Speaker 0 00:00:00 <affirmative>. I consider myself a bit of a control freak. I like to have control. I kind of like to do everything that's becoming less and less as I get older and older and I start to slow down. So I think it's, it's either fear of letting go, it's fear of not having enough money, uh, either for the employee mm-hmm. <affirmative> or for yourself. So that becomes a reoccurring revenue thing. And there may be another thing. But those for me, are the two key things. Why I haven't, why it's still just me and the agency. But as I get older, I'm realizing there's no way I can maintain this for much longer.
Speaker 1 00:00:31 Welcome to the Agency Hour podcast. This week we're joined by agency Mavericks community manager, also known as our Chief Jester, James Muro. James is Chief Everything Officer at Holl Digital, a web and marketing agency based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. And he's been building websites and digital strategies since the late nineties and is passionate about user experience. In this episode, we discuss how to manage Slack, the importance of community and building connections by driving conversations, the future of ai, and why you should focus on yourself before you focus on your business. I'm Troy Dean. Stay with us. And ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the agency, our, the one and only James Muro. How are you, James?
Speaker 0 00:01:17 Hey Troy. How's it going?
Speaker 1 00:01:19 <laugh>, he's got the sound effects going on the road are fantastic.
Speaker 0 00:01:22 Now my kids make me play that whenever they enter in my office.
Speaker 1 00:01:26 Yeah. My,
Speaker 0 00:01:27 If I don't play it, they go out and they come back in.
Speaker 1 00:01:29 My kids want, Oscar wants to play the colored game cuz he just w because all the, all the keypads are, all the sound pads are colored. Dad, can I play the colors game? And he just likes to put the headphones on and push the different sound pads. He sits there for
Speaker 0 00:01:40 Hours.
Speaker 1 00:01:41 Now, for those that don't know, who are you and where are you and what are you doing here?
Speaker 0 00:01:45 Oh, that's a loaded question. Um, sorry for the snort there too, by the way. Uh, I, that's
Speaker 1 00:01:50 Okay. We can edit that out or we can leave
Speaker 0 00:01:52 It in <laugh>. It's up to you. Uh, I am James Murgatroyd. I am from Sunny Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The weather has finally come out. The snow is melting. Spring is here. I went to the mailbox in my shorts today. Haven't done that for months. Uh, I own an agency called, uh, holler, uh, digital here in Mont, Alberta. We do mostly web design and development. I'm trying to get into more seo, uh, and try and build some offers around that. Uh, and more recently, I am spending too much time in, um, Mavericks. I think <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:02:23 Right. You, you have a new role with us, right? Yes. Tell us about, uh, well, how did Chief Jester come about?
Speaker 0 00:02:29 Well, cuz I couldn't get Chief Drinking Vessel Officer, I think that was taken. Uh, although I tried. Uh, so it's funny actually, I, I noticed everyone in, in the Maverick's Sales Accelerator, slack had their titles in brackets next to their name. And so I had just put Chief Jester next to mine and then I guess it may have sparked something. And so here I am. And I, I, I kind of felt like I seeded the idea, but I definitely felt, uh, there was a need for someone to help, uh, drive some of the conversations in the Slack groups too. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:03:02 <affirmative>, it's, um, you know, it's, I, I sent a message to Anna yesterday, my, who's our operations assistant, and I said, you know, what would be really good? Like, I log into Slack and I dunno where to start, right? It's like, what would be really good is a list of conversations. So I'm having Anna now go through and say, Hey, here's all the conversations that you need to be a part of. So I can just dig in because I log in and I ge I even get a little bit overwhelmed with, you know, the conversations that are going on and where I can add the most value. How do you manage, I know this is a thing for anyone who uses Slack. How do you manage Slack so that you don't just get kind of caught in the Slack vortex?
Speaker 0 00:03:39 Uh, it's a great question cuz this is a very new role for me, right? So, um, I've never really done community management before. Um, although, I mean, I was a part of a working co-op, so I used to come in once a month and mix soup for everyone. Um, but you can't, you can't do that on Slack, I guess. Um, no, you can't. So I kind of use it as my approach to it is using as a sounding board, right? So, um, recently I've been working on a discovery, uh, process for a client. I didn't pre-sell discovery for this one, don't gimme trouble for that. But I've been sort of exploring how to make better personas or how to not use personas and use job stories. And so I've been kind of exploring that and sharing bit of mind journey in getting feedback from other people. So I don't have like a method, there's just, it's more madness than method is kind of what I'm getting at mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I just kinda, as I kind of think, oh, this might be a fun topic to kind of see how people are doing, then I kind of throw that into Slack, uh, and see what other people are talking to and try and, and either start a conversation or make connections to people who were having conversations or maybe they're having the same conversation in different spaces. And then try and bring those people together.
