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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Creating A Focused Brand With Studebaker Metals Founder Alyssa Catalano
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This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.
These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.
Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.
This show is called What Works for a reason.
Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”
Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:
What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?
What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?
What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?
And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?
My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.
Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.
To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.
Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?
While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.
This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.
We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.
Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!
Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.
Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.
Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.
And that launch was a smash.
Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!
Today, I’m talking with my friend Autumn Witt Boyd, the founder of The AWB Firm, which specializes in helping online business owners protect what they’ve built.
Autumn and I talk about why she started tinkering with her sales process in the first place, the speed bumps she experienced along the way, why her sales process ended up too automated, and how she’s taken a more human approach and actually gotten much better results.
The market is constantly changing. New technology, new trends, new players....
Hey, it's Tara McMullin, and this is a special bonus episode of What Works,...