Growth and Trust: Lessons from a Pronto Marketing Maverick

Episode 76 April 28, 2023 00:40:24
Growth and Trust: Lessons from a Pronto Marketing Maverick
The Agency Hour
Growth and Trust: Lessons from a Pronto Marketing Maverick

Apr 28 2023 | 00:40:24


Hosted By

Troy Dean Johnny Flash

Show Notes

What's it like to manage over 100 team members?

In this episode, host Johnny Flash talks with Tim Kelsey, Managing Director at Pronto Marketing, about his experiences growing and managing his insanely large team. Tim shares valuable insights that will help any agency owner, from the challenges of growing too quickly, how to onboard new team members as well as the remarkable benefits of aligning feedback with company values. Don't miss out on this jam-packed conversation with one of our very own Mavericks!

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 One of the things we've learned as we've grown to a hundred people is that the times we've made bad hires is when we've hired out of desperation. Speaker 1 00:00:10 Welcome to the Agency Hour podcast. This week we're joined by Tim Kelsey, managing Director at Pronto Marketing. In this episode, we discuss how Tim was tricked to moving to Thailand, the challenges of growing too fast, the benefits of pairing feedback with company values, as well as how Pronto marketing onboards new team members. And they've even established what Tim calls the Pronto panic room. This is a jam-packed conversation with one of our mavericks and one that I found truly inspiring. I'm Johnny Flash. Stay with us. Hey, Tim. How's it going? Speaker 0 00:00:47 Good. I'm really excited to be here and have the opportunity to chat with you, and I've been a fan of the Agency Hour for a while, so it's, uh, it's an honor to be here and, and be a guest finally. Speaker 1 00:01:00 Yeah. Well, Tim, I, I love working with you in the agency Mavericks program. You've got a phenomenal business, which we're gonna dive into here in a moment, but, uh, I'm just super excited and I, you've been kind of burning the midnight oil a little bit. Um, what time is it right now? I know, I know we're recording this ahead of time, but what time is it right now for you? Speaker 0 00:01:18 It's currently 3:00 AM for me. I'm located in Bankock, Thailand. Yeah. Oh, I'm on, I'm Speaker 1 00:01:24 Tired now just thinking Speaker 0 00:01:25 About that. <laugh> on the other side of the world and, uh, I think this is, I think there's lots of pros and cons to living in Thailand. I get to live in Paradise. I have some great beaches to go to. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but most of our clients are in the US and Canada. So every once in a while I have these super late nights or super early mornings and it's just sort of one of the trade offs, I guess. Speaker 1 00:01:46 And you've had a few back to back cuz you've been on several different things I know, over the last 24, 48 hours. So thank you so much for being on and I'm just excited diving. So tell everyone, cause I think this is just great. How many people are on your team? Speaker 0 00:01:59 We have about a hundred people today, and we're primarily based in Thailand. About 75% of our team are here in, mostly in Bangkok, but a few spread out throughout the country. And then about 25% of our team is in the Philippines. Also mostly centered around Manila, but a few scattered around in, in different parts of the country there as well. Speaker 1 00:02:21 A hundred people. That's just like, I mean, I like to think I kind of have the team figured out and have eight, there's 18 of us, but like a hundreds at a whole different, you know, multiplier and stuff. So that's, uh, we can, uh, we're gonna get into some good stuff here. So, um, have you been with the company since like the beginning or what, uh, what size was the company when you came in? I don't even know the answer to this, even I should know the answer, but, Speaker 0 00:02:44 Um, I was employee number 13. Um, okay. So the, the company started in 2008. It was founded by a father and son team, Derek and Corey Brown and mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I went to college with the, um, with the son and he's sort of, uh, he likes to say he tricked me into moving to Thailand, uh mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but I think I got a pretty good deal out of it. I thought I was gonna come out here for just a year, get my little adventure and, and check out another part of the world. And that was 13 years ago. And, uh, I just never looked back. I started working for Pronto pretty quickly. Uh, really loved it. Um, loved working with both of the founders and, um, they had really developed this great company culture. And over the past 13 years I've grown through a bunch of different roles starting in these frontline positions, just answering tickets for clients. And now I'm the managing director overseeing the whole company. Um, since Derek, the, the father of the founding, um, duo has retired and the son is now off, uh, running a separate business that he sort of spun out of Pronto a few years ago. Speaker 1 00:03:50 Wow. So you're that I, I think that's just so amazing. I mean, what a great story and hats off to them for like seeing the, the, the talent and the skill and the passion that you have for it and like, entrusting it to you. Cuz that's hard for founders to do. Like, let's just be honest. Like, it's, it's, it's hard to do that. So, um, cool. So you were basically like coming in at the size that I'm at right now. 18. You're 13 people and like you've been with it all the way up to a hundred team members, which is just so awesome. So, um, tell us some of the challenges that have come along the way with, uh, you know, we're talking about team and, and building the team