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Better At Business
31 minutes | Apr 4, 2018
Episode 24: Our Favorite BAD Business Advice
In season II final episode we talk about our favorite BAD business advice. Show notes: 2:42 What are your competitors charging? Charge less! Is it bad advice? Seriously? But why?! (That, anabout d a rant Uber) 6:10 Oh, special and unique one, do what your love! Oh!... (No, really. But that’s the whole point of entrepreneurship/career/my special snowflake status!) There’s a short case study about how many people *stay* in business if all they plan to do, ever and exclusively, is what they love. 10:37 If you don’t quit your job, you’re clearly not all in! Why this is another dangerous gem. 12:04 What conditions have to be met, so “going all in” is not a ruinous choice? 14:00 Gender-specific and racist business advice or “Are you not Gal Friday?” 16:35 Getting all starry-eyed by (other people’s) big $$$ numbers: the consequences. Plus an “oh, my sweet summer child” story of an adorable delusion on Reddit. 25:15 Marina talks about the hidden dangers of seeing yourself as “not a big spender”. Things add up! Oh, so, so quickly… 26:40 Getting into a crowded market – is it a good or a bad business advice?Let us know what's your favorite business advice!
20 minutes | Mar 27, 2018
Ep 23: Have you tried making things MORE challenging?
00:00 Why the counter-intuitive way of making things harder (or more challenging) makes things more satisfying 02:30 Using exercise examples-- how problem-solving during climbing engages Marina so much that she doesn’t notice how hard she’s working. 06:00 Shanna uses progress as a way to avoid boredom. Talks about rucking as a way of intensely engaging in walking or hiking. 09:00 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Flow -- why making your work more challenging gets you into flow 11:30 This is somewhat like play, but you’re also raising the stakes 14:00 Use it as a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” -- Even in the challenging straits of business 17:00 Shanna’s current challenge: Pulling out all my system-based knowledge out of her brain to share with a VA.
32 minutes | Mar 20, 2018
Episode 22: Why Manage Business Finances SEPARATELY
Show Notes: 1:31 Why you should keep your personal and business finances separate 6:14 Ideal separation of accounts vs. real life models 13:38 Crash course in Accounting 101 by Shanna 21:58 The daunting part – the setup. With examples! Accounting tools we mention: YNAB Freshbooks Xero Wave
33 minutes | Mar 8, 2018
Episode 21: The Bus Problem
Show Notes: 00:30 What is the bus problem and why it’s important to solve 03:00 Are you more likely to get hit by a bus or win the lottery? And which is more likely to ruin your life? 05:30 Shanna gives examples of how “the bus problem” has bit her, and how she was inspired to do better. 8:30 What happens when YOU are hit by the bus 10:00 How preparing for the bus problem differs from just stepping aside and hiring help a la Tim Ferriss 12:30 Solving the Bus problem when you’re a one-person show 13:45 The difference between ‘defensive strategies’ and ‘exit strategies’ 17:30 Identifying mission critical tasks that need to be handled and plan ahead to solve them 20:00 Marina considers the difficulty of outsourcing her personality 23:30 Shanna shares how she delegates to VAs in such a way that the bus is less affecting 27:30 Dealing with control freak tendencies in order to be able to solve the bus problem 32:00 Do you think about your own bus problems? Please share in the comments!
