Ep #50 | Complementary Strengths

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If there’s one thing Kate and Tallia know to be true, it’s that pursuing the work you want is always worth it. What started out as a blind dinner date in 2014 quickly turned into a lasting friendship rooted in their love for seeing women succeed. With Tallia’s expertise in mindset and career coaching, and Kate’s corporate branding and marketing experience - a dream team was born. After empowering women all across the country to define success on their own terms, they created Mavenly + Co. to help women go from where they are in their careers to where they truly want to be. 

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Shantel: Hi, Kate and Tallia. Welcome to the Imagine More podcast. 

Kate: Thank you.

Tallia: Thank you so much.

Kate: So excited to me here.

Shantel: Of course. I can't wait to dive in to Mavenly and Co and everything you guys have going on. I mean, I know the story is a little ... It's exciting. So let's actually just dive into this story of how you guys met and a little bit more about your company to kick things off.

| PAVING THE WAY |

Kate: Absolutely. So Tallia and I met as sorority consultants for Delta Gamma. So we were both working for our sorority organization at a national level. So traveling all around the country, working with women on different college campuses every day, and really realizing the same issue that so many women were going through this process of the collegiate experience and gaining information about a particular subject matter or major but not really finding any tools on how to find work that they felt like was really engaging or fulfilling or worked for them. So they were finding maybe collegiate success but not getting the tools for career or long-term success. So this was highlighted to us in a couple of different ways when we would have conversations with young women. So we took two very different approaches to what we consider solving that problem. So I took a much more corporate, business world application to that problem and started writing a blog while I was working in corporate America. So I was working at a huge PR agency in Dallas and just writing on the side about all the things I was experiencing day to day. Then Tallia was in graduate school, which she can absolutely tell you more about, but it was a program for positive, organizational psychology. So she was really understanding the why and the evidence-based research behind what made people happy at work and what made them feel fulfilled in their jobs. I was kind of experiencing the opposite end of that first hand. We would connect a few times and talk about some of the blog posts I was putting out. She very graciously agreed to write for the blog and then the more we talked, the more we realized so many women needed actual tools and resources and coaching around this subject matter to really make an impact. For us, that was always the goal was to really have some actionable, tangible elements that came out of our work. So we teamed up to create Mavenly and it's been two years now?

Tallia: Three.

Kate: Almost three years now. Three years in September, which is crazy.

Shantel: Congratulations. I'm sure it's flown by or at least I think every business can relate to it just flying by.

Kate: Absolutely.

Shantel: So how are women finding out about your company? Where are you getting most of your business? 

Tallia: Yeah, I think a lot of it, we're very thankful to Instagram. I think in the business world the saying is to meet people where they are, and I think a lot of our audience given that they're professional women in their late 20s, early 30s, Instagram is a very normal, regular platform for them to be engaging with. So that's definitely where a lot of our time or energy or I should say Kate's time and energy is spent. In addition to the podcast, that's also been a great way to drive business and to help people get to know who we are, what we think about on a day to day basis. The conversations we have there are very indignitive of the work we do with our clients one on one in coaching. So I'd say those are the two main sources, and then we speak at events, we do workshops, we teach classes. A lot of it, at this point, is gratefully word of mouth and referrals. People who hear about us through friends who've gone through the program. So those are the main ones I'd say.

Kate: Yeah. I'm sure you can attest to this as well with the Imagine More podcast, but having people kind of hear more about you from you firsthand I think there's just such a benefit to storytelling. I've always been such an advocate for storytelling in business and making sure you're creating those moments where people are feeling connected to your business. So that was always our priority from the very beginning. We weren't even thinking about starting a business at all when we were blogging. It was really just this drive to share stories and make connections for women and give them tools. So I think the podcast is a great way to hear from people firsthand and really see if that's a message in a value and in a vision that you connect with.

Shantel: I love that. Yeah. Absolutely. I'd love to dive a little bit into the program piece. So initially blog posting was how you were touching and reaching the audience. I know now you guys do one on one coaching and workshops. How have the programs evolved and do people typically start with one piece and then they kind of continue to graduate to additional programs you guys offer. 

