Emily Thompson 0:05
Hello and welcome to being boss episode number 59. Brought to you by fresh books cloud accounting.
Kathleen Shannon 0:12
Guys, today we have my friend Meg keen on the show, and Meg is one of the most like, Boss ladies I know. Not even just Boss Lady straight up boss. And you might know her from the Empire she's created from the ground up called a practical wedding. It's one of my favorite websites. I've been married and I still read it. And then she's also written a best selling book under the same title and just released her newest book, a practical wedding planner. Get your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through
Emily Thompson 0:49
being bosses hard. Lending work and life is messy. Making a dream job of your own
Kathleen Shannon 0:54
is easy, but getting paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable
Emily Thompson 1:02
if you do the work.
Kathleen Shannon 1:05
Being boss is a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. Brought to you by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Check out our archives at love being boss calm. Hey guys, I want to take a second to talk about our sponsor fresh books. Fresh books is the easy to use invoicing software designed to help creative entrepreneurs get organized, save time invoicing and get paid faster. Now I personally use and love fresh books. I first started using fresh books whenever I was a solopreneur. freelancer. I remember I did the free trial which you can try your own free trial by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. So I started with a free trial.
Unknown Speaker 1:51
Kathleen Shannon 1:52
30 days, I had to commit to a plan. And what's really great about fresh books is that the plan starts at just 995 a month. So I promise you that it is an expense that will pay for itself because using software like fresh books will make you more efficient, it will help you get paid faster, and it will just help you be more rigid. So stay on top of your business with a clear picture of its financial health. Try fresh books for free today. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section? Try your free trial for 30 days. And then after that you can start a plan for just 1995 a month.
Unknown Speaker 2:37
All right back to our show.
Kathleen Shannon 2:41
Thanks for coming on the show. Thanks for having me. So I was trying to think about when we first met, I feel like I've been doing this to all of our guests. Like let's reminisce about Wonder Woman
Unknown Speaker 2:50
from memory lane.
Kathleen Shannon 2:52
But it's like a true testament to getting on a plane going somewhere and meeting people in real life because we met at a conference.
Meg Keene 3:01
We did. Right I introduced you around to everybody was so nice. I was like this is Kathleen she did the most brilliant thing on the blogosphere last year. That if you remember, like 50,000 people, and then it'd be like and she has good hair. And that was your Tibet, your Tibet. They
Unknown Speaker 3:22
Unknown Speaker 3:23
Like Tibet? No whatever it
Kathleen Shannon 3:24
was early I feel like we met six years ago. And did I remember here's how I remember it is that I was still writing under Jeremy and kathleen.blogspot.com you are having to introduce myself to everyone at this conference as uncoupling of Jeremy and Kathleen and everyone was like who like who's
Unknown Speaker 3:41
Kathleen Shannon 3:42
warily person who knew me there no one knew me like I was not a big deal and I'm still not a big deal but like I was really not a big deal. But you're so kind and introduced me to all of your big deal friends and arable like
Meg Keene 3:56
what do I know? I was like, oh, Kathleen's here and when I got there, I thought you walking with like some people I didn't know. And I was like, I wonder if she'll talk to me.
Kathleen Shannon 4:05
Oh my gosh. So anyway, then we took a cab ride. We had dinner together and we both bonded over our secret passed.
Unknown Speaker 4:13
Unknown Speaker 4:15
I tell it can I tell her you can
Meg Keene 4:16
Emily probably doesn't know this.
Kathleen Shannon 4:19
So I used to do medieval fair reenactments.
Meg Keene 4:24
Oh yeah, that it's not even that secret for me. My my parents met at Renaissance Fair yell. I mean, I like don't really write about it on the internet because I feel like it it pigs me as something I'm just probably not
Kathleen Shannon 4:36
like a big red fair, dork. Well,
Meg Keene 4:39
I mean, I am. I don't know. I was born into it. legit. So yeah, with a fair bet since forever since like I was a little bitty baby kid. And I think that actually has shaped my professional life and my business more than anything else. And I've never said that in public. But it's really true. I think
Kathleen Shannon 5:00
And I love that I remember actually over dinner like, when are we bonded over this? You're like no joke. And um, and you told me that you were building your sponsor model for a practical wedding off of kind of the Ren faire
Meg Keene 5:14
yendor model. Yeah, yeah, yep. Because I grew up as like a bougie. Kid. So in and like, it makes you a hustler. Oh, so let's, let's since we're doing it, let's tell my favorite favorite story ever, which I think applies to both Kathleen and I in real life. So the joke is that an out here, Renaissance fairs had been going on since the 60s. And like, I know that family that started the first one in their backyard kind of thing. And so it's really like wandering into the 60s. That's like still happening more than anything. Not like when you go to Pharaoh, but when you grew up there. So anyway, that joke is that pair brats are like the ultimate hustlers. And my favorite story of all stories is this little kid who was like all dressed up in this costume and wanted to, like make some money off what we call the turkeys. The patrons. Like the guys were able to have like this stacked paper beer cups, like the you know, your they were like 10. And then they were just there to look at boobs. And so he's like, this little kid like eight or whatever. So he ran this hustle selling magic beans, where he would just like hold his hand like be like, it's a magic bean. And then he would sell them to people for eight American dollars.
Unknown Speaker 6:30
Oh my god, I totally sold magic beans whenever I was a little therabreath. If you from relaxing theme.
Unknown Speaker 6:39
Yep. And people would make
Kathleen Shannon 6:40
bank but I also juggle, like I could juggle too. So I felt like I was backing it up with a skill.
Unknown Speaker 6:47
That's Kathleen's real
Unknown Speaker 6:48
Kathleen Shannon 6:50
But I can juggle.
Unknown Speaker 6:53
Boss I can juggle. It's actually literally the most it's the one skill that I have that impresses my husband the most
Meg Keene 6:59
my husband can't juggle.
Unknown Speaker 7:03
Okay, let's go back to Meg present day not doing random.
Kathleen Shannon 7:10
Um, give us for our listeners who are not familiar with the practical wedding. Can you give us like a quick little rundown real quick, of practical wedding and, and kind of building that up. But I want to get into talking about kind of more of the behind the scenes of what it is to be a boss and to be a mom and a boss and to be a boss of a team. And then also get into some mindset stuff whenever it comes to handling an empire. But like, you know, and I say Empire, but like it's totally I think the way that you've run it is it's achievable. I've been I've been complaining about these like bankrupted billionaire guys. And your empire is not that
Meg Keene 7:54
well. It's good because I don't have anywhere near a billion dollars. So but you're on your way. Okay. Anyway,
Kathleen Shannon 7:58
sorry. I'll quit talking. Now you go.
Meg Keene 8:01
So I started. I started this project eight years ago. And and the really quick like, story that sounds made up but is actually real is that I came home I was wedding planning. I was like, I was like two weeks into wedding planning, let's be for real. And it was sort of that early. It was the first year ish of wedding blogs existing. And I was kind of obsessed with them. I've been reading blogs since 2002. Every day, and they just sort of turned into businesses. I was really fascinated. And my husband suggested I started a blog and call it a practical wedding. Which was like so self interested because he just it was it was another primary year. And he had just started a blog and called it a practical or practical progress, which was like a democratic policy blog or something that lasted for like three whole posts or something. And he was like, we could have that practical family of blogs. So we started it, or he started it for me. It was like oh, no, I feel like I don't know how to do blogspot. And, and the rest is kind of history. I mean, it's just been step by step since then. And it's probably not the most interesting thing to talk about, because it's really just like, it's been a gradual increase over time. But I think that probably the more interesting sort of backstory things are. When I have my I have my MFA or my MFA. Like I went to grad school. I hadn't. I have my BFA in experimental theater from NYU. And I always so this was like, always my intention, right, like all I ever wanted was to go into business for myself and have a creative business. But unlike Kathleen, I didn't have as clear a path, right? Like I didn't have like a hardcore skill set and I dropped out of doing theater by that point. So it's kind of like it started. And I was like, I think this could be the thing. And then literally like two weeks, and I was like, this is the thing, like, I could just feel I was like, hit the groove, this is the thing, gonna take it all the way. And he started it very intentionally with the idea of it being a business, which is funny, because if you look back on the early post, like you just, I don't think would would know that. And yeah, and I've written two books. And now I have a staff of, there's three of us full time and like two other folks that make up sort of another full time person. So it's essentially a team of four. And that's where we are right now.
Kathleen Shannon 10:41
It's funny that you say that you started the blog with a lot of intention versus me, I had like a clear cut path as far as having a skill set of being a designer. But whenever I started my blog, that was just a passion project on the side, there is no intention of turning that into a business. So it's just interesting to see how happy accidents happen and how really intentional growth happens in different ways.
Meg Keene 11:04
Yeah, and that's just not a happy accident. Like, I always try to stress that because I feel like it looks like a happy accident. So it's easy for people to be like, how to this lucky thing happened to her and I don't like obviously, life involves law, the way I always point out, like, life involves a lot of good luck and a lot of shitty luck, right? So it's it's like that mix in the middle. But like, it feels, I think it feels less achievable. If you're like, Oh, this is just this magical thing that happened. And and it would never was that
Emily Thompson 11:33
I want to ask you about whenever you went into this into your blog as as a business because that's almost unheard of, like usually people start blogs, and they become businesses, but for someone to start a blog with the idea, especially that many years ago, I mean, now I think a lot of people do it, but then probably not so much. So my question is about that first business model, like what was that like for you and how it's shifted.
