Talking Shizzle

Greater Good Shines a Light on How to Prioritize Consultants' Happiness with Emily Goodstein

November 30, 2022 Taylor Shanklin Episode 14
Talking Shizzle
Greater Good Shines a Light on How to Prioritize Consultants' Happiness with Emily Goodstein
Show Notes Transcript

Avid breakfast for dinner lover, Emily Goldstein CEO of Greater Good Strategy is on today to hop into the kitchen with us and talk some shizzle! Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner every once in awhile, am I right?! Host Taylor Shanklin talks with Emily about her organization, which is a digital marketing agency that helps nonprofits raise money and market themselves online. Emily also shares her love of many amazing & authentic things like baking, being a parent, and oversharing on the internet. The two discuss the importance of personal branding and how Greater Good Strategy helps nonprofits achieve their goals.

Emily talks about personal empowerment opportunities, and being open to new experiences and learning opportunities. She believes that holding oneself back by fearing mistakes prevents growth. As the owner of a business, she has had to learn how to build a team and handle operations, neither of which she was originally prepared for. This is one of the great topics shared today, plus many more like;

- Listening to Your Donors
- The Importance of Building a Quality Team
- The Power of Being Wrong.
- Working Mothers: The Importance of Being Vulnerable
- Admitting when you're wrong and learning from your mistakes.
- Sometimes experiences need to be _learning experiences_, and how it's important to be flexible and adaptable in business.
- Maintaining a healthy Work-Life Balance.

Connect with Emily Here:

And learn more about Greater Good Strategy here:

Taylor Shanklin  0:01  
Hey Hey all you lovely people out there. You've got a lot going on in your day with big dreams and big goals for your world. Are you ready to talk some shizzle and learn some shizzle from leading entrepreneurs, changemakers coaches, and overall interesting people who like to shake things up. I'm your host Taylor Shanklin, CEO and founder of creative shizzle. And I am stoked to bring you a fresh episode of talking shizzle today, this show is all about helping you think differently so that you can grow. Talking Shizzle is brought to you by our team at Creative shizzle where we help businesses, entrepreneurs, and social good innovators make amazing marketing shizzle happen. Check us out on the web at Now, let's talk some shizzle 

All right, welcome. Welcome friends. We are here for a new and fresh episode of talking shizzzzzle'. So we're going to talk to shizzle. Today with a good friend of mine. We go way way back in the non profit sector, the one and only Emily pearl. Goodstein. How you doing?

Emily Goodstein  1:22  
Hello, I'm so happy to be here. Thanks for including me.

Taylor Shanklin  1:26  
We--- Emily and I got to know each other when we worked at a little company called Conveya. Down in Austin, Texas. So Emily, tell us a little bit about yourself who you are, what you do. And what's your into?

Emily Goodstein  1:42  
Well, I really love eating breakfast for dinner. I think that's an important headline during the day. And also sometimes at night, I run a digital marketing agency called greater good strategy. I thought that having good in the name of the company would help people remember that my last name is Goodstein not Goldstein. So this was all a total personal branding project. And we help nonprofit organizations raise money and market themselves online. So that's the way that I that's what I do. A lot of the time, I spend a lot of hours sitting in this room. And when I'm not doing this, I really love to overshare on the internet. I'm a big fan of posting a lot of Instagram stories. I also really love to bake, I often will have one or two different baking obsessions each week, including right now it's yeasted bread. So I've been making a lot of holla I moved into a bob cafe's for a while. I was in a reveler phase for a short period of time, but it kind of has mitigated. And I also have a very small person who lives in my house that requires a lot of time and attention. So I spend time talking about her and taking care of her and photographing her. And googling answers to questions I have about being a parent. 

Taylor Shanklin  2:51  
I did see a cute post. We all went to a hotel pool recently. And she decided she didn't like clothing anymore.

