Catalytic Leadership

The Entrepreneur's Compass for Balancing Business and Life, with Robert Brill

January 29, 2024 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 28
Catalytic Leadership
The Entrepreneur's Compass for Balancing Business and Life, with Robert Brill
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Navigating the choppy waters of leadership in advertising, I sat down with Robert Brill, the mastermind behind Brill Media, and we painted a vivid picture of his journey from a bright-eyed graduate to the seasoned CEO he is today. Robert's candid revelations are a goldmine of wisdom, touching on the art of team building and the delicate dance between decision-making and delegation. Our conversation taps into the core of what it means to lead with both empathy and an eye for productivity, providing a roadmap for those aspiring to create a business culture that flourishes.

We then shifted gears to the intricate process of balancing the multitude of responsibilities that come with steering a business. Robert and I dove into the pillars supporting Brill Media's success, emphasizing the trust they've cultivated with clients, the unwavering quality of their work, and the organic growth they've achieved. We also dissected the hurdles that small businesses encounter when scaling up, offering pragmatic advice on financial preparedness, which is critical before venturing into the advertising arena.

To round off our discussion, we reflected on the personal facets of entrepreneurship and professional growth, where Robert opened up about the formative moments that shaped Brill Media's inception. Our dialogue traversed the evolving motivations behind his work, the balance between risk-taking and prudence, and the quest for a harmonious blend of personal aspirations with the treasured time spent with family. This episode isn't just a treasure trove of insights into leadership and business—it's a personal journey into the heartbeat of entrepreneurship. Join Robert and me for a session that is as enlightening as it is heartening, and walk away with lessons that will resonate with both your career and your life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership Podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump in to today's interview. I'm so excited today to have Robert Brill on the podcast. Robert is the CEO of Brill Media, a media buying agency that focuses on precision advertising for business growth. The company's been honored 10 times across Inc 5000 and Financial Times 500. Robert is a member of the Forbes Business Council and Fast Company Executive Board, where he writes about improving user experience, business growth strategies, data targeting, local advertising and white label media buying. Additionally, he speaks about advertising, marketing, ai and entrepreneurship to business owners across the country. Robert's a proud father, husband, dog, father Dodger's fan and newly minted InterMiami fan. Robert, I'm so glad you're on the show. Thanks for being here today.

Speaker 3:

Thanks for having me, William. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

I would love for you to share some of your story with our listeners, Robert, particularly around your journey and your development as a leader. How did you get started?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean I got started about a year before I graduated school. I was interning for universal music and then, two weeks out of college, I got a job at Universal McCann, which is one of the largest ad agencies in the world, working on so many pictures. I knew nothing about nothing, couldn't tell the difference between my face and my elbow. That was the early stages of me becoming a leader, which was figuring out what advertising actually is and whatnot. By 2011, I had worked with several agencies and created or was part of a group that created a subsidiary company for the agency I was working for, and then, in 2013, I started my own agency, brill Media. I think leadership is really interesting because it takes so many forms and so many different situations require different types of leadership. I can't say I'm a great leader. I can say that I definitely understand what, or I think I understand what, leadership is. I don't know if I actually execute on it well every day, but I have learned that I can find the right people to be leaders in my organization, and I think that's a part of leadership. Building teams, yeah, I think for me, leadership is about understanding the nuances of a situation, a business situation, and sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it wrong, and over the course of hiring people inside Brill Media, I've definitely learned some lessons. For example, my very first hire, I probably should have hired earlier, my first full-time hire. And then, when we needed to scale from a two and a half person team to a seven-person team, I probably should have done that earlier and it cost me some business and a lot of heartache. I think what I've learned is that leadership requires constant tending to. If you take your eye off the ball, you're going to lose some things. I'm still a practitioner of advertising, so the thing I know how to do is grow businesses. There's that work. There's the leadership work. There's the money and finance and cash flow and invoicing work. I think it's tough to be able to focus on all things, and when you focus on different things, some things are going to be missed.