Kate: Yeah. That's such a great question. For us, the mantra has always been create products that are audience has been asking for. So it's really been an evolution of figuring out what's going to serve our audience best, which has led to these various forms of programming. So we have kind of our initial touch points, which most people come through, which is either social media, the podcast or our newsletter. Then beyond that point in terms of getting your feet wet and seeing if this is the right content for you, we have these in person events like our conference coming up in July, on July 28th in Atlanta. Then we also have an online course called Career Clarity. So those are kind of our lower price point items that if you're looking to just kind of dip your toe in and see what Mavenly is all about or if you're just kind of venturing into the professional development space, that's probably a great place to start. Then there are some women that are really ready to make those lasting, big changes. So there's a couple of different programs available to women that are at that level and kind of ready to take their career and their personal brand to that next level. So we have our upgrade programs, which is really one on one coaching with either Tallia or myself to work on your specific goals and where you want to be. Then we also have a next level mastermind program. So that's a group of six women that meet virtually every month, and they're all committed to goals that are related but they all bring different skills and resources to the table. So it's really dependent on how you learn best and what's going to hold you personally accountable. We have different programs kind of designed specifically for the outcomes you looking for, and then also the way in which you prefer to interact with us.

Shantel: I love that. You mentioned you're building these programs around their needs and what they're asking for, which is so smart. So you're listening to the audience and you're listening to your consumers before rolling out something. Was the conference something that people were really asking for for a while before you guys took the plunge and started planning? 

Tallia: I think so, yeah. I mean, I think we've also when we first started out, we were doing about one workshop a month in a city across the country. I think we came to a point where we realized and saw the need for all these people to come together and to be in one place. I think there's a lot of power that comes with bringing women together around a common theme or a common cause, if you will, and have been so fortunate to have some great people be a part of our journey. Whether it's been through the podcast or as someone who's helped at some point of the journey along the way. So to think about everyone being in one place for a day or two days and really kind of optimizing the time we're spending and reaching a bigger audience and a more like condensed but powerful amount of time I think was always in the back of our minds. The timing I think for this summer just felt right, and I think the day we decided to do it it's been ... Obviously it takes work to put on a conference, but it's come with so much ease almost. It's definitely clear that we're at the right time and place to bring everyone to us instead of us going out and doing these small one off things. But really I think to bring that community together and to have women be surrounded by other women who are from all over who can really be there to support each other ut learn from us, learn from each other, and leave feeling motivated but also feeling like they're not alone in whatever it is they're experiencing. 

Kate: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.

Shantel: Definitely. I love that community aspect to that. I mean, indirectly, and I'm sure that's not the reason to even thought to sign up, but they're going to be around other people who are trying to grow and learn and just that community of women I think could be really impactful.

Kate: Absolutely. I think, I mean, just to your point exactly what you said. I think it's a subconscious thought is that they're interested in the content, but podcasting is a one way medium. So we're talking to our audience, but we don't hear from them unless they take the time to email us or mention something on social media. So we really see our conference as like podcasting in real life. Its like these conversations that we've had with so many amazing women, women that you've even introduced us to that are so influential and inspiring to these women, and the ability to ask the questions that you want to ask without feeling that you need to send a separate email or go to any extreme measure. I think that's such an undervalued quality of conferences is that you do have that face to face time, and you're much more likely to take action on something if you have people there holding you accountable or having these conversations in person. It's almost like you put yourself in the environment to become successful by going to a conference and that inspiration can be more lasting than just maybe reading an Instagram post or doing something that maybe is a one off instance. So I think you need both pieces of that. You need to supplement it with the continued conversation on social media and podcasting, but it's just kind of the next step in that content consumption for us. 

