Episode 78: Backstage Pass: Pixie Dust LIVE (Transcript)

Feb 21, 2023

Yasmine (00:00):
Did you know that Disney has a whole business teaching you about the business of Disney and also taking you behind the scenes? Welcome to Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:10):
And I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:11):
And today we’re gonna be talking a little bit about behind the scenes at Disney and how you can pull back the curtain and see all of the magic. And also talk about another project that we do behind the scenes of this podcast called Pixie Dust and Profits Live.

Nicole (00:28):
Yeah. So Disney Institute is a different arm of the Disney business and talk about using your content to the fullest, right? We, we’ve talked about this a little bit here and there throughout the podcast, but if you haven’t heard about it before, essentially Disney has a whole stream of leadership lessons, conferences, events that executives and SVPs at different corporate companies usually can go and attend and learn the Disney Way, right? How they treat employees, how they approach operations how they keep the magic happening during the pandemic. They actually took a lot of these lessons online so you can purchase them virtually to attend. It’s on our bucket list to do. We haven’t gotten there yet, but I did actually a few years ago take a tour. It’s called the Backstage Magic Tour. They have not yet brought that back after C O V I D, but it was fascinating.

Nicole (01:22):
I’ve shared many of the stories on this podcast, but we got to go see the costuming department, the workhouse, which is the warehouse where they do all of the mechanics and, you know, just the machine operations and cleaning all of the rides and repainting the carousel horses and everything you could think about to maintain all of the rides that Disney has. So they had that. We also saw, saw the laundry operations, which I’ve talked about many times cause it was fascinating to me. But, you know, it’s really cool that they’re able to take this entertainment business and have a completely separate arm of it to teach people how to run businesses and how to run them well. And it was really interesting because there’s clearly different audiences, right? You have Disney people who are going on their Disney vacation, they’re taking their family, they’re having a good time.

Nicole (02:12):
Well, when I went on the tour, it was full of engineers and just marketing people and people who were just really interested in how things work. So it’s a lot of fun to do and it was really fun to see how Disney actually does things because this was, I think, even before this podcast started we had the idea to do the podcast and that just kind of spurred it even further of this is actually really cool stuff and people probably would be entertained by this. So yeah, we wanna peel back the layers a little bit on one of our own processes or programs that we have here called Pixie Dust Live. If you haven’t heard of it, it is an in-person retreat that happens at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. And this will be our, our third round. This is our third year of doing this.

Nicole (03:03):
The first round kind of got postponed by the pandemic, but we still ended up holding it when, once it got safer to do so. And so this will be our third year running it. It happens in October every year. And it’s just a really awesome way to get together with other female entrepreneurs who run their own businesses and exchange ideas, get feedback, and also have some fun because it’s really important to separate from the four walls of your office or that surroundings you usually find yourself in and have some fun in order to spur some more creativity and, you know, look at the next phase of your business or how can you change things up in your business. So we love Pixie Dust Live and you have questions. So we thought we’d answer them.

Yasmine (03:51):
So the first question that we received is, is pixie dust live like the podcast? And I would love to say that I and Nicole and I are gonna walk you through Magic Kingdom and, you know, break down all of the things that happen behind the scenes and relate it to your business, but it’s a little bit more focused on your business individually. And we just incorporate a bit of Disney fun. We truly feel that big ideas and creativity happens when you can relax. And as small business owners, we have a really tough time taking breaks from our business to think about that bigger picture, to think about the strategy when you’re so into the day-to-day. So while it doesn’t quite operate like a pixie Dustin Profits podcast episode, you do get a little bit of that Disney magic while talking about your business. So why don’t we go through what each day looks like, Nicole?

Nicole (04:44):
Yeah, yeah. So the event is Sunday to Thursday. Everyone travels their own way. We have people who drive by car, some fly and you will have the opportunity to meet and connect with people before the event. We have a call with everyone. We have like a little community so we can get excited together and share introductions and things like that. So some people actually carpool together from the airport. And then we get there Sunday and it’s really low key. We don’t really start until the evening when our rooms are available. We say our hellos and then we go out for dinner and just, you know, break ice. Ask everyone, you know, what’s something you’re excited about in your business? What’s, you know, why, why did you decide to come here? What are you hoping to get out of the week?

Nicole (05:30):
And, and we have a really good dinner that first night. And then the next day Monday is like our, our big masterminding day. And this is where everyone takes a turn to talk about, you know, what is going on in their business, something that they’re struggling with or an opportunity. They think they have a new product they wanna create and they can kind of share that whole ecosystem. Like the floor is theirs. They can get feedback from the other women in the room if they’re open to that. But also feedback from us as the coaches. And then later in the day we will break out into one-on-one sessions and small groups of like two, two people to one coach. And then we’ll also have some one-on-one sessions. So we actually have three coaches coming. The first year was me and Yasmin, and last year we trialed bringing in another coach was, which is Latasha Doyle of uncanny content.

Nicole (06:27):
And it was so amazing we asked her back this year. So basically we have Yasmin who Ty typically helps who, who’d have like products or physical product operations, e-commerce shops. I help people with like the employee contractor operations side of things, some marketing and strategy as well, mostly service pace service-based businesses. And then Latasha is a content strategist who runs an agency. And so she really helps people connect what is the value that you’re creating for people and how do you need to talk to and market your message about these products that you have? Like, what’s that theme that you need to be making sure you connect with your audience on and how can you engage them through your content to eventually get to the sale? So it’s a really robust team that you’ve got at your fingertips for a few days. And yes, we have the one-on-one sessions there.

Nicole (07:21):
We also have one-on-one sessions after the event. So, you know, once you, once you’re home and things have kind of settled in a little bit and you have more questions, don’t worry, we’re there for you still. But that’s not the only time you get to talk to people, you know, at, at different dinners. You’ll sit next to somebody else and you’ll be able to pick their brain about something. And so it’s really four days of access to a lot of really great minds in the industry. So that’s, you know, a really heavy day of talking about our businesses. So the next day is our fun day and that’s where we’ll go to. I mean, some of the things we’ve done before is we’ve gone to Magic Kingdom. We’ve gone to one of the holiday parties they had at night. We’ve even done a fireworks cruise that was hosted by Debbie of Chime t q m, and we were so thankful for these experiences. So we can’t reveal what 2020 threes fun experiences will be, but just know we like to enjoy Disney and we have been there enough that we kind of try to use our strategies to get through the lions and get in as many reds as we can or eat as much food as we can depending on which park we’re at.

Yasmine (08:34):
Yes, when you go to Pixie Dust live, you get a lot of Disney packed into a short period of time. I mean, we have in the past cleared all of the marque riots at Hollywood Studios by like 1:00 PM

Nicole (08:48):
Yeah, I remember one person who had come with us her first time to Disney had been a few weeks prior, and she was like, I did not enjoy Epcot. And that turned around like instantly with our trip because there’s a strategy to doing it in a way that is enjoyable and there are ways to do it that are just not as enjoyable. You get stuck in the crowds, you get stuck in lions and maybe don’t get the experience you were hoping for. And it’s also really hot. So sometimes like all of those things compounding can make a trip less ideal than it looks like on the videos online. But yeah, so we’ll have our fun day at, you know, whichever park we’re going to and whatever experiences we’re choosing to do. And that’s a little more low key. We’ll be able to have conversations while waiting in line.

Nicole (09:41):
We’ll, you know, have lunch and dinner together. And then on our very last day our last full day, we’ll get together again. We’ll talk about those big projects you have in mind for your business. We’ll break it down into manageable steps. We’ll start that project plan together and make our action plans. And that usually ends around noon, 1:00 PM ish, somewhere around there. We have lunch, and then take a break r and r and go out for a nice dinner together on that last night and fly out the next morning. So it’s, it’s a lot packed into a few days. And I mean, I really think the value here is getting away from your home surroundings so that way you can get into a place where you can disconnect enough from the day-to-day to think about the bigger picture in your business. And it’s, it’s done like, you know, we start talking about it on Monday, you start getting like clarity around what this looks like with the coaches Monday afternoon, Tuesday.

Nicole (10:40):
You’re kind of like, okay, that’s been simmering in my brain. It’s kind of in the back there. You’re, you’re on a ride having fun and then it pops back into your brain. And then on Wednesday we’re actually making this action plan. So you leave on the plane home and we, we have one attendee who I swear gets like everything we talked about done or the whole action plan, she’ll crank it out at the airport waiting for her flight to get home. And so you can get so much done in in a few days because of everything around you. So that’s a lot about like how it operates and I like, I can go on forever about that. But Yasmin, I would love for you to share just your experiences with Masterminds and what makes this one special and unique.

Yasmine (11:26):
Yeah, so I’ve attended a lot of like in-person masterminds and retreats in the past. And depending on the scale it’s like, you know, one of two or three things. One is, you know, there’s like a hard set curriculum and it’s basically like finishing a workbook in person, which can be fine. Sometimes you need that like extra support and stuff. But what’s really guiding what you get out of it is that workbook. And it doesn’t always leave a ton of room for you to deal with like the individual challenges that you’re facing in your business. And one of the things that Nicole and I have mentioned a million times on this podcast is that we believe that every business is unique and we wanna help you build a uniquely you business. We don’t think putting you through like, you know, a 12 step plan necessarily always solves your problems.

Yasmine (12:16):
And in fact when we had first created Pixie Dust Live, we had that sort of like action plan. But what we learned was that everyone was at slightly different stages in their business. And while that helped, you know, being able to give you a little bit more freedom to come to the business with the specific challenge that you’re facing, and I can think of, you know, when we were at Pixus Live this past October, everyone had something different that they were working on. One person was looking to really map out like their content strategy for the rest of the year. We had another attendee who really wanted to get started on a project and was trying to fit it in amongst everything else she had to do. And we needed to look at how to make space and how to break down this giant project so she can make that progress without it feeling overwhelming.

Yasmine (13:03):
We had another attendee who wanted to map out her sales calendar for the rest of the year. And by giving y’all that flexibility to focus in on the thing that you need in your business right now with our guidance, you accomplish a lot more than maybe necessarily having you revisit, you know, one specific thing. On the other hand, I’ve also been to like masterminds and retreats where again, it’s just a bunch of like speaker sessions and there actually isn’t any like time to specifically work on your business, more of like an info session sort of thing. You’re learning information kind of like a mini conference versus a mastermind retreat and that’s,

Nicole (13:43):
Yeah, I’ve been to some like that. And what’s interesting about those is like, speakers generally have some good topics, but if you’re not in the stage that they’re at or that’s not something you need, at least my brain, I get a little squirrely and I start thinking about something else and then at the end of the session they’re like, I’m giving you 15 minutes to do this workbook I’ve given. And I’m like well but I don’t need that. Or I’ve already done that. And so it, you just awkwardly kind of sit around like, what do I do now? Mm-Hmm. it, and it’s great if you’re at a stage where you want to take in all of the information cuz you’re maybe starting out but when

Yasmine (14:19):
Or expanding into another area of your business. Yeah. And you just need to learn more. Again, nothing wrong with either of the formats that we’re talking about. Yeah. But I feel like what makes Pixie Dust very unique is it really ends up in a lot of ways being an individualized consulting session. And that’s in, that’s really what brought this about when we first started Pixie Dust Live. It stemmed from a special like consulting session Nicole and I would do for our clients that I would refer to as Dis and Biz because, you know, you went to Disney, you had some fun, but then we also really focused in on their business and their specific in vigil business and how are we going to replicate that with a group of women. It turned out that yes, we have some guided sort of prompts to start things off that get everyone’s like juices going. But once that happens then we zero in on what you need to focus on and help you create that action plan for that stage of business where you’re at and for your project.

Nicole (15:22):
I have worked from home for, oh, like nine years now mm-hmm. even before I started this business I was working from home and that means that I can have a successful business. My clients have successful businesses, all virtual. There’s nothing like, I am not an advocate for, you gotta be in the office five days or your hybrid or any of that stuff. But there is something very important about getting with other people in person or having a connection with people. Yes. And so when you operate your own business, and maybe you’re not at that level where you have an employee or you have even a virtual assistant who’s regularly there. You might have someone who does a couple of tasks, but you don’t have like a weekly meeting with that person. You can feel really isolated and the ideas can be hard to come across.

Nicole (16:09):
You might be trying to talk to your spouse or your sister or your parents or your siblings or whoever about your business and what your ideas are. And it, it’s just they, they’re not, they don’t know, they don’t know this industry. They don’t know what, how marketing works. They don’t know any of that. And so getting together in person, we have the tools and framework to walk you through like, okay, let’s, let’s do this first, let’s talk about this opportunity. Let’s talk about this challenge. Okay. And now here’s three coaches who all support multiple clients. I mean, between me, you and Latasha, there’s probably a history of somewhere between 60 to 80 clients, businesses we’ve been in where we can kind of say, well we learned this from this person. And if there’s one thing I can say about coaching programs that are out there sometimes they will teach you what they did mm-hmm.

Nicole (17:04):
And sometimes that feedback is received as I need to completely copy everything they, they did and then I will be successful or then my product will sell more. And that’s just not true. You need to take the bits that work among all the different things you’re learning, combine it with what you know about your products, your audience, how you show up. Cuz if you’re taking advice from someone who loves to do video content and you are the introvert who would rather write emails and blog posts, you need to adapt the strategies that they’re sharing for your audience and your personality and how you show up. And so sometimes these coaching programs exist and they’re not, not meant for your unique business. Mm-Hmm. , they’re kind of giving a framework and telling you follow this, and then you end up following it and it doesn’t have success and you’re left standing at the end with, I thought if I did these things, it would work. And so that’s where when you come to Pixus live, it’s, well, what have you tried? What haven’t you tried? Where are your strengths? Where are your weaknesses? And so we kind of go through that strategic planning process because Yasmin and I both have corporate backgrounds mm-hmm. . And so we’re bringing that in in a scale that is a more micro level and we’re really getting into the weeds. We know your businesses like before we get to Disney. Yeah.

Yasmine (18:28):
We’re not do that download in Orlando. We’ve done,

Nicole (18:32):
We we’ve already talked to you and understood your business and checked out everything that you’re doing. We, we understand that when we get in. So it is very much like a personalized consulting session.

Yasmine (18:41):
So that brings me to our next question, which is, is Pixie Dust live for Disney businesses only? And the answer is no. I don’t think we have a, we, you know, we have one sort of adjacent Disney business. One of the attendees in the past has been a Disney travel planner, but everyone else comes from different industries. We have one person in the biotechnology genetic space. We have one person who you know, teaches makers about safety and compliance. We have another attendee who’s a software developer, another attendee who designs stationary and paper goods. We really have a lot of spread in terms of where everyone’s coming from, which I think is fantastic because it really allows different viewpoints and perspectives to come together. You know, one of the things they say is like, look to another industry and see what they’re doing well and how you can adapt that to your own business.

Yasmine (19:42):
And you get that here. Now, if you have a Disney business, you’re gonna be right at home because I mean, I am a regular consumer from Di Disney Small Shops. I don’t, you can’t really see my ear collection, but it’s, it’s massive. So we love Disney businesses and we have a lot of experience with, you know, how to succeed on Etsy and other e-commerce platforms. But no, you don’t have to have a Disney business in order to come to Pixie Dust Live. You can be from any industry. And honestly, between Nicole and I, we probably have some perspective from just past experience working in it. Like my career spans from doing like everything from like marketing and public relations to pharma technology. So we, we’ve, when C P G, like we’ve run the gamut. Nicole’s worked in like at banks and then like policy

Nicole (20:33):
Yeah. Fraud collections, yeah. Risk management, like a lot of things like that. And I would just add to that you also don’t need to be a Disney fan. Yes. we have obviously had some people come who they take vacations to Disney with their family or, you know, we had someone who had started a Disney planning, a terrible agent planning business, but we, we also had people who hadn’t been since they were children or hadn’t been at all. And that’s part of the fun and awe and wonder that you get when you come, is you just kind of be, can separate from your everyday life. And that is so helpful to the creative process. Mm-Hmm. . And so you, you don’t have to be a Disney fan beyond I’ve seen a couple movies or I really like singing the songs from Encanto.

Yasmine (21:24):
But you will become a Disney fan after going

Nicole (21:26):
With us. You’ll, I mean, what was our, one of our guests had not been to Disney ever, or maybe she was very young. And so she did Pixie Dust live in October, then brought her husband in December because she was like, no, we just need to experience this together and had a blast. And I think I just saw on her Instagram that she was there a week again. Yeah. so

Yasmine (21:49):
She’s gone back like four or five times I think since we went together in October of 2021.

Nicole (21:56):
Yeah. So I, I, you know, the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, it’s like results not guaranteed. I, I we’re not responsible for future Disney fanatic status . But yeah, so you don’t need to have a Disney business and you don’t need to have any familiarity with the parks, honestly. This is all about branching outside of your comfort zone a little bit, meeting some other people, having intentional strategic focus time in your business. And then we’ll have the fun experiences for you. And honestly, as a mom, there’s nothing more amazing than leaving my house and having everything planned for me when I arrive. Like meals like you, you get to choose what you want to eat, but we’ll tell you which restaurants and give you the menu. So you know, it’s, it’s really freeing to not have to think about those things either. You, you come, you arrive, someone else is telling you what to do and where to go and you just get to enjoy it.

Yasmine (22:53):
And the best part is for us, like planning a Disney trip is like 60% of the fund. So , we love doing it. That’s how you know you’re gonna have a good time.

Nicole (23:03):
Yeah. So I mean, if you’re interested in attending, it is an application basis. We have five spots this year and two have already been taken up as of the recording of this. I don’t know how many will be when it airs, but if you have questions, please email us. Hello@pixiedustandprofits.com. We’re happy to hop on a call and give you a more full picture what the experience is like, although I think it’s pretty well represented and what we talked about today. And it is application based and that’s just so we can make sure that there would be a fit among other attendees. And also we’re not here to just take someone’s money. We feel very strongly that you need to be in, be in the right business level for this. And that’s not to say you need to be like a six figure business or anything like that, but I would say that this isn’t for the person who is thinking about starting a business but has not started one yet.

Nicole (24:00):
This is a little more advanced than that. And while you would be able to absorb some information here, I think you’ll have to have, you know, at least some sales have been in business for like a year, maybe two. And you don’t have to have steady, consistent like five figure months or anything like that, but just enough to know what your business is, who your audience is, is, or who you want your audience to be. So I, I would say that the application is more for us to make sure that, you know, you’re in a stage where this information will be helpful to you because there’s nothing we would dislike more than for you to come and b realize mm-hmm. , oh, this is a little more advanced than what I need. We have been in that situation before. It doesn’t feel good. We have other opportunities for you, so there is an application for it. And you can fill it out right at pixiedustandprofits.com/live. And again, if you have any questions, hit us up on Instagram or send us an email.

Yasmine (24:58):
Thanks so much for joining us. Again. We hope you learn a lot about what goes on behind the scenes at Pixie Dusts Live and we hope to see you in October. But until then, this is our last episode of the season. Can you believe that, Nicole?

Nicole (25:12):
I know I was looking at the list earlier and realizing this is episode 78, season six, that means season seven is around the corner. And first of all, I don’t feel like I have known you long enough to have had six seasons of 60 Dustin profits and we knew each other for years before this started. So we hope you’ve been enjoying these episodes. If you have ideas for things that you wanna hear more about, like we talked a lot about leadership in the last half of this season, if there’s something you wanna hear more about, please reach out to us on Instagram. Let us know. Pixie Dust and profits, email us at hello@pixiedustandprofits.com. We love hearing from you. We love seeing your shares of podcast episodes on Instagram stories. So go ahead and do that and we’ll see you real soon with season seven.

Yasmine (26:01):

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 77: Leadership Lessons from Bob Iger: Part Two (Transcript)

Feb 7, 2023

Yasmine (00:00):
Hello, and welcome back to Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Yasmine. And I’m Nicole. And today we are kicking off part two of our discussion of Bob ER’s core leadership philosophy. So in our previous episode, we talked about optimism, courage, focus, and decisiveness. And if you haven’t listened to part one, we highly encourage you to do so. We dive into you know, some pretty big themes that drive the success that Bob Ira has had. In this week’s episode, we are gonna be looking at curiosity, fairness, thoughtfulness, and integrity. So curiosity is where we’re gonna kick things off. And the quote that he said about that is something that we’ve heard quite a bit, and that is the path to innovation begins with curiosity, innovate or die. And I’m not gonna lie, as a former mba, former mba, I still have an mba. As an mba.

Yasmine (00:57):
I kind of love that quote because one of my favorite favorite books in business school was Michael Porter’s, like Five Forces Theory about you know, how innovation has to happen in businesses. And, you know, the classic example is like Netflix and how Blockbuster was given the chance to buy them. And they said no, and now they’re left in the dust. And Netflix is like this huge streaming company that has sparked other more traditional media companies to also launch into the streaming space like Disney. Disney Plus we know has been you know, a pretty big success until recently where kind of lost quite a bit of money under the helm of the former Disney c e o, Bob Chapa. But I feel like innovation was key to how Bob ier ran Disney and really transformed it. I mean, when he came in, in 2005, Disney was in trouble.

Yasmine (01:58):
We’ve gone through some of the challenges that Disney had in earlier episodes and we’ll link them down below in the show notes. But he came in and basically took a company that was starting to crumble and completely revolutionized it. Disney’s theme parks grew, those like hit movies came back and all of this happened under Bob I’s Home because he knew that in order for Disney to really grow it had to look beyond what it was. And that included a lot of IP acquisitions. We talked about how he bought, or he, not he bought, but he led the purchase of Marvel. The greater partnership with Apple and Pixar Lucas Film and Fox. The, that was his brainchild and that was what he led to like really grow Disney’s ip. So, you know, we have more than just our Disney princesses. He really expanded Disney’s presence across the globe. It took him two decades to build Disney Shanghai. And he knew that if Disney sort of went along the current path of just like animation and you know, theme parks that would only go so far. They needed a new audience. I mean, back then people thought once they kids became teenagers, they were a little bit too old for Disney. Nicole, I don’t think you ever really felt that way, but, you know, we’re, we’re of a, we’re a different breed. We’re a different breed

Nicole (03:24):
Of people. Yeah. Yeah. And we also, you know, everyone has different kids who value different things. Yeah. My, my niece and nephew are all about the roller coasters and my son wants to do scavenger hunts for Chippendale in Epcot. So . Yeah. Very different personality types. That’s all good. And there’s times for different things. Absolutely. I think what’s interesting about curiosity when it comes to Bob Iger is that it also pairs with focus, which is what we talked about mm-hmm. in the last episode because he really just adamantly said he had, you know, three strategic objectives for the company and that was it. And everything that he, every decision he made, every, everything that he asked people to do revolved around that. And one of them was about basically content, you know? Mm-Hmm. , making sure that they have that storytelling library to pull from.