Speaker 2:

I think that's so insightful, Robert. I think so many people start their own business because they're really good at providing a product or a service and then, as they grow and begin to have to hire other people to help them with fulfillment, they all of a sudden realize that they're a leader. That's a different thing than being good at providing a product or a service. Now you've got other people who are looking at you, expecting you to have the right answers.

Speaker 3:

I think in a lot of cases I do have the right answers. The question is in what I can help. I understand the theory of digital advertising and various components of the advertising landscape. I understand that. I have the answers there. But then leadership of when do we tell people certain things? How do we express good news and bad news? How do we and when do we promote people? There are situations in our business where I've specifically and I was right I specifically didn't want people to take certain leadership positions because I just knew from their nature what they had to express to me, not like I have any great insight into them, but from what they expressed to me that taking on certain types of leadership and certain types of responsibility will overwhelm them. That happened inside my org and that person left because it did exactly what I thought it would do. It overwhelmed them and they pulled through. They did a good job. But they're like I'm maxed out, I'm drained, I can't do this anymore, I'm going to exit the organization. It's like, yeah, I didn't. But then they also got upset that I didn't think of them for this one situational leadership role. I was like, yeah, I didn't want you to have that because I knew it would drain you. I think the question of leadership is when do you put your foot down on something, how strongly do you believe in something and how hard will you fight to implement that belief, which I think is interesting.

Speaker 2:

It is, and learning when to trust your gut, when to say I don't feel right about it, I feel like that's going to overwhelm, that's not going to end well. When do you trust that intuition and when do you say, well, let's try it.

Speaker 3:

I have different. There's like different avatars inside my head. There's the avatar of me as an employee. There's the avatar of me responding so me as an employee, which is closely connected to me, responding to the bosses I've had in other businesses. One of the best bosses I had was when I worked at Universal Mechan. My name is Elias Plischner. He's now head, head of marketing at Sony Pictures Really smart man and really I think the reason I love advertising so much is because I happen to get hired in his team and it was such a great team. So I think about all the things I loved about working for him, just as a very junior person starting out after college. Then I think about the bosses I've had when I was a leader and had people reporting to me and I had to make financial decisions and whatnot. So I think about all the. I try to understand what. What past experiences can I draw on to help give me different perspectives that might help inform the current situation? So, if I'm in it, am I pushing the team too hard? I might. Are they expressing dissatisfaction with the workload? Okay, that's interesting, but am I pushing the team so hard, harder than I've been pushed? That's another balancing point. What would other agencies do? What do I want my agency to be like? So there's this constant calibration for me about what I should or should not be doing. What do the finances say? What's good for the overall growth of the business? What's good for one of our KPIs is employee satisfaction. Are people happy? Do they like working at Brill Media? Yeah, Are they getting something that maybe they wouldn't be able to get elsewhere? So there's a constant calibration for me on the decisions I make and I just have to let one of those avatars win. I either let the business owner money avatar win, I let the middle management employee avatar win, I let the very junior you know what did I like as a very junior person and how can I give those things to the team. So you know, I try to have you know they talk about you know in politics, like the cabinet or the kitchen cabinet, or the person, the group of people that help, that help help define decisions and how to make decisions. I try to have that kitchen cabinet of different elements of me in my, in my hand. I also talk to, like my wife is a big sort of advisor, important advisor to the business. But yeah, I'm realizing I have all these different avatars. Like I never even thought about it like that, but yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's interesting. I've never heard anybody describe it that way as having the different avatars in their mind that they that they use, and kind of compete with one another to see which one are you going to, are you going to focus on for this particular person in this particular decision? Yeah, that's a unique perspective.

