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The Knowledge Shop

The Knowledge Shop

By Tori Hanson
A podcast following my journey launching and building a startup - the highs, lows and the many many challenges on the way.

I'm Tori Hanson, a corporate convert trying to make it in a startup world.
My startup - The Knowledge Shop, is democratising entrepreneurship. Why if there are tools and platforms out there to help you learn a language, loose weight, frankly - help you learn anything, isn't there one to make starting and building a business easier?

This podcast follows that journey - however long it takes, as i ideate, research, build and grow, in order to help more startups make it.
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25% - that's how much my imposter syndrome's undervaluing my abilities! Episode 29
Ahoy! We are on a cruise ship. Massive shout out to Virgin Voyages, for this highly anticipated trip. Since the launch party in ~2017, to today in 2022. It's been a long time coming, and am beyond excited to be here, to shake my phone for champagne (IYKYK), and just have some fun! The name of this episode says it all! I finally realised how much imposter syndrome was undermining how i felt, and undervaluing my skillsets, to an average of 25%. It took a mini eureka moment around my MBA to realise how much it was impacting me. Specifically, I realised that every assignment i submitted, I  got a much better grade than i thought i would. On average 25% better. Now this isn't me being coy - i didn't tell anybody what i thought i would get, so it was literally my head telling me what it though - how wrong is that! So now when i feel unconfident, i am going to try and remember that whatever i feel, at least 25% more than i think, to not let it undermine my capabilities. Next up is power! Owning my own. Other people can ask, but so can i. Other people can say no, and so can i. As i build my businesses, really important to remember that, and own my skills and take, don't give away opportunities. Finally - massive congrats to Rita Kakati-Shah for her incredible lifetime achievement award by President Biden. For all of her fantastic work supporting women and minorities achieve their full potential and help make the world a better place. If only we could all be 10% of Rita, the world would look very different!
January 21, 2022
Be Unstoppable - it only takes a lipstick!
Talking today about: Community and reaching target audiences. If you remember nothing else - start small, and grow from there. Flybridge - Great Step by step process to follow. Thank you to Lolita Taub for recommending it. Framework you can use - if you don't like blank pieces of paper Communities of Communities - learn from others. Thank you Common Room Looking for GenZ-ers? Stumbled on a fab event that Lerrer Hippeau and GenZ VC put on. To reach that younger demographic (for all things VC, marketing, audience building etc) All sessions were recorded. So go listen.  To make you stronger / Own your Power In moments of doubt, you need a visual reminder of how amazing you are. That is now my brand new Unstoppable Lipstick from Cindy Gallop and Bossy Cosmetics, To help others feel stronger Share how you are feeling, and your challenges. By vocalising them i guarantee it will help reduce their impact, and will very quickly make you realise that you are not alone in feeling anxious, overwhelmed etc. So share away, and help others - I bet there are more people around you struggling than you know, and by sharing, they will feel able to do the same. In Person Events Free Tuesday Jan 18th? Come to the next NYC Entrepreneurs' coworking session. Very kindly supported by Nomadworks. Book here, and see you soon!
January 14, 2022
Throw a snowball, find your energy - Episode 27
Happy 2022 😁, and hello from a very snowy New York. Today we talk about community building and focus and motivation. I hadn't realised how much energy i had lost from not having conversations with Knowledge Shop founders over the Christmas break, until they started again. It was like night and day. I am so greatful to be working with these founders, and helping them build their companies. Luckily, even though i was lower energy, and pretty lost with dissertation stuff too, I just kept showing up. I didn't have answers, but i stayed to my routine of getting up each day and going to wework to work, and or the communal room in our apartment. Trying to work from the flat itself is a complete no no. And if i try, it will never happen (unless its night and the husband is already in bed). So as promised, here are some tools / resources i have found about community and motivation, but i would love to hear yours too. What do you use? Where do you go? Community Building 1. The handily named, community building framework, and related tools 2. Listen to recordings from the GenZ marketing event, that Lerrer Hippeau and GenZ VC put on last year. Some great panels and tips shared. 3.  A community of community managers (found via the GenZ event). Check out and their Slack group too. Motivation 1. Talk to someone - a friend / fellow founder. Just get out of your head. 2. Talk to yourself. Vocalising it can make it sound so much simpler. Pretend you are giving a friend advice. 3. Pomodoro technique. Work in 25 minute chunks. The deadline and breaks helps with energy conservation and motivation. 4. Throw a snowball and smile. It will make you feel better.
January 07, 2022
Yorkshire puddings, startup innovation / ideation, and the guilt of deciding to skip recording for a week
I think the randomness of this episode's title, sums it up entirely. You have been warned! But before we get in..... public health warning. This is not the best-sounding episode, clearly my airpods were playing up - so i hope you can forgive the tinniness. Now that's out of the way, let's dive in..... I took a week off from recording over Christmas. It just didnt feel right, and frankly i was feeling pretty unmotivated. But then i felt like i was giving up and failed! Why? The cadence of recording is completely on my schedule, it's my story, and the world does not end as a result - but despite that i felt bad. It also felt rebellish and now in hindsight the right thing to do. But I definitely need to use this as a learning opportunity to be kinder to myself, and not do things just for the sake of it. I can and should say no - including to myself! Now, some really important information....Yorkshire Puddings.  For me, one of the most Christmassy foods you can have is the Roast for lunch, and that has to include Yorkshire puddings.... Fluffy and battery, perfect with lots of gravy. In the US the closest thing is a popover, but that really is very different. So head to the Churchill Tavern in NYC, for one of their roasts (only on Sundays) if you want to try, or else here's a recipe to make your own.  You will not be disappointed. Now that you are open to trying new things, let's connect this to entrepreneurship.... I want to help as many people on their startup journey as possible, so here are some useful tools and techniques to help you ideate and stay motivated, being open-minded to Yorkshire puddings, definitely also helps. Ikigai - use this framework to brainstorm new ideas. It looks to find your sweetspot, by considering things that you love, that the world needs, your strengths and importantly what you can be paid for. Where they overlap, is where you are supposed to be. Unfollow people who don't serve you! I know that subconsciously or not, i look for certain people's names on Linkedin. To see what they are doing, and still to try to please them, hope that they respect what i am doing. But i know, that is a futile and thankless task. They make me feel bad, and impact my ability to be my best self. I therefore unfollowed them, and gave myself permission to let go. It already feels really liberating, I'd encourage you to try that too. Chasing Dopamine highs Chasing dopamine highs. We all need dopamine, to help us strive and keep going. But too much, makes it harder to achieve the goals. Think alcohol - the more you drink, the more you need to reach the same highs. Listen to this great episode by Stanford professor Andrew Huberman.  To maximise your focus and to best stay on track, you need to regulate the tasks you perform, and what you consume (randomly), so that there is a more regular process of “searching” for it, like we used to as cave people. Need more innovation ideas? Check out the Board of Innovation. I particularly like the "Opposites approach" or Flip the narrative.
