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Solopreneurship Executive Coaching

Small Biz Buzz hosts Crystal Heuft and Derek Harju are joined by Tanya Moushi of Moushi & Co. to talk about solopreneurship executive coaching. Moushi discusses her experience as a solopreneur and starting her own coaching business and why this business model works for her personally. She divulges about the importance of being empathetic in business, common missteps and oversights, and what criteria she considers when helping a business find its purpose and how it can improve. She also discusses her GECKO model–gratitude, empathy, care, kindness, optimism, which is a framework that a business can use to be good. It helps instill virtues and shapes culture within a company and influences impact on stakeholders, employees, customers, shareholders and the community. “All of these things that would make you a good human, make you a great business,” said Moushi. Tune in for more.


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Crystal: Dusey got distracted when he heard. He couldn't deal with the fact that we still couldn't hear you. Now he's fixed that and now he's coming back to put the camera back on us.

Derek: He has to fix everything now. All the time.

Crystal: Yeah, he literally does. He's the only person that touches any media tech. Well, Derek started doing that now too. But anything in this room is Dusey's home.

Derek: I touch media tech with its consent.

Crystal: Yeah.

Tanya: When you say this room, all I see is a black screen.

Crystal: You're going to see it soon. He's messing with some new chords. It's like an intense studio actually. I was very impressed when I started here. There we go.

Tanya: Hey.

Derek: Hi.

Crystal: Yeah.

Tanya: I miss you.

Derek: I miss you too sweetie.

Tanya: Oh, okay. Virtual hugs.

Crystal: No, we don't. Unfortunately. We're stuck looking at ourselves and Derek's making it weird.

Crystal: Just kidding.

Derek: That's my brand.

Tanya: And to answer your question, no, it is a glass of macho with oat milk and it's so killer.

Derek: As long as beverages are off mic, they're fine.

Crystal: Yeah. Perfect. I would say it's also on brand for me if they hear me slurping my caffeine.

Tanya: Yeah. I can't do that, Derek? That's exactly what I wanted to do.

Crystal: That's probably what I have done. Dusey's just ... well, you've actually probably edited it. Yeah. When Tanya is making her point, just go ahead and slurp through the cup.

Tanya: Yeah, that's great background. I love it.

Crystal: Exactly. I'll make sure to only do it when Derek's talking. So when Derek talks, that'll be my drink break.

Tanya: The entire podcast will just be us interrupting each other.

Crystal: Exactly. Perfect.

Tanya: With perfectly timed slurps. I'm a fan.

Crystal: So Derek, since you're kind of familiar, do you want to kick us off and get us going?

Derek: Hold on. Dusey has a thing.

Crystal: Oh, lord. Just kidding.

Tanya: My first slurp? That's what I'm hearing.

Crystal: Yeah. It's time to slurp.

Derek: Howdy everyone, and welcome to Small Biz Buzz. If my voice sounds unfamiliar, that's because I'm Derek Harju. I'm going to be a stand in host for this week. As always is ...

Crystal: Crystal Heuft.

Derek: Today we're talking with an old buddy of mine, Tanya Moushi. Tanya, do you want to introduce yourself to the rest of the audience?

Tanya: Sure. I'm Tanya Moushi. I'm here in Phoenix, Arizona and I own a creative firm here that focuses on consulting and design.

Derek: Tanya and I have known each other for what? Like almost a decade now?

Tanya: Almost a decade. Yes. I used to own a coffee shop and we met there inside Cahoots coworking space and we've just been friends talking terrible things.

Crystal: Jeez, I wish I could be a fly on the wall there. You probably got into some mocha talk. Sounds like [crosstalk 00:03:51] oat meal.

Tanya: I'm a big fan of oatmeal mochas these days. It's been sustaining me throughout all of these workshops, facilitating and there are back-to-back 10 hour things and this is the only thing that's been sustaining me. So it's working.

Crystal: Wow. That's way more healthy than my diet soda addiction. But that's what sustains me usually through the late days and long ... or I should say long days and late nights. But your version is way healthier. I applaud that.

Tanya: Thank you. Small steps. I'm really trying, so I appreciate that.

Derek: So we have Tanya on today because Tanya is a multihyphenate. She does a lot of work in multiple creative spaces and multiple entrepreneurial, solopreneurial, and startup spaces. And I was wondering if you could speak to that experience a little bit?

Tanya: Yeah, so I sold a coffee shop in 2014 and since then, did not want to be tied to anything. So I started a creative firm. We focus on consulting, so facilitating workshops, ideation sessions for people with big ideas who just have no idea how to articulate that to the world. Other half of my business is all design. So Squarespace actually features us as one of their experts and authorized trainer. So all of our small to midsize business builds are on their platform. But my whole motivation was just to untie myself from routine. That is where that started.

