Julie Bee – Host: [00:00:00] Hey there. I’m Julie B and you’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school, a podcast where we discuss business ownership, lessons that are learned through experience and hot and a class. Today, I’m excited to get the opportunity to interview William McKee, owner of nomad, digital marketing, William.
And I go way back and I’m looking forward to this conversation because I know that we’re all going to learn some valuable lessons today about business ownership. So William, welcome to the show. I’m really glad to have you here
William McKee – Guest: today. Thank you. And glad to be here. It’s always good to catch up with you and talk to them.
Julie Bee – Host: first question, will you just give us a brief overview of nomad, digital marketing and your role in the business?
William McKee – Guest: And nomad digital marketing is, as the name says a digital marketing agency, we are specialized [00:01:00] strictly around digital. We don’t call ourselves a full service agency because they’re not trying to be all things.
We really want to be really great for our clients and helping them show up online. Where their customers or prospects are looking for them. We tend to partner with inside marketers, uh, manufacturers, you know, we’re in the south here. So we do work with a number of manufacturers. Or industrial companies, distribution logistics.
We also have a handful of small business accounts that are maybe home services, businesses, professional services, and a little bit on the tech side as well. Anybody who’s trying to reach their buyers online is a good candidate for nomad.
Julie Bee – Host: And what is it that you do in the business? These.
William McKee – Guest: Oh, that’s ever evolving.
Julie Bee – Host: It changes every [00:02:00] three months. I think
William McKee – Guest: we still, yeah. So these days, my primary role is around sales and ensuring that we’re bringing in the revenue to support the ever-growing team and evolving team. The thing about digital marketing is it is constantly changing and you know, it’s always about figuring out what that next space is to move into or how to go about moving into that space.
We’ve all heard. SEO is dead. Yeah, for multiple years and multiple times. It’s still an impactful way of reaching, um, buyers for the right businesses, but it’s changing in the tactics that you use their change. So yeah, just, it takes the ever expanding team and more and more specialization there. So I focus more on the sales side and then I’m also exploring more partnerships and ways for [00:03:00] the business to continue to expand into new.
New markets or new relationships. You know, we do a lot of work with sales trainer that we work with closely. And a lot of times we share clients because it’s a natural next step. Once you’ve got the lead coming in, how are you going to turn that lead into a customer?
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah, that’s the funny thing about marketing, I think in general is.
You know, you and I are both in the marketing industry and we very clearly have to differentiate marketing and sales, but I think a lot of the time. Our customers, they don’t see that differentiation. So talk a little bit about how you have kind of addressed that or over the
William McKee – Guest: years, an interesting point a while we tried to create more.
Delineation between the two, actually these days, I really [00:04:00] liked to mix those two up and even use the term as a growth team, where you have somebody from the sales part of the company, somebody from marketing and even somebody from the customer service side of the company to. All of these parts of the company that are touching customers and part of that customer life cycle to influence, how are you telling the story of what you do to your existing customers?
As well as to the prospects via prospects, these days have more and more resources, more tools, more information. Sometimes they’re even better equipped than your sales. To understand what your company can do and the things that they have achieved for other clients. So we try to set up agreements as to what, uh, you know, what a good lead is from marketing to sales.
You know, when’s the [00:05:00] right time to hand it off. When is it too early? Ensure that the. My communication stays clear, you know, we’re a HubSpot partner. And one thing I do really like about that ecosystem is that there’s a lot of intelligence set gets collected in the sales process. And even in the marketing process that needs to be transferred.
Into that internal team. And so we’re looking at ways to get more efficient and effective in how we transfer that information from sales conversations, into the customer service team. So the customer doesn’t have the experience of having to repeat themselves over and over or feel like does your company even talk to each other?
And as you know, with the pandemic. To a virtual agency. Um, yeah, we, for years operated as an in-person business with a physical office, everybody came into and, um, that just didn’t [00:06:00] pan out. And it’s actually been really good for us to go virtual. In fact, we’re opening an office in Greenville, South Carolina and Chicago, because we have teams now in those locations.
Julie Bee – Host: Wow. That’s awesome. William, and I’m excited for you just knowing your journey, the, the behind the scenes of some of your journey as well. We’ve shared a lot. So, so listen, what is your favorite part about being a business owner
William McKee – Guest: say that it’s seeing people. And companies reached the potential that they have.
