How Leaders Build Programs That Work - Behind The Scenes of The BRAVE Society

Hey, there bold leaders. Welcome to The Bold Leadership Revolution Podcast. If you are new to this podcast, hey there. I'm Tara Newman. It is so nice to meet you. I'm the CEO and founder of the Bold Leadership Revolution and we are not your typical leadership and development company. We show you how to optimize your performance as a leader without all the buttoned up stuffiness of corporate leadership and drivel of the personal development industry. We promise in a world that swings wildly between serious business and we will bullshit, we will be firmly planted in the middle. We give you the practical side of business strategy, the necessary skills to build your mental strength, and the will ish principles to effectively manage your most precious resource, your energy, and I only make promises that I can keep. My promise to you is that you will learn something about leadership, business and yourself if you listen to this podcast.

If you walk away committed to take one action based on what you have learned, you will create momentum in your life and business. Recently I've started to create a bunch of behind the scenes types episodes for you on this podcast where I pull back the curtain and let you peek inside my business, my vision, my processes, and my thinking. Why? For a few reasons. One, vulnerability and sharing in this way is a strength and I always want to do more of what strengthens me. Two, when I ask my clients what they value about working with me, they often bring up my transparency. I think transparency is important. I believe we can respect privacy and still be transparent. And three, great leaders always share their strategic vision and deeper why and it's always my goal to be a great leader.

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Today I want to take you behind the scenes of The BRAVE Society. Now, while The BRAVE Society is evergreen, meaning you can enroll at any time. We are currently in a promo period because we have gone through our six month Beta test cycle and now we are ready to increase pricing. So if after listening to this episode, you're feeling like this is a place for you, I want you to hop on over to the show notes or my Instagram profile @thetaranewman and submit an application to join us. All leaders are welcome here. So here's the takeaway for you. If you wanted to lever a product or service of excellence, beta test the heck out of it. Too many times I see people throwing everything in the kitchen sink into a service when really less is more. But the only way you're going to come to these conclusions is to experiment and test the outcomes you want to create.

What works, what doesn't work, get feedback, get feedback, get feedback, get some more feedback and refine. That's how to add value, and sometimes adding value means removing things that complicate, confuse and overwhelm. So let's go behind the scenes so you can gain some valuable insight into how I create my programs and my deeper why for The BRAVE Society. Firstly, I've been in the online space sharing my stories and knowledge on leadership, organization, productivity and business since 2012. I've amassed a small but mighty community of people who like to learn from me, and I am so grateful for these people. These are folks who love my work, love my energy, who want to learn more from me but aren't ready or able to work with me in the very limited way I work with people one on one. Or they aren't ready for one of my mastermind experiences.

For a very long time, years I will say, I have wanted to create a container to welcome these people in as well as welcome in new people, people who are just finding me and want to learn more. Leaders widen the circle, and I wanted to do that by creating a more assessable program. But the truth is I struggle to create lower priced products because I'm a high touch girl. Understanding how to scale connection and intimacy. That dance between accessibility and me putting in too much of my time has been my research project for the last four years.

Over the years I've tested a lot of different ways to work with me and I've spent even more time listening to what leaders have been saying. I've been sketching and designing programs in my notebook. I've spent time learning how I work best and capturing my coaching philosophy. Understanding your values and your philosophies will help guide you in producing your very best work in the world.

I use a blended coaching model in my business. This means I bring all my skills, including my coaching skills into my work, my killer business acumen, my work as an analyst and a strategist, my work as a researcher in graduate school, my consulting and training work, my skills as a mentor and my coach ability. Now I believe strongly in coaching, so that's where I like to hang out most. That's the hat I like to wear the most.

However, when working with business owners, I have a depth of experience that can save time, energy, and resources. So I advise and consult as well. My advice has gone on to save business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in turnover, hiring mistakes, partnership problems, and misaligned mergers or acquisitions. I'm not going to hold back because it's not strictly coaching, so if somebody asks me a question, I answer it.

If I see somebody going down a direction that I think is a total waste of time, I'm going to address it. The BRAVE Society was created to be a place of mentorship. That is really how I define this program. In 2018, a number of people asked me where they can find mentors. A recent poll on my IG account showed that upwards of 70% of the people who follow me, were corporate escapees. So the question around mentorship makes a lot of sense.

