Podcast Archives - pixiedustandprofits.com

Episode 73: Disney Business: Bob Iger is Back in Charge!

Nov 29, 2022

We never thought we’d write these words but… 

Bob Iger is back.

We know Disney fans worldwide (ourselves included) are completely freaking out over this totally unexpected news. The Disney board just ousted Bob Chapek, and our brain crush, Mr. Iger, is making a triumphant return to the tune of screaming excitement. 

This news was dropped to cast members first, with Bob Iger sending a personal email to let them know he was returning. And the celebration that met his announcement is a tip-off to just how much impact he has had. 

How did all this happen? 

After a disastrous quarterly finance meeting, the board started looking into the reasons behind Disney’s financial failings. During this meeting, senior leadership within the company started to become more and more honest. Allegedly, there were even conversations about some of the most senior members resigning, all due to Chapek’s leadership. 

Between Friday evening and Sunday, the board had gone into such heavy discussions that they both voted to oust Chapek and convinced Iger to come back. 

So… what can we learn from this? The biggest takeaway is that creativity is going to be the backbone of your business. Listen to and survey your customers — and take action on what they say! 

Also, sometimes, quick decisions are the best ones. 

If you’re looking for a sounding board to help you make these decisions (because they can be hard to make alone), check out Profitable & Productive Party, filled with entrepreneurs who support each other, give advice, and lean on each other in hard times. 

We’ll see you next week! 

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Episode 72: Magical Onboarding Experiences: Client Gifts & Small Touches They’ll Remember

Nov 15, 2022

Let’s talk about onboarding experiences! 

Recently, Nicole signed up for a Disney Visa card. And honestly, the most impressive part of the experience wasn’t the shiny new Disney credit card that came in super handy… But the welcome packet! 

So let’s dive into how and why this onboarding experience felt like a gift instead of a purchase, and how you can bring this feeling into your business. 


Setting Yourself Apart

We’ve all been there. You open a new card or account, and you’re met with a boring email containing pages and pages of disclaimers and agreements. 

This was NOT the case with my Disney card. Not only did Nicole’s welcome package have the typical need-to-know information, but it also had these beautiful, magical letters explaining all of my new card benefits. 

On top of that, there were some unexpected and adorable postcards included in my package. 

This whole experience really stuck with me. Disney managed to take a boring, stressful experience and make it feel magical. 

Gifts as Part of Onboarding

There are so many ways you can give your customers and clients a gift right off the bat!

At our recent Pixie Dust LIVE event, we sent each person a personalized luggage tag when they registered. 

This wasn’t just about the gifting experience. This was also about creating a touchpoint between the signup and the retreat. 

Now, if you don’t run a service-based business, you might be wondering how the heck you can do this. 

It can be as simple as including an extra gift in their order, or a bonus surprise! Really, gifting them something without telling them in advance that it’s coming, it will create that element of surprise and make them feel well-taken care of. 

Great customer care is also a gift

Here’s the thing — your communication, availability, and responsiveness can be a gift in and of itself. 

Those experiences can become a huge asset when it comes to making your clients feel special. 

Creating a magical experience isn’t something that only Disney can do! You can bring this elevated level of customer service into your business with just a few personalized touches. 

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Episode 71: How to Create Elevated Inclusion in Your Business

Nov 1, 2022

Disney is the best at making things feel extremely exclusive without adding the astronomic, Club 33-level price to them. We love how Disney can make us feel like we’re in their bubble at all times. 

How Disney does exclusivity

Disney creates opportunities to make their guests feel like they’re being included in exclusivity, without having to attach that higher price tag to it. Just think about Genie+.

When you look at Genie+, it’s a couple of bucks added to your regular ticket price. So not a huge difference. However, you’re pretty much paying to skip the line (and be out of the sun!

You can do this for both individual rides or a pass that you can use throughout the parks. 

There’s also the element of transportation. One of the things we love about Disney is that they offer a few different modes of transportation for guests. For example, we’re able to leave our car seats at home because we know we can use the Disney minivans — which feels like a higher-end, safer Uber or Lyft! 

But if you’re not comfortable with the minivan experience, Disney also has shuttles and other transportation to help their guests get from one location to another. All of these different vehicles are really just a way for them to cater to all sorts of different guests, regardless of budget and preference. 

And don’t forget about the app! Whenever we’re at Disney World, we know that their app has our back. As moms, it’s hard enough to try and wrangle our kids, much less than having to wrangle multiple paper tickets and the thumbprint scanners. But when you use the app, it’s all on your smartphone. 

