Episode 234 // The Power of Conversation

June 23, 2020

Live from the “Make Time to Shine” Being Boss Conference, Emily and Kathleen discuss the most powerful tool of Being Boss: conversation. They dive into ways in which conversation can elevate creativity and how to have conversations with yourself, your community, your business partners, and your customers.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"The queen bee role of Being Boss is modeling and facilitating conversations that help creatives do business."
- Emily

Discussed in this Episode

  • A quick recap of the Being Boss Conference
  • Rediscovering the purpose behind Being Boss
  • Ways in which conversation can elevate creativity
  • How to have conversations with yourself
  • Expanding conversations to include your community
  • Talking through dreams and visions with your team and business partners
  • Sharing the conversation with your audience and customers
  • Tips for talking business


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:02
I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:04
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:05
And this is being boss. In this episode of being boss, Kathleen and I are recording live with our community of bosses at the first being FOSS conference, which is being held online so that we can all hang out in our PJs, and no one will even notice or care and if anything, we're probably high fiving each other for it.

Kathleen Shannon 0:32
But I'm like fully dressed. I just feel like I almost want to like getting up here show you all like I have a bell on you

Unknown Speaker 0:42
have a belt on that's as far as I can hear that I have a belt on I am dressed. I'm wearing jeans.

Emily Thompson 0:49

Kathleen Shannon 0:50
a little cardigan.

Emily Thompson 0:52
Yeah, I have to say I love that cardigan. You were wearing it recently. And I didn't say anything about it. But it's so cute.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00
I'm a little bitter that whatever that program is online where you get paid for like telling people what you buy and do our style. They're not sponsoring this podcast, so I don't know what it is. But you know, I'm talking about or like you click through Instagram. Anyway, people are always asking me one what piano app My son is playing, which is simply piano not sponsored. And then to where this cardigan is from, which is it's from Target.

Emily Thompson 1:27
Oh, no way. It's

Kathleen Shannon 1:28
Yeah, target. Oh, I love it. My target girl.

Emily Thompson 1:33
Well, good. Well, it's um, it's officially like, pretty spring here, like warm spring, which means I'm not wearing pants for the next six months. Like it just I just feel like I need to say that out loud.

Kathleen Shannon 1:45
Why don't you just like an underwear?

Emily Thompson 1:49
I'm in a dress. Oh, dress dress. Those are things. Yeah, dresses are things. They're my preferred things. I don't think I'm going to put on another pair of jeans until fall until it's so cool. Which for me, isn't that cool? That I have to wear pants. So over in the comments, people are talking about hard pants, quote unquote hard pants. I'm not gonna wear hard pants for quite some time. quite some time. I'm very excited about it. Oh, and Tasha says that she's with me. Perfect. No pants. No pants club. I love it. So we are on day two of the conference. It's been an amazing first day. We just had an amazing sort of opening for the second day. We had a breath work this morning with Amy caret ski, which had everyone feeling all kinds of feels, I think emotionally but especially physically, which is always a surprising and exciting thing about breathwork to me. And I as she was talking about tingling hands. I was thinking about you, Kathleen, and the first time that you did breath work, and we're talking about your terena Saurus Rex hands.

Kathleen Shannon 2:50
Yeah, yeah, my hands like completely locked up. The first time I did breath work, and I got all scared. I was like, This is supposed to be happening. I think I even texted Amy during it. I was like, Is this normal? She's like, yes, it's fine. You're fine.

Emily Thompson 3:04
And so I do remember us telling that story. And me saying because we had done the same breathwork session, and me telling you that I had fallen asleep and everyone was like, how do you fall asleep and breath work? And like, I don't know, you seized up. I fell asleep.

Unknown Speaker 3:19
which pretty much sums up our relationship?

Emily Thompson 3:28
Perhaps so perhaps so. Yeah, perfect. Um, that is true.

Kathleen Shannon 3:35
All right. So I'm feeling almost self conscious recording live right now. I keep forgetting that we're at a conference. Now at this point. Yeah, it feels like I'm just talking to you. And I keep going into like my resting bitchface like looking at my notes. I mean, remember, people can see us people can see you,

Emily Thompson 3:53
and you're hearing you live so careful. There's no like editing that out.

Kathleen Shannon 3:59
I edit this later, Corey.

Emily Thompson 4:04
Right. It's gonna be fine. It's gonna be fine. Um, so we've done a day and a half of the conference so far, what's been your favorite part?

Kathleen Shannon 4:13
Oh, I want to say two things. One is the amount of conversation that has been happening in the little chat box. We've been using crowdcast like an online platform and everyone's chatting so much. It almost feels a little like old school, AOL chat room vibes. like everyone's just having a really good time. So that's been really exciting and surprising, like an unexpected surprise. So one is just the people and I thought that that was what I was going to miss the most. I mean, it's obviously what I miss the most about New Orleans and the New Orleans itself. But I've really been feeling engaged with everyone and that's been so nice. But then my next favorite thing was the writing workshop so far with my atoll, and I know that whenever We started brainstorming this conference, we were like, okay, it's a little bit different than a vacation where we're not just all hanging out, like we want to do things. And one of the things that we all want to do more of is make things with our hands to actually be creative to actually do the thing. And so last night's workshop with my atoll was putting pen to paper and getting tapping into like, a creative part of my mind that I haven't tapped into in a long time. And so it was just so refreshing and fun to do some creative writing at the same time as other people. There's something energizing, even if it's from a distance, about being in it with other people. And so that was really incredible. How about you, Emily? What about you?

Emily Thompson 5:43
Yeah, I mean, I have to say the chat is the thing that makes me it makes me the most excited is the best validation that I can get from this event, having the bosses show up in sort of cultivate this community in a way that we've all wanted to. That's why we all signed up for this thing. I mean, content is great, and definitely a key part of it. But it was also we can hang out with each other. And that's what we're doing. We're all hanging out with each other. And so I made a comment yesterday about how, how great it is to have this chat feature, I actually think it was Becky. And she was saying how how if we were all in a conference, like if we were all there live, we would not be able to, we would not be able to show up and talk during other people's talks. Basically, we wouldn't be able to like share those sort of real life thoughts or experiences and all of those things, we would just be here being quiet, while we were having the panels or the sessions or whatever it may be. So I really love that. I really love that we have this chat feature that allows people to be more of a part of the conversation that was sort of my whole thought for creating all of the content for this conference was I wanted it to be a big conversation. And now it actually gets to be more of a conversation than if we were doing it in real life. And that's super exciting to me. So that's my favorite part. But for the next hour, we're not just talking about the conference, I don't want this to be super meta, especially for those of you who are actually here.