and hiring and all that stuff. Like what have some of the challenges been along the way? Speaker 0 00:04:29 Um, well, I think sort of looking back at it, um, I think one of the challenges that we sort of brought on ourselves was not having a really clear plan of what the company was gonna look like as we got bigger. A lot of it was just figuring things out along the way where we'd see an opportunity, oh, a lot of clients are interested in seo, let's build an SEO team. And we would sort of spin that up kind of quickly and all of a sudden we realized, oh, there's a hundred people. And sometimes I'd get into the office prior to Covid, we're, we're totally remote now, but we used to be a hundred percent in the office and go in the elevator and someone would push the button for one of our floors and I'd look at them and be sort of like, oh, I don't know who you are, <laugh> and <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:05:18 And that felt really weird. There were parts of it where we felt like we had sort of grown too fast and, and without a plan mm-hmm. <affirmative> where I think that, um, made things feel more disorganized than they could have been along the way. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I think one of the, the big takeaways I think of now looking back at sort of the, the past five years, especially when I got into management roles and started really paying attention to what was happening on a larger scale within the business, I think that's something that I wish we would've done differently. That we could've said, okay, if our goal is a hundred people, what does Pronto look like when it has a hundred people? What roles do we need? What jobs are they doing? Um, and how is everybody divided? How they interact with each other? Speaker 0 00:06:05 All those sorts of things. Um, so I think that's sort of a, a self-inflicted challenge because mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, we got really caught up in, in these opportunities that we saw and the ability to grow and mm-hmm. <affirmative> didn't take the time to step back and really think, oh, what, how do we want to do this? How do we build this in a way that's gonna be, um, easy to, to organize and run and also fun for us to run? And there have been times when it's been really challenging and you sort of look around the office and go, I feel kind of disconnected with what's going on, and I don't know what that team is doing. And we didn't have all the right management structures in place. Um, there was a point where I was personally managing 22 people and that, that of course was really overwhelming. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and just one-on-ones all day every day trying to keep track of things and it was really hard. Um, so yeah, I, I think that's one of the things that, that we could have done differently along the way. Speaker 1 00:07:05 Yeah. Well, and I think, you know, um, you bring up a couple good points there. It's like you had to, the, the founders had to let go, like we talked about a moment ago, they had to let go to entrust it to you and empower you. Right? And then, um, you had to let go of some of the control and the hands-on ness with all the team members, like walk that through a little bit because I feel like, I mean, I, I think we all struggle with it a little bit as like leading an organization. It's, it's our baby, it's the thing that we care about. Like it's, you know, um, we can, we can deceive ourselves into thinking like, we're the only ones that can do it as good as this or whatever. And like, and so, um, talk a little bit about like, some of that letting go. Speaker 0 00:07:44 Yeah, I, I've definitely fall into that trap. Um, I mean, I sometimes feel like no one's gonna care as much about pronto as I do other than, than the founders. Um, and so it can feel frustrating at times when I know I would put in a huge amount of effort, even if it's a small problem, and I'm not always confident that when I hand that off to someone else, that they're gonna put in that same level of care that I would mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I, I think that the key for me has been, um, being, especially now with, we've gotten our management structure a bit more organized that, um, you do eventually find people that you can trust and that do care about the company and care about our clients. And it starts off on a really slow level, giving them smaller tasks that don't, um, aren't really high stakes yet, and have them build up from there. Speaker 0 00:08:40 It's sort of like you have to walk them through earning your own trust, which I mean, feels a little weird, but it's, I I think that's a key part that there is something inside all of us that we have to build up that trust in someone. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think the founders of Pronto with me, that's essentially what they were doing as well. I, I moved through all these different roles in the company and before coming, becoming managing director, I had been involved in almost every team in the company at some point or another. And I'm not sure how intentional that was on their part, but, uh, it, it sort of, each one of those was kind of a test to see, okay, how's Tim gonna do when he takes on this extra responsibility from us? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, I can step back a little bit more. Speaker 0 00:09:27 What happens when I step back, if I go on vacation, does the business fall apart? And Derek would leave and he'd come back and I would still be in charge in running things and it would be fine. And I think that that helped, um, build some confidence as well. And then I do that same thing now too. I actually, I love going on vacation, not only because vacations are fun, but because it forces me to put things from my plate onto someone else's plate where mm-hmm. <affirmative> where I can say, okay, I'm gonna be gone for two weeks. Can you take care of this thing that I usually do? And I come back and two weeks later it's fine and everything's okay. And I go, okay, that's yours now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's, there's these little times when you can start handing things off and you have to take a moment to realize, oh, it's, it's not all on me. And mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there, there are other people who are capable around me and I don't have to Yeah. I don't have to hold onto the Reign so tightly all the time mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:10:26 <affirmative> and it's a good thing. It's not all on us. Right. Or we would Speaker 0 00:10:29 Fail, Speaker 1 00:10:29 You know, there's too much going on at Pronto to, uh, you know, have it all be on you. Right. Um, so, uh, for those that maybe aren't familiar, obviously you guys are offering like monthly support kind of in a, in a pretty significant way, you know, with development design, uh, SEO and stuff directly to clients, um, like kind of in an unlimited fashion, right. And then having white label services where agencies can get a, you know, a bucket of hours that they can use toward any of those things, which I think is just, it's an amazing thing for an agency to have access to because, you know, we all get times where we're busy, we're slammed. I talk to, I talk to agency owners all the time and they're like, oh man, we can't I take on any more work because we're too busy. Right. And then to just be able to get some hours with you, uh, and your team and to know that, hey, if we need it designed, Tim's team can do it. If we need it developed and built out, Tim's team can do it if we need, you know, X, Y, or Z. Like, you guys have all those capabilities. So, um, yeah. Anything you want to add just in terms of that? Cause I think that's important with the conversation as we're talking about like, the scope of what you guys are offering. Speaker 0 00:11:35 Yeah. Maybe I'll give a quick overview of the different areas we work in. Our, our core offering is a WordPress support plan where mm-hmm. <affirmative>, where our clients pay a monthly fee. So for 250 bucks a month, we host the site, take care of all the backend stuff for them, and then provide unlimited copywriting design and development all within that monthly fee. Wow. So if they need a new landing page for a campaign, they're running, we'll write it, design it, and put it up on the site for them. And there's no extra charges for that. That's all in the, the 250 fee. There are some wow limitations on the very high end of that if they're asking for like a WooCommerce implementation mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> or a total refresh of the site, and those come with one time project fees on top of the monthly fee. Speaker 0 00:12:19 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, we also build websites so when new clients are coming in, if they want to, uh, redesign their site completely before moving on to support package, we take care of that. Um, and we have some marketing services as well, um, seo, uh, Google my business, blogging, ppc, that sort of stuff. And then over the last several months we've been developing, uh, a host of white label services for agencies, just like you said, who are sort of at capacity, but have more business they could take on. And maybe it's not enough business for them to hire a full-time person yet, but they don't want to turn that, that customer away. Then that's the perfect opportunity to come to us where agencies buy a package of hours, those hours never expire. You can buy them one time and hold on to them as long as you need. Speaker 0 00:13:07 Um, and then we'll go into your WordPress sites and make whatever updates you tell us to make. Um, or we have some, uh, white label link building or PPC campaigns that you can add onto that mm-hmm. <affirmative> and use your hours for whatever's needed to build a landing page for that, or build a new location page or an industry page that's gonna target some keywords. Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So yeah, we love it. We've gone through a lot of the process of building this international team and the struggle that comes with that, figuring out how to, um, hire and manage internationally and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think that's sometimes a struggle for agencies who are trying to expand, find someone in the Philippines that they, um, that they want to rely on. Um, if you're just starting out and you haven't gone to hire in the Philippines before, sometimes it can be kind of a mess. You don't know exactly what you're getting into, or you find a person mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but they're on the other side of the world and you feel this huge disconnect between what you want them to do in, in your business culture and what they're, how they're actually performing. We've gone through all that pain already and have the team members here, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's sort of a, a really easy way to fast track that and get the work, um, that you need done, taken care of without having to go through all that pain yourself. Speaker 1 00:14:23 Yeah. Yeah. Talk about, so I know with that many team members, obviously, like you said, you can't, you can't know everybody and have calls with everybody and probably even like, say hi to everybody. Like, it's just not possible. Um, so talk about, like, I'm curious in terms of like the onboarding particularly, um, I know we're kind of starting in the middle of the process, we can kind of go back to some of the hiring stuff, but for the onboarding, like how do you, how does that work in terms of like, what does it look like for you guys? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>? Speaker 0 00:14:55 Um, yeah, so it, um, one thing we do with all of our new hires at this point is that their first week is in the office. Their manager. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or a couple other senior team members will come in and work in the office with them that, uh, during Covid we had some new hires that came on and we do remote onboarding, and it actually worked out fine. It's just a bit more work and more communication that you have to do. Um, it's really easy when there's a group of people in the office for their first five days asking whatever questions they need to ask and getting quick answers, getting to understand how we act as, uh, team members at Pronto. Yeah. It's a really faster way to introduce them to our culture and get them to understand what, what we, um, how we work and what we expect from our team members. Speaker 0 00:15:46 And then we have a, a whole system that they go through of videos that they watch, tools that they get introduced to, a little introduction that they have to make in our base camp to the whole company mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> and explaining who they are and a little fun fact about them and stuff like that. Um, and there's also an HR orientation where they learn about all the, the fine print rules of requesting time off and, and those sorts of things. Um, so, but I, I think that spending a lot of time with that person in the first week is, is the key to getting them on board and adjusted very quickly. Um, if we were to do that remote, I mean, there's ways to do it where they could just be on a call essentially all day with their manager and both working independently, but just, Hey, I have a question for you real quick, or I wanna know about this. Um, but I think those new hires need a lot of attention in those first few days. Speaker 1 00:16:41 Yeah. Yeah. First few days, first few weeks even in terms of, you know, getting up to speed and stuff. Um, so, so what's what, let's back up then. So you've got 'em onboarded, you've got that kind of nailed down. What does it look like in terms of hiring? Where do you guys, uh, look, you know, what, uh, what tricks have you found, like help you find the right candidates and stuff like that? I know this is something you and I have, have both talked at length about, so, uh, but I'd, I'd love to hear some of the things that you guys are doing. Speaker 0 00:17:09 Yeah, we, um, I mean it starts, there's just a, a couple, um, job, a aggregation job listing sites that are really popular in both the Philippines, in Thailand. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I believe it's jobs online pH for the Philippines. And then Jobs DB is the, the big one in Thailand. Um, so we post there and pretty quickly start getting a lot of, uh, applicants submitting their resumes and all that kind of stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, but there's a lot you have to weed through at first. There's a lot of unqualified candidates coming through and um, yeah, Speaker 1 00:17:46 I know on online it can particularly be, be Speaker 0 00:17:50 That way. Yes, definitely. It's just you look at their resume and you're sort of like, why, why did you apply for, it's sort of clear that they're just throwing out their resume to absolutely everything they see on the site. Um, yeah. Yeah. So you have to wade through, uh, quite a few, but there are almost always good candidates that come through once you start digging into them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then from there it's further pairing that down into, um, the candidates who are actually motivated to move forward mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so sending them some information about Pronto, usually giving them some sort of assignment. Um, I know you've done the, you do a little video intro, which I think is a mm-hmm. <affirmative> a really great idea, asking them to do a two minute video, and that gives you a lot of really good insight into their personality. Um, yeah. Yeah. And then we usually have some sort of test we give them, whether it's like mm-hmm. <affirmative> writing a, a mock response to client, sort of depending on their role mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> or, um, skinning a site or a page if they're a developer, those sorts of things. So we can get a, a skill assessment as well. Speaker 1 00:18:54 Yeah. Yeah. And we like to, yeah, I think you have to do some kind of skills assessment. You have to do some kind of, you know, figure out if they're the right fit. I think those are both really important. Um, we, we, I like to, even with online jobs, it's like my experience has been like, you get the, they might send the resume, they might not, they might have the sample websites they've worked on, they might not like you, kind of, it's just sort of almost like a chat kind of thing, right. Where they're just like sending you, Hey, I'm interested in the job. Like, well, great, what, what do you have to Speaker 0 00:19:23 Offer? You Speaker 1 00:19:24 Know, it's like you don't have that much. So I like to just even have like an application where we just like copy and paste, like, Hey, you look like you might be a great fit. The next step is to fill out our job application. Cuz then I'm like, have like apples to apples, you know, in terms of like, they all answered this question and I have all this detail for each person. Um, that makes it helpful. And then, like you said, the video intro, I just, I like being able to get a sense of their personality before I've paid them to do a test before I've spent time with them on Zoom. It just helps like cut down and make me a better decision in terms of that like, narrowing down process. So, um, do you have people, do different people on the team in, in your organization, like, do the interview depending on which department or is there like an HR person who does it all? Or like how do you guys do it now with your larger team? We have Speaker 0 00:20:13 A, a few different people. Usually our HR team does the initial call with them just to make sure they meet the basic criteria of things like language skills. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, good internet access, things like that, that might disqualify them immediately. Once they pass that round, then it's usually the manager and maybe that manager pulls in one or two more senior members, however they see fit mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then one thing we like to do is, before the hiring manager, let's say they've found a candidate they really like and they wanna make an, an offer before the hiring manager can actually make that offer. We require them to pull in a manager from another team who's mm-hmm. <affirmative> not directly connected to the work that they're doing, and have another interview, just sort of a culture fit kind of thing, <affirmative>, make sure there aren't any red flags that we've missed. Speaker 0 00:21:05 Because one of the things we've learned as we've grown to a hundred people is that the times we've made bad hires is when we've hired out of desperation mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and we're so busy, this team, everyone's frustrating, everyone's mad at me because they're so busy and they, I'm not giving them the help that they need. And they go, okay, well we just gotta hire someone, get 'em on board, let's get started. And then, yeah, within a few months you realize, oh, we totally made the wrong choice here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. And so we bring in that, that outside manager so that there's someone who's not impacted by the stress of needing to hire mm-hmm. <affirmative> or feeling the, the desperation of how busy their team is to come in and maybe pump the brakes a little bit if necessary to say, I'm not sure I saw a couple red flags in my interview with them. I, I'm, maybe they're not gonna be a culture fit or whatever it might be. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, that helps provide that extra layer of making sure we're not rushing into a decision that we're gonna regret later. Speaker 1 00:22:04 That's good. That's good. How do you guys handle this? Is, um, some of these things are just kind of like, I'm a personal curiosity, so for, I hope, but I think everyone will find it helpful. Like, how do you guys handle days off in terms of like, do, are there set days that everybody's off and the office is closed? Do you have to like, rotate because you're serving people in all different countries, I would imagine. Um, do you have to kind of like rotate the holidays or give them just like flex days? I'm just kind of curious how all that works. Speaker 0 00:22:31 Yeah, we do. So, uh, most of our team members just work during the week. We don't have sort of official weekend coverage, but we do have people checking in for emergencies every weekend. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So basically every morning and every night on Saturday and Sunday, sort of on a rotating schedule, someone from the team checks our tickets and if there's an emergency or something urgent came in, we have what we call the pronto panic room. You go in there <laugh>, and at channel everyone gets notified to their phones and people start jumping in immediately to, to fix that. Okay. Um, with holidays, we offer, um, flex days. So if they work a Thai holiday that doesn't line up with a, a US holiday, they can, um, take a day off later in the year whenever they, they added on to vacation or just mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they need a day, they wanna have a three day weekend, they can take a, a random Friday off. Speaker 0 00:23:25 Um, we do offer some special things, particularly this time of year. April is when, um, uh, the time New Year is, which is usually a two or three day holiday in the middle of April, and it's right around Easter, which is a huge holiday in the Philippines. And so I forget in total there's something like six holidays in April across both countries mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we've always been so scared about that, that we're gonna get all these, these requests in and our clients don't really understand the difference. In the holidays, we've been worried that there's gonna be this slowdown in tickets and how our clients gonna feel about that. So for our team members, we offer special flex days. We call 'em spring break flex days, where if they work one of the holidays for their country, they get 1.5 days off later just happens for these holidays during the year because we really want to incentivize having at least a few team members in mm-hmm. <affirmative> and every year there's always at least a few who take us up on that offer. Um, okay. I love that. And at the same time, we give our clients a heads up, um, early a couple weeks ahead of time, we say, Hey, we're gonna have a smaller crew on board for these days. If you have an urgent deadline, send it in now and don't wait till the last minute because we might not be able to get it done in time. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:24:47 Yeah. Love that. Love that. Um, let's talk a little bit about, I'd love to talk a little bit about culture, um, and then, and then I've got, uh, a couple other questions that I just wanna, uh, kind of pick, pick your brain on, so, sure. Um, how do you guys, uh, you know, I, I find that when it was a team of three or four or five or seven, it's different, obviously now that it's team of 18, we have to do things a little bit differently and you have to, I guess, be a little bit more intentional with the culture because it doesn't happen as automatically as when you're in a really, really small team. And I'm sure at a hundred it's, it's, uh, even different. So what are some things, uh, I guess practically as much as possible that like you guys do to kind of reinforce the culture that you're trying to build at Pronto? Speaker 0 00:25:32 Yeah, that's a, a great question. I think, um, maybe the thing that has the biggest impact is that we've worked our values into our performance reviews mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so they get mm-hmm. <affirmative> reviewed on how well they're doing their work. Some, some KPIs. Um, but we also have a section where we talk about whether they're performing well in terms of our values mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so every six months everyone gets a reminder that this is something we're looking at and paying attention to and something you need to be paying attention to as well. And it's not just their manager that's reviewing them on those, we do 360 reviews, so their mm-hmm. <affirmative> team members or anyone they work with regularly can give them feedback and mm-hmm. <affirmative> call out what they're doing well or not doing well in particular parts of their work or in the values that they are, um, showing well or not really participating in. Speaker 0 00:26:25 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I think that's the thing that we've really worked into a recurring process that mm-hmm. <affirmative> gives everybody the reminder outside of that, it's just repeating it over and over again. And, uh, in our company meetings, I always try to touch on at least one big subject that's maybe related to the values directly or maybe it's just a tangential culture sort of thing, talking about mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how we communicate with clients or, uh, giving our our clients perspective on things, trying to build some empathy from our team members to the clients, those sorts of things. Uh, where they see how I talk about, um, about Pronto and the work that we do and our clients, and hopefully people start to pick up on that a little bit, but that needs to be repeated every month over and over. Sometimes I get really bored with it. Speaker 0 00:27:17 I feel like I'm just saying the same thing over and over again. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but I think that's a necessary part. As you get bigger, you just need so much of the job is communication. It, it's, yeah. It's one thing when you are all in the same room, it's five 10 people or something, it's really easy to get everybody on the same page. As you get bigger, it gets harder and harder to get everybody on board with your culture, understanding what you're trying to do and mm-hmm. <affirmative> working and performing in the way that you want. Um, so yeah. I, I think it's those finding a way to build a recurring process around some of your cultural aspects and then just repeating yourself over and over and drilling it into people's heads. Speaker 1 00:27:58 Yeah. That's so good. I remember one of the books I read, I, I don't remember even which one, but it was, they were talking about how vision leaks and how we have to basically just keep reinforcing it. Reinforcing it, cuz it's just constantly leaking out. Um, and, and I think you're right that you bring up a good point. Like, for me it feels like I'm being over repetitive and I'm saying the same thing all the time, but that's kind of like what's needed for it to stick, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Speaker 0 00:28:22 And sometimes I think there's people who understand you have to say it in a different way for them, for it to click for them mm-hmm. <affirmative> and so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, even when I feel like I'm repeating myself, I'll, I'll have said something in a meeting this month that I said just two months ago, but for some reason this month someone sends me a message after the meeting saying, oh, that was really cool. I like what you said there. And I, I, I realize, oh, whatever I said two months ago, for whatever reason, that didn't click with this person or with maybe even the whole team. I'm not, not totally sure, but I, I think it's you every time you say it, if you say it in a slightly different way or use a new analogy that's mm-hmm. <affirmative> maybe the thing that's gonna break through and, and hopefully get it to click with someone. Speaker 1 00:29:07 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cool. Love it. Um, I, I, I'm curious, Tim, how long have you been at Pronto? How many, many Speaker 0 00:29:15 Years? Uh, 13. 