I didn’t start out as a marketer if you asked my business partner, Deanna. Yeah. Her experience of me, I was like anti-marketing. In fact, when we started working together and we started more as a tech shop, we were building backend web applications and website [00:07:00] services for our clients. Yeah, it was a.
Recession of 2007, 2008, that really pushed us to have to get serious about sales and marketing. That, um, what’s always been the theme for me though throughout that whole process of my journey and business is around the empowering of people. You know, it was technology. And I still have a passion around that.
I don’t get, I don’t get into it with clients anymore. I have my own little side projects that I keep up with, but I don’t try to insert myself in delivery because I just ended up gumming up the works, but it’s really around how you can empower people. And right now I look at it from, you know, it’s empowering my staff and the team that we’re putting together and creating opportunities for them to the work that we’re doing for some of our clients.
You know, some of the wins that I can think of, [00:08:00] I’m proud of work that we’ve done is helping a company generate enough business land, a big account that allowed them to buy a new headquarters space for another company to go from there. Very low of there, probably their 120 year history as a company, one of the low points back in 20 10, 20 11, where they were down to a single shift and they had been, they run three shifts typically to getting that capacity built back up for the company, you can’t necessarily draw a direct line that knowing that we’ve had.
Some influence along the way. And we’re there by their side to that journey and providing support and information, and literally, you know, intelligence, either marketing intelligence, sales, intelligence, for them to improve their own, um, messaging or improve their own [00:09:00] processes. Those, those are the things that, you know, make me happy.
Midroll Spot: Julie has spoken to countless organizations for 13 years on topics, including leadership management, employee engagement, and morale, workplace culture, small business ownership, and entrepreneurship. If you’d like it, engaging relatable and inspiring speaker for your next event, book, Julie, to speak to you.
Julie Bee – Host: Hey, this is Julie B and you’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school today. I’m here with William McKee owner of nomad digital marketing, and we were just talking about the things that really make him happy as a, as a business owner and the things that he loves to do.
And William, one thing that I wanted to kind of circle back around to, you mentioned in the intro. About how important it is to not try to be all things to all people. And I would really like for you to share how you make sure that nomad digital marketing does that because [00:10:00] especially in this industry, you really could just keep adding services all day long.
So talk about the importance of that, and then also how you make sure you guys basically stay in your lane.
William McKee – Guest: Yeah. And this is an area that we could always do a better job. Did I can definitely talk to what we’re doing right now. So one of the things that they don’t teach you in business school is just the lessons that you’re going to learn as you go through and you do things and you get feedback, and sometimes it’s positive and sometimes it’s not so much.
Um, one thing that we realized is that if we’re selling a service that only an owner myself or my business partner can do, that’s going to be very limiting to our ability to grow. If you can’t hand it off, then that’s probably not a good service to continue to sell. So either figure out how. That service [00:11:00] that I’m doing or down is doing can get handed to another team member or stopped doing it all together.
The other piece that we’re really focused on right now is we’ve got an agreement in place. It’s easy for sales to go out and sell something and then toss it over the fence to client services and say, Hey, we’ve got this great new client. I’ll figure out what, what you can do for them. And that’s created some.
Divisions in the company over the years. And it’s just imagine. Yeah. Yeah. It creates bad experiences for everybody. Cause it’s, you know, sales at the end of the day, we want that to be successful and we see where we could plug in and help. We don’t always. Get down to the nitty-gritty of how we were just like we’re setting the vision and laying out here’s what the beautiful future could look like.
And here’s what it will cost to get there. Do you want to go? And when the client agrees and it goes over to the service team to execute on sales is not got the [00:12:00] pathway laid out. If they haven’t worked with the ex the client services team to build. Sales plan. And, you know, the proposal goes out then that’s where things just ends up at a bad position.
So sales is not allowed and we have agreed not to sell anything that we don’t have a service narrative built around. So if we want to sell something new, we have to go into and work with the services teams, create a service narrative around that particular product. And then we’ll figure out the pricing on that.
And as part of our sales process, we involve somebody from services team to help with putting the proposal together and oftentimes even delivering the proposal, because that’s a great way to start handing off that trust because the client’s going to pattern onto the first person they talk to and they start building that rapport with the salesperson and we’ve got to figure out how do we move that on?
