EPISODE #11

If It Isn't Working, Start Over. Rebuilding Your Business and Passion in a Few Days

Want to learn how to start your business in a few days? Join Jon to find out as he talks with Mark Mitton, Managing Director at 9thWonder and former founder of Carbon8 Marketing Agency. Listen in to find out how you can use the simple tools of confidence and positivity to grow your business fast.

 

“You have to look at your big events in life and not judge whether they’re good or bad.”

-Mark Mitton


Timestamps:

2:18 - Introducing Mark Mitten and how he discovered the importance of establishing ownership with a business partner

7:09 - How the difficulties of business partnership led Mark to start his own marketing agency

11:14 - Starting a new agency and why conveying confidence can help you dominate your market and build your team

15:09 - Here is what is required to build a new business in a matter of days

19:16 - 2 things you need to do when restarting your business to create intense revenue and manage your existing clients

21:44 - How you can take the negative events in your life or business and make them positive cultivations of change

24:29 - How to inspire motivation in yourself and your team through pursuing and celebrating success

28:10 - Why danger and risk can keep you from doing what you need to do to create your ideal and successful business

 

Connect with Mark:


Transcript:

Jon Voigt:                        Welcome to Agile Living, the Entrepreneur's Journey, the show dedicated to discovering how entrepreneurs and digital leaders are doing more with less. I'm Jon Voigt, your host and CEO of Agility, and we're on a journey across the country, you can learn from top digital entrepreneurs on how to live a more agile, adaptable and fulfilling life. Thank you for joining me today and let's dive in.

Jon Voigt:                        All right, there. To celebrate the Agile Living podcast launch, I'm doing a massive giveaway I'm giving three lucky winners a chance to win some of my favorite things I used frequently. The first step in being agile is your mindset, and these prizes all help you with that process. First, a box of Bulletproof Instamix. These are high octane oils to fuel your day, I had my coffee or my tea almost daily. Second, a Fitbit Charge 3, I don't even have one of these yet we released and they look pretty cool, so it's coming out soon and, and that'll be the second price. Third, a microbiome test by Viome. This is a leading test in the US that tests your gut biology and tells you exactly the foods you should be eating. It's pretty cool stuff, I did it about a year ago and saw the results and it was really amazing the things I should and shouldn't be eating.

Jon Voigt:                        Please note, this is contest we'll only be open to those in Canada, the US. I'm really sorry for anyone internationally and to win, you have to do the following. Subscribe on iTunes to the show, go to the agilecommunity.com and enter your email so we have a way to contact you and share the show with a friend who wants to start living a more agile lifestyle on Twitter or Facebook with the tag 'Be More Agile'. That's it. Pretty simple. I can't wait for you to hear some of the episodes and hopefully you can start living a more agile life.

Jon Voigt:                        I'm excited to jump you into the story today. I'm joined by Mark Mitton, partner and managing director of 9thWonder. I met Mark earlier this year when camping up in Denver for a month this summer and we had some great discussions. Some of them were at this little bar around the corner from his work that was just the cutest little place it was awesome. And I was blown away by the story of how he pretty much rebuilt his business in a weekend. I knew right then that we had chat more about this and I'm super excited to jump into the story.

Jon Voigt:                        Mark, perhaps you can tell us a little bit about 9thWonder and then we can travel back to what sounds like a defining moment in your journey.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, sure. No, I'm excited to talk about this story, it definitely was a pivotal moment and led to some interesting things. So yeah, I am managing director of 9thWonder and actually 9thWonder is new, so probably about to go back in time and talk about what was started and how we actually ended up here. So about 11 or 12 years ago, I started to become dissatisfied with just the normal corporate ladder and I was looking for an out, looking to start something on my own.

Mark Mitton:                  I really have to look at myself and I felt like I wasn't quite performing or my career wasn't going up to snuff-

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  ... and I had to take a hard look at that and say, you know if you think you should be doing better and you're frustrated where their career is at, then why don't you either put up or shut up.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And so for me putting up meant, you know, hanging out my own shingle and, and seeing what I could do on my own. I didn't really have a master plan. Like, "Hey, I'm, you know, I've been in marketing my whole career. I'm going to go out and start a marketing agency." I really just said, "You know, what can I start doing independently on my own?"

Jon Voigt:                        Right. Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And so it was really a decision to not do what I was doing before versus, "Hey, I'm going to go specifically go do this." And, you know, frankly, it was sort of really kind of challenging time I had a lot going on personally, it was the absolute worst time to introduce uncertainty in my career but ...

