What Works | A Podcast About Small Business Hosted By Tara McMullin (Gentile)

The Nuts & Bolts Of Building A Stronger Small Business

“Tara is a master at bringing together knowledgable, generous business owners who have worked hard to build their businesses–and are willing to share it all.”
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About What Works

What Works is a free weekly show that takes the mystery out of how small businesses really work.

With each episode, Tara deep dives with a small business owner and asks about how they manage their marketing, money, operations, team-building, growth, or personal leadership. She asks the nosy questions you’ve always wanted to ask other business owners!

Why a podcast? 

We produce the What Works podcast because it makes learning on-the-go easy. You can take this free in-depth audio content wherever you go and listen whenever you have time using apps like Spotify, Castbox, Castro, and Apple Podcasts.

New to What Works? Try This Episode:

Creating A Focused Brand With Studebaker Metals Founder Alyssa Catalano

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Browse Our Episodes

EP 317: Leveraging LinkedIn With The Pocket PhD Founder Emily Crookston

Obviously, we all got thrown for a loop last year when Covid hit. That wrench in the works played out different for every one and every business—but we all had to adapt in some way.

If you fought, fled, or froze, you’re not alone!

I think we all responded that way initially. I certainly did—big fighting energy over here!

What was amazing to watch though is little by little, the business owners I’m in community with started to ease up on that immediate reaction and started to find a more adaptive, proactive response.

I saw amazing things happen for people when they adapted—even if those things didn’t always lead to financial relief or more time to themselves.

One of those people is my guest today, the founder of The Pocket PhD, Emily Crookston.

Emily is a ghostwriter and editor who works with experts and thought leaders to help them bring their ideas to the masses.

As you’ll hear, Emily’s plan for 2020 was to grow her business through in-person speaking engagements. Her first gig was on March 8—and then… lock down.

But Emily adapted—taking the same strategy she was applying to speaking gigs and applied it to LinkedIn. She’s seen tremendous success on the platform over the last year and I wanted to talk with her about how she adapted her plan, decided on LinkedIn, and then figured out how to make the most of the platform by working her plan.

We talk about how she made the jump from posting spontaneously to planning her content & scheduling it. We talk about the video interview series she started. We talk about how she approaches the LinkedIn algorithm (hint: she doesn’t). And we talk about the results she’s seen for her business.

EP 316: Planning For Parental Leave With Startup Society Founder Gillian Perkins

This week, my guest is Gillian Perkins—a YouTuber with over 450 thousand subscribers, marketing expert, business strategist, and the creator of Startup Society.

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Gillian through YellowHouse.Media, where we produce her podcast, Work Less, Earn More. Gillian is a disciplined, rigorous executor who is no stranger to making a plan and working it.

And there are plenty of conventional ways that Gillian manages the work to be done—for instance, she loves Asana!

But there was a really intriguing part of our conversation where I learned that Gillian’s found her true way of working on big projects—like planning for her recent parental leave—doesn’t necessarily fit the way we think it’s supposed to be done. She calls it “batching chaotically” and it’s a mode of operation I can definitely relate to!

In this conversation, you’ll hear what Gillian’s average 20-hour workweek looks like, how she changed that up to prepare for parental leave, how she made her leave plan in the first place, and what she’s learned by taking time away from the business over the years.

EP 315: How I’m Planning For 2021 at What Works & YellowHouse.Media

Welcome to the first What Works episode of 2021!

This episode is going to be a look behind the scenes of my two companies and how we’re planning for 2021, some of the choices we’re making, and what we’ll be looking for as the year progresses.

Not only is this the kick-off episode for 2021, it’s the kick-off for our January series on “working the plan.” This month, I’m going to be sharing conversations about planning for parental leave, leveraging LinkedIn, and writing a book—all things that have taken intentional planning and execution!

But before we get to those, I wanted to share not only how I’ll be working the plan this year but how the plan got made in the first place.

I recorded this episode in mid-December 2020. And in that time, I’ve already discovered some things that are altering my plans. After all, the very act of working a plan means you’re gaining new information and even discovering new ideas.

Planning is a learning process.

It’s not about getting the plan right, it’s about finding a starting point and then learning from the result as you go.

My plan is never set in stone. Adjusting my plan doesn’t mean I’ve failed or done something wrong. It means I’m learning. So start with my best guess of what I want to do and then adapt from there as I gain new information and experiences.

In this episode, I’ll share how I’m reallocating my resources this year to better serve my companies, what commitments I’ve made for the year, the Strategic Priorities we’re focused on, and what projects we’re kicking off the year with.

Here’s what works for me when I’m working the plan!

EP 314: Discovering Who You Want To Become With Modern Leaders Co-Founder Melissa Emler

Today, we’re talking to Melissa Emler, who leads a community of educators & administrators over at Modern Learners.

As you might guess from the name of her company, Missy has been through the wringer this year! The pandemic brought an intense urgency to the work she’s been doing and the change she’s been trying to create in education for years. Suddenly, schools all over the world knew they needed a new approach to learning.

But that wasn’t the only thing creating twists & turns for Missy this year.

In this conversation, you’ll hear how Missy balances leading her company with working in the “lab” of a day job, the 3-part framework she’s used to lead educators through big change, and how she created space for conversation about injustice and systemic racism in education.

Plus, you’ll hear how Missy uses a key question about change and figuring out who we want to become to meet the moment to lead herself and others.

EP 313: Focusing On What You Can Control With Co-Creating Inclusion Founder Alethea Fitzpatrick

This week, we’re continuing our series on leading yourself with Alethea Fitzpatrick, the founder of Co-Creating Inclusion—a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting practice.

Alethea told me that her go-to practice for navigating the twists & turns of this year has been focusing on what she can control and letting go of what she can’t.

As you might guess, Alethea’s consultancy has experienced massive growth this year—which has been its own challenge—while she also had to deal with pandemic life with 2 kids in New York City.

I’ve watched Alethea navigate big emotions, uncertain outcomes, and limited capacity and her openness & grace in the midst of oppression and violence has been astounding.

Are you a small business owner with an unconventional or highly thoughtful way of working?

Would you like to share the nitty-gritty of how you do things with the What Works audience?

We’re always looking for guests, especially from unusual industries, using creative business models, and from underrepresented communities.

Here’s how to be considered:

  • Let us know 2-3 processes or strategies you use in your business that are unconventional or incredibly thoughtful that might make a good angle for a 30-40 min deep dive interview, or…
  • Share a personal inflection point in your business–like a mindset shift you made and how it played out in your business
Once we have the potential story in mind, we can see how you might fit into our editorial calendar!

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