So we don’t get stuck in delivering.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. [00:13:00] So it sounds like to, you know, make sure you’re not just developing products and service services that you’re selling. If it’s, if there’s already an existing process for it, like that’s the line, there has to be an existing process where it’s able to be duplicated and delegated.
William McKee – Guest: yeah. That that’s worked for us. I mean, there’s times where you just going to say yes, you can do it and you figure it out afterwards, but that’s more of a game for. Business to be playing. Who’s trying to just add clients. Yeah. We’re scaling to 12 employees at this point and you can’t scale off of just offering ad hoc kind of services.
You’ve really got to figure out what you can do really well, what you can do better than anybody else. And that’s what you focus on. It was around that capability.
Julie Bee – Host: I’m glad you mentioned that. Start-up part though, because I do [00:14:00] think, you know, when you’re on your first, I don’t know, let’s say three years in business, maybe even first five years of business, that is kind of how you learn exactly what it is.
You’re good at delivering, you know, you do take on projects that only you can do because a lot of the times you’re the one doing them anyways, but that’s, that is a, that’s a good. For, you know, an earlier on business, but once you get past a certain point and you already know the things that you Excel at, that’s when you kind of want to make sure you just stay in that lane,
William McKee – Guest: staying on lane.
Exactly. And that’s something that we’ve been focusing on since the beginning of the year. And Deanna likes to bring up and is really good at identifying actually places where she calls it. We’re tripping over on Sheila. Where we haven’t defined our lanes well enough and for business owners is a hard thing to do is get out of other people’s way and hand things over and that other people on the team run them.
And yeah, I look back over the years. I mean, [00:15:00] there’ve been many of things that we’ve done, right. And some things that we could have done better and, you know, we really held back our own growth. Yeah. As, as a result of. Own way of operating and, you know, things that, you know, things that made us successful stop make you successful.
It’s. And if you can’t figure out how to get over that hump, you just, you won’t level up. And it’s like, there’s these tiers that you have to work through as, as you grow the business. And we kept bumping up against that one of seven or eight employees, and then. Something we would pivot or the economy would, would pivot on us and we’d fall back down and we grow back up and fall down.
We finally have broken through that and we’re having considerable growth. Right. Yeah, it’s they say that the, the second million is so much easier and faster than the first it’s [00:16:00] proof positive. It’s amazing. The difference between getting to that first million. Yeah.
Julie Bee – Host: William something you said earlier on about your favorite part of business had to do with empowering people.
And you were really kind of talking about your clients, but I know that you all put a lot of time and energy into the culture and to your own employees. And I’m just wondering, what are some of your most proud moments as you look back over the years that you’ve looked at your team and said, man, I’m just really proud of my team right now.
Can you share some.
William McKee – Guest: I can, right now I can tell you we’ve got the best team we’ve ever had. We’ve been very fortunate in having the opportunity and also the processes in place to bring the right people onto the bus. I just heard you talking about that. I think in a previous podcast, right. People, right [00:17:00] seats on the right bus.
And it is very hard to get those things right. That we do look in our hiring process for, you know, fit within the. Who we are as a business, but I’m starting to look at it from the lens of, you know, we’re what we’re about as a company is creating success for our clients. And when we have somebody who’s not fitting within the company, oftentimes it’s either they’re not analytical the way we are.
They don’t want to follow processes or they’re just. Really out for creating wins for other people. They want to do something that is a feather in their hat, or, you know, being able to check off a box for themselves. Yeah. The things where we are really proud of what we’re doing for the team internally is giving them [00:18:00] opportunities for growth.
And this is where, you know, in the past, we’re saying we’re holding ourselves back because we weren’t moving things off of our plate and getting opportunities to the team and letting them fail, letting them go and try things, letting them essentially be entrepreneurial within. The company
Julie Bee – Host: it’s really great.
When you can just kinda tell your employees to go and do. And what we do as business owners, I think, is set up the guard rails, the parameters. So they don’t, you know, just drive off the cliff because, you know, if you don’t have those, they will, you know, it, it happens, but you know,
William McKee – Guest: it does. And one of the worst things that we’ve done is give somebody two so much rope.
