I love interviewing people. One of the personal reasons I started this magazine is that I started to feel disillusioned by “how I created my success” stories. Often we hear stories of break-out success, but when we look to see what happened, how that person created their win, the substance is missing. Instead, we get an airbrushed, overly-polished veneer of a story. And these are just the “good” ones, the ones that aren’t laced with marketing.
That’s not what I wanted for the interviews at The Brick.
Instead, when I’m interviewing people for you, I have three questions in mind:
What is the truth?
What makes her tick?
What are the values and goals that got her here?
Don’t you want to know what really happened? What was it really like for her to build her business? Did her kids just magically start taking themselves to school or did she have to get help? What lessons did she have to learn the hard way? What choices did she make that made this easier?
In the world of online marketing, influencer marketing, and social media marketing, you’ll find a lot of advertising disguised as “true stories;” a lot of “rah-rah.”
I don’t want to be a part of that. I don’t want you to have to guess how women build successful lives.
I’ve only recently realized that we had built this into our culture at The Brick. If we screw up with one of our clients or an advertiser, we tell them the truth and then ask them honestly: how can we make this better for you?
We know we’re not going to do everything right.
The other thing that matters to me is making sure readers just like you (and everyone we come in contact with) feels cared for and seen.
I know this isn’t typical in business. We live in a culture where we’re used to having transactional interactions. You do this for me; I pay you that. I do that for you; you pay me this.
The reality of running a magazine is that I’m an advertiser. So, telling my prospective clients, “Hey, I want to make sure you feel seen and cared for” is atypical. They’re used to people like me hard-selling magazine slots, with emails that read, “Hey, we can get you in front of X readers for Y dollars.”
But don’t you just tune out of emails and conversations that sound like that?
In an effort to “play by my own rules,” and contribute to what I hope is an upcoming era of truth and transparency, my message to them is this: you choose what’s right for you and your company, and we’ll make things work for you. Often, this surprises them. And I love being a part of that.
We have two advertising sales team members. Each, independently of each other, recently shared how excited they are to work in a business that looks at sales in a completely different way than they have ever experienced. And they’ve been in sales for eons!
What’s cool about this is that I didn’t sit down and say “I hope my sales guys feel like this.” My thinking was simply, “I need to sell ad space; I don’t have enough time to do it the way I want to with three boys, I need to find someone and empower them to sell it any way advertisers will buy it.”
The only thing I insisted on was that this couldn’t be “sales as usual.” It had to be done in a way that wasn’t completely transactional.
So, it’s interesting to see the reflection back — by just doing the thing that felt right to me, we have created a unique culture among our team and the people we work with.
It matters to me that this magazine doesn’t recreate the things I’ve loathed about marketing and sales. It matters to me that we operate in truth, transparency, and trust with you and with our advertisers and clients so that they can feel cared for by us.
Couldn’t we all use a little more of that in our work lives?
In our lives, period?
~Sarah Whitsett, Publisher