In a skeptical world, you have to build trust. In this episode of the Talent Empowerment Podcast, Wayne Mullins, Founder & CEO of Ugly Mug Marketing, shares valuable insights into marketing your product or service in today’s world, and the importance of holding accountable every dollar you spend in marketing.

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πŸ“ŒTALKING POINTS

(1:15) How do you stand out in marketing and media today with all of the noise?

(2:31) Making human connections through social media platforms

(5:41) We confuse marketing and advertising

(8:05) The strategy to get your customers to promote your product

(21:41) Revenue matters

(31:44) When being a strong-minded entrepreneur becomes a hurdle

🌟ABOUT WAYNE MULLINS

Wayne is a husband, father of 4, entrepreneur, and the Founder of Ugly Mug Marketing, creator of the Freelance Accelerator, and author of Full Circle Marketing. He's an out-of-the-box, against-the grain, thinker and it has more than paid off for his company and clients. He leads from the heart and is passionate and unapologetic about doing so. As Founder & CEO of Ugly Mug Marketing, one of the most unique and successful marketing agencies in the world, Wayne has personally trained more than 20,000 marketers, launched NY Times Bestsellers, and helped a client grow from $20M to more than $600M in less than 5 years.

Wayne is passionate about helping others lean into leadership and build high-performance (self-accountable) cultures.

πŸ”—CONNECT WITH WAYNE

πŸ”—CONNECT WITH TOM

πŸŽ™οΈABOUT THE PODCAST

Every week on the Talent Empowerment Podcast, Tom Finn, the dynamic Co-Founder and CEO of LeggUP, ventures into the minds of trailblazing CEOs, HR executives, and talent development savants from various industries to dive deep into their career paths, dissect their strategies for growing people-first culture in their organizations, and uncover how they’re driving talent innovation.

Tom Finn:

Hey there and welcome to the Talent Empowerment Podcast. We're here to help you love your job. We unpack the tools and tactics of successful humans to guide you towards your own career empowerment. I am your host, Tom Thin, and on the show today, we have my friend, Wayne Mullins. Wayne, welcome to the show.

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Wayne:

Thank you, Tom. I'm looking forward to this chat today.

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Tom Finn:

We are looking forward to hearing from you. And if you don't know Wayne, he is an entrepreneur. He is also the founder of Ugly Mug Marketing. What a great name. And the creator of Freelance Accelerator, the author of Full Circle Marketing. Now he's the founder and CEO of Ugly Mug Marketing. And he has personally trained more than 20,000 marketers. That's right. Launched New York Times bestsellers and helped a client grow from 20 million. to more than 600 million in revenue in less than five years. I'm sure we'd all like to be that client as well. He's passionate about helping others lean into leadership and build high-performing self-accountable cultures. So Wayne, what a terrific background. Welcome to the show. Let me ask you this. How do you stand out in marketing and media today with all of the noise?

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Wayne:

Great question, Tom. The answer to that is you look around at what everyone else is doing and then you do something different. You do something that is the opposite of what everyone else is doing. And we live in a world where every other week, it seems like there's a new social media platform that's created, right? There's a new thing where we as marketers or as entrepreneurs need to put our time and attention. And so we get so distracted by trying to do all these various things, but at the end of the day, we have to remember that all of these tools, all of these things that help automate quote unquote marketing, the goal of those things is to help us make human connections. So the more human connections you can make, the more you can speak to people, to their hearts, to their desires, to their frustrations, to where they are in their lives, the more you are going to stand out from the competition.

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Tom Finn:

So how do you make human connections through social media platforms? I'll tell you, we use seven. I'm sure there's way more than that. We're active on seven. But how do you actually make a human connection when we're not together or in person?

