Pamela Slim is an author, community builder, consultant and former corporate director of training and development at Barclays Global Investors. She focused her first decade in business on creating and delivering training programs for large companies such as HP, Charles Schwab, 3Com, Chevron and Cisco Systems..
Since 2005, Pam has advised thousands of entrepreneurs as well as companies serving the small business market such as Infusionsoft, Progressive Insurance and Prezi.
Pam partnered with author Susan Cain to build and launch the Quiet Revolution and the Quiet Leadership Institute.
Pam is best known for her book Escape from Cubicle Nation (named Best Small Business and Entrepreneur book of 2009 from 800 CEO Read) along with her follow up book Body of Work. Both were published by Penguin/Portfolio.
Her next book, The Widest Net, will be published by McGraw Hill in November, 2021.
In 2016, Pam launched the K’é Main Street Learning Lab in Mesa, Arizona, a grassroots, community-based think tank for small business economic acceleration. http://pamelaslim.com/ke
Pamela, welcome to the show. I am so happy to be here with you. This is such a moment for us, and it’s such a milestone on the one hand.
I’ve known you as a mentor for so many years. And thanks, thanks to you. You wrote the prologue, and you wrote the advanced praise for my book Unlock!. I would love to sort of understand your journey. You’ve been an entrepreneur for over 25 years. You started the K’é community. You’re writing bestsellers; you’re running a business.
What are some of the markers in your journey that stand out as your pivotal moment? For me, what’s interesting. As I start now in college because my college degree was in community development with a focus on non-formal education as a tool for social and economic change, initially in Latin America, I lived in Mexico and Columbia in college.
So I have always been fascinated by how change happens. And in particular, what happens in communities where there is a grassroots effort to really grow. Economic power from the inside. I’ve always been the grow from the ground kind of person and not so much, you know, from up above philosophic. But in that work early in my career, I realized that that model of a lot of the traditional international development just didn’t feel suitable for me, being this expatriate white woman from California, living in other places and trying to direct what they were doing.
And so, I spent the early phases of my career finding training and development, the field of training and development. It had some of those components of really helping to build the capacity of people. I developed this lifelong fascination with training and development, which put me in my last real job, as I say, 25 years ago at Barclays global investors.
And it was known then as director of training and development. I spent about ten years as a management consultant based in the bay area, especially in Silicon Valley. So it was so exciting to be in the early nineties. This was like 1996 to be in that stage of growth. That was just so much acceleration.
And it was just intoxicating. I’d love to work with all kinds of different companies, all on the human side of the business. And did that work for about ten years with a lot of joy until I found so many people, sometimes the clients hired to retain their employees would pull me aside and say, how did you do it?
How did you quit your job to start a business? And that’s what germinated the idea for my blog escape from cubicle nation that I began in 2005. It turned into my first book, as you mentioned and this last 15 years have kind of a magical mystery tour of being somebody who helps to in many cases, spark take ideas from just conception into the real world of really helping people to launch early-stage businesses.
And then especially in the later years to really focus on more helping people to scale, especially people who have big ideas. Big IP people like Susan Cain, who wrote the book Quiet. I was working with her to launch the quiet revolution. And that’s kind of a passion area too, to see that expand this last chapter that I write about a lot in the whitest Is about five years ago. My husband who’s a Navajo business owner. We noticed that there was just zero representation of native American business experts within our broader community. And actually, I did a 23 city tour in 2015 as an early-stage research Book. And I actually, I asked the question in each of the 23 cities among them, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, how many people had ever seen a Native American business expert presenting as a business expert at a conference out of 23 city people had, and four of them were in Vancouver, Canada. So we recognized that there was a huge gap, not in the fact that leaders existed within that community, but that there wasn’t visibility. And there weren’t the opportunities that were happening for the connection. So that’s really where we started is simply to support our mission here, which is to support the leadership that exists.
Rarely visible in black, indigenous, Latin, X, Asian, et cetera, et cetera, communities that are often underrepresented. I love that arc so much. And there are so many things there to unpack, quite frankly. You know, on the one hand, you’ve had amazing corporate experience working in Silicon Valley. On the other hand, you’ve had.