December 30, 2021
I got knocked down, but i got back up - Episode 25
No private life, as a business owner. When you are sick, you still have a duty of care. That's hard to get your head around, but you do it becauase its important and the right thing to do. No new tech insights this week, but i did have a fab sell out event on Monday for the coworking meetup, including a super mini consultancy session with a guy who uses Lego to facilitate sessions. Go check him out, if you want some tips to help improve team building / problem solving. Thanks again, to Cityspire for hosting our coworking meetup. It really is a very special venue. Let's try to get next week's episode in on the day it's due now, shall we?
December 20, 2021
Episode 24 - It's a Sell out & Becoming the Automation Queen (well its an aim at least)
Happy nearly Christmas :) Hello from Bloomingdales (well opposite it, looking at beautiful festive windows). Busy time of year, work and social wise - but its definitely feeling productive, which is great! 1. Monday's coworking meetup is a sell out! 15 people have tickets, to come and work together in person. Should be another great event, and another big big thank you to Studio by Tishman Speyer for hosting us. 2. The Alpha Programme for The Knowledge Shop is up and running. It's been great working with people, and sharing resources etc. To be as efficient as possible, i am trying to automate lots of the "busy" work, but very much in the "doing things that don't scale" mode right now. Very tempted with a Google Script once i know a bit more! This episode is festively short so you can go join one of your holiday parties. Exciting times everyone - have a great week, and speak soon. 
December 11, 2021
Episode 23 - Productivity Hacks, Making (some) money & hi to Belarus
Busy Busy Busy…. Dissertation melt downs - enough said! Focus today on TKS and Coworking Group, but first a few quick soundbites: 1. Hi to our first listener from Belarus. 2. It's a Christmas Cracker! A busy / social time of year, but had a fun event Thursday. Meeting new founders and other Brits abroad - thanks to Dan and Rich for organising. 3. Productivity Hacks galore, curtesy of the latest founder’s group session via Web Scraping (via Day One too) Octoparse - thanks Sam Lead Gen - Project management: App Integration - more powerful than Zapier apparently… Deepdives: Coworking Group: another great session, this time with more people and in a beautiful space. Yes sponsored by Studio by Tishman Speyer - but WOW, it is gorgeous! Go check out some of their locations. Def not making millions off these, but nice to just meet new people. Next event Dec 13th, buy a ticket here.... TKS: All 5 offers to alpha applicants are out. 4 Confirmed, and one waiting to hear back on. First call - so exciting, and nerve-racking too. But the journey has begun! Now need to start getting rid of busy work (hence those productivity hacks)! Watch this space, but may even get a script written to pull / categorise content from my emails, into a spreadsheet to make it easier to find….. More next week
December 04, 2021
Episode 22 - Making progress & Getting Sponsors
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It's been a week and a half, but so excited to see the momentum and progress happening with both The Knowledge shop and the Meetup group. The Knowledge Shop: Applications for the alpha programme closed on Sunday. I wanted to get 5 people, and ended up with 9. Can not believe that at all, and very happy. Now going through them and thinking about who i can most help, and will give updates to everyone this week. To help keep me honest / manage everything once we launch, i am likely using Hubspot and Zapier. Hope is that i can better organise all the info, and automate a lot of the operational activities that way. Watch this space, i think it is going to be a learning curve! For the NYC Entrepreneurs Coworking meetup group (mouthful i know), we now have nearly 80 members!! Can not believe that at all. Our next event is Tuesday next week (30th November) AND.... we have a sponsor for it! Big thank you to the Studio by Tishman Speyer team, who are helping us for the next two events. This means so much. Excited to see their space, and meet even more super founders next week. Now only two spots left, so if you haven't RSVP's yet, make sure you do it ASAP! Only $10. That's it for another week. Have a great Thanksgiving, and go eat some Turkey (or meal of choice) xx
November 25, 2021
Episode 21 - The week she shipped :)
A week of wins - i dont think i've said that before. 1. The Knowledge shop full applications are now coming through to be Alpha Testers. Before, it was really more expression of interest, with people sending in name and email address. I have since then sent out an email with more information and a larger application form. 30 people expressed interest, and I have 4 people fully applied already. So it looks like i will make it to five, but would be good to have a few more too. To everybody who applied so far - thank you so much. You are all amazing. Will do a bigger shout out for you next week. 2. The NYC Entrepreneur's coworking meetup group. Hit a major milestoe. From zero nine days ago, we now have 65 members! We also held our first event yesterday, and i got to meet 7 incredible founders from across the world, who happened to be in NYC. All building such different businesses. I said, i'd link through to them so here goes: - e-commerce customer experience (basically making the products that you see as relevant to you as possible) - the coolest merchandise and experiential marketing opportunities possible (fellow Day One alum) Shanthi's Snacks - Indian snacks. Right now they are looking for beta tasters (i def signed up for that job) - Help you stop procrastinating, and keep moving forward (Sounds perfect to help with The Knowledge Shop Luck Place - off shore developers. We all need more developers, at an affordable price. Next meet up is November 30th, come join. It would be great to see you in person. Also thank you to for launching the fab new events section on their site. Attended the first Manhattan event last night, and met even more incredible people. Looking forward to the next one.