Nicole (04:14):
So the curiosity side of things comes in when you sit in a room and it’s like, alright, what, you know, if our goal is to, you know, have the best storytelling and the best stories ever, what can we do? And, you know, someone throws a dart out there and they’re like, that would be amazing if we had Star Wars. And then it, it goes from there, you know? And so the playfulness and curiosity, you can still have focus barriers around it. But I think some of this is why Bob Chap was, you know, taken down from the role of CEOs because

Yasmine (04:52):
He was not a storyteller.

Nicole (04:53):
He was not a storyteller. And also one of the first things he did when he became c e o was to centralize. And basically, if you’re ever worked in corporate, like you’re trying to make the org chart a little bit leaner and just have straight up lines instead of having all these branches everywhere. And so he was trying to consolidate a lot of the creative teams. And the easiest way to stifle creativity is to make everyone feel fearful that they’re gone next. That they have to choose safe ideas or, you know, they won’t be the chosen one. All of that, I feel like we’re starting to get into fairness, which is the next one. Yes. But they all go hand in hand. And that curiosity, that playfulness, that creativity was stifled under the previous short term c be because he brought that pessimism into the workplace of, you know, have a hit or we’re not doing it.

Nicole (05:51):
He made some interesting choices with what to release on Disney Plus versus the theater. And, you know, there was that lawsuit with Scarlet Johansen. Like, those things aren’t great for pr and it also sends a very clear message to your creative team that, you know, you’re not important to the business anymore cuz I’m just gonna do what I want and accept the lawsuits. And that definitely messes with people. And so, you know, getting into fairness, which is his next point, he talks about how strong leadership embodies the fair and decent treatment of people. That empathy is essential. People commit honest mistakes, they deserve second chances. And judging people harshly just gives fear and anxiety and discourages communication and innovation. And so we, we just kind of talked about that, where like, you know, centralizing, firing, getting rid of some key staff members just breeds that fear and anxiety.

Nicole (06:50):
And the other thing with fairness, I think we talked about this a little bit in the last episode, where you have very strong fans of this brand. Whether it be the entertainment side or the park side or, or whatever may be. And it’s, it was an interesting choice to kind of punish your biggest fans with the park changes mm-hmm. in lieu of something else. And so it, it, it was a very interesting time to be someone who liked Disney. I I obviously have friends who are big Disney people and we would talk about how, you know, I’ve never thought about selling my D V C before, but I’m kind of considering cuz I’m just not seeing an end to all of this nickel and di I believe we actually mentioned this on an episode back in October before the Bob Iger news, we were talking about how, you know, we’re just feeling like the magic is gone, that we’re just a paycheck to, to this brand.

Nicole (07:55):
We’re not, you know, celebrated in any way. I know the pandemic had some things to do with that, but there were things called gosh, what are they called? Those magic nights that they have for DV c owners. And it’s just like, you know, after the park closes, you can get three hours in a park and they have a couple of rides open and you get a free dinner voucher, and things like that. Were going away. And, you know, they don’t guarantee parks for Moonlight Magic and other events just by buying a timeshare. Absolutely. But it really took a swung to, is this fair? I feel like this is the one-sided relationship right now.

Yasmine (08:32):
I just love to talk about another aspect of fairness that we really saw come into play under Bob ER’s leadership, and that is the inclusivity mm-hmm. that Disney is accepting to anyone and everyone, no matter what family you come from, whether they’re like, you know, a traditional nuclear family or not. You know, we saw Disney come out with a bit of a, a pride collection a couple years ago and, you know, you could say it’s just rainbows, but they were really, you know, taking a stance and showing their support for Disney fans regardless of, you know, who you love. We’re also seeing it with the exploration of different cultures. You know, over the past couple years we’ve been seeing different, like princesses of different ethnicities and really diving into their cultures in a more like genuine manner In term, like with Encanto for example. You know, we’ve,

Nicole (09:29):
Well, you know, there’s still problematic elements to it. Absolutely. We could talk about how Tiana is a frog for half of the movie . But they are redoing Splash Mountain. It’s actually closed as of the other day, two day two or three days ago. They, it was down and they’re reaming that, and so I hope they do a really great job with the theme. One of the stories he talks about is Black Panther and giving the green light to that project and having that project move forward. I mean, he was repeatedly told that no one would go to the box office to see a black superhero. Like people actually said that to him. And he said, no, they will. And, you know, green lighted that project and it went on to be one of the biggest Marvel sellers there were. And, you know, whether he saw that as dollar signs or the right thing to do, he talks so much about fairness, integrity, which we’ll get into later.

Nicole (10:21):
And just, you know, being a decent person because that’s what will translate to your business, you know mm-hmm. you’re not gonna say, oh, they’re a really good person, but they’re, you know, their business is terrible. Like they’re ex exploiting people or something. Mm-Hmm. , they usually don’t go hand in hand because if your values are here, you, you can’t change your values so much that the company is completely different. Absolutely. So I think that that’s just like great examples of how he’s bringing fairness into everything and, you know, how can we do this in our businesses?

Yasmine (11:01):
There’s so many ways. I think like, one is if you’re looking at, just like inclusivity is really thinking about like your hires and ensuring that you’re bringing in people from different backgrounds and perspectives that can add so much richness to how you move forward with your business. Because different perspectives really help you look at things through a different lens and help you improve your product, improve how you’re delivering your product and messaging to your audience. I mean, I’m, I’m gonna throw in like just a couple of stats for Disney, but you know, 50% of their employees worldwide are women, which is pretty sweet. 49% of their series leads and regulars are people of color. And we’ve been seeing that more and more, especially with like Disney Plus. We’re seeing a lot more representation on those channels. And 46% of their US employees are people of color. So I really feel like they’re not just, you know, doing it for the sake of saying like, we’re inclusive. Like they’re, they’re walking the walk.

Nicole (12:03):
I think they recognize that they’re a brand about storytelling and mm-hmm. , you can’t tell just one specific a

Yasmine (12:10):

Nicole (12:10):
Percent subset of human beings stories. Right. I mean, the whole focus on getting Shanghai Disney was a huge talk about all of this, where it was making something authentically Chinese but distinctly Disney. Or maybe it was the other way around, but it, it was about translating the Disney Parks experience to a different culture in a way that was respectful, appreciated, fun for them. You know, just the different belief systems that people have, the haunted mansion is completely different in China and there’s a reason for that. Culturally. They really made sure to think about that in a holistic view. And I, and I just wanna add this quote he has, which I think is so important. I mean, this may, again, this is probably my scars from working in corporate, but he says, when hiring, try to surround yourself with people who are good in addition to being good at what they do, genuine decency and instinct for fairness and openness and mutual respect is a rarer commodity in business than it should be.

Nicole (13:14):
And you should look for it in the people you hire and nurture it in the people who work for you. And I think that is so important. Even as small business owners, making sure we have fair hiring practices, even if it’s just a contractor, we’re paying them fairly. We’re paying living wages, you know, we’re not taking their labor and using it to make multimillions, but paying our staff 5,000 a year, you know, it’s, it’s just being fair and nurturing that in your team and yourself. I I just think it means a success, more successful long-term operation than just a get rich quick mm-hmm. type of scheme.

Yasmine (13:57):
A hundred percent. So this kind of leads us into the next point, which is thoughtfulness. And, you know, we can talk about thoughtfulness in terms of just like consideration, fairness, but in the context that Bob Iger mentioned, it was about taking time to really like, think things through with intention and to develop informed opinions. And again, I feel like we saw this in play very recently with some of the big decisions that he made where he took the time to really like listen and review the feedback of, you know, what ultimately makes Disney money, which is its audience, right? And think about the long term impacts to make these decisions to roll back some very unpopular either like slightly pre pandemic or post pandemic things that rolled out like the, we talked about this in the previous episode, but it was parking at resource.

Yasmine (14:54):
You had to pay about 2015 to 25 bucks a night to park your car. That’s gone. It’s free if you’re staying on site. He’s rolling back the limitations around park hopping before you couldn’t really go to park until like one or 2:00 PM Now it’s being rolled back to 11:00 AM as of February 4th. Another big thing is Disney has been increasing their chicken prices, like it feels like nonstop, literally. So pandemic, like, I feel like it used to be like once a year, I, it might still be, I mean, I’m sorry I didn’t fact check this before like saying this point, but like, it honestly feels like, like every like couple months it’s like, oh, prices are increasing again. Better get your tickets and looking at the price of tickets, for example, that I paid in just before 2020 and now it’s like almost 50% more expensive, which is wild.

Yasmine (15:45):
And I know, I know there’s inflation going up, but like not 50% inflation, especially considering Disney Parks has been more profitable post pandemic than it was even pre pandemic. It’s wild. So one thing that he decided to do was not necessarily roll back prices. Cause I think that’s a little bit hard to do, like once you release them to take make tickets cheaper immediately. But the days in which Disney tickets are going to be at their cheapest, they’re expanding that significantly. So rather than it being like, you know, 30 days out of the year that you can get tickets starting at like 1 0 5, it’s being expanded to like 90 to a hundred days. So he’s really trying to, you know, bring back that sense of inclusivity and fairness. So that Disney really can be for everyone. And he’s taking these ti he’s take, lemme do backtrack and it might seem like it was like, you know, a rush decision. But keep in mind Bob Iger was chairman this entire time, so he’s been taking in this feedback. He’s been really looking at how these changes have been impacting the Disney community. And while the decision seems swift now that he’s CEO again, I’m sure that they’ve been percolating for quite a while.

Nicole (17:00):
Yeah. And it, it talks about I mean the thing with thoughtfulness is he says it’s so underrated, right? Mm-Hmm. . And he actually said in an interview years ago when he stepped down as c e o, that he resigned for a very specific reason. There was just a light bulb moment he had and he was like, it’s time he had tried to resign before they renegotiated another year, and then it turned into two. And it it’s something you so rarely see in leadership. And he said that he just started listening less to other people. And whether that was cockiness or ego or the fact that he had so, so many successful deals along the way, or just that he had been CEO for 15, 16 years and he had gotten complacent. He said, I used to listen to people, people a lot more.

Nicole (17:49):
I used to defer to others. And I just started listening less. And he said, you know, that was an early sign to him that it was time and it wasn’t like the only reason why he decided to resign, but it was a contributing factor, right? And so I think that’s such a level of thoughtfulness to like sit back and take a moment of like, okay, I’ve been leading the charge and I’ve kind of been telling people like, this is what we need to do. And you know, when you are running a creative business, you can’t be making all the decisions. And so I, I think thoughtfulness is huge there. And this also plays into integrity, right? Not only did he have those feelings personally about why he should resign because he was like noticing that maybe there’s some things going on here and maybe it’s time, but he actually said it in an interview.

Nicole (18:34):
Like he actually stood up and said, you know, I want to be a good leader. I want to be remembered as a good leader. I make mistakes too, and it’s time, it’s time to move on because I’m just not at the point where I can be leading this creative company anymore. And the other part of integrity that I think came across really strongly and his book was about the high quality of the storytelling mm-hmm. you know, when he took over Disney from the last Bob when he had took it over, they were in a point where they had had multiple flops in the box office back to back to back. And Pixar was really what was saving the brand. And Pixar felt like they were the ones saving the brand, and that’s why the relationship with Disney started going sour. And so, you know, he talks about that high standard of quality quantum, that timeless feeling.

Nicole (19:30):
And, you know, that was his number one goal with the brand. And he started in 2005 as c e o. And you know, if you think back to maybe the last 10, 15 years, you’ve got Frozen and Moana and I mean just so many blockbuster timeless stories in the last 15, 20 years. And I think that it just goes to that high quality product and treating people with high integrity. And this is also why we’re starting to see some of those rollbacks from the decisions that Chap made. Mm-Hmm. . So he talks about integrity being like this how you look at your business in the long term, right? It’s knowing who you are, understanding what’s right, what’s wrong, and it’s really about trusting your instincts to lead the business forward, that you’re not putting the business in a place that is not going to be in a few years.

Nicole (20:28):
And when you look at some of the decisions traffic made, they were very short term decisions that if continued could have brought the brand to a different place in the long term. And I think the board saw that and they saw this is not the direction that we want this brand to be heading into. We need to course correct and get back to where we we were before. Because even though it was time for a new c e o, that path was the path to success that we wanna see. That’s the path we feel like we’re connected to and that this brand stands for. And so, you know, they just were going in two very different directions and they needed to course correct and talk about a brand like Disney making an overnight decision almost , it was like a weekend decision to not only get rid of the c e o that they had just extended a contract to a contract renewal, but to bring back the one before it.

Nicole (21:21):
If there is no case study big enough for you as a small business owner to say it’s okay to make mistakes, to admit it publicly and course correct publicly. Just look at that. I mean, that is insane to think about how Disney just flipped a switch over a weekend. News was breaking out on a Sunday night on Twitter. I mean, and they told cast members first. They told them before they told the media. I mean, when you think about that, like it’s okay to make mistakes and move on, that’s such a level of integrity that people need to be aspiring to. Absolutely. All right. We hope that you loved this Ted talk around all of Bob ER’s leadership lessons. We barely scratched the surface and I don’t even know that we did an amazing job doing it, but hopefully something in these two episodes spurred some sort of like, yes, rallying cry, I can do this, I can leave my business.

Nicole (22:12):
These are, you know, things that, you know, I mean, he quotes Brene Brown on the book mm-hmm. , if you, these are all such related storytellers and concepts, please just go read his book or watch his masterclass. You will learn so much. You’ll, you might not think you’re working on your business by doing it, but you are. And I, I don’t recommend books lately and it’s easy to, you know, tongue in cheek look at things and be like, oh, this is, you know, it was probably ghost written or whatever. You know what, even if it was, it was his words coming outta his mouth and sitting and watching his masterclass. It was his words coming outta his mouth. He didn’t look like he memorized this stuff. It looked like he was sharing these stories that he knew well. And he has an entire history in broadcast and TV and storytelling. So he knows how to tell a story. So it’s, it’s a good non-fiction book that I think will really get you thinking. We have one more episode left to this season y’all. So make sure you join us for that one. Subscribe on iTunes, send us a DM on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits. We would love to hear from you. And we have some, a special last episode of the season and we’ll see you real soon.

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 76: Leadership lessons from Bob Iger (Transcript)

Jan 24, 2023

Nicole (00:00):
Hi everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Nicole. And I’m Yasmine. And this week we have a special treat for you. This is actually a tea part episode, so we’ll have this one coming out this week, and in two weeks you can get the other half of it. And we are talking all about leadership lessons from Bob Iger, who, if you have listened to this podcast at all in the last few years, you know that we are Bob Iger fangirls. We just really think that he has a smart business mind and articulates himself well. And he’s kind of a fun c e o to get behind. You know, I think there’s a lot of brands out there where you probably don’t even know who the CEO is. Steve Jobs comes to mind, you know who they are when they’re speaking on the stage, and Bob Iger is kind of like that for us.

Nicole (00:45):
And as you probably know, he has come back into the role of CEO for Disney. This happened back in November and it was a very abrupt changeover. So it kind of brought us back to Bob Biker’s book and his philosophies, and we thought, let’s revisit it. Let’s share it with everybody. So first and foremost, we are just going to try to share some of the lessons he’s had. If you have not read his book, we highly recommend it. He also has a masterclass, and I think it’s on the platform called Masterclass. Mm-Hmm. , which is basically just a video format of his book. I wouldn’t say it’s him reading it, but it’s the stories that he tells in the book, because this man is a content genius because that’s what’s put him in the helm of Disney. And so those are all really amazing.

Nicole (01:32):
I’ve read the book, I’ve watched the videos, I recommend either platform, whatever you can get your hands on. There’s some great lessons here if you’re a small business owner. And even if you’re not, just how you treat other people comes through loud and clear in in the books and the stories. I guess where should we start? Like a little bit of info about Bob Egger maybe? Sure. So he’s in his seventies. He’s 71 I believe. He started working for quote Disney back when it was ABC in 1974. So he was kind of on like the broadcast side of things, and that’s really important to know because of the direction that he took Disney in years later. He really focused on content, you know, he was instrumental in getting like Disney Plus and Marvel and Star Wars and all of these big engines going.

Nicole (02:19):
And I think that’s because he has that background in, in tv. So you know, he started with the b ABC in 1974, and then he became the c e o. He, he went from 20 years ago. Yeah, 2005 was when he became c e O and he was at the helm for 15 years and retired and then came back a couple months ago. And you know, they say that his first role at ABC was just kind of like the lacky on the sidelines, grabbing all the equipment people needed and running it around the set all the way up to ceo, which is just crazy. Like these stories don’t really exist anymore. And I love that his entire book, even though it’s non-fiction and it’s typically something that would be dense material, it’s all story based mm-hmm. . so yeah, that’s just like a little bit about that.

Nicole (03:08):
So some of the really big things that we know of that he’s been behind in 2006, he bought Pixar in 2009. I say he, I mean the Disney company at his leadership of course Marvel 2012 was George Lucas. And Lucas Films 2018 was Fox which was the 21st century Fox, although like movies and catalog they had. And he was also really instrumental in getting Shanghai Disney opened in in China, and that took him about two decades to do. So those are some big projects and that completely glosses over all of the little projects in between. But I, I think it’s just important to talk about like the content and how that has been the thread for everything. And we’ll get back to that a little bit. The first step, I’d love to just talk about his, he has like eight philosophies he says around leadership and I mean, you can take these eight words and run with them. So yeah. Yasmin, where do you wanna start with the philosophies?

Yasmine (04:07):
Nicole, why don’t you talk about optimism?

Nicole (04:09):
Oh, sure. So he says in his book that optimism is that even in the face of difficult choices and less than ideal outcomes, an optimistic leader does not yield to pessimism. Simply put, people are not motivated or energized by pessimists. And it’s, this is such an obvious statement, which I think all of these are at your core. You kind of already know these things, but putting them into action and practice is the difficult thing. And you know, he’s, this isn’t just for his book. He’s had interviews where he talks about this with his optimism even years prior where he’s saying he said, I remember as a kid seeing a World War II movie and you’d have some caption or a captain or whatever, an officer of some sort, and they would say, we’re gonna come over this hill guys. Is anyone gonna follow the pessimist?

Nicole (04:57):
Who thinks they’re gonna lose? Or who constantly thinks that, you know, things aren’t gonna work out for the best? No. and so that’s I think something he took to his core and was really like, we can get through hard times. We have to make difficult decisions. Even though he was not c e o when Covid was happening, I think there was some overlap. I think Covid was like February, 2020 and he was already scheduled to retire. He might have retired like December 31st, this whole situation, he was still chairman of the board at that time and really led them through the pandemic. And I think in the face of having to shut down the parks and everything else that came with it, he was an optimist. And you know, that is kind of the timeline where Bob Chap took over and you saw the morale of cast members going down, like basically starting from when he took over until Bob Iger came back.

Nicole (05:56):
And you know, we’ve heard stories and reports, we’ve seen things on Twitter, we’ve seen things in Forbes where, you know, the cast members, once they got the announcement that Bob Iger was back, it was like an overnight instant like stress relief off their shoulders. And I think that tells you a lot about this, like following an optimistic leader versus following one that, you know, wants to do things by the book. And it’s all about the numbers and it’s all about efficiency and all of those things. I love those things, but there’s a human element, especially to a business like Disney

Yasmine (06:25):
For sure. And I think one of the stories that came out was when Bob Iger came back as c e o, it was like a house had dropped on the witch and the munchkins and mu were all like rejoicing because Ding Dong the Witch is dead. They were really excited that Bob Iger was back and you know, Bob Chap wasn’t continuing to to lead because he didn’t really seem like an optimistic leader. In fact, in a lot of ways as we’re going through this list, I feel like his leadership style was like the opposite of Bob Iger. Oh yeah. Did you say Nicole? Yeah.

Nicole (06:58):
Yeah, it definitely feels that way. I mean, you know, Iger has said that hi, his dad battled with depression. And so he constantly felt that you can’t do everything right and you can’t do anything right, because you never knew what happened would set off your dad’s depression or anger or whatever it may be. And so when you take that into like a business sense, it’s like Disney is in the business of fun, right? They, you, they sell those fairy tales, they sell the happily ever after. And that, you know, through all bad things you can persevere. And to have a c e that doesn’t embody that, just you can feel that clash that would exist

Yasmine (07:43):
For sure. And like, if you’re thinking of how does this apply to my own business? Well, yeah, like ev anyone can, you know, be an optimistic leader, but with the economy being in the state that it’s in, like, you know, a lot of people are coming down on like tough times and I think it can be hard to sort of like see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you know, entrepreneurship flourishes in times of recession. So that’s something that you can maybe think about as you get through 2023 with your business. So speaking of, you know, getting through and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I think like courage was another one of Bob i’s core tenants and leadership philosophies. And I think one quote that he said that really like stood out to me was like he didn’t wanna be in the business of playing it safe because he wanted to create possibilities for greatness.

Yasmine (08:35):
And as business owners, I really feel like there, in order to really get into business, like you have to have that curion, you have to take that risk and you have to take that leap of faith. And often what happens is once we do that, things go well and we fall into a, you know, period of complacency. And Bob Iger didn’t do that. He was constantly pushing for innovation, pushing for growth within the Disney company. I mean, Nicole talked about some of his major accomplishments acquiring Marvel, acquiring Lucas Film, acquiring Fox, like those were three major standalone like studios and brands that have rolled into the Disney company that really fed a bigger project now, which is Disney plus. Like, in addition to having that incredible IP and being able to continue telling those stories and creating like the Marvel cinematic universe and the Star Wars prequels and like the films that came after all of this really helped Disney Plus launch with a really robust platform. Like heck, the entire Fox portfolio was massive. I read today that The Simpsons, which is again a show from Twain Century Fox has 50 times, I believe more viewership than any other series on the Disney plus platform. Isn’t that wild? And,

Nicole (09:59):
You know, yeah. Way I wouldn’t have thought that, but yeah, I guess,

Yasmine (10:02):
Yeah, 50, I think it was 50 plus. Like, we’ll, we’ll fact check that in the show notes. But that was again, an acquisition that Bob Iger really led and that courage and forethought to, you know, look at Disney’s beloved ip, but really ex ex add to that to expand their audience base and their viewership has led to some of the amazing things that we get to experience today as part of like the Disney ecosystem. And one other thing that he said about courage that sort of relates to this is in order to be brave, you kind of have to be comfortable with failure, right? Because if you’re not willing to accept that things might not always work according to plan, you’re not gonna take these great risks. You’re gonna play it safe.

