Chris Marr is the founder the Content Marketing Academy. I’ve been a follower of Chris and a consumer of his content for years so I was really pleased to spend some time getting to know him, his business and most strikingly his, philosophy for life and work.
About Chris : Multi award winning Entrepreneur Chris Marr believes content marketing is the only way to set business leaders free from the world of mediocre interruption marketing.
Chris is the Founder and driving force behind CMA, the UK’s largest membership organisation of its time.
He is raising the bar on talent curation, leadership, personal development, and community building. His pioneering work has changed the lives of hundreds of businesses, all through the power of Content Marketing.
Links and mentions
Chris's Website : https://www.thecontentmarketingacademy.co.uk
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Hi there. Welcome back to gravity, digital marketing entrepreneurs podcast. I'm Bob Gentle. And every week I'm joined by creators, consultants and practitioners who share what makes their business work. Whether you run your own business or you're just thinking of stepping out on your own for the first time, you're in the right place. If you're new to the podcast, and welcome along, just take a second right now to subscribe to this show in your podcast player. And that way you won't miss new weekly episodes, and you can dig into some older ones when you finish this one.
My guest this week is Chris Maher. Chris is the founder of content marketing Academy. I've been a follower of Chris and consuming his content for years. So I was really pleased to spend some time getting to know him, his business and most strikingly, his philosophy for life and work. So welcome along and let's meet Chris
Today I'm delighted to welcome Chris Maher from CMA to the podcast. Chris, you want to start by just telling us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of thing you do. Hey, Bob, thanks very much for having me on your podcast. It's great to be here today. Yeah, so yeah, my name is Chris Maher. I am the founder of the content marketing Academy on a CMA for sure. And I'm based in Dundee, which is great. I love it here in Dundee. The city is booming, and it's a great place to do business. And I'm 37 years old. I'll be 38 this year. All our conversations with my friends at the moment are all about who's turning 41st. So, you know, that period of my life, just know, which is great. And I have a blended family, so I live it. I live in Dundee. I also work permanently from home as well. And there's six of us in the house. We've got four kids between us. So we're 17 year old, a 10 year old three year old and a one year old. So
So it can get a bit crazy around here sometimes. So working from home permanently has become a big part of my life and a big part of my business. And the big part of how I actually build my business as well, which I'm sure we'll talk a little bit about as we get into this. But the content marketing Academy was started back in 2012. And it was after probably somewhere close to four or five years of just getting really, really interested in what was happening in the marketing space, Facebook, Twitter, all that stuff in about 2007 2008 and start to use it and use all those applications in my old job and start a blog. And they studying business and marketing and entrepreneurship and all that kind of stuff inside a whole bunch of things. And just basically it's been a massive learning journey over the last sort of 10 to 12 years of trying to figure out what I'm really great at and what I want to do and no I spend most of my time within CME teaching and coaching and helping people to not only be little
create the best content that exists online for their industry at the moment. And, and obviously to help people get better results and ROI from the content but also to, I think there's a bigger picture is is how to be world class communicators as well the asking great questions, making sure we're engaging with our customers in the right way. And generally feeling like our work helping people to understand or feel like their work has impact and purpose. So, you know, one thing I've learned Bob over the years of teaching content marketing and you know, digital marketing is that a lot of people aren't great at the technical stuff or can be great at the technical stuff. But that's not typically what holds people back. It's usually some sort of mental body or something that's going on in their head like a mindset issue. So what we've started to find is that although we teach content marketing and we're great at that, we also had to be really good coaching and mindset and helping people to change their behavior in the way that
as well. So it's branched into a lot of different things. But ultimately this package know this package of skills or techniques that we have for teaching has become such as had such a great impact on people because we can not only teach them the skills, but we can also help them to get over themselves as well. So I think that's that's kind of that's me in a nutshell, sort of like my day to day is helping people with those types of challenges as a, I would call myself, sorry, other people call me. That's, that's kind of like, we've had this discussion before, as definitely as a teacher type of role teaching adults. I think one thing that's really yeah, absolutely makes sense. One of the things that struck me because I know quite a lot of your clients members, I'm not sure what you call them, but they are passionate about being your customer or your client or your member, and to the extent where they look at it more as a lifestyle than a simple member.
ship. And I think that really what you said about mindset there really resonates with me as the CMA seems to have a very strong culture. And it really seems to reflect you and your personality, you draw a certain kind of person to your business. Yeah, that's mostly deliberate.