Speaker 3:

I think you know I don't I don't want to be so myopic you know I see entrepreneurs and business owners and you know I see I. There's a certain feel I get from people people who are tech founders and people who are like community leaders. Like community leaders have a different. I'm in Los Angeles and I said we talk about vibes, right, energy, you know. So it's like you get a different vibe from a different set of vibes from the tech founder. Again, in general, it's a stereotype. We know no one person fits into the exact stereotype but in general, right. So you have the community leaders. They feel different. The tech founders feel different. The local business owner feels different. So I'm trying to decide who I don't. I don't want to just be Robert Brill in 2023, making decisions off of 2023, like good things and bad things, like. I don't want that to be the case. I want Robert Brill of 2010 and 2003. And all the different parts of me that I've been an experience I want to learn. Draw from those experiences as if they were just pages in a book that I can reread again and re experience so that I can make better decisions and step into the, into the shoes of the, of the person that's whose decisions are being affected, whose lives are being affected by the decisions I make. And they can be small decisions, like hey, I need you to take over this account, or they can be, you know, big, bigger, life changing decisions, like we're going to hire Not, not like hiring from us get changes your life, but it affects your professional life, it affects where you spend your time. So it's, in a very minor way, a life changing decision. Right, who do we hire? Who do we not hire? How do we make financial decisions for the business? So I, really, I really, you know, I, one of the things I talk about a lot is magnitude of responsibility, and it's a concept I really just started thinking about over the last six to 12 months, which is, you know every the things that we're doing. You know we're not saving lives, we're not curing cancer, all those things, right. But you know there's urgency, there's there's value, there's money, there's lifestyle, there's big decision, big impacts to the work that we do. And so I want all of us, in all of our situations, to rise to the magnitude of responsibility that we have. Whatever it is, whatever the responsibility is, there's a magnitude to it. Let's rise to the magnitude of that responsibility. So then I say, ok, well, I want to pay reverence to how important this decision is, whether it's a big decision or a small decision. I need, it needs to be a thoughtful decision. It can be a flip decision or flip end. It's going to impact people in life. So let's, let's be thoughtful about it.

Speaker 2:

No, you asked so many great questions just then, and I think that's so important, because you're never going to get to the right answers unless you ask the right questions, and I think that's one thing, that that's a gift that you have in that you're asking yourself the right questions that are going to take you where you want to go from, where you are. I'm curious. I mean, you know, bromadia is not brand new. This is not a year or two old. Like you, have seen a lot of growth in this season. Like what? What would you say, is the root of your growth at Brill?

Speaker 3:

I mean number one. We have clients who trust us. So in no particular order, like it's like chicken or the egg, you know, we have clients who trust us. We do good work for our clients. Our clients are growing. Yeah, we have a team of people who are passionate about our business. When I say passionate, I mean they're loyal, they do good work, they care, they're smart, they're thoughtful, they go above and beyond for their clients. They work very hard, not because they have to, they really don't. I mean you know they don't have to. They rise to the magnitude of responsibility. They understand the value and importance of working with urgency and being able to prioritize the important things and put on the back burner, even if it's just for an hour or a day or a week. You know some of the things that are lower priorities. So just even having the wherewithal to do that is important. And I think you know we have a really fantastic chief operating officer who, you know, adds to the team what I don't have. You know she's. She's really good at sounds so like basic. She's really good at empathy, yeah no. And creating culture. You know, and I'm just, you know I work. I work so much Our whole team does, but like I'm not. Unfortunately I'm not that Carrie Tachi Feely type of type of boss. I'm like all right, let's, what have we accomplished today? What did we produce? Our clients happy, like that's, that's what I care about. And our COO is like how's the team? How are you feeling? Like, are you okay? Which the team needs? Because I can, I will. I will, unfortunately, drive people into the ground if it's just me leading because I am, because that's I'm hard on myself. Like that's basically more of a reflection of my inner thought process, of of how hard I am on myself. Yeah, like I just got to work hard and do better, you know, and people are like no, but I tell me I'm doing a good job. Am I doing a good job? You're doing a good job, you know, like so so you, you, it's like we need both sides of that equation in the business you the the heart person and you need the like numbers and math person, and so we make a good team.

Speaker 2:

I think that's wise and in your leadership to recognize that. I think so often a business leader will have a blind spot here and they will not recognize that that whole in the business and you know whether they're more relationally focused or whether they're more task focused and performance focused. You know both, both matter Like you have to have both and nobody has it all. We all lean one way or the other and the fact that you've brought in a COO specifically to address that gap I think is is an example of great leadership that everybody listening needs to pay attention to.