Meg Keene 12:01
So I'd read a lot. And I was sort of an obsessive internet, user write from and from URL, you know, I've been reading blogs since 2000 to 2003. So that's super early. And that was back when it was like web journaling. I was never until life turned on but it still was like you called it like a web journal or whatever. Um, and so I just was really obsessed with the form and it had started maybe in 2006 to to be something that people made money at. And I I don't know, I just have an obsessive brain I think in in a way like in things that I'm interested in. So I just like kind of did this like obsessive internet research, I would dig into like, like I found at some point links to like, links to the places like the Federated media, which was sort of a huge advertising network for blogs for a long time. So I figured how out how to get to their page where they sold ads to corporations.
Kathleen Shannon 13:09
Like you hacked federating? No,
Meg Keene 13:11
no, it's it's public. It's just like, hard to find. It's still public. But you can only now find it if you have a bookmark, which obviously I don't have. So I went so far as like go in and like look at everybody's ad rates and look at their traffic, which is posted on it. And like do math as to like, what the top bloggers were making if their ads are full. 1.8 live? Yeah, I was talking to a friend who was one of the early sort of bloggers making money. And I was like, well, I did a quick calculation on what Soto was making. Like, it was just like, my casual dinner table conversation. And she was like, make has done a quick calculation as to what God is making. And I was like, if the numbers were available, it definitely, but you know, I like get drunk at bars and and start questioning bartenders about business models, like I really wanted to know there's a bar here that does like a whiskey and a PVR shot deal and that's and they sell like high end whiskey but that's clearly how they make their money. And I got drunk and had a bartender like, break down to me exactly what the cost margin was.
Unknown Speaker 14:23
Your boss is because you're talking about boss stuff while you're wasted.
Meg Keene 14:27
Wasted I was he was like, calculating Okay, well, by the case that cost this much. And so yeah, so I started it with an I done some reading about like, what the business models were. And so I've never written I feel embarrassed admitting this, but I've never put a business plan on paper ever. And it's partially because I'm always like, Who has time for that? Like, you just got to do what you do. And working in an industry that's so just so rapidly changing. When people talk about five year plans. I'm like, how does that even make sense right like we didn't even know the apps were going to be a thing five years ago so whatever five year plan you came up with about your internet website is probably one year yeah totally irrelevant
Kathleen Shannon 15:14
and one thing i'm gonna say quickly about the business plan i've never done one either except if you were to look at my evernote notebook and my slack channels and my asana there's my business plan it's like the work
Meg Keene 15:28
oh for real well and we just like the amount of time i think people this was like what people would not know about a pw behind the scenes is the amount of time that we spend talking strategy and media strategy and sort of what's going on online and etc is enormous and maddie eisenhart who's my digital director so we both went to nyu six years apart but her degree is in i always forget what it's technically called but it's essentially in media studies with a focus on tv and so her i mean she like her intellectual like brain space is taken up with how media develops over time so the number of conversations we've had about like you know this what what lucille ball and oprah winfrey have in common which is by the way they both own their own mean owned their own means to their own production and they did that because they were women and they were working in women's spaces and nobody thought it was very valuable so they were able to basically like you'd be like i'm just gonna own the rights to this and everyone was like i don't care like what a waste of what a waste of time and then become extremely rich by in doing so so just the amount of time we spend talking about like the evolution of media and where we think things are going and you know literally like down to the dollar looking at like how that impacts ad revenue and in different business lines and what's going to go where is is enormous and i think it's like the most fun part of my job so which is why i guess i'm good at what
Kathleen Shannon 17:11
i want to i want to fast forward a little bit because i think that you've done a lot of interviews on growing a practical wedding and that's really cool but one thing that you don't talk a lot about in public or online is your kiddos
Meg Keene 17:27
i don't yeah so can we talk about that let's get into it i'm not gonna say their names but otherwise let's do it that's
Kathleen Shannon 17:33
okay so you have two kids two kids a boy and a girl
Meg Keene 17:38
yeah and i almost said their names right now yeah my son is just turned three on thanksgiving and my daughter was born on the fourth of july
Kathleen Shannon 17:48
we call them can we call them jack and
Unknown Speaker 17:50
jane we'll call them jack and
Kathleen Shannon 17:52
jill jack and jill okay so we'll call them jack and jill so jack is wait sorry you said he's three
Unknown Speaker 17:59
Kathleen Shannon 17:59
jill was born on fourth of july so she's like eight months
Unknown Speaker 18:03
seven months yeah
Kathleen Shannon 18:04
okay um you are super super private about what you share about them and whenever i was becoming a mom so fox is she just turned two so you were someone that i can easily look up to you because jack was when you're older than fox and i really didn't know how to handle how much i put him online or not so like how did you decide as far as privacy goes what to share and what not to share yeah from basically from the get go from the
Meg Keene 18:34
get go um so let's just call a spade a spade i have a hate forum which doesn't make me special i think anyone who writes online at this point has a hate forum i've actually never been there which is funny because my hate form is apparently i'm convinced that i like we read them on the reg but i've never been there like don't even visually know what it looks like though let's say it let's say whatever so my staff does go there sometimes mostly because the heat formers hey go me spend so much time on the site they actually spend more time on the site than the staff so the it's like a super handy way to catch any error that we make oh yeah so we like totally treat them like employee stuff
Emily Thompson 19:28
yeah why why pay a copy editor when you just have a hate forum that'll do it for you
Meg Keene 19:32
for free once we did like a tally of how many comments we've gotten in the in the the month and then how many comments we've gotten in the month a year previous and then they actually like went through and counted how many comments were staff and back them out
Unknown Speaker 19:48
no they didn't yet
Meg Keene 19:50
so we we did i put it in my puzzle
Unknown Speaker 19:54
oh my god knows
Unknown Speaker 19:56
Unknown Speaker 19:58
oh my god
Meg Keene 20:00
I mean, I didn't go to the site, I legitimately have never seen it. But they were like, hey, they did this. And I was like, awesome. Can you pull the numbers? I don't want to do it. I love that so much. Um, so. But because of that, I just really felt strongly that they don't deserve my kids. And they certainly deserve to deserve my kids by name. You know, I
Kathleen Shannon 20:25
know, here's the deal. For people who are unfamiliar with the hater site. I have a form on there, too. I'm not sure if Emily does, because I mean, you probably do at this point. But I don't I don't go on there either way, because like, it's just toxic. Even even people that I haven't liked before. I'm like, Oh, I wonder what they say about them. And then I read it, and it just feels toxic.
Meg Keene 20:50
Yes, I know. So talk about like intentions and setting intentions
Kathleen Shannon 20:54
is all the wall worth. So it's really gross, and you'll feel gross reading it. And I don't recommend any of our listeners, giving them any sort of traffic at all. It's just not worth it. And it's gross. Like, it's just bad juju. So anyway, this hater site, they'll make fun of what you look like, they'll make fun of what you're wearing, they'll make fun of your content, they'll make fun of your work, they'll make fun of everything, and your kid or children. So I'm pretty sure they hate your site so that I got pregnant to boost my status.
Meg Keene 21:22
That is I mean, pregnancy is a pretty easy thing. And so I generally do it to boost my traffic numbers.
