Created by introverted-extroverted copywriting duo, Cassandra Le and Monica Schrock, “Business Without the Buts” digs deep into how to create a more ethical economy through conversations about challenging the status quo, marketing with less manipulation, and creating action for more inclusive businesses. The last episode of “Business Without the Buts” aired on October 31, 2021.
The following is an edited transcript from Season 1, Episode 1 of the retired podcast.
TRIGGER AND CONTENT WARNING: This episode and podcast has references to racism, the patriarchy, colonization, ableism, and white supremacy.
Hello and welcome to the Business Without The Buts podcast. A podcast by a sassy, introverted-extroverted copywriting duo figuring out how to create a more ethical economy through conversations about challenging the status quo, marketing with less manipulation, and creating action for more inclusive businesses.
This podcast is for and by solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who are ready to cut the crap and have conversations that get serious about building businesses that do better for everyone and fulfill your business goals. Yes, because here’s the thing, we call bullshit on. It’s not personal, it’s business because your business is you, and you don’t have to compromise your core values or lose your identity to make the income you want.
Thanks for joining the conversation and let’s explore how to better our lives and our clients’ lives through business and build a more ethical economy. Let’s go, let’s go!
Hey, everyone. Welcome to Business Without The Buts, I’m Monica.
And I’m Cassandra.
Yes. And we’re coming to you – well, me, from the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Vancouver, Washington.
And I am in Madrid, Spain, currently.
We are so international.
Yeah, I know. Nine hours apart. Oh my gosh. Thanks for waking up early, Monica.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I’m in a closet at 8 AM.
This is great. I’m sitting in my bed wrapped in blankets, and it’s so hot.
This is business, everyone… without the buts. Thank you so much for listening to this episode in the introduction of our brand new podcasts and an amazingly fun and sassy project that we’re so stoked to do.
We’re just going to introduce this podcast why we wanted to do it. First, we’re gonna introduce ourselves so you all know who you’re listening to and get to know us a little better.
Tell us a little bit about you. Because we’d love to hear that too.
Of course. All right, Monica, you want to take it away and introduce it?
Yeah! I’m Monica, everyone. I’m a solopreneur at my brand on Unsocially Inclined LLC.
I am a Marketing Consultant and Sales Copywriter. I’ve been doing marketing since I was in college, which was about fourteen years ago, and super enjoy it. And we’ll get more into that in later episodes – y rollercoaster of a journey of internal turmoil with marketing and everything that it is.
But, for now, we’re gonna talk about some non-work related things, which is: I am an introvert. You may have heard in our little introduction before that we are an introvert-extrovert duo. I’m the introvert. My personality type is INTJ Assertive; I’m also a Slytherin, Sagittarius, and I have a super mean coffee habit. And I have serious nerd-jock vibes. What that means is I’m a jock. I love sports. I played basketball throughout my life and in college, but I’m also a nerd.
So I was a kid that was reading books while I was on the bus and waiting to play my games and also just, like, wearing my bands and being not super sporty, but also just totally rocking it out on the basketball court. So those are my vibes, and I live in the Pacific Northwest.
I love the rain. I have two cats. I live with my boyfriend and my best friend. And I’m super stoked to be here and talk about building a more ethical economy with my friend Cassandra, who is going to introduce herself now. Oh, also, um, she/her pronouns. So that’s something I think that –
– is beneficial to say.
That’s great. Actually, I will introduce myself. I’m Cassandra. And I also identify with she/her pronouns, and I’m originally from Virginia in the United States. But now, as I mentioned before, I am in Madrid, Spain, and I’ve been here in Madrid for three years at the time that we are recording this podcast right now.
I am the CEO and founder of my business brand, which is called The Quirky Pineapple Studio, and I’m a Brand and Visibility Strategist. I did not study marketing in college, I actually studied hospitality management with two minors in general business and sociology – and then, somehow, decided that I don’t want to work in corporate, don’t want to sell my soul to hotels. So I thought I would move and teach English abroad travel. And that’s kind of how I started with marketing, content creation, content strategy, but we’ll explain that later.
And I can get into my background later, but other non-work related things. I am the extrovert in this duo, and you can probably – I don’t know if you can tell that I’m the extrovert because Monica is a pretty confident introvert.
I am the extrovert out of us, and my personality type is ENFP Turbulent. I am a Pisces sun, Virgo moon, Cancer rising — if you all know what that means.
Gettin’ into it. Love it.
I actually had to Google that stuff because I was, like, “What does that actually mean?”
I am Vietnamese American, and my parents came over to the United States in the 80s. After the whole war, I was born in the United States. I love eating, I tolerate sweating, but I barely tolerate it… because I really don’t like to sweat. So when Monica is talking about playing sports, I played sports too, but I just hate sweating. Like, I hate sweating so much.
