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About the episode

Welcome to the very first episode of The Entrepreneurial Outlaws. Today Melanie is sharing what it really means to her to be an entrepreneurial outlaw. From a very young age she felt like she didn’t belong, and that didn’t change as she became a business owner. Then 2020 and all that this year is hit, and Melanie decided that she was going to do things differently. For the first time ever, Melanie decided to become the business owner that felt comfortable, one that matched what she valued as an individual.

Tune in to hear Melanie share what we all need to be doing in the online space to make a positive impact in the world as we lead with humility and courage. Then be sure to download the Outlaw Manifesto to take the pact of doing business in a way that you’re proud of and using your voice to make change.

Topics Discussed in Episode #1

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  • An introduction to what it means to be an Entrepreneurial Outlaw and how it’s rooted in country music outlaws.
  • When and why Melanie finally decided to change the way she does business and take control of her role as CEO.
  • How Melanie discovered you can grow a sustainable, small business with a small audience.
  • Why it’s important to show up in your truth as your unique self and why you can’t teach authenticity.
  • What we need to be doing differently in the online space as an entrepreneurial outlaw and what this actually looks like.
  • How to use your voice to create change.
  • Why you have to give yourself active permission to enjoy the process and journey of being a business owner and building your business.
  • The importance of knowing and constantly remembering who you are outside of your business.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Melanie here:

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Transcription:

(00:00):

Hey friends. Welcome to episode number one of entrepreneurial Outlaws. I just want to take a moment to just bask in the gloriousness. That is the fact that I’m sitting down to record this first episode of this podcast. And you are listening today, which is just so exciting. This podcast has been something I have wanted to do for around three years. I have been a guest on other shows. I have wanted my own podcast and it’s probably the biggest procrastination of my business which is going to be a whole other episode. But I just wanted to, if you’re listening, say thank you. I wanted to thank you for showing up and listening to this episode, and I’m so excited to get started on this journey with you. So this first episode is really going to be an introduction, what it means to be an entrepreneurial outlaw, how I came up with this name and there’s a, there’s a good story behind it.

(01:10):

And I also want to talk a little bit about our outlaw manifesto that you can sign up for on the website and share with you the values and what it means to be an entrepreneurial outlet because you guys, there is so much crap out there on online business and well, let’s get into it and I’ll talk you through how I ended up feeling like an entrepreneurial outlook. And yeah, hopefully you can hear some of your own story in this, and I hope that it resonates with you. And I hope that you see that there can be a different way of doing business and it doesn’t have to be one size fits all. And I hope that you will join me in being an outlaw and subscribing and listening to this show as we go on this journey together, you know, in all of our outlaw gloriousness,

(02:05):

You’re listening to entrepreneurial Outlaws. A podcast for creatives, introverts, empaths and spiritual folks who want to grow

(02:13):

Sustainable and impactful business on their own terms

(02:20):

Together. We are paving the way for a new normal and online

(02:23):

Marketing and business. One that allows you to lean into what makes you and your business unique. And I’m your host, Melanie nights, storyteller Pinterest strategist visibility, coach and CEO of content are, can be marketing or nontraditional marketing agency for creative business owners who don’t want to compromise the creative integrity to make money, get ready because each week we’re having the messy, honest, and transparent conversations about entrepreneurship, the kind that’s missing from the highlight rails of our social media feeds, and you’ll learn how to create intention and connection behind your content so

(03:00):

That you can sell without selling out. We’re uncovering the real stories behind what it takes to run a sustainable online business, the highs, the lows, everything in between, ready to break the rules and become an entrepreneurial outlaw. Let’s do this. My name is Melanie.

(03:24):

I am at your host and I’ve been in business since 2016. So at the time of recording this it’s about four and a half years. And to say that I have spun my wheels and struggled is an understatement. And I honestly thought it was just me. I’ve discovered it’s not just me. There’s a lot of small business owners who are struggling out there and the end of 2019 I really was just done. I wanted to do business differently. I spent a lot of time that December digging into who I wanted to be as a business or not, and who I was without my business. And I started to write these, these goals and these things down that I really wanted to achieve in 2020, which is funny, cause many of them went to travel. But there was a few things right on the list.

