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Bonus Episode — Lee Jackson and Agency Transformation Live

Digital Agency Owners Podcast
Digital Agency Owners Podcast
Bonus Episode — Lee Jackson and Agency Transformation Live

On this special feature of the GoWP Digital Agency Owners Podcast, we welcome Lee Jackson! Co-Owner of Event Engine and Host of Trailblazer FM. We talk about the small achievable actions that lead to big change, how his agency survived the storm of the pandemic, making use of social media to build engagement without having to create original content, and much more.

Read the transcript:

Morayo: [00:00:00] Welcome to the GoWP digital agency owners podcast, where we like to talk to and explore conversations with our valuable WordPress community members. And we like to uncover their paths to success. I’m Mariah Orija, I’m the director of creative services.

And I just wanna tell you a little bit more about GoWP in case you don’t know. At GoWP, it’s our mission to create happiness for digital agencies and to help them become more profitable. So whether it’s by joining in our bimonthly happiness hour calls or growing your teams with expert developers, copywriters, designers, and VAs. We have the expert pros that you need.

We also have services like case studies, website maintenance, and content edits services that you can completely outsource to our team. This is really like old school but what’s more impressive is the man who I’m speaking with today. Today’s guest is Lee Jackson. The crowd goes wild.

Lee has been an agency owner for over 20 years. He co-owns Event Engine that builds and delivers web tech solutions to conference organizers around the world. He’s a consultant for digital agencies and the host of the Trailblazer FM podcast and YouTube channel as well. He’s also the founder of Agency Transformation Live, and that’s an annual conference that we’ll talk about today during our conversation.

So without further ado, since you’re British, welcome Lee.

Lee: [00:01:41] Thank you very much. Yes. I’m British, although born in Canada. So it’s arguable.

Morayo: [00:01:46] Really? I did not know that. I’ll have to let Lucas as a team

Lee: [00:01:51] Depending on the day I’ll just pick right now, I’m feeling very British and patriotic for obvious reasons. But maybe if I’m having an annoyed day with politics, I might say, oh, I’m Canadian.

Morayo: [00:02:00] You know what, as an American, we often go abroad and say, I’m Canadian.

Lee: [00:02:08] I didn’t

Morayo: [00:02:08] Yeah, depending on who’s in the white house, we say I’m Canadian. So you know what I want to address the Royal elephant in the room. Last week, the world lost your queen Elizabeth II, 96 years old. So Lee, how are you

Lee: [00:02:25] Doing?

Doing good. I was actually really upset, especially when it happened, we were aware that something was happening and we’d heard as well, rumors on the kind of the journalist side of things, connections that the queen had already passed, but they were having to do a few things before it was officially announced.

And I was like, yeah, whatever. But then it did get announced and it turned out she had passed and they were buying a little bit of time and when it was announced, suddenly, there was this big black screen and it’s a news report and we knew, oh, it’s coming. So I quickly went and grabbed everyone and we all stood together.

And they made the announcement and then they played God, save the queen, and showed her image. And that was it. We were just all in tears. It was awful. So we then fell super down for a couple of days. We went out, spent time together as a family. And now we’re at a point where we absolutely love the queen.

But we also are avoiding the news and everything because unfortunately in this modern day and age, the media just then completely goes all in on the story. So it’s now being nothing, but what’s happening? Somber music what’s happening? This, that and the other, it’s all funeral talk. And I don’t mean that at all, disrespectfully to the queen or to the grieving family.

But also just mentally, there’s only so much that you can take and process. So we’ve been avoiding the news and we’re getting ready to watch the funeral on the 19th. And we are also going to sign a book of condolence next later this week.

Dang after 70 years, I’m not that old, but it sounds weird saying king Charles, but Hey, we’re trying to get used to it.

Morayo: [00:03:55] Yeah. Yeah. I lost you for a minute. I don’t know if I froze out but yes, discussing the queen, long live the king. I’m with you. The news show that I watch in the morning I guess last Friday, announced that there was news about the queen and I thought naturally, oh, she’ll rally, she always does, and I just saw her welcome your new prime minister. And I was like, she’ll be fine. She’s queen Elizabeth. And then they did announce that she had passed.

