Breaking Down Your Business | Small Business | Business Owners | Entrepreneurship | Leadership

What’s In This Episode:

Brad's still maintaining momentum on his feedback goal. Please go here and fill out his three-question survey. He'll love you forever.

So you have your goals, but the enthusiasm is waning. How do you get through it? Before he discovered the Streaks App, Brad blocked time on his calendar so that he could work on his goals. He plans around his goal. Jill's all about the accountability buddy (though she's liking the sound of that app, too!).

"I like the idea of check-ins. You can't do it alone." - Jill

Kristy Wallace, CEO of Ellevate Network, calls to ask about what the best practices are for owning your brand. She recognizes that there are similar companies out there - and she thinks that's great. But she worries that if other companies do similarly-named events but they don't have the same quality or structure, that could dilute the power of her brand. She's not coming at it from a malicious standpoint; she's just worked really hard to get Ellevate Network to where it is today.

Jill's take - even though it's not legal advice - is that if Kristy isn't going to take anyone to court, there's no point to trademark or copyright anything. The whole point of trademarking something is that you want to prevent someone else from doing that thing or using that name too. Any lawyer will tell you that, of course, you need to trademark. Bigger companies have trademarks, and filing a trademark may also make you feel important. If she wants to, Jill says that Kristy can put a "TM" mark next to their brand name, meaning that they're filing for a registered trademark.

Brad says that nine times out of ten, a conversation is all that's needed. Something like, "Hey, that looks awfully similar to what I've been doing. I would appreciate it if you called it something different." Additionally, he tells Kristy she can use Copyscape to check for plagiarism.

Overall, Jill says, if you're worried about all of this, you're not focused on building your business. So build your business - no one's going to be able to do it as well as you can.

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 ways to maintain your momentum:

  • Find a person in your life that can keep you accountable.
  • Write it down, journal it, or post it to your social networks.
  • Download a tracking app like Streaks (mentioned above!) or the Productive App.
  • When you're working, remove all distractions. Put your tech on Do Not Disturb.
  • And the number one thing? Create this!

Guest:

  • Kristy Wallace is the CEO of Ellevate Network and is responsible for executing their mission to close the gender achievement gap in business by providing professional women with a global community to lean on and learn from.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_242.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

Are you staying focused on what's important and avoiding the trap of being busy? Brad's trying to stay on top of his goals. In fact, he's serious about getting feedback from others (please go here and answer three questions).

Jill says that busy work allows us to avoid the real things you have to do. You don't realize that you're doing busy work, really, until you step back and take a look at it. Plus, every time you get an email and your endorphins rise, it's telling you, "Oh, I'm being productive."

Brad says that email, especially, is tricky. Some of it is busy work, some of it is actually important, and there's probably a lead or two. Facebook and other social media are just as bad as getting sucked into email. But it's the same thing: you're rarely going to make more money by chatting with people via Messenger.

"There's a lot of busy work that we get ourselves involved in that isn't really making progress on our goals." - Brad

Lloyd Lim calls in and talks about his writing career. He began writing nonfiction books in order to simplify complicated topics for people. Before embarking on writing, he worked for the government, and before that, he worked as a lawyer. But now, he's left the government and is working on rebranding himself. He's worked on a lot of public interest projects, but he's doing a lot of them for free. How does he start moving toward getting paid for the work that he does?

Brad suggests that Lloyd narrows down his expertise into one thing that provides the most value. Jill respectfully disagrees with Brad and says to just start charging. Lloyd explains that he's thought about charging a flat fee for assessment of his clients' problems. But he still needs to identify his target market, what's the problem they have, and what's the solution that he's going to offer.

"I'm a big believer in the accountability buddy." - Jill

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 ways to measure progress toward your goals:

  • Break your goal into manageable pieces.
  • Make it a game.
  • Create streaks - how many days in a row have you done your goal? (There's even an app for that.)
  • Form a team and check in with someone else.
  • What's YOUR method of making progress toward your goals? Call us and let us know!

Guest:

Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_241.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

Brad and Jill made some goals and now they have to start working on them. It's like a clean slate! A chance to start over! What's Jill going to leave behind for the new year? She's going to try to leave behind massive impatience in her business in 2018. Some of it served her well as an entrepreneur; it even helped her build her businesses. But now, to sustain them, she needs even more patience.

Brad's leaving behind social media (he's trying, anyway). He wants to make it a habit to not look at any social media when he's at home. Jill suggests just removing apps from his phone to make it easier not to check. Good luck, Brad!

