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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Now displaying: December, 2018
Dec 30, 2018

On this episode, we delve into the unconscious mind and the concept of “limiting beliefs.” It’s the idea If I say to you, “I’ll meet you there in five hours” what is the first question you’re going to ask me? Right, meet you where? Finding our way without knowing the destination is impossible. But too often, that’s how we run our agencies.

Both short and long-term planning often gets sidelined in the hubbub of running our agencies. We’re putting out fires. We’re solving client crises. We’re answering employees’ questions. All stuff that needs doing, but for a lot of agency owners, the urgent gets in the way of the important

On episode #169, we get right into it. What does it take to create plans that inspire compliance and action? What does it take to actually follow through? Is there such a thing as work-life balance? I’ll give that answer away for free: no, there is not. (But still listen in!)

That’s why I loved my conversation with Jennifer Dawn. She is a business coach for high-achieving entrepreneurs, and she’s developed some really strong tools for goal-setting and planning.

Jennifer spent years working in the corporate world before taking the plunge and pursuing her passion for mentoring entrepreneurs to grow profitable, healthy, and truly exceptional businesses.

Business plans don’t have to be the Mona Lisa. They don’t have to be epic works of prose. Jennifer and I agree – one page, two max, is a great length for a plan.

If you’re ready to really make time for the important; if you want a plan for work and life that really serves the life you want, this is a perfect episode to dive into. There are tons of practical tips and suggestions about how to get your plans out there on paper, review regularly, and actually, follow through so you get to the defined destination of your choosing. 

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to get your business plan down to two pages or less
  • The importance of getting an outside perspective on your business plan
  • Why beginning with the end in mind has not gone out of style
  • How to make your business plan a living document
  • Breaking down your goals into tiny, manageable steps
  • Definition of the “A” task
  • Actionable ways to manage your work/life blend this week
  • How to build personal and work components together into your planning
  • How to plan your business priorities so they are in support of your life goals
  • Three steps to achieve any goal you set          

Ways to Contact Jennifer Dawn:

Dec 23, 2018

On this episode, we delve into the unconscious mind and the concept of “limiting beliefs.” It’s the idea that our unconscious mind can hold us back without us even realizing it. So, how do we stop something we’re not even conscious of? The good news is that it is possible, and while it does take hard work, the steps themselves are pretty simple.

This limiting beliefs stuff may sound a little new-agey. I’m a big fan of data and looking at the facts at hand. For me, turning those limiting beliefs to unlimiting beliefs is fascinating because of the science behind it. This isn’t some magic act.

My guest on episode #168 is Karen Brown, author of Unlimiting Your Beliefs. Karen is a mentor and coach who works with people to uncover what might be impeding their progress in work and life. Often, our unconscious thoughts and actions are the source of this impediment.

One of the most interesting turns in the conversation for me was when Karen talked about her experience preparing to be an Ironman Triathlete. Her limiting belief had told her for 28 years that she shouldn’t even be thinking about this. She was not a good swimmer. That was a big hurdle. It was limiting. So, she unlimited her belief, telling herself out loud, “I am a good swimmer.” I asked if she suddenly became a good swimmer. As you might imagine, it took more than that. But giving herself that unlimiting belief propelled her to action. She got a swimming coach. She practiced. And soon enough, she was a good swimmer.

Our conversation is a fascinating look at the unconscious (or subconscious) mind and how it works. Listen to learn more about how to uncover the unconscious limits we put on ourselves and what to do to break that pattern.

Karen Brown is CEO of Velocity Leadership Consulting, a Denver-based business psychology executive and coaching company. With more than 20,000 business coaching hours under her belt, she founded Velocity Leadership Consulting in 2012, after finding her own divine potential while training for and finishing the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The science behind limiting beliefs and how to retrain your brain
  • How to make unlimiting beliefs natural and habitual
  • Asking the right questions to uncover the limiting beliefs of your unconscious mind
  • Why writing out your limiting beliefs is so important, and why speaking the opposite out loud is just as important
  • How the skills used in unlimiting your beliefs in one area will have a broad positive impact personally and professionally
  • How to counteract the most common and pernicious limiting belief: I’m not good enough
  • Why our unconscious beliefs and our conscious goals are sometimes at cross-purposes, and what to do about it
  • How, like most things, you’ve got to use it to lose your ability and reshape limiting beliefs
  • One way to get yourself into the unlimiting mindset: name and write down just one of your achievements          

Ways to contact Karen Brown:

Dec 17, 2018

When you started your agency, it was probably pretty exciting and somehow any worries you had were squelched before they could get in the way. But as our agencies get a little more established and we get a little more comfortable, taking a risk seems scarier, doesn’t it?

My guest thinks that’s a problem and he recommends that we re-acquainted with being uncomfortable.

In some ways, I’d like to think my big risk-taking days are behind me. But when I go to manage my business, and in nearly every conversation I have with my AMI colleagues, I know being risk-averse is not a strategy any of us can afford. Staying relevant and successful—according to my guest—requires a level of comfort with being uncomfortable.

It is a bit of bromide that the rapid pace of change is the one constant we can count on these days. How do we manage that change and thrive in the midst of it? That’s what we’re getting at in this episode.

On episode #167, my guest Scott Amyx proves that he knows this topic. From a childhood of poverty in South Korea to a career at the tip of the spear in terms of understanding and embracing innovation, Scott has lived and thrived in this era of discomfort. The upshot of his research is clear: being prepared for change and meeting disruption with a strategy of embracing it and pivoting as needed is a critical skill to survival as a business owner today.