34 minutes | Feb 26, 2018
Episode 20: Why One System to Rule Them All is a BAD IDEA
Show Notes for episode 20, where we talk about using various productivity apps for specific and different purposes, for letting go of teh idea of "one big system to do everything", and disagree about using Asana and Trello. 1:36 Why using a dashboard to do EVERYTHING is a bad idea? Beyond the fact that they don’t exist 5:49 What to do *in practice* instead of a catch-all system juggernaut? 8:22 Functional differences between Trello, Asana, and Slack – which app works best for specific purposes 13:18 Shanna and Marina disagree – should you use BOTH Asana and Trello? 17:01 What does it mean “system like water” and why it’s important 22:05 Most common mistakes when mixing up everything in one place (Asana mismanagement, anyone?) 23:34 Why people don’t bother with a to-do list and how to prevent it 28:58 What to expect when trying a new system, no matter what tools you choose
31 minutes | Feb 20, 2018
Episode 19: Dashboards and Project Planning - Tools for Solopreneurs
1:00 How we use (and don’t use) paper planners 3:00 Drawbacks of a pure analog system 5:00 When daily planning becomes project planning and the necessary tools required 9:00 Marina breaks down when Gantt charts are the most suitable tool 10:30 Shanna discusses why the ability to hide the things you can’t work on yet in Workflowy 12:00 Different apps for different types of work 13:00 Why a perfect “business dashboard” doesn’t exist 15:00 Dashboard workarounds 20:15 How dashboard touchstones help you maintain routines and rituals even when things are in a shambles. 23:00 A long digression about Bullet Journals and the various ways they can be utilized. 27:00 How to avoid spending too much time working on working rather than working. Asana Bullet Journals Evernote Workflowy InstaGantt GanttPro Smartsheet
28 minutes | Feb 13, 2018
Episode 18: Fundamentals of Product-Market Fit
Show notes: 01:30 Where to begin?! Figuring out product or service to market fit 05:30 When do you decide you have a business rather than having an idea? When people PAY you money. This is the first test to your product-market fit 8:30 Apprenticing – work for a business in your field before inventing a business for yourself 10:16 A shining example of “desperate buyers” – people who have a problem, willing to pay for a solution, but there’s none currently on the market 14:12 Sexy business vs. unsexy business – how does that play into the struggle of product-market fit? 16:16 Barriers to entry – another piece of the product-market fit puzzle 21:02 Good and Bad examples of product-market fit
31 minutes | Feb 6, 2018
Episode 17: Standing Down From Crisis Mode
Episode 17: Standing Down From Crisis Mode and Getting Back to “Normal Productivity.” 1:20 Switching from a ‘wartime footing’ to a ‘peacetime footing’ (and Marina has the best real life example of this) 4:30 Why it’s not about ‘flipping a switch’ to go back to the way things were. 7:30 Chilling with your autonomic nervous system! 10:30 Dealing with the guilt of doing nothing 14:30 Ramping back up - tips and tricks 25:00 What IS your normal, anyway?
31 minutes | Feb 2, 2018
Episode 16: DEALING with EXTERNAL vs. INTERNAL CRISIS WHAT’S DIFFERENT?
In this episode we're talking about our (very different!) perspectives on dealing with crisis, whether external or self-imposed.Show notes: 1:37 Why is “War Footing” so seductive, to the point of being addictive? 4:34 External crisis vs. internal crisis – the difference in coping strategies, availability of support, and the legitimacy of asking for help 9:47 Shanna’s tactic to make the plan to “just tumble out of you” 11:17 Internal crisis: what's the biggest source of stress for service-based businesses? Blog series of “Your survived the Big Crunch, now what?” Gretchen Rubin’s “the Four Tendencies” 14:33 Internal Crisis requires mindset work – Marina shares what it means 20:40 When possible, outsource because constantly doing things you hate degrades your overall productivity 24:13 Key strategies to COPE with internal crisis
28 minutes | Jan 23, 2018
Episode 15: Getting Back to Normal After "Crunch Time"
How to get back to normal after a “crunch time” 1:00 How Shanna handles the post-crunch collapse 3:00 Marina talks about her own “crunchiest crunch time collapse” 5:00 How to return to normal “RPMs” 8:00 Shanna and Marina discuss “small task”-type productivity as a method of easing back into work. 11:00 Low-productivity and the guilt that comes with it. 13:30 How to approach normal from a metrics-based or flow-based perspective. 17:00 Productivity when burnout is a constant (or chronic illness) 19:00 To spreadsheet or not to spreadsheet? 27:00 The “container” approach to productivity when you’re exhausted.