November 18, 2021
Episode 20 - We have registrations and an NYC meetup
So, i launched and more importantly told people about it! It's on various different Slack groups i belong to, although i think i forgot Chief after everything - must rectify that! Also - i launched an NYC coworking meetup group. I felt like i could use the energy, and hopefully it would be a great new way to meet new people too. So - did people respond??? YES THEY DID We have registrations! I think we will fill both the 5 slots for the Alpha programme, and have another 5 for the coworking meetup. Just looked at the stats actually for the meetup, and have 8 people already signed up. I know two people from Day One, but not the others, so should be good. Shout out to Skippy - for believing in me, your comment out of the blue meant so much. Know that i love what you are doing, and am 100% cheering you on. Also - remember that putting stuff out into the either - makes things happen. I am now connected to one of the people overseeing the Techstars NYC newsletter, who said they would publish my future meetups (it goes to 15k people 😁), and also another VC reached out about one of their portfolio companies. Exciting times!!!
November 11, 2021
Episode 19 - Screw it, let's do it. The Knowledge Shop's Alpha programme is open for applications
Wondered why I have been a little MIA recently? Those following my podcast will know I came down with Shingles - ouch ouch ouch! Luckily I am out the other side. So after a little R&R, and a lot of self-talk, I am excited to say that I made it Linkedin official and opened The Knowledge Shop up for it's first Alpha testers. Now just need to keep sucking up the fear, and tell more people in my network about it - think Chief, Day One etc. To get there, repeating a lot the following mantra’s: Richard Branson - Screw it let’s do it Reid Hoffman “If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late” So, does this sound like you (or somebody you know)? Early stages of building a business Looking for some extra support Prepared to be a guinea pig, as we build together Happy to give feedback Then apply today. To start, we’ll just have 5 spaces (and they are free), so we can all learn together and begin making the world that bit better one startup at a time! So if you are an entrepreneur, or somebody who is and might benefit from some extra encouragement / resources, visit and fill in the initial form. We’ll be in touch with a more complete
November 08, 2021
Episode 18 - Why is it so hard to be kind to yourself?
Clearly not a lot of progress since Sunday - but coming slowly out of the drug haze, which is just as well as I am at another airport, heading back home for a girly weekend with my mum. Despite being ill, struggling with lack of progress. Need to remember to be kind to myself. Especially right now. Which is proving much harder than i would like. I need to be more focussed, to give myself permission to not do things, and relax a bit more, be less scattered. But need more accountability to force progress (whilst being kind). At what point is lack of progress an excuses? Imposter Syndrome The importance of a coach / accountability. You don’t want to disappoint somebody else - goes back to having a purpose/ In theory the founder groups im in, should be working with this, but it isn't - why not? People not similar enough? Too far apart? Not enough structure? Not able to feel vulnerable? Feels too transactional? Thank you to Jessica for recommending Deep Work: the importance of not being reactive, and really adding value. The example provided being, do you want to write a load of emails, or a book? Goals and targets for accountability: 1. 2 in person meetings a week. For energy! 2. Startup work is Wednesday aftie to Friday.
October 29, 2021
Episode 17 - I got sick, female founder shoutouts and awful jokes
Short and sweet - this week has been tough - hence the delayed publication. Struck down by shingles, so basically spent the week rattling from all the drugs and pain killers. Hopefully coming out the other side now though. That said, I did speak / catch up with some other female founders before I was struck down. Such inspirations to hear about their startup journeys, and the struggles they have faced Yet - their resilience, and belief in their mission is truly inspiring. I need to surround myself with more people like this to keep me on track. So - please check out: - Beautiful, plant-based intimate care for your bootylicious body Awkward Essentials - the world's first after sex clean up sponge In fact let’s keep the love going, with a few other fab female founded startups where I know the founders, and who are doing amazing things: - Custom handprinted and made to order clothing, showcasing your and your brands personality. - Tarot cards - your everyday magic starts here - Softly sparkling craft tea infusions. So - although I think it is safe to say that minimal TKS progress was made this week, I hope this helps raise the profile of a few more founders, changing the world in their own way. Ps - when things did get a little tough this week, I Googled to find some websites to try to perk me up and found some video clips and jokes that made me smile. Definitely recommend doing the same, if you ever find yourself either under the weather like I was, or feeling down for any reason - business or personal. So I hope that these make you smile too. Best Dad jokes - Home alone “Iron in the basement”- Finding Nemo “Natural blue” and so many other funny scenes. (And always remember to just keep swimming” - My personal favourite however will forever always be….. “What’s brown and sticky”??? Answer - “A stick” And with that, see you in a few days…..