Derek: I was curious, what were some of the red flags for you that you're just like, "I'm done working for other people. I'm done being tied to a set schedule and a set business"? What were some of the immediate milestones that you were just like, "This is over for me"?

Tanya: It's a great question. It's a really weird answer, so I'm going to warn you. When I owned the coffee shop-

Crystal: I'm looking forward to it.

Tanya: ... This is 2013, 2014, we got an offer to expand. So we had somebody come in and say, "Hey, we like your shop. We like the concept. We want to basically set up 10 to 15 build out shops for you within different office spaces throughout the nation." And as soon as I heard that, I was like, "I do not want to go vertical. I want to go horizontal. I like my hands in different places." And that was my tell that I needed to leave that business.

Derek: Yeah. When somebody is offering to expand you to 10X what you used to be and you're like, "No, thank you." That's a pretty clear sign that this is not your jam.

Crystal: I think I've had that even in regular life where you're given these opportunities that seem like anyone in my shoes would want this, but I don't. Which is usually such a clear sign that you're not really doing what you're passionate about yet or you're not getting enough out of it. That something that should look like a blessing almost feels like a curse, but I always feel like it's good to listen.

Tanya: Yeah, and honestly, formally, I do a formal sort of values analysis right before I started this business and I sat down and actually prioritized what's really important to me, what do I want to be really intentional about. I think when people start their business, they don't take the time to do that. Right? A lot of times the motivation is really weird. Either they're fed up working for somebody or they feel like there's more potential making money for themselves, but nobody really sits down and says, "Actually, I just want to have brunch on Tuesdays and that's my motivation." That's a real one.

Crystal: I mean, why wouldn't that be? You're starting to make me think I chose the wrong path. I want brunch on Tuesdays too.

Tanya: I just want the option. I think for me, really the value of having my own business is that I have options. That's something that's a personal value and a professional value. Yeah, that's what led me here.

Derek: Right on. So could you talk a little bit about the kind of work you're doing these days? I know that the last time I saw you, you were in a session with some other entrepreneurs and you were talking about helping other companies to build up their businesses. So I'd love to hear more about that.

Tanya: Absolutely. So last time you saw me, I was at a 10-hour workshop. I basically was sleeping in a conference room for three days out of the week. We were just packed. But basically, agencies in the Valley and some from across the globe actually have hired me and do hire me to facilitate their ideation sessions. So in this case we were doing content strategy and product strategy. There's two different companies that we were working with. And they'll basically bring me in and I helped them sort of tease out this idea and just really how to talk about it in the world. So the best example of why something like this is needed is this photo I saw, it was like this old cartoon drawing actually, its illustration.

Tanya: It's this guy inside a mason jar and there's a label on the outside of the mason jar and he's trying to describe himself. And there's no way to do that. You need somebody on the outside to tell you that how to describe yourself. So people really just bring me into to help with that process. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of thinking. The best sort of tagline for that I can think of and the way that I articulate it is that I'm hired really to break the way that you think. So companies will hire me to do that, but I've also done it for the city of Phoenix, which is really fun. They were, for a while, testing out this pilot program where they want their deputy directors to think like entrepreneurs so that they could come up with different ideas. So that was a super fun experience on the consulting side of my business.

Derek: Right on. That's awesome. So you come in with a professional mindset, but with fresh eyes so that you're not lost in the brand guidelines, and the company culture, and the predisposed notions that a lot of these companies, whether they're large or small have.

Tanya: Yeah. Most people honestly are experts at what they do and they're so good at what they do. I always tell people, if you can't articulate what you do, it's probably because you're great at it. That's really why, because you're so good at it, and so communicating about that is not your jam. So to bring somebody in with that sort of third party perspective is really helpful. You know this about me, Derek. My top strength in The Strength Finders, The Gallup test, is empathy. And for years I was like, "What can I possibly do with that as a top value?"

Crystal: How do people that care get through this life?

Tanya: Yeah. I really have no idea. Professionally speaking, I was like, "I don't know why that's a top strength." But in roles like that I see it really play out well-

Crystal: I think too that's a strength you [crosstalk 00:10:50].

Tanya: ... where I can facilitate that too in most discussions.

Crystal: Yeah. You cannot teach how to be empathetic. So I think that is definitely a top strength and something that people would be lucky to find in any employee because yeah, you can teach people a lot of things, but if they don't have the right mindset or they're not going to be caring towards others ... but it's also great to be able to figure out ways to monetize that. So it sounds like you've done that.

Tanya: Yeah, I'm working on it. People have asked me for classes with that. It's interesting because there's some methodology, but it's kind of like the self-awareness talk we had before we went live, which is just to pay attention to what you're doing in order to bring this strength to the surface. It's a process in and of itself, but I'm working on teaching it.

