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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

May 25, 2022


You can only give from abundance. And since you have to give everyday to be successful, you must prioritize YOUR rest… for the good of the ones you serve. Today we dive into the idea of taking a sabbatical. That may sound daunting or unrealistic, but we break down how to support and prepare your agency in practical ways for a sabbatical leave. We also talk about firing yourself, preparing your team, trains, and more on this week’s episode.



On today’s episode, we explore the concept of taking a sabbatical. No one is going to reach old age and say, “I wish I had worked more”. In fact, they’ll probably say the opposite! As an agency owner, it’s important to consider your employees’ mental health and keep them from burning out. A sabbatical can provide mental clarity, peace, and new insight into how you run your agency. This “fast from work” also has value for the members of the team who have to pick up the slack. It can provide them with experience, insight, and new skills while also allowing you to analyze your systems and look for unseen cracks in your business. Preparation is a key part of this process. You’ve got to have a hardworking team that you trust, as well as efficient systems and redundancies. With committed preparation, there’s no reason why you and other members of your team shouldn’t take a sabbatical. 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  • Get off the train. Starting an agency is a bit like boarding a train. If you successfully board, it can be really hard to get off the train of working everyday to help sustain your agency. In order to go on a sabbatical and return to a thriving business, the first step is acknowledging that you need to get off the train. Don’t allow the train to burn you out or make you miss out on the important things in life. “We're on this train that we can't get off. We can go to the dining car of the train, and we can go to the reading room, but we're still on the train. These times allow us to get off the train and just kind of sit and think.”
  • Fire yourself. Once you decide you need a break from the train, you have to begin to fire yourself, reinforce your systems, create redundancies, and prepare your team for an extended period of time without you. While it may be painful to initiate these changes, they will help your agency become more independent in the long run. “We should always be working hard to fire ourselves. Don't make yourself indispensable in your agency.”
  • You can only give from abundance. Rest and recharging are very important and sabbaticals are an awesome way to achieve both these things as well as other benefits, but there are other options to consider. Four day work weeks as well as hybrid schedules allow for more flexibility and restfulness. The mental health of you and your team is a priority, so don’t allow the thought of taking a sabbatical to eliminate all ideas in that aspect. “How can you institute some sort of rest period, in whatever size business you are?”


For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[1:55] Bob introduces this episode’s topic, “what does it mean to take a sabbatical and what’s the value of it? I'd love to hear you guys’ thoughts on it.”

[5:30] Brad talks about a memorable question he asked his father. “I asked my father, what's one thing that you regret in life? He said, I regret working too much.”

[6:10] Ken discusses the idea that you “board a train” when you start an agency and how the day to day things keep you from getting off. He also discusses the benefits of having an extended time away from work. “When you can get away from the business for an extended period of time, the clarity that you get is amazing…just you get to restore. You come back and you're inspired. And you kind of have clarity about what you're supposed to be doing.”

[8:56] Bob dives deep on Ken’s train analogy.

[10:50] Brad asks Bob what he thinks the prep for taking a month off would look like.

[12:00] Bob talks about the importance of firing yourself, having systems and redundancies in place, and communicating and trusting your team.

[13:20] Ken ponders the question, “How can you institute some sort of rest period, in whatever size business you are?”

[17:28] Bob talks about the value and experience everyone else gains when a leader leaves for a period of time.  “it forces everyone else to step up to the plate and fill in.”

[21:21] Ken asks the guys and listeners, “What would have to be in place for you to be able to take two weeks, a month off?”

[24:34] Ken talks about a few ways to prepare for taking a month off. “I think one one good exercise is making a list of what are all the things that maybe all the things that you do. And then a sub list of like, what are all the things that you do that only you can do.”

[27:17] Brad asks Ken, “if your employees came to you and said ‘Hey, for those who have been here for one year, we want to be able to take one month off, and we're all going to work together as a team to make sure you don't have to do anything.’ Would you be open to that?”

[27:42] Ken discusses the importance of committing yourself to the prep necessary for taking a month off.

[28:49] Bob points out that taking a month off could illuminate weaknesses that you’re not aware of.

[29:52] Ken says that when foolproofing your preparations, it’s important to, “figure out, how do I make decisions? How do I do the things that I do?”

[33:15] Bob talks about how other countries are initiating 4 day work weeks as well as the wisdom behind rest and recharging.

[34:43] Bob discusses the results of a study about hybrid work environments and the benefits.

[37:26] Brad talks about how he’s been breaking his habit of prioritizing work by choosing the opposite.

[39:09] Ken says, “No one sits on their rocker at ninety years old looking back and is like, I wish I had worked more.”

[42:39] Brad discusses the importance of noticing the signs of burnout and taking appropriate action. “If you're feeling like you're just constantly mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally exhausted, it's probably time to find a little more extended time.”

[43:20] Bob wraps up and says, “We'll continue to talk about this and would love to hear from listeners. Please rank and review and rate and share the program on YouTube or any of the places where you get podcasts!”