Shantel: Mm-hmm. Do you anticipate some of the women, in addition to career change, maybe wanting to start their own companies and looking up to you guys in that way as well? Are you doing anything specifically for women entrepreneurs yet? 

| THE FOUNDER'S GUIDEBOOK |

Kate: Yeah. It's so funny that you say that because just as often as we get inquiries for career transitions and career coaching, we much more often get requests for you've built this business that is successful in an arena that I'm interested in. I want the guidebook for that. So I think that's something that we started thinking about six or seven months ago, and we have a program that will be rolling out very shortly that does that specific thing, and it's meant to be a founder's guidebook and one on one coaching specifically for business building for women entrepreneurs because one thing we've realized so often whenever we start talking is that women are really smart and almost to a fault. So they know exactly what they don't know. They know exactly the bottlenecks, the road blocks, the things that are going to keep them from being successful, and so because they're not naïve, because they're very aware, they are sometimes holding themselves back from taking that leap or taking that step because they don't have all of the elements they need to be successful. So our goal is to give them all of those elements, not only the coaching but also the consulting and the tools and the resources to be successful in whatever business they're starting but specifically starting a business. 

Shantel: I'm really excited about that. You'll have to keep me updated and we can certainly hyperlink to all of that in the show notes. That's going to be great. Love to switch gears and talk about just what you guys feel is the value of having a co-founder, and I can certainly speak to my experience with Margo and how much I've loved one really capitalizing on strengths and knowing these are my weaknesses and thank goodness you compliment them or else .... Yeah, the company would not be where it is today. But also just sharing that every day. Just being able to talk to someone who feels the same passion and feels that same energy. Can you guys speak to your experience as being in the business together? 

Tallia: Gladly.

Kate: Absolutely. I think, and you can attest to this as well with Margo, like you said, to have someone in the trenches with you, but to also have someone that sees the passion for the mission so clearly. I think when people ask us why we've been successful as co-founders it's because it's never been about either one of us in our success individually. It's always this greater mission that we're so passionate for and that we care so much about. So decision making is so easy when you're so clear on why you're there and what your mission is and what's actually going to move the needle for our business. So for us, it's always been women first and specifically women professionals first. So anytime anything comes up, we're always on the same page in terms of making sure that our women are the priority, and I think also, like you said, to have someone that's supporting you and you're not feeling alone. Running a business can feel really lonely at times. So to have someone who's feeling that exact amount of responsibility and just passion for what you're doing is so beyond helpful.

Tallia: It's also like one of the like coolest relationships ever because I think ... When people have co-founders, there are a million ways that you can find someone to work with. Some people are friends who then go into business. I think to go back to when we first met and to just see how much the relationship has evolved from knowing each other because we both had the same job to like being in the same sorority to then becoming business partners to then becoming like coaches who work on the same clients together to then becoming friends and then becoming a bridesmaid. It's like there's so many layers to the relationship that make it just like the most fun and like there's another level at which the relationship goes. I think why that is able to unfold so beautifully as Kate just said is because there's this common thing that we both come together on at the end of every day that kind of guides the way we grow together as people, and to the points you said earlier yourself, yes there are the strengths that compliment each other and things that like I'm not good at and Kate's good at and vice versa. That's definitely allowed us to be the business we are today, but there's an element of just like relationship that keeps every day feeling good and moving and growing and changing and evolving as we grow and change and evolve individually but together as co-founders as well. 

Shantel: Mm-hmm. I think it's interesting. Both of our scenarios is very organic transition into having co-founding or co-owning the business together. For the listeners that are perhaps thinking about starting something and really love to do that with someone else, what do you guys think would be the qualities that someone should look for in a business partner? 

Kate: Yeah. I mean, I think one of the biggest thing for me whenever I was really candidly speaking with my grandfather about starting this with Tallia. He said, "You know, it's actually much easier to get out of a marriage than it is to get out of a business relationship. So you really better make sure that it's something that works." What I took away from that was just like in any relationship, there needs to be a rhythm and a flow to how you work together. I think one of the most important things at least for me I tend to be an impulsive person. I get excited about new ideas. I constantly want to be innovating, and Tallia has always been someone that I feel comfortable sharing those ideas and nuances with and has always been supportive even if I think maybe int eh back of her head she knows this is probably a bad idea and we're going to have to like maybe not do this initially. I think she's always willing to listen. I think for us going back to that piece of it's not about our individual success or making a ton of money or whatever other goals could be. It's really priority number one, supporting our clients. Priority number two, supporting each other. You need to be on the same page about that in my mind that this is something that you're going in on together and I think having a mix match of priorities and why you're starting a business is probably the biggest area in which I see co-founders fail. So we have a couple of friends who have failed co-founder relationship or failed businesses because of co-founder disagreements. What I've always seen from the outside is they had different reasons for why they were starting the business together and then they were unable to be supportive of each other in realizing that the priority should really be unified rather than how can I make this the best situation for me and me alone.

