300 episodes

Stop spinning your wheels and start getting ahead: What Works is all about the nuts & bolts of what it takes to build a stronger business. Tara McMullin talks to experienced small business owners & entrepreneurs about marketing, management, mindset, operations, product development, sales, customer service, and more--so you can learn what's really happening behind the scenes. 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

    • Entrepreneurship
    • 4.8 • 186 Ratings

Stop spinning your wheels and start getting ahead: What Works is all about the nuts & bolts of what it takes to build a stronger business. Tara McMullin talks to experienced small business owners & entrepreneurs about marketing, management, mindset, operations, product development, sales, customer service, and more--so you can learn what's really happening behind the scenes. 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 311: Finding The Full Body Yes With Being Boss Host Emily Thompson

    EP 311: Finding The Full Body Yes With Being Boss Host Emily Thompson

    In This Episode:

    * How Emily Thompson, host of Being Boss & founder of Almanac Supply Co, led herself through a year with plenty of twists & turns* How she knew that taking over Being Boss on her own with the right decision for her & the vision she has* How she managed herself through turning an in-person event into an online one* The practice she uses to stay focused and present with her own experience* What she did at Almanac Supply Co to replace a revenue stream lost to lockdown

    Well, folks—we’ve made it.

    It’s the final month of 2020 and we’ve been through a lot this year.

    I can’t even pretend to know what the year was like for you. I don’t know if you felt incredibly lonely or never got a moment to yourself after March 17th (or both). I don’t know if you finally confronted your racist uncle or spent precious energy reminding people that your life does matter. I don’t know if your business cratered or skyrocketed. I don’t know if you lost a loved one or welcomed a new life into your family.

    But what I do know is that, if you’re reading this right now, you led yourself through it.

    You found a way to cope. You found the strength to keep going. You nurtured the resilience to grow and adapt.

    And you should be proud of that.

    I’ve had the great privilege of getting the inside scoop on how hundreds of small business owners navigated the endless twists and turns of this year. I’ve watched as they rise to the occasion over and over again inside The What Works Network.

    I’ve observed their new self-care practices. I’ve seen how they reimagine their brands. I’ve witnessed them wait it out. And I’ve seen how how they’ve grown.

    This month, I wanted to take a look back at how they’ve led themselves through this wild year.

    So I spoke to 4 small business owners who each had a very different experience this year. What they all have in common, though, is a fine-tuned sense of self-leadership.

    Sometimes that self-leadership took the form of intentional practices of self-care. Other times, it was finding the courage the make big decisions. And still other times, their self-leadership stared down challenges with intense creativity & imagination.

    My first guest in this series is Emily Thompson, host of Being Boss and founder of Almanac Supply Company.

    Emily had a big year—she separated from her long-time business partner Kathleen Shannon. She reimagined the Being Boss business model. She pivoted an in-person event to the online space. And, she got creative about how to replace a major revenue stream for Almanac.

    Emily and I talk about all of these moments and much more.

    We’ll get into the conversation in just a minute.

    But first, I want to invite you to join me for a different kind of annual review.

    It’s happening on Instagram—and every day this month, I’m sharing a different question you can use to look back on the year.

    So whether the year has been up, down, or lots of ups & downs, these questions will help you reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and how you’ve grown.

    Today’s question is: what did you create this year?

    Follow along by finding me on Instagram – I’m a href="http://instagram.

    • 49 min
    EP 310: Unlearning Default Thoughts With Financial Coach Keina Newell

    EP 310: Unlearning Default Thoughts With Financial Coach Keina Newell

    In This Episode:

    * How financial coach Keina Newell realized she had a mindset problem–plus all the ways she tried to make things work without working on her mindset* The personal practices she uses to notice her thoughts and create new ones* How her sales process and revenue has shifted since she started addressing her mindset–and the incredible financial results she’s been able to create* Why taking a more objective approach to noticing her thoughts has helped her keep her mind fresh and her options open

    Life teaches us a lot.

    Some of it is good and helpful—the skills that help us make our way in the world.

    And some of it… well, some of it ends up getting in our way.

    But we might not realize the friction that it’s causing or the opportunities that it’s blocking until things come to a head.

    Once you’ve discovered that there’s a problem with what you’ve already learned, what do you do?

    All this month, we’ve been talking about leveling up and learning new skills.

    But this week, we’re going to talk a bit about unlearning.

    Marga Biller, program director at the Harvard Learning Innovations Laboratory, defines unlearning like this:

    “Unlearning is learning to think, behave, or perceive differently, when there are already beliefs, behaviors, or assumptions in place (that get in the way), at either the individual or organizational level.”

    Often, we try to do or learn new things without addressing the beliefs, behaviors, and assumptions that we already have—even when those things are contradictory.

    For instance, it’s hard to speak up on social media and share your big message if you’ve learned through social conditioning or personal trauma that you can only be safe when you’re silent.

    It’s hard to ask for testimonials or write effectively about your offer if you’ve learned that humility is always playing down your achievements or ability.