(04:22):



And one of them was to start this podcast and the other was to learn guitar. So for those of you who don’t know, I am a very, very big country music fan. And I know that can cause some controversy, but I just, I love old country and new country. And if you follow me on Instagram, you know, that it’s the thing. And when I could, I went to a lot of shows. And at the same time, I was really feeling this pull to figure out who I was without my business, as well as a business owner. I was learning a lot about country music, old country, country music from the seventies. And I was really just going through that phase. And one of the things I started to learn about was outlaw country and our little country has kind of become mislabeled because it has become known for a sound, but it was really a quest for artistic freedom.

(05:26):

I started to learn more and more about this. I was lining that before the movement, a lot of artists in Nashville felt as though they were passengers. They weren’t able to produce or choose their songs. They were just really this passenger in this ride where the producers and the labels were picking out the music that they had to play and country music at that time had a very specific sound. It was the deli Ponton sound. And there were new who wanted to be part of music robe, but they weren’t allowed, they didn’t fit in. They wanted to keep their artistic integrity. And what happened was they started the system. They didn’t want to be labeled and which is funny and ironic because they are labeled as the Outlaws. But the elders had the courage to not just be stars. They wanted to dig deep into themselves.

(06:24):

They wanted to pre present the artistry to the world. They did not want to, they didn’t want to compromise and they didn’t want to lose their creative integrity just to make money. And these were, this was really about artists fighting for their creative freedom and some of the artists that really started to buck that trend were Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, who film, who formed, sorry. The outlaw movement because they actually left Nashville. They went to Texas, they went to Austin and they actually created their own movement. They played songs for people who certainly went into country music at that time and they created their own audience. They created their own movies and they started to sell records. I realize that they could sell records without compromising their creative integrity and the mortar. I read this, the more, I just resonated with it as an entrepreneur, because one of the things I had felt for so long is that I was compromising my values.

(07:28):

I was compromising my belief system and what I wanted to achieve in this world with my business, I was compromising it to fit into these kind of boxed strategies. You know, I am not a Pappy business owner, right? I’m, I’m very introverted. I like to be a I’m a somebody who wants to lead in that business with empathy and humility and wants to make sure that people are taken care of. I will go above and beyond for my clients. I don’t see that as a flaw. I have boundaries, but I don’t see looking after the people who want to work with you and investing you. I don’t see that as a problem. And that was really how I wanted to feel in my business. And I just felt like I was bouncing from strategy to strategy and everything was the same. And I wasn’t seeing anything different 2020.

(08:26):

I just decided to like, say, fuck it changed my approach. And I decided that I needed to do business differently. I decided that I needed to approach my social media in a different way. I wanted it to be more fun. I wanted to feel like I could be creative with why I was doing. And I just decided that I wasn’t going to hide. I wasn’t going to hide behind a fluff. I wasn’t going to pretend that I didn’t have an original soul. You’ll let I have a little of original thoughts. I have a little thoughts and opinions for that matter, but I wanted to share those thoughts. I wanted it to, I knew I couldn’t be the only one. Right? And sometimes in entrepreneurship, we look around social media and it feels like we’re the only one. Doesn’t it? It feels like no one else is struggling.

(09:14):

Everyone else is having 10 K months and six figure launches. I call bullshit. It’s not true. Right? It’s not true. But I decided to just approach my business differently, approach social media differently. And I wanted to see what was going to happen because I knew that if I had to lose who I was to become a business, I know then it was no point in doing it. There was no point in running a business that made me miserable. I was so busy, but I wasn’t making enough money to pay my bills. And I just started posting differently. And when I look at my social media feed, I can see this switch from feeling really cautious and hesitant about being myself and telling my true story to realizing that I could and I was allowed to, and I could give myself permission to do it.

(10:03):

So I started posting differently. I started showing up differently. I’ve always been consistent, even when it was hard. And what I discovered was the actually you could grow a really, you could grow a really sustainable business, even with a small audience. You could grow a sustainable business with a small audience and that’s by listening to your audience. But listening to the people who are showing up for you now, you can create really intentional content that them, that they will tell you what they love, which helps with your engagement and that by telling your story, you are staying true to your values. You’re staying true to the impact you want to make in the world.