Nicole (10:50):
I also wanna say with courage, you know, he made these big moves with Marvel and Lucas films and one of the stories around that that stuck out to me was with Apple and Steve Jobs, like at that point mm-hmm. , Pixar, they really thought that those two brands had basically disintegrated and the relationship was gone. And to have the courage to just reach out and say, Hey, let, maybe we can mend this bridge. Maybe we can get in a room with a whiteboard and figure this out. And I just think that that’s really powerful because some people won’t even take that step cuz they’re already afraid of the no. And you were talking about how courage comes with the fair conquering the fear of failure or at least being like, okay, or accepting a failure. And I’ve learned this so much as a parent that when you try to make things so simple for your kids or you try to protect them too much, they don’t fail, and then when they do fail or something gets hard, it’s really hard for them to get over that because they never learned that muscle, right?

Nicole (11:51):
Mm-Hmm. . And so I, I just think that it’s such a great lesson. And so when it comes to your small business, you know, are, are, is there something you’re doing that is you’re kind of afraid of or you have some anxiety around? And it doesn’t have to be big, it, it can literally be, you know, I wanna take this from part-time to full-time, that’s big. But it could be something like, I’d really like to try and, you know, raise my rates with my clients even though it doesn’t feel right right now, but my, my bills are increasing and I need to do this. And it’s scary to have that ask. It could be just, you know, reaching out to collaborate with someone or asking them to appear on their podcast or whatever it may be. Is there something,

Yasmine (12:32):
Or even launching a different product, like yeah, you know, moving into launching digital proj products for example, you might think like, oh you know, I really wanna release this, but who’s gonna want it? Well put it out there and learn who’s gonna want it. And beyond that, like it’ll teach you other ways that you can potentially market this. What does work, what doesn’t? Like no one goes into business knowing things are gonna work out a hundred percent of the time. A lot of it is trial and error, it’s fact-based trial and error. Like, you look at best practices, you go with, you know past experiences, but you can never guarantee someone who’s gonna work out a hundred percent of the time and you’re not gonna know unless you try.

Nicole (13:15):
And it goes back to the optimism too, right? Yeah. So if you have courage and you’ve built this culture of optimism in your brand and your business, then you can accept what’s coming and you’re rallied around the positives or the possibilities. And you know, I think that’s also a piece of courage where when you’re doing the work, you’re also trusting your team and in what you delegate them in doing because you have created that culture for them. So I mean, these things are all related and you can see how having courage in a not so good environment might lead to some choices that are extremely risky and put a lot of things at risk courage. Mm-Hmm. in an optimistic environment might be a little bit different. So definitely don’t do one of these in a silo. Think about it all as a whole. I’d really love to move over to his next focus area, which is focus .

Yasmine (14:12):

Nicole (14:13):
Do you like that

Yasmine (14:14):

Nicole (14:15):
? So this is all about allocating time, energy, and resources to the strategies, problems and projects that are the highest value. And it says that it’s imperative to communicate your priorities clearly and often, and I think we talk a lot about this throughout all of the episodes of the show about, you know, having focused not letting shiny objects syndrome come in and get you you know, we have that kick squirrel syndrome to the curve download that you can get that kind of walks you through, like, here are focus areas in your business, so you only do one thing at a time. But there was one piece of this book while I was reading that I was like, underlining, highlighting, I loved it so much and I think it’s, you know, scars from when I worked in corporate and how I wished my corporate job was, but it wasn’t.

Nicole (15:03):
And so I just remember highlighting this passage and it, it was just basically about you can do a lot for the morale of the people around you and therefore the people around them just by taking the guesswork out of their day-to-day life. A lot of work is complex and requires focus and energy, but this is fairly simple. This is where we wanna be and this is how we’re going to get there. And I think it was so smart because there are so many times in our small businesses as in our digital businesses, especially when we’re bringing on team members or we’re just even trying to get work done ourselves, we can’t articulate what it is we want our team to do mm-hmm. so they don’t get the things done. And then we either judge them harshly or decide, well, you don’t want to, you know, keep working with this contractor or, or just, you know, say, oh, that idea was bad or that product line was bad.

Nicole (15:58):
And really it, I think so many times it comes down to did you put focus in this? Did you communicate clearly? And often this is the goal we’re working toward. We are going to launch X, y, z we are gonna do, you know, this in the first quarter of the year and you know, it’s January right now, this will air at the end of January and you know, maybe you’ll have some time for reflection, but definitely think about whether you have team members or not. What is your focus gonna be for the next few weeks? You know, you don’t wanna waste time doing, thinking about what to do. It’s such a waste of time. So many of my clients will say, I just want a boss to tell me what to do on Monday morning, . And you know, when you make out your projects and your goals for the year, you can kind of get to that point where maybe you do have a boss.

Nicole (16:48):
It’s just the notes you had from last week telling you what to do next week. All right. So the last one we’re gonna go over this week is decisiveness and we’ll do the remaining four in our next episode. But we would love to hear from you if you’re listening along, like are you nodding? Are you thinking about how you bring optimist to optimism to your business? Are you bringing courage and focus? Next up is decisiveness and we’ll talk a little bit about that, but just interrupting with this little promo to come to Instagram @pixiedustandprofits and send us a dm, let us know, you know, what, what’s resonating with you right now.

Yasmine (17:25):
Yeah, we would love to know. So on decisiveness, one of the things that Bob Iger says is that he’s always instinctively felt which means like sometimes he uses as judgment to decide what direction to go into. And I think like beyond that, it’s also a really good lesson that like sometimes you just have to make a choice and the failure to make a choice can impact you negatively in the long run. I mean, an example that I can think of right off the bat that of an experience I’ve had with the client and that I’ve actually seen lots of entrepreneurs go through which ties a little bit back to focus and courage, but is it’s, it’s a bit of a failure to launch and not decide because they can go in one direction with a project or another direction, but they don’t know which one will be better, which one will yield them the most success.

Yasmine (18:15):
So they sort of come to a standstill and they can’t make a choice. And that lack of choice slows us down, holds up the project, causes to do a lot of rework. And often what I’ve seen is their failure to make a choice and just pick a direction just to see how it’s going to play out. Results in someone else sort of beating them to the punch, launching a similar project, opening up you know, a similar shop or something where they you know, attract a bit of the same audience. And, you know, there’s always that benefit to first mover advantage, but you know, that’s not to say that you can’t like still come out with your product improve, but with Bob Iger, I feel like he’s always, you know, made decisions, taking the data into consideration, but really focusing on what the outcome will be.

Yasmine (19:08):
Not just for like, you know, the bottom line, but for like the broader Disney community that includes the employees and the audience. We, we saw this a lot in like the parks, right? Recently Bob Iger has ruled back some of the previous decisions that have been made under Chap X rate and a few of his own. For one he’s brought, he’s really listened to the park community and the park like audience and fans. And while, you know, charging anyone who’s staying at a resort, a nightly parking fee definitely helps ramp up the revenue. It was also making it so that Disney was starting to become too expensive for what’s really always been their core audience, which is like the average everyday family. We’ve talked about the value chain that Disney has, that they really meet every customer where they’re at from the value customers who, you know, are spending their money for this once a lifetime Disney trip and might not have a huge budget, but can still experience it all the way to, you know, the people who want to like stay at the Grand Floridian every time and have the most like luxurious Disney experience like Disney really is for everybody.

Yasmine (20:22):

Nicole (20:22):
The parking fee really felt like a slap in the face too. Yeah. And they took away magical express, so you had no way to get to Disney anymore for free. You know, it’s not really free, it’s baked into all your ticket prices and everything, but you had no way to get from the airport to Disney anymore. So now you had to spend more to rent a car or take an Uber or whatever it may be, and you’re paying for parking overnight if you did rent a car, it, it added, you know, $1,500 to every budget easily. So it, it did really feel like a slap in the face. And you know, they just released last week that those charges won’t exist anymore. So that’s a quick decisive action. You know, he came into CEO EShip in November and probably looked at where, what are some quick wins we can get to, you know, boost our PR and also like, you know, won’t terribly impact the bottom line.

Yasmine (21:16):
Yeah, a few other like big changes that he made were like sort of relaxing the limits on park hopping. So for the longest time you couldn’t visit another park until after like one or 2:00 PM and beginning February 4th, that’s changing till 11:00 AM so you can go to like Magic Kingdom and then, you know, head over to Epcot for lunch by noon and not have to wait until like 1:00 PM to go. He also has brought back free on ride photos. So one of like the biggest travesties of the magic or the annual pass changes, other than the fact that like you can’t just get them anymore because they’ve limited the number of purchasers due to the fact that Bob Chapa considered them unfavorable audiences.

Nicole (22:02):
Yeah, because we didn’t spend enough money. But I, I can at attest that once you become an annual passholder, you start buying merchandise you never bought before

Yasmine (22:11):
. Yep. Because that 20% discount’s quite sweet. But he brought back the ride photos so you no longer have to like, you know, spend an extra like $99 a year or a trip to like get those photos. Like you can get them back. Which again was a decision that didn’t make a lot of annual pass holders happy. And I think Bob Iger understands that like, you know, the longevity of this like fandom and I think the future return it has beyond like the most immediate impact on the bottom line. I mean, heck, Nicole got me to buy D V C after like talking to her for like one weekend.

Nicole (22:49):
It was a, it’s a good investment. You’re, it, it’s amazing how, I don’t wanna say more inexpensive trips are, but when you aren’t paying for the hotel room and you fly on points and you have an annual pass, like that’s why we end up going once or twice a year, like usually once a year and I go a second time for, for pixie dust and profits. And so for to hear things like annual pass holders are not, you know, revenue generators, it’s just mind boggling to me because there’s no way without DVC that I’d be able to do this or want to do this, you know? The other thing about decisiveness, it talks about making decisions in a timely way mm-hmm. . And yes, when you were talking about this with clients, and it was like you were in my business because I, I have a client for the last few weeks who like, they’re ready to launch, like they’re on the springboard, they need to jump, we have everything ready.

Nicole (23:42):
And it’s a constant like, okay, we’re ready. I’m about to like hit the red button and then they’re like, oh no, I need to look at it a little longer. And like you said, it delays the project, it delays the opportunity, it delays that you’ll, you’ll get out there first. And you know, there are in these situations, this isn’t even something where there is an audience they have to build first. They actually have people actively applying for this opportunity and they’re ignoring them by continually double checking and having to rethink it. And so at some point the interest starts waning because they were interested and you’ve stopped talking about it because you’ve been thinking about it. You put it, you took it out of the action pile and you put it back into the like head strategy pile. And so decisiveness, I think more than any of the others can, can definitely be, I don’t wanna say a business killer, but it can be a huge spiral that you can’t get past because once you start second guessing everything, it gets really hard to get back into that action phase.

Nicole (24:47):
And so I think a lot of the work that Yasmin and I do with our clients is, is kind of trying to be that fairy godmother, that business fairy godmother we talk about where we just kind of tap you on the shoulders and maybe give you a gentle kick in the butt mm-hmm. with some pixie dust. And we tell you, you know, this is good what you have. People will want this and you know, we can pivot, but we need to send this first piece into the world, see the response, see what people want, see this, and then we can make our next decision quickly based on that information. But if we never get this first foot out the door, we’re, we’re just gonna keep staying in the house.

Yasmine (25:27):
And, and that’s the key thing. It’s like making decisions based on information. Like, it’s not like Bob Iger is like going like, Hmm, you know what? I think I’m just gonna do away with parking. Like I’m sure he’s looking at data and he’s thinking about maybe the long term impact instead of like the immediate bottom line. But if you don’t put something out there, you don’t know if it’s gonna work. Like a product that is like hasn’t been released is a failure as far as I’m concerned because it, it’s not out there. You don’t know if it’s successful or not. And you need to put something out there, like Nicole said, to get that initial feedback and then make adjustments. Adjustments and optimizing, optimizing in like the vacuum of like pre-launch mode only does so much a few weeks here and there. Yes. But constant pivots like you don’t know if this is gonna work better than the previous product. Cuz again, you have no data, you’re like literally going on a whim, a hunch. And you know, we do believe in trusting your gut, but you need information and data to sort of feed those bigger decisions in your

Nicole (26:30):
Business. There’s so much I wanna go into with Jeck and, you know, those decisions he did make about all of these price increases and everything else, and how even with feedback he didn’t, you know, reverse those decisions. I, there’s a part of it that feels like it was opportunistic because hundred percent of the pandemic pandemic going on and you know, to never walk back on those things. But you know, in the next episode where we go through the next four parts of Bob Bagger’s leadership lessons, it, we talk about fairness and I think that that conversation can come in there, but it definitely felt like decisiveness, but you also need to respond to the people who are talking. I think some of that was what felt so disrespectful as a longtime like Disney in investor in the sense of like, you know, I don’t see myself as just a guest anymore because of how much money I’ve spent there over the years.

Nicole (27:23):
But you know, to make these decisions and then not stop and think like this whole, you can go to a park after two o’clock, but only if you go to a park before two o’clock. And all of these rules that made no sense really were really difficult to follow even for people who’d, who’d gone there a million times. Mm-Hmm. . And not to reverse that decision after everyone started getting vaccinations, all the rules have changed and still to act like we need to keep these things in place, it felt a little bit disingenuous. And so I think we’ll get into this around fairness. So if you haven’t caught on, there’s a second part to this episode, it will be out in two weeks. So make sure to listen to them together, subscribe to us on iTunes, send us a DM on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits and we’ll see you real soon.

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 75: The Importance of Autonomy for Your Employees and Contractors (Transcript)

Jan 10, 2023

Nicole (00:00):
Hi everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:05):
And I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:06):
And we’re joining you after a little bit of a winter break so we could spend time with our families during the holidays. And we hope that you are entering 2023 rested, refreshed, and ready to go and go. Doesn’t mean you have to go far. Go could be just getting out of bed in the morning. So we’re not here to say that you have to reinvent everything, but we thought that we would start the year off talking about leadership lessons. So our next few episodes for the rest of this season are all about being a leader in your business, having contractors, having employees, what we can learn from Bob Iger, who if you have listened to the show for a while, you know we are big fangirls of talking about how we can get a culture of caring in our businesses. So stay tuned for the next few weeks. We’re talking about being a leader in your business.

Yasmine (00:53):
So one of the things that we really wanna talk about is how Disney gives autonomy to their employees within the business. And you might think autonomy like isn’t bus Disney very structured? Don’t they have like a lot of rules and policies in place? And yes, they do. Autonomy doesn’t mean like people can go off and do everything willy-nilly. Autonomy means allowing them to act freely within certain constraints. And there are two examples that we really wanna talk about. The first one Nicole will cover, which is what they do in the costume design department. And then I’ll go into the autonomy that they give cast members who interact with you at the park. So Nicole, do you wanna kick us off with costume design?

Nicole (01:34):
Yeah, sure. So when we’re talking about autonomy in the context of being small business owners in particular, this is really shows up when you’re working with contractors. Mm-Hmm. . But even if you have an employee or you’ve been an employee or you’re on the other side of this, or you’re not the leader, you’re the service provider this is really about letting your employees have the freedom to work how they want to get the thing done. Sometimes it also includes when, so with contractors, they probably work at all different hours. So I just wanted to let you know, like this is all about not micromanaging, essentially giving someone, Hey, these are kind of the goals that I have and what I’d like to see in the end. But you don’t micromanage how they get to that end product. You get feedback, you it, it’s definitely two-way conversation, but it’s not, you have to do it this way because I said so.

Nicole (02:24):
You listen to their feedback, absorb it and move on. So with this, I’m going to go back about three years ago now. I feel like it was a very long time ago. It was the pre covid days. I went on a tour of the costuming department at Wal Disney World and it blew my mind. I am not a fashion person in any way. So I’m sure there are others who were really looking forward to this part. It kind of took me by surprise how interesting this all was from an operations perspective and I shouldn’t have been cuz it’s Disney and they wouldn’t show us things that were amazing. But there’s two facets to this whole operation that I thought were really interesting. And the first was that Disney actually designs all of the uniforms or costumes that the cast members wear. So if you are at Magic Kingdom and you’re in tomorrow land and you see someone wearing it’s usually like silvery pants, a futuristic looking vest, Disney actually designs those now they have 75,000 employees.

Nicole (03:27):
So they don’t hand make all of those. What they do is they had, they had a room of designers just sitting on their computers designing all different things. I think when we were there they were working on some of the Galaxy’s edge stuff because they had some things blocked off that we couldn’t look at and they designed different pieces. So pants, skirts you know, headbands, like all the accessories that everyone needs to wear. And they then digitize all of those patterns to keep an archive of it so they can always go back if things are changing a little bit. You know, they can put different colors for different areas of the park because, you know, if you’re walking in Tomorrowland, they wear different colors and so on in adventure land and they have this whole system where they design everything and then they get those patterns get digitized and sent overseas to be made in bulk because there are 75,000 employees.

Nicole (04:25):
But, you know, all those are designed in house. The cool part, I mean that’s pretty cool in and of itself, but the cool part is this. They have a warehouse where every single article of clothing and every size imaginable is, and when you are a cast member, you get your assignment for, you know, the week or the month or wherever you’re working and you get an R F I D process where you come in and you’re like, I want these three uniforms. And it’s almost like shopping when you’re going back to clueless in the movie when she’s looking at the monitor and picking what she wants to wear. That’s kind of what I picture because they go and choose the different tops and bottoms and all of those things that they want and they can check them out for, you know, three different outfits a week I think is what they had said.

Nicole (05:13):
And so they check out their uniforms and they go through the other door, they’d walk out with what they didn’t have and then they can get them laundered there. So it’s just this really cool operational process of like, how do you get 75,000 people in their uniforms every single day, especially when you’re sending people to a different part of the park. I mean, most people have a given assignment and they change, you know, every few months, but there are people that are kind of floaters and they have to, you know, work at a store one week and then a different store the next week. And so how do you do a quick costume change for those roles? So I just thought it was really interesting how they did all of this. So there is autonomy in the perspective of you. We have people who are designing these outfits and then also people get to choose what they want to wear within the handbook of these positions can wear these certain things.

Nicole (06:06):
And so, you know, it’s not autonomy in how they go about their day or how they go about their job, which is what Yazmin will be talking about. But giving people the freedom to feel comfortable and giving options. Especially as a woman, when you have ever worked a job that requires a uniform and you’re typically wearing smaller sized men’s clothing, which doesn’t feel comfortable, it doesn’t feel like you are yourself, you’re kind of wearing like another layer of skin. And when you, when you’re not comfortable in your clothing, how can you provide like a good level of service to the people that you’re trying to interact with? Right? So I just think it’s really cool that they have multiple versions of everything and you kind of get a little bit of, I can be myself, but I’m still in Disney uniform.

Yasmine (06:51):
One really cool change Disney made recently is they’re letting you show up how you’d like to present yourself. So if you like to present yourself as a man, you can choose for more of the air quotes, traditionally male clothing. And if you wanna show up as a woman, you can choose from the outfits that had traditionally been for the women. So it’s really your choice. And the fact that Disney is doing this is really incredible because they’re respecting people’s gender identities and how they like to present themselves. And I think that’s really cool and a great autonomy that they’re giving their employees.

Nicole (07:29):
And again, like the, the whole research behind having autonomy for your employees is happy employees, comfortable employees, people who feel like they’re respected and valued in that they have a voice at the table are going to be better workers. They’re going to be absolutely better brand custodians. They’re going to be more friendly with the customers and guests that they’re interacting with because they’re not in the back of their head. Also worrying about the micromanaging of, oh, did I wear, you know, exactly what they said to wear and tie it exactly the way that it needs to be done. The other thing with cast members is they’re really given the authority to make magic.

Yasmine (08:13):
Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. And that’s something that I really want to talk about because Nicole and I, I’ve experienced it. I know many people look forward to being pixie dusted is what we call it at Disney World. And you know, with Pixie dusting, it’s something that is a nice surprise, you shouldn’t expect it. But it’s really the cast members that are empowered to create these magical moments for guests at Disney World. So the big experience that Nicole and I had with being Pixie dusted was last year when we came from the Pixie Dust and Profits retreat. We always rent deluxe Studio the night before because we like to come in early with how crazy flights have been. We just don’t ever wanna be in a situation where our attendees are there before we are. Plus we like to prepare beforehand. So we always fly the night before and to obviously save on cost so you don’t have to pass that on to attendees.

Yasmine (09:05):
We rent out a deluxe studio the first night and then for the remainder of the trip we’re in a two bedroom that we typically share with another attendee or we share it with another like coach who’s attending with us this year it was Latasha from Uncanny Content. And last year, because they saw that we were immediately switching to a two bedroom and staying there, you know, they figured they had a two bedroom available that one night rather than have us move, they just put us in there from the get-go. So we got upgraded from a deluxe studio to a two bedroom at Saratoga Springs, which was pretty sweet because it meant we didn’t have to move everything around, figure out, you know, how to get outta the room at 11 and then check back in at four with all of our stuff. It allowed us to get a headstart on some of our shopping cause we didn’t have to worry about refrigerated items.

Yasmine (09:52):
And it definitely made the trip a lot easier this time. I think we had our fingers crossed that that would happen again and it didn’t. And you know, it was fine. We figured it out. But those little things that they did a to make things more efficient, I mean, on their end they didn’t have to worry about cleaning another room and turning it over. Really delighted our experience. There have been a couple times when I was at Disney World with my daughter this past May where, you know, cast members would just like, give her little stickers and little like treats and stuff and just little things to make the experience a little bit more magical for an almost three year old at that point, which I truly loved because it’s such a small gesture on their part. But, you know, my daughter carried around a Mickey Mouse sticker, a cast member gave her in line at a ride for a week or two afterwards.

Yasmine (10:39):
Like she didn’t wanna put it on her clothes, she just carried the sticker on the paper backing because it was just like a little special thing she got. She liked it a lot more than the stuffed animals mommy bought her at you know, the magical emporium. But, you know, these little things are great. And Disney empowers employees at every level, or cast members at every level to create these magical experiences. If you’re ever walking about a magic kingdom or the parks, you’ll see the janitors or the custodians creating like little designs with like little pressure washers that they have to, to, you know, make things jazzy. They’ll do like, you know, little dances and play drums on bins as pastors buy, like, you know, watch the show. It’s, it’s really great the room that they give them for, you know, creating a entertaining experience regardless of their role.