13 years now. Speaker 1 00:29:17 13 years. You, if you came on when there was 13 people, there's, there's, uh, you've been there 13 years, so I'm curious, what would you say to your younger self, like if you were, if you were, you know, if you could get in the like time machine and go back to like 12, 13 years ago and you could actually get yourself to listen. Cuz I know that would be the struggle with me, right? Like if my my future self came back, I'd be like, yeah, I don't know if you know what you're talking about. I think I've got it all handled right. You know, but if you could get through to your older, your younger self, you know, 12, 13 years, 10 years ago, like, what would you, when you're a lot earlier in the journey, the business was a lot smaller. Like what, what is some of the advice that you would give yourself? Speaker 0 00:30:00 Um, I, I think I would've told myself to think more about what I want out of work and life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I mean, uh, in my twenties when I was sort of getting into management roles, I was so excited. I just wanted to grow. We're gonna make Pronto huge and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I mean it already is kind of big, but I was thinking like, we're gonna be in multiple countries, all this kind of stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and wish you are Speaker 1 00:30:28 <laugh>. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:30:29 Yeah, I guess so. Um, and I think my am I, I had all this ambition, but looking back on it now, I'm happy. I, I want more pronto to be more of a lifestyle company where mm-hmm. <affirmative> where it allows me to live the life that, that I enjoy and, and find balance in work that I love and doing the things I love outside of work. I think my younger self was so invested in work putting in 10, 11 hour days regularly mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I think I could have taken a step back at that point and said, okay, it's not all about work. I, it's about planning the life that I want and figuring out how Pronto fits into that life. I, I think I had it backwards where I thought Pronto is my life, my work is my life and that's, that's the thing I'm most excited about. Speaker 0 00:31:21 Um, and now I have a much more balanced approach where I still love my work and I, I'll put in, I mean, it's 3:00 AM here, I'll put in long days, <laugh> for sure still when, when necessary. Um, but I also make sure I take some time away and make sure I have at least one day every weekend where I don't touch my computer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, sometimes that's hard. I still go check email or tickets occasionally, just mm-hmm. <affirmative> to see what's going on. But I'm pretty good about not getting too deep into work on the weekends. Um, and I think that balance is um mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative> is much more enjoyable. I, I think I enjoy my work more today because of that balance than the stress of just grinding away 60 hour weeks. Speaker 1 00:32:03 Yeah. Yeah. That's good. Anything else you would tell your younger self? Speaker 0 00:32:09 Um, Speaker 0 00:32:11 I think we could have done, um, I could have done just, maybe it's sort of the same, a little more planning for the future, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> in, in terms of both my personal life and of pronto that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I think I would've encouraged the owners to think a bit more about where we were heading and why we were heading in that direction. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, again, sort of, i, I, I guess I like to say that Pronto became a big company on accident that was mm-hmm. <affirmative> that was not the plan from the beginning when, when Derek started Pronto, he really just wanted a small team, maybe 20, 30 people so that he could have a business and work the way he wanted to. And then we just got caught up in, in the growth and, and went for it. And, um, I think a little more planning would've gone a long way to eliminate some of the stress we went through over the years mm-hmm. <affirmative> and maybe gotten us to this point of a bit better balance that we're at today faster than, than it we have. Speaker 1 00:33:06 Hmm. Hmm. So good. Awesome. Um, man, this is just, I, I could honestly talk about this stuff for a long time cuz I'm just really fascinated by different things and obviously I've, I've been on my own journey with a lot of this stuff, so it's very top of mind and just trying to, um, grow on purpose and not just at the next shiny thing or to be, you know, as big, just to be big. Like, we want to, we wanna do a good job serving our customers, obviously. And I, I like what you said about the, the lifestyle business just in terms of like, you know, where how does this fit into my life? Not that it is, you know, the business is my life, but how does it fit into my life. Um, I think that's just really great stuff. Um, any, any parting words here as we kind of wrap up? Speaker 1 00:33:51 Anything else that you think would be helpful for, for our audience? As, you know, freelancers, agency owners, thinking about maybe who their next team member is, how to hire, you know, it can feel overwhelming I think a lot of times as owners, like we're spending so many plates, right? That we don't even have time. Like the thought of having to slow down to like hire, find, hire onboard, all the things. When we don't have someone we can hand that off to, it can feel like very overwhelming and just like, ah, I'm just gonna, you know, put my head down and just buckle up and do the work myself cuz I don't have time to get someone involved. Like any, any kind of, uh, final, uh, thoughts or anything. Speaker 0 00:34:29 Um, I, I think the, this phrase of, um, hiring slow and firing fast rings so true to me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, every time I look back on something that we realized later was a bad hire was because we hired fast and we were desperate and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there have been times when we've let team members with mediocre performance skate by because we're, we're too afraid of the short term pain of losing a team member. Yep. <laugh>, Speaker 1 00:35:01 Guilty. <laugh> Speaker 0 00:35:03 And, and, um, that you just say, oh, I don't want to go through all of that again. I don't