27 minutes | Jan 17, 2018
Episode 14: Choosing YOUR Coach: What to AVOID
In this episode we talk about our coaching experience: warning signs, finding the right match, and hilarious experiences in-between Show notes: 00:45 How Shanna chooses her coaching clients 3:11 Stages of Business: Baby, Emerging, Established: the difference in confidence levels, navigation, and challenges. (There’s a wealth of detailed examples in the following minutes) 12:45 What a coach SHOULDN’T be or “this is how you know your coach is BAD for you” (hint: eagerness to help is not enough) 14:10 How Marina’s former coach manage to project an complete absence of hope? (Failure! Failure, failure, failure, failure… Failure! Could you please say “failure” a few more times? 17:05 You know what? We all fall into the trap of “trigger” words. Shanna shares her own (hilariously disastrous) pep talk. 18:57 Want to hear Shanna laugh for 15 seconds straight over a shining example of a bad fit? (I can explain!) In other words: there might be a difference between how we want to help and how we’re perceived in our help, and as coaches we should take it to heart. 21:17 How to figure out one of the most important aspects of a coach-client fit: do you share a world view? 23:49 So - what should you look for in a coach? – Conclusions 25:04 Warning signs - when to avoid that coach at all costs
33 minutes | Jan 9, 2018
Season 2 Premier E13: Why Do New Year's Resolutions Never Work?
We discuss New Year’s Resolutions. Are they important? Aren’t they? What works? 1:30 Shanna talks about the risks associated with “winning” at your New Year’s Resolutions. 3:00 What is a New Year’s Resolution anyway? 8:00 How habits tie into resolutions. How good are you at habits? 8:30 How big changes cause so many follow-on shifts that you can’t predict what will happen. 10:00 Marina uses parenthood as an example of making a big change where you can’t anticipate what happens -- and how it sometimes turns out better than you anticipated. 14:30 Why Shanna thinks a year is too far to commit 19:30 Marina and Shanna share their New Year intention-setting rituals “It’s not so much about making the plan, or the resolution, or the word. It’s the ritual of returning to it, that means whether or not it’s going to succeed or fail.” 28:00 The art of building the ritual of review and breaking down how to track progress 30:30 How caring about your “resolutions” matters more than what they are.
41 minutes | Sep 21, 2017
E 12: Charlie Gilkey - Lessons in COURAGE for the functionally delusional, like us
Today, for the Grand Finale of our first season, we have a guest we’re both super-excited about - Charlie Gilkey! Charlie is the founder of Productive Flourishing, that’s been enabling Creative Giants realize their impact on the world for over a decade. He’s a speaker, author, Business Strategist and Podcaster. His work has a way of validating your actions, calming your deepest fears, and moving you to push and reach further that you thought possible.Show Notes: 1:23 The power of analytics and building a narrative 6:40 Is there a magic number, a critical mass, where analytics start to be a strategy tool? The balance between one on one conversations and quantitative data. And the Prince Qualifier 10:45 What are you missing using only qualitative data? What about using quantitative data only? In other words, why do you need both? 14:11 A liberating insight about the combined power of passion and attrition on the internet. 19:10 Why "a thousand true fans"? 19:30 Let’s say you DO get to be yourself and do that thing you love. It comes packed with a new kind of fear. What kind of courage do you need THEN? 22:10 “You have to be Functionally Delusional to be a creative entrepreneur” - we talk about stoicism, facing rejection (especially if you’re female!) and placing your self-worth at the mercy of your last project outcome. 30:00 The BS myth around success, the deceptive link between price tag and value, and why these are a dangerous way to educate creative folks The new Momentum Planners. (They’re awesome! We use and love them) 37:03 Where do we struggle most in big projects? Here’s the link to the Momentum Sprint program Charlie's links: Productive Flourishing Productive Flourishing Podcast Creative Giants Campfire on Facebook Charlie on Twitter