Speaker 1 00:04:46 And I don't wanna make this too much of an an ad for Slack, but I will say, I can remember before we started using Slack, I'm going back a few years, we were, you know, in Skype groups internally, our team were in a Skype group and we would communicate in Skype, um, and then we'd, you know, occasionally jump on a call. But Slack, we were talking just before we started hit hitting record that we work in silos. Even people who work in large organizations work in silos if we're working remotely. I know Plin, I know people who work for Automatic where there's thousands of employees, but they work from home. They never see their fellow coworkers and they feel like there's still a disconnect between the communication in different departments. I think Slack has really helped bridge that gap, but it can, uh, it can get, things can get lost and, and get overwhelming. And I know some people can just tune out of Slack because there's too much noise. Right. Um, do you have, do you have it open all day or do you have like times during the day where you dive in?
Speaker 0 00:05:47 I have it open all day cuz I'm in, like, I use Slack in my business. Uh, I'm trying to use it more and more as, um, I use different pieces of software. They're all connected in Slack. So Slack is slowly, uh, and I is morphing into kind of like a, a catchall for, you know, every time, uh, a WP Remote does an update of my websites that I'm managing through WP Remote, I get updated in Slack. So I'm trying to take those things out of email so that I can go back and slack and see how things are running. So typically I'll have it open most of the day. Um, and there's a couple different other communities that I'm involved in locally. Um, so there's a bunch of designers that have a Slack channel. Um, so I try and, and keep it open all day.
Speaker 0 00:06:28 Um, and I like to see what other people talking about. But to your point about silos, I remember sort of when I started my agency, it's always been me, still is just me. That needs to change at some point in time. But I used to, like, I'd come into my office and then I'd be in a zone and then four o'clock would roll out and then I'd go away and, and, and try and break out of that zone and, and, and be a fa uh, a husband and a wife and a, well not a wife, but a husband and a father. And then, um, I realized, uh, when I joined that, uh, work co-op that I was really lacking for many years in building those connections with other people. Um mm-hmm. And engaging with other people cuz um, when you come together as a community, there's a lot more you can learn from one another and share with one another. Mm-hmm. So that's been one of the things that I've kind of learned, especially since I joined Mavericks. And there was a lot of conversations in there that were something that I was engaged in or something that I was keen to learn in. So those are the kind of conversations I'm kind of keen to, to drive forward as I move into this role.
Speaker 1 00:07:30 Yeah. I keep it open all day as well. I think of it as my virtual board. I mean, we obviously, we have a bunch of customers in Slack that we need to support and we, that's how we do that. But also I've, I mean, other groups and other masterminds where I'm being coached and getting advice and our team are being coached, and I think of that as our virtual board of directors or our virtual advisory board. We can just chime in. Uh, and because it's asynchronous, you can kind of mute it for a bit. You can just do some deep focus work, put on Brain fm, get into some work, and then come back an hour later and have a look at what's going on. So I, I feel like I'm really connected to Slack these days and I can't imagine working without it. I can't imagine working without it open because it's, it is like, and also I park things in Slack in my own channel. You know, you got your own channel in Slack. I put, I talk to myself all the time, like, Hey, you need to do this later,
Speaker 0 00:08:14 <laugh>. I know. So I bought, uh, when I, before I came out to San Diego from Mav Con, I bought a pair of AirPods Pro, first time I've ever had noise canceling headphones. So I got out of the mall and I put them in my ears and I felt like I, my hearing had gone like, it was completely silent. I imagined that would be what would happen to me if I turn off Slack. Right. It would just be me in a dark room. Yeah. I wouldn't be able to see or hear anything. I'd be like, on the floor trying to find my way out. So, um, yeah. I can't imagine having it closed for, for too long anyway.
Speaker 1 00:08:45 Yeah. Yeah. Now you've also leveled up your, uh, before we dive into a little bit more about your role here and what you're doing, I just wanna talk about your, uh, podcasting setup up here. You've leveled up your game, brother.
Speaker 0 00:08:58 Yes. It's, well, I was on your podcast, uh, a while ago, curious that my rebooking took so long, by the way, <laugh>. Um, but I,
Speaker 1 00:09:06 I'm not responsible for these things anymore. General.
Speaker 0 00:09:08 It, it was, it was that, actually it was that podcast, the reason why I bought the AirPods Pro and when I listened back it was so tinny compared to your nice, uh, very more, yours is a slightly more elaborate setup than mine. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I, I went out and bought some, some gear. So I got a nice broadcaster too. Um, I've been helping you use it on your live stream sometimes Yes.
