These strategists help CEOs, startups, and solopreneurs get their business and tech unstuck. With humor, leadership and strategy, get to know us, we’re your Third Paddle.
In this episode, we talk about where we’re from:
– Boise, Idaho: https://www.cityofboise.org/
– Meridian, Idaho: http://meridiancity.org/main.aspx
– Henderson, Nevada: http://www.cityofhenderson.com/
You’re listening to the Third Paddle podcast recorded at the Vandal lounge in the beautiful southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most bad-ass entrepreneurs get stuck in Business Shit Creek. Tech Strategist Jen McFarland and business strategist, Twila Kaye are your Third Paddle, helping you get unstuck.
Hello and welcome to the inaugural episode of the podcast. My name is Jen McFarland. I’m a tech strategist out of Portland, Oregon. My name is Twila Kaye, and I am your vision and growth strategist out of Portland, Oregon. Portland. Really? Or is it Vancouver, Washington? Vancouver is to Portland like Henderson is Las Vegas. OK. Or Meridian to Boise. Correct. Did we just tell people where we’re from? Kinda. your Idaho is showing Jen. Dude, my Idaho has always showing. I’m proudly proudly from Idaho and a University of Idaho alum. What about you? I am proudly Hendersonville girl, Henderson, Nevada. Not Hendersonville, Tennessee. All I’m gonna say is every day I hang out with you, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. That’s right. That’s right. So, since this is the first episode we feel kind of compelled to let you know why we’re here and why it’s called the Third Paddle.
So Twila, why are you here? I am here to have a ton of fun because I always have a ton of fun with you. But I’m also here to let entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs, business leaders know that this thing called business, it doesn’t have to be so hard that there really are some great strategies, some great tools, some great resources and someone has always got your back and you don’t have to be alone. It doesn’t need to be this hard. And we are the Third Paddle because after all businesses always seem to find shit creek. I know, I hate it. I hate to admit it, but yeah, even we have, we find ourselves stuck sometimes too. And I think that one of the things I’ve really enjoyed since I started my entrepreneurial journey is, learning about everybody’s business and what makes all of the businesses unique and special.
But then also realizing that there are some serious patterns to what’s going on out there that just don’t need to happen, especially when it comes to technology because in this day and age you need technology in order to move your business forward. You know, everyone has some sort of online presence or, or even just uses computers for email, you know, or a CRM to, you know, make sure you’re communicating with your clients. And so that’s one of the things that people, they just seem to dread. Like I, I’ll go talk to somebody and I see them physically tense as soon as I ask them what’s going on. I want to change that. I like to bring a little levity and a little humor to these situations that really just people. I mean, God love them, but technology is up there with like death and taxes.
It just gets people so stressed out. No, I totally agree. And I love the synergy that we bring together because like you and I have talked so many times before, the same principles apply. Whether it’s to your technology and what you’re doing or what you’re doing there or your business and what you’re doing or not doing there. So the same principles apply to either topic. So we just have great synergy and I think, well I know that we’re going to bring a lot of help to entrepreneurs and business owners and ceos and business leaders across the board. And a little fun, a lot of fun, a lot of fun. A little jackassery from time to time. So if you don’t mind some jackassery, like you’re going to get here on the Third Paddle podcast for sure tune in. I think that and the reason I bring up humor is one of the first things is you can meet a lot of tech people and you can meet a lot of growth hackers and business professionals and coaches and you know, there are so many people out there that really want to help you.
And we take our job seriously. But along the way sometimes you just need someone to be like, hey, hey bro, it’s going to be all right. And that’s kind of what we mean by humor and levity. And you know, sometimes it’s funny stuff, right? Like especially, you know, one of the areas that I focus the most in is really helping people to understand themselves and be understood by others. And I tell you there’s a lot of humor in that because you just gotta laugh at yourself because if you can’t do that, what are you in business for? I know, right. Or like sometimes like with technology and stuff, like I’ll see people at the coffee shop and I can tell exactly that moment when that person has tried to do that thing for like the 20th time and their blood is starting to boil and stuff, you know?
And it’s kind of like at that point it’s like it might be best to just kind of step away from the computer for a minute. You mean the time, like one of the guys that I saw the other day in the coffee shop coffee revolution where it just looked like if one more thing went wrong with his laptop, he was actually just going to pour the whole cup of coffee all over it. You mean that look on their face and I would say that pouring coffee on your computer is not advisable. No, in fact, highly recommended that you back everything up before you take that drastic measure because the likelihood of it working again is a between somewhere between zero and zero. Yeah, and I would suggest that you’re if you’re at that point at any time in your and you’re wanting to pour coffee over someone instead of your computer, right?