Emily Thompson 21:30
There you go, guys, there's a good tip for boosting your traffic, if you want
Meg Keene 21:33
to boost your traffic just get pregnant. It's funny. So there is let's be legit, there's a there's a thing called the baby bump online, not actually like the bump that you get when carrying a baby. But if you put pictures of your kids online, when you have them, you will get a traffic spike. And I also kind of didn't want to participate in that. That the hater site is it's toxic, but there are there parts of what they say like if you take it as like a big picture message that I think are not they're coming from the wrong place, I think but they're not necessarily like in invalid, right. Like, I have been really working to take as much ego sort of out of my work as possible. And that's sort of like,
Kathleen Shannon 22:21
wait, let's, let's go there. Yeah, I mean, by that taking the draw out of your work. I mean,
Meg Keene 22:26
especially when you're building a business, I think that in, in real life terms, like you have to sort of, I mean, maybe there's an enlightened way to do this, that I have not yet discovered. But I think when you're building something from nothing, and everybody thinks that what you're doing is a joke, which is like a peculiar phenomenon. If you are a female and work in a female oriented space, I mean, everybody experience it. But if you're say, like
Unknown Speaker 22:59
a lead on to love, but I'm laughing because it's true. So
Meg Keene 23:01
true. If you are a lady with a vagina, and you work on weddings, people basically think that you're unemployed, right? Like my company, I say this with great love. And my husband will tell you this to my company, like vastly out earns what my husband earns. But people basically think that I'm unemployed, and he's a lawyer. So people think that like, I'm living off him, but it's like, not at all the truth, but how, how it's perceived. So when you're building a company, under those circumstances, I think you kind of there's, I don't know how to do it, I think without leaning into ego a little bit, because you have to be a little bit like, I just fucking believe in myself like 150%, because the world does not right, like you kind of just have to go there and be like, I don't want to say you have to go there. Because again, maybe there's a way to do it otherwise, but at least when I was younger than I am now and building a company, that was kind of the way I knew how to do it, right? And that I had to be like, I want a practical wedding to mean something, I want it to be like a brand that means something, it doesn't really like I have 30 readers, like I just kind of have to, like, lean into it. And now that I'm at a place where that is not the case, right? Like we're one of the biggest wedding sites in the English language. Um, I am really trying to I have been for a number of years actually have been about since when I got to hate for him. I've really just been trying to, like I don't want it to be about me and I don't I want the work to be about the work and I feel like I'm struggling to really articulate this, but no, I get it. You know, there's there's ways that like, I have to be a name I have to be a face, right. Like, brands have to have names and faces attached to them. But that's my work self and that's my public self. and that's not like i really try to be conscious about the fact that like that is my work self and i am a different person then you know it's me bigger but like that's not me and i actually think a lot about artists like musical artists for example and you two different ways that people approach things and my husband always points to and i think that the people that approach it as like this is my job and this is this thing that i go do and i am a separate person are the ones that stay like often literally the scene is right and that don't really go off the rails and that example my husband always points to is bruce springsteen right who's just really like it is a job for him and he he like crafts a show that's about a performance and about making his audience happy and like he's like this is my job and my job is to like do it well and then he goes home and is like a person as opposed to say like i don't know bob dylan who we saw in con concert and it's like obviously an amazing genius but like i think bob dylan and bob dylan's work are pretty synonymous and god knows he doesn't craft a concert based on like what you care about most as an audience like i definitely watched two hours of like b sides of b sides of like a gospel album that he did once right so i just tried to be like this is a thing that i do and then i am a person and and i think for me keeping my kids you know they're not totally offline they're like on my instagram without like ever their full face right but like keeping them held back and keeping sort of the really personal parts of motherhood held back helps me do that right that i can go home and be like this is my personal life my business profits in no way depend on my children and you know this space is not like space that also accessed online and that's just really helpful for me
Kathleen Shannon 26:51
i feel like i had to fumble through all of that a little bit i definitely blogged about my pregnancy a lot and i did blog about fox and people obviously know his name i've even thought about saying that fox isn't his real name even though it is really like camonica you know that
Emily Thompson 27:07
boiler internet that's not
Unknown Speaker 27:11
true take that go
Meg Keene 27:14
is really miss john
Unknown Speaker 27:15
Kathleen Shannon 27:18
so so anyway i kind of had to fumble through it and make some mistakes as i go and change my mind as i go and i'm constantly changing my mind about the boundaries of what i will share and not share when it comes to my child and being a mom i'm more comfortable i'm just i'm trying to figure out a way to share about being a mom that doesn't bring fox so much yeah story like i can share my experience but i am not allowed to share his experience because it's his he owns that yeah so i mean it might happen in 20 years you know it might not happen right now because i mean that shit of it
Meg Keene 27:53
yeah and for me also and i feel like emily should really be telling us what's what because i know
Unknown Speaker 28:00
you have right
Emily Thompson 28:01
well and i was just thinking about that too because you guys are definitely like on the front side of that like you have young kids and and like they're not being affected by it at the moment but to having a seven year old who sees what i do and like and who knows like whenever i instagram like she'll like watch me you know put go through the feed and she's like how many likes to get and i'm just like okay look like this is not what it's about or the fact that she's tried to talk me into multiple times into getting her a youtube channel
Meg Keene 28:34
at all about this i'm not going to name her name because it's like you know her kids and her story but she i think she'd be fine with me telling you the story so she's this this friend is sort of a big deal by which i mean like has a much bigger business than i do her daughter's eventually obsessed with having a youtube channel and she's like you may be nice um and so she makes these youtube videos but they're like youtube videos of like how to make a peanut butter sandwich and then apparently half of the video is her yelling at her brother and being like oh you're taught to terrible brother so you put the jelly on
apparently point down and be like like the video art with never oh and they're like yeah yeah okay yeah sure that's on your youtube channel
Unknown Speaker 29:27
no no it's not
Emily Thompson 29:28
you right that's amazing because that's exactly like that's what they're seeing lily's favorite thing are those like unboxing videos of like kids or adults who will like unpackage toys and do youtube videos on them which i think i mean obviously it's a thing and so high fived anyone who does it but i have other things to do with my dad watching other kids unpackage toys so literally wants to do this and i mean this has been good Hang on for probably at least a good solid two years because I would say about two years ago, we got, we picked up the iPad that Lily uses. It's not hers. We never call it hers. But the iPad that she uses, and she had been recording videos and not like posting them anywhere she's in her mind. I think like that's all you had to do was just record them. There of like, she put the iPad down and it's above the ceiling, so you can't see her and hear her unpackaging things and talking about it. And like it's just it's hysterical and kind of amazing, but also like completely and utterly frightening for kids these days to be exposed to this idea that you just sort of share without thinking and not understanding what any repercussions could
Unknown Speaker 30:49
Meg Keene 30:51
Kathleen's always doing unboxings I
Unknown Speaker 30:53
Kathleen Shannon 30:56
This hearing without thinking, I feel like if I didn't know what I was doing as I was doing it, I don't know, I would probably be a lot more self conscious, right?
Unknown Speaker 31:05
Well, yeah, I
Unknown Speaker 31:05
completely agree. But you weren't doing it when you were stepping.
Kathleen Shannon 31:08
I wasn't I wasn't I mean, it's,
Meg Keene 31:11
it's funny, cuz like, I am gonna hustle my kid to, I'm gonna hustle my kid down a Renaissance Fair job. But kind of true. I had my first I had my first like, eight. And this was mean like, not my parents. I was like, I need to be getting a job. So I had my first like, eight hour a day. Two days a weekend kind of thing. job when I was I was 11. It was the day before I turned 12. I turned 12 on my second day of work in violation of obviously, like every child labor law. And I will tell you that I was the second best salesman on that like super competitive like high powered pewter sales team. And the only reason I was second best that year is because when I went to sell something really expensive, like a goblet, they would take it around the corner to do the transaction with quote an adult. And the top salesman was like, had no ethics and so she would totally like steal that sale for my child. Oh, yeah. Wow. So but my my oldest in particular, is like, he's literally like a tip off the block, right. And he's a hustler. And he's a charmer and like he I think just needs that discipline at some point of like, I need to be like now get to work. Now this is how you earn $1 which is terrible. And my husband is like totally the opposite. Right? Like never had a job didn't have to work in college, like the whole nine. But yeah, I want them to have that work ethic. So like, I want them to get a job but like they are not getting a job on YouTube until they're older than age eight. Yeah, exactly. No, no, no, no, no. You gotta learn how to like hustle for a real firm, out of Ren faire. Exactly.
Kathleen Shannon 33:06
Hey, bosses, did you have a case of FOMO
Emily Thompson 33:08
that stands for the fear of missing out
Kathleen Shannon 33:11
when you saw all the being boss magic go down for our being boss vacation in New Orleans. Fear not friends,
Emily Thompson 33:17
because we are planning another boss vacation this spring in
Kathleen Shannon 33:22
Miami. So it was really hard to figure out what location to go to. But we've never been to Miami. And the reason why we do these boss vacations is to cultivate our creative pack. see different parts of the world, get some face time with each other, connect with each other and live the boss life. So to learn more details about this boss vacation, just go to love being boss calm slash Miami,
Unknown Speaker 33:49
we hope to see you there.
Kathleen Shannon 33:56
Um, I want to rewind a little bit they're talking about essentially personal branding like this is where my mind starts to go to you because I'm really obviously interested in personal branding. And I think that blending who we are into what we do is a really great way to make a creative living. But as I'm growing my own personal brand, I'm starting to feel the need to have more things for me in my personal life, which is probably why I'm posting less of my baby now than whenever he was little outside of creeper like every single photo of him so I deleted them all and stopped. Um, but I guess I just want to like touch on that that that sometimes being like you were saying I'm the face of this business my I feel like the MiG I'm talking to you right now is like, business mag. You know, I mean, like it's you're still you right? When I say like
Meg Keene 34:48
you're not putting on a show? No. Like, like now or ever. I mean, you know, ever I mean,
Unknown Speaker 34:54
well, I mean, I'm sure that you're putting on a show sometimes your theater major but
Meg Keene 34:58
um well This is this is like in the middle, right? Like, I'm aware that people are listening. I'm not using my kids names, right. But I do have like, just straight up like professional mag. That is probably not the mic you're talking to right now, though, when I'm talking to like the New York Times, is the person on display? Do you know what I mean? Right? There's like a spectrum. Yeah, there's a spectrum. And but the personal brand thing is interesting, because and you feel free to debate me on this, both of you guys, but I don't really consider myself to have a personal brand, we've worked really hard to make a pw a brand. That is not a personal brand, right, we've sort of, there was this really fascinating article, anyone who like writes online should look it up, if you haven't read it, it was in, it was on the cut, like a week or two ago, about young house love, and then quitting the internet a year and a half ago, and sort of what has happened since then. And then sort of the ways that they haven't, haven't been able to quit the internet. And there was a quote in that, that was saying, like, you know, blogs were made on, on people's like, personal brand. And now everybody does that, right? Like, everybody uses Instagram and social and whatever. But you, you can't have a popular site unless you sort of put it all out there. And I just did a presentation at ultimate where I put that quote up and was like, This is not true. And I think that that's what people get told a lot. And then people put stuff out there that they don't necessarily want to put out there. And then are like, well, that's like how the game is played. That's how you have to play it. And I always just want to emphasize to people like it's your ship, right? Like, it's your show, so you should be making the choices. So anyway, long story short, as I went from having a blog to sort of having a website, and having a brand, I've really just tried to back myself out of it a lot. And yeah, so I just, I don't feel like I have a personal brand, like I have, right, like I'm Meg keen on Twitter, but that I don't have a, I don't have a ton of followers. I mean, compared to like, any of our brand numbers. And it's not like a plan. It's not a business platform for me, you know, like, you can see my daughter's ridiculous to to that I put her in, but that's like just kind of me just putting her ridiculous to two on the internet.