Speaker 3:

I wish I could say I planted that way. I mean this, this woman. She ascended in our organization. She started as an account manager when she was like our fourth or fifth hire somewhere around there and she's been. She's aggressive, which I really appreciate, and she has the experience to understand. She's been in the business like 22 years, something like that. She's aggressive and you know, her and I are growing together. She's not the same person she was when I hired her in 2018. And I'm not the same person I was when I hired her in 2018. Like, we've both grown and have, through a series of shared experiences, have created a more well tuned business.

Speaker 2:

I love that. I want to come back to that in just a minute. Before I do that, I want to. I want to focus in on something that I think is a struggle for a lot of people listening. A lot of the folks listening are entrepreneurs, they're founders, they're business leaders, and when you, when you start your own business, one of the challenges is you don't have the resources to do everything you want to do. Right, you're starting from from the beginning, and some of the folks listening are in that season and as they grow, they begin to have more resources, but you still have to prioritize. When comes the point? How does a local business or a small business begin to think about scaling their growth through advertising? Because that's a challenge for some and they really wonder, like, where's that line? When does that point come?

Speaker 3:

There's a, there's a, there's a few things. I mean, I think from the touchy-feely perspective, you'll know, and the way you'll know is you'll have the money to do it. The money is a big one for me, right, it's sort of like the, the score, the scorecard.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Right, Like, like with more money you can take on bigger challenges. And if spending $1,500 a month hurts you, then you're probably not ready and you never want to be. You know, just like with any purchase, like I could buy a $100,000 car, but, number one, I don't like cars that much, so I'm happy with whatever the heck my wife wants. Like she's like why don't you get a Tesla? I'm like I don't care, it's not, it's not me Like we drove a Range Rover. I was like that's cool, but we know it breaks down a lot and it would be weird in our neighborhood. Like I wouldn't want to. I wouldn't feel comfortable driving a Range Rover in our neighborhood. I feel like we get broken into. I'm not that it's a bad neighbor, it's just. You know, it would just stand out.

Speaker 2:

It'd stand out.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I'm like and also I'd be really upset if that thing got broken into. It's like, so it's like you know I don't have, I don't want to spend the money on something that I'd be so concerned about. Yes, you know, like you have to be, like I heard something once that said, like you have to be able to buy the thing three, three times. And if you can buy it three times, like if you can spend three times the amount of money and feel okay with it, then you're good Wow.

Speaker 2:

That's a good buy.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I have a pen. I have a really fancy pen and this is a nice purchase, but it's a fancy pen, but I could buy it if I lost it or something, and so that's my speed. But that's just me. So I think the first thing is, if you're worried about, if you're like this $15 has to work, or amount of business where it's $1,500 or $15,000 or $150,000 or $15 million, whatever the number is, if you feel uncomfortable spending it because it has to work, then you probably shouldn't be spending it More tactically. I think and this is related to both advertising and just like running your business I would have very early on I fantasized I was like man, it'd be great if I had someone to do the work for me, if I had media buyers I could hire. But I wasn't at that point. So I didn't feel comfortable spending the money on the people because I'd be. I was uncomfortable that. It felt too tight for me, so I did the work myself. So that's with every part of your business, like should you scale? I don't know, it depends. Are people buying your product and service without the scale? Like, do you talk to people and people like it? Do you do no marketing and you have some traction. The worst thing you can do is like go all in on something and it's the wrong idea. So the first step is and this all comes down to this idea of product market fit Do you have something that people want, whether it's another, I mean, it perfectly applies to my agency. An example of that would be in advertising. Right, you have this idea of algorithmically driven advertising and in the marketplace, for people who work in it, it's called programmatic advertising. Programmatic Instead of data and automation. There's all these cool tools that we have access to because we know what it is and we know how to make it work, like the trade desk and Vistar, and Simplify these really important tools. But guess who doesn't care about any of these tools, much less even know what the word programmatic means the guy I'm selling advertising to.

Speaker 2:

That's exactly right.