Crystal: That's great.

Tanya: I think it would be really helpful in the workplace.

Crystal: I think you can definitely make people more aware of it, that's for sure. And maybe alter behavior based on that. But to have a natural empathetic person, I think that's just inherent in someone or it isn't. It's definitely a strength, I think, to find people who are naturally empathetic.

Tanya: Awesome. Thank you for saying that. It's always interesting to hear somebody else's perspective on that strength because I just didn't see it as one for a long time.

Crystal: Yeah, that's awesome to make a whole business out of helping do that for others. So I think that's very cool.

Tanya: Cool. Thank you.

Derek: So I was curious, we're talking about expanding businesses. What are some common missteps that you routinely see with ... we can talk about larger businesses, but specifically startups and early iterations that you've seen for businesses?

Tanya: Common missteps. There's quite a bit I would say ... I'm going to talk sort of detail oriented, but when somebody comes to me and says they're starting a business or they're expanding, one of the tells that they give when I see a misstep about to happen is how they're planning on getting paid. It feels like such a small thing. It's not. If I ever hear somebody say that their plan is to Venmo their clients, I'm like, "You are not ready. That's not something that's going to happen." So I think finances in a real way, having a solid business model and projections, it's really tough when you are expanding if you're a small to mid-size business to establish those projections. But I think really knowing what you're selling, being very clear about that, and having the distinction between what service you're providing and with deliverable you're providing, so those are two different things.

Tanya: For example, on the website side, people will say they want to hire us for a digital presence and our deliverable might be a website, but what we're really selling is sort of the thought process that happens behind the scenes to make this thing match their physical representation. So essentially to make their digital representation match them physically. Not thinking through your services, not thinking through your deliverables, I think that's a really big misstep that I see honestly across the board any size.

Crystal: For sure. And I'm just going to throw in there, we just had Venmo as a way to pay our clients. But what you're referring to, if you're just going to actually go ahead and say like, "I'm going to Venmo them without an invoice or whatever." That's not really planful and it's not like stepping through all of that. But Venmo as an option.

Tanya: I think it as an add on.

Crystal: Yeah, well Venmo as an option to pay through an invoice is a great thing. But if you haven't thought through what that process looks like, I 100% agree. I just wanted to get that little shameless plug in there because I'm like, "I love paying people on Venmo." Make it as easy as possible for me. But if it comes through an invoice, then I feel like you're a legit business.

Tanya: Yes. Actually that's a really great point to make because I think the trouble comes when that's the only option and I think that you should make barriers to payment as low as possible and paying somebody should be super easy.

Crystal: Totally. Our producers over here, they're going wild. They either like what we're saying or ... just kidding.

Derek: There's apparently an echo on the track, but Dusey's saying it should be fine. Okay. Because I don't hear it.

Crystal: He does.

Derek: You do. Okay. Dusey's like, "I do. I'm the sound engineer. So pipe down talent."

Crystal: Okay. Now let's just act like nothing happened for the last five minutes and just dive right back into it.

Tanya: Sounds good.

Derek: Let's jump back into common business missteps and oversights, things that you see that other companies don't see about themselves.

Tanya: Yeah. So a big thing is not being clear on their services and their deliverables and making the distinction between the two. Another thing is really who they're serving. That's a big one. So a lot of people will talk about target audience and they'll use that sort of phrasing. You need to dial that down way more than I think people normally do. So it's not just based on location or on a certain user type or user base. You want to get specific into what I call, so the demographics, right? People already know the demographics, but I say demographic, psychographic, emographic. Most people have heard of the first two. Probably nobody's heard of the third one unless they've heard me speak because I made it up. But it's a real thing. Well, no, because demographics are location, gender identity. Whereas psychographics is really about how you think, your attitude, are you optimistic? Your emographics are kind of like your beliefs, values, how you approach the world.

Crystal: I love that.

Tanya: If you dial in that specific, it becomes very easy to target the right people. And then it just becomes about how good is your service.

Crystal: I always tell our acquisition team, I'm like, "Tell me what the Facebook interest demographics are. I need those. I need to know how you want me to target them on Facebook because when you're telling me certain things, I can't find that." So I think it's smart to be looking at it as many ways as possible so that you can actually find the right audience wherever you're looking.

Tanya: Yeah. And very few people will connect on zip code. It of course depends what kind of business it is, right? Product or service or something. But for me, I can tell you as a small to midsize business, it's really based on relationships. The people you work with are people that you connect with on a much deeper level.

Crystal: Definitely. And I feel like more and more people care about what type of business you are, what you believe in, even if it's nothing to do with your service. So if people are actually caring about that, you have to be ready and understand who you are so that you can make sure your audience knows that and that they're interested in it as well.

