568 Jodi Flynn:
Did you know that podcasting is the fastest growing media of all time? Some 150 million Americans listen more than 6 hours a week, and entrepreneurs are learning fast that podcasting is the best way to engender “know like and trust” to attract loyal customers.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet a coach with a thriving business built in large part as a result of her successful podcast.
Jodi Flynn of Women Taking the Lead coaches high-achieving women who are recovering from their last big opportunity or getting ready for the next one. Today she shares how her critically-acclaimed Women Taking the Lead podcast helped her grow her business
I can’t wait to introduce you to Jodi! First…
Jodi Flynn coaches women in transition and ready for the next big leap. Companies hire her to partner with their women leaders to develop the mindset and skills they need to thrive in Senior and executive management.
Jodi shares today why the skills needed to thrive in senior leadership are the very skills that create and inspire high-performing teams who can handle the nitty-gritty work. This frees a leader up to do the more strategic, long-term visioning, collaborating, planning and coordinating that allows a company to remain competitive even in turbulent markets.
We’re going to talk about leadership skills, the mindset you need to take your business or career to the next level, plus why podcasting is a great way to grow your confidence – and your customers.
Did you know that 85% of podcasters don’t money from podcasting? Yep. Even though podcasting is the fastest growing media. I think that has to change, and that’s why I founded Podopolo – the world’s first socially interactive podcasting network. And the first to share revenue with podcasters! We’re adding more podcasts to our inspiring lineup. Find out more at Podopolo.com – and get the demo.
So with all that, you won’t be surprised that I am excited to geek out with Jodi Flynn today about all things podcasting. Jodi is using podcasting to grow her inspiring community of Women Taking the Lead – and it’s also helped her build a great roster of customers. She’ll be sharing all her secrets.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Jodi Flynn.
Melinda Wittstock: Jodi, welcome to Wings.
Jodi Flynn: Melinda, I’m honored to be here and I’m excited to be talking to your community too. So, thank you all.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, I always love talking to other podcasters. Women Taking the Lead is a great podcast, and it’s something that has helped you really grow your coaching business. I love that because I think podcasting is super powerful. Of course, I would think that. Tell me about how the podcast really galvanized lots more customers for you.
Jodi Flynn: Yes. You probably had this experience as well because launching a podcast, you are putting your voice out there. It’s evergreen. It’s global. Women can access it at any time, all over the world. All they need is a device and then a cellular connection or some Wi-Fi, and they’re listening to you. I didn’t realize this at the time, because when I first started my podcast, I was only doing interviews. And then I expanded to, I think a couple or three years later started doing some audio blogs and on-air coaching calls. But initially, for the first couple of years, I was just interviewing other women about their own experiences and overcoming self-doubt, taking on more leadership, gaining confidence.
What I found was, and I was surprised by this at first, women were reaching out to me saying to me, “I think you get me. I’ve been listening to your podcasts, the things you say.” I didn’t realize I was saying so much really, because I was mostly just asking questions and reiterating back to my guests what I heard from what they answered and just having that type of a conversation. But apparently, over the course of time, I had dropped enough nuggets to let these women know I understood a particular type of woman and I think a lot of us can relate to that where we’re driven, but not just driven, we’re over achievers, right? We almost do too much and we take on so much and we’re perfectionist and we’re people pleasers.
Those women listening to my podcasts, it occurred to them. They had a light bulb moment like, “She’s the coach for me.” And so, the podcast, more and more people who I hadn’t known before they reached out to me, started hiring me and becoming my clients. And so the podcast was really not just a marketing tool for my business because that sounds very sterilized, it really was almost like a magnet and a beacon for my business where my voice amplified, “This is who I am. This is what I do. This is what I’m about.” And these women felt like they already knew me and felt comfortable with me and reached out.
Melinda Wittstock: I think there’s something about podcasting that’s very intimate, that it develops an understanding of who you actually are over time. So there’s this know, like, trust, which is the holy grail of marketing. Yet, I help a lot of people launch podcasts. Many of them come to it thinking they’re going to have instantaneous results. I think you get better results, but they take a bit of time.