October 24, 2021
Episode 16 - Any revenge bedtime procrastinators in the house? Thanks Adam Grant
Three key areas discussed this week, instead of soundbites and a deep dive. A lot of psychology / mindset stuff from my life, which I believe can apply directly to startup life too. If you struggle with imposter syndrome, and that manifests itself in delayed decision making etc, then how can it not?? Don’t let good be the enemy of the great. Nobody cares about what my MBA grade is going to be - just me. In the long term, I will care more about having built a successful business. So let go, and move on. Finding your power. I have felt really dejected and like I am a real imposter recently, but a few conversations recently reminded me of how far I have become, how much I can help people (ie sharing insights with a new female entrepreneur), and that my prior life and learnings still have value. I felt so much more empowered following conversations with people - as opposed to in my head. This I think is key to staying motivated and making progress. Do you revenge bedtime procrastinate? I bet you do. It can be a symptom of languishing, and is a form of self sabotage. Learnt this from a recent episode of Work Life from Adam Grant. Basically you are looking for excitement in a blah day. So, taking these three aspects in turn and in combination, it is so apparent how much mindset contributes to either making progress or the lack thereof. The more we can do to boost happiness and self-confidence etc, the more progress we will all make. I am therefore looking to incorporate ways to address these in the knowledge shop MVP. More to come on that front. But sign ups are now open.
October 14, 2021
Episode 15 - An episode of two halves, the pre and post pitch
So a day late, but i have a good reason. Yesterday was "The pitch" final for the accelerator i have been talking about. Funnily enough, it was a crazy few days leading up to it and an even crazier morning. After the event ran for 3 hours, i was perhaps unsurprisingly a little drained! However, what i did do, was record a clip before i pitched, and then did a retrospective afterwards. So that's what you are listening to today. A two-parter if you will. (assuming it works). Part 1 - background and the 60 second pitch i had to deliver. Part 2 - how it went... spoiler, i didn't win, but what i learnt and how the whole process has helped me. It helped provide accountability, and achieve progress - prototypes, updated website and branding. Got to practice my sales message Understand what folks hear when i share it, and the questions they ask (be able to read between the lines here) Practice answering questions - this was my first time. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Its a journey, and they are going to keep coming! Remember not to compare your journey / progress with others. Given i was pre-product, and they all had paying customers, it was pretty easy to see we were in different leagues. In other news - shoutouts and recommendations Dan, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your help and support so far. It means so much. For folks in the entrepreneurial space, looking to scale their sales processes - check out MindRacer Website onboarding forms, using Typeform Check out my updated website - not entirely happy with it yet, but it's an improvement. Let me know what you think....
October 08, 2021
Episode 14 - Don't be a label, be your own founder
It’s autumn! (No pumpkin spice in this household 😝 Let’s dive in….. Quick bites: How I make the show: Podcast notes throughout the week and reflection on what’s been going on. The weekly cadence acts as a forcing mechanism to do this, and take time to be honest with myself. What am I really feeling what is really holding me back, what help do I really need? For New podcast artwork: Photopea - Edit images for free Create podcast templates with Canva Save Money - Founder perks / promo codes discounts: They can save you money, make sure to sign up / use them: Always search for promo codes - use Google search, member groups, social media eg Reddit, industry forums. Student discounts if you are one Founder Specific Channels - even if paid, you can save a lot of money across eg AWS, Docsend, Canva etc etc. Different rates on them, search across and see what offers the best for each particular purchase. Consider: Techcrunch, Day One, FoundersCard , Deep Dive: Asking permission / Justification In corporate, you are doing something for somebody else. You don’t self doubt about it, they say, you interpret and do. Startup life is hard - as you are the brand. So I find it hard to not second guess. The industry is designed to go against founders from atypical backgrounds, as they want to de-risk their investments (time / financial / your emotions) Leading with “Why you”, why do you have “Product Market Fit”? Means you are constantly asking and having to justify, encouraging self doubt But… did Mark Zuckerburg and Brian Chesky have founder market fit? Were they social media or travel execs? Or were they just curious and their own customers? Don’t underestimate the value that an outsider brings, with out of the box thinking. How I handled this / reminded myself i can do this? Whilst suffering serious self doubt, like a beacon I listened to the Zero to One podcast, and an interview with the CEO of Eventbrite - Julia Hartz (with no tech / founder market fit background). And I quote….. “You don’t have to be a crazy entrepreneur to do something. You don’t need a label”. You don’t have to have a background to doing something: Just dig in and start. Don’t wait for permission. If you have skills in critical thinking, are a fast learner and passionate about the problem - that’s all you need. Now I feel so much better again. I need to keep this on replay to remind myself, I am not here to ask permission. I am here to do and make a difference. I am here to do me and hopefully help the world as a result. Resources Photo editing - Photopea Zero to one podcast - Julia Hartz of Eventbrite Canva - podcast templates Perks: Techcrunch Founderscard Day One Startup School
September 30, 2021
Episode 13 - My live studio recording and the Israel effect
