Content Marketing

Episode 201: 5 Business Lessons from Walt Disney

February 27, 2024

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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

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I want to take my passion for Walt Disney and extract the five business lessons I think we can all learn from this major organization.

5 Business Lessons from Walt Disney

A few months back, I did an episode on the marketing lessons I’d learned from Taylor Swift. And I had a BLAST creating that episode, and based on the DMs I got, you had a blast listening to it.

So, today I wanted to come back with a similar episode. One where I take a passion of mine, and extract lessons on business. Today – I’m sharing 5 business lessons I’ve learned from Walt Disney himself.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

  • There are a LOT of different marketing strategies out there. from content to networking to speaking, to ads, and so many more. And with so many different marketing strategies, it’s easy to find yourself hopping from one to the next – without seeing results. Especially when you see other entrepreneurs getting results from their marketing strategies, when you aren’t seeing any from your own. After hearing from listener after listener wondering WHICH marketing strategy they should focus on, I decided to create a quiz to help you narrow down which will be best for you based on your current phase of business. Head to amandawarfield.com/quiz/ to take it, learn where you should focus your marketing energy, and start seeing results from your marketing! Again, that’s amandawarfield.com/quiz/
  • This episode was brought to you by my book Chasing Simple Marketing, and you can grab your own at amandawarfield.com/book/
  • Find your Rising Tide Chapter
  • Episode 196: Marketing Secrets – What You Don’t See in Someone’s Marketing
  • Episode 184: 5 Marketing Lessons from Taylor Swift
  • This week’s action step: Find your nearest Rising Tide Society chapter and get plugged in!
  • This week’s book recommendation: The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth
  • Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield

Did you love this episode?

Don’t forget to subscribe so that you never miss an episode! Also, if you would be willing to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, it would mean the world to me. It’s such a small thing that can make a big difference in helping me spread this message of simplicity to other overwhelmed women.

Have a comment about today’s episode, or a topic you’d like to suggest for a future episode? Shoot me an email over at hello@amandawarfield.com!

Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate

A few months back, I did an episode on the marketing lessons I learned from Taylor Swift, and I had a blast creating that episode. And based on the DMs that I got, you had a blast listening to it. So, today I wanted to come back with a similar episode, one where I take a passion of mine and extract lessons on business.

Today, I’m sharing five business lessons that I’ve learned from Walt Disney himself. You’re listening to episode 201 of the Chasing Simple Podcast, and I’m your host, Amanda Warfield. This episode was brought to you by my book, Chasing Simple Marketing, and you can grab your own at amandawarfield.com/book.

How do I find time to create content without overwhelming myself? Where should I even be showing up in my marketing? How do I come up with fresh content ideas? Where should I be focusing my marketing efforts? What is lead generation anyways, and how do I do it? Are launches still a thing? How do I put it all together to market my business strategically?

Can I really grow my business without spending all of my time marketing? These are some of the questions that float around in your head when you think of marketing. Welcome friend. This is Chasing Simple, where practical marketing strategy meets simplicity. I’m your host, Amanda Warfield, simplicity focused content marketing and launch strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Chasing Simple Marketing.

I traded in my classroom lesson plans for helping creative entrepreneurs sustainably fit marketing into their business without it taking over their business. So that they have time to grow their business, take time off, and live the life they dreamed about when they first decided to go out on their own.

When I’m working, you can find me working with one on one clients such as The Contract Shop and Rebecca Rice Photography on their marketing strategy and copywriting, or helping my students simplify their marketing and launches. And, when I’m not, you can find me spending time outside with my husband, Russell, reading in our hammock, watching Gamecock Sports, traveling, or forcing our cats to snuggle me.

If you feel overwhelmed by marketing, you aren’t alone. Many entrepreneurs find marketing frustrating, overwhelming, and simply an obligation. They know they need it, but they don’t enjoy how easily it can suck up their time when what they really want to be doing is the thing that they started their business to do.

Which is why I’m here, to help make marketing simple and less time consuming, so that you can spend less time on your marketing, and more time growing your business and doing what you love. Each week, I’ll bring you transparent conversations, actionable steps, and judgment free community to encourage and equip you.

