All posts tagged: agency-journey

Agency Journey Episode 44 (Y17M11)

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This is the final month of our lease at our 197 Grand Street office. Next week, we’ll be completely moved out. We’ll be renting a desk and conference room access from our friends at The Working Assembly. It was in 2011 that we first moved to 197 Grand Street. I was on my honeymoon when Sei-Wook orchestrated the move (God bless him, he’s also orchestrating the move out). We were on the 6th floor in […]

Agency Journey Episode 43 (Y17M10)

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A quick update on my LinkedIn posting activities in the first 3 months of 2024: I’ve consistently posted every weekday with the help of Deal Bridge, who keep me accountable for writing new posts and also helping to recycle some older posts for when I don’t have new ones ready. This has been going on since May 2023. Gained about 800 new followers in Q1, not a big number but steady growth.  220k impressions across […]

Agency Journey Episode 42 (Y17M9)

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I’ve been enjoying a biography of Walt Disney, Walt Disney: The Triumph of The American Imagination by Neal Gabler. I’m about 80% through and one of the things that struck me is how, for the first twenty or so years of the business, Disney struggled financially and came very close at multiple points to losing it all as an animation/movie studio. The financing of animation movies was risky business and it took a combination of […]

Agency Journey Episode 41 (Y17M8)

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This cycle may be familiar to many agency operators: when you don’t have enough work, you scramble to ramp up your business development efforts while cutting back on recruiting; when the tide turns and the work starts pouring in, you scramble to ramp up your recruiting efforts in order to have the people to deliver on the work, all while neglecting or cutting back on sales and marketing efforts. It often feels like we’re 2-3 […]

Agency Journey Episode 40 (Y17M7)

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Another year comes to a close – another year of countless decisions, experiments, and initiatives. Like any other year, we made plenty of mistakes and did things that were either inefficient or straight up wasteful. And while I’d like to think we learned a great deal from these experiences, I’m also sure that we’ll continue to make mistakes in the future. My hope is that we can avoid making the same mistakes over and over […]

Agency Journey Episode 39 (Y17M6)

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On my mind during this year’s Thanksgiving weekend has been the feeling of how fleeting life can be. I’ve seen family members get older and enter different stages of their lives. It’s very possible that with some, we may only get a handful more holidays to spend together. I’ve been feeling it with my three young boys – it was just a few years ago that none of them were here and now they’re such […]

Agency Journey Episode 38 (Y17M5)

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October’s been an action-packed month. Every week has felt like a full-on sprint. Thankfully, my energy level and health has held up, and overall, I’m feeling calm and optimistic. With just a couple months to go in 2023, I’m feeling immensely grateful. There were lots of challenges this year and many things didn’t go our way. However, we also learned a lot, made important improvements, and didn’t get discouraged. I don’t really have expectations for […]

Agency Journey Episode 37 (Y17M4)

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I’m taking some family time this month as we welcomed our son Xander. As a result, I’ve not been as involved day-to-day although I’ve kept up with emails and checked in with my Barrel partners. There’s a lot of down time with a newborn, especially the late nights when I’m rocking the baby for a few hours giving Mel some time to sleep before the next feeding. These moments have been good for catching up […]

Agency Journey Episode 35 (Y17M2)

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I spent the last full week of July in Spain on a family vacation. We stayed an hour outside of Barcelona. I loved the view we had from the home we rented, a sweeping panorama of trees with the Mediterranean Sea off in the distance. I thought more than a few times what it would be like to live and work in Europe with primarily American co-workers and clients. Being 5-6 hours ahead means that […]

Agency Journey Episode 34 (Y17M1)

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At the start of the month, we briefly acknowledged Barrel’s 17th year of being in business. I posted something on LinkedIn and after work, poured myself a glass of white wine. On one hand, it’s just another day, month, and year in the business – I like to think that we keep our heads down and continue working hard. On the other hand, every additional day, month, and year is a blessing and a privilege […]