Nicole (11:29):
Yeah, I’ve witnessed that at Hollywood Studios. There was someone who was, I, I forget if he was like singing or dancing while you’re like kind of walking in in the massive crowd because half the crowd is going to Toy Story and the other half is going to Star Wars. And so it just kind of lightens up the day a little bit. And you know, they’re allowed to be silly and playful where they need to be. Even the custodians you know, they often will like spray water into Mickey’s head, you know, like a hidden mickey while before they clean whatever they’re cleaning. And just little things like that that, you know, they, it does trickle down when you see everyone kind of being silly and happy and I don’t know, dosing themselves in the magic a little bit while they’re there. For sure.

Nicole (12:15):
So the other thing about costuming that was really interesting was after we got past the area where they talk about like basically their bulk production Disney also makes all of those beautiful princess gowns that you see in the parades and all of the animatronics in all of the parks, they also make the costumes for that. And so they have seamstress as on site. It was a ginormous room and we got to see all the different threads. We were not allowed to take any pictures here. I think we have one in front of the wall of thread that they took for us on the oldest digital camera. Like it was a real digital camera, not a phone . But we gotta see like Captain America blue and things like that. So what was really interesting about this was that the seamstresses were given a project.

Nicole (13:06):
So for example, they had to tailor something for an animatronic or for a show that, you know, happens and they need a new dress or whatever. But in a lot of places, especially in other countries, when you have seamstresses working on things, they often have their specialty, right? So like this person sews on the arms and that person does the bodice and that’s all they do all day long. They just make bodis and they just, you know, do sleeves. And Disney doesn’t do that because they know that repetitive motions can really hurt your employees from a safety standpoint. It’s also just not very satisfying at the end of the day to not feel like you ever accomplished a project. And this isn’t my inference, this is what they told us directly while they were going through the tour because they, safety is number one at Disney.

Nicole (13:58):
Like if you look at their four keys for all of their cast members, safety is always top. So this is where that comes from, right? So they know that the satisfaction you feel at the end of creating this garment is more fulfilling than just going and getting a paycheck for doing sleeves all day long. And at the end of the day they have these, you know, maybe not a day, it probably takes a few weeks to do some of these pieces, but they have something they can feel proud of and feel connected to and feel like they’re part of the business. So I just thought that that was so great of a message about keeping that autonomy. So you’re not telling them, go make whatever dress you want. They have, remember they digitize their patterns. They, they have Cinderella’s gown, you know, to the tea what has to be cut, how it needs to be seemed, you know, they have to use swarski crystals cuz they do better in the heat and they sparkle better.

Nicole (14:47):
And they have all of these guidelines, what color thread, but that seamstress is allowed to just, you know, maybe she’s just feeling, I, you know what, I wanna tackle the, the shoulders today, or I wanna do, you know, the, the bodis today. And she gets that authority to make that choice of how and what she wants to work on. But again, boundaries, parameters are in place. I I just thought it was such a great message. It wasn’t like, oh, I’m gonna do this part and then you pass it to the next person and they’re doing the zippers and the buttons and whatever else. They actually get to do it top to bottom. And sometimes we don’t get that opportunity in our businesses mm-hmm. or we don’t give our contractors that opportunity to have something that they own and they can feel proud of at the end of the day.

Nicole (15:32):
And, you know, when we’re talking about culture, it’s like Disney’s a culture, right? When you work there, you, you’re kind of buying into the magic to a certain level and culture is the glue that holds the business together. And so it’s really important to think about these things. Hopefully this is January. If you’re thinking about the team you have or the team you want to have, you’re thinking about, okay, how do I make sure that this is a partnership? How do I make sure that we’re all in this together and that, you know, they’re just as invested as I am. And I don’t think that your team members necessarily have to be as invested in your business as you are, but they need to have some, some sense of fulfillment in it. Otherwise, what kind of quality of work are you getting? Do they really understand the mission? Could they, you know, sell your business or explain what your business does if they’re talking to someone on the street? That’s what you really want to see.

Yasmine (16:27):
And I think one of the best ways to bring that about is to really trust the people that you hire. Now, I know hiring new people in your business, whether they’re employees or contractors, is always a little bit scary, right? No one knows your product like you do. No one is going to care about it as much as you do, like Nicole said. But when you are hiring an expert and you’re bringing them on, they care about the result too. Because on their end it means a couple of things. One, it’s a reputation, right? They don’t do good work, they’re not gonna get recommended out. Two, they want a hand in scene that they contributed to your success too because your success is their calling card. And three, they wanna create good work. I mean, I find that a lot of people who go into creating their own businesses, who are entrepreneurs to a strong degree do it because they wanna do good work, right?

Yasmine (17:22):
They, they wanna do meaningful work stuff that they’re passionate about. They’re not just like, you know, clocking in for a paycheck. That’s what they left, that’s corporate America that they walked away from, or my case corporate Canada. And they have a mission for themselves to do good work. So we would strongly encourage you to let them do that. And sometimes that means not micromanaging your employees as much, you know, giving them healthy boundaries, especially if they’re a contractor by like, you know, IRS standards, you only ha you don’t really have a say in like when they work or how they work. It’s just, you know, you give them a project and a deadline and you know, if they prefer to work from like 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM on that project, that’s their prerogative as a contractor. They have that flexibility. If you wanna hire them on as an employee, well you can, but that would mean retaining someone for, you know, a salary in a lot of cases or be having to pay a lot of like taxes and taking on additional like, you know financial responsibilities for having employees, which not every business owner is ready for.

Yasmine (18:25):
And that’s okay. The other thing that we want to talk about is just trusting the experts that you bring in. Now, you know, Nicole and I might get a little venti here, but one thing that we struggle with from time to time is as team members who have been on our clients’ teams for like years at certain points, while they trust us and, you know count on us to run their businesses to a degree, there are times where, you know, they go after that shiny object. And often that could be like another coach or a mentor and will, you know, not necess not not the discount, the advice that you give them, but they’ll wanna like gut check it with their latest coach or the newest like expert they brought in to like look at their business and help achieve their growth. And you know, I I don’t think that there’s anything necessarily wrong with like, you know, double checking with someone or getting another insight or another opinion. But when it consistently happens, it kind of devalues the work that we do. And the, like, Nicole, how many years have been working like 15 ish years of expertise that we’re bringing specifically to their business, knowing the ins and outs like the back of our hands. Like it’s our own business really.

Nicole (19:43):
And I think that’s part of it too, is we’ve consistently said throughout this podcast that we all have our uniquely you businesses mm-hmm. and your audience is unique to you. What your products and services are unique to you. And when you engage with an outside coach, it is absolutely okay to get second opinions. They can often flesh out ideas, make them bigger point out different areas where you can optimize. But too often, I don’t wanna say all the time, too often what we see are people who turn to their latest coach who says, oh, you need to do this. And gives them some sort of formula, which is happens to be whatever they did four years prior that made them , you know, the thing on social media and they just say, go replicate this and do this. And it takes out all of the nuance and the gut and the understanding of the business.

Nicole (20:41):
So our biggest piece of advice, if you are, you know, the business owner and you are, you know, let me go ask my coach. Or you often find yourself asking many different people for their opinions on an idea you wanna move forward or what you should do next. Just take a breath, take their information in, but then say, how do I adapt this for my audience, for my people, for what my products are? Also ask yourself, does this actually fall under what my services or business is? So many times we come across people who are like, oh, I’m gonna go teach people how to do email marketing now because their business is, has successful email marketing because of all the things they do in it. But that doesn’t mean they should go teach the thing that’s helping their business succeed. Their business is about something else entirely.

Nicole (21:36):
You know, selling crochet kids or something. So I think that’s, if you’re the leader, just stop and ask like, am I asking too many people for input? Am I adapting it for my business? Am I using this as a stall tactic for getting things done that, you know, I’m uncomfortable or I don’t understand the full gamut of what’s being proposed. And so I ask multiple people and then I just kind of like spin and flounder. Because I mean, we were talking about this before. Sometimes it feels like when you’re hired as a strategist that why are you paying me for my consulting and my strategy to then go ask three other people? You’re you’re actually like losing money. Like I find that a wasteful process.

Yasmine (22:27):
Absolutely. And you know, Nicole, you and I personally, like we thrive on accomplishing things and getting stuff done. So when things are stalled, it’s really frustrating. I mean, I can speak to an experience that I had with a client where I would constantly outline strategies for them because they weren’t quite sure where their business was going in, you know, an annual plan would want to sort of shift direction cuz they definitely had shiny object syndrome. We would look at it, take the things that made sense, adjust the plan, and things would never really move forward cuz we were constantly spinning because they kind of had a, a fear of starting th this probably goes into it too much, but I think they feared failing. So by not starting you couldn’t fail. And one really eye-opening experience for me was when they, you know, were talking to a very successful and well-known coach in our space who I have a lot of respect for.

Yasmine (23:25):
That’s a, they’re a great person. But they’re speaking to them and they told them, well why don’t you do this? I think this is what you need to do to get this part of your business going. And they were like, this is brilliant. This is absolutely what we need to do. And they gave me the rundown of their entire conversation and like while they’re go talking to me, me, I’m like, yep, yep. I pull up the deck that I presented to them six months ago, which outlined the exact same steps that we needed to do to get going. And at that point we had started moving forward on the project. But you know, it took six months and for someone else to basically echo back what I had recommended previously for us to get going. And I think when they realized that they felt a little apologetic. I mean they were a little apologetic. They’re like, oh, I’m sorry, like, you know, you had a great idea. I should have like, you know, moved forward on it. But to me that was frustrating because I could have gone started on the six months ago and have had six months of results, but you’re starting from ground zero and

Nicole (24:22):
Well, and on top of that you would’ve been able to start with I guess the luxury of doing it right and building the ecosystem that was needed for this to

Yasmine (24:34):
Happen. Yeah,

Nicole (24:34):
Absolutely. In a way that made sense and wasn’t leaving anyone hanging. And instead what happens is, at least when I’ve been in the situation, it’s like all cylinders on fire now because somehow this coach got through to like the on switch, which is great. Like we love that. We love when your on switch is on, we want to chase that and get all the things done, but as operations people, it can be difficult when it’s, you know, I’ve been saying let’s do this for four or five, six months and then it becomes a race track to get it

Yasmine (25:08):
Done getting a two month project done in a week. Yeah.

Nicole (25:10):
Yeah. And, and there’s so many opportunities for things to break or fail or need to be fixed, you know, especially when you’re using multiple systems for multiple things. You don’t wanna send emails that say the wrong information out. There’s little time for testing and even if you try to do testing, if you just built everything in four days and you are also the person testing it, because we’re small businesses, these teams are small, we don’t have another employee to do the testing. Right. You don’t, you don’t catch things mm-hmm. because you, you just did the work the day before and so it, it, it can be a lot when you know, you’re like, you know, I kind of, you know, may have mentioned this a few months ago but sure, I’ll give you my Saturday and my Sunday and all of my evenings for a week to get this done.

Nicole (26:00):
And, you know, we make it happen and that’s why we do what we do. And that’s why we can, you know, partner with businesses. But you know, we’re talking about leadership lessons, right? And so if you are a leader and you find yourself asking multiple people for feedback on the same thing, maybe pause for a second and say, Hey, why am I asking for feedback so much? Like, what is my gut telling me? Do I need to do this project? Is this something I have to do right now? Am I just looking for that validation to get started? And then if you’re on the flip side, if you’re like the service provider and this is happening to you, please remember to tell yourself like, this is not always a reflection of you. It’s not a reflection of your work or that you’re not respected or not valued.

Nicole (26:41):
And we know this intellectually, but sometimes you’re just like, why are you even paying me? I, I said all of these things and you did none of them or don’t wanna do any of them. And but just know, like, it, it’s not entirely a reflection of you. It’s not that you’re not doing good work or you don’t have good strategies. Sometimes we’re just so trusted in the teams that we’re on, they need to hear an outside voice. Mm-Hmm. . And so on both sides of the coin, if you’re the leader, think about what this message is sending to the team that you have because you’re not giving them autonomy to get their ideas actually implemented and out there because you’re stalling and you’re waiting and you’re getting feedback from people and maybe even undermining them a little bit because you’re giving them feedback that they’ve already given you. Mm-Hmm. . And then again, if you’re the service provider, keep in mind that sometimes small business owners don’t know everything. Mm-Hmm. , they’re, you know, they are gonna throw a spaghetti at the wall a little bit because there is no guidebook. Absolutely. Next. so especially with

Yasmine (27:42):

Nicole (27:43):

Yasmine (27:43):

Nicole (27:44):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Give everybody grace. Things are always changing. But just, just be more aware of the messages you’re inadvertently sending to your team, I think.

Yasmine (27:55):
So thank you again for joining us for another episode. Again, we’re gonna continue our theme of leadership lessons with the next episode, but until then, we would love to know how do you step back from your business and let your team members get what they need to get done. If you have anything to share, please let us know on Instagram. You can follow us @pixiedustandprofits. You can also email us your thoughts Hello@pixiedustandprofits.com And if you are finding yourself constantly chasing that shiny object and, you know, throwing maybe a little bit more spaghetti up the wall than you mean to like, you know, you probably boiled like enough spaghetti for 10 people when you meant to make one serving. Ha ha. Terrible joke. Yasmine, this may get cut out. It might not. I don’t know. We’ll see. But we really encourage you to download our squirrel notebook that’s at pixiedustandprofits.com/squirrel. It is a guidebook that will walk you through the decision-making process to really realize if you are chasing another shiny object and really zero in on what you need to do for your uniquely you business.

Nicole (29:03):
Thanks for joining us today and we’ll see you real soon.

Yasmine (29:07):

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 74: Should You Abandon Ship? (Transcript)

Dec 13, 2022

Yasmine (00:00):
Hello and welcome to FII Dust and Profits. I’m Yasmin.

Nicole (00:03):
And I’m Nicole

Yasmine (00:04):
And just before we hopped on to record, Nicole and I were just talking about the fact that it is the end of the year. It’s December early in the month on the day that we’re recording this. And it just feels like there’s like a never ending pile of work to get done before the year wraps. And as much as we love what we do sometimes it’s kind of hard to find the motivation to finish it all. It’s a bit of a struggle us. Would you say that Nicole?

Nicole (00:28):
Yeah, definitely. I, I definitely have struggled with motivation this year. I know burnout’s a huge topic a lot of people have talked about. I think my challenge right now is that I had planned to be light duty in December. It’s a time of year where I really like to slow down. We’re traveling to different relatives houses and there’s always something else every single weekend. And so I went into the month planning to not have many projects and projects just seem to pop up, find me. Yeah. And they’re not the types of projects that are easily delegatable or they’re, they’re, they’re important and a little bit urgent too. So they’re not something I can wait till after the holidays to start. So it, it’s definitely feels like crunch time even though it’s very early in the month right now. I know that what’s coming the rest of the month with kids out of school,

Yasmine (01:23):
. Yeah. And you know, as we were talking about this, we were thinking it’s not just small business owners who have this problem or really just everyday people like they’re big companies like Disney that sometimes also struggle to finish projects. So we thought we would talk about all the things that Disney has announced that have sort of

Yasmine (01:44):
Been disappeared into the Disney Vault

Yasmine (01:48):
. Yeah. Yeah. So obviously with the pandemic, Disney had to re-look at some of the projects prior to the pandemic. They announce a reimagining of Epcot. There was a DVC resort that had been announced at brand new one called Reflections. And now it’s kind of hard to find mentions of some of these things from the website because they scrubbed it. And that’s sort of Disney’s way of either canceling or postponing projects because perhaps they didn’t have the finances at the time with all of the uncertainty around the pandemic. And now that we’re sort of, you know, I’m using air quotes here, but coming out of the pandemic, we’re not quite, but things seem to have gone back to normal. Disney hasn’t really made any mention of those projects again.

Nicole (02:34):
Yeah, it’s definitely really interesting because when they announce a project, you can imagine how many drafts get left on the floor that don’t even make it to the public’s eye. Mm-Hmm. . And so when something does get to the public’s eye, it’s a huge fan affair. There’s, you know, artist renderings. In Epcos case there was actually a space in Epcot where they had like this 3D model of what Epcot is going to become. And it was really interesting to be in that room. I did get a chance to do that. And some of those projects have been scrapped. So they were supposed to be a Mary Poppins ride or experience of some sort that has been confirmed to not be happening anymore. There’s also a whole section of the park where they, right now it’s kind of like the, they have space and then they have future world, but future World was made so long ago it doesn’t feel much like the future anymore. So they’re really updating what all of that looks like. And they were supposed to have this like, play experiences area and we’re not sure if that’s beneficially canceled, but there’s really no word of it at all. Yeah. And

Yasmine (03:46):
We should have heard something by now, like they would’ve either announced the progress. And again, mentions have been erase from all Disney websites. So that kind of tells us that’s probably not gonna move forward as planned. And it’s in the middle of construction so they’re abandoning ship like midway.

Nicole (04:03):
Yeah. And when we were talking about this, Yasin actually brought up such a great point that, you know, sometimes you need extra time to get things done or you know what, you announced something and you realized when you’re getting into the nitty gritty of actually creating it, that it doesn’t work anymore either for financial reasons or you don’t have the right team, or you don’t have, in Disney’s case, often you don’t have the technology for this to exist yet. It’s okay to kind of silently move away from it. You don’t even need to make a big announcement. For small businesses, people probably aren’t paying attention as hard as you are to your own business. And in Disney’s case, you know, they’ll, they’ll have another piece of news coming out the next day so it, it doesn’t go unnoticed for Disney. But they’re willing to admit by not sharing updates that, you know, this wasn’t going to happen right now. I mean, they have other things too, like the tron rollercoaster in Magic Kingdom.

Yasmine (05:06):
Something done already.

Nicole (05:07):
Yeah. This is something I think they wanted done for the 50th anniversary. For point of reference, the 50th anniversary started in October, 2021. Mm-Hmm. and went to, it’s gonna end in January, 2023. And so Toronto is still not open. I have heard that they’ve been testing the cars, but it won’t be open until this spring. And that ride actually already exists at a different Disney park in the world. So it took them that long to build something they already know and have you

Yasmine (05:38):
Have the blueprints for and everything.

Nicole (05:40):
Right, exactly. So, you know, it’s okay that it didn’t meet the deadline and they’re, you know, still very excited for this project to come. And I don’t know this, it, it’s very interesting being a Disney fan cuz you think when you see it on hard paper the 3D rendering, like this is something that’s going to happen. I was excited to see those models of the Reflections DBC Resort. I have no intention of purchasing anymore dbc, but it looked like a very pretty resort. And knowing the Riviera resort, which was their latest one is absolutely beautiful. Maybe not this taste I have when I’m going on a Disney vacation, but beautiful, loved staying there. We spent a night there, it’s gorgeous reflections. Just had a feel that felt more like home to me. Mm-Hmm. , I was really curious to see what that would be. So maybe it’s something we’ll be working on in a few years, maybe it’s just completely gone from the potential list of projects.

Yasmine (06:38):
Yeah. And like Nicole, just to echo sort of what you said, that it’s okay, like if Disney is able to give themselves some grace and either take longer to finish a project so it’s done right or you know, move away from a project that’s not working altogether, that’s okay for you to do too. In a previous episode, I think it was our last episode, we talked about how Disney is going away and doing away with the Star Wars Galactic Cruiser experience, which costs a ton of money to build and maintain. And it brings me back to, talked about this business school Nicole, but your son costs fallacy. It’s when you put so much money, time and effort into creating something and you don’t want all that money to sort of like be a waste of time that you continue investing in a project that’s basically a money pit.

Yasmine (07:26):
And you know, we think that maybe Star Wars Galactic Cruiser didn’t pan out because it was like cost too much in terms of like the price for the experience and it was a one and done thing and we’re not in the boardrooms discussing why it basically failed. But, you know, good on them for at least realizing that this isn’t going to continue to make them profit. And rather than continuing to sort of air quotes like waste money on a project that wasn’t like fulfilling the needs, they’re cutting it and reallocating hopefully that budget to other experiences and other projects that are coming up. So if you spent a long time billing something and it’s not working sometimes like throwing more money at it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem. And sometimes you just gotta like walk away and, you know, chalk it up to a learning lesson and understand what didn’t work. So the next time you do a similar project, you get it right. The fir on the second go I was to say get

Nicole (08:26):
Right the first time you probably do some surveying of your audience to see tolerance level is, and you know, with Galactic Star Cruiser in particular, like they still have that asset. They still have that building mm-hmm. , whether they turned it into just a themed Star Wars hotel that maybe doesn’t have the live acting cast or the special experiences, or they completely re them it into another value resort. Like who knows what they’re going to do with that property. It it has prime real estate being right next to Galaxy’s Edge. So there might be something they’ll do with it, but like you said, they could be sinking costs every single day into paying like actors and chefs and you know, these are specialized roles. They’re not the traditional role that they have in their resorts. So it’s almost like a cruise ship on land. Mm-Hmm. .

Nicole (09:13):
So having that specialized crew was, you know, costing quite a bit of money when the rooms were only half full. And I think that also probably played into how the experience was experienced by people who were there. Right. You know, if you only have half a crew for an experience or an event that was meant to have 40 people there and you only have 10 people show up, it also takes away from the fun of being a participant mm-hmm. in it. Absolutely. There’s, there’s probably a lot of factors as to why that failed, but you know, just in terms of your projects, like it’s, it is interesting to look at these things because, you know, they’re cutting something like a Mary Poppins ride but they green lighted the building of the Star Cruiser hotel and that was being built during the pandemic. They could have, you know, used that construction staff elsewhere maybe.

Nicole (10:01):
So just really interesting to look at the choices and how they all, you know, panned out. You know, but to like bring this back to the small business world, right? So sometimes we have too many things going on, we have too many projects. And so to that I always say like prioritize, it could be a simple exercise of what’s important, what’s urgent, what needs to be done today, what can wait, like, just to get that first level gut check of like, am I doing this one thing because it’s the easiest thing on my list. It’s really easy to ignore the big important giant red flashing lights because you know, they’re, you don’t know where to start sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

Yasmine (10:45):
Absolutely. And one thing that we frequently do when we wanna get started is either a, look back on previous work or b honestly, sometimes we buy templates or we buy you know, swipe files or something. And it’s not necessarily something that will completely use in its entirety in the finished product, but it’s enough to give you a jumping off point that it sparks the flow of work. So a great example is like, I will often like buy graphic templates. I’m not a designer. It will take me hours and hours and hours to put something together for a simple project where may not make sense to hire a designer, but, you know, spending $97 on a bunch of Canva templates will literally save me hours in work and make the finish product a lot nicer too. So I’ll go that route.