I don't know if you want me to explain a little bit about that the cultural aspect? Well, I think it's interesting.
Go for it, because for me, it was one of the standout features. Yeah, it's probably relevant to people listening as well, because this goes beyond the digital marketing space, which I think is kind of something that you're interested in, in any way, Bob, and people are listening to this as well as it's not just about, you know, how to write blogs, and how to do videos and all that. And so which is really great. But actually creating a culture within a group of people is a really challenging thing to do. So that we, a couple of years ago, I wrote an essay, it's about 6000 words, I took a week off work essentially to write this thing and it was all about
Understanding what it was we're trying to achieve here, what what CMA what the CMA membership really was. And the conclusion to cut a long story short, you can find this essay on the websites on the podcast as well, is that we are building a learning organization. In other words, we're bringing a group of people from across multiple different industries to come and learn together. Right? It's not necessarily about finding that one coach, or that one consultant or that one mentor, that's going to help you to overcome your challenges, but actually coming into an organization or a culture where you can learn from people that are in the same learning zone as you In other words, they're only one or two steps ahead of you. And everybody's challenging each other and keeping people accountable. But the one thing that we have always wanted to create within see me as a healthy, healthy culture. One that's not all that is not as non competing numbers. Haven't got people trying to
Get one up on each other. And I didn't want there to be any gossiping or any back chat or anything like that happening and see me. So we we create CME in a very specific way to allow us to manage that, and keep an eye on it. But also we create a set of rules as well, Bob, you know, we've got a manifesto, we've got a set of How could you say this, I've got like a philosophy that we all believe in. And it's something that, like you said, that allows us to attract the right people, but also repel the wrong kind of people, people aren't a fit for us. So we've got a manifesto, we've got a set of beliefs. And the great thing about that is everybody generally knows how to behave. And that's kind of like in court right to behave. In other words, what is the right type of behavior within our because really what we've created as an organization is a group of people all trying to do similar things. So our work to the same sort of aim and
every organization just like that needs to have some kind of culture and it happened.
very deliberately, but also very organically as well, Bob, so it wasn't a case of like, I was like, this is our philosophy. This is our Manifesto. It took years it took root, the SE like I said, Everybody read it react to feedback to me, then we eventually took that to the stage, start talking about it, and then started to create this like a design around what are our five mil five things that we believe in and I've got everybody involved in that process as well. And then we put it out to as a sort of a formal piece of content. And our customers are very, very much involved in creating that culture. So it's been a very organic thing but very deliberate, because we want to make sure that you know, we're not here. This is this is really important to say as well like I'm not interested in making a quick buck.
This company is is going to be around for a long time. And this you know, if I wanted to just sail
Something quickly, I could probably do it, I reckon, and just make some money. But that's not really what I'm interested in, I really want to get the right people, I really want to build the right culture, I really, really want to start doing the right thing. And that takes a bit more time. It's a different approach. And it means that we absolutely want to be getting the right people, which again, like I said, it may take a little bit longer to do that. So really want to build a strong foundation in the company. And it's the exact exact opposite of what we sometimes see online from a lot of marketers and digital marketers, the hustle, all of that kind of stuff. Really isn't my that's not my that's not the camp that I sit in at all. I think that's, that's, for me, that really stands out that I was actually I have some notes here some places we can go and one of them really was.
One of the standout features with you is the integrity that you have. And that's something that people tell me about you. It's not something that I've just noticed to mention, but I'm
Wondering for a lot of the internet marketer types, and I've no, no disrespect to the term internet marketer internet marketing, to anybody who's listening and doesn't know what I actually mean by that you kind of summed that up by the hustle and make a quick buck. And that's a poor characterization of it. But I can imagine most people find your approach quite intimidating.