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Wayne:

Yeah, I think the misconception for so many, Tom, is this, that we now seem to treat social media as digital media. Meaning, when we think of the term social, we think of a dialogue, we think of a back and forth. It's social, right? You go to a social event, it's about connecting with other people, and yet we've somehow turned all of these platforms from social platforms into mere digital platforms. So, What we typically do is what I like to say, we show up and we throw up, right? We show up on the platform and then we vomit or we throw up our message and we're just spewing our messages on all these different places and we're not taking the time to show up where people are, to engage with them in their real world. So think about it, when is the last time for you Tom that a business that you follow showed up on your personal page and liked one of your photos of maybe you and your family or like one of your photos of something you were doing over the weekend or made a comment, happy birthday when it was your birthday. Like when is the last time that occurred? And yet all of us because of these tools have the ability to show up in meaningful ways, in social ways and yet we are so busy trying to keep up with the latest platform that we don't do those basic things that we could be doing.

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Tom Finn:

That's a great way of thinking of the world. I sort of feel a little bit guilty now that I don't do that for others, right? Maybe I'm just as guilty as everybody else that we need to be doing more human connecting on these platforms versus just showing up and pitching or conversing.

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Wayne:

Yeah, I love this quote. I'm going to not get the quote exactly right, but it was Earl Nightingale who said years ago that if you want to transform your business, you can do that by simply spending an hour a day obsessing on how you can better serve your customers. And so if we overlay that over the marketing lens that we're looking at the world through today, if we just step back for a minute and we don't worry about what to post on this platform or that platform. And instead we say, what? are my customers? What are my prospects? What are they going through right now? What does their world look like? And how can I speak to them? How can I show them? How can I make them feel seen and heard? That will immediately cause us to cut through the clutter, cut through the noise, and stand out in this world, in this marketplace that is so, so noisy.

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Tom Finn:

Yeah, I agree. I just think it's really hard to do. So how do you as a marketer really narrow this down for your customers? You've worked with some major players in business. You've worked with folks like Neil Patel. You've worked with Chris Voss. If you don't know Chris, he wrote a little book called Never Split the Difference, which for the record, and I did not think I was going to do this, but hang on. is right here. So you saw that coming. So how do you actually design this with these friends that you've worked with? What do you actually do in terms of steps?

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Wayne:

Sure, what I would say is that, you know, so much of marketing today gets confused. We confuse marketing and advertising. We use those two terms interchangeably, and they're not the same thing. So advertising is merely a piece or component of marketing. And when we like to think of marketing, we like to define it as, marketing is your ability to attract and then to keep a customer. And when I say keep a customer, I don't mean just keep a customer around, I mean keep a customer so that you can convert them into an evangelist for your product, your service, or your brand. And so when we begin working with clients, step number one is we wanna identify who are the people that we can turn into evangelists for the brand, for the book, for the thing that we're doing. Because they exist, there are people out there, in every business, every organization, if you're. somewhat decent, there are people who love you, they love what you do, they love your product or service. And yet, we are so busy, so, you know, we're blinded to the reality of the fact that we can help convert these people into evangelists for us. We're so focused on who's the next prospect that we can convince to come through the door and hand us money. And we live in this world today, Tom, where every single person has one of these devices, 6.4. billion people out of the eight billion have this device I'm holding up called a smartphone. And what that means is literally within a matter of seconds, they can share their experience with our product, with our service, with our brand, with all of their friends, with the quote unquote world. And yet as marketers, we are still so focused on trying to find the next person to get in the door that we don't take the time to build those relationships, to convert those. customers into evangelist.

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Tom Finn:

Okay, I think I'm picking up what you're putting down. I'm gonna bite off on this and go down this rabbit hole with you. So let's say out of these 6.5 or so billion humans with a smartphone, you got a few of those as customers. Is there an effective strategy that you've seen to leverage your existing employees, members, active customers, and get them to actually promote your product for you? Or is this something that, you know, would take another show to figure out.

