Episode 292

Setting Boundaries, Expectations, and Standards in Business with Kathleen Shannon

March 8, 2022

What’s the difference between boundaries, expectations, and standards? While all three are must-haves in business, knowing when and how to use them is important for everyone. In this episode, Emily and Kathleen discuss the importance of setting boundaries and upholding your standards. They share tips for knowing your boundaries and why it’s important to communicate expectations properly in work collaborations.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"There’s a triangle of Good, Fast, and Cheap. You can only pick two."
- Kathleen Shannon

Discussed in this Episode

  • How to figure out what your standards are for clients in business
  • When standards and expectations become unrealistic perfectionism
  • Defining boundaries, standards, and expectations
  • Solutions to unclear boundaries in work
  • Tips for onboarding yourself into professional collaborations
  • What to consider before doing a trade

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In this episode, the What’s In Your Orbit worksheet was mentioned. Download your copy here!


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[00:00:00] Corey Winter: Hey there bosses! Corey from the Being Boss team here. I'm popping into let you know about a new way for you to stay up to date in the world as a creative entrepreneur, Brewed. Brewed is a weekly email curated by the Being Boss team just for you. We share articles, podcasts, and resources from around the internet on the topics of mindset, money and productivity to help you show up and do the work in your business.

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

[00:00:37] Emily Thompson: Welcome to Being Boss. A podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And today I'm joined by OG business bestie and branding expert, Kathleen Shannon, to talk about boundaries, expectations, and standards, including the difference between them, how to communicate them and why they're so important as a business owner, a collaborator and all around boss. You can find all the tools, books, and links

[00:01:06] we referenced on the show notes at beingboss.club. And if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to the show and share us with a friend.

[00:01:18] Ready for another podcast recommendation for your queue. When you're done here with this episode, I suggest you check out the Success Story Podcast, hosted by Scott D. Clary ,brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Success story features Q and A sessions with successful business leaders, highlighting conversations on sales, marketing, and business startups and entrepreneurship.

[00:01:40] Just recently, I tuned into an episode with Cara Golden founder of Hint on that living an undaunted life by overcoming doubt and doubters. As an entrepreneur and podcaster, I so appreciated the story of her deep curiosity and how she used it to pursue her passions, unapologetically discover. Scott's podcast at Kara's episode and more by taking a listen to the success story podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts.

[00:02:13] Kathleen. Shannon is the partner and creative director of Braid Creative, a branding agency she co-founded with her sister 10 years ago. Kathleen is passionate about cohesive and articulate brands that reflect who you are, what you do and attract your dreamiest customer. Kathleen is also the co-founder and former co-host of Being Boss.

[00:02:31] For those of you who may be new here, you'll find her accompanying me for the first 239 episodes of the Being Boss podcast with a couple peppered in since then. Welcome to Being Boss, Kathleen

[00:02:44] Kathleen Shannon: Thanks for having me back, Emily.

[00:02:47] Emily Thompson: My pleasure. I'm excited to have a chat with you last time you were here. We like we did a business bestie talk right where we like went through our year together.

[00:02:59] So if you want, anyone wants to go back a couple to like some mid December. Late December episodes. It was a

[00:03:06] Kathleen Shannon: two-part it was a two part episode.

[00:03:10] Emily Thompson: Cause I can't stop talking. I'm interested to see what happens today, honestly, honestly. So you were on in December to do a business Bessie review of the year, which I enjoyed so very much.

[00:03:24] It is a two-parter but today we're actually gonna be talking about a topic, which is something that we haven't done a while and you just like came on and you were like, I trust myself, I can do this. Kathleen, you got some fears going on, fraudy feelings?

[00:03:40] Kathleen Shannon: I trust myself. Well, because the topic that we're going to be talking about is boundaries, expectations, and standards, and I'm going to spill some tea.

[00:03:53] Emily Thompson: Okay.

[00:03:57] Well, I'm so excited to have you back for this one. Let me actually just grab my tea over here. One second. All right. Oh God, it's going to be a good one. Okay, perfect. So the topic for this one, well, first for everyone, Kathleen and I have are sort of working this funding. We're like, Kathleen will be back every quarter ish, give or take as needed as desired.

[00:04:21] Kathleen Shannon: I'll always come back as much as you have me.

[00:04:22] Emily Thompson: Perfect. Perfect. So this time it was a matter of like we got on Marco polo together. What do we want to talk about? And Kathleen starts spilling some tea. She wants to talk about boundaries, expectations, and standards. So I was like, that sounds wonderful. Boundaries are something that bosses are always interested about.

[00:04:42] And I love this expansion into expectations and standards because they're not the same things as boundaries. And as I've been thinking about this, like there are different rules for each of them and I'm excited to dive into it. So, get us started, Kathleen, where are we going? [00:05:00]

[00:05:00] Kathleen Shannon: Truly a conversation that we'll dive into.

[00:05:02] And this all spun from a moment where I really had to boss it up a little bit. And I haven't had a lot of moments like this in a long time. And sometimes it comes out of new collaboration. So let me just start from the beginning. And I went to disclaim this by saying, I'm going to tell a story about somebody and something that happened.

[00:05:24] Nobody was in the wrong. This person is not bad or wrong. I actually really like this person a lot. But as situation arose where I had to put on my boss' pants a little bit and really figure out what it was that I wanted, figure out what my boundaries and expectations were. And it really goes back to that saying that you don't know where your line is until it's been crossed.

[00:05:51] And I usually know what that is for my boundaries. And I've known what that is preemptively for so long that, that hasn't, I haven't bristled against that at all in a long time. So I had an opportunity, a moment. Let me just, let me just dive in, start please. So there's this guy here locally and I live in the Detroit Metro area and a long time ago I would see two or three years ago,

[00:06:19] we were actually on his podcast and we'll just call him Brian, I'm changing his name for the story, even though there's no beef, there's no problem. But just for the sake of the story, I'm going to change his name to Brian. So I've been on Brian's podcast, and after being on his podcast, he's a videographer.