Speaker 3:

So it took me a while because I was like, man, I'm so smart, look at this, look at this great thing you're getting by just the fact that I'm in your presence, I'm talking to you about programmatic. The restaurant owner was like I don't know, are you going to get me more people to buy food for me? I don't care what programmatic is, that's right, oh, you know. So it's like that's an example of getting product market fit. If I would have spent lots of money and hired a bunch of people to talk about programmatic, it would have been a massive failure and a massive waste of money, because people don't want programmatic, they want sales. It's obvious. So the one thing I learned is but it took me like a year and a half to figure that out. So the one thing I learned was like talk to people with language that they can understand because, again, obvious people aren't going to buy stuff when they're not, when they don't know what you're talking about. So that's an example of product market fit. I wasn't able to sell effectively or scale up my business by talking about things that people weren't interested in. So in the evolution of a business, especially in the early stages, which could take months or years you really need to think about. Even if I don't have advertising, even if I can't expand my message, are people buying from me? And when you get to the point where you feel comfortable that you know what to say and what to do to get people to buy from you, that's when you can consider marketing and advertising. And, frankly, it's always a decision about when you start advertising. First step you have to have product market fit. Second step is advertising is really so. It's always the equation of do you have time or do you have money? Which do you have more of? Is it? If you have time but no money, then do social marketing right, share someone for a little bit of money, or do it yourself and post content and get the reaction there. The upside it's less expensive, practically speaking, it's less expensive or free. The downside is you can't control how many people see your content and you can't control who sees your content. So as a result, it's hard to sort of like scale. It doesn't have. There's this idea of predictable, repeatable and scalable. You don't have that in social marketing, but you do have that in advertising. The benefit of advertising, even at an early stage, is you can understand very quickly. So if you have more, if it's more viable to spend money than to spend time right, you can spend six to 12 months doing social marketing, or you can spend a month doing advertising and learn some stuff quickly With advertising. You have the ability to do. You know, we have a creative testing framework that we deploy for our clients and one of the things is understanding which products and services, which offers, which discounts, even which audiences, resonate for your business, and that's a way of expediting a year or more of learnings into like multiple three to four week cycles. So the core idea is and you know, a lot of our clients are actually other agencies, so we do this for other agencies, whether it's creative firms or marketing firms or social media firms. So basically, what we do is we take five ads on meta, we disassemble them into their constituent parts, so five headlines, five primary texts or five, and five images or video. So you have 15 total assets that can be grouped together in different ways and you have 125 different variations, five times five times five. What we do is within a, within about a two day period, we go from 125 variations down to 20, using control, variable testing, and then in about another two weeks. We do dynamic creative testing so we can take those 20 ad combinations and push it down to the one. So within three to four weeks, you will go from 125 possible ad variations down to the one variation that is the best out of that group. So what you do is you cycle. Again, this is for early market companies that are trying to figure out who they are and what customers want from them. You can cycle through different products, services, discounts, messages, positive messages or negative messages, and what you have the ability to do is understand which of those messages actually get people to spend money with you with advertising with very low ad spend. So you're talking about I don't know $1,500 a month, something like that, and you can do it for less actually. So let's see, though, an early market company that's trying to figure out who they are and what the value proposition is for their customer and what words and language to use to get them to buy. This is a really concise framework to expedite 6 to 12 to 18 months of learning doing social media and Compile, compile that into Just a few three or four week Sprints. Basically.

Speaker 2:

That's fascinating, robert. I mean absolutely fascinating. So much of a science this is, and I can't imagine that a lot of people understand how important it is to do that kind of testing, experimentation in order to get what you want. You know, my dad started an advertising agency back in the early 70s oh so this is very traditional right, and he just retired a number of years ago now. That ran almost 50 years, that agency incredible. But it was very traditional, right You're talking? Newspaper, magazine, television, radio, right, that was. It was all that there's been such a shift in the market In the advertising world Over that span of time? Yeah, you know, and in the digital working world, I think there's there's so many things people get wrong. They throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall but they don't understand how to analyze it in the way you just said. I Imagine that's one reason a lot of clients come to Brill.

