Posts in pep talk
121 | The Joy of Missing Out with Tonya Dalton, inkWELL Press

Do you ever sit down at the end of a long day of work, after checking box after box off your to-do list and still think, wow, I have so many more things I should get done. This feeling of overwhelm is common for small business owners and mompreneurs alike and it’s the reason today’s guest, Tonya Dalton, was inspired to write her new book, The Joy of Missing Out. 

You may remember Tonya from Episode 26 of Proof to Product, where she shared her start-up story of founding inkWELL Press and how she built systems and processes for both work and home. Since then, Tonya has been featured on Real Simple, Entrepreneur, Inc., Apartment Therapy, Lauren Conrad, and HGTV. In 2019, Tonya received the  Enterprising Woman of the Year Award and was named North Carolina's Female Entrepreneur to Watch by The Ladders. Tonya is truly a productivity expert and has made it her mission to help other women reduce and remove the overwhelm in their lives through her inkWELL Press products, liveWELL Method Course, Productivity Podcast, and book that comes out October 1st. 

On today's episode, Tonya takes us behind the scenes of The Joy of Missing Out. She shares her motivations for writing the book, why she chose to weave stories in as lessons, and the power of saying yes and no. I also discuss a personal story of my own that Tonya shares in her book. If you’re looking for ways to reduce overwhelm in your life and carve out more time for the things that matter most, this one's for you!

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108 | Shifting our definition of success with Ginger Lyons, Buffalo Girls Salvage

Hey friends, welcome back to Proof to Product! Today’s guest is Ginger Lyons, a serial entrepreneur who believes positive attitude, abundance mindset, and perseverance are the keys to a successful business model. A military veteran, Ginger is the creator behind Buffalo Girls Salvage, a jewelry design company that transforms salvaged copper, metal and bullet casings into beautiful, handmade pieces.

Since 2012, Ginger’s company has been inspiring women and honoring law enforcement officials through creative designs. She is also passionate about investing in mainstreet America, supporting small businesses and coaching female entrepreneurs.

On today's episode, Ginger and I talk about her incredible “backward” business journey. She shares what it was like to have a storefront, employees, national manufacturing network and the opportunity to appear on Shark Tank, and why she pivoted her business to stay true to her ‘why’. We talk about how our definition of success often changes over the course of time, how entrepreneurship is always a choice, and the importance of sharing our journey to help others.

I hope you enjoy Ginger's story of growth, strategic pivoting, and the lessons she learned along the way!

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102 | Logistics of Our Rebrand with Katie Hunt, Proof to Product

Welcome to Part 2 of a three-part series exploring Proof to Product’s exciting new rebrand. On Part 1, which was Episode 101, guest host Caroline Hull and I talked about why I decided to change my business name from Tradeshow Bootcamp to Proof to Product, and all the fears I had going into the transition. So if you haven't caught that episode yet, I encourage you to go and start there!

Today, on Episode 102, Caroline and I are diving into the logistics behind the rebrand, from the business formation and legal decisions to marketing planning and building Proof to Product’s new website. Tomorrow, on Episode 103, I share our marketing plan, how we’re rolling out the new name and the best parts of our beautiful new website.

Our audience has been such an important part of this process, and I’m so excited to share all of these new changes with you. I hope you enjoy Part 2 of this three-part series and join in to celebrate with us!

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101 | Why I Rebranded to Proof to Product with Katie Hunt

Hey friends, can you believe it?! This is Proof to Product’s 100th Episode! It’s been amazing to watch this podcast, which began as a creative way to connect with members of the stationery community, grow into so much more – a platform, resource, and launching point for stationery and creative entrepreneurs alike.

Over the last year and a half, we’ve heard some incredible, inspiring startup stories from entrepreneurs making physical products, just like you. We have talked about successes and struggles, mindset shifts, and the importance of taking action to reach your goals. Entrepreneurs like Katie Wilson of The Good Twin, Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press, Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired, Ronnie Williams of DeFrance Printing, Taylor Elliot of Taylor Elliott Designs, Natasha Case of Coolhaus, and Viola Sutanto of Maika Goods, just to name a few, all shared their stories, struggles and advice of growing and thriving in business.