Yeah, I don’t mind during sports, but just sweating when I’m existing outside or inside is not tolerable.
Yeah, I know, I hate, like… I really try to work out. No, that’s a lie. I don’t try to work out. But in my mind, I tell myself I like working out because I love eating. And I love finding neat coffee shops in Madrid and basically just live in my Mediterranean lifestyle as an American abroad. That’s great.
Sounds amazing. And you’re so right on the introvert thing. I don’t know if people would have guessed that I was the introvert out of the door.
But I always get that, and my entire brand is built around being an introvert. And there are a lot of misconceptions about introverts. And that, you know, because I’m not super shy or socially anxious that I’m not an introvert. But…
But there are so many ways to be an introvert that I think people don’t understand.
For sure, they usually just think we’re shy and awkward, and socially anxious. When, really, I mean, some of those things are true. And I was super shy when I was a kid and kind of forced myself out of it, and probably in ways that weren’t so nice to me. But really, it’s about how you take energy. And for me, I can only be around people so much until I find it… feel completely drained.
So maybe an extrovert like you, and especially my best friend, as an extrovert also, those big groups of people and interactions with a lot of people give you energy and give you life and make you feel more alive.
But the funny thing is, now that I think about it, I get social anxiety. Even though I’m an extrovert, like going into new spaces, and not knowing anybody, I think to myself, “What am I going to say?” Let me repeat my little spiel for five minutes before I walk in. And then I have to give myself a pep talk even though I’m extroverted. So I don’t know, I guess it’s your thing.
It’s definitely a thing! I think that one of the most common misconceptions is that introverts are all socially anxious, but also that only introverts are socially anxious. It’s that’s definitely not a thing.
And also, I looked up the shy versus socially anxious a few months ago – because I was super shy when I was younger – and I looked up the definitions of both, and it was interesting.
Shy, is when you just like you’re not scared of talking to people and scared of these situations and getting those anxiety buildups because of it that kind of makes you shut down. Being shy is just not wanting to talk to people. And that was definitely –
– more like me. I just was not interested only in the people I really wanted to hang out with, so it’s an interesting, you know, kind of hole to dive into if you ever want to.
Oh, yeah, no, that’d be very… that could be another episode because honestly. When I was growing up, I didn’t talk to anybody, and then when people ask me questions, I was, like, “Just leave me out of it please, just let… leave me be, let me do my work. And then don’t talk to me…”
That could be my memoir, Just Leave Me Out Of It, Please.
“Stop saying my name. What do you want?”
And I also wanted to note, before I forget, that this, you know, kind of juxtaposition duo with the extroverted-introverted. There’s also another piece of that, which I feel I find really cool and different, which is that Cassandra has a personal brand and also has her own studio or her own agency – and that is going to take over the world.
Woooo! Yes, and I’m a solopreneur, who wants to stay a solopreneur. So when we’re talking about business owners and this journey, I think it’s cool to have that juxtaposition of me just wanting to be a solopreneur forever and be able to have a business that sustains my lifestyle.
I really wanted to take over the world. I was just talking to Monica before we started recording, and I said, “I want to be Rihanna. I want to have, like, five different brands underneath Cassandra.” And we’ve had this conversation so many times where you were like, “Oh, yeah, I don’t want that. I just wanna, you know, live my life, do what I need to do. And that’s it.” And I’m over here, like, “Oh, that gives… that gives me anxiety.” Because I’m like, “AHHHH OHHHHHH”.
I love that.
I need to do ten times that.
I love that.
Yeah, I think when we get into the business conversations, and how we do marketing, I mean, marketing all has, like, its basic concepts and stuff, which the ones that we talk about are going to be very similar, but how Monica and I approach business and marketing are going to be really interesting. Because it’s, like, coming from two different sides.
Yeah, two different aspirations and perspectives.
Very exciting. Very exciting. So should we roll into why we wanted to make this? I feel like that’s a perfect segue. Do you want to start since I started first with the intro?
Cool! So I really wanted to I don’t know what happened. I think I messaged you one night, and I was like, “I think I’m gonna start a podcast,” and then you messaged me back, and you were like, “Oh, idea. Want to start a podcast together?” and that just sounded way more natural.
Mostly because I mean, these conversations that we’ve had before. And I think this is just a great way to explore more of them to, you know, kind of not be taboo around ethical marketing or ethical economy or capitalism and all that stuff.
And I also got really tired of hearing business and marketing group gurus say things like, “This is the way to do it. This is how you have to do it. This is how I got to six figures. And here’s my blueprint”, which I mean, if it works for them, awesome! But I also felt, like, because I’m in the space, I didn’t want to have that narrative all the time. And it honestly it made me stressed and feel like I was falling behind.