So grab yourself a cup of coffee or whatever your drink of choice is and meet me here each week for love, support, practical tips, and advice on uncomplicating your marketing and business. Let’s do this entrepreneurship thing together, shall we? There are a lot of different marketing strategies out there, from content to networking to speaking to ads and so many more.

And with so many different marketing strategies, it’s easy to find yourself hopping from one to the next. Without seeing results, especially when you see other entrepreneurs getting results from their marketing strategies, when you aren’t seeing any from your own. And after hearing from listener after listener, wondering which marketing strategy they should focus on, I decided to create a quiz to help you narrow down which strategies will be best for you based on your current phase of business.

Head to amandawarfield. com slash quiz to take it, learn where you should focus your marketing energy and start seeing results from your marketing. Again, that’s amandawarfield. com slash quiz. You can dream, create, design, and build the most beautiful place in the world. But it requires people to make the dream a reality.

Walt Disney once said this when asked about Disneyland, and he’s 100 percent correct. Disneyland is one of the most magical places in the world, right up there with, you know, Disney World, and probably the other Disneys, though I haven’t been to them just yet, and a few other special places to me. But it truly is magical, and without the thousands of people that go into these parks each day, It would be nothing without those people.

Disneyland, Disney World, Disney as a company would mean nothing. And yes, of course, financially, right? You’ve got this massive organization. You have to pay salaries. So you need people to come and spend money But even before that they never would have gotten to the park phase of this business if people hadn’t bought in to the earlier eras of Disney into the animation into the movies right by building a community around this magical animated cartoon kind of experience There would be no Disneyland.

There would be no Disney World. There would be no theme parks. So in order to make a dream a reality, you’ve got to have people. And as business owners, that means, yes, audience members, right? We need sales. We need people who want to buy what we’re offering. But we also need people in our corner. We need people who are there to support us.

And cheer us on in both the good times and the bad. We need business friends and business besties and even business acquaintances. We need to fill those circles that we have with people that we know and know of and that no one know of us. So I encourage you to really focus in on community this year. If that’s not already a goal that you have, I really, really encourage you to do that.

That’s the first lesson that I’ve learned from Walt Disney. The second lesson is a really fun one, I think. I nerded out over this when I discovered it last year. But, the Mickey that we have all come to know and love isn’t Walt Disney’s Mickey. When you walk through, I cannot think of the name of this attraction, but there’s an attraction at Hollywood Studios in Disney World, maybe One Man’s Dream might be what it’s called.

I cannot think of it off the top of my head right now, but there’s an attraction at Disney World in Hollywood Studios where you go through and it just showcases all of this, you know, Disney history and Those of us Disney nerds, of course, take our time and walk through it. It’s not a big exciting ride or anything like that, but I find it so fun.

And when my husband and I were walking through it, I guess this was A year and a half ago at this point, we were walking through and reading things and I came across this section that I either glanced over previous times of walking through or it just didn’t click for me, but it talked about the fact that the Mickey we know and love today was not actually drawn by Walt.

His Mickey was what kind of started Mickey Mouse, right? Obviously, he’s the creator of Mickey Mouse, but After Mickey had become successful, Walt knew that he needed to rebrand Mickey, and he actually hired someone else to do it. And so the Mickey we know and love today was, yes, created by Walt, because Mickey is his brainchild.

But another animator actually drew Mickey and created and rebranded Mickey into what he is today. So I thought that was really exciting just because I’m such a nerd but really interesting and it’s a great lesson and a great reminder to us as business owners that it is good. to outsource. It is good to focus on our zone of genius and then bring others in who can do the things that aren’t our zone of genius and make them even better.

Now, I know that outsourcing requires money and it requires profit, right? And that’s not always something that we can do right away, but it’s something to start thinking about, even if you can’t afford it yet. What would you like to outsource? The first thing I’ve shared this before, the first thing I ever outsourced was my podcast editing and it is the best money I spend every month because Without a doubt one this podcast would not continue on if I was having to edit I mean we are over 200 episodes in there would not be 200 episodes if I was the one that had had to edit all Of this time because not only is it not my zone of genius.