Tanya: Yeah, I'm totally with you. Actually I do have a point to touch on there, expand on it. There's something called ... you skipped a little on my part, so I don't know if you said yes or no, but I'm going to assume that that was a yes.

Crystal: Yes. Please expand.

Tanya: There's something we came up with in 2015. It's called the GECKO model. And it stands for gratitude, empathy, care, kindness, optimism.

Crystal: I was telling Derek earlier that that was one of the things I read when I was researching all about you with all of Derek's stuff he sent, but I was like, "Oh my gosh, I love this."

Tanya: Thank you.

Crystal: So yes, please expand on this a little bit more.

Tanya: Yeah, thank you so much. I am glad that you saw that. Each of these things, we call them just ... the whole thing together is basically a framework that a business can use to be good. And I know you know that a lot of people have trouble with that phrasing. But if you are a good business, typically you'll have these five components. What I try to argue is that all of these things that would make you a good human, make you a great business. If you sort of, in growing a business, if you think about it like a person really, you start to instill values that just make it better. It's kind of a weird practice because you are essentially treating a thing like a person, but people forget all the time that businesses are made up of people. So it actually makes a lot of sense.

Crystal: Totally. Even when people say about B2B, I'm like, "There is a person over there deciding what decisions are moving forward with." So it's still B to C and actually it's probably P to P, person to person. If you're selling, you should be selling like a person and you're selling to another person even if it's a business making that decision.

Tanya: Yeah, absolutely. So finding that connection point I think is really key and something a lot of people ignore or will try to hack it. They'll try to hack a connection, which doesn't usually work, but there are things that you can do to make ... really small things they can do that actually create a really high impact. So a really quick example of this is if we're in a meeting together, I always tell people, especially if you're selling, "Don't sit across from somebody. Always sit perpendicular, so you're on the same side." So all of these really subtle things I think make a really big difference.

Crystal: I thought you were going to tell me that they should sit right next to you. And I was like, "Oh, that creeps me out on dates. Please no."

Tanya: Yeah, that's weird.

Crystal: Perpendicular. I totally agree.

Tanya: [crosstalk 00:20:16]. Unless you're in a booth watching other people drinking old fashions, that's the only time.

Crystal: Exactly. Or like if I know you long enough, then maybe you can sit by me, but please do not sit by me until I know you. But perpendicular, I'm down with.

Derek: All right, we're going to take a quick break so everybody can grab a drink of water, go stretch their legs and we're going to throw it to Worst Business Ideas in History. So get ready to hear my dumb voice again.

Crystal: Run fast.

Derek: Howdy folks, I'm Derek Harju.

Dusey: And I'm Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek: And this is Worst Business Ideas in History.

Dusey: The show where we look back at some of the most brutal missteps, failures, and flops in consumer history.

Derek: And make fun of it.

Dusey: But also learn something.

Derek: Nope, it says in my contract, I don't have to learn.

Dusey: Fine. The rest of us will learn something and you can just mock people's misfortune.

Derek: Sounds good.

Dusey: Welcome to the Worst Business Ideas in History.

Derek: All right guys, welcome back. Today we're going to be talking about something that I love, which is consumer electronics.

Dusey: Ahh right!

Derek: So today we're going to be talking about the Kanoa Bluetooth headphones and how they were destroyed by a single user review.

Dusey: Oh wow. Yeah. If you haven't listened to our episode on the terrifying power of user reviews, it sounds like we're going to hear about that today.

Derek: Yeah. So Kanoa was a company that started a crowdfunding page for their new headphones here we're putting out. This was a while back, so this was still a fairly novel idea. They were going to be putting out Bluetooth earbuds, not over the ear canisters, which is what I prefer to wear. But ear buds to compete with the AirPods. So they were supposed to be noise canceling in-ear earbuds with Bluetooth connection. And they had features like you could actually adjust the amount of noise cancellation in them. So if you were going out for a run, you could turn it down so you could still hear traffic. If you're working in the office and you just want to cut everything out, you could turn it up. They sounded amazing. Their sizzle reel was brilliant. Lots of great features.

Dusey: Now were these done in response to the AirPods? Because I remember seeing videos. I don't remember if it was this, there was some a couple early iterations before AirPods were around this kind of thing. So was this kind of like, "Oh, the AirPods someone's made one successful, let's go after it"?

Derek: Well, there definitely were earbuds at the time that were Bluetooth enabled. But as far as I know, none of them had any noise canceling technology in them. And they were fine. You could get a set of Bluetooth earbuds for like 50 bucks on Amazon. Usually, you're buying them secondhand through Alibaba. They're fine. They'll get the job done, but they're not great. This was a company being like, "Hey, we're making a premium product, 300 bucks." Which is what you pay for a pair of like a Bose headset. So a lot of excitement behind this product. They're like, "We're going to sell these for 300 bucks. If you join our Kickstarter, you can get them for $150 and you'll get them earlier than everybody else."

