From Micromanager to Visionary: How to Know When Agency Owners Are Ready to Let Go with Rachel Gertz

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Today we are diving into the struggles agency owners face when it comes to letting go and delegating responsibilities. Joined by special guest Rachel Gertz, co-founder of Louder Than Ten, we explore the typical growth journey and share common indicators that agency owners are ready to delegate. 

From the importance of project managers to building a brand that is not defined by the owner, this episode offers insights and advice to help agency owners transition from micromanagers to visionaries. Learn how to build a strong foundation for your agency's growth and overcome the hurdles of letting go.

Topics Covered In This Episode:

[00:54] Introduction to Rachel Gertz, co-founder of Louder Than Ten, helping agencies improve project management

[04:01] When should you hire your first project manager/account manager?

[07:10] Working on your mindset to learn to ‘let go’

[08:46] Separating the leader from the brand 

[11:04] Knowing when you are ready to let get.  Trust and communication

[14:01] Plugging the gap between the owner and the rest of the team

[16:50] What systems do you need to put in place to ensure you can consistently grow?

[21:40] Training your account managers to respond effectively to clients and not just be ‘people pleasers’!

[22:20] 5 answers you can give when a client asks ‘can you just…’.

[24:15] Can you train an AM to become a PM and vice versa?

[27:56] What are the basic tools and systems to put in place?

[31:54] What company KPIs should you share with your team?


“Having a system of communication whereby individuals can pull insights from the person who is the knowledge holder can totally flip a dynamic and make delegation and scaling much easier.” — Rachel Gertz
"My belief is that project managers can make great account managers. However, not all account managers can make great project managers.” — Rachel Gertz
“The sooner we teach our teams to have a commercial mindset and understand what profit means, the better.” — Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

Rob Da Costa [00:00:00]:

As your agency grows, you're gonna get to a point where you need to start letting go. And that's the question that we are tackling in today's podcast. When do you know you're ready to start letting go and what infrastructure do you need to put in place both in terms of people and to some processes to confidently start letting go and know that the work will still be delivered to a good standard and on time and when in budget. Now I'm joined by someone who knows all about this and works with agencies to train their account managers and project managers to be able to both technically and commercially-run profitable projects. We're gonna talk about mindset and how it's so important to get that right, and we're gonna dig into some of the strategies to help agency owners see the bigger picture and therefore confidently let go. So action-packed, valuable episode and let's jump into the show. I'm Rob De Costa, and this is the agency accelerator podcast.

Rob Da Costa [00:00:54]:

As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started grown and sold my own age see, and adjust how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guests' experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable business. Hey, everybody. And welcome to this week's episode of the agency accelerator podcast. I am really excited to have with me today, Rachel Gurt, and Rachel is the co-founder and the directory of delivery and growth at Louder Than Ten, where she helps small to midsize agencies transform their project management operations through hands-on training and consulting. So welcome to the show, Rachel. Now I'm sure you've seen the same challenges me that as agency owners, ultimately, they need to get out of their own way if they want to grow their agency. So Today, I want to discuss that big question of how do you know when the owner is ready to start letting go and delegating more to the rest of the team. So do you wanna kick things off, Rachel, by describing the typical journey that agencies take in their growth and share with the audience, what you see as the common indicators that the agency owner is ready to let go of certain aspects of their business and, indeed, why that's so important.

Rachel Gertz [00:02:19]:

Excellent. Yeah, Rob. Thanks so much for having me. So we typically will work with small to medium-sized agencies. Our selves. We focus on software and creative, anything around web apps, even platforms as well. And what we commonly notice is when folks are first getting started, they will be, you know, usually maybe a designer, a developer, a writer, or maybe sometimes a project manager of their own right. And they'll start their business with the idea that you know, they can design, develop, and create content in a way that will allow them to take on a few clients here and there. Right? But at that, like, standard freelancer journey, there are some folks I think that you've probably encountered as well that have this, like, grander visions of, like, I want a digital agency. But I would actually be curious if you see more of that or less of that on your side.