wanna restart the process mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but in retrospect it's totally worth it. Once that team member is gone, that team member can be a drag on the entire team and on you. And you sometimes don't realize it when you're in the moment of kind of trying to justify to yourself, oh, it's not that bad, let's just wait another month and then we'll see how we're doing. And another month turns into another year and you eventually one day you wake up and say, why, why didn't I let this person go six months ago? Um, yeah. So I think that really rings true that even if you feel a lot of pressure right now to go make that higher or to the, the person you're interviewing right now is good enough, make sure you take the time to really vet that person and, and, um, be sure that they're gonna be a good fit for your culture and mm-hmm. Speaker 0 00:35:58 <affirmative> for the qualifications you need. And because the other thing that I look back on on our expansion when we've built a new team or when we started hiring in the Philippines, there's always been I can look back and find one key person, one key hire that made it possible. And that without that person I would still be in there doing the work myself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so it, it's really when you find that person that clicks with your culture and the way you communicate and has the right skills that you need, even if you're not building a team around them today, that's the kind of person you can build a team around in the future. And that's the thing that, that saves you from the headache later when it comes to you have a great PM first and the next PM is coming on board, you already have someone you can depend on. They can handle the training, they can do some of the onboarding and it takes so much work, future work off of you when you spend the time getting that person, that right person the first time around. Speaker 1 00:36:59 Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. That's so good. You know, and I, as you were talking, I was thinking exactly what you said, like if you kind of just hire someone that's good enough, like you should be, you should be having like three or four candidates that are so good you're having a hard time deciding cuz they're so great. Rather than like, well this is kind of like, you know, seems like they're okay good enough, like, you know, I'll just go with them. Right? Like, if you don't have options, and of course you're gonna make a bad decision because you're just kind of like, well this is sort of the best person of the group, but none of 'em are really that great. Like, that should be a sign that you didn't cast the net wide enough or go deep enough in trying to find the people. Right. I think it's, it's when you're like, oh man, I could really hire all three of these guys cuz they're so amazing, but I'm just gonna hire one and I've gotta narrow it down between these really three strong candidates as an example that you're like, okay, now I feel like I'm making a much better decision. Speaker 1 00:37:51 Right. Speaker 0 00:37:53 Yeah. And there's been times when we've put a job posting out there and, you know, the candidates are just sort of mediocre that are coming in and it's a little disappointing and we've had a job posting up for a month and we still can't find someone mm-hmm. <affirmative> and there the hiring manager will come to me and go, you know, Tim, I I think this person could do do the job and maybe they'd work out and we can see. And I'm like, Nope. No, we're not going to test them out. And yeah, in fact there's times when we've then gone to recruiting agencies and paid them money to help us find the right person. If we can't just sort of find it on our own by, by posting in the regular places, then it's absolutely worth the investment to get some help and have someone go pull in better candidates for us. Um, until we find that person that we feel like, okay, this is it. We we got it right this time. Speaker 1 00:38:44 Yeah. Oh, it's so good, Tim. Um, tell everyone where they can find, find you online. Um, where, where, where's a good, uh, should they go to or? Yeah, Speaker 0 00:38:55 So our website is pronto If you're interested in learning more about our services, um, we have links to all our services there and our white label pricing and all that kind of stuff. I, I'm also happy to chat with people over email. Feel free to shoot me a [email protected]. I'm always around to help out and chat with other agency owners. Um, I love, since joining Ma Mavericks, I've loved being a part of the community and, and getting to meet and talk to a lot of different owners. So shoot me your questions, ask me to jump on a call. Um, I'm happy to do that anytime, Speaker 1 00:39:30 Even at 3:00 AM in the morning. Look at this, look at us <laugh>. Oh, Tim, thanks so much, man. This has been a blast. I'll, I'll talk to you soon. All Speaker 0 00:39:38 Right, thanks Johnny. Speaker 1 00:39:40 Thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast and a massive thanks to Tim Kelsey. I love your story and we love how generous you are with your experience and knowledge in our Mavericks community. You are truly inspiring and I really look forward to seeing what you do next with your white label services that you're rolling out for agencies. Okay, folks, don't forget to subscribe and please share this with anyone you think may need to hear it. Now, are you getting paid to close clients right now? We're guaranteeing you can get paid to close eight new clients in the next 30 days. If you'd like to chat with our team about how you can get paid to close, click the link beneath this episode. Let's get to work.

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