It is a nightmare for me and Had I somehow Mustard up the energy to actually edit 200 episodes. It wouldn’t be as good as what the amazing team at Gaffin Creative does for me. So. That’s something that I outsourced and it was the first thing I outsourced, cannot recommend it enough because it was something that I truly dreaded doing.

On the other hand, something that I don’t dread doing, but I know isn’t my zone of genius is design work, right? Now the Chasing Simple Content Planner. If you bought the 2023 version. That version is great for content as far as the planning and walking you through what you need to do and giving you the meat and potatoes, right, of what you need for planning out your content.

If you had that one and you thought, wow, this is ugly. There’s no judgment because I think that too I designed that one and I got what I needed into that planner to test it out To see is this what people want for me to see? Hey, is this a viable offer? I wasn’t going to hire someone for that first one if I didn’t even know it was gonna sell but for 2024 I knew that I wanted to hire a designer to actually make it beautiful as well as functional.

So instead of a hearty meal of meat and potatoes, you get this gourmet meal that could be served in a five star restaurant. It is beautiful. The designer did such a great job. Essentially the planner is my Mickey, right? The original one worked. It was a, a great test. It was proof of concept. And then I said, okay, time to hire someone else to rebrand this.

So it actually looks just as great as the work itself. And it is, it, it highlights And really showcases how great the planner is because it’s so beautiful and fun to look at. Those are things that, yeah, five years ago, I would have never been able to outsource. But as I’ve grown and as I’ve gotten proof of concept of different parts of my business and different offers, I’ve been able to go, okay, I know this is going to sell so I can afford to hire someone to outsource this for me.

Or I know this is going to do something for my business. So I know that I can outsource this, whether it’s something I dreaded or something that I didn’t mind, but knew wasn’t quite my zone of genius. The third lesson from Walt Disney is that all of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.

And that’s the thing about a small business owner. You have to be courageous. This is not what’s considered quote unquote normal. This lifestyle, this instability that we sign up for. I mean, it’s all up to us, right? And especially for those of us in the online space, people that aren’t in the online space don’t get it.

So you have to be courageous. You have to be brave. You have to really believe in yourself enough to go, yes, I can do this, to go, okay. I believe in myself, I believe that I can make this work, it’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to do it. And I’m going to do something that other people aren’t brave enough to do.

And that quote is, it actually was on the journal of the very first notebook I used when I was first starting my business and I was terrified. And that reminder was a reminder to me that keep going. This is something you feel like you’re being called to do. Keep going, be courageous. You have to be courageous.

No one else can be brave for you here. Even with the most supportive husband. I mean, if you’ve read my book, you know that Russell was super supportive right off the bat, but You have to have that courage for yourself, and no one can have enough courage for you if you’re not courageous. And that doesn’t end once your business has started.

It is a daily drawing into this well of courage that you have to have in order to be a business owner. Now, the fourth lesson that I have learned from Walt Disney is that your launches are not What the end result of an offer is gonna be. So if you listened to episode 196, you heard me talking a lot about timing and creating offers and reiterating offers and all of this fun stuff.

Highly recommend that you go back and listen to that one if you haven’t already. But, let me give you a little timeline of Walt Disney’s story to showcase this. So, he began his career in animation in 1920. And then, three years later, he filed for bankruptcy and left Kansas City to move out to California.

So in 1923, just three years later, he begins his career, and then he has to file for bankruptcy and move away. Five years after that, Mickey comes about. Mickey was created in 1928, eight years after he began his career in animation. His first feature length animated cartoon, Snow White, came out in 1937, 17 years after starting his career in animation.

So for 17 years, he wasn’t even creating Disney movies, which is what we all have come to know and love, right? For those of us that are 90s babies, 80s babies, that’s what we grew up on was those great Disney movies. It took Disney 17 years to even get the first one out there. And actually move into that offer.

