Episode 27 – Clair Heaviside – Co-Founder Serotonin

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Audio Transcript:

Vo Guy:

Hello, and thanks for coming along to, And We Have an Office Dog, The Digital Agency Podcast, where we talk to agency owner/directors and learn more about what makes them tick. From the things that make them similar, to the things they’d rather have known sooner. Where they’ve success and where they’ve learned some hard lessons. All will be revealed with your host, Chris Simmance, The Agency Coach, and he’ll be talking to a different awesome agency person in each episode, asking them four questions and seeing where the conversation takes us over the next 25 minutes. Okay. So, let us begin. Over to you, Chris.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Thanks voiceover guy, and on the podcast today, we’ve got Clair, co-founder Serotonin. How are you doing Clair?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

I’m doing really good, thank you.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Thanks for coming along today.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. It is a pleasure. Been looking forward to it.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

So, first of all, give us a plug. What’s Serotonin, apart from the actual thing? What is the agency? What do you do?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Apart from the feel good hormone. Serotonin is a creative, digital marketing agency. We’re based in the ever trendy Northern quarter of Manchester. Got a fantastic space overlooking Stevenson Square, and we are a blend of creative strategy and digital media.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

How long have you been going for?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Only two and a half years, or just over two and a half years.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Oh, wow. You chose to start a bit before a world changing event.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yes. Yes. We did, yeah. It was a decisive move. But actually, we found that the experience of the pandemic for us was one that enabled us to accelerate growth in some respects. I don’t know. The pandemic has thrown up a huge amount of challenges, but actually it also threw some opportunities our way too. So, maybe it wasn’t such poor timing.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

That’s good. I mean, my timing first starting an international speaking career was very poor. Why do you think I’m sitting in my home office doing a podcast instead?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

It’s all about the pivot, isn’t it?

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Indeed. Exactly.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

That’s what we were all talking about this time two years ago, the pivot.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Exactly. So, as with every podcast, we’ve got four questions and we’ll see where the conversation takes us. So, first and foremost, I think, given the rate of growth and also the pandemic and things, I’m quite excited to hear, what do you think your biggest successes have been to date?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

It’s a tricky one because you’ve used the word biggest, whereas really I tend to think of the smaller successes that are part of the journey. I still feel very much on the journey. We have had quite exceptional growth over the past two and a half years. We’ve gone from two people to 15 people, and we’ve got some fantastic global clients, and all of these things. But for me, it’s still the moments of walking into the office and turning the lights on in the morning, and seeing that as a symbolic, small success of where we’ve managed to get to, and the building of a team alongside that. I think for me, building a team of people who enjoy coming to work, who trust each other, who are engaged and excited by the work that they’re doing, often shows itself in smaller successes, but they are very significant to me. They feel significant to me.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

I do remember that. So, I remember feeling, it was a good while ago now, but when we got our first proper, proper office, and I always used to want to be the first one in every day, just because I loved that moment in the day when it was like, it was dead quiet, but I could just survey the landscape a little bit. It was a really lovely feeling, isn’t it?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. You don’t get a lot of chance for reflection within agency life, particularly when you are moving as a fast growth founder. So, I think taking those moments to reflect and have a moment and a deep breath, whether that’s just at the beginning of the day to say where we are, recognizing what we are doing and what am I going to do today to help move us forward? I don’t want to over romanticize the whole thing, but that really is just life, isn’t it? We have to take these moments and see the significance in them. There have obviously been some big things that are notable, in terms of… Along the journey, I thought that’s a moment where I’ve really seen things change and we’ve moved into a trajectory that’s really leveled us up.