    It’s hard to charge more for your services or products if you’ve learned that money is the root of all evil.

    Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

    The job of entrepreneurship is so different and foreign to most of us that we don’t realize all the things we’ve learned that block our ability to do it effectively until we’re deep in it.

    Entrepreneurs have to unlearn trading time for money. They have to unlearn old management habits. They have to unlearn perfectionism. They often even have to unlearn old identities.

    Truly, the list could go on and on.

    But I won’t—I want to get to this week’s conversation because it’s a good one.

    This week, I’m talking with financial coach and the founder of Wealth Over Now, Keina Newell.

    Keina and I started this conversation with the frame that we were going to be talking about learning mindset skills. And we definitely talk about that.

    But after reflecting on this interview, I think what we talked about the most was unlearning many of the habits and patterns that she’d learned along the way.

    Keina and I talk about what she thought the problem was and how she tried to fix it before landing on learning and unlearning key mindset pieces, as well as the self-coaching system she used to final...

    • 41 min
    EP 309: How To Change Your Perspective

    EP 309: How To Change Your Perspective

    Today, you’re going to hear from four small business owners who have learned to see things in a new way–to shift their perspective–and as a result show up differently for themselves and their businesses.

    I’ve got stories from writing coach Beth Barany, Work Brighter founder Brittany Berger, business finance coach Lauren Caselli, and speech language pathologist and life coach Melissa Page Deutsch.

    Each one has a very different story of how they learned something new and it shifted their perspective. Pay attention to how that new perspective helped them see both their challenges and their opportunities in new ways.

    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.

    • 31 min
    EP 308: Leveraging Old Skills & Learning New Ones With Bouquet Stock Photography Founders Dana Kaye & Felton Kizer

    EP 308: Leveraging Old Skills & Learning New Ones With Bouquet Stock Photography Founders Dana Kaye & Felton Kizer

    In This Episode:

    * Why Dana Kaye  and Felton Kizer came together to build a stock photography business–and the important mission behind the company* How the process of making things official helped them learn how to work with each other* The skills they’ve learned as they have developed the new business, as well as how they’ve leveraged their existing business-building skills to give it a jumpstart* Why they’re each playing the roles they are in the new business and how that’s guided the development of the business

    Starting a second—or third or fourth—business is a great test of your skills as an entrepreneur.

    On one hand, you’re reminded of all the things you learned getting the first venture or few off the ground. You can put those skills to use faster and avoid some of the hassle you went through when you did it before.

    On the other hand, there are inevitably new things to learn. You might need to pick up skills that come from using a different kind of business model. Or, you might need to learn some new software. Or, you might want to acquire some new marketing or sales skills to support the new company.

    Last year, I had to level up my own skills as the co-founder of my second company, YellowHouse.Media. YellowHouse.Media is the podcast production agency I run with my husband, Sean.

    Starting the new venture was a huge affirmation of skills that I already possessed.

    It was incredibly fun to design a business from scratch and see it come to fruition really fast—almost exactly how I had envisioned it. I even got to exercise skills around package design and pricing that I had learned but never put into practice.

    But there were also all kinds of new skills to learn, too.

    I needed to learn how to run the business model I had designed. I needed to develop new communication skills and new team-building skills. And I had to learn new software, too.

    Of course, the biggest learning curve was figuring out how to work with a business partner—and how to work with my husband. 

    We’re still figuring that one out.

    All this month on What Works, we’re talking about leveling up our skills and, this week, I’ve got the inside scoop on a brand new joint venture that friend of the pod Dana Kaye and her new business partner Felton Kizer put together. Knowing what I’ve learned about my own second company, not to mention working with a business partner, I knew this conversation would teach us a lot about the skills that go into building a new business.

    You might remember that Dana Kaye is the founder of Kaye Publicity, a PR firm for authors, as well as the host of the podcast, Branding Outside The Box. Felton Kizer is a photographer and the founder of Off-Kilter Media.

    Together, they’ve just launched Bouquet Stock Photography. They wanted to see more people of color, those in the LGBTQIA+ community, non-binary folks,

    • 46 min
    EP 307: Mastering A New Model With The Light House Founder Christianne Squires

    EP 307: Mastering A New Model With The Light House Founder Christianne Squires

    In This Episode:

    * Why Christianne Squires created The Light House, a community for contemplative leaders, and how it differs from her first business, Bookwifery* How she uses discernment to explore potential decisions and choose what action to take* How the way she creates value has changed in her new community-based business model* What she’s done to hone her skills for community building and how she sees her role in the business now

    Different kinds of businesses require different skills.

    Okay, maybe that’s obvious—but hear me out.

    I’m not talking about the skills that you offer as a product or service.

    I’m talking about the skills that you use to actually build and operate the business itself.

    Learning how to run a wholesale product business is different than learning how to run a creative agency is different than learning how to run a training company is different than learning how to run a digital products business is different than learning how to run a software as a service business.