Agency Journey Episode 33 (Y16M12)

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May was a hard month. Lots of travel, meetings, and moments, both business and personal, that tested my patience. Thankfully, I knew this was going to be the case going in, so I tried to be as mentally prepared as possible. The trick was to take things one day at a time, enjoying the occasional down moments as best I could and also celebrating even the smallest of wins. More travel, work, and personal obligations […]

Agency Journey Episode 32 (Y16M11)

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Agency Journey cover image - kids in wood filled shack

A key to longevity in this business is to have a lot of friends who also run agency businesses. I’ve been lucky to meet and develop relationships with dozens of agency operators over the years. They’ve inspired me with their discipline, creative thinking, leadership, and ambitions. They’ve been great sources of comfort when things haven’t gone so well for me, sometimes lending a patient ear to hear out my challenges and at other times commiserating […]

Agency Journey Episode 31 (Y16M10)

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We concluded our trial of Roam, a virtual office collaboration tool that’s meant to evoke a sense of place online while encouraging more casual “drop-in” conversations among team members. The interface looked sleek and the value proposition was promising, so we went for a 30-day trial with our team. The 30 days came and went very quickly and we decided to send out a team survey to get a check on how people were feeling […]

Agency Journey Episode 30 (Y16M9)

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“What I am suggesting is that a dose of gratitude be injected into the process, because everything is not “bad.” We all have a long list of things to be grateful for. Never say, “It can’t get any worse,” because it can get a lot worse. I love H. Ross Perot’s definition of an entrepreneur: “Someone who is grateful for the progress that has been made and simultaneously dissatisfied with the rate they are making […]

Agency Journey Episode 29 (Y16M8)

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I’m feeling positive about how we’re starting the year. This isn’t because things are all rosy and looking up. In fact, as you’ll read in the next section, we’ve had some setbacks that’s required tough decisions in the first few weeks of 2023. But what feels different about this year is that we’re starting off with a lot more confidence in the systems and structures we have in place, the result of a year-long effort […]

Agency Journey Episode 26 (Y16M5)

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October has felt like an extra-long month this year. A combination of lots of personal travel, lots of in-person meetings with different people, changing routines with my family, and being sick a couple of times seemed to stretch each week out and demand extra energy and activity. All in all, it’s been a great month with a lot to reflect on. About Agency Journey: This is a monthly series detailing the happenings at my agency Barrel, […]

Agency Journey Episode 25 (Y16M4)

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I feel like our agency has been getting into a nice rhythm over the past few months. After some disruptions to our org structure and headcount earlier in the year and the adjustment period that followed, we’ve settled into a more stable mode. However, getting into a rhythm doesn’t mean things are necessarily easy. We have unforeseen issues that pop up with clients and employees that need dealing, we have financial challenges to navigate around, […]

Agency Journey Episode 21 (Y15M12)

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This is the last episode of Year 15 – it’s wild how fast the last 12 months happened and the roller coaster ride we’ve been on as a business. Looking back to last May, I was feeling pretty good about the record level of new business deals we were landing and also eager to roll out major org changes to set us up for scale. A year later, we’ve struggled to keep apace last year’s […]

Agency Journey Episode 20 (Y15M11)

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Towards the end of last year, we had a client engagement that did not go well. Without getting into details, here’s what happened: the matter got so serious that we needed to get professional liability (errors & omissions) insurance involved. The insurance company assigned us a lawyer and there was a date set for mediation, where, hopefully, we could settle on an amount and move on. This case hung over us like a dark cloud […]

Agency Journey Episode 19 (Y15M10)

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We’ve been steadily plugging away with the business–cleaning up at-risk accounts, cutting costs, launching projects, and winning new work. As I mentioned last month, my focus is ensuring that we’re executing as a company and holding each other to high standards. I think we’re headed in the right direction. About Agency Journey: This is a monthly series detailing the happenings of my agency Barrel, founded in 2006. You can find previous episodes here. Highlights A Couple of Launches […]