"Business is about trust, and if you can't follow through on your commitments, why would I do business at all?" - Brad

Then Brad and Jill have a last-minute guest cancellation, which leads to a discussion about commitments. What is it about commitments that people can't handle? No, it's not the first time that a guest has canceled being on the podcast, but doing so last-minute isn't very considerate. Additionally, doing so means that you miss out on other opportunities (in this case, a chance to promote and get advice!).

So, for 2018... don't be that person. It makes you look bad, professionally.

"Celebrate any progress, even the baby steps, because it's gonna help you move along." - Jill

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 ways to make immediate progress on your goals:

  • Skip your emails in the first hour of your workday and do the thing that needs doing the most.
  • Take 5 goals that are important in your business, and write them down so that you see them repeatedly.
  • Move somewhere else; work in a different space. Get that creativity flowing.
  • Celebrate any progress!
  • And the number one way to make immediate progress? Delete this thing!

Sponsor:

  • This episode is sponsored by Warby Parker. Buying glasses can be expensive, annoying, and overwhelming. Warby Parker cuts out the middleman by providing high-quality eyewear at a fraction of the cost.  How can you try glasses online? Check out their Home Try-On Program for free and get started to find your perfect pair of glasses.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_240.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

We're welcoming 2018! Brad wants to know if Jill likes goals. She wants to know how Brad defines goals, which he does as "something that you're committing yourself to accomplish in a certain period of time". Jill hates them because she finds specific goals to be too limiting and confining. Weirdly, BRAD AGREES WITH HER. He'd get so wrapped up in his goals, he'd stop noticing that there were other things that needed his attention. But he does think goals are useful, as you utilize different actions when working toward a goal.

"I personally don't think as an entrepreneur, I need goals to drive me." - Jill

Kelley Kitley, author, TEDx presenter and founder of Serendipitous Psychotherapy, calls in for advice on how to take her business to the next level. She wants to get on national radio and TV circuits; she wants more speaking engagements. But she doesn't have the money to hire a PR/marketing person, and wonders if she's being annoying. Jill reminds her that there is no such thing as being annoying in business. It's particularly a stigma with women, but there is absolutely no limit.

Brad wants to know if Kelley would be open to raising her prices; as a therapist, she needs to make more money if she's going to devote some of her time being her own PR person. People often believe that a PR person can do a better job than they would be able to, but if Kelley knows what she wants, and knows where to find them, she doesn't have to spend that expense just yet.

"The thing about pricing is - we charge what we have the confidence to ask for." - Brad

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 out-of-the-box goals for the year:

  • Pay attention to how much joy there is in your life. Focus on joy, and see how much you can repeat things that bring you joy day-to-day.
  • Go further with fewer initiatives. You don't need to do ALL the things; just focus on a few things and see if it works.
  • Get sleep. It's so important.
  • Get more feedback, even if you're the boss.
  • And the number one thing? Brad's really doing it this time!

Want to know what it is? Listen in

Guest:

  • Kelley Kitley is the founder of Serendipitous Psychotherapy, as well as the author of an autobiography, MY self.
Direct download: Breaking_Dwon_Your_Business_EP_239.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

Christmas is over, but Jill's not giving up on making eggnog a year-round thing. What are the things they loved most from the holiday? Jill's still basking in the hugs from her daughters (and eggnog), while Brad's happy about the slippers he received.

"If you spend all your time on your personal brand, then the business can never really move away from you." - Brad

Eric Paul Olson, chief marketing officer for Clever Stilettos, an online magazine for women entrepreneurs, calls in to discuss his dilemma. He can't figure out what he wants to devote time to -- his personal brand or the Clever Stilettos brand. He has a team of eight people to help him run Clever Stilettos, but he runs a podcast to go along with the magazine. Furthermore, Eric's also an actor on Chicago Fire and Chicago Med, so Brad and Jill suggest that maybe he should hire someone to help him with Clever Stilettos while he focuses on acting. Jill says that hosting a podcast is great, but he needs to hand it off to the team once he's done lending his time to it. His team can promote on all sides - both the Eric Olson brand AND the Clever Stiletto brand. Brad says that some fans of Eric Olson, the actor, will be interested in the fact that he ALSO has a digital marketing interest. Basically, it comes down to knowing who your audience is and distributing content accordingly.

"I want to pay more attention to my space next year. I used to care less about clutter, but I need more space now." - Jill

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 non-money-driven goals for next year:

  • Try to be more present. No technology (phone, laptop - put it away!) - spend some more time with your family instead.
  • Taking more time off.
  • Make your workspace work better for you.
  • SAY NO! Get out of the habit of saying yes to everything.
  • And the number one thing? It's a tough one, but anyone can join in...

