Candid conversations with small business owners about what’s working to run & grow their businesses

“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.

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Behind The Scenes Of The Awkward Marketing Video Series With Rachael Kay Albers

by Tara McMullin | What Works

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Browse Our Episodes

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

Today, you’re going to hear from 5 business owners–all member of The What Works Network members. They’re sharing the project management software they use and how it fits with the way they work.

Susan Boles shares how she manages her projects in ClickUp. Joe Taylor, Jr shares how he and his team manage projects in Basecamp. Ayelet Marinovich shares how she used Trello to manage writing & publishing a book in just 6 weeks. Melissa Emler shares how she got used to managing–and automating–projects in AirTable. And finally, Jonathan Stewart shares how he took a windy road to managing projects in Notion.

Keep an ear out for why each business owner uses the software they use and how it lets them manage the work they way they want to. Remember that the software is there to help them manage projects the way they choose to manage projects–not because it’s fixing them or the work itself.

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

I wanted to know how people who work with lots of data and reports manage the process, communicate with their clients, and organize all the work to be done.

So I asked Christina Sjahli, an on-demand CFO and cash flow analyst, to share her process. Christina started her career in corporate finance and now brings that experience to established entrepreneurs in the process of scaling to $1 million in annual revenue.

In this conversation, Christina shares how she manages the financial reports that help her do her job, how she tracks changes in those reports so the history of the project is never lost, how and why she uses Trello boards to interact with her clients, and why being deadline-oriented helps her manage her own work.

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

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.

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.

EP 257: End-Of-Year Mailbag Episode With Tara McMullin

We’ve had a helluva year here at What Works. We’ve talked to over 100 small business owners, published more than 80 episodes, and tackled 12 different themes this year.

What Works is special because we focus on the people who are making their businesses work every single day.

We believe we all have a lot to learn from each other—and the more honest & transparent we are about how our marketing, operations, tools, product development, or sales processes work, the better chance we all have for success.

On this episode, it’s no different—except, instead of me being the one asking the questions, you are!

EP 256: Discovering What You Need From Your Business With BrainSpace Optimized Founder Hailey Thomas

Today’s guest mentioned early on in our conversation that she found herself taking the work that came to her, growing her capacity to be able to bring in *more* work, and never really stopping to ask herself how she was designing her business.

Her name is Hailey Thomas and she’s the founder of BrainSpace Optimized, where she helps entrepreneurs plan, execute, and complete projects in 90 days or less.

Unfortunately, Hailey suffered a big, personal loss that made her rethink the way she’d been doing business to that point.

We talk about how her tunnel vision led her to skipping her initial grief, why she let go of her clients and contractors, and how she started to process what she truly needed from her life and business.

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!

Guest Submission Form

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Meet Tara McMullin

Tara McMullin is the founder & host of What Works. She’s been connecting small business owners through mastermind groups and online community for over a decade. Whether on the podcast or in the online network, her goal is to facilitate the free flow of ideas, information, and inspiration between entrepreneurs.

She believes that no one person has the answer to “what works” in small business–but that, together, we can create living, breathing knowledge-base of real-world solutions to all of our small business challenges.