Tallia: Right. I just to echo that, I think there's this if you're thinking about what the quality is, it's whatever the opposite of like having ego is. If it's coming from a place of ego and like self interest, that's the first red flag. I think, again, Kate said this earlier, we share a brain. This is why this works. But there's it's always about serving your end user, client, customer first. Everything is in their interest. I don't know. So have that common end goal, to have that sense of like shared vision and mission, without that it's easy to go in very separate directions, to see things from very different perspectives. You want different perspectives at the table to consider options and stuff, but at the end of the day we're waking up every day to do the same thing for the same person and for each other. 

| COMPLEMENTARY STRENGTHS |

Kate: I think something that's important too when you're talking about complimentary strengths, that's so important, but I think regardless of our complementary strengths, if something needs to get done, I think both of us are the type of people to jump on whatever it is. If it's mopping the floors, if it's picking up the wine, if it's tasks that are seemingly not glamorous, I think startups and starting a business can feel so glamorous from the outside but there's lots of things you have to do once you get into business that aren't as glamorous and fun. I think we have a relationship that works really well because there's no task that's too small or no task that's too big for either of us to tackle regardless of our strengths. It's really a matter of what needs to get done and how can we both support each other in doing that rather than saying, "That's not my job. That's not my role. That's not what I was intended to do here." It's really a mentality of like whatever we need to do to keep the ship moving forward, that's what we're going to do, which I think is another essential quality for co-founders. 

Shantel: Mm-hmm.

Tallia: I'll add one more thing before you keep going. I think something else, and we actually just had this conversation today, that has existed but I think was highly spoken into existence today is this realization when you're working with a co-founder, with a team, with other people, it's recognizing that there's stuff outside of work and that life happens and there are other priorities and other buckets that need to be filled and that to be able to recognize each other as people first who have needs that need to be met and to just have that kind of holistic approach I think is also we're realizing the importance of more and more as we move forward.

Shantel: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, I've even been thinking seasons of life and probably the importance of just realigning and having those open conversations, but that trust of we're still in this for this end goal and that may mean down the line we need to shift our responsibilities or shift a variety of things to make that work still for both parties. I think that's a very good point. It almost seems like you guys kind of kept also chatting about grit and just having that attitude of we'll do whatever it takes. That may be an important quality to look for in a teammate too. How do you split roles? 

Kate: That's a great question. So I think naturally I'm the more ... In terms of business logistics and kind of the operations of the business, that's something that I naturally gravitate towards more. I kind of want to know how the sausage gets made type of thing. So in term of running the business at a high level, that's something I've always kind of taken ownership of, and so that piece is really important to me. My background is in branding and public relations. So when our clients are looking for a career rebrand or to move in a different direction as a professional, then that's a place where I'll jump in. Then I'll let Tallia speak for kind of her role in the business. But for me it's more operational and then execution on the tangible pieces that our clients need.

Tallia: Yeah. I think role wise we're always trying to see what's needed, and I think that's the hard part but also just like exciting part at the same time about starting a business and it being just the two of us who are in it full-time is like that separation is hard when you're kind of both wearing all the hats at times. But I think to realize what you do naturally gravitate towards and what you're energized by is important in that separation. So for me I think a lot of what I like day to day invest my time into are the relationships that we build as Mavenly continues to grow in the one on one coaching with women who are just trying to figure out where they want to go next in their career but also just in their lives more broadly speaking. My background too is in positive psychology so a lot of that I think is what I bring into not just the curriculum and building out the programming we do, but also in kind of in everything that the foundation of Mavenly as a whole I think is very much influenced by that perspective in psychology and the foundation upon which all the work we do and the experience we walk people through is grounded in.

Shantel: I mean, I think every business owner, there's still lots of hats and there's lots of things like mopping the floor or taking out the trash that you just have to do. So are there things on both of your lists like top thing that comes to mind that you guys just cannot wait to pass off one day? 