[00:06:38] I learned that he lived in the Detroit Metro area, and I think that we got together for an in-person coffee at one point we met really like, since the pandemic he's invited me to do some virtual speaking. So I've spoken at one or two virtual conferences for him, at least one, maybe two, and then another in-person conference.

[00:07:01] Very, very small. It was more like a mastermind situation, but either way, I've spoken a few times free of charge. And the reason why is because sometimes speaking gigs, well, one, I hadn't been doing a lot of speaking to whenever it comes to local speaking gigs, I tend to do them for free, generally. Yeah, this is a whole other topic of conversation like charging for speaking.

[00:07:27] I'll try not to go on too many tangents. And three, sometimes I just wanted to build that relationship. He's someone that I like, I wanted to build the relationship, see what could come out of it. Nothing really came out of it. I never got any clients out of the speaking opportunities. I did meet some friendly people and, but I didn't feel bad about it.

[00:07:47] And that's one of the questions I'm always asking myself as a boss is how am I being compensated? So I was really clear and good with the speaking opportunities and doing it for free. Well, then just a few weeks ago I was walking to the gym and I get a call from him on my phone. And I was like, huh. So I pick it up and I answer and I say, Hey Brian, how's it going?

[00:08:07] Like what's up? And he was like, Hey, good. I hope that you're having a good new year. Hope you had a good holidays. Went through that little origami role. He said, Hey, I'm going to cut to the chase. I am wanting to create an offering where people can record FAQ videos. And I had just recently been thinking about creating an FAQ section on my website.

[00:08:31] This should be a whole other podcast because I've learned recently that FAQ pages are the most visited page next to about me page. And it's kind of becoming a standard. People are attending to expect an FAQ. So I had already been thinking about this and you know, how those kids, Mitt opportunities are whenever you've been thinking about something and then something shows up on your doorstep.

[00:08:55] So he said, Hey, I want to do these FAQ videos. And I totally want to gift this to you. If you'll come in and record a series of like five to 10 videos, they would be two to five minutes each probably more like two minutes each we'll put them together in a real it'll be great. And he goes, but I don't quite have this figured out yet.

[00:09:15] So, you know, it could be a win-win opportunity where like you're helping me figure out what it looks like, what it feels like. And then I'm, you know, gifting you by recording it, editing it up for you, giving it to you. Right. So. I was like, yeah, sounds great. Like this opportunity just fell on my lap. It was something that I already needed.

[00:09:36] So I say, let's do it. He says, okay, let's record it before the end of January. And it was probably like second week of first or second week of January already. And I was like, whoa, that's fast. But I've been missing the days when we could just move on things fast. Like it reminds me of how you and I used to work together.

[00:09:54] Like, Hey, let's do a workshop. And we crafted together in a week and then launch it the next week. I've been kind of missing that energy in my life and in my business. So I said, yeah, let's do it. I mean, I said, let me talk to my business partners, but I did have a partners meeting. I talked to them about it and I just said, this is something that I want to do.

[00:10:14] So of course, my sister for boss listeners who are familiar with Tara, she's been a guest on a few episodes. She's very logical and methodical, and I'm kind of more of like the wild creative, even though I do bring strategy to a lot of things. I mean, my God, I was thinking of FAQ videos in a strategic way.

[00:10:34] Right? I see you about how this was going to look on the website, all this stuff that I was going to have to get to Corey and figure out. So I was really logically thinking it through from more of an implementation standpoint and strategic standpoint. But then as I was talking to my sister, who's also my business partner at Braid Creative audit.

[00:10:51] She's like, well, you know, what are the questions that we're asking or that we're answering and really getting specific about those. This is why this needs to be a whole other episode, because really thinking about what are those frequently asked questions. What is the customer journey through these questions, but then putting on our art director hats, we started thinking about, what does this look like?

[00:11:14] What does it feel like? Are we splicing B roll images or footage into it? Is it going to feel like maybe kind of like a YouTube video where there's cuts and edits and candids, maybe some behind the scene shots, spliced in. So I'm really starting to think through what it's looking like. So, he emails me and he's like, Hey, I'm so glad you agreed to do this.

[00:11:36] Let's get it set up. I've copied my assistant here. You, we let's get it scheduled sites and not a few dates and times. And I say, Hey, I have a few questions about the look and feel like, what is the background going to be? What like really just trying to figure out, like, what am I going to wear? Right.

[00:11:55] Based on the background.

[00:11:56] Emily Thompson: Most important, the most important thing after what you're going to answer.

[00:12:01] Kathleen Shannon: What am I going to wear? Right. So I start thinking about this stuff, and it's about a week out from recording these videos and I email and I say, Hey, I've got a few ideas about how I want this to look the kind of shots that I want to capture the kind of cuts between a medium shot and a wide shot.

[00:12:21] I start getting really specific. Oh, and I've mentioned, I forgot to mention whenever he first emailed me about scheduling, he was like, and just a reminder, this is a free gift. And so we need to be able to use this on our website as a case study for packaging it up in some. Totally. I get it. No problem.

[00:12:41] This is like a win-win situation, right? So of course you'll want to use it. I said, I can even write up a testimonial for you after we're done. Right. I know how this stuff works. So I send it over. So following up, I'm thinking about like, okay, literally, what is this going to look like? And I'm starting to like really plan it out.[00:13:00]

[00:13:00] The thing that I hadn't done whenever we first had a conversation now I'm doing, because the rubber is about to meet the road where you're actually producing this thing. And I'm sure you've had experiences like this to Emily, with Almanac and recording content for that, where like you have this great idea.

[00:13:15] And then you think like, okay, what are the granular steps to make this happen? And to make it look like what I want it to look like. So I email and I say, Hey, here are a few of my ideas. And at this point it's becoming a bullet list of like 10 to 12 things like 10 to 12 ideas. And. Almost requirement's that I'm having for this production.

[00:13:36] So he immediately emails back and says, Hey, you know, like this is a free gift. And like, this just needs to be more streamlined. We can't have multiple cameras, we can't have multiple cuts and edits. You have free gift. And like, all I'm seeing is free gift. And so I emailed back and I say, Hey, how much will it cost to make this look the way that I want it to look, I'll pay for it.