Want to know what it is? Listen in

Guest:

  • Eric Paul Olson is the chief marketing officer of Clever Stilettos, a women's entrepreneurial magazine. He splits his time between podcasting and acting
Direct download: Breaking_Dwon_Your_Business_EP_238.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

The end is near! The end of the year, that is. And, as the year draws to a close, Jill's in love... with a pitch. She appreciates a pitch she received via email was so personalized via audio that she could tell the person really put time and effort into it. Brad had the opposite reaction: he disliked that he had to click and figure out the message, and thought the sender could have just written things out.

"Why would I listen to two minutes and thirty-six seconds of yapping?" - Brad

Frank Ford, author of Happy Accidents: The Transformative Power of "YES, AND" at Work and in Lifeimproviser, and owner of Four Day Weekend, a comedy space in Fort Worth, TX, calls in to discuss how to open up a new location. He has the opportunity to open up a second location in Dallas, but wonders how to bring the quality and the value to the new digs. 

Brad says to replicate exactly. Once you can get the quality up to par, then you can innovate. Secondly, he suggests that Frank doesn't have to work with entirely new staff. Transfer some over from the original location so the feel and vibe are there. Thirdly, he says that Frank can follow the example of the Blue Man Group and reconvene frequently to see what's working for best practices.

Jill says face-t0-face meetings will be invaluable. And to keep structure, but don't have hard-and-fast rules. Think of SNL, she says. The structure has been carried through for decades and the brand is apparent, but everyone has done it a little differently.

"Take some freakin' time off!" - Jill

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 things you need to do before year end:

  • Look at your taxes. Do it. Do it now.
  • Make a budget. Set goals.
  • Acknowledge those who make your business run. Say thank you!
  • Take some time off.
  • And the number one thing? It's a fun one...

Want to know what it is? Listen in

Guest:

  • Frank Ford is the owner of Four Day Weekend, a comedy institution in Texas. In addition to performing in over 5,000 shows and working with Fortune 500 companies throughout the world, Frank is also a very popular keynote presenter on the speaker circuit.
Direct download: Breaking_Dwon_Your_Business_EP_237.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 4:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

How long is a long break? In some industries, Brad says, you can take a really long time off. College professors can take sabbaticals. Some professionals can take up to three months! What does Jill think of that? Genius idea. It never hurts to give your brain a break. It's helpful every time. Could Brad take a year off? Well, he could, but he wouldn't have any income. But he's trying to incorporate some sort of sabbatical into his routine. He's going to try it and report back. Good luck, Brad!

"As somebody who's taken time off, you'd have to plan in advance. But there's a way to manage it so that it's doable." - Jill

Ruben Ocampo of Conic, an innovation consultancy, calls into the show to ask how to diversify his client base. For years, he's worked with Fortune 500 companies, but now he's looking to also work with smaller companies and non-profit organizations. He's worked really hard to market his brand, and it's finally starting to pay off. But where does he take the business from here?

Brad wonders, "Well, if you were one of your clients, what would you tell them to do?" Ruben has a clear vision of where he wants to go, but he's trying to work out the path to get there. He knows that he doesn't have to focus on the little things in business (he has an employee to whom he can hand off tasks!). Ultimately, he wants to establish himself as a thought leader.

The good news is that his business is doing well, so Brad suggests that if he wants to take on a business partner, he has to be careful because partnerships can be tricky. If he wants to become part of a larger company, the advantage is that he can get access to larger clients, but he needs to get to know the culture first. Find a place that will value his creativity. However, he might get the largest traction for his ultimate goal by just simply reaching out and saying that he's available for speaking and writing opportunities, and looking for possible projects to collaborate on.

"Saying no to this one is saying yes to the next one that might work." - Brad

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 ways to plan for a long break:

  • Hire a virtual assistant or a part-timer to work remotely for you. Look at UpWork or IVAA or Founding Moms and keep things running!
  • Collaborate with someone in your field. Have them take the lead and cover for each other in periods of absence.
  • Utilize technology: have your technology take care of technology for you. Use Zapier or Drift. Auto-responders are magical.
  • Have a team? Teach them to handle things!
  • And the last thing? It's so easy...

Want to know what it is? Listen in

Guest:

  • Ruben Ocampo is the founder of Conic Group, a strategic innovation consultancy, established in 2011. He works with clients in different industries, from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits and government agencies. He uses a unique approach to engage clients in meaningful conversations with their customers, workforce, and other key stakeholders in the value chain. This approach allows teams to create and deliver intuitive, empowering, innovative and delightful experiences that translate into healthier business results. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_236.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

Did you ever work with a workaholic? Jill did, and it was not fun. Brad considers himself to be a recovering workaholic, and now operates under the assumption that if you don't answer e-mails right away, the world won't end.