(10:58):

Okay.

(10:58):

I’ve always felt like I didn’t fan long before social media, I felt like I didn’t fit. Like that was my that’s my story of high school. It was not the most fun time. I didn’t thin. And I felt like I was always trying to fit in. And that carried on throughout my teens and my twenties. And now I feel like not fitting in is my superpower being slightly quirky, being a perfectionist. They all my superpowers and the things that make me who I am and make me really good at doing what I do. And when we don’t show up in our weirdness, when we don’t show up quacks, when we don’t tell people that we love country music, although we read our Terra cards, Oh, well, we love astrology or whatever your thing is. When we don’t tell people that when not giving them permission to make a choice, we’re not giving them permission to show up in their own truth.

(11:56):

And oftentimes when we don’t show up in our truth, especially as online business owners and especially on social media, the people who actually would resonate with our story, the people who would resonate with all of our quacks and weirdness and uniqueness, they walk straight past us. And then they feel alone because they didn’t know that we were there. Right? So when we don’t show up in our truth, as our unique selves, others don’t see it. They don’t know that we’re there and they don’t know that they can do the same. And so I really encourage you to think about who you are outside of your business and think about how you show up in your business. Are you showing up as your truest self, like we’ll know, authenticity and authentic and authentic marketing is like over done, like it’s done. And it kills me that there are so many people trying to teach you how to be authentic.

(12:52):

When you cannot teach authenticity, you can’t teach authenticity because it comes from women. It’s not something that can be toy. You just show up and your weirdness and your uniqueness and just, you know, stop worrying so much about those people who might say something. And when we do that, we’re able to do business differently. And I’ve watched this over the last few months. As I record this episode, we are coming out of lockdown where I live gradually. But if anything, we’ve learned to do business differently, you know, the plans I had seven, eight months ago, a very different to the plants I have now. But the one thing that has stayed true is being able to show up and connect with incredible business owners, incredible creators, incredible makers and artists and designers who has stories behind their business and brand their stories aren’t being shed.

(13:49):

And I really, really encourage you to do business differently and to consider where is your holding on to some of these strategies or tactics in your business that maybe don’t quite feel aligned with how you thought you would be doing business. Maybe there are strategies or tactics that leave you feeling like really awful wound. Maybe you feel, maybe you feel like you should be on Instagram stories every single day. And you hate being a video. Maybe you’re introverted like me and you don’t want to be showing up as this like peppy cheerleader on stories, which by the way is absolutely fine. You don’t have,

(14:40):

But maybe there are those stretched in tactics that you can start to let go of. And it takes time. It takes a lot of unlearning. It also takes replacing them with something that feels really good. Right? And one of the things I know to be true is that when we are in alignment with ourselves, when we, as business owners are in alignment with our values and our story and the impact we want to make in this world, things felt easier. Things will into place, even when things were hard. Cause they still will. Even when things were hard, we are able to make better decisions. We’re able to make value-driven decisions.

(15:21):

So I want to talk a little bit about some of the things that we can be doing differently in the online space as Outlaws, right? We need to build connection. It doesn’t matter which industry urn, whether you are a maker, a creative service, a coach, it doesn’t matter what industry you are, what type of business model you have. Connection wins, connection in your business is going to, is going to help you sustainably help you build a sustainable business. It’s going to help you in the long term because now more than ever your audiences to feel something. And quite honestly, for law of us, we want to feel something other than fear. 2020 has been really fucking scary, really scary. Our lives have changed dramatically and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

(16:31):

And we have to learn to live differently. We have to learn how to consume things differently. We have to learn how to be different and adjust to this new way of living. And your audience is no different, right? Your audience needs to feel something and they want to feel something. When they show up on social media. You know, I think we all went through those phases where we wanted to numb. We’ve went through these phases where we were consuming way too much content this year. But then what I saw is that people started to become very, very intentional. We’ve become intentional with where we put our money. We’ve been intentional with what we say, how we show up and it’s the same for your audience. So whether you are selling a product, whether you’re an artist, whether you’re creative or service or coach, you want to build connection into your content, connect with your audience.