They didn’t know what to do with it. And they ended up getting wrapped around and at the time I remember being very frustrated about it. And then in hindsight, I am frankly regretful about it. Because it was. Yeah, he didn’t [00:19:00] succeed. And what we had asked him to do, and it was because we didn’t give enough guide rails.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. I think that’s probably one of, I mean, for me, I know it’s, one of the lowest moments is when you realize that you had a hand and somebody else failing, and that’s like the last thing that most business owners want to do. And, and you just, it happens though. It usually happens when you’re growing and you’re hiring and you know, you need help, but maybe you don’t have the definition of what that help looks like nailed down quite yet.
And that’s usually when it happens. So, yeah, I totally understand
William McKee – Guest: that. I, frankly, I think. If an employee is, is, is failing. There’s, it’s either an error in hiring air and how we manage them and air and what tasks they’ve been assigned, or, you know, there’s a mismatch between their expectations, your [00:20:00] expectations, and the client expectations.
And at the end of the day, it is the business owner that needs to take responsible. And that’s not something that’s easy to do.
Julie Bee – Host: No, it’s not. Especially, I think, you know, one thing that a lot of people say is that it’s lonely at the top and it, it really is because sometimes. You know, when you’re in those hard situations where you need to take responsibility and you’re, you’re at the top, there’s nobody else to kind of say to you, it’s going to be okay.
I mean, you, you know, business coaches and things like that can always come in and help there. But when you’re, when you’re in a spot and you’re reflecting, like I, I caused something here that made this person not be successful. And you’re, you’re the business owner. So that’s how it can be a really lonely place to, to be.
And that situation as well as, you know, just other situations in general.
William McKee – Guest: Yeah, you’re right. [00:21:00] And also I’ve heard the language of you’re scared of your own success. And I, this is for me an area where you’ve got to face the fact that if you want to be successful, you’re going to have a lot more responsibilities placed on your shoulders.
And are you ready? For that, are you really ready for that? And there’s some naivety. Yeah. I don’t think knowing what we know would we have gotten into business? Yeah. Maybe, maybe not, probably not. The,
Julie Bee – Host: we do a lot of things differently. I know that I would probably still be a business owner, but I would do a lot of things differently, but Hey, you know, this is not stuff they teach you in business school.
William McKee – Guest: as part of the journey is frankly, part of the journey. And I think if you can. Be okay with that. And for the longest time, I think I judged myself and our, the success of our business. And when I would make myself. I feel bad about not [00:22:00] being successful. And it’s more about looking at the negatives and looking at the positives.
There was a time when Charlotte traffic five, seven years ago, it was just getting so bad. I was getting so annoyed driving and there’s so many jerks on the road. And that was, I was noticing all of the jerks and then I realized, you know, every now and then somebody is nice and they’ll let you through. Or do you have them stop and let you make a left, even though they could move ahead, 50 feet to the next, you know, waiting in line.
And you know, there’s going to be the jerks on the road. There’s always the jerks of business and in life. But if you can find the people who think like you, who act like you care, That’s the thing that will make the journey a little less lonely.
Midroll Spot: Julie has spoken to countless organizations for 13 years on topics, including leadership management, employee engagement, and morale, [00:23:00] workplace culture, small business ownership, and entrepreneurship.
If you’d like it engaging relatable and inspiring speaker for your next event, book, Julie, to speak to your group more firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Bee – Host: You’re listening to, they don’t teach this in business school. And I’m the host, Julie B today, I’m talking with William McKee owner of nomad digital marketing. And we were just talking about how it’s lonely at the top.
But if you notice the nice and you find people who kind of think like you and, and, and, you know, are on the same page as you, it can make the journey a lot more enjoyable, but William, you did mention. Success. And I’m curious, cause I know you’ve been on a journey with this as well, but today, how do you, how do you define success that maybe goes beyond, you know, what’s one of the PNL, how do you define success for yourself and you know, for nomad?
William McKee – Guest: So for nomad success, to me [00:24:00] is having the opposite, having the ability to treat. On new opportunities. You know, we were part of the entrepreneurial organization, EO accelerator program years ago. And it was for businesses that were the 250,000 up to a million dollars. And you can be a member of VO when you’re doing a million dollars and annual revenues.
