Magazine, and more.



Through this podcast and the Indie Business Network, Donna mentors and coaches thousands of women on how to maximize their potential in life and in business. Enjoy your life! Build your business! Have your way ... Join us today at IndieBusinessNetwork.com

    Let Your Customers Be Your Guide with Robbin Turner of Violet Botanical Skincare – Indie Business Podcast Episode 99

    Let Your Customers Be Your Guide with Robbin Turner of Violet Botanical Skincare – Indie Business Podcast Episode 99

    Welcome to Episode 99 of the Indie Business Podcast! On this episode, you'll meet Robbin Turner of Violet Botanical Skincare in Los Angeles, CA. One of the first things you might notice about the Violet Botanical brand is the gorgeous violet blue bottles in which each product is  carefully packaged. The bottles are not only beautiful, but they are also reflective of Robbin's deep Gullah cultural heritage. Listen out in this episode for the connection between the package and the product — just one of the many points that make the Violet Botanicals brand unique.













    On this episode, we take a deep dive into Robbin's extreme focus on the customer journey. Whether it's in person, at a show or market or online on her popular YouTube channel, Robbin allows the people who buy her products to guide and direct her product development and launch efforts. She is so fully immersed in their lives, wants and needs that she barely has to think about what to do next. This makes it easier and more fun to lead her business effectively and efficiently. You'll want to listen for strategies you can apply to your business starting right now, today.







    Sit back, relax and enjoy my interview with Robbin NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast



























    Important entrepreneurial and content creation insights from Robbin







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business and content creation insights Robbin and I discussed in this episode.







    1. Let your customers tell you what to do







    Robbin says that you never really arrive at a final destination in terms of knowing what your customers want. Instead, you continuously talk to them and listen to their stories. She maintains a mindset of curiosity about what matters most to them. This arms her with the information she needs to move her business forward. Her customers tell their stories and she listens to them, getting everything she needs to know exactly what to do next in her business.







    Robbin sums it up this way: “Stop thinking like a founder, and start thinking like a customer.”







    2. Build your community







    Your community, your fans, your followers — these are the people who will become your marketers, your ambassadors, your sales people — basically, your everything. Robbin points out that part of what she has learned by being a part of the Indie Business Network is the importance of building a community and providing them with quality information backed by research and truth. As she says, business is not about being out here just trying to sell a person something, and then moving onto the next person. Instead, it's about educating and empowering your community and enhancing their lives. All you need to get started is 1,000 true fans.







    3. Put a video camera in your hand







    Robbin talked about how she uses her YouTube channel to educate and share behind-the-scenes snippets with her community. Showing people what she actually does to create the products they love so much engages them in unique ways that even the most beautiful product photos cannot. Robbin credits Indie Business Network workshops with planting so many of the seeds that have helped her to become more comfortable on camera.







    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Robbin and I mentioned the following resources.









    * Learn more about a href="https://www.violetbody.

    • 47 min
    No-Stress Content Creation Strategies with Larissa Lewis of Jargon Gist – Indie Business Podcast Episode 98

    No-Stress Content Creation Strategies with Larissa Lewis of Jargon Gist – Indie Business Podcast Episode 98

    Welcome to Episode 98 of the Indie Business Podcast! On this episode, you'll meet Larissa Lewis of Jargon Gist in Pasadena, CA. This episode is chock full of fantastic tips to help you boost your content creation chops. It's also special to me because it's an introduction to the wonderful daughter of IBN's very first member, Kathleen Lewis. Larissa was a toddler in tiny tutus and pink ballet slippers when her Kathleen's membership application and payment landed in my inbox a mere few days after our website went live back in 2000. Fast forward to today, and I have the honor and privilege of knowing and loving Larissa as my “bonus daughter,” friend and team member here at IBN.













    It is one of the special joys of my life to watch Larissa follow in her mother's footsteps as the leader of her own successful business, Jargon Gist, where she helps people take their content from sleepily head scratching to undeniably mind blowing. I cannot say enough about what a talented and skilled content creator Larissa is. You are in for a treat with the no-stress content creation tips and strategies she shares in this episode. You are going to want to take notes …







    Sit back, relax and enjoy my interview with Larissa NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast



























    Important entrepreneurial and content creation insights from Larissa







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business and content creation insights Larissa and I discussed in this episode.