It’s small entrepreneurs, people that were just starting in their business across their journeys. On the other hand, you’re helping folks from the grassroots level. And then you’ve got this amazing, you know, sort of, I want to say tapestry of experience working with different: entrepreneurs creators and your wonderful husband, Daryl.
It’s fantastic. And, I would love to double click into that a little bit more because to me, that is like, you’re standing at the intersection of sort of technology and human side of technology. Making sure we have got fair representation in business for a lot of these folks. You know, as we kind of look at your journey and where it’s headed, especially with the widest net, where do you think.
Your idea for the widest net starve with like, was it your inner, these intersections of sort of human side of technology or working in Silicon Valley or working with really diverse creative people or entrepreneurs? Because there are so many data points for you to choose from. It’s almost like it’s like you got the world’s your oyster.
And so where are you drawing from, from the widest net? Give us a little bit of that. Backstory this, as I said, they’re one of the reasons why anchored in my early college study was that. Believe it or not. The framework that I learned when I was 18 led to such a value in these different kinds of work environments.
The general framework for how you look at systems, thinking how you look at diff different intersecting parts, can apply to community economic development in Mexico or Columbia, where I was living in studying. It applies to Mesa, Arizona, as I’m here right now, like working very, in a very integrated. With our community economic development, that’s happening with city, government, and Arizona state university and nonprofit partners.
It also worked very effectively to look at it through the lens of organizations and how systems and organizations work together. So there’s something about it. My own body of work evolved using a model, which is so funny, isn’t it? I had no idea how I had chosen the perfect career, where I could apply it in different ways.
According to places where I really felt like I had the most interest and I could be providing the most value, the fundamental thing I always say, you know, I’m really an author practice. A lot of my peers and colleagues are amazing at thinking up some cool metaphors and a really interesting ideas.
And then just doing some research for it to make sure it could be academically valid and writing a book about it. Sometimes many books in a row, either as a blessing or a curse. I really write about what I am actually working on with my clients. It is the way that I contextualize my work. And I feel like one of my gifts is being able sometimes to see what the future needs before the present is quite ready.
If I, if I look at what it is that I saw happening within escape from cubicle nation, I really saw this whole trend based on the work I had done with individuals of more and more people going freelance and side hustles and so forth a little bit before it was such a popular thing to talk about, you know?
So there’s. It for each book, it’s a way to really contextualize the work that I’m doing with clients and for the widest net. One of the things that became very clear is that the way often that we’re talking about business, that we’re teaching about business and running businesses is through this empire.
We actually use words like empire. I want to build my empire. I want to crush the competition. I w I need to be positioning myself as the sole expert within my space and, through my sales process, need to convince my prospects that I am the only person they’re ever going to need to solve their problems.
I don’t know about you, but as much as I feel good about my work with my clients, I never been able to fulfill the role of intellectual property, attorney of CPA, of branding, positioning, experts, all of this other ecosystem of experts. That I need to collaborate with in order to help my client actually reach their goals.
So, part of what I was noticing as a practitioner is that a lot of my clients were first just getting overwhelmed and frustrated, like not really relating to that empire metaphor of like saying like, I don’t want to put the whole spotlight on me. I want it to be in my body of work. And I think which is more, the truthful way about how work happens is we really do often work in a deeper ecosystem with a number of peers and partners.
The wonderful thing that I’ve discovered through lots of research for this book and practice with my clients is that when you look at the world strategically, that way of centering your ideal customer in the center of their ecosystem and find out the very best partners that are also aligned to help solve their problem.
There’s no better way to understand like where you should speak and which events you should be at there. It’s totally clear what kind of sponsors would be the perfectly aligned people with you. And it’s extremely clear to understand who are your very best referral partners. So there’s just a very specific path that I found that is more strategic around building a business.
But I think aligned with my own mission and values, it’s also more aligned. The kind of culture that I like to be with. I’m not really fond of empires. Remember that whole, not really liking the top down crushing of people underneath. And so I find this model is one that is much more resonant with people who are working in coalition, who liked to work with referral partners.
And I find for, for many of my clients of color, that it can just resonate more. Often, culturally the way in which they see the world, which is really with extended circles, as opposed to just individually. I love that there are so many things there that we should unpack. One thing. Well, one of the things that stood out for me as an author practitioner and that to me is so fundamental and at the same time, so rare in the business world, like you, I mean, you could go on and look at experts online who maybe giving quote-unquote advice.