Probably a good time for you to walk away and just get some air, bro. Yeah, Bro. Get some air. I think that that’s one of the things that like we’re here for is to be that breath of fresh air. You know that moment where you’re like, oh my God, like how many more times? How many more times am I going to have to enter this information in? Well, there are actually strategies out there so you don’t have to enter all the information into six different spreadsheets, you know, or just when you’re at your wits end like you can just like turn us on and we’ll be here. We’ll be here to give you a little bit of insight and a little help and hopefully, you’ll get back to whatever it is you were working on and feel a little better. And uh, you know, the same goes for your business too, right?
Like when you’re stuck and you’re just doing the same thing over and over again and you feel like you’re on that hamster wheel and it’s overwhelming and you don’t feel like you’re making any progress. Um, you know, I know for you that’s a huge thing. As long as you feel like you’re making progress, you’re in the game the second you don’t feel that way, you’re checked out like it’s not even there. Right? And so in our show over the course of many years to come and when we become syndicated on radio because that’s where we’re headed. Well, in our minds we are anyway.
Dial it down, Bro? Oh, sorry. Yeah. But we’re going to talk about how you get in your own way and those hidden saboteurs that are happening every day to you, to your team, um, to your technology. All of it. Oh yeah. I mean, one of the things that I just really love to delve in, you know, with dive in with people is kind of that whole mindset around things like if you, if you’re just so angry about that thing that just isn’t working, whatever it is and you’re going at it, you know, I hate to say it from like the just the wrong way, you know, you gotta reframe things. You’ve got to reposition it in, in the work that I do, I really encourage businesses to really focus on all the things that are going right. Because there is a lot of stuff around us this going right, instead of focusing on the one thing that you’ve put so much importance on, that has you just grading, and then when you start focusing on that, then you can start getting into more of a problem-solving mode about the things that aren’t going right.
Absolutely. And the same goes, I’m not just that approach to your technology, but that approach for your business on a hole, for your relationships, um, for every area of your life, these partnerships or business partnerships, especially if you’re hitting that wall, then it’s time to just stop and you don’t necessarily even need to take a step back. You just need to stop and reframe yourself. I love how Tony Robbins always says, change your state. You know, sometimes if you just change your physical state, it alters your mental state and shifts your mindset enough so that you can work around, work through, work, over whatever obstacle is in your way and get a fresh new look. And that’s what we are, right? A fresh new. Take a fresh new look, a fresh of breath. Air or breath of fresh air. Whoa. OK. Or a fresh of breath air.
That’s good too. I don’t really know what that is. Why the Third Paddle? I mean, I, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, so a lot of times my Idaho is showing. I mean I’m from the town I was from Meridian, Idaho back in the day was like 5,000 people when I was a kid and I was making a bad choice. My mom would look at me and be like, while you’re really up a creek and my mom doesn’t really swear. So it wasn’t for like years that I knew that really, you know, she, she was abbreviating common phrase around Idaho, which is, well you’re up Shit Creek and that must be, that must be an Idaho thing because my dad is from the same area that you’re from. And all of my families in that area are still in the Boise, Meridian, Emmett…. You name it, right?
My grandmother was born on Dry Buck mountain for crying out loud and he used to say the same thing to us girls all the time too. He’s, anytime we got ourselves in a jam, you’d say, well, looks like you’re up shit crick. You got a paddle or you got exactly. Do you have a battle or a canoe paddler canoe, like, you know, and, and you know, my mom, well, you know, and she’d be? And if she would lengthen it she’d be like, well, you’re up a creek without a nor, you know. And so it’s kind of one of those things like when we were like banding this about, um, and I think it was actually back when this podcast idea was first formed, you know, it was like our producer lizard and the, the person who, who pitched the idea of a podcast to me, Julie Myers, and we were like talking about it and listen, I looked at each other during the brainstorming.
We’re like, Shit Creek man, you know, and back then it was like tech Shit Creek, you know, and it’s just kind of this idea that like, and I think it happens just in entrepreneurship in general, business ownership, anything big business leadership. I mean it doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO of a corporation or CEO of your own business anytime. So like, thinking about it, like anytime you want to do something big, right? And your visioning, you know, this is like big leadership stuff, right? You know, and then you start breaking it down and you get into maybe more like where you’re actually doing, not just vision and you’re actually doing and you get stuck. We all have different ways of referring to it, but those of us from Idaho or have roots in Idaho, it means, you know, once you get stuck, you’re up a creek without a paddle.