Speaker 1 00:09:28 When you have lost. Yes. Yeah. <laugh>,
Speaker 0 00:09:30 It has been great fun, actually. Um, yeah, I, I've always wanted to do a podcast, but, um, never really had something I thought was a good enough idea to, uh, to push out. So maybe one day, so
Speaker 1 00:09:42 You've, so you've got the pod mic going into the road podcaster, and then you've, you are also wearing some in ears I noticed
Speaker 0 00:09:48 As well. I have the same in ears as you cuz you have your equipment share list. So I have that. And then I thought I was getting ahead of you cuz I have the X five wireless, uh, monitor, uh, broadcaster. Uh, but then I noticed you had the same thing too, so Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:10:01 So yes, I've, I dunno what model mine is, but I've got a little, um, a little wireless transmitter that plugs into the headphone jack on the back of the roader. And then I have a little pack that I wear in my pocket, which connects to my in ears. So I can, yeah. I can walk around and, and, and, uh, and pod podcast and live stream. These are actually meant for a stage. These are fantastic, by the way. I love them. Yeah. I don't like being wired in, I don't like being connected to the computer. I like to be free, you know?
Speaker 0 00:10:26 Yeah. And there was a few times when I'd be on, uh, client calls and Id want to get up from the desk, but I was tied to it from, uh, cable from, so I went out and bought the wireless. It's much nicer. Yes. I,
Speaker 1 00:10:36 The reason I wanna just have this quick conversation about the gear that you're using is because I think as when you get on a call with a client, you know, where people are zoomed out, right? People are, uh, just completely zoom fatigued and most of the time you're looking up someone's nostrils. They've got their AirPods in it sounds tinny. You can hear people in the background. You can hear the kids screaming. You can hear the wife screaming at the kids. You can hear the washing machine going off. Well, at least that's what it's like at my place. And I think just it's, there's a, there's a small investment required to just up your game and present yourself a little more professionally so that you've got a mute button. You can, if things are going to shit in the background, you can mute yourself. You've got some nice monitors, you can hear your sound good. It looks good. And I think it just, I don't think there's an excuse these days not to do it. You know, I don't, you don't need to set up a YouTube studio like we have, but you can, I'm just an idiot. Uh, but you can present yourself well and, and look and sound a bit more professional than the average Joe. And I think it's worth the investment. And the good thing is that then you've got the ability to sit down and just create content at, at a whim. Like whenever you get inspired,
Speaker 0 00:11:38 Well, that's the, well, and you had that case study where that lawyer that contacted you about how to make their setup look nice because they were on Zoom all the time trying to look professional, uh mm-hmm. <affirmative> in online court during the pandemic, so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's definitely a case to be made for that, but yeah. And also in my new role, I have the equipment, so now I, I might be able to create content of my own. It may not just be Yeah, the Troy Dean Slack channel anymore.
Speaker 1 00:12:03 Good. Thank God for that. Because frankly, people are getting bored of me. I'm getting bored of myself. Uh, there is an argument also, Dan Kennedy, one of the great, uh, direct response copywriters of our, of all time, really. He talks about the, the principles of positioning. And one of the principles he talks about is fascination. And when people get on a call with you, and it sounds great and it looks great, uh, particularly clients will start to say things like, oh wow, your setup looks great. And if you can help them with that, they instantly see you as someone who knows more about this than they do. And they, and this lawyer, for example, who reached out to me and asked me questions, he ended up becoming a private coaching client of mine for a period of time. Uh, and that was one of the things that got him in, was he saw my setup and it's like, dude, I need to present myself like this when I, when I zoom into court, how do we do it? And we started that conversation and then he said, right, I need you to help me grow this and do this and hire these people. Uh, so you never know where things are gonna lead. What is the gap that you saw in what we were doing that inspired you to kind of put your hand up and say, Hey, I think I can be of use here? I
Speaker 0 00:13:07 Think coming out of Mav Con, I, there were a lot of great, um, conversations at Mav Con. The sessions were great, but I think where the value add of being in person in San Diego last September was the conversations that were happening around the sessions or, or at the restaurant the next day or in the evening. And then when I came home, I felt very inspired, but then suddenly realized those conversations had ended because we were no longer kind of engaging. We were all really focused down in our own businesses. And so was then I realized that, you know, there, there's a need for someone to drive some of those conversations, right? And I'm a sort of a naturally curious person, so I kind of took it upon myself to, um, since I had built better relationships by meeting these people in, in person, I thought now is a great time to sort of, uh, push that curiosity a little bit more and start engaging a little bit more in the Slack channels. And I think that's kind of where it came from. And I had a bit more confidence having met everyone in person too, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's kind of hard when you, when you've just signed up and you don't know who's who or what's what. Um, so having been around, uh, for so long that I have, I felt like, uh, it was a good time to make that leap.