Jodi Flynn: Yes, absolutely. It takes laying some groundwork, right? Because it is very intimate. You are in people’s ears. They hear your voice, right? They feel the emotion that you might be feeling while you’re on your podcast. I know over the course of years, I’ve had a range of emotions while I’ve been talking to different women and just sharing some of my own stories, but it does take a little while. Everybody’s different. Because I have a sales coach and she talks about how everyone has a different number of touch points that they require before they will buy or reach out or find out more. And so, with podcasts, you have to go the distance a little while, but once you do, once you get to that point, you start building momentum and then you have a backlog too.
So, I don’t know about you. When I first discover a new podcast, if they have a hundred episodes, I start with episode one and I will binge. If I’m enjoying it, I will binge listen through it. By the time I’m done, I feel like they’re one of my best friends. They don’t know me, but I really feel like I know them, but it does take some time and some different experiences. Even just like a friendship, when you first meet somebody, it’s not like, “You’re my BFF forever,” right? It’s like dating as well. It takes a lot of experiences to build that know, like, and trust factor. But like I said, with a podcast, it’s evergreen. So the more episodes you have out there, the more experiences you give people right away to get to know you.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. What was it that made you launch the podcast to begin with?
Jodi Flynn: I had friends who had started podcasting and I had been on a radio show. I kept getting feedback from people like, “You have a great voice. I feel so relaxed when I’m listening to you talk. You absolutely should have a podcast.” I think, Melinda, you work with people who are starting podcasts, so you know this. I resisted it to the point where I couldn’t deny that it was the right thing for me to be doing. I knew I needed to launch a podcast, that it would be perfect for me and my business, but I get queasy when I think about technology.
But here’s the thing, a woman I had gone to coaching school with, I noticed probably a year or so after I’d even contemplated having a podcast, I noticed she had a post. I think it was on Pinterest. When I started clicking through, I realized, “Oh, she had a podcast.” So, I sent her a message to congratulate her and told her I was thinking about podcasting. And she just reached back out to me and said, “Oh, do you have a PC or a Mac?” I was like, “I have a PC.” She’s like, “So do I.” She’s like, “Do you want to get on the phone and talk about podcasting?”
What a beautiful thing. We spent an hour on the phone and she went over all the hardware she was using, the software she was using. It really made me feel more comfortable taking the next step. But I will tell you this, it was joining a program and being a part of a community and getting coaching on it that really put my feet to the fire and got me to finally launch it, and I’m so glad I did. I can’t imagine my life right now without my podcast.
Melinda Wittstock: When I talk to people about podcasting who want to do a podcast, but there’s usually some sort of mindset issue and one of them is the technology like, “Oh my God.” I immediately put people at ease. So I have a Mac and I have a USB microphone that costs me 79 bucks. The sound is really good. I have an editor in the Philippines, who does all the audio editing for me. But the mindset issue is usually around deep, deep down. It’s like, “I’m not enough,” or “Why would someone want to hear what I have to say? How is what I have to say any different from a million and other people?”
So really finding the confidence and also the alignment so that you actually know what your true why is, I think is one of the biggest single, the blocks often for people, just getting that confidence to step in and own their own message, if you will.
Jodi Flynn: Yeah. I’m a true believer that when you have a mission, you don’t need confidence, right? You just do it, right?
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly, because it’s bigger than you.
Jodi Flynn: It’s bigger than you. You don’t need to feel really secure in what you’re doing. It just becomes so important. You just get this feeling like, “I have to do something.” For me, I saw too many talented, amazing women who are holding themselves back from doing things that they really wanted do because they lacked confidence. That for me, that was a mission. I was like, “I have to do something to help these women,” because tears could come to my eyes. When I think about it, it was so heartbreaking, right? It got to a point where it didn’t matter if I felt like I’d be good at this. I had to do something.
So yeah, Melinda, absolutely, it can be a mental mind block, but attaching yourself. I think the term you used was that commission, right? That mission, when you grab onto that and you attach yourself to something that’s way bigger than you are, it gets to the point where it’s like, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you feel secure or not. Just give it a try.