There’s more to it than that, of course. The app makes it insanely easy to figure out where you are in the park, what food is around, and even how to get to your next destination. You can make reservations and order food, all on the go. For all the moms out there, you know how valuable it is to have a single place where you can store all your information while on vacation!

How we can bring increased exclusivity to our customers

There are ways we can incorporate this idea of inclusiveness to make our customers and clients feel like they’re getting an exclusive experience whenever they work with or buy from us. 

Like with emails! Starting an email off with: “Hey, name!” instead of something impersonal like “hey friend” does SO much to make the person on the other end of the email feel like you’re communicating directly with them. 

Don’t forget upselling. When you have something that’s really valuable as part of a bigger offer, you immediately make the upsell a no-brainer. Everyone wants to purchase it because they see the immense value they’re getting for such a small price. 

Oh, and people LOVE gifts. Giving your customers a gift with purchase will automatically make them feel amazing. But they’ll feel even more amazing if that free gift is something they can’t buy anywhere else.

If you’re ready to get really focused on your business, ditch the squirrel syndrome, and start seeing results, we definitely recommend you check out our Squirrel Syndrome playbook here

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Episode 70: Delivering the Full Experience to Repeat Customers

Oct 18, 2022

You want customers or clients to come back, but how do you keep them happy? We talk about keeping the magic alive for repeat customers in this episode! 


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Episode 69: How To Avoid Business Meltdowns

Oct 4, 2022

Managing your client’s expectations can be a day job in and of itself.  In this episode of Pixie Dust and Profits, we’re talking about how Disney does this so well and how we can do the same in our own businesses! 

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Episode 68: Cast Members Going Above and Beyond

Sep 20, 2022

You know how going to any Disney property is absolutely magical? It’s all thanks to the amazing cast members! 

So today, we thought we’d extend the lessons of that podcast and talk about some times that cast members went above and beyond their duties for us… and how you can apply that to your own business! 

Making my mom feel seen

As many of you know, Nicole’s mom is disabled. 

She can’t see very far and uses a cane to get around. So, one day on our vacation, my husband, child, and I went to Universal Studios. Mom couldn’t come as it was too much walking for her. She stayed behind and took a little stroll around the resort. By the time we got back, she was absolutely glowing with how kind the cast members had been to her. They walked her around, were supportive, and made sure to go out of their way to let her know that they NEVER felt inconvenienced. 

That experience alone meant so much. They showed my mom how valued she was as a person, customer, and disabled person. 

Goofy meets sweetheart! 

Recently, I (Yasmine) took my daughter to Disney World for the first time. I’d scheduled it right before COVID, and then of course the next two years were spent running through cancellation after rescheduling after cancellation. 

When we were finally able to go, I took my husband, daughter, and mom. All my daughter could talk about was how excited she was to meet Goofy. When she finally met Goofy, she absolutely melted into him. And that sweet cast member let her hug him for as long as she wanted. 

That was an absolute core memory for all of us. I said to Goofy that she had been waiting the whole trip to meet him, and he signaled that he had been, too! 

How you can use this philosophy

The good interactions make the bad ones stick out.

When you run a business as magical as Disney and create experiences that your customers will remember for the rest of their lives, there’s more than one benefit. The first is, of course, that you create loyalty in your customers. 

But the second is that when your customers have bad interactions elsewhere, those interactions stick out. So, how can you apply these lessons to your business and make sure you have good interactions with customers?

Read the room: This is one of the things Disney does so well. The characters and cast are extremely smart about paying attention to customers’ spoken and unspoken needs. When they do character dining, they intuitively know which tables they need to spend a few extra minutes at. 

Even during COVID, when character dining was completely off, they still made sure to do poses and give you great opportunities to take photos.

Acknowledge them: Every single positive interaction that we remember had one thing in common: we left that interaction feeling acknowledged. The most important thing you can do for your customers is to make them feel acknowledged and seen.

When people comment on your post, try to respond to as many as you can, as quickly as you can. And definitely try to respond in a timely manner!

Try to anticipate needs: When you can preemptively anticipate your customers’ needs and direct them to more resources, you’re giving them that additional level of service that makes them feel seen, heard, and supported. 