    1. You are a content creator







    No matter what kind of business you have, you are also a content creator. You are a publisher, and it is vital that you figure out the best ways to create content that connects personally with the people who are most likely to buy your products and services. This connection is not a “one and done” type of endeavor. It's a process that requires you to create and share information on an ongoing basis, and while there are many ways to do that, social media is awesome because it's a direct bridge from you to your customer.







    In this episode, Larissa shares something she calls “the Cinnabon theory” and you'll want to make sure you listen so you can use it to your benefit.







    2. Just get started







    I love how Larissa called this directive “the most annoying tip ever,” but it's true nonetheless. No matter the endeavor, if it's a challenge for you, you'll sometimes procrastinate or avoid it completely when all you really need to do is take a step forward and get started. Larissa reminds us in this episode that when it comes to preparing content, you need to figure out what motivates you personally and use it to get you going in the direction of taking action that you might not otherwise take. Do what's fun for you, and the only way to figure out what this might be is to get started. It's kind of circular, but life is like that sometimes. Get over it, and get started.







    3. Embrace artificial intelligence (AI)







    Larissa described AI as a kind of souped up version of the type of predictive text that appears when you're texting someone and your phone begins to fill in your message based on a guess about what you're about to say. It's not always right as we know, and this is a good way to illustrate the double-edged sword that AI can be.







    AI will give you a string of characters that you can consider incorporating into your marketing materials, but it can be bland and vanilla without your personal input — and as an In...

    • 52 min
    The Introvert Entrepreneur with Catherine Robinson of Wildwood Aromas – Indie Business Podcast Episode 97

    The Introvert Entrepreneur with Catherine Robinson of Wildwood Aromas – Indie Business Podcast Episode 97

    Welcome to Episode 97 of the Indie Business Podcast! I'm excited to introduce you to Catherine Robinson of Wildwood Aromas in Springfield, Missouri. A self-described introvert, Catherine started her business after she began making aromatherapy products for people who wanted to use essential oil blends to enhance their daily lives but didn't have, a reputable source to purchase them. She began making products for a small circle of friends and acquaintances, and word began to spread. Catherine quickly realized that she could help more people if she started to sell her products, so in 2019, she started Wildwood Aromas.













    While it's not easy, Catherine loves leading her business. Her determination to help as many people as possible with her passion for customizing aromatherapy blends for health and wellness drives her to continue to put on her “big girl panties” every day to make it happen.







    I can't wait for you to hear more about how Catherine works to improve herself and her business through consistently yet gently pushing herself forward. Sit back, relax, and enjoy my interview with Catherine NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast



























    Important Entrepreneurial Insights from Catherine







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business insights Catherine and I discussed in this episode.







    1. Suck it up, buttercup







    As a self-described introvert, Catherine struggles to use social media to promote her business and put herself out there. At one point, she hired a coach to help her work through some personal issues so she could develop the confidence she felt she needed to meet this challenge. As Catherine shared, it's so easy to hide behind seemingly legitimate excuses to not reach our full potential and be everything we can be. I'm inspired by Catherine's determination to suck it up as she says, and overcome every limiting belief, and do the hard work to reach her full potential as the founder and leader of the Wildwood Aromas brand.







    2. Newsletters produce sales







    Catherine transparently shared that publishing newsletters on a consistent basis can be a challenge, but doing so always rewarded with either immediate sales or feedback from subscribers that eventually turns into sales. It is so rewarding to be able to trace your efforts directly to cash in your pocket. Newsletters nurture relationships and create sales opportunities. In nearly a quarter of a century of coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs, I have never come across anyone who can dispute that with any credibility, and Catherine's experience certainly bears this out.







    3. Chunk it down







    Catherine reminds us that any goal is achievable when you break it down into bite-sized pieces and attack it in chunks. Allow yourself to make small goals, she says, and when you hit those goals, allow yourself to feel really good about it. Consistently hitting small goals leads to consistently hitting larger goals. And while your goals may be smaller than other people's goals, stay focused on the fact that you are hitting your own goals and moving yourself forward. What matters is what you are doing and what progress you are making, not what anyone else is doing.







    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Catherine and I mentioned the following resources.