They are craving those relationships that once help them in a formal work setting, but they're struggling to find them now on their own. Paying close attention to this small trend was a seed. It really was small so it could have been easily overlooked, but then the light bulb moments started coming. They started coming in a way that started shining even more brightly than this small seed.

So the first light bulb was when I started hosting in person events in 2018. I had been watching the tide turn on all virtual passive, no real human touch programs. There is 100% a time and place for these but a growing majority of people were growing weary of them. As I set out to create more high touch programs by holding events, I started researching events and there's a lot to be desired in the event space. Everything from overly jam packed content that leaves little room for real connection or the hard pitch and the upsell at the end that makes the entire room uncomfortable and on edge.

Again, not really allowing for that true connection piece. People are really starting to move away from this. People are craving deep and lasting connections. It makes sense that we're searching for a place of belonging. It makes sense that despite being more connected than ever before, it's been scientifically proven that we are feeling more disconnected than ever before.

And for more on this, I highly suggest reading Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism. This series of experiences got me thinking that there are no professional societies geared toward developing small business owners, leadership characteristics and competencies. We have a lot of training and courses that speak to branding, content, marketing and tactics, but what about developing real business acumen, critical thinking and resourcefulness? What about the mental strength and resiliency needed to have the endurance for the long game? That is small business ownership.

I'm talking about true sustainability to weather the storms, which brings me to a light bulb moment number two, there is a storm coming. If you follow this podcast, you know my dad has been a small business owner for over 40 years. He's, I consider him a mentor, a sounding board, and he keeps me on my toes during our regular breakfasts. We agree and we disagree like any good father, daughter duo, he calls himself a realist.

I call him anxious and prone to living in fear. The truth, honestly lies somewhere in the middle. So when we were having breakfast in June of 2018 he said, "You better start preparing for a recession. Find some economists you like listen to the news, get educated." And I gave him the giant eye roll and called him a fear monger under my breath. So over the next two weeks he continued to bring this up and I had started down this potential recession rabbit hole. Yes, there are definitely signs and futurists talking about anything from a small market correction to a recession. Yes, we are starting to see some challenges on Wall Street. However, let's not lose our heads. 50% of all businesses were started during an economic recession or depression. My dad per separates when you ignore him.

So he kept coming at me and finally I got into a heated place and I said, "Dad, I survived the last recession. It was a fucking bloodbath, but I'm still here." From the day the bank called in our business loan and refused to negotiate terms. I vowed with a vengeance that I create my own economy. Who better than to coach business owners during a time of economic uncertainty than me. I know exactly what they need to do. They need to do all the things I didn't do. They need to get into community with other business owners because isolating during scary times makes shit even more scary. Plus, they will need a deep network of connections to mobilize opportunities.

They will need to help each other open doors and brainstorm solutions. They absolutely must continue to develop their leadership skills because they will be tested. They will need to think critically and be even more emotionally resilient than ever before. And that doesn't look like shoving their emotions down. And third, we can't ever take our eyes off the future. We need to continue to develop more leaders on this planet. We need to take what we know and spread it across as many platforms as possible." And there you go, folks. This is how The BRAVE Society was conceptualized.

Now I have followed my dad's advice and I'm following things more closely in regards to whether or not our economy is going to become recessive. And you know, it's anybody's guess right now. You read one newspaper article and it says that, small business owners are being more cautious, and then on March 7th, the Wall Street Journal reports, the great American jobs machine is still roaring, slowing global growth and trade friction may cloud the economic horizon, but US business owners in February went on a historic hiring binge. That's according to the latest employment report from the National Federation of Independent business due out later today.

So there's positive news, right? We can't control the economy, we can't control global markets, we can't control Wall Street. However, we can control what is right in front of us, our own businesses, our own development, and how we think about our businesses and how they function in the global market today. This leads me Light bulb Moment number three. What I am finding in my research is there is a market that is woefully underserved. It's the market full of smart and successful people who have ambition and vision and drive.

These are people who have depth of experience and legitimate credibility markers. These are true experts. These are people who don't want to be sold to by someone who is going to take them to the depths of their hell and then walk them into their heaven on a sales call, which by the way, this is a pain point and in and of itself, these are the folks like you who see through the tactics and bullshittery that is being propagated in some of these online spaces.