Michael Asare of FeeBelly calls in for help on how to convert the free users of his app to paid users. Jill suggests that Michael is giving too many keywords away on the free version, and so he can cut back on that and offer more information on the paid version. Brad says that for a B2C user who doesn't need to go through pages of loan documents every month, it may be worth it to have a one-time price for one document instead of someone who doesn't want to pay for a monthly subscription.

"Get some rest so that you can be more creative." - Brad

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 ways taking time off makes you a better business owner:

  • You might be less of a work-addict. Addicts don't make good leaders.
  • Getting away gives you perspective and realize what's actually important.
  • Taking breaks makes you more creative!
  • When you take time off, you have to delegate.
  • And then there's that thing that's pretty irritating to those around you...

 

Guest:

  • Michael Asare is the founder of FeeBelly, an app that allows you to scan documents for the hidden fees that are often in the small print. It is available for download from the App Store.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_235.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

Jill and Brad are continuing their series on taking time off. They discuss Thanksgiving, and neither believes that visiting family counts as a vacation. They don't think the occasion is bad, but Brad can't really talk about business while he's around his family, and Jill has to explain to hers why she doesn't eat turkey. She says that, as a vegan, sides are where it's at anyway. And she's making a supposedly delicious vegan pumpkin cheesecake, so maybe desserts are a close runner-up.

"Why are we encouraging working on a Saturday? Why isn't it Small Business Wednesday?" - Jill

They then talk about Small Business Saturday, which was created by American Express to get more people to shop local ... and therefore, get more of a percentage from the transaction. Jill has to admit that the marketing is clever. After all, it's not every day small business owners get to celebrate themselves. Brad's conflicted because it does get people to shop local, but it was created in self-interest which benefits a big corporation.

"Boredom does good things for your brain." - Brad

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 ways taking time off makes you a better person:

  • Your stress levels go waaaaay down and you're less anxious about your business.
  • It allows you to step back, see the big picture, and see what's working (or not).
  • Travel allows you to learn things about other cultures and see how they run their businesses.
  • You start to realize that social media is maybe not the best habit to have. (By the way, check out this TED talk about Facebook being a dystopia)
  • And then everyone will do THIS...

Sponsor:

  • This episode is sponsored by Hubba, the largest network of brands, buyers, distributors, and influencers. They take all the activities that happen at a trade show and put it online. Brands get increased distribution; buyers find the right products for their stores. Join for free today and make connections that grow your business.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_234.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST

What’s In This Episode:

Jill and Brad are still talking about taking time off, 'cause business owners NEED it. They ponder the longest they went without taking a vacation. For Jill, her longest span was 2 years. Brad went 4 years without taking a bonafide vacation. If it's been more than six months, please, please, please book a vacation (or a staycation, or just a break where you don't do work). You need it.

"If you start small, you might accomplish all of the things you want to do." - Jill

Amelia Forczak of Pithy Wordsmithery calls in and has two related problems. She wants to be able to help the clients who reach out, but who can't make the investment that ghostwriting a book calls for. Secondly, she needs to figure out how to make her business scalable. She's thinking of starting a course for people to write and edit books on their own, but she doesn't quite know how to begin. Jill's advice: start small. Brad says that if she coaches clients to do the work, then that serves as practice for the eventual course Amelia wants to create. Overall, though, she needs to decide what market she wants to serve.

"I hope you get rich. And when you do, send us 5%." - Brad

Jill and Brad then discuss the top 5 excuses for not taking time off:

  • There's too much to do. But remember, you're the boss. Set deadlines for things in the future, and go.
  • Time is money, and there's never enough. Starting a business costs money, we get it. Stay with a friend, and take a break.
  • DEADLINES. Once you meet your deadline, THEN you'll take a break. But there's always one more thing... But again, you're the boss. Go away.
  • "When I'm rich, I'll take a big vacation." You can't just wait... do it now.
  • And then there's that mentality that all business owners have...

Guest:

  • Amelia Forczak is the founder of Pithy Wordsmithery, which provides strategic ghostwriting, marketing, and consulting for authors and businesses. She is the ghostwriter of five published books, including two best-sellers. She has served as a content strategist or editor for a handful of other successful books. Amelia’s background in corporate marketing enables her to go beyond transcribing conversations with authors and putting commas in the right places. She partners with authors to truly understand their business, serving as a dedicated book-writing consultant.
Direct download: Breaking_Down_Your_Business_EP_233.mp3
Category:Business -- posted at: 3:00am EST