This episode was recorded in front of a live studio audience - another way of saying, I am recording this at Heathrow, en route back to New York. It was this, or from a toilet cubicle and the queue for them was too long. Please forgive the background music - and likely random conversations - but needs must, otherwise no episode - and after all, I always said this was going to be “real” Let’s Start: Thank you’s: Listening - other than launch week, highest number of listeners - whoop whoop. Thank you’s for telling me you are listening - Klaudija, specifically this one’s for you Voting - not really going to make it, but using competition as accountability. Accountability Winning seems unlikely, so using my pitch on October 7th, as a forcing mechanism to make some changes: Update the website  and open applications for alpha testers One bullet makes it sound so simple - this is going to be a project! Best get finding a designer…...  Also trying hard to remember this is my journey and on my schedule and not bench mark against other. Feeling tired After emotional stress of previous weeks, so did some reflective practice, always something to learn and share, even if you are uncertain in the moment Thank you to my lovely cousin, who gave me a beautiful candle. If anybody wants one - check out Honey & Sage on Etsy. Supporting “mental wellness and a fellow female entrepreneur. Accepting help The “how can I help you question” - I always get stumped. I don’t want to waste people’s time? Because I don’t know how to decide between the different priorities, don’t want to add the emotional burden of managing somebody else’s expectations. Definitely work to do there. Hopefully the product roadmap for the October 7th launch date will work. Deepdive - Lessons from Israel Said differently, how can you create real life case studies to normalise / learn from Israel has an incredible startup scene. Many reasons. This isn’t about politics, more a chance to think about attitudes, how the fates collided and what you can take from this, to help with your own startup journey. Migration - new cultures / experiences insights. Always be learning Military - purpose and the “greater good”. Recreating the “family unit” from the army in your startup. Is this proof you don’t want to go it alone? Quick decisions - time kills all deals. Ie biz ideas, you need to keep moving forward and making progress.  This especially includes your founder dreams and motivation. Don't give up Use your diaspora Ie network think about who has the skills you need, don’t over look. I know designers, copy people etc. ask them if they can help, or make recommendations - not expecting handouts, but will help you make quicker progress “what’s the worst that can happen? Puts the business risk into perspective. If all else fails remember most of us are lucky to live in countries with safety nets Ie social welfare, family, internet, up training support etc. In effect can we shift our mindset to see “trying” as the badge of honour, as opposed to the outcome - normalise against the fear of failure? Links / Resources Go buy your candle - crystals, scents and calm. We all need founder wellness support Israel's startup scene -
September 23, 2021
Episode 12 - "...are you there god"? and the Apple blip - pretty sure they are linked
Another whirlwind in the life of a startup founder. In no particular order this episode covers.... Quick thoughts: Think Apple had a blip last week - my episode didn't appear for a 3 or 4 days, and that was strange. Funnily enough listening figures were down too - pretty sure they were connected. Keeping fingers crossed for this week. The Knowledge Shop learnings from customer interviews - we all need “safe spaces”, with like-minded individuals / similar stage companies to compare notes / learn from. I want to make sure to solve for this as i build The Knowledge Shop I'm wondering if “drop-in” group brainstorms / "problemsolvestorms" could work? If you want links or any references - they are all in the show notes (that you are reading now) anybody got experience with virtual assistants or web crawlers / scrapers. I need to figure out a way to move more quickly, and thinking that could help. Will research and circle back. Video pitch I’ve been working on is live, and open for votes. Not a movie editor pro at all, but a good forcing mechanism and product thoughts solidifying. The building in public benefits continue. People wanting to learn more about TKS, potential collaborators or to help with prototypes / interviews etc. So on that note, please vote and then share to people in your network who could benefit from there being a TKS in the world. Deepdive: The realization that I am the only person driving TKS forward hit hard this week. Feeling very overwhelmed, with serious imposter syndrome - my idea isn’t good enough. I know it’s really important, I don’t want others to feel like they can’t start, give up their dreams or struggle unnecessarily, because they can’t get the help you need or feel like they have to do it alone! So def feeling like my credibility and reputation are on the line, now that the video pitch is live, and it is me talking. It's now become even more personal. Embarrassed it’s not good enough Struggling too, as my vote numbers although i think good, are clearly much lower than other peoples (they've been giving us updates of who the current leaders are) So…. I need to remind myself, that i'm at the beginning of my founder journey, and some of them are pretty established (in comparison) businesses, with customers, social media followings etc. Doesn't make it easy to hear though.  Combined with the low podcast numbers, i was feeling a little “… are you there god, it’s me Margaret” - from an old children's book i used to read by Judy Blume. Is anybody listening? However, then things started to turn - and this is how.... 1. I listened to the Masters of Scale podcast with Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn). He interviewed  the founder of Compass, talking about how he kept getting back up and using setbacks to create momentum.  2. Don't underestimate the importance of talking. Just sharing what I was feeling with somebody in a non-judgemental way, and getting "stuff - mostly the ramblings above", out of my head really helped. 3. The positive feedback from the votes people submitted. For you, that could be having a folder where you keep nice emails, slack's etc that  people have written to you. There is always something. So - in closing - it was a tough, very vulnerable week, but I got through it. To vote - here you go...(closing Sept 30th) - To rate / share the podcast with people you think would benefit, that would be amazing. -  Here's Judy Blume -
September 16, 2021
Seeing is believing - make your startup ideas tangible, you'll be amazed the effect it has