(17:29):

And what does this look like? Cause like, trust me, I hate these kind of fake things where you’re like, what the fuck does that mean, Melanie? So what it means, connection is replacing pain points with connection, right? We’ve all had the idea of speaking to your ideal clients, pain points, but doesn’t it just feel kind of icky and disgusting to say, and I’ve said it right. I’ve said it. Cause it was all I knew. It doesn’t feel it can disgusting to pray on somebody’s pain points to validate how fucking awful they feel at that point in time or to validate how hard something is or, and this being the worst of the worst. And this is, you know, where I came from originally to validate somebody’s weight or fatness or size or any of those things. I say this as a formal personal trainer, isn’t that horrible.

(18:32):

And, and whilst I can, to some degree, understand from a marketing perspective of how pain points, whack and how urgency and FOMO works, we get to do these things in a more thoughtful and intentional way. They don’t have to be done in this bullyish or hungry way. So replacing pain points with connection is a really wonderful way to start bucking the system, stop being an entrepreneurial outlook, to start changing up how you, how you creatively share your business and how you show up in your business, connect with your audience. Because so, so often what I see is these small business owners, entrepreneurs, I see them kind of talking down and it’s it’s, it’s not something we do on purpose. We all do it because it feels safe. It feels safe to position ourselves as the expo or authority. But when we do that, sometimes we can actually alien our audience.

(19:42):

So by connecting with them and saying, Hey, me too, I’m the same. I feel this way. We are building this kind of bridge. We’re saying it’s okay, over here, you’re safe and you’re, you’re allowed to be here and you can tell me how you feel. And I will tell you how I feel instead of it becoming this place where we alien our audience and we are the authority and we are the expert and nobody can get anywhere near us. I think we’ve all seen this year. That, that that’s why can’t anymore. And especially for those of us who want to lead with empathy and humility and want to make this really positive impact in the world and really do it, not just say we’re going to do it, but actually do it and not conform when we start to make more money or conform when we start to grow a team, but actually be transparent and do those things throughout our business and build that legacy for those of us who want that, then it’s about connection and it’s about connection over pain points.

(20:45):

So I wanted to share with you in my view, what it means to be an entrepreneurial outlook. You may have heard me talk about this, the outlaw manifesto. So when I was coming up with the idea of this podcast and I was, I had suddenly had this name come to me on a coaching call with my coach. A few people said to me, you should create a, manifestor what it means to be an entrepreneurial outlook. And so I sat down and like most things in my business, they just kind of came to me over time. But I wanted to run through some of the valleys, the IC us having as Outlaws. And if you want to grab your own copy, you can, you can go to my website, Melanie nights.com forward slash Outlaws. But the, the thing is impact over profits, right? Using your voice to create change.

(21:45):

Hey, I help other business owners with their content strategy. I deliver content strategy and social strategy in there, help them tell their story. This year 2020, I have helped business owners do this through a global pandemic. I have helped them do it through the black lives matter movement. I’ve helped them do this during some really, really tough times. And one of the things that I realized if I, myself, as a strategist and I hadn’t as a business owner, not get away with pretending the Al content isn’t being seen. Now, I know that even if you have a small audience or if you have a small dance, sometimes it can feel as though nobody sees your stuff. We think, but no one sees it. And our numbers are low. The, let me tell you, people are paying attention, right? I want to say that again, people are paying attention.

(22:44):

People always paying attention. Your people are paying attention. So it’s your responsibility to create content that is valuable. And I don’t mean that fluffy, like give them value, but don’t really teach them anything. I mean, figuring out what that value looks like for you and your business, but using your voice to create change, using your voice, to grow a business that has wealth so that you can then deliver that change so that you can then support the other businesses. And you can support people and teams and I don’t know, charities and nonprofits. You can support the things that matter to you, but by doing that, you need to show up and have that voice and use your voice to create change. And you need to create change and have your voice outside of your own bubble. I like the first two to three years of my online business, I found myself in this very, very tiny bubble and it happens to most us.