We’ve won a really great client, ASSOS of Switzerland, who are a global cycling apparel brand. That was a huge moment for us, and that was done during the pandemic. Pitching a competitive pitch against global agencies in a pandemic was an experience. But that really was a big moment in terms of us leveling up, enabling us to grow our team and upscale our existing team. So, in terms of the big moments, there’s been those two, but yeah. We do just like just coming in, taking a deep breath too.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

You’ve got to have that kind of retrospect. You’re up for an award already, which is- You’re going to have to call that a success, even if you don’t win.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

We’ve had a few awards along the way. So, our work with ASSOS, we won best large budget campaign. Then we’ve won previously, from another client, one of our property clients. But, yeah. Tonight we’re off to Leeds for the Northern Digital Awards where we’re up for Best Small Agency, which is a great category to be in.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

So, at the point at which someone hears this podcast, you’ll have either won it or not. So, congratulations slash commiserations.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

I’ll either be, yeah. Awards are everything, or I’ll be on LinkedIn going, awards don’t mean anything.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

That’s how you’ll know which way this has gone.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Brilliant. So, if you were to go back in time, I know you’re the co-founder so you’ve started this with someone else. So, if you were to go back in time and give yourselves a little bit of advice that helps you see the way forward, what advice would you give yourselves?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Brace yourself.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Really good advice.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

It’s about to take off. Hang in there. Honestly, though, I do think hang in there, because a founder’s journey is challenging. Unless you’ve got that resilience, and the word resilience gets used a lot when talking about the founder journey, but for me having that resilience and that real determination to hook in and go for the ride. I think part of that is because I’m a co-founder and I have a fantastic co-founder in Dom Carter, who really is my rock, and that’s where I get a lot of my resilience from. But I definitely think that. The other thing I think is about knowing your journey. I think that’s important because, or just where you are headed, because when you’re starting an agency what you’re doing is you are not freelancing. You are asking people to invest in you. By that, I mean, your team and your clients, and they deserve to know what the vision is and where you are wanting to take this.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah, yeah.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

For them to come with you, it’s the very least that they deserve. So, that level of transparency, you need to be able to offer them. You can’t do that unless you don’t know where you’re headed and at what pace.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Absolutely.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

So, we’ve tried to be really, really clear on that vision and have that transparency. Even if it’s going to change, tell people what the journey looks like for you. It’s so much easier then for people to buy into that, and that’s where you get that level of trust and buy in.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Absolutely.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

It’s really important. I think we’ve done that quite well.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Well, because the rate of growth over the last couple of years is evidence of that I think, isn’t it? The awards are helpful to bolster that evidence against. I think you’ve got to let people know where you’re going. You’ve got to let the team know that they’re on the same journey, but maybe with a different end of that journey. So, there was a book I read years and years and years ago, it’s absolutely incredible. It’s really old now. So, lots of the references are based on the sixties and stuff. But it was called, Selling The Invisible.

It is really, really good because you are selling a service, you’re selling the promise to do something. As opposed to, here’s a physical thing that you can take away with you. What you said just there about, they’ve got to trust you and buy-in, you’re essentially selling a, I promise for this amount of money, we will do these things. But we can’t guarantee an outcome because the world exists with all the things going on in it. It’s very hard to get right, especially when you’ve got a team that have got to buy into that as well.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. It’s crazy really, isn’t it? There’s this non-tangible thing that- Sorry. I don’t know what that was.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Maybe it was an office dog. Could have been the office dog.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

I don’t know what that was. But, yeah. I think it is crazy when we think it’s this non-tangible thing that is really skills of people, that’s what we are selling. It’s really important to recognize that, and to back it, back yourself and back the team and the skills that they’ve got, because that’s the only way you are going to grow and be successful really.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

So, normally I ask people about their journey over the last few years or so, but given this is a relatively newish agency over the grand scheme of time, what is it that gave you and your co-founder the push from where you were to start doing this for yourselves? What was that?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Well, when I look back, I think, gosh. That feels like that was all done very strategically and very thoughtfully. So, that’s the story that I’m going to tell. Whereas actually, these things do tend to happen quite organically with a good amount of luck and good timing. But Dom and I have worked together for a number of years at a previous agency, and I think the foundation of the background I have, which is within creative and content strategy, and Dom being the other side to that coin, which is the digital media. We worked extremely well together as that joined up team that could really deliver across the board for clients, and speak the language of any client with any challenge that was coming in, found themselves aligning with either Dom or I. And because then we had this mutual trust and this really strong foundation for the partnership, we were also then able to optimize everything that we were doing through both creative and media.