Jon Voigt:                        It's always the way.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, I almost feel like, you know, in- in those positions that are, there are those times of transition, you know, it was just, I just decided to just kind of go for it and it was really scary. You know, you just don't, you know, you're going from the cradle of the corporate life to start on your own. And that was, that was pretty new concept for me.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  So as I started exploring that, I actually started to get traction. I started getting people who know me, who heard I was, you know, independent, contracting, interested, and I had an old friend of mine who had also done the same thing and he had started to form his own marketing consultancy. And so we worked together many years before and we decided to form an agency together.

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm

Mark Mitton:                  He actually already had a name for the agency, we adopted his name and it made a huge difference to be teamed up with somebody else versus just doing on my own.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  And so together, things really started to take off. Now, I had never started a business before and in hindsight I was a bit naive about how we should set things up.

Jon Voigt:                        Yup.

Mark Mitton:                  We trusted each other and so we just kind of went for it, we verbally agreed to how we would operate the agency and what the ownership would look like. All the while since he'd actually, you know, formed the company legally he had full control of the agency.

Jon Voigt:                        Right. And, and how far ... When was this? Was this the route just, in eight to those rough times or just before that?

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. So this was, and what- the economy wasn't doing that great.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  This was about, would have been about 11 years ago. 11, 12 years ago.

Jon Voigt:                        Okay. Right. Right.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah and so yeah. And so we- we did great together we you know, we formed the agency. You'd mostly using both virtual workforce, you know, got really smart people that were willing to jump in as contractors, started winning lots of different customers. Everything was just growing going great, you know, growing and, and building out. We had you know, got our first office-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  ... and things are going along great and eventually we came to this point where we met somebody who was contracting for us, it was super talented and my partner said, "Well, we got to think about bringing, bringing this person on as a partner."

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And I said, "Well, hey, we're two years into this. We still haven't formally signed all of our you know, founding documents-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  And so-

Jon Voigt:                        You guys still have stuff to organize.

Mark Mitton:                  Yes.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, and it was kind like we were just so busy, we didn't have time for lawyers and everything was going great, we're making money. And so my partner said something that was kind of surprised and he said, "Well, you know, what do you want?" And I said, "Well, wait a minute. We have agreed to everything," and without going into all the details it really came out that we just kind of had a, a disagreement and what that ownership look like. And that was a shock to me just because, you know, I, my interpretation was everything was absolutely agreed to and everything was very clear. We just had to memorialize it.

Jon Voigt:                        Right. Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And yeah, so this led to a conversation of, well, can we figure this out? And we met and we finally realized that there was just no way to kind of come to an agreement on what this would look like.

Jon Voigt:                        Wow.

Mark Mitton:                  And yeah-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  ... which was pretty shocking ...

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, catch you off guard right, because two years you're thinking it's set up a certain way, this is how I'm viewing it. And to all of a sudden realized as a change of opinion last minute.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. And he even got a bit more complicated where we sat down and remember I went over to his house on a Thursday and we said, "Okay, let's, let's do this like real mature professionals that's workout how we would split up the company." And we agreed about which employees go where and which accounts go where and the idea was that I would go start my agency with those accounts and, and resources employees and he would continue on under, under our brand name. And we worked it out all on paper and he said, "Hey, I'll have a, a lawyer draw this all up and let's get together on Sunday and we can you know, sign things and, and move on. And we, we shook hands and everything was great."

Jon Voigt:                        Right, awesome.

Mark Mitton:                  So thought we had a plan. On Sunday, I got into our office and I got there a bit before my partner did. And he walked into my office and he said, he said, "you have two options, signed it or don't," and it's like, "What are you talking about?" I, and I looked down and at what he had written up and it didn't reflect at all what we had talked about. He had essentially changed his mind in terms of you know, how he wanted to negotiate the end and it essentially said that "For a small sum of money, I would stop working in the agency world for a number of years. And that would be it."

Jon Voigt:                        Wow. I guess maybe the lawyer got involved a little bit and realized, you know, legally he had probably had the papers in place. So he had a bit of an upper hand there.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. And I, you know, in hindsight, I think that part of it too was maybe you know, I'll give him some you know, benefit of the doubt. I think he might have realized that maybe long term we weren't meant to be partners that there would be some conflicts in terms of how we would manage things.