And so the Third Paddle really means that when you find yourself stuck we’re your Third Paddle, we’re here to help you because you’ve already got the canoe and you, you can’t find your way out. And we’re here to shine that light and help you get out. We’re here to be that or in the front of the canoe that just gives you that nudge to keep floating on the river until you come to a bank that you see and you want to stop out for a while and, and get your feet on the ground again and then go again. And where that, where that Third Paddle, that’s that nudge. What are some of the topics that people who tune in you can expect to, to tackle with us? Well, one of the things we’re going to be talking about, I know because we’ve already got our slated to be on our show, Mrs. Jones with Keeping up with Mrs. Jones, our resident Budgetologist. We’re going to talk about budgets and how they affect you in business and in entrepreneurship. And I know quit rolling your eyes out there. Listeners. Yes, we’re going to talk budgets, but in a really, really fun way about how to make sure that your business stays healthy and that your technology that you have what you need for those technology upgrades and those technology decisions when you’re trying to make them some of the topics that I’m personally going to cover is how you’re getting in your own way. Those hidden saboteurs, how to make partnerships work well, how to make teams work really well, how to grow your business through other people. You know, I’m, I’m the people person. So we’re going to talk a lot about that and, and vision and growth and strategies to help you do that.
Um, particularly in the ways of marketing and sales. We’re going to spend a lot of time in those areas. And what about you, Jen? As the tech expert and I also have my master’s degree in leadership. So I know the one of the things that we’d like to geek out about too is just leadership and and how how we can all just project more leadership and inject more leadership into our businesses and how to lead, how to lead something like a technology project and take ownership of it even if you don’t understand all the buttons and how it works because there’s a real, a real need at the top for that champion, that leader that then helps people understand even that frontline person that’s working and developing those, those tech projects or if you are a small business, taking that leadership step and not just handing it off to.
Somebody else will talk about that. We’ll talk about how to delve into that. How to really like be that leader, be that pilot of your own plane. Like Twila likes to say, because regardless of what size the businesses, there needs to be a leader of. Absolutely. Yeah. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur out there, you have to be the leader in your business and you have to wear all of these 17 different hats. So we’re going to cover each one of those hats and if you’re a CEO or a corporate executive out there and you’ve got a team and you’re leading projects, maybe you’re leading a tech project and in your own company, maybe you’re leading a marketing campaign project or a sales project, uh, you know, customer loyalty project, any of those type of things. We want to talk to you about your leadership role and about that, what that means for you and your team and give you some help and some strategies to make sure you don’t get on that hamster wheel and that you yourself don’t sabotage your projects.
Yeah. Because sometimes, I mean, it’s so easy to self-sabotage and you don’t even realize that it’s happening and you don’t want that to happen because I mean, you have this vision, right? But we all do it, you know, I can say for myself that when I’m really going after something big and if I start to get kind of overwhelmed with it, you know, guess what I do. I look at all the minutia, the stuff that really doesn’t matter and then guess what? The stuff that really needs to happen starts to slide, you know, doesn’t get done. It doesn’t get done. And since it’s really just about scope, time and resources, I’m blowing out the time and also blowing out the resources and it just makes it so that I can’t get my stuff done. Right. I remember when I started my first business when I was nine years old, I’m like, you, the town I grew up in Henderson back in the day was miles seemed like miles away from Las Vegas.
I mean there was just a vast amount of land between Henderson and Las Vegas. Now it’s one side of the street is Henderson and the other side of the street in Las Vegas and you don’t even know which one you’re in half the time. That’s how Meridian and Boise are now too. Yeah, that’s exactly how they are now with the growth, but I remember growing up on our suburban ranch, we had horses and cattle and that was my first business was raising livestock for sale. I, it was my job to go out and, and get the local butchers and the local grocery stores and the local suppliers too. Bye. My livestock and uh, you know, raise them according to what their needs were and their customer’s needs were. And I was doing that at nine years old. Was it that you said to your dad something like, smells like money for, for project at first, you know, and I’m sure many listeners who are familiar with for age, that was probably the first thing you’re thinking is, oh, she must have been doing that for four age. And uh, and then one day my dad and I were in the corral with my pig and I was like, Hey dad, ah, why am I not doing this for money?
These pigs right here, smell like money. He just looked up and smiled at me. He goes, I don’t know, honey, why aren’t you. There is no reason why you can’t. And in that, in that same discussion, what he said to me was, you know, the best way to make money, and I said, why? And he said, get out of your way. That was it like. And I thought, whoa. It was like Jerry Garcia. Just talk me out of the Burning Bush. Right? I know, right? Like, yeah, get out of your own way and out of your way. Just do it. Stop thinking about it. Stop making this so hard. Stop making this so complicated. Quit focusing on other things. Get it done. And you did like your, like nine years old. And then that’s like the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. Right. You know, and, and I think that there’s something about that that’s so beautiful and I wish that I could just keep drawing on that little nine-year-old self that was like, OK, yeah, sure dad, I’ll get out of my own way.