45 minutes | Sep 14, 2017
Ep. 11: Discussing Failure and What Constitutes “Successful Failure”
Discussing Failure and What Constitutes “Successful Failure” 1:45 - Shanna’s “superhuman” reaction to failure.3:05 - The correct ‘philosophy of failure’.5:44 - How to avoid the feeling of failure when comparing yourself to others.8:50 - Marina’s Hebrew catchphrase that encapsulates the philosophy9:30 - Shanna’s thoughts on how to avoid the paralysis that can be caused by the fear of failure (or the fear of success)13:00 Hedging as a technique for avoiding failure18:15 Marina’s example of a ‘failed’ launch and what she learned, as well as the perspective she’s gained21:02 Why the emotional reaction to failure can’t be allowed to derail the learning process.21:43 How mental models play into the philosophy of failure.24:00 How “It wasn’t Your Fault” implies that there *is* fault to be leveled-- and that’s damaging to the process of learning from failures26:00 “Every attempt is worth it, because it brings you some kind of result.” It’s just difficult to express.27:30 The place for emotions in the learning process32:30 How to view failure in business or creative processes-- it’s a lot like rebuilding a motor, which is to say, both mechanical and magical. 35:30 A few techniques for tracking down failure processes -- until Marina reins in Shanna’s rambling ;)39:30 Wrap-up: 3 types of failure
40 minutes | Sep 7, 2017
Ep 10: The unexpected power of PLAY with Dr. Kirsten Milliken
This week we interview Dr. Kirsten Milliken of PLAYDHD fame. She's a phychologist, and ADHD Coach, and Author and a champion for PLAY. 3:51 Working better and playing better - alone or with another person? 6:26 Play beyond ball and sandbox - the playful mindset and why it’s so powerful 9:21 Does “play” always equal “fun”? What’s the difference, and how to use this to your advantage? 14:15 Geeking out on efficiency and what’s the federal government thinks about it (ahem…) 16:13 Pushback to the idea of Play - really?! 21:03 How the entire generation benefitting from “ADHD-oriented” systems and coping techniques 26:55 Would Play help you sustain MOTIVATION? Yes! For example… 34:10 There’s this lie we tell ourselves about being productive in a specific way. It never works. What does? Kirsten's links: Your ADHD Life PLAYDHD - the book (get it on Amazon) Create your Playlist! Kirsten on Facebook (you may even catch her shiny new podcast episodes, if you follow her!)
36 minutes | Aug 31, 2017
Ep 9: Ever thought of DECADENCE as a Planning tactic?
Ever thought of DECADENCE as a Planning tactic? 0:25 Why Decadence in the first place? 3:01 The Framework for using Decadence as means of Getting Things Done Marina’s blog post about Decadence as a tactic (and a #MomWin) 6:10 what happens when you give yourself permission to think decadently 7:50 the edge Decadence provides over linear planning - and when to use it 10:32 Would a visualization of Decadent Outcome prevent you from execution, by triggering the reward center in your brain, sapping the motivation to do the thing? 13:00 Shanna’s relaxed and effective method of using visualization to get unstuck 15:25 A lightweight version of Decadence - is there such a thing, and when it’s appropriate 19:30 A oak sap as a centerpiece for Shanna’s metaphor of building a business 23:54 How you cope when visualization brings up catastrophic scenarios? 28:40 What happens when you realize you’re living your worst-case scenario already? 32:09 Shanna’s outlook on Murphy’s law, coyotes, ravens, and other brave sailors, tinkers, and possibly spies 34:58 Using Decadence sparingly - why?
