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Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing joy in the workplace. I’m JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm, and with me is my dear friend and co-host Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting.
What’s unique about this episode, it’s not our normal sharing of ideas and thoughts. Today, we’re going to share an opportunity.
Susan, I’ve had a vision for about six years of helping, supporting, and banding together with other consultants in the people profession. You and I are actually a perfect example, I think, of how consultants can work together, or as I like to say, that rising tides raises all boats. That is, we have worked together via our own separate consulting business for…how many years, Susan?
Seven years. Can you believe it? Seven years.
It’s been amazing. Yeah. We’ve each been growing our own practices. Some of our services are the same, yet we each have different specialties, as well as different capacity levels at times, as well. We have shared clients, referred businesses, we pay each other commission. For Purple Ink, you have been such a wonderful addition and blessing to our team.
Oh, man, I wish our listeners could see me, because I’m blushing right now. The collaboration with Purple Ink has truly been an integral part of my HR consulting practice. I am really a person of one, and of course, Purple Ink is a very large, dynamic HR consulting firm that treats me like a member. You call me a Collaborator, which is true, because you will pull me into various projects that you think that really are up my alley. I am out doing my own gig, and periodically, I will get opportunities to do jobs that are much bigger than one person. And so in those cases, I turn to you, we pull in wonderful Purple Ink staff members, and we’re able to execute so my clients get exactly what they need, and it may be me and a team of other people. So I feel very lucky that this has been a partnership of ours for the last seven years, and I think it’s something that could work for lots of other people, too.
Yeah. And that’s – I’ve actually been working with several other consultants and collaborators in a similar way as we have with you. So even though Purple Ink is growing, we have also been growing our network of external consultants along the way. And this year, I decided to expand that process or vision in a more intentional way, and so I started a company called Powered by Purple Ink, and we are reaching out nationally to consultants in the people space. Susan, you are one of our very first members, which is so exciting for us. Why did you join, and how do you think this network might help you and your business?
I love being part of the ground… ground level of this organization. So I’m thrilled. What I think it’ll do for me, it’s going to help more people know me and refer me, hopefully. I think it’ll be good for me because of the ability to refer other businesses or organizations. Sometimes I will get a request to do something that’s really not my area of expertise, or I know that we need a technology solution, or we need, maybe, like, a background check solution, something that totally is not on my radar to do or even that I would want to do. But in this network, you’re going to have a variety of different, you know, business partners and individual consultants that will hopefully help round out the offerings that I could give to clients that I interact with.
I love it. So our guest today is the VP of Strategy and Operations for Powered by Purple Ink. Christine Burrows is not an HR professional, but she is definitely a people person. She spent the first half of her career in education as a high school history teacher, and then in curriculum development for television and web, and then went on to be a content marketer. All along, she’s been a consummate connector, whether between people and content, or between people and people. Many of her dearest friends are people pros, and she likes to help them connect with clients to grow their businesses. Her top five CliftonStrengths are woo, communication, connectivity, activator, and positivity, all of which she gets to use to facilitate the birth and growth of Powered by Purple Ink as it becomes the go-to network for anyone in the people industry.
Christine, we’re so glad that you’re here. Why do you think consultants will want to join this network?
Well, I think there are lots of reasons you’d want to join, and not being an HR consultant myself, I’m just going to tell you what JoDee has told me, but I also can see, is that, you know, first and foremost, it’s an opportunity to meet other people in your industry. It’s camaraderie, it’s networking, it’s being bigger than you are by yourself. And then there’s the education component, you know, learning from the pros, whether they be people who are already in the HR industry, or affiliated businesses who have something that they can bring to the network or you personally as you grow your business. Then there’s also the opportunity to be marketed bigger than you can necessarily do it on your own. So the network could expand your footprint on a national basis. Obviously, some people will join because of the discounts and the power of purchasing from a large entity. There’s also a leverage that you get by joining. You get a bigger bench, you get a broader bandwidth, you get people who supplement your skill sets elsewhere. And you also get referrals. You get people who say, “Hey, I can’t do this alone, but I need you to partner with me, and I have an opportunity here.” Super rich opportunities and values there.
Yeah. Christine, we’ve talked about our vision for Powered by Purple Ink many times, but explain, in your words, how you see that coming to life for us.