Kate: So funny that you're asking us right now because right before we hopped on this call with you or this conversation with you, we were making that list, and I think for us it's when you start to realize those strengths, the things you're really good at, then you just want to spend more and more time doing that. So really it's the in between kind of like fringe responsibilities and tasks that I think we're really ready to pass off. So there's so much that happens in between client interactions or in between events that are logistics oriented that need to get done but really when you're transitioning your time so frequently between your personal life, your professional life, and then just kind of the urgent things that need to get done, those urgent things that don't require you specifically, I think are the first things we want to hand off. We see the opportunity cost of spending time doing those things rather than servicing clients or with our families and friends. So I think that that has been our biggest priority is really our client pipeline and then our events pipeline is making sure that what gets that from start to finish that's not directly client facing or attendee facing is the stuff that we want to get off our plate. 

Shantel: Yeah. It's so easy to have that long to-do list every day and just kind of chug out the smaller tasks or the real easy ones or the things that aren't that top, top priority. So I can ... Yeah, there's certainly a slew of things too that I cannot wait to pass off. So thanks for sharing there. I just have a couple more questions for you guys before we wrap up. But the first is where do you see the company going and what's big on the horizon for Mavenly? 

Tallia: I think in looking six months, one year, three years down the road, what we really started paying attention to are the people that are coming to Mavenly, what exactly they're asking for and what we're most excited about offering. Up until now, if you're talking about division of labor, Kate has had branding clients. I've had career coaching clients. But the clients that we've really enjoyed working with have been people who get coaching from both of us for different reasons. So I think down the road we do a lot more work with clients together as like a coaching duo, which really ends up being for the women who are trying to take that leap and start something of their own. They've reached success in some way in their careers and have decided at they are kind of either done working for somebody else or that they're just meant for more. Whether that's more money, more time, more freedom, more meaning through their work, more of an impact to the work they do. So we really see ourselves spending a lot more time working very intimately with women who are very invested in building something of their own. That's a really exciting avenue. I think we're not just exploring but we're putting into the world, and the thought of just creating more female founders and women who feel in control of their work and of their life and who can do what they've always wanted to but never known how, that to me is just like such an exciting thought.

Shantel: That's really, really exciting, and I think you guys have such an interesting twist to that as well with the coaching piece about just really shaping your life to what you'd like it to be, and you guys have such a good sentence about that. Just about living intentionally and I think everyone should apply that when they're starting a business as well and being a little bit more mindful of what that looks like in their life and the life that they want to craft. So I think that's going to be really powerful and I'm really excited for you guys.

Tallia: Thank you.

Shantel: Yeah. Then last but not least, how can people get in touch with you guys, learn more about Mavenly and the conference that is coming up.

Kate: Yeah, absolutely. So the kind of catch all for communication with us is our website. So that's www.Mavenly.co. It's not .com but .co. Then obviously we're both available via email, but the best emails probably hello@mavenly.co. Then we're on Instagram @MavenlyCo. Then our podcast is the Women Work and Worth podcast. So most of our audience members interact with us there most often, but Instagram, email and our website are all great places to find us. We would love to chat with you.

Shantel: Great. Well, thank you both so much for being on the Imagine More podcast. I really, really appreciate it. 

Tallia: Can I add one thing before you let us go?

Shantel: Yeah. Of course.

Tallia: As a female founder and as someone who both of us just want to take time to highlight the importance and just like share our appreciation for women like you who have always been there willing to help, willing to connect us to people, willing to just like celebrate our successes. You took us out to celebrate I think our two year anniversary. There's just not enough can be said about having women in your corner who are there to support, celebrate, share resources, help whenever they can, and so thank you for sharing these stories on your podcast but also being such an integral and important part of our journey and as a fellow founder but also as a friends and as someone who's kicking butt doing incredible things in her own way. 

Kate: Absolutely. 

Shantel: Thank you. I really appreciate it. I did not pay her to say that so thank you.

Kate: Anyone who knows you would say the exact same thing about you so ...

Tallia: Yeah.

Shantel: Thanks guys. We'll talk to you soon.