Melinda Wittstock: I imagine this very topic though must come up in your coaching all the time to women who are stepping up as executive leaders or thinking of starting their own businesses or on that entrepreneurial journey already, that the mission plays in there in starting a business as well, as much as a podcast.
Jodi Flynn: Yeah. It goes a couple of ways because there’s the self and there’s the other, right? Sometimes it starts with, “I’m not feeling satisfied doing what I’m doing right now,” or “I feel like I’m meant for more,” that sort of internal process. But it really takes off when these women come to the realization of, “I want to make a difference for others. I want to have an impact not just because it’ll be attached to my name, but it’ll make a difference for other people.” I think there has to be a balance for both. We do have to love what we’re doing and feel that what we’re doing is fulfilling, but I think when we get to that step where it’s like, “How can this really impact other people and possibly change the world?” that’s when it really gets interesting.
Melinda Wittstock: It really does. So, what are the biggest single things that your clients struggle with the most as they’re taking the lead?
Jodi Flynn: Yeah, I would say a lot of it and it’s such a vague term, but clarity around, “Is this what I want?” Because sometimes what we’ll have women within the organizations asking themselves the questions, “Do I really want to take the next step? Do I really want that promotion? Is this what I want to be doing?” Because a lot of time what they’re dealing with is, “I’ve already got so much on my plate. I’m already exhausted. I’m already sacrificing so much in my personal life.” It’s normally not because the job is too much, right? Even though their jobs with a lot of responsibility, but the way they’re operating is causing it to be a lot harder than it needs to be. So, that clarity of like, “Do I want this next?” oftentimes starts with, “Let’s take care of how you’re doing things first and then free up some energy, free up some time and then you can decide is that next step exactly what you want.” Or clarity within for an entrepreneur or a small business owner.
I had a client one time who was like, her business was successful, but she was, again, exhausted because of the way she was operating. She said to me in our discovery call, just to see if coaching was a good fit or if I was a good fit for her as a coach, she said to me, “I need to make a decision, and it’s one or the other. I need to take on a partner, which I don’t like the idea of, or I need to sell my business, which I don’t like the idea of.” I was like, “Okay. Again, let’s make that decision in a bit. Let’s deal with some things that are going on.” And it turned out she didn’t need to do either. She had a great team, that once she took a step back and allowed them to do-
Melinda Wittstock: Allow the team to actually do their thing, yes.
Jodi Flynn: Right. Allow them to do what she hired them to do and let them make the decisions, that sort of thing. She didn’t have to do either. She could take time off. She could plan vacations and be the owner of the business rather than the person driving the business from the inside.
Melinda Wittstock: There’s so much confusion about that, where a lot of women fall into the trap of thinking that they have to do it all. Not only do it all, but do it all perfectly, which is impossible. You cannot scale a business that way.
Jodi Flynn: No. No. And that definitely gets in women’s way, for sure. We’re such doers, right? We see a need, we see what’s missing and we’re like, “I can do that.” Right? And then, but we’re not taking a step back and thinking of, “Is this the best use of my time?” A lot of my clients deal with that as well. You know what, for women business owners, it’s what will hold them back from having that six figure, seven figure business, or being able to expand. For women within organizations, it’ll prevent them from achieving senior leadership.
One of the skills that’s identified that women are missing, what causes them to get overlooked in senior leadership or their inability to grow their business is strategic and visionary thinking. Because they get so caught in the weeds of the day to day, they’re not taking that step back to answer the questions of, “Where are we going? What are the things that could get in our way? What’s our plan? How are we going to use our resources?” That sort of thing. When we’re so busy just trying to get the day-to-day work done, we’re not able to steer the ship and that’s what’s required to have businesses of those size, of the businesses of that size and to achieve senior leadership within an organization.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. When I’m hiring, I often give this speech because most founders tend to be visionary type people. You’re creating a business out of whole cloth. You’re innovating something that hasn’t been done before. You’re bringing your own specific mission or your specific talents to the table. And that’s a visionary. So my talk goes something like this: “I’m at my best at 30,000 feet, because at 30,000 feet I can see all the storms coming. I can see the relationship between things. I can see all this. But if I swooped down to ground level, I can do that. But when I’m on the ground, I can’t see any of those other things so I’m not at my best.”