Rob Da Costa [00:03:09]:

Well, I think, like you say, most people start off freelancing kind of proving the concept in a way. And then they get super busy, and they get to this kind of crossroads where they need to decide, am I gonna stay a freelance for maybe increase my prices and be more choosely about the work I take on, or am I gonna grow my capacity and, therefore, move from being that freelancer mindset to actually growing an agency? But I think in the 1st few years, right, we're just trying to prove that we can make it work, and we're not having that grand division. And in my experience, they hit some kind of roadblock. which is probably when they reach out to you or when they reach out to me, and they say, okay. Like, I've got as far as I can based on what I don't know or what I do know. so I need some help to get to that next stage. So I think, yeah, people probably do get to a point where they say, right, I wanna have this grand division, and can you help me with that?

Rachel Gertz [00:04:01]:

Exactly. Yes. And I'd say that lies up a lot with how we tend to see things as well. So we see typically a company that's around, like, five people to seven people. That's when they first start looking at hiring, like, their first project manager. A lot of those folks that get hired might have different titles like account manager or coordinator, or sometimes they're called digital producers. And I think even in the UK, it's delivery managers. But this role is usually defining in that, you know, the agency owners, like, we want to have it separating that individual owner from having to do that project management work, which usually is how it starts. Right? And as they get more versed in business development and sales are focused more on the visioning of the company, and they are seeking that growth, then that that desire to separate into a separate PM discipline is what we tend to see. I'll kinda talk about how that ends up showing up in many companies in a minute, but As they scale, you know, you may tend to recommend that folks will add an additional PM for every 5 to 7 folks in the company. regardless of whether those folks are billable or not, just just based on the scalability of the project team size. And so once they get into that kind of middle small size of 10 to 15. It's like, hey. We gotta start looking at really defining and honing those operations and processes. You can get by between 5 to 10, like, with some rough process, some operational guidelines, and some playbooks. But if you don't dial it by the time you get to 10 to 15, I feel strongly that folks are going to start feeling credible dissatisfaction with their companies, and a lot of processes will typically break down every 18 months or less, and every time you double in eyes. So I'm not sure if that's what you see, Rob, as well.

Rob Da Costa [00:05:49]:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's like I always say it's like building a business on quick sandal but trying to build a house without any foundations that you know, you may be able to build the first level of a house, but when you try to put the second story on because you've got no foundations, things that work on the first story won't work on the second story. So I think that's absolutely true. Before we dig into that though, Rachel, I just wanna talk a little bit about mindset because I'm sure you see this as well. One of the challenges I see a lot of agency owners is letting go. Like, they're I think by definition, I don't mean this rudely to the audience. But by definition, they're control freaks. They're entrepreneurs. They think they know best. They've you know, they think no one will do it as well as them or as fast as them. So they really struggle to let go. So they might intellectually understand that I need to put this team in. I need to hire some kind of client service, project manager, account manager type people. They intellectually get that, but they may be emotionally struggling to actually let go. And then that causes all sorts of problems in itself. Right? So do you see that as well, and how would you start helping people overcome that?

Rachel Gertz [00:07:03]:

Yeah. Absolutely. I think a lot of that does come back to mindset. And the idea of if if an individual owner sees the capacity for that team to grow beyond them. And they can even imagine things like, yeah. What would it be like to take a month-long sabbatical? Or what would it like to have each of my delivery leads actually have a focus where I'm not involved or I'm just the final, say, the final proof for, like, looking at it from the angle of first of all, can you even imagine a future where that could be the case? I'm shocked actually how many folks that I've I've spoken with who are not able to visualize the future of their company. They're so so trapped in the cash flow cycles, and they're so trapped in the hiring cycles. Is that what you're seeing as well, Ram?