Kathleen Shannon 7:13
We're listening, feeling all left out, right, I'm

Emily Thompson 7:17
sorry, come hang out with us next time for the next hour. So we're gonna be chatting with each other Kathleen and I and occasionally commentating on what's going on with the bosses in the chat box. And we're going to be gabbing about having conversations about business. And what that means to us here at being boss. We're also going to be looking into some behind the scenes things that we've hashed out recently in conversations are really looking at, looking at conversations that you can have on multiple different levels, whether that be with yourself, with your community, with your team, with your customers, so that you can be clearly communicating the things that you need about your business. And then also our favorite tips and tricks to use conversations, which is a free and easy way to sort of power your business through because they do see conversations as being the most powerful tool in your business for finding alignment, and growth. And as always, you'll find all the tools, books and links we referenced on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club. Let's do it. You ready? You guys ready? We love doing these live even though Live podcast and forever.

Kathleen Shannon 8:35
It's fine.

Emily Thompson 8:38
All right. So I want to start this whole conversation out with a little story. And this story takes place this summer right after Kathleen and I made a decision that I would take over being boss, and then there would be a partial buyout, it became very clear to me that I needed to sort of get back in the saddle after we had sort of decided that we were going to slowly start shutting bean balls down due to our own personal circumstances and how it was that we wanted to continue professionally. And then I decided that I wanted to not shut it down, but instead sort of take it over. And if you want to hear more about that story, we have an episode on that that we published at the end of 2019. That's called burnout and buyout. But after making that decision as I needed to get back into the saddle, so how do I do that? I start reading business books. And so I picked up a couple of books that had been on my list and one of them was a book called clockwork by Mike mccalla Wits who is going to be one of our keynote speakers here tomorrow. I'm very excited about it. And in this book, he lays out all kinds of really good things. He's also the author of profit first, which I know completely changed our relationship with money in our business and And has done the same for many bosses in this room, because we've talked about it many, many times. And you've all told me the stories of how that book helped you. For me, clockwork did the same thing. Again, it did the same thing, again, for me and my business, which was, which was amazing. One of the key exercises in that book is identifying your queen bee role. And what this queen bee role is in your business is, it's the one role that your business is sort of known for. It's like the crux of your operations. It's the it's the one thing that every, every system or process supports in your business. And it really can be very defining. So you can imagine two businesses, they're doing the same thing. So let's say you have two web designers, for example. But one web designer can have a queen bee role that has completely different than the other one, even if they're delivering more or less the same thing. So let's say one has a queen bee role of delivering, delivering amazing design, and the other one is delivering fast as small or that's very, sort of tiny bit of clean view.

Kathleen Shannon 11:15
One might be like super aesthetic driven, and one might be super data driven, like organizational. How does it for sure, wakened

Emily Thompson 11:24
for sure. So you think about what your queen bee role is the thing that really makes you different? So it made me think about what the queen bee role? Is that being boss? And is it you know, is it cultivating community? Is it throwing amazing events? Is it is it teaching? Is it showing people how to do what it is that we do or by that I mean, be creative entrepreneurs make money online, doing work you love or make money doing work you love online or offline. And what I really settled on the mission, the queen bee role of being boss, is helping creatives do business by helping them talk about business, by having and facilitating by modeling and facilitating conversations. And whenever that sort of settled in my mind, everything we've ever done, made so much sense to me finally, like it, it all these sort of pieces started coming together, the fact that we started with a podcast, that was the two of us, getting together to talk about business, and how we were finding value in those conversations. And we turn it into a podcast where other people were finding value in those conversations. And so that was the modeling conversations, we were getting better at business because we were talking about business. Other people were getting better at business, because they were hearing people talk about business. And they were also getting sort of a framework for how they can talk about business so that they can get better, even more better at business. And whenever I pulled in how we do our events, and what we're doing in the community, all those things. For me, the queen bee role at being boss is modeling and facilitating conversations that help creatives do business. Because creatives don't have very business, see minds, we have creative minds. But if we can talk about business, we can start piecing the business part together. Because I do believe that by becoming fluent and comfortable with talking business, or talking about your business, you can become better at doing business. And then also rolled into how he wanted to do this conference. Because even when I was reading that book, I knew that I wanted to do a conference. But I do I didn't want to do like the conference that everyone else does. I didn't want to do a call for speakers that just had sort of every rando, when we've had plenty of random pitches, pitching us their talks, and polling people we didn't know not knowing if their talks were going to be really great or not, but sort of hoping they would be or putting together a sort of panels with questions that we were putting together, I wanted it to be a conversation that gave me the sort of the sort of foundation that I could build the conference on. That was 100% being boss. And it wasn't it was going to be unlike anything anyone else had ever put on. So that's sort of where this began. This is this topic, this conference, sort of my moving into being boss. This idea of recognizing and accepting of the queen bee role of being boss is modeling and facilitating conversations that help creatives do business. It started with our conversations, we found them valuable, we shared them. And it's grown into all of this. So we're going to be talking about that a bit more today actually breaking it down into how we found conversations as to be a powerful tool for being creative in business.