Kathleen Shannon 37:24
Um, I, I agree, actually. So I don't think that you have to put it all out there to have a personal brand, I do think that you have a personal brand is just not
Emily Thompson 37:35
Kathleen Shannon 37:36
It's just really done. And I say this, because like, I don't think that you'd be on this show if you didn't have a personal brand. I think I think having a personal brand. A lot of times it's just having a personality, right? It's just yeah, who you are. Um, but where was I gonna go with this? Hang on, hang on.
Meg Keene 37:57
I will say though, that while you're thinking of that, but like the site is absolutely like a reflection of who I am and what I do. And now like, what my team does and what my team who my team is and what they think. And do you know what I mean? Like, well, and there's
Kathleen Shannon 38:13
a difference between having a personal brand and being a good leader? No. And I mean, you can certainly have both. I think what you've done with the site is you've had a vision, and that's something that no one can ever replace for the boss of a business is your vision, you can outsource pretty much everything else. But vision.
Meg Keene 38:31
Yeah. And I think my employees would tell you that that's what I do best. And that's what I do. Do you know what I mean? And they are all smart and aligned with the vision and whatever. But they you know, I was just on maternity leave. So they operated without me for a while. And the interesting thing is when I came back, nada, who is our content manager, so she was hired sort of shortly before I went on leave. And so she worked with out me for a long time before I came back. And when I came back, she was like, Oh, it's a lot more fun. And that was basically because I take more risks, right? Because like, I know exactly what I want to do. I have experience with it. So I will like publish all kinds of posts that my staff on their own won't rate and but also like I'm the person whose job is to go in and take content and make it like the the line and the line in houses that my job is making 20% better. And my job is just just to focus everything a little bit because I just have this really specific idea of what we're doing. And even though everybody's like, totally aligned with that. It's still sort of at the end of the day. I'm like the front end of this spear which is how it should be.
Kathleen Shannon 39:40
Totally. So. Okay, let's go back to motherhood a little bit just being a mom and a boss. I know that your kids are in daycare. Yeah, we're both and so so is mine and this why we both have colds right now.
Unknown Speaker 39:55
Yeah. Thanks, take care cough.
Kathleen Shannon 39:59
So Um, can you talk a little bit of just about like motherhood and being a boss in general, and I'm scared to use the word balance, but I think you get my drift. And I feel
Meg Keene 40:10
like I do have some balance. I mean, I am. I'm really curious what Emily has to say on this, because, again, like much more experience. I'm only at your three. But I kind of think this. I mean, whatever you can, you can debate this 20 ways from Sunday. But I think this idea that like women can't have it all is, is bullshit. There's this great Nora Ephron quote that obviously, I'm going to totally fuck up. But it's, it's something like, I assume that you will have it all. And you'll have it all in a bunch of different ways and throughout your life, but like, of course, you'll have it all. So you know, the popular ideas, like it's just too much to ask for. And like, you know, obviously, things are not going to be perfect. And obviously, like corporate life, and whatever, there's a whole conversation about like public policy and corporate life, and all of the ways that women are penalized. And that's not really the conversation I'm having here like that, whatever. We could talk about that all day. But, but sort of beyond that, like, I do feel like I have it. All right, like my kids are in daycare, and I'm not gonna lie to you and say that, like, I hate being away from them during the day like, Yeah, I love them, and I miss them. And but when I'm at work, I'm frankly, like thinking about work. And when I'm at home, I'm thinking about being at home, and I just moved into an office outside the house. And I think that's really, really helped with that. And obviously, I have flexible hours. I mean, I work. I work. I certainly work a 40 hour week, but I have the flexibility to be like I got to take my kids to the doctor's. But yeah, I mean, I dropped them off, and they are happy and well cared for. And, you know, beloved, in my son's case obese, but because he's a little termer, right? Like he has, he has someone that like we refer to as his second mom at daycare that he just like fell in love with her when he was about four or six months old. And you know, the kids go to their house in East Oakland all the time, and like, have their their sort of like other family, and they like consider the kids to be kind of part of their extended families. So we lucked out in that. But like, I don't I don't feel bad dropping them off. And like, why should I my husband doesn't feel bad dropping off the kids and going to work? Right? Yeah. Oh,
Kathleen Shannon 42:31
I don't know. I'm the same exact same way. And, um, if anything, I love that daycares potty training my kid and I even love that they get to have first experiences with Fox even if I miss it, because, like God, like they're putting in the work, they should be able to celebrate. If you peed in the potty or whatever.
Meg Keene 42:51
I just feel like the more people that love your kid, the better. I you know, and that is like, it's funny, because we keep coming back to this even though I never talked about it publicly. But I grew up growing up a Renaissance Fair, like I grew up in like a legit community, right? Where when I walked down the street, everybody felt they were my mom, like people I didn't know thought they were my mom, like everybody felt like they could tell me what to do. And that was just like how it was. And so I think I approach things a little bit differently. Like, I expect that my friends will, you know, not in an extreme way, but I expect them to like discipline my children in in that like they are adults in the community. And my children are children, right? So when we had kids, we kind of had to retrain people, because people would sort of do the equivalent of being like the baby's chewing glass. And I'd be like, Are you an a grown ass adult? Are you not a grown adult, like, stop the baby from chewing glass? And they'd be like, I didn't want to hurt your feelings. And I was like, Well, I would like him to not hurt his esophagus.
Kathleen Shannon 43:55
So funny enough, one of my good friends recently asked me, I think Fox was doing something in front of her and she was like, how, what, what should I do? Like if I were babysitting him and he was doing this? What should I do? And I was like, use your best judgment. He needs to learn that it'll be disciplined in different ways from different people. Like obviously don't hit him. Right? It's just like, my friends are gonna hit you other than that, like, do whatever put him in timeout. thing away from him destructive, like whatever it is that you would do do that. Like I trust you. You're my good friend for a reason. Go for it.
Meg Keene 44:26
I've watched Maddie having this amazing conversation with my son where she was like, I don't like it. When you do that. I find it disrespectful and it hurts my feelings when you yell at me. And he watched his face go like, oh, and he was like, I just feel like that's a conversation we need to have.
Unknown Speaker 44:43
Nice. I like that one.
Kathleen Shannon 44:45
I'm gonna try using that one on Fox tonight.
Meg Keene 44:47
Yeah, I think it doesn't work on your own kids.
Unknown Speaker 44:51
Have there been any struggles with being a mom and a boss? Oh, I don't know.
Meg Keene 44:58
Ah, you know what, I don't even think I don't know, I think that I am a better, I think I'm a better Boss, I think I'm a better I frankly think I'm a better person for having kids like they made me more patient, they made me more empathetic, they probably made me love myself more. They've made me understand other people's feelings more.
Unknown Speaker 45:20
Meg Keene 45:22
and the business has every time. I mean, I gotta stop at some point. But like, every time I have a kid, the business grows hugely. And I think it's the same sort of community thing, right? Like, when I have a baby, I have to put my trust in other people, right, I had to hire someone to replace me when I went on leave this summer. And every time I put my trust in other people, and put my trust in other people's vision and other people's skills, then the business grows hugely, because I'm not the be all end. All right, and other people see things, I don't have different strengths than I do. So my business has taken like a huge, sort of a huge, I mean, we've doubled in the past year, and I am not going to tell you that's unrelated to me having a baby and being gone for a couple of months. And that happened last time too. So, you know, I can't keep keep having babies for forever. But, um, yeah, I just, and I want it like stress that like, I am lucky, and I am privileged. And I have the ability to put my kid in good daycare, and like, I think that should be something that is a right. And that isn't a right and like, right, like all of those things are absolutely true. And without those things, that would be a different situation. I have a job that pays me well enough to put my kids in good daycare. But that being said, I don't know it's good. It's good for me to have a hard stop at five. It makes me more efficient.
Kathleen Shannon 46:50
Okay, so I want to talk a little bit about getting into like one of the things we talked about a lot on being bosses getting in the right mindset. And I know that recently you started working with Jay Pryor who has been on the show. He's my executive coach, you worked with him a little bit. I've gotten the call Emily was like I think I need to call Jay
Meg Keene 47:11
I need to call. So I think he mentioned me in the in the podcast. I was like I think he's talking about me. And then Maddie, my coworker was into it and was like you realize he was talking about you. So I made a little cameo. I think I unless he may have a lot of clients like me, but I think I was the one who was mentioning when he said like I just have this client who's gotten really clear on the fact that she just needs to be having fun. Which is a paraphrase. But thanks to Jay, I do have a post it somewhere in my office that says I do what I want. I do what I want. I for me, so I got Kathleen's mantra, actually, he was
Kathleen Shannon 47:52
like a bratty little sister monster.
Meg Keene 47:54
I do what I want. And I'm the newscaster he was telling me the story about like apprendi had that was like super New Jersey who is pumping gas. And like the person I had was like BP move up. And she said in like the most New Jersey accent she turned around and was like, I do what I want. We're trying to make that my driving force because my driving force is like the opposite. Yeah, I'm I'm like the grinder. I'm like, I will just work hard, hard, hard, hard, because that was the key to my success, like growing up in a poor area. And not having a lot of money and not having a lot of resources was just like, I'm smart. And like, the way I'm gonna get out of the situation is just to work unbelievably hard. And I just kind of never stopped.