And I remember when the. The business owners that were north of that million dollar goal that we had for years and years said, was that you can afford your mistakes. And so I like the fact that we are at a position in the company now that we can take some risks and we can do some things that are building towards the future.
And we’re not always having to look to how we’re going to make payroll this week. So that’s success to me and it’s success that we’re not having to [00:25:00] burn out our team and that we all enjoy showing up for work. We, we liked being together as a group. Those are things for nomad that are successful. You know, we do look at numbers quite a bit, you know, whether it’s leads or sales, pipelines, revenue, profit margin.
All of those things fit in to what we look at, but this quantifiable ones are the ones that are, I really like personally for myself right now. What I’m working on is building more capacity into my schedule. It’s more white space on that Galler white space. Yes.
Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. I think we can all do a little bit more of that for sure.
William McKee – Guest: sure. Yeah. It’s something that is easy to contact. Especially when you’re a business owner. And if you get into this space that is really easy to move into of, you know, [00:26:00] fear. And, you know, if you don’t do this now or take advantage of this opportunity, you’re going to lose it. Somebody else will take that, take the business away from you.
It’s I don’t know how to easy way to get out of that space. It’s a hard space to be in. And yet it creates by being in that space, you’re like creating the truth. And so you’re never going to get out of being busy all the time. If, if you don’t re you know, find a way to, to back off and step away from that whirlwind and there’s, the Roland will always be there.
But if you can create a little bit of capacity, you know, something that we try to do is create a buffer between meetings. You know, you don’t need it. Because most, so many meetings are on virtual, on zoom. And so it’s easy to do back to back meetings, but it will burn you out. Yeah. And
Julie Bee – Host: I, I always tell business owners, especially if I’m talking to business owners that are [00:27:00] five years or, you know, younger in business, basically that.
Your schedule, you’re either going to take control of it or it’s going to control you. And if you don’t, if you don’t control it, if you don’t take a hold of it, eventually you’re probably going to burn out because you it’s so easy to say yes to. So many opportunities to pop up, but really knowing, I think that’s just something that comes with time knowing when to say no.
And how to say no is something that you learn as you go about being a business owner.
William McKee – Guest: Yeah. Yeah. You’re some way somehow you’ll end up paying for that. And oftentimes the things, the stories that I hear about, and I’ve personally experienced myself is health related stuff. If you’re burning the candle on both ends, you will pay the price.
Julie Bee – Host: Eventually it catches you for sure. You viewed, I have some stories about that, that we have shared before, but I do want to kind of wrap this episode up, cause I know [00:28:00] we’re getting, we could probably talk for two and a half hours about business William, but yeah, I do have one more question I want to ask you.
And that is what is one thing that you would recommend business schools to. To future entrepreneurs and business owners,
William McKee – Guest: how to create opportunities for their team. There’s managing a team. And then there’s leading a team. And the, the, the leading of the team is looking at. What is their future going to be in this role and how are you looking at grooming that person to be the best of their ability.
And that’s how you’re also going to take things off of your own plate and allow yourself to play a bigger game. So there’s. Kind of a leapfrog, but this is the wrong term, but [00:29:00] the opportunity that you’re building for others is what’s going to elevate you. So by pulling them up, you’re actually helping to pull yourself up.
Julie Bee – Host: Brilliant. Brilliant thing that, yeah, I wish that they would teach in business school. They teach a lot about management and organizational structure and all of that, but leadership is one of those things that it doesn’t doesn’t really get taught. And I, it has to is so important.
William McKee – Guest: It’s so it’s so hard to, to teach leadership.
And I think it’s a little bit. You have been able to play an instrument. You’ve got to learn the basics before you can go off. And you know, there’s a word for this and music I can’t think of right now, but you know, it’s, there’s fundamentals, the management team. It has to be in place. There’s [00:30:00] this sense of leadership of, you know, you lead from on high there’s this idea of creating room for others?
Uh, I don’t know that I don’t know how to teach that in a book is something that you just have to get out there and experience and understand through engaging with.
Julie Bee – Host: And we’re going to leave it there. Well, you’ve listened. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and I know that the business owners listening are going to enjoy it as well.
I just want to thank you again for being on the show today. Thanks Joanie. And that is it for this episode of they don’t teach this in business school, but stay tuned because I’ll be back soon with more lessons learned on the business owner’s journey.