Jodi Flynn: Right. And think about it this way, if you were a plane at 30,000 feet moving, but you have to come down to ground level to take care of things, you’re not making progress. You’re not moving forward. Stuff’s getting done, but the business isn’t really moving forward.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. But I think part of it is, the feeling of relinquishing control. I’m trying to get to what is it about so many women who feel this need to be in control to the point of micromanaging and doing everything? Why is relinquishing control such a big issue?
Jodi Flynn: I think especially for a perfectionist, they want to wow, they want to over-deliver, and they believe that the way they do things is the best way to be doing things. So when other people aren’t operating at their level or aren’t doing the things the way they would do it, they assume, they jumped to the conclusion, “They’re doing it wrong. So I need to stop them. I need to take over. I need to correct it.” When like you said, the reality is if we could just let go of the control, allow things to go a different way.
What causes women to do that more than men do it? It could be part the way we’re wired and partly just the way we’re raised, where as women, it’s almost like… This is going to be a broad stroke. So, for anyone listening, if this doesn’t apply to you, don’t take this to the heart. But generally, what we see in women is this need to prove themselves more so than men. I’ve been talking about this a lot lately is women are perceived to be more incompetent than men, right? That’s what we’re up against in the world. And not just by men, women are perceived to be more incompetent than men by men and women.
Melinda Wittstock: That crushes me. It’s true. Oh my God, that has to change because we’re so much better and stronger when we have the support of other women.
Jodi Flynn: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ve had men in my career that were wonderful advocates for me as well, but it is a cultural thing. And so growing up in that culture, I think women do have that belief and they’re not wrong, but we do want to change it, that it has to be better than what other people are putting out there. Otherwise, it will be dismissed. I can’t be average. And so that need to be in control so things are not average and we’re not making mistakes, it comes out perfectly. We’re over-delivering and we’re wowing. It drives me crazy and it is something that we have to overcome. I work on with my clients is dismantling a lot of those beliefs. Really, does it have to? Is it serving you? Is it even aligned with the mission?
Melinda Wittstock: Well, entrepreneurship, too, is imperfect in every way. If you try and be perfect all the time in fast changing circumstances and you try and control things that are beyond your control, something that’s perfect today might not be perfect tomorrow because the market might have moved or the circumstances might have changed. So, it’s never perfect. It’s kind of like your work is never done. Certainly, entrepreneurs and especially like me, like a tech entrepreneur, the faster you understand that, you realize that you’re always iterating and that you will be failing, and that’s okay because actually those fail moments are the learn moments.
And so, I’ve come to embrace them. I think, “Oh, hey, this is great. This is showing me a different way.” It requires a mindset shift to be able to get there. I’d like to say that mine was like, “I knew it all the time.” Right? That I always do this. It is not true. I mean, it was many, many years to actually be able to come to that understanding and free myself of that kind of stuff.
Jodi Flynn: Right. There are the things we know as concepts. Going into entrepreneurship, we know it’s going to be a lot of work, right? We know everything isn’t going to work out perfectly, but what do we truly believe that? I think to some extent, all of us going into entrepreneurship believe, “I’m going to be different.”
Melinda Wittstock: No, because we look at people’s social media highlight reels, and we look at all the stories of the people who are on the covers of entrepreneur Forbes or whatever, right? And women in particular who look perfect doing it, right?
Jodi Flynn: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: I think the more that, and this comes back to podcasting too, the more that we show that you can be successful and vulnerable at the same time, or you don’t have to be perfect, the more that we admit these things from a position of strength. I think vulnerability is strength.
Jodi Flynn: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: But there’s so much that has to reset in the brain to enable that. But then here’s where I think the support from other women is vital in that case, because to do that by yourself is hard, but to do it in a group of women is easier.