As an American, as you can imagine. don’t know. Maybe you can imagine it’s difficult for us to relate to that because especially now we have, I know that there are some people of royalists. Some people think the monarchy should be done away with it. The tradition needs to go away. But as a nonsubject of the queen and king, it’s hard to imagine that with the state of affairs politics in my country, that we could have one figure to rally around. It happened in history and president Kennedy was assassinated and president FDR Franklin D Delano Roosevelt died in office after four terms and I wasn’t there cuz that was decades ago, but it really was a rallying thing. So I guess what I’m saying is I have envy of the UK in that sense that you have this, you put everything aside and your Patriots for a moment.

And I hope my country gets back to that. I don’t wanna be subjugated to you guys again, but

Lee: [00:05:24] And we’re sorry about that, by the way, I still apologize.

Morayo: [00:05:27] We had that little dust a couple of centuries ago.

Lee: [00:05:29] Whenever it’s July the fourth, I’m forever texting my American friends saying no feelings. It wasn’t me personally. I’d been back then, I’d on your side, promise.

Morayo: [00:05:39] Take this tea, take these taxes. Ah, I love my tea, but no, thank you. Thank you for exploring pulling back the curtain event and letting us see what’s going on in the UK. I really wanna talk to you about so much today and I’m gonna try to keep it concise and not go off on my tangents, but you’re so rich of a guest.

You’ve been in the agency consulting business for quite some time now. First, you started as an agency owner yourself, and then you took stock of the lessons that you learned, best practices throughout the year, and what I love is that you didn’t just keep it to yourself.

You are, resolute enough to want to share it with others, like your colleagues and maybe even your competition, if you so choose to look at it that way. And it’s hard to be, I’ve had, I think, 18 of these conversations with entrepreneurs, and I’m not an entrepreneur, but what I’ve learned from them is that it’s hard to be an entrepreneur. And sometimes you take the knocks and you look at the financial costs, the time costs, the related costs, but you wonder sometimes why I ever wanna be an entrepreneur.

But you Lee, you put a very positive spin on the experience. And so my question for you is looking at other agency owners, you help them to see that despite those knocks there are, there’s room and there’s a way to transform an agency that’s possible and it doesn’t have to be daunting. Yes. If they take small achievable acts.

So can you talk about what those observations widely have been for you over those 20 years that made you realize small, actionable acts as the way?

Lee: [00:07:19] Sure. So one of my favorite things in the world to say is small achievable actions lead to big change. And we’ve recently been updating the branding for Trailblazer FM to small steady-set steps. So your WebPress agency is in small steady steps because alliteration, why not? The idea really over the years, I’ve been in business for 20 years.

I’m 40 years old for anyone who’s surely that 20-year-old can’t have been in business for 20 years. So thank you very much for saying that. And over the years I’ve recognized through periods of looking like we’re going to go bankrupt and just terrible situations that the only fix is the slow and steady fix.

We can’t overnight change the business and suddenly bring in loads of money. There is no magical fix, there’s no course that I can buy, no program that I can join that’s going to make me suddenly go from zero to 10 K in a month. I watch TikToks even now and people are like, here’s the business you could do now where passive income, where you could be generating a hundred K in no time at all. And then they go through this really long list of things, forgetting to tell you that you’ve gotta like work a really large amount of, put a lot of work in and it’s gonna take you years.

So I’ve learned over the years that there is nothing that you’re gonna do to be able to change things on a dime, unless you’re lucky, look it happens.

And it’s actually those lucky people that are teaching you, then how to become rich quick because they were lucky, but doesn’t mean we are gonna be. So I’ve learned the hard way that actually just changed a little bit at a time that’s achievable and over time things will change and it’s not sexy. It’s the least sexy message I’ve got.

I’m gonna tell you that you can change your business really slowly. And then a few years you’ll reap the benefits. That doesn’t sound sexy. Does it. And then if you were to like, look at the advertisement and say, break the six-figure barrier in six weeks. You’re gonna be like, whoa. Yeah, I want that. Or you’ve got my advertisement, take your time, go slowly and build your business the way you wanna build it. So you can see why I’m not super successful, but I’m here for the long game. The podcast has been out for eight years with the same message. Our message is to help agency owners, and entrepreneurs just take a step back and take their time.