Kathleen Shannon 14:56
We just got a question in our chats. Let's see about what the weirdest pitch we ever got was and I have to say it was from Cheech and Chong

Emily Thompson 15:04

Kathleen Shannon 15:05
Chong Chong. And it was early in the day. And it's funny because we're recording this on April 20. I don't know what that is. And at the time, we were like, this just isn't it's just not relevant to like a business conversation. I think that's one of my biggest being boss regrets to like, I think that we should have taken on that interview,

Emily Thompson 15:26
maybe. Yeah, so he apparently was a partner in a marijuana business he had started one or come into one or something like that. And they offered to have him come on the show. And that was that was back in the day, we're pretty hardcore on like, we things that come through here, I have to like help people be boss, and we are not sure that Chong and his marijuana business are really going to be like, but I've

Kathleen Shannon 15:54
changed my mind on that. I think it would help. Okay, so going back to our conversation on conversations, I really think back to art school. So whenever I was in art school, there were a couple of different tracks that you could take, and I decided to go the graphic design route, but it was still housed within the fine art school. So I still had to do a lot of, you know, art classes traditional, like live drawing, painting, sculpture, screen, printing all of the fine arts classes in order to get my degree. But in the graphic design portion, which is where I really majored, we had to do a lot of talking about our work, there was a lot of creative briefing to get clear on the goals and the assignment. And then there was a lot of creative debriefing where we were in creative rationale, where we were explaining what it is that we made and why we made it. So I was not the best fine artist by any means. But I took what I had learned about talking about my work in graphic design, over to my painting classes, and my screen printing classes. And I remember, it made like the more brooding artists so mad, like, because the art should just speak for itself, and why are we talking about it, but it made the teachers so happy. And I was in it for that a right. And now I'm in it for the dollar bills, and creative fulfillment and all the other things, but really, whenever it comes to making a living, doing what you do, especially if it's creative, it's not just about doing the art. And in fact, you don't have to be the best artist or the best creative or the best writer or the best photographer, or the best life coach, whatever it is, yes, aim to be the best aim to constantly hone your craft, I cannot. You know, I cannot reiterate that point enough. But it's also about being able to talk about what it is that you do. And I really do believe that that is what can differentiate you from being a hobbyist to being a paid creative entrepreneur, the conversation, it helps us, um, process what we're doing. So in creative collaborations, being able to talk up front, I mean, Emily, even with the conversations that you and I have had, anytime I'm going into a collaboration, or even if someone's hiring me for a speaking gig. And it's an unknown thing, like a thing that I'm not usually doing, I now know what questions to ask, I know how to get on the same page, so that we can all lay out our expectations and have a good experience. And then I also think that conversation is what makes you yesterday in our conference, we're talking a lot about marketing and just feeling achy whenever it comes to selling. I think that the conversation is what makes you go from selling to just simply explaining what it is that you do. And saying, here's what I do, here's what I offer, take it or leave it. But you're inviting that potential customer in on the conversation. And then a couple other thoughts that I have around conversation that I'm really excited to dig in with you today Emily on is don't underestimate how much you saying something out loud, will affect your behaviors and actions. Next, it's not enough to just think it in your head. Especially right now like we're all spinning a little bit we either have a lot of ideas or a lot of paralysis. I think that if you can write it down and even read what you've written down, like read your ideas out to a trusted friend, Emily, you and I do this thing constantly, where we we kind of preface the conversation by saying okay, you know, here's this idea that I have. Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know. But it's like a trusted safe space. And then finally, you know, conversation is communication and really, it's so much more than just what you're saying. It's The intention, it's what you're trying to communicate and to whom, whether that's a business partner, a new employee, a potential collaborator, someone that you're pitching to be on their podcast. It's, it's a, it's communication, and it's relationship building. And I think that relationships, you know, yesterday, we're also talking about word of mouth being your number one marketing tool. And that happens through conversations and relationships.

Emily Thompson 20:28
Yeah, 100%, you just laid out several ways in which conversation elevates, not just sort of that the business part, but the creativity part, which is the underlying the underlying, sort of foundation for all of our businesses. And if you can get that and then work up, so get the conversations around creativity, and then work up from there. It never is, like weird marketing, or all awkward selling, like you're just having conversation about what you do, which I think is really, really powerful. We have a couple of questions here. One is a question from Kim down, who's actually taking us back to that queen bee role? she asked, Are you saying being bosses queen bee role is facilitating boss conversations, or your queen bee role, or both. So I'm saying that being bosses queen bee role, so whether I'm doing or not, and that actually even gave me a really great perspective around building the business in a way so that I'm not the only one who is directly supporting the queen bee role, but I can actually build, build some operations, build a team around supporting that queen bee role, in a way that it's not just me doing it at the moment I am I sort of the direct supporter of that. But it doesn't always have to be that way. At some point, my role may be something else, where someone else may be supporting that queen bee role with me. And we also have a question from Sarah, who says, How can I incorporate conversation into my physical product business, which is only online at this point. And I actually love the follow up comment here that Kelly Knight gave, which is what's your product, I love to tell the story of the purpose and origin of our products and how it aligns with our mission. And that's perfect, I think, telling people how you made it, why you made it, where it came from, the inspiration that brought you to it, any of those things are how you incorporate conversation. And you can do that in newsletters, you can do that in someone emails you and they're like, you know, does this is this product six inches or eight inches, or whatever it may be, you can be like I chose six, because of these four reasons, or whatever it may be, as opposed to saying six. There are a gazillion ways that you can pull this into product business just as easily if in some ways, maybe even more easily than service businesses.

Kathleen Shannon 22:57
All right, I want to talk a little bit about our favorite fresh books, cloud accounting. So bosses, I have two ways that you can start making more money right now. One, track and report your business expenses. Every dollar you spend on your business from that new computer to that conference you want to attend needs to be written off as a tax deduction. So for me instead of itemizing at the end of the year, I like doing this as I go through my business bank account, which is automatically imported and sorted into freshbooks. And then to invoice your clients and get paid faster, it can be hard to stay on top of billing. And you know, not to mention the anxiety that you get over asking someone for money even if you've earned it. But this is why I love fresh books cloud accounting so much it makes billing your clients so easy, professional and even automated. freshbooks has so many invoicing features, including getting paid a deposit upfront, setting up recurring invoices for retainer clients, and even being able to see when a client has opened their invoice. freshbooks is the number one accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses, freelancers, contractors and side hustlers. Today over 10 million small businesses and freelancers use freshbooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time. Try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section?

