Season Two, Episode Three

Lessons Learned

In this episode of Yes But However, Kathy Fealy, Molly McBeath, and Betsy Muse discuss how we each have made changes to our business and lives based on the lessons we’ve learned in the trenches – and both Molly and Kathy learn a new networking technique based on Betsy’s insight.

Molly Kathy Betsy

About this Episode

In this episode of Yes But However, Kathy Fealy, Molly McBeath, and Betsy Muse discuss how we each have made changes to our business and lives based on the lessons we’ve learned in the trenches – and both Molly and Kathy learn a new networking technique based on Betsy’s insight.

People... Products... Places

In this episode, we mention the following:


Betsy Muse 0:20
In the group, even just said, Guys, I’m super shy, and people made a point to come up to me and talk to me, because I had said that because I had made that admission. And I had the best time.

Molly McBeath 0:35
But what if I should put that on my next name tag

Kathleen Fealy 0:40
prospective clients that are good to hang out. So I’m using shyness to your advantage and loving that ball. What in the world of Kathy Molly and Betsy discussing this week on yes but however, You know, it’s odd gets rid of colleagues now three friends together, who like to discuss, marketing, the joys and challenges of running a business and balancing life. And the result is a conversation on lessons learned. And we’d love to know your, if I only know moments.

Molly McBeath 1:17
Man, this sounds deep,

Kathleen Fealy 1:18
deep, we want to intrigue people that’s why we do these things.

Molly McBeath 1:25
Now, yeah, instant solemnity. Well, so, when I think about lessons learned with my business, there are few things that popped to mind. One is something that a friend of mine said to me, long ago, I think when I first went off on my own and she said. Freelancing is not for the faint of heart. And I didn’t quite know what she meant by that, but I get it now. Just, I think that when you start off, it’s a little bit like parenting in that you don’t really know what you’re getting into. To run your own business and so you just don’t realize how many roles you’re going to have to play how many new jobs or new skills you’re going to need, and how to find those new skills, as we’ve talked about on an on another podcast, dealing with feast and famine cycles. And so it’s, it’s much harder than, then the than its image, I mean, freelancing especially if you, if you want to call it that. Freelancing has a very happy. Easygoing casual image. But it’s hard work. It’s really hard work to be a successful freelancer. And I think that a lot of the friends family and neighbors of mine don’t really get it because if they’ve never if they’ve always had a job and somebody else has always brought in the money and they just had to show up and do their work and then they got paid and they got insurance, hopefully, and they had it there. Somebody else paid for their office supplies and got them a new computer when they needed it and all and dealt with their IT problems and everything that goes along with it. They don’t realize how much work it is when you have to do all that yourself. So that’s the first thing that jumps into my mind what’s the first thing jumps in your mind, Kathy.

Kathleen Fealy 3:34
I think it was actually after running my business for a while. I learned that when someone asked me if I was interested in a project that the best lesson I learned was to get them on a call and talk to them about the project for good 15 to 30 minutes to find out actually what their expectations were, how they saw the project because what they might think they needed was not necessarily what they really needed. And it also gave me a chance to learn about their temperaments. And what if they were going to be someone who is going to be a kind of person I would want to work with. Were they going to be, you know, reasonable we’re dealing for what I do I deal a lot with technology. There are times you cannot control technology. And so, you know, just because somebody wants you to be able to control it doesn’t mean that it’s gonna magically occur. So it’s, I’ve learned to really pre vet, my or vet, my clients ahead of time and that was a lesson I learned because I had had some nightmare clients, and it was mainly because our expectations were different, going in, and this allowed me to, you know, it really was a good learning session, the other valuable thing I learned when I was talking to clients was, I had a few that started out telling me about the person they had hired before and would start cursing and swearing about that person, and that was a huge red flag, and the one time the person basically started yelling a lot during the conversation. And I said, I want you to stop right now, I am not on the phone call for you to berate somebody else that I do not know, and also for you to use that language, or that tone with me, and he was like, well, that’s just the way I am and I’m like, well, then we’re not going to be a good fit. And he went to hang up, and I was hanging up. He didn’t disconnect, and he started talking to other people and started saying oh no, like, she’s like this and just started going off and that just hit me like a week later and so I’d like to work with you, but I heard everything. Your,

Molly McBeath 6:05
your inner gut about your about red flags.