Jon Voigt:                        Yep, yep.

Mark Mitton:                  But at the time it was, you know, it was pretty devastating and shocking for me. I walked out of that room not signing anything and I guess that was kind of the good news because we hadn't signed anything, it did give me the opportunity to maybe think about what was possible.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  But I walked out of that room and he sent out an email to everybody saying that I decided to leave the agency world and to the all the employees, contractors and to the clients which really wasn't the case.

Jon Voigt:                        Wow. Wow.

Mark Mitton:                  So, I had a decision to make. I did decision make, you know, do I, do I fight, do I lawyer up you know, I called a lawyer and review the situation and there was some indication that because of all the verbal agreements that also been witnessed by other people that maybe there was a strong case to be made.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  But at the same time-

Jon Voigt:                        But that's a whole journey in itself, right?

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. And you know, in- in- in any thought there was really good chance that I could win but when I looked at it and he actually gave me this advice, I love, I've loved my lawyer for this because he said, "Look, you know, you can probably win this, but you'll spend, you know, a lot of time doing this, you'll spend a lot of money with me." He said, "You know, my advice would be why don't you just think about, you know, you didn't sign anything. So why don't you just think about forming your own agency."

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And you know, to ... that was a, that was the- the best advice, I just have so much appreciate that I had a lawyer that kind of had that bigger view and big picture of, you know, there, there is what was fair or what maybe, you know, I might've been angry or what that might've motivated.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  But on the other hand there was this opportunity to maybe, you know, see what I can make of it on my own, which was, was incredibly daunting just given the whole scenario.

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  And so I'm sitting, you know, I'm, I'm thinking about this having, you know, all of these people just told that I'm leaving the agency world and I'm thinking, "Well, what do I do?" And so essentially what I had to do within the space of days and it's actually not even just minutes is I made a decision to form my own agency.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And immediately just had to think of, you know, a thousand things that needed to be done in order to now go out to employees, contractors clients and say, "Hey, I know you got this email that said this, but actually this is what's happening, and then forming an agency and you can actually trust me for the business even though, you know, at this moment all you've got is me."

Jon Voigt:                        Right, right. The interesting thing there is, you know, they talk about bad PR, any PR is good PR, you know, and whether it's PR or just, you know, them hearing that you're leaving made of ... it might've actually helped you because people are like, "Oh, what's going on? I have to listen to what's going on." And then when you send another email, they're more in tuned to listen and be like, "Oh, oh, who's the stain? Awesome ..."

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah.

Jon Voigt:                        "... Well let's, let's connect, let's, let's start working." So in a reverse psychology type of way that made it kick started some stuff.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. And I, I almost feel like I had to give this sense of inevitability and stability. And so, you know, we're working a lot of large clients. I mean, Fortune, you know, 500 clients.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And I had to convince these people that there was going to be something real, that they should spend the time to redo MSAs contracts with me as a new agency and, you know, really just had to scramble. The amazing thing that happened too was I, I think, and this is something that's important, is that I had friends and family who jumped into help.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  I had a, a, a friend who said, he said, "Look, what- what's happened here is insane." And I had kids, I had four kids to take care of," and he said, "I'm going to come over and I'm going to be at the house nonstop for the next five days."

Jon Voigt:                        Wow.

Mark Mitton:                  So that, you, you know, over the weekend in the evenings so that you can work on reforming this agency. Because I knew it had to be fast. I mean, time was of the essence if there was any feeling and, or opening where people felt like, "You know, hey, this is, you know, this is falling apart-"

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  "... you know, Mark's not going to be able to build this." You know, I knew that this all had to happen within, I mean, literally days and so and it wasn't just, you know, telling clients that there was something that they could trust that that, you know, company that they could trust that they could work with. I also had to bring over talent.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, right, right.

Mark Mitton:                  And so these employees, you know, woke up getting this message. It was really strange to them saying I had left and you know, they're wondering what's going on, but also, and you know, obviously, you know, you have loyalties to certain people. Some people had loyalty to me, but the big question was, "Well, what's, what are you doing? What- what's going to happen? Is this real? Are you really forming something? Can you actually build something?"

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  And so one of the things I did is we had kind of a number three person in the agency who was really key to all of our creative work we were doing and got him to come on board, you know, immediately ask them to go to lunch and let's talk and talk about plans and-

Jon Voigt:                        Go and get logo in your brand.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, what's the logo on a brand to be a-

Jon Voigt:                        Yep, yep.