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Wayne:

Yes, I'm going to give you some very quick examples of how you can do this. So number one is mindset. The mindset has to be, if you're doing any form of marketing whatsoever, look at your budget. What percent of your budget is spent attracting new people in the door versus converting customers into evangelists? So whatever that is, you need to devote more of your money to converting customers into evangelists and slowly over time move more and more money there. So for us, what we're doing is we're going to be doing a lot of marketing. you know, Ugly Mug Marketing, my business, we spend more than 50% of our marketing budget on converting customers into evangelists. We spend less than 50% trying to get new people in the door. So examples of some things that we do would be this. So when someone, for example, launches a new website, so we help them build a website, we launch it, we send them a gift in the mail that stands out. So it's a colorful box full of goodies, baked goodies from bakery, and it's something that stands out with a handwritten note. in there that says thank you so much for allowing us the opportunity to build this website for you. So again, we don't have to do that, right? They're already happy with the website, but we're taking this one little extra step. Another thing is send people something on their birthday. So we send our clients birthday cards on their birthday and in those cards we do a couple of things. Number one, there's a QR code they can scan and when they scan that code it brings them to a page on our website where we sing happy birthday to them.

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Tom Finn:

Hahaha

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Wayne:

It's a video of us singing. The other thing we do is we send them a pair of really funky, pink, ugly mug marketing socks, right? So it's something that is, it's more of a novelty thing and we don't necessarily expect them to wear it, but when we send it to their office, which is where we typically send it, it's a conversation piece, it's a conversation starter, right, and so it's little things like this that all of us can do. The other thing is we're intentional about making comments, about being. there for people when they go through difficult things, difficult times in their lives. So whether that's the loss of a loved one, whether that's the loss of a pet, whether that's an anniversary of the loss of a loved one, it's being there, showing up in meaningful, genuine ways for those people.

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Tom Finn:

So I want to go backwards before we go forwards here. And I want you to talk to me about what an evangelist is in your mind. So we have a customer. And the way you said it is we have a prospect, then we have a customer, and then we have an evangelist. So help me understand maybe that last step so that we can really understand what this evangelist model looks like.

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Wayne:

Absolutely. So I'm gonna step back one more step back before we go forward. And so in my book, Full Circle Marketing, I lay out this blueprint and this is a shameless plug for the book, but in there I say that there are strangers out there. That's where we start. There are people who we believe would benefit from our product or service. We believe they would benefit so much more from our product or service than the money they're going to part with, right? But they don't know about us yet. So those are the strangers. Our first job in marketing is to convince those strangers to become our friends. And in order to do that, they have to know about us and then they have to like us. So initially, all of our marketing campaigns to those strangers would center around those two things, getting them to know us and getting them to like us. The next one is we have to move those friends into customers. And the big ingredient here is trust. We have to build trust. And we live in this world that's a very skeptical world. Right? You don't go on Amazon and order a tube of toothpaste without scrolling down and looking at the reviews. You want to go see what everyone else says about this toothpaste or whatever it is you're looking at. And so as entrepreneurs, as business owners, sometimes we forget that. So we're so busy proclaiming how great our product and service is that we forget that the world is skeptical. They don't necessarily trust us. They know that we have a vested interest in them making the decision. So once they're customers though, we convince those friends to become customers by building trust. We then have the opportunity to turn those customers into evangelists. And the only way, Tom, that you can turn someone into an evangelist is you have to exceed their expectations. But we live in this world today where we as business owners, we as marketers are so in love with our baby that we're afraid look at it without the rose-colored glasses, if you will, we're afraid to call our baby ugly. And sometimes we don't deliver the way we should. Our product, our service, our company doesn't deliver the way we should. So if we're going to build evangelists, we have to take an honest look at the fact, are we meeting expectations or are we truly exceeding those expectations?

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Tom Finn:

So when you talk about exceeding expectations, do you think about it in terms of a five star review, sort of the Uber, Yelp model, and ratings? Do you think about it in terms of NPS or net promoter scores that need to be high and we need to have folks that are really supporting our product? Or some other way, how do you think about the data behind this process?