So, I think after having left the previous agency that we worked with, we both went freelance. We didn’t start an agency straight away, we almost just went out and tested the concept as a couple of freelancers. Working in the areas that we wanted to work in. So, I went really straight down into working with some great brands, doing some real brand strategy and creative strategy, which I loved. Which reignited the fire for me. Dom started working on some great media accounts. Then it was only once we really built our confidence up as a pair of freelancers, that we joined together as an agency. We also stayed relatively quiet about that for a year. We hired a few people, but we didn’t go out to the world and say, here we are. We allowed our work to do the talking.

So, by the time we started to really come out to the world as Serotonin and say, this is what we’re doing, and we’ve done all of this and we’ve worked with these clients, and we’ve got these stories to tell, it was really authentic. It wasn’t, we’ve just started an agency and we are going to do these things. It was, we have tested it. We are in it and this is the journey. We’ve proved it, and come with us. So, yeah. Looking back, what a clever way of doing things. But actually at the time, it was just we were doing what felt right.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

So, not to quote another book, because I hate those kinds of agency coaches that just say books, books, books. But I’ve just finished reading the Jimmy Carr semi biography, autobiography, semi self-help book type thing. Something resonated with me that’s just popped into my head when we’re talking about in hindsight it looks like you’ve done this all strategically. But you say it was mostly luck. But in the book he says, “Luck is basically talent plus effort and time.” So, you make your own luck in a sense. So, yes, it was essentially luck, in terms of timing and things. But realistically there was a lot more behind it. You had to have talent in order to find clients and do the work. You had to put effort in order to keep that going. You had to be there at the right time to do all that.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. Yeah. Do you know what? I’m not going to be humble about the fact that there was talent and focus and a mature approach to establishing and growing the agency. The partnership that we have, and the way that both Dom and I work, is in a very decisive and pushing forward, and I’d say brave way of approaching things. So, that’s what propels us forward. So, yeah. Definitely luck, but also I think there’s… Yeah. I’ll give ourselves a pat on the back for also thinking it through.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. Quite rightly.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

I think being brave, being brave was good. Yeah.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

So, is there something that… Let’s be honest. It isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns when you’re running an agency. Whether it’s been good so far or not. There’s things that you’ve learned so far that you’ve gone, “Right. Well, we’re never going to bloody do that again.” Is there something that you’ve done in the last few years that you’ve thought, oh yeah, I’ve learned my lesson here?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

I mean, definitely. I think that learning, I’m learning lots of different things every day. The thing I look back on that I think, God, that’s a significant mistake that really put us off course, and I would never have tried that, and who was I to even make that decision? I think really the thing, in terms of regret, for me it’s about a more personal thing. So, having more conviction in myself, to back myself more. I went into decisions appearing possibly 100% confident about those decisions, but maybe really only have been 50%, questioning whether it was right, and questioning whether that was the right thing that everybody else would be doing too.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Whereas actually now… I guess that these things are imposter syndrome, that is a common thing that everybody talks about now. But it’s because I’d never done any of this before. But now I guess, I regret just not thinking that my way was the right way. Things did happen at the right time. We have made mistakes, we’ve hired people that possibly weren’t right for the roles that they should have been in. So, therefore had to deal with the fallout of moving people out of the agency, and replacing people within the agency, and that causes turbulence and heartache and sleepless nights and all of those things.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

It’s entirely a people business, isn’t it really?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yes, you are doing a deliverable. Yes, you are selling a service, and it is an algorithm. Get good people in, keep them in, keep them doing a good job, make sure they’re happy and compensated well, and you’ll get good results and growth out of it. But get one person in that’s not quite right, and it can upset that balance. You’ve got to act on it as quickly as you can, and as fairly as you can, I guess, as well.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. We have experienced that, and it’s always difficult when that happens, because there’s the knock on effect and the fear that you have for how that’s going to impact the rest of the agency. I always think, I look back and think, God. We could have done that sooner, and we should have done that sooner. Those are the things that I feel regretful or upset about. But then also, it happened when it happened.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Maybe it didn’t happen sooner because there were other things that I was concerned about, or there were other things that I needed to check, or just make sure I needed to give that person the benefit of the doubt all the way to the end, so that I could feel satisfied in the decision. If I hadn’t have felt that way, then I would’ve done it sooner. So, again, it’s just that conviction in my own decision making that I think is still part of my learning journey.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Almost not to let the regret of why didn’t I, or shouldn’t I, or should I, almost weigh me down, and just have that conviction more.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