Speaker 1 00:14:18 And yeah. When you're finding your feet in the first year or so, you, you, you kind of, um, you, you don't want to, you know, it's interesting, it's interesting when people are in a mastermind like this, I do it myself. I forget to ask questions because I don't, I feel like I don't wanna bother people, you know, like,
Speaker 0 00:14:38 Or you're still processing the information, right?
Speaker 1 00:14:41 So, yeah. But also I feel, I feel like, I think there's, you know, I mean, we're in masterminds that, you know, cost us three grand a month and I feel like I'm being annoying when I reach out to someone and ask a question, or I feel like I wanna figure it out myself because I'm too proud to put my hand up and say, oh, I need help with this, which is fucking ridiculous. I mean, that's what I'm paying them for, right? Um, but I think having someone like you in the community makes it reminds people that they're, that's what they're here for. But also hopefully creates a safe environment where people can ask questions without feeling stupid. Right.
Speaker 0 00:15:16 Well, and also if you go back to what you were talking about earlier on your kind of state of the union, uh, live stream is that so many people will buy a course and they'll take the course or they'll start taking a course, but they don't push their own curiosity. Right. Or they don't ask enough questions. And so people kind of fail sometimes in that way, or they don't get the most out of what it is that they're trying to do. Whether it's a course or, or a mastermind or something like that. So I think pushing more conversations or, or trying to engage people a bit more might help bring them out and might help them learn a lot more than, than they have been.
Speaker 1 00:15:51 When you joined our program, what were you specifically looking for?
Speaker 0 00:15:56 I remember when I first, uh, heard about you, this was right before the silence is Golden. Uh, years, what? 2017? Uh, I remember, I think it was a Facebook ad. Um, and you may have been selling your proposal blueprint, uh, which we don't talk about anymore. Mm-hmm. <laugh>, but, and I, it's funny cuz I thought I had invented care plans and then I, and then I discovered, uh, I came outta my silo and got into your stuff. Um, but I think I wanted to grow my network and, and interact with other agencies. When I joined Maverick's Club, I wanted to push myself in other directions cuz I've been mostly focused on, you know, web development. And so something I've like, I've really pivoted more into the sort of a sales mind now. So I don't like doing development as much. Um, so that's, that's probably the first, um, position I'm gonna hire for at some point in this year.
Speaker 0 00:16:44 Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think with Sales Accelerator, the whole idea of really crafting your offer really appeals to me cuz I've always been into sort of direct copywriting. One of my favorite speakers is Rory Sutherland from, uh, Ogilvy, who's kind of a leading light on behavioral science, but he started off as a direct response copywriter and it seems like all the good, uh, advertising men started off that way. So that kind of mm-hmm. So that's kind of where I'm kind of focused on now and, and really trying to engage. I was, it's funny actually, cuz I was sharing a post in Slack about favorite ads that we'd seen recently. And I found an old one from the sixties. I can't remember what it was for, it was for like peanut butter or something like that. But the sort of the Facebook ads of today kind of resemble the, the copywriting from, you know, the, the golden ads of the sixties and seventies. So it's kind of interesting to see that come back too.
Speaker 1 00:17:34 Yeah. Well those principles haven't changed. If you, uh, we obviously, you know, check gpt is a thing and people are flocking to it and you know, I think the belief is that people believe one of two things. They believe that ch Gpt is gonna help them write great ads and make heaps of money. And they also think that chat GP p t is gonna replace them if they're a copywriter or if they're a web designer. I don't think either of those two things are gonna happen. But are you using chat G P T in your business in any way, shape or form?
Speaker 0 00:17:59 Yeah, actually, um, couple of weeks ago I was trying to figure out how to do something. Yeah. Uh, code something. And I was googling maybe for an hour. I couldn't find anything that kind of worked. I tried a couple things. Uh, and so I signed up for a chat, G P T Pro, I put in a prompt, tried it, and it was exactly what I was looking for, at least the bare bones of what I needed. And then I just modified the code to make it work. So I've been doing that. I actually rewrote the main paragraph oh in my hero for my website. Uh, and that was the only thing I changed and I jumped, uh, rankings, uh, two places for Edmonton web design Wow. At the time. So I've been kind of playing with it. It's not perfect. I think, you know, you have to know how to massage it a little bit.