Nicole (11:35):
Yeah. Even for something that you’re, I wouldn’t say expert, like I don’t know where you hit expert level, but even something you’re proficient in and feel like you’re experienced in, it’s still really helpful to buy a template. I I think this was like this summer or last summer, I had a client who needed some copywriting done for our project and we just couldn’t find someone who was able to do the job that we needed in the timeframe that we needed. And so, you know, I have an English degree, I worked as an editor for a while. I don’t write per se anymore as a way of making money. And I was like, you know what? I have the skill set. Let’s figure this out. Let’s do it. We just need to get it done. And so I knew what it needed to be said, I knew how it needed to be said, but I’m not the best at starting from zero.

Nicole (12:24):
Like if you’ve ever taken the strengths finder assessment, I highly recommend it just to understand your work style a little bit better. But one of mine is a maximizer. I like to take things that are, you know, pretty good and bring them to like amazing. So I’ll take something that’s, you know, at 50% or 75% and you know, bring it to 110, but starting at zero is very difficult for me. And so I knew that about myself and I started like kind of investigating a couple of things and I found someone who had email templates and they were not like full blown sales page length emails. It was just enough framework and guidance for me to be like, okay, yes, this is the cadence I need, this is, this is the type of language I need to be using. And it helped me get that project done in two days and I think we had to write like 30 emails.

Nicole (13:12):
It was, it was a huge, it was a huge undertaking. So there’s no shame in starting with a template, even if it’s something that you feel like you’re very experienced in. I have a shop that has templates on it, and I can tell you that my procedure template that started with a project when I worked in corporate 15 years ago, I was tasked with figuring out a standardized procedure format for an entire department. And so me and my team were working on this and you know, after research we came up with something after 10 years of using these in some form or other, in both the corporate world and in a small business world, they still get updated and changed when I have new ideas or new ways of using things and I open up that template every time I need to make a new procedure for someone. It just makes sense to use tools that already exist instead of starting from nothing.

Yasmine (14:13):
Totally, totally. Sometimes it’s just helpful to see it laid out in front of you, even if all the information’s in your head just makes the process easier.

Nicole (14:22):
I do this with my kid too. He, he struggles with writing and so we actually have some templates and tools and so sometimes it’s like, go back to what it’s like to be like a second grader, right? He has a paper that says, who are the characters that are gonna be in this piece that you’re writing? What’s the setting going to be? What’s the first thing that will happen to them? What’s the second thing and what’s, what happens at the end? That’s it. It’s like five boxes that are really easy questions to answer. And by doing that he can write so much better than if he just had it all jumbled in his head and he is trying to write this story and ends up running it out of order or forgetting what character he wants to talk about. He just has that like planner next to him.

Nicole (15:02):
So, you know, use, use tools, invent tools, leverage other people to, to get what you need. And speaking of other people, like sometimes one of the best things just to get started or to flush through a project is talking about it out loud. It can be with your spouse, a partner or friend, if it’s with someone who also is in the same type of business. I wouldn’t say it has to be like same industry or anything, but it, it’s really helpful for me to just like tell a friend who works in this online business space, like, here’s what’s going on. Like, can

Yasmine (15:35):
We talk about even if they are in the same industry, that can be okay. Like we’re big believers in community over competition. Nicole and I frequently talked about the fact that we can do each other’s job, but you know, we specialize in things different enough that makes it great for us to like work together on teams. But before we hopped on this call, we were also talking about some of the projects that we’re working on and Nicole was, you know, talking about something she had to do and I gave her like, Hey, this is something that I did that really helped me and it helped her out. So, you know, talking something through with a biz bestie or like a peer mastermind where big believers in those can be really beneficial and just getting another perspective and getting out of your own head a little bit to, you know, get guidance on how to either about your project or even just get started with it.

Nicole (16:19):
Yeah. And that group of like Pure Mastermind or other people who kind of, they might not even sell the things you sell or do the things you do. Yeah. But we all, at Essence, businesses are there to make revenue, probably reduce expenses and, you know, deliver a product or have a customer experience. They all have operations. So when you like look at business from that perspective, we can certainly all learn from anyone. That’s one of the things I love the most about our community membership program. The party, you can find that at pixiedustandprofits.com/party. We have women who do different types of jobs and we can all learn from each other. So it’s a really great place to be to just have that accountability check in or know that, hey, I can talk about an email marketing platform and talk about tags and automations and it it, it won’t sound like Greek, like when I’m trying to tell my spouse about it.

Nicole (17:18):
And, you know, we’ll get some ideas from other people about how to, how to do something a little bit differently or an idea we haven’t thought about before. You know, you can easily copy and paste by right clicking or by using shortcuts, but you can also write a program to do that for you too. So there’s a lot of different ways to get things done and you won’t discover if you don’t talk to other people about it, so. Exactly. Yeah, I think, I think those are all like great tips. Like use a template so you don’t feel overwhelmed with starting, you know, don’t start from scratch. It’s okay to delay a project or cancel a project and not make a big fan fair about it. Make a fan fair if you’d like, but don’t

Yasmine (18:00):
Have to, that’s optional.

Nicole (18:02):
And, you know, have someone to bounce ideas off of or, you know, talk about your business projects with.

Yasmine (18:08):
Thanks again for joining us for another episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, we highly recommend that you do. We’re @pixiedustandprofits and you will see real soon.

subscribe on

subscribe on

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

Nov 29, 2022

Speaker 1 (00:01):
Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s 12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:26):
Holy wow. Okay. I wanna die straight into this episode cuz Nicole and I have just been talking before we started recording about the big Disney news that just happened in like the past 48 hours. Uh, but before I get into that, hi, I’m Yasmin and welcome to Pixie Dust & Profits, and I have my wonderful co-host Nicole here. Hello. And the big news that we are talking about is the fact that Bob Chapek has been ousted by the Disney Board and our, our Brain crush. I’d call him her brain crush, right? Nicole, Bob o is back a CEO of Disney after he had retired, after he had sort of stepped down and, you know, sort of wa you know, was retained on the board for a little bit longer to oversee things. He is back and I think Disney fans are rejoicing everywhere.

Nicole (01:23):
Yeah. Um, so this news broke Sunday evening and it actually was in a communication to cast members, it sounds like, before the media found out. So Bob Iger, who, uh, you know, we’ve talked about many times over the course of this podcast, um, sent a email to cast members letting them know that he was taking over a CEO again. And I, I’ve heard reports from every ounce of the Disney sphere that I’m in on the internet where cast members were just rejoicing and happy. And, you know, that’s, that’s kind of a sign that it was the right decision. Um, I don’t even know where to start with this discussion, but let’s give a little bit of background in case you’re not into the Disney leadership team like we are. Um, so Bob Chopek, I think it’s, I’ve heard both Chap and Chap. So, um, we’re talking about a Bob .

Nicole (02:16):
He was the CEO of Disney for the last 999 days. We’ll get to an inside joke about that later. But he took over from Bob Iger, who had been the CEO for 15 years and he had also worked for Disney for many, many decades before that. Um, so Bob Chopek, along with him came managing during the Pandemic and a lot of changes. And actually if you listen back a couple of episodes, we were talking, I think it was episode 70 where we were just talking about things we’ve been unhappy with as long time Disney consumers and how things just don’t feel as magical as they used to. I actually remember about two weeks ago telling Yasmin like, you know, I kind of feel like I should sell my dvc and that is never a thought that has crossed my mind before. Um, and so anyway, that’s a lot of the sentiment that I think cast members and other, you know, affixes have been feeling cast members, especially, you know, we’ve heard reports about how they were treated not so well during the pandemic.

Nicole (03:17):
They, you know, were laid off in droves and also when they, things started opening back up, they, you know, made them reapply for jobs they already had. And so it was making it difficult for them to even come back to work the magic. And having been to Disney a couple times during the pandemic, it’s still very significantly understaffed. Parks are closing at seven or 8:00 PM Um, there’s just not a presence that I remember there being before, especially when it comes to the cast members. And some of this definitely feels like Disney trying to cut corners on expenses as they’re, you know, raking in profits from nickel and diamond, everyone on things like Genie Plus and Park reservations. And, you know, it’s a lot. And this is just the parks side of the business. Disney’s obviously a much bigger company, it’s a media company, but I think people have also noticed the significant lack of movies coming out, like animated movies in particular.

Nicole (04:16):
Um, Disney plus, I remember last year when my subscription renewed, it was like double what I had initially paid for it. And you know, I don’t watch a lot on Disney Plus because they don’t have as many content releases as Netflix, but I do enjoy the things that I get from there. And so, you know, I justify paying for it because it’s nice to be able to download a couple of movies or watch some of the behind the scenes things, but it is a little bit pricey for a streaming platform that isn’t constantly putting out new content. So anyway, a lot of people associate these ideas and these implementations and rollouts with Bob Chopik who was CEO at the time. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve kind of given him the benefit of the doubt throughout, you know, I, I really thought early on that he was chosen as CEO to do some, implement some of the things that were probably ideas of other leadership teams because these things are never decided in silos.

Nicole (05:12):
Um, and, you know, kind of let him fall on the sword, right? You know, he’s like a sacrificial lamb, let’s get some of these, you know, unpopular things rolled out. Um, and we have, you know, one kind of interim CEO to blame for before we bring in someone new. So that was kind of my theory a few years ago. Um, of course the pandemic hit, so it definitely I think allowed Disney to fast track , intentionally punned, um, some of these changes. And what really was interesting to me, and I know I’m talking a lot here, but Yasmin and I were talking about this this summer, Chex, um, contract was up for a renewal and they renewed him. And I remember seeing the news come out and, you know, sending a, a sad message over to Yassin saying, you know, I really thought that he was just gonna be like the interim CEO and they were gonna get these changes in the door and then change him back to someone who could really make things feel magical again. So I was really sad that day. Um, and now here we are.

Yasmine (06:15):
What, one thing I’ll say, it’s like we’ve noticed a definite shift in how things have been performing at Disney over, I would even say the last couple of weeks. One factor I think that plays into it is, at least with the park side of the business, a lot of these pandemic changes seem like they’re here to stay. Things like park reservations, which kind of makes it difficult to go with the flow and, okay, let me backtrack here. Like, Disney’s never a go with the flow of vacation. You have to like do your meal planning in advance, your dining reservations, you kind of need to know which parks you’re going to in order to do that. But the requirement of Park reservations made it difficult for, you know, families who may have wanted to play it a little bit more loosey goosey maybe like DVC members like us who have annual passes that don’t necessarily, um, need to map out what we’re doing every second. We just kind of wanna go to the parks to relax and, um, play it by ear sometimes that has completely got out the window and the park reservations has made it really difficult for anyone to plan a last minute trip to Disney World. The other thing is, oh my goodness, prices have been insane. Let’s just talk about ticket prices. Oh yeah, I know we voiced this in previous episodes, but they’re going up again as of December 8th and I, which,

Nicole (07:34):
Which you know, is a whole different thing than they, they used to always do price increases around February or March. I remember because I would always be like right after Christmas is when I need to like pull the money together from hopefully if my spouse gets a bonus at work to buy our tickets for our next trip. Like that’s been such a routine of mine for years. And now they go ahead and they announce a price increase for like December 8th or something. Like, they know, they know that we are used to these things happening at a certain time of year and I’m just blaming Eck, it’s probably not him, but, you know, Ecks out here, like, let’s increase the ticket prices just before Christmas. Like, you know, now I’m actually debating not going in April. Like my original plans were because I, I don’t wanna drop the money on tickets right now, not before, right before Christmas when like I’ve got oil bills that are, you know, piling up and everything. So it just, it feels like such a money grab.

Yasmine (08:29):
It definitely does. And I was looking at a post in a Facebook group that I’m in again, as a Canadian in the past, we would occasionally get the offer to get like a slightly discounted multi-day pass in order to incentivize this to come. It was like a 20% savings. So this one woman was comparing the cost of her like discounted six day trip compared to booking a six day ticket. Now, and again, I know the discount factors in, but the price difference was 800 US dollars for the exact same timeframe, exact same ticket, $800. Like that’s, that’s a couple days at the park, you know what I mean? And if you’re extending your, um, trip to like, you know, 10, 15, 14 days, like that was the equivalent of what that ticket would’ve cost if she had stayed for like 12 days versus six. So they are definitely increasing prices across the board and we have heard from many people who want to go to Disney, who used to love going to Disney, that it’s getting harder and harder to afford.

Yasmine (09:36):
And I think they’re seeing the upper limit of what they can charge because we’re getting negative sentiment from customers who just can’t go to Disney and are stating that Disney is no longer a place for like middle class families to go. You kind of have to have a love disposable income to go there. Too. Big attractions like the Star Wars Galactic Cruiser that they have invested hundreds of millions, probably let’s be real millions into building, is closing in March of next year. We have recently learned that they cannot basically fill the ship. I’m using air quotes. You can’t see that, um, sufficiently to justify running this experience. When they at first opened it was like packed full, but they’re seeing an upper limit on how many people are willing to spend about five grand on a two day experience. It’s kind of a one and done these days.

Yasmine (10:30):
The ships are a maximum of 50% full and it’s an expensive experience to run because there are cast members who are actors in there. Um, you know, the building itself was ridiculously expensive and this looks like a negative return experience for Disney. And knowing how popular anything Disney has put out, as of light has been, I think we are starting to see the upper limit on a consumer’s willingness to pay for the Disney experience. And that pushback and that negative sentiment and frankly the hate, um, that has been put towards Bob Eck has been a deciding factor in them deciding to bring back the beloved Bob Iger. But there’s more to it. Nicole, have we talked about the media side of the

Nicole (11:18):
Business? Yeah, so on the media side of the business, um, you know, Disney Plus launched two years ago, three years ago. It was just before the pandemic hit and it was like 6 99 a month. And the entire plan was, you know, get a ton of subscribers, sell them on how good the content is. Cuz I will tell you like you can open up Netflix and you can choose something to watch and you might end up watching something and that’s pretty terrible and you back out of it right? On Disney plus, I don’t have that feeling. I can open up anything, even things I’m not interested in and I know it’s gonna be good quality content and, you know, that was always the intention for the platform and they were gonna slowly raise prices over time. Right. You know, most of us don’t notice when things go up a dollar a

Yasmine (11:59):
Dollar two,

Nicole (12:00):
You know, especially when you get the yearly promotions or the discounts for signing up for a year instead of monthly. We’re used to that. But at earlier this year, I, I can’t remember when exactly they announced there’s gonna be 10 99 a month. That’s, you know, it’s not double, but it’s, it’s a pretty significant increase for something that, you know, doesn’t have constant content coming out. And I’m not as well versed in the media side of the company, however, you know, when Disney Plus came out a 6 99 a month, and we don’t tend to notice when things increase, you know, a dollar a year, especially when we’re choosing pay yearly instead of pay monthly. And I think the intention was always to like slowly increase pricing to get to a point where you break. Even with Netflix, they never went into the Disney Plus, um, model with the intention of it being profitable right away. They knew that this was a gamble, they knew it was an investment, they knew it would be incurring losses. However, what’s happened recently is it went from, I think it was 600 million in losses to 1.5 billion in losses in a quarter. Um, that’s a, it’s

Yasmine (13:13):
A significant

Nicole (13:14):
Difference in, in just one quarter. Um, and, and it came after price increases were announced, right? So they, they changed the price to 10 99 a month, which is not double, but pretty close to double. Um, and it’s also a different platform. You know, there isn’t content coming out every week on Netflix. You can go to the What’s new section and then see six new things you didn’t see like the next from one Friday to the next. And so Disney Plus was kind of built as this platform where content releases come out a lot slower, but it’s very good content, it’s quality level. You could open up Netflix and try to watch a movie and get 10 minutes in and decide, you know, this isn’t for me. But in Disney plus I don’t feel that way. Even if it’s something I’m not completely interested in, I will get sucked in because Disney knows how to tell a story and you get sucked in so easily. So it’s a different type of platform and it can’t be priced the same way as Netflix. I mean, Netflix didn’t raise places prices for how many years. Right. Um,

Yasmine (14:13):
And even when they did, they got a loss of subscribers as well.

Nicole (14:17):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There’s definitely a limit to how much you can, um, squeeze out of people, especially, especially, and they know this because they have parks and they know people are traveling right now, this isn’t the time where people are sitting at home watching streaming services because we’re all excited to be back out of our houses and we’re traveling. So definitely an interesting time to try to raise the prices. But, you know, going from a 600 million deficit, which again, Disney knew Disney Plus was going to take years to be profitable, they did not anticipate that this would be an operation that would be, you know, in the black from the beginning. They knew that they would have to wait a while, a few years for it to get profitable. But when you’re going from a 600 million loss on the books to 1.5 billion, um, in a very short timeframe, that’s just showing that something is not working, that was previously working.

Nicole (15:13):
And what has changed in the last quarter for this to have, you know, happened. And I think there’s also reports about the last quarterly earnings call mm-hmm. where earnings were not so great to the point that the stock dropped 11% the next day, which is unheard of with Disney’s stock. An 11% drop is about how much it dropped the day after nine 11 mm-hmm. , which is when people knew no one would be traveling the same way again. And so if that gives you an idea of the magnitude of how bad this earnings call was. But the weird thing was that Bob Chopek was so just, he wasn’t portraying it as if it was bad. He was trying to give it this light that like, you know, this is a really good thing for us. And if you’ve ever sat in a meeting where someone’s trying to deliver bad news by making it sound really positive, you’re just feeling very gaslit and like mm-hmm. ,

Nicole (16:11):
Am I just not understanding like, am I reading things differently than this person is telling it to me? Um, and I think there were probably already cracks in the foundation, but I think this call really spurred the board on to have to figure out what’s going on with their leadership and what they can do. So if you don’t know how, um, a business like this typically runs, there’s usually a board of directors that, um, you know, could be some people who have significant shareholders in the company, also people that are elected. There’s a chairman, you know, I don’t know how many people are on Disney’s board, but typically this is around seven to nine people. And the board is the one that chooses who the CEO is. Basically, if a CEO is getting hired, they report to the board of directors. And so they’re JPEG’s boss.

Nicole (17:02):
So after this quarterly results call, not only did they already have a couple cracks in the foundation, but they started hearing from senior leaders at Disney who were just completely beside themselves and started talking openly, not just like to their best friends behind closed doors, started talking openly about resigning if Jpx stayed a ceo. And that is such a red flag. I, you know, this is a shocking development. Like CEOs don’t tend to just disappear overnight without some big scandal. Um, and, and there’s no indication here that there’s a scandal. This is just Disney making a really effective quick decision based on what they needed to do. And so I I I wanna reiterate, there’s no signs of a scandal or anything, anything, but this is really effective leadership at work because you could hem and haw and sit on decisions for a really long time.

Nicole (17:56):
You can say, oh, let’s give it another quarter. Bob Chap’s contract was actually just renewed in July on unanimous vote. And so what does that say when the board four months later decides, oh, we need to fire him. Like that’s, that also hits your own reputation because you voted four months ago to keep this guy in place. And so I, I just wanna highlight the leadership and the level of in intelligence and, and business acumen that has gone into this decision because, um, from what we’re hearing, they started talking about this seriously on Friday night, came to a decision by Sunday afternoon and, um, somehow convinced Bob Iger to come back. Bob Iger had been in the public eye multiple times over the last year saying he had no intention of returning to Disney. And

Yasmine (18:48):
He’s also 71 years old. So like that man, he, he looks like a

Nicole (18:52):
Younger 71 young, but he is not a spring ticket.

Yasmine (18:56):
It must be all that charisma keeps him young, but he, he’s ready to retire, you know what I mean? Like, you know, do things here and there. But he’s, he’s done his service to Disney. He’s coming back through the end of December, 2024. So this is a limited return while Disney figures out who the next CEO is going to be. Um, but one of the interesting things that Bob had said in, um, an interview is that he thinks it was just talking about the media side of the issue. It was, um, chap x’s lack of like, empathy and just like char kind of, he didn’t say charisma, but basically charisma, um, as his reason of not being able to relate with the creative community at Disney and the Hollywood creatives. And that’s one of the things that caused such a huge rift in the relationships on the media side, the chair of the board, I think it was Susan Arnold had said that Bob Iger was uniquely positioned to help Disney, um, turn things around. And we know that he is responsible for the massive creative boom and the resurgence and revival of Disney animation and Disney’s movies. So, um, that, that big loss was probably a massive factor in them realizing they needed to bring Bob Iger back before they continued to hemorrhage money.

Nicole (20:22):
I think what’s really interesting about this too is that stocks immediately went up 6% the next day. Mm-hmm. on a day that the stock market was going down. Yep. Um, and so that really shows the confidence level that people have in Bob Iger. And, and I’m so glad you mentioned the emotional intelligence part of this because we have both read Bob Agers book. I have actually watched the, I can’t re I think it was on Master Class. Master Class. Yeah. He, he, it was basically just a video retelling of his book. It, it wasn’t, there was nothing there that wasn’t in the book. So if you’ve read one, don’t feel like you need to watch the other. But it was obviously very interesting to see his own face delivering his own words. And I think emotional intelligence is something that is often overlooked in leadership positions.

Nicole (21:11):
Mm-hmm. , and I’ve talked about this before, female business owners tend to perform better to their goals to male business owners. And, and I think so much of that comes down to that emotional intelligence piece when you are a relationship based person or understand how relationships work, even if you’re looking at it from a very like, technical point of view of like, oh, I need to make sure I nurture this because I need to get this output out of it. You know, even if you break it down to something that feels very clinical, it’s such an important piece. And PIC constantly felt like he was at odds with cast members who, you know, are your biggest fans. Mm-hmm. , um, imagineers who, you know, echoed so much of the story before, um, Bob Iger days where imagineers kind of got iced out of things and guess what the creativity suffered and the company suffered mm-hmm.

Nicole (22:06):
Because the entire company’s based on Disney magic. Mm-hmm. . And I just think that emotional intelligence is something that really can’t be taught there. Obviously you can take classes and you can kind of become more aware and work on it, but Chopik was constantly at odds, not only with employees, but also with with fans. You know, um, I, I have played World of Warcraft in my day and there was a developer at one point who people said, we want the old game back. Bring the old game back. And he very famously said, you don’t actually want that. Nobody would play it. And then they launched, um, what they call Warcraft Classic, uh, three, four years ago now. And it had a huge fan base. It’s still running today. And it’s, it’s become this meme in the community of someone telling you like, you don’t actually want that.

Nicole (22:57):
You don’t know what you want. And I felt that way with Eck all the time. He actually said in an interview back in September or something, like, adults don’t watch animated films, they’re just made for kids. Talk about being out of touch with your audience. I mean, just some of these comments, I mean, he flat out said, and I know that we have talked about this on the show, DVC members don’t make them enough money mm-hmm. , and he said that it’s in quotes and no, maybe we don’t pay for our hotel rooms, but I can guarantee you the only reason I have an annual pass or I buy merchandise is because I’m not paying for my hotel room. Mm-hmm. , um, I, the, the years before I was a vacation club member, when I would go to Disney, I would try to get the most budget friendly room, and I would never buy any, any merchandise. It was too expensive.