Yeah, so I don't really know what to say about
your mom, you know, your mom always told you to, you know, got nothing, anything nice to say don't say anything at all. But
there's obviously in every industry, there's good and bad, there's good and bad and everything. So this is really about if we were to really air on the sort of the approach you should take rather than comparing one against the other because there's like I said, there's good and bad and everything. This is really about figuring out who you want to be, how you want to communicate, how you want people to talk about you. And in order to do all that you have to kind of take a step back
Is everything in sync? Or who? Who am I really? How do I want to communicate? How do I want to build my business in my way? What's important to me? What cat? What's a non negotiable, like integrity? For example, you might say, Well, absolutely, integrity is so crucial. I never want people to think that I'm trying to pull the wool over their eyes, and ever want people to think I'm trying to cheat them into anything, or manipulate them into anything. And therefore what I have to do is be honest and transparent with my customers at all times. Right? So that would be a hypothetical, but it's an example of the type of exercise that we need to go through. Because what happens is, especially in marketing, you go online, and you just see marketers everywhere, and you're like, oh, that guy's doing that I should go over there, I should be doing that. Or they're doing that over there. I should also be seem to be doing that, too. They're doing this and what what that really says is like, it's a, it's an example of a distracted mind. In other words, it's an example of someone who doesn't truly know who they are. They don't understand the principles and their own values. So if we want to be
Great business owners are great marketers great communicators, the first thing we need to figure out is Who are we? What principles? Do we stand by? What absolutely do we never want to be known for? What do we want to be known for? What's really important to us? That's the principles your own value statement about who you are, determines how you go to market. There are simple example. Really simple example is practical that people will get as, should they have pop ups on my website, right? Like a simple thing. And for me, it's a no, like, no way they want to pop up somewhere website, do marketers put pop ups on their website? Yes. Do they work? Well, some people say that they do. Some people will tell you that they don't. I don't care if they work or not. Because that's not how I want my customers to feel. I don't want that to be a way in which we communicate a message to our customers that make sense. So it makes perfect sense as trying to create almost like fillers in your business so you can fill our decision making through them.
Right. So it's like trying to create your own set of rules, Gaydon guiding principles that help you to decide how we will go to market, how will we will be known. And a lot of the A lot of my methodology in this, or the way that I have come to this, I guess, Bob is just to kind of accept that, I probably knew enough to make my own decisions, I don't need to go and look at what other people are doing. I just need to decide if this is the way that I want to do or not, and to make sure that I'm working on the right, the right ideas and the right solutions. So that takes a bit of, I think, a bit of practice and a bit of confidence, of course, as well to do that. And, and almost like we need to be able to give ourselves permission to do what we believe in, rather than looking for permission and external sources, like the God of vino charts, like the other people that are in, you know, sharing their content. You don't need that. You really don't you think you do. And right now, you might feel like you do need that permission, but you really don't need to find a way to give yourself your own
level of permission, so you can do the work that's meaningful to you, and you feel is going to have the best impact on in your world. Yeah, it does. Absolutely. And I think that the mindset, a lot of people in the digital marketing space, whether they're doing it for their customers, or they're trying to encourage the customers to participate, or as you are in teaching and education, they, and you're absolutely right, until you can decide who you are, how can you possibly amplify that? Yeah. And again, this is a process of going inwards rather than outwards, which is the exact opposite of what we see a lot of times, right. So it's a process of like really carving the external influences, and really trying to figure out who you are, that's where it all starts. It's like the honestly, the best personal development that you could do is to go inward rather than a word.
That is really, really valuable. And I think, for anybody who really is looking to push out in
A personal brand, identifying who they are first is so important. And a lot of people underestimate that. And that's why a lot of it tends to look quite fake is because people are pushing in directions that just are not aligned with who they're comfortable being. Absolutely. And I'm not trying to be you don't be a hypocrite here. That was me. I was there at one point. And even in five years time, I might look back on this conversation, Bob and think I was, I still had a lot of work to do, and I do, we all have a lot of work to do in this area. I think it's just a case of getting closer and closer to overtime. And just believing in yourself that you do it somewhere inside of you, you know what you want, you know who you want to be, you know, what you want to be known for, or the type of work that you should be doing and over the course of time. It's a best practice and a bit of training and a little bit of work to get closer and closer and more clear on that thing. And that's a guest has been a big part of my own development as a marketer.
