Episode 154 // Becoming an Enthusiastic Leader with Tara Gentile

December 12, 2017

What does it take to be a leader? Tara Gentile joins us again on Being Boss to talk about how becoming a leader in your market and breaking into the “in crowd,” is much more achievable than you might thing—and she’s sharing what it takes to get there.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Being a leader is not a thing that you are, it's a thing that you do."
- Tara Gentile

Discussed in this Episode

  • Reaching the top of your market and being part of the "in crowd"
  • Markers of showing up:
    • Enthusiasm
    • Kindness
    • Focus
    • Providing a sense of perspective or calm
    • Acting with openness


More from Tara Gentile

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:01
Hello and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:03
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:07
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Tara McMullin 0:09
I'm Tara Gentilly and I'm being box.

Emily Thompson 0:17
Today we're talking about being a leader with Tara Gentilly. As always, you can find all the tools books and links we've referenced on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:28
Alright boss, no matter what time of year you're listening to this episode, if you're going through archives, or if you're listening to it the week it's coming out, it is never too late to start thinking about that end of your financials. One of my favorite things about fresh books cloud accounting is that it keeps me organized year round so that tax time is always a breeze. I can pull a profit and loss report that tells me exactly how much money I made and how much money I spent, and I can organize my expenses by category for my accountant. Plus, I get to see the bottom line of my business and whether or not I hit my goals for the year. It is never too late to begin to get organized with your money and fresh books cloud accounting was designed just for you try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:23
Tara Gentilly is the founder of CO commercial, a digital small business community for entrepreneurs who are serious about making money impacting their communities in transforming the lives of those they love. She's also the host of profit power pursuit a podcast that takes you behind the scenes of successful small businesses. Today's episode with Tara joins two previous episodes we've done with her episodes number 21, where we talked about finding your chief initiative, and number 92, all about creating a business model, which is a listener favorite.

Kathleen Shannon 1:57
Tara, we're so excited to have you back on the show. Is this your third time?

Tara McMullin 2:01
I believe it is. I think it's my third time. I know it's my third time. And I'm very excited to be back. Your people are amazing. You're officially a boss, girlfriend. We were

Emily Thompson 2:12
doing like some editorial calendar stuff. And I realized that it was fall. And I felt like for me fall is when I get to talk to Tara. And so I told the team I was like guys, it's Tara time. Let's make this happen because you're now an annual guest.

Tara McMullin 2:30
I love it. I'm happy to come back every single year.

Kathleen Shannon 2:35
I revel in a jump in. But for those of you who don't know Tara Gentilly is a business mastermind, she has helped me and Emily personally in our businesses to help us strategically grow without losing our sense of personality. And she's just a thought leader that we have respected for a long time and are so grateful to have become close with both professionally and personally as friends. So, Tara, let's jump in. Let's do it. Alright, here's something I've been thinking about a lot. And I know that you've been thinking about it a lot lately, too, which is how we stand out in like a saturated market. And this is something I think about a lot because as an online business owner, one of my biggest fears is that I'm just contributing to more noise. And sometimes whenever I feel like I'm just vying for everybody's attention that everybody else is vying for it makes me feel discouraged and grossed out and like I just want to go open a candy store eye candy store that that's a new way Yeah. I love it. Like I okay, like my actual alternative reality dream job is being a makeup artist but like there's so you had a candy store where there's a physical product it's light hearted nothing is going into it no one's gonna like send you hate mail about it. It's a physical location candy brings people joy, like just something really light hearted.

Tara McMullin 4:07
Yeah, as you guys know, I would like to create braas that's my thing. But also my other backup job is as a hairstylist so Kathleen, maybe you and I need to get together and open a salon. It could be amazing.

Emily Thompson 4:22
That also sells candy and bra

Kathleen Shannon 4:25
you mentioned if terrigen Tilly was doing your hair and Kathy and Shannon is doing your makeup. Emily still sitting in the chair next to you giving you all the business advice. Hey, I

Emily Thompson 4:34
would just be there talking business with you guys like not doing shit for sure. Like I may like sweep up some hair for you occasionally just to like be kind and pay my dues. But we would just still be sitting there talking about conversion rates and like marketing tactics.

Kathleen Shannon 4:49
Yeah. Let's talk about email funnels. Yeah,

Tara McMullin 4:52
you still need to tip Emily like it's part of

Emily Thompson 4:58
right. I love it. I love this idea guys in new business venture, We're shutting down the podcast and opening a salon

Kathleen Shannon 5:05
Tara and I came up with an idea recently where we would host a mastermind 30,000 feet in the air by renting out a private jet. And for five hours, can you imagine, but then Tara actually did the groundwork to see how much that would cost. It was just too expensive. Like you couldn't pay enough

Tara McMullin 5:23
by groundwork. I googled How much does it cost to get a five hour charter flight somewhere? It's a lot of money and people a lot of money for like, I mean, like a 15. Person jet. I mean, maybe it's not so much if you're just taking a Cessna or whatever. But we needed some scale. Because you know, that's how you can Keurig Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 5:46
Southwest, if you're listening to this, if you'd like to sponsor this idea and help us make it happen, like, let's let's work together. Yeah, okay, no, but for real, Tara like, Yeah, what do you think about this space? And you work with hundreds of creative entrepreneurs, and they're in your space and co commercial? Which is your online community for creatives? And, I mean, they've got to be feeling the same way too. So tell us like, what do we do? Or how do we get past these feelings? or What should we literally be doing? Yes. Okay. So