But are they practicing their craft? And, and to me, that’s such huge. I mean, Pam, thank you for doing that because that is such refreshing. Change. And that’s such a refreshing view of the world, which is, Hey, I am doing this daily in my business. I’m helping others do this. And here are the things you should do, in that approach is phenomenal.
So thank you for doing that. It’s tough to do that. You’re sure you’ve got scars on your back saying, oh, you know, I did this, here are the things I did well. Here are the things I’ve been to. So I’m in that by itself, to me is so, so important and vital. And the other part, which also sort of excited me in this conversation is, is, is this whole thing about not empire-building and, Hey, you don’t need to be.
You don’t need to create the next Facebook. You don’t need to create the next Amazon, but you need to have a great business that creates value for people in your community, other companies, and et cetera. So to me, those topics are super interesting. So tell me a little bit more, as you think about not empire-building and you put customer.
You mentioned I want to see customers, and I want to see their entire ecosystem. That, to me, is super interesting. So what can you share with us that is about identifying your customer? Like how do I, how should I think about my customer? If I am a guy or a gal who. Who is, you know, apart, you know, I’m running a company, and I’m trying to serve a customer, a set of customers.
How should I view them? What should I know about them? How do I go about identifying those customers? And then maybe if I do a good job, I can locate the rest of the ecosystem, then I can do more with it. That’s right. Yeah. So there’s a particular approach that I took in the book. And some of it, no surprise, was in collaboration with one of my dear friends, Susan buyer.
Who’s an audience, segmentation, researcher, and specialist—part of what I discovered in doing this work with people. We talk a lot about the mission of a business. People incorporate, probably roll their eyes because sometimes you have days long off-sites in order to decide something that’s sometimes the Ritz Carlton.
Let’s do a two-day offsite to figure out our mission statement. Exactly. That’s right. There could be in there’s the Dilbert mission statement generator. There’s much reason why people have to be a little bit, you know, suspect. But when you think about it, and I call this your root mission, when you, when you’re creating a foundation for your business and when you’re thinking about what your business is doing, It has to be grounded in a deeper understanding of what is that core problem or challenge, or what is that aspiration that you were driving towards?
So for me, I know I’m very driven by and passionate about the small business sector because I know that so much economic acceleration can happen. I know that it’s accessible to so many more people across every spectrum than you can think of. Then you can have maybe. A typical career field that would require lots of years of university or rights, special connections to powerful people.
So I’m passionate about that mission of really strengthening the small business sector across the US and really around the world. That mission is quite large for me to be accomplishing specifically. Right? So within that mission is where you begin to look at actually the definition of your audience segment.
Which Springs from that root mission. And it’s really saying of that bigger problem and challenge, right of maybe entrepreneurs. Are struggling to meet cash flow and get new customers and all these things where, how can I define my audience based on a core problem or challenge that I know I can really help them solve and who might be others then that are on this same mission with me that are.
Other parts of the problem, that one of the examples that I used in the book, isn’t intuitive, we take just into it, know, folks, know the company as somebody who makes software, they just acquired MailChimp. Right? So now there’ll be offering more email marketing, but their mission is to power prosperity.
And when you look at that, what are the things that are required in order for them to fully reach their mission? They’re their customers need to have, you know, money awareness. They need to fix their money mindset. They need bank accounts. And in retirement accounts, they may need, you know, software in order to help them manage their business and organize their receipts and their business.
They might need financial coaches to help people set up specific structures in order to understand their financial statements. Even with that initial brainstorm, as you look at that, we have begun to define and outline the ecosystem in which Intuit plays one particular role. There also are going to be natural alliances with CPAs, with life coaches that focus on the money with thought leaders and experts that write books on that topic.
And so when you look at a typical Intuit customer, as they’re excited by this mission of powering prosperity, they’re probably looking other places besides just where they might get their subscription for their accounting software in order to solve this deeper problem. Right. Of really becoming truly prosperous in their business.
So it really is. You can see where. Typically when we describe our audience or our customers in terms of an avatar. So they’re between the age of 25 and 35. They drive a Volvo; they live in New Jersey that doesn’t tell you anything at all about it. What might other kinds of partners be connected and actually what the business is that you’re involved in, right?