Dusey: That's a pretty good discount. Half off if you do the Kickstarter.

Derek: Yeah. And that's what a lot of companies have to do early on, is just to get word of mouth out there and get some capital infusion and get some reviews going. They put the stuff out for a cost or even as a loss leader. The first problem is there's a delay in production. So they're supposed to release them in April, then they say, "Well, we're not releasing them until June." It's not the end of the world that happens.

Dusey: That's typical Kickstarter. There's a couple month delay here and there. It's pretty expected.

Derek: Sure. If you join a Kickstarter and your product gets delayed, or an Indiegogo, or whatever it is, don't be distressed. It happens all the time. Production's always roughly halfway through. So don't jump ship just because something gets delayed a little bit. Well, the next thing that happens is it's delayed again another few months and people start asking questions. They're like, "Okay, I've been waiting too long. I really want a refund." They're like, "Okay, well the product's coming out. Just cool your jets. We promise it's coming." They hand out a few refunds, but mostly they're telling people, "It's coming, it's coming. Don't worry. It's going to be awesome. These are going to be the best headphones. Don't worry, everything's going to be great." So they took all these people's money and then these folks unceremoniously in 2016 about nine months after the product was supposed to be released, get an email saying, "We're very sorry to inform you that we don't exist anymore. Our company," it's bolded. "You will not be getting your ear buds and if you want to refund kick rocks."

Dusey: I'm curious what the gap in communication, like how long did they go with them saying nothing from, "It's going to be great." to "We don't exist. Bye"?

Derek: It was the week they were supposed to ship these things.

Dusey: Oh, man.

Derek: Now that in and of itself is a colossal failure, but it's not entirely unheard of in crowdfunding and that's a thing people need to keep in mind is that if you crowdfund a product, especially if they're offering you a deep discount, you may never see that product.

Dusey: Yeah. It is not a preorder system despite many using it that way. It is a, "Well, we need funding to build this thing." So it's an investment and it might not turn around. So definitely buyer beware. I've backed a bunch of Kickstarters, but you've got to go in knowing this could just disappear. It's a possibility. So keep that in your mind if you're deciding you're going to kickstart something.

Derek: So they're a year late in releasing, the release date comes, it goes, all these people are left in the lurch. None of them are getting refunds. What's happening in the background that a lot of people didn't see, but then later became very aware of, there was a review online. So if you're putting out a new product, you want to get some influencers behind it, you want to get word out, you want to get some good reviews. So they send it to this guy. He's got a YouTube channel. I've watched some of his videos. It's great. You can find them online. I forget his name, so I can't plug him right now. But if you look up Kanoa Headphones YouTube review, you'll get directed right to this guy. They send him a pair of these headphones. He tries them out and he proceeds to post a 22-minute review showing everything that's wrong with these headphones.

Derek: They don't connect to his phone, they don't connect to the native app that they provide for their own headphones. The noise cancellation function just produces nothing but static and feedback. He holds it up to the microphone to show you and even through an earbud through a microphone, all you hear is crazy, crazy speaker feedback. The manual that they send him is blank. It's a 36 page manual that has a picture on the front and a picture on the back and 36 empty pages in between.

Dusey: I'm just trying to picture, "Packing this up for the review, yup, blank manual. Put it in. Okay."

Derek: So the guy initially tries them out, he's like, "These suck." And to his credit, he contacts them directly and he's like, "These things do not work. They don't charge. They don't pair. They don't do anything." The guy's like, "Oh, here, well try this." And he's like, "Okay. After some jumping through hoops, I got them to charge."

Dusey: And this is after the review was posted.

Derek: No, he hasn't posted the review yet. He's holding off on it. He's trying to do the right thing and be like, "Okay, I understand this is a new product. You sent it to me as an early adopter and influencer. I don't want to hang you out to dry, but these things have problems." And the guy is trying to be like, well ... he tells him, he's like, "They drop the connection all the time." He's like, "And I'm only carrying it in my back pocket." The actual response from their support person was, "have you tried it in your front pocket?"

Dusey: It's kind of a, you're holding it wrong response.

Derek: Yeah. Oh my God, remember that?

Dusey: Yeah.

Derek: For those of you that don't know, look up iPhone.

Dusey: It's iPhone 4. Yeah.

Derek: Yeah, where we were all told that the reason our iPhone 4 has got terrible reception was because we were holding them wrong. He humors the guy, he's like, "Yeah, it works great in my front pocket. It's also a $300 pair of headphones so maybe it should work in my back pocket." And the guy’s like, "Yeah, I see your point." And he's like, "This doesn't work. The manual is empty. Why is the manual empty?" And the guy's giving him all these excuses and he's like, "Okay, dude." He's like, "I'll tell you what man, I'm just going to part ways. I'll send you these things back. I don't want them. I'm not going to post the review." Well, he gets an email later that day and they're like, "Look, we understand we're about to launch. We understand you had some problems. If you could post a positive review before our launch date, we would be happy to give you $500." And apparently that rubbed this guy real wrong.