(23:45):

I think we go into a coaching program and we meet some entrepreneurs who be Huey Joel with, right? And they’re in the same industry or niche. And we just find that cycle of people. And we see it all the time across the industry, people who do affiliate marketing or you know, people who have each other on their podcasts and we stay within this bubble and we don’t create this inclusive or diverse feeds. We don’t create, we don’t create inclusive or diverse businesses because we are stuck in this bubble, but we are adults. And we have a choice to make, we get, to make that choice. Are we going to stay in this bubble or are we going to create change and make an impact outside of ourselves? Right? We can make an impact outside of ourselves and we can choose to do that over profit. Money’s great money pays our bills. Wealth is going to help us to be able to do more and more of the things we want to do and make more impact the impact has to be that driving force.

(24:44):

So the second thing is unconditional success. This is a really, really important one to me personally, because when I was going through some really tough times in my business, feeling like I wanted to throw it all away, give in and just go back to the corporate world. One of the things I kept holding onto was that my success was unconditional, right? Very similar to unconditional love. I didn’t have to have a condition on my success. They didn’t have to be, it didn’t have to look like a six figure business. It didn’t have to look like a 10 K month. I was able to create success on my own times. I could forge instead of following, right? I could pay the path that I wanted. I could be the leader that I wished I was

(25:33):

We had had.

(25:36):

And I could also enjoy the process. And I used to hear people talk about this. I used to hear people say like, Oh, you know, it doesn’t have to be so hard. You can enjoy the process. But what I realized was that it wasn’t about me having to enjoy the process. It was be about giving myself permission to enjoy the process and giving myself permission to step back when things were not working and take time to evaluate, as my business has grown this year, I’ve now got a team with me that has been terrifying because as anyone will tell you, you hire people and it’s exciting. And then you’re like, crap. I know I’m responsible for bringing people into my business so that I can pay all of these amazing, amazing women and amazing people on my team. And what happens is the things that we were terrified off before we started making more money or the things we were terrified off before we had that team change, right? We still have those little fears that inner critic still shows up, but it just shows up slightly differently.

(26:45):

But giving yourself permission to take a step back and evaluate and realize that your success gets to look the way you want it. It’s really powerful, really, really powerful. So your success is unconditional. The third thing, no surprise here, we value creativity, right? Who you are outside of your business is just as important as what kind of content that you want to create. Right? As somebody who has built a business on content, marketing, social strategy, and storytelling, delivering that content outcome, your magic. I know it’s important. I know that showing up and having a voice and sharing your story is important for business. But I also know for your own mental health, for your family, for your friends, for yourself, your own self care, which is also another phrases, and it’s run around quite a lot. But all of those things, knowing who you are outside of your business, really, really important, exploring your creativity and

(27:51):

Not compromising your creativity, not compromising your creative integrity, just so you can make money, right. Leaning into what makes you creative. And I don’t necessarily mean that you’re an artist or you’re a designer. Maybe you are a musician. Maybe you love video. Maybe you love graphic design. Maybe you love writing. Maybe love podcasting, find whatever it is in your life that allows you to be creative. I think as entrepreneurs, we always have that, that thread of creativity. But perhaps we have a story from our past that tells us the wind, not creative because we see creativity as being one specific medium, but there are so many ways to be creative now and finding yours. It makes you unique and you get to share it with the world. Even if it’s a hobby and you don’t make him money from it, you still get to share it with the world.

(28:51):

And the fourth and final value is curiosity asking questions. The longest time my business, I just did whatever I was told. Right? I worked with coaches who would tell me to jump. And I would ask Kyle, hi, I would go into a coaching call with a list of things I had already planned to do. And I would leave with three times as many things because, and I would get so overwhelmed. They know better. They know differently. I never leaned into my own curiosity. I didn’t ask better questions. I never challenged anything. And actually the only time I did probably a story for another time as well. But the only time I did challenge it not go so well for me and that business coach. But I encourage you to ask questions, be curious, ask yourself, what’s working in your business. Take time at least once a month.

(29:49):

Especially if you have this misalignment right now, between yourself and your business and you feel like your content is really hard and it’s a hamster wilderness, you’re spending so much time doing it. Take a moment to pause whether you want to sit down with your phone and video yourself, or record yourself talking or grab a notebook and pen, but ask yourself, what’s working and ask, why does this thing feel heavy or hard right now, most of the time has been things for heavy or hard for me. It’s because there is a misalignment somewhere and it might be that it’s a strategical thing, or it might be that it’s an emotional thing.

