Marla Isackson is a seasoned marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience creating innovative marketing campaigns for world-famous brands including Citibank, American Express, Barnes & Noble, and WebMD.
A longtime passionate supporter of women's' initiatives, Marla is the founder of Ossa, offering brands cutting-edge advertising opportunities with a curated network of influential women in podcasting, using the proprietary DIY Ossa matching platform. The goal is to amplify the voices of women hosted and produced podcasters and build lasting partnerships and connections with advertisers, so that podcasters can achieve financial freedom in their work while advertisers can efficiently target newly accessible audiences in an untapped medium.
Marla is also the founder of Likeabossgirls.com, a women’s empowerment platform, which they are in the process of rebranding as part of Ossa.
I think you're really going to appreciate today's conversation because Marla shares the journey of how she came to this mission-based business – and her drive to really show women what's possible in succeeding in the platforms they want to play in is just infectious!
Like a Boss Podcaster
Last year, Marla’s team encouraged her to start her own podcast. She was reluctant at first, but then she fell in love. Then her team approached her about starting a podcast platform by boss girls, for boss girls, which eventually grew into Ossa.
Creating Ossa was a long process, beginning with a deep dive into the podcasting medium, the growth in podcasting, and women in podcasting. And, no surprise, they found that women are not making the type of dollars that men are making in podcasting. Only the 20% of the podcasts that chart on Apple Podcasts are women podcasters. If you go to a podcast conference, most of the attendees are men. “I realized that this could be a really interesting opportunity to help elevate women, help them raise their voice, and get them into a position where they're really talking about the things they want to talk about in a medium that, I think, is very cool and growing very rapidly.”
Leaving Corporate Life to Start a Business
Before launching Like a Boss Girls, Marla you decided to leave your corporate environment to start her own thing. She knocked it out of the park, so I asked her to share what it takes to get through this transition.
The first thing to do, Marla says, is really consider whether you are serious about stepping out of the structure and the comfort of a corporate job. Because stepping into the world of entrepreneur land can be very scary; it’s unstructured, and it can be very challenging. So there is safety in working in a corporation, but on the flipside, there is flexibility in doing your own thing.
“So, the first thing to do is really, really, really think about it from the bottom of your heart. Does that feel right to me?”
If you know that being an entrepreneur is what’s right for you, the next thing to do is to connect with people. You can do this easier than ever because there are so many networking groups online, but there are also community networking groups and women networking groups where you can talk to people and get their advice.
So many women have come before you in terms of starting businesses, so ask questions: What do I need to know? What do I need to do? How do I clarify what my business is all about? How do I validate that it's a valuable business idea? How do you make money doing what you love?
As you're networking, start assembling people that can help you and be part of your team. That may be an informal board of directors, such as a group of best buds or close colleagues getting together and, basically, working to help each other shape businesses or ideas.
“You're only as good as the people who work with you,” Marla says. “There is no way in the world that one individual can do it all. It's just not possible.” So what are your strengths? What are you interested in learning? And what are you definitely not interested in learning?
Marla’s last piece of advice is to start small and to be scrappy. Don't overextend yourself. Some people come up with big ideas then they're off to the races getting VC money, “and that's great if you think you have a concept that will cure cancer or some other big thing, but if it's a typical sort of business that most entrepreneurs start, you don't necessarily need to go there.” You can just start small, test the concept, and validate your idea.
So, it all comes down to identifying where you want to play and how you want to play hard in it – and then, who do you need around you? Luckily, we have boss girls like Marla out there creating an environment and platform that can educate anyone out there who needs to hear this message.
Mind of a Mentor: https://likeabossgirls.com/podcasts/mind-mentor-weekly-podcast/