Episode 11 - hello again from the wardrobe (closet for those on the west side of "the pond"). What a crazy week - forgot to say on the recording, but hope everyone celebrating had an amazing Labor day weekend and or Rosh Hashanah. Key learnings this week (amongst many many of them): Reminding myself i am a deadline person, and as much as it's stressful, having something to work towards, really helps focus me and leads to a better outcome. Play to your strengths! I am a generalist yes, but that does not make me the best designer. This also means that my weakness however is also that i am a generalist - as i can do most things. So choosing when to outsource, what not to do can be hard. This is definitely compounded by the “scrappy startup” mentality / persona of feeling you need to do everything yourself. It took me a while, but remember the trade off's - do you want an“ok” or an expert outcome? Do it yourself vs outsource? I am slowly remembering, that just because i don't have an immediate team around me, it doesn't mean i have to do everything myself. Procrastination and fear is a genuine thing. When i self-doubt, am afraid of doing things wrong, i procrastinate. For me, i end up getting something to eat or cleaning (hello empty dishwasher). I don't think this is something you solve over night, but am hoping that by being aware / sharing this (posted on Linkedin too), that it will help me and others.  Brainstorming on other people’s ideas, can improve the outcomes of your your own project. The exercise of problem solving, and thinking of ways to help others builds and engages your creative muscles. This then benefits The Knowledge Shop too, because mentally I'm then in a better place / more engaged and able to hit the ground running. Deep dive: Having something tangible will give you a boost More wireframe / prototype talk yes, but bear with me.... (ps - good reminder, for startups taking years, not weeks to develop). To now, most of my ideas for TKS in my head - or shown with a few flow diagrams. But for the accelerator final, they want the pitch to be less powerpoint, more product focussed (which i can understand). Problem - I had nothing. So - I drew with a pencil some very rough sketches of the most important aspects of the TKS user experience. Then found a designer to turn them into beautiful works of art. Wow - the feeling of pride, when i saw the designs - they really brought The Knowledge Shop to life. I was so proud.  Moral of the story - with hindsight i wish I'd had designs made sooner. I think it would have helped to get user feedback, and explain my idea. Plus of course, it's something tangible to show for your entrepreneurial efforts. If you don't know how to find a designer, this is what i did.... Used Fiverr (others like Upwork are available) Looked for designers with nice looking portfolios Filtered by price, whether they could deliver in my timeframe, and geography (i couldn't loose a day due to timezone differences). Then waited........ After hearing from a slightly dubious person, met "Christi" (hoping not too many people find her, but credit where credit is due), and wow. amazing speed and ability to decipher. I could literally have used what she gave me immediately, without any tweaks (although i did of course ask for some). Now you have somebody else you can turn to for future projects (I am already working with her on more) 
September 09, 2021
The bitty life of an entrepreneur - research and accelerators
What a different a week makes! Last episode heat waves, this week - just gone through a tropical storm. Feeling very schizophrenic this week - so many little things going on, and less one big focus area. I think that comes from juggling two sets of research. But fascinating nonetheless. So, what did we learn? 1. Entrepreneur Daniel Gross on a webinar said "Starting a business is an irrational act". So true, you are taking a leap of faith and hoping that your motivation and product traction align. Very comforting to hear that if a successful entrepreneur thinks this, that i am not alone. 2. Co-founder dating - great way to meet interesting people and learn from them. Remember you'll likely need to meet a few before you find your prince, but enjoy the journey (don't forget YC's co-founder matching tool) 3. Research research research a) Prototype interviews - interesting, but hard managing conflicting views. Will keep going with a few more, and then make some decisions eg how to communicate? SMS, Slack, Whats'App... b) Accelerator research (MBA dissertation) - how is the industry evolving? How might it evolve? Increasing importance of ongoing support / community, being niche (not just generalists), more becoming funds?  4. Make the ask - if i hadn't, then no accelerator research interviews. Don't think, just do (now going to keep reminding myself of that). That's here - here are some links - happy listening.... Startup communities / Resources - Pioneer & Ps - should have mentioned and didn't - strawberry jam wins out over dentists in marketing material. Use that learning from me.
September 02, 2021
Entrepreneurship and Dentistry - more similar than you'd think.
Should have called this episode New York hot! But thought dentist might be more catchy (or seriously put a load of you off). On the basis, that it didn't, here's a run down of today's episode.... Retrospective: More listener feedback. Thank you for giving me your time, and i am so glad to hear the stories are resonating, and that you are enjoying it. Will keep being open, honest and short, so it's not a heavy lift. Made it to the finals of the accelerator program i am on. Can not believe it, but so excited. Keep an eye out for more info, as there is a people's vote, and i'll be sharing across social. Co-founder dating. It's a thing! Found via the YC startup school. Great for finding people to help build your idea, or for you to join others (or even as a pipeline for later hires), or to just build your support network of other founders. Launchpad book - behind the scenes of Y Combinator! An oldie from 2011, but completely normalises the stresses, direction changes that founders go through. Deepdive: Prototypes We have progress! It was hard, but stuck with it and built a product flow - originally in Jambord, now in Canva (looks so much better)! Used dates on the diary as a forcing mechanism, but also didn't want it to be so disgusting i lost credibility. Have started prototype interviews (two so far), first was yesterday. It was so interesting. Like when i started customer interviews, it wasn't so scary once i started. Have a sense that the more i do, the easier it will become. General Thoughts Make sure to keep telling people your story and asking for help. Think about how people get speaking gigs, jobs, tables at fully booked restaurants. If you don't ask, you don't get. Resources Launchpad book - Lunchclub - YC Co-founder matching - Canva -
August 26, 2021
Think this is the most scared I've been talking on an episode yet. But figuring things out slowly.