[00:14:02] And then I started thinking a little bit more and I, I start getting mad and this is where it gets a little tea spillage. Right. Again, I do not have a problem with this person, but I just started thinking. I, I kind of was starting to think of it as compensation for all this speaking that I've been doing.

[00:14:20] I mean, I, and I'll pay cash money, but I feel like I've given a lot to the relationship so far. And that partially in my mind, I was thinking of this as some reciprocity, I have the hardest time with that word.

[00:14:34] Emily Thompson: You did it.

[00:14:35] Kathleen Shannon: I was thinking of it as like a kind of a reciprocal, like, okay, now he's going to help me with a project, but it's still going to be win-win.

[00:14:42] And all of the things I'm suggesting, suggesting are only going to make it look better and sell better. So I'm starting to get kind of mad about it and they haven't even responded yet with how much it would cost. I go ahead and shoot off another email. This is also my problem. I'm always shooting [00:15:00] off emails before I think them through, I shot up another email and I was like, Hey, you know what, before you start to bid this out and think about what it's going to cost, I think it's probably not a good fit anymore.

[00:15:11] Like, as I'm thinking it through, I need more time to think about what I want this to look like, because now I'm starting to go down the trail of well, maybe this should be shot in our office. Maybe I need to fly down to Oklahoma and shoot it with my business partners, you know, because I'm also literally thinking about what does this look like as thumbnails on my YouTube page?

[00:15:31] What does this look like as thumbnails on my, on my branded website, does it just look like my head against a white background? And it's the same in every video? Is that even compelling for people to click on? So this is like my process. So I hit reply to my own email that they have yet to reply to.

[00:15:51] And I say, Hey, before you bid this out and think about how much it would cost to make it look the way that I want it to look, I've decided it's probably not a good fit. I need more time to think about what I want this to really look like. I need more time to even think about the questions that I want to be answering.

[00:16:07] It's kind of that triangle of good, fast and cheap, you know, like pick two, it can be good and fast, but it's not going to be cheap, but it's already been determined that this is a free gift and something that they've never done before. So,

[00:16:23] Emily Thompson: and it's fast. So it's going to be good. It's going to be fast and cheap.

[00:16:27] And therefore not probably not very good.

[00:16:30] Kathleen Shannon: Exactly. And so I said, everything I do at Braid Creative, everything we do is 110%. And this has to be a reflection of something that we would create, not just something that you would create. This is not going to be a corporate talking head against a plain background thing, because that's not who we are.

[00:16:50] That is not our vibe. So immediately like five minutes after I shoot off this email, he sends me a voice message to my phone and I hit play on it. And he's like, Hey, okay. I just got your email. We're going to do it. We're going to do all of it. I was just kind of freaking out about like putting my team under too much stress because this is a free gift.

[00:17:16] And I was just like, I'm done with the free gift of it all. And this is part of why this is kind of the business bestie conversation that I need to have with you is I'm so wigs out about trades. It's like, this is why a long time ago. I decided I will trade dollars before I trade services. Because if it means I can't have creative control, I will pay for it.

[00:17:41] And the money isn't even the issue. So I replied back to him. I said, Hey, you know, the free gift of it all is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I already feel like I'm too much. And this also goes into being a, honestly being a woman who's a boss is like, how many times have we been told we're too bossy.

[00:18:02] We're too demanding. We're too much. And I was feeling that bubbling up in myself. Like, am I being too much? No, I just have high standards and I have expectations for how things will go. So it's not even a boundary issue. He didn't ever at any point cross my boundaries. It's just, I keep thinking about our book and in the boundary section of our book, we write about a garden, right?

[00:18:30] And your boundaries are where you draw the line. It's how you protect your energy. It's how you protect your creativity. It's what you say yes to. And what you say no to, I think of standards and expectations are what I'm trying to cultivate within my garden. It's what I'm really trying to grow. And I have expectations for how we're going to approach our gardening.

[00:18:54] And I have standards for the kinds of flowers I'm growing, the kinds of [00:19:00] vegetables I'm growing. It's going to be all organic. It's going to be beautiful. It's going to be the colors of the rainbow. It's going to taste delicious. It's going to look good. Did I take that metaphor too far?

[00:19:13] Emily Thompson: Even though you took it just far enough, just far enough.

[00:19:18] Wow. Wow. The thing that I keep thinking about as you're, as you are saying this, as you're telling me the story is what a missed opportunity. For this guy.

[00:19:30] Kathleen Shannon: For this guy. And I thought of that too. I was like, you're lost, dude. I mean, this was going to be a win-win situation, more of a win for him. I feel bad for him that he, I mean, he obviously saw that I was bringing something to the table and he said that whenever he first called me, I think that where it was a missed opportunity for me.

[00:19:53] Or probably where I went wrong and where I'm going to assume responsibility like a boss does, is I should have made sure to have the conversation up front of what are our expectations, what are our roles and responsibilities in this? We've done podcasts before on collaborating and what that looks like.

[00:20:15] And I started to have a little bit of shame, like, oh, this is so typically me. I've talked about this before, where I, kind of Willy nilly went into a business partnership on a project that was just not a good fit without thinking about it. I know because it was a blip in my radar. It's whenever I thought I could be a serial entrepreneur, like just pretend to be a dude about it right now did not work out because I did not set the stage for what is this?

[00:20:47] What is the goal? What is it going to look like? I was also thinking a little bit about,

[00:20:53] Emily Thompson: I hold on, hold on, hold on. Because I think there is an element of responsibility that you can take for that. And that as someone who knows how to collaborate, you know, that those initial conversations are incredibly important and you could have been like, Hey, if we're going to do this, have a conversation, but that's also very much so his responsibility.

[00:21:13] To have that conversation with you to get those expectations, right? So there is like a mutual illness with that. And then I think where this missed opportunity is and what I, and this is again, not like not dogging this guy by any means, but really just painting a picture of what it looks like to collaborate for anyone, who has ever found themselves in this situation, or want to collaborate with someone or whatever it may be is that when you're going into something you're creating a new offering, that you have this business idea, you want to float by someone like whatever it may be when you are doing it with someone,

[00:21:53] and this is like a conversation that you're having with someone about an idea that's completely yours, right? You just want to hash it out. [00:22:00] Or if it's a collaboration of like you're building a new product and you want to like beta test some people through it and you want it to be a quote unquote win-win situation.

