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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Jul 21, 2021


Today we discuss the lonely aspect of being a business owner or leader and some ways to prevent it. It’s a real problem. One way to fight it is to get into a group and have mentors. Whether it’s a mastermind group, or the Agency Exposed community, escaping isolation is key. We also discuss the challenges of firing in a small business, the balance in discussing business matters with employees, and how the ideal business owner model has changed over time. Although being an agency owner can be lonely and comes with many heavy responsibilities, it’s worth it all in the end.


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 


  • Loneliness is real. Running an agency is challenging, and it is common for owners to become isolated. Being a lonely leader is unhealthy for you and your business. As a leader, you must proactively search for methods to prevent loneliness.   “When you're the business owner, or even if you have partners, I'm sure you still feel at times, very alone.”
  • Don’t isolate yourself. By isolating yourself, you can jeopardize your mental health, emotional health, and your agency’s health. Isolation is common when you don’t feel you can share EVERYTHING with ANYONE. Find a group or community, get mentorship and coaching so you can share the in’s and out’s of your business with. “You can find answers to problems just by talking it through without the other person actually giving any input.”
  • Encourage the leaders above you. Everyone needs a bit of encouragement, especially leaders. Often, 80% of what they hear is criticism without any kind of encouragement.  “I want to be the voice, that's not the criticism voice and hopefully the little drop of water in the desert.”



For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran 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:

[0:42] Bob opens this week’s episode with a chat about the locations of agencies that listen to this podcast.

[3:39]  Bob begins a conversation about the pros, cons, and struggles of being an agency owner.

[5:12] Brad talks about how lonely being a business owner can be. “When you're the business owner, or even if you have partners, I'm sure you still feel at times, very alone.”

[7:26] Ken discusses the heavy responsibilities many business owners have and feel the impact from. “You do have a certain responsibility but the buck doesn't stop with you.”

“Everyone brings you problems and there's no one that you can bring your problems to.”

[8:32] Brad talks about the emotional challenges of hiring and firing within a small business.

[10:04] Bob discusses the difficult balance between being empathetic and doing what’s best for business.  

[12:10] Brad compares how a large corporation fires and talks about what he tries to do differently.

[13:32] Ken points out that firing is “not about you. It's about protecting the thing you've been put in charge of, but doing it in a kind way.”

[15:24] Brad talks about the balance there is when discussing business matters with employees.

[17:17] Brad says that because no one understands his business on the level that he does, he feels, “like nobody gets me.”

[19:38] Brad chats about how every so often, he’ll get a call from a client. Typically it’s about something they needed done that hasn’t been done yet. Brad breaks down how he deals with those kinds of responsibilities as a leader. “I always go for the win win”

[23:33] Ken mentions some of the factors that contribute to the loneliness of being a business owner. “There are times when you have to swallow things that don't feel good, and I think that contributes to that feeling.”

[24:14] Bob advises all leaders, “Don't isolate yourself.” 

[27:05] Ken talks about how he reminds himself to have sympathy and empathy for others and how everyone makes unintentional mistakes. “I believe that everyone I meet, are trying their best, but they seem like they've gotten to the end of their rope”

[28:38] Brad talks about how the ideal business owner model has evolved. “I feel more like a motor, and I'm just one part of it, versus being lonely at the top.”

[30:27] Bob gives a brief summary of the book, The Five Dysfunctions of Team.

[31:19] Ken wraps up this week’s episode with some tips for leaders who are dealing with loneliness. “I want to be the voice, that's not the criticism voice and hopefully the little drop of water in the desert.”