—-

These are all things that make your customers feel valued and respected. Go the extra mile and do above and beyond service. Yes, you don’t HAVE to do it. But I promise you, when you go further for your clients and customers, they will remember it and, more importantly, come back to you! 

We’d love to know… how do you sprinkle the Disney magic in your business? We’d love to hear from you! 

If you want more great ideas from us, we’d love to gift you our free business bundle! See you next week!

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Episode 67: That Time I Got COVID at Disney World

Sep 6, 2022

Hi everyone! 

Wow! We’re back with another season of Pixie Dust & Profits, and we’re so excited for all of the things we’ll be chatting with you about this season. 

And in true Disney fashion, we thought we’d kick this season off by recounting a recent magical adventure to Disney World that ended… well, not so magically! 

The Trip Delay

Originally, me (Nicole) and my family were supposed to go to Disney World back in January. But due to some unforeseen circumstances, that trip didn’t end up happening. So we delayed it until this summer when we decided we’d go out to Florida for a total of 10 days, and hopefully be able to explore Universal Studios in addition to Disney World. 

For the first part of our trip, we had an absolute blast! But by day 4, I noticed I had lost my voice. 

At first, we didn’t think too much of it. Between the screaming rollercoasters and the fact that we were masking everywhere (including in the 100-degree heat), we figured it was nothing to worry about. 

A few days later, I had a cough that would come around every few hours. I took a test, but it came back negative. As a precaution, I started masking in the hotel room, just in case. 

Everything was fine until the morning right at the end of our trip, when I woke up with a 99.8 degree fever! That was the day we were going to go to Animal Kingdom (which is my child’s favorite), as well as have breakfast at Tusker House. 

The Positive COVID Test

Unfortunately, my COVID test came back positive that day. Immediately, we canceled our plans and informed the front desk. They asked us to stay in our room for a bit. But then, they allowed the rest of my family (who were all negative) to explore the resort while I stayed in the room. 

With young kids (one of whom is very highly special needs), that became difficult quickly. Since the rest of my family was still negative, they all went home, while I stayed behind in the hotel. 

Disney was absolutely wonderful throughout this entire situation. Despite the fact that our tickets were meant to expire, they actually put new tickets in our account. I was able to text management whenever I needed, and they would bring my mobile orders up to the room. (Yes, the millennial in me was having SUCH a hard time accepting help from complete strangers.) 

Disney’s Amazing Practices

Okay, I know this is a bit more of a personal story than we normally give you. But I cannot stress enough how accommodating and amazing Disney was! They comped our next tickets, got me my food, allowed me to extend my stay in the room. 

For comparison, when I called our car rental company to let them know, they were pretty difficult and wanted to charge me over $300 to extend my rental by ONE day! 

The Disney staff was so amazing, and there’s a bit of a lesson to be found in there: as businesses, when we take care of our customers and give them the best experience possible, those customers will want to come back again and again! 

In fact, I feel like I missed out on the Disney experience this time, and because they were so kind to me while I was going through COVID, I already want to go back! 

I still paid for the room and my food. But I will be back as soon as I can, simply because the customer experience they provided was so top tier. 

Empathize With Your Customers

The thing is… Disney has no idea I have a podcast. If I had had a really terrible experience, I could have spoken about it on my podcast. I could have talked to my friends and family members about it. 

The key takeaway here is that this is how you both win and lose business. When your customers come to you with an issue or a roadblock, it’s important that you empathize and look at it from their point of view. If you can, go the extra mile for your customers. How you act in these instances will impact the outlook on your brand and business as a whole, as well as loyalty. 

People are really grateful for these opportunities, and giving them to your customers will make you lifelong fans. 

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Episode 66: The Day to Day of Running Your Biz

Aug 16, 2022

Revisiting Disney’s Trajectory Over the Last Two Years

We’ve got a Super Summer Series Surprise for you! For those who have been following along, or those who have just arrived (welcome!!), this summer we’ve been revisiting our favorite Pixie Dust & Profits podcast episodes from seasons past. 

So far, we’ve had such an amazing time listening back to these popular episodes AND giving you updated information from our 2022 perspectives on the topics. This week, though, we’re giving you something a little extra! ✨

When we decided to revisit Episode 020: Balancing Priorities & Surviving in the Day-to-Day, we immediately knew it was going to be different from other Summer Series episodes. We recorded this episode in April 2020, right after the lockdown started. This was deep in shutdown, and we had just begun to see some of the biggest business shifts in history happen right before our eyes. 