To celebrate this 100th milestone, we’re revisiting our favorite episodes and the Proof to Product lessons that continue to inspire our lives and business. We’re honored to share the personal stories of our amazing audience members and hope you enjoy this special edition episode!

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100 | Listeners help us celebrate episode 100!

Hey friends, can you believe it?! This is Proof to Product’s 100th Episode! It’s been amazing to watch this podcast, which began as a creative way to connect with members of the stationery community, grow into so much more – a platform, resource, and launching point for stationery and creative entrepreneurs alike.

Over the last year and a half, we’ve heard some incredible, inspiring startup stories from entrepreneurs making physical products, just like you. We have talked about successes and struggles, mindset shifts, and the importance of taking action to reach your goals. Entrepreneurs like Katie Wilson of The Good Twin, Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press, Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired, Ronnie Williams of DeFrance Printing, Taylor Elliot of Taylor Elliott Designs, Natasha Case of Coolhaus, and Viola Sutanto of Maika Goods, just to name a few, all shared their stories, struggles and advice of growing and thriving in business.

To celebrate this 100th milestone, we’re revisiting our favorite episodes and the Proof to Product lessons that continue to inspire our lives and business. We’re honored to share the personal stories of our amazing audience members and hope you enjoy this special edition episode!

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096 | Rebranding to a new name with Julie Richardson, Unblushing

Lately, I’ve had lots of feedback and questions from our audience regarding the struggles of marketing strategy. It can be so hard to know where to direct your time and energy with so many social and marketing channels available now, and that’s why I’m really excited for you to hear this week’s episode with Lindsey Morando, the Director of Marketing for Hello Bar. Lindsey has more than fifteen years of experience in business development and marketing that spans multiple industries including health & wellness, SaaS, lifestyle, and hospitality. No matter which industry she is focusing on though, Lindsey prides herself on the creation and implementation of engaging grassroots and online marketing tactics that convert fans into paying, happy customers. When Lindsey is not moving the marketing needle for businesses, she is a marketing professor at the San Diego Fashion Institute and the author of It’s Just Beginning– Break Up, Get Up and Walk Away.

Hey Friends, it’s Tuesday! Which means we’re back with another episode of Proof to Product, and this week I’m sitting down for a very fun interview with former PTP guest, Julie Richardson. You may remember Julie from Episode 20, where she shared her startup story and told us how she built her Etsy shop, Julie Ann Art, into a successful wholesale enterprise. If you haven’t heard her story, it’s definitely worth heading back for a listen!

For some background- Julie founded Julie Ann Art shop in 2008 and quickly gained the attention of the internet with her combination of raw illustrations and irreverent wit. Her brand brought a refreshing take to stationery, and with features in People, Bored Panda, Refinery and more, her side hustle hobby grew into a national lifestyle brand.

In 2019, Julie Ann Art rebranded as Unblushing to better represent the strong-willed, unapologetic voice that is quintessential to her stationery and gift brand. On today’s episode, Julie and I dive into this recent rebranding experience. We talk about how she knew she was ready for a new name and a fresh look, how she narrowed down potential names, and how she ultimately decided on Unblushing. Julie pulls the curtain back on what happens behind the scenes during a rebrand, shares her roadmap for planning the transition and tells us how she dealt with the unexpected details she never saw coming.

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093 | Fears, pivots & growth through 10 years in business with Mary Phan, Very Mary

I can’t wait for you to hear this week’s episode with entrepreneur extraordinaire, Mary Phan. Mary owns a multi-faceted business which includes — Very Mary Inspired and The Sketchbook Series, illustration courses for designers and event planners. Mary is also a TSBC Alumni and just recently published her first book, The Artful Sketch, a gorgeous how-to sketchbook for beginners and experts alike.

Mary has always been drawn to the arts. After beginning her career as an interior designer, dabbling in fashion and staging model homes, she launched Very Merry Events in 2008. Mary enjoyed creating memorable experiences filled with atmosphere and feeling, but she became known for the beautiful, custom illustrations that were an indispensable part of her design process. In 2013, Mary took that love of illustration to the next level, launching The Sketchbook Series to help other event planners and designers master creative drawing.

Today Mary tells us all about her entrepreneurial journey, and how she went from being an interior designer getting laid off, to starting her own business. We talk about the real fears, pivots, and transitions that come with running your own business, and the joy of stepping into your true passion.