Jodi Flynn: I was just thinking that, Melinda. It makes a difference when you align yourself with other women who were doing similar things. So if you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve started your business, get yourself into a community of other women who have started a business and at different places, right? No women who started their business five or 10 years ago. And then as you grow in your business, no women who are just starting their businesses, right? Get that range, get those different perspectives because you do learn. Your challenges are not new, right? I think that’s the thing. A lot of us, we think, “Oh, I thought I was the only one. I thought I was the only one messing this up.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, because when we’re so busy being perfect and proving our competence, we’re isolated. And so we think that we reinvent the wheel when we don’t have to. I think one of my mentors earlier on said, “Look, find the person who’s already done what you’re trying to do and ask them how they did it.” And it’s amazing how generous people are who are at the top of their game. They actually really want to help you. Just like the woman that you reached out to about podcasting, right? People are actually very generous, but we will never know if we don’t ask. It comes back around to why everyone needs a coach, like you. There are many, many coaches out there and finding the right person for you, finding the right mentors for you, and like you say, being in great mastermind groups and all of that. The secret to my success, I think, has really been in learning how to do that, which came, I regret to say, more into my 40s before I was finally able to really understand that. And the minute I did, everything changed for me.
Jodi Flynn: Yes. I would say one of the things that hobbles women the most is trying to go it alone or trying to figure it out on your own there. Sometimes we feel this embarrassment like, “Oh, I should have this figured out already” so we don’t reach out. Gosh, the number of times, it’s like a forehead slap. When I finally do reach out, let people in, be vulnerable, share the struggles I’m going through, the amount of support and knowledge and advice I get from women who are like, “Oh yeah, I did that. Yep, I have that same challenge. I had that same problem. Here’s what I did. Here’s what you can try. Here are some things to think about.” It’s when we stop pretending we’re supposed to have it all figured out, we can open the door and let people in.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, who is your ideal client? Who are the women that you want to work with most? Tell us some of the results, some of the before and after’s.
Jodi Flynn: I’m really enjoying. I mean, I had to narrow my niche a little bit. I have worked with both the business owner and women within organizations trying to achieve senior leadership. But over the last year, just the numbers that are coming out, the struggles of women who are within organizations achieving those higher roles. My heart is just breaking. And hearing some of the stories, I mean, we all have our challenges, but these are the women I have been focusing on I would say in the last six months to a year. I typically work with women who are either a year or two post-promotion or gearing up for the next one.
Now, the women who are post-promotion, typically I’m brought in by the HR person or a senior leader who really thinks highly of this woman. They see a great future for this woman, but since her promotion, she’s been struggling. For all the reasons we’ve been talking about, Melinda, like having a hard time letting people in, being vulnerable, operating at a different place where they recognize they’re not the one who has needs to be doing all the work. They can give it away. They can let go of some of the control. And because they’re not doing those things, they are overwhelmed with the amount of work that’s on their plate and they are racing to keep up with it.
And then a recent woman I started working with, when I was hired, I was… Typically, you’re vetted by those HR people and the senior leaders to make sure you’re a good fit. I was told that the woman who I would potentially be working with had a great future at this huge global company. They thought so much of her. When I talked to her in our discovery call, again, to see if there was a good fit between us, she had said like, “I’m the [inaudible 00:26:07]. I’ve already been told when this person retires, we want you to take over his job.” Right now, she’s doing the job at the U.S. level. When he retires, she’ll be doing that job at the global level. I’m like, “That’s huge. That’s amazing.” She’s like, “Yeah, I don’t know if I want it.” I was like, “What? That’s like you’ve been handed the golden goose. This is amazing.” She’s like, “I’m already doing so much. I’m already-
Melinda Wittstock: And so, they can’t actually visualize themselves at this higher role or, and making assumptions that somehow it’ll make family life difficult or they won’t be able to do all the other things, right?
Jodi Flynn: Yes, they can’t imagine what would make that work because what she said to me, “Jodi, if I take that job, I’ll be dead in years.” But what she was really saying was, “If I’m operating at the level I’m operating right now, I won’t be able to handle that job.” But where I come in is I help her operate at a whole different level.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Because there are things that you can do. I’m more productive the less I do personally, right? It’s about team. It’s about choosing to do things in a day that’s going to give you the maximum leverage. So if I do only one thing today, pick the thing that’s the highest priority, and it’s the highest priority because it’s going to have a multiplicity of impacts.