We’ve all built agencies over the years that we think we have to build because everybody has the office. Everybody has the large team, everybody’s got the pool table or the fusible table or whatever it is or the arcade and everybody goes on retreats with their team. And there are just all of these kinds of stereotypical things that we all feel like we have to achieve as agency owners.

And I’m here to say, Nah, subtle that actually what you probably really want is the weekends off. That’s a small thing to ask, but people don’t get weekends off in agency life very often. Maybe you just want to finish at 5:00 PM every day and not start at 5:00 AM every day. Those are the sorts of things that I’m helping people achieve over time, rather than promising them anything ridiculous.

And that’s what agency transformation is all about as well which you alluded to earlier, really, it’s just helping people figure out what are the small steady steps that they can take over the next few weeks and months to get their weekend back, which is something that they like to do just finding one mission that they’ve got and try and get that back or whatever it is. So there you go. That’s the non-sexy scale of what I’m all about.

Morayo: [00:10:44] I have to interject here cuz I don’t want anyone to have the assumption that you can’t listen to this podcast and be sexy. You’re bringing the sexiness, tell your wife that this is all fun and games

Lee: [00:10:57] OK.

Morayo: [00:10:58] And you’re gonna get her name tattooed on your back. So we’re all good.

We’re all good.

Lee: [00:11:01] Playing with my cord now. Carry on.

Morayo: [00:11:04] But no, it’s slow and steady wins the race and there’s nothing more terrifying in thinking of building your career, but not building your life and, or losing some aspect of one of those. So healthy, steady growth. And when you talk about transformation and moving, taking small steps, the world was forced to take small steps or to redirect its course over these last couple of years. The world’s opened back up now and things are starting, to jive again, but the pandemic really threw businesses for a loop.

And you also had some scary, and like many business owners had some scary thoughts about surviving that time. Can you talk about that and how you weathered the storm?

Lee: [00:11:56] In 2019 we had the first agency transformation life. We actually sold the 2022 event in 2019. So we sold half the room excitedly on come back next year, let’s do this all over again, cuz what an amazing time. So I had that commitment from all of these attendees. Therefore I committed to everything to get this event ready.

And the lockdown was slap bang on when our event was meant to be, so it was now illegal for me to run an event. And I knew that only about a month and a half before the event was happening. And it was absolutely soul destroying. Not only was I losing money, which, sucks, but actually that I was just not going to be able to honor what I wanted to do for all of these people, which was to get them all together and get some great speakers in the room, inspire people, teach people and help them unpack what it is they need to do next for their business. Literally just what are those achievable steps they need to do for their business rather than the big, high-flying things?

So I wasn’t really sure what to do. I switched digitally and I just want to thank GoWP, especially as one of the sponsors of the physical 2020 event, you guys were just so cool and were like, yep, do whatever you need to do to make the event happen. We’re behind you a hundred percent and you were really supportive.

You guys came on, Brad came on, we did a live stream together as well during it. We ended up doing the event digitally, which was phenomenal. But I also still felt bad that I hadn’t delivered that physical event. So I promised everybody from 2020, Hey guys, if you bought your 2020 ticket to come to a physical event, we will do it one day. And that, we’re doing it now in 2022. So we’re still honoring all of those tickets for people to come from 2022.

But at that point in 2020, I was looking at all the money I’d lost. To me, at least feeling like I’ve broken promises, which is silly because I can’t control a global pandemic, but still it really did send me on a bit of a depression spiral for quite some time if I’m totally honest and people may have guessed because I disappeared from the Facebook group for a while.

And in fact, the Facebook group is now closed, cuz I completely lost the energy of being able to do that. I disappeared off social media. If you got unfriended by me, it wasn’t personal, but I actually went from 4,000 friends to 100 friends cuz I just had to have a family for a while on my Facebook, cuz just there were other things that were contributing to it, but that was the big, main thing.

That whole event everything just felt like a failure at least to me then, and it was just a horrible time. And it was hard. It was really hard to then get the energy to continue to push the business forward. And that’s both businesses, Trailblazer, and also Event Engine as well.

 Event Engine was in a weird space. It’s in the events industry that requires physical events to happen and suddenly all of our clients can’t do it thankfully. And here’s the kind of the nice happy ending, because we did the digital event for agency transformation life. So early in lockdown, we developed the tech to do it.