Speaker 3:

You know it's. Yeah, I mean, look, the truth is clients come to Brill because of referrals and relationships, but they stay with Brill because of stuff like that. Right, like we have to, clients stay with us. The crazy part is we have 48 hour out clauses, like literally, we have clients to stay with us for years and they're like you know, they could literally cancel everything in 48 hours. Wow, we want to make it easy, right, like I don't want people forced to work with us. I want people to work and you know we might change that in the future. I don't know, maybe it's like better business to have, you know, longer term contract, which I think it is actually Like I should look into that. But you know, people come to us off of relationships and referrals. People who I've worked with in various ways come to us and we certainly do lead generation on meta, linkedin, google search ads, display advertising, even Twitter and Reddit ads. We run ads. So, yeah, but they stay with us. Clients stay with us because of the thinking and the doing and the doing. You know this is a. This is like how do you like? The thing that I think about a lot is how do you determine whether an agency is good and so there's a. There's a few key factors. Number one is performance. You've got to drive performance. You need sales, you need leads, the the bank account has to grow. You know that type of thing. You need urgency. Like your business, time is money. Like I know it. I know it sounds like we're not curing cancer, but to the entrepreneur who's whose bank account it is like, this is very life-changing and important than being on. There is a life-changing visceral experience and everything is magnified and so. So urgency is important. Acting on that urgency is important. Then you need strategy. Strategy is a very big part of this, because strategy is the protection against Making bad decisions. It's your navigation plan, the strategy. The biggest thing with strategy is that it it merges information that you know about your business with what we know about advertising and it's a navigation plan to help you make decisions along the way so you get to the business growth that you're looking for. Then you need the three C's communication, context and consistency. Every relationship. You need those things. Communication need to be available to talk, collaborate, share ideas. Context data for the sake of data, not that interesting data for the sake of insights very important. So contextualizing campaign what's working and why is it working. Something's not working. Why isn't it working? How do we change, how do we improve? And then the consistency part is day in and day out. You know, we're, we're there for you, we've got your back. So that's the reason clients stay with us, because because of those elements, you know that.

Speaker 2:

That reminds me something a mentor once taught me and I've never forgotten it. He said you have to autopsy success just like you autopsy failure, because if you don't know why it's working when it's working, you won't know how to fix it when it breaks 100%, that's great. Never forgot that, that what you just said reminded me of that, the importance of that, how critical that is. I want to. I want to come back to something you said a few minutes ago that you know you're not the same leader you were in 2018, yeah, and another month, you know, I think. I think growth is part of that, the intentionality with which we pursue growth. But I'm curious you know, a year from now, five years from now, brill is going to need you to lead at a higher level than you are where you are today. Yeah, what do you do Personally to level up? What do you do to stay on top of your game and level up with the leadership skills that you're going to need To be the leader brill need you to be?

Speaker 3:

yeah, I mean the commonality. You know, when I started this business in 2013, I was like, okay, I need any business that's going to give me a salary that I want and I want to say an advertising right, those are the. Those were the two things I figured out. I'll never be able to have had a really great job prior to that. I'll never be able to have that kind of like interesting job again. So I got to create it for myself, for better, for worse, and that ethos still remains as, as a personal driver, like I would have never been a CEO of I mean, it's unlikely that would have been a CEO of a company had I not created Brill media right, so I didn't have the the chops, but I mean, arguably, now I do, or theoretically I do who knows, who knows if I actually do but for better or for worse, it's going well at Brill media with me as as the leader of the company, um, but my, my personal work motivation is a combination of bigger responsibility, changing responsibility that's the other part an understanding that I need change. I like there was a time in 2010. There's a time in 2010 when I said I'm never writing a media plan again, like I'm done With media plans. I remember it was we were working on the philips 66 business, so this was when there were a fortune for a company at the time, yeah, and my dad had just passed away, and yeah, it was. It was a tough time. It was actually, I believe it was December 1st of 2010 and, um, around that time I don't necessarily know if it was precipitated by my dad passing away, but, um, I was like I'm I'm done writing media plans, like I've done this for six, seven years now. I'm cool. Now I still do. I still did. I write a bunch of media plans for my business, yes, but they're more like proposals. Media plans at that time was a ton of research. You know, look at comm score data. What's the, what's the composition of your audience, all that stuff. And now that doesn't matter in a big way because you're targeting audience with data, right. So wherever your audience is, we can find them. Like, composition of audience on the site is only relevant for, like Diageo, where they have to, or or bicardy, where they have to achieve, you know, 70, I think, 72 percent or higher composition of people over 21, so they don't market to kids. You know that type of thing. Um, so, so, in that really robust, dramatic way, I was like I'm never writing a media plan again and so for me it's it's about Keeping keeping things fresh and interesting, like I'm, I hired um, I hired like an SEO mentor. Yeah, I'm learning SEO, which I think is interesting for a couple reasons. Number one, I want to learn how to do it, and number two, I want to actually Not spend tens of thousands of dollars paying someone else to do it. I want to do it myself because I I know my business the best and I can actually see things that they won't see now. And, to be fair, there are plenty of experts out there who could read better than me. But it's a double win I learned how to do some things, I'm more knowledgeable about our business and I'm not expending the money. So, like, continuous creation of marketing, like learning, being a practitioner and a student of marketing is is really important for me. Like I wrote um a chat agent Copywriting, like over the weekend, nice, yeah, I don't know how good it is, but we're going to test it out and see if it works. Um, like, that's interesting to me. Um, and then also the professional responsibilities, like how do I? How do I? How do I? Like you know, we look at elon musk. Elon musk spend billions of dollars buying twitter. Yeah, now, granted, billions of dollars buying twitter. I'm never going to spend billions of dollars doing anything um, unlikely, but it's a big risk for him. So the the dollar amount Doesn't matter. What matters is the magnitude of that risk. And so, whether I'm spending whatever money, any entrepreneur is spending, the risk, the risk, like Index, is still there. Whether you're spending $10 or 100 or 100,000 or a billion dollars, it could still be very risky to someone or it could be very non-risky to someone. And so I want to. I want to grow that risk level and I want to also feel more comfortable taking bigger risks. That's a professional sort of thing for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

And you know, I think, becoming more aligned with what I actually want this business to do. You know, like, being an entrepreneur is different things for different people. Like people want financial freedom, they want power and responsibility, they want public acknowledgement, they want to be perceived as a leader, they want to have headcount, they want to have revenue. So, for me, I'm really becoming much more attuned to what being an entrepreneur means to me, and it's relatively limited goals. I think goals are I want to just keep working in advertising and not have to worry about money. Like I don't need a massive headcount. I mean, it's not bad to have a massive headcount, but do I want to? You know, it's like there's a whole, there's a lifestyle shift. I have a five year old and a wife. Like I really want to spend time with my five year old and my wife. Like I, they're, they're good people, I love them. That's a good thing. Yeah, you know it works. So it's like, do I want bigger headcount or do I want more time with my wife and my child? I want more time with my wife and my child. Yeah, you know so. So it's crafting. It's it's the constant refinement and crafting of that life that I want to live and having the professional responsibilities change and adapt and continue to work in marketing Cause I love, I love, love, love marketing.

Speaker 2:

You know so often people, as, as we get older, we begin to think about legacy and I'm curious have you given any thought to that, to what you want your legacy to be?

Speaker 3:

No, unfortunately, I think in increments of days. Yeah, sometimes hours, not really Increments of days, increments of days in like weeks. Legacy, no, you know, legacy for me is is how my child thinks of me. That's right, absolutely. That's all it is. It's not like you know, it's it's day to day. I want to be there for my child and ensure that he has a good start in life.

Speaker 2:

I love that and mine is. Mine is my thought process around this is similar. You know, I want those who know me best, those closest to me, my wife and my daughters I want them to respect me most, to think most of me. People who don't know me that well. Their opinion means something, but not nearly as much as those closest to us. And I think so often leaders can fall into the trap of caring more about what those acquaintances think or the distant audience thinks than what those closest to you think.

Speaker 3:

I have. I have a core group of friends. You know. It's interesting is they're all doing big things. My best friend is doing editing, like long time friends doing podcasting and becoming a big wig in a podcasting space. Nice, other people doing, you know, family things. And I think what's actually interesting for me is I, I want them, I want them to see the true me. I don't, I don't want like if I fail, I fail, I'm okay with that. I want them to know who I am rather than to think something manic, something of me that's like artificial, maybe manicured, you know, like not real.