Yasmine (23:49):

Nicole (23:50):
She just felt totally outta touch with, with every relationship.

Yasmine (23:53):
Yeah. I routinely drop like a hotel reservations worth of cash on merch when I go Disney, Nicole’s witnessed it. She sees my like frantic run-ins into like the emporium where I spent like 15 minutes, like buying all the things that I had my eye on during the day checkout and then go, um, and it’s because I’m a DVC member and I sort of like prepaid for that portion. So I’m Will, I’m able to, you know, allocate budget to, to Disney merch. And I know I’m not the only one. Like Nicole definitely does it. DVC members are amongst the most fanatic about Disney merch that I’ve seen at least. So

Nicole (24:31):
I’m also willing to go to restaurants, um, that I wouldn’t have gone to

Yasmine (24:36):
More expensive, like sit down experiences versus just like having a quick service thing or bring your lunch. Yeah,

Nicole (24:42):
Absolutely. So, you know, emotional intelligence and leadership very important. And I think that it’s the soft side of business that often gets overlooked, but clearly has an impact. The other thing I wanna mention is turning to people for help when you need help. Mm-hmm. , just because you’re the CEO does not mean that you have every answer or know what path forward to take or what to prioritize next. And the advisors that you keep around you are just as important as the decisions that you make. Um, and it was routinely said throughout all of Jpx tenure, there was some ice between him and Bob Iger. And I know, um, Bob Eger had stepped down as ceo, but he was still the chairman of the board for a while. So he was still technically chap’s boss and should still, you know, be reported to or have communications with or, you know, he was there to be available. And so when you stumble into situations like the Scarlet Johansen and the, uh, don’t say gay rules in Florida, like some of these really big things that happened in the last two years in the Disney world, especially politically, PAC never turned to Iger for any insight into how he should respond to these situations. And so I I think it’s like a humbling lesson.

Yasmine (26:04):
Yeah. And that didn’t really sit well with, um, Bob, who basically saw, um, PAC take control away from creatives to, aside from like these decisions and put ’em in the hands of like MBAs, which I know we are, we’re MBAs, but like there ha we also acknowledge the fact that like business decisions are more nuanced than just numbers, right? The human element, the creative element. And I do wanna add that, um, Bob Chek had put, um, someone in re, sorry, let me rephrase that. Bob Chek had put, um, an executive in charge of Disney streaming who didn’t have a ton of experience and is also being blamed as one of the reasons why they had that 1.5 billion loss. And on Monday morning, so we’re recording this on Tuesday, November 22nd, this was yesterday morning, Bob Iger out said that executive and put the p and l and just all the decisions back in the hands of creatives in the company.

Nicole (27:08):
And if you read, uh, Bob Bagger’s book or you look into the movie with him, um, he talks about how creatives are like the backbone of the Disney brand. And if you have good content, you can do so much with it. So I, I think like the couple of lessons here, whether you’re looking at it from the perspective of just like, this is some Disney shocking news, or if you’re actually trying to get some business lessons out of this, and we talk about leadership, have some emotional intelligence surround yourself and utilize the people around you for making decisions and for finding clarity of your path forward. Survey your customers, we talk about this so much, but survey them and actually do something actionable with what they’re saying. I mean, especially the ones that have been around the longest, you know, um, people will always complain and I, Bob Iger didn’t have glowing reviews the entire time he was ceo, and I think he was on the decline as he was leaving. He definitely put Disney in some debt buying Star Wars, you know? Mm-hmm. , it’s not everything wasn’t amazing, but when people start feeling like the essence of who you are is gone, that’s a problem. Um, make quick decisions, that’s another good one. You know, sometimes you can really think about things for a really long time and sometimes you just need to kind of pull off that bandaid and, and get that decision moving. Um, gosh, I can’t even, there are so many lessons I think we can pull

Yasmine (28:42):
From here. I think one big one that I would just wanna add, Nicole, is look back on past successes. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel If something is not working, go back and see what did work and how you can continue to implement those strategies or incorporate them into your newer strategy. I think we, in our industry as like online business owners are so obsessed with what is new, what like this guru is telling us to do right now. Because it’s like the hot thing that we look away from our uniquely you business or I guess in my case, uniquely me business, um, and lose the essence that of who we are and what basically attracted our audience and brought us to the position that we are right now. So it’s okay to maintain something, look back and repeat things that have worked while trying to grow, but going from one direction, doing complete 180 to another because that’s what you think people expect of you, can basically blow up your business as we’ve, um, saw things might go up for a while, but it’s not sustainable. So I really, really, really wanna encourage any business owner who’s listening, um, that while change is good, changes don’t always need to be big, little subtle changes can grow your business in a sustainable way that maintains that brand sentiment and maintains that unique element of who you are.

Nicole (30:13):
All right. So thanks for joining us for this kind of off the cuff episode because we’re just rolling with the Disney news as it comes in, um, when this errors, I’m sure Bob Iger will have made some more decisions in the meantime. So definitely go take a look at some of the news articles about what happened in the last two weeks because I’m sure that we’re gonna hear more and more and plans for the future. So a couple of things to wrap up this episode. First of all, follow us on Instagram at Pixie Dust & Profits. If you are interested in reading or audio books or anything like that, we highly recommend getting Bob Iger’s book. Even if you’re not a Disney fan, it is such an amazing story of how to be a leader in your company. Mm-hmm. . And so I cannot recommend that book enough.

Nicole (30:59):
And my favorite part is that all of the best takeaways that I remember underlining while reading are actually in the back of the book already ready for you to, um, read through. So, um, go get that book. And then lastly, if you’re looking for some business partners who can advise you about things going on in your business, or you need a sounding board because you feel like you’re a solo CEO doing it alone, check out the profitable and productive party. It’s at pixiedustandprofits.com/party. It’s, you know, coaching with me and Yasmine. Every month you get two sessions where we just get to work and two sessions where we can actually talk through the different things that you, you know, want advice on. And there’s also an online forum where you can leave notes and thoughts and other people can get back to you on super small group. We love, you know, supporting all these business owners and we’d love to see you there too. So thanks so much and we’ll see you real soon.

Yasmine (31:52):

subscribe on

subscribe on

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

Nov 15, 2022

Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s 12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Nicole (00:26):
Hi everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:30):
And I’m Yasmin.

Nicole (00:31):
And today we’re talking about onboarding experiences, which is something I know we’ve talked about before, but the inspiration behind this episode is very specific. I recently signed up for a Disney Rewards Visa card. You get a couple of perks with that and it just kind of worked out that I really needed to have that at the time that I took that out. But what really impressed me was that I got that welcome pack in. If you have ever opened a new bank account or a credit card or anything like that, you know what I’m talking about. You get the letter in the mail that has your card in it and it just tells you go to this website to activate it. And you get pages and pages of disclosures that are on those little pamphlet papers with, you know, size eight font that you probably don’t even look at.

Nicole (01:18):
Um, and so that’s the typical experience when you open a new account. And this is not the experience I had because of course Disney has to mag Gify everything. So I got this package in the mail, it had my disclosure information, but it also had, you know, this laminated sheet colorful, magical with, with all of my Disney parks. It talked about how as a Visa card holder you could go to special meet and greet events with the characters. You had, you know, 0% interest on vacation packages for six months and a couple of other little things just, you know, making some of these parks that I already knew about. It was the reason I signed up for the card reminding me of them making it seem more magical like I made a good choice. But that is not all. They also gave four little postcards that were all different designs.

Nicole (02:13):
Um, they were beautiful, they were cute. There was one with the castle with like magical stars around it. I think there was one with Dumbo. Um, just really adorable postcards and it was so unexpected. Um, of course I could send a letter to someone on those postcards, but I opted to keep them and hang them around my office cuz they were so adorable. They were nice art prints almost, even though they were, you know, designed to be used as a postcard. So it was just something that really stuck with me when this happened that I took all the notes on it and I was like, this is gonna be a pixie dust episode.

Yasmine (02:46):
You know, I love Disney and how they take a very like boring, mundane and frankly kind of like stressful experience. Cause like when you get that pamphlet with all of that like legalese, it’s just, it’s a little overwhelming. And I’m one of the people who goes through like all the benefits and you know, elements of, uh, features that come with my credit card because I like to know what I can benefit from but also like what I need to be aware of. And I love that Disney really does magic that unfortunately as a Canadian, I’m not eligible to sign up for that credit card. Otherwise that would be like my daily personal um, card cuz who doesnt love Disney Rewards? Right?

Nicole (03:28):
It’s, it’s wonderful because we were just at Disney for Pixie Dust Live. Mm-hmm . And when I was going around the world in Epcot for food and wine, I used my rewards points. I had $200 in rewards that had been saved up over probably the last two years because during Covid we didn’t go to Disney. So it had built up and I just, you know, went around the world eating and got a couple of souvenirs for my family while I was out all on those rewards.

Yasmine (03:56):
$200 gets you a lot of Mickey pretzels.

Nicole (03:59):
It does. I did have a Mickey Pretzel

Yasmine (04:02):
And beer cheese if you get it in Germany, . So we obviously want to talk about what you can do in your business and what we can learn from that. And one of the things that Nicole and I were just talking about as we were playing this episode is how gifting as part of the onboarding experience just has such a positive impact on the brand and also the experience. One way that we actually applied this at Pixie Dust and Profits live was when we had people register. We actually sent them little, um, luggage tags.

Nicole (04:37):
I love our luggage tags.

Yasmine (04:38):
They’re so cute. They’re so cute. I have them on my suitcases and like, you know, if you have sort of like a common colored black standard issue suitcase, if you’re checking your luggage, a bright pretty luggage tag definitely makes it easier to pull it off of the carousel when it comes out. But we sent it out because we wanted to have a touchpoint in between people signing up for the retreat and the actual retreat to get excited and to hear from us in advance of us all getting together. And I would say like more than half the ladies showed up with the little luggage tag on their luggage.

Nicole (05:16):
It’s so fun. It says, I bring the magic. I love it. It’s my favorite.

Yasmine (05:20):
Other ways you can apply gifting into your business is sending something out with your orders if you have a physical product based business. So I see this all the time. If I order something from a shop, often a small shop on Etsy or online, they’ll send stickers, um, along with their order. And again, you know, I may not have ordered those stickers, but they’re just like a f fun, cute thing that I will hold onto. And like, I maybe unfortunately am in the camp where I just like hoard my stickers cause I’m afraid of like sticking them on

Nicole (05:51):
Things. I am the same. I am the same. I do not put my stickers on things because I I just don’t wanna not use that thing anymore. And then I don’t have my sticker

Yasmine (05:59):
exactly. Or like, I’m worried that I place it on the wrong thing. So like, I have this like one Disney sticker that I put on my iPad. Cause I’m like, okay, this, this is the one thing I’m gonna stick on. And you know, it was beautiful, but like I used my iPad every single day and after about a year it started to fade and I had to peel it off and I was just like sad at the loss of that like totally free but cute sticker that I got. Uh, so instead what I do is I just hoard them in an envelope in a drawer and I just look at them, uh, from time to time. I, I was, while

Nicole (06:27):
We’re talking about stickers, this episode comes out just before Black Friday. So if you have ever seen our t-shirts on our website, they say pixie dust and profits. I bring, I make small business magic. They are the most comfortable t-shirts I’ve ever worn. Those will be on sale. And hint, hint, you might get some stickers if you order them. So take a look at the website over Black Friday. We have some deals for you.

Yasmine (06:53):
Yeah, we had some cute ideas as we were planning it out so you don’t wanna miss out.

Nicole (06:59):
All right, so we talked a little bit about product based businesses, um, and sending something along with your order, but I also wanna talk about service based businesses or even coaching businesses like agencies where there might be multiple people working with a client. So of course the onboarding experience we’ve talked about this before, is so important. And that could include sending a gift. Thank you for working together. Um, I personally like to send gifts maybe toward the end of a project saying like, Look how hard you worked. So I don’t always send a gift right on onboarding. I, it’s kind of personalized to what the situation is or what the project we’re working on together. So that’s how I like to gift my clients. Um, but there’s also the gift of being responsive available and interested and engaged in their business. These are things that are soft skills, but so important.

Nicole (07:50):
Especially when someone has just invested in you. This might have been a scary investment for them. Mm-hmm. , it might have felt risky. Especially right now with the way the economy is having your own business and keeping it running can feel a little bit scary or isolating. And so being available and even if you’re not available to be available, you can say, Hey, I will be out of the office for pixie dust live during these dates. If you have an emergency, this is how you get in touch with me. Those proactive, and I hate that word, but those proactive steps can really mean a lot to the relationship. And that’s what we’re talking about with onboarding experience. Knowing going into Black Friday, who is taking time off, who isn’t, who’s available? If there’s something that’s gonna go down on the site, I know who I can turn to.

Nicole (08:38):
I know who’s moving during that weekend and who not to bother. Those things are so important. And so I want you to keep in mind that gifting and experience doesn’t have to be a physical item. It doesn’t have to be a huge package. It could literally just be remembering a conversation you had during your consulting call and moving on from there to say, Okay, we talked about this, let’s make sure that we address that and we don’t lose sight of it. So taking something traditionally boring, jazzing it up, like your credit card disclosure statements, um, there’s some other things too. So, um, I talked a little bit about how I like to gift my clients. So whether you’re work project based or you have like a certain engagement that you do with people or someone says, you know, I’m moving in this other direction and it’s like an offboarding process.

Nicole (09:29):
You can also gift then, so I, you can call them parting gifts. Um, and so what I like to do is just at the end of a project, I helped someone do a summit last year for example. And as we got close to the date, I know how stressful that is when you’re trying to field emails from 30 different speakers and in your head you’re thinking about, how am I gonna do this? It’s, it’s like a live event. What’s going on? Getting that gift in the mail of, Hey, you’ve got this, look how far you’ve come, this student exists four months ago and look all of you’ve done. So, um, it’s election day here. I’m really involved with my local community and so I am looking for that gift tomorrow, . So, you know, it’s, it goes a long way to recognize that someone’s worked really hard, even if the results may not have been what they expected, good or bad. It’s, it’s an acknowledgement that you were here, you were present, you worked hard. We see you.

Yasmine (10:22):
I love the acknowledgement of the progress and the work that you’ve done together. Cuz again, you typically see gifts in the onboarding process for, um, contractors that I worked with for a really long time. I, you know, I’ll get a little holiday gift. I send out holiday gifts to my clients. Um, but just to acknowledge the end of a big project I think is such a nice touch.

Nicole (10:45):
I think we can also go beyond just the clients that you’re working with or the customer who purchases from you. And I am really big on this. We’ll have some upcoming episodes about leadership and team building mm-hmm. . And so if you have questions on that realm, please dms s on Instagram, send us an email, whatever it may be. But this also extends far beyond just the customer and client. It also extends to your team. Recognizing when they’ve gone above and beyond. The onboarding experience for a new team member can mean so much to their success on your team. Letting them know exactly what you expect from them, what their daily tasks are, what their weekly tasks are. Having regular check-ins and expectations. It goes such a long way versus the contractors who come on and they’re like, Okay, so what is it that you wanted me to do? And they really don’t have an idea for how they fit on the team or what you’re expecting or, um, get surprised by the amount of feedback they get because, you know, they thought they were doing something the way you might have wanted, but they don’t know what you want yet. So this goes far beyond just your customers and bring it to your team.

Yasmine (11:57):
Well, I hope that gave you a few ideas on how you can incorporate gifting in your business beyond just even onboarding. We wanna thank you again for joining us and wanna remind you to check us out on Black Friday. We’ll have more information up on our Instagram and on pixiedustandprofits.com. If you have any questions about leadership, please send them our way. That’s one of the topics Nicole and I really, really love talking about, and we can’t wait to dig into it in a future episode. So email us hello@pixiedustandprofits.com with any questions you have about being a leader in your business.

Nicole (12:32):
Thank you so much for listening today. Follow us on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits if you’re not already. And stay tuned for our next episode.

Yasmine (12:39):
We’ll see you real soon. See you real soon. Bye.

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 71: How to Create Elevated Inclusion in Your Business (Transcript)

Nov 1, 2022

Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Nicole (00:26):
Welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:30):
And I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:32):
And today we’re talking about how Disney makes things feel really exclusive, like you’re part of some club, even though you’re there with thousands of other people, it feels like a special experience because of all these little additional things that they have and they do

Yasmine (00:48):
Kind of like going to Club 33 except not paying the $33,000 initiation fee if it even is still that

Nicole (00:56):
. Yeah, I don’t know. I, that is out of my budget so I haven’t looked at it, but I hear that it’s a really cool perk. You could have them find reservations for you that are really hard to get. So you don’t have to call every day at 6:00 AM or whatever time it is. I am actually terrible about planning for restaurants, so I don’t know any of those timelines. Yasmine does all of that for pixie dust live events. So anyway, what I wanted to talk a little bit about today is some of the things that Disney does to make you feel like really, like you’re in this amazing bubble, right? So, um, when you get Genie Plus, which is their new Fast Pass E system, you’re basically paying to skip the line a little bit. You know, you go through a different line, there’s still gonna be a little bit of a weight, but it’s shorter than others.

Nicole (01:47):
Um, but mostly you’re paying to not be in the sun waiting for things. Um, Universal also has this kind of like fast pass approach to things, but there’s this very dnce. So when you look at Genie Plus for Disney, it’s you know, a couple bucks added to your regular ticket price to do the regular Genie Plus where you can kind of choose one up to one ride on each ride as many as you can fit into your day, but you can only have one at a time. Or they have Genie plus individual Lightning Lane tickets. So these are for the high ticket rides you can buy just for that ride. You don’t need to buy the whole entire Genie Plus system. So for example, we use that to go on Rise with the resistance so we don’t have to wait in line and we also don’t have to buy the huge like Genie Plus for every single ride in the, in the park.

Nicole (02:38):
We’re just getting that one. And so they have these kind of like little options and it almost feels like micro transactions in a way because it’s, oh it’s just, you know, it’s just $8 to go on Mickey’s runway train and um, let’s just add that onto her order so you can get the things you want to get. You know, piecemealed in Universal is like the complete opposite. Universal is like you can go on whatever ride you want as many times as you want in the fast pass line. You don’t have to wait at all. And um, you can go on the same ride back to back to back to back if you want to, but you can’t buy it like a micro transaction. You have to buy the full experience all at once. And um,

Yasmine (03:19):
And it’s expensive, right?

Nicole (03:21):
It’s very expensive and it, it depends on the day, the time of year, how busy they forecast the park to be is basically how it comes down. And so, um, I think when I was there in June it was approximately like 300 and something dollars each on top of your park tickets. So it was a Yeah, yeah. Per day.

Yasmine (03:42):

Nicole (03:43):
So it was pretty pricey. Um, you can stay at a universal resort, um, one of their luxury resorts and you get it added automatically to your tickets. So sometimes that might be more cost effective for people. Um, in our situation it was just me and my husband and we were there for a few hours and we were like, that would be a cool thing to add to our ticket. And then when we asked and got the $300, we were like, No, that’s okay. We’re good. Um, if it was maybe $75 each, we probably would’ve entertained that, but $300 each was just inputted into no, that’s not, not, that’s not happening. So when you look at this like we were willing to pay something right? And Universal was like didn’t have a product to fit what we would’ve paid cuz we like to do things a little luxury but we’re also fr like we’re also just kind of frugal at the same time and so

Yasmine (04:37):
Smart with your money, right? Like yeah you wanna get a little bit more out of the experience but you don’t necessarily wanna like, you know, lead your wallet dry,

Nicole (04:45):
Right? Especially when you know the kids back at the room with grandma and it’s, you know, we didn’t have to hire a babysitter per se, but we had a limited amount of time and we were willing to, you know, make the most use of that time. But $600 when you price it out for both of us was just too much. So Disney on the other hand, if we had been there, it’s like, oh do you wanna do Ride Atuie? We haven’t done that yet. It’s only $8 in the app and we could very much still spend $300 each walking around the world eating all the foods and getting these lightning lane fast passes. But um, it’s a very different experience cause it feels like it’s right in your hands and you have control of your vacation. And so, you know, not that one is better than the other, they definitely are different trips and different vacations, but it’s just interesting to see how you can feel really included or part of a secret club or something with Disney where like, Hey I can get this little add on here. .

Yasmine (05:39):
That is so interesting. So like I’ve never been to Universal Studios in Orlando and I’ve never taken part of that. Um, what do they call it, A max pass or they’re just a fast pass. Got it. I’ve never really taken advantage of that, but I’ve been to Universal Studios in Hollywood or California and it was a bit different. Um, and it’s just like, it’s wild to me how expensive it is and I guess that’s really just a, a plan for them to get you to wanna stay in their luxury resorts because then it gets like locked in and it feels like an overall premium experience. That’s so interesting. You know, one really sort of exclusive and kind of like inclusive thing, I’m just gonna throw it out there that I really love about Disney World is the minivans. And we’ve talked about this like endlessly, but they’re bringing them back or they’ve been back already, they were sort of phased out during the pandemic.

Yasmine (06:30):
And the one amazing thing I like about that is through their partnership with Lyft, they have these like pickup services that you can call if you need to like, you know, head from a park back to your hotel room without wanting to take the bus. And the beauty of it is they have car seats like built in which you’re a parent with a little one needs legally be in a car seat. It’s a pain in the butt. Like I don’t know about you, but hauling a car seat through the airport was not my favorite thing to do. And just the fact that, you know, I could go Disney World, leave my car seat at home and rely on minivans if I need to use something other than bus transportation to get around is really amazing. And the way that Disney does it, it kind of does feel like a more like fancier version of like an Uber Lyft because they’re these cute vans, they’re red with little like white polkadots like Minis bo and they’re all driven by cast members. So it has that like safety element in there too. And I just think that that’s such a neat service for Disney to have exclusively for their park goers. Like just car seats aside. If you um, want to take a shared ride service and you’ve never really taken Uber or Lyft because they don’t offer it in your town, it could be a little bit scary jumping into a stranger’s car, but at least with minivans you know that it’s a Disney employee. So to have that safety element in there as well.