Emily Goodstein  2:58  
Well I was at our apartment building? So we live in the building in DC. And I thought that Oh great. You know, we have an almost two year old we will have swim lessons, what a good plan. And Edie can learn how to swim. And then she decided not only does she not want to learn how to swim, but she does want to go in the pool. And not only does she not want to in the pool, she doesn't want to wear a bathing suit. So she now so I take the swim lessons and she runs around the pool naked, which is usually fine, because there's not a lot of people there. But at some point, I think it's going to be not great, but I want to I want to teach you to be proud of her body and also to, you know, follow her own choices. And so I feel like this is a good way to do that is to just kind of let it roll. Maybe.

Taylor Shanklin  3:39  
Yeah, I mean, she might one day just live in a nudist colony. And that's okay. 

Emily Goodstein  3:44  
At the end of the day. I think it's our job to encourage our children to live their best lives. And if that's your choice, then want to run with it. I apologize in advance if you can hear. She's trying to take a nap right now. But it's not going well. 

Taylor Shanklin  3:57  
Good thing I hear and I love that Emily is you are getting swimming lessons.

Emily Goodstein  4:01  
Exactly. It's so nice. I can blow bubbles. I can play with the toys. I know how to kick. I'm really good at singing the songs. It's really it's a very relaxing time. So yeah, but the headline is that I've chosen a good swim instructor. I like it.

Taylor Shanklin  4:15  
Now let's get into talking about entrepreneurs stories. You're someone who I really admire with your journey, you're always into some interesting adventure. You once told me that you love being wrong and you love talking about the wrong. Tell me about that. What is it about being wrong that you enjoy just so much?

Emily Goodstein  4:45  
I mean, I don't try to be wrong, but I just feel like I had a boss for a long time that would say Done is better than perfect. And I think along the same lines often we kind of keep ourselves we hold ourselves back by trying to sort of figure out the most perfect thing or we are scared to be wrong or making mistakes. So that holds us back. Do you actually remember in the cambial offices, there were the big sign that said make mistakes, there was some campaign in the asset office where they were trying to like free us up to chances. I sometimes channel that because I think running your own business, right, great, the greater a team has 60 people on it. So I don't know how to do that, like I, I didn't plan to have a 60 person team, I didn't know that we needed a person who was our operations director, who was going to come start working with us, and handle all kinds of things that I don't know how to do. Like building the team, I think has been a challenge, because I didn't know how to do it when I started out. But also programmatically, right? So the work that we do is helping nonprofits raise money online. And I used to be really anti Giving Tuesday, I would openly talk about how I felt like it was a crowded field, nonprofits shouldn't spend a lot of time on it. And then you start reading, people are raising so much money around that day or that week. And yes, it's a crowded field, but not donors are conditioned to give them. So I was very open about the fact that I was wrong, right? That was not actually good advice I was giving out. Another thing I love that I was wrong about was the Facebook birthday fundraiser we had so many clients tell us that they were going to build this big thing around the Facebook birthday fundraiser. And I would routinely counsel organizations to not use that to not run in that direction. And little by little, I realized people are conditioned, like Facebook tells you to do this. And people are conditioned to donate their birthdays to a cause. And organizations are raising lots of money. And I was worried about it because nonprofits weren't getting the names of the donors. But then a client shared their hack, which with me, which was you go to the person that hosted the fundraiser and you say, hey, thanks. We'll I really appreciate that you ran this fundraiser for our organization, I want to send thank you notes to all the people that donated Can you send me their names and email addresses. And then you can go ahead and begin stewarding those donors for a second or third or recurring gift. But for I don't know how many years but for a very long time, I was just routinely telling people don't spend time on that. don't respect the nature and the likelihood that your donors are going to want to give and donate their birthdays. And it was just a silly thing that I was so concerned about the list growth, and I was kind of rejecting the nature of what donors were doing. So I admitted I was wrong, we've moved on. I love talking about how I was wrong. And and when it comes to being a business owner, I started my own business. And then I left. And I went in house with a client. And then I decided that I really, really liked working for myself, and then I went back out on my own. So I just generally feel like, sometimes we make decisions that we don't want to stick to. And it's important to learn, all we can do is learn from them.