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092 | Creating a minimalist business with Paul Jarvis, Company of One

My guest today is Paul Jarvis, entrepreneur and author of the book Company of One: Why Staying Small is The Next Big Thing for Business. I read this book over the winter break and so much of what Paul talks about resonated with me. We live in a world where we’re conditioned as entrepreneurs to strive for more — more revenue, more products, more customers, more followers, more visibility and notoriety. While it’s true striving for bigger isn’t always better, I know many of us still struggle with the big question – How do we grow strong, profitable businesses but in a way that feels good and sustainable?

In his book Company of One and during today’s interview, Paul challenges us to explore a different way of thinking about business. During this episode, Paul and I discuss the contrarian view that business growth isn’t always good, and isn’t always required. We also talk about being a solopreneur, why that doesn’t necessarily mean your working alone, and why we need to know our “enough.” If you’re trying to break the mold, embrace minimalism and find balance in your own biz, trust me, this episode and book will help a ton!

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085 | Three seasons of business with Katie Hunt

Happy New Year, friends! On this episode I’m sharing the three phases of business that every business goes through – often multiple times. These three phases include: growth, maintenance and streamlining phase.

Growth is when we’re adding new products, services, systems. We’re in building and expansion mode. One misconception about the growth phase is that its reserved for the early years of business. But, in reality, the growth phase can happen in the beginning, middle and even the end of our business life cycle.

Maintenance is when we take a look at everything we’ve been building during the growth phase and we realize we need to stop adding ‘new’ and instead optimize what we’ve already created. This could include diving deeper into a specific product category or giving a team member additional responsibilities. Maintaining and optimizing our existing products, services and internal processes is a really important step, but often overlooked.

Streamlining is where we clear the clutter from our business — products that aren’t selling or that no longer fit our brand aesthetic; reassessing our client on boarding process for custom work, or our outreach to wholesale accounts we think we’d be a good fit for. The streamlining phase can be a really powerful one, in that you’re creating white space and removing things that are not pushing your business towards your goals.

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6 things I wish for you as we finish 2018 with Katie Hunt

As we head into the holidays, the Proof to Product team and I will be taking a break. While we’re gone, I want to encourage you to go back and listen to some of this year’s most popular episodes. I’ve included links to our top 5 episodes at the bottom of our show notes here so you can find them quickly & easily.

But all in all, we covered a lot of ground in 2018 talking about business finances, licensing opportunities, marketing strategies, selling wholesale, finding manufacturers, exhibiting at shows and the ups and downs of running a business.

Our guests were vulnerable, I was vulnerable. In fact, there were a few episodes I was nervous to air — it felt too raw – but we did it anyway! Because that’s what this show is about… sharing our struggles, successes, and strategies so that all of us can continue to grow our businesses in a way that feels good to us.

I’m really proud of how Proof to Product has grown and I’m overwhelmed (in a good way) when I receive messages from all of you or read the reviews you leave for the show. I appreciate you listening and am so glad that the show has positively influenced your life and your business.

As we head into the holidays and 2019, I want to share some important reminders and six things that I wish for each and every one of you…

I want you to continue to make intentional decisions in your business. Decisions that get you closer to your business goals. Decisions that reflect the season of life that you’re in. And, decisions that further ignite your passions even more.

I want you to make time for yourself and the things that bring you joy in life. As an entrepreneur it is easy to overwork ourselves. We love what we do and we should. But, I want you to carve out time over the next few weeks for play. For hobbies. For time with friends and family.

I want you to spend some time reflecting on the progress you’ve made this year. Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. It happens little by little, step by step. But we need to celebrate our progress along the way. You worked hard this year and you deserve to be celebrated.

Friends, I want you to remember that you set the rules for your business. You decide what products to sell, whether to sell retail, wholesale or both. You decide whether to go to shows or hire a team. You hold the power, never forget that.

I want you to remember that if you’re in an uncomfortable state of change, that this usually means you’re in a growth period and that you’re onto something exciting and new. Don’t let fear hold you back. Try it out and see what happens. If it doesn’t go as planned you can always change direction and try again.

And, I want you to remember that we see you doing amazing work and pouring your heart and soul into your products. This entrepreneurial journey can be tough but also very rewarding. Remember that you’re not alone. We see you.