(30:28):

And then,

(30:30):

So how you can be more aligned and you may not come up with the answer straight away. These past few weeks. I have been asking myself this a lot as we head into the fall, I love to go inward and focus on all of the behind the scenes stuff. So the fact that I’m starting this podcast now is, is perfect timing because it’s going to allow me to really hone this process and these workflows over the next few months as I deliver this content for you, but behind the scenes, I know that I need to get really clear crystal clear because this year has been a Welland. And as I said, it’s been hot for all of us. And as we go into the next few months, I think it’s so important for us to spend some time evaluating and just reviewing. What is it that we want to hold onto? What is it that we need to let go of? Right? Because so many of us, there are goals that are just not being achieved. Some of those things are completely out of our control. A lot of those things are completely out of our control as a control. I’m a bit of a control freak. So that’s really hard.

(31:46):

Okay.

(31:47):

We are allowed to go into it and ask ourselves how we can be more aligned. Also those questions, sit with it and figure out what we want our business to look like. How can we be more of an entrepreneurial outlook? How can we step outside of the rule book and step outside of this one size fits all approach and start to create a business with impact a business that has growth. That feels really good. Even if it’s slow, right? There is nothing wrong with slow and steady growth. In fact, I actually think it’s way more sustainable. And so much of what we see out there, the viral hacks and the quick routes to six K six K six figure, sorry, six pick of months or six figure launches or whatever it looks like. You can tell. I have a thing about six figures, but all of that stuff, it is,

(32:48):

It is just, it’s just stuff. It’s just there. It’s, there’s no impact. There’s no meaning behind it. And you get to create that meaning. And that comes from within you, that comes through inside of you. That comes from your creative integrity. It comes from your creative pompous, right? There is nothing wrong with creating content and planning content have a purpose. And that comes from believing that it’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to be an outlier. It’s okay to show up differently to what we see as the norm. I’m using air quotes, which you can’t see, but you know, very much like the entrepreneur, sorry, Oh, the entrepreneurial Howells, but the country music Outlaws of the seventies very much like them. I encourage you to buck the trend Buchla system. And if right now, if you feel like you are a passenger and that your coach, the coaches and the courses and everything that you see online is really picking and choosing and deciding how you run your business. And now is a really wonderful time to ask yourself better questions, be curious, What you see and decide if it’s an alignment or not.

(34:21):

So as an entrepreneur outlaw, I know that it can be very, very difficult sometimes to break those rules, unlearn everything we’ve learned and start to forge a different path instead of following, I get that, but I encourage you to take the manifesto, right. And start to show up differently. Ask yourself how you can be that leader that you wish you had. That’s a question I have staring at me right now. It’s on my computer. It’s on a post it note. And I look at it every day because if we don’t see what we want in the online space, we can create that. We can create what we S we don’t see. Right. You can create that business that you don’t see it’s okay. Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining me for episode one. This is huge. I’ve just sat here and recorded this first episode of this podcast three and a half years. I have been saying on this idea, and here we are. So I want to thank you for showing up. I want to thank you for in thank you for just being you and being an entrepreneur Apple

(35:45):

Till next time. Bye.

(35:51):

Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s episode of entrepreneurial outdoors. If you see yourself as an entrepreneurial outlaw and enjoyed this episode, but you do me a favor, it would mean the absolute world to me. If you could take a moment to subscribe to the show and leave a rating and review by leaving your review, you are helping me to grow out little community and together we can show other entrepreneurs that breaking the rules can actually be good for business. Don’t forget. You can find the show notes for today’s episode, along with any of the links that I mentioned on my website@melanieknights.com forward slash podcast. And if we’re not already virtual busters, you can come and hang out with me on Instagram. I am the one with the country music playing the lukewarm coffee in my hand, and I’m dishing the doubt on how we can make entrepreneurship more inclusive and transparent. Plus I’ll probably send you some fun gifts. So until next time Outlaws.
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