Taylor Shanklin  7:56  
Absolutely. I often say the thing that you said, someone differently, I say launched is better than perfect. Because it's like if you never just put it out there. How are you ever gonna know? You know? So done is perfect, absolutely agree.

Emily Goodstein  8:13  
And we for most face, unless you're getting a tattoo on your face for most things, you can easily change them, especially in the world of digital where the industry that we work in most texts can be updated, most pictures can be swapped out. I mean, I don't recommend that people do things in a careless way. But I think it's just so easy to get really like in our heads and try to stop iterating and just try to get the perfect thing. It's impossible to know the way your your community will respond until you put it out into the world.

Taylor Shanklin  8:43  
Yeah, absolutely. So you mentioned building the team. And that's something that you I mean, when did you start greater good.

Emily Goodstein  8:51  
We are going to be four years old in November.

Taylor Shanklin  8:54  
So almost four, in less than four years, you've grown from one to 60.

Emily Goodstein  9:02  
I should say we launched with four people. So we went from four.

Taylor Shanklin  9:06  
Okay, four to 60. What what are some of the learnings in that? What were some of the maybe mistakes that you made while building the team that helped you learn? And what were some of the things that really kind of were the foundation? You feel like maybe were the foundation to allow for that kind of growth?

Emily Goodstein  9:27  
Yeah, good question. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, because in some ways, it feels a little bit like an accident. I never set out to have this huge agency with all these people. I was really worried at first about being far away from the work itself. And I couldn't imagine a system where we could maintain a quality of the work, but also have me not being able to do it all. I think at the end of the day, being centered around the experience of the folks on our team is probably the most important I'm saying that we do. So we're definitely not the least expensive agency. And that part of that is because I really believe strongly in compensating the people that do the work as well as we possibly can, while still being somewhat affordable to the organizations we work with. And I also feel like if we hire adults who know how to do their job to bring skills to the table, they're going to want to do their best work. And they don't need someone standing over them supervising every step of the way. So I really try to put together project teams of people that I think will resonate well with the clients workstyle and sense of humor and technical needs and issue area expertise, to a lot of it is kind of matchmaking between the consultants that are doing the work and the clients that need the services, and really thinking about the bedside manner or the emotional intelligence, because when you hire a consultant, in many ways, that person is another member of your team. So from the client perspective, if the consultant is not happy, then the clients definitely not gonna be happy. So at the end of the day, I think everything sort of rolls up to are the consultants happy? Do they feel supported? Do they have the tools that they need to do the job? Do they feel appreciated, and well compensated. And for us, that means being pretty radically flexible. So most people on the greater good strategy team work, not full time. So they work in some, either 25% 50% 75% capacity, a lot of folks have their own clients that they work with separately from greater good. At the beginning of the agency, this wasn't really by design, but we started before COVID, but then COVID, kind of popped up not so long after we started. And we would get calls from people saying, There's literally no way that I can homeschool my children and do my full time job, do you have anything for me to work on a greater good and the the person will be stepping down from a role that they would have had for 15 years, they wouldn't be at the top of their digital fundraising career. And the fact that we're extremely flexible workplace was really attractive to folks or the fact that people would be able to run with the things that they're good at, and partner with people with complementary skills, and also get to choose the projects that they worked on was really attractive. So I think we've worked really hard to be a great place to work. And we work really hard to be a team that's extremely responsive to the needs of the consultants that we work with. And at the end of the day, I think that that means that our clients are really happy. So I find myself at least once or twice a day, saying, Well, if the consultants not happy, then the clients are not happy. And then what's the point of doing this. So I think we're able to offer a sort of unusual setup for people who want to collaborate with us from a consultant perspective. And then that then moves to clients having a great experience. So routinely, I'll have consultants come to me and say, I'm particularly interested in working on this issue, or I feel really passionate about disrupting this space. And then it's how wonderful that I get to pair up that person with that issue and know that they really care about it. We only work with clients with missions, we support ourselves, where we would donate to ourselves. And so at the end of the day, I think that consultants are really the centerpiece of that. And literally, I can't do this myself, I don't do it myself, I intentionally built an agency where I was no longer doing this myself. And so as the consultants, if we lose sight of the consultants being kind of the centerpiece that I don't really think we will be successful. That was a long answer. And we answered your question.