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Wayne:

Yeah, so all of those things are wonderful and great, but they in and of themselves do not create evangelists. They may be an indication of someone who could become an evangelist for us, right? So in other words, someone rates us really high on their promoter score, that may be, if somebody rates us a 10, right, perfect score, that would be an indication that person could become an evangelist for us. But without some intentionality on our part, chances are... they're gonna move on to the next thing in their lives. We are gonna be a distant memory. Now again, this is gonna depend on the type of product or service you have. If it's something that's recurring, you're gonna stay top of mind longer, but if it's a one-time type of purchase, it requires intentional effort on our part to stay top of mind, to encourage them to be an evangelist for us. And there's two things that are necessary to do that. Number one, once we've exceeded those expectations, we have to give them some tools. to help share the message, and we have to give them the language. What language do we want them to use when they talk about us? How do we want them to tell their friends about us? What do we want them to say? And what tools can we give them to help them easily and effectively say those things to their friends?

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Tom Finn:

And do you believe that all of that has to be online and offline in your examples from earlier? Or do you think there can just be an online relationship?

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Wayne:

I think it can be either one. I think anytime you break that wall though, right, you take what is an online transaction and you transcend the web, right, and you go to them personally somehow, someway, you immediately differentiate yourself from everyone else in your space. So if you're an online retailer and you're able to transcend that, in terms of break the web so to speak and go to them personally, you're going to immediately stand out from everyone else.

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Tom Finn:

Yeah, so I love this idea of taking online relationships offline and sending gifts. But what do you do if you just don't have the capital, the cash, you don't have the product margin to send a pair of socks, a pink pair of socks in your example, to pay for the shipping costs, to pay for the socks, to pay for the storage, whatever it is, how do you actually do this if you don't have the budget for it?

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Wayne:

Yeah, so number one, I would say oftentimes that is an excuse. So you're spending the money trying to find new people, right, you're spending all this money on whatever it is, Facebook ads, Instagram, whatever your thing is that you're spending money on. My argument is let's take a little bit of that money, let's bring it over to the other side. So much does it cost to send a handwritten thank you note? A dollar, right, between the card and the postage? A dollar? So you're telling me you don't have Margin I'm picking on you, but you're telling me you don't have margin to cover the cost of a dollar to send them a handwritten thank you note. Okay if that's true, let me respond by saying okay, fair enough, completely fair enough, I understand. How much would it cost you personally to hand write them an email? In other words, you type out the email directly to them. Hey this is Tom, I just want to personally say thank you so much for taking the time to come to our store and shop. and to pick up this product. If there's anything we can ever do or if we're not meeting your expectations, please reply and let me know or send them a voice memo. Like again, it's about intentionality. We're, we're already spending so much time, energy, and effort over here on the attracting side, right? Trying to get all those new people in the door. I'm just saying let's take a little bit of that time, a little bit of that budget and begin shifting the direction to creating evangelist.

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Tom Finn:

I think what you're saying is that evangelists at some point are going to have a higher purchase amount or they're going to be repeat customers or they're going to have a longer tenure with you in terms of the amount of time they spend with your product or service. So ultimately they're already there. They've already made the decision. You can double down on making sure that they love your brand, for example, and want to be a repeat customer. Is that really the business sense behind what you're saying?

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Wayne:

It is. I mean, if you were to survey business owners across the world, they will tell you that when you say, where do your best customers come from, they're going to tell you word of mouth or referrals. That is where the best customers always come from. And the reason is this. So if we were to go back to that example of you've got strangers, you've got friends, then you've got customers and then you have evangelists, right? When you have evangelists for you, when they go tell their friends and colleagues about your products, your service, your business. whatever it is that you do, they are imparting their trust, their relationship on your behalf. So you as the business owner, as the marketer, now you don't have to spend that time, that energy and effort building that trust because they have done that. They've imparted their trust in you to their friends and colleagues. So in many ways, what feels like oftentimes more work initially, right? Thinking this new direction and doing these few things that sure, they require a little bit more time and intentionality. In the end, you end up spending less time because you're not having to chase down people and try to convince people and twist people's arms to give your product or service a try.