Emily Thompson 24:32
All right, now we want to move into the next sort of segment of this episode and talking about the kinds of conversations that you should be having. And so maybe this will even help some of you figure out how this works into your business, but also other areas. So let's do this. I'm excited about this one. Where should we start having conversations Kathleen

Kathleen Shannon 25:00
Well, you know what, I think the conversation starts with yourself. Right? So one of the main pillars of being boss and where we come back to the basics of what it means to be boss. And now more than ever, I think as a time we were just asked this on a mini so the other day, like, what would we change about the book that we wrote two years ago, it's now been two years. And I find myself right now coming back to the basics more and more. It's almost like a reset clean slate start over, or a place to center myself, whenever I'm freaking out. I'm like, Okay, what is the tried and true forget the trends? Forget the social media platforms, like what are the tried and true basics. And mindset is where it all begins, I think whenever it comes to being boss, so the conversation that you're having with yourself can be a make or break whenever it comes to how you move forward in your business. So I would start the conversation with yourself by simply meditating. And I know that this can get tricky. But meditating is how you start listening. A conversation is a two way road. There's the communicating the talking, and then there's the listening. So let's begin with the listening. Emily, did you meditate this morning?

Emily Thompson 26:18
Oh, no, I forgot. I forgot that. I said that. So many things were said yesterday. But thank you for asking you that question. Now I've been reminded

Kathleen Shannon 26:29
just here to hold you accountable. Yeah. So one thing that I've been doing is I have an Apple Watch. And I love it so much. I couldn't live without it at this point. But I sleep with it on my bedside stand and then I put it on first thing in the morning before I even get out of bed. And I just hit the little breath button where it kind of ticks inhales and out out out hills where it attracts her inhales and exhales. And I just do it for five minutes. And that's been the best way for me to really get into like a breathing and listening practice. Once it warms up, I'll sit outside. Becky Simpson who was one of our workshop ORS and facilitators and teachers here at the being boss conference. She's a really great meditator, and she's doing an hour of just kind of zoning out, like letting your brain go where it went. So I think this is really great, or even those morning walks that I love doing. I'm constantly listening to podcasts, I think if I would just walk and not listen to a podcast, I would be able to listen to myself. So that's been a huge one is just meditating and listening to what it is that you're saying. And you're going to start hearing the little whispers of like, what it is that you actually want, you're also going to hear those like that glaring bully that sits at the back of your brain that's telling you that you're not good enough or that you're being a fraud, and all of those, so you have to start listening.

Emily Thompson 27:53
Yeah, you have to listen, and I think they're meditating. But a lot of people like doing this through journaling, I think I'm probably better at journaling, that I am meditating. And hold on, there was a thought there, because this is what happens in real life. Sometimes you just get into a sentence and I'm like, What was I saying? Oh, I remember. And also using tarot cards. I think that Tarot or Oracle cards are, I think, pretty across the board. A favorite for bosses for having conversations with themselves. That's all it is that well, depending on what what you're buying into. It's more or less all that you're doing whenever you are pulling tarot cards, Kelly Knight isn't here, she's probably start gonna start yelling at me in a moment. You know what I mean? Kelly, you know what I mean? So journaling. Pulling tarot cards can be a really great way for facilitating those conversations with yourself. If you have problems with journaling, you can also Google some journaling prompts. I think those are a great way for for you to start having those conversations if you can't get that conversation going on your own. And I also if we can even bridge that gap, thinking about using Tarot spreads as journaling prompts. So if you aren't a tarot card reader, look up some Tarot spreads. They have really great insightful questions or the kinds of questions that that's going to make you dive pretty deep. And instead journal using those questions as journaling prompts. And then I also think you can use it creativity, as a way for you to have conversations with yourself making things is a conversation that you're having with yourself.

Kathleen Shannon 29:38
I recently started picking up a more fine arts practice again recently with painting and making things with my hands. And one of the things that really came top to mind with that was, Oh, these are choices that I'm making, like whenever I'm putting a brush to a canvas or doodling, I'm making choices and that was a really interesting revelation that I didn't have An art school. And so that was really helpful just to see what I'm attracted to, and how it doesn't have to be specifically language or words to have a conversation with yourself. Sometimes it can come in form, it can come in photos, it can come in art, it can come in tactile, you know, sewing, whatever it is, that's a conversation for sure.

Emily Thompson 30:19
Yep. I also love the idea of using mantras, to force a conversation with yourself. Basically, if you are finding that what's happening in your head with your conversations with yourself is not a pleasant place to force a conversation into them using mantras. So whatever it is that you want to believe, feel, whatever it may be, repeat those things to yourself. So that you can start moving those personal inner conversations in the direction that you want them to go.

Kathleen Shannon 30:53
What you repeat, you believe, and it's just such a good way to carve out some new neural pathways. Okay, so I like to think about conversations as like, an onion, right? And so we started at the core, you know, if we stripped away, or maybe a jawbreaker, do you remember those? Yes, like, make my tongue into some jawbreakers. But you know, starting with yourself, like you're the core. And so now we're going to expand out, right, so the next conversation that you're going to be having, I think is with your community, so your inner core group of people. So this might include your business besties, it might include a trusted mastermind, it might include your best friend, or your business partners, like your community of people that you trust.

Emily Thompson 31:46
And I want to say you're too by this by community, I don't mean that people who follow you on Instagram, that is your audience, I do think there's a difference between your like tight knit community that we're talking about, and your larger audience, so just want to draw that line there. And so

Kathleen Shannon 32:03
conversations with your community are amazing for seeing things from a different perspective. So I know that in our early business bestie conversations well, and even now, Emily, like we're constantly saying, Okay, I need to get your perspective on this. Because we are so different in so many ways. And this is why we've been able to create something bigger than ourselves is because we've been able to brainstorm and troubleshoot and look at things from different angles and bring our own perspective to it. And it creates like this magical space in between us, that really is where the where the conversation magic happens. It's like this third entity, it's not just my ideas, it's not just your ideas, it's our combined ideas.