Taylor Shanklin  13:22  
No, you absolutely did. I love the focus on if the team is happy, and people are showing up and doing work that they love that the clients will, in effect, be happy as well, because they're going to be getting good service. And they're going to be working with consultants who are happy and joyful, and bringing that to work. And I love that you actually help to pair consultants with issues that they personally care about. Because yeah, that's gonna bring up the best work and best product for everyone. So I think that's really, really smart. You mentioned that you were worried about getting too far away from the work. How do you stay close to the work? Or do you at all? Because I completely know what you mean by that? How do you do that?

Emily Goodstein  14:08  
Yeah, so it's been we've definitely iterated on this one a few times. So at first, I was well, let me start actually, with what we're currently doing. So everyone on the greater good strategy, every client that greatergood works with has a senior strategist who sort of owns their account. And that's a person that I meet with once a week. And we talk through what happened in the past week, what's coming up? What's going really well, is there anything we need to be worried about? And those are also folks that I love and trust, I love and trust everyone on our team, but there are people that can somewhat expect, oh, this is something that Emily might be concerned about, or I'm going to flag this might be nothing but I want to just make sure we can talk through it. We get a chance to kind of troubleshoot. Or often I'll say like, what did the energy feel like in the meeting? Or what was the response like or, you know, did the person take that well, and it's really helpful to know But the people that are on the other side of that Zoom conversation are people who can read the room and assess the situation the same way that I might have. So the sort of centerpiece is, folks I really love and trust. And if someone's new to the team, we pair them up with someone who's been on the team for a while. And there's kind of like a partnership shared client relationship. So they can get their sea legs, that cribs are good until they're a little bit more out on their own. So that's the first thing. The second thing is I meet with each of our clients at least once, once a month, if not more frequently. And I start every week out with a set of emails to all of our clients, I have sort of a rotation to make sure that I'm in touch with people at least once a month, and say, hey, you know, I just met with so and so. And they shared about what's going on on the project, do want to carve out some time to check in, I'd love to hear how things are going on your end. How are you feeling? I can send the questions over email, if you prefer, most of the time, we get to pop on zoom in really just talk through, do people feel supported? At the end of the day? If you don't feel supported? Then why would you hire a consultant. And then the third thing is, we have a executive team. There's one kind of main person then one person who supports her, who review all written deliverables. And then our creative director reviews, all designed deliverables. So everything that goes to a client is reviewed by a member of our executive team. And then in addition to that, we also have a proofing team. So my mom is a professional proofreader. And so I grew up in this household where everything was like red line before it went out the door. We also have this professional proofing team. So I know that there's been eyes by the senior strategist, the proofing team and the executive team and everything that goes to a client. And then I'm in touch with sort of the conversation around how the client feels and how the senior strategist perceives that it took us a while to kind of get this mix. But right now it's working. And I actually find that I deal with many fewer clients having questions about scope or timeline than I used to, in the first, the first two years of the business feel very different than the second two years, because I think we've kind of gotten this formula down. And at least for right now, in our size and the type of clients we're working with, it's going well, but it is a little strange to not be in every single meeting, brainstorming every single tactic and strategy and writing every single word of every document. It's still weird. 

Taylor Shanklin  17:23  
Well, I appreciate the the Sharon that it sounds like a good system. And they're working things out.

Emily Goodstein  17:30  
The proof is in the reputation. And I think at this point, we as marketers, we've really scaled back what we do to market the agency and really scaled up the time that we spend making sure every client feels great about their engagement with us. And so 100% of our business comes from direct referrals. And I think that that just goes to show that people are having good experiences if they're telling other people to reach out to us. 

Taylor Shanklin  17:54  
Absolutely. How do you find the right people? Like what are some things that you look for when you're hiring this team.

