Three Lessons in Business | Radical Transparency | Podcast S2E1

Welcome back into Permission to Leap. Season Two kicks off with radical transparency and a conversation about commitment to finding true flow in business. 

In this re-establishing episode, I share the new tone for my business and this show… and talk about how we managed to weather 2021 and come out on top. 

Specifics in this show: 

  • How to Learn how to identify when things get complicated in business
  • Why Creating pivot points in  business to enable FLOW and flexibility (launch without launching) is essential
  • The number one thing business owners are still misunderstanding

Resources: 

Get 77 Story Prompts for Free here

Download Permission to Leap the eBook

Take the Story Framework Masterclass

Watch the Show on YouTube


Transcript of the episode

[00:00:00] So it’s been a while. Things have certainly changed since we last spoke here on permission to leap. But like, have they really changed? Let’s look at this in context. We are barreling ever closer to a new year. Yet again. And for many of us, it just feels like deja vu all over again.

But I’m not going to beat around the bush. I felt personally, I don’t know about you, but I felt personally like 2020 was at the time. The most challenging year of my life. I was having a baby. I was growing a business. I was renovating my kitchen. It was the middle of a global pandemic. I thought for sure. Things couldn’t get any more challenging. And then the calendar clicked over to 2021. And things on the surface started to subside. Things on the surface, looked like everything was going swimmingly.

[00:01:00] 

But if I’m being honest with you and you know that I am about radical transparency. I personally found 2021 to be more of a doozy than 2020. I don’t know if it was just the cumulative effect of the exhaustion. Or the sinking realization that nothing will ever go back to the way it was. But it was a doozy. It was the year. That changed everything. 

And if you know me, you know, that I create. Based on inspiration, but mostly when it comes to my business and when it comes to my strategic creation. I do it based on flow. And if you’ve ever worked with me, you know, that, that’s what we talk about. And that being on a microphone. Podcasting radio television. You know, this is my ultimate flow state. And all

[00:02:00] of last year. The last half of 2020 while the last quarter of 2020, right through until now, October of 2021. I sat and waited for the flow to kick back in. As I was being hurled lesson after lesson, after lesson in business. In life. And in strategy. I was asking the universe to give me a sign. A reason to leap. Back into permission to leap again. And the time is now. So the mission moving forward is to continue what we started back in episode one, season one, which if you have not yet checked out season one, I’m going to give you permission to stop this podcast right now and go back and listen to the first podcast season that we did last year. 

But we’re going to reassert our

[00:03:00] commitment to radical transparency. To real life business, talk to serious opportunity creation and commitment to elevating our lives through both story. And strategy. Now, in this particular episode, I want to devote it to honoring all the things that have changed and the big lessons that have come out of the last year. By the way I’m Erin Trafford, digital entrepreneur, mentor, and strategist. And this podcast is your invitation to dig in question your beliefs and propel yourself forward. This show. It’s all me sharing my true to life. Authentic, no BS approach to business building. And I promise to share with you the reality of what it takes to turn your ideas into profit and your passion. Into a business. 

So let’s talk about what’s changed. First of all, let’s just be obvious about it. You [00:04:00] can now find us on YouTube. Whoever thought I’d be doing my podcast on the YouTube so you can actually see me. Now, which is sort of weird. It’s a weird dynamic for me, but let’s go with it. If you want to find us on YouTube now. You can do that. And I would encourage you to subscribe over there as well as to the podcast feed. We also have a brand new website over at erintrafford.com. Designed and created by the incredible Stephanie McKnight at Tidal Design. And if you would like to know Stephanie, please reach out. I will put you in touch with her, her designs. Are impeccable. I love our new logo so much. I told her that I want to tattoo it on my body.

So I would encourage you to have a look over at ErinTrafford.com. If you haven’t been there in a while, things look very different. There’s a whole new blog. There’s a bunch of new free resources. There’s all kinds of stuff over there. From me on the personal side, what happened in the last year? Let’s just, you know, do the rundown. My baby is close to walking now.

So the [00:05:00] last time we finished this podcast, she was brand new. She was very little. Um, I think I was still probably breastfeeding and she’s in daycare now. My older daughter is now in what we call big girl school. So that’s been a huge shift in our lives in terms of the way we manage our time and our energy, because my Workday is now a bit shorter than it used to be. Over the last year we have launched at Erin Trafford Story and Strategy. A bunch of new programs. Um, the, the first one was a group VIP program that we called The Simple Story Solution. All about how to master the art of storytelling. Probably one of my favorite programs that I have ever created an offered. We also created this beautiful program called Stories for a Year. Which you can find on ErinTrafford.com right now, which is kind of the coolest concept.