Dusey: I feel like I don't know when the days of that working ever were if they were, but if they ever were, they're long past.

Derek: Right. Especially this guy has, I checked, he's got like over half a million subscribers on YouTube. He makes more than that on organic ad revenue. So first off-

Dusey: Not only is it a bribe, but it's a bad one.

Derek: Oh my God. Oh my God. That's exactly what I was thinking. I was just like, "That's one of those where it's like okay, the bribe is insulting. The amount of the bribe is a very insulting." So this really irks the dude and he just goes, "You know what? I've changed my mind. I'm posting this 22-minute review." He puts it up and basically that is it, man. It goes viral and Kanoa just almost overnight, their investors pull out, their production shuts down. They're getting all these people being like, "I saw this review. I want my money back." And that's it, man. Almost overnight this company just disappears. Oh and one fun fact, the CEO of Kanoa is a gentleman named Cival Barton Van Der Lubbe, which I'm pretty sure is the name of a super villain.

Dusey: Absolutely. Oh, it makes me think a little bit of like the Fyre festival stuff where the person ... for their investors, they must've just been sweet talking them so well that when they finally ... and there's probably some red flags in their minds, but then they finally see an outside perspective that our worst fears are true, out they go.

Derek: We 100% need to do it. Here's the thing, I would love to do a show on the Fyre festival, but I think those documentaries did too good a job.

Dusey: They did a very good job. Yeah.

Derek: If you had not watched either the YouTube or Netflix, there were competing documentaries about the Fyre festival, F-Y-R-E if you're not familiar with it. And if you aren't familiar with it, what a life of leisure you must lead. But go check those out. They're very entertaining.

Dusey: Absolutely.

Derek: So what do we learn from this?

Dusey: I think most small businesses already know that referrals are super important and most of them probably also know that reviews can be very important if they're on Yelp or Google reviews. And they can drive a lot of traffic. Going about getting reviews ... and some small businesses just leave it to happen organically. This is an example of a business that was trying to get it done, but the way you go about getting it done is very important. This is an example that I've seen multiple times of people asking someone who just bought a product to go give a review for it as soon as they've bought it, maybe even before they've had a chance to use it yet. If they had a bad issue, you're adding gas to the fire, right?

Dusey: So before you ask for that review, for someone to go post review for you, take some time for them to give you feedback first. Check in a few days later, a week later, depending on the service of the product, figure out what that right amount of time is, and send them an email, send them a contact, text, however you are contacting them saying, "Hey, I would love some feedback. Fill out this form, let me know what you think. Give me your star rating. And it's internal, it's just for you." And when you get those good ones, then have any another email go out. You can do it by hand, hopefully automatically that says, "You loved my product. I love that you loved it. Would you mind giving me a review?" Now you know that you're speaking to your fans and when you get that bad feedback, not only can you improve your offering, but you can also make sure that you're taking care of them and maybe turn that interaction around by reaching out and hopefully having some real answers for them unlike these guys had.

Derek: Absolutely. Here's one, it's a great point. I want to make one other quick point. Paid reviews happen. They happen all the time. Okay? It's not new. It's not even evil. There are reviewers who are like, "I will review your product, but my time is not free so I got to at least be paid for my time." I'm not being paid for the review. I'm being paid for my time. If that's how you start out, fine. Organic reviews are best, but if you have to pay an influencer to take the time to review your product as opposed to reviewing somebody else's, then that's whatever it is. You need to know the rules ahead of time. You just try to hand somebody an envelope halfway through the process when they're unhappy, they may get feral on you real quick.

Dusey: Yeah, there's definitely ... they had a great opportunity to step out too. Ah, that is so-

Derek: He gave them an out. He 100% gave them an out. He's like, "I will walk away and do nothing." And they basically insulted his integrity and he went ham on them.

Dusey: Well that is it for this episode's Worst Business Ideas in History. This has been Dusey Van Dusen.

Derek: And I'm Derek Harju.

Dusey: And we'll see you next time.

Derek: Bye.

Dusey: Bye.

Derek: Keeping ever expanding client info straight, sending the same emails hundreds of times, scheduling and rescheduling appointments over and over, who enjoys this nonsense? No one except my cousin Brent and Brent is the absolute worst. Keap is the premier, all in one CRM. Just head over to keap.com. That's K-E-AP.com and start your free trial today. Get the busy work out of the way, so you can focus on what's important and make your small business grow with Keap. Start your free trial at keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com. More business, less work. That's Keap.