Speaker 2:

Is there a book that has made a big difference in your journey, something that you would recommend that every leader listening had to their to read list?

Speaker 3:

There's a few outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Speaker 1:

Love Gladwell.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I really so there's. So that's one I really like there's. There's a. There's a communication anecdote in there I think it's an outliers about the plane crash in San Francisco airport where the, the pilots, the, the, the, the co-pilot saw something, the main pilot, the, or the, I guess the captain, didn't see something and because of cultural nuances, the co-pilot didn't press the issue and the plane crashed in San Francisco, which is horrible. But it's like something so small as communication style and cultural issue, cultural kind of nuances, create this really massive problem. So I think about that a lot when there's, you know, communication, things that could have been avoided, self-inflicted wounds that could have been avoided, and then Robert Chaldini, Persuasion and Presuasion oh, so important books.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

You know this idea of you know people will, if you give people something, they will feel indebted to you and they will feel indebted to give you something back which which can be, can be used on a person to person perspective. You know level, it's often in tourist trap locations, where, where people will give something to the tourists and then expect money in exchange or something you know, but like it's not really set what's happening and the tourists just get sick and advantage of. So that's interesting to me. But also, like you know, in business giving I don't know, like I think I think having a long term view and that leads me to these ideas of having, you know, I was having a long term view. I was fascinated when I had, like, worked two years at Universal Mechanic, like, wow, it's like time flies, two years, I'm getting some traction in the business. I really enjoy doing all that stuff. You know, six years into it, holy cow, I think I was a director at the time. Or seven years into it, I was a director. You know, 10 years, vice president, like holy cow, like, like up until that point, you know, I basically graduated in college. I think I was 23 years old. I was on the five year plan. Nice, I got, I got. I got 25% more college. So better value. That's right. But like everything seemed so, it's like long term, long, lots of time seemed so hard to accomplish because everything was happening like three to six month increments that doing something for two years seemed blew my mind. Doing something for 10 years blew my mind. 20 years Holy fricking cow. Like this is incredible. There's a moment in time where I realized you know, when you, when you have long term thinking, it's, it's incredibly valuable. Like my first job, I was making a piton's, which is great, I was, I was totally. I loved my first job at university of my can, but you know, I was out of college, I, you know, how much value could I possibly provide? I didn't really even understand the business at that point. Thank you for watching Hi. And I saw colleagues of mine making moves for money. I was like I don't know, I think it's better for me to not make money now to make five times as much money later. And it worked. But I made mistakes along the way. I can't say I was. You know that that that discipline cause I didn't make a move for money and I didn't like the job and et cetera. But but it's okay, I was learning experience. It was good. But having longterm view and that's one of the challenges of my job Like I have in general in the back of my head, longterm view but I also it's hard, with all the day to day things that are happening, to actually like I'm focused on getting this client deliverable out in the next two hours. Not that I'm doing that for most of my clients, but for some of the, you know, things that are just getting off the ground. I'm paying attention to that. It's like, okay, I can't have a five year plan or a one year plan when I need this frigging document to be re-read and sent out. Right.

Speaker 2:

And Robert, this has been so packed with value. I just I can't thank you enough for sharing so generously and openly about your journey so far. Congratulations on 10 years of Brill Media. That's a fantastic accomplishment and, based on what I've heard in our conversations, I believe the best is yet to come.

Speaker 3:

Thanks, I appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

And I know our listeners are gonna wanna stay connected to you and continue to learn from you. What is the best way for them to do that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, go to Brillmediaco. That's Biaz and Boy R-I-L-L mediaco. There's a contact us form and you'll be prompted to fill out your information and then you get an email to set a time on my calendar. We can talk about anything, including your marketing strategy. If you just wanna connect or commiserate, I'm good with that too, I'll stand it, robert.

Speaker 2:

Thank you again. Thanks, william, appreciate it. Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticaleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. And if you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticaleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticaleadershipnet.

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