Mark Mitton:                  You know, I was doing all of this simultaneously. And you know, I've identified him as a key person. There was another person that today is and he's been interviewed on your podcast who had just literally joined the day, this broke up-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, for-

Mark Mitton:                  For Jeff Robertson.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. So, you know, I was started to talk to him about coming on board, we had another key employee, and so, yeah, just on all fronts, I was having to, you know really convey this confidence and this inevitability that something, you know, something special, we're going to form something special that, you know, you could trust it.

Mark Mitton:                  And it was kind of like trying to get all the dominoes to, to fall at once, right simultaneously set them up and haven't followed at once so that it would all come together. And it was in like you alluded to, there was also like, "Well, what is this?" And one of my priorities was very quick to give it a name.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  So that people could say, "Oh, there's, this new agency isn't just Mark, there's actually new agency." And so I remember actually sitting in my bedroom with the doors closed, just brainstorming name after name after name after name came with about 100 names. And finally came up with one and I wasn't even sure if it was good but I started using it with people and seeing how they reacted and said, "Oh, I love your new name." And I said, "Okay, market testing is done-"

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  "... I have a name." And that ended up being the name where you went with, which was a carbonate.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah. Yeah, which just got rebranded-

Mark Mitton:                  Correct.

Jon Voigt:                        You just did think because I rebrand.

Mark Mitton:                  Correct.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, yep.

Mark Mitton:                  Yep, exactly. Carbonate was the name for the last nine years and then we just went through the rebrand this year.

Jon Voigt:                        Right, right. Wow. So, so, you know, other than, you know, customers, employees, you know, logo, the legal work you know, what other things did you have to do, you know, in those days because you know, just that stuff alone is a ton. But I'm sure there's, you know, what about projects you were actively working on? What'd you do with those? And, you know, how did you build up the Salesforce or whereas it Salesforce you, or those are obviously key things to kind of show the health of a company going forward?

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, you know, and it's often now it's all a blur, you asked me this question, I'm thinking, "Wow, how did we do all of that in a matter of days?" It was, it was kind of funny, I hate to allude to Hollywood, but there was a Mad Men episode where the, the same kind of scenario happened and they had to rebuild an agency over the weekend and they were grabbing files and, you know, figuring out how to, you know, continue working.

Mark Mitton:                  And you know, one of the things that I did was that person I said he was key, who I actually recruited and brought on as a partner had all the access to the work that we had been doing, all of the files had also the creative people under him and all of the developers for the websites we were doing underneath him.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  They were really loyal to him and so part of it was recruiting him to come on board so that we would have we've been able to retain all the assets that our clients were looking for us to work on.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  And so, you know, there was kind of a transition where there were certain projects that stayed with the former agency-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  ... but then the new work that was coming up, we were aligned and right there in front of them ready to take that on. And in a lot of these people that I was their point person, they've been working with me, they were very comfortable. And so really how it ended up was all the accounts that I had been the lead person on those really came over to the new agency and all the accounts that my partner had been the lead on those my business agency.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  So it was, there was some degree, some of a natural shift but at the same time, you know, we were both out there competing, you know, trying to see who could actually secure whatever land was available to control.

Jon Voigt:                        Wow. Almost sounds like the Wild West, just trying to be like you got to get out there quick, can we get those things cleaned up? What- what do you, you know, rebuilding a whole business in a weekend or a couple of days just seems so fast, you know? So what do you think it was that gave you the ability to adapt and adjust to the situation and, and move forward? Almost like a, you know, a rocket ship because it sounds like it just kind of took off from there in terms of momentum.

Mark Mitton:                  I would say first of all and again, I'll, I'll credit my lawyer for this inspiration, but it was putting the past behind me, meaning that it felt like a big betrayal what had happened. But that's an emotional subjective response-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, right.

Mark Mitton:                  And putting that aside and just saying what is, is and just looking for what was the opportunity versus the baggage of what had happened was, I think an emotional way or an approach way that allowed me to focus on what needs to be done. Versus lamenting what had been done or in my perception done to me, right?

Jon Voigt:                        Right. Right.

Mark Mitton:                  So I, I just think that was if there's something I'm really proud in that it was that instead of being bitter and angry or frustrated or litigious, it was this idea of, "No, there's something here that can be created." So I would say that's the first thing was just approaching this with you know, let, let's just look honestly, it's what's possible.