Therefore we sold it to all the Event engine clients and the event engine had its best year during both of the two years of lockdown, et cetera. Things did work out in the end, but how I felt during that was horrible, depressed, and defeated your key. I had loads of panic attacks. Just took a massive a massive knock in my business partner will tell you of times when I’m like I’m running a digital event for someone kind of during 2021, for example.

I just had a complete panic attacker, a complete meltdown and he had to like, just take over and he’s a non-tech guy and just look after the events. So it was a really strange time. Can I actually remember what the question was now? But I just remember, I think you’re asking how I dealt with it all and I’m just delving into what was going on during that those couple of years of lockdown, it was a weird time.

Wasn’t it? But we managed, we went through it.

Morayo: [00:15:35] Yeah we got through it, but I think your story, your experience was like a lot of people through that time. And let’s be honest. There were so many lives lost. So that was also thrown in for so many people, whether or not they were, running their own business. It was just a big question mark for the world and but you’re right.

Lee: [00:15:55] Come after her as well. Wasn’t there, like we were all like, is my agency even gonna look the same after this? I was thinking, can I even ever run an event again? Will I ever be to honor those tickets? I want to honor all those people that supported me in 2019. It’s

Morayo: [00:16:08] But they’re back, they’re back this year and that’s awesome that your conference is back. And it’s a conference for our listenable viewers, listeners. It’s a conference Lee was alluding to get clarity around your business and to identify those small steps that you can take.

And I look at the lineup. I don’t know everyone, but I know there are some familiar names to me, Mike Killen, Nicole Osborne, image, and Allen. You’ve got, marketing experts, funnel experts, and SEO experts. You put together all of the voices that can.

Lee: [00:16:42] Still more to announce as well.

Morayo: [00:16:44] Oh. More to come. Okay. Do you wanna announce it here or?

Lee: [00:16:48] No, one very big name with a lot of books to their name. We just have to get the final thumbs up before we can announce.

Morayo: [00:16:58] Oh, that’s awesome.

Lee: [00:16:58] Local UK community will go nuts, so I’m quite excited about it.

Morayo: [00:17:02] That yep. You should be. And this conference takes place in November, so people can certainly still register. Registration is limited. So don’t dilly dally as we say, in the states. So for somebody who’s listening and because they don’t have the option of attending digitally, you have to be in the room.

What would you tell them if they’re like if they’re on the fence about committing to purchasing their tickets for the two days?

Lee: [00:17:28] No. If you’re on the fence and I would actually say if the idea of traveling out is still overwhelming, stay home. Don’t push yourself. If however, you do want to get outta the house and meet with a whole load of other people in our industry, and finally press the flesh. If you’ve watched social media and seen all the WC US word camp, US pictures, and thought, oh, I wish I could go for dinner with a load of people.

Don’t they look like they’ve had an incredible time? If that’s you, are you living in the UK or nearby? We’re gonna do that in November. So I would say, forget all the content, forget the speakers if you just want to get to hang out with a whole lot of people, again, in your industry. People who love WordPress, who run agencies, where you can have conversations, have a beer have some food, share your problems, your happiness, whatever that is, then that for me is one of the main reasons we’re doing the event.

If you also wanna work on new business, then I would say one of the biggest things we’re helping people is really to unpack the new services. Or refine the services that you have in your agency. So you’re either gonna discover new services and tools that you can use, or you’re gonna be able to refine the services that you have in order to be more successful.

And the focus, therefore, is then on, how can you scale it to success that you define. So it’s all very much around that. New services or improving your existing services. We do also have the second day a full-on mastermind, where you can bring a specific problem that you have for your business to the table of seven peers.

And they will help you unpack some of those problems as well. So we’ve got a whole load of stuff, quite a broad mix of things going on. The two main, two main reasons just to recap is if you just wanna hang out with humans again, there you go. And the second one is if you wanna work on your business, especially around improving your existing services or adding new ones in light of the upcoming recessions that the doom and Gloo media have been telling us about then come along and let’s get you prepped.

Morayo: [00:19:31] And tough and ready.

Lee: [00:19:32] Yeah, let’s do this.