[00:22:10] It is your responsibility to have constant conversations with those people so that you can fill in all of the holes, because basically this thing is a hole, right? It's a big hole where you kind of have these boundaries around it. You have an idea of what it looks like, but I think very initially he should have been like, here's what I'm thinking.

[00:22:33] What are you thinking? And then you both sort of talk about what it could look like and then this conversation about what are your YouTube thumbnails going to look like? How is it going to reflect your brand? How do you, like, how is he going to help his cust or his clients come up with those best questions for this FAQ page?

[00:22:53] Right? If you haven't been able to talk to him about this sort of struggle that you're having around this thing, then he would

[00:23:00] Kathleen Shannon: have an offer. And that was even in one of my first emails. I said, do you want the questions? I'm going to come up with the questions. Do you want them beforehand? Do you want to see what those are?

[00:23:08] No, not necessary. So that's where I thought. That's where I started to almost become a little resentful is that I'm a branding expert. So of course my questions and answers are going to be so strategic whenever it comes to our messaging, our positioning, our deliverables, but not everybody is going to have that.

[00:23:31] So I can do that for myself, but how is he going to do it for other people? So then is it, am I helping him sell a product that isn't even true? And I think that that was his fear too, that started wigging him out a little bit. Whenever I started bringing all these ideas and expectations to the project, because it's going to be able to fulfill that for everyone else.

[00:23:56] Emily Thompson: Right. But, and even then that should have been a conversation, right? Like that's part of building it. If you are working with someone who is your ideal client to create a new offering and they come to you with ideas, that's an opportunity to work it out. Like, why is this appealing to you? Why do you want this?

[00:24:13] As opposed to not whatever it may be, because that is like part of the process of building this ideal offering for your dream clients. This makes me sad literally for this guy. Like it sucks that you had to go through this for sure. But I feel like this was a really big missed opportunity in terms of,

[00:24:35] he wanted to do this, to define the boundaries for himself, right. For this project, to define the expectations, to create the standards for the clients that he's going to work with. But instead there was like, I just imagine him, like sitting there with his hands up, like every time you send him an email, like,

[00:24:56] Kathleen Shannon: right.

[00:24:56] And so then I felt like I was constantly crossing his boundaries, which I'm as I'm self-aware and I'm respectful. And so anyone that I'm collaborating with or partnering with or hiring as a contractor, I feel like I'm probably a lot nicer than a lot of people whenever it comes to, if this is too much invoice me more, you know, more people are trying to get more out of less dollars.

[00:25:23] I'm always like invoice me, or what is this going to cost? Or is this within your wheelhouse?

[00:25:30] Emily Thompson: Do you have, we are not in the business of taking advantage of people by any means.

[00:25:34] Kathleen Shannon: Exactly. And I only want to hire people for what they want to be doing, because that's how you get really good work out of people.

[00:25:41] Emily Thompson: Yeah.

[00:25:42] Kathleen Shannon: So, I was thinking a little bit just about, you know, I didn't want to be crossing his boundaries, but I also have standards and expectations that uphold my reputation. So I was thinking a lot about reputation, which is really another word for brand speaking of next quarter, I want to do a podcast episode on how branding has become a dirty word.

[00:26:09] I'm noticing a big backlash against it and your girl got opinions, but she does because I think a lot of anyway, I don't want to go on a tangent and we'll talk about that next time. But your brand is your reputation. And whenever you have a reputation to uphold by God, you better have some standards and expectations.

[00:26:30] So if you are listening to this right now

[00:26:33] Emily Thompson: and be capable of communicating them because standards and expectations only do you service, if you are capable of actually saying them out loud to someone in a way that will understand them.

[00:26:46] Kathleen Shannon: Right or showing up in a consistent way. You know, even if you can't articulate it, that's where you can hire me to help you.

[00:26:55] You can't articulate it. If you leave people with feeling a certain way, every time you show up that is a reputation and it's a standard. And so if you're listening to this, I want you to get out your notebook. And I want you to write down your standards and expectations. What are your standards for any time you show up to a client engagement, anytime you show up to a meeting or conversation.

[00:27:22] I see even thinking about this in terms of business besties, you know, whenever you and I have collaborated together, Emily, we hold each other to a really high standard. And sometimes that makes it hard to work together because we've gotta be great. And we expect that of each other. And that doesn't mean that there aren't times to compromise that doesn't mean that there, that you have to be perfectionists.

[00:27:52] So this is the other thing I was thinking about. And let me just pose this as a question, where do you think that standards and expectations start to veer into unhelpful perfectionism?

[00:28:06] Emily Thompson: I think when they're unrealistic, especially given circumstances, right? Or where they are so rigid that they don't give for circumstances, because I've thought about really the difference between those two a lot.

[00:28:20] And I think in many ways, boundaries, expectations and standards are kind of the same thing, but where I see them really differing is how rigid they are standards, I think are the most rigid. You have your standards, period, right? I think very rarely in your life. Should you, go below your standards. I think expectations are probably the most out of your control, right?

[00:28:45] They're going to be like, you can have them, but like, if you were supposed to show up to a meeting, but it snows, like, I know you expect me to be there, but it snowed or whatever. We're all on zoom now. So it doesn't really matter. And then boundaries, I feel like are [00:29:00] like, you change them based on your own preferences when and where you want to.

[00:29:03] Not necessarily because of outside circumstances anyway. So I think that's it for me.

[00:29:10] Kathleen Shannon: Here are my definitions. So boundaries are where you draw the line primarily to keep things out. Like boundaries are kind of where you say no. Yeah. Standards are kind of the opposite standards are where you say yes.

[00:29:29] Emily Thompson: Oh shit.

[00:29:30] I love that. Yeah.

[00:29:32] Kathleen Shannon: Standards are what you want to cultivate within your boundaries. I also think about standards being, how you work and really your creative process, like your standards are showing up as you're cultivating and creating the thing.