So this week's episode was pretty personal for me. Before I dive into that, here are some quick reflections on what I’ve learnt this week. Use hooks to grab people’s attention in marketing. For me that was strawberry jam on Linkedin, previously bagels in my episode names. Now wondering what other hooks I can use, to increase engagement / awareness? Found that posting on Linkedin around 12, gets me the most interaction - perhaps a good split between east coast US and UK / Europe? Test to find your time, and avoid re-sharing content on Linkedin. The algorithm hates it. The content will never be seen. Oh and use tools like Buffer, if you are posting a lot, it will help you manage the content. Audience feedback. Apparently I am not alone in some of my inner critic / self-doubt thoughts/ Thank you for letting me know. It’s really hard when you’re recording and talking to yourself, but I do believe strongly that others have similar struggles, and so I really appreciate, hearing from you that my hunch is correct. I hope this helps, and will continue to help Find your tribe. Who emulates what you are trying to build / want to become? Find where they live, and go join them. You will pick up their habits / learn from their wisdom / avoid mistakes. For me that’s surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs / VC’s, for you it could be musicians, C-suite execs, developers. Happy to help brainstorm how to find them for you, If its useful. This came up in “Grit” again, and I realised that I naturally surround myself with people, so this is proof I should keep doing it, and you should too! Deepdive: Why building my prototype was so hard (read why I was procrastinating so much). Because I was scared! It is a direct reflection of me, and I didn’t want to disappoint people, let you down, and or put something out that was so bad it changed your opinion of me. I was holding on so tightly, because I felt it needed to be perfect. That was a big realisation. And that realisation, then made It easier to figure out how to move forward. (You’ll be pleased to know I have now build my user flow prototype, and going to start showing it to people). In case they are useful, here are some tools that finally pushed me over the edge to actually make it happen…… First - think “ACT” - thanks Reid Hoffman, and your Masters of Scale Course. A - Ask questions. What is wrong in this situation, how can I improve it. As your potential customers their views. C - Connect with your network. Run your ideas by them, get their feedback. Would they back it? T - Take action - what can you do right now? Don’t over think it, make that call, send that email, just do it (Nike were really onto something there). Still struggling? Combine with Mel Robbins 5-second rule. Count backwards in your head (or out loud). To get you to take action. Think rocket ship taking off. Have an idea, count down NOW and do it!!!!! So - that was a lot for this week, but I hope the vulnerability and the tips will help you keep going on your entrepreneurial journey. Please reach out with ideas, and where you are stuck. This founder journey is lonely, it doesn’t have to be! Tori Resources Mentioned Buffer Grit - Masters of Scale Course - Mel Robbins - 5 second ruke -
August 19, 2021
Strawberry jam and toast - perfect entrepreneurship marathon food
This is the chest infection episode (but clearly that's not as fun as strawberry jam on toast). Pretty sure I'm not contagious through your headphones. This week despite being laid low for most of it, still have updates (some positive, some more "real"). Food named episodes seem to appeal, i hope you like this name as much as the "Bagels with purpose" one? On the positive side Spoke with a person on a VC's portfolio success team, who recognised the need for The Knowledge Shop, and offered to share the MVP with some of their companies when it is ready. Now i feel real urgency to make it! On the "real" side Struggled with imposter syndrome still, i think that's going to be an ongoing theme, and reminding myself the question "what would i do if i wasn't afraid"? Balancing being sick, and listening to your body with wanting to do things. It's tough, but i think just talking about it live helps. Remembering this is a marathon not a sprint, i hope will help (coupled with the strawberry jam). So that's it for this week, I'm off to take more drugs, but couldn't leave you hanging.
August 12, 2021
Loud cars and trains don't help with video pitches, and getting unstuck for my MVP
Retrospective: Last time we talked about: Accelerators appearing to increase the gender funding gap for startups. That is not good, and definitely want TKS to help tackle this. And working on my pitch deck, which helped solidify my value add - which was by helping “unlock” founders thoughts and getting them out of their own way, they can achieve real progress. This week: I made my video pitch deck what did I learn? Tried Loom - but likely due to driver error, I couldn’t get it to record just the deck, and not my whole screen (including my messy desktop and notes - not good). Canva has a built in recording feature (hooray) which allowed me to do it. So re-jigged the design so my face didn’t block the content, and off we went. Make sure you are somewhere quiet recording very loud trains / boy racers are not conducive to good video pitches. Creating a deck helped solidify my thoughts re the problem that TKS is solving, which is a founder’s biggest obstacle can be themself. I want to help unlock all the potential, by overcoming self-doubt, self-sabotage etc, and help make meaningful progress. Deepdive: Prototype / MVP Battling my head is still the toughest part of this entrepreneurship journey (I wonder why I feel so strongly that the world needs The Knowledge shop 😉. Creating my prototype / MVP has been full of issues like overcoming perfectionisms, what-if isms, don’t want to waste people’s time. However, I knew what I needed to do. Just my making little progress each day has helped, and watching the MVP video from YC reinforces what I knew, to get me to take action. So the MVP will be an SMS based solution, checking in with founders to see how they are doing, and help get them unblocked when stuck, by giving relevant content to boost mood, tools to keep them going, and maybe intro’s to people too. Looking at an IRL aspect too, to act as a mental jog and keep people motivated / on track. Resources Canva roadmap templates Y Combinator MVP video
August 05, 2021
Memphis hot! Research tips, early adopters, prototyping and pitchdecks
The grand tour continues - hello from Memphis. It is soooo hot right now. This episode covered a lot of ground, so best jump in and buckle up. The week in review: I am nervous recording today. I have listeners. This is getting real. According to Anchor, all of the listeners so far are women (not sure about Apple), but that's interesting. What does this mean? Does the subject just appeal more to women? Does Anchor / Spotify just have more women listeners? Are the men all listening on Apple? (i know my husband is). Accelerators appear to be widening, not narrowing the funding gap (amount of equity raised) between male and female-led startups.  According to the World Economic Forum, the gap increases from 2.1x to 2.6x difference, after the accelerator? WHY!!! Surely accelerators are supposed to level the playing field? How can i help. what are you struggling on? Don't keep it inside, email me and tell me how i can help (or if you want to be part of the prototyping / MVP guinea-pigs). The Deep dive: Customer Research / Analysis Tools - record / transcribe recordings Interview analysis. Added themes from interviews onto Google / Excel Sheet. Grouped founders as "Wannabe" and "Doing it" Pulled out their biggest challenges, and then categorised them eg mental (self-doubt, imposter syndrome, loneliness etc), skills based (need to learn new skills) or expert (they wanted to speak to an expert to help with eg hiring, accounting etc). Findings - wannabe's biggest challenges were internal, those who had started still looking for support there, but also wanted experts to talk to as well. The initial prototype will therefore focus on providing emotional / psychological support to founders. This will test the hypothesis that if you can support founders emotionally (instead of just academically),  startup success rate will be significantly higher / founders will be more diverse. Full disclosure, i still got stuck doing this. I would highly recommend having a project / deadline to help focus you. Currently finishing a pitchdeck for the CitySpark accelerator programme i am in through my business school. It reminded me to think through the problem, solution, early adopters, market size etc. It got me out of my head!!!! Pitchdeck templates Thank you Finance PM - can edit in Canva. Inspired by an early Uber template on Slidebean, to see how they pulled out key facts.