Morayo: [00:19:34] Something that I’ve read that you said was you were talking about just now you were mentioning helping agency owners identify new services and how they can deliver them. You’ve also said that it’s advantageous. I’m not quoting you verbatim, but it’s advantageous for an agency to identify their niche, get their hands around their avatar serve the, oh, I, wrote it down it’s somewhere, but it was good.

Whatever you said it was good, but concentrating on serving that niche, and this is also a recurring topic that I’ve had with other business owners. Do you think it’s like many people have just realized I’ve got a niche down to do my best work, to live my best life, to be the best agency that we can be, and keep our clients, we have to niche down?

Do you think that for, I don’t know, it’s antithetical? I think when you start a business, you want to be all things to all people you want to say yes to everything. So do you think it’s just a natural progression for digital agency owners or, agency owners to come to the realization that Hey, we have to niche?

Do you think that’s just natural?

Lee: [00:20:48] I don’t think it is a natural thing. I think a natural feeling is to avoid it and to be a full-service agency. And actually, there are some incredibly successful full-service agencies. However, what I preached from my experience that worked for me was especially an event engine. You can hear it in the name.

 It was called something else. Originally. It was a full-service agency, but we went all in on one particular industry and offering one or two particular services that solve a very specific set of problems that they have. And that for us, allowed us to understand our identity as a business, the identity of the people we serve to then, therefore, understand we are hugely valuable.

Therefore, we could judge better. And finally, it helped us to develop the messaging, the all-important messaging, and build our platform so we could attract the right sort of customer. So for us, it made perfect sense that kind of the whole trajectory. I think though if you think of say some of the full-service agencies, I would argue that they probably are still in Anisha and they don’t realize it, and it might be a service niche or a problem niche rather than a particular industry.

Think of base camp. If you were to say who’s the perfect client for base camp. Is it a, do you think it would be an agency?

Morayo: [00:22:00] Is this rhetorical or is this?

Lee: [00:22:02] No, this is what I’m asking you I’ll put you on the spot.

Morayo: [00:22:05] I know. Yes,

Lee: [00:22:07] No, it’s not. It could actually be someone who builds houses could use base camp. As well or a hospital could use base camp as a project management tool where anyone who needs to manage information and communication, i.e. Project can use it.

So their niche is that, would be project managers across a whole spectrum or information managers across a whole spectrum of industries. But people wouldn’t think that base camp necessarily has a niche or like me, and you would assume, oh base camp’s niche is agency owners. That’s what I’ve thought for years until I had a conversation with others that used base camp and they’re in such random industries, I was like, oh, I thought we owned base camp.

I thought agency owners were like the base camp crew. So yeah, I’ve discovered over the years that a lot of agencies now don’t realize it, but already have a niche. They just don’t recognize it. If they find themselves building the same sort of product for the same sort of problems over and over again, even if it’s across many industries, you’re probably accidentally in a niche.

So if you can then identify that you can go, oh, this is a really good project for us and really profitable. How do we find more people? Like this, and then you can start to say, all right that’s our avatar. Our niche is this problem is this service. And they have all of these problems. Let’s go find those people and do more of this.

So I think deep down, yeah, I think deep down when everyone’s got one, they just don’t realize it.

Morayo: [00:23:31] Everybody’s got a niche. Find it. No, I love that. I love that explanation and it makes sense. I get it. No more rhetorical. Oh gosh.

[00:23:40] Lee: You’re like, no. Yeah, no.

Morayo: [00:23:43] I was like

Lee: [00:23:43] Like me singing at church and I dunno the words. Yeah.

Morayo: [00:23:46] Just harmonize along with the music. No, but yeah. Thank you. Thank you for that. That really does make sense to me. So that’s saying something. I also wanted to chat about, and this is something that your attendees at the conference will also talk about or the speakers. Social media.

Lee: [00:24:04] Yeah.

Morayo: [00:24:04] Yeah. Yeah. You’ve really figured out a thing or two about social media. And this is another topic that has come up on these previous podcasts. Some agency owners are still trying to figure out what they do with social media, how they can make the best use of it. One of your podcasts that really caught my intention, you were saying that an agency, they don’t need their own content to be able to post on social media and to be active on social media. And owners, obviously they want to use social media to bring in leads and build engagement and hopefully brand awareness. But when you think about how, I guess my question is, how do you do that without having your own original content?