Kathleen Shannon 48:40
And I want to point that out. Because I think that that's what a lot of us bosses experience, you know, through teenager years of getting first jobs and then college, if you went to college, and then afterwards, just like this non stop hustle, right? Yeah. And at what point do we get to enjoy it? I feel like I'm at the point where I really do get I kind of enjoy it, like enjoy all the hard work that I've done. But now I'm so freaked out that it's going to stop because that's what it's gotten me here. Right? Yeah, so
Meg Keene 49:10
I did this. I mean, it's been like a power thing working with Jay on this over the past few months. That I just really worked on, on shifting things in like so many ways. And it's interesting because especially on being Boss, I think you guys talk about a lot in terms of like, the woowoo sense of of things. And, and that's there. But I think so much of the work is actually when you break it down about like your neural pathways. And I mean, it's like it's kind of backed up by science. And a lot of the stuff that Jay specifically has me work on is exactly the same stuff that I've learned. I have generalized anxiety disorder and like taking classes like cognitive Behavioral work on anxiety, like the actual science is so similar to like, your brain gets hijacked, like how do you like things really do become beliefs? Because you think them over and over, right? Like you do just pattern a neural pathway? And how do you like make a new neural pathway that thinks differently? And, you know, you put yourself in a different, like, sort of mindset over it. So yeah, so we've been really working on like shifting to me focusing on like ease, and essentially working smarter, not harder. And that has been a huge focus then with a team as well. And it ended up we ended up doing a whole bunch of work at the end of the year. That was, and this is like, not what you would expect from like talking about woowoo stuff, but like, we did like a data dig on like our site and our business and how it works. and ended up realizing that we could cut our work by a third in terms of like content that we're producing, and increase our traffic numbers. And I would attribute that 100% to sort of Jay's pushing me to not grind in the same way. Because I just do this thing where, like, yes, there's a there's a there's, you get to a point where you're like, maybe I can enjoy this a little bit. But I think that for a lot of us, we just are in this neural pathway, or this brain space of just being like, I just have to work really hard. And I have to look like I'm working really hard. And it means that we don't work smart, or we don't like go to the gym and come back, right and, and when you go to the gym and come back, like you're in a better space, and you get more done. So I just had to stop that habit of being like, I'm tired, I'm out of it. But I'm gonna sit her at the computer and like, attempt to just grind it out, even though I'm not doing anything, right. Like I'm just kind of spacing out. Yeah, so it's been a it's been a big shift for me. And that said, there's like times when you can't I remember listening to at early being last episode, where you guys were talking about, like, all the stuff you do in a day like meditation and whatever. I was, like, on my way to a work event on the weekend and was in the final stages of writing my book and was in
Kathleen Shannon 52:15
Meg Keene 52:17
I was in like a worse bad
Unknown Speaker 52:20
about us. No, I
Meg Keene 52:21
started having a panic, like a jet panic attack. Oh, no, like, I was sweating. I was like having a hard time breathing. And I was like, I don't think I could listen to this anymore. in the show notes. It's the one on the to do list.
We got through I got there. And my coworker was like, yeah, you cannot be listening to that right now.
You know, there are times when it just like is what it is, or when I was working 60 hours at an investment bank and working 20 hours running the site on the side, right. But like, when there are moments that you can back off and like not work at that same fevered pitch, I think it's important than I think it actually is what lets you grow.
Unknown Speaker 53:06
I love that time.
Emily Thompson 53:09
Because one of the things that I have found coming up a whole lot lately is like, especially in the world of like women in this ebb and flow of like energy, and we can talk about the moon if we have to. But this idea, and even for entrepreneurs like you know, we all work ourselves into this grind, like hustling things out, get burnout, like we hear about it all the time. But I feel like there is so much to say there about this idea that there are absolutely times when you are working your ass off. I mean, I recently came off of the busiest two weeks I have had in almost a year where I put in more hours than I have, I think in some months in the span of two weeks. And but that's not the norm like you come in and out of these of these high intense times. And it's it's coming out of it I think that really makes really makes this man I don't want to say the smart entrepreneur, but kind of in a lot of ways it is where you have to recognize that there are times to step back and get back in a good healthy flow. So that the next time things get crazy again, you're fully capable of attacking it and the best date.
Meg Keene 54:21
Yeah, I just couldn't get off the couch. yesterday. I'm actually doing a bunch of like work on the website, but it is pretty. It's pretty mindless. But it's also I have to do it. Because I just know the content better than anybody else. Right. But it was it was like the most important work I could do. But it was getting shoved to the bottom of my to do list because it seemed so mindless, until I finally realized that like, the best thing I could do was get out of the office. I'm going to do this after this after this recording. Get out of the office, go home, sit in front of the couch, binge watch something on Netflix and just do it right. But it felt like well, that can't be worked because it feels good. but it's like really important work and the other day i was like i just can't get off the couch and watch it stop watching united states of tara while doing this work
Unknown Speaker 55:12
united states and her as my binge working
Meg Keene 55:15
yeah i went through an episode with alright season within the past few days so
Kathleen Shannon 55:23
i feel like i went through all fours i think there was four seasons in a week
Unknown Speaker 55:26
Emily Thompson 55:27
yeah that's what you've been doing
Kathleen Shannon 55:31
for the holiday
Meg Keene 55:32
so my coworker says to me she said this sort of thing so speaking babies right she goes you know how sleep begets sleep and i was like i do kathleen and i both have
Unknown Speaker 55:43
to sleep to get sleep experience the better
Meg Keene 55:45
they sleep that like people will like not want their kids to nap a whole bunch because they're like well they won't sleep at night right well the better they like the better the math the better basically been like and this happens with my kid like if he gets off his flow of sleep and like forget it we're up at 5am every morning and then you have to like get him back on the flow so it's like sleep it gets she was like sleep it get sleep hustle begets hustle chill begets chill and she was like you are chilling so that is why you can't get off the couch because she was like january you hustled like the book came out we had a big conference we had another big deadline it we started january and with this like intention of ease i send an email out to my team on the first workday of january which was this is gonna be the hardest month of like my professional career and a lot of you guys's you know a lot of our life professionally while on the site and we just have to go easy on ourselves forgive ourselves and realize deadlines are gonna get blown and like it is what it is and we've just really tried to be really intentional about that and we got through it and we went to the gym but but like you know we hustled and she was like you just came up pushing yourself and of course it really was like hustle begets hustle i also like picked up a personal training habit the same month like i'm gonna lose the baby weight faster than before i was just pushing myself on every single friend and she's like now you're doing chill and she'll be gets chill and like unless you do the period of chill you're not gonna do the period of hustle next time it comes around
Emily Thompson 57:20
emily here coming at you to talk about managing your schedule one of the hardest things about being boss is how many people can be vying for your attention from clients and customers to online buddies real life friends and family and more scheduling time to focus on your work or yourself gets more and more important the more boston gets our friends at acuity scheduling are here to help you take back your calendar giving you the functionality you need to easily block out times for focus and leaving time open for checking in with clients and friends with an easy to use interface that matches your actual schedule with available appointment times making it impossible for your schedule to get hijacked by another meeting schedule clients without sacrificing yourself sign up for your free 60 day trial of scheduling sanity and acuity scheduling.com slash being boss now let's get back at it
Kathleen Shannon 58:22
is there anything else that you want to talk about like is there anything else that like you were like if i get on being boss here's what i'm going to say
Meg Keene 58:29
oh i have two things okay okay one i think you were just talking to that to a guest about this the idea of and you guys can put it into better words the whole like being driven by our fears instead of by our dreams or whatever okay so let's take like a power moment because because this happened right before you guys did that episode and i was like so i'm i'm finding this piece of paper now because i keep it now with me in my planner so i have been going through my office at home because i'm moving everything into office here and i found all these old manifesting like notes it's not even like i have a journal just like sheets of paper where i would like write things that i wanted or whatever so we found these two sheets of paper from september 2010 so essentially five years ago and it's amazing it's a double sided sheet of paper and it's talking about me going to work for myself which i did in january 2011 so this is three months before when i kind of knew it was coming and on one side of the newspaper i wrote goals like why and a list of the reasons i wanted to work for myself and on the other side of the paper i wrote risks and it was all of my fears about working for myself so i find this sheet of paper and it is insane because i single thing on the goal list if I read it to you it just it is a description of my of my actual life, right? Oh, yeah. Including I wear what I want it. Oh my god. Oh my god, I do what I want. Hmm, sorry, I just thought our circle crazy. On the other side of the piece of paper it's all the fears none of them came true. Can you share some of the fears? Oh yeah, sure. And of course the fears list is twice as long right? Because I get depressed when I don't have structure. I want to be able to separate my work life from my home life previously covered on this episode. Um, I worry too much about being broke and it all falling apart. No one is stressed. I need to be around people or I get stressed. As Emily and Kathleen know my coworker just left the office with her puppy who is in the office having puppy day Nice. Yeah, I know we have puppy and baby day.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:07
I be what's that puppies name?
Meg Keene 1:01:09
That puppies name is Gaia. Because they're their first Puppy was named Juno. Who's the God of marriage? Right goddess of marriage because they got her before they got married. And this puppies, right? This is the goddess of the earth and they want to buy property. Manifest day.