You're way smarter and have spent time honing your craft. You probably, like I mentioned, over 70% of my audience has spent time in corporate and now you're looking for a way to leverage this thing called the internet to do business. You are ready to do great work in the world and you're incredibly frustrated by watching the fluffy stuff gain traction. You are serious business owners. You want high level conversation. You're here to challenge yourself to think critically. You want to work on your mindset and not with the hoping and wishing and fairy tale stuff that seems to come along with the law of attraction crowd.

Full transparency, I won't 100% believe in the laws of the universe. And I'm an Advanced Reiki Practitioner. I love my coursework on human design that takes into account astrology, the I Ching and the chakras, but I also know my customers and they want to walk in that space of what's practical, strategic, business oriented advice, and those we wish principles that help them to manage their energy and just add another layer to what they already know.

Finally, the last light bulb moment, The BRAVE Society is a call to action for all female business owners. So many women don't see themselves as leaders, have never developed the operating skills to run a business, and while they love what they do, they aren't a 100% confident at the helm of their own ship. Combine this with the fear and conditioning of what it means to shatter glass ceilings out, earn their male partners and the belief that success equals burnout. We have a very, very real leadership problem that needs to be resolved. Because here's what happens if we don't come together collectively and solve this problem. Racheal Cook, one of our founding members has been digging into the research put together by the American Express in the American Express state of women owned businesses report.

And there are some facts here that are encouraging and concerning. So there are 1,821 net new women owned businesses added per day, per day between 2017 and 2018. This is higher than during the pre recession period during 2002 to 2007, and the recession and recovery period between 2007 and 2012 and the post recession period between 2012 and 2017. So never have we seen more women entering the small business space than we have today. However, the large majority of these businesses will generate less than a hundred thousand dollars per year. Now this demographic is growing quickly because we're adding more women into the mix, but they're becoming stuck there. And some of the reasons that I see and that the American Express reports cites is because of the owners inexperience, I've mentioned that. Insufficient capital, inadequate networks or the desire for flexibility and our work life balance are keeping these women, limited. That's what this American Express report says and I call BS on some of that, right?

Your inexperience as business owner is a real thing and that's why I'm looking to get more leadership development into the hands of female small business owners. I call BS on insufficient capital because when I started I was bankrupt. I didn't have credit cards, I didn't have capital. I funded my business working my full time job and creating this business on the side. So I generated my own capital. They talk about inadequate networks. I believe this is true. I believe that women small business owners do not have quality networks to put themselves in. I think there's a lot of free networks. I think there's a lot of free Facebook groups. I think there's a lot of clicks out there that want you to be a part of it and there's a lot of woohooing, but real business networks are lacking.

Now, they talk about this desire for flexibility and work life balance being a limiter, it's actually not a limiter. It could potentially be the thing that grows your business. It could be the motivation for you looking to work smarter and not harder. So, these are really some of the things that we're looking to tackle inside the brave society. Now, a lot of those women are never going to make it past that hundred thousand dollar mark. And that's unfortunate because that was a hard lesson that I learned when I started my business. I was making well into the six figures in corporate, and I thought, heck, if I could make a hundred thousand dollars in my business, then everything would be amazing. But a hundred thousand dollar in revenue is drastically different than a hundred thousand dollars in salary. Because out of that hundred thousand dollars in revenue, you have operating costs that need to come out. You want to be starting a business savings account.

You have taxes that you need to pay and you want to be taking a paycheck for yourself. So if we base these numbers on the numbers that Michael Michalowicz, what's talks about in the book, Profit First a hundred thousand dollars may yield you if you are smart and if you are budgeted and your savvy may yield you fifty thousand dollars in personal income, and that's not very much to live on. So really we're looking at how we can take women beyond that hundred thousand dollar mark. Now less than 2% are earning $1 million in revenue or more. But here's what they say about these women. They say these $1 million plus firms made an outsized contribution to the economy. They're economic powerhouses. So while I say all the time, I don't care how much you make, I care that you make what you want to make. So I'm not here to tell you you have to make a certain revenue amount.

It's very personal. That's going to come down to a lot of things on your personal income side of things. What size household you have, where you're living. Do you have children? Are you married? All these things factor into what you may or may not want your revenue to be looking like. So I'm less concerned that you make $1 million, but I want you to make your million. I want you to make your outsized contribution to the economy. I want you to feel like an economic powerhouse, and that is truly my mission for the women and for anybody that I work with. But for the women with inside the Brave Society. How can we help these women make a contribution to the economy and become economic powerhouses? And these are the types of women that we do have inside The BRAVE Society.