I know you have an answer cuz because I listen to your podcast, but tell the listeners

Lee: [00:24:56] I have no idea what I said. No, I’m joking.

[00:24:58] Wasn’t me.

Lee: [00:24:59] It’s a message I use to encourage people because they’ll often look at trailblazer, they know I’m an agency owner and they’ll look at trailblazer and see that I’m currently on season 45 and that I’ve done 300-knot episodes and that I’ve blog loads and that I’ve done like over a hundred YouTube videos.

So the guy who creates loads and loads of content is saying, you don’t have to create content to be successful on social media. It sounds like a paradox and it probably is, but how I started was sharing other people’s content because I wanted to try and work out what it is people were interested in.

Back in, I’d say 2014, my original Twitter, I followed loads of people that I figured my target audience would be interested in as well. People like Kim Doyle. There were oh, there were also my, I can’t even go far that far back. There was a chap who ran a web design podcast who eventually from Australia, whose name is, completely escapes me.

Anyway I followed them and I shared their content and I added my own opinion to those tweets and asked other people what their opinions were, et cetera. And that’s. How I built my initial following before I launched the podcast, I kept kicking the podcast down the road because that just seemed like a lot of work.

And I was a little bit nervous about showing up online and creating my own thing, but it was at least very easy to dip my toe in the water and say, all right I’m gonna go on social media. I’m gonna find useful content. I’m gonna have an opinion as well. And I’m just gonna share that online. So that’s exactly what I did for at least the first year and actually developed some great friendships and actually that you can do that.

That’s fine case in point, Paul Lacey, you’ve probably heard of Paul Lacey. And yet he doesn’t have his own show. He doesn’t have his own podcast. He doesn’t sell anything to anyone. He creates some content now and again, but predominantly is just online sharing his thoughts and opinions on other people’s content and does really well and has built to pay.

He’s built up a good following and a recognizable name in the WordPress community just by doing that. Oh, equally he’s also, designed some cool stuff with his old agency as well to generate press. Maybe he can achieve it and get that community as well. But just generally, if you’re not a generate per user you’ve heard of him outside of that community anyway.

So you can build a brand or an agency at least initially on sharing other people’s stuff. Beauty of that is you’ve not had to write it and you’re also then working out, oh, what are people interested in? No, one’s commented on this post. I shared maybe no, one’s interested. I’ll try something else. And you can kinda work out what’s going on.

I would obviously recommend at some point, creating your own content. That’s a, that’s maybe three or four steps away. The small steady step, the easier you achieve action is to get started, to share other people’s and share your opinion with it and see what happens. It’s the first

Morayo: [00:27:32] And just help others solve problems by any means necessary by that’s sharing someone else’s content, so be it. The person who is helped doesn’t care, you just provided that help. And I got them to where they wanted to be. Something else that you said on a podcast, you made a little confession, and about things that you’re really bad at. Oh, like we’re visual today. So I can

Lee: [00:27:53] Oh, cool.

Morayo: [00:27:53] And I was like, oh no, there, there has to be a twist. At least not gonna say he’s bad at something, because he’s gonna say, but I turned it around, but there’s several.

I won’t list the whole list now, but I really connected to some of the things that you struggle with. And I also loved your solutions for these, for those scenes. I could make this a whole, like what your penance is, you said that day-to-day administrative tasks is something that you struggle with, and what are my other favorites? Finishing things.

Lee: [00:28:23] And also, remembering what I meant to do. Keeping cool under pressure is very hard

Morayo: [00:28:29] Do you think the older that you get is that whole remembering task? Is that harder for you now, now you’re 40?

Lee: [00:28:36] Yeah. Now I’m 40. I forget so much. It’s ridiculous. Staying focused is also something I said and also keeping work stressed out of my personal time. I just Googled it quickly when you said it I’m like, I can’t remember that being a podcast. That was a YouTube video.

Morayo: [00:28:52] Oh,

Lee: [00:28:53] I remember that. Yeah.

Morayo: [00:28:55] But it was content, valuable content that you shared that I took something away with also and we were talking about this before we went live. We were talking about taking care of yourself and the your sin that you overcome is not letting you know, work stress bleeds into your personal life.