Of course, things have changed considerably since COVID first came on the scene, and it might not make sense to look BACK at this episode… so instead, we made a new and improved version of the episode! 

So, let’s discuss what’s happened with Disney since July 2020, and what we can take away from their projects and operations to support our businesses through hard times.

Disney does “new normal” in unexpected ways

On March 15, 2020, Disney closed its magic gates (so very sad) only to reopen them four months later in July of the same year, but with some pretty strict rules in place for returning park guests. 

They began with “soft” launches, each park receiving a different day to reopen with attendance capped and a new reservation service in place for all guests. This service included all areas of the park from attractions, to restaurants, to stores, to modes of park transport. Some of the new major safety measures that were instituted included: 

✅ Temperature checks & required face coverings were mandatory for all visitors and cast members

Magic bands were used whenever possible to facilitate mobile interactions rather than face-to-face (specifically in dining locations). 

✅ An increased use of plexiglass barriers between guests and cast members

✅ Annual passes were no longer available for purchase; only existing annual pass members could renew. 

✅ And the hardest pill to swallow: No parades, fireworks, or character meet-and-greets, and yes, that included character dining. 😭

Despite it all, Disney still remained confident that they could give their guests the same magical experience they’re known for. They even created the “social distancing squad,” a group of friendly cast members trained to enforce safety rules in a fun, energetic way. In all, Disney did a great job “protecting the magic” of the parks in a post-COVID existence. And hey, some form of Disney is always better than no Disney at all! 

Now that it’s been two years since their reopening, Disney has done away with a lot of the stricter guidelines: masks are optional, and parades, fireworks, and character dining and meet-and-greets have all returned. However, there are still some things that remain changed. 

✅ Annual passes are very hard to get, and when you can, the prices have increased from previous years. 

✅ Disney’s reservation system remains in place and is looking like it’s here to stay. You still have to reserve the park you want to visit on the day you plan to. 

✅ You cannot “park hop” until after a certain time of day (2 pm most days, but it may vary). Gone are the days of spontaneity! 

Disney Genie+: Pros and cons

After over a decade, the FastPass system is a thing of the past. Move over and make room for the new kid on the block, Disney Genie+.

Genie+ works a lot like the old method. You purchase the add-on ($20 a person) and have ultimate access to the Lightning Lane on 19 different Disney attractions. But there are limits to this magic, of course. When you choose to use a Lightning Lane on an attraction, you cannot reserve another Lightning Lane spot on a different attraction until you’ve either already completed your previous ride or have waited 2 hours. On top of that, you cannot use Genie+ repeatedly for any of the rides. So, if you plan on riding Haunted Mansion 20 times in one day, be prepared to wait in line for at least 19 of those rides. 

It is interesting that Disney used the time that they were closed to innovate something like their line system. If the parks never closed, would something like Genie+ even exist? We don’t think so! While Disney does address some visitor pain points with this new method, a drawback of the Genie+ system in comparison to the FastPass system is the inability to choose a specific time to return to the attraction, which might leave you racing across the park madder than the Mad Hatter. 

The “new normal” for your small biz 

When we talk about our “new normal,” we’re seeing so many changes. We saw a ton of businesses pivot — especially ones whose services or offers were mostly held in person. We also saw that many people had to decide how to grow their business while kids were at home, family members needed care, and if spouses or partners were laid off.

It was a time of rapid change, and we’re still feeling the ripple effects today. As we navigate a post-COVID world, there are a couple of things to take from Disney’s decisions:

☝ Be aware of the current inflation situation. 

Inflation is at a record all-time high, and you need to respond accordingly! Is it time to raise your rates? Do you need to raise your team members’ pay? Remember, what you’re paying yourself right now isn’t what you were paying yourself even a few months ago. If you don’t want to increase rates, how can you decrease your expenses? 

✌ Be flexible – on a whole different level

One of the things we’ve realized is that we want to ENJOY more of what’s going on around us. Don’t miss out, be intentional in slowing things down to open yourself up. Some of this means personal expense choices, like diverting savings or not making investments you planned to make. It’s okay to do this! Life is short, make it sweet. 

We want to hear how your priorities have changed in this “new normal”//“post-COVID” world! 

Reach out to us, we love receiving and answering Instagram DM’s! 

If you’re interested: we are currently taking applications for the next Pixie Dust Live event, click here to submit yours today! 