Jon Voigt:                        Right, right.

Mark Mitton:                  I'm a big believer that you, you have to look at your big events in life and not judge whether good or bad. And, and the interesting thing here is that if I were to make a judgment that time, I would say this is horrible. Something I've given my soul to for the last two years of being blown up.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  I mean working late nights, weekends, I mean on and on, just the, the, the how hard we worked together, but realizing that, that it's not lost there-

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  ... there's something here to be made of all of this.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, it sounds, it sounds like a lot of almost clarity and focus. And when I, when I think about focus is, you know, not just focusing on the next thing, but also the ability to you know, drop other things or things that are bugging you or you know, things in the side that prevent you from being focused. So it sounds like you were able to refocus on that new idea, that new concept, which was the one provided by our lawyer and, you know, kind of wash away all the other things and just move forward.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, and, you know, I even did that with the clients when they said what, what has happened there.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  I got ... there was no conversation of any of the baggage in, in almost all cases, it was just we decided to part ways, we have different vision where things can go, this is where I'm going.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  So for clients I didn't want to draw anybody into any type of drama, it was just, "Hey, this is what we're forming, this is what we're going to do." And I think. So you kind of asked what was the key there, I think one of them was just letting go-

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  ... of the baggage so that I could see a pathway clearly forward. And the other thing that was important was this positive sense of inevitability what we are creating, you know, this is, this is what I'm doing, this is going to happen. And giving that confidence so that other people could say, "Oh, okay, well I'll come on a partner and I'll bring over all these assets. I'll come over as an employee, I'll come on as a client."

Mark Mitton:                  And once those things started to come in place, we had a name, we had illegal legal registration and people felt like it was something real. Very quickly you know, the momentum started and this all happened in July of that year and by December of that year we actually had, gosh, I think we were almost up to a million in revenue.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  And so yeah, it was amazing. We were profitable and we had a new office and everything came in place. So I would say those are probably the two key things and of course working like hell-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  ... you know, and saying hours to make it all happen, you know?

Jon Voigt:                        Right, right. Yeah. But the funny thing is, is you know, you're probably not here sitting worrying about those insane hours, because you followed your passion and you, you drove forward and, you know, you, you have to do that sometimes to make a change being out of your comfort zone, making a big shift, adapting and takes a little bit more energy when you do it.

Jon Voigt:                        But the rewards and the payoff you know, after you get on that new, that new course, that new trajectory can be huge.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah.

Jon Voigt:                        So what about, you know, negatives from it? You know, did you have any things that really blew up or any things that caught you off guard or was it, you know, all thumbs up all the entire way?

Mark Mitton:                  I mean, now it's kind of easy to look back and feel like, wow, that, that really worked out. At the time, it was incredibly scary. You know, I just, I didn't know, you know, what might happen, I didn't know whether these clients are really come on board. I didn't know what my former partner might be doing, so there was just this real even though it, it ended up in hindsight all coming together really well, I, I would say for the first five or six months, you know, I just woke up every day with a panic, right?

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  Which again, motivated action. But no, I mean, you know, the way what's interesting about this is that, you know, well, I didn't like what went down in the end it, it was really the best thing and it turned out to be just this huge positive thing in my life, which I, I began kind of ... It was, it was one of these lessons where I think there's these moments where things happen in your life and you perceive them as this is horrible.

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  And you know, I guess sometimes they can be right? You know, I don't mean to say that everything was turns out rosy, but what's, what's odd for me is that I look at that event and a few others that I've had in my career. What's odd for me is those events within the moment looked like they're horrible often or this opportunity to do something drastic or different or change, and it ends up being monumental or important to where your journey goes and new things and that you're able to do. And so you know, it's, I look back it as a very dramatic and intense time period-

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  ... but I'm actually incredibly grateful for it because it was the, it was the beginning of something really exciting for me.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah. Yeah. I often talk about the concept of living life in almost like a cycle, you're working on something and you're doing whatever and it's kind of like you're on this train just going along, doing the same thing and, and when the track veers and you do something massive, massive shift, you know, it's super scary. You can be fumbling, you know, it could be all these mess ups but you're getting out of a cycle. You're breaking something and the only opportunity when you do that is massive learning and a new adventure.

Jon Voigt:                        So, you know, it may be really scary, it may be you know, out of your comfort zone and bad things may happen, but the positives can, out, massively outweigh the negatives in the long run. That's my viewpoint on it. So every time, you know, there's something crazy happens at home or at work or whatever, the best thing you can do is take the, the positives from it.