    There is plenty of overlap. There are plenty of foundational concepts and skills that are key to each of these different business models.

    But when it comes to the specific craft of building a particular type of company, that is its own unique skill set.

    This month, we’re taking a closer look at how entrepreneurs level up their skills to build more effective and profitable businesses.

    I’ve been reminded just how specific the skills required to build a certain business model can be at least twice in recent memory.

    Most recently, I’ve been learning the ins and outs of building a productized service business and creative agency model as we grow our podcast production company, YellowHouse.Media.

    I had to reacquaint myself with retainer pricing, writing proposals, and managing projects—as well as helping clients navigate the ups and downs of birthing something as big as a podcast.

    A few years ago, though, I pivoted my coaching and training company into a community-based business. I’ve spent the last few years unlearning the expert marketing and product development model my business was originally based on and learning a new skill set around subscription pricing, retention, and community building.

    It’s been a ride!

    I had to rethink how we create value (and what that value even is). I had to take a fresh approach to how we market and sell. And I had to reconsider what leadership looks like in a peer-to-peer support community.

    This year—both as predicted and rushed along by the pandemic—has seen a wave of new community-based businesses.

    And lots of people are learning just how different this skill set is!

    I wanted to talk with someone else who has experienced this shift first hand and I was thrilled when Christianne Squires agreed to share her story.

    Christianne is the founder of The Light House and, formerly, Bookwifery. You’re going to hear all about these two businesses—and what makes them different from each other over the course of this conversation.

    You’ll also hear how Christianne has been nurturing her skills as a community builder and how that’s pushed her rethink how she creates value,

    • 51 min
    EP 306: Finding A New Way To Communicate With Writer Kris Windley

    EP 306: Finding A New Way To Communicate With Writer Kris Windley

    In This Episode:

    * How writer Kris Windley learned illustration skills to level up the way she communicates* The process she uses to figure out what she’s going to draw and how it’s going to enhance her writing* The 3 ways she coaches herself through the hard parts in learning a new skill* Where she draws motivation from to continue to learn new things and level up her skills

    The very first online course I ever created taught students how to build a WordPress website.

    I created the course about 10 years ago before drag & drop page builders were the norm and before premium themes were easily customized.

    Back then, building a website was a special kind of skill. If you wanted something custom, you had to know some HTML and some CSS and you had to know where to put it to make it do the things you wanted to do.

    The first time I taught the class, the sheer newness of what was involved hit the students like a tsunami. They felt in over their heads and they were quickly drowning among the flotsam & jetsam of page templates and child themes and stylesheets.

    I felt horrible.

    I wanted to teach them this new skill so badly. I wanted them to feel powerful and in control of their online presences.

    But instead, I felt like I had resigned them to the horrible fate of feeling confused and overwhelmed by something that seemed so central to building their businesses.

    We worked through it… but I knew I didn’t want a repeat of that.

    So the next time I taught the class, instead of diving into the first lesson, I shared a video with them where I explained what was going to happen—not in the class itself, but in their minds.

    I asked them to remember back to the last time they were learning something brand new—something that they had no point of reference for. I asked them to remember that it was hard at first but, little by little, it started to make sense and they were able to apply what they were learning.

    After I set this expectation, it was a little easier for everyone.

    There were still plenty of questions and problems learning the material—but there were far fewer freakouts and panic attacks!

    Not only were my students learning to build their websites, I was learning a valuable lesson about what it takes to learn a new, foreign skill as an adult.

    This month, we’re exploring how we level up by learning new skills.

    We all bring a unique skill set to our businesses. Some of us bring the skills we learned in school or corporate careers that transfer directly into the work we’re doing today. Others bring certifications and licenses from careers that no longer serve us.

    Some of us bring skills from our hobbies, personal adventures, or relationships. Others bring skills they had no idea would be useful but have been invaluable to their growth.

    The way we leverage our existing skills and learn new ones helps us to creatively solve business problems, invest ourselves in future outcomes, and differentiate our brands.

    Over the course of this month, we’ll hear from a number of small business owners who have spent time and energy on learning a new skill so they could level up some aspect of their businesses—or, in one case, start a new one.

    You’ll hear from Christianne Squires who committed to leveling up her community-building skills so she could serve her people in a new way.

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
186 Ratings

186 Ratings

Trevor Oldham ,

Tara and her guests are great!

When building a business, I know that I can't do it all alone. By listening to Tara and her guests I've been able to gain valuable insight into growing my business!

Mary Beth Simon ,

Critical to launching my new business

I learned about the podcast and network through a consultant I worked with to launch my business. I have made such valuable connections through the network and learned so much from the podcasts, events and members. Listen 🎧 and learn.

Eva Jannotta ,

Tara’s show is so good!

I recently discovered Tara’s show What Works. I love the emphasis on taking listeners behind the curtain for real-life tales of building a more effective, sustainable, and profitable business. Systems and processes are some of the most overlooked aspects of building a business, and it’s so helpful and interesting that Tara and her guests share examples that go against the status-quo.

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