February marked my 4th month of my journey into agency life as a HubSpot Partner. It was also my first full month working at the agency since finishing up paternity leave. It was by far my most challenging month since finishing my nearly 5 years working as a HubSpot employee.
This month began with uncovering client issues, billing problems, and staff inefficiency. The middle of the month consisted of reorganization, emergency content production sessions and pulling off an abrupt pivot into a more stable retainer/business model. By the end of the month, thanks to the team pulling together and a ton of extra hours and hustle, it felt like I was in the pilot's seat of a plane that began to pull out of it's nose dive and we were starting to soar back up to a promising future (for ourselves as well as our work with our clients and partners in the inbound community.)
Nobody had illusions that this new role would be easy for me, I just had no idea running an inbound agency could be this hard. As I think you're hear and see blow, I've done my best to embrace the challenges and rally our team and our clients to the cause...
I had debated a lot about what to title this post. It could have been called "Month 4 - it gets real" or "Month 4 - into the crucible", but ultimately, what we did was kindof a reset on how we work - in our roles and with our clients - as of this writing, we are still very much in the middle of pulling off that reset, so that's why I dubbed February as the month that the IMR team started over, and started to rethink how best to do inbound as a HubSpot Partner Agency.
My boy Grantham Sal had my back on month 4 of this journey from my world inside HubSpot Inc into life leading a HubSpot Agency Partner...
I have been in the process of publishing this post for what seems like weeks. Balancing the new job, the new baby, and all that comes with both actually squeezed out a lot of my descresionary time (I know the parents and entreprenuers reading this are smiling and nodding). BUT, I am committed to transparency and sharing with all of you what I'm learning on this entrepreneurial adventure - so I hope you will accept the rest of this post consisting of an AUDIO recap and a bit of a slide show of some of the best images I shot from my phone while on the job in Feb.
The best thing to do is keep this post open, play the audio file, and scroll through the images as you listen to get some visuals to go with what I'm describing....
We finally got some snow in early Feb. Our February kick off/team meeting had to be held remotely due to a snow emergency!
Business audiobook that I finished during my commute in February: Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey (recommended by my team leader at HubSpot Academy, Mark Kilens)
IMR does our monthly HubSpot HQ invasion on 2/11. [Left] I spotted my former Partner teammate Al Biedrzycki! [Right] Ross shows off our upcoming UX interview with HubSpot product designer Kyle Geiste.
2nd official "Pimp my office" day @ IMR HQ took place at the end of week 2. A group of us donated another Saturday afternoon to improving the look and the flow of our workspace. Everybody felt the change on Monday with a more open lay out and the new striking blue wall! [Left] Larry puts his years of painting skills to work. [Right] Kevin flexes his handiman skills in taking down some "excess" barriers in our cubes to open them up some more.
Week 3 brought the HubSpot Platinum and Diamond Partner Kick Off (PDK). [Left] New head of the HubSpot Partner program, David O'Neil tells his story of how he came into this role and how excited he felt like the winning team at the Superbowl. [Right] Long time Partner/Channel marketing leader Patrick Shea introduces HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan to give us all some "growth strategy 101" based on his experience managing the growth of HubSpot. Very candid, very inspiring stuff. All "inside baseball" for HubSpot's leading Partner's ears only, so I can't say much more about it here ;)
I see "edu marketing" everywhere now:
Since IMR also specializes in providing inbound implementation for educational institutions, I am geeking out a lot more on marketing I encounter/receive from educational institions lately.
Watch me geek out about a valentines day direct mail campaign I received from my alma mater, Union College
The Q1 Boston HubSpot User Group (HUG) meetup. Dave Orecchio of Bristol Strategies [pictured above] was the meeting's presenter. He partners with our agency and uses IMR's content strategy blueprintto deliver services to his HubSpot clients.
My friend Max Traylor continues to be a driving force for IMR on the biz dev front. This is a pic of him and I on one of a few "Zoom meetings" we had with prospects in February. I'm becoming a big fan of the Zoom platform...
We made our growth number: We hit our new client and revenue targets for February. Without a moment to lose!
Watch: Larry "Dings!" the deal we needed to hit our February goal - this was a tradition we brought over from HubSpot's sales team. When a new deal is closed, you "ding!" the bell and get recognized for your contribution to the team.
Our struggles in Feb helped us uncover what we truly value in our organization...
As February drew to a close, I finally had a chance to finish version 1.0 of the Innovative Marketing Resources' Team Principles [pictured above]. These were designed based on input gathered across the team and I presented them during our March kick off. Stay tuned for how these get applied and evolve throughout the month ahead!
How's the baby doing?
This was the cutest picture I took the month of February of my son, Grantham. It's now on my desk at work. Don't you just want to EAT him?!
Being a #HubSpotter first:
This was the pic of me watching the Feb episode of the HubSpot Partner Broadcast that I tweeted out via #HubPartner - and it made it into the HubSpot Weekly Internal Newsletter (the W.I.N.) which I can tell you is read by EVERYBODY inside HubSpot Inc. I was honored to be featured in there for the first time on the outside! As you can see, I still bleed orange PLENTY. :)
Now, before you go, your turn to share:
What did you think of my format for this episode? A balance of in-depth commentary via the audio file and lighter format for the rest of the body (mostly images with captions?) Strengths/weaknesses? Leave a comment!
Did you listen to the audio file? Was it worth it? WHY/WHY NOT? Any feedback on what I chose to share and how? Was it too raw? Too professional? Less jargon? MORE jargon?? Let me know below...
If you're part of an inbound agency, and you listened to my audio recap, I'd love to know, can you relate? Did you address similar challenges? If so, did you fix them? How? Please share in the comments below?