[00:29:50] Emily Thompson: One of the things that came up for me whenever I was thinking about this was recently in the C-suite mastermind that I do, a boss came to the table with a, with a challenge.

[00:30:03] And, it was a choice between two things. Basically, they had sort of made a choice about one thing and did they need to backtrack to make a different choice? And not that any of them were necessarily good or bad, but at some point in describing it, she was like, I know this doesn't quite align with my values.

[00:30:20] And we were all like then that is your answer right there. For me, your values, are very much so aligned with your standards. Like, again, that sort of way you do things. It's the filter through which everything is done and you know, your business and life, you can think of them as your values, but I think they very much so inform your standards.

[00:30:42] Kathleen Shannon: I a hundred percent agree. In fact, in my notes, as I was brainstorming for this episode, I wrote where the values factor in they factor in along the way. So my values are creativity, connection [00:31:00] and aesthetics, I can't help it. That's one of those values that like, I'm kind of ashamed of. Don't be, I love that.

[00:31:07] It's got to look good. And especially our team went through the Braid Method whenever we brought on our third partner at Braid Creative. So we went through our own process of branding and really understanding our messaging and positioning. It's how we decided that we were a branding agency versus a marketing agency is by going through this process.

[00:31:28] And as we were going through it with each of our roles and each of our kind of expertise caps on my role as a creative director and graphic designer is that it's gotta look good. Yeah. Yeah. It has to look good. That's my standard for what I'm creating for myself and my clients. So expectation. I agree with you where I think of that as being the desired outcome.

[00:31:56] Per your standards. So how are your standards informing what the outcome is? So I think of this as your expectations are your vision. That is the vision for what you are creating and your standards help get you there. And so I think that's what makes us boss is that we have expectations. We have a vision, and then we're able to back it up with how we work.

[00:32:22] We're able to dissect it and say, okay, we're going to do this, this and this. And then that will create this thing.

[00:32:31] Emily Thompson: I also think of expectations is how it is that you communicate both your boundaries and your standards. Like they're the words that you put to both of those things. You can, you know, tell people what you expect from a project.

[00:32:45] It will define the boundaries and set the standards, right? Like they are like both of those things given form. And like, I would say audible form, but you can write them to, well, you express

[00:33:01] Kathleen Shannon: one of the questions I wrote down was how do your standards and expectations affect your collaborations or even your relationships.

[00:33:10] So that's where I was thinking about us being business partners. And business besties, and even just bestie besties is like, okay, what are our expectations for this trip we're taking? What are our standards for the kinds of places that we're going out to eat? You know, that's like on a personal level.

[00:33:31] Emily Thompson: Yeah.

[00:33:32] Kathleen Shannon: But then on a professional level, and that's what was lacking from this whole conversation and collaboration with this friend of mine is that we did not set the stage for the standards and expectations. And part of that was based on assumptions. I kind of assumed he had the wheel. And then I realized, oh no, I actually like having the wheel, put me in the driver's seat.

[00:33:56] And then in Kathleen's want to drive around learning to drive, let me have the wheel. Right. And I don't know that I communicated that fairly.

[00:34:07] Emily Thompson: Well, and that sort of gets this place where, when it comes to working together with anyone and that's like business partners, business besties, two people going on a trip together, or just like hosting a dinner party together or whatever it may be, or, or your clients wanting to work with you or your customers coming to you for that thing is you have to, for everyone to feel good.

[00:34:33] About the exchange of energy, right? Whatever it may be, whether you're making the tater tots and I'm making the corn dogs, I don't know why that's what it is we're having for dinner.

[00:34:44] Kathleen Shannon: That does not meet my expectations or standards.

[00:34:48] Emily Thompson: Indeed, that is, that is that's me being a bad friend to kathleen.

[00:34:51] Kathleen Shannon: I think it's pretty good.

[00:34:52] I take that back. You wouldn't hate it. I feel like you could paint a picture for me in which that is a bomb ass dinner, and I'm about it, but I need the picture painted.

[00:35:02] Emily Thompson: Well, and so that's the thing though, is like the communication has to be there. Like, I'm going to say corn dog, that I'm going to tell you about that corn dog, Kathleen.

[00:35:11] Oh, I'm setting the standards by sharing with you, the expectations that I'm putting in place for serving you corn dogs, right? Like there is a whole communication, like scenario that has to happen and doesn't, it can be on your website. It can be the FAQ page, right. Where you should be showing up just as consistent or in the same way with the same consistency that you plan on showing up, you know, in your sales calls or during your client interactions or whatever it may be.

[00:35:38] So it can happen on your website. It can happen in your marketing. It can happen in those one-on-one conversations, but it has to happen. And it has to be thorough, which can be kind of tiresome. But when it comes to everyone coming out of this situation, happy anyone relying on anyone else to read, some minds is not going to equate to you, making it to a happy place.[00:36:00]

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[00:37:44] Kathleen Shannon: One thing I think about a lot is deliverables versus process. So we have the Braid method, which is our process in working that always gets us to the end deliverable. And I found that some people lean too hard on trying to sell their process versus trying to sell the end deliverable. And so the end deliverable is what you get and why you need it.

[00:38:10] Well, it's not even why you didn't need it. It's really what you get. It's what you're really wanting. The thing that's going to make a difference. The thing that brings value to what you're purchasing or what you're engaging with, right? The deliverable is so important. And I think that whenever it comes to this project, the deliverable had not yet been created.

[00:38:31] So for me, it was a blank slate and I'm used to creating deliverables. So I started imagining what I wanted it to be because there wasn't a clear picture of what that was. And then I relied on them to have the process to make it do. But that process wasn't there either. So I also think about the process and now I feel like I'm talking in circles.

[00:38:53] I feel like, have you seen that new Kristen bell show on Netflix, the girl in the window, across the street from the girl in the house, she goes, it's so funny. Okay. Sorry, tangent, but she'll go on these like long circular tangents. And I feel like I was just doing that, but all of this to say there is some reassurance that happens whenever you can describe all the steps that happen.