Derek: Okay, we're back from the break. I hope you guys enjoyed the segment. So we're talking with Tanya Moushi today. And Crystal, do you want to kick us off with a new topic?

Crystal: I was really excited to hear about your GECKO values and I think that's very important. But the other thing I was really wondering is expanding and being a solopreneur, from a lot of the business owners we've talked to, can feel a little bit lonely. So what do you do to reconnect with community and feel a little bit refreshed?

Tanya: Yeah, that's such a great point. And you could not be more right. In the last two weeks I've been in workshops, but the two weeks before that I was just working from my home office, strictly writing and having zero face time with anybody, and it wears. I personally am a pretty strong introvert, so that's actually how I get my energy. But where it's wearing for me is in how I grow. So that's kind of what I notice. It's really tough to grow without the sort of challenge that you get from being around other people who are hustling just as hard as you are and who are just as ambitious or more so. So, yeah, I mean, I do join coworking spaces and I'm also pretty intentional about just who I'm spending time with.

Crystal: Yeah. I think it's so important because small businesses everywhere, probably the people you're even working with, they can totally feel disconnected at times because they're moving on some big goals and big things. And I think it's important to take those breaks and reconnect and do whatever is going to keep you refreshed and moving forward. So I think that's good advice for all the business owners out there listening.

Tanya: And yeah. So for the longest time I was very skeptical about coaches. I really was. I just never took that industry very seriously. But I had read E-Myth by Michael Gerber, which is a great book, a really good business book. And I followed sort of their guidelines for a long time. And then I met a coach who ... she uses their practice and their methods, but I met her and I actually hired her on for about a year and a half. I really wasn't sure about it, but I can tell you as a woman in the entrepreneurial field, it was really nice to have support. I think about it like therapy, like you're venting and working with somebody who's not invested in you in that way. You know what I mean? Which is really nice.

Crystal: Yeah. Well, and it's similar to what you're doing because I think when you're close to something, you can have major blind spots. So having someone else maybe point out things that you're missing, that's actually exactly what you do a lot of the times is go in there and tell other people what they might be missing being too close to it or what are they forgetting about in terms of the way they're thinking, so I love that. I think it's so smart to work with coaches. I was just telling you earlier, I'm so sore for my trainer today. My whole body's just tired. But I think about would I do without that coach there? I'll tell you, it would have been a lot less productive. I mean, thank God for all the coaches.

Tanya: Right? Isn't it weird that you're like, "Why do I need somebody else to push me?" But it works. And so I stopped really caring about why and I'm just going with what works.

Crystal: That's great. That's awesome. And again, I think it's something useful that every entrepreneur out there should consider because it just helps you stay focused. I think a lot of entrepreneurs have the never ending collection of topics in their head or goals or next steps. It's hard to prioritize that. So would you have any tips for anyone out there if they're just getting started on how to prioritize and make steps to get to that solopreneur stage?

Tanya: Yes. Somebody told me this and it took me a while to swallow this idea, and it was basically to let some dreams go. I actually really loved that because I don't usually do that. Right? I have a list in a sauna of things that I'm doing right now. And then I have a someday maybe list and then I have a separate list for big goals, big dreams. But how to prioritize, if I'm being really honest, the world usually does it for me and not in a way that is making a decision for me, but in a way that aligns. So if for example, I really want to go to France and I do and I always want to go to France, I have to find a client that's out there and make sense of it.

Tanya: Sometimes that's an easier sort of path forward. Or if I'm trying to develop a business or if I'm helping somebody in their business design stage, I am really pushing them to look at what the market is saying and does what they want to contribute to the world right now make sense monetarily for them if they're going out and trying to build a business. And so a lot of people think that it's a head game when you're making these kinds of decisions. I actually don't think so. I've tried that and I had a professor in school that was really great. He gave us a whole list of ways to make decisions and statistical analysis and he's like, "This works across the board except with who you're going to marry, where you're going to live, and what you're going to do for a living."

Crystal: I feel that to a deep level. That's basically like all the things, right?

Tanya: It is, all the important things. It really is. I don't think it's that different. I think what you choose to focus on perhaps, so within your general decision. I think that is kind of market aligned, at least for me. It's the mix of market and value and getting really good at that Venn diagram of what sits in the middle of market on the left, value on the right, and wherever you can make money and do good in the center there is just where you're focusing.

Crystal: Well, as a female, I'm super impressed by you. But I kind of got sidetracked because Derek had some really important questions that he had on our outline, but I was dying to know just kind of how you do it and make it work. I know you're not pressuring you, but I'm just saying I totally got sidetracked. So I want to get back to some of your expertise about collaborative content. How does that process work and when you're working with your clients, how do you really make sure it still feels authentic to them, but helping them expand?

