Peonies and 3 Pods

3 Small Business Podcasts You Need

Hello builders and dreamers!

I’m not sure if any of you noticed last week was devoid of your favorite email… But in any case, I apologize for the interruption and am ready to get back to giving you the goods!

Here’s a preview of this issue:

  • If you’re a newsletter reader, I’d bet you’re also a podcast listener. No? Well maybe it’s time to start. Look below for the 3 small business podcasts you should check out first.

  • Meet a different kind of farmer who’s combining a specialty crop with agritourism to give new life to an old farm site.

  • Wondering how this holiday shopping season will shape up? Making plans for Prime Day? Check out the news section for some juicy links.

3 Podcasts You Need in Your Life

Remember radio? Like, AM/FM radio with stations and commercials and shit? You would listen for two hours to catch that new song you liked and try in vain to record it on your tiny boombox cassette tape, only to realize later that your janky plastic record button didn’t engage? But I digress.

Since you are reading this in 2023, I suspect you like more control over your audio experience while driving, riding on a bus, pretending to work, etc. If true crime is your thing, this ain’t the list for you, but if you want to build a better business, check these out.

Best for Big Dream Inspo: How I Built This with Guy Raz

I understand how cliche and cringe it is to lead with the podcast everyone is already listening to. And you thought you would find undiscovered treasure here! But if your business dream includes building an empire, you cannot beat this show for inspiration.

Raz’s interviewing style and the production make this so fun to listen to. The story always follows a hero’s journey story arc, so you get to hear about humble beginnings, a call to greatness, an inevitable challenge where they almost have to close shop or they lose their pinky toe to a velociraptor or something terrible. And then they always prevail so we can all cheer and remember that it’s their millions we’re talking about here, not our own.

All kidding aside, there are lessons in every episode. Whether it’s overcoming adversity, the challenges of scaling, or how they got funded, we can all learn from each other in this world. Past guests have included Tory Burch, Sara Blakely, Mark Cuban, and the guys who started Zumba.

Best for Variety: Amazon’s This is Small Business

As part of Amazon’s twisted strategy of simultaneously destroying and yet also empowering small business, the ecommerce giant launched its This is Small Business podcast in 2022. The show has a cool perspective because it’s hosted by a curious millennial who is interested in what it takes to run a successful small business. Sound like anyone you know? 😉 

As opposed to How I Built This, which tends to feature entrepreneurs who started small and made it big, This is Small Business talks to real small business owners who are in the trenches. The show also brings on some experts to talk about hot topics like the top mistakes new business owners make, how to find funding, and why time off is important - yes, even when you have that big event coming up.

For Ecommerce Tips: Shopify Masters

The world’s most beloved ecommerce platform (for now, at least) has one hell of a podcast. Although Shopify itself is a cart provider that helps you sell directly to customers, Shopify Masters also covers marketplace and drop shipping, covering the full spectrum of ecommerce.

Topics covered include digital marketing, subscriptions and recurring revenue, and the future of business. The pod features DTC darlings like ThirdLove and Allbirds, but also gives air time to smaller and younger (less funded) indie ecomm sites, too. If you’re selling online (and you should be), add this one to your queue.

Straight off the Flower Farm

Full disclosure: this post features some extended family. It’s not a shameless plug, but my editorial conscience needed to tell you that. Thanks. Proceed to read!

Shelly Derner isn’t your typical Northwest Iowa farmer. In the land of corn and soybeans, she’s taking a different path… as a peony farmer. If you don’t know, peonies are those gorgeous flowers in wedding bouquets that people pay gobs of money for and love to take picture of. Case in point:

I made this. (Not the plant. Not the photo. The kid.)

The journey to starting Silo Ridge Peony Farm began in 2020 when Shelly was enjoying her own peonies. She wondered if anyone farmed them and started to research. Eventually, she sold her farmer husband, Justin, on the idea and they planted more than 1,000 plants that year. They’ve added plants each year and began selling bouquets at local farmers markets.

But 2023 was the first season the farm was open to the public, and it was a huge success. Visitors stopped to admire the blooms, purchase cuts for bouquets or pre-made bouquets, and reserve roots for fall planting. You can follow the farm’s Facebook page for updates and get your flower porn fix. (Calm down, that just means pretty flower photos. Don’t make it weird.)

News You Can Use… to Build Your Dream

Tiktok vs. Amazon Continues: Tiktok continues to add ecommerce features to its experience, nipping at the heels of ecommerce giant Amazon. The Trendy Beat feature isn’t being tested in the U.S. but does mark the social platform’s first attempt to sell its own stuff rather than get merchants on board.

Magic 8 Ball Says…: If you’re planning ahead for the holidays and wondering what your retail Magic 8 Ball would say, it’s probably telling you to discount stuff. CNBC pundits expect spending to be down this holiday season so retailers will likely compete for fewer dollars with discounts.

Prime Time: Amazon’s annual Prime Day is coming right up. With the big event happening July 11-12, the deadline to submit a deal has long passed, but Jungle Scout offers some other tips for making the most of the shopping holiday. And, if you haven’t already, it’s a good time to start thinking ahead for the “Prime Fall Deal Event” and getting deals and inventory ready to go.

Your turn 🎙️

Are you selling on Amazon? Why or why not?