[00:39:20] And you can show someone what the end deliverable looks like as an example. And so this is just where testimonials and case studies and probably FAQ is come in hand, but this was a whole new project. And so this also goes to show that new projects need time and consideration to make happen, especially if it's with someone else.

[00:39:43] Emily Thompson: Yeah, right. And so I feel like an easy solution to this literally would have been like, okay, our first step is to have a conversation like a legit let's sit down and talk about what this looks like. So that, that important element of communication and expectation setting, and you communicating your standards, right.

[00:40:01] And him like working through this and hearing your questions and really gaining the value from it. Like that's what should have happened. I feel very early on immediately actually to really make this work. And so I also think that's true for anything and everything. Right. That's why, you know, if you're a service provider, you should probably have a sales call as part of your process once the value or like the dollar amount on your service is a certain point.

[00:40:30] Like you should be having a co a real conversation with the people that you're working with. Otherwise just wherever you are.

[00:40:39] Kathleen Shannon: I mean, even with our branding process, it's expensive and we're going to have a conversation with you, and that's not just for you, it's for us as well, because we don't want to sell you something that you don't need.

[00:40:51] Emily Thompson: Right.

[00:40:51] For sure. And also something to consider, I'm thinking about this too, in terms of product, I've spent the entire morning looking at products for Almanac. And one of the things that I do as I can going through all of these like wholesale listings for products is like, is the inconsistency with the information provided.

[00:41:08] That gives me the information I know to make choices. Where was it made? What are the dimensions like? What is it made of? Like, there's a certain set of things that I need to know, but no one is offering me all of the important details for me to make an educated decision as to whether I'm going to buy 20 of these hats or whatever it may be.

[00:41:32] So there are even ways like as a product. Maker or retail boss or whatever, you may be to really clearly explain what it is that a person is buying so that they know what to expect when they get it.

[00:41:47] Kathleen Shannon: Make it easy for someone to make a decision that is best gift you can give to someone. Especially right now this day and age, especially to another boss, bosses are making so many decisions every single day.

[00:42:03] If you can make it easy for someone to hire you by making their decision-making process easier. That is gold.

[00:42:12] Emily Thompson: Yeah. And there's a mix here because I feel like what we're even saying is like communicate more. But I want to say that there is like a communicating less that has to happen to.

[00:42:21] Kathleen Shannon: Right. And that clarity, clarity of offering and just really concise being able to say it in as few words as possible, which is not what we're doing on this podcast.

[00:42:33] Emily Thompson: Not today we have in the past that maybe not today. So that's an important thing to do. It's looking at those listings, your product listings, your sales pages, whatever it may be. And are you really just giving the information that you need to give? I don't need, oh my God. I love a food blog, but I'll tell you a long food blog post wears me out.

[00:42:56] Can we just get to the beef of it? You give me the hacks, give me the things I need to know. Give me like a couple sentences around. Why does that you created this thing or whatever, and then can I just have the recipe please?

[00:43:07] Kathleen Shannon: I go back and forth on this.

[00:43:10] Emily Thompson: Love that for you. I have not read a food blog post in probably a decade.

[00:43:16] Kathleen Shannon: You should try it.

[00:43:18] Emily Thompson: I don't think I'd like it. I don't think I'd like it.

[00:43:24] Kathleen Shannon: But you know, what's funny about that as an example is that now every single food blogger has a jumped to the recipe of

[00:43:31] Emily Thompson: I know, and I love that. That was a great evolution of the internet right there. Let me tell you two thumbs up.

[00:43:39] Kathleen Shannon: Do you have anything else to say about boundaries and expectations?

[00:43:44] I feel like I should finish this story too, is that, oh, after he left me the voicemail, my voicemail continue. And then I thought I'm just going to sit on this for a little while because I'm, so I'm always just firing stuff off really fast. I need to talk about it now. I mean, you know, me, Emily, if, if I know a hard conversations on the horizon, I cannot stand.

[00:44:07] I need to have it right now.

[00:44:10] Emily Thompson: Yep.

[00:44:10] Kathleen Shannon: So I did my part. I had the hard conversation where I said, Hey, I just don't think that this is a good fit anymore. And here's why I'm happy to pay for it. It's not about money. It's really just about creating a product that I can put my stamp of approval on. And at the same time, make sure that I'm working within your boundaries.

[00:44:30] I said it really, I wrote a really good text message is what I'm trying to say. So, but oh, the text message didn't come or the, sorry, this is like a typical story for me where I'm like, what order did things happen? So I sent the email saying like, Hey, this isn't a good fit. That was an email. Then he sends a voicemail to my phone and I just, I decided to sit on it.

[00:44:54] I'm like, I'm not going to respond. I'm going to sit on this for a while. The ball is no longer in my court, really. And then about six hours later, he sends me another text saying, Hey, did you get my voicemail? And I responded back and I was like, Hey, yeah, I totally got it. Thanks for sending that. I still don't think it's a great fit, like for the reasons that I outlined, which is basically, this has made me pause to consider what I really want out of this project.

[00:45:23] And I'm not sure that it is what you're wanting to offer. In other words, maybe not a good fit. Right? Yeah. And he replied back, he sent a text back saying like, oh man, I'm the worst. And I just really actually appreciated that. Like, and it was like laughing, crying, emoji face, you know? And I really appreciated that little bit of like vulnerability whenever he said that, because it's like, yeah, you kind of were being the worst in that moment.

[00:45:51] And I'm not mad at you, which is basically what I replied back. I said, Hey, it's so not a big deal. And I hope that you can find someone who gives you a good case study that is a better fit for this project. And that's how it ended. So I don't think that the relationship is ruined by any means. I don't know that we'll be working together.

[00:46:17] I don't know that I'll be hiring him for this project.

[00:46:21] Emily Thompson: Maybe not without some very in-depth conversations about expectations and boundaries and deep understanding of Kathleen's very high standard.

[00:46:32] Kathleen Shannon: Has it wasn't all for not right. It was, it really helped me understand, okay, what do I want out of this thing?