As a business owner, as a dad, as a boyfriend, all of this stuff, it kind of has like the same effect on you that kind of goes across your whole life, not just in your work. But it's about getting closer and closer to that over time. So there's always work to be done. It's a process. It's never like, you know, one day it's unclear The next day, it's super clear. It's not like that. It's just a process of clarity. And it's about just committing to that process. Yeah. I think one thing that might be quite interesting is if anybody's listening and they're working, for example, an in house marketing role, they might listen to this conversation ago, what are they talking about? But alongside that, I know I worked very briefly in an internal marketing role in another company. And I spent the whole time worrying that I was going to get found out and there's all different mental game there that
I maybe want to pivot into a little bit, then for people in an internal marketing role.
They maybe have some qualifications that entitle them to be in that role, or they might have experienced entitles them to be in that role. But in the digital marketing space, the content marketing space, and never stand still.
So by definition, you will not know it all. And yet you have this nagging feeling that your boss or management expect you to be the expert, and everything to do with digital marketing.
And I noticed that a lot of the communications you have been putting out more recently are really geared towards the internal marketer, is that to address that sort of anxiety that you may be hearing coming out of that space. partly what Bob was referring to Bob is the been doing a LinkedIn CD in the last three months or so we've been putting a video almost every week, and there's been a couple of breaks in between. There's something like a dozen videos out there. No, that's really that's addressing the conversation between leadership and marketing, right. It's there. There's a gap. They are a communication gap and what we're doing is
We're talking about the challenges in that gap to try and bring bring leadership and marketers closer together to understand each of the needs and each department so that people can start to communicate that better. But yes, generally speaking, even in large companies, the market department is tiny, usually siloed usually expected to do everything high expectations undervalued, and they don't feel like they're doing work that has purpose or has real impact on the company, things like that. And that's not a that's, that's my experience. That's why we go in and work with companies is to help them to develop and define the marketing function within the company. But the
so that's, that's like what I see. Of course, there are companies that have great marketing departments and have great cultures and all the rest of it. But that's where we go to work. That's what we get paid for. Right? So people say we've got problem we need to solve it. So yes, to answer your question, Bob, it does. Just because you're You're no different in our
You're in and then host marketing role or you are a freelance marketer. I think a lot of the mindset challenges and approach to all this is very, very similar. I think maybe what you're referring to something like imposter syndrome where, like, you've got your qualifications, you're you're probably, you know what, you've probably got a thirst for learning if you're in marketing and you haven't got a thirst for learning and question, a question why you're in marketing because you definitely need to have that. And you're probably doing some courses, your qualifications, reading books, listening to podcasts, all of that kind of good stuff to try and get your skills up to a level where you feel like you are you've got your finger on the pulse but there's so many things in marketing just like I have over the years instead of trying to learn more about marketing I've actually tried to learn less and be good at a core set of skills. And that's something that we teach my in house marketers to do as well Bob is to look let go of this needs to be good at everything. And really focus on on the core skill set of a great in house marketing roar, great in house in house marketing manager. What does
That, what does that skill set look like? Yes, you may have some expert skills. Let's say for example, you're amazing with video or video editing or something like that. Or perhaps you've in the past, you've been a website developer. So you've got programming and coding skills, right? That's a bonus, the skills that you really should be holding our communication skills, leadership skills, and strategic planning skills, because that's the stuff that really matters inside a large organization, because marketers are there to bring people together. We are not necessarily people that have to create all the marketing, but we definitely have to manage the campaigns and the projects that exist around solving marketing problems. So we could go deep, deep, deep on that we could do a whole podcast episode just on that subject alone. But generally speaking, what we're trying to do here is we're trying to address the challenges and hosts markers are having, helping them to see that they're not alone with those challenges, and helping leadership to understand that these challenges exist, and that there's something something needs to be done. In other words, what we need to do
pay a little bit more attention to our marketing department or marketers make sure that they have the tools and resources to do their job well gave them as well. I think a lot of people think the marketers are self directed, like in their learning, but a lot of people just generally speaking, a lot of people just aren't self directed learners. So they need someone that can mentor them and ship them and help them to, you know, do do the right courses and go to the right conferences and all that kind of good stuff as well. So I think, I think we forget all of that. And we just sort of let marketers can get on with it. And we don't really give them the support and the attention that they need. And generally they feel misunderstood. They don't feel listened to, they don't and therefore they don't feel like they're having an impact or any sort of real sort of grounded purpose, you know, that's aligned with strategy in the organization and that leads to low morale and it also leads to them leaving their job and and all of you know this Bob or not, but come in, compared to all other business functions. The marketing department has the highest staff
turnover rate across the board. So and that's the kind of number of where this statistic came from, I can find a resource for you if you need it. But generally speaking, what we find is that marketers are leaving their jobs more often than any other business function. And we have to ask ourselves as leaders as marketers, why is that? You know, what's the problem here? How do we solve how do we keep retain great people, great talent in our organizations, instead of letting them go. And the feedback that we've been getting on that is that is because they're just not understood. They're not listened to. They're not supported? Yeah, I think that's that's an experience that I can certainly resonate with. I have a few friends that work in internal marketing roles. And often they've gone they're quite Junior, and they've been there for a long, long time. And there comes a point where they have there's no, they feel they can't progress because in management's head, they're still as junior person. And often the only advice I can offer is, you haven't taken management on a journey that they can understand and you've demonstrated an evolution and therefore the only real
ways you can break that cycle is to move sometimes.