Tanya: That's a great question. I force them to think about what they're really good at and I really push them on what their brand promise is. So if somebody, for example, says they're all about transparency, I will push them to see how. I want to see how that's the case. And whenever they're creating content or if I'm helping them create content, if for whatever reason they're trying to maybe hide their process, I'll push back and say, "Is this part of your value? Is this part of the transparency value?" So it's tough for people because in order to make really great content, you have to be vulnerable, which is weird, right? To think about it as a business.

Crystal: Yeah. It's weird to think about it as a person sometimes.

Tanya: Absolutely think about it as a person. And so yeah, it's really my job, I feel like, to push them on who they are. I don't know if I can swear on this, but even if who there is an asshole. Use that because that's who you are.

Crystal: Yeah. That becomes your brand. If that's really who you are, then just lean into.

Tanya: [crosstalk 00:43:13] assholes out there.

Crystal: There are, I mean a lot of times they make you laugh, right? But I feel like be whoever you are, so it feels authentic and people know that's really who you are.

Derek: Yeah. Like Gordon Ramsey is a great example.

Tanya: Oh, God. He's such a great example.

Crystal: [crosstalk 00:43:27].

Derek: He is, but he's not a nice dude. He acts nicer on TV than he actually is.

Crystal: I don't know. When you see him with the kids, he's really [crosstalk 00:43:34] kid chefs.

Derek: He's really nice with the kids.

Tanya: Oh, he's so nice with the kids. I mean, but him and Simon, yeah. Both terrible assholes.

Crystal: Yeah, terrible.

Tanya: But true to themselves. And because of that we love them.

Crystal: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That's a great example, Derek. And now I kind of want to watch some Hell's Kitchen.

Derek: Yeah. Let me be very clear. I am a huge fan of Gordon Ramsey.

Crystal: How could you not be?

Derek: But if you want a fun rabbit hole, go look up his videos from before he was famous when they just did a documentary on him. You have never seen this mean a version of Gordon Ramsey. He doesn't care that the cameras are there.

Crystal: Only because the cameras bleep out every word.

Derek: Yeah. He basically tells one of his chefs, he's like, "You're a dishwasher now or you can go starve. I don't care."

Crystal: I'm so glad he hasn't looked at every single one of my tweets.

Derek: So we're getting towards the end and you've been very generous with your time. I was curious before we head out. As somebody who more or less gets to choose what they work on, what are some of the criteria for what you choose?

Tanya: Great question. That's a really good question. Really, it's usually somebody who ... it's either somebody, an expert in their field or an organization that is doing something that I believe in. So a recent client, for example, is somebody who wants to bring capital. So banking to the community and encourage more community banking, which I have seen the power of to build up local economies. There's a nonprofit that utilizes arts and design programs to really stir up their local communities in South Phoenix. So that's somebody that I am absolutely in line with. And then there are other organizations that are kind of bigger, but have a really good mission. So when you saw me, I was working on a really great vegan company, and they are the kind of vegans that don't push, which [inaudible 00:45:36]. But they do care about lifestyle choices and I love that.

Tanya: And I think that's really cool. So really, the product or service is what helps me decide the product. The product or service is one part of it. And then the founders and how committed they are. If they're doing this thing for the money, it's usually not going to pan out. Anytime somebody comes to me and they try to design a business, I'll say, "What are you doing this for?" And if they say money, I'll ask them, "Okay, what are you going to you use that money for?" I pushed them down this hole. The grand majority of great people to work with have some sort of greater reason as to why they're doing what they're doing. It could just be to spend more time with their kids, it could be because they believe in the product or service they're selling. But it's got to be something that lines up with me and I am in a really fortunate position to be able to pick that right now.

Crystal: Well, you definitely practice what you preach then because that's exactly what you're pushing your clients to do. So personally speaking, I think you make entrepreneurship look good. That's exactly what people should be thinking about, I think in terms of who they're working with or in terms of what they want their business to look like. I think you should care. Otherwise, you might as well work at a corporation.

Tanya: Yeah. And to be clear, I have nothing wrong with entrepreneurs. I actually really believe it for people, but I'm a big fan of making good really badass. And so if you can do that in the business world and as an entrepreneur, I'm all about it.

Crystal: Totally. I love that.

Derek: Very cool. Well I think with that we're going to wrap. Thank you so much for being here. It's always nice to see you, Tanya.

Tanya: Absolutely. It's a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Crystal: Thanks Tanya.

Derek: This has been Small Biz Buzz and we will talk to you guys later.

Crystal: Bye.

Derek: Thanks for listening to Small Biz Buzz. Please take a second to subscribe to the show and leave a five star rating. It helps keep the show going. And if you need a hand with growing your small business head over to keap.com. That's K-E-A-P.com and get started. More business, less work. That's Keap.

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