Culture Factor 2.0

Passion Economy, The Rise of the Solopreneur

Episode Summary

Amanda Geotz hails from the Mid-West and resides in New York with her 3 kids. She is the VP of Marketing at the largest wedding company, The Knot Worldwide. She leads PR, social, brand, partnerships and product marketing strategies across the company’s international family of leading lifestage brands. She’s a former founder, has analyzed companies for the Earnst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and has been featured in a documentary highlighting the stories of inspiring female entrepreneurs called Dream, Girl.

Episode Notes

http://linkedin.com/in/amandagoetz

http://www.companytribes.com

https://www.theknot.com

https://www.amandagoetz.com

https://twitter.com/amandamgoetz

 

 

Episode Transcription

Holly Shannon 

I want to thank our listeners for joining the culture factor and ask that you subscribe rate and consider leaving a review. We'd love to hear who you'd like to listen to next. And a thank you to our sponsor company tribes. They have an app and a virtual experience to help keep your tribe together during difficult times like now and business as usual. How strong is your company culture reached out to paul@companytribes.com. As co-producers and hosts, I'm Holly Shannon, and along with Paul Jones, we welcome you to another great episode of the culture factor. Today we have Amanda Getz. She hails from the Midwest and resides in New York with her three kids. There she is the VP of Marketing at the largest wedding company, The Knot worldwide. She leads PR, social brand partnerships, and product marketing strategies across the company's international family of leading life stage brands. Amanda is a former founder. She has analyzed companies for the Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She has been featured in a documentary highlighting the stories of inspiring female entrepreneurs called dream girl. And today, we have her on The Culture Factor. Hello, Amanda, welcome to the culture factor.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Thank you for having me. It's exciting. It's great to have you here.

 

Paul Jones 

Amanda, we are so excited to have you, and I'm excited to talk about our topic today. to kind of set the scene, we're going to be talking a lot about passion economy and how that fits into the workplace. But could you talk about just passion economy in general.

 

Amanda Goetz 

So the passion economy is truly supporting the rise of the solopreneur. A lot of people realize that work from home right now in the COVID era starts to blend, work and life and there's no nine to five anymore, that you can do multiple jobs, you can take on different projects, and you can stimulate different passions that you have in your life. And I do think that there's been an evolution across generations from the dad works at a bank for 30 years and is loyal to that bank to now. What actually fills, you know, lights of the flame inside of me, and how do I feel my creativity and passion? I think really millennials and Gen Z ers have stimulated this even more for companies do do think that companies should support that has side hustle for three reasons. One, passion is not zero sum, you don't run out of passion.  When I had my third kid, I didn't have less love for that kid. Because I've already got two, that's not how passion works. And I truly believe that first and foremost, you can be passionate about multiple things. And the second thing is, it actually helps with problem-solving. There are cognitive studies that show when you are stuck on a problem when you take your mind off of that problem, and actually problem-solve something else, that it actually unlocks new ways of thinking about the first problem, I actually think it does fuel new creativity for your day job. And third, I think that this is a true retention tactic for companies, if you can support and and it goes into the world of social media and personal branding, and there are companies that create rules around you know, you can't tweet and you can't integrate during the day, unless there is privacy rules, there's it's a rising tide lifts all ships when I speak on a podcast or I speak at an event, whether or not I am, you know, talking about being a female founder and my female, you know, in my, my company I'm building on the side versus you know, just marketing in general, I always have my VP of Marketing at The Knot worldwide there. And that is added impressions and share a voice for your your company. And so you help elevate the brand. So I do think that when a personal brand elevates, it actually raises the brand as well of the company.

 

Paul Jones 

Wow, this is, this is such a great thought. And you know, I think about all the passion work that people do for free all the time, for example, Linux is open source. developers get off work, they go home and they code Linux, they build Linux. And so I think you're totally right that supporting the passions that your employees are are doing is a fantastic way for a company to get their exposure out, get their brand out a little bit more. But I don't see that happening a lot. This seems to be very cutting-edge now that not many companies are necessarily going to be very supportive of your passion projects on the side hustles. Why do you think that is?