Speaker 0 00:18:43 You have to go back to it and say, this is not quite what I'm looking for. I was using it to write user job stories for a persona the other day. And I incorrectly used the wrong term for the, the character type or the persona type. So then I went back and said, write it for this. And then it was a little bit closer to what I was looking for. So yeah, I'm, I'm playing with it a little bit. I think we're seeing the birth of the ai, um, I dunno if we're calling it, call it a revolution. Um, but I have this dream where, um, it, let's say in the, you know, a few years from now, I imagine if you're searching and you're looking for a blue suit, uh, you'll enter into an AI tool. And then rather than it giving you a listing, it'll actually create a virtual store for you with a virtual assistant. Then you can create, you know, a a, you could take measurements of yourself using the lidar on your phone, and then you can try on different suits. And then, you know, with drone technology, you'll probably have it delivered to you in the next, you know, two or three days, half an
Speaker 1 00:19:40 Hour. I,
Speaker 0 00:19:40 I think that's where we're heading to. Uh, which is kind of cool, but also kind of scary cuz I, yeah, it's gonna be a lot of, um, uh, job losses and a lot of human interaction that's gonna be lost from that process. Um, but there's gonna be a lot of advances in, in those technologies. I think
Speaker 1 00:19:56 One thing I'm looking forward to is, because one thing that really annoys me about search is if I search for a particular term and then I get to the search results and I start opening links in new tabs, right now I've all of a sudden I've got nine tabs open and I, and I realize these three things are not what I'm looking for. I wanna go back to the search result page and delete them. I wanna get, so I don't accidentally open it again. Right. I'm looking for a Chrome extension or some kind of AI that says, all right, I've looked at that search result, it's not what I want. Get rid of it. Don't show me again for this particular keyword. And I can't do that. It's not, I mean, sure the link on the search result changes color cuz I've already visited it, but I don't remember that and I'm partially colorblind anyway, so that doesn't help. And I think with ai, cuz you can't get back to Google and say, well, they're not actually the search results. I was looking for Google, can you, uh, you know, whereas, whereas chatty pt, Chachi pt I'm learning, you can almost have a conversation with it and you can, I just talk to it like I'm talking to a really smart buddy, right? <laugh> who knows, who knows, who knows a lot about a lot,
Speaker 0 00:21:02 Sounds like a, a good job for Lucas film, right? These are not the search results. We're looking for <laugh>, and then it'll, then it'll remove them from your search results. And then hundred
Speaker 1 00:21:12 Percent little R two D yeah. Little R two detail that just flicks off the dead search results that are no good.
Speaker 0 00:21:16 Don't forget, there's always the page two button. Not a lot of people are afraid to click that, right?
Speaker 1 00:21:21 Yes. But
Speaker 0 00:21:22 It really depends. It really depends on your search query too.
Speaker 1 00:21:26 Well it's like inviting B list celebrities to your birthday, right? Because they're the, a list of celebrities aren't available. So you end up with, you know, you end up with, uh, you know, uh, Charlie Sheen at your birthday party and that's never gonna end well, is it? You know,
Speaker 0 00:21:39 <laugh>, I bet you it's gonna be a better party than you were initially planned though, right? You got Charlie Sheen at your party, you're all drinking Tiger Blood.
Speaker 1 00:21:47 If someone came to you and said, James, I I've got this agency, I've been going for a couple of years, I'm stagnant. I really wanna grow. What should they do in what order do you think? And I'm not teeing you up here, by the way, I'm genuinely curious.
Speaker 0 00:21:58 That's a loaded question. I think you need to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of that agency, right? I kinda like your philosophy of, of sales team and ops. And so trying to figure out which is their, which is their major weakness, uh, and focusing on that, right? So if they have good fulfillment and a strong team, then it sounds like sales would be their problem. So then looking at how, how are they running sales? How are they creating leads? What is their offer? And tweaking that. If it's, you know, if they've got a good, steady income of leads and sales, then you wanna look at their fulfillment and team and go from there.
Speaker 1 00:22:33 Mm-hmm. Right? Yeah, it makes perfect sense. And I, I and I, it's a logical, I I also, we deliberately positioned team before ops because in our experience with our own business and also coaching lots of others, you can get to a million dollars a year in revenue with very few SOPs. Really, you just shout at each other in Slack, right? Until things get done. At some point you do need SOPs to scale, but you can, you can get a long way without them. And in fact, your team will help you write the SOPs as you bring them on board, which makes things, uh, easier for the business owner. Cuz otherwise you become the bottleneck trying to do everything. Um, most. Why, why do you think most agencies, and it's, I find it, it's like the Cobbles shoes, right? Most agencies are in the business of doing marketing activities for clients, but most of them just rely on referrals and word of mouth. And they don't have, they're not proactive in generating their own leads and they don't have a sales process and they're quite resistant to doing that. Why is that, do you think?
