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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Jul 14, 2023


It’s a freestyle Friday so you know some secrets to success are about to be dropped. The guys dive deep into the importance of building a business that serves you first, the secret recipe to the foundation of a successful business, insightful books and psychological principles, the idea of practitioners v.s. owners, and more on this exciting episode!



This week’s episode is a freestyle Friday! The guys discuss their recent endeavors. Ken shares that he is actively pursuing his vision and leveraging his abilities to align his life and business with what he truly desires. He specifically talks about the challenges of pursuing personal vision in a service-oriented business, where one can often prioritize clients' needs over their own aspirations. Brad contributes to the conversation by highlighting how personal vision and desires change over time. He explains that as individuals age, their businesses may no longer fulfill them, prompting them to question their motivations and purpose. Bob adds to the discussion by emphasizing the roles of self-awareness and crystallized intelligence in shaping one's interests and vision. He suggests that these factors play a significant role in the shift of personal goals and interests. Ken takes the conversation further by discussing the notion of a midlife crisis, suggesting that individuals may feel trapped in what they have built, leading to a sense of confinement and dissatisfaction. He emphasizes the importance of ensuring that one's business serves them first, similar to the concept of putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. The idea of having a calling or mission in life is introduced by Ken, who believes that certain talents within him need to be expressed better. He asserts that if his business does not align with this calling, it is not serving him adequately. The guys delve into the foundation and core of a business, debating whether it is based on people, the balance sheet, the idea, or the vision. They explore the distinction between being business practitioners and being business owners who possess a broader understanding of business principles and can apply them across different industries. They also discuss the significance of values, mission, and culture in establishing a strong foundation for a business. Bob argues that lacking this foundation can lead to becoming enslaved by the business rather than serving a greater cause. Ken introduces the book "Who Moved My Cheese," drawing psychological principles from it to emphasize the importance of being intentional about having a business that serves oneself first in order to provide better service to clients. The conversation touches upon the idea that true enjoyment cannot be derived from tasks performed solely for survival or necessity. They discuss the importance of investing in culture and foundational principles for long-term success and fulfillment. Each participant reflects on their personal visions, plans, and goals. Ken acknowledges that he is still in pursuit of his desired reality, emphasizing the need to leverage one's talents in the right ways. Brad shares his recent realization about the importance of contentment and being present in the journey. Bob concludes the conversation by emphasizing that individuals are doing their best with the resources they have and that a shift in internal perspective is necessary to move forward effectively.


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 


  1. Don’t build a prison; build a business that serves you first. In entrepreneurship, prioritize building a business that serves you first, avoiding the creation of a prison. By aligning your business with your personal aspirations and values, you empower yourself to thrive and achieve both professional success and personal fulfillment. “If my business does not serve me first, how could I possibly be healthy enough to serve you? It's the oxygen mask concept.”

  2. Strong culture + strong values + a strategy = the foundation of a healthy and successful business. A healthy and successful business is grounded in practical elements that form its foundation. Well-defined values serve as guiding principles, fostering trust among employees, customers, and partners, creating a strong culture grounded in the business’s values. A carefully crafted strategy aligns goals, resources, and actions, providing a roadmap for growth, competitive advantage, and long-term success in the ever-changing business landscape. “If you don't have that strong foundation of this is our vision and this is the mission of why we exist, you're gonna fall into that eventually, and you become a slave to it versus I'm serving a bigger cause bigger than myself.”

  3. Measure backwards, be present and content, and do your best. Measuring backwards, being present and content, and doing our best with what we know are key principles for a fulfilling and successful business. These are practical ways to prevent being trapped by your business, make it work for you, and begin on the path to its best version. “We only see the world as we are internally. And until we shift our own internal perspective, however that happens, we’re really doing the best we can and we believe that we’re doing what is right to get us where we need to go.”


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:

[1:13] Bob suggests that the guys do a freestyle Friday, beginning a conversation about what the guys have been working on recently. 