Sure. I think we go from Central Indiana to a national footprint, and we take all that Purple Ink has done and all the people around the country who are doing their HR consultancies, and make each of us better at what we do. So it’s bigger than your own consultancy, it’s better than your own personal vision. In the end, it’s, you know, it’s an opportunity for people who are just starting up to become better at what they’re doing versus… and those people who are already really good at what they’re doing to become even better and have a bigger footprint.
Yes, and it’s really more than just HR consultants, too, which is why we think of it as people professionals, because it could be trainers or recruiters or coaches, compensation professionals, really anyone in that people space.
It is an opportunity for people pros within the network to just be bigger and better than they are on their own. Folks in this space are inherently great networkers. They talk to each other all the time, they’re looking for connections, so there’s no way that this network can’t grow and become everything that we want it to be. They’ll connect themselves to each other, they’ll connect themselves to other businesses. And we have some really solid corporate partners already on board, those people who are going to provide expertise in domains that we don’t already have at our disposal. They’ll also provide products and services that our consultants need to grow their businesses and give them some discounts along the way.
Christine, what is the difference between a network member and a preferred network member?
So, membership is open to anyone. Join because you want the education, the discounts, the networking, the brand leverage. At this level of membership, you can still expand your own personal network and also access all the other people in the network for potential business opportunities. At the preferred partnership, it’s an investment in our high-value referral program. This is the heart of the network. At this level, you have to apply, be vetted, and earn the referral of the network. And these partners are the ones that become officially recommended by Powered by Purple Ink.
And how will Powered by Purple Ink provide value to early stage people consultants?
Boy, it takes so much courage to go out on your own, doesn’t it? Yeah, these early stage consultants need a lot of support and encouragement. So PbPI offers a startup program that new consultants can enroll in that will help them build a business plan, hone in on their offerings, market themselves, and even launch a website. You know, they’ve got the ongoing education, they’ve got the camaraderie and the support. I think the startup program really gives them just what they need to be successful.
Who will the PbPI corporate partners be, and how will these businesses derive value from the network?
Our very, very important corporate partners are businesses who want to do business with our membership and their clients. So this can be anything from background checks and payroll companies, to web designers and attorneys, to any other kind of consultant who wants access to our membership to market their own services or products. So the first to sign up was Reference Services, and they are a comprehensive suite of background reporting that helps employers make informed decisions about their hiring. We’re also partnering with SharpGuys, a web design and site maintenance business and who built our own site and help us maintain Purple Ink and other sites. And then Jenni Robbins of Ignite Development is another awesome corporate partner. She’s invaluable to our members with her expertise in helping people share their wisdom through speaking and writing engagements. When we talk to corporate partners or potential corporate partners about joining the network, they’re most excited about the opportunity to access our members directly, to provide education, to provide valuable services and products. As I said before, people pros are incredible networkers and they love to talk to each other, so this is going to be a great opportunity for our corporate partners to get a voice that’s bigger than their own current marketing efforts.
Christine, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how this will be different from SHRM, and I know, you know, the three of us are all SHRM members and will continue to be so and value that… that network as well. But how will this be different?
We love SHRM. You know, SHRM is a partner to us in helping HR professionals, people professionals, be better at their jobs. It’s an invaluable resource for the HR community, and we don’t intend to replace them. We are all about networking and referring and growing business for everyone. While we do offer education and opportunities for SHRM certified courses, our focus is really on helping our members refine and grow their businesses so that they can serve their own clients better and get more clients.
So Christine, what do you want or need from the HR community to help Powered by Purple Ink become the go-to national network for consultants and businesses that work with them?
We just want these incredible people to talk to each other. The more they talk, the more… the bigger the network gets, and the bigger it is, the better we are at doing this. So while the network was, you know, JoDee’s brainchild, and Purple Ink is its first charter member, Powered by Purple Ink is for everyone. Rising tides lift all boats. So anyone with an abundance mindset is going to love being a part of this network. We have a strong reputation here in Central Indiana, but what we need is for our friends and families to talk to their network outside of the area so that the vision of a multi-dimensional and multi-geographic network can come to life.
And Christine, how can our listeners who are interested in learning more, they have questions, they want to join as a consultant or as a corporate partner, how can they reach out to you?
Come to our website, www.poweredbypurpleink.com, or just email me directly, Christine at poweredbypurpleink.com. I can’t wait to engage with you.
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