Speaker 0 00:23:38 I think it's, it's very hard to talk about yourself if it's something you're not used to doing, right? Um, so a lot, I mean, a lot of smaller agencies, um, even though they probably create nice websites for their clients, their own website is, is probably poorly designed, poorly written, um, and probably the last thing on their to-do list, same thing with marketing and sales, right? They just don't know. Um, they just don't know what the right approach is, right? So maybe they haven't spent time trying to figure out who is their perfect ideal avatar. They haven't figured out how to craft that offer and then haven't translated that into design, whether it be an ad or their website. Um, so they've sort of missed a step there cuz they're too busy engaged in, in focused on client work. Um, so it depends on, depends on how good, uh, the agency is, how many resources they have to dedicate it to, right?
Speaker 0 00:24:30 I mean, if you think about larger agencies, um, typically will have one person whose sole job it is, is to submit projects to awards, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so they can afford to spend time focusing on, on that and they can write that off because they've built it into their billing for all of their project work. Whereas smaller agencies don't spend that time or they don't think about, yeah, maybe we should do that. And one thing I started doing, starting actually with kind of Mav con is I realized, you know, you really need to get out of the office at least, you know, maybe once a quarter and just mm-hmm <affirmative> shut everything down and focus on a yourself. If you're not doing, you know, if you're, if you're burnt out, focus on yourself, don't focus on the business. But b if you're feeling up to it, focus on, you know, what is the one thing that I can tweak in this business that will make the biggest change for the business in the next three months. And if you do that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, monthly or quarterly, um, then you'll slowly kind of see a momentum gaining. And then hopefully, ideally then it's not just you, you're doing a, you, you have a team, you can do a retreat and you can all focus on that. And maybe if you have different departments like a design a dev team, maybe each, each team can take one thing and then start to, to massage that and make it better, um, and grow that way organically. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:25:46 <affirmative>, that's great advice. Uh, and, and I think you touched on it before, it's really easy for a freelancer or a small agency owner just to get busy doing the client work because it's quite rewarding doing client work, isn't it? I mean, one, it brings in revenue to the clients most of the time are happy with the work that you're doing and you feel like this sense of completion because you've completed a project and you've handed it over to a client and then you look at your pipeline and you hope that referrals and word of mouth are coming in and you've got more work to do it. It's only when you get to a point where there's nothing in the pipeline that people start to say, Hmm, maybe I should look at doing some actual sales and marketing and by then it's kind of too late. Because what we know is that if you're having a quiet month, it's because you didn't do enough work three months ago generating leads and nurturing those leads. Cuz that's typically how long it takes to get someone from, you know, not knowing us and having not no trust in the relationship to actually coming on and, and, and signing on for a project. There are ways to speed that up, but typically a three month cycles, you know, if, if you're quiet now, it's because you didn't do enough active marketing and sales prospecting three months ago.
Speaker 0 00:26:53 I'd also say the opposite is true too, because as a freelancer you sort of have that habit of never saying no, right? So you're constantly, your pipeline is constantly full, but maybe you're not, you know, valuing it enough or you're not charging enough. So then you're mm-hmm <affirmative>, you're constantly trying to churn out work that you're not getting paid enough because you've priced it wrong. And then you, that cycle continues and con continues and continues. So then you've missed an opportunity to actually say no to something and say, you know what? I'm not gonna do this this month. I have enough reoccurring revenue, I'm just gonna focus on me and the business. Uh, and, and use that to sort of the jumping off point for, for the next lead or the next big client or the next big project or whatever that may be. Right. I think that's, you know, that's the other side of that coin too, right?
Speaker 1 00:27:38 I had a conversation with an agency based here in Melbourne recently. Uh, a husband and wife team, although they're not married, but they're, they're business partners and life partners and they have no hardly any recurring revenue. And they took a holiday to Bali recently, a two week holiday to Bali, the two of them, and they spent 50% of their holiday on their laptops working. I'm like, that's not a holiday. A holiday holiday. Yeah. You're just working remotely, right?
Speaker 0 00:28:04 Yeah. That's not a holiday, that's a remote work,
Speaker 1 00:28:06 Right? That's right. You've just gone to Barley to work for a couple of weeks a smart way. That's because they have no, that's no way to do it. Revenue.
Speaker 0 00:28:11 The, there's a Facebook engineer who spent, I think it's 300,000 on a condo, on a cruise ship. So it's a floating condo. Uh, and he works from, he works remotely, so he is working remotely on a cruise ship. Wow. I think that's a smart way to do it. If, if I was young, single and had a and had an extra 300,000, that might be what I'd do, right? Yeah. So then you can see the world from the window. Although, I mean, you're working on the other side of That's right. The
Speaker 1 00:28:36 Window you're working. That's right. At least,
Speaker 0 00:28:37 At least when you're done working, you, you're, yeah. You're seeing some different part of the world.