Jodi Flynn: Yes. Yep. Typically, with my clients, I will say this, it’s easier said than done, but one of the best things that my clients do is they stop going to every single meeting they’re invited to and just go to the meetings they need to be at and let their team go to the other meetings.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh man, I had to grapple with that because I used to be the type of person that would say ‘yes’ on everything. I like to learn. I like to explore. I like to meet new people, all this kind of stuff, but-
Jodi Flynn: And we like to be in the know too, right? Have the information as it’s coming out when it’s [inaudible 00:28:17].
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I had to learn that if it’s not a ‘hell yes’, it’s a ‘no’. And that those opportunities that you don’t do because they’re not on your priority list for today don’t go away. There’s always another time. You can always say yes later, right? And so, I mean, I’ve learned to keep a list of the things that I want to do that are just not now. They will be. And if they’re important, they’ll manifest anyway.
Jodi Flynn: It’s that letting go of FOMO, the fear of missing out. If it’s important, it’ll come around. Trust that the universe will provide for you exactly what you need at the moment you provide, you’re provided. Melinda, I’ll say this too. The other benefit is I’m thinking specifically of this client and the other woman who had said like, “Oh, I need to sell my business or get a partner,” in each of those cases, both of them reported their team’s confidence level shot up when all of a sudden they took a step back and said, “You know what, I’m not going to this meeting. You got it. You take care of it.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Because they’re paying it forward to other women, right?
Jodi Flynn: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: And giving them permission too, right? Because it’s not just about your climbing, it’s about lifting others with you on that climb.
Jodi Flynn: Absolutely. You could probably relate to this as well. I remember in my career when I was given an opportunity to show that I was ready, yes, it was a little like, “Oh my God, I’m a little nervous,” but I was like, “Yes. Yes, I want this opportunity. I want to prove that I can do more.” It’s such a gift. Our minds have a hard time wrapping around this that there are people out there that a gift to them would be an opportunity to do more.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. But the other side of the equation, too, that’s really important for women to hear is employers like me, where I have to scale a team. I have to go from about six people to 40 people next year. Okay. In that context, I’m looking for people that have a heart of an entrepreneur in the sense that they’re going to do what it takes. They’re going to see a problem and take initiative and fix it like, “Let me know, but figure out a way.” And so, when I’m looking for women to hire, that’s something that’s actually a real benefit to the company. And so if someone’s like, “Oh no, I’m afraid of taking the responsibility,” that doesn’t make you a good hire, right?
Jodi Flynn: No, you wouldn’t want to hire those people. They’re obviously in the wrong position if they’re working for a company like yours and not wanting to take initiative.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly.
Jodi Flynn: It’s just not a good fit.
Melinda Wittstock: But the onus is me though as a CEO to make sure that they feel comfortable, that they’re aligned, they’re in the right seats, that they’re not going to be punished for making a mistake. So our whole culture is innovate. So mistakes are good as long as you learn from them.
Jodi Flynn: Yep, absolutely. That is crucial because I will have a lot of people say to me, “My team won’t take initiative.” But when the team makes a mistake, they come down hard on them. That will be something I’ll immediately point out like, “Okay. If you want a culture of people taking initiative, you have to be okay with mistakes.” We have to change our whole story around what is a mistake and what’s the price here because that is typically the thing. When I talked to a business owner and they’re like, “My team won’t take initiative,” I’m immediately asking, “Well, what are the consequences of making mistakes? How are mistakes handled?” And that will immediately reveal the problem because people aren’t willing to take chances if there are huge consequences around making mistake. You have to have a culture that allows for some risks, allows for some mistakes if you want people to step up and take initiative.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, absolutely. So, we could talk forever, Jodi. This is such a good conversation. So, how can people find you and work with you?
Jodi Flynn: Oh, probably the best place to find me is my website, which is womentakingthelead.com. I am also on every platform as Jodi Flynn or Women Taking the Lead. But if someone to email me directly, they could find me at Jodi, J-O-D-I, @womentakingthelead.com.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Jodi Flynn: Melinda, thank you. This has been a joy to chat with you, and thank you for those who are listening. I hope this was valuable to you as well.