Rob Da Costa [00:07:50]:

Yeah. I often talk about it as the client service hamster wheel of doom So, you know, they're they're stuck on this client service mode. They want to make sure that they are excelling with their clients, and they're keeping their clients, and they And therefore, at the beck and call of all their clients all the time, and that gives them no bandwidth to delegate. It gives them no bandwidth to think about the future. it gives them no bandwidth to really implement the systems and processes that are gonna create the infrastructure for growth. So it's sort of a cycle that we have to try and break people out of. How would you I'm putting you on the spot here a bit, Rachel? But how would you go about if you were talking to an agency owner who was running this belief and sort of saying to you, yes? I understand what you're saying, but I don't trust my team to do it. I don't trust people to let go. And, anyway, all the clients are always asking for me. So even if I try to delegate their client still wants me on their account. I'm sure you've heard that many times like I have. What would you say and do in that situation?

Rachel Gertz [00:08:46]:

Yeah. I think this happens very frequently. And I think a lot of this has to come back to I wanna ask them, like, what what do you want out of this business? Because if you want to have this type of relationship where you're feeling that this business is running you, This actually comes back to a concept I think of entanglement. Right? It's like my business is my identity. And if you believe that, then it will be. And, of course, nobody else can replace you because then what would that mean? Who would you be? What would you be? Right? So I would start talking about the ability to like, sit back and think about it from, does this business actually define who you are and what you are, or can you imagine that this business is designed here to make that you can live the life that you wanna be able to live. These are very difficult questions, and I don't wanna make it sound very, you know, trite at all to be able to separate that. That's for many people, there's trauma around identity and our work identities. Right? We become our identities at work because maybe at home, we didn't have one that we could feel safe to express or maybe working hard was a quality that was very valuable in our society in the way that we related to the work that we did. So I think it's not an easy process. I think it's almost easier for me to talk about the things to watch for in terms of folks who are not ready to let go and then to frame it in when they are if that's okay.

Rob Da Costa [00:10:27]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I just wanted to jump in there a couple of things really because I think it's so interesting what you said. And I think a lot of it is society because if you were at a party and someone said to you, what do you do? Most people would answer by I run an agency. No one would say, oh, I'm a father, and I'm a marathon runner and all the other things would they I think it's very conditioned to us. And the very personal story for me is that I was what you just described when I ran my agency. And when I sold my agency, it was actually a really difficult time because my was sort of almost taken away from me. So I think it's really good to be watchful of what you just said. And why don't you jump in by talking about you know, the things to watch for and to know when you're ready.

Rachel Gertz [00:11:04]:

Well, I think a lot of the things that I notice you know, agency owners or sometimes it'll be their directors will approach us and say, you know, I have a team of PMs, but they just don't get it. They just don't understand. I can you fix our PMs? And I think a lot of this comes back to the idea that most of the issues that are happening in an agency, like, there's this concept of something called organizational trauma, and that means that whatever baggage you brought in as a founder or owner, that is gonna replay a play out over and over again regardless of who you have in which roles. And if you have to replace those roles repeatedly, like, let's say you just can't get those great PMs. They just can't stay at the organ. They always leave. It's actually not the PMs. Right? There is a deeper issue. It's even deeper than the process it's relational trauma to the understanding of the function of project management operations or to your ability to let go. So I watch for this language when I'm having these conversations, and this allows me to start asking, you know, open-ended questions about how they imagine things could be different. And what I look for then is if they can see and picture having a situation where they could trust their PMs to be able to be autonomous, to be strategic thinkers, to be able to lead, and it would be independent of control from them being like, I need to step in because, like, they will often step in. Right? Swoop and poop, come in and say, well, that's not how I would do it. Let me just handle that. We actually have an exercise that we run a project life cycle exercise where folks will do like a business process diagram. and we'll invite all stakeholders who are impacted by or impact the direction of PM ops. What I watch for during these workshop working sessions as the facilitator is, is the owner jumping in a lot. Are they speaking for their team a lot? Are they actually moving things found in the swim lanes that the individuals on the team the the leaders of the team are supposed to be designed to run themselves? So this all shows me these little indicators of behaviour that are, like, jumping in or not trusting. And it's so common to not trust when you don't see a path for how that trust can be built. Luckily, there are ways to do that.

