Welcome to the very first episode of Get Down to Business!
In this episode, I’m sharing what I have planned for the podcast and what to expect. I’m also sharing my own story; how I fell in love with blogging, how that led me to Silicon Valley, and eventually to opening up my own consulting small business in 2012. You’ll also learn 5 strategies I’m focusing on and currently implementing in my own business, plus a few resources to help you!
5 Things I’m Doing to Grow My Business
Networking: I am leaning on those I know and getting to know people within my new niche. I’m getting virtual and in person coffee dates on the books with peers, industry leaders, and friends. I’m asking them to keep me and my services in mind.
Creating valuable content: I’m going deep with content. This may not be for everyone, but I cut my teeth creating content and it comes naturally and very quick to me. I am focusing on offering true value that really teaches my audience - this lights me up and truly builds trust with new followers.
Doubling down on what works: It’s easy to focus on all the new shiny things and upend your stride in business. So with this in mind, I am focusing on what has worked for me in the past 6 years of business; focusing on what’s in front of me and the channels I already use and drilling down. Creating solid consistent strategies on IG, my newsletter, blogging, and with this podcast.
Unhooking from praise: This is a Tara Mohr concept (see book below in the resource section) and it is so good! Unhooking from praise aka letting go of what others think allows me to really create and be in my element, and let go of outcomes! When you’re creating content and services online it’s so easy to look for that feedback loop of praise, likes, shares, and comments. It is a distraction! I’m working hard to stop this and focus on doing the best I can.
Being kind AF to myself: Pivoting a business is hard work, so with all of the above in mind I am recognizing that this is going to take a lot of hard work. And that means self care needs to be on lock: making sure I am not overworking myself, that I am sticking to a schedule, and just cutting myself some slack from DOING ALL OF THE THINGS.
Resources & things I mention:
Blog post I mentioned: Relationships are Integral to Your Success
Book Playing Big by Tara Mohr
How I listen to podcasts on my phone: Overcast podcast app
My Instagram account
Intro and outro music by: https://www.purple-planet.com
(Please note that this transcript may not be entirely 100% exact to the show’s audio.)
Hello! Welcome to Get Down to Business! I’m your host Meighan O’Toole!
This is the very first episode, and I am thrilled to kick it off.
Get Down to Business is a podcast with the intent to focus on the good, the bad and everything in between when running a service-based business online and off.
I’m a business coach and strategist and I help service based businesses own their strengths, set themselves apart, & grow their businesses further! You can learn more about me and what I offer at meighanotoole.com
I have been in business for over 6 years, and I recently pivoted my business from social media and business strategy for creative product based businesses to focusing on small businesses like myself: coaches, strategists, and consultants.
My hope for Get Down to Business is to share everything I have learned as I have grown my own business over the past 6 years and what I continue to learn as I move deeper into this new pivot.
I’ll share the good the bad and the in between on my own journey, and I’ll also bring in guests to talk about their experience and expertise to help you!
So I am super excited to kick off this inaugural podcast.
I thought today would be a good time to share my story so you understand who I am, what I’ve done, where I’ve been and where I hope to head in my own business.
Like I mentioned, I’ve been in business for over 6 years, I started my consulting business in 2012 after being laid off as a social media and community manager from Wired Magazine.
But let me give you the reader’s digest version - so you have an idea of my experience and how I got where I am today.
I cut my teeth in retail as a teenager in Boston and then in my 20s I started working in high end retail. My plan since I was very young was to open my own women’s boutique. However, the Universe had other plans for me apparently.
Around 2003-2004 I discovered Friendster and then Myspace. Lol. Yes! I started toying around with code and blogging and boom - And I was HOOKED. Like literally obsessed with the Internet. It was getting in the way of my fulltime job, and all I could think about was this portal to other worlds and people.
In 2005/6 I started reading blogs and connected then that I could share things I loved with others by writing a blog. I dove into that, started on Blogger which became Blogspot and then moved to Typepad. By 2007, I realize there was a void in the market around women’s blogs - there were all these separate blogs geared at different topics in the creative world - but they were siloed - there was graffitti, street art, high end art, new contemporary art, crafting, knitting, etc. And I thought, I was up for the challenge to create a blog that encompassed all of that and was geared specifically at women. My blog My Love For You is a Stampede of Horses was born.
I ran that until 2010 and honestly, I had no idea what I was doing nor the confidence to make it a full time business. But I tried. In 2010 I quit a retail job and decided to go it full time. By that time social media was starting to take hold and I was an early adapter with Flickr, Twitter, etc. Fast forward, and I am wrapping it up now I promise - fall of 2010, Yahoo approached my via email and asked me to come in to interview for a social media position. I was like say what? People get paid to do this?
So to make a long story insufferable, I kid! I went on to work for yahoo for about 6 months and HATED it. I had started the week they laid off 10% of their workforce, so needless to say the mood was not high.
But I had gotten a taste for tech and wasn’t really sure I wanted to go back to my blog. Running the blog gave me a ton of anxiety - like lay awake at night anxiety. And looking back on it, I wish I had people like myself now to help me make the steps I needed to - and it’s one of the big reasons I do what I do today: I want to help people find the education, support, and tools they need to run a successful business that they love.
So I digress, but I do want to wrap this up. I left Yahoo, and then went on to work for Wikipedia’s for profit community site called Wikia, I worked there for a year and learned so much. I was a community manager, and I got true foundational education on what it’s like to work with integrity online. In the fall winter of 2011/2012 I had the opportunity to apply for a job at Wired magazine for their first ever community manager. I was there for 6 months.
And let me tell you, while I met some incredible people there - both Yahoo and Wired introduced me to a side of corporate tech that I wanted no part of. Lots of cut throat shenanigans and a shit ton of sexism and classism.