It can do that. Hindsight’s 20/20. Now you know those sorts of things, you take that into your next day and your next challenges and things, which is obviously part of growth in… It is the journey. There is no end to this journey unless you disappear off the face of the Earth because you’re abducted by aliens. You close the agency, you sell the agency or you do something else with the agency. So, it is permanently a journey.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I think we talked a little bit, haven’t we, about being people focused and it being about skills, but it’s also so much about personality.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

So, you really have to dig into your own personality and your own values, and your own code of ethics and you learn so much about yourself when you’re on this process. How that then translates it through to the way that you work with people, whether that’s your team, your clients, and any other stakeholders, the community groups that you are a part of. So, it’s an interesting journey.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

I totally agree. I don’t know what it was like for you, or what it is like for you learning about yourself as you go, but for me, it was really tough because I had this impression in my head that I was the best at everything. When I started realizing there’s actual evidence that proves the contrary to this, it was quite upsetting.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. I mean, I think that’s about balance, isn’t it? You have to have that faith in yourself and confidence to back yourself, whilst also accepting that you’re probably not the guru of everything. I think that’s another thing. Surrounding yourself with really good people. So, one of the things that Dom and I have been really good at, I think, is knowing the things that we are not good at, and aligning ourself with experts and listening to them.

So, whether that’s from a legal perspective or a commercial or corporate finance, we very quickly and early on in our journey, aligned ourselves with these people, who almost then form an external board of advisors that we trust, who are brought into our journey, who we defer to all the time. We don’t try to make things up. We defer to them for their knowledge and experience. Just in the same way that I expect my clients to defer to us for the things that we are good at. It’s about bringing that team around you. So, that’s been a really important part of the journey for us, knowing what we don’t know, and then listening to the people who know that stuff.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. Absolutely. Listening is incredibly important. So, if there’s one person, an agency owner who’s just started out for themselves or just about to start out for themselves, and they’ve waited all 25 minutes of this podcast just for your one piece of advice, Clair, what would that one piece of advice be that you’d give them?

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

So, aside from the things I’ve said about having a plan and leaning into experts, for me, caring about your clients and the people that you work with, building relationships. For me, trust is at the center of everything. The relationship that you have with your team and with your clients and work on and nurture that. I think don’t just care about the output of the work, but care about the things that your clients care about on a personal level. What gets to them on a day… What you’re trying to do is build long term relationships that are based upon this sharing of knowledge, this trust. They’re bringing you into their business, and they want to know that you’re going to have a positive impact on that. We really work hard at that at Serotonin. It’s one of the things I’m really, really proud of when I see the response of clients who trust all through all the layers of the team. I think that’s where a lot of our success comes from.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Absolutely. It’s fantastic advice. I remember, whenever I’d have a call with a new client, from the moment you start that process of sale through to onboarding and then onwards from there, anytime anyone mentioned anything like, “Oh, it was my daughter’s birthday this weekend,” and, “Oh yeah, that’s great.” All that sort of thing you wrote down, this week of the year was the daughter’s birthday. Then coming round to the next year, you say, “Oh, hope your daughter had a nice birthday.” Those tiny little things mean a lot. But on top of actually doing good work and having good human relationships with people, it really does buy an awful lot of personal equity with people as well.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. I believe so. I think the pandemic lifted the curtain on our personal lives, our home lives, our shared experiences, the things that we can connect and the ways that we can connect with other people. I’m very determined that that type of magic between agency, client relationship, that was built throughout the pandemic when we were all in it together, is going to be carried through in the way that we manage our relationships with our clients going forwards.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

I certainly hope it does. That’s great advice to end the podcast on. Be human, I guess.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Be good people, be caring.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. Be nice.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

Yeah. Be nice, all right, guys. Thank you very much for joining me, Clair. It’s been fun. Wonderful having you on.

𝗖𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 (𝗚𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁):

Thank you so much for having me. I’ve really enjoyed talking with you.

𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 (𝗛𝗼𝘀𝘁):

It’s brilliant. So, in our next podcast we’ll have another agency leader talking about their journey and what they’ve learned along the way. So, thanks very much for listening and speak to you all soon.

 

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