Like what is your particular focus in your business? So it’s why it’s so important to always first describe your ideal client in terms of specific problem or challenge they have or aspiration. And then where it’s relevant. Of course you can add demographic characteristics. If that’s important to you. If you want to maybe narrow down your segment to a particular vertical industry, or, you know, you want to work with only women or whatever that demographics.
I love it. And, and, and thank you for sharing that. Yes, the persona is important, but there’s so much more to understanding the customer. Demographics is only a part of that, and I love your examples of Intuit and others, where you’re looking at. Sort of what problems are there to solve? What are the various types of problems that I should look at.
And, and those to me are fantastic sort of ideas to build upon. And one of the ideas that you build upon this in the book is the concept of watering holes. Now let’s say, I know my customer, I know it is sort of the problem domains or the different problems that the cut my ideal customer is, you know, looking at, or trying to solve, or is challenged with what, what is this concept of watering holes?
Because to me, when. First read about it. It was like, oh my God, I was missing this aspect. And this could be leveraged for marketing, business development, identifying your customers, creating more value, and so many other things. Well, I’m super excited about this. Tell me, tell us more about the watering holes.
Yes. So I was talking earlier about how there is a natural ecosystem around your ideal customer, which are places in person or online where they’re looking for information, tools, or resources to solve their problem. I have in my ecosystem wheel, like nine different. Segments of that ecosystem are everything from service providers to companies that provide products to media hubs, and they’re all these different segments of the ecosystem wheel.
And within those segments, You have watering holes. So a watering hole could be a podcast where you know that somebody very kind like you has spent a lot of years dedicated to building up an audience around a topic that you and I both share a great passion for right—helping people to build the skills that they need to do work.
They love that makes an impact in the world. And because you’ve taken this. To build up this watering hole of your podcast. When I can identify you as somebody who first, I had the good sense to become friends with a long time ago, but secondly, who has this, this, this avenue, then when I’m sharing my message for the first time, there could be some people who know both of us, right.
But for many people, it could be the first time I’m ever connecting with them much. Like when you come out to Arizona, you visit, and maybe you come into the watering hole here, right. Of a place, we have as a learning lab. It would be the first time that all this vast community here can learn about you and what you have to offer.
So this idea of watering holes is that there are places in person online where. Great. People have already taken the time to gather an audience. And when you know that, and you’re able to evaluate that very strategically from a marketing lens, and this is as applicable for large companies as it is for a business owner, that’s just starting on their journey.
I always say, if you are just looking at the internet and generally sharing information and shouting out there, you know, to people like, Hey, here I am, buy my stuff. Sometimes that works a little bit, but if you were to know precisely. When you define your ideal client, you know the kind of problem or challenge they have. You know, the very best influencers that this customer respects so much so that if you happen to be on their podcast or if they produce an event and you’re on their stage, that would immediately create this sense of connection.
Suppose you know of the products that this customer uses to solve their problem. So that is just like I did yesterday, Speaking with GoDaddy. I was speaking at their customer conference and where I have this partnership where they have this vast customer base of their, their customers who were all small business owners.
It’s so advantageous for me to be connecting with just the right ecosystem partners in the best watering holes. So it’s a, it’s a quicker way that you. Get more exposure for your brand, but more fundamentally, when we think about it from the customer journeys perspective, you become more a curator of the very best tools that somebody needs to know.
And I always consider it, you know, something that makes me smile when you know, a customer. Oh, God, thank goodness. You know, the best people. I love it when you introduce that podcast to me because it’s just so valuable, and I love it. And often, I’m sitting back smiling and snickering a little bit because I’m like, I know I spend my life looking out in the ecosystem that surrounds my clients, trying to find the very best people that are doing great work that is aligned with my mission and values that will help my customers.
Forward another step. And that I think is certainly in the software world and the software as a service world, you know, for so many SAS companies, I feel like they’ve been saying it forever. It’s all about ecosystems. They’ve been talking about it for so long. For some reason, it hasn’t really moved over to the way that us entrepreneurs look at it.
And I think that’s the big opportunity and that’s a big reason why I wrote the. Yeah. And I, you know, that’s super intriguing that those watering holes exist. So many folks have developed those over their years, and those watering holes, they’ve collected people around them that are passionate about a particular topic.