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Tom Finn:

Yeah, I love it. So how did you get into marketing yourself? What are some of the things that made you who you are?

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Wayne:

So my degree is in marketing, university degree in marketing. I graduated and decided that I wanted to go into sales. That is really where I wanted to hone my skills. So I spent three years learning sales. I was atrocious at first, lots of doors slammed in my face. And over time though, just, I think part of it's just due to my stubbornness, I just kept getting up, kept knocking on doors and slowly got better and better at this thing called sales. It was as a result of my ability to sell that I decided to start my own business. And it was just a simple lawn and landscape company. Over the course of a three year period, I took that from a startup company to large enough that I sold it for a very nice chunk of change. And it was during that process that I was able to test a lot of different marketing approaches and techniques. And at the time I was, I was not that old. We were the newest quote unquote company in town. and we were able to come in within a three year period and really dominate the market. And out of that, a lot of people started asking me for marketing help. And, you know, looking back, that was 20 years ago now, but looking back, I was doing the exact same thing, which is we were looking around at what everyone else was doing, and then we were doing things that were different. We weren't trying to just be better, like market a little bit better, cut grass a little bit better, do landscaping a little bit better. We were trying to be different. And that is what I believe at the end of the day will separate anyone who's trying to do marketing from everyone else.

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Tom Finn:

Okay, so here's the layup question. I assume that's why this is called ugly mug marketing. Is that right?

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Wayne:

So it is, so the name Ugly Mug Marketing is a play off of this quote from David Ogilvie. So David Ogilvie is the co-founder of Ogilvie and Mather. Ogilvie and Mather at one point was the largest ad agency in the world. They're still in the top ten today. But David Ogilvie inside his office had a quote which was this, I would rather you show me an ad that's ugly and defective over one that's beautiful but isn't. And so- Ugly Mug Marketing is really just a tribute to that idea, that concept that we don't want to be distracted by beautiful things. Now don't get me wrong, we like doing beautiful things. We like designing beautiful websites and doing really nice looking graphics. But that is not first and foremost. First and foremost is the results for our clients.

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Tom Finn:

Yeah, man, look, I'm with you on this. I have been ugly and effective my whole life.

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Wayne:

Ha!

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Tom Finn:

And so I totally resonate with your brand and the idea of being ugly and effective. Although I would like to be beautiful someday. I'm just not gonna hold my breath for that day to come anytime soon. But when you think about your organization and you think about the types of clients you attract, is there a type of persona? that draws themself to this philosophy more than maybe some other persona.

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Wayne:

Yeah, I would say that it is, you know, number one is somebody who is growth minded. In other words, they're attempting to grow whatever it is that they have. They're not just, you know, trying to do little small gains every single year, you know, two or three percent. They're really trying to grow. The other is that they're willing to challenge the status quo, right? They're not wanting to just do what everyone else is doing, but a little bit better. They're willing to do things differently, right? And I think that's kind of why we have this little bit of rebelliousness. as part of our culture and part of who we are. And we tend to attract that type of people. And the last one I would say is just that it's typically we end up with people who have been burnt by other marketers. They've been misguided or mispersuaded by what I would call vanity metrics, right? Vanity metrics are those things that really, they sound really important and in some aspects they're, they are important, but they're not the main thing. You know, impressions reach. video views, like all those things matter, right? We track all those things, but at the end of the day, if you're a for-profit, the metric that matters is, is there more money in the bank or is there not? That's what matters.