It was around this time that I really started wanting to try working for myself again. And as I have come to learn often, that the Universe will do for you what you can’t do for yourself - I was laid off in the summer of 2012.
And while I was on “funemployment” many of my friends encouraged me to take what I had learned over the past 7 years and teach creative product based businesses as well as artists and makers. This seemed like a no brainer.
Most people weren’t using social in a way that could help them. And I saw a ton of promise for creative businesses. I have always been someone that loves to share info, so this seemed like a natural fit for me. So again I dove in.
I worked with hundreds of small businesses 1:1, in workshops, and online courses. I loved it, until I didn’t.
So what made me pivot my business in 2018?
Well after 6 years of working in social media I had outgrown my business model. I felt like I had done all that I could.
Social media had changed drastically since 2012, and after the 2016 election I was burned out. Social had become something I no longer recognized or loved and had realized my focus was truly in business strategy and coaching. That’s what interested me.
I had also stopped learning about what creative product based businesses needed. And was more focused on the types of business I was. So I got real with myself about who I wanted to serve and what I wanted to do, and I did it.
In December of 2018 I decided to pivot to business strategy and coaching and I’ve kicked off this new year with new clients, new packages, and a whole new strategy that I hope to share with you here today.
So as to not leave you high and dry with an entire show about me, I want to share with you what I am focusing on in my own business to help it grow.
While I have been running my business for a while now, what I am doing is a totally new niche - and that means basically starting over from scratch. I am building a whole new network and audience. It’s no small feat!
So here are 6 things I am doing that I hope you can learn from and apply to your own service based business!
OK first up, networking - networking has always been key for me and as I have seen trends come and go online it is for you too. Nothing can replace relationships. In fact, I just wrote a blog post about this in December titled Relationships are Integral to Our Success and I firmly believe this.
You can have all the social media followers in the world - but if you are not actively networking and building relationships around your business you will get nowhere. No amount of IG posts or Stories will build your business if you are not engaging, giving back, and getting to know and support those around you in your business.
That’s one of the things I truly lost my mind around with social media - it became as if people truly believed all they needed was an Instagram account to build a 6 figure business. As we all have grown older and wiser, we know that’s not true.
So that’s the number one thing I am doing currently - I am getting to know others in my industry, reaching out, making virtual coffee dates, and helping others where I can.
The second thing I am focusing on is creating valuable content that truly helps people. I got my start creating content online, it’s my first love. And getting burned out - well it’s hard to create content in general, let alone content that’s of value. So now that I am back in love with what I am doing in my business - content is coming quick and easy. I am blogging more, using video on IG, creating this podcast, offering freebies and resources...in short I am on fire with the content. Of course not everyone loves to churn out content, nor should you! But I highly recommend focusing on what you love and sets you apart in your business and doubling down in that area.
That brings me to my 3rd focus, doubling down. So not only am I razor focused with the content I am creating I am focusing on what works for me and drilling down on that. That means I am not really doing anything super new in marketing (well the podcast is new, but keep in mind I have had two previous podcasts - so I have been around this block).
I am focusing on what’s in front of me and the channels I already use and drilling down. Creating solid consistent strategies on IG, my newsletter, blogging, and with this podcast. Those are my main channels - and then for FB and Pinterest I am cross posting that content there. I am diving deep into Instagram and making sure I am consistent there with feed content, using Stories a whole lot to engage with my audience: asking questions, posting polls, encouraging DMS, and I am also going live there.
Too often as small business owners we are swayed by what’s become known as Shiny Object syndrome: a new platform, a new tactic, a new something to help us do exactly what we already should be doing.
So in 2019 I am telling people to focus on where they are at, and drilling way down with tactics that allow them to go further.
4th I am UNHOOKING FROM PRAISE Y’ALL. This is a concept from Tara Mohr and it is invaluable when we live in a culture that celebrates fame. As someone who had a brief in encounter with Internet fame with my old blog - that is not what I want. I want to truly serve and help women like myself, and queer and POC owned businesses make their path successfully. But when you are creating content and services online it’s so easy to look for that feedback loop that people are paying attention. I am not immune from that dopamine effect and I love it just as much as the next person. So I am working to pay attention to working on my business 100% and while praise is awesome, I am trying to unhook from it: I don’t need it to produce. I need to believe in what I do and let it fall where it may. Tara Mohr also discusses in this concept unhooking from criticism which is the other side of this coin. I highly recommend that you check out her book Play Big if you are interested in learning more about this. I’ll be sure to link to that in the show notes.
Lastly, I am being kind af to myself. Running a small business is hard! It ain’t easy and pivoting after being known for something for so long is a deeply uncomfortable experience. While it’s exciting, there’s a lot of reevaluations that happens and can easily shake one’s confidence. So I have my eye on that. I am surrounding myself with strong people and just trying to be gentle.
And to you my new listener, I am surrounding myself with you! So thank you for listening to this first episode. I am so excited to see where this goes. If it’s one thing I know about creating things online, you never know how they will grow and evolve!
I plan on posting a new episode every other week so make sure to subscribe to Get Down to Business in iTunes, Stitcher or anywhere you get your podcasts. I personally use the app Overcast and love it and recommend it for iOS uses because the iTunes app is trash.
If you are so inclined, please rate and review the podcast - it seriously helps people find the show. And tell your friends!
You can also follow me Instagram and everywhere social at @meighanotoole. Please tag me if you’re listening to the show! I’d love to hear what you think!
And lastly, If you want to learn more about what I offer and are interested in working with me you can head on over to meighanotoole.com or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m currently booking for January and February and I would love to help you grow your business further in 2019! I offer free complimentary calls to see if I can help you and if we’re a good fit. Head on over to meighanotoole.com to sign up
Until our next show! Be well and I’ll be forever cheering you on!