I want you to know that i’m grateful for you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season surrounded by family and friends.

I’ll be back with a new episode on January 8th. Until then, happy holidays and happy new year.

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082 | Hiring a team with Sarah Parrott Bianculli, Parrott Design (Part 2)

Sarah Parrott is the founder of Parrott Design Studio and this is Part 2 of her interview. If you missed Part 1 which was Episode 81, I recommend you head back and listen to that one first.

Here on Part 2, Sarah talks about hiring a team, how she started slowly delegating and fears she had around letting go of things in her business, we talked about her multiple revenue streams and the pros / cons of having multiple businesses, navigating tough seasons in life while owning a business and how Sarah’s definition of success for her business has changed over the years.

As background, Parrott Design Studio is a letterpress studio in Sebago, a lake town in Western Maine. The studio was established in 2007 by Sarah Parrott with a small Print Gocco, an inexpensive and easy to use screen printing tool that originated in Japan. That same year she took her first course in letterpress, learning to use a Vandercook press.

In 2008 she purchased her own press, an 1898 Golding Jobber platen press. At the time there were no courses to learn on that type of press, and she spent a year teaching herself how to use it. She fell in love with the centuries-old artisinal printing technique and the process of feeding the press one piece at a time, one color at a time. In 2010 she left her job as an event planner to pursue Parrott Design Studio full time. Sarah is one of our original Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni. She attended our very first round of Tradeshow Bootcamp classes in 2011 before exhibiting at the National Stationery Show in 2012.

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071 | Combatting worry, fear and anxiety with Amber Rae

Today I sat down with Amber Rae, an author, artist and speaker. Her recent book, Choose Wonder Over Worry invites you to live your truth, befriend your emotions, and express your gifts. Her writing has reached over 5 million people in 195 countries, her public art has spread to over twenty countries, and she’s spoken to and collaborated with brands like Kate Spade, Apple, Amazon, and Unilever. She’s been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Fast Company, BBC, ABC World News, Tim Ferriss’s blog, and more. Previously, Amber helped launch six best-selling books as Chief Evangelist of Seth Godin’s publishing experiment.

On today’s episode, Amber shares strategies for combating worry, fear and anxiety and infusing more wonder and creativity into our days.

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When to say yes, and when to say no with Katie Hunt

I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries, particularly as it relates to what I say yes to and what I say no to in both my personal and business life. I don’t know about you guys but I have a tendency to take one too much or underestimate how long things will take. I mostly get excited about opportunities, say yes and then find myself overscheduled and stretched thin. I know I’m not alone in this.

But here’s the deal.

We all have the same amount of hours in the day, and as entrepreneurs, we have a lot of different things pulling on us for our time — projects, family, friends, exciting opportunities, the daily grind of running a business. It’s exhausting trying to do all these things, keep everyone happy and yet still have time for ourselves.

When I interviewed Rosie from Sugarfina on episode 64 she stressed how important self-care is, why we need to take action before things are perfect, and we both acknowledged that its difficult to protect our time because as entrepreneurs the running to do list is never-ending. Rosie shared how she decides what to say and what to say no to, and I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things I consider with you

This is something I’m working on, and I’ve definitely been more diligent in protecting my time in recent months. But here are some of the questions I ask myself when I’m considering whether to say yes to something or no to something:

Does this align with my long-term goals?
Does this align with my short-term goals?
What is the time commitment?
What are the benefits for me, my business, my family?
What is my excitement level?

I’d love to hear from your in our Proof to Product Facebook group. What questions do you ask yourself when you’re deciding whether or not to move forward with a project? Weigh in and let me now. You can join our free Facebook group by going to

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Your products aren’t for everyone. And, that’s ok with Katie Hunt

There’s a lot of talk on the internet about knowing your ideal customer, but a lot of it doesn’t resonate with me. Maybe you feel this way too?

On Episode 63, Mary Bruno shared how she is her ideal customer. And, that she focuses on creating things that she loves & that she finds funny even if it doesn’t resonate with everyone.

It got me thinking about something I’ve talked about in the past in my emails, but I’m not sure I’ve talked about it on the podcast.

Your products aren’t for everyone. And, that’s ok.