Speaker 1 00:28:42 Yeah. And I think the, I think if you don't have that recurring revenue and you don't have any team, it is hard to step away and take a holiday and really switch off because, and, and I, I know this from personal experience, we are going on a holiday soon. First couple of weeks of April, I'll be away. I'm not working. I'll think about the business, of course, I'll think about the business because it's such a big part of my life, right? And I spend so much time thinking about it, it's hard to completely switch off, but I'm not working. I might have a conversation or two with Emily while I'm away. Maybe, maybe not. Um, but I'm not required to do anything while I'm away because we have enough recurring revenue and well we're, we're all recurring revenue and we have a team that are doing all the things.
Speaker 1 00:29:24 So, uh, it's, you know, and five years ago I went on the same holiday with the in-laws and, and our kids' cousins and I was taking sales calls. Actually it wasn't even five years ago, it was about three years ago. I was away for Easter. Same holiday with the same uh, families. And I spent most of my days on sales calls because we didn't have a sales team. And I just don't wanna do that anymore. I just don't want to, I want to take holidays and not have to work and actually enjoy time with family. And that comes from recurring revenue and team as far as I'm concerned. Um, what do you think the biggest challenge is with people hiring their first or next team member?
Speaker 0 00:30:06 Oh, this is one I can answer cuz I haven't done it yet. I think it's fear of letting go. I think that's what it is for me. I consider myself a bit of a control freak. I like to have control. I kind of like to do everything that's becoming less and less as I get older and older and I start to slow down. So I think it's, it's either fear of letting go, it's fear of not having enough money, uh, either for the employee or for yourself. So that becomes a reoccurring revenue thing. And there may be another thing, but those for me are the two key things. Why I haven't, why it's still just me and the agency. But as I get older, I'm realizing there's no way I can maintain this for much longer. I'll probably pass out and, you know, maybe my, my last slack I'll, I'll, my last Slack message might be me sending an so s please help. I'm dying. No, please no one. But, uh, you know, boy who cried wolf, everyone will probably just give me a laughing emoji or something like that. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:30:59 Yeah, yeah. Right. Well, you know, I mean, I, I know we are a similar age. I'll be 50 this year and when you're looking down the barrel of turning 50, you, you know, like you realize, I said to Max, the other, max actually coined a phrase the other day. He said, max is 37. And he said, I'm no longer the leading actor. I'm, I'm now in a supporting role. Right. Like, you, you're not, like, you're not in the prime of your life anymore when you, I mean, I, I don't, I don't, I'm not saying that I've got one foot in the grave, don't get me wrong. But, but you, you do, your energy levels change. You just, you know, you don't want to hustle and work your ass off so long because you've been around long enough to realize what's actually important. And when you're looking down the barrel of 50, what's really important is quality time with people that you love doing things that you enjoy because you're running out of life.
Speaker 0 00:31:47 Yeah. I, I've always self iden. I'm 45, but I've always self-identified as a 26 year old. I might have to revisit that this year. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> cuz I'm, I'm feeling older than that. Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So my energy levels definitely dropped. Um, yeah. But I mean with Sales Accelerator, I'm more focused on, on sales and enjoying that and trying to um, try and, and focus more on, on how can I really help my business and then how can I translate that into other people's businesses? So I don't have the energy to stare at a screen for eight hours and write code anymore. It's just not Yeah, that's right. And that's, and that was, that's been the biggest change for me cuz that was kind of how I made my money for, for a long, long time. So that's been an interesting transition. So I, I may even, I'm hoping maybe by the time I get to 50, I've got a few more years to go, but maybe I just become the discovery session guy and, and find an agency partner to do all the, uh, fulfillment that would be, I think that might be something to, uh, to consider.
Speaker 0 00:32:43 So those are the kind of conversations I'm having with myself. Cause I talk to myself. All that's good. The time's good. If I'm not talking to people on Slack, it's me talking to myself. Right.
Speaker 1 00:32:51 Yeah. Do you, do you talk to yourself out loud or is it just in your head?
Speaker 0 00:32:55 I do it out loud. I even do it in client meetings. Right. If I'm typing something on a keyboard, sometimes I'll, I'll catch myself talking to myself. I try not to swear in those situations. Um, but no promises me, right.