[1:36] Ken talks about how he’s pursuing his vision of where he needs to be, leveraging his abilities better, and doing what he wants to be doing in life and business. 

[3:54] Ken continues to talk about how to pursue your vision for yourself in a service business and the accompanying challenges. “Because the nature of a service business is to get clients and build things and serve them and do things for other people. You might end up doing a bunch of things for the people and never doing the things that you wanted to.”

[5:35] Brad discusses how your vision for yourself and what you want to be doing changes over time. “You get to a point in your age where your business no longer fulfills anymore. And then you have to go through a process of understanding ‘why do I do what I do?’”

[8:06] Bob talks about the roles of self awareness and crystallized intelligence and how they impact the shift of interest and vision. 

[10:32] Ken concludes that this shift often results in the creation of a midlife crisis. He also discusses the truth of the idea that you become trapped inside what you build. “I imagine those midlife crisis moments are because you feel trapped, and you just at some point break… You literally build your own prison. And that's a scary feeling.”

[15:14] Ken segues into the way to break out of this prison; make sure it serves you first. “If my business does not serve me first, how could I possibly be healthy enough to serve you? It's the oxygen mask concept.”

[15:55] Ken says that, “I believe I have a calling in life. And I can't describe it, but there are certain talents inside of me that I feel need to be expressed better. And I can't describe it any other way than a calling or a mission. And so if my business is not doing that it's not serving me.”

[18:16] Brad asks the guys what they think their business is, at its foundation and core. Essentially, is your business the people, balance sheet, idea, vision, etc?

[21:48] Ken talks about the idea that many agency owners are business practitioners versus owners (they are serving people and are good at their craft). He argues that a business owner is a master of the principles of business and can apply those principles in any type of business. “Principles are principles, because they're universal. And so a business needs to make a certain number of bounded profit, whether it's an agency or it's Verizon.”

[22:28] Bob discusses the importance of values, mission, and culture, and how having a strong foundation of these things prevents you from building your own prison. “If you don't have that strong foundation of this is our vision and this is the mission of why we exist, you're gonna fall into that eventually, and you become a slave to it versus I'm serving a bigger cause bigger than myself. I think that at its core, that's what's really missing in people's lives.”

[28:13] Ken begins a conversation about a book called, Who Moved My Cheese, and applies the psychological principles discussed in it to being intentional that your business serves you first so that you can better serve your clients.  

[30:08] Ken talks about the idea that, “you will not enjoy anything you have to do. So if you're in a business where you have to do this thing to survive, you have to serve this client this way just to survive. That's never going to be the best end result for you or the customer.”

[31:48] Bob tells a story about a new client of his and how this client has prioritized investing into his foundational principles, values, and culture, as well as his strategy and app and how that will set his business up to serve him first, destroying the prison. “I have never seen a company that has invested in culture successfully that has not gone on to be very successful, and very fulfilling for the people who work in it.”

[35:44] Brad asks the guys where they feel like they are at in their personal visions, plans, and goals for themselves. 

[37:25] Ken talks about his perspective on where he’s at in his vision. “I try to be intentional. I've always had a desire to pursue a certain type of reality. But I don't believe that I'm fully fulfilling it right now. But I don't think that that's a failure. I think it's a pursuit. When it feels like I'm not acting on something that I should, it's like, I've got this you know, all star baseball arm, but I'm just like I'll do that in 10 years. There's this feeling of like, um, you're not leveraging you're not really like living out the talents that you have in the right ways and pursuing them.” He also talks about a book, The Gap in the Game, and the idea of measuring backwards versus comparing yourself against an ideal. 

[43:27] Brad discusses his journey in realizing the importance of contentment. “What I've learned recently is that I'll never be where I want to be. So I have to understand that I have to be present, and I have to be content without being there.”

[45:14] Bob closes with his thoughts on where he’s at and the idea that most people are doing the best they can with what they have. “We only see the world as we are internally. And until we shift our own internal perspective, however that happens, we’re really doing the best we can and we believe that we’re doing what is right to get us where we need to go.”