Emily Thompson 32:47
Yeah. And we've definitely found that that's where some amazing magic happens. You use this place for you know, brainstorming any and all kinds of solutions for things that you're have or things that are happening in your business. You use this for troubleshooting and just generally problem solving things. This is a place where you're also showing up and giving everything like you're not holding anything back. You're not saying Oh, people pay me for that, like no, you like give in these spaces completely. And these people can be I definitely also think of is funny. What's really funny is I actually did a talk on this last week for for another virtual summit to where I basically drew a jawbreaker. It's so funny to explain this idea that like inside is you outside of that is, is sort of is very tight knit. I was calling it my tier one community. These are the people who are in sort of peer mastermind groups. I do think that these people can be paid. These are like if you would join a paid mastermind group or if you join a paid community, those sorts of things like you can cultivate these relationships to be this sort of inner tier of, of your, like, your hardcore business besties, for sure. And yeah, these are the people that you talk about anything and everything with, you're not afraid to share numbers. There's no like weird feeling you get when you have to be completely vulnerable, vulnerable about anything. And it's in that vulnerability, that you are both giving and receiving everything that you need to do to move your business forward. And I definitely think of this in terms of my relationship with you. I think about this in terms of my relationship with Kelly and Maya, who are both in here today. We are consistently and we use voxer. We've consistently do using the little walkie talkie app to talk through all kinds of things, all kinds of things in our businesses and just update each other on things. But you do have to show up in that space and have conversations about business you're sharing profit margins, and you're sharing resources, you're sharing all kinds of information. There's no there's I don't believe in these spaces, there's any, you know, sort of proprietary information, you are completely open with sharing anything and everything that's going to help everyone move forward.

Kathleen Shannon 35:19
Right? The next layer of this beautiful jawbreaker that we are getting through love it is your team and your partners. So for me, my business partners are certainly people that I want to get on the same page with. So this includes, you know, sharing our dreams and our vision for where we want to go together, and really getting on the same page there and talking it through.

Emily Thompson 35:46
Yeah, this is a really important place. I feel like within that, like tier one business bestie you can, you can sort of be

Kathleen Shannon 35:57
therapy, like, yeah, like, you're almost you're processing with your business bestie like, sometimes I will process things with my business besties before I even go back to my partners to even understand what it is that I'm wanting to say, or what it is that I'm feeling like I almost practice with them like, Okay, I think I need to have a hard conversation with Emily. And I don't really know what it is that I want, or what I want to say, and I want to make sure I'm clear. Can you all help me that's like the business bestie Exactly.

Emily Thompson 36:23
So things are pretty nebulous, and you work things out, and then you go to your team and partners, I definitely learned a couple of years ago, and not so much with you. But with other business partners. Like I feel like we crossed that line very nicely. And we know when like when we're having like a funny will even sort of open a conversation with like, this is just a business bestie conversation. Like this is not a business partner conversation, this is a business bestie conversation. Later, we'll do the business partner conversation. But you take those sort of nebulous ideas, you work them out with your business besties. And then you bring them to your team and your partner's fully formed and ready for action. Basically, I've found that if you get a little too if you're a little too nebulous, with, especially your team, have a sometimes with your partners, things get fuzzy and actually get taken in quite the same way.

Kathleen Shannon 37:16
And they can walk a certain amount of leadership, maybe like, it's like, you know, I need to be a united front with my husband, whenever we're giving our kid directions, I can't be figuring it out with my you can't work it out in front of the leader, right. But there is there is like a fine line there. Because I love running an authentic and transparent business. So I you know, especially right now I want my team to know, like, yeah, things might feel a little scary right now. Or I want them to know, if we're super excited going into a pitch, you know, I want to I want to really run my business, I want to say like almost in a feminine way, like in a like open and honest and caring way. But also still having a certain amount of boundaries and leadership in place to instill confidence in my team,

Emily Thompson 38:09
for sure. So it's within these team and partner conversations that you're doing things like sharing your vision, this is where you're you've sort of figured out all of the nuts and bolts or at least like enough that you have a clear vision and you're able to take that vision to people. having that conversation, like the ability to communicate your vision to your people is a very important skill to have. And you get that skill by practicing. Also, delegating is a whole other kind of conversation that you're going to have in this space at telling people what you expect of them and sending them on to do it. Getting and giving feedback in this space, I think is very important. This is where those business conversations I think start just sort of coming home to your business. Were with yourself with your business besties it's sort of very, like very heady, sort of daydreaming team and partners is where sort of ideas become action.

Kathleen Shannon 39:10
Okay, and then kind of this actually, this next point leads into our next layer, which is you know, you have your team and partners and then you have your customers and your clients. But one thing that I'm seeing and this applies to both your partners and your team members and perhaps your clients is there's this meme going around right now. We are recording this in Coronavirus time every month, a lot of people in our world have gone remote. And I'm seeing this meme going around that's like Now we all know how many meetings could have been emails because people are having to like streamline their communication a little bit. But for me more than ever, I've been working remote for the past two years. A lot of my team is together in Oklahoma City but now that they're all working remote, we are all hopping on zoom together so much more than ever before. This is a practice Emily that you and I have between markup Hello in zoom for the past, you know, four years, we are just constantly like, hey, let's hop on a zoom like it's no big deal. And for me, I will say, emails are nice whenever you just need an efficient and quick answer. But I do love talking it out, I love seeing people face to face, it really does help one get clear. Like, I feel like there's a lot less mistakes made whenever we can all get face to face to it makes us human. And we can all see the more nuances of what it is that we're trying to say. And if someone's kind of has an unsure look on their face, we can dig a little bit deeper into the idea, we can get some clarification. And so for I think that is really great to just get some FaceTime to get on the phone to get together and and talk it out. And in the comments here earlier posted that extroverts especially need to talk things out before it even is before they are even able to articulate what it is that they're thinking. And I think that that is incredibly true. At least for me, I need to talk it out. So communication sometimes means it's not just an email, because you can't always get your tone across. Sometimes it means picking up the phone or hopping on a zoom.

Emily Thompson 41:16
For sure. Let's move into conversations with customers. Because this is one that we've definitely been talking a lot about over the past day and a half, and is an important piece of doing business. So when it comes to having conversation with customers, what does that look like?