 

Amanda Goetz 

So I think Google started it, right, they start they're actually the ones who started the 80/20 rule or 20% of your time, you can spend doing whatever you want building whatever you want. And then I don't fully know why that didn't bleed into the other companies. You know, we all see Google like this, you know, they were the ones to first have the cool office space with the beanbags and free lunch or whatever. But no one took that to heart because it was like oh, it's just Google. But I think it's also because moonlighting has always had this negative stigma. And as you continue to do something in your spare time, it was a hush hush thing like, Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But in the world of social media, there's no longer a Don't Ask, Don't Tell, you're going to promote it. You're going to talk about it. And then it becomes this blurriness of, well, at what level? Can someone no longer moonlight like if you babysit or teach a fitness class on the side? Is that okay? But then if you launch a DTC brand, is that not okay? And where is the line there? And my answer is there shouldn't be one. If you are a culture that actually focuses on the right things, which is outcomes versus output, you have a very clear strategy of how you're going to get there. You know what success looks like you've defined it for everyone and they are hitting those goals, then it doesn't matter. As long as the company moves forward, you should allow people and I think that that's a really hard thing because operational efficiency is not what every company actually optimizes for. There are still companies that optimize for optics, you know, last one there gets rewarded. You know, if you're still online at 8pm, pat on the back. COVID has helped us to realize that burnout is a thing. And not everybody can do that. And how do we actually focus on operational efficiencies and excellence? And I'm hoping that we're just on the cutting edge of this and that five years from now, this conversation will look very different.

 

Holly Shannon 

You know, I want to jump back just a tiny bit because you said having a voice on social media. I think you and I kind of met on Twitter. I had listened to you on a marketing event with Morning Brew. And I reached out on Twitter and we've talked a little bit and I know that you had mentioned about, you know, some promoting on there and talking about business and different things. So has that tapped into new business for you? Maybe it's been advantageous that while others might view that as self-promotion, it turned out to be business promotion.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Absolutely. I mean, just even taking a 30,000-foot view, you think about these companies like glossier and Emily Weiss, for example. Like she whenever she's speaking on a panel, you think glossier, and her brand is tied to like how you think about glossier and more and more as just I mean, Gen Z will definitely drive this home but what a company stands for and who works there is really important and how they talk about the world and how they interact. With the world, no longer can a company just be an e commerce page. People want to know who's behind this company, what do they stand for? And so with my Twitter experience, so this is crazy, but I just joined Twitter a year ago, after like a hilarious debate that, I really thought Twitter was just a male echo chamber. And I was in a conversation with a guy friend, and he said, I promise you, it's not like that, you need to find your own niche on Twitter. And he's like, just try it. Try it for six months. And if you are proven right, like, you can sign off and never log in again. But what happened was, I found marketing Twitter, which became this like amazing place where marketers come together and support one another. They talk about brands, they talk about brand strategy that you know, the, the Cold War balance approach for spraying and all that fun stuff. And what happened was, I started to get more and more speaking opportunities and brand partnerships, like I would talk to the head of digital marketing at AAA, and all of a sudden, we're starting to jam on a possible brand partnership or something like that. And that would have taken me multiple cold emails to figure out how to get into a brand, whereas now, it's just natural synergies and friendships. And we're all figuring out how we can help each other. And so I think that self promotion and building a personal brand, again, has this negative stigma. And what I really really want companies to realize is when you support somebody in that it truly does unlock new business opportunities. 

Holly Shannon 

Yeah, I believe that there's almost it almost creates like a seamlessness. I think people actually want to feel that they can touch that brand in a way to like it. So there's a person attached to it, but it just feels more special. It doesn't feel like this big behemoth or this brick and mortar building. All of a sudden, it feels like part of their community, part of their people, can chat with them. It feels different, I think actually, it's just beneficial.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Yeah, the personification of brands in general is like the holy grail of a marketer, right? To have a brand evoke a feeling. And that is really hard through just a visual identity. Still, people easily evoke feelings, and relatability. The more and more you can elevate the people behind the brand and what they stand for, I truly think that you're allowing a deeper connection with your community.

 

Holly Shannon 

How do you think all of this affects company culture and and does it at all and I mean, you could speak to The Knot if if that makes the most sense as opposed to universally?

 

Amanda Goetz  

Well, I think you all speak universally, first and foremost, because I think without a clear stance, like Google put out like 80/20 or 10% rule or whatever they had it as 10% of your time, go build whatever you want. It allowed for this culture of support, and curiosity. But when you when a company has, in the absence of knowledge, people fill it with their own opinions. And so when in the absence of a clear cultural stance around what people can do in their spare time, that creates jealousy, you know, trying to hold people back, it can really create a negative, toxic cultural response because, you know, the one person that has that entrepreneurial spirit and is going after something, they're going to be people that say, well, I didn't know I could do that. And that's up to the executive team to set those standards so that it doesn't actually impact the culture. And that's where I see a lot of companies go wrong. Because they're not setting their people up, and especially the entrepreneurial types up for success. It takes work, I have to tweet, five to six times a day to get to building a following that is a lot of work and effort, but I love it because I love connecting with people. Not everybody is going to do that. But I also shouldn't feel like I'm doing something wrong just because I am doing that and that is a personal, you know, mission and something that I truly enjoy doing. And again, it's all comes from the top, and how do you set the cultural precedent?

 

Paul Jones 

Amanda, I want to go back to the sentence you just said, you said something like, I have to tweet six times a day. And if I could take that sentence out of context and go back 10 years and let someone listen to that. I wonder what they would say. 

