Ep 21 – That’s a Wrap For Season 1!

This episode marks the end of Season 1 of our show. We’ll back later in 2015 with more business owners and more conversations. I want to thank everyone who has tuned in during Season 1. If you want to stay in touch during the off-season, you can:

If you have ideas or feedback you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thanks for listening!


Ep 20 – Desiree Adaway – How people and organizations evolve

Desiree Adaway

“For an organization to really evolve and grow, you have to have the new voices really be represented. And that’s younger people, that’s brown people. Class is another area we have to really be conscious of. Not everyone goes to college. Actually, in this country very few people go to college. And that demographic is never heard from. And so how are we making sure we’re hearing everyone’s voice, and the people who are not in that room.”

Welcome to the Indie Consultants Podcast. In this episode I chat with Desiree Adaway. Desiree is the founder of The Adaway Group, a consultancy that helps non-profits create lasting change, inside and outside of their organizations. In this episode Desiree and I chat about leadership, diversity and organizational change.


Ep 19 – Scott Sehlhorst – How To Build The Perfect Services For Your Clients

Scott Sehlhorst

“If you lose focus on a single group – a single audience with a single intent – you’re not going to end up winning. And the argument I use when I’m working with folks is, I say: Every sale happens independently. Your revenue number happens one deal at a time. And at any one of those given deals, that customer could be faced with two products to consider. One that tries to do everything for everyone, which means you have to make a bunch of tradeoffs, which means you’re not the best product for anyone. Or there’s a product that somebody else, a competitor of yours, has created targeted very specifically at that person and it’s perfect for them. So they’re choosing a product that’s perfect for them, and a product that’s kind of pretty good for everyone. Which one are they going to choose?”

Welcome to the Indie Consultants Podcast. In this episode I chat with Scott Sehlhorst. Scott is the founder of Tyner Blain, a product management and strategy consultancy that’s served clients like Zappos, HP and Dell. In this episode Scott and I chat about how small business owners can build better services by applying the product management techniques used by the world’s leading tech companies.


Ep 18 – Debbie Weil – There’s Nothing Stopping You From Writing Your Book

Debbie Weil

“There is nothing stopping you from either fulfilling this dream of writing a short book because it’s been on your bucket list forever. Or doing it because you think it will take your business in a new direction. Or because secretly you’ve always wanted to do workshops and you know if you have this book in the back of the room or you were able to slap the book on the desk of a CEO and say ‘look, I want to do workshops for your company,’ that it would give you the credibility and intellectual heft to do it.”

In this episode I chat with Debbie Weil. Debbie is an author, book coach and publisher. She’s the founder of Voxie Media, a boutique publishing services company specializing in Big Ideas. Short Books™ for business and non-fiction authors.

Debbie’s the author of The Corporate Blogging Book. She’s been blogging since 2003.

In this episode Debbie and I chat about why business owners should (and shouldn’t) write books, and the nuts and bolts of the book writing and publishing process.


Ep17 – Clay Hebert – Which Business Model Is Right For You?

Clay Hebert

I’ve made this mistake big time, not as much around consulting but around speaking. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in the last 5 or 10 years is, every time I’d get a speaking gig I’d work with the conference organizer, and they would say “what are you going to speak on?” And I was like “let’s figure that out, let’s work together”…Obviously, Gary [Vaynerchuk] and Seth [Godin], and the people who do it over and over and over, give versions of the same talk and customize 20% of it. I was customizing 95% of it. What happens is you don’t get very good at giving the same talk. What you were saying about consulting, I’ve had that problem with speaking. And it’s even hard now. My knee jerk reaction when I get a gig is “let’s figure out what the talk should be,” and then I slap myself and say “here are my six talks. I propose C for you.” And everybody wins. They don’t want a customized talk. They want your best talk.
-Clay Hebert

Welcome to the Indie Consultants podcast. In this episode I chat with Clay Hebert. Clay’s the founder of crowdfundinghacks.com and one of the top thought leaders in the crowdfunding space. In this episode Clay and I chat about:

  • Business models – The various business models for consultants: the agency model, the solo model, the course/product model.
  • Success and failure – Why modest success is much more likely than either large scale failure or large scale success.
  • The right clients – How to finding the right clients for your business.
  • Customized services – Why it’s so hard to provide custom services.

For folks that want to learn more about marketing and crowdfunding, Clay has generously provided some free crowdfunding resources to the listeners of the Indie Consultants podcast. You can find them at crowdfundinghacks.com/ticp


Ep 16 – Charlie Gilkey – The Small Business Lifecycle

charlie gilkey

“There are two reasons why you need a standard service offering. One reason is so during your sales process you actually know what you’re talking about. The second reason is so people can promote you.”

Welcome to the Indie Consultants Podcast. I’m Brian Shea and in this episode I chat with Charlie Gilkey. Charlie is the founder of Productive Flourishing, a growth and strategy consultancy for small businesses. In this episode Charlie and I discuss the small business lifecycle and how it helps business owners take the right steps at the right time.


Ep 15 – Jules Taggart – How To Really Listen To Your Customers

Jules Taggart

“Everybody is shouting. Every single person I know, or I’m listening to, or I’m trying to ignore on the Internet is shouting. And I think the people who I’m more interested in right now are the people who are really listening well.”

Welcome to the Indie Consultants Podcast. My name is Brian Shea and in this episode I chat with Jules Taggart. Jules is the founder of amp&pivot, a marketing firm that helps businesses create meaningful connections with their customers. In this episode Jules and I chatted about:

  • how Jules structured her business to put her family first.
  • why community is such a big part of Jules’ business.
  • why building meaningful connections means less shouting and more listening.