In fact, it’s fantastic. You don’t want to be everything to everyone.

Just like Mary talked about past ideas falling flat, sometimes you’re going to make duds. Or, sometimes what you make is going to appeal to a smaller audience.

You make beautiful products, that are likely handcrafted or personally designed by you. You have your own unique style & aesthetic that you’re continuing to develop.

Instead of feeling like you need to appeal to the masses, I want you to focus on four key areas:

– I want you to focus on reaching your unique customer base — fill a void or provide a solution specifically for the

– I want you to focus on developing your own style, point of view and a strong, extensive product line.

– I want you to focus on creating work that feels good to you, that you’re proud of and that you want to put your name on.

– I want you to focus on making the best decisions for your business, without worrying about what everyone else thinks. I want you to make decisions for your business without looking around at what others are doing in their businesses or feeling like you need to follow the crowd.

I know these things are easier said than done, but the strongest brands, the ones that build profitable, sustainable businesses are creating unique products that they are passionate about. They put their heads down when they are designing and try not to be influenced by others. They also recognize that their work is special and may not resonate with everyone. And, that’s ok.

I’d love to have you weigh in on this discussion in our free Proof to Product Facebook group. How do you stay motivated and create work you love and build a brand that includes that work? How do you tune out the noise and ensure that you’re not being influenced by others when you’re designing new work? Join us here:

But you guys. Please remember, that your products aren’t for everyone. And, that is more than ok.

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056 | Enhance your Etsy Shop with Kelly Parker Smith, Hello World Paper Co.

Kelly Parker Smith is a multi-talented business owner and creative artist. Kelly is a rubber stamp designer and manufacturer living just outside St. Louis. She has grown her shop, Hello World Paper Co., with the idea that great products become even better when paired with top-notch customer service, a little surprise and delight, and the perfect packaging!

Kelly is also the co-host of the Creative Biz Rebellion podcast where she and Caroline Hull show other business owners how to build, maintain, and grow a profitable online shop through their podcast and online workshops. In her free time Kelly enjoys painting and drawing on her iPad Pro and is soon to release her second fabric collection with Sweet Bee Designs fabric company.

On today’s episode Kelly is sharing how she juggles multiple arms of her business – manufacturing stamps, designing fabric and mentoring through her podcast. We also talked about time management, prioritizing profitable tasks and setting boundaries to protect our time. Kelly also share three strategies for enhancing your Etsy shop.

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045 | Taking breaks in business with Caroline Hull, Caroline Creates

TSBC alum Caroline Hull is the founder of Caroline Creates.  A designer and owner, Caroline has a background in music and was actually a ballet dancer at the University of Oklahoma before finding her niche in design and podcasting. Caroline has a passion for helping other small business owners like herself through her podcast, Creative Biz Rebellion.

On today’s episode, we’re talking about switching gears in business, the benefit of taking a break to really reassess how you’re feeling about things and she also shares how past experiences shaped who she is and what she’s doing today.

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044 | Overcoming personal & social challenges in business with Heather Haynie & Dani Antol, Rock Paper Scissors

Heather Haynie and Dani Antol are the owners of Rock Paper Scissors, a custom invitation and paper goods shop in Charlottesville, Virginia. Rock Paper Scissors is the go-to destination for locals and visitors alike looking for laugh-out-loud greeting cards, journals, dec accessories, calendars, planners and modern gifts.  

On today’s episode we talk about a wide range of topics including what it takes to run a retail storefront, how they divide responsibilities as business partners and what success looks like for each of them. We also got personal. Dani shares her story of battling cancer. We also discuss how Heather & Dani were able to unify their local community after the hateful rallies in Charlottesville.

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42 | Misconceptions around clutter with Beth Penn, Bneato Bar

Beth Penn is a professional organizer, speaker and life hacker. She is the founder of Bneato Bar, a professional organizing service whose clients range from corporations looking for big-picture management solutions to busy individuals simply flooded with email, paper or stuff in their home. Beth has been featured in Real Simple Magazine, Oh Joy!, DesignLoveFest, and more, and has collaborated on projects with Style by Emily Henderson and Apartment Therapy.

On today’s episode we’re talking about misconceptions people have around cluttering and organization, and how to get started with decluttering.

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