Kathleen Shannon 41:32
Yeah, well, it looks like not being salesy. Like everyone feels icky whenever they get salesy, and for me, this looks like cold pitching. This looks like using those marketing tactics that someone's trying to sell you on, like this, you know, sophisticated funnel, which are super tempting. And I know that we've even tried them before to be like, efficient and to reach more people. But for me, it always comes back down to the basics, which is simply saying what it is that I mean, explaining what I do, letting my client especially in the conversation along the way to show them that I'm really listening to them, you know, at braid creative. Part of our process is having these check ins along the way. So we're listening to what it is that they're trying to get out of their branding, we're listening to how they want to position themselves, we're listening, the actual literal words coming out of their mouths. And then we mirror it back to them. And it's not this, like Don Draper surprise at the end of our engagement, where we're like Don Draper's from Mad Men on AMC, if you haven't seen it anyway, it's not like this like and here is your shiny, flashy brand. I think as creatives, we often want to make our work appear as if it was magic. And oftentimes, it's because it comes so easy to us that we're ashamed. We're like, embarrassed by how easy it comes to us. And we want it to feel inaccessible to our client. But it's not easy to your client. And so for me, and this is especially relates to service providers, Emily, maybe you can speak more to the product in a second. But for me, it's peeling back the curtain and showing people how it works, listening to them along the way, showing that I'm listening to them along the way, bring them in on that conversation. And it always leads to like, I would say 95 to 99% enthusiastic approval, because they've been there along the way. And so for me, that's what that conversation looks like with them. And then whenever it comes to getting new clients, just simply saying, Okay, this is the conversation, essentially, and the deliverables that I had with a past client very similar to you. Here's how it worked. And here's what you'll get. And again, it's a conversation, and also inviting people to bring up their concerns, like Do you have any concerns? Is there anything that you don't like, we're so afraid to hear what it is that we don't like. But if you can just ask the question and shine a light on it, it's so much less scary. So for me, the conversation is crucial important to everyone getting what it is that they need and what they want out of the process.

Emily Thompson 44:12
100%. And it's very similar with product as well. If you want someone to like your product that much more, tell them why you made it, where it came from, where the inspiration came from all those things they talked about a moment ago, because people are just as curious. And I think that's only going to become more and more. So I absolutely anticipate there being this move to supporting local in a way that we've never seen before. And they're going to be interested more so than ever. Why is it you've created this thing? What made you want to do it? Why did you get into this Ville in the first place? What skills do you have? What do you think about the process? Why did you choose to do these things in this way? And the more that you can share that whether that's through your content, or with those customers, the better and You know, at Almanac we're both online and offline currently significantly more online than offline. But we're still having those conversations in email. People are asking us constantly emailing us saying, you know, like, Well tell me a little bit more about this crystal, or do you have the crystals for these sorts of things? or Why is there no zodiac sign on your candle label? Like people ask questions and have it not just answering them. But having a conversation, opening up a conversation? and asking them again? Do you have any questions beyond that? Like how in what ways can I you know, shed more light on this situation, or this product or whatever. These are the ways that you have those conversations with your product customers, as well. And those conversations will usually equate to some of your most engaged customers who just come back time and time and time again, it is absolutely worth the effort and time investment to have those genuine conversations. Because I absolutely believe that a feeling of authenticity is a product of having vulnerable, honest conversations. No one's gonna think that you're being weird salesy, no one's going to think that, that you're pulling their leg or whatever, whenever it comes to your product or your service. If you are showing up and just vulnerably sharing, they're going to see that authenticity and they're going to buy into it. Every business has that thing, that it's known for that role that it must protect at all costs. For many creatives we know that involves educating, sharing your gifts of knowledge, and helping others achieve something in their life or work. If you're one of those businesses, and you're looking for an easy platform that allows you to create courses, digital downloads, and maybe even a membership site, then we suggest you check out podia a hassle free way for creators to earn a living from their passion. Get 14 days free with no credit card required by going to podia.com slash bosses. All right, next up, we have our tips for talking business. So we kind of I talked business for a living. I think that I we may have talked business more than anyone else we know think you've ever thought about that.

Unknown Speaker 47:28
I have no I haven't I

Emily Thompson 47:29
really we've put more hours into talking business than maybe anyone else we know.

Kathleen Shannon 47:38
Is that way, like I have nothing left to say definitely.

Emily Thompson 47:42
For sure.

Kathleen Shannon 47:43
Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about how we talk about business. Um, I think that I even just saw someone in the question, say, you know, sometimes it feels scary or nerve wracking to have hard conversations, I hate confrontation, any tips to ease attention or how to approach these talks, you know, and anytime I've noticed, even conversations that aren't hard, that are just even direct, can feel confrontational. To even just say what it is that you need, can feel confrontational whenever it's really just stating your needs. So this isn't we are well practicing. And I would love to just talk through these tips about how we talk about business. So Emily, what's your number one tip for talking about business? What have you learned over the past five years of talking nonstop about business?

Emily Thompson 48:34
Right all day, every day? I think when it comes to hard conversations and sort of directly answering this question. It's just practice. It's just showing up and doing it. It gets easier over time. And I always I always feel myself progressing when I have to fire people. Like that's always sort of the conversation that is my milestone for whether or not like I'm getting better at having hard conversations. And I am because I've definitely become less like less affected by those conversations than I was in the beginning. Like, in the beginning, it was always like, I'll put it off as long as I need to, I don't want to have that conversation is going to feel gross. When I'm done. I feel like I've been kicked in the gut like all these things. Now I can do it and I can just move on with my day. Then not even like it's just it's a it gets easier with practice. Or maybe my heart is just getting really cold.

Kathleen Shannon 49:25
I sky just make other I make other people do it. This is why I'm business partners. Right, here we go. There was this Emily and Tara right both have to do that. Right. I think that for me, whenever it comes to talking about business, it's really acknowledging that there isn't a single answer and that you're figuring it out as you go for me. I certainly consider myself an expert in branding and design. And even at this point, having conversations about business we've literally written a book on it. Um, but I don't have all the answers. And I think as soon as I let go of the need to be right, I was able to have hard conversations and able to have easy conversations and able to have decisions that move my business forward. You know, there's a lot of decision making that happens in conversations. And it's not about being right, it's just about moving forward. It's about having the confidence to say what you need, or what you think or what you like, or what you don't like. So it just gets easier with practice, too.