Emily Goodstein  18:02  
So that's definitely the number one. The consultants are good at that centerpiece. So every day, at least 25% of my day is spent doing something to find consultants with the right skills and time mix. So part of that work meant bringing on an operations director who recently started, her name is also Emily, which is going to be not confusing at all. And she's going to help us with a little bit of that work. But we made a financial investment in finding those people. And part of it is networking just like I network to get clients. So I'm talking on my social channels about our need for specific skill sets. I think, you know, my husband jokes that I'm always looking for members of the greater strategy team. So one person on our team is married to a woman I met in the midwifery office, when we were both pregnant, our babies are three weeks apart. And it just so happened that he does pay social media ads, and we needed that skill set. And I knew his wife was lovely, and that we liked him. And he's out of the team now. So just like we talk about clients and look in industry, publications, and on listservs, and in Facebook groups and on Instagram and on Twitter and etc. For client work, we're also doing the same for consulting work. And I also think just as other clients were for us, people know the greater good is a great place to work, they know they're going to be supported, they know they're going to be well compensated. And so it sounds so cheesy, but referrals from our current consultants, those are the best people that we find. So a lot of folks on the team are people I've worked with in other capacities, or they're people that I've worked with the connector and another capacity and we've been doing this for long enough that it's not actually as challenging. It's just time consuming to make sure people are properly on boarded and supported and things like that.

Taylor Shanklin  19:54  
And I imagine that that is something that's evolved to over you know, two years probably looks different than For years, when you think about like, onboarding and having a real process, 

Emily Goodstein  20:04  
One thing that was really scary was, we had this wonderful managing director who helped me start the agency. And she left at the end of last year, to go off and do another fantastic job. We love her. I'm actually having lunch with her later this week, it was the right decision. And she wrote this, like really heartfelt email that I printed out and reads the types of feeling sad. And that said, I often would say, what are we going to do without her? And then we survived. Right? So and that was the time when we were able to take a look at some of the systems that she'd been running. That worked well for her. And then when we didn't have her in her role sake, a little bit about okay, what what, what might we do now that Shannon's not here. So that's when we developed a different system for the sort of onboarding of new folks. And then we just I just mentioned, we hired this operations director. And so I imagine that the process will iterate again. One thing I love, though, is that we do have this really beautiful onboarding webinar that we host for people who are new to the team. And it just looks really good. And it's it, we record it. So if people can't come live, they can watch the recorded, but it's just like a really nice welcome to the team. And it just explains who we are what we care about. And it's a nice mix of informal and fun and useful. And we actually test drove it with people that were brand new to the agency who had no context to make sure that it made sense to answer their questions. And I'm looking forward to kind of seeing what versions two and three Oh, that was like,

Taylor Shanklin  21:31  
that's awesome. All right, I want to turn the tables a little bit. So I want to talk to you about kind of being vulnerable, as a working mother, who also runs 60 Plus person company. And you are someone who shares a lot you say you overshare, I read a lot of the stuff that you write on Facebook, and I appreciate it. And I appreciate the vulnerability and I think a lot of people do So talk us through what it was like, becoming a parent.