[00:46:41] What do I want it to look and feel like it actually helped my own creative process for my own FAQ page. And it's still gonna happen just probably on a longer timeline and with a little bit more strategy and a little bit more finesse. Right. And it also really taught me something about. [00:47:00] How I onboard myself into collaborations, you know, and what that really needs to look like and what questions need to be asked and setting the stage for standards and expectations, not only of them and what they're offering, but of me and what I can offer and what I'm bringing to the table and what needs to be done in order to make that happen.

[00:47:24] Emily Thompson: I love that. It sounds like an amazing, it sounds like an amazing lesson to learn. And also so funny because while you are out of practice, aren't you? Cause this is so unlike Kathleen,

[00:47:36] Kathleen Shannon: I thought I learned all the lessons I needed to learn in 10 years of business.

[00:47:40] Emily Thompson: But I think there's also, this is something that I experience often, you know, if you are in a circle of people where everyone is just an effing boss, right?

[00:47:49] Like. Everyone has similarly high standards, right? Similarly quality, similar quality expectations, like, and we all are communicate, and we're all going to be there. We're going to have these conversations. It's going to be open. We're going to like say yes and no to things like there is this there's this way we all are together.

[00:48:10] That is amazing. And I think whenever, and I've definitely experienced this as well, a couple of times, especially over the past probably year or so. You get really jaded, I think a little bit as to what it's like working outside of this group of people who are all operating on that level. And not to say that he's not a boss by any means.

[00:48:33] That's not what I'm saying, but there is this, like, especially if you're working with the same people.

[00:48:37] Kathleen Shannon: Or not even shaded, but spoiled. Yeah,

[00:48:45] it's competence and, and not just competence because this guy is competent. It's you get spoiled by the synchronicity or the use, the shorthand, the shorthand that you have with the people that you work with all the time.

[00:48:57] Emily Thompson: Yep. And I feel like you were just, this was a moment where you were reminded that there is like that working with other people can take more work than you're probably used to doing to get the results that you want.

[00:49:12] So I think that's a really fabulous little insight insight there of like we do get spoiled, absolute. That is a perfect word for it, of working with people who, especially over and over again, who were just on that level. I do want to sort of bring it back around to something that you mentioned very early on, that I do want to touch on because I've had this conversation with other bosses to the exact opposite effect than what you mentioned.

[00:49:38] And that is this idea of you being done with trading done with

[00:49:43] trades?

[00:49:44] Kathleen Shannon: Yeah. Well, I thought we've talked about this before, right? Where early in my career, I relied a lot on trading in order to get the experience, the client work. The money, you know, like none of us had money, so it was easier to trade in a lot of ways.

[00:50:03] And so for me, I think of that as something that I did a lot younger, like whenever I was younger in my career, now I do have cashflow. And a lot of the people that I work with have cashflow. So even if we're trading, we're trading dollars and it might even be the exact same dollar amount, but there is something about writing a check where I'm going to take what you're offering more seriously.

[00:50:27] And I see the value in giving you money for what you're offering and then vice versa. I need you to put, literally put your money where your mouth is and hire me with dollars, not with trade and to be clear, like probably long time partners or vendors. I would do a trade with where I know exactly what I'm getting.

[00:50:51] They know what they're getting, and it makes sense. But I just think that people value more what they purchase. It's as simple as that. Yeah. I also willing to pay for creative control. Like that's where it came down to this thing is that I'm willing to pay dollars to have creative control and to feel like I have a say rather than being at the whim of your creative control, because you're doing it for free.

[00:51:21] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Yeah. I think there are times and places where absolutely are some things that I would never trade that I will, like, I will just pay, but I do love a good trade. And this is something that I've had a couple of conversations with. Some like against one of upper-level bosses, his bosses are making six plus figures.

[00:51:38] Like they are, they're doing the thing. But. This idea that I do believe. And I think there are people who draw that line. And if that's a boundary of yours, a hundred percent respect that, but for anyone who is considering trading or have done it before, I want to share this sort of other view of it, where it's not a bad thing.

[00:51:59] As long as literally all of those conversations are happening, just like you're paying for it, just like your paying for it.

[00:52:06] Kathleen Shannon: Which is at worth, what are the dollars, maybe there's even a contract. If I am trading, I even linked to send an invoice with $0. And the balance is zeroed out, but there's a total amount of what this thing is worth, because I think it's important for people to know the dollar value of the thing.

[00:52:26] All of this said, I know, like I might be an anticapitalist in like three days and all about trade and you know me.

[00:52:36] Emily Thompson: Indeed. Indeed. We know Kathleen, but like, but, but I think there is value in it. It's something that I have done for years. I actually, you know, just a couple of years ago started paying my photographer.

[00:52:47] And mostly because we had been trading for so long doing services for each other, it was, it was how we work together. It wasn't even a matter of, or for one of my photographers. It was just how we had always worked for years. And finally, whenever I stopped designing, I was like, Don't want to design for, can I just give you money?

[00:53:11] Kathleen Shannon: Here's what I want to put out in the universe. Yes. I have a really hard time buying myself expensive jewelry or accessories, like an expensive bag. Like I don't, I've never had a luxury bag. I don't have nice jewelry. So I have traded consulting and coaching for really nice jewelry and a hundred percent worth it because I wouldn't, I would have a hard time buying that for myself.

[00:53:37] So I don't know if this is me undervaluing, nice jewelry or undervaluing my own services, but for some reason, trading, that feels feels really nice.

[00:53:51] Emily Thompson: I love that you found a place where traits feel good. I like that.

[00:53:56] Kathleen Shannon: Then I feel bad because what if someone's like, Hey, I want to try, I'm a jewelry maker. Do you want to trade?

[00:54:00] And I'm like, Hmm.

[00:54:03] Emily Thompson: Okay. You heard about Kathleen standards. She's very particular taste. It is not personal. She just, is that bitch a hundred percent. A hundred percent. No, I think that's great. And I like, there are plenty of, there are plenty of things that I have and continue to trade for.

[00:54:21] Occasionally. It's not like my currency is dollar bills for sure. But sometimes things come up and the matter of cash flow is a real thing. I think if you're earlier in business, sometimes bosses will come to me he'll like trading coaching for services or for whatever it is that they do because of cashflow thing.