And in, in my mind, what we just, what you are just shown a light on a little bit. Sort of all of you, you kind of become a curator of all of the watering holes, and you have this special lens on this. And for Pam slim, the lenses empowering small businesses and helping them scale up their businesses.
And through that lens, you identified watering holes. And for someone else who’s like a great CPA. Or it may be a lawyer or some other type of business. They would be able to identify those watering holes through their special, you know, lens I E they should be able to curate that and then go to those watering holes and create value for those folks.
And that to me is super compelling. And I would love to apply that a little bit in terms of what we do as well. You know, what are the things that kind of becomes the next step after that? Pam is. Let’s say I’m going to those watering holes. I’m creating value for those folks. Now I’m starting to get some leads.
How can I sort of create compelling offers? And, and one of, one of the phrases you use in the book is to create compelling offers that your customers can’t refuse. It’s like, is this like the godfather I’m doing an offer, can’t refuse. But I thought that was super smart because. The way you phrase that, and you frame that out was to create offers that your customers can refuse, and it will be super hard to refuse that.
So, the next question, obviously as well, that sounds great, but how do I go about doing that? How can I create compelling offers for customers? We’ll always do the caveat, like with consent, right? We never, we never want to like force anything on anybody, but really this, that, the approach, when you become a student of really understanding the journey that your customer is on.
I think each of us, no matter what it is that we sell, whether it be a product or a service, is taking our customers on a transformational journey. So they start in a, in a place where they might feel frustrated, you know, their houses disorganized. They’re always losing their chargers. Like everything, you know, it is kind of a mess and maybe the transformational journey you’re helping them make.
You have this brilliant home where they can just snap their fingers and wink twice, and all of their appliances work. But for them to do that, you have to understand what those different steps they need to take. And then what are particular barriers that get in their way?
Because in the bigger arc of this transformation that they’re trying to make. Sometimes you do have everything within your company to solve all of those problems. Other times, you need to understand, you know, that maybe they’re they want to transform, but they’re, they’re not motivated.
And so maybe they need a really good, like motivational habit coach. They need to have James clear come in. Right. And like do a, do a great talk to them about atomic habits to like get them in the. You know, in order to get ready to make the change. That’s part of your intelligence. When you understand the journey that they’re on means that when you come to designing an offer, it’s specifically designed in order just to make it as easy as possible for them to make the journey or in some cases to take a particular step in the journey.
So when we look at that earlier example of Intuit, right? Overall, everybody in the ecosystem around finances, Is trying to power prosperity, trying to get more money in the hands of more people, but in particular stages of the journey, you want to make sure that your software, your accounting software is as effective as possible.
It’s as smooth as possible. And. You’re introducing it to people in a way in which there, it absolutely is resonating right. With what it is that they want and need. So often, what I see, and I imagine you probably see it too, in your day-to-day work is people create offers. Completely void of the context of their customer.
They’re like, I’m going to start an app and a mastermind program that meets 15 times a year and, you know, a different city, every, you know, every month or something. Although 15 times a year in 12 months, the math doesn’t add up, you know, I’m a liberal arts major. So when you, when you create an offering, that’s devoid of an actual customer experience, that’s where you start to get these mismatches where somebody is like, well, yeah, that sounds cool, but.
We can’t travel now, you know, due to lockdowns or I have a family, and I can’t be leaving all the time. You know, even though it sounds like a great idea, that’s the part I find where you have a disconnect. So what makes it so resonant? What makes it feel so much in alignment? And again, for me, it’s always a clue that I’m on the right track where somebody would say, oh my gosh, like.
I just felt like, I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the page to do coaching with you or do this particular program because I felt like you were in my head, and you were just describing the specific things that I was struggling with. And this is like, and this works, this format works. This is exactly what I was looking for.
That is by design because you’re really designing in the context of understanding the bigger transformational change. Yeah, I love that. And, and, and I’ve heard this from a lot of, a lot of folks, which is they, they pick up a great book, like for example, escape from cubicle nation, and then would say, oh my God, This book is speaking to me, the book that I’ve always wanted all of our lives and partly is because Pam you’ve done the research.
You’ve put in the time to understand their journey, where they are from a mindset standpoint, where they are today and where they would like to be in the future. And how can, for example, this particular book held them take the next step, which is to escape from the cubicle nation, which, which is awesome.