And then I started learning more. And because I have a sociology background, I started thinking about “Oh, okay, how is my marketing playing a part in the world?” Like, if I’m teaching specific marketing concepts, who are those people who I’m teaching these concepts to? Is that going to help the world? Is it not going to help the world is actually causing harm in some way, shape, or form?
I’m still learning, and I wanted to explore these topics with somebody, and of course, Monica and I, we’ve had these conversations before, so I was like, “This is awesome. Let’s dive into it”. So that’s kind of my why. And because I’m a woman of color, I come from an immigrant family, I really felt like, even though Monica is white, if you all didn’t know…
I’m – I am pretty, very white.
I felt like, ‘Oh, I can have these conversations with you and not feel so weird about it.” And I also wanted to kind of shine light on. Okay, white business practices and white marketing practices that were just not sitting right with me. And if I’m going to teach it to other people, I can’t, you know, I can’t just kind of say, “Okay, it’s this is how it is. This is how it’s always been”, and then carry on with my life.
I felt like my conscience needed to. I don’t know what the word is. But it felt bad. I felt bad. Yeah…
Yeah, did not feel aligned natural.
Exactly. So I don’t know if that’s kind of like your situation, because we both were like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
Yeah, I feel the same way. And, you know, I would have really been interested in starting a podcast because I love talking about things that I’m super passionate about and have opinions about. But I also had this feeling speaking of like, everything being white, and just white practices, and white people, I was like, “I don’t know if I just want to be another white woman talking into the ether telling people how to do things.” And that was kind of what stopped me.
So when you messaged me that night, I had been thinking about it. And I was like, “Wait! What if? Ifyou’re interested, andwe did this together?!” So it would be a fun conversation. And we could explore these things. And also, in true introvert fashion, I didn’t have to do it alone.
Oh my gosh.
But only because all the spotlight wouldn’t be on me, at least not so much. Like, I love doing things alone, because I’m an introvert, but I was just like, “That’s a lot of attention just on me…”, which is not what I like.
That’s so funny.
Having like this… like being able to like bounce that energy and ideas off each other and having an intimate conversation, which is such an introvert thing not to do, you know – was so appealing to me.
And then of course, you were so connected in business and the things that we want to build, even though we want to build them in different ways. It totally made sense. And everything being like given from a white perspective and not really taking into account that this blueprint maybe won’t work for someone without that level of privilege is something that I definitely want to explore more. And I definitely want to say now that I don’t have all the answers, but I’m actively looking for them and trying to be better and learn and unlearn.
So, unlearning white supremacy conditioning and having marketing and business practices that don’t weaponize privilege is, like, a huge part of like my mission and values. So exploring these conversations, and us really going for it and not necessarily having the answers, but exploring the answers, and finding maybe our answers.
I wanted to start this podcast because to start weaving my passions and activism in my life with the business – instead of them being two separate things. That was a big one. Because I think, before, I did treat it like that. I was like, “Oh, well, I’m Monica as a person, who is these things.” And of course, like, I’m not working with people who are terrible, but I’m also not really weaving them into the core of my business. And I think, you know, this most current uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement really opened my blind spot to that. I was kind of making exceptions in my business that I wouldn’t make in my life. And that was unacceptable.
So I wanted more honesty in business. Going beyond, like, an Instagram caption. So that is something that I would love to explore. And then I went to school for marketing in 2008, so that’s been a while now. And it was a… I don’t know if you guys recognize it that year, but I graduated.
I actually went to school for marketing in 2005 and graduated in 2008…
– into a recession, so that was super fun. But, like, I thought then how dangerous it was. I remember having a class on consumer behavior. I was like 19, or 20 years old when I’d started, like doing my major work, and I thought, sitting there in this class of like a couple hundred people, this could be real, like, this is super interesting, and I like it. But this is also super dangerous.
So I made up my mind, then, that I would use my marketing degree for good – which in the beginning meant that I only worked for non-profits. That has evolved, and I’ve seen that there can be good and bad, and that doesn’t mean that for-profit is bad.
So in the last few years, I’ve, you know, explored doing more ethical marketing in the for-profit world. And this is kind of the next evolution of that, and how I can even, you know, be even better about more ethical marketing.
That’s actually it’s so interesting that you brought that up because I wanted to go into marketing before, I think, in high school, and I was like, “Well, marketing could be a realm that I could go into in college”. And then I thought to myself, “No, I don’t want to be a marketer. They’re sleazy, they just sell you things they try, like, they convince you to buy stuff that you don’t want to buy.”