Tara McMullin 6:17
the reason I got started thinking about this, beyond the obvious, right, which is also still How am I going to stand out in a very crowded market, is because co commercial, as you just mentioned, is really, as I see it, kind of a microcosm. For the small business market as a whole, I get to watch people kind of interact in the online environment, as business owners in a in a, in a specific space. And so I got thinking about like, what does it take for someone to enter co commercial and rise to the top as a as a top contributing member? And what does that have to do with, you know, people showing up in the online space and rising to the top, as a business owner, as a brand that gets known and gets that reputation that we're all looking for gets the traction that we're all looking for. And I started to see a lot of just a lot of comparisons that could be made. And really, I think what it comes down to is sort of an intersection between marketing and leadership. And I bring leadership into play here, because to me, leadership is not a thing. You know, being a leader is not a thing that you are, it's a thing that you do. And I think that that's what we see with brands as well is that brand leaders in any market, the brands that rise to the top and stand out, get that traction immediately. They are not born leaders, they do the things that leaders do, they do the things that stand out brands do. And so they just naturally rise to the top. It's not about gaming, the Facebook algorithm, it's not about following a particular formula. It's not about you know, doing a particular kind of post every single day or following a particular even brand guideline, or you know, that kind of thing. It's really about the action that they take that is human and consistent and focused. And it turns out that there's there really are just some very normal, very authentic things that when done at a certain frequency. And that probably sounds formulaic, but I don't mean it that way. But when done with regularity, and consistency, help people rise to the top very, very quickly. I think that it's a mistake to think that, you know, just because there are standout brands in the market that you're in, that means that the this that there's a an artificial ceiling that you can't break through that you can't break into say that in crowd, I think the in crowd of our market of other markets online offline is actually more permeable than ever, the the top of any market is more accessible than ever before, because of the tools that we have, because of our ability to show up in these ways. But we do have to show up in a way that that resonates with people. And so I mean, I can keep I can keep going here or we can well

Kathleen Shannon 9:21
I mean, one thing I wanted to say is that whenever I feel like I'm contributing to the noise, and after hearing you talk on this a little bit, I think one of the things that I realize I'm really feeling whenever that is happening is that I'm not one of the cool kids like, I'm not at the dinner table with Marie Forleo and Danielle Laporte though now we've had them on our show, but like, you know, whenever I was first starting out, or even just a couple years behind where I am now just feeling like how do I get into that in crowd. And so sometimes then I instantly go back to feeling like a high schooler and I want to be like, well forget that in crowd. I'm in create my own in crowd are, you know, like my defense mechanisms for better or worse? And maybe those are some of the things that have led me to feeling like I'm at that level I want to be at though does anyone ever feel like they're not that level? No, I mean, because the next it's like, why am I not at dinner table with Beyonce and Michelle Obama?

Tara McMullin 10:19
Right? Yeah, totally. Yeah, I mean, I think that when you've been around as long as we've been around, what you start to see is that that in crowd actually evolves over time, it's not static. And so these, these people that seem like the cliques that were in high school that were extremely closed and impermeable, they're actually not like that at all, and that they welcome in people that they recognize as leaders all the time. So one, I want to say that, you know, your your, your thought in terms of going out and creating your own in crowd, that's cool, you can totally do that. That's a great way to establish yourself as a leader, but also, the friendships with those people, the partnerships with those people, the even just the market space that they that they hold, that's available to you, as well. And I think there's probably actually a lot of people out there that see you and Emily in that space. And it's, it's worth recognizing that and those those groups, those in the in crowds, the clicks, or as we perceive them to be clicks, they're looking for people that show up the same way, they show up. And as soon as they recognize that in someone, it's like, Come on, let's talk, let's jam, I, you know, I want to see you at the next conference, I want to get coffee with you, I want to have dinner with you. And I speak from experience here because I didn't even know I was doing it back in the day. And I got welcomed into these groups of people that seemed completely untouchable to me. And so over the amount of time that I've, I've been in the space and watched how other people do this. And watch, I recognized they what they saw in me is me showing up the same way they showed up. And as soon as you do that these relationships are now available to you that weren't before. I was talking with someone yesterday and just we were talking about the market that she was in. And I noticed that she was kind of making a distinction between these these people at the top of the market, and these people in the rest of the market. And she was kind of defaulting to putting herself in the rest of that market. And I said, Hey, part of what we're doing here is you recognizing that you're at the top of the market, whether you're there yet really are not, it's you showing up in this way and being being willing to put your brand out and being willing to say the kinds of things that those types of people say and be willing to take leadership of the message that you have to bring to the table. And you know, and if we're not willing to do that, like there's not a lot we can do here, right? And so that that's something you know, people are constantly kind of waiting, well, you know, when I get big enough, then I can talk to those people or when I get big enough, then I can put my message out there like that. Or when I get when I have enough audience then I can start saying these things I really want to say or start going in the direction I really want to go. And it doesn't work like that the audience the attraction, the following the partnerships, the relationships come from showing up the same way those people at the top those brands at the top show up. It's something you do now. It's behavior you do now as opposed to waiting until some magical mythical thing happens later on.

Emily Thompson 13:41
Oh, that's good. I want to talk about these like these things. Are these markers on less of how people are showing up? What are those? Are they like, newsletter frequency? Or like whatever it may be? What are those markers that you need to not like, so much copy, but recognize as the markers for putting your brand out there?

Tara McMullin 14:05
Yeah, so the good news is it's way more accessible than newsletter frequency. And there's a great book on this that I'm like directly quoting from in case anyone wants to go deeper into this. And it's a book called The power paradox by Dr. Keltner. And it's this examination of how people achieve power in social groups. And he defines power, probably very differently than a lot of our listeners do. He says power is all about influencing others in order to have to make a difference in the world power is about influencing others or the ability to influence others to make a difference in the world. I think we can all agree that as bosses, that is what we want, right? We want to be able to make that difference in the world. And part of that is having the ability to influence others. So that's why we're here that's all of our y's come down to that in one way or another And so he talks about sort of five main triggers of achieving power in social groups. And the good news is like, they truly are things that we are all capable of. But they're things that we shut our brains down, shut our behavior down to because we have to be in business, you know, in the business mode instead of people mode, right? So he talks about how enthusiasm is the number one way people gain power in social groups. enthusiasm,

Kathleen Shannon 15:30
right? Just say amen to that. Like, even whenever I'm thinking about my own employees, and even thinking about my husband is applying for different jobs right now. And a lot of them call for qualifications that are just a little out of reach. Like he might check three of the four boxes. And I just think enthusiasm goes such a long way, such a long way and not in a fake way, like in a very genuine. If you're excited about this, I trust that you're going to be a little learn more as you go.

Tara McMullin 16:02
Yes, exactly. Right. So like I hired my last employee, Shannon Paris, who's our community advocate. She's really in charge of developing the product that is our community. She has zero community management experience, she has zero entrepreneurial experience zero experience in the online world. Yet she came from the nonprofit sector and Fairtrade, she was a buyer for artisans in India. And she is so enthusiastic, so passionate about the story is behind the products that she was buying for the company, the organization that she worked for, I knew if she could be that passionate about the artists and she was working with in India, she could be that passionate and enthusiastic about our members and their experience. And that was the only qualification I needed from her. And immediately she shows up with this amazing amount of enthusiasm. And she has a complete respect of everyone in our community, despite the fact that she doesn't actually know their experience. She's learning and she's learning it very quickly. But what she really needed is to just enthusiastically show up and be willing to be of service to them. But it absolutely works on the brand side too, right? When we think about the e commerce brands that rise to the top so quickly, like I'm a huge fan of bombas bombas socks, I don't know if you guys know them at all. They make amazing socks, guess what, they're incredibly enthusiastic about socks, and we're not talking, we're not even talking like fun patterned socks. I'm talking like white athletic socks, they have fun colors too. Don't get me wrong, and they do some fun things. But mostly, we're just talking about your run of the mill sock drawer, our socks, but they're nothing run of the mill because they're enthusiastic about making the perfect sock. And so in their little e commerce niche, they are a leader, right? The same thing with Warby Parker, right, Warby Parker is enthusiastic about eyeglasses. And they have risen to the top of their market because of their enthusiasm for eyeglasses. And it's the same thing in every single market, the people who are at the top the people who are wielding the most power, whether that means they have the biggest fan base, or whether that just means that they're they they wield influence in that market in some way. They're incredibly enthusiastic. And every single day, they show up with that enthusiasm, and they don't let you know making an end run around the Facebook algorithm bleed into what they're trying to do. Because they know that the ultimate hack of the Facebook algorithm is enthusiasm, right? We all know that when we make that post, that's, it's like it's coming out of our fingertips because we're just so we just need to say it right? Those are the ones that go viral. Those are the ones that get the traction. Those are the ones that get the comments are the one that gets the clicks. And so if that's if that's where that kind of influence comes from, why aren't we focusing more on bringing enthusiasm into our brands every single day, instead of reading about how I need to format that link to make sure that the Facebook algorithm plays nicely with it. Right? It's the same thing in email marketing. It's the same thing in webinars. It's the same thing in podcast interviews. If you show up with enthusiasm, people pay attention, and they assign power to you, which means they're much more likely to think of you when you have the answer to a problem that they're solving or when that problem becomes too big to bear.

Kathleen Shannon 19:39
And I feel like I want to clarify at least from my perspective, that enthusiasm isn't always like puppies and rainbows and low marks like as much as I love exclamation marks and emojis. Personal fan. enthusiasm for me I think of is just really nerding out on something. And lately whenever people have been asking me like, how do I get sponsors for my product? Cast I haven't even recorded or launched yet. I'm like, stop thinking about sponsors and start thinking about your podcast, start thinking about creating just the best content that you can. Or a young graphic designer asking me? How can I connect with people to get a really great gig or a really great job? Okay, stop thinking about that. I mean, those things are important. But start just thinking about laying out some better typography, maybe fix your kerning first, out about these things, and it will, it will get you hired. And I think that on a really simple level, a lot of people I remember watching the Wayne white documentary, and he talks about just focus on your art, and the rest will come. And I think the same is true in our careers as well.

Tara McMullin 20:45
Absolutely. I'm so glad you mentioned nerding out geeking out on things. My husband, Sean and I talk about all the time how it is just so fascinating to listen to anyone who geek out about anything, it does not matter whether we have a deep interest in what they're talking about. If they're enthusiastic about it, we will listen to it. It's the same reason we watch random documentaries on netflix, right? So many of us do that, you know, and it's because those documentaries are a an encapsulation of someone's enthusiasm, someone's question that they're dying to get to the bottom of you know, and no, it does not have to be Rainbows, puppies, and emojis. Sometimes it is a deep, deeply emotional rant about something that is horribly broken, right? Sometimes enthusiasm brings on tears brings on sadness, that's part of it as well. And so that enthusiasm piece it is it is the number one determiner of whether you wield the power in a market or not. So just you know, next time you pulling up your Facebook page to make a post or thinking about what to put on Instagram, or opening up your email service provider to send out an email to your list. Ask yourself what you're enthusiastic about today, because that's probably going to be the best piece of content that you can post. The next kind of trigger that he talks about is

Kathleen Shannon 22:09
QIAGEN, I do nothing. I'm so enthusiastic.

Emily Thompson 22:13
enthusiastic, enthusiasm is adorable, Kathleen.

Kathleen Shannon 22:18
Well, I just think that it's like a really cool antidote to frati feelings for not being an expert yet. And something that you said about, you know, just being enthusiastic about the question and being willing to explore the question in front of a crowd, to not have all the answers is a sign of enthusiasm that is going to take you to an expertise. Okay. And then that's all I'll say,

Tara McMullin 22:38
No, actually, I have something else to say about that. Okay, good. We can just talk about it, can you write out about this together? Yeah, so I wrote a post a couple of months ago, over at co commercial, to remind everybody that even though I'm the founder, I'm the CEO, and what they and they've learned to think of me as a teacher, a trainer and expert, my role at co commercial is not as an expert, or as a guru, it's as a super user. And so co commercial, if you're not familiar with it, it's a membership community that we run, we call it your small business brain trust, it's hundreds of entrepreneurs who are available to give you their expertise, their experience, or you know, just what's worked for them or what hasn't worked for them. And the thing is, that's what I'm doing everyday to when I show up, I'm showing up with the enthusiasm that I have for running a small business in the new economy. And I am openly running experiment experiments and being transparent about our operations and sharing what I'm excited about from day to day. And that makes me not an expert. That's, that's not the space I want to occupy there. It makes me a super user, it makes me a model of the kind of behavior that they need to, to demonstrate to become a leader in that platform as well. And then to go out and model that behavior in their brand and in their business as well so that they can rise to the top of their market. So yes, absolutely. Even for those of us who who do have a certain level of expertise and a certain level of experience in in the work that we do, and that we can confidently say, Yeah, I know, this is what I do. I'm all about this guy's we're exploring too. And the more you explore with that enthusiasm, the more power you're going to wield. So that's hugely important so that that second that second trigger, then is kindness. This is probably one maybe we don't need to spend a ton of time on it kind of speaks for itself. Right? Like Be kind. It's pretty easy. I mean, done. What's number three? Yeah. No, I mean, seriously, though, like, just be kind, like don't try and be a dick. Don't you know, just be kind. The third one though. I this is this is one that is incredibly important to me is having a clear focus. And this is another one where I see people falling down on a lot and rightly so right, because we're all still Trying to get our footing like, what is it exactly that we offer? What is it exactly that we have to say? What exactly is the legacy that we're building? What exactly is the contribution that we're making to the world to our market to our customers. But the more we can center on a clear focus, the more power we get, the more you vacillate between this thing, or the other thing or the next thing, the less people have something to hang on to when they think about the brand and the offer your brand and your offer that you have to put out into the world what what you're offering to help them with. So that clear focus is incredibly important when we're talking about how you stand out in a market. Focus breeds traction, you can't get traction without a focus. And I'm sure you guys have experienced that as well in both of your businesses.

Kathleen Shannon 25:54
I mean, yeah, absolutely. I've had one offering for the past five years. Yeah, there you go. Right. And I have lots of offerings, but also lots of folks,

Emily Thompson 26:03
well, I go from one offering to the next in a way, this is not very focused, but I always spend a good amount of time focused on the one until I have tired it out to the point of it's time for a new one, and then super focus. And that has definitely gained some good traction in each individual piece as my business has evolved.

Kathleen Shannon 26:22
Yeah, yeah. And I feel like offerings, you know, whenever talking about focus, and offerings and your brand, I think of really what doesn't change no matter how many offerings you're putting out. And this is a really important aspect of branding, because as creative entrepreneurs, we have lots of ideas, and we want to try lots of experiments. And I don't want to stop anyone from trying different things. Again, I think that this exploration, and this enthusiasm for trying different things is super important. But where the focus comes in for me is knowing what doesn't change, and really drilling down instead of going out and doing it in a way that feels like the next chapter of your book, or you know, even book number two, and it doesn't feel like a complete like you just threw the book in the fire.

Tara McMullin 27:14
Yeah, so I'm working on a creative live class right now called create a product plan to grow your standout business. And in that class, I'm talking about what I see as the what else problem, I see a lot of business owners trying to kind of cobble together a set of offers that equal their revenue goal, instead of really looking at what is the thing that I have to contribute here. And so the metaphor I'm using is like, we're kind of like a whole tool, chest of things, a whole toolkit of things, instead of just that one tool where you can make your highest contribution. So instead of being a toolkit, you You're the axe, right? Your main job is chopping wood, that's the highest contribution that you have to make. And then if you want to offer some other things, and Kathleen, just like you said, you look at not what other tools I can sell for maybe like what x accessories need, right? Like, do you need a pair of gloves to be able to chop? What do you need a holder or a some sort of rack for your axe? Like what are the other things that kind of maximize or optimize that value? Instead of adding on disparate things or trying to cobble things together? And the more you can think of what is that highest contribution? Instead of what else do I have to do to make up my revenue goal to make this business work? the more you'll find that focus, it's exactly what you said, instead of going wide go deep.

Kathleen Shannon 28:40
So how do you decide if you're an axe? Or a hammer? Or drill? Like how, for our listeners who are like, I don't know what my focus is? Do you have any recommendations on how to find focus?

Tara McMullin 28:53
Yeah, I mean, I think you have to ask yourself, and this, this is a hard one, especially for creative folks who do have you know, ideas going a mile a minute, right? You have to ask yourself, where do you want to be three years from now? Where do you want to be five years from now? What do you want to be 10 years from now? What do you see as that essential thing that you have to offer the world? And that's a serious process of self discovery. And guess what? You're not going to get it right right out of the gate. I didn't get it right right out of the gate. actually looking back on it, I was a lot closer than I kind of expected it to be that I thought I was at the time. But it's been it's for me, it's been an evolution. I know for you guys. It's been an evolution. But you, you have to start by asking yourself to look further out than this this week, next month or even next year, because if you don't, you're constantly going to be in this very reactive mode, instead of creating the legacy that you want to create. Our mutual friend Bridget Lyons always asks people What do you want to be known for? And I think that's, that's a really key question in this situation as well, in the book essentialism, they ask what is your highest and best contribution. There is someone else who was talking recently in CO commercial about how your highest value offer is the thing that comes easiest to you, the thing that people will pay you the most money for the thing that you're most enthusiastic about is likely the thing that's easiest to you. So there's all sorts of different ways that you can look at it, I think, but largely, it starts with having a much longer term view than many of us are willing to allow ourselves because we're so caught up and trying to make it work right now.

Emily Thompson 30:39
Yeah, I just think about it, I think back on, like half of our interviews, like the super windy entrepreneurial paths that everyone takes to find their purpose. And it's, it is both a mix of focusing on what you're doing right now. But also being pliable enough to go where the flow takes you. And I think that's a very careful balance. But when that I think and going back to all those interviews that we've done, it's all about trusting your gut, because you know, what's best for you, you know, what's coming easiest for you? And what's coming? Or what is most fulfilling? And I think I think that just beautifully illustrates one of the purpose of that really windy path that so many of us take. Yeah, I

Kathleen Shannon 31:23
think that that word trust keeps coming up. For me also, in talking about this, like not only trusting your gut, but just trusting yourself, like trusting if you can look out 10 years what I want to be known for, and then trusting that your daily decision today, even if you cannot connect the dots today, if you keep moving, you are moving forward toward that vision, if you know what that vision is, even if it doesn't make sense right now.

Tara McMullin 31:47
Exactly. As long as you're asking yourself that question and you're aware of it. It's becoming that North Star that you need to guide yourself by right or like Pam slim talks about in body of work, that thread that ties all your work together. So you can equally look ahead 10 years as you can look back 10 years, and do start to tie those things together. Look for the look for the commonalities. Look for the things that have come easiest to you over the last 10 years, what's your highest contribution been over the last 10 years? And that starts to become that direction that you need to take to find real focus and to find sustainable focus. Not just like whatever the flavor of the month is, though. I

Emily Thompson 32:27
do love a good flavor of the month. Well, yeah. But yes, long term flavor is nice.

Tara McMullin 32:33
Yeah, you guys ready for the the fourth trigger? Yes, please do it awesome. Because this one is probably my favorite, especially in talking about online business. And it's providing a sense of perspective or a sense of calm. And this is one where I think I have inadvertently been very successful. And I think it's probably one where I know it's one where you guys have been very successful as well. I think that's really what being boss is all about is providing a sense of perspective, from providing a sense of calm in a market that is constantly changing, constantly evolving. You guys are always getting real, right? Like what's really going on here, guys, what's what's actually working, not what everybody else is talking about. But like let's talk about what's what's really working and what's really not working right now. And having that honesty around. You know, the businesses that you're building and the businesses that your listeners are building provides that sense of calm and perspective for people. And yet, when I watch a lot of small business owners who were kind of flailing about trying to find their place, there is a lot of like, hauling fire right in a crowded theater. And lots of freaking the fuck hours. A lot of freaking the fuck out. Yeah, I think that might be the first time I've ever said F word on a podcast. Oh. I'm so excited that it was with us. Of course it was with you.

Emily Thompson 34:05
as it should be. Um, yeah, I think it's totally okay to freak the fuck out like Kathleen and I for sure will openly tell anyone any day that we have our free gout moments, for sure. We're not putting them on Instagram. That's not happening. It's not going on social media. Like we can have our freakout moments which we see as particularly private and a vulnerable place that we do not want to put out into the world in that way. So that our brand maintains the the place where we are giving you guys that perspective. We'll share that we do have them but we're not going to make you live through them in real time.

Tara McMullin 34:44
Know exactly, you might share those freakout moments. Once you've got perspective on them once you've reached a place of calm, which is that therefore then a place you can actually teach from it's something that people can can learn from those moments then they becoming incredibly valuable when you bring a sense of perspective to them. But when you freak out about them in the moment, it's just sort of like, you know, and it's sad to say, but I see them. I see people using those kind of moments as Look at me moments, right, like, marketing tactics almost exactly.

Emily Thompson 35:18
It's ridiculous and quite distasteful says yeah, and that a lot.

Tara McMullin 35:23
Yes. And it's the same kind of thing that we hate in politics and that we hate in Celebrity, right. But we find ourselves doing it because it's a it's a power grab. We don't know that it's a power grab. That's not like, we're not consciously thinking, well, if I share this crazy thing that's happening, maybe people will pay attention to me, but that's what's going on. But power grabs don't work. I mean, this is what I talk about in my in my book, quiet power strategy is that quiet power is really the long lasting power. And it's the thing that we really respect in politicians and the rare celebrity and definitely in brands. And so yeah, that using freakout moment, as marketing is not going to serve you long term. Yeah, you might get some short term attention, you might get a boost to your Facebook page or your Instagram account. But you're not going to get the long term respect and long term leadership that's really going to make your business work. And so yeah, I just want everyone to be thinking about like, the next time you go to write a rant, you know, yes, that rant might be enthusiastic. But does it also offer a sense of calm or a sense of perspective, there are rants, the do, but there are a lot of rants that don't and so just make sure you're on the right side of the ranting. Amy,

Kathleen Shannon 36:44
can you give us some examples? Like I keep going back to well, is creating a sense of urgency, kind of manipulating a freakout moment, or is that like a perfectly appropriate tactic? So I don't know why I'm going to that sense of urgency example. But yeah, I

Tara McMullin 37:07
mean, I think one ramp that comes to mind that's that has been helpful for me and I have I have a number of rants been helpful for me in the past. But I wrote a really long piece a year, year and a half ago about why I think Tella summits are really bad marketing. And I wrote it in a moment of passion. So I was legitimately ranting, I had gotten a terrible pitch that I was really pissed off about, I was like, I've been thinking about this for years, I'm finally gonna write this I was at an airport, that's where I do my best ranting. Which is why we're gonna have that private jet retreat eventually. And so I wrote this, but I didn't, I was very conscious about not shaming people who do tell us summit's or people who have used them in the past, I wanted to offer a sense of perspective, here's why I think this is not good for your brand. Here's why I don't think this is a great way to get new email subscribers. Here's why. As a speaker, I don't think this is good attention for you. And also, here's what you can do differently. And so again, it was written even though it was a rant, and I was really angry about it at the time, it was written with that sense of distance and perspective that people could actually take it and do something with it. They weren't just going to get angry with me, they were going to look at it and say, oh, okay, I see what she's saying. I was thinking about doing this, or I was thinking about trying something like that, I'm going to do it a little bit differently now, so that I don't fall into that trap as well. And I think that pretty much applies in at least any kind of service business, there are going to be those rants where Yeah, you do have something enthusiastic to say. And at the same time, you can provide that sense of calm or perspective so that it's actually valuable, and not just emotionally manipulative. And I think that's the difference between a good rant and a good sense of urgency and a bad rant. And a bad sense of urgency is that there's something valuable to it. It's not just emotional manipulation.

Emily Thompson 39:13
Perfect. What's the next one?

Tara McMullin 39:16
Yeah, so the last one is acting with openness. And this kind of goes back exactly full circle, where we were talking about the in crowds or the top of our markets as being really permeable, really easy to break into. And it's because real leaders actually are very open. They're open to new relationships. They're open to new ideas. They're open to new courses of action. They're open to trends and changes. And this this is a place where when we start to get anxious when we start to get nervous about what our next steps are, we tend to close in, right we start to think, no, I'm just going to, I'm going to follow this plan to the letter and it's going to work or I'm going to I'm going to double down on this particular thing because gosh Darn it, like, I'm just going to make this thing work instead of being open to how things are changing and what might be available to you. And so I think, you know, obviously, that's probably easier said than done. But it is something absolutely that leaders that powerful brands do is they remain very open to what is going on around them, they don't check out when things start to get hairy, they actually plug in and really interact with their customers with the marketplace with current events. And and this is this is something we need to be I think really cognizant of that there's, you know, that our tendency is going to be to close down, when things get rough, when instead, we need to be doing the exact opposite. I'm really plugging in and opening up.

Emily Thompson 40:52
This is one that I super relate to, and I think about like early years of my business, and I was just closed down working on client projects, and not to thinking about my business enough to lead anyone other than the couple of people that I was working with at any given time. And it wasn't until I made a conscious effort to for me, it was really setting aside a couple of days a month to read newsletters, and you know, read the latest blog posts about email marketing, you know, whatever's or whatever it may be, like looking out, opening myself up to what was actually happening in the online business world, that I found myself moving forward, not just with my clients, but with my business I, I know that for anyone who especially is who's a solopreneur. So you're the one doing everything or you are super focused, or your client or your customer projects, and all you're doing is craving more time to work on your business instead of in your business. It's this need to open up and seeing what's happening in the world and around your business that will allow you to grow your business in ways that you aren't currently doing. I, if I had been a little more open those first couple of years in my business, I would have gotten further faster. And I recognize now that I needed to do it to see it. But for anyone who's early in it now, open your eyes a

Kathleen Shannon 42:17
bit. Yes, at the same time. Um, you know, you're always like butting up against what I'm saying, Emily, so I'm going to have that. Yeah, I think you were doing like a really good job of just working on your business and really understanding the ins and outs of every single aspect of your business. So at that time, you were honing your craft of being a web developer, you were learning how to manage your time you were learning how to manage your budgets, like you were really learning how to be a boss by really being in it. And I think that that's something that I keep coming back to, whenever it comes to out the gate wanting to be a leader, I think it might take a couple of years to really focus on. Okay, what is it that I'm doing? What is it that I'm best at, like kind of this, you know, time of self discovery and self honing and really developing yourself as a leader before and here's what here's what I'm trying not to say is that you need to develop yourself as a leader before you go out and behave like a leader. I think that these things can happen at the same time. All the things that you've been outlining here, Tara, I think can happen at the same time. But I just wanted to clarify that the work that you were doing then was valuable and led you to where you are now.

Tara McMullin 43:33
Well, I think learn was the key word that you used, right? And that learning is a form of openness. There are a lot of people who just want to get it right, right. And they spend a ton of money on courses and training in an effort to just get it right. And it's not a process of learning. Like you might think you're sitting there learning but really what you're trying to do is have somebody tell you, this is the right way to do you're emulating

Emily Thompson 43:57
you're not learning yet doing the same thing.

Tara McMullin 44:01
Exactly, exactly. And so if you're spending those first couple of years of your business and Gosh, let's be real the first 10 years, the first 30 years of your business, learning the best way to have your systems run to run your management team to you know, whatever it is for your business, learning your craft even that is an act of openness. And leaders are not the ones that are showing up emulating everyone else having all of that me too same these attitude with their business leaders are the ones that are showing up saying I'm figuring this out as I go and we see like that's what makes startups billions of dollars, right? It's figuring things out as they go. They do not have everything figured out when they take that first round of a million dollar capital, right? They don't have anything figured out actually. And the process of learning is what turns a seed round startup into a billion dollar unit. Korn. And it's the same thing with our businesses as well. You may not turn into a billion dollar unicorn, they're called unicorns for a reason. But you can use that same learning process as a as an act of openness that actually helps you become a leader. And, you know, Kathleen, exactly what you were saying. It's not about, you know, figuring all these things out and then becoming a leader. There's all of these things that all of these triggers of power and gaining influence in any market or community is actually about showing up as a leader from day one, by embodying each of these things. And it doesn't mean being the loudest in your market or being the most perfect in your market. It means being enthusiastic kind, having a sense of focus, a sense of calm and being open. And that's it. That's something that is available to all of us from day one in our business is

Emily Thompson 45:55
done, and then you go out. And you're in the cool club, right? Is that how it works? Not exactly.

Tara McMullin 46:05
Not exactly. I mean, I think that there, in any community in any market, there's a process of climbing up the ladder. And ladder is probably a terrible metaphor for this, because it's not really a ladder, except that there is actually, you know, there's a process process probably isn't the right word either. But there's, you know, you put one foot in front of the the next you climb up that ladder, and you will make it to the top it's not, it's not a guessing game. It's not a, you know, it's not a lottery. It's not waiting for some cool kid to tap you on the shoulder and say, Come have drinks with us after the fancy pants conference, it really is showing up every single day doing these things and recognizing that the more I do this, the more people recognize me. So I'm going to do even more of it tomorrow and even more of it the next day, I see it a co commercial all the time. Like I said, it's kind of a microcosm of you know, as the same things that I'm watching on a on a market level, where a new member can show up. And if they make a new post that shares their enthusiasm for something that they just learned. And if they make a post that says, you know, I'm really struggling with this act of this, this aspect of my business can can you guys help me out? Can you share what's worked for you here, when they have that sense of openness, when they have a sense of focus every day, when they show up in the community, they become a top member really, really, really quickly, they become known as a go to person really, really quickly. But it is that act of showing up every day. It doesn't happen on day one, it's the behavior happens on day one, but it continues to happen day 10, day 30, day 90 day 1033. And in that process, you become known you become recognized and you build that traction in any market or community that you're trying to break into.

Kathleen Shannon 48:03
How many days do you think it takes? Because for me, I mean, we were even talking with another podcast guest just yesterday about like, How many years did it take you to feel like okay, you didn't have to freak out about money anymore. And all of us were saying like about three to four years, you know, yeah. How many years would you say it takes to really feel like, okay, I could go have drinks with courage until he after the conference. I mean, it's funny, even thinking that you were that person for me just five years ago of like, Oh, my gosh, she has her act together. She's so cool. And now definitely consider you a friend. And it didn't happen overnight at all. And I can even talk about the direct process of like, Okay, first is becoming a fan of your work and reading your work and engaging with your work. It's tweeting your work, it's Replying to Your things without being like stalkery. Right.

Tara McMullin 48:58
So, this is interesting, because I think the question of how long does it take to be recognized as a leader as a top brand in your market? And how long does it take for you to stop worrying about money? There are two totally separate questions.

Kathleen Shannon 49:12
Right. And those are two totally different things. I was just kind of thinking of like, what is the timeline? Well, no one like a leader?

Tara McMullin 49:18
Yeah, totally. But I think that's something important for people to recognize this just because you're recognized as a leader and you're at the top of your market does not mean your business is cashflow positive, right, or that Oh,

Kathleen Shannon 49:28
gotcha. And you can also be cashflow positive because I was making a profit from year one. I was still freaking out like okay, am I going to be able to do this in year two, and in year three, by year four. I felt like okay, I've proven to myself I can do this year after year, but I didn't necessarily feel like a leader in my industry at year one or year two or year three.

Emily Thompson 49:48
Yeah. And we also know of multiple leaders who are struggling to pull a profit in their business who are really great at you know, some creative endeavors but aren't super great. turning it into money.

Tara McMullin 50:01
Yes, yes. So it takes both sides. I will say that I totally agree years three or four that's about when you start feeling more comfortable with your ability to just, you know, manage the year to year, I'm going to, it's going to be okay, I'm gonna pay my bills stuff. I think that's probably about, I started feeling optimistic, probably in year two, like, wow, this is this is really working. But I didn't have enough of a track record to feel good about being able to do it over and over again, just like you said, Kathleen, leadership wise. I mean, Kathleen, I remember the very first email that you sent me. And I think what's important about that is had you said, Hey, I'm going to be at I don't know, when that would have been around world domination summit. Can we get grab a drink? I would have said, Sure. So I know. That's an important lesson. Like, again, our mutual friend, Bridget Lyons, the first time she linked to my blog, we had a little email exchange, I saw her world domination summit, and we've been practically best friends ever since. So, you know, it does not take long to form relationships, even with very closed off introverted people like me, you know, when you are willing to show up with openness and enthusiastic enthusiasm and a sense of focus, it doesn't take long for people to trust you. It doesn't take long for people to recognize your name. And you know what you're doing in the world? It really does it. So you know, the timeline, I think on getting recognized as a brand is not nearly as long as the timeline for feeling comfortable about the financial state of your business. Well, good to know for sure. I

Emily Thompson 51:48
also want to point out to this thing about like saying yes to people who are contacting you, they've also done a process of showing up that lead up to that point, because people who send me emails, whatever, if you don't have a website, and your Twitter has like three snarky weird comments on it, and your Instagram is just like a photo of your dog's face and like a baby's foot or something weird like that, like you haven't shown up to the level where I'm going to be comfortable saying yes to just this random email that lands in my inbox. But if

Kathleen Shannon 52:18
you might get murdered over Drew, if there's a baby foot, dog, I created a

Emily Thompson 52:25
really great scenario there didn't I might write off about that later, this might turn into a true crime podcast, it could always make it up as I go. But if you have if you've created the website, and you're showing up in your own brand, and this speaks really well, for our group of people, probably pretty exclusively, if you are showing up online and creating your brand and doing all of these things yourself, then we see you as a like minded creative entrepreneur, that we're going to be comfortable saying yes to some, you know, random email that lands in our inbox. And so I do want to point out there that there is a there is a must be history of you showing up before you start doing these things that is just as important as the showing up that you do afterwards as well.

Kathleen Shannon 53:13
Yeah, like I'm baffled whenever I get an email that's asking me to I don't know, look at work or whatever, collaborate, grab drinks, and there's not a link to their website for me to check out. Like really basic fundamental thing might

Emily Thompson 53:27
get really mad at me if I had a drink with you. And I didn't do any or I wasn't allowed to do any research. Like, that's just yeah, Stranger Danger scenarios there.

Tara McMullin 53:39
So I totally agree with what you guys are saying. And also I want to save the bar is actually pretty low. Like, yeah, you know, it doesn't

Kathleen Shannon 53:48
you don't have to grab a drink with you if you have a baby foot.

Tara McMullin 53:53
With you, if all you have a baby photo on your Instagram. But you know, seriously, like, the most important thing for me is that you have something interesting to say, like that you have done enough thinking about something I said something that is going on in the market, that it's unique, and you're enthusiastic about it. And that's that's the most important thing like Kathleen, when you reached out I think, no, I know, it was about my book, The Art of earning. It was you know, and there was a link back to your website. And I could go and I could say Oh, she's got something interesting to say this is a very interesting person. Oh, and she has dreads that's also very cool. You know, when Bridget reached out to me, it was a link to a blog post that I had written and she had written a an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent response to it. It doesn't take a lot. I totally agree. It does take something so show up, be enthusiastic, be open have something intelligent and thoughtful to say and and but but you know, don't wait to to jump in either

Emily Thompson 54:59
right? I mean, part of opening and running a business is jumping in. So if you're hesitant to do any of these things, then you're not a business owner. You're a freelancer or which is all fine and good for sure. But don't expect more than you're willing to put in. Yeah. Yes.

Kathleen Shannon 55:24
All right, Tara, thank you so much for hanging with us today. I hope our listeners are so inspired to be the leaders that they are. Because it sounds like anyone can do it. For like, the just the cool kids. And what's making you feel most boss these days?

Tara McMullin 55:43
Oh, what's making me feel most boss these days is creating immense amount of value for our customers without being personally involved in it. So we're Yeah, right. We are so focused on helping our community create value for each other and helping really connecting them in a way that gets their needs met in a way that they've never had their needs met before. And I get to sit on the sidelines and watch it happen. And man, I have never felt more boss than that. One of my words this year was mastery. I was just really wanting to create a sense of mastery in my life every single day. And for the first time a few months ago, I had a sense of mastery about something I was not involved in. I was watching other people show up, share their opinions get their needs met, and I wasn't the expert saying here go do this or let me answer that question for you. I was just a witness to it. And that is a really boss feeling.

Emily Thompson 56:52
Sounds like it. Nice job. Congrats

Tara McMullin 56:55
by the way. Thank you.

Kathleen Shannon 56:58
Side note, Tara Emily, probably about two weeks ago is like you have to read this book rocket fuel.

Emily Thompson 57:04
Oh my god terrigen tell you what you make Kathleen read that book please. I can do my best

Kathleen Shannon 57:10
already explained it to me Well, no,

Emily Thompson 57:12
because I'm telling you to read it and eg hear from someone else's mouth words, whatever.

Kathleen Shannon 57:18
I believe it. I believe that all about the visionary integrator, all of that stuff's Okay, Cory. You can edit that out.

Tara McMullin 57:30
Or leave it in, you know, right corner. Leave

Kathleen Shannon 57:32
it in, I guess. Tara and Emily are reading rocket fuel and it's changing everybody's lives. You did read it right, Tara?

Tara McMullin 57:40
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I have everyone on my team read it too. Okay, okay. I'll read it. It's very important. It explains a lot of things and it's gonna make you feel better about your life. Seriously, seriously.

Kathleen Shannon 57:56
Okay, so rocket fuels on the reading list. Good. Tara, where can our listeners find more about you and co commercial?

Tara McMullin 58:03
Yes. So the best place to find me is in CO commercial. And so you can find out about that by going to co commercial co we've got a 30 day free trial, you can join and have your own small business brain trust, absolutely free for 30 days, check us out, make sure it's the perfect fit for you. And then it's just 1499 A month after that. And we put out a live weekly show or weekly ish a show most Mondays at 3pm. Eastern called Help yourself. You can find out more about that co commercial co You can also find that on Apple podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you're listening to being boss. And it's a great, great kind of way to get an inside look at the kinds of conversations that we have inside co commercial without even try our free trial. So check that out too.

Emily Thompson 58:49
Awesome. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with us. So we will invite you again next year.

Tara McMullin 58:54
Thank you I except proactively awesome.

Emily Thompson 59:02
We have gotten so much amazing feedback over the years from listeners about how our podcast has helped them start to grow and uplevel their businesses. So we want to celebrate you. Here's the boss we're celebrating this week.

Unknown Speaker 59:16
Hi, my name is Rebecca taste and I am being boss. I creating real brands for nonprofits at red shirt, creative calm. And this week I'm celebrating Henry summer sales goals despite losing a big client. We have a client discontinue a very large project this summer they had actually renewed the contract and then cut the project entirely due to internal budget cuts. This project had basically sustained our summers I reached out to the clubhouse to monthly office hours and online discussions. Emily Kathleen and my fellow clubhouse members guiding me through a tough sell in my business. I dug deep use the chalkboard method to target and game projects and I did the work. I kept everyone updated on my progress and when I hit my very aggressive sales goals. I celebrated my win with everyone. I am so thankful for the clubhouse for keeping me focused, providing moral support and helping me find a new and improved method for sales.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:13
If you're feeling boss and want to submit your own boss moment or win go to WWW dot being boss club slash I am being boss. This episode of being boss was brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon ligi. And are being countered David Austin, with support from braid, creative and indie shop biographies.

Emily Thompson 1:00:52
Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.