People who are hiring team, building out their businesses, creating jobs, saving well, making really smart decisions with their money, contributing to their retirement. I mean, gosh, we talk all the time about having a sustainable business, but how many women out there, how many anybody out there, but specifically women have disability plans for their businesses. What happens if something actually happens to you? How do you protect everything that you've put into your business, if for whatever reason you can't work for a short or long period of time? Now corporate businesses have been addressing the female leaders, these female leadership issues for decades. Some do it better than others. You know, lots of people in corporate, so have their hands tied. I remember when I was working in corporate, we had a training and development function. I actually ran the training and development function and we had training budgets and departments had training budgets, yet every time that I put in for training, it was scrutinized. It stayed on my boss's desk for too long.

But what I noticed is that anytime some of the men wanted training, especially the engineers and these technical skillsets, they were really invested in without even blinking or batting an eye. And so when I came out of that corporate space and I started making these investments in myself, that was really one of my proudest moments that I didn't have to ask permission whether or not I wanted to invest $1,000, $10,000 a hundred thousand dollars into me, the leader of my business. I got to make these decisions on my own.

Female small business owners are in charge of their own development, which leads to a different set of struggles, not knowing how to identify true growth opportunities, lack of planning for their growth, working from a highly reactionary space or a place of scarcity as they fend off multiple demands on their time and capital constraints. However, they have one thing that the corporates don't have. They have command of their own businesses and a 100$ command over their own development. Like I found out ... I began to realize that I got to make these decisions, which is another reason I created The BRAVE Society to put the command back into the hands of women-owned businesses, into the women who are leading and running these businesses because I want to help them identify how to be investing in themselves, starting with having a community, having some basic leadership development like we do in the Brave Society, and really encouraging them to see themselves as leaders and to go out and develop more leaders in this world.

So what I really want you to ... some of what I really want you to take away from this behind the scenes, look at The BRAVE Society and what went into designing it and creating it is when designing programs that create results and create powerful experiences for people, you must do the work in a few areas. One, serving the land and understanding the climate of your audience. You need to understand the climate of your audience better than they understand the climate of what they're in because they're in it, right? They need help seeing what they're in. They need somebody who's going to take a bird's eye view and take that higher level snapshot looking down and saying, "Hey, listen, has anybody seeing this, right?" Two, have a purpose for everything you create, have a purpose for everything you create, and that purpose cannot be money. I'm just letting you know right now that you have to, this is where you really have to put your mission over your money.

Three, have a clear process for how you deliver the experience. So the example of this in The BRAVE Society is we want to do a few things. We want to create a network. So we have a Facebook community, we have events throughout the year. We pull people together. This is not passive. This is not done in some kind of forum. We pull people together live three times a month, twice for CEO debriefs, which you can go and listen to some podcast episodes where we've clipped out sections of the CEO debrief and one live panel discussion a month where people come into a Zoom room. We are face to face with each other. We are chatting in the chat box. We are having conversation on a deeper level. This is the process that I've created. So have that process, meet the need of your audience. Four lastly, create with the outcome in mind.

Start with the result you want people to achieve and work backward. Now, if you're hearing all of this about The BRAVE Society and you're like, Tara, I'm in, we would love to have you in BRAVE. It's a place where all leaders are welcome and now is the very best time to be joining us because on March 29th our price goes up, which means you join now and you can get in for the $160 a month or the $1,600 annually, which means you get two free months and a ticket to the Bold Leadership Mastermind Day. It also means that you're grandfathered into this pricing for as long as you retain your membership. I want to remind you that you get three hours of live training like I just mentioned and networking each month. Well, if you're out leading and you're like, Tara, I can't make the live calls, we will drop the replays into your inbox every Sunday.

In addition, you have access this phenomenal private Facebook community of serious women business owners to continue these conversations that we are having. If this sounds interesting to you, I want you to go apply today or you can come find me on Instagram I'm @thetaranewman and ask me any questions you need to about joining The BRAVE Society If you found this podcast valuable, help us develop more bold leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other bold leaders. Also, if you haven't done so already, please leave a review.

I consider reviews like podcasts currency, and it's the one thing you can do to help us out here at the Bold Leadership Revolution HQ. We would be so grateful for it. Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.

Important links to share:

Listen in on CEO Debriefs and Get 10 BOLD Questions for your own debrief.

The B.R.A.V.E Society

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Help more Bold Leaders find this podcast by leaving a review on iTunes

Tara Newman