Thursday, 07 March 2024 09:25

International Women's Day: Kōrero with Bryar Stewart from Powered by Impact

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This year for International Women’s Day we are sitting down with some wāhine founders at  Basestation to kōrero about their journey and learnings in setting up and running their own organisation.

For this blog we’ve captured a conversation with Bryar Stewart, founder and host of Powered by Impact. A platform and podcast that has grown into a community and content studio supporting business growth by raising the profile of their impact.

Bryar also works full time as a Community Manager at The Icehouse and alongside her husband, Logan, pastor at a local church.

Although Bryar works remotely for The Icehouse she often visits the Auckland office, but when she’s back in Tauranga she works from the double office she shares with her work colleague at Basestation.  

As this year's theme for International Women’s Day is, invest in women: Accelerate Progress, we thought we’d jump straight in and ask:

What, if any financial support did you get when you set up your business?

To answer this, Bryar explains, she needs to give some context: The idea for Powered by Impact started off as a passion project that sparked when she was at university. It kept lingering in the back of her mind for a long time until eventually in 2020 she decided she needed to do something about it! The funding element for the project came from her own pocket, she started saving up and set up a separate account to pay for items like recording equipment, a branding package and graphic design support.  

Powered by Impact is more than just a podcast - it’s a platform to build content and community. Bryar shares that a lot of what is needed to build community is free (social media, networking, etc)  but of course, you do need to invest time! You need time to create content and community, Bryar is very grateful for the time her guests have given her in supporting the podcast.

Since starting out, Bryar has added a sponsorship element to the podcast, she explains, “I have implemented a sponsorship structure for each season of the podcast, so each season I have a different sponsor who resonates with Powered by Impact’s mission to raise the profile of SMEs impact and business as a force for good”. It’s just a small cash injection, but it helps cover the cost of  content creation and a small element of my time. It also allows me to pay to boost posts, enabling me to reach a wider audience. I've found this really helpful and that's how it operates at the moment.”

Bryar has recently launched her first service, The Podcast Workshop’, which supports small and medium size businesses in validating and launching their own podcasts with the purpose of building authentic community and content around their businesses' impact.

Second question:
If you had an injection of financial support right now, how would you prioritise spending it?

Bryar shares with me that she’d hate to calculate how much time she has spent so far on this passion project of hers. She says “I know what I want, but I don’t always have the skill set to get the outcomes I want.”

She tells me that one of the things she did early on was reach out to her friend, Maddie Fletcher, a Graphic Designer who she paid to come up with some designs, content and help launch the website. This helped hugely as it gave Bryar time to focus on other areas of the platform - guests, recordings and the future services Powered by Impact will offer.

“So, to answer the question, if I had an injection of financial support, I would definitely spend it on future content creation as I continue to build community and raise the profile of small and medium size businesses through the platform. Hiring contractors to support in areas that aren’t my strength or take me significant time, that’s where I’d put the money”

Bryar admits “I'm lucky enough to have married an audio engineer! From day one, he’s been very helpful with the podcast.” She goes on to say that Logan, her husband, has been very supportive and generous at helping her with Powered by Impact. She says “ He's just great at making it slick and to the standard that I like.”

Being that Bryar is so focused on community and impact, she adds, she’d love to see a podcast studio set up locally. She tells me. ”I think Tauranga city has so many incredible creators and business owners that would benefit from having a really professional podcast studio that we could all hire out”.

Bryar jokes that she has hinted at this in the past to Steven Vincent, co-founder of Basestation!.... Watch this space Tauranga ;)

Question three:
Investment doesn't need to just be financial - what other investment do you feel would accelerate the progress of your platform?

Bryar shares that her long term desire to provide services for business owners also includes future partnerships. She loves the idea of collaboration, and believes that “we can do great alone, but we can do even greater together.” She is passionate about businesses effectively partnering to find a really solid solution for people.