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Tom Finn:

I'm so glad I finally heard a marketer say that. It's taken a long time for me to find somebody that says that revenue matters because I think we get caught up in those vanity metrics because they seem to be leading indicators that ultimately will move the needle. But from my experience and the work that I've done, they don't always move the needle. There are other things outside of the core marketing function that are moving the needle, like you said, sales aspects of your career was a great training ground. and that actually moved the needle that led you down the road of marketing. But the vanity metrics, man, they get us sometimes as founders and owners and even big division leaders, right? The vanity metrics. So what do you mean by vanity metrics and like, how do we get around it, Wayne, so that we don't focus on it.

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Wayne:

Yeah, what I would say is, you know, maybe to go a little bit philosophical here, but it's remembering the difference between the means, the end, and the byproduct, right? The means, the end, and the byproduct. If we aren't careful, like we come to someone to help us with our marketing or to help us improve ourselves or whatever it is that we're going to spend for, we come to them because we need more revenue. We need more sales. We need more profit. But if we're not careful, we get distracted. by the byproducts of those things that they're doing. So they're gonna use certain means, right? They're gonna use certain tools, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, whatever the means are. And the byproducts of some of those things they're doing are these vanity metrics, right? It's the reach, it's the impressions, it's the clicks, it's the this, it's the that. But those things, if we aren't careful, we will make those byproducts the main thing. We will lose sight of the fact that All those byproducts only exist to support the end that we're after. And one of the things I would say when it comes to marketing and metrics that you want to measure dollars per ad spend. So in other words, I didn't say that very well, but for every dollar you spend in marketing, you have to hold that dollar accountable. And that dollar, if you're holding it accountable, should bring you more money back than the dollar that you spent. That is the ultimate measure when it comes to your marketing dollars.

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Tom Finn:

Why does it never seem to work that way though? I mean, I've spent, in my companies, you spend 50 grand here, you spend 100 grand there, you build some budget with a marketing company, even at the low end, that you're paying them five grand to do your marketing, and then you've got a five to $10,000 budget on top of that they're spending for you, right? So even at the low end, you're at 15 grand a month or 180 grand a year. I don't. necessarily know that it always comes back greater than the dollar you spend.

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Wayne:

Yeah, again, I love to think about marketing as this. Marketing is a mixture of psychology and math. Psychology and math, it goes back to those two things. So psychology is obviously the persuasion part. It's bringing people through the knowing, the liking, and the trusting us, getting them to trust us enough to pull out their wallet and do business with us. The math part is where marketers tend to run. When you start talking about holding every dollar accountable, that is... usually language they're not familiar with, because they're so familiar talking about impressions and reach and all of those things. And so I don't have an easy answer for you other than when you go into conversations and you're talking about, number one, if you're setting up these relationships, ensure that the main thing stays the main thing. Revenue, if revenue increases the main thing, hold them accountable to that metric. In other words, last month ourselves were this. A year ago that same month, our sales were this. We've got to see an increase. So always hold them accountable to the previous month into the same period a year before. That's how you can know if they're actually producing the way they should.

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Tom Finn:

Tell me about the day that you took on these philosophies. Was it a slow burn for you and an educational process to be different? Or was it all just hit you one day and you started thinking a little bit different about the world?

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Wayne:

I would say that it's mostly been a slow process for me. It's this constant process of learning, growing, testing, falling down, scraping my knees, getting bloody knees, getting back up, wiping off, and keeping going forward. So for me, what I think makes me a little bit different than so many is that my background, I've owned a few businesses in the past. So I've had to practice what I've preached, not just for the agency, but for the previous businesses that I owned. And so I know what it's like to struggle to keep everything going. I know what it's like when, you know, you need to spend money on marketing and all you've got's a thousand dollars and that thousand dollars means everything. It means the difference between buying your wife a trustworthy vehicle, right? Or spending the money to try to get your business to where it needs to be. Like I've... been there. I've been in those situations. And so for me, so much of it comes from my personal values and my personal story. I know the pain that entrepreneurs have to go through often to make some of these decisions in the early days. You know, you feel like you're shortchanging your family sometimes to make these investments in your business. And that's why holding every dollar accountable matters so much to us.