July 29, 2021
Hi from Omaha, prototyping, accountability and thank you
The theme of recording in a new location each episode is continuing, as i come to you from Nebraska! Retrospective of week This week, the podcast became "Linkedin official", and so i wanted to start by saying huge thank you's to everyone who has shown their support for what i am doing. You really blew me away, and i was totally surprised by that. To everybody who is listening to this as a result, thank you for making the trek over. I hope you like it, and please let me know what i can do better for next time, any guests you would like featured (you can nominate yourself), and areas you'd like for a deepdive. I don't know which customer to prioritise first. Prototyping is where i am trying to get to, but struggling with which audience to prioritise first, founders who have just begun, or those who want to start. I'm analysing research, will do some business model canvas, and then choose one, and start prototyping around that. Watch this space..... Deepdive - Why and how to choose an accelerator, and what went into DayOne For me priorities were Missed community / collaborative working Needed deadlines / accountability It needed to start soon The people had to be nice Right size - learn from people, but not so big i was just one of a number How much structure? Content vs freeform self-paces Cost - could i afford it, did i think i think it delivered value for money. Considered the following, and thought Day One was right for this time, still very open to the others too. People often do multiple accelerators. Ondeck Tacklebox Labs As always reach out, like, ask questions at
July 22, 2021
How Bagels and purpose can drive your business | Democratising Entrepreneurship, The Knowledge Shop
Today's podcast covered: A retrospective on the past week Deepdive on purpose, and how it helps you go beyond The retrospective: The lost Apple episodes, may want to listen on Spotify if you want to hear earlier episodes No matter how little time you have, keep putting yourself out there, all steps are progress. Don't undervalue your skills. You have more than you think. Recognising them now, will help you find complimentary skills sets when it comes time to growing your team Deepdive: On Purpose: Purpose, is one of the pillars of grit (according to our friend Angela Duckworth, of Grit fame) When you are working towards something bigger than yourself, you will go beyond This was very nicely illustrated this week on a hunt for bagels! Suffice it to say, i went further on the hunt because they were for my husband, than if they'd been for me. So ask yourself, what is your purpose? It doesn't have to be grand, but it will help you drive further than you would without it. Resources: GSV Ventures, a specialist Ed-Tech focussed female-led venture capital fund. They run bootcamps, to help people advance their ideas.
July 15, 2021
Beating 500k other podcasts, resilience and productivity | Democratising Entrepreneurship, The Knowledge Shop
Back for episode two. And The Knowledge Shop is already ahead of 500k other podcasts. I know this, because i read a stat that 26% of podcasts have only one episode, and that's about 500k, so i am taking that as a win. Resilience You need to be resilient to succeed as an entrepreneur, but are some people's personal set ups more conducive to entrepreneurship as we traditionally think of it? What about people who have less time, other commitments? We'll return to this more in coming weeks. Publishing a podcast Anchor publishes across other platforms too eg Google / Apple. It can take time (research shows about 7-10 days). Still waiting on Apple, and keeping finger's crossed. Productivity Notice when you are most / least productive How are you feeling, what is the environment like around you? Can you replicate that? Eg music, location, having a powernap? Allow yourself to rest / think. Maybe you just need to take a walk? Next Week Talking about customer research / early learnings Thoughts for prototype ideas Resources i mentioned: Tools Anchor - publishing podcasts Better than 500k other podcasts, Resilience Grit, by Angela Duckworth. Yes, you need it to succeed, especially in entrepreneurship, but you can cultivate if it doesn't come naturally. Will be covering this topic more in the coming weeks (as i finish the book). Productivity Delta waves concentration music, Spotify. Helps keep you focussed
July 08, 2021
Who me?? And building in public | Democratising Entrepreneurship, The Knowledge Shop
This week The Knowledge Shop talks.... TL,DR; Build in public. Yes it's scary. No you won't regret it. MAGIC can happen! Want more info, then read below..... Who am i? I'm Tori Hanson, a corporate convert turned startup founder, on a mission to democratise entrepreneurship, and breaking every podcast rule as i do it (she says having recorded this from the middle of an open-plan wework office) I don't think I'll be winning any awards for audio quality here. I spend a fair bit of time talking about the impact that building in public has had on both my personal and startup journey so far. The more you put out there, the more the world supports you. (I never thought i'd say that, but then it started to happen). Lifting the lid on how startups are made, removing the fear and self-editing (let me do that instead), and giving big shout outs along the way to everyone who's helped. In case you want to check them out, here are some of the tools, and groups i mentioned, or alluded to Go check them out. Day One - the fab fellowship for early-stage founders and founder wanabe's (i just completed it, and would recommend to everyone). Chief - a community of the most impressive, successful and down to earth women I've ever met. MBA at CASS, City, University of London - a blended programme that's allowed me to study despite the pandemic (although sad i missed the international electives) Women in Leadership - Columbia University - led by the incredible Rita McGrath, empowering women, and helping them see round corners, and recognise inflection points. Any / all questions, contact me
July 01, 2021
And so it begins - an overview of what to expect in future episodes | Democratising entrepreneurship | The Knowledge Shop
The Knowledge Shop - democratising entrepreneurship to help more founders make it.  Founders like you - yes you working 50 hour weeks.  Founders like you, yes you, a full time parent, and  Founders like you - yes you, I see you scared, overwhelmed self-doubting career professional. (that was also me by the way). Want to start a business? Or just started and stuck, moving slowly or struggling with overwhelm, or isolation? Recognise you are not alone. That nobody has all the answers, and that thinking about something is much scarier than doing it. If this resonates, then follow along (i may regret saying that when things are tough...)
July 01, 2021