Yes, absolutely, yes. And the thing is, there's only so much you can do as well. I mean, if, if you're in a role and you're and you're and you're not satisfied with, with the culture or with the communication, then you can try, you know, you can try using some of your skills to kind of overcome some of that. But there's only so much they can put up with it, I can assess like, it's like in every relationship, and every organization, it's a two way street, we have to give a little to get a little left to give trust to get trust. And if you feel like your trust is being put to the side or you're working on their value undervalued, then eventually you will just get up and take your skills and your, your experience somewhere else. And that's unfortunate. And that's what's happening in marketing. And it's interesting to me to, to break that down and see why is the marketing department. Why does the marketing department have the highest rate of staff turnover compared to all business functions that's interesting to me, and it's something that's a conversation that
Everybody that has market and market department needs to have. Yeah,
I would like to jump back to you said, You need to let go of your need to be good at everything. Or you need to do everything yourself. One of the things that I'd be curious to dig into a little bit is, what were the products and services that CMA were offering on on day one, and maybe they're 365. And how does that compare to the kind of services and products that you offer now? And what's that journey been?
It's been like, sort of mentioned as the stars has been a sort of process of like, calling. It's almost like pruning away like if you're a gardener, you don't start pruning the roses or whatever it seems sort of idea. And, and over time, we've just got more and more aware of what we're good at. Obviously, profits and revenue is a major factors.
Well, so we look at things and think well, how much energy and resource and budget are we putting into this thing? And what's the ROI on it? Is it working, and a big part of that as well, I'm gonna throw some stuff at you, that's not going to come out in the right order here. But getting better at goal setting has been a big part of the journey. So over the last 10 years, it just got really, really good at setting goals. And which obviously, is a major influence on then how we then choose what we do in the year. So again, it comes back to Bob, it comes back to making good decisions. What we figured out is that a lot of the success that people have in business is because they're able to make good decisions. And that is ultimately where we want to get to is to be able to make good choices. So for example, when we're setting our goals, we then use the goals and this strategy, if you will, to sort of say, Okay, we've got this idea here. Should we do it? Well, does it fit in with what we want to achieve this year? No, right. Let's push it to next year. Right and we're having this this real ability
You know, to qualify our ideas, and be able to push them away from us, instead of saying, we need to get this done as a great idea, let's do it No, to, actually, we could do it No, but probably better if we just waited so we can plan that. And for the next development period, let's put into September, let's put into October, let's put into next year, you know, so we're really starting to get better at choosing where our energy and resources placed. Again, it comes back to just being clear about what you want to achieve. Also a bit of clarity around just knowing how much time you have, what your true capacity is, how many things you could possibly work on at one time, and do it well and look after your customers really well too. So you've just having to just get better at making the right decisions. And that's been like us like okay, so we started back in the day, I would do anything I remember sitting at my desk designing business cards, I have never been a designer and my life. I have absolutely zero interest and trying to figure out to be trained and how to use for
shop, for example, not a single interest in that at all. However, I do know really great designers who are so much better at it than I am, they can do it faster than me, they can do better than me. And ultimately, even though I have to pay them lots of money, they can do it cheaper than I can as well, because my team, if I'm not, it was expensive. Because if I'm designing business cards, I'm not doing the work that I should be doing. So over the course of time, Bob has just been a question. You know, what do we need to stop doing more of this year? Right? So what so a lot of people write to do lists and things that they want to do? What I do is also write a list of things I'm going to stop doing as well. Right so what's on the stop doing this less this year? We're going to stop doing so for example, last year, we decided we want to stop doing see me life. Right? See me life was our annual conference, run it for five years, and we decided that's the end we're going to stop it. And for lots of different reasons. We wrote our blog article about it. This comes back to the whole integrity thing, and the philosophy that we share with you as well as completely transparent and laser and black
Light exactly why we decided to stop CME life. We even, like the one thing that happened with CME life is I didn't want people to think that we were doing anything like dodgy with it at all. So I, the first time we announced we announced it from a stage in a room with our customers, right? So then the video, the first thing wasn't a video online, so we could pick up at arm's length, we literally put it in front of our customers. So if they wanted to, they could come up on the stage and actually talk to us about it. So we we've made big decisions because of this slowly but surely, Bob, it's a process, you know, I'm just getting better at understanding what are we truly good at? If we were to do one thing, and that one thing was going to be world class, what would that thing be? What is my core skill set? And just getting to the point where I'm saying to myself, what's the thing that only I can do? And then being able to delegate and outsource all the other things that or just say no to them, Bob? Say No, we're not doing this anymore.