I love that. So creating that compelling offer that takes them to the next step in their journey. And that makes, that makes a ton of sense. And I can see how putting in the work, doing the research, understanding the context would help them do that—the hard part for a lot of people. And I’ve struggled with this in the past personally, which is how do you make the sale and which is which, and over a period of time, I’ve gotten over it and now.
I used to have these images in my mind, like of a sleazy salesperson or a used car salesperson that would show up and try to jam a product into the customer’s hands and say, you’ve got applied. This we’ve got a special going on right now, but, but it’s not that. And, and, and why is it that people find it so hard?
To make sales. They’ve done all the great work that might benefit customers and created an offer. They are in their watering holes, but now it’s like they got too close. Right. And there are some, and maybe people have preconceived notions about making sales. So how, how can, how could we help them? How. What do they need to do to become better at sales without letting their sort of earlier beliefs come in the way?
Yeah. This is where I think having a bigger context is so important because how you think about selling is. Drive so much of the feelings that you have about doing it. And it’s why it goes all the way back to the original root mission. Right? When you really know that you’re making a choice in your business to be solving a problem that you are personally passionate about, that you know, has impact and meaning for people that you care about it sure can feel.
Easier to have some enthusiasm of wanting to take action in order to make that change happen. And that always is at the root of what keeps you going. Sales is hard. It is difficult to have the conversation sometimes, but that’s the part that can keep you really centered is realizing why you are doing this in the first place?
When you are looking more at building connections at building relationships, and having more, what I call a relational as opposed to transactional approach to business, right? You’re not looking at people as numbers. You’re not, I always just cringe when I might see somebody, you know, come off stage and they immediately they’re like, yes, you know, I closed a whole bunch of people, you know, in that audience, on my offer.
Some people share it on social media and I’m thinking. How terrible would that be to be in the audience and not feel like this person was here to give me valuable information, but rather to like close me, right? If you’re demonstrating all the way through your connections with your customers, that you are passionate about helping them solve their problems, you build relationships slowly, build trust, equity, and then you design something that you feel really good about that you know, is going to help them achieve their aspirations and solve their problems.
And in the context. Value in business, right? In the context of helping them to save money or make money or reduce their risk, or, you know, save time all of these elements that can come from a sales framework, that when you know that, then it’s more about having an approach where you recognize you’ve made a connection.
They’ve expressed interest. And then you need to make it easy for them to watch through and walk through a natural process where they can really understand exactly what it is that they are looking to do. They can understand what you have to offer. And a lot of my sales training and models come from an early client.
I had skip Miller from MP3 learning. That totally revolutionized the way that I. Selling, because he really in his books and his work talks about, you know, people buy in a process, right? Like you buy in a process when you’re thinking about buying a car like you think about it, you look on the internet, you do some test drives, you check with your husband or wife, you know, to make sure it’s okay to spend the money.
And then you might finally make a decision, right. And make the purchase. All of his methodologies are really based on that, just matching the sales process with what’s naturally going on in the buying process. So that for me was revolutionary as a young, younger consultant. When I was working with him, is it just totally demystified the fact that I was trying to force something on anybody? I was organizing my sales process, so that for somebody who showed up and said, yes, I am interested in, you know, creating certification and licensing program that I could say, great. Tell me more about what you’re trying to accomplish. Right. Here’s what my approach is.
And at each step in the way where I could be organized with my materials, I could be organized to know what the next step was. To then eventually make, you know, to ask for a decision and skip it always say, yes, those are great. No’s are great. Maybe it will kill you. Right. All you’re trying to do is get people to make a decision and their full sovereignty because it doesn’t make sense for both of your time and energy.
If you’re not asking, if you kind of send out a proposal and hope somebody will make a decision. Both of you want to get to a place where you’ve thought through what you want to do. So that approach changed my life. I mentioned Skip’s work in the book, and I think it’s this combination of being clear on the mindset.
The reason you’re selling what you’re selling is so that you can contribute to the mission that you’re very passionate about. The more business owners that feel strong, capable that grow their business that contribute to the economy that hires other people that create a more equitable future. The better the world’s going be.