And I think so many times all of them, I shouldn’t say all of us, but many of us overlook that step and it’s so easy to get out of balance. And we were talking about health, and what your journey is recently, and some of your successes. And could you talk about that as an agency owner? Because I think a lot of people undervalue taking to make another religious reference. They don’t take care of their temple and so their business loses. They don’t feel good. They have a health crisis. But you’ve had success in this area of physical transformation. Do you wanna talk about that?

Lee: [00:29:57] Sure. So if you imagine I told you the horror story of lockdown and me getting depressed. I also put on 30 pounds in weight as well, which is ridiculous. But that’s normal for me when I go downhill I comfort. And all of that good stuff. So I put on quite a lot of weight.

You can’t tell on the camera, cuz I would, put the camera up, put in an angle and the beard hides an abundance says if you just shave if you’ve got a beard and if you just shave under here, double chin gone away, you can make yourself look like you’ve got a jawline. So I hid it pretty well.

Baggy t-shirts, et cetera, but I put on quite a lot of weight. And the process for me was I kept battling with it. I kept trying drastic extraordinary steps to lose weight, by hitting the gym and exercising like crazy for a week. And all that was achieved was sore legs and arms and more defeat. But I also saw that the decisions that I was making in the business, because I felt bad about myself were also poor decisions.

I made an awful lot of mistakes during those two years and even made a loss in trailblazer FM. We actually made a nine K loss last year which was a year upon year of profit. That absolutely kicked me in the gooey. If I’m gonna be honest, I knew it was gonna happen. And part of that was on purpose, cuz I just needed to take time for kind of recharge, et cetera, but that sucked.

Good news is, we’ve got all that back. We’re building up the business again for trailblazer FM, which is phenomenal. But part of that as well as changing how I approach my health in the video that you talk about. I talk about day-to-day administration and all of that sort of stuff and I realized that I just needed to break down everything into small, easy steps to be able to achieve anything. And I decided to do the exact same with my health. I figured I need to lose about 30, 35 pounds and I’m not gonna lose them in a week or in two weeks. So why don’t I set myself a really long target of six months and set myself a restriction on calories and a restriction sorry, and a target every day for steps?

I decided it was 2000 calories a day, which was what I was recommended if I was gonna lose weight over that significant amount of time and to do 10 K steps, which I use the old apple watch for. So I just started doing that. That’s really achievable. Go out for a short walk in the morning, you can knock out, say four K steps.

You walk around the day about two K steps. And if you need to do another walk in the evening, you can do that as well. Job done, actually 10 K steps. No problem. I use an app called Lose it which is available, I think on both platforms to track all of my calories, I just scanned the barcodes. In fact, I scanned these in before, whilst you and me were talking didn’t I before this live stream.

So I know how many of these suites I can have as a reward after this episode. Just so I could make sure I kept onto that two K calories per day, and I didn’t see any change, but I thought, that’s fine. I’m just gonna keep going. I’m gonna keep going. This is probably gonna take three months before I see any change.

Thankfully, it took a month and a half before I started to see the pounds starting to drop, and then suddenly woosh. I’ve lost the weight of a corgi which is amazing. And I’ve still got another 10 pounds to go before I’m at the weight I wanna be. But right now, as of today, I’m 195 pounds and I was 222 pounds at the beginning of this, and we’re only three months in which is great.

What it was the psychology? I guess I’m not a psychiatrist, but for me, it was the thought process of this is gonna take ages. I’m just gonna do what I think I can achieve two K calories, 10 K steps, as long as I keep doing that every single day. And don’t think about anything else. No more pressure, no more looking at the mirror, weigh myself once a week, celebrate the small successes as, and when they happen, see how it goes.

And it’s been incredibly successful. I wish I’d done it earlier, but I feel great now. I feel amazing. I can make more positive decisions. I’ve got a meeting with a sponsor after this call. I’m gonna go with confidence and with energy and excitement and now which is awesome. But just a few months ago, I was still looking up defeated, could tell from shoulders, just rocking up defeated to things.

Cuz I was feeling rubbish about myself physically as well as mentally as well.

Morayo: [00:33:45] I’m with you. I cannot believe the pounds that I put on during the pandemic. I’m, I’ve 30 pounds too. I avoided the doctor for two years, of course, because of the pandemic. And then I went to the doctor recently and got on the scale and I was like, I knew it was up there, but it was so far beyond.