[00:54:41] Like I even, almost sometimes we'll do it as like a pay it forward, which is not a trade, but like, and again, do not land in my inbox asking for some, pay it forward coaching, please. But there are, there are times, I think when, when trading is good, a good thing to do is completely relevant. And I, and I would almost argue that it's going to become more of a thing in the future amongst like some smaller communities.

[00:55:10] And so I'm for it in certain situations, but I will always require the same kinds of communications, the same kinds of setting of expectations, of like understanding boundaries as I would, if I were going to be hiring someone, and giving them money. And I think everyone should do that because all I all too often hear are people getting screwed over or like accidentally screwing someone else over because of unclear expectations or unclear boundaries, whatever it may be.

[00:55:45] Getting to an end of thing or metal everything and an exploding, it blowing up when you both could have had exactly what you wanted. There was just a miscommunication or lack of communication along the way.

[00:55:58] Kathleen Shannon: I also find sometimes I settle whenever I trade. That's not entirely true, but I'm thinking about shopping the sale racks, you know, like let's say I'm going to TJ Maxx or something, and I'm only finding the best thing available at TJ Maxx.

[00:56:14] And I'm like, well, this is only a hundred dollars and it was $500 and it's not even a thing that I actually really wanted. And then I buy it because it's on sale. That's sometimes how I feel about trades and then I never even wear the. Yeah, because I didn't want it in the first place. That's not true.

[00:56:31] That's not how I feel about, that's not how I feel about trades. That's how I feel about discounts. Probably.

[00:56:36] Emily Thompson: Yes. Yes. And I think you're getting at something that here though, where, you know, if trades is something that you want to do, draw some boundaries around what you're willing to trade or not like tap into all the available opportunities and just to find some boundaries and don't feel bad about saying yes to something and no, to almost exactly the same thing next week or whatever it may be.

[00:56:56] You can change your mind as the, as the wheel turns, whatever it may be. But I do think I wanted to bring it back to that because I do think that in some instances, trading is a relevant form of how it is that we all do what we do. So if you heard Kathleen say she ever wants to do that again, know that.

[00:57:19] Kathleen Shannon: I might, I might also, it depends on what you want to trade. The other thing that I want to talk about is just real quick is gifting. And so one of the things that came up for me as I was going through this thing with this guy, I became resentful for the free speaking. And, but not really because I was very clear on why did that?

[00:57:49] And so this is also just a reminder that if you're ever tempted to work for free, think about the worst case scenario, and then are you going to be resentful whenever it shakes out in a way that you don't expect it to shake out? And so for me, I think whenever I'm gifting something, I'm still putting my all into it and giving the gift as if it was being paid for.

[00:58:12] And it's free and clear with no expectations in return. Like that is what a gift is. A gift is a gift. It's not a transaction. So just really being clear on that, whether you are receiving a gift or giving a gift, and again, that's why the gifting of it kind of felt funny to me because it really needed to be a transaction and an exchange of ideas and collaboration versus the giving of a thing.

[00:58:41] Emily Thompson: I think the last thing I want to sort of wrap this up on is I feel like we've all had situations like this in some way or another, right? That you've like tried to work with somebody that didn't work out a trade, a gift, like whatever it may be. And like miscommunication left you with a sour taste in your mouth more or less.

[00:59:01] I think the thing I want to leave with is learn your lesson and try again. This does not mean this is the last time you ever, you know, accept a gift from a maybe friend

[00:59:12] Kathleen Shannon: or whatever it may means. I agree with that. I'm so black and white, I'm like never again.

[00:59:20] Emily Thompson: Calm down, Kathleen legit. If you've had a sticky, gross situation, try again. It would probably be less sticky. Amen. If you learned your lesson, if you are under lesson, we'll see.

[00:59:34] Kathleen Shannon: I mean, it makes me think about like group work, you know, I hated doing group work in college. And now as a, you know, boss with partners and colleagues and a team, I love collaboration.

[00:59:47] I love group work. The, what we've created with Being Boss is essentially a group project. Right. And it turned out great. So there are great things about group projects. So my mind can be changed.

[01:00:01] Emily Thompson: Yes. My ending has a lot to do with the right person to.

[01:00:05] Kathleen Shannon: What's makes you feel boss lately, Emily.

[01:00:09] Emily Thompson: Me?

[01:00:10] Kathleen Shannon: Yeah.

[01:00:10] Emily Thompson: What's making me feel boss.

[01:00:13] Let's see grit for Almanac that I can't share yet.

[01:00:17] I mean, I'll share you after we stopped recording.

[01:00:19] Kathleen Shannon: Your businesses and your secrets.

[01:00:21] Emily Thompson: I know I can't be like if I had to go to lock in on what it is is this thing, but I can't talk about it yet. So I'll tell you later, but for the purpose of this, it's just secrets secrets.

[01:00:32] Make me feel, boss. Thanks. What about you?

[01:00:36] Kathleen Shannon: Well, always habits and routines.

[01:00:41] Emily Thompson: You're such a Taurus. My God.

[01:00:47] Kathleen Shannon: So I've started practicing, walking to work again in the morning without listening to anything in my ears. Yeah. I need to come back to a place where I'm able to cultivate creativity and give [01:01:00] myself space to think.

[01:01:01] And so I've only been doing this two mornings and row.

[01:01:04] Emily Thompson: Where it's like today's day number two.

[01:01:06] Kathleen Shannon: Today's day number two of feeling, a little more boss, and a little bit more creative by going for a 20 minute walk without listening to a podcast.

[01:01:15] Emily Thompson: She talked to me on Marco Polo this morning.

[01:01:18] Kathleen Shannon: Listen, I would not have talked to you on Marco polo on that walk.

[01:01:22] Had I been listening to armchair expert or whatever?

[01:01:26] Emily Thompson: Indeed, indeed. I love it. Perfect. As always Kathleen habits and routines, because they are, they're a foundation and I'm glad that you're walking to work yet. It looks called AF outside. Highest of fives for that one.

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