And if you’re planning a trip to Disney soon, and want to understand more about programs like Genie+ before you get there, visit our good friend Wish Upon a Planner® for all the ins and outs you’ll need for your next magical adventure with the Mouse! 🏰🐭

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Episode 65: Growing Your Business With Collaboration

Aug 2, 2022

Our Summer Series continues this week with another back-to-the-basics episode from Pixie Dust’s past! As you might already know, we’ve been spending the summer revisiting some of our favorite episodes and also providing some much-needed updates from a 2022 perspective! 

This week, we revisit Episode 014, where we discussed the successful collaborations that Disney has created — with some unexpected brands. We dig into Disney’s versatility and ability to leverage any and all opportunities, while also providing some insightful information about how to make brand collabs work for YOUR biz.

Because of COVID, the Minnie Vans went away for TWO years! But don’t worry, they’re back this summer and Disney’s partnership with Lyft is still going strong. Disney also has maintained their collab with Target stores and has officially shut down a large majority of their standalone Disney stores.

But things certainly have changed for the…well, we’ll let you decide!

  • We’ve noticed that Disney’s collabs have become a little more expensive than in the past. Disney has partnered with high-end brands, such as Gucci and Coach, to sell Mickey & Minnie-covered purses and apparel at super high price points. They even recently collaborated with Drake (yes, that one!) to create a collection for his OVO Fest called the “Nostalgic Capsule Collection.” It’s an interesting choice, but it’s definitely getting the Disney brand out there, and making it accessible to people from all walks of life. Disney is becoming chic, trendy, and desirable, all at very high price points.
  • Another new brand collab technique that Disney has been sporting is the renovated Disney Springs outlet. Downtown Disney has officially been reinvented into a high-end, more luxurious-styled boutique waterfront outdoor mall. What this does for Disney is that in order to have a store in Disney Springs these high-end brands (think Lilly Pulitzer) need to be onboard with Disney’s technology (think Magic Bands, Disney Gift Cards). There’s certainly value on both sides, but Disney continues to elevate their brand status! 

Now think about the potential collabs you can have: are they pretty casual? High-end? Both? Look at opportunities from all sides. Ask yourself: How can I serve both our audiences best and how will it benefit everyone involved? There may be different audiences you can reach with a higher-end collaboration, while you may be able to reach even more people with a more casual connection. It’s all about assessing opportunities to see what’s beneficial for everyone.

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Episode 64: Disney+ Lessons Learned for Your Next Launch

Jul 19, 2022

We’re continuing our Summer Series this week. As usual, we come to you with ideas from the Mouse on how you can better run your online business, but this Summer we’re spending some much-deserved quality time with some of our older and most popular episodes.

This week, we’re revisiting In Episode 012, where we talked all about the launch of Disney+ and one of Disney’s biggest Hot Mess Express launches. It feels weird to think about planning movie nights without the platform now, but during the launch, things got tricky, especially for Canadian streamers! But what that experience did provide was a pivotal example of what a launch might look like (read: not perfect), and the benefits of offering bundles while launching. 

There were so many great lessons to learn about launches from Disney+, and now, 3 years later, we’re definitely able to see that despite the hiccups the platform is seriously successful! 

Things that have stayed the same: 

  • Disney is still very much pushing their Disney+/Hulu/ESPN bundle. They began referring to this package as “The Disney Bundle” in order to make it more enticing for potential customers, despite the content on these platforms not being exclusive to Disney. 

Things that have changed: 

  • The obvious first change is the price, which has increased to 7.99/month, 79.99/year, and 19.99/month for the Disney Bundle. These price increases do reflect the inflation of other streaming services, and the bundle still saves you about 32% if you were to have each subscription separately.
  • Something else Disney+ changed is reducing the delay from getting something that was in theaters to the platform. It’s now only 45 days. (Remember having to wait MONTHS for this??) Reasons for this could be because viewership at cinemas is still low due to COVID, but also Disney is benefiting from building off the hype of the theatrical release, boosting engagement and subscription rates (because you’ll be locked in, not just a one-time payment for seeing a movie like at a theater). 

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want Disney+ in 2022? With all the MCU exclusive Disney+ shows, the lowest turnaround time from theaters to your living room (for Turning Red it was only 3 weeks!), and they even gave Jeff Goldblum a show for him to talk about…literally whatever he wants! If you’re not tuning in, you’re probably experiencing some definite FOMO. 

Stay tuned as we cover the rest of our Summer Series and revisit some of our best episodes!

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