46 minutes | Aug 24, 2017
Ep. 8: Helen Tremethick - Wolves are Pack Animals - We Need To Connect First
Wolves are Pack Animals -- We Need To Connect First With us this week is Helen Tremethick, founder of The Communications Distillery, word weaver and client communicator extraordinaire. 2:00 The insight that made Helen better at business 7:00 The importance of having people who know what we’re going through 8:45 How Helen’s love notes create diehard fans and allies 11:00 How ‘hearing between the words’ is how people can connect with their clients 15:00 The emotional roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship 17:30 Helen’s top secrets to productivity: a blueline notebook and regular office hours 19:00 Pushing back against the hustle mentality and towards supportive systems so that you don’t need to hustle 19:40 How cancelling her data plan helps her maintain boundaries between work and play 23:30 Removing notifications or at least only whitelisting the most important contacts 25:00 Helen’s biggest business advice pet peeve 27:00 How trying to ‘lone wolf it’ feeds the inner critic 28:30 How to create graceful connections in a saturated landscape 32:30 Learning the ingredients of a conversation (or be the victim of formulaic marketing) 37:35 How much research is required to really ‘know’ your customer avatar? 40:40 How frequently to revisit your copy Links: The Communications Distillery Helen’s Captivate framework
33 minutes | Aug 17, 2017
Ep. 7: How We Sew Our Systems and Tools Together
How we sew our systems and tools together 01:10 - How Marina plans and her favorite tools 06:30 - Marina’s physical workspace 09:45 - “Once you know the trick, it’s not a trick anymore” - As true of Gantt charts as it is of shoes 10:45 - Shanna’s physical workspace -- Austin Kleon’s two-workstation method 14:45 - How Shanna realized that working by hand made her more productive 15:15 - Marina and Shanna discuss the pros and cons of Gdocs and why it works for one of them and not the other. 19:00 - The difference between our methods of writing 21:10 - More nuanced discussion of planning, and how to be strategic about it 23:00 - Comparing and contrasting our methods of planning with our clients -- How we connect the big picture to the small picture for ourselves and our clients. 28:15 - Why Shanna uses two workstations, and why it’s useful as well as necessary 29:45 - How to ‘do honor’ to the different types of work you need to do, and start
51 minutes | Aug 10, 2017
Ep. 6: Michelle Nickolaisen - The 'Secret' Everyone KNOWS but nobody DOES
With us this week is Michelle Nickolaisen of Bombchelle.com, freelancer, creative and woman-about-the-internet. 0:30 Michelle’s favorite nerdy thing: D&D live play podcasts. The Adventure Zone, Friends at the Table, Godsfall for the diversity and the writing/creative skill involved. 5:00 The comparisons between indie creatives and freelancers or microbusinesses 7:15 How Buffer is a great example of an indie business that stole a market from its juggernaut competitor and went on to not only dominate but change the business landscape. 9:15 By 2025, freelancers are going to be 50% of the workforce 9:45 Marina tells the story of a short-lived mentor who could not grasp the personality of (Michelle’s) digital business. 14:00 Michelle discusses how a counter-culture personality makes her own place in business 20:00 The major turning point for Michelle, when she realized that she could get paid only to write, not as a part of a bundle of services. 23:00 The ‘secret’ that everybody KNOWS but nobody DOES (except Michelle) 27:00 How “just be yourself” turns into “how to be a quirky caricature of yourself” and not the authenticity we’re looking for. 30:00 Michelle’s template and tools for filling your client funnel 34:00 A handful of handy rules of business thumb 38:30 Michelle’s system for gathering the data to manage her business direction (Streak, Evernote, Google Analytics, Mixmax) 42:30 Why when you get into a given app, you should have a specific use case in mind for it. Ex: Evernote and its competitors Bear, Write! Michelle’s Links: Bomchelle.com (freelancer advice and tools) Chelleshock.me (portfolio site) ChelleshockStudios.com (creative projects) Her non-fiction book on systems for small business Rock The System Her fiction novel Freelancer Planner and the Dry-Erase Calendar to go with
38 minutes | Aug 3, 2017
Ep. 5: Transitions as Part of Your Personal Time Structure
Two polar Opposite approaches to time management (0:36) Losing momentum from task to task - how to transition better (5:06) Building Personal Transition rituals (11:07) “Clear to Neutral” ritual - what’s the most important part? (13:24) Building a time-structure: where to start? (hint: with your personal Focus Patterns) (17:06) Allow and plan - both time and energy - for processing NOVELTY (20:52) Shanna’s secret sauce for time and energy management (24:00) How does your executive function plays into energy management (26:53) Our (very different!) approaches to using stories as biz operation tactic (30:38)
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