You know, for our kids. And so that’s what can really keep you going, you know, on that mission. And so you have to have that mindset, you have to understand the process, and then you have to have your tools organized so that it won’t take you three days to create a proposal on Microsoft word. Every time you need to put together a corporate proposal, have your template done, make it easy, have all of your emails set up, and then it becomes more something.
That’s a joy to execute the having the mindset and making sure that you’re clear about your root mission because that will fuel all of your execution, especially in sales and then understanding the buyer buying process, not just your selling process. It’s huge. And I mean, anybody listening right now would be so excited about selling without being or be without feeling the need to meet.
Salesperson, and you don’t need to be a salesperson to sell. You just need, you’re helping that other person take the next step, helping them in their buying cycle. That’s huge. And you know, Padma, we’ve talked about my favorite parts of the book, and now maybe it’s time to turn the tables a little bit because I would like to ask you about your favorites.
So this is a game we play every day. And the idea is we want to know a little more about our guests and although you’re no stranger to me, Pam, you might be a little bit new for some of our audience. So let me, are you ready for the favorites game? I am ready. Awesome. PEM, what is your favorite?
You’re going to laugh, but it is tick talk. I am prohibited from posting by my soon to be 14 year old, and I have more fun on TikTok. I laugh hysterically. I think it’s such a fantastic app for creating content. I’m fascinated by the range of creators. And I probably spend more time than I should, looking at Tiktok videos and texting them to my.
I love it. Wait, are you on to talk about I am again, I’m sort of working my way into permission for my daughter to allow me to post, but I, I love it, and I do want to create more content, especially here at the learning lab, especially where I can get. Younger creators. It’s amazing. My daughter can create an amazing interactive video in like three minutes or something like that.
It would take me a lot longer, but I think it’s a great medium, and I do want to create content, but not maybe like dancing to nineties tunes, although I would like to see that. I’m sure you would. Awesome. Next one, what is your favorite book? My favorite book is, if you want to write a book about art, independence and spirit by Brenda Youland was actually recommended by my friend, guy Kawasaki, some know as the, from apple or his current role at as evangelist at Canva.
And this is a book that was written, I think, in the 1930s, by a writing teacher. It is absolutely just a treasure. The writing is beautiful, but a lot of the writing is about writing and also the creative process. She also, I think, was really a woman that was just actively encouraging women to be equal and free through creative expression.
And it’s just a wonder of a book. So I highly recommend it for anybody who writes, but even for people who just consider themselves to be creative, Thank you for sharing that, Pam, this is, this is huge. I was not aware of this book now I am. And I am going to grab that for sure. Thank you for sharing.
Let’s go to the next one. This is about is do you have a favorite quote that, that you like, or you share with other. Or that you aspire towards. I have a lot of favorites. I’m going to choose one, right from the introduction of the book, which is just because someone stumbles and loses their path doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.
And this is Charles Xavier from X-Men. So, I, in my work that I’ve done in so many different contexts throughout the years find that. Healing redemption. Grace are such a critical part of having a really interesting and joyful life. So many of my clients, when I first started to meet with them, have a very fixed view about, you know, they want to start a business and they’re either going to succeed or they’re going to fail or.
Terrified and nervous about what it is that somebody thinks, or in some cases, they might have had certain life experiences or made certain choices that put them in a really bad place. And I just fundamentally believe that we are capable of transformation, that we are all capable and beloved, right in the universal sense of redemption.
We’re it’s never, ever, ever too late in order to have a better, happier, healthier life. And to me, that’s the underpinning of just about everything that I do in my work. You know, do you have a really crappy day? You can wake up tomorrow and just know that you can start fresh. And I just like to keep that principle alive.
For me, it just adds, I think a lot of lightness and also I think it keeps me creative. I like that a lot. And thank you for sharing that it’s got so much deep meaning and the fact that we can be anybody and we can actually create a transformation for ourselves at any age, no matter what our backgrounds, no matter the context, no matter the geography.
That’s huge. And, I think that’s super powerful. And thank you for sharing that then, on a different note. Do you have a favorite restaurant? I do. I am not sure if it is still there. When I lived in San Francisco now going on probably 20 years in the Haight-Ashbury district, there was a restaurant that actually had no name and no sign on the window.