We're not going to do this at all, and then been able to just print down to the point where every day I've got control of my schedule, I know exactly what we're doing and why we're doing it. And, honestly, that's a game changer. Because when you sit down to your desk, and you know why you're doing all of your work, that changes how you approach your work, you feel good in the morning, you feel good about your work, you feel excited, you feel grateful, you know, all of those good things. Is that that helps that I know that maybe didn't directly answer the question. But, you know, we started off trying to do everything like everybody does. And then over time, we've just got better at saying, actually, this is what we're really, really good at. And it's resulted in not just having more time, but having more
sort of the right type of time. In other words, be able to control my time where I can do certain types of work that are better for me at that time. And that isn't just a one to say this is only like exclusive for people like me who are business owners. They have got
control over their schedule. People in large organizations can do a bit of this too. And you absolutely should protect certain parts of your day for certain types of work where you are best. And that's that slow process. So what should be on your stop doing less? What am I going to stop doing? You've got to ask yourself things as well, Bob, like, what am I? What can I do? What do I hate doing? What Shouldn't I be doing? And what should go into that lesson and build it this list of stuff that you're just more good at and find ways to get rid of it. So you the work that you do is your best work? I think I have two questions that come out of that. The first one is
popped out of my head for a second. So I'll ask the second one. Now remember the first one now? I guess I see him as a way of asking the same question I just asked, but in a in a way that will maybe dry out. An answer that I think is important for people, is if you were to compare the amount of time you put into the more sort of done for you service at the beginning
As opposed to the more product eyes service, how would that ratio be different for years ago compared to how that sits now? Yeah, so all I did was done forced done for you stuff back in the day. I did some teaching some workshops, but mainly It was about finding customers I could do marketing for. And then I just, there was one day where I realized I actually hate doing agency work, and decided that I was going to switch into something else and do what I'm truly great at which is teaching. So workshops became a thing. Speaking became a thing. coaching and consulting became a thing. So now we do know we're heavy on consulting, teaching and coaching. That's what we do as an organization. There's three of us in the company now. And that's what we do best. Yeah. If we were to take on the agents agency would be like taking if we were to say to do agency work, no, it'd be like starting another business that would
To be what it was like, it would be like, so what we've just decided this. It wasn't just a decision. It was a real feeling. We tried it, we try to do it well, it wasn't a fit for my skill set. And I think over a course, through my own mentors, and try to figure out for myself, I realized, actually, this goes back Bob, this goes back to when I was 19 years old. I loved doing teaching and workshops and education and all that leadership stuff that I learned in my first 10 years of being working in a larger organization. And I was trying to do something else was weird. And then all of a sudden, it just made sense to me. That's what I'm supposed to do. This is what I'm great at. So that's what I'm going to go sort of go all in on. So every all the type of work that I do is usually involves coaching, consulting, teaching, whether it's public workshops, or private workshops or consulting periods within organizations, or working one to one with people. So yeah, that's it's been a massive change, Bob, but we had to figure out for ourselves
So the people listening, you know, that's what that takes sometimes. Yeah. And I think you're you're absolutely right. I mean, the agency stuff, it's quite easy to find. And the problem is when you find it, that time is then consumed, and you can't buy time is no longer available for building true long term legacy value.