And it’s just, I’m not in a race against anyone else. It’s just making those small. Not ordering out and sitting at the desk, home desk all the time. Yeah. Just little changes, steadily. And that’s at my age. It used to be, I could just lose it all in a week. Not anymore. No, not anymore. Looking to the future, Lee, what do you hope for your agency in the coming year?

Or what do you hope for the conference this year?

Lee: [00:34:27] Sure. I would love it right now. We’re gonna have about 60 people at the conference. I’m not gonna. I would love a hundred people at the conference because a busy room after two years away from everyone would just be a wonderful feeling. So it’s great that there’s gonna be 60, but folks, if you can come along, please do. It’ll be amazing as you are listening. There is a coupon, which I just need to make sure works. So don’t do it quite yet, but 20 off will get you 20% off if it, if that will help you come to this event. So you know that for the conference, I wanna see a busy room and people changing their lives for the better, through small steady steps for my business.

So for Event Engine What we’re working towards is onboarding new clients where we wanna be turning over a million pounds in the next three years per year. So that’s our target and we’re well on our way to that as well, which is phenomenal. So that’s our next step there. And then with trailblazer FM, I just want to grow the brand.

Trailblazer FM has in eight years, there’s never been about making money and still isn’t. I’d like to make money to keep the lights on for trailblazer FM, but really the target there is just to make sure that more and more agencies know about trailblazer FM and all of the lovely people that we talk to as a result of it.

For example, you folks who go to WP, I think the biggest skill that I have personally and through the trailblazer brand has been to connect people. And it seems to be that a lot of things that have happened over the years have been because of Trailblazer connecting people or because of me connecting people.

And that makes me feel wonderful. So I want more of the same for Trailblazer

Morayo: [00:35:53] That’s awesome. And lastly, final question at GoWP we are about creating happiness for our customers. I’d like to know how are you creating happiness for yourself. You’ve already talked about it, but I’ll ask you that.

Lee: [00:36:08] One of the things you can see right behind me, I brought my PlayStation in. I reward myself quite regularly. To help me be happier, I’m currently rewarding myself. So I’ve been staring at these for this entire podcast, cuz I know this is one of my rewards. Also after my next call.

I’m getting 15 minutes on the PlayStation as well. So to keep myself happy during work, I’ve been rewarding myself. I could go and talk about the big, wider happiness thing, but just a small thing is I’m just giving myself little rewards as I go to keep myself happy and to actually keep myself motivated.

We worked out that I probably have ADHD. I’ve already spoken to a couple of experts who’ve said and I’ve got an actual Meeting with counseling or not counseling while we’re gonna see someone to get a diagnosis. So I’ve been watching an awful lot of ADHD, things, videos, and that to help people who may or may not have it.

And there’s lots of useful advice. And that was, this reward system was one of the things that I really latched onto to make me feel a bit happier.

Face it. Admin’s boring. Everything’s boring. Isn’t it? That we do. Most of the things that you have to do in agency, life is boring. You get excited about selling it, but then you gotta build the freaking website.


Morayo: [00:37:14] So reward yourself. Take the time to play on the PlayStation and take the time with the sweets healthy sweets.

Lee: [00:37:21] You’re on PlayStation,

Morayo: [00:37:23] What’s that?

Lee: [00:37:24] I said, Lee Jackson, Devon PlayStation network. If you’re on there, add me. Hey,

Morayo: [00:37:27] Yeah play along with him. Thank you, Lee. Thank you so much for this conversation and hence for running an agency that you’ve provided for our viewers and listeners this will be rebroadcast in the coming weeks in time for the conference. And I want to remind the listeners that you can learn more from Lee and listen to his enriching podcast by going to trailblazer.fm and you can register for his agency transformation live conference in November at agencytransformation.live and that’s November 10th and 11th. Don’t dilly deli. So thank you so much, everyone, for joining us today, don’t forget to like and subscribe wherever you can get other episodes of GoWP digital agency owners’ podcasts, wherever you get your podcasts.

And just as a reminder at GoWP, we want to make your business more profitable. So join in our biweekly, monthly happiness hour calls. You can watch our webinars and you can also grow your team with our professional, talented group of copywriters and developers and designers and VAs.

Thank you for listening. 

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