Kathleen Shannon 1:01:31
I don't even say her name is Gaia because they're total hippies. No, they're
Meg Keene 1:01:34
totally, totally not total hippies. That's the crazy part. They're like, just not hippies at all. Yeah, her husband's an engineer. Oh, yeah. Yeah, totally not. So anyway. So risks and goals. And I just found it so fascinating. But like, I, I have anxiety disorder y'all like I live my life by in so many ways. I live my life driven by my fears. And looking at a sheet of paper from five years ago. My like, dreams are 100% accurate, and my fears are 100% inaccurate. And that blows my mind.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:13
So I would never have pegged you for having an anxiety disorder.
Meg Keene 1:02:20
I just use a lot of glitter. Yeah, no, I totally haven't. I have like a long term depressive issue. I had like severe partum depression with my first
Kathleen Shannon 1:02:33
child, which means you're depressed while you were pregnant. Yeah.
Meg Keene 1:02:35
Which is like really common there. Oh, no, it's really common. It's really common. That's a crazy part. It's really common, highly under diagnosed. And there's like almost no awareness around. And, and I did not have postpartum depression either time. I had like, postpartum elation. So yeah, but on people. It's like, under diagnosed, whatever. I could, whatever. I could rant all day. But yeah, so long term depressive issues, but I'm medicated and only am now I am now medicated for an anxiety disorder. But I've just been like muscling I've been grinding on it. Just like doing it on my own. With an anxiety disorder for years and years and years. Wow.
Unknown Speaker 1:03:20
Is the medicine helping? Oh,
Meg Keene 1:03:23
but no, you don't have to edit it. I I will also say like on the record that I was on antidepressants when I was pregnant for the second half with my son and the entirety of the pregnancy with my daughter. And it's scary for people. But like, it's so unsafe. So unsafe to be severely depressed when pregnant and like not take care of yourself. Oh, right. But yeah, so yeah, the medicine is totally helping. And I mean, I'm doing the other stuff. I'm like, going to therapy and like doing meditation and whatever. But like, I don't know, my brain chemistry is just like, not always where it should be So, cats amazing. It's amazing. It's amazing. I just feel like, in control of my personal life in a way that I didn't. Like, I'm like, I'm gonna do the laundry and the dishes and check the bank balance. But I do have one other thing while we're like making this the longest episode ever, but it didn't. But you can edit out later. Yeah, yeah, it's got it. Yeah. So can we talk for one second before we end this about actually being a boss?
Unknown Speaker 1:04:27
Meg Keene 1:04:29
I mean, I feel like I don't want to just like spew because you guys know please do because
Kathleen Shannon 1:04:33
it's such a touchy subject. I feel like Emily is really good at being a boss. I feel kind of scared about talking about being a boss because literally I work with my sister and my best friend. And I'm always so like, I don't want to hurt their feelings.
Meg Keene 1:04:50
Your sister Trust me. It strikes me as someone who can take care of herself.
Emily Thompson 1:04:56
Certainly Tara is a boss.
Meg Keene 1:05:00
Tarah seems like she's got it under control. I do not work with my sister. Um, I don't know. So being I don't even know what I want to say. I just know that I feel like it's not talked about enough. Some Well, I
Kathleen Shannon 1:05:14
think a lot of our listeners are solopreneurs. Like just a side hustling trying to work for themselves. And I know a few of them do manage a team are interested in hiring, but don't quite know where to begin or how it even works.
Meg Keene 1:05:29
So I always say that you should not ask me questions about hiring my first employee, you should ask me questions about firing my first employee, in that I just, I feel like hiring is the easy part. I've been Yes, for a number of years now. And I think that it's hard, I was so bad at it for so not necessarily a bad boss, but like, bad at knowing when to call it in a way that I think is bad for everybody. Right? Like, you know, and this especially like, if you fire well, and I try to, you know, whenever someone leaves in any capacity at this point, like, we try to make sure their severance and people are taken care of and whatever. But I just tried to overly take care of people in a way that I don't think takes care of anybody, if that makes sense. Like it doesn't. It doesn't take care of the other team members. And it doesn't take care of the person I'm trying to take care of. Because when they are in a situation that is not where they want to be. It's not like I'm not doing them any favors. And you know, so I just think that it's easy to get into it being like, how do I hire when like, you really need to think a step down the road.
Kathleen Shannon 1:06:50
This is like even good relationship advice. Don't you're with your partner with your kid.
Meg Keene 1:06:55
But But seriously, I was gonna make a joke about it. But like, you probably shouldn't get married until you've had a conversation about divorce. Right? Like
Kathleen Shannon 1:07:04
Jeremy and I talk about our divorce every week. Oh, you're just kidding. I mean, we've both been. So it's been divorce. So we've both been divorced. So it was an easy conversation to have before we got married. And we really don't talk about our divorce. I'm in it for the long haul with him. But it I'm not afraid of it. No. And I wish that I wasn't afraid of firing an employee in the same way. Because I'm terrified of
Meg Keene 1:07:30
firing an employee. Yeah. So I will quote a friend who has a lot more employees than I do. And just gave me super wise advice. Which was fire fast. And it's funny, because I'll tell that to people. And they're like, no, because you have to get your ducks in a row because of, you know, employee lawsuits, which is crazy, because at least California and most states are at well employees or employment states, right? They, they can quit At any rate, like we don't have people on union contracts. I mean, we personally do not have people in union contracts. Um, so you know, they can quit, like, you know, my employees could stand up in the middle of a day and be like, I'm out. And that would be bad. And likewise, they, you know, you could fire them like that. And I was like, Oh, that's so brutal. But she was like, just don't drag it out. She told me that this story about how she, like literally at 11pm when I was like, I need to fire this person. And, and she like called them in for a 7am meeting. And like they had the boxes packed. And we're like heading out before everyone else came in. And you know, she's a great person and a great boss, and I'm sure gave her severance and a good recommendation and the works, but I kind of didn't realize how true that was. And it is. It's so true. It's just like, you're not doing anybody any favors. But I will say beyond that. And I would guess all of you guys can back me up on this. I think actually being a boss is the hardest thing that I do. It's I've had a lot of terrible bosses. And I think I'm a pretty good boss because of it. Like I mean terrible like emotionally abusive bosses in New York City theater. So I think I'm a pretty good boss because of it, but it's isolated, right? Like my employees are my friends but as someone put it at a party, and some of them are very good friends. Matty, our digital director is the godmother to my oldest child right? Like friends like right, like you work with your friends too, but
Kathleen Shannon 1:09:37
he is also the godmother to my child.
Meg Keene 1:09:41
That's how you do it. No, but at a party and I was like it's true. They were like your employees or your friends with an Asterix and they were like and the Asterix has a lot of footnotes. And it just, it's true. It's hard. It's isolating. Right like you have, you're helping people pay their bills. You're helping people with their families, you have a lot of responsibility. And like my employees are able to be friends and adif with each other in a way that I cannot be friends with them. And it sucks sometimes, like, I just want to be friends on that same level, but like I can't I have responsibilities to them in a different way. It's like,
Kathleen Shannon 1:10:21
it's not like being a parent, like you cannot be friends with your kids in the same way that Yeah.
Meg Keene 1:10:24
Or I was best friends with my husband and really platonic way for a long time before we got together. And people were like, Oh, I married my best friend. Like, I actually did marry my best friend. And I don't think he's my best friend anymore. Because there's responsibilities there. You know, it's not the same. Yeah. That's what I got.
Kathleen Shannon 1:10:46
So I have a question about do you have time, man, right, holding you over? Oh, no,
Unknown Speaker 1:10:51
not at all. Okay,
Kathleen Shannon 1:10:53
so I have a question. And Emily, I feel like you're really good at this is giving employees feedback, like whenever you love your employee, and in general, they're doing a good job. And I'm not saying this because anybody employees need it. But, Tara, how do you give? How do you have hard conversations with employees that you like, and the Word of God? Can
Meg Keene 1:11:15
Emily go first? Yeah, you
Kathleen Shannon 1:11:17
go first. Emily, I feel like you're really Yes.
Emily Thompson 1:11:19
Because you do it just like you have a hard conversation with anyone else. Like, you just say what you mean. And I say, Tell me what that
Unknown Speaker 1:11:27
what is that? Like?
Emily Thompson 1:11:28
You I mean? It really is just like, just like any, just like any other hard conversation, you have to say, or have with someone where you're talking to another person, they're gonna appreciate you sort of getting to the point in saying what you mean, and delivering it in this kind of way as possible. I mean, sometimes you can't deliver feedback, that is hard. In a just sweet way. Like, sometimes it is just hard. And and I think that's also where you learn, like the quality of person you're speaking to, like I recently had to give some feedback to, to someone who didn't take it well, like who took it so painfully personal that, that it said a lot more I think about them than it did about like, anything that was happening. And and for me, like that moment is always the moment when, when you see how in it an employee is like if they're in it, and they're going to, then they're going to take feedback constructively. And they're going to, you know, do what they need to do to continue. I don't know investing in what you're doing together. But if they're done, they're done to In which case, fire quickly.
Meg Keene 1:12:37
Quickly. Have you guys read the Shonda Rhimes new new book the year? Yeah. Do
Kathleen Shannon 1:12:44
you like it?
