We earn respect because of our actions not our intentions. The quickest way to lose the faith of your team is to make empty promises. The lyric, “A little less conversation, a little more action.” made famous by Elvis himself, says it all. Do what you say you’re going to do; when you say you’re going to do it. It’s a simple thing but difficult for a lot of people.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Traci DeForge. Traci’s 25-year professional career reflects a unique combination of Broadcast Media, Executive Management and Fortune 500 Business Consulting. This powerful combination led to her founding Produce Your Podcast, a premier podcast consulting agency providing busy professionals full service podcasting services. Traci is recognized as a podcast expert and a sought after speaker. She’s been featured on CNN, Radio INK, Medium and is a contributor for Inc.com. From early stage startups to her work with Fortune 500 companies including Google, Hilton, Weight Watchers International, Microsoft and British Airways, Traci’s expertise identifies successful business development opportunities for innovative growth.She taps into her passion for creativity by producing and hosting the Journey to There podcast. The show provides inspiration and tactile tips on how to navigate the intersection between personal and business growth.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I started my first entrepreneurial endeavor at the age of seven. It was 1975 and I was running “Jobs, Inc.” an (imaginary) temporary staffing service. Our mission was to find people the perfect jobs. My employees were my friends in the neighborhood. I got my office supplies from my father’s secretary! At night, I’d fall asleep with an AM transistor radio under my pillow. The love of radio and helping people do what they love has been a continuous theme throughout my professional career. After 18 years of working on management side of the radio business, I opened my own business development focused consulting firm which presented some incredibly diverse opportunities including building out a franchise from the ground up and launching a food product line for a client. I’ve worked with thousands of women entrepreneurs and several Fortune 500 companies over the last 25 years. In 2016 I launched Produce Your Podcast, a full service podcast consulting and production company, as a way of combining my business development and broadcast expertise.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The a-ha for starting Produce Your Podcast came when I was in the Minneapolis, MN airport traveling back from a client meeting. I knew I wanted a podcast. I also knew I wanted a professionally produced one. I texted “Do you produce podcasts?” to Russ Riba, an audio production genius who I’d worked with years ago at the radio stations. His response? “For you… I would.” This is a huge testimony in relationship currency. so Always treat people with kindness and respect. You never know who you might be working with 20 years later. He’s now the co-host on my podcast, Journey to There; Exploring the intersection between personal and business growth and my partner in the podcast production business.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are passionate radio junkies producing podcasts. Our commitment to broadcast quality audio production is our biggest differentiator. We honed the technology to produce a podcast host from most anywhere in the world by connecting them to a live engineer in our studios without them ever leaving their home or office. We also connect them to their guests when it is time to record elevating the professionalism on their behalf. We’ve produced shows with live guests as far away as Bali and South Africa and they sounded as if they were in the studio with the host! Podcasting can quickly lose its luster if you have to worry about all of the painstaking details going on behind the scenes to create a show that sounds amazing and gets released on time. We’ve made the process a fun and relaxing experience and as a result our clients are changing the conversation in their industry with podcasting.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
I have 3 things I always share with anyone who’s new to a leadership position.
- You only get one reputation. Align yourself with people, places and experiences that are congruent with who you are and reflect what you value. There are times when you might need to walk away from an opportunity at the worst possible time. Do it anyway. Make the right decision for yourself because people watch what you do and who you do it with every. single. time.
- We earn respect because of our actions not our intentions. The quickest way to lose the faith of your team is to make empty promises. The lyric, “A little less conversation, a little more action.” made famous by Elvis himself, says it all. Do what you say you’re going to do; when you say you’re going to do it. It’s a simple thing but difficult for a lot of people.
- Don’t miss out on your life. Putting our careers before living our lives can put us at grave risk for waking up and realizing the only important thing we have left is our business. Yes, it sounds dramatic but it’s real. Leave the office early to spend time with your son, sister, mom or friend. Take care of your health and wellness. Take a technology break so you are present on Sunday afternoon with your family. Go on vacation without your laptop. Work addiction may bring you accolades instead of intervention but the consequences of going too far have the same repercussions as any other drug of choice.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
There are so many people who’ve impacted my journey in life changing ways.
Those that told me ‘no’ were the ones that made me work harder at getting a yes. Those who didn’t understand why I was so driven but were willing to support me unconditionally anyway. The ones who didn’t keep promises set me free to find the ones that would. Parents. Surrogate Parent Figures. Bosses. Business Partners. Best friends who picked up pieces and clinked champagne glasses. So many positive examples to follow. So many mentors to lift me up. This is the mosaic of me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Personally, I’m a strong believer in making small impactful differences to influence greater change. You never know how a gesture of kindness to one person can have a ripple effect on another person. In my career, one of the things I love best about audio storytelling is its power to move people by bringing them together and inspiring them to make a difference. Some of my most treasured professional experiences came from being involved in fundraising efforts for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital through the Country Cares for Kids radiothon. I believe podcasting can bring goodness to the world through its ability to provide a platform for people to use their own voice, have their message heard and become a catalyst to enact change.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- The confused mind says no — I’m a BIG visionary. I want to take a business in multiple directions because I see so many possibilities. There is value in simplicity. Find the area of focus where you bring the most value and do it better than anyone else.
- Square pegs do not fit in round holes. Stop working so hard when things aren’t working. Follow the flow. Each time I fought for a square peg I feel into a deep round hole. I don’t do that anymore.
- No is a complete sentence. This was profound to me the first time I heard it. I’m a recovering people pleaser at my core. The power in giving yourself the permission to say no and not say anything else? Novel concept. Try it sometime. It feels really, really good!
- Not everybody is your advocate. I’m the world’s biggest cheerleader so imagine my surprise when I realized not everyone will be your advocate. I see this happen frequently working with women entrepreneurs. They have expectations around their families, spouses and friends being the ones to support them in their challenging times or share in their excitement when things are going well. It’s not always the case. Running a business can take time away from these relationships and cause unexpected friction. Resentments can develop where you expected encouragement. Find groups of like-minded entrepreneurs who are going through the same frustrations and are celebrating similar milestones. Reach outside of your inner circle for additional support.
- Your expenses don’t have to rise to meet your income. There is no written rule the corner office comes with a certain size house, car or pair of designer shoes. I initially thought I had to dress a certain way to portray success which evolved into the idea I’d earned the privilege of overpaying for items to emulate success. Ultimately, I realized success was not defined by how much of your income you spent on proving your success to others. Success is a feeling based on how you feel about your accomplishments. Some of the most accomplished people do not feel successful. Some of the most successful people have accomplished things money can’t buy.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? “There is no glass ceiling in a house you build yourself.” ~ Lorine Pendleton
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I will need a table of 5 for this lunch! I would invite:
- Julia Cameron, author and artist. She is most famous for her book, The Artist’s Way.
- Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, Do the Work and Turning Pro
- Carol Burnett, actress, comedian. Does she really need an introduction?
- Tina Fey, actress comedian and writer of 30 Rock.
Why? Because I think Julia Cameron and Steven Pressfield provide incredible insights about breaking down the barriers keeping you from living a successful and creative life. I think Carol Burnett and Tina Fey are living the epitome of a successful creative life. Well, then there’s that Saturday Night Live thing. I always wanted to be on Saturday Night LIve.
Originally published at medium.com