Speaker 1 00:33:07 <laugh>, that's, when I talk about this, I talk to myself quite a bit out loud and, and uh, usually like it's in the supermarket and I'll be swearing to myself like, where the, what the fuck, what did they put the, where did they move the fucking,
Speaker 0 00:33:20 Because they're always moving the fucking stuff. People look crazy, they're always
Speaker 1 00:33:24 Moving. They
Speaker 0 00:33:25 Stop it. They do
Speaker 1 00:33:26 That Super Marcus, they do that to keep you in the shop longer. Right? It's like, let's move the eggs and keep them here longer and confuse 'em. So they buy more shit that they look at on the shelf and the shelves are always full of stock and that looks beautiful. So you put in your, in your trolley, um, people look at me like I'm a crazy person. Um, what are you, what are you looking forward to most over the next 90 days as your new role as Chief Jester here at Agency Mavericks.
Speaker 0 00:33:47 Really just meeting some, there's a lot of new people. I mean, you've been onboarding new people seems like every day. So just trying to meet new people again, I'm kind of in there just kind of, cuz I'm curious about different stuff. I'm curious to know what other people are kind of curious on if I can help another agency owner get unstuck in any kind of way. Um, that would be a huge win for me and just, yeah, just kinda hang out and hopefully help help people engage better and get the most out of their, their investment in themselves. Which is why I think own sales accelerator accelerator, right? Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:34:21 It is. You know, it's that, it's that kind of the holy trinity of courses coaching and community. Uh, we, I I just did announce on the live stream, uh, before that we are shutting down our courses very soon. In the coming weeks, you'll no longer be able to buy our online courses on our website. And that's because we are pivoting completely towards just working with people in a, a more one-on-one, um, and a higher touchpoint capacity in coaching environments. So our courses will still be available to our, our coaching clients. They'll be able to still go and take the, those online courses, but we won't be selling them on our website because we do believe that an online course as great as it is and as exciting as it is, we'll actually slow you down unless you are working in some kind of coaching capacity and someone has said, Hey, you should go do this now and then you've got access to that training. But really they're, they're a big distraction. And I believe, and I've said this for quite some time, that if you're producing online courses, you're almost in the light entertainment business. Uh, cuz that's why people buy online courses to log in and kind of be entertained. And I have, the reality is that
Speaker 0 00:35:21 I have an addiction to buying online courses. I I am one of the guilty people that has bought, I think I got three courses, maybe I've done two lessons of one of them, um, and then haven't logged into the other one. So yeah, I'm definitely, definitely in that camp. Right.
Speaker 1 00:35:35 Yeah. And most people don't, I mean, completion rates are less than 10% of people that buy an online course will actually complete it. It's like reading a book too. Like, you know, completion rates of books are awful and they measure that on Kindles these days. They obviously can't measure it with a paperback, but, um, completion rates of books. And that's, I think because people consume content thinking that it's gonna give them a fix and then they realize they have to do some work and they lose interest and they're like, ah, fuck, now I've gotta go and do some work again. Either
Speaker 0 00:35:59 That or they, they buy the, the books on like for business books, I've probably read so many on different sales, um, tactics. They all sign of, they all kind of merge and blend in to be the same, saying the same thing at some point in time. Mm-hmm. So you're like, well, do I really want to finish this? Cause I just finished Mo's book and this is telling me the same thing, but you know, it's taking me five chapters where Hermo did it in like three pages. So I was like, yes. Why should I, why should I read you a book, sir?
Speaker 1 00:36:26 Yeah. I'm reading a book at the moment that's like that. It was recommended to me, and I'm not gonna name it because I don't wanna, um, embarrass anyone, um, who recommended it to me. But it, it's, the theory is great, but there's absolutely nothing in the book about how to apply the theory. It's all stories about people who have applied the theory. It's, there's no, there's no, I'm just like, fucking tell me how to do it for god's sake. Like gimme one tactical thing. There's nothing tactical in the book at all. And I've stopped reading it. Yeah. Because, um,
Speaker 0 00:36:59 Yeah, I wanna know how the sausage is made despite the fact that I hate that phrase. I've used it several times this week already.
Speaker 1 00:37:06 Yeah. Hey James <inaudible>, thanks for hanging out with us again on the agency. I appreciate you and, uh, loving the fact that you've, uh, come back as Chief Jester, thank you for all that you do with our community. It's
Speaker 0 00:37:17 Good to be here. We'll talk soon.
Speaker 1 00:37:20 Thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast and a massive thanks to James Murgatroyd. I always love chatting with your brother and we love how engaged you are and everything you're doing for our community. Okay folks, don't forget to subscribe and please share this with anyone who you think may need to hear it. Now, are you getting paid to close clients because you should be. And that's what we do here at Agency Mavericks right now. We are guaranteeing you can get paid to close eight new clients in the next 30 days. So if you'd like to chat with our team about how you can get paid to close, click the link beneath this episode. Let's get to work.