Emily Thompson 50:33
And you practice by just showing up. So the more you show up to do it, the easier it's going to be. And I think that's showing up on all levels of that job breaker, right, it's doing it with yourself as often as possible. And I didn't even throw, actually, here's another very important conversation to be having with yourself. And that's the money conversation is like looking at your bank account, looking at your profit and loss sheet, looking at those things, and having the conversation with yourself about what's happening in terms of the money part of your business. So I think doing that, doing that one regularly every month, if not every week, why not? Why not do that, but definitely every month, showing up for yourself in your business in that way. Also doing it regularly with your business besties. So Kathleen, and I started with just occasional calls every month or two for the first couple of years. And that was amazing for both of us were of traversing those first couple of years of doing business online, as creatives, it wasn't every week, it wasn't even every other week, it was like once a month or two maybe once a quarter here and there. I also think that doing bi weekly or monthly calls with peers is imperative. And I do this on a couple of different levels too. I have my bi weekly calls with my and Kelly who are in here where we're getting on and talking business, we're also kind of talking more or less every day. But those biweekly calls are where we're really getting at and like getting into the meat with whatever we're dealing with at the moment. I also have a couple of people that I scheduled monthly calls with. And these are even outside of like the podcast like podcasts aside, these are just like conversations that I'm having about business with other people. So showing up regularly to talk business and this can be online or offline. Some of my early business besties was all just like chatting and Skype or when people scattered, scattered, scattered in Skype

Kathleen Shannon 52:29
for that, Oh, well. I

Emily Thompson 52:31
don't remember what. Right, it's fine. Right? Say me, Joe, say me, Joe. And I we need to get back on that. It's Amy Jo and I were having monthly calls before the holiday season. They were both like we can't see each other until after Christmas. And then for me it was after conference. So yes, Amy Jo will get back on that.

Kathleen Shannon 52:47
I will also say in my season of burnout, I couldn't talk about business very much. And so for me, it was still getting together with my business besties. But just talking about life, and not really talking about business, but still getting in the habit of talking to them. So even, you know, like our boss boyfriends, Paul and Jason, chatting with them about life. But now I can chat with them again about business now that I'm through that season. So I know that's really good about blending the personal with the professional in those relationships as well.

Emily Thompson 53:17
Yeah, I'll say for me talking business helped me through burnout, which is another way that Kathleen and I are polar opposites. Right? Where for me, it was staying engaged in those meetings and still talking about business and talking through things and hearing that other people were having struggles to or that they were having amazing wins whatever. It helped me, it helped keep me grounded in a time when I felt very untethered. So I think using those business bestie conversations in whatever way you need to, is important. And I do love this conversation of the blend between online or between business and real life. This is one of my favorite things about business besties with business besties, you can go back and forth between the two pretty easily. But usually your life friends, you can't really talk business with right, you know, like you can't like it's not the same, they don't get it they like it just it doesn't work that way. But I love that with business besties you can go back and forth between the two, they're more a little more all purpose friends.

Kathleen Shannon 54:21
Um, so one of the tips that I have for having conversations with your team with your partners is having codes. So I love having like a coded language that helps us get into the right mindset. And it's this instant switch, right? So for Emily and I, it's here's a shitty idea. Like that's what we say whenever we are wanting to brainstorm and not be judged and to be open for consideration and we don't have to lay it out. We don't have to say, Okay, I'm going to give you this idea, but I want you to think about it. And I want you to you know, we don't have to set up the boundaries because the boundaries have been set by having that code. So for me tonight Here's a shitty idea what if we bla bla bla bla bla, and we always come at it with like, I don't know, like a certain amount of positivity even whenever we're shutting the idea down, and we're like, okay, here's why it's not a good idea. And it also makes you again, that idea of like, it doesn't have to be good. And it doesn't have to be right. It's just an idea. Or, you know, I think of it as like, we're tossing a piece of dough back and forth a little bit, you know, and I'm like, okay, here's an idea. I'm tossing it to you, and you're like, molding it a little bit, and then tossing it back to me, I'm molding it a little bit more, and it starts to take shape into maybe a completely different idea. The other code that I love comes from Dr. Bernie Brown. And it's the story I'm telling myself is, and that's just acknowledging, like in hard conversations that you might not again, you might not be right, that you might be feeling a certain way, but it takes it really allows you to have ownership over what it is that you're thinking and feeling. And then my last one is, Tara and I. So here's my sister and business partner over at braid creative, we have this thing that we've been doing since day one, that's acknowledgment. We say acknowledgement, whenever the other person does a hard thing, like sends out a hard email, or does a creative project that is very taxing and extensive, like editing a video, we say acknowledgement, and it's almost like a next level. Thank you. It's like a thank you for your expertise. And for doing that hard thing. My husband always gives us a hard time because he's like, why don't you just say thank you. And I'm like, because Thank you feels surfacey acknowledgement is like, I see that thing that you did I really see it. And I really thank you for doing that.

Emily Thompson 56:44
Right, one of the ones that you taught me was and you actually use this in writing, but we also use this in our conversations is what I'm really trying to say is, so you could be like talking about things and you're trying to get your thoughts in order and you know, conversation could be going nowhere, and then you stop and you go, Okay, now, what I'm really trying to say is this, this and this. And that's always very helpful for sort of bringing that like crazy conversation energy into your saying what you need to say, can help keep it concise. Alright, we are really coming up really on time, I'd like to wrap this up in about another five ish minutes. So let's like fly through the rest of this. You ready? quickfire? Okay,

Kathleen Shannon 57:22
so yes, my next one is knowing each other's triggers. So Emily, you and I are so close now that we know what triggers each other a little bit. I'm the same way with my sister too. And I think Emily, you at this point, know that you can't tell me like, hey, I need to talk to you about something in five days. I'm like, What is it right now? I'm facetiming. You I'm calling you like I need to know.