And like that imperfect action, you know, all it was, was imperfect action. I had no fear. I was, by the time I was 10, I was getting up in front of boards of directors, you know, like 12, 13, stuffy guys sitting in a boardroom. There weren’t any women executives for sure. Then 35. Oh, well, oh yeah, you want to talk about here. We’re talking 45 years ago, um, you know, and these big stuffy men that are smoking cigars and cigarettes in the boardroom and had their whiskey on the table and here I am, a 10 year old, 9:10, 11 year old girl standing in front of them giving a full-on presentation of why they need to buy my animal, what, why my animal is better than anyone else’s on the market and you know, all of these things. And I had no fear doing that because I wasn’t in my head yet.
You didn’t care. I didn’t care. Like I, I just knew, hey, I just want these men’s money. That’s all I knew was I need to sell this animal. I hate these men’s money cause Twi wants a new pair of shoes. Really. Even at 10, it was about the shoes. Uh, yeah. Hello. Hello, is this thing on? Just stop. Yes, of course, it’s on. It was about the shoes. I’m still waiting for that time when it’s about the shoes for me. Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen. You’re kind of the tomboy out of the two of us. I’m not sure the shoot things going to happen by giving you gadgets. I do love gadgets. I love gadgets. Yeah. And I’m like, and you know, maybe that’s why I married a guy that is totally not into gadgets because we couldn’t have that many, you know, and I needed someone to do tech support for. Right?
Yeah. It’s not about the gadgets are, it’s not about the shoes for me, you know? And I think that like, I think that my entrepreneurial spirit has just always been there. I think that that, I do think I was always kind of too heady about it cause I was kind of like, what am I going to do? I want a business, what could I possibly do? You know? And then it was only after I kind of stepped back that I was like, wait, I’ve been doing all kinds of stuff. You know, like, why don’t I just focus on delivering the services that I already deliver, you know, and I think that um, so even if you are a would be or could be entrepreneur, you know, there’s opportunities on this podcast to like delve into yourself, into your own leadership, into what you want to do because they’re, I mean there’s only going to be more and more of us.
Absolutely. And, and I want to talk to those CEOs and middle managers and team leaders even in the corporate space because, you know, being in real estate for the real estate industry for 23 years, um, not just in the sales and marketing role, but also in a management role, title company role, financial role, all of, I mean not name any job in that industry. And I pretty much worked at, for crying out loud through those 23 years supporting my, my singing career, my professional singing career. Something had to fund it. But, you know, one of the things that I learned about myself later on was how, even in those positions as a company leader, how I was leading my team astray all the time, you know, because being a person that has a million and one ideas a day, I’d get a project started and then have another great idea the next day and come in and change things.
And so, um, you know, that would cause a lot of problems sometimes within the organization. And my solution was OK, well this isn’t working out. Let me go find the other company that this will work out for. When it was me, it wasn’t the company at all. Oh exactly. Oh yeah. I mean, and I have, I kind of came to the realization pretty early that for lake every, I don’t know, a hundred ideas I have like they’re not all good, I’ll just say that you know. And so part of it is just kind of that acknowledgment of like knowing yourself, learning, learning more about yourself and you might think, well, what, what does Jen know about that? Cause like she’s the tech person and it’s like, well no, I mean we all have had just like, I mean I’ve had this 20 year career, you know, the first 10 and graphic design and a little two year stint in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan followed by, you know, a master’s degree and then 10 more years doing tech project management, um, and bringing on like really large projects, you know, and, and just walking the earth kind of realizing like what you’re good at and what you’re not good at.
And then paying more attention to the leadership, what leadership tactics work and what don’t you know, when it’s good to stay the course. And sometimes when you get stuck it’s actually an indication of time to make a change. Yes. You know, it’s not always getting unstuck doesn’t always mean doing the same thing and, and grinding it out. In fact, it more times than not means not to, to exactly that. You do need to stop for a second, reevaluate, evaluate, make a change somehow some way. Because technology is just so expensive. A lot of times, you know, what, what it means, you know, in, in my world is planning things out as much as possible and really thinking it through so that you can kind of avoid the proverbial Shit Creek as much as possible because you know that even the best-laid plans on a tech project, there’s still going to be things that go wrong, you know, and so you just don’t want it to be a million dollar mistake or if you’re a smaller company, you just scale that budget down to the worst possible scenario.