And, well, sometimes I think back to that old to me in, like, senior year of high school, and I’m like, “I have become the thing that I did not want to be,” and I ended up in marketing without really looking for it. And that has always been like an inner turmoil-type feeling that I have, where I’m like, “How can I, you know, be more mindful of the marketing that I’m doing?” Especially because of what you were saying – marketing is so powerful, like, it really shifts cultural expectations, cultural norms, society, because we are really creating that need or that feeling, and finding these specific feelings and gaps, to guide people to do something, whether that is to buy something for good to buy something for bad. To say that avocado toast is like the next big hit, when it’s not… or, who knows, it could be a whole marketing thing!
But I just thought, “Oh my gosh, now I’m in that spot where I didn’t want to be.” So I… like this entire podcast, I would love to just explore that on a personal level.
Yeah, I totally agree.
And I think marketing, like you’re saying. is so powerful, and also sets trends – like marketing is trendsetting. So, why not have marketing trends set more ethical business practices?
I don’t think being a conscious business owner is ever.. I mean, just like being antiracist, this isn’t a destination. I think it’s all a journey. So that’s going to evolve as the world evolves.
I think, you know, that we could set that trend with the collective of people who want to do that. And, like, and not just us, but everyone else who’s doing it. So I wanted to have conversations that cultivate that, and hopefully cultivate that community as well.
Yeah. Oh, I’m so excited.
Yay. We’re… we were excited before you all, but now we’re…
– like, going through the whole thing. I’m excited! This is gonna be so good. And I’m excited for all the people who join us in these conversations. If you’re just listening, or if you’re coming on as a guest or anything like that… oh, I don’t know. I mean, I’m like, just rambling.
Yeah, no. I mean, I feel you. Super excited. And maybe we’ll segue into like, what people will get out of this podcast. And just to say, right now, our format, so you all know, we’re going to do these in seasons.
So you can binge them like Netflix.
Woo! Although I don’t watch Netflix, or have Netflix. It’s fine.
Oh, wow. That is impressive.
We’ll have some guest speakers that we’re really excited about in each season. And then we’ll also have episodes with just Cassandra and me talking about a certain topic.
So Cassandra, do you want to tell them what they’ll get out of this? Hopefully?
So, basically, like Monica just said, it’s going to be conversations between Monica and I. And then, we’ll be bringing in other guest experts – or just guests in general – where they are experts in their field: whether it’s about capitalism, about decolonizing education, the patriarchy, gender norms. All of that, and anything that could possibly be built into business and creating a more ethical business, as well as being more conscious in our marketing practices to be more ethical in general.
Whether that is using pronouns in your marketing or not gendering your marketing tactics – anything like that. We’ll be exploring all of those topics.
And it’s not like Monica and I are experts in this field. We’re here to really just open up the conversation and learn with you all because we’re learning how to do it ourselves. Like, we have conversations just you and I where we ask, “Okay, what do you think I should do about this? Is this is this ethical?”
And we work through it, because we haven’t seen a podcast or other marketing/business “gurus” share about how to create ethical businesses, or how to really do it in a way where the rest of the world can kind of follow suit. So, that’s kind of what the conversations are going to be around.
And we’ll also be sharing marketing and business insights, duh, decause we are two copywriters, and ways you can own your own marketing – besides trying to fit into something that doesn’t feel good for you.
Because that’s the last thing that we want for you all! To feel like, “Oh, I have to do marketing this way to be successful…” And that’s not true at all.
If anybody tells you that, let me just say that now it is not true.
Yeah. If anybody tries to sell you that, umm…
No way, run away quickly.
So we’ll talk about how you can adapt all of these marketing and business practices into your own business, and marketing strategies.
And then… just fun, entertaining banter. Monica and I are pretty sassy and snarky, so you’ll get a taste of that for your morning Metro ride, car ride, midday drink, snack, lunch… or even just if you’re listening to us and having a glass of wine or beverage of choice. We just hope that you learn something from these conversations.
Anything else you want to add, Monica?
No, just that I am psyched and super snaps to us not being experts in this, but us being very curious business owners. Thinking about how we can be better in every way and being sustainable about it instead of burning ourselves out…
Yeah, that would be bad. Because we want to do this for the long haul, forever, and also…
Forever forever? Sorry, I have to throw it in.
And also, kind of an exciting concept! So let us know if you all want us to do this. We were thinking of doing some live coaching and consulting episodes with business owners about marketing and business.
If you want to get a brand message audit, Monica is great at digging into your ideal audience. I love figuring out your brand message. We can do this live. And if you want that, let us know.
Yes, please. Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. That’s the intro. Yeah, that’s it. That’s us. That’s us. That’s his podcast. That’s what you will hopefully get out of it.
And that’s Business Without The Buts!
Thank you for listening to this episode of Business Without The Buts. As always, we’re your hosts: the introvert, Monica, and the extrovert, Cassandra. Talk to you in the next episode!