    * Learn more about Wildwood Aromas







    * Follow Catherine on Instagram

    • 46 min
    The Joy of Getting Over Yourself with Kimberly Cross of Zhi Bath and Body – Indie Business Podcast Episode 96

    The Joy of Getting Over Yourself with Kimberly Cross of Zhi Bath and Body – Indie Business Podcast Episode 96

    Welcome to Episode 96 of the Indie Business Podcast! On this episode, you'll meet Kimberly Cross of Zhi Bath & Body in Charlotte, North Carolina. From the time she was a child, Kim has been in the beauty industry. She started out as a hair dresser in middle school. Later, after retiring from the military (thank you for your service!!), Kim began creating bath and body products containing goat milk in part because her auntie had told her for years that it would help with her skin conditions.













    Like many of us do, Kim resisted her Auntie's sage advice for years, but when she finally wised up, she did the research and discovered the many benefits of goat milk and started making products with goat milk on her own skin. Of course, creating a great product was no guarantee of success. Over the years, Kim has done a lot of inner work to develop the chops needed to get the word out about her products — starting with the skill of getting out of her own way. If this is an issue for you, as it is for so many other entrepreneurs, you'll be motivated and inspired by how Kim's business truly began to open up once she decided to really get over herself.







    I can't wait for you to hear more about Kim's journey. Sit back, relax and enjoy my interview with her NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast



























    Important entrepreneurial insights from Kim







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business insights Kim and I discussed in this episode.







    1. Get over yourself







    For many years, Kim did not use social media because she looked at what everyone else was doing and didn't think she could be that perfect. But she got over herself and pressed forward, and today, she is killing the marketing game on a variety of platforms. Here's the realization that got her there in her own words — based on some advice she got from me over the course of several mentoring sessions:









    What I do have is me: my whole for real me and what I do. And once I gave in and trusted [Donna Maria's] advice, I wanted to share. And I do not have to look perfect to get it done. It was easy to strike that balance once I leaned into it. It's like gravy now. It's fun.









    2. Don't keep it to yourself







    As Kim designs new products to take better care of herself, she iterates them in ways that appeal to her target customers and then offers them as part of her product line. For example, her popular coloring books complement her bath and body products and encourage people to care for themselves by relieving stress, being creative and enjoying a sense of childhood imagination which for adults can be an effective form of therapy. The lesson here is that you can use what you learn in your everyday life to create products that complement your core line. This is an organic way to evolve your brand, increase your income and create multiple income streams.







    3. Wear your brand







    Kim excitedly shared how wearing her branded t-shirt featuring her tag line, her website address and the products and services she offers is a great lead generator. When you listen to this episode, pay special attention to the conversation about the work-life merger where we discuss the importance of using your life to support your business, and using your business to support your life. This is a fascinating concept that all independent business owners must embrace in order to reduce friction and enjoy what we here at IBN call “the Ultimate Trifecta” of a happy life,

    • 46 min
    The Power of Personal Pace with Artist Entrepreneur Rachel Beyer – Indie Business Podcast Episode 95

    The Power of Personal Pace with Artist Entrepreneur Rachel Beyer – Indie Business Podcast Episode 95

    Welcome to Episode 95 of the Indie Business Podcast! On this episode, you'll meet Rachel Beyer of Artist Apothecary in Portland, Oregon. For Rachel, art has always been a passion. Her mother and grandmother taught her how to sew, and growing up, she took extra art classes every chance she got. So it's no surprise that her business is an outgrowth of a combination of her passion, training and expertise as an artist.













    After studying graphic design and fine art in college, Rachel realized she would not be happy with a life filled mainly with time spent in front of a computer — even it if was doing what she loved. So she began to study herbs and aromatherapy and eventually, integrated all of her skills and passions into an Etsy shop selling her artwork. She also became a published author and a freelance designer and craft blogger. This has grown into her amazing business of today, which is thriving — as is Rachel, doing what she loves on her own terms.







    I can't wait for you to hear more about Rachel's entrepreneurial journey — including how she manages her business while dealing with chronic pain, and how she remains balanced, happy and joyful all the while. Sit back, relax, and enjoy my interview with Rachel NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast



























    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Rachel and I mentioned the following resources.









    * Learn more about Rachel Beyer







    * Follow Rachel on Instagram







    * Learn more about the Indie Business Network – for American makers and artisan entrepreneurs









    Important entrepreneurial insights from Rachel







    Let's unpack some of the most significant business insights Rachel and I discussed in this episode.







    1. Don't try to be everyone's everything







    Over the years, Rachel has learned to be crystal clear on what it means to show up for herself first, in true and authentic ways. As she so succinctly and eloquently put it, Rachel has learned not to be everyone's everything, because that never works.