It was an older Japanese couple. And so the wife was the waitress and the husband was the chef. And he would get extremely fresh fish that he would, he chooses each day himself at the market. And it, I love sushi is probably my favorite dish ever. And it was the best sushi I have ever had in my life. Now I have never been to Japan.
So those who have, or maybe from there, I’m, I’m sure that there’s also wonderful restaurants there, but the, the entire experience was just so special where you, you kind of had to know that it was there and there was such a beautiful. Strong passionate relationship that you could see that they had with each other.
And also just the relationship that the chef had with his craft, which was making sushi. It just was an amazing, amazing place to eat. Oh, that’s beautiful. And kind of reminds me of Jura dreams of sushi a little bit. And the fact that the husband, the wife, they’re running this restaurant know serving the local community.
That’s huge. Hopefully, they’re around and more and more power to them. No, it was 20 years ago. So I would be curious, it’s been a little bit since I’ve been back in San Francisco, but I have to swing by and see. Yes. Hopefully you’ll sing by soon and we’ll get to see you in person. Pam, you’ve been a phenomenal.
As we wrap up here, what would be your, what, what would be your favorite advice to give to entrepreneurs? Maybe there are people who are just starting in their journey, or maybe they’re already in their entrepreneurial journey. What advice would you have for them? Especially coming from a small, medium business expert like yourself?
Yeah. I have to say just really in the spirit of the work that I’ve, that I’ve done on the latest book. When you are either just beginning and you are looking to, you know, bring your product or service out into the world, or if you have been in business for a while and you’re looking to make a pivot. I know a lot of my clients might be, you know, creating a new offering that might be more in the B2B space or something, right.
Something that companies could have, or vice versa companies that want to address the consumer market. Before just building up, like all of your marketing, that’s just about you and your individual outreach to a little bit of analysis to figure out who already is working in this space. If you can identify a couple of watering holes where you.
Meet one to many people who would fit your ideal customer profile. So let’s say you’re a software developer and you’re creating a, an app for coaches and consultants. Take a little bit of time to look up a local chapter of, international coach Federation or consultants of America or whatever the association would be.
I call it being the weirdo in. Which is if you’re the only software developer that’s in this room filled with coaches or consultants, it is such a rich environment for you to immediately have conversations. Notice what it is that they’re talking about. See what the kind of topics are, and it can just immediately emerge.
In the language that they’re using to describe what their problems or challenges are just as soon as possible, where you can make contact with people who are your ideal customers. I say the better, and I always encourage people to do this little testing and trying and experimenting first. Knowing that there is more of strategic analysis, right?
Of discovering all the partners, an easy starting place where maybe you already have a client or, you know, somebody who fits your ideal client profile is to look for the PB and J’s or the peanut butter and jellies and what that means our partners who are offering a highly complementary, but non-competitive service to you.
So, right. I could look at within my own. For my clients that I work with natural PB and J partners for me are intellectual property attorneys. I refer my clients every day because I do so much work of creating new programs and IP protection, CPAs, or another very natural when you can identify somebody who’s an ideal partner and even better.
If you ask your ideal customer who those folks are, set up a 15 or 20-minute conversation, purely to say, tell me a little bit more about your business. Right? What exactly do you offer? Who’s your ideal customer, right? What’s your approach to the work, and you can share the same for you and where there is maybe a little bit more of a natural connection.
You could figure out if it makes sense to get to know each other better because these partners probably. A full book of business that is your ideal customer. And simply by beginning to look at where you might refer people to each other is a brilliant way to get started, you know, as opposed to just shouting out into the internet, hoping somebody will hear you and book a consult.
Hello, that and those relationships could bring in reciprocal business for yourself and part of those. It almost always goes both ways, right? Because of the actual PB and J partner, your customer needs both of you to solve their problems completely. So it’s just, it’s such a handy thing.
And I see it every day in my business, and I have so many excellent ecosystem partners that I refer my customers to and that they refer clients. I love it, Pam, don’t be afraid to be the weirdo in the room and find your PB and J partners. Great advice, Pam. Thank you so much for being a guest on the career nation show.
You know, we have so many entrepreneurs, SMB leaders in our community here. That would be, that would love to hear from you. And they’ll find this valuable and free. The Widest Net is coming out in November, and it will be published by McGraw hill. So please, please book a copy and get a few copies for your friends as well.
Pamela, thank you so much. Thanks for having me.