So it is a fight to move away from agency work, because it's so easy to find. What what the risk was, for me was that over, especially over the last couple years, Bob, I'd say probably last three or four years maybe as understanding just how important a certain type of team is to me. And this is the time that gets robbed of you when you are you've got lots of client deadlines, and it's unprotected. You can't, it's harder to protect it. And that is time for creative thought, thinking, reading, and generally just being able to sit on your own and think about stuff. And if if you've got a type of business where you're working and just know or the type of work that you do, just know
You don't have any of that time, then something is some point, you're going to feel like that you're missing something in your work. And you've got to build that time. And, and for me, I wanted to be able to protect that time, more than anything else. And to do with my work, so I guess it was built from that came from it came from that route. I think Bob for me was just realizing that I'm just like, just like, basically, I'm like a, I'm just, you know, I'm looking around a cage and just, you know, just take it just going through the cycle all the time. And it's just another deadline after no deadline after no deadline, losing sleep, the you know, chasing payments, blah, blah, blah, you name it. It's all the stuff that comes with the territory. Yes. Could you have done it better? Absolutely. But it was not, ultimately not something that I should have been doing in the first place. Yeah, I think that hamster wheel is something that I resonate with a lot. And one thing that you also said that resonates with me is the more you protect
Your time, the more time you have available to discover who you want to show up as who you actually are, and where your real value is for people, because it's unlikely to be designing business cards.
The more you value your time, the more other people value it to as well. So it's about it's about respect. And that the respect that you need to look for first is respect for yourself, and respect for your own time first. So if you truly love yourself and truly value yourself, then you will do these things. And if you don't, yet, then it may be a case of just, you know, working through that for yourself and eventually it will come hopefully, but then it does bleed out and other people start to respect your time and your value your opinion and your thoughts much more the cause you first of all started off by respecting your own, your own time and your own space basically. Now you have elegantly segue into my next question.
Which is really comes down to time and time management and I couldn't really have you on the podcast, being the leader of the CMA, and not have a conversation about time management because anybody working in social media content marketing, digital acting, will recognize this that
time and productivity are really, really the probably the biggest challenge. As soon as I open Facebook, I completely forget why I opened it. I opened it for a productive reason to do something that was work related. But as soon as that opens, I'm gone down a rabbit hole. So you must have developed some, some strategies around time management, that maybe it's worth spending a few minutes on. Yeah, tech management, so mindset. It's not a series of productivity tools and hacks, although those are the things that we talked about the most. So time is about, like I said earlier, if you for so for example, if you struggle to get up in the morn
Are you struggle to approach your work or whoever is the you do not love yourself enough, you're not got enough self respect to do the work that you said you were going to do. Right? So it's a mindset issue, as I mean, it's a challenge when you think differently, but how do we approach our time? See when you understand that, like you could die tomorrow, right? If you if you truly believe that your life can be taken away from you today, that it changes everything that you do and the way that you approach things, right? The things you say yes to the things you say no to. So you start to understand that life is precious, you'll have so much time to do the things that you should the things that you want to do. So even even not just time management, Bob not even eliminating procrastination, and but just making good choices about the work that you do as well as this work that I really want to spend my time doing. Like so you could like someone could walk up to you today Bob and say
give me give me 100 give me 100 pounds Bob, you like
The way and it's a political fight. But Bob, have you got five minutes? You know, like, yeah, sure, absolutely. What is it? Right? So we give away money. Like it's. So we don't we don't give away our money, we protect our money, but we give away our time to people like it's like it's free. And when it's the most like it's the resource that cannot be replaced, right? You can always make more money, but you can never make more time. So what we want to be able to do is just shift our mindset around this. Yes, there's the one thing that frustrates me the most about the business conversation is that, and I get this conversation a lot is that people think that it's about productivity hacks and tools. Yeah, those will help you a little until you just completely follow the habit of using them again, right? It's not about that. It's about mindset. It's about changing your approach and respect for time. That's where it really sets with me. So as soon as I started to, this is again, I want to make it clear that I am terrible at this right. And that's why I know so much about it, because I