Jon Voigt:                        And all the winds from it and move forward. How did you maintain the passion you know, like you said, that, you know, their second, you know, big benefit with or, or thing you did was just pushing through and, and believing you could do it. And fighting, you know, how did you keep that energy when, you know, this came out of nowhere? It kind of, you know, surprised you, maybe beat you down a little bit at first in terms of something new. Right?

Mark Mitton:                  Right.

Jon Voigt:                        So you come around and be like, you know what, I'm going to do this. And how did you wake up every day doing that when it was so difficult?

Mark Mitton:                  Well, no, you're exactly right because, you know, you've, I felt like, oh, we paid our dues for last two and a half years and maybe the next two years this can be a little bit more sane, I can have more of a personal life and have more of you know, normal working schedule. Right. So you think you're turning the corner and it's exactly the office.

Jon Voigt:                        Right. Right.

Mark Mitton:                  I won't lie there was there was a little bit of a competitive nature in me, where it was kind of like, "Oh, you want to do this? We'll just watch what we can do." Right, so there was a little ...

Jon Voigt:                        Okay, that's, that's powerful though. That's powerful right?

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, so there was a little bit of competitive nature, but ultimately I think the most powerful motivations are those that are just more on a just on a more positive side where you're, you're just trying to, to, to make a difference and, and create something important and, and meaningful and so well that was always kind of the back of my mind and it was a, a nice kind of playful thing. Like, "Hey, how are we doing?" Versus the previous agency.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  Mostly it was about, I, I, I think that only goes so far. You know, defining your life and opposite or competition somebody else is, is ultimately not really as meaningful as let's create something amazing together.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  And I, that, I think that's what was more of the motivation of, you know, "Okay, it's on my shoulders now and you know, I, and my partners and what are we going to build together?"

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  Now, we've been given this, this amazing opportunity, so, so let's not let's not squander it, let's do something special.

Jon Voigt:                        For sure. And was there any points where the stress was high enough that you were like, maybe I don't want to keep doing this? Or you know, maybe I have to change something or was it, you know, there was enough winds that, you know, it just kept growing up to now and onwards that, you know, it just kept on, you know, chugging along?

Mark Mitton:                  There's, you know, they often say that you know, you wouldn't start a company if you knew what you're going to go through.

Jon Voigt:                        Oh yeah, I've heard that-

Mark Mitton:                  In hindsight.

Jon Voigt:                        (laughing)

Mark Mitton:                  You know, so, some of that naivete is important. And, and I, there are times where it's just, you know, it's brutal, you know. I remember one time we, we won a huge contract, we weren't getting paid on it forever and then I started looking ahead and saw we might have a cash crunch and just those gut wrenching things that happen-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah.

Mark Mitton:                  ... as a, as a business owner where you're like, "Well, wait, how am I going to cover this?" In the end it worked out fine but those, but those types of moments that have happened over the years and, you know, you kind of want to, you, you wish you could just go in a corner of a Fortune 500 company and take your check home sometimes.

Mark Mitton:                  But I mean ultimately though the joy and excitement of, of what you can build with a team and what you can build together I think is really more powerful than, at least for me personally than the safety or cocoon of a, of a solid job.

Jon Voigt:                        Right.

Mark Mitton:                  Which I don't think really exists much in this day and age. But yeah I think those kinds of, you know, it wasn't, we didn't have, you know, brutal or heart-wrenching, or scary times or you know but I think just that underlying excitement-

Jon Voigt:                        Mm-hmm.

Mark Mitton:                  ... of, "Okay, this is our crap that's going on, but it's our crap and we can solve it." You know?

Jon Voigt:                        Right. Right. Right. Well, I just, I just love that kind of whole concept that, you know, you never really trapped you never really stuck doing what you're doing and you said it there, but being in, in a job or whether you're starting a new business or whatever it may be, often we feel kind of trapped that, "Oh, I just have to keep doing X, Y and Z, because I don't have another option."

Jon Voigt:                        But, you know, there's so many options out there and so many ways you can adjust and change and, and, and do different things. And if you have the right passion for it and you have a, a good vision of what you want to do, as you said, you know, you rebuilt the company in a few days, which is, you know, most people will take years to kind of launch a company and versus an idea in their mind. Right? And then it has to go through all these phases. It just shows how quickly you can, you can really move if you, if you're really determined.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, and I like what you're saying and I, I do have to give you know, a lot of credit to my first partner that I've been talking about because as I made this decision that I wasn't going to go back to the corporate world, I make it sound like it was decision and, and it was. But I'll tell you, there was so much wavering and fear.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, for sure.