That wasn’t an offer he had. Sixteen years after that, so sixteen years of creating animated cartoons, Disneyland construction begins in 1954. Thirty four years after he began his career in animation. And then it opened in 1955. So again, when we think Disney, we think incredible movies, we think theme parks.

That’s, those are the two big things, and it took thirty four, thirty five years to get to that place of having the theme parks. And, here’s a little fun fact. Opening day for Disneyland was a complete disaster. There were attractions that weren’t ready and weren’t opened yet. It was so hot that the asphalt on Main Street was literally melting.

Drinking fountains weren’t working, which again, it was very, very hot. Bathrooms had crazy lines because they didn’t have enough bathrooms, they ran out of food and drinks. It was a unqualified disaster. And yet, you look at the Disney world, the Disneyland, the Disney brand of today, and it’s a well oiled machine.

I Nerd out over the little details of operations for Disney, especially, which I’m not going to go into here, but if you also want to nerd out about that kind of thing, head to the Pixie Dust and Profits podcast and listen to some of their episodes, because they really take a deep dive into things like that in every episode, and it’s incredible.

But in 1955. Disneyland opened and was a total disaster and yet look at it now and it’s been almost 70 years That’s a long time. I mean Walt Disney wasn’t even alive to see Disney World opened but all of this has come about over time and through trials and failures and reiterations and improvements and so when I hit this wall of feeling like my business Always has to be changed and I’m always tweaking things and like I’m just never getting it right This is always a great reminder for me that hey Disney never quite got it right either.

There were always improvements right and He had ups and downs as well So if Walt Disney can accept that or you know if he this amazing visionary could go through that and then build this amazing company that’s here today, I can also handle that. And then the final lesson kind of goes off of that, and it’s that Walt Disney once said that Disneyland will never be completed.

It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. And that is just a reminder to me that my business will never be done. I will never reach this place of feeling like I quote unquote made it. That I have it all figured out and that I’m not going to make changes. It’s just simply always going to be continuing.

It’s just simply always going to be growing and always going to be changing. And as long as I can continue to create a vision and continue to be imaginative, it’ll never be complete. Now, your action step this week goes back to that very first lesson from Walt Disney, and that is to find your people. I have been talking about this a lot recently, for good reason, because in 2023, one of my goals was to find more community, and I cannot tell you how great it was 2023.

I had a really hard year personally, but I had my best year in business. Because, and I know it was very specifically because I had community, and not just financially my best year in business, but mentally my best year in business. So, find your community, and if you need help doing that, I really recommend, here’s your action step, to find your nearest Rising Tides Society chapter and get plugged in.

I absolutely adore the Rising Tide Society. I love what their mission is. I help with their marketing. It is a non profit that is really passionate about helping connect entrepreneurs and creative entrepreneurs in the online space to Build community over competition. And so so you can find your nearest chapter for free I will link in the show notes where you can do that And I just cannot recommend it enough go try it out again.

It’s free You can go get plugged in with other people in your community Which is so nice to be able to meet up in person with other entrepreneurs And that’s your action step for this week Now, your book recommendation is The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth. And I have to be honest, I don’t remember anything about this book.

Um, I read a lot faster than I record podcast episodes, and so I am still recommending 4 and 5 star books from 2022. And this was at the tail end of 2022 when I read this, and so I don’t remember what it’s about, and looking up the description didn’t help jog my memory, so I don’t remember what it’s about.

I’m, it’s a thriller of some sort, um, kind of a mystery thriller, so if you like those types of books, I did rate it very highly, I just don’t remember what it’s about. So I will link to it in the show notes and you can check it out yourself, but The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth. And now, my friend, until next time, I hope you’ll go out and uncomplicate your marketing abyss.

Thank you so much for joining me here today, friend. You can find this episode’s show notes, as well as all of the resources you need to simplify your marketing, over at amandawarfield. com. If you liked what you heard here today, be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode. And if you could take a moment to leave a rating and review, it would truly mean the world to me.

Ratings and reviews are the number one way that you can support a podcast. And ensure that it sticks around for many more episodes to come. I’ll see you next time. Now go out and uncomplicate your marketing and business.

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