And so you, you do everything you can to educate yourself and help yourself ahead of time. Because the one thing that you can always plan for the unexpected, right? Just don’t know what it is. You know, I love how you’re talking about tech projects because even for our solopreneurs out there on our small business owners, you know, they may think, well wait, a tech project would be if I’m totally upgrading all of my computers and my systems and my phone systems and all that. Right? But no, your tech project campaign simply, um, what email marketing tool is the best for me and do I need to have five different applications when maybe there’s one out there that does it all. Do I need everything that I’m using right now? Or are there things that I can do in stages? Are there applications and tools that I can get in stages?
You know, what about your website and you know, all those things that are just, those were all technology projects as you’ll find. You don’t need everything all at once. Everything happens in stages that if you allow that to happen in a sequential manner, then you’re not straining your budget and you’re ensuring that all of these tools speak to each other and you find that you don’t have to do as much data entry. You might not need to hire as many developers to make things work. Doesn’t have to be as custom if the time is taken up front to really think things through. Right? And you can use those same principles, uh, in your operation, doing things within your operation and your budget’s in stages and making sure that you have the right people in the right places and making sure that those people are performing at their highest peak and making sure that you’re developing a culture that will have these people perform.
And you know, I was recently reading an article, I think it was Forbes magazine, that 86% of all employees in the workforce feel dissatisfied. And it’s not because of money. No. In fact, the reason they’re finding, I, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of reading on this too, where people don’t leave because of money. They leave because of bad leadership. You know, I’m not surrounding yourself with the tools needed to do the job or the structure, not feeling. They’re not feeling valued, they’re not feeling understood, right? Like I was recently doing a study even I’m in the human behavior side and the personality science side and the number one need for humans today more than eating or drinking is the need to be understood and to feel understood because if they feel understood, they feel heard, they feel understood, then they’re engaged and satisfaction rates, sky ride, and the feedback I hear from people is like, I’m listening and they sound so shocked that there’s this like nerd talking to them.
Right? Who’s listening? And I think for me the key has been, well first of all, I’ve actually worked a lot in a lot of scenarios where I’m actually a tech translator so I’m running back and forth between nontechnical and technical people. It’s also that like, I don’t really know what a client needs. If I don’t listen, I’m just making assumptions and those are dangerous. If you’re talking about employees, if you’re working at a tech project, if you are a leader and you’re spending more time thinking about what you’re going to say than what your employee is saying to you, these are all warning signs that something could be going way, way off track and off track is another way of saying you’re up shit creek. Yeah, absolutely, and even with my work with entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs, management teams in helping them to forge their vision, a lot of times we’re even kind of redefining and recalibrating that vision and looking into strategies, have an growth stages so that they can actually realize their vision, but what we really concentrate on a lot is the people because their vision can never be actualized and their profits can never be hit.
If the people aren’t on board and there are people aren’t engaged and helping them to make that happen. I have nothing to add to that, except yes. Yes. Thanks for your insights, Jen McFarland. Yes. For them, that’s the Shit Creek. Yeah. They’re banging their head up against a wall. They see this vision. They know they have to meet certain profit margins and they have to meet certain growth stages. OK, they’re not right, but I think that sometimes when we solely focus on the goal, the profit margin, we kind of lose sight of the best ways to do that or the people that we have working on our projects and what their skills and abilities are that will actually allow us to achieve those goals. Sometimes we forget like that you know, that we need to have the right people for the right amount of time to work on that project to work on that scope so that we can achieve whatever milestones and goals that we’re looking for in the right place. So don’t take a gun to a knife fight or a nun. I mean a nun or a gun to a knife fight wouldn’t be good either. I like nuns, they’re kind of nice. I grew up Catholic.
Well I think that we’ve told you a lot about us and kind of what we’re doing and we would just really like to hear from you. Yeah. So why don’t you send us an email at email@example.com and also subscribe because we would love to just, you know, engage you in here and learn more about you. So if you have any questions or anything that you’d like to communicate with us, maybe a topic this just really got you, like wondering like how am I going to get through this or just questions. Feel free to hit us up at Info at [inaudible]. Yeah. And subscribe and subscribe and subscribe because we want you to listen. Yes. So thank you for listening.
Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast.
If you like our show and want to learn more, check out our website at www.thirdpaddle.com or leave us a review on iTunes. Send questions or topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to tune in each week to get even more technology and business tips to help you navigate business Shit Creek. The Third Paddle podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth at https://fostergrowth.tech and Twila Kaye International at www.twilakaye.com.