Nicole (07:56):
Yeah, minivans are definitely one of those things that uh, are either beloved or absolutely hated. I think of

Yasmine (08:02):
The community minivans,

Nicole (08:04):
Well I mean it’s just kind of the symbolism of Disney charging for every little thing they could possibly charge for, um, to some and people thinking it takes away from the other services that they offer to get people around. And from my point of view, I think it’s smart to have all these different modes of transportation. Especially like when you think about minivans, there’s a niche market for that, right? It’s people who wanna go from a resort to Disney Springs or from another resort to another resort. These are much more difficult to do with Disney’s regular, um, transportation network. But at the same time bus drivers are in high demand right now and it’s a very specific driving license that you need to be able to drive a bus versus minivans, which are just, you know, Chevy SUVs. So anyone can drive those so you know, it’s in their interest to kind of diversify the types of employees they need too. And if people are willing to pay for service and it offset some of the court costs, that’s great. So you know, for better or worse, some people love it because it’s so convenient and useful and um, in my opinion safer than probably an Uber or a Lyft and um, others think it just symbolizes Disney is nickel and diving ,

Yasmine (09:21):
I have to make it different. Like again, the whole thing about like exclusiveness and really serving your customer is giving them different product services where they’re at and based on their needs and I think this solves like a very real need for a lot of families that go to Disney. But we can save that for another episode. One thing that I really wanna know about Nicole is at Disney World we have like our magic band, which has our tickets on it, or you can use the My Disney Experience app. What does the experience at Universal look like?

Nicole (09:55):
It was actually really strange to use the Universal app. Um, okay, I’ll say because I think I just came in expecting that, you know, Disney has this great system, you can get to everything from their app, you can, I mean even if you don’t have a Mickey Band, uh, magic band, you can open your room with the app on your phone or on your um, watch or whatever. So I just kind of expected that Universal will have copied that by now cuz this isn’t brand new technology for Disney. They’ve been building upon it for at least a decade. Um, and so I’m sorry

Yasmine (10:29):
To sorry to jump in Nicole. Like one thing that I want to confirm is like, didn’t they have similar magic bandy type things at Great Wolf Lodge when you went there?

Nicole (10:37):
They did, actually, I forgot about that. They had a little band that you could use, um, to do the arcade and a couple of other things just basically, so you’re, you’re out of water, an indoor water park essentially, so they don’t, you’re not gonna walk around with the wallet. So they use this and I think a lot of water parks use something like this these days, so that way, so the

Yasmine (10:59):
Buy is not like, yes and the technology is like, not like necessarily exclusive to Disney. It’s being seen in other theme parks. So yeah, it’s interesting that Universal hasn’t quite um, you know, jumped on that train yet.

Nicole (11:10):
Yeah, I’ll say that Universal app was very much like informational based. So yeah, you could see where you were on the location and see what restaurants were around you, but there was no like mobile order ahead. There was um, like the Disney app you can be like, here I am, I wanna get over there and it will actually like, give you directions on how to get there if you want to. So like that didn’t happen. But more importantly for me is like I thought all of my reservation information would be in the app so I could easily figure out like what room I was in. I stayed at Cabana Bay and it was a really large resort . So yeah, like just things like what was my room number again? And the thing that really floored me was they still have the ticketing system where you have a paper ticket and you, um, have to like use your fingerprint to get in.

Nicole (12:02):
And so we had some trouble with my kiddo trying to get his fingerprint right where it needed to be or whatever. I ended up using my fingerprint on it because I’ve done that at Disney before. But we had to each have our own paper ticket in our hand. I couldn’t be like, here’s our three understandably because staff is like, I, you, I see three in your hand, I can’t count how many people came through. So even my kid had to hold his ticket and like, it just was blind boggling to me that I couldn’t use the app or keep that information somewhere safe. And I’m literally like holding the ticket with my kid, making sure he doesn’t drop it because I don’t even wanna know what process I’d have to go through to go get a replacement ticket to get into the park if we were to try to switch parks or anything.

Nicole (12:44):
So that was really frustrating to like have to dig in my pockets to find paper tickets. They weren’t even plastic cards. So Disney, if you don’t have a magic band or anything like that, you, you can use a plastic card and you know, enough environmentally plastic is plastic but they also can, you know, get in your wallet that might get a little wet on water rides or like the paper tickets were just so crumbly and I, I don’t know, it just floored me. I was expecting a little bit more than just here’s a paper ticket, get into the park. Like it’s, you know, the old days . So in that way, I mean, yeah, I got into the park, it served as purpose, but there’s something really magical when you’re scanning into Disney and whether you’re using a card or a magic band or your watch or whatever, the little like Mickey ears, you know, light up, you get this big ding like you can go like, you’re ready, you’re in.

Nicole (13:41):
And it just kind of gives you those pictures of, you know, the old videos of Disney World where they have like the, the rope drop and everyone’s standing and waiting and like you kind of get that ding that that excitement, that pixie dust in when you’re walk in cuz you’re like, Oh I did it, I’m here. Um, you didn’t feel that at Universal. It was like, here, here’s my paper ticket, you scan it and then put your finger here and um, it just didn’t feel the same entering the park. Which I mean that’s my own taste too, .

Yasmine (14:10):
No, but I think, I think it says something about making things a little bit more seamless and even like, like you said, exclusive, more personalized for your audience. So why don’t we talk about a couple ways that our, um, listeners at home can apply these principles to their business. Cuz let’s be real, not everyone has the budget to create magic bands for their customers. I mean, I wish I did, but I’m a couple billion dollars short of that. So, um, one tip that I wanna give everyone, and I feel like this is pretty basic, but I can’t tell you how many times actually don’t see this being done is one way that you can help convert people or make your customers feel more appreciated. Whether you’re a service based provider or you are selling products, is personalization in emails? I know, I know it sounds so silly, but you know, when you open up an email it’s like, hi friend or hey, like you kind of know that’s being broadcasted to everyone, but what it says like, Hey Kel, and it mentions your names a couple times throughout. I mean, you might be savvy enough to know that this is going to more than just you, but it actually does help in terms of making the person on the other end feel like you’re communicating with them one on one, which can really foster that connection and you know, sort of increase the exclusivity of your brand because you are really, um, welcoming people and really making that connection with them.

Nicole (15:33):
So I know that that’s more about like the marketing side of things. So when it comes to selling, Yasmin actually mentioned this when she was talking about how Universals fast pass system is kind of this like one cost all in that is really priced in a way to make their luxury hotels look one more affordable or that you get more bonuses and exclusivity by being there. So definitely think about that in terms of the products that you have, right? So do you have something that’s kind of a gateway to something larger? Do you have something that can be the bonus to the larger thing that just makes the larger thing a no brainer? Because when you’re charging $300 for one person to have a fast pass and your hotel room is $600 a night, if that like early entry fast access to everything all at once is really important to you, that $600 a night suddenly in your head turns into $300 a night.

Nicole (16:22):
And so thinking about those things where you might have something that is really valuable as part of a bigger offer. So definitely look at those things. Um, I think while this is airing, we’ll still be in time for you to get ready for a Black Friday sale. So also consider how um, Disney has this kind of like ad hoc micro transaction just by the rides you want versus Universals get access to everything and how like which one of those paths you feel like fits best for your audience and the type of products that you sell when you’re going into something like Black Friday because you could do something that’s like all of my little products are all on sale, or you could have, you know, an all access path, big bundle or something like that. A big bundle of everything that you have.

Yasmine (17:09):
One other strategy that I actually employ for one of my clients that really helps us drive sales is we do a gift with purchase, but the gift with purchase is an exclusive item that’s only available as a gift with purchase. So it’s not something that you can regularly buy in the store and yeah, yeah, we purposefully make it so it’s covetable so it actually gets people to spend a certain, um, basket size. So let’s say it’s like free with a $50 purchase in order to get that, which increases our purchases. So again, that’s something that’s like the Universal hotels, What it reminded me of is, you know, if you’re springing for that, well then you get this item so it gets sort of bundled in there and thus the investment that you’re making in the the other products makes it worthwhile because you’re getting this one item that you really want for sort of air quotes free.

Nicole (17:54):
Yeah, and you know, having been a consumer who’s had to buy a few things lately for a friend, they have a lot of those out there and I would just caution you when you’re doing it to plug and play with your carts as if you were a customer, see what they would add, see what they need to do in order to reach that threshold to get the free item or the free shipping or whatever it may be. Um, because it happened twice in the last week trying to send some gifts to a friend and I was at like $49 and I needed to be at 50 in order to get, it might have been free shipping, but it was like, okay, so I need to get two pairs of socks and this and that to get over that threshold and then it became like a $75 order and I wasn’t willing to spend that.

Nicole (18:39):
I really wanted to stay around 50. So definitely look at that experience because yes, you want to entice people to get to that threshold, you want them to spend more to get there, but you want their cart. If you take your most popular sellers and put them in a cart and they add up to $38, having a $50 threshold makes sense cuz then they gotta add, you know, a whole product and they’re basically getting shipping for free. But if your best sellers add up to $48 and your threshold’s 50, it might actually have an unintended side effect of abandoned carts because they’re mm-hmm. feeling like you purposely made it this way to make them spend more. So there’s a lot of psychology that comes into the marketing and selling, and I just want you to, to encourage you to pretend like your customer when you’re setting these up and try and break your carts, try and add a couple different things. Look at what it looks like and what it would feel like to someone when you’re deciding what that threshold level is. It doesn’t have to be $50, it could be 40, it could be 45. You can make it whatever number you want, but mm-hmm. , you know, just act like a customer for a little bit and see how that feels.

Yasmine (19:42):
Thank you again for joining us for another episode of Pixie Dust and Profits. I hope you took something away from this episode. And as always, if you ever have any questions or any comments, please DM us on Instagram or comment on one of our posts. We’d love to hear from you. We’re @PixieDustandProfits on Instagram and hey, if you’re kind of feeling disorganized and you know you have all these new ideas and you’re not quite sure where they fit into your current business plan and you wanna get focused, we highly recommend that you check out our squirrel workbook. It’s all about helping you sort of, you know, shun shiny object syndrome and focus on the things that matter in your business. And you can get that at pixiedustandprofits.com/squirrel.

Nicole (20:24):
Thanks for joining us today. We’ll see you next time.

Yasmine (20:28):

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 70: Delivering the Full Experience to Repeat Customers (Transcript)

Oct 18, 2022

Keeping The Magic Alive for Repeat Customers & Long-Term Clients

Let’s talk about what happens when a magical experience becomes a lackluster one – whether at Disney OR in your business. 

Let’s set a scene for you: it’s 2021. It was our first time back at Disney World since the pandemic began. We were there for Pixie Dust & Profits LIVE and Yasmine had been dying to get on Rise of the Resistance. The moment it was over, I (Yasmine) was absolutely blown away. 

However, Nicole had already been on the ride multiple times before. And unfortunately, she wasn’t as excited. 

There were a few things that had been part of the ride the first time she rode it that simply weren’t included that time because the technology had broken down. Unfortunately, that sort of repeat experience takes away from the magic of the promise of Disney, leaving customers more dissatisfied the more times they go on.

Structural Changes

In recent years, likely due to Covid, Disney has made some changes to the guest experience. Certain things have been made more expensive, there are other elements that are no longer free and complimentary, they’ve changed their ticket options, etc. 

The thing is… to anyone who’s never been to Disney World, they’ll likely have no idea about the magic and perks that have been lost or discontinued. However, anyone who has been to Disney World before, and especially die-hard fans like us who go extremely often, can’t help but feel like some of the magic is missing now. 

The Big Takeaway

Okay, so what can we learn from this and how it relates to your business?

There are two sides to this. One side is the business’s perspective — these changes are often a sign of growth and lend to increased revenue. But as consumers, we can end up feeling like we aren’t being provided the full experience anymore. 

So when you do have to make these sorts of structural changes, it’s important to also take into consideration what changes you’ll make to increase client retention and brand loyalty. 

As you’re growing, making sure that you’re still creating that community feeling and having an impact on an individual level is going to be very important. 

When you work with clients for multiple years, you can sometimes become complacent in your work, which might lead to mistakes. So when you have a repeat or long-term customer, make sure you continuously check in with them and be aware of their goals and how they feel working with you!

Lastly, sometimes a quick check-in can be all that’s needed to make sure your clients feel seen and heard! Even if it’s a launch you’ve done before or something simple, these check-ins can be the difference between your client having an okay experience and an amazing one. 

We hope this blog has given you some food for thought! We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please DM us on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits or send us an email with your burning business and Disney questions, and we’ll get into them on future podcast episodes and blogs! 


Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust and Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the Mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:26):
Hello and welcome back to Pixie Dust and Profits. I’m Yasmine. And

Nicole (00:30):
I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:31):
And today we’re gonna be talking about when, you know, your experience, your magical experience just isn’t the same. So let me set a scene for you. It’s 2021. It’s my first time back at Disney World since the pandemic. I’m there with Nicole and we’re there for Pixie Dust and Profits live, which is the first time we were actually able to host it at Disney. Despite having planned this event for like basically two or three years, the pandemic, uh, was not our friend in making Pixie Dust live happen, but it finally did. And in fact, we’re actually going back in a couple of weeks for the next pixie dust and profits live. We’re so excited. But we finally get to Hollywood Studios and I have been dying, like dying to go on rides of the Resistance. We get our, um, Genie Plus had just, you know, made itself available. We paid the $15 per person to guarantee that we would get a spot and we go on the ride. And it is incredible. It is everything I imagined and more, I was just blown away. And when it was done, I turned to Nicole and I’m like, That was amazing. And Nicole, I I’m paraphrasing here, so apologize Nicole if I’m not calling you. Exactly. She agree. She was like, Yeah, that was great, but, and Nicole, why don’t you tell us what the butt was?

Nicole (01:50):
Yeah, so I’ve been on Rise of the Resistance probably five times since it opened and um, now when I go on it, my experience is just to look for the people who clearly haven’t been on it before and live through their experience on the Ride . Um, the, it’s an amazing ride. I, I love so many features about it. My husband’s a big Star Wars fan. I have watched the Star Wars movies and I enjoy them. I wouldn’t say I’m a big fan by any means, but I love the creation of worlds and that you’re kind of transported into a different place and while you’re in Queue for the Line, you’re actually part of an experience. It’s more like a 12 minute experience than a ride. And I also love the behind the stage of how they’ve created this ride using technology that they’ve created for different rides.

Nicole (02:40):
Like te there’s some technology from Tower of Terror built into this, you know, And so from that aspect, I tend to start watching the people who have never been on it just to like live through their experience of this magic. But the first time I went on this was probably within two months of it opening. And so I was able to experience the ride before the primary concern was Q capacity and how many people can they get on the ride every hour? And before some of the things some of the advanced technology started breaking down or just became difficult to fix. And so if you have not been on the rides of the resistance and you do not want spoilers, please stop listening to this episode and go listen to the last one or the next one. I will be getting into a couple of details.

Nicole (03:26):
So I just wanna give that disclaimer. But I went on it the first time and got the full experience. I went on it at Pixie Dust Live, got almost the full experience. There were one or two little things that didn’t happen during the ride that I knew were part of it that, you know, changed things. And so I went to Disney this past summer and was able to go on Rise of the Resistance again. And so many features were not included on my part of the ride because of technology that broken down. So there’s one iconic moment where you’re kind of, you know, being chased by Kyle Ren and you’re sitting there and all of a sudden his light saber comes into the ceiling above you and it just rips across the ceiling like he’s breaking a hole and he is about to get into you on my ride.

Nicole (04:15):
That light saber never came down. There was no light indicating that it was there, you didn’t see it. It really took away from the suspense of that moment. So that was one moment. Another moment is there’s a part where there’s like some cannons shooting and you’re kind of ducking and diving and trying to avoid getting hit by these cannons. And one of the cannons takes too much power apparently. And so they have it turned off now so it doesn’t move forward. So your cart is still going up back up back, but you’re not actually ducking anything. And so there’s a lot of little parts like that. And then there’s one big part at the end where Kyle Ren comes out and he’s kind of about to attack you and then, um, the ship is blasted and the air gets sucked out and you start flying away and Kylo like gets pulled in a different direction.

Nicole (05:06):
That animatronic fails pretty often at resetting itself. And so when there’s a huge line for this ride, instead of going in turning the ride off for a half hour hour, they just kind of block that off. So that part has a different, um, video that you watch and then you move on to the next part of the ride. And so that one’s really significantly changes the ride because you’re being chased by Kyle Ren, but you never get this resolution that Kyle Ren didn’t get you. Um, and so the repeat experience has actually taken away from the magic for me personally on this ride. It’s still amazing. I recommend you go on it. If you don’t know about these little details, you’ll still enjoy the ride for sure. I enjoy it every time, but it just, it breaks a little bit of the magic for me when I’m like, Oh no, that that should be there.

Nicole (05:56):
Oh no, that should be there. And then you get to the end of the ride and you’re like, Man, this will never feel like it did the first time. Oh, that’s a really sad, sad reality when you’re at Disney World. I’ve been to Disney World so many times that I still find joy and it’s a small world and it, it’s very, I’d say it’s very abnormal for me to go on something a second time and enjoy it less than the last time. Cuz you’re usually with Disney, there’s always like Easter eggs and like things to fall

Yasmine (06:23):
More to cover.

Nicole (06:24):
Yeah, like even like it’s a small world as like everyone likes to knock on it, but as an adult when you go on it you can see all these little nods to different cultures and you can see like where this came from and why it was made the way it was. And I really love the art on the outside and um, those are things that you can notice. And I can’t say when I go on Rise with the resistance again, I feel like I found more magic. I feel like I’m just seeing, oh this is how they prioritize queuing and getting as many people through their ride as possible over the magic and it’s just not very fun as a repeat visitor .

Yasmine (07:01):
Yeah, I think about like flight of passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Nicole, we, we together have been on that ride at least like I think four or five times because we go on it literally every time we go to Disney World.

Nicole (07:13):
Yeah, I actually went to an event where they rented out that ride and I was able to go on it four times back to back and its

Yasmine (07:22):
Good every time. Everything’s incredible. Yeah, yeah. It never like stops being magical. Then again that ride has less like mechanical components. So it’s gonna be really interesting to see is Disney starts creating these more immersive rides and experiences. What’s the upkeep gonna look like?

Nicole (07:37):
And this is where my brain is at war because I, like, I go to Disney cuz I like to be removed from my day job of being like a process manager, project manager. Like when I go to Disney, I don’t have to think about the schedule. The schedule’s already been made months in advance and I’m just, I’m there to immerse in magic and escape. But rise of the resistance in particular brings me back to that brain of, well that was really interesting when they designed the ride, they knew that this thing might break down. So they had a backup method of how they would do this. They had a backup video to show in case this didn’t work. And so then my brain is starting to look at the reality in less of the magic, which is enjoyable in some ways for me, but I really do prefer to go to Disney to suspend, suspend reality for a little while.

Yasmine (08:25):
. That’s fair. That’s fair. So one of the things we want to talk about is what are other things that have happened at Disney and you know, the recent past that have changed the experience? And I mean we can think of a couple of things as DVC members. Um, one experience that I’ve actually never got to try and now I’m like not sure if I will, is like the top of the world lounge. So if you are staying at Bay Lake, and I think in the past, like if, if you were a DBC member, uh, there is this lounge on top of Bay Lake Tower, which is right next to disease, contemporary hotel that you can go in and watch the fireworks without actually going to Magic Kingdom Park. And like if you ever stayed at um, the contemporary Bay Lake, like you were very close to theme park, you can see the fireworks from like your, your window. If you have like a theme park view, it’s, it’s pretty incredible. So to be able to go to the top of the world lounge, have a little drink and see the fireworks, and I believe they play the music too, right, Nicole?

Nicole (09:28):
They do, they pipe in the music. We went up there to see the Christmas fireworks when we didn’t have Christmas party tickets, um, with my family. And it’s, it’s so awesome to be able to be up there and hear the music along with the show. It is like a side view of the castle. You’re, you’re basically looking over a space mountain, but a really cool experience and it really is just like a concrete slab that you’re standing on with the concrete wall. It’s, you know, it’s not pretty, it’s it’s just the top of a building and they do have a little lounge in there, but if you’re just watching fireworks, you don’t have to get a drink or anything like that. Um, but it’s one of these mysterious things, right? There’s a elevator that goes there, um, specifically only only goes to that floor and so you have to line up on the first floor and give your name and show your car to be able to get up there. It’s a whole thing. But they’ve changed it recently.

Yasmine (10:22):
Yeah. So we could be wrong. So if you have information that contradicts this, please like message us and let us know. But from what I understand, cause we were looking into it for a recent trip that you can only go to the top of the world lounge if you partake in um, like a dessert party that Disney’s offering that’s like villain’s theme. So it’s now the villain’s layer at the top of the world lounge and in order to go you have to pay like the dessert fee price, which like ain’t cheap. It’s I think 70 or $80 at least per person, which can definitely add up and it just reopened like this past July. So if you want to go and to take part of that experience, you can go as a DVC member only, but it’s also gonna cost you.

Nicole (11:10):
Yeah, and I mean I, I appreciate that Disney’s experimenting as things reopen after Covid, but it never feels good to be losing perks. And so these are DBC things, but there’s also been a lot of changes during Covid even before it. So, um, magic bands that come with your room are no longer free. So previously if you booked a trip, all of your tickets and things would be on your magic band that opens the door to your room, it lets you into the parks. They don’t give out complimentary ones anymore. And before it was just like one solid color and you could choose to buy more elaborate designs. Now whether that’s because more people are choosing to spend money on a design or more people are returning so they’re not bringing their old magic bands and it’s creating waste, there’s probably a lot of elements to why they’ve changed this.

Nicole (12:00):
But it also means that the magic I used to see on people’s faces, especially kids when they had a mickey on their arm and they could open the door to their room or they could check out for snacks, is now transferred to you have to have a smartphone that has mm-hmm a wallet app and you know, kids don’t have that and not all adults have that either. And um, just a little bit different over to experience. It’s, it’s not a free complimentary thing anymore. And um, those have been around for 15 years or so. So that’s a recent change. There’s also been changes along the years of different types of ticket options. So, um, we talked a little bit about dvc, but DVC often follows the Florida Resident Annual Pass program and um, they really increased the price of that and took away perks like memory maker, which is where your pictures are all included if you buy, you know, the resident pass, which arguably residents probably care about the memory maker just as much because they were there often enough to like want to have all of their pictures.

Nicole (13:06):
So that’s a perk that was kind of lost. I jokingly said the last time I was there, like, is parking still included? And the parking attendant laughed and said, Yes it is. You can still get free parking. So hopefully they don’t take that one away cuz that’s a nice one. . But years ago there used to be no expiration tickets and basically what this meant was that you could pay an additional premium on the tickets that you bought and let’s say you bought a seven day ticket and you only used four days, you paid that additional premium, you still had three days left that you could use another time at a future trip and you didn’t have to pay the difference of what admission was when you first paid for it versus, um, whatever it was when you travel later. And that was a really cool tool, especially when things happened.