Emily Thompson 57:45
It could literally be like, should I buy these pants or not.

Kathleen Shannon 57:49
And I'm like she's dressing.

Emily Thompson 57:54
Right? So definitely learning each other's triggers is very, very important for really keeping, keeping things level even good. I also want to point out, one of my favorite tips is really going into a couple of these tiers. And maybe like with yourself and with your business besties that tier one. With this, with the practice of exploring all options. I think whenever you get into that tier of like team, especially like you've chosen your option, and you're going to explain that option. But learning how to explore all options is really important to not just go into it with like, here's how I want to do it, but really opening yourself up to other people's input to see different perspectives and how other people would do it. That's when real magic comes from having business conversations is not just going in with a solution but going in and really sort of masterminding a solution. And then also just generally using conversations as a tool. We talked about this a little bit earlier, using as a tool for figuring things out talking things out. One of the things that we do, I'm notorious about just messaging Cory on Slack, and be like, I need to talk. And then he'll get on and I'll literally just talk to him for 20 minutes about this problem that I'm having usually like some technical thing. And by the end of it, he said nothing, but I figured it out. Right, and I'm just like, thank you for helping me figure that out. He's like, okay, whatever, by learning to use that as a tool is really helpful. It's, it's a way to sort of get extra use out of having conversations, or even practicing conversation, just sort of using talking things out as a way for you to figure things out. I also highly recommend that you joining a mastermind group to have people to have these conversations with and this is either curating your own, that can be really difficult. And it can take a while to sort of find or sort of curate the group that you most want. So don't go into it expecting you just sort of have the perfect group immediately. really sort of massage it out. Basically Because you have to get the right mix of people, the current group that I'm in, it's taken us about three and a half years, I think to really get to this group that we currently have. But I also really encourage people to join mastermind groups, I run mastermind groups. And I'm always very careful about curating a good mix of people. So I have, you know, interview processes, where I'm talking to people finding their interests, their expertise, those things and then pairing people up into mastermind groups. If you can join a mastermind group that has that kind of intention, you're able to sort of create these little pods of people very easily and quickly. In the mastermind groups that I've created before, especially like during this Coronavirus stuff, they've all like, sort of reinvigorated themselves and started having calls together again, because it is very important to have the support systems during crazy times.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:52
Yeah, I think that mastermind groups or even a therapist or a coach allows you to practice having these hard conversations, it allows you to process what it is that you're thinking or feeling. So I think mastermind groups are a great place just to be practicing talking about business, and it's going to move your business forward. One of the last ones I want to recommend, and I know we've got to wrap up, but it's looking for the intention and the tone. So for me, like let's say I'm having a conversation with my sister, if I'm just assuming that she's thinks that I'm wrong, then I'm going to come at the conversation defensive, and I know she's in here. So she's probably seeing this and like, Yeah, I know, um, or, you know, even conversations with you, Emily, whenever I come to the conversation with the intention that you have my back, even if we have a hard conversation, it just goes so much better. And this is true for clients as well. I know so many people get so riled up whenever a client emails them with a simple question, try reading it in a different tone, try reading it in a tone that, like they're scared, and they don't know what to do, it puts you in this helpful place, try reading it in a tone where they just are curious and not upset, it will put you in a different place. So I know that, um, we can't control what other people do. But we can also look for the intention and the tone that we want to hear. So I know that I want to come at life, just believing that people have my back. And and that's a daily practice for me because I don't naturally go there. I naturally go to like, What are you trying to say about me, you know, and so that can really a can go a long way.

Emily Thompson 1:02:29
For sure. And I think our last sort of tip is is to listen to others, which is what you guys are already doing. Listen to podcast, watch business TV shows like whether that be Shark Tank, which like no grain of salt, or I love watching the Prophet. I can't listen to Mark lemonis talk business all day long. or any sort of any sort of kind of business he webinars. Be careful with the bro marketing guy. Right. That's been a common topic of the conference. But I think listening to people talk business will help you get some of those like early skills to start having those conversations for yourself

Kathleen Shannon 1:03:12
or even listening. People talk creativity, one of our favorite things, Emily, whenever we're together is watching. Oh, what's that home renovation show with Joanna Gaines. Oh, not that one. fixer upper fixer upper. And you know, watching something like fixer upper. Even like I love flipping out. That's an older one. But um, I love watching those shows, because they're actually having to talk about creative rationale to clients who don't understand that they can change the color of the wall to change the tone of the room, you know, and so even stuff like that is really fun. Um, so yeah, listen, other people have conversations, it will it will teach you a lot.

Emily Thompson 1:03:51
Right? Alright guys, that's we are like us and so not yet we could have conversations about have conversations all day long in a meta podcast, it would be great. But I super appreciate you guys, all of you guys being here being a part of these conversations. This, like whenever I look back at my decade plus of business, or even like early early business, which was like 15 years ago, when I didn't have a business bestie like when I didn't have people to talk business to I can see a stark difference between what life was like then as a business owner and what life is like now, and I can definitely definitely attribute so much of my success to my sort of investment in and intention with which I talk about business as much as I can. And I tried to be like super annoying about it. But like sometimes I will like give me an Uber driver who has a side hustle. They all do. And I probably in the talking damn about business too. But it is a very important skill and one that we've literally identified as our mission to help you do better So that you can do business better. And with that, like to do a shout out to our conference sponsors. We have fresh books, cloud accounting, who is obviously some of our long term favorites, as well as podia who comes to play with us often, and shop good in Oklahoma City who was always down to partner with us to create amazing swag bags including this year's swag bag. They designed that and printed those bags for us. And I also want to do a shout out to our swag bag contributors. We have a band of weirdos thank you to Andrea Holmes art studio metal Marvel's social granola denisa art free period process chicken coop botanicals, hawks and doves, modern mystic and Almanac supply Co. Thanks for listening. And hey, if you want more resources, we're talking worksheets, free trainings in person meetups and vacations and more. Go to our website at www dot bien boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 1:06:03
Do the work the boss