Find Out Why Entrepreneurs Need to be Flexible – John Timmerman
What makes a perfect leader? Is it their integrity, strong work ethics, or impressive communication skills? According to our guest, there is no such thing as a perfect leader, but only an honest leader who is ready to take responsibility for their team.
John is the Founder and CEO of Good Monster, which is a digital marketing agency that helps growth-focused businesses improve their marketing strategies. He’s also the Co-Founder of NoBullX, a really cool business events company with big names like Gary Vee and David Meltzer, and the Founder of Good Brands and Management, a specialized holding company that operates in various market segments for business.
John is an inspiring entrepreneur that believes honesty is the best policy in leadership. Not only did he manage to recover after his company lost two significant clients pre-pandemic, but he was also able to successfully change his business model to remote and then thrive under brand new conditions.
In this episode of the Think Business With Tyler podcast, we chat about how to choose the best business model for your company, the importance of having systems as a remote company, why being a business owner is a constant evolution, and what are the essential qualities that all strong leaders should have.
If you’re looking to build a healthy culture for your remote team or want to hone your leadership skills, tune into this episode to hear some valuable advice from our guest.
💡 Name: John Timmerman
💡 What he does: He’s the Founder & CEO of Good Monster, a creative digital marketing agency that helps growth-focused businesses develop and deploy smart, profitable marketing and advertising strategies.
💡 Noteworthy: John is also the Co-Founder of NoBullX, a business conference and workshop series with speakers like Gary Vee, David Meltzer, Shay Rowbottom, and more, and the founder of Good Brands and Management, a specialized holding company that operates in various market segments for business.
💡 Key Quote: “With a remote business or remote culture, you need to make sure your leaders are mirrors of you and that they’re communicating the same way, the same empathy and kindness and welcoming but still demanding on them the way that you would, or else it could fall apart quickly.”
💡 Where to find John: LinkedIn
Choose a business model that works best for you. Take it from John, who switched to a remote business model even before the pandemic hit. You can develop an agency model that works for you and your employees even if you don’t have a lot of agency experience. But as it often happens in life, John had to learn how to remodel his business the hard way after losing a few of his biggest clients. When faced with this obstacle, he decided to do what was best for his team and switch to remote. “I went back to the drawing board and figured out how do I prevent this from happening? Not necessarily clients leaving because that’s a natural progression, and how do I make it easier on everybody? And I just went back to a real traditional ad agency model and hiring contractors. […] I was very clear with our clients. A lot of agencies try to hide the fact they use contractors. They want to seem bigger than they are. So they say we have 50 people or we have whatever, employees when in reality, some of them are freelancers or contractors. So I was very clear. And I said our model is quite simple. We’re really good at strategy and figuring what you need and then we pull in the best people to do that thing. And I grew the business that way very efficiently.”
The importance of systems to a remote business. Implementing systems and processes into your business can truly make a difference, especially if you’re dealing with a remote business. Anyone that’s been a part of remote company culture can relate that it’s not easy keeping the team connected when everyone’s miles apart. Take it from someone like John, who decided to switch to a remote model even prior to the pandemic. According to him, the key is to build strong processes and systems. He explains, “Systems are huge. Without systems, things can get lost over video chat and the Internet and emails, and things like that. […] And then from a communication standpoint, it’s really important to make sure your leaders know exactly what they should and shouldn’t be doing, communicating, working on, and that all starts with me or some of your audience or business owners. I can’t stress if you’re in a remote environment, how spending a lot of time being absolutely crystal clear on expectations and constructive criticism to your leaders or department managers or whoever so that they then can communicate that message on.”
Being a business owner is a constant evolution. Every business owner can agree that the entrepreneurial journey is full of ups and downs, making it exciting and often emotionally draining. However, as a business owner, you have to be willing to adapt. You have to be open to changes. Otherwise, you might get stuck, and your business will be less likely to make progress. John says that for him being a business owner is a constant evolution and shares a segment of his thought process when faced with a problem: “I’m always identifying opportunities to fix what’s broken while not reinventing the wheel. So the problem is I just find a lot of things that are broken and I do enjoy trying to solve those problems. I do enjoy trying to break something apart and make it better from a strategy standpoint for sure.”
The best leaders take all the responsibility when things are going bad and give it all when things are going good. There’s been a lot of debate lately about successful leadership and what makes a strong leader. Despite what you might believe, the truth is the perfect leader doesn’t exist. However, there’s one personality trait that all good leaders share: self-awareness. John thinks that great leaders are honest with themselves and with others. He says that the best leaders take responsibility and don’t blame others. “If you can constantly eat a slice of humble pie, and take on all of the bullets and fire from everywhere as the CEO or as the founder, and then give it to your team when things are going good, you have a rock-solid army of loyal people that are willing to go to battle for you every day when things are going bad and they trust you and you go in as a team.”
“And then from a communication standpoint, it’s really important to make sure your leaders know exactly what they should and shouldn’t be doing, communicating, working on, and that all starts with me, or some of your audience or business owners. I can’t stress if you’re in a remote environment, how spending a lot of time being absolutely crystal clear on expectations and constructive criticism to your leaders or department managers or whoever so that they then can communicate that message on.”
“That fear often trumps a lot of business owner decision maker’s ability to dive into the remote culture and really embrace it because that’s the most apparent thing. I’m in an office, I need to see people, I need to see that they’re there. They need to know that I’m there and we’re all working. But with the right systems, number one, you don’t have to do that.”
“The benefit that I think gets clouded a lot is that you now are focusing on getting the stuff done, you’re not focused on is this person showing up to work. […] When you’re working remotely, you have systems you can measure every day how they’re doing, how much time are they putting in, what’s their work output, and those are the things that we’re now scoring on, which is making our agency incredibly efficient.”
“When I built the agency I didn’t have agency experience myself. I only had a very entry-level brand side and when I say brand side, any marketers or agency people here I’m not talking brands like big Fortune 500 brands, I’m talking little local brands, so I did not know what I was doing. So I just basically copied whatever every other agency was doing. I copied their model. I just copied the way they built, everything. I didn’t know what else to do. So I just tried to mirror what other agencies were doing.”
“It’s just a matter of picking and choosing what we’re actually going to do and what actually comes out of my mouth in a public setting. Because I don’t want that confusion and the potential freakouts that happen because we’re talking about something that completely goes against what we’ve just been working on for a month or something like that.”
“We say, SEO, some paid media, making sure you have a good performing website. And those are probably your first three places to start. And then once you have that, that comes pretty much standard out of the box. It’s the same thing no matter what business we work with, SEO pay per click is pretty much the same thing for every business.”
“I believe there’s no perfect leaders, but all leaders have to be perfectly honest with themselves and everybody else because if anybody smells that their boss, their leader, their business owner, the founder whatever is, is dishonest either with themselves, so something happens in the business and they don’t take ownership of it, that’s a scary thing for an employee to see.”