Wouldn’t the business-ownin’ world be a significantly better place if we all just regularly shared our success[es], and what’s contributed to those successes the very most? … like, imagine if we all just dropped the scarcity complex[es] and said “hey, this is what’s worked for me. I’m sharing this with you in case it also helps you!”.
For The Digital Picnic? Our company’s purpose is tied to our belief that it takes villages to raise businesses, and we try [at any – and every – opportunity] to act as a “village” to the businesses whose marketing efforts we manage, as well as the businesses [and marketing professionals] who follow us online.
In today’s blog post? I’ll be walking you through the five best business decisions I’ve made in the last quarter, and I do so hoping that perhaps one [or more] of these things will inspire you to go forth and made some “best” business decisions for yourself/ves.
I realised I was working 2.5 roles, and so I instead hired more of “me” to help.
It goes without saying that y’all learnt that I spent most of 2020/2021 working the equivalent of 2.5 roles [our Content Director argues that it’s slightly more than that, but I don’t know if that’s true].
Either way, by December 2021 I was cooked. Done. Done for. Devastated. Depressed. Done.
… and I cried. On Zoom. And I waved the white flag in defeat. Suggested to our Managing Director that, perhaps, I’m no longer adding value to this company and we should look to replace me.
And instead of Cat doing that [replacing me], she suggested we find more “me’s” … and what more “me’s” translated to was TDP’s very first content department, which included a;
- Content Director
- Marketing Manager
- Content Specialist
- Content Marketing Manager
I wasn’t all o’ these roles, but I was also a lot of them … and now I’m “just” CEO [which is already so busy. So much so that I have no idea how I ever did 2.5 roles for all of 2020/2021].
If this is you, and you can afford to, promise me you’ll hire more of “you” like I did “me”.
I partnered with an accounting advisory group who specialise in digital agencies.
For as long as I’ve been Sole Director at TDP? I have always partnered with an Accountant who played the role of virtual CFO for TDP, and I did this because my Autistic profile intersects with Dyscalculia [Dyscalculia is like Dyslexic, but instead of words being my kryptonite? It’s numbers. And maps. And IKEA flatpacks, and … any instructions, basically].
It’s disabling, but not debilitating [when you partner with the right people, like I do].
We reached the point where we outgrew our virtual CFO and scaled up to partnering with an Advisory group [SBO Financial, because I know you’ll ask] who specialise in digital agencies … and through that scale? We’ve levelled up, once again.
To begin with? They got our “house” in order. And then? They set quantified growth goals for us. And now? They help us manage [and scale] that growth. But the spreadsheets? My goodness, the spreadsheets … we’ve never been more clear on what growth looks like, nor scale, and it’s all thanks to scrupulously assessing that growth [and projected scale] via capacity modelling spreadsheets, and company-wide [individual] utilisation rates, and everything a digital marketing agency needs to be across in order to be able to say, “no, our team is not at capacity” or “yes, it is, but why are we still unprofitable in x,y and z areas” or “wow, we’re at capacity, and we’re profitable, let’s advance folx internally … or add to the team, or both” etc.
We’ve never been more clear on how to price our services using a range of different spreadsheets and various metrics, nor how to become more profitable [thanks to knowing what our most profitable work is, versus what is deeply unprofitable, ha!].
I know what TDP’s future looks like thanks to SBO, and it’s slow, sustainable, measured, considered, forecasted, planned, strategised growth [so, like, not much work at all, eh?! ha!].
I prioritised wellbeing via wellbeing policies at work.
As we shared recently, we’ve rolled out a Life Leave policy for all TDP’ers which’ll see them taking x12 days off per annum for, well, LIFE.
It’s not anni leave.
It’s not sick leave.
It’s not carers leave.
It’s “just because” life [leave].
Just because, well, because … life’s important. Life is the priority now. Especially after the last two and a bit years, eh?!
We know life’s continuing to feel real out there. We know inflation is happening, and hitting, and hurting. We know everything is feeling pre-recession’y, or recession’y [if we’re being real], and whilst we wish we could just do a “Dan Price” from Gravity Payments and just, like, raise every single TDP’ers salaries … we can’t. We just can’t. Because inflation is hurting us, too.
And so instead? We life leave. Two weeks per year [collectively], and as our Accountant said to Cat [TDP’s Managing Director] and I? … “your life leave policy is like a collective pay rise. It’s x2 extra weeks of leave per year, or if we’re talking salaries? Half a month’s salary, without the work. Or if we’re talking percentages? A 5% pay increase for all via that x2 weeks of leave”.
Cat and I looked at each other and felt really proud, and immediately proud.
We can’t keep up with salaries being offered via in-house roles [usually within government, or FMCG spaces]. Actually, those particular roles pay more than I earn as TDP’s CEO [lol!] … but we can keep up with, but where we’re really competitive? It’s the way we’re able to make a person feel for the 37 hours per week we have them within our workplaces, via a plethora of various different policies that are centred around health, wellbeing, psychological safety, inclusion, and so much more.
I’ve stopped trying to compete with government, FMCG etc. [my husband earns a similar salary, and has the 14 hour days from Monday to Friday to show for it] … I [and we] instead focus on the building out of a genuinely humanistic and encouraging workplace.
… you don’t often know how good you’ve got it within those workplaces until you end up in a place that’s the polar opposite of humanistic and encouraging, and we’ve had a coupl’a former TDP’ers reach out to us this year and say, “I knew it was special then, but I especially know now. On the other side. What you’ve built, and how that made me feel? … special”.
Bluddy good feeling, that.
I went “all in” on delegation.
I don’t know what’s happened to me this year, but I’m like some kind of sophisticated delegation robot > sent back from time > to change the future for one lucky lady.
… and that “lucky lady” is me.
Every time I delegate something that shouldn’t be mine? I become luckier, and luckier, and luckier again.
Now this all sounds easy, but you have no idea how much work I’ve had to do on my own mindset [and the subsequent mindset shifts] to get me moving from a place I’m most comfortable in [i.e “I can do that”, or “if I do this, it’ll get done quicker”, or “by the time I hand this over, I could have just done this”, or “I don’t want to swamp my team, I’ll just do it” … the list goes on] to a brand new place: “I’m TDP’s CEO. Every time I do that thing, I stop being TDP’s CEO in order to become coordinator, or manager, or strategist, or director. And in all of those spaces and places, I’m hitting pause on the bigger picture stuff this company needs in order to continue its growth, and scale, and visionary, and big picture thinking [and doing]”.
These days? I look at my weekly board, and I scrutinise it and ask myself the question, “why is this on my board, and who could do this better than me?”. You’d be surprised how much you actually can move on, but the biggest surprise to me is that in doing that? … I’ve just built a strategy that’ll move us from yielding 447k on a particular offering of ours, to 800k [potentially even 1.1mil if we really nail it].
I’ll say that a little louder for the folx at the back: when I surrendered to delegation? I allowed myself to earn more than double [in terms of revenue] from a very typical product offering of ours.
I cost my business so much money when I don’t hang out in “big picture thinking” land enough, I can assure ya.
I promoted myself to CEO.
And so on that? … I promoted myself to CEO.
Unfortunately for me? That didn’t come with a pay rise. I’m still on 120k, lol]. But I know for a fact that if I keep “sticking phat” to staying in CEO-land [and not everything-land], I’ll not only improve my own salary … but I’ll improve the opportunities [and salaries] for those around me, also [the most important thing to me, I’ll be honest].
I’m motivated by intrinsic factors over extrinsic factors, always.
That said? I’d love to increase my salary from 120k to 150k within 1-2 years [a personal financial goal of mine].