Channing Muller is an award-winning marketing & sales coach serving as the Principal of DCM Communications based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs, and public relations.
Channing has more than 20 years of experience in the communications industry serving in top roles within marketing, magazine & online editorial, advertising, and business development. She has been recognized as a “The BizBash 500 Most Influential Event Pros”, “40 Under 40” by Connect, and “25 Young Event Pros to Watch” by Special Events magazine. She is an avid public speaker and regular contributor for Connect Meetings, BizBash, ThriveGlobal, Special Events, and ILEA Experience.
A Southerner through and through, this New Orleans native lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her rescue cat Gracie and two labradors Sully and Dexter. She’s a long-distance runner, lover of spin & OTF, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association. Follow her on Instagram @ChanningMuller.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Channing Muller: I started DCM Communications with the goal of bringing the marketing and sales practices of event professionals to the same level as the events they produced. Coming from the event world, I had been to more than 2,500 events by this time and I saw the quality of what these producers, designers, caterers, AV companies, and visionaries could really do. What I didn’t see was effective marketing to showcase why they are worth a higher financial investment than they were making. I set out to change that.
As DCM grew, it has also evolved. In addition to providing effective branding, websites, and digital marketing materials to my clients (in conjunction with an AWESOME team of designers), I personally focus on the strategy behind these designs AND coach my clients on how to create it themselves. I am not saving babies. I can teach them how to market and sell their services more effectively to garner the clientele and business model THEY Want to have, not the one I think they should have.
It is their life and their goals are each very unique. I am here to help them create, and effectively promote, a brand that truly captures who they are and the value they provide to their clients.
The future of DCM is now. After years of tweaking my own processes to find out what works best for my clients, I have recently launched a new four-step client process. (You can learn more here: https://dcmcommunications.com/workwithme/) This allows me to continue to focus on the areas of the business where my ‘genius zone’ really soars and continue to build the in-house team of designers and developers to bring the strategies I’ve designed to life through branding, websites, content creation, and more.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Channing Muller: HA! That is a fact, at least for me. It took me YEARS to get into a sales-related position because I had always been the person who wanted to get a consistent paycheck every two weeks. Maybe it would be less than my salesperson friends, but it would be reliable. Even when I did get into sales, it was in a coaching capacity for the salespeople at my company. I worked with them on mindset and sales tactics to close deals quicker and/or learn when to walk away if someone wasn’t truly the best fit for what they had been selling.
Throughout my career, I had always worked in communications in some form. As I left one job to the next, I inadvertently built a freelance business doing whatever I was I had just left. For instance, I left a magazine to move into advertising and the magazine asked me to write on a freelance basis. I left advertising for marketing and my clients asked me to continue to create their campaigns. Those experiences combined and I thought: Hmmm… there’s a business in there somewhere.
So I incorporated and put a pin in it as I continued to pursue more education in Corporate America and learn from those far more experienced than me. All the while I knew, that this business I had created “DCM Communications” could one day be the way I make got the intellectual stimulation I knew I needed on a daily basis AND the flexible schedule I wanted as I raised a family.
Eventually, the time came where DCM started to look a whole hell of a lot more appealing than the job I had at the time for a manager with whom I did NOT see eye to eye. Yet still, I loved that steady paycheck so I couldn’t take the leap just yet. Then, I got shoved off a cliff, figuratively of course. I took getting laid off, a casualty of a recent acquisition, as a sign that the time had come to take DCM full time. So I did and it’s been the best decision ever.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Channing Muller: I think my team knows this but I know it always surprises clients and prospective clients to hear that I RELISH days where I don’t talk to anyone. Seriously. As a marketing and sales coach, it’s my job to provide solutions to problems, encouragement, and enthusiasm when my clients need it. I LOVE my calls with them and being able to provide all of those things for the betterment of their mindsets and businesses. The high school cheerleader in me has definitely never left.
However, age has taught me that in order to do those things well, I HAVE to balance them with quiet days of solitude. I am not my best self if I have to “fake it” in order to be the more exuberant person my clients know and expect in a coach. There may be days where I am back-to-back on calls from one client to another and I am “on” all day. Those days are fun. They are also incredibly draining and as much as I look forward to talking with my clients and hearing about their progress since our last call, or an obstacle we need to overcome together, I also look forward to the days where I sit at a computer and just get sh*t done.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Channing Muller: An entrepreneur is a person with an idea of how to solve someone’s problem, the insatiable drive to make it a reality for them, and the 150% belief in their gut that the solution they’re providing IS the right one for their ideal client.
There will always be days when you doubt yourself and the value you are providing. Those days are when you need to be able to gut-check yourself in order to refocus and push through. If you know deep down you are providing a valuable service/product to a specific person/group, then you’ll find the drive to keep going and make it work. That is entrepreneurship.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Channing Muller: Everyone is more creative, productive, and happier when they are in an environment where they feel welcome and wanted. No business is built alone. People need other people to thrive in life and the same is true in business. Even solopreneurs need a team of support and assistance and the more inclusive that team is, the faster the business will thrive.
Plus, as cheesy as it is: two heads are better than one and three heads are better than two. Everyone has something to bring to the table and ideas to share. The key as the business owner is to create an environment where those ideas are welcome so people WANT to share them. Who knows! One of them could be the idea that propels your business to the next level. That wouldn’t happen if everyone is the same. It’s our differences that really light the fire and challenge each of us to bring more to the table and THAT is where the magic really happens.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Channing Muller: I think we have so much disruption in our COVID world that more is not what we need. Instead, I would encourage leaders to be more VALUABLE in the current and post-COVID world. Be educated. Be flexible. But above all, be true to the value of what you provide to your team and clients. I think the idea of disruption can easily sway people and companies to try and be all things to all people instead of sticking to what they are good at and doubling down on that.
Learn what you are good at, fill the gaps where you are missing important value, and then convey what makes YOU (or your company) great to the world. Focus on that and let the other chips fall where they may. There is plenty of business for everyone out there. Constantly focusing on being “disruptive” can lead more entrepreneurs and businesses away from service to their clients, which is the foundation of a sustainable business as I see it.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Channing Muller: I help people who can solve other people’s problems get their attention so they can fix what’s wrong and make money for their families.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Channing Muller: I can rap Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. Serves ZERO purpose beyond an entertaining (and out of character) bit when I want to shock people.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Channing Muller: Funny enough, I actually wrote that book and am currently pitching it to book agents. Title: Because I Can
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Channing Muller for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Channing Muller or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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