Emily Goodstein  22:09  
So I think we have to, first of all, thank you for asking that question. Because I, I don't know if I often hear people say no one talks about this. And then I want to say I'm talking about it. So you can do. I don't understand why no one talks about it. Because it I feel like after I like delivered the placenta, my brain chemistry actually did change. I think we know that research supports that. And so is there any way that we can do our jobs out of the context of also being parents, I don't think there is when it happens that my job is also a huge part of my life and my identity and my schedule. And so the two have to sort of be melded into one. So first of all, it was extremely hard, I would actually go as far to say that it was horrible. I never want to do that immediate postpartum time again, coming back to work was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be. But it was still extremely hard. And I have all the support, right? I'm extremely privileged, I have so many people that helped me, we have a full time nanny, and my husband also works from home, my family lives locally, our baby is healthy and typically developing and we have a network of people that can come take care of her. But one of the big headlines was that I came back to work in COVID. So we got pregnant before COVID, we had a baby before vaccines were available. And then I came back to work. Still, during a time when we had to be very careful about who was able to come into our house, where the baby went during the day. The fact that I took any parental leave is also a huge headline. And I will never not be grateful for that. There's literally no way that I think most people who've just aided in birth, a child can come back to work. Even I was able to take four months, which still felt like a drop in the bucket. But I feel extremely lucky and privileged that I was able to take any time, we actually rewrote part of the way we talk about writer good to say we have a paragraph in our proposals that talks about sort of who we are and how people come to work and bring their full selves. And we talk about how the agency is run by a new mob learning to nurse and parent and run a business all at the same time. I should note that we stopped nursing, the baby's going to be to tomorrow. So the headline is that I eventually was able to stop doing that. But that was one of the hardest things right? It takes it took just as much time as running the business. So there was a lot of moments where I was like camera neck up and like pumping at the same time. So I guess the first thing is, I don't think it's possible to separate that personal part of our lives and the professional part of our lives. So I don't want to do that myself. And I don't think our teams need to do that. And the second piece is that we work on issues that affect human beings, right? We're an agency that helps nonprofits raise money and market themselves online. And those issues are often things that directly affect human beings. One of our clients helps people who are pregnant and incarcerated. So it doesn't hurt that I talk about my own experience being a new parent, and understanding how hard it was for me to be working parent with a small person, let alone dealing with the issues that the population that that organization serves helps. And I think that owning all of that, and also talking about the fact that it's hard, and sharing the little things that can potentially make it easier, it's important, I learned so much from the people that are on our team, whether they have children or not, I mean, one person on the team has a puppy. And she talked to me about how she coordinated the puppy care schedule for the week. And it sounded just like the way I coordinate our childcare schedule, and I appreciated the Excel spreadsheet template that she had created for herself. So the one kind of like concrete thing, I guess, that I figured out that works right now, which granted, who knows where this schedule will go when our little person is a little older. But I actually realized that I do my best work when the baby is fast asleep at night, because I just know that she's like in her crib, and okay, and I'm not going to be interrupted. So I end up doing almost all work that requires writing and like large expanses of uninterrupted time at night. And I don't start any meetings in the morning until 10am. So I work often 10 to five, and then I work again, from like eight to 12. And that was never my schedule before. But for whatever reason that we for all the reasons we just talked about, that's what works well, for me. It's something that the team has been really receptive to, and it worked well for our clients. And it just took a little creativity to think, Okay, I'm going to just push my bedtime and then go back to sleep in the morning.

Taylor Shanklin  26:30  
Well, it shows the flexibility that like you really have to be able to be open to, in order to balance all of these things, you know, and I, I appreciate that you talk about the hard stuff that people say nobody's talking about this. But so many people are dealing with this. And so I agree, I think the lines between work and personal life are the cross especially now so many people work from home. And you know, we we're all in our homes, all of us on this podcast right now. Working. Exactly.

William Novelli  27:10  
So it's something I picked up on two that you mentioned, Emily was during networking, when you were talking about networking, networking really is just gaining friends, for the most part, right? gaining new acquaintances, meet them while you're out or on zooms. But yeah, networking is just like making friends. Right?

Emily Goodstein  27:30  
Completely. I think as a person who's relatively extroverted and open to meeting new people on a regular basis that it comes easily to me. And I feel really lucky that I get to meet a good number of new people and figure out how we might support their organization or cause they care about or maybe bring them into the greater good fold asa consultant. 

Taylor Shanklin  27:48  
Emily, thank you so much for your time, today. 

Emily Goodstein  27:52  
Thanks for me, this was so fun,what a treat to talk two. 

Taylor Shanklin  27:57  
It's great to have you on if people want to get in touch with you find out more about greater good strategy in the work that you're doing. What's the best way to do that?

Emily Goodstein  28:06  
The best way is to check out greater good And I will let you know that we're about to unveil a new website. So this one is a few years old and we have a new fancy one that's going to be going to make its debut in a few weeks. But the the one that exists right now is a great way to find us and send us a note or find us on social media, but all the goodness is at greater good.

Taylor Shanklin  28:28  
Awesome. Cool. All right, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in to another episode of talking chisel. We'll see you next time.

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