Mark Mitton:                  And, and he said something to me as, as we were kind of forming together and I was having cold feet. He said something that literally changed my life. And he said, he said, "Mark, you just don't get it." He said, "I am doing this no matter what happens."

Jon Voigt:                        Love it. Love it.

Mark Mitton:                  He said, "I don't care. I don't care if I go bankrupt. I don't care if I'm ashamed. You know, I have a kid, but you know, grandma and grandpa have money for him there ..." He's not going to go hungry. You know, we might get kicked out of our house, I might get foreclosed on. He said, he says, "You don't get it, I am doing this no matter what. I don't care what happens."

Jon Voigt:                        Yep.

Mark Mitton:                  And that was a moment where I, you know, I had a responsibility of a family, you know, for kids and that type of, that type of language is a little scary as, as a, as a father-

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, yep.

Mark Mitton:                  You know, to just say, "Okay, I'm going to do that," but that really is what, what caused me to put both feet firmly into building something with him. And that made all the difference. It was amazing to me that somehow that little bit of wave in the back of my mind where I was like, "Oh yeah, I want to do this," but maybe, maybe it won't work out, maybe I'll have to go back. When I finally, you know, just followed his lead and said, "All right, I'm in 100% and I'm dedicated, this come hell or high, what we're going to build something. And it was, I don't know, it's almost mystical or you know just how that suddenly made all the difference in terms of what started to happen for us as a company together.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, yeah, it's interesting. And relates back to one of my first podcasts around curiosity and you know, being curious to go try something or do something different, but I think it adds on top of that, you know, that drive on top of it. Because, you know, we often are scared to do something because we overthink with what a negative result will be.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah.

Jon Voigt:                        But the, we don't overthink what the positive result will be enough. You know, we're always like, "What can I do it? You know, when I land on my feet?" And it's just like stop and think about if you don't land on your feet, well, all the positives of that, you know, you'll learn, you'll grow, you'll, you know, all these different things. You know, failure is actually one of the best ways to grow. So, I love that you took that leap, but almost twice there, right? Because you know, the first time is when you started everything to begin with and then the second time is when you re- rebranded or rebuilt the whole, whole company. So congrats on that.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah.

Jon Voigt:                        And now through another rebrand. So it's just like another, another journey.

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah. Well, yeah and you know a year ago we actually came to this great point where everything we had built we out of the blue, we received an offer for, you know, to purchase and, and sold a good percent of the company and now we're, you know, a part of something bigger. So that was, you know, it was just really exciting thinking back about the nine years and the fact that we, you know, remade the company, built it into something that eventually another, large company thought was super special and valuable and has now acquired us and we're part of this bigger agency family now. So that's, that's pretty satisfying.

Jon Voigt:                        Yeah, definitely. Well, congrats on that. So if, if they want to reach out to you, and find you, how can they do that?

Mark Mitton:                  Yeah, sure. They can reach me at mark.mitton@9thwonder, or they can find me on LinkedIn under Mark Mitton at 9thWonder and give me a shout out there.

Jon Voigt:                        Awesome. Well thanks, Mark. I really appreciate you taking the time and still an awe about to how quickly you launched the, the business at that time but it just shows how you know, agile and flexible people can be and what the rewards of that can, can turn into.

Mark Mitton:                  Awesome. Thanks so much, this has been fun to talk about it.

Jon Voigt:                        Definitely. Okay, take care.

Mark Mitton:                  Take care.

Jon Voigt:                        Thanks a lot everyone for spending some time with us today. You've just taken the first step towards more fulfilling life. To continue the journey, I'd love if you subscribe to my podcast, that way you won't miss out on the small little detail that can make the biggest difference in your life. You can also join our community on Facebook, we've just started a community there of digital leaders that want to do more with less and all you have to do is go to Facebook, then type in the search bar, the Agile Living and join the group there. If you want to hear more about this topic or have any topic of your own, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Jon Voigt:                        I love talking about this stuff, happy to talk about it offline as well. So now let's get out there and make a difference by doing more with less. Until next week. This is Jon saying, stay agile.

 

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