Bryar has a similar desire to invest in relationships with others who have similar values and kaupapa. She  knows that her strengths and passions lie in supporting SMEs, and helping them to build their communities and social impact initiatives. But, she’s also keen to push and explore partnerships around issues like environmental impact, sustainable business, reducing carbon footprint and empowering community and society at large. She mentions the Sustainable Business Network and admires the mahi they do in this space. Bryar goes on to say “Alongside partnerships and knowledge exchange, investment in education is also important”. Bryar completed a certificate with New York University Stern in Corporate Sustainability last year and gained fresh insight from educating herself further.

Final question:
What advice would you give to other wāhine who are thinking about setting up their own podcast or passion project?

Bryar starts answering the question by saying, I know it’s cliche - but back yourself, I mean REALLY back yourself! If there’s an idea or something that you really can’t shake off - it’s there for a reason! If it’s something you're passionate about it’s yours to own, back yourself and do it!

A key point Bryar makes, alongside knowing what your purpose is for your passion project - make sure you check in with your community. Ask the people you want to serve, is this something that you need?  Validate your idea - you may need to pivot from your original idea but find out what is actually needed and how you can add value.

Bryar shares her own pivot; over the last few years she’s been blown away by how many small and medium size businesses in Aotearoa hold making a profit and doing good in equal measure. This has shifted her focus from encouraging more SMEs to do good, to actually raising the profile of the good they do.

She tells me that through her own networks and kōrero with business owners there is a sense that running a business is so much more than just making money. She says  “Business owners feel deeply responsible for the people that work for them, the wider community and the impact they have on the world.”

Bonus question we asked Bryar (and also something that came up with our kōrero’s with Jackie and Pascale):

Have there been times when you’ve thought about quitting?


The reality is, when you’re starting something new, you can be working on it till all hours in the morning, it’s all consuming. Often in those early days, you have so many ideas floating around  - it can be like, what do I do with all of this? There are definitely times when you ask yourself - do I have capacity for this? Is this what I’m meant to be doing?

It can be deflating, especially when you’re building a community or start up and you're not getting traction straightaway. You ask yourself - is it worth it?

One lesson Bryar has learnt through setting up Powered by Impact, is to be okay with slow success. She also sees this reflected in the small businesses she encounters both through the mahi she does at The Icehouse and her podcast. She recalls being in Christchurch a while back visiting an innovative factory that automates shipping containers, the owner and founder told her, this has been 15 years in the making!

Now she has become comfortable with slow success, she finds it also gives her space and time to learn and grow.  

One other thing that Bryar shares she's had to work on,  overcoming being a perfectionist.
She remembers coming across a quote “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late” - Reid Hoffman. She felt that this spoke to her, and she realised, if she waited for everything to be just right, then the moment and momentum would have gone. She just needed to put something out there and be bold and courageous.

Bryar has since learnt the mantra - three seconds of courage. She finds these moments or sparks of confidence push her forward. She tells me that “pressing go on the first piece of content for Powered by Impact was a three seconds of courage moment.”

Bryar goes on to tell me, she’d been talking to her family about her idea for ages, and one holiday, her brother tells her it’s a great idea and she should do something about it. To which she replies she will, and tells him she will be launching on the 1st June!

Come the 1st June, Bryar had talked herself out of it. Even though everything was ready to launch. That evening, her brother texts asking - where is it, when’s everything going live? I've got platforms I wanna share this on!

It was this, plus the 3 seconds of courage that she managed to muster that enabled her to push go on the first content for Powered by Impact.

She goes on to say it’s been moments like this, her brother keeping her accountable, her 3 seconds of courage or when listeners have emailed her saying they’ve loved hearing a specific episode. It’s these moments that have kept Bryar going, alongside her passion to communicate and maxisime the impact small and medium sized businesses have on the community.

Bryar finishes by saying, the whole journey so far has been a series of very small but brave steps of courage and being constantly inspired by the community of business owners, leaders and individuals wanting to use their powers for good.  

If you’d like to listen to Powered by Impact, you can access Bryars podcast though her website or listen via Spotify or Apple!

Read 431 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 March 2024 09:50

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