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Tom Finn:

Yeah, I love the way you think about the world. I wonder, is there a story where you did scrape your knee and fall down, even at Ugly Mug Marketing or one of the businesses before, that you'd love to share? Because I'd love to hear how it's not always easy, it's not always perfect, even for the marketing guru.

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Wayne:

Yeah, I mean, there's so many stories, Tom. So I mentioned earlier, I had a couple of businesses before. And when I decided to launch Ugly Mug Marketing, I came into this business. I'd been doing some marketing consulting, just on the side, kind of freelance consulting type stuff, and decided to make this into an agency, to build an agency out. And I came into this business with such an ego because I had two previous very successful businesses, one that I'd sold and exited. When I came in, I thought this would be a cake walk. I thought that this would be so easy that, you know, I could just, everything was just gonna take off. And the reality is it didn't happen that way. My ego blinded me to so much that there were things that, mistakes I was making, that I simply, one, didn't want to admit that I was making, right? My ego wouldn't allow me to even see those things as mistakes. And so for years, for the first several years, of starting this business. My wife and I, because of the previous successes we'd had, we were living in a nice large house. We had just bought 50 acres of land that we were going to build our forever home on. We had two new cars. We had the boat. We were taking trips all the time. We were living, quote unquote, the American dream, if you will. But then over the course of the next three years starting this company, we sold our house. We sold the 50 acres. We sold the boat. We sold the two new cars. We moved into a 700 square foot house where when my third son was born, the house was so small, his crib was set up in the kitchen dining room area, right? Cause there was no other space. We bought a used minivan that had a transmission that worked some of the time. And that was my wife's transportation. So she would pull up to a red light sometimes and it would get stuck in first gear. So she would have to pull over on the side of the road, turn off the car, turn it back on and re-go. And all of those things. right, were a result of, for the most part, my ego and my unwillingness to listen to other people who were smarter than me in this particular industry, in this particular type of business. And that's why I can resonate so well with those entrepreneurs who are in that stage, who are struggling to get their dream off the ground.

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Tom Finn:

So let's touch on this ego thing, because ego is also something that probably helped along the way. But there has to be a balance of ego where you've got enough ego that you're confident, and you also have enough self-confidence that you listen to other people take that information, put it through a filter, and try to use the best of it. So how did you kind of overcome that hurdle of being this strong-minded entrepreneur that then ultimately maybe your strength was overcooked a little bit. How did you get over that point in your life?

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Wayne:

Yeah, three letters FBI, as in Federal Bureau of Investigation. We it's a longer story, we don't probably have time to dive into that story today. But we actually were investigated by the FBI. Nothing ever came of that we were we were just ancillarily, if that's a word connected to someone else. And it all unfolded. But in the meantime, one of our competitors caught wind of this taking place and began spreading rumors about us, which on the surface looked to be true because we were being investigated by the FBI, but there was no merit to any of the investigation. That whole scenario unfolded and it led me into a place of really deep, dark depression to the point of suicide. And for the first time in my life, I didn't know how... to escape, right? Before, I've always been stubborn, strong-willed, like I'm just gonna work through anything and everything, I'm gonna come out on the other side of these obstacles or whatever it is, and I just simply couldn't. Like I couldn't do anything. And it was in the midst of dealing with that and trying to cope with that. It was to the point where I was about to go admit myself into a six-week program to deal with this, that... As luck would have it happenstance, however you want to call it, I ended up having a conversation with someone in that one conversation was the moment if you will, that began the journey of rebuilding. It began the journey of working out of the depression. It began the journey of really working on myself more than I was working on the business. And for me, that was the starting point.