Rob Da Costa [00:13:23]:

Yeah. I think that's a good challenge. I'm sure A lot of people are gonna be listening to you nodding their heads and going, yep. That's me. I think one of the challenges and I don't know if you can talk to this. But one, of the challenges, is often when we hire our first people, our first project manager, our first account managers, or our first client delivery people, we often don't have the budget to hire very senior people. And what we think is we'll hire junior people, and we'll train them in our like, and we'll they'll grow with our business. And that's a fine strategy to a certain extent. But what it does is it perpetuate this gap between the owner or the senior team and the rest of the agencies. How do you go? How do you go about plugging that gap?

Rachel Gertz [00:14:01]:

Oh, yeah. That's beautiful. I'm glad you mentioned that, actually, because I see that all the time, and it is usually cost savings. And then it does actually put that kind of negative pressure on the system where that individual will be trained up in all the bad habits. of the owner or just develop them in the trenches as they're working. So, typically, what we're looking at here is we love to look at it from a systems level. So we'll try to help. It's really valuable for the owner and that PM or any of those, like, delivery to be involved in conversations regularly with the owner so that the owner can understand not just the importance of PM because I would I would venture to guess that most people who run agencies yes. Project management is important. They just might not understand the function and true, you know, the invisibility of the role and how that actually means that you can't see it when it's working really well. So when those folks are actually you know, we'll say things like, okay. if you're going to experience training and you wanna put your PMs through that, you want them to learn. Chances are there's going to be some very strong systems-level thinking changes that if they can zoom out, they can also provide that insight back that you're going to be like, oh, actually, I never thought of it that way. I usually thought a PM is just task pushing or coordination from A to B rather than as a project leader. how might I look at scope creep as an opportunity to turn that into a better relation working relationship with a client and get them excited about the future and then say, okay? Well, we can't do that in this sprint. But what if we could do that in the next sprint? So I know that is almost bordering on account management skills. My personal belief being that PMs should probably have a good set of AM skills. But to the owner, backing out to that systems-level focus enables them to be speaking the same language. And I don't know about Europe, but the biggest issue that I commonly hear about is how owners will say they just don't know how to speak the language of business. They just don't get it. What is new while the delivery team is, I'm trying to explain But my the founder and that my boss does not get me. They don't understand these pressures that I'm facing every single day. and they're on the line every single day to deliver that value.

Rob Da Costa [00:16:23]:

Yeah. No. That's such a good chat. And often they're coming from 2 very different contexts because the PM is trying to please the client and deliver the work, and the owner is thinking of commerciality and profit and the next piece of business so we've gotta get those things aligned. Talk to us about some of the systems and processes that we probably need to put in place. So I'm now I've changed my mindset as the owner. I'm realizing I need to hire people and let go. I'm gonna hire my second, third, project manager, and account manager, what systems do I need to put in place to make sure that this all doesn't fall over as I get bigger?

Rachel Gertz [00:16:44]:

Yeah. So a lot of the time, owners will approach us, and they think that the solution is, like, we gotta get the right tool. Right? And so that's usually how they find us by accident. They'll be looking for the best project management tool, and it'll be like, oh, louder than 10. But we're not a tool company. We're a training company. And what we all wanna tell them is that when you have the ability to have at least basic documentation around what is absolutely vital in terms of the sales-to-project handover process. Right? Those are those pivotal points. It's like between the actual phases, and then a handover is between, say, like, design and content and development, those areas are vital to document because so much gets lost in handovers. oftentimes, what you'll see is sales folks will push information onto the delivery team and be, like, ready to go, and the delivery team's, like, I think I got most of that, but in reality, right, there's probably some pretty significant communication breakdowns. So having a system of communication whereby individuals can pull that communication from the person who is the knowledge holder can totally flip a dynamic and make for a really powerful change to the process for the team. That can look like just having someone who is delivering the knowledge sit down at the table during a pre-kick-off, and then each individual around the table will note some questions, and you give time in the beginning for this to happen. And then each person asks a question. The answer gives that one answer, and then the next person they can't they can clarify or the next person can start with their question, but it's not a push. It's a pull. And I think even in that small you know, that small size, the difference between pushing information, pushing expectations, pushing ideals, versus pulling that out and encouragement and asking, hey. If this was the way of our company, and we define the what together. How might you go about doing that? