Episode 281

Part 1: Business Bestie Year in Review with Kathleen Shannon

December 28, 2021

In this first episode of a 2-part reflection series, Emily and Kathleen, the co-founders of Being Boss sit down to chat about 2021. Even though they now have separate companies, these two business besties share their unique lessons over the past year as business owners. They review what foundations are keeping them going, what didn’t work, and how they’re looking forward to thriving next year. 

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Sometimes the difference between surviving and thriving is just a mindset. It’s a choice."
- Kathleen Shannon

Discussed in this Episode

  • Emily and Kathleen’s words of the year
  • Getting out of survival mode and into thriving mode post-pandemic
  • How Kathleen and Emily feel going into 2022 as business owners
  • Checking in on changes in business strategy
  • The importance of building better foundations for the next year
  • Reflecting on how business has expanded in the last two years
  • How experiments have paid off for Emily
  • What worked, kinda worked, and didn’t work in their businesses


More from Kathleen Shannon

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


[00:00:00] Corey Winter: Hey there bosses! Corey from the Being Boss team here. I'm popping into let you know about a new way for you to stay up to date in the world as a creative entrepreneur, Brewed. Brewed is a weekly email curated by the Being Boss team just for you. We share articles, podcasts,

[00:00:16] and resources from around the internet on the topics of mindset, money and productivity to help you show up and do the work in your business.

[00:00:24] Learn more and sign up for free at beingboss.club/brewed. That's beingboss.club/B R E W E D.

[00:00:37] Emily Thompson: Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creative business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And today I'm joined by my business bestie. And once upon a time co-host of this podcast, Kathleen Shannon. To have an end of year business bestie conversation to review 2021 giving you a peek behind the scenes of the companies we run and to model for you the kinds of questions you can ask in your own review of the year, too.

[00:01:08] Now, because this chat went real deep as a good business bestie conversation often will we have split this episode into two shorter episodes. This is part one followed by part two coming in just a few short days. And as always, you can find all the tools, books, and links we referenced on the show notes at www.beingboss.club.

[00:01:29] And if you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe to the show and share us with a friend.

[00:01:37] Sometimes seeing someone else's path to success helps us clearly map out our own. It's why we all like a business podcast. Right? Well, I'm here to share a show for you to check out the Female Startup Club Podcast, an amazing resource that shares insights and learnings from the world's most successful female founders, entrepreneurs, and women in.

[00:01:58] And a recent episode, I loved hearing about how Michelle Grant, the founder of Lively, the lingerie and swimwear brand built and sold her company for $105 million in just three years, total boss move. So if you're looking for a new pod to inspire your next steps, listen to the Female Startup Club Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts.

[00:02:27] Welcome back to Being Boss, Kathleen Shannon. I'm so glad to see your face.

[00:02:32] Kathleen Shannon: It's good to be here. It's like coming home every time.

[00:02:37] Emily Thompson: I love that for you, for us. Very cozy up on the couch here or make-believe couch. Cause we're in zoom, in separate places. And we're going to have a good old business bestie chat.

[00:02:47] You ready for this?

[00:02:49] Kathleen Shannon: I'm ready. Let's dive in.

[00:02:51] Emily Thompson: Perfect.

[00:02:51] Kathleen Shannon: So what are we talking about?

[00:02:53] Emily Thompson: The whole purpose of having you on was I missed you. So a couple of weeks ago, we released an episode that we had actually recorded about a month and a half before it came out. And we actually haven't talked very much since we recorded that episode.

[00:03:11] So I'm sure we'll be talking about that a little bit, but mostly, I want this to be a good old fashion business bestie catch-up it is end of the year. I feel like this is something we've done for probably almost 10 years now. Isn't that weird to think about a wild, right? So just like, just catch up. I want to look at the year in review.

[00:03:34] I asked them good questions. And I, I really want this to also serve as a bit of a example for anyone who is feeling the need to have this conversation with their own business bestie. Right? So we're going to be asking some sort of basic questions and going back and forth and I encourage you. Listen. To take what we are, how we're doing this, what we're asking each other, how we're sort of diving in and digging deeper into a business bestie conversation of your own, because I promise you doing reviews like this with people that you can trust, and you can, you can talk these business business-y things with is going to change the way you do everything.

[00:04:17] Let's just chat.

[00:04:19] Kathleen Shannon: Well, like any good business bestie conversation. It's gotta start with a conversation about our hair. You cut your hair off. Have you told the listeners that you cut your hair off?

[00:04:29] Emily Thompson: I don't even think I have.

[00:04:32] Kathleen Shannon: Ok, so Emily has gone from like mermaid length hair. Mermaid length means it's covering your

[00:04:39] boobs.

[00:04:40] Emily Thompson: My goal was always under boob.

[00:04:43] I'd go to the hair dresser would be like no shorter than under boob.

[00:04:47] Kathleen Shannon: And now it is at your chin and it is adorable. How are you feeling? Did you feel any sort of energetic shifts? Cutting it all off.

[00:04:55] Emily Thompson: I keep having people ask me, like, did you feel any different? No, I forget all the time that I cut my hair off. It did nothing to, to how I felt in general.

[00:05:04] But it does, it does feel good to have it gone. I had been thinking. I'm always thinking about chopping my hair off. And when it's short, I'm always thinking about what it's going to be like when as long again, I'm definitely a grass is greener on the other side, kind of girl. When it comes to my hair, I had had long hair for about 10 years.

[00:05:23] And I just got a bee in my bonnet. It had been buzzing for a while until finally I got out of the shower one day and I was like, well, if I don't take care of this by myself, it's never going to happen. So I gave myself a really crappy haircut, knowing that if I gave myself a crappy haircut, I would go get my hair cut, because that was the thing too.

[00:05:42] I had not gotten my hair professionally cut in almost two years. And so I just needed to like, get back into doing that. So I did, and I love it. I think it's been cut once. It's almost time for like my first trim. I think I'm going to think it's going to take me a time or two to sort of work on the shape that I really want, but I'm feeling it.

[00:06:03] And I think I'm going to be short haired for a little while.

[00:06:07] Kathleen Shannon: Well, we have traded places because my hair is the longest it has been in forever since I had the dreadlocks. Funny enough, didn't you tell me that we just got a comment on the podcast that was like, I listened until I found out she had dreadlocks. Well, I have not had dreadlocks for like five years.

[00:06:28] I know better. You do better. So calm down. Calm down indeed. But whenever I cut those off, I had a pixie and I've been growing it out ever since, but I watched the Beatles. I watched the Beatles documentary on Disney plus. And so of course I had to shag it out. Like I've got like a full. 70 60 seventies kind of like mullet shag, not full mullet, but like I have some bangs and some shorter face framing layers going on and then real long pieces, mermaid length, if you will.

[00:07:07] Emily Thompson: Yep. It's fabulous.

[00:07:09] Kathleen Shannon: Beatles documentary reminded me of being like a college kid, dating guys and bands like just sitting around and watching them rehearse where it's like equal parts, boring and equal parts so sexy. George. I, all of them, all of them are do it for me, but George, especially, I had no the idea.

[00:07:32] Emily Thompson: That is so funny.

[00:07:33] I haven't seen this. I'm going to have to watch it, but I do also feel like I'm just getting totally the vibes. If you guys could see Kathleen right now in her like, seventies house with her shag sweater on basically avocado green tile back there in the background. It is a whole complete buy. You are Taurus hermiting at home so hard and I love it for you.

[00:08:04] I love it.

[00:08:04] Kathleen Shannon: Okay. Well, let's dig in. Let's dig into now the business stuff, right. You want to talk about first?

[00:08:11] Emily Thompson: I think I'd like to start this with, what was your word of the year? Do you remember?

[00:08:17] Kathleen Shannon: So my word kind of came up mid-year I had a new year's resolution, which was not businessy at all, which was to just like pets more because yes,

[00:08:28] Emily Thompson: I remember that one.

[00:08:29] Kathleen Shannon: I don't love animals,

[00:08:30] Emily Thompson: It was animals. I think.

[00:08:32] Kathleen Shannon: Well, it was animals. And then I realized I actually really like animals. I just don't like people's pets. I don't like people's dogs jumping up on me. I don't like my cats waking me up in the, in the middle of the night. So as well. Oh, for sure. My own, especially my own pets.

[00:08:52] People are walking by with dogs and I'm walking with my friends. They'll be like, oh, puppy. And I just like don't care. I don't. And I don't like that about myself. I want to be the person that love's all animals, especially pets. So mid-year probably later this summer, my sister came to visit me and had me go to the pet store and buy some feeder fish for my pond.

[00:09:17] So feeder Fisher, like those 30 cent goldfish that you're typically buying for your bigger fish to eat in like some sort of aquarium. So I've got all these little goldfish in my pond. Well then comes winter time. Old man winter comes and knock in and I've got these goldfish in there that are going to freeze.

[00:09:35] So I have invested in a full goldfish tank aquarium. What do you call it? Yeah, aquarium 50 gallon. Nice. No 20 gallon. I don't know how many gallons to fill it with water. Beautiful plants. These 30 cent feeder fish now cost hundreds of dollars in equipment. But I love them. So my new year's resolution has come to fruition.

[00:10:02] I love pets, including my own a little bit more, but business wise, my word of the year came up probably toward the middle of the year. And I would also say that it is very related. Personal like around the time that I was sending Fox back to school, he home, he did online school last year. And I was really nervous about sending him back to school this year, because we're still in the middle of a global pandemic.

[00:10:29] Just yesterday, there was a school shooting in our district. Like there's just a lot to be, to having anxiety about, you know what I mean? Whenever it comes to, like, I almost felt like a new mom sending my kid back to daycare. And I'm just like, you know what I'm just going to trust that it's going to be okay. And then that word, that whole phrase started integrating itself into everything.

[00:10:53] I'm going to trust that I'm going to hit this deadline. There's no sense in getting in a tizzy about it because I've completed projects on tight deadlines before, and I will do it again. I trust that this client will love these designs that I made. So basically. Combating my generalized anxiety with the mantra I trust.

[00:11:16] And it has truly worked. Like I trust that I'm doing all the right things for COVID, I'm getting vaccinated, I'm masking up. So I trust that now I can do things like travel to Chattanooga to come see you or travel back home to Oklahoma, to see my business partners and my team and my family. I trust. I trust I trust.

[00:11:36] So that's the word that came up for me. How about you?

[00:11:40] Emily Thompson: I love that I will sort of pause for a sec. If anyone does want more information on word of word of the year, we've done an episode of mini-sode something. It will be in the show notes. If you want to get a bit more backstory and how it is that we do this, but mine, I think I chose this one.

[00:11:59] This was a beginning of a year. I went into 2021 with the word thrive. So that word for me came up because. 2020 was a year of surviving. Right. And I really want it. I really wanted 20 21 to be one where I could turn it around. I didn't want to feel like I was surviving. I wanted to feel like I was thriving and work, especially.

[00:12:25] 2020 was the year that you and I made our transition. I became full owner of Being Boss and I, you know, dove in, started putting some things in place and they felt like I was just like, sort of restarting the engine. And I really wanted 2021 to be a year where I felt like I was like, back in my own, I was doing the thing.

[00:12:45] And. It's become these, these, these words of the year are double-edged swords. Right? We go in with this idea, it's going to like, I'm going to feel great about this. They announced becomes sort of my little mantra of like, no, [00:13:00] I'm fine. I'm thriving because I am legitimately am. And so there has been this reminder for myself that no, the things you want require work.

[00:13:11] Period. And not that I need to necessarily be reminded of myself of that, but we talk often about how. You know, you see the highlight reels of people's careers and the things that they're doing and all along the way, they are like busting ass to get there. And they're thriving the entire time, but there are like, there's, you know, your heads in the dirt.

[00:13:33] The hands are dirty. I don't know what metaphor I'm going for here, but you're doing it. You're doing it to have those moments where you actually feel like you're thriving. And so thrive has been my word of the year and I have felt it. I've definitely felt like I am out of survival mode, especially in business and both businesses in both Being Boss ended Almanac supply co.

[00:13:58] I am out of surviving an end to thriving. But also y'all thriving requires lots of constant work as well.

[00:14:05] Kathleen Shannon: I mean, sometimes the difference between surviving and thriving is literally just your mindset. It's a choice. I mean, obviously we have seasons like 2020. Yeah. We were all surviving there, but it's kind of how we were talking.

[00:14:20] We've talked about this before about taking the time to pause and really celebrate and commemorate the wins. And that's a part of thriving too, is stopping to acknowledge how far you've come, how much you're doing, what systems are in place, what you're not doing, because you don't have to do it anymore.

[00:14:39] It's so easy to just constantly raise the bar and look at what's next and look at what you haven't yet accomplished, especially whenever you're as goal oriented and go, go, go. As you are Emily, it's easy to not stop and look at how much you really are thriving, which can make you feel like you're in survival mode nonstop.

[00:14:58] Emily Thompson: For sure. And so it's been nice having that little reminder. To just like check in and be like, look, I'm doing it, doing it, but then it's also having markers as well. So for me as it was revenue goals, both, you know, in both businesses, but also personally as well, what am I actually bringing home? It was, has been things around like getting invited to do things, to be a part of things, to sort of put myself back into the networks and into the places where I want to exist and work and, you know, getting the responses from those things.

[00:15:30] It was, it definitely is a mindset, but there were some very tangible things that I wanted to accomplish to the things that I wanted to like, you know, pin up on my board and be like, thriving, see, see, doing this, did this. And so it's been fun. It's been fun. I definitely feel like, I feel like I've done it.

[00:15:51] And because that has been my word of the year, I have checked in and recognized that I am actually thriving.[00:16:00]

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[00:17:37] Emily Thompson: So, that's word of the year. A Little recap. Hopefully gives everyone like a nice, a nice lens through which to maybe here are the rest of this, because now I want to look at how you actually feel about it. Sort of have these like words that we go into it with. But now that we're at the end of it, how do you actually feel about 2021 as a creative business owner?

[00:18:06] Kathleen Shannon: Detached. So in a really good way, I have a few things to say about it. I have a few words that really bubbled up, right? So like my personal mantra was trust and even faith a little bit, which I know is one of your words of the year, a few years ago. It's funny too, how, remember how our words of the years are always playing off of each other, but as a business owner, It was really interesting since selling Being Boss,

[00:18:33] I have really detached my own identity and really my own ego from work. And this has been a challenge because my identity has been so wrapped up in Being Boss and untangling all of that. It also came to making it so that I'm not fully wrapped up in my identity, even at Braid as a co-owner there or as a partner or graphic designer.

[00:18:59] [00:19:00] Funny enough, did I mention this last time I was on the show, I've been calling myself a graphic designer more, which before I was very like, Like, as I was building up Braid Creative and Being Boss, I did, I felt like just calling myself a graphic designer was really reductive because I'm incredibly strategic.

[00:19:17] I'm a business partner. I'm a business owner. I do a lot of things. Speaking, podcasting, writing books. Strategic high-level consulting for my clients. So to just call myself a graphic designer, feels like it's not the whole story, but in a lot of ways, that's what I really love doing. That's what I love. So I feel detached as a business owner, but very much in tuned with myself as a creative.

[00:19:45] So literally just yesterday, I finally figured out how to animate a gift. Like I'm doing things like that again, where. You know what this old dog can learn some new tricks and I'm motivated to do that, but on a business level, Braid Creative celebrated 10 years this year. And it, you all, it takes some time to get to the point where

[00:20:10] you can sustain a business and kind of just not think about it to the point where you can detach your identity from it. I think it's probably really important to be entangled with your business as you're starting up, because that's the kind of motivation and passion and. The work that needs to go into getting this thing off the ground, where if you're not all the way in it down to yourselves, you're not going to be able to get this thing to lift off the way that you want it to.

[00:20:38] So I'm finally at this point, I guess the word that would really come up, there's two of them that come up for me. One is sustainable. This thing feels sustainable. Part of that is because we also hit some big benchmarks, like, keeping all of our employees through pandemic. So there's eight of us on our team.

[00:20:58] Everyone stayed fully employed. I think that we even gave out a couple of raises this year and then also mature. Like I feel almost like an investment or a bond has matured. I feel like Braid has fully matured. And I feel like my role at Braid has really matured. We have hit big benchmarks, like having six months of operating expenses in savings, which is huge, especially for a company in revenue, our size.

[00:21:29] My role as a leader and creative director and having a team of designers working, I want to say under me, because we're very collaborative, it feels like we're working side-by-side, but being able to like art direct my junior designer, the fact that I'm not having to create so much content, this'll be interesting to talk to you about with Emily is because, you know, I was a content queen.

[00:21:51] Like I hit publish, whether it be on a podcast or on a blog post. Every day for years and years and years this year I've maybe sent out three newsletters, maybe a blog post. And I have constant anxiety about it because that's what got me to where I'm at. So do you remember one of our Brooke Castillo told us, like, whatever you did to get to where you are, you're going to have to keep doing that thing to sustain it.

[00:22:20] That hasn't been the case for me. I got to where I got and now I feel like I can sit back and relax a little bit because this thing has matured. It has a reputation on its own, where our word of mouth is generating enough. Like I already put in the work, I can just sit back and let it come to me now. So it does kind of freak me out a little bit, but I'm learning to trust it.

[00:22:43] I'm learning to trust that I'm there. I'm where I wanted to be. I can just now get in and do the work.

[00:22:49] Emily Thompson: Yeah. I also love that, you know, you've reached this place of maturity and you can sort of lean back and just do the things that you want to do. And at the same time, you've almost reverted back to just calling yourself a graphic designer like you, because I think there's something so

[00:23:08] comforting in that that allows you to just like, just own what it is that you love doing. And do you don't need to like fluff it or make yourself sound or feel better or do you just graphic designer let you do all the other things that you don't need to like, you know,

[00:23:24] Kathleen Shannon: I'm not trying to prove it to anybody anymore, which I was for so long and that served me well.

[00:23:31] I mean, we got a book out of it. We got, you know, we got a lot out of that desire to be recognized for the work that I'm doing. And now I just don't need it. I don't need it.

[00:23:46] Emily Thompson: I love it. I love that. I find about 10 years hold up years. I don't think it's funny. I knew that I've heard you say that. I knew I saw the things, but for whatever reason, it just kind of hit me 10 years,

[00:24:02] Kathleen Shannon: 10 years.

[00:24:06] Really looking at the trajectory of that. I mean, my sister and I were talking about it recently and whenever we first started Braid, I mean, it was our whole lives. And so again, that's what I'm talking about. Whenever I talk about being a little bit more detaches, I can show up and do my job. It feels a lot like a day job in a really good way, but on my own terms, like it still, I can still.

[00:24:29] You know, go to the gym in the middle of the day or bake some bread. That's another thing I've started doing this year.

[00:24:37] Emily Thompson: Kathleen is a baker.

[00:24:40] Kathleen Shannon: I've gotten myself a sourdough starter who would have ever thought

[00:24:44] Emily Thompson: good fast. We need to have it. One day Kathleen is going to be a weird home body baker. It's going to be great.

[00:24:52] Kathleen Shannon: But what about you? I'm curious to see how you feel as a creative business owner on the Being Boss side and on the Almanac side. And then what else, what else do you have stirring

[00:25:03] Emily Thompson: cooking Bruin up over here? So if I had to think about this for a long, hard minute, And what I sort of came up with for both of them, because there is sort of this like combination is I can just feel like a mad scientist,

[00:25:23] whatever I look back at what I've done this year, because I've done a lot of things. Both because of when the industry that I'm in podcasting is changing constantly y'all podcasting and just online businesses, something you'll hear us talk about all the time. Oh, like this industry, these industries that we're in this, in this online space is constantly shifting and changing.

[00:25:46] And so in Being Boss, I feel like I'm always going to feel like a bit of a mad scientist, but also where we've been with Almanac. And some things that have fallen into our plate. And that we've like gone after over the past year mad scientists, but also just where we are with being business owners and like dealing with customers and consumerism and how everything is changing and how you know, marketing is, is hitting differently.

[00:26:12] And people's behaviors have changed. Like no one knows what they're doing anymore. Anybody like no one knows. And so I just feel like a mad scientist. Basically.

[00:26:23] Kathleen Shannon: Nobody ever knew and not to toot our own horn, but that's what I love about our book with Being Boss is that no matter what is happening, no matter what trend or formula people are thinking that they can sell, it always comes back to the basics.

[00:26:39] It always comes back to your mindset, your habits and routines. Doing the work, crunching the numbers, having a business model, being able to explain to people, having a solid brand where you can explain to people who you are and what you do, and for whom having a way to logistically exchange money. I mean, it's not.

[00:27:02] That complicated. And I think that it really just does come back to the basics and testing and changing and experimenting and going with your gut and being okay with some things working. And something's not working.

[00:27:15] Emily Thompson: For sure. I know, and that's definitely just where I've been. I feel like though over the past 12 months, I have tested in change more than ever actually episode of about testing and changing a couple episodes ago in the show notes.

[00:27:30] If you want to just scroll back, like literally two or three episodes, it's right there. But, I definitely feel like I've been doing that more so than ever, but like also developed a really great like strategy around it. Like, you know, we are checking in on things. We're trying little things at a time and just sort of seeing how things work because you're right.

[00:27:48] You have to have the basics in place, but what you do within the constraints of those basics is different for everyone. And I think for everyone, it's going to be changing over the next couple of years as things hopefully start. Maybe they'll settle down at some point and we get back into habits of how it is that we like to receive our marketing and what's going to make us click and you know, what sort of benefits are gonna make people buy?

[00:28:11] The thing that you're selling, whatever it may be. Cause all of those things are shifting and changing. So I felt like a mad scientist. But also whenever I like get beyond med scientists and to really, really how I feel, I feel incredibly proud of what it is that I have done in the past year. I feel super rooted in a way that I haven't felt probably in four years.

[00:28:35] I would say just like really rude. I have built an amazing foundation from which I am affording myself the ability to do some really cool things in the future. And so it feels good to be in this place where the foundation is there now. Like what can I do next? And I otherwise. I have expanded so much in the past 12 months so much.

[00:28:58] I mean, 2020 was definitely a year of just like, get in your hole, like do what you gotta do to like, keep everything safe and easy and or whatever. And I've feel like I've been able to come out in 2021. I mean, out in air quotes because not going outside quite yet. And really been able to expand some things.

[00:29:18] I grew the team at Being Boss, I think double this year. We joined the HubSpot network. I, we launched a Blinkist short cast. I opened a retail store. I knew hold commercial three commercial leases and probably about to hold my fourth. So just expansion in all ways, both at Almanac and Being Boss in a way that feels really good.

[00:29:47] And sustainable in a way that neither of them have ever felt before. And that just goes back to that foundation is, is not like a crumbly house of cards, foundation. I feel like legitimately I have built some good foundations on which like one that are just going to stay as they are, which feels great.

[00:30:07] And on top of which I can build even more. So. Mad scientist, but my experiments are paying off.

[00:30:19] Kathleen Shannon: So good. So good. And you should be proud. You've done so much.

[00:30:25] Emily Thompson: Right. And I tried not to say tired.

[00:30:29] Kathleen Shannon: I mean, watching you makes me tired. Whenever I came to Chattanooga, I remember at one point you were talking about some revenue and some plans, and I was like, oh, I'm so glad I'm not doing that anymore.

[00:30:41] Emily Thompson: And it would say like, tired is not something.

[00:30:43] I, I not saying that for the, I'm saying it for this moment. We just got through with our like first holiday season, like Thanksgiving season. In our shop like today, I could definitely use it. But in all, I will say. Part of that, like feeling super rooted and like, I have a really great foundation is I also love that I'm at the end of this and I feel fine.

[00:31:07] Like I legit, I have like practiced. I've like used all of my tools. I am managing my time. Really great. I'm doing all of these things. I'm doing all these things within my constraints, right. Of like here is what I need to be a happy, healthy person. However, if anyone has any tips for how to deal with teenagers, feel free to call me.

[00:31:29] Kathleen Shannon: I mean, parents is just no joke. That's probably,

[00:31:36] Emily Thompson: that is not having to be a part of this conversation is about business. Business is easy.

[00:31:42] Kathleen Shannon: Okay. Business.

[00:31:46] Emily Thompson: Whether you're hiring your first or 50th employee. There's no reason to be doing it like a dinosaur, streamline your systems and make hiring something that feels like moving forward. Not a total slug. Gusto makes payroll easy and it offers flexible benefits, simple onboarding and

[00:32:02] so much more. It's fast and effective giving you the chance to get back to being the boss you're here to be. Sign up and get three months free. Once you run your first payroll, when you go to gusto.com/beingboss. That's gusto.com/beingboss.

[00:32:21] Okay. So then I'd like to break it down a little bit more and talk about work and or life. What worked kind of work. And didn't work and we'll start with, let's start with what didn't work,

[00:32:37] Kathleen Shannon: what didn't work, a paper planner. Oh paper, a paper planner did not work for me this year. I'm actually really excited to talk to you about this though, because I just started, I love the idea of paper planners.

[00:32:50] I remember I just bought one. Whenever I came down to Chattanooga, it's already been thrown in the trash because I missed a couple of weeks. And then I hate how you were so excited about [00:33:00] it. I was so excited, but I hate having those blank pages in between. Cause I missed a week because. I was bummed out and didn't want to write anything down or had nowhere to go or travel.

[00:33:13] I loved having a paper planner whenever we were on book tour and getting to log all of the places that we were going and all the food to track what we eat at, like in a, this is the most delicious meal I've ever had in my life kind of way. And so I threw away my paper planner, but I just started getting into digital planning on my iPad.

[00:33:39] So I got a new iPad this year and there is an app called shoot. What is this called? Sorry, give me a second. Good notes.

[00:33:50] Emily Thompson: Oh, yes, I've heard of this.

[00:33:53] Kathleen Shannon: And there are entire YouTube channels dedicated to like good notes planning that are really soothing to watch. I love watching that. I've also gotten into cleaning the YouTube channels, like just cleaning.

[00:34:09] Okay. Anyway, I'm into good notes and that is working for me and it reminds me of the early days of work in a lot of ways. So as much as my business has matured and feeling kind of this anxiety around, like, am I doing enough? Am I relaxing too much? My digital planner is allowing me to get back into the nitty-gritty of my to-do list and holding me accountable to doing the things that I want to do, like updating my portfolio, which is so easy to fall on the back burner.

[00:34:38] But if I'm writing it down by God, I'm going to check it off my list. But yeah. So what didn't work was the paper planner. And then the other thing that didn't work for me was Slack. I tried to get my team on slack. This is probably more of a 2020 thing, but I just deleted our Braid slack channel because no one's doing it.

[00:34:56] Emily Thompson: That is so funny.

[00:34:58] Kathleen Shannon: Yeah. What about you? What didn't work for you?

[00:35:00] Emily Thompson: What didn't work for me? I have pretty much completely given. No, I have given up social media. No, that's a lie. I am back on Twitter, kind of I'm off Instagram and I've been on Facebook for a decade, almost probably five ish years, which isn't a decade.

[00:35:17] But for me, and looking at both companies as well, we're about to hugely change our shows, our social media strategy, because I have tested and changed all over all of those things to one, get the kind of results that I want and two, simply feel good about it. And I don't. With either of those things. So I'd say social media is a big one.

[00:35:39] And because of that, I am not spending any time, which is a very much so working situation because y'all do something else with your brain or. It makes sure when your brain is there, that it's good for you and that it's bringing you joy. But social media, just in general, it has not worked for me this year.

[00:36:00] 10 Minutes to Being Boss everybody remember that video series I went at, that was a ton of fun. I hated doing it. I thought it was going to be so much fun. I was totally ready to be here doing some short snippets of video.

[00:36:15] Kathleen Shannon: So legit, you were like Marie Forleo, legit with your presence and showing up. I mean, you looked great.

[00:36:24] I'm not even talking from like, I mean, you're beautiful obviously, but you showed up with confidence. You're so good on camera. I'm surprised that that didn't work.

[00:36:34] Emily Thompson: I, I hated it. I literally had in here and here really was my biggest issue. Maybe this'll be a future future commercial lease. I need a space where I can come record, regardless of time of day or day of the week, I think was my big one.

[00:36:51] I'm on literally main street in Chattanooga. I had to come up here whenever things were quiet. If someone was next door talking or square, my next door neighbor has a microwave that he just likes to play music with the button. Office next door. To me, it is wow. Incredibly obnoxious. But I had to work around so many things.

[00:37:14] And I just, I didn't love doing it. I didn't love doing it. So once I realized that it was making me angry, I had fun sometimes. And I do think they turned out really great, but I didn't enjoy doing it. So that did not work for me. There may be a world in which we go back to some sort of situation, but here is also another big thing.

[00:37:35] If I could walk into a production studio and just show up and do it high five, but in a pandemic, I literally was doing all of the things myself alone in the office. And that was also kind of lame. My third thing for not working is team building at Almanac.

[00:37:54] Kathleen Shannon: Tell me more.

[00:37:55] Emily Thompson: That one has been incredibly, incredibly difficult whenever we got the store and on, and I will asterisk this with everyone

[00:38:06] I know who has a retail store. This is the reason they tell everyone never to open a retail store. So like I know. I was forewarned by everyone I know. But hiring help for Almanac has been incredibly difficult, and getting the kind of assistance that I need to do the kind of job that I want both either in store.

[00:38:29] So having sales associates, but also some higher level, managing has been incredibly difficult, which is one of the reasons why I'm a little tired post-holiday season, because we are full store. Full production space for employees, including myself and David. And it's a lot. So I stopped trying about a month ago and I'm going to not try until the new year.

[00:38:58] And I'm hoping that 2022 is the year that I can do what I've done at Being Boss in terms of team building at Almanac, because. We'll get into Being Boss team in a second. But I know what I'm capable of. I know what teams are capable of. And the fact that I don't have that at Almanac is I'm like closing my eyes because I can't even face the world.

[00:39:21] When I say these things that has not worked for me this year. I'm, I'm looking forward to taking everything that I've learned. So far this year and the next year, and really working on building an amazing team at Almanac, we've had it in the past. The team that we do have now is wonderful, but I need, I need more team at Almanac and it has been a Rocky year for that.

[00:39:53] Yeah.

[00:39:57] Then let's move up to kind of working. What has kind of worked for you this year?

[00:40:02] Kathleen Shannon: Well, I've got a couple and this would make sense for the kind of column where it kind of works. It kind of doesn't. So it's a little bit gray area. This is one where a business bestie conversation really does help probably the most in the kind of work.

[00:40:17] So is there, do we want to move it to the. Scratch it column or do we want to move it to the working column and what do we need to do to make it happen? So the first I have is what's kind of worked is my content plan and social media. So social media, I'm still just using later, which is a program that I think we had started using it Being Boss.

[00:40:40] I don't know if you're still using it, but I love it, but I, I think. When I'm loading posts, I like doing it. I've started a LinkedIn for Braid creative as we've evolved our dream customer. It's been really important for us to get over there on LinkedIn. So I've been trying my best to stay on top of it. I have learned with my role now as graphic designer, creative director.

[00:41:04] No longer like the primary business development person in a lot of ways. And I was for so long by content marketing. So now that I'm not doing that as much, because it's not my primary job, it's so easy to just fall on the back burner and be inconsistent. And, you know, I do not like inconsistent. I like to have a plan.

[00:41:27] I like to check the boxes. I like to know what I'm doing all the time. And so whenever I am on top of content, it's great. Whenever I'm not, I'll go a month without posting and it's fine. My newsletter. Every time I send out a newsletter, I probably get one or two clients, like just reminding people that we're here.

[00:41:48] So that works. But I see you, for example, Emily being so on top of posting every single week a newsletter, and I'm like, God, why can't I what's wrong with me? Why can't I do that? What, what do I need to do? Do I need to be less particular about hitting publish on what I'm writing? Do I need to have a better editorial plan.

[00:42:10] Do I need to find a writer to help me write these things? Like where I kind of figure out the framework for what it is that I want to say and then have them come in and edit it for me. Actually, as I'm saying that out loud, that sounds really good. Like, I almost need an editor to be like, this doesn't make sense because here's the deal.

[00:42:26] I've become a better writer. Since I first started blogging, whenever I first started blogging, I would hit publish on whatever. Now, whenever I go back to old blog posts or old Instagram, even Instagram, like one, this was an inside joke. How is anyone supposed to know what I was saying. Two, there was so much more I could have elaborated on. Three,

[00:42:47] this thing is redundant or doesn't make sense. And I think that if I had an editor to review what I'm writing and ask me to elaborate in some areas to help me refine other areas, literal, just copy editing stuff that would make me feel so much better. So that's,

[00:43:03] Emily Thompson: well, there you go for me, but then there's your answer.

[00:43:06] I will also say, you know, I haven't written Brewed until December.

[00:43:11] Kathleen Shannon: Right. What about the other Being Boss? Is it just Brewed now? That's the only newsletter you're sending out?

[00:43:20] Emily Thompson: And I am the copy editor. Just, just so you know,

[00:43:25] Kathleen Shannon: yeah. Okay. And then the other thing that has kind of worked. Is raising prices on the Braid method.

[00:43:33] So we raised prices for the first time. Since a long time, we had been at 7,500 for a really long time. And I noticed as I was shopping for things like getting a deck built or things around my house that I needed, that I haven't bought in a long time, like rugs or a fish tank or just anything I need. I find that everything is twice as much as I expect it to cost.

[00:44:03] And so I think along with that, my prices were stuck. Like everyone else has evolved and doubled their prices. My prices were stuck in 2015 and it's been a minute. So I raised my prices from 7,500 to 9,000. I still want to be in a price range where we can help creative entrepreneurs, but with raising our prices, We are no longer attracting people who have just started their business, like nine times out of 10.

[00:44:33] If someone has just started their business in need branding, we are going to be out of reach for them. And I want you to know if you were listening to this, if you've just started a business and you dream about getting branding from me or someone else one day. That's cool. You do not need us to start your business.

[00:44:51] You can totally DIY it with Squarespace and like really beautiful elegant options and make it work word of mouth. I would say even I would recommend kind of DIY buying it until you can fully invest in really good branding, where you can put down $9,000 to invest in yourself for $12,000 or however much it is.

[00:45:17] So anyway, we've raised our prices and again, like, I guess, The same old thing that people that we advise, you know, we were like, you're not working for free. As our team grows, as our lives grow, we just need to make more money. We have more expenses, we need to make more money. So we needed to raise our prices.

[00:45:35] I still feel like it's really fair, but sometimes I feel a little guilty that I can't necessarily help all the people I want to help, but then I have to remind myself, we have years worth of Being Boss content that is completely free. We've written a book. That's what twenty-five bucks with all of our knowledge in it.

[00:45:54] I have put all of my info that used to be on the Braid Method e-course probably throughout my blog and throughout the Being Boss podcast. So still here, still available, but if you want to work with me, one-on-one it just costs a little bit more.

[00:46:11] Emily Thompson: Indeed. Perfect, good raise those prices. And I think you're completely right.

[00:46:16] If you all are just starting your business, you think you need to pay for branding. That is an excuse for you to just not start your business right now and do the thing. Go do the thing. Okay. Here's my kind of work. The Almanac shop. Well,

[00:46:37] Listen boss, whether you're hiring your first or your 50th employee, I know that running payroll, calculating taxes, deductions, compliance is not easy. That is, of course, unless you have Gusto. Gusto is a simple online payroll and benefits platform for small businesses like you and like me, because I use it too.

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[00:47:18] When you go to gusto.com/beingboss. That's gusto.com/beingboss. Now until next time, do the work, be boss[00:48:00] .