Scott Amyx is the Chair & Managing Partner at Amyx Ventures and Singularity University/Smart City Accelerator Mentor and Startup Board Member. He is a TEDx speaker on disruption and success. Scott is a thought leader, speaker, author, and winner of the Cloud & DevOps World Award for Most Innovative Vendor.

Scott’s book, Strive, is all about how doing the most uncomfortable things leads to success.

What You Will Learn About in This Episode:

  • How to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • What you need to know about decentralized, autonomous organizations
  • The market imperative of lifelong learning
  • Why selling expertise and strategy is where differentiation happens
  • How individual discomfort gets collectivized and creates tipping points for innovation
  • Why as individuals and organizations, we need to be disrupted in order to be our optimal selves
  • How process automation is disrupting the work of agencies as much as any other business sector
  • Why the way we tell stories in our business needs to evolve with the tech and platforms people use to engage with stories
  • Why the move toward a more agile, freelance workforce in your agency is likely not a short-term trend          

Ways to contact Scott Amyx:

Dec 10, 2018

Back in my early days of agency life, there was a production or traffic manager in every agency. Their job was to make sure all of the work was in the pipeline and delivered on time and on budget. Somewhere along the way, as agencies streamlined, that position went away.

But now it’s back. And it’s making a huge difference in agencies client retention and profitability.

Back then, the production manager was a combination of what we might think of today as a traffic manager and somebody who negotiated with all the outside vendors like printers or other suppliers providing a service to the agency to solve a client’s problem. The production manager kept track of all the jobs the agency had open, the due dates, who within the agency was working on them — and it was all done by hand without software.

Then in the middle of my career, that position sort of went away as people within agencies started tracking their own jobs using some sort of software. Computers and systems began to replace things that humans did previously.

Because of the complexity of our work today, and how fast it needs to be delivered, many agencies are discovering they need more than just software. They need a dedicated person responsible for driving how the work gets done and how it gets done on a budget.

This is a vital role inside an agency and I’m glad to see it’s back. Depending on the size of your agency, this position, combined with implementing the right software, might be something you want to think about as you prepare to step into 2019.

But before you do, I want to share several best practices, resources to evaluate, and a month-by-month roadmap so you and your team will know what to expect and when.

Quite honestly — on-boarding this new role, especially if you add in new software, will be bumpy. It will be hard on your team. You need to think about it carefully, and if you’re ready to grow, maybe it’s the next step for you. My goal for this solocast is to help smooth out the road for you as much as possible.

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why not having a traffic manager may be holding back your agency’s growth
  • How to decide if and when your agency is ready to hire a traffic manager and onboard the software system
  • The day-to-day role of a traffic manager and the impact the role can have on your agency’s profitability and client retention
  • Why the traffic manager is a full-time position, not a hybrid, and definitely not entry-level
  • Who the traffic manager should report to within the agency and why
  • The personality and EQ a good traffic manager must have to handle the work and the team
  • The advantages and disadvantages of all-in-one software solutions versus standalone
  • What you and your team can expect to happen within the agency during each month of the implementation process and how it gets worse before it gets better
  • The role of the agency owner throughout the process
  • What are the success metrics you and your team need to consider before deciding to go down this path

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE Bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”       

Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

Dec 3, 2018

Content marketing is growing up. It’s no longer about throwing out random social posts, random blog posts, or making an infographic once a quarter. Instead, we need to begin asking the questions (for our own agency and our clients):

  • What are we building?
  • What can we become as a brand that is of value to this audience of people we care about?
  • Who can we be for our prospects, our customers, and our business partners?

And I think an agency’s role in that can be both exciting and profitable.

Why? Because one of the biggest frustrations for most agency owners is that it’s getting harder to have a seat at the client’s strategy table. Agencies are being commoditized and relegated to the status of order takers all too often.

But when we have strategic conversations with a client around how they can truly leverage content in a way that is much bigger than a set of assets — you help them become a destination. You help them become a media company. That’s when the game changes and you’re back driving the client’s strategy and having significant impact on their goals. You become a must have partner.

My guest today is Robert Rose. He was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Content Marketing Institute working alongside CMI founder Joe Pulizzi. Robert has written several books, including two with Joe. Their latest, “Killing Marketing” is about how innovative companies are using content as a strategy to turn marketing cost into a revenue stream rather than a cost.

I promise you — Robert and I will get you thinking in completely different ways about content, the way your agency delivers content, charges for content, and talks to clients about content.

Here’s the thing — most agencies will not have the courage to implement the future proofing strategies Robert and I discussed in this episode. Be one of the few that does.

I encourage you to take action — do something with what you learn from this episode. If you do that — you will be sought after — and I want that for you.

And if you found this episode helpful — you might also be interested in the 2-day “Content Marketing For Agencies” workshop Robert and I are teaching this January. Learn more here.

What You Will Learn About in This Episode:

  • How using content as a strategy can help solve a client’s business issues — and in the process — future proof your agency
  • Why your audience — or your client’s audience — should be considered your “pre-client database
  • Why agencies need to understand how to create content with a purpose and that it is no longer about creating more stuff
  • How all the content marketing assets created for a client need to connect together to tell a single story
  • How treating audience members like customers builds trust, then their walls come down, and they become much more open to sales messaging
  • How to create an owned content experience for your clients and help them transform into media companies
  • Why agencies need to have some sort of vertical specialization combined with a unique point-of-view of how they approach the world in order to be differentiated
  • How an agency can go about uncovering its unique point-of-view
  • Why midsized agencies looking to grow and become trusted business advisors to clients should focus on the strategic side because that is where the value is
  • Why if you can’t control the media — then becoming the media is a viable content strategy for agencies and clients alike

Ways to Contact Robert Rose:

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