I've been challenging myself up, but also why do I feel this way? When I wake up? Why can't I get up? Why am I avoiding this work? What's going on? Why am I feeling like this? You know, it's about self awareness, but then also challenging yourself to think differently and be better at this stuff as well. So Time management is mindset. And it's about understanding and respecting yourself, and the work that you do and the time that you have, and then putting it to good use. Part of that comes through natural constraint Bob like so for example, if you've got four kids, like I shared with you the start of the podcast, then you have natural constraint, which a lot of people think is the is the opposite of what creatives needs. No, creatives needs constraint. Otherwise, nothing gets done, you need to be creative within the constraints that you have. So creating your own constraints can work really well to like so for example, I want to finish work at a certain time, or I want to be able to do things in the evening or the weekend. So for example, I take Wednesday off completely, no work on a Wednesday as that day and I take weekends off, so I will work
A maximum of four days a week. Sometimes I take Friday afternoon off some things that take Monday afternoon off, it just depends. But my work, my work week went from being wherever I wanted it to be to 30 hours. Right? So it was all of a sudden, I've got 30 hours to do the same amount of work, that means I had to make better choices. So understanding your own capacity, understanding your energy, having a better respect for or more respect for time and respect for yourself as well. It comes from that too. So Time management is a set of like it's a it's a was an approach of philosophy and understanding and a mindset, rather than a set of tools because we could talk for hours about productivity tools, Bob, but ultimately, it's about your approach to time. So one of the things that I would say has absolutely changed the game and as a as a big one is, is planning your day the day before. So once you finish work, recap the day, planned the day that's coming up at the end of the week, recap the week and at the
start of the week, make sure you visit every day in the week. And one of the things that we encourage our our clients to do is at the start, so I'm just literally about to send everybody a video on this as well as to look at every single day in me. So there's everyday in me in your diary, right from the first straight through to the end, and make sure you understand exactly what's what you've gotten every day. And we're things all layout, so you're not, you're basically going in with your eyes open. So that would be like, that's the short version of it, Bob, in terms of time management. The thing is about time management is that you cannot manage team teams the same for everybody that moves on you can't manage it, all you can do is better with the time that you have. And that's what we need to understand is that it's a better approach to time, rather than trying to manipulate time in some way, which is what I always feel like productivity, productivity hacks are all about. It's like how can we do more in the same amount of time. I'm actually like, I want to do less in less time or less.
off, and the time that I have rather than more. So productivity becomes about to do lists, and team and when I when I, when I think about how I manage team I think about to, like, things I don't want to do. So it's like it's an opposite. It's like a it's a change in mindset changing approach. But it's also really refreshing as well. So it's less stressful, and never feel like a what I never ever sit down and think to myself, I want to do more today. I also think, do I have to do this stuff today? What's the most important, and I might have half a day, but three things and those three things are the most important things I could do today. So that's a different approach, different mindset, but perhaps spark some thoughts and ideas for people listening. Now, I think that was hugely valuable that you bring that back to mindset because if you haven't got that right, then it doesn't matter what tools, tips, tactics, hacks you use, you will very quickly fall off the wagon, you won't be consistent and it won't lead to long term success. Chris, you've been very generous with your time. I know. We've
probably need to bring things to a close. If people want to connect with you, how would you like them to do that? Yes, got any questions you want to pick my brain about some thoughts. Maybe you disagree with something that I've mentioned, or something wasn't clear, then the best places to jump onto Twitter, and you'll get me at Chris Maher one or 1101 Chris mar 101. And you can get me on all the other platforms with the same the same handle. Chris, you've been an absolutely fantastic guest. Thank you so much for your time. I'd love to have you on again sometime. For now, I should probably say goodbye. Thanks a lot. Thanks for your thinking. Well, that's great, thank you.
One of the things I've grown to love about Chris and his content is that he's very focused on personal growth is uncompromising with himself, his integrity, and his drive to provide genuine value. When you meet his clients, as I regularly do you discover quickly that Chris has some
The most vocally supportive clients you will ever meet.
Before I go, just take a second to subscribe and if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. You can find a link from the website Bob Gentle com Or just search gravity, digital marketing and Facebook and you'll find us easily. If you enjoyed the show that I would love for you to review it on iTunes, it would mean a lot to me. And it's the very best way to help me spread the word about the show. My name is Bob Gentle. Thanks again to Chris for giving me his time this week, and to you for listening. See you next time.