It came out of a lot of my [00:06:00] clients saying the following. I really just wish that, like I had you in my ear, like once a week to tell me what to write. So instead of being in your ear, well, I guess I am back in your ear now that I’m back on the podcast, but stories for a year, since you curated content strategies. Uh, and content prompts to your inbox once a week. To keep you in action and connected to your story. As well as your strategy, there’s a bunch of other masterclasses and workshops and all kinds of stuff in that program. It’s a cute little package. I stinking love it. So we launched that this year as well. And it did really, really well. We’ll talk about how we launched all of these things in other episodes, but I’m just giving you an overview here. So we did simple story solution. We’ve got stories for a year. And then we’ve got this other thing that’s happening in my life.

Where. In the spring of 2021. I want to say on a Lark, but I think we’re going to say based on divine intervention over time, [00:07:00] just continuously returning my gaze to this being where I needed to go with growing my business is that I launched. A production company. With my dad. It is an arm of Erin Trafford, Inc. It’s called story studio network. And we produce. Branded content podcasts for our clients. Because for those of you who don’t know, my dad and I combined have about 65 years of experience producing. Radio television and podcasts. The combination of the two of us. It’s a bit of a powerhouse team. So we kind of took all that power and fueled it into one arm of our business.

And I thought it was just going to be this slow burn, this fun, cute little side hustle that we had going on and very quickly. It grew to be a significant portion of what we now do at Erin Trafford[00:08:00] Story and Strategy. So, you know, I really have these two arms of my business now where we have the, the consultancy side where we run our programs and our group programs. And I work with people one-on-one. And then we have the production side where if you are ready to jump into doing, you know, a branded podcast or some sort of audio production, you go over to the pre production house.

And that’s where we can work with you at a very, very high and deep level. So it really was kind of. I say unexpected and it was a doozy, not because I don’t. Appreciate the results. And I don’t love the work. I absolutely love it. It’s like my joy getting to. I work with clients and produce their podcasts and create that kind of content strategy. But. From my energy perspective, 2021 just felt like this was the year of shifting and clarifying. And sometimes that can be. Challenging. [00:09:00] Right. I had to let a lot of things go in order to create the space for these new programs to come to fruition for new clients, to come into the fold and for story studio to really take up the space. It needs to be as successful as we know that it’s going to be. So. Here. I find myself now at the end of October.

And that’s why I think I’m finally ready to jump back into permission to leap, because I feel like I have some perspective on what happened over the last year that I can now share it with you. I. I wasn’t able to share it with you while I was going through it. You know what I mean? So let’s just talk about some of the lessons that I learned over the last year. Now the first one. He seems sort of obvious. But I want to share it with you because a lot of my clients fall victim to this and I’d call them out on this all the time. 

 I had to learn to not let things get complicated. [00:10:00] And this is one of those things where, when it’s you, it’s really hard to see the forest for the trees. And I’ll explain to you how this lesson came to be. There was one day. It was probably about June or July. And I had just, you know, come through launching simple story solution and we did it using the live launch method. We learned a lot about launching using that method. And I will share that with you in an upcoming episode. But we launched that. And then we very quickly brought stories for a year to market. And then very quickly after that story studio network started to get traction.

And this all happened within, I want to say about 10 or 11 weeks. So it was a very short timeframe for all of these things to have happened back to back to back. But I woke up one day. And all of a sudden it dawned on me that my business itself let alone my content strategy, my messaging, all of those things felt extremely complicated. I was having a [00:11:00] really hard time. Explaining to anyone, let alone myself. What I was doing anymore because I was doing so many things. So it was complicated on the messaging level. But it was also complicated on a backend level, on an operational level. There was, we had a lot of programs that we had purchased a lot of what I want to call tech solutions. It’s not my wheelhouse, but like tech solutions that weren’t actually solving things. They were causing more problems than they were fixing. Um, there were a lot of issues with things not fully being tracked. Now this was probably a symptom of the fact that the company was moving so quickly. That. All of a sudden, I guess what dawned on me is that things were complicated where they didn’t need to be complicated and simplifying was going to help us move forward. In a more streamlined way.

So what that actually [00:12:00] resulted in. Is, um, We created Story Studio Newtork, its own website. So now, you know, it’s a very clearly delineated. Business arm of my business. So if I don’t feel like I need to talk about it, I do not have to talk about it. So on a messaging standpoint, we got much clearer. You can come to me for strategy consultancy and content strategy. Over here. If you need to operate at a different level and you are specifically interested in podcasting go to the network. This is where we will funnel you, right. Funnel you through to this service. So that got easier. On the tech side, we dropped a lot of really expensive tech solutions that I just didn’t think were helping us. One of the ones we’re in the middle of right now is we’re migrating our programs over to. A more simple, more cost-effective platform. It’s taking us a few months. It’s not done yet, but that’s [00:13:00] one of the things that we’re doing. Another thing I did was I hired a contractor to help build a couple strategic solutions that my team was not capable of building on their own. And then the last thing that we did was we started really, really creating strong systems and tracking within our own company. That we stick to all the time so that if I’m out of commission or, you know, one of my team members is out of commission.