    2. Honor your personal pace







    Rachel lives with what she describes as chronic pain challenges. These have taught her to listen deeply and intentionally to her body, and to create and honor her own personal pace in life and in business. Rachel has created what she describes as an ecosystem that allows her to adjust her schedule around what is going on in her life so she never has to push herself emotionally and physically beyond what is healthy for her. These are lifestyle benefits she never would have been able to enjoy if she was working full-time in a traditional work environment.







    3. The importance of community







    While Rachel enjoys time in her studio in what she calls her “creative zone,” she embraces and understands that community is important as well, particularly as we move out of the pandemic. In addition to enjoying time in person with customers at shows and markets, Rachel's mom, sister and father help her with her business — especially during busy seasons. She also volunteers at a local community garden.







    Also, being a part of the Indie Business Network makes a difference to Rachel because it allows her to inter...

    • 56 min
    Make More Than Products with Chelsea Selby Randazza of Witch Baby Soap – Indie Business Podcast Episode 94

    Make More Than Products with Chelsea Selby Randazza of Witch Baby Soap – Indie Business Podcast Episode 94

    Welcome to Episode 94 of the Indie Business Podcast! In this episode, you'll meet Chelsea Selby Randazza of Witch Baby Soap in Cranford, New Jersey. It was nearly a decade ago when, in her kitchen, baby strapped to her chest, Chelsea first started making and selling soap and bath bombs and realized there was a market for products for what she calls “weird and witchy” people like her. As she began to make more products like the ones she wanted to have for herself, Chelsea realized that a business was being born.













    After selling on Etsy for less than a year, Chelsea launched her own website with no business background, joined the Indie Business Network, and the rest is witchy history. Today, along with her husband, who has joined the business, Chelsea has a healthy online business selling direct to consumers, a popular subscription box, and several retail stores.







    I cannot wait to introduce you to Chelsea and her Witch Baby Soap brand, so sit back, relax, and enjoy my interview with Chelsea NOW!







    Click the arrow to enjoy the Indie Business Podcast











    Episode Show Notes







    Here are the topics discussed in this episode, with time stamps to help you find the information that interests you most:









    * The Witch Baby Soap startup story. (starting at 2:30)







    * The “security” of working for yourself. (starting at 6:42)







    * The core messages of the Witch Baby brand. (starting at 8:49)







    * Innovating the “coffin bath bomb.” (starting at 11:44)







    * How to create a product with a meaning and intention, and for a specific target market. (starting at 13:15)







    * Chelsea's journey from Etsy to her own branded website on Shopify. (starting at 16:30)







    * Opening her retail stores. (starting at 18:02)







    * How Chelsea sells her products, and why she does not sell wholesale. (starting at 20:31)







    * How Chelsea sets financial goals for her business. (starting at 22:53)







    * Key business challenges and how Chelsea has overcome them. (starting at 27:15)







    * Employees at Witch Baby Soap, and how they are spread across the various channels. (starting at 29:03)







    * All about the Witch Baby Spell Box, Chelsea's quarterly subscription box. (starting at 30:22)







    * How Chelsea keeps the innovation going in her business: “following the bread crumbs that life gives me.” (starting at 32:15)







    * Why Chelsea begged her husband to quit his job and work Witch Baby with her. (39:45)







    * What opportunities Chelsea sees on the horizon for Makers and creative entrepreneurs. (42:40)

























    Schedule Your Business Growth Coaching Call







    Thanks for listening to the Indie Business Podcast! Let's get started taking you and your maker business to the next level with a 45-minute complimentary personalized Business Growth Group Coaching Call.







    Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode







    In this episode, Chelsea and I mentioned the following resources.









    * Online website platform: Shopify







    * Online website platform: Etsy

    • 54 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

MelissaR05 ,

Inspirer

Love listening to Donna Marie and the Makers on the Podcast. I am always inspired as I hear their stories and learn something more about them and their products!

ecoofficegals ,

Jennifer Smith

Donna Maria provides wonderful insight for small businesses and hosts informative guests! Love the Indie Business Podcast.

Jennifer Earth and Aether ,

Business Inspiration

I'm enjoying listening to these podcasts - they are positive and inspirational, and I love how Donna Maria recaps some of the business tips discussed during the interviews! Thank you for this resource!

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