Meg Keene 1:12:44
I love it. And I don't like any celebrity memoirs, like whatever I can get it through bossy pants. I'm not gonna lie to you. Yeah, it love it. Like, okay, it's to my soul. I love it. I will love it. But she actually I actually had some like, life breakthroughs because of that book. But one of them was, or one of the things she talks about is the difficult conversation. Oh, she talks about something about being a boss too, which was she said this on with Terry Gross on fresh air. And I was like, Oh, my God, like, sounds so obvious. But oh, my God, she was talking about the very beginning of Grey's Anatomy and not wanting to cast an actor that everybody else wanted to cast, and how what she learned is power isn't power if you don't know that you have it. And that is like, ooh, within two months, like change the entire way I view being a boss, right? Is that like, I have a lot of power over people's work environment and their lives and how they approach things, right? The people are modeling what they're doing based on what I'm doing, right, because I'm the leader and like, if, if I don't use that power, well, then then that's on me. But specifically, she talks about hard conversations and and she talks about how when you exactly what Emily said that you know where someone's at, when you say no in a way that you don't want to say yes, that she talks about someone asking her for a lot of money and her having to go back to them and being like, I can't do that for you. And then the person just like all screaming and launching into this huge thing about how like how much they resented her and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she was like, oh, oh, this Oh, this is what's happening. Right, right.
Unknown Speaker 1:14:34
Meg Keene 1:14:35
Oh, oh, I'm real glad I didn't give you that money. Right. And that you can say no, and you can always say yes later but like if you say no, and you find out what's going on, right? And it's the same thing with hard conversations with employees but the thing I really learned from that book was you cuz i think i hope other people have this problem, where I just like live in this middle ground of bitterness sometimes, right? Just like don't know how to fix something, and so I just feel better about it. Which is like not an attractive trait. But sometimes I get stuck in it and I can't get out. So what I learned from that book is like, I can choose to have a hard conversation, or I can choose to not have a hard conversation. But I have to own that choice. And it's on me, right? So if I choose to not have a hard conversation with an employee, and they keep doing what are shit that they're doing, that's like a problem that's been on me, right. So I think that has helped me like, figure out when a hard conversation needs to be had and when it needs to not be had. And back in the day, when I worked in theater, I actually went through a period where this is like the most unfeminist thing I've ever seen in my life. But I did not want to work for women anymore, because I had just been burned too many times. And one of the things that happened was that when I worked for women, they wouldn't tell me what I was doing wrong. And they wouldn't give me a chance to fix it. And when I worked for men, they would come in and be like, dude, you fuck this up, right? And I'd be like, oh, okay, cool. Like, how can I not do that anymore? And I think it is something about the way we're socialized. And it's just so much more helpful to have someone come to you, right? When the problem happens, not like three months later, when they'd been better about it self, right? And be like, hey, you fucked this up. This in this particular way, please don't fuck it up again, that in that way, if you can, in the future, it's just like, then you can do your job.
Kathleen Shannon 1:16:30
And I think that the key there too, is that, you know, these are your actions that are not agreeing with and not speaking on someone's character. Yeah. And I think that's what even happened with Emily recently and giving someone feedback is, she would I mean, I don't know all the details. But, um, maybe anyway, it's about the actions like, hey, this was done in this way. This is what I'm critiquing. This is why I'm giving you feedback on and then if someone takes it as an attack on their character, which I'm guilty of, to, like, someone tells me that they don't like the logo I made for them. And I feel like they're telling me I'm an awful person.
Meg Keene 1:17:10
I think they're like, I just didn't like that pink Kathleen.
Kathleen Shannon 1:17:15
So I think that we're all you know, guilty of taking things personally. And this is where so for me probably being a better boss and having hard conversations and receiving hard conversations, and is Dan Miguel Ruiz his book, The Four Agreements, which is a j Pryor favorite. And the chapter on Don't take it personally is one full circle helped me deal with haters. So it's when asked me recently how I dealt with the heater site. And it's that chapter really did it. And I still talk about it in therapy, let's get real. And then. And then two is, um, I can't remember too. I also wanted to say I wanted to talk a little bit with you guys about delegating? Do you have a hard time letting go of control? Do you have a hard time delegating? What's that
Unknown Speaker 1:18:03
like for you?
Meg Keene 1:18:05
I feel like I'm getting a lot better at it, like a lot, a lot better at it. And I mean, the hard thing is, the hardest thing is hiring somebody to do what you do. Well, that's the hardest thing is hiring people to do stuff that you don't do well is like, right, like, I have someone who does sales like I that's not my thing. I don't want to get on the phone and sell you like I can't. So that's easy. I'm like you, do you. But when I hire someone to like do content, which is like my core skill set, it's hard. But yeah, I would go back to what I learned with like being on maternity leave, which when you just like have to back away is that like, the more I let people play to their strengths, the stronger the company is. And the guiding philosophy of art company, and anybody in the company will tell you is is sort of twofold. It's if you have an idea, bring it up? And the answer is usually Fuck it. Let's try it in less. Part of my job, I do feel like is to save people from themselves, right? Like, sometimes my employees will come to me and be like, I have this great idea. And I'm like, Yeah, it's a great idea, and you're never gonna sleep. So. But in general, it's sort of Fuck it. Let's try it is the answer a lot of the time. And, too, is, is that everybody is expected to give honest opinions in a kind way, obviously. And I've had to retrain a lot of people on that as they come into the company because women are not taught to do that. I don't think but it's sort of the like, it's the thing you learn going shopping in high school, right? You don't want to bring the friend who's like that looks great on you. And then you buy it and like two weeks later, they're like, Yeah, actually, it's terrible color. But I know I'm telling you because you liked it. You're like now I spent 20 bucks what's wrong with you so i've had to train my employees on the same thing right like if i come to them and i'm like is this a good idea and they're like yeah and then i do it and it's a terrible idea and they're like oh i knew it was a bad idea but i didn't want to say anything to you then i'm gonna be like what am i actually paying you for i'm not hiring you to be my yes man i'm hiring you to like be a real person
Emily Thompson 1:20:24
i think that with i think that was delegating and it's just sort of being in this place because i feel myself talking about this a lot with like a lot with like coaching clients at the moment is being a boss it seems to be where where my like content is at the moment and one on one conversation i know right and so like whenever you are hiring people and delegating your what you do to other people there's there is this shift and maybe this is going back to what you were saying a minute ago about how it like being the boss is the hardest part of what you do because it does add a whole other dimension of what it means to be boss and and delegating is by far one of the one of the most difficult things to do and especially if you're not hiring people who are better at things than you are i find myself talking to a lot of people who begin resenting like employees or or even themselves for bringing in employees because you know because they're not delegating correctly like they're not giving guidance this is something this is something i'm working on hardcore especially as as we're growing our team is is delegating in a constructive way and but also like going into those hard conversations and saying what you mean and expecting people to give feedback constructively as well because because it is certainly a thing where women in particular have a hard time giving honest feedback so i don't know i guess just all the things absolutely being a bosses is adds a dimension you why being a boss
Meg Keene 1:22:19
is so so doable if you do the work right it is what it is
Kathleen Shannon 1:22:24
it is one thing to add about delegating because i feel like i'm pretty good at it actually
Unknown Speaker 1:22:32
you know what i know
Emily Thompson 1:22:34
kathleen's really good at delegating things to herself
Kathleen Shannon 1:22:40
okay so oh god i can't okay so i want to talk a little bit about okay so you were saying fail files are known sorry fire
Unknown Speaker 1:22:50
fail fast here is gonna
Kathleen Shannon 1:22:53
fail fast i my thing is delegate fast i will hang on to something for ever and i'm like wider not just for that to caitlin or liz or jessica or emily a week ago
Emily Thompson 1:23:07
Kathleen Shannon 1:23:08
you know and so that's what i've learned is to delegate class and then also this is going to sound really simple but bullet points and bold like in an email make delegation so much easier so
Meg Keene 1:23:21
lack y'all are you guys using slack
Emily Thompson 1:23:23
Kathleen Shannon 1:23:24
yeah we use slack i have a harder time with it because i have a harder time like finding the old conversations and then i have to ask again
Meg Keene 1:23:32
i don't know we pin it to your channel no but our team lives on it and it gives us like a virtual workspace plus now there's a thing where you can do like slash giffy and then just type a word anywhere yes
Unknown Speaker 1:23:46
that's how it works
Meg Keene 1:23:47
you possibly spent all morning doing it like randomly assigned things
Kathleen Shannon 1:23:51
you're like we're going to start a slack channel for a beam boss club
Meg Keene 1:23:55
do it oh but oh i should this is literally staring me in the face so i have a sign on my desk now that says a big sign that says do more of what makes you happy which sounds so like woo woo and like whatever and it is there because it is a management strategy that what i have learned is that you want as many people in flow as possible and we talk a lot about being in flow at our company right so if you were doing things that you like and you're good at you're in flow and you were doing it you know efficiently and well and fast and if you are miss delegating things everybody is out of flow and everybody is like struggling and it's an uphill battle so we do a lot of figuring out like what people are good at and like focusing and refocusing focusing we hired someone to do mostly content one of the ways that she's sort of most inflow is looking at data and and like basically figuring out systems for efficiency she's the reason we're on slack for example And really like using data to grow the company. So, so we switched it up, we then brought on someone part time to do writing, which is one of the things we brought her on originally to do. And she's a great writer. But she's, she's like, much more valuable when she's like in her flow state. And so that has been a bag has, like, revolutionized the company, I think for us. And that really comes back to that whole, like ease and not grinding and whatever. But when I find myself doing something where I'm like, like, we're going to a conference, and I was looking at hotel rooms, which is like a silly little thing, right? But there's somebody on the team who's like, literally, her flow state is like, calling hotels and like, figuring out how to spend our money and like talking them into giving us a better deal. And right, so it's like, I should not be the person calling this hotel. Because it's feels like putting needles in my eye. And for someone else on the team. It's like, boom, boom, making the magic happen. So yeah, that is my management strategy these days.