 

Holly Shannon 

What are these birds tweeting about?

 

Paul Jones 

As you're talking, I think what you're talking about is scarcity versus abundance. And back in the day, when when, you know, people were showing up and they were working at a factory, it was about output. How many pieces could you put together how you had to work your shift you had to hit a certain quota and it was very mechanical. Today because of the internet a lot of people are in jobs that are knowledge based jobs that require creativity. And I think this point is, is so well taken, and it's so necessary right now. Because the biggest return you're gonna get on your employees is, how creative they are going to be, and what problems they're going to solve from you. So I love that how you mentioned output to outcomes. I think that's a huge trend right now. Where companies that are trying to manage off of just output are going to be struggling because you can't just say, you know, you need to work. My sister, for example, she works for the government and her manager requires her to work six hours straight every single day, and she has to check in. That's what she has to check in with him about is how long she's been working, not about the initiative. And I think that kind of management style just kind of stifles creativity, which is so essential and critical to businesses today.

 

Amanda Goetz 

And she'll burn out so quickly it's not sustainable. To add to something that you said about creativity that we don't talk about is optimizing for your creative hours. And so I am kind of a crazy person and spent a lot of time understanding gut health and the head gut connection. And I went and had all these tests done to understand truly why I'm a morning person. I know I'm really creative from the hours of eight to 10. But can science prove that to me, like why that's happening? And I had these cortisol tests done to show that my cortisol is like twice as high as a normal person's from the hours of like 7am to 11am. And then I crash at like one to 2pm and then I even back out to a normal level around five to seven. So it truly was scientifically proven to me why I love to get up and get everything done before 11am, and why are we still living in a world to your point? We are not on an assembly line, you know, cranking out watchamacallits. We are a knowledge based industry for the most part. I mean, there are still customer service jobs that you need to be on or, you know, this is strictly talking about the tech sector. But why are we still optimizing around very specific and rigid work hours that don't work for many people. I know people that don't hit their creative stride until eight 9:10pm when it's quiet in their house, and they can actually think, and they stay up until you know, midnight, and that's when they crank, why does that person need to log back in at nine o'clock and be online just for the sake of it. And so, again, I think that companies need to start having these conversations of what does A culture look like that optimizes around the person and their best work. And that could mean something where working hours, meaning meeting times are only between the hours of 10 to four. And you those are the times that you can attend meetings. And don't get me started on meeting culture and you know, how we, we are having way too many meetings for the sake of meetings, but and then letting people have the freedom to do their best work when they do it.

 

Holly Shannon 

Yeah, it's all about human optimization, right? I mean, if you really let the C-suite dictate an archaic type of company culture, and you don't look at what's happening today, where culture actually could be defined by the people who work there and build business outcomes around that you're going to end up with a really happy workforce, I mean, you're allowing them to get education on the side if they so choose, or dive into passion projects if they so choose, or travel and work remotely if they choose. 

 

Amanda Goetz 

I don't believe in work life balance, but I believe in being in control of when I want to see my kids and optimizing for that. 

 

Holly Shannon 

Absolutely. And, you know, just to jump back to something you said earlier, you know, you tweet, you know, six times a day, you know, there's a lot to be said about that. You might be inadvertently creating these online think tanks and crowdsourcing ideas, and they might just be like, random thoughts you're having that are incubating throughout the day and you don't even realize that you're, you're actually edging towards something really great. And you're you're creating these little Think Tank moments. And then you're having these interactions with other people. People that are saying, Wow, let's talk a little bit more about this. Oh my gosh 100% like I now use Twitter almost as like, just an open journal. Like

 

Amanda Goetz

Iif I have a thought of, oh, this brand could really do this or I like free ideas like I think I called it like my free Meo thread where I was like I'm your free cmo right now here like 10 ideas for different brands. But yeah, it's truly just an open journal for me of creative ideas and things I'm thinking about what's great. When you reach a certain level of followers, you are getting quantitative feedback on what topics are important to people or what ideas have steam. And I think that that's the really cool part about social media.

 

Holly Shannon 

You know, it's interesting you say that I have a you know, notes on my phone with like, 20 minutes idea is I think I'm gonna take your advice and throw out some hot takes.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Yes. And then you'll see if one of them has given you're like, wait a second.

 

Holly Shannon 

Maybe somebody will do something where they would be lovely, right?

 

Amanda Goetz 

 I can't do it at all, but somebody could. There I saw somebody tweet the other day, who wants to pay me for ideas, and I saw like, 10 people responding like, I know a guy. And I was like, wow, you can get paid and just have really great ideas.