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Tom Finn:

Wow, I'm glad I'm sitting down. Thank you for sharing that. I know that was a deeply personal story, but I think that can help a lot of people, Wayne, to be honest with you, because everybody goes through those moments, or it feels like everybody does, right? Maybe now we're just in an environment where we're allowed to talk about it. Certainly, you know, as men 30 years ago, you weren't allowed to talk about mental health or depression or, you know, feelings of inadequacy. You just had to, you know, put your pants on and get to work and... you know, toughen up. But I think the stories like this are so important because we all go through those moments in life where we just feel a little out of control, right? And business owners feel it more. I've been in corporate jobs, I think you have too. Many of our listeners have been in corporate roles. By the way, those are a lot easier than doing it for yourself. A lot easier. In some ways they're more difficult with the politics. But... In other ways, you are more isolated and protected, and you're more independent when you come out of that environment. So I appreciate you sharing that with us, because I think that's so important that you've been through it. Many of us have been through it, and appreciate you sharing that moment with us. So we can't end there, because that would just be a low point, and we can't end on a low point.

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Wayne:

Yeah.

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Tom Finn:

So tell me about the climb out and where the organization is now. You've written some books. You've worked with some really wonderful people. You've had this incredible platform. You've supported others. How did you crawl out and where are you now?

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Wayne:

Yeah, the answer, Tom, is I crawled out one day at a time. I wish there were some magic pill, magic formula, magic chant that I could tell everyone that I did, but it was this slow realization that the most difficult person that I'm ever going to have to lead is the person looking back at me in the mirror every morning. That person is going to be the most difficult one. And if I can learn to lead that person well, everything else will fall into place. And so for me, that is where it began. I began also challenging my beliefs. And I'm not necessarily talking like religious beliefs here. I'm talking about at our core, we hold on to certain beliefs, and we don't often think of them in terms of beliefs, but everything in our lives are centered on what we believe to be true, about relationships, about work, about finance, about all of these things. So I began challenging. some of my own long held personal beliefs. And it was in the process of challenging those beliefs that I began to change and that my future began to look different than it had before. And so what I would say to anyone out there who's maybe going through a similar situation where you find yourself and it feels like the world's against you and everything is hopeless, that get up in the morning and know that You and the mirror are the most difficult thing you're gonna have to overcome that day. And that you can do it. That one day at a time is all that it takes, right? One of my favorite sayings right now is consistency creates miracles. You know, we often, I think sometimes some want the magic pill, the magic potion, right? We live in a world where instant gratification. But I've come to love this idea that consistency is what builds the miracles. It creates the miracles. So, little things every single day, build the habits, build the momentum, and eventually that momentum, as Jim Collins would say, turns into the flywheel. And once that flywheel is going, that momentum will carry us through the dark days and the difficulties.

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Tom Finn:

Wayne, I love it. Build the momentum one day at a time. Focus on yourself. Keep your mindset strong. Look yourself in the mirror. Have an answer for you. I think all of those things are so critically important for all of us. And I always like this one, you know, this too shall pass. No matter where we are in life, this too shall pass. And we'll be on to the next phase. Appreciate you having you on the show, man. This has been really awesome to spend some time with you, get to know you a little bit. Where can others reach out to you? Where can they find you? Where can they track you down?

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Wayne:

The simplest place our website and that's just ugly mug marketing.com all of our social media all of our phone numbers all that kind of stuff is right there all in one spot.

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Tom Finn:

Yeah, and he's got a book out. If you want to go check it out, you can check out Wayne's book. And it's called Full Circle Marketing. We'll put all of that in the show notes so you can check out his organization, his book, what he's doing in the accelerator world, and how he's leading and empowering himself first. Wayne, thanks for being on the show, my man.

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Wayne:

Thank you, Tom.

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Tom Finn:

And thank you for joining the Talent Empowerment Podcast. We hope you've unpacked a few tips and tricks to love yourself and love your job. Get ready to dive back into all things career and happiness on the next episode. We'll see you then.

Tom Finn
Podcaster & Co-Founder

Tom Finn (he/him) is an InsurTech strategist, host of the Talent Empowerment podcast, and co-founder and CEO of an inclusive people development platform.

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