Emily Thompson 1:25:59
That is so huge. We do we do that in the studio, like, every couple of weeks, at least I sit down, you know, with the team, I'm like, you know, are you liking what you're working on? What do you want to be doing more of what do you want to be doing less of like having that open conversation with your employees I on so many levels, like it builds the trust and the friendship and all of that jazz, but it also makes them feel a part of what it is that you're doing. like Chris, for example. Chris, for example, applied to be a designer for for me, and whenever she came in, I loved her immediately. And I knew she had to be around. And now she doesn't design like she is she assists me in all kinds of things and does like client communications, because her jam is like, is communicating and writing emails, she writes some killer emails. And she does social media, which she's also really great. So she came in as a designer, but through some serious trial and error, and like, just really finding out what she wanted to do. she found herself in a place where she's doing a lot of what she wants to do. And I think keeping that conversation open with any employees, like someone that you bring in as a VA or someone that you bring in, you know, to do full time work or whatever it is like doing more of what you love is exactly how you enjoy what you do. But also your employees enjoy working with you as well.
Meg Keene 1:27:17
And you get the most done. I don't think anybody on my core team now that I think about it does what they were brought on to do. And love that is so much better for it. Yeah, like our person who does sales, she is the head of revenue for the company. She was brought on to the editorial.
Unknown Speaker 1:27:35
Meg Keene 1:27:36
You know, like, and she did it for a long time. And then she was like, and that is that I think is what happens when you let people pursue their passion projects to when they're like, I want to try this and you're like, sure, as long as you can, like, get your functions done and get your work done, then yeah, pursue that often that passion projects turn into like what they do. Yeah, because it's what they're good at.
Unknown Speaker 1:27:57
I love that.
Kathleen Shannon 1:27:58
This has given me so much food for thought. I love it. journal about being boss. And with a boss like Meg.
Unknown Speaker 1:28:07
When we've had we've recorded two episodes.
Kathleen Shannon 1:28:10
I know Riley we split it
Emily Thompson 1:28:11
out when in part two, that'd be nice.
Meg Keene 1:28:13
We did like we did a second episode on being a boss. It's a minisode but it's like a 30 minute phone.
Unknown Speaker 1:28:22
Um, I think that'll do. Yeah.
Kathleen Shannon 1:28:25
Oh, wait, let's talk about where can people find you? And we'll include all of this in the show notes. Tell us about your website, your books.
Meg Keene 1:28:33
Yeah, let me let me pitch the book I just wrote for like one second. No, um, I if you want if you want the book, you know you want the book is really as simple as that. So I'm on line. I am practical wedding calm, which is actually not just the site about weddings, it's a site about relationships, but also we publish some good stuff like what it means to be a Muslim in America today. So we just sort of we pursue our passion projects and their
Kathleen Shannon 1:29:06
way. Okay, now we have to go Yeah, I can't help it. It's confusing for you. As far as branding goes, are you like maybe it shouldn't be a practical wedding.
Meg Keene 1:29:14
We are looking like what's your life like? Yeah, we are looking in. We're trying to figure out how to expand and we have been for a long time. But so the real answer on this is, we have grown into one of the biggest players in the wedding space, which is crazy. Crazy. And so we just like we just surpassed Martha Stewart weddings. Yeah, now in size last year, and now we're like noticeably noticeably bigger, both online and like in print. And next step is brides magazine. We're gunning for it. Um me and Anna Wintour. Now I think No, I forgot she was the head of like the de facto head of brides until last week. And I was like, I'm gonna change all my passwords to meet in Anna.
Kathleen Shannon 1:30:09
Meg Keene 1:30:10
yeah. So we've grown so much in the space. And we're about largest independently owned wedding site on in the English language right now, which is nuts. You guys, It's nuts,
Unknown Speaker 1:30:22
not English language. Are
Unknown Speaker 1:30:24
you? Are you about to translate your website? No,
Meg Keene 1:30:26
it's because I legitimately am like, there's probably a bigger site in China that I don't know about. I, I used to say there's a bigger site in India, but then I found the big wedding site in India, which is actually really good, but not bigger. So it's wedding please PLC, I think, um, it has great tools, but they are in rubies. So that's over under on that. So as we've grown much, much bigger than we ever expected to grow, we sort of had to lean into that. I mean, it would be dumb not to lean into that. So we keep intending to expand, because we have so much stuff in the non wedding space. And then it's just a question of time. And I mean, I'm talking about this on a high level, more like high level, but you know what I mean, but I think that every entrepreneur deals with us that you have a limited amount of time and resources. And you have to kind of figure out like, are you going to branch out? Are you going to go deep? And right now, I feel like we have to keep going deep because we would be dummies not to right now. But like there's branching out possibility, but kind of the only way I could do that is to take funding, which would be a whole other show. But like I don't, I'm just not so moved to take funding right now. So I have to make choices. And I'm choosing to go deep, instead of go broad, which I think is often a better business decision. I just feel like you guys know is like looking at zillion. You know, working with a zillion people, but I, I've seen a lot more businesses die by going too broad too fast than by going deep.
Kathleen Shannon 1:31:59
And I love though, that it's still not keeping you from talking about issues that are important, then like equality and feminism and diversity of all
Unknown Speaker 1:32:09
Yep, yep, yep. Okay, so,
Unknown Speaker 1:32:11
Unknown Speaker 1:32:12
where am I online?
Unknown Speaker 1:32:14
Let's do it again.
Meg Keene 1:32:16
So I'm at a practical wedding calm, which is not just wedding stuff, as previously discussed. But if you are planning a wedding is one of the bigger resources online and certainly one of the best in terms of feminist diverse wedding planning with actual real information that isn't just about taking all your dollars. On Instagram, we are a practical wedding on Instagram. I personally am Meg Keene. And that is where you cannot find pictures of my children's faces. So don't expect too much from that channel. And I have two books that are both bestsellers in the wedding space. One is called creatively a practical wedding. That's my first book. And it's really about sort of getting in the right mindset for planning your wedding. And it's been a bestseller for quite a long time now. And in that book, I think you are in that book. Are you in that book? You think you're in that book? I'm sure you're in it. Yep, yep. Oh, you were in their proposal. As a matter of fact, for a long time I had I like a picture of your wedding to like, inspire me as I think
Kathleen Shannon 1:33:19
it was a home. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Anyway, sorry,
Emily Thompson 1:33:23
Meg Keene 1:33:24
And I'm by it for Kathleen y'all. And then I just put out a practical wedding planner, which is one of the hardest things I've ever done. And I spent, like nine months researching and we interviewed like 50 wedding professionals, so you don't have to. And if you are getting married, you probably want this. If your friends are getting married, they probably want this. It's it's the book I would have killed for when I was planning my wedding. It doesn't assume what kind of wedding you're having. But it does assume that if you're having tables, you probably want them far enough apart that people can walk between them. And you probably don't know that number.
Kathleen Shannon 1:34:01
So that's why it's so good. And what's funny is as I was flipping through it because I got a copy of it. As I always think of you as the business boss running a content driven website, not necessarily as a wedding expert. So I'm curious if we should stop though. Like I don't want to talk too much about it. But I just think it's cool that like, Oh yeah, you're a wedding.
Unknown Speaker 1:34:25
I know you are after this
Unknown Speaker 1:34:26
Meg Keene 1:34:27
what I will say I'm an accidental wedding. I suffered from an extreme and then you were times like excites me. Like right next to It's It's nuts. whenever that happens. They'll be like love it. Martha Stewart and no, Martha Stewart doesn't give interviews. That's a joke. But but like Darcy Miller, I don't know. They'll quote someone in your life and me. How did that happen? That's all I got y'all. That's so nice. All right. Thank
Unknown Speaker 1:34:49
you so much for being on the show. We will have all of your information in the show notes and all the things that you referenced in the show notes. Thanks again.
Unknown Speaker 1:34:59
Kathleen Shannon 1:35:02
Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Show Notes for this episode at love being boss calm. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on our website on iTunes, SoundCloud
Unknown Speaker 1:35:14
Emily Thompson 1:35:16
Did you like this episode? Head on over to our Facebook group by searching, being boss on facebook and join in on the conversation with other bosses or share it with your friends.
Unknown Speaker 1:35:26
Do the work. Be boss? I will see you next week.
Kathleen Shannon 1:35:46
And then can you talk a little bit just like test us? 12341234
can you get a little closer to your mic?
Unknown Speaker 1:35:53
Kathleen Shannon 1:35:54
Okay. You sound really great. Whenever you leaned into your mic earlier.
Unknown Speaker 1:35:58
Kathleen Shannon 1:35:58
Unknown Speaker 1:35:59
let's see. You sounded
Kathleen Shannon 1:36:00
really great. Whenever you're like closer to your money, I think
Meg Keene 1:36:03
okay, Is this good?
Emily Thompson 1:36:04
I'm perfect. Yeah, just make out with it. Okay.
Unknown Speaker 1:36:09
Like that. They can watch it,
Meg Keene 1:36:11
watch it. But I do get to curse on this one. So that's exciting. It's my first.
Unknown Speaker 1:36:17
Meg Keene 1:36:17
my first my first cursing podcast.
Emily Thompson 1:36:20
Unknown Speaker 1:36:22
I love that.