There’s an easy way to solve a problem. All of that took time, effort and commitment, but it’s so much simpler now. Everything in one place. No complicated tech funnels. Very simple messaging. So the lesson I learned very quickly was when things feel complicated, they probably are look for the simple solution. The next thing that I learned is, and this would be point number two is to create pivot points. Because the business started shifting so [00:14:00] rapidly. And I say that it sounds like I say that, and it’s a bad thing. It was a brilliant thing. My God, I have never felt better about how I’m showing up and how I’m serving my clients in my life. This felt amazing. It just happened really fast. But what I learned is that if you are in a business that does not allow for opportunity, IE flexibility for. Your creative impulses to lead you. You’re gonna feel hamstrung. So. What do I mean by this in context, if I had sat there in January of 2021 and plotted out every single aspect of my business until. December. I would have been, had a very hard time creating the momentum that I did this year. The reason I was able to harness the momentum and the opportunity as messy as it felt in the middle was because I created pivot points and flexibility in my content flow. Right.

The [00:15:00] other thing that, that let me do is in August, when I took a vacation guys, I took a vacation for an entire month. I went offline. It was amazing. Is it allowed me to pivot to offering a program I hadn’t offered since 2019. And then selling it out with no effort because I created a pivot point in my business in the summer when I thought, okay. I had a plan for Q1. Q2 everything changed. So I based my Q3 on what I learned in Q2. I hadn’t planned so far ahead that I was stuck. Creating those pivot points in your business. Especially in your content strategy, your launch strategy when you are a creative or a service-based entrepreneur is so important. So we did that and it resulted in a sold out organic traffic academy program.

Right. I’m in the middle of running it right now. It’s amazing. I attracted the best, most [00:16:00] incredible students. And we did that as a pivot point. The last thing that I learned. I guess this is the second to last is to get the right kind of support. And here’s how I learned that lesson. Back in the spring, I enrolled in a very large. Highly visible mastermind program. And it wasn’t a super high ticket program. I think it was like $400 a month or something like that for the whole year. Um, but the vibe was off. It just didn’t fit me. So while I am ask anyone, I am not one to bail on commitments. Once I am in for something I am in it. And I get the most out of it that I can. It’s just part of my personality. But this one felt wrong. It felt like I had made a misstep with the kind of support I wanted versus the kind of support this program was giving me. So I gracefully bowed out. That was part of the thing was like you could bile out.

Um, and then I [00:17:00] reinvested that money into a niche program. That’s giving me exactly the fire and support. I need to grow my company to where I want it to be. I also took some of those funds and invested it. Like I said, into a service provider, a contractor who’s helping us build some systems that are simplifying my business, which is actually what I needed. So the lesson there that I learned is to be very clear about the kind of support you need. And look for that. And make sure that you’re getting it, do that gut check, because if you’re not. Uh, you know, you’re going to be. Wait, you know, you’re not going to get out of it, what you need to get out of it. So niche support is important and being able to understand what you’re getting out of the program, whether it’s a mentorship or a coaching program or whatever is super important. The problem I had with the first program I signed up for, is that the deliverables weren’t super clear. It was a generalized program. So the results felt very [00:18:00] general and not specific enough. So get the right kind of support. 

Here’s the, actually the last thing I want to leave you with, and this is the lesson that I learned. Just through my clients and through the various launches that we have done through 2021. So simple stories, solution stories for a year, the organic traffic academy. And then also launching story studio network. Is that content. Is quickly becoming. The most important part of growing in the online space. But it is also absolutely the most misunderstood component of your growth plan. It’s something that I think we’re going to have to discuss in the upcoming episodes, because over the last year, I got to tell you at every single level, from the solo preneur level to the small business level, right up to the corporate and the enterprise level, I have had a front row seat to a lot of the challenges that entrepreneurs and companies and organizations are [00:19:00] facing when it comes to telling their stories in this new environment.

And not only that, but telling their stories and being strategic in a way that ties it back to their business objectives. So it runs the gamut from everything, from fear of being seen, to not knowing what platforms to use, to being totally overwhelmed by feeling like. There’s just one way to do something or maybe there’s too many ways to do something. I could just tell you that this is a learning that I have had. In the last year is that the majority of people are still misunderstanding the value and the strategic positioning of their content. So this is something I’m super excited to jump back into and permission to leap. And I hope you are too. So that’s it for this re introductory episode. I’m so happy that you have decided to jump back in with me. Um, a couple of things I could ask of you is to share this on Instagram, share this with your business. Friends, leave me a comment. Drop me a DM. [00:20:00] Let me know you are inspired. Of course you can find me on Instagram at it’s dot Erin Trafford. And if you’re sharing the show, just make sure you use the hashtag permission to leap. And that you can always find show notes, resources, and all the goodies and downloads and everything that we’re doing over on my website at erintrafford.com. Thanks so much for listening until next episode.

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