 

Paul Jones 

You know, you're kind of making me feel a little bit guilty. About 10 years ago, we had an employee who was selling clothing gear, a clothing brand on the side, and it became this trend in the company and everyone was buying his stuff. And we decided that that was not focusing on the right things at work, and we actually let him go because of it. And as I'm thinking about it, it really wasn't taking away. I'm trying to remember but I don't think it was taking away from his outcomes that that he was required or, or that he was supposed to hit. It was just an opportunity for him to get really excited and build his own tribe or his own community inside of the business and i i think that was now looking back on it and having this conversation with you, I think that was a wrong move on our part.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Well, it brings up a great question of how much does your side business come into the workplace and where is that line as well, like if he was doing it on the side and using his own social media channels, etc, but if if he was selling to the people to everybody that was working there and they felt I want to buy this because like, you know, I work with him or I work for him. That's where it gets a little trickier because you don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable, or I guess the word I'm looking for is just like obligated, yes, obligated to buy from people and support their side businesses. And so I truly believe again, there are clear boundaries to this and how can we allow people to feel supported, but also not make the workplace become this eCOM platform where you're buying from every single person. We've all been hit up by an MLM I'm from the Midwest, which is the MLM capital of the world here, and everybody's selling Rodan and Fields and, you know, you name it, and you feel you feel a little guilty saying no, and you don't want to bring that into the workplace. You don't want anyone to feel guilty for not supporting one another. So again, I think that that's a very interesting use case. And it brings up this question of where do you draw the boundaries of how do you bring that into the workplace and interact with your your colleagues around your business?

 

Paul Jones 

So what would you have? If, you know, for everyone that's listening here and there, there's some of them might be saying, hey, I want to kind of change how I'm leaving our company. Going along with these ideas. What would you recommend when it comes to creating space for a passion economy or a side hustle plan for the company to roll that out?

 

Amanda Goetz 

Yeah, so step one is understanding the appetite for allowing, you know, a passion economy, within your workplace and within your work culture, and then defining that, what does that mean? It may mean for many people taking a page out of the Google Book and saying, Hey, we want to support you, if you have, you know, a side hustle or whatever. We fully support that and here are parameters. You know, you can't sell to anybody through work channels. But if somebody wants to support you on your social media and they follow you on Instagram, that's totally fine. But first and foremost is just stating publicly to your company, where you are, what's your stance on this? And then too, if you truly support this, and you believe, like, hey, I want to help people have side revenue streams or side creative juices flowing. How can I foster that? Do you offer a class on personal branding? What's the best way to use Instagram and Twitter? Do you have people in your company who are doing well lead to lunch and learn so it shows you that it's not a negative thing? That if someone just grew their Instagram following from 1000 to 20,000, have them lead and have the company show, we see you. That's awesome. We support you. And so I think thinking about that in two ways. One is the actual statement of what you support to and how you’re fostering that support. And then the third one, it goes back to the human optimization, how do we optimize people as real humans and starting to create more efficiencies and operational excellence around the outcomes, the meeting hygiene, and how do you focus on as long as you're getting your job done, I don't care where you are at two in the afternoon. If you went for a free run because you were tired and you hit your sluggish moment, I don't care. So making it not so difficult for someone to put their slack notification as on a run, be back in an hour. And I think that that's a really key thing of transparency like when I so I have my kids 50% of the time, and on the days I have my kids. I left work at four o'clock and I didn't hide and I didn't sneak out when no one was at their desk, I would publicly say, guys, I'm leaving to go see the kids. I will be back on at 8pm to check emails if you need me text me. So I did two things. I was super transparent. And I manage expectations and I made sure that they knew how to reach me. So that's what we have to continue to reinforce as leaders to say it's okay to go be with your kids. It is okay to focus on self care and go for a run, but you need to communicate it. So if someone needs you, they know one where you are and to like when they when you can be reached. If we started to do those things, we would all be living a much like balanced, much more balanced life.

 

Holly Shannon 

I agree. I think people are trying to in this new normal figure out how to do that. I think because we're immersed in work and home and not leaving It's so hard to define your work hours I feel I feel like we're all on like this 24 seven cycle. It's so hard to do that I agree with you that we should and, and I think a classic nine to five day just does not exist at all anymore. But it really is hard. I don't know about you, but I find that I I can't believe how many times I jump on, you know, social media, checking something posting emails, whatever at the weirdest times and I shouldn't you know, I think we all have to learn to you know, close close down the borders on ourselves, right, like not set our own personal expectations, I guess as part of that human optimization piece, right? 

 

Paul Jones 

Yeah, definitely. Well, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Amanda. I think you've given myself and a lot of people listening some Great things to think about and some really good strategies and some next steps that we can take to build and really accept the passion economy. So thanks for coming onto the show.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Thank you for having me. This was awesome.

 

Holly Shannon 

It was really great having you Amanda. Thank you. Appreciate it.

 

Amanda Goetz 

Talk soon, guys.