Yeah, is really I think one of the lessons that was difficult for me I mean I was in business for decades before the internet. So I had my own business, and, you know, we didn’t have constant in your face, marketing, from gurus, I mean it’s, you know, to learn anything you joined business groups. Women in Business and local, you know you’re just attended local meetings or you went to the library, you know that’s that’s what we had, we didn’t have email we didn’t have other modern niceties, but one of the things that happens when you bring your business online is all of a sudden, all of these gurus telling you how to do everything. And really, it’s not that they’re experts is really good at marketing, there’s an awful lot of just pure T crap out there, Sorry guys, sorry for the foul language. And, and what I’ve learned is you know, I, my, I know enough to structure my own business. I listened too much to people. When I already been in business for decades. I just needed to learn how to use the internet need advice on running my business. But I listened to too many people that I shouldn’t have. And I think that, you know, one of my, the first lessons that I learned when I brought my business online is that I needed to listen to myself, I needed to listen to my own gut instinct, and the knowledge that I had gained already in life and in having my own business before bringing it online.

Kathleen Fealy 8:03
You know the other thing I think I learned which I actually learned during my corporate jobs as well as my own business is to take the time to thank people that have helped you, and who, you know, even to thank a client for like if they had some, you know feedback for you to thank them for taking the time to let you know that if you work with an outside person and they did a good job. Tell them that they did a good job and if they were immediate like especially if they were freelancers that you brought into work with a client, and they did. Part of the job to recognize their efforts in front of the client, so that you gave them credit for what they did, and I think that has paid off in business tremendously for me, because you get more loyalty from people. And, I mean everybody wants to be appreciated for what they’ve done, But it’s been amazing to me and my business career, how few people take that extra time to, you know, provide feedback or to say thank you.

Betsy Muse 9:15
Once Kathy is don’t take someone else’s idea and say it as if it’s your own you. We’ve all been in big groups, big educational groups or training groups or whatever and I see it all the time. It’s, it’s crazy they’ll, they’ll hear something in the Slack channel or read something in the Slack channel or something on a zoom call, and all of a sudden I see that, you know, I’ll see it on their social media feed, but they aren’t quoting the person they heard it from, they’re saying it as if they’re saying it, I’m like, you know, if you want to subcontract for people if you want to work with senior copywriters or seniors in your field if you want people to hire you. Don’t take their words, or someone else’s words and claim them as your own.

Molly McBeath 10:15
Yeah, I think, to combine those two ideas. For me it’s been almost revelatory to be really upfront with clients, which I think when I was younger I didn’t have the confidence to do, and to just say, I don’t know anything about that. I’ve never done that before. Yes, I think I could handle it on, I don’t think I’m the right person for that. And or to say look, I’ve got this other thing going on my life, whether it’s a project or a family problem or some other deal is going on. And so that’s going to be an issue and I could. I’m happy to talk to you about how we should handle that, but I mean, those were the kinds of things that I wouldn’t tell clients about and I’ve seen people recently even there was a guy who put really fun video actually on LinkedIn about not telling the client what it’s really like to do the job. But, and I don’t mean that that I’m advocating for complaining to a client about the work that you take for them but I think you need to be honest with them so that they understand what what your situation is, and, and find out, up, upfront if, you know, because otherwise it’s a huge red flag. If there’s somebody that you can work with. Are they going to accept you as being a human being, or are you a cog in a wheel for them.

Yeah and I think as you said, if nothing wrong with saying, I’m not sure I know how to do that, but let me look into it and get back to you. There is never any you cannot know everything, and then I’ve been amazed at how many people are like, well, you must know this about social media and it’s like, that’s not my strong suit, you know, I have it in my strategies and stuff but I can find out for you how we might be able to do it, or we may need to talk to somebody else to do it. And you’re right, Molly, it took a long time be able to say that because it was a confidence thing because you wanted to look like the expert to your client.

And to go back to the idea of feast and famine, you know, if you’re desperate to get more work in. And so you say yes to a lot of things in something, and that can be good, you know, to be willing to experiment and try new things develop new skills. But, but to be upfront about whether or not you. How much skill you really have in this area so that everybody’s comfortable with what you’re taking on. So that if things don’t go well then it’s not a huge problem later. I think that has been very helpful to just be able to say that to clients.

I think the other thing that this came up with just when Betsy was saying about people taking IDs and stuff like this. It’s not quite the same thing but for some reason it just this popped up into my head is that, I don’t know if you guys have experienced this, but when I’ve gone to various business functions etc and you have a name tag on etc. You can watch people scanning name tags to see if you’re worth the conversation. Yep, I have always found it interesting because you know I’m not one of those people that do scan to see if it’s worth it because I have learned in my life that you never know who you’re going to meet and who they know what information they have in just general life that you might learn from them. You know, every contact, be a very very good contact, and I think that that was a lesson not to. I’ve learned, I’ve met some people who have made part of their business, like and if they sent their, you know somebody that represents them, they had this whole like list of like to teach actually pick the right people to speak to. And I just think it’s always about building relationships and, again, the fact that you can, you know, selling who may not be a fit for your business might be a great resource for some other part of your life. And so I think that was a big lesson to learn. Because in the beginning. Also, it was hard to be to watch people scan name tags and know that you were probably not the person they were going to stop to talk to, because you didn’t have a big name on your tag.

I love going conferences and having people look at my name tag and walk past me. Well, we’ve both learned something about each other right now, haven’t we,

I am, I am not an in person, kind of person I am not only an introvert I am painfully shy. And so when I go when I’m in a crowd, I’m in a big group, I’m usually holding the wall up, I just do not like to mingle, my efforts at small talk range from absolutely embarrassingly hilarious to mortifying. I am terrible at it. I am almost always going to say something wrong. And so I tend to introduce myself that way, you know I just tell people right up front, I suck at this. And so, I try to avoid it at all costs. I don’t like it at all. I love going to conferences because I love learning. It’s the people. It’s like, can I do,

Kathleen Fealy 15:55
I knew I had shown up at the same conference, I know we would have run into each other because I always looked at the people against the wall because those are my people,

Molly McBeath 16:06
that when you go into the lunch area. It’s like being in the high school lunch period again.

You look around like, oh, there’s these themselves and then go sit with them.

Betsy Muse 16:18
Well I’ll tell you one of the conferences that I went to is back in 2019, and y’all know cure hug and Rob Marsh they run the copywriter club, and they have an in person, event. The copywriter club in real life. Now, obviously it’s all copywriters. And so they set up, they did this just beautifully. They set up a Facebook group just for the people who were attending and we could all do things like get rides together from the airport, and things like that. And so shy little me, I wound up hooking up with people to ride from the airport to the hotel and I in the group, even just said, Guys, I’m super shy, and people made a point to come up to me and talk to me, because I had said that because I had made it. And I had the best time.

Molly McBeath 17:14
But what if I should put that on my next name tag. I never thought of that, but that’s a great idea.

Betsy Muse 17:21
But you know I think that with a group like that, because they have a community, and that so this, this convention or summit or conference or whatever was built up around their community, it made it easier for me to introduce myself like that and let people know Hey guys, I’m super awkward that I’ll be there. It’s a lot harder when you don’t have, you know, you don’t have prior access to other attendees, so that you can start meeting people online before you actually show up in person, maybe that’s an idea for our next in person event that I’m sure we’re gonna plan someday.

Kathleen Fealy 18:04
Nope, we don’t. And we could actually all meet each other in person for the first time. Because we’ve all been virtual all of our lives with each other.

Molly McBeath 18:16
One of the ways that I handle that is I tend to volunteer, I asked somebody to give me a job, especially this I tend to volunteer at conferences I will literally go to the conference organizer and say, Is there a task that I could do, you know, do you need somebody who’s going to like take pictures during the speaker’s event, or do you need somebody who’s, you know, hand handing out something, or guiding people telling them which room to go to, you know, during the interval time changes between presentations, stuff like that, and they usually do have a job, and that can be quite helpful. So that has been a nice lesson learned, of if. If you are an introvert, and find it hard to get to know people and you’re walking into a situation cold. It is easier if you’re the person handing out the brochures.

Yeah. I think for me the lesson learned from all of this is that there’s nothing wrong with just admitting up front, that this is who you are, instead of trying to pretend someone I’m not. Yeah, you know, It’s just easier to say guys I’m shy. I don’t like this, I love it, it’s really funny, it’s like I don’t like it but I love it.

I do like Molly’s idea though putting the Im shy on the nametag. That could work really well. tiaz MaineCare Becca, really well.

I’m gonna try that, because I really liked that idea in meetings yeah new strategy quite one other lesson learned that I really do want to share, which occurred to me as I was thinking about this when I went for a bike ride this morning, of one of the things that I did not take seriously enough. And you’re gonna hear people hear about it all over the place, but I think it’s really important when you run your own business, get more. I did not take seriously enough. My ability to make good decisions is very affected by the quality and quantity of sleep that I get. And so I am a much more effective, much happier, healthier person, much more productive. If I get a reasonable amount of sleep and I put sleep at the very end of the line for a long time and I don’t do it anymore and I think that’s another reason why my business has been much more successful I’m much happier in my business than I was for a really long time, because I had the energy for it.

That’s good. I like that. I should do that more. I should, I know I know everybody here knows that my two lessons left on my list are First off, bill on time, people are much more likely to pay you if you build timely versus if you wait months to build them, just because you ran out of time to build them so find the time to build people on time, and also pay people on time because people appreciate that. And the other thing I’ve learned is to lob the ball. And what I mean by that is that when you are getting in a project and you think you have to get all of this swipe from A to C finished, well maybe while you’re doing a question arises or you can do a little bit, and somebody can approve it. So what I call it you love the ball over into their court, so that they get a chance to then respond to you, and sometimes a response, actually answers a whole bunch more questions that you would have had coming up, so I’ve learned to take my projects and not treat them as, as in such large chunks, or to like take smaller chunks and lob it over to the next person for review, approval, comments, etc.

And I think that’s really smart. Yeah, breaking it down into the smallest pieces possible and then you can constantly be moving it forward is really helpful.

Absolutely. Well, I will just go ahead. My biggest lesson learned, and it does touch back with something that Kathy said when we’re talking about in person events but it is that the internet is a big wide world, and you need to treat people with kindness. I, I have always tried to do that. And I’ve watched when others haven’t. And it can come back to bite you. You never know. As Kathy said who you’re talking with and how they might be able to help you down the road. And, and you know it, especially if you’re working with someone, if you’re collaborating with someone, you know, always have your close friends that you can vent to, so that you can get back to a more centered peaceful calm that you can treat people with kindness, because yeah we all have those stressful moments where we might lash out and maybe say something that we shouldn’t. So definitely have your sounding boards available. But yeah, it’s a big world, the internet’s a big place, but you know what, it can be awfully, awfully small.

Kathleen Fealy 26:41
Oh, and definitely if you ever read an email because you’re sort of in a bad mood, don’t send it until the next day, you have time to reread it.

Molly McBeath 26:52
Yeah, choose your sounding boards carefully.

Yeah, choose your sounding boards carefully but always aim for kindness, Yes. Yeah,

I agree. Now, I’m wondering if we want to ask people to send us their lessons learned because I would love that would be so fun to read other people’s top lessons, so please send them in at yes but however podcast Comm, so that what is our email honkers

Kathleen Fealy 27:19
talkers. Yes, but however podcast, calm. I forgot. This has been yes but however I’m Cathy theory was my co host Betsy Muse and Molly Macbeth. This episode was written, edited and produced by the three of us, our theme music is tourist info Tukana, which is available through audio hero. The show’s website where we post show notes, transcripts, and more information about us, it can be found at yes but however podcast dot com. You can contact us through the website or email us at talkers at yes but however podcast dot com. Thanks for listening. It’s time for the disclaimer, the information opinions and recommendations presented in yes but however, are general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this podcast is done at your own risk. No part of this podcast should be considered professional advice.


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This episode is sponsored by our businesses – McBeath Communications, KF Multimedia, and Rocket Fuel Strategy. We are quite literally putting our “money” where our mouths are!

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