Nicole (13:49):
Like you get c on vacation and you didn’t get to use three days of your tickets. Today that’s not the case. Um, you buy a seven day ticket, you have like 14 days to use all seven of those days. You can’t extend it, you can’t use it later as once you, once you redeem that first day, if you bought seven day tickets and you haven’t redeemed them yet, you can apply them for a future trip, you know, if your trip got rescheduled or something. But if you went in the park for one day like we did, the other three days are just lost and you can’t get them comped. And um, these tickets aren’t very cheap, especially when you’re planning a vacation like this. So the no expiration option is definitely something I missed because I, I probably only used it once or twice before they had taken away, but I have friends who, you know, pulled out there one day ticket from a couple years ago that, you know, they bought and somehow like a kid didn’t end up wanting to go that day and um, you used to be able to actually like just transfer the ticket to another adult, you know, now everything’s tied to the person and mm-hmm , you can’t do that that as easily.

Nicole (14:51):
So there’s little things that I understand from a technology perspective why they’re moving the direction they are, but from a consumer protect perspective, it definitely is harder to have a flexible vacation.

Yasmine (15:05):
All right, so let’s get into the takeaways for your small business. Well, we’re gonna look at it from both a shop perspective. If you sell physical products as well as a service provider, um, if you sell courses for example or memberships, often what, um, some sellers do is if someone has purchased like your live experience of your course before, um, you have access to that forever so you can partake in the next sort of cohort or live experience to really, you know, benefit from going through the material. And also, you know, increasing brand loyalty. If someone goes through your course a couple times, that’s probably a good sign that they trust you and they need that refresh. However, what are you doing to maintain that experience and actually like retain their loyalty? Often as our programs grow and things get more successful, sometimes you know, we put a little bit less of ourselves into it because there are other things that we can automate and um, streamline. And that one to one connection that you can often have with your customers sort of falls by the wayside, even if it’s a one to many connection, still a connection because we’re automating so many things. So as you’re growing your courses or your memberships, making sure that you’re still present and you’re still having that impact, I think is really important to get people to continue through your product life cycle and grow and learn with you, Nicole, what you share about it from a service provider’s perspective.

Nicole (16:39):
So I think we’ve talked about this a lot where most of my clients, if I had to average out how long I’ve worked with them, it’s been around three years and that’s when we tend to either continue working together or, you know, they’re changing their business up in a way that I, I am no longer the consultant fit for them. And so it’s really, I don’t wanna say easy, but it can, especially as the seasons change or you do the same things again and again for clients as a service provider, you can find yourself in a position of becoming complacent with, okay, I have done this before, I know what’s going on. Um, there might be new team, team members who haven’t done it before. And so when you’re kind of doing things at the last minute or you know, duplicating from before, it’s easy to make mistakes because you’re a little bit complacent or because the team doesn’t have the knowledge that you have in your head.

Nicole (17:34):
And so just kind of warning about repeat customers not getting the full experience mm-hmm. that also applies to service providers too. Make sure you’re checking in with your clients like, hey, I know that, you know, things are kind of on autopilot here and we know what we’re doing and we’ve talked about these things, but just making sure there aren’t any goals that you, you know, have floating around in your head that we haven’t talked about or that we, you know, that keep you up at night. So making sure you have those feedback loops is so important. And, um, I tend to like to meet with my clients every quarter just to make sure we have a plan for the quarter ahead, but go outside of your typical process too. Just, you know, shoot them a message and be like, Hey, how are you doing personally if you’re, you know, a service provider like we are where we know our clients pretty well, we know when they’re moving and when they have, you know, stuff going on with their kids and all of that. So we have kind of a friendship with them that we can go in and just say like, Hey, how are you really doing? What’s going on? What’s keeping you up at night? What goals do you have? So just make sure you’re talking, that’s it. Like make sure you’re talking to your clients regularly.

Yasmine (18:41):
Yeah, I’m literally in the middle of a launch with a client. This is I think the fourth time that we’ve launched this course together and we’re still having like meetings every week to talk about all the moving parts because even though it’s a course that we’ve launched before, before we changed a couple of things this time around, we um, brought on an incredible copywriter. We also completely redid our sales page and those were like big projects, um, that really made going into autopilot kind of non-existent because we were reinventing the wheel just a tiny bit. And it was enough that that regular communication had to happen to ensure that everyone was on the same page. And if it weren’t for those regular meetings, there were a couple things that could have been missed because it wasn’t until someone brought it up that we were like, Oh, right, that’s something else that we have to like look into or make sure that we’re covering off or make sure that we have it work. So communication is key

Nicole (19:35):
And it’s with everything from like, yeah, big ideas to the smallest thing. You know, when you have a virtual assistant who’s scheduling promotional emails and then they’re like, Oh, I need a graphic for this one or I need a timer countdown for that one. And there’s just a lot of little pieces that go into completing even just one piece of work and it, if you start becoming complacent or not thinking ahead about all those little things, those things can start coming up against hard deadlines and feeling more stressful then they would if you kept communication open with team and with client.

Yasmine (20:14):
A hundred percent. Speaking of communication and not getting too complacent, if you are a product shop owner and you’ve achieved, you know, a certain level of success or popularity, it can be easy to sort of expect that to continue. Especially if you’ve been working really hard for a while and all of a sudden like things blow up. Very recently I had ordered from another small shop and when I got my order they included a handwritten note and it was like personalized and nice and like just a couple sentences, but I was actually touched. I was like, Oh, this is so sweet. And it made me think about my product business. For those of who don’t know, I do have a crystal shop lu drift APO carry. And back when I first started, I would take the time to literally write everyone a handwritten note. And I’ll be honest, as my business grew and got busier, I stopped the handwritten component and just sort of included a card that had a little note on it.

Yasmine (21:08):
But it really made me think of how I felt opening that box and receiving that little note and how it made me wanna support that creator a bit more and had me rethink my decision to sort of automate things by taking that personality away. So literally since then I’ve gone back to like handwriting. You know, it’s some, yes, it takes a little bit longer, but my business in some ways is a personal one. Um, and I like to have that connection with my customer. So making sure that you’re keeping that experience the same can be really, really important because I remember I would get like emails back or like messages on TikTok or Instagram with people thanking me for my note. Um, and obviously that hasn’t happened since I went to a more standard note. So you can really learn lessons from other businesses and the importance of sort of keeping some of these brand experiences the same.

Nicole (21:59):
All right, so we hope we’ve given you some food for thought and thinking about how are you treating your repeat customers, your followers who have been around for a while, the clients that you’ve worked with for a long time. How are you making sure you’re keeping things fresh and keeping the experience level what they expect, what they’ve gotten in the past, keeping that level pretty active. So we hope we’ve been, use some thoughts there. We would love to ask you for some feedback and if you can just DM us on Instagram or send us an email @pixiedustandprofits. Um, email us your burning leadership and team questions. So we talked a little bit about working with clients and having teams and some of the dynamics that can be there, but we really want to get into this and some of the future episodes for this season. So if you have any questions about leading a team, working with a team, maybe hiring someone to work with you and you haven’t hired before, or just how to better utilize the people you do work with, whether they are employees or consultants or contractors or even just industry friends that you’ve created an informal mastermind with, we would love to hear the questions that you have about being a better leader and having a team. So email us, send us a DM on Instagram and you might be featured in an upcoming episode.

Yasmine (23:20):
Thanks so much and we’ll see real soon.

Nicole (23:24):

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 69: How To Avoid Business Meltdowns (Transcript)

Oct 4, 2022

How do you manage your expectations as a business owner?

One of the hardest parts of owning your own business is managing expectations of, well, everything. Clients, team members, employees, contractors, our family, even ourselves! 

What does this have to do with Disney? At the end of the day, each trip to Disney should be planned like a project in your business. You need to go into it with a strategy and goals! 

Kids and Clients Can Be Similar

How does a Disney trip with the kids relate to working with adults in the business world? Well, sometimes clients are just like children. They have unrealistic expectations about what’s possible. 

That doesn’t mean we don’t love our clients! But it does mean that we have to approach client work the same way we approach a trip to Disney to ensure everything goes smoothly: plan, plan, plan, PLAN. 

Manage Expectations

Once you’ve got a great plan in place, you need to set expectations with your clients. Setting those expectations up front, just like you would with your kids, means everyone’s clear on the possibilities and what’s supposed to happen. 

Have Realistic Goals

For every new project, you need to set goals for both yourself and the client. Make sure they have realistic expectations before they even begin working with you, as that will save you a ton of headaches down the line. 

Know the End Goal

One of the things that Disney does incredibly well is approaching every new project with the end goal in mind — and knowing their audience.

They have different campaigns for different audiences. Some of their audience (like us) are die-hard fans who will buy anything. But there are others who are going to need more warming up. They need to be sold on the benefits of joining the Vacation Club. 

The campaigns Disney is going to run to us versus the colder audience are going to look vastly different. Community and connection is the basis of everything Disney does, and that marketing tactic has made them billions. 

We love breaking down topics like this for you guys! If you’d like to keep up the magic everyday of the week, follow us on Instagram at @pixiedustandprofits


Intro (00:01):
Pixie dust and profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher, and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.

Yasmine (00:25):
Welcome to another episode of pixie, dust and profits. I’m Yasine

Nicole (00:30):
And I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:31):
And today we’re gonna talk all about managing your expectations. Now I’m gonna bring up a topic that might be a little controversial, but if you’re a parent with little ones or have been to Disney and have seen parents and little ones, you’ve probably witnessed a scenario where the child is having a meltdown for one reason or another might be too hot. They might not wanna wait in line. They wanna see Mickey and Mickey’s not available. And the parent is like insistent that they carry on with their day to make the most of their magical experience. And Hey, you can’t blame them. Can you, I mean, we’ve talked about this Disney is not cheap, but it is, you know, a bit of a premium experience, especially with prices increasing more and more every day. And if you are going there for that once in a lifetime trip, or like once every like several years, you’re gonna wanna make the most of it, right?

Yasmine (01:32):
You’re not gonna wanna have to spend half your day at the hotel room, which is what I did recently. When I went to Disney world with my daughter, I shared this experience on a previous episode, we took her to Disney for her very first time. It was in may, it was hot. And we honestly spent maybe two to four hours at the parks each day, despite paying for tickets for myself, my husband and my mom who came to help us out. And, you know, after a certain point, like we had to head back to the hotel room to cool things down. And the reason why I feel like I still got a lot of enjoyment out of the trip was because I went in there setting the expectation that she is the one running the show that my daughter is gonna be the one who dictates where we go when we go and we’re gonna have to play by her rules, because if I dragged her along and made her wait in every single line so we can get all those character photos, it would’ve been a nightmare for everyone. And I have to add that. I’m very lucky that we were able to make that decision because we go back to Disney like almost every year. So I knew that there’d be future years for those experiences.

Nicole (02:41):
I saw a post recently that said, I’m back for my child’s vacation. And so now I need my vacation. because you know, you sit around and take care of them all day vacation. Yep. And you know, even if you only have one Disney trip and that’s your one and only I think going in knowing the expectations of your family, your children, yourselves, and having some goals in mind is always a good thing. So it’s, it’s funny to think about planning a vacation as if you’re planning a project in your business, but you can actually go to pixiedustprofits.com. And we have a page that’s like, if you’re planning a trip, keep these things in mind. And we’re like, strateg, you need strategy. you need to think about what your goals are. And so, even though my child is older, we go into our Disney trips saying, what’s the one thing each of us wants to make sure we do.

Nicole (03:36):
We each get to make sure that we have one thing. And, um, in that way we know we will get to toy story mania. That’s your one thing. Mom really wants to try the new, making a mini runaway train. Can we try that one? And so when we’re in line for that, it’s not an argument between anyone or not a meltdown because it’s, I, you waited for the thing I wanted. I’m waiting for the thing you wanted. And that helps us a bit. We also, you know, leave the parks early and go back to our room and relax because none of us wanna be stressed out on vacation. Mm-hmm , um, I fully respect other people have different ways of, of traveling and ways of handling the situation with their kids. But you know what, the reason we’re talking about this is cuz sometimes your kids can be like your clients, right?

Nicole (04:19):
They have temper tantrums, they have meltdowns, they have unrealistic expectations. They seemingly wine or have some sort of red flag risk come up at the worst moments. So, um, that’s really where we’re going with with this. So if you wanna have, you know, quote unquote successful Disney vacation, thinking about, okay, what are the most important parks? We actually just went through this process in planning for pixie dust live. We started thinking about, okay, well the last pixie dust live, what did we do? Where did we go? How did that go over? Where should we go this time? You know, what are the highlights we should hit? Because we know, we know we can’t absolutely hit everything, especially when we’re gonna be leaving to do masterminding in the rooms and things like that. So, um, we sat down and thought about what are the expectations we should set for people.

Nicole (05:10):
And it’s, you know, this day we’re going to run around and eat in this particular park. And the expectation is that you have fun versus another day where we’re like, oh, we’re going to actually look at this particular ride so we can understand the elements of it and go from there about how we apply these things to our business. So there’s thought that goes into every single type of trip that we take. And again, setting those expectations is really important because when you don’t, you don’t have them to fall back on or to look to when things start getting squirrly. I think we can all relate to that in the middle of a launch or a new product, or even accidentally posting something on social media that went in the wrong direction and you have to like go through the muddy waters and figure it out. Right. So if we know what our expectations are, we can always look at what’s happening and say, okay, what were the goals again? Let let’s, let’s try and course correct and get back toward those.

Yasmine (06:08):
And sometimes the goal setting in itself needs a little bit of expectation management, right? Nicole, like think about a Disney trip. All you see are the highlights on Instagram, on Disney’s, um, marketing, it’s all magic, it’s all fun. So when you go and you know, things are a little hard, it’s like, where’s the magic, this wasn’t the trip that we were supposed to have. You’re not supposed to be crying. You’re supposed to be like at this restaurant right now and with clients and businesses and even customers, sometimes a lot of the time they go into any project or purchase with certain expectations in mind. And um, they cuz they see, you know, another competitor or another type of business doing X, Y, and Z or you know, there’s someone telling them that this is the type of business that they should have. Yeah. You can make six figures easily with barely having to work.

Yasmine (06:58):
And as people behind the scenes, we know that is not the case. There’s a lot that goes into hitting six figures a year at minimum, right? So there are difficult conversations we have to have with clients sometimes about the goals that they can expect to hit based on their individual circumstances. Right? You can expect to have a million dollar launch if you don’t have, you know, the appropriate list size or the ad spend to sort of invest in getting there. And even then a million dollar launch can be expensive. Again. For some people, it might be easier. There’s so many variables that go into place and every business is nuanced and unique. And you have to take that into consideration before you set goals. I’m not trying to sound like do and glue. You can hit like great goals in your business, but you can’t hit goals based on what someone else who has not looked at your business says you can do.

Nicole (07:49):
Yeah. And I’ll say that right now, I’ve had this conversation with so many people where they’re looking at the results they’re getting from, whether it’s like an evergreen campaign or some launch that they’re trying to run. And they’re like, why isn’t this doing as well as it used to, or I hear people who are getting these results and I’m not getting those results. And again, we talk about this all the time about looking at your unique business and the industry that you’re in and resetting people because most of the time my clients are actually doing really well, but they’ve anchored themselves. Their education is completely out of, I don’t wanna say completely out of reality, but kinda it is kind of in the land of pixie dust. And so when I go to them and I say, Hey, okay, let me say, you see what you’re saying, but then I’m gonna go back and I’m gonna do some math and I’m gonna come back and say, oh, your conversion, rate’s actually 2.4%, which sounds like a really low number. But when the average is 2%, you’re doing well and it’s only day one, we still have six more days to go. So don’t worry yet. Don’t get so concerned about what the results will be. If you know that you have done it strategically, intentionally absolutely pivot. There are absolutely times where in the middle of something, you need to think, okay, you know what? Something’s not resonating here. Let me find the thing that is and throw that into the mix. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not successful.

Yasmine (09:10):
Like for example, it’s really important to set the type of goal and the related outcome that you wanna achieve. Sometimes you’ll do specific initiatives just to grow your list. Other times it’ll be conversion based and the way that you go about it really differs. So if you’re going into a project looking to increase your audience size, focusing on the potential like revenue, maybe generating the back end of the offer that you’ve created can be detrimental because that’s not what you originally set it up. That’s not what you originally set your project up for. And switching goals. Midway can sometimes be a really hard and difficult pivot to make because so much forethought goes into how you set up your launch, your initiatives and your planning.

Nicole (09:59):
Yeah. I would say that for that, you know, there are times where your launches quote, I say quote launches, cuz I think of a launch as anything new. That’s like getting out into the world, not necessarily like a sales campaign. And so there are times where you’re just trying to, like you said, build your audience. Um, if you have followed us for a while, you know that the happy ever crafter is one of our clients. And so she does something every about eight months. It’s show me your drills. You can go to show me your drills.com and find it. She teaches people calligraphy. And so while we’re doing gearing up for a new session of the free show me your drills, we need to bring in new people to the audience who haven’t heard about it before. So a month or two, before we start launching things, to get people interested, get people knowing about modern calligraphy and that anyone can do it and you don’t need pretty handwriting.

Nicole (10:49):
So those are things that happen well before the actual like sales launch. These, this is like marketing launch where we’re just trying to bring in new, new people to the mix. And so if we went into things, thinking that they were traffic generating launches, new audience generating launches, and we are trying to find people like colder people who have never heard of us before, or maybe follow someone who follows us, that’s a completely different approach in how you talk to that person, how long you nurture that person, how much you need to tell them about who you are and what you do versus a launch where someone already knows who you are. And they already feel like they, they know the types of products you sell. And you’re like saying, okay, you’ve been here. You know, you know who I am, you know what I do come on, let’s work together.

Nicole (11:38):
And you’re like sell, sell, sell. Those are two completely different approaches. And so when you go into something thinking it’s a like value based relationship generator, building trust, building relationship, everything you make is gonna be completely different than something that’s meant for selling. And so if you try to change mid-course to be both, you’re gonna end up not doing great on either side mm-hmm . And so it’s really important to set those expectations early on, remind yourself of the expectations you had and measure your results against the expectations and goals that you set. Those other results you got are just icing on the cake mm-hmm . So if you went into it saying, I wanna bring in a hundred new people to our email list and you brought in 105 new people to your email list. Guess what? You hit your goal. If you made some sales, that’s just icing on the cake.

Yasmine (12:31):
Yeah. You’re not in the sales phase of that launch. So now you have those a hundred people on your list. You can get into the nurturing phase where you will generate like additional revenue by selling your products, but not from that initial like list building or audience growing initiative.

Nicole (12:46):
So Disney does this obviously where they have different campaigns for different audiences. They have the like more warm up stuff, clearly Yasmin and I are on the list of just sell them the sell email because they know that they don’t need to nurture us anymore. But for example, if you are a Disney vacation club member, and I’m not sure if you’re a member in Canada, if you get this, but if you’re a member in the United States, you get Disney files. And it’s a magazine that we get every month and it just has different articles and things that are going on new restaurants to try things that are getting reimagined. Um, some news on the vacation club, resort front, and always advertisements to buy into the next hotel that they have. But this is like a value generator, right? It’s keeping them top of mind, keeping them available for you.

Nicole (13:33):
The goal of Disney files is not to sell maybe indirectly to sell more vacation club points at the newest building. It’s mostly to be a value builder, remind people that they’re there and show them all the cool new things and why they should continue being a member and tell friends about it. If someone goes and buys another contract, that’s icing on the cake, this is a value nurture makes you feel like you got your money’s worth by joining this exclusive community. Those are the goals of that campaign. And if they started measuring how Disney files is doing, but in basis of did the person purchase a vacation club, addition to their membership, it’s not gonna look successful. I would bet it’s not gonna look as successful as you know, the fact that I’m even talking about this magazine I get every month. And sometimes they give us little, you know, artworks that we can pull out and put on our wall and just little things to keep the magic alive. These are like the pixie dust things. So

Yasmine (14:30):
Yeah. It’s connection. Right. And right. Yeah. What, what they also do, like you sort of talked about was by sharing different Disney experiences or things that are coming up, it gets you going back and Disney still profits off of that. Because even if you’re using your Disney vacation club, um, hotel room that you’ve already prepaid for, chances are you’re spending money at restaurants. You’re going into the parks, you’re getting merch. They have DBC exclusive merch that they advertise in that all the time. So, you know, like Nicole said, it might not directly result in conversions to adding onto your membership. There’s still some other benefits that they get from that. But most importantly, it’s that community and connection that they’re able to build.

Nicole (15:11):
Right? And I mean, they do like feature articles about things like the rhino or the elephant backstage experiences at animal kingdom. And you might not even know that exists, but now you do. And you might add that onto your stay. So there’s definitely experiences like this. And you know, how do we tie this back to our customer experience? Cuz we’re, we’ve been talking a lot about customer experience this season and just knowing what your goals are ahead of time working toward those goals, staying on the path, your customers will have a least chaotic experience. Mm-hmm because if you start switching back and forth between like, oh, I’m gonna give people free things. So that way they can come in and then I’m selling them something really hard. And then you go back to the free things and you’re going back and forth and back and forth.

Nicole (15:56):
And you don’t think about the relationship with them as a relationship that grows and gets deeper and more impactful. It’s gonna start feeling jarring to that person. And so always keep in mind what you’re doing and how that looks to someone who might be new to you and your biggest fans. So if you look at everything from those two lenses, before you do it, you might actually wanna start segmenting your email list, which is a more advanced marketing topic that we’ve talked about a little bit here and there. But when you, if you have a message that needs to go to two different people who follow you very similar, but you need to make some tweaks. That’s where you might wanna segment, okay. People who just joined me in the last four or five months, I don’t wanna talk to them that way. It’s really important to think about the goals and what you, what you want to achieve with anything you do, but especially with anything involving your customers and your audience, cuz you don’t want them throwing a temper tantrum. And that being their core memory of Disney

Yasmine (16:56):
No, you do not.

Nicole (16:58):
So thanks for joining us today. We got into a bunch of different topics here, but if there’s nothing else that you remember from it, set your goals, revisit your goals and stay on the path. Trust yourself, trust your past self to know what you needed back then. Uh, thanks for joining us today. If you don’t already follow us @pixiedustandprofits, go ahead and do that on Instagram and on TikTok though, we don’t publish there. As often as I know we want to we’ll see you next week

subscribe on

subscribe on

even more pixie dust!

bonus BUSINESs builders

get access

We're magically breaking down big-business strategies for your small business in this pack of 3 mini-workbooks and 2 bonus audio files!