Ep 14 – Emilie Wapnick – A New Way To Define Your Niche


“That’s the problem with the 10,000 hour rule. It discourages people from learning and trying things and experimenting and following their curiosity. And I think that’s a horrible thing.”

We’ve all heard the advice that business owners need to define a niche in order to run a successful business. And we usually think of a niche as a narrow specialization. Emilie Wapnick doesn’t see it like that. Instead of thinking of a niche as a narrow focus, Emilie believes that a business owner can define a niche by integrating a number of different interests and activites.

Emilie is the founder of Puttylike. A community of multipotentialtes: renaissance people who are incorporating their various interests into their lives and work. Emilie and I chatted about:

  • how business owners can integrate their various activities into their story.
  • why being effective may be a better goal than being the best.
  • why personality assessments, like Myers Briggs, aren’t useful for everyone.


Ep 13 – How Alaia Williams built a successful conference.

Alaia Williams

“I think the At The Helm conference is unique. But sometimes I’ll see similar things and get a little rattled and wonder if there’s space for what I’m doing because other people are doing something similar. But I still get that feedback from people that “wow, I haven’t been to anything like this” or “wow, this was different” or “I got a lot out of this.” Which shows me that there definitely is the room and there needs to be more of it.”

Welcome To The Indie Consultants Podcast. I’m Brian Shea. In this episode I chat with Alaia Williams. Alaia is the founder of lots of amazing stuff. She started a company called One Organized Business. She’s the founder of the At The Helm Women in Biz conference, and she’s the co-host of the funniest podcast on the Internet, the 18 to 49 Show. In this conversation, Alaia and I talked about:

  • How she built her conference: How in a few years her conference went from a 4-person meetup to a community of hundreds.
  • How she pivoted her business during the recession: Alaia talked about how she completely changed her business during the recession of 2008. When her target market of homeowners began to tighten during the downturn, she started working with business owners instead and continued to grow.
  • How to find unique opportunities: Alaia uses a philosophy of “Don’t Recreate The Wheel” to find unmet needs in the market.  
  • “People are tired of being sold to”: Why people are tired of being sold to, and what we can do about it as biz owners.


Ep 12 – “The struggle doesn’t mean you’re failing, the struggle is actually what success looks like.”

Brian Shea

In this episode, I give a recap of a few of the lesson I learned from doing the show in 2014. Enjoy!

I got the idea to launch this show in October. And I wanted to do the show because in the 6 months prior, I kept having these wonderful conversations with fellow business owners. And the conversations we were having about entrepreneurship were so much richer than the entrepreneurship articles that I was reading. I felt like lots of the articles I was reading presented a set of conventional wisdoms that felt tired and overly simplistic. So that’s why I started the podcast. I’ve learned a lot from doing the podcast so far, I hope you’ve learned from listening to the show too.

There were a few themes that emerged from the podcast that I want to share today.

Lesson 1: Running a Business is Messier than We Expect

From the conversations that I was having with my fellow business owners, I got a dynamic real world view of entrepreneurship. It was messier. It was tougher than what was described in the books. Not tougher because it required heroic action (the entrepreneur press was full of heroic stories), it was tougher because it required more patience, more prioritization and execution of the unsexy but effective work day after day. Achieving modest results that build on themselves slowly but surely over time. While the entrepreneur press was talking about home runs and grands slams, the real world was all about batting singles. That’s how I had always felt in my business and from doing this show I realized that other business owners were having the same experience.

Lesson 2: There are Business Fundamentals But No Clear Right or Wrong Answers

Another theme was that there are no clear cut right or wrong answers. What worked for one successful business owner doesn’t necessarily work for another. Our businesses are all unique: we serve differently people, offer different products, the cultures of our markets are different. Each one of us is unique. The only way to know what works for your business is to try it out. There may be business fundamentals but very few clear right or wrong answers.

Lesson 3: Everyone – EVERYONE – is Struggling in One Way or Another. That’s Part of the Deal.

This business ownership thing is hard. And there is no magical hurdle that you clear whereafter running a business becomes easy, or safe. I found that myself and others had a tendency to look at the biz people we idolized and think they had moved beyond the struggling part of entrepreneurship. That they had earned enough money or fame where they could just create, without any fear or risk. That doesn’t really happen. It’s likely that whoever your business hero is, she is struggling with the same challenges that you are. Most business owners are.

It might feel like you’re struggling in your business, but that’s actually what success looks and feels like

So far, this post might sound like a depressing rant about business ownership: it’s tougher and messier than people think; there are no clear cut right or wrong answers; there’s no promise land where everything is just perfect. It sounds kind of depressing, right? The funny thing is: these realizations have made me a much happier business owners. It basically taught me this: the stuff that I’m struggling with: it’s normal. There are other smart, ambitious, hard working entrepreneurs out there working through the same stuff. The struggle doesn’t mean you’re failing, the struggle is actually what success looks like.

I want to leave you with a couple quotes that captures these themes well.

The first is a quote from Rachel Rodgers from episode 3 of this podcast:

Rachel Rodgers

“To know that there are other people that experience the same thing and that you’re supposed to be experiencing this. This is what it is supposed to feel like, this is what a growing business feels like.”

The second quote is from Mark Silver from his recent appearance on The Creative Giants Show:

Mark Silver

“I just want people to be gentle with themselves. I know if you’re listening to this you don’t lack in stick-to-it-ive ness. You don’t lack in terms of pushing. You don’t lack in terms of wanting and desire to get it done. No matter how many times you call yourself lazy and call yourself bad and call yourself not good enough, all of those are just voices. Every time. I’ve seen tens of thousands of entrepreneurs come though and every single one of them without exception – seriously, seriously – is there for the work. And what you’re needing more than anything is the gentleness so you know you’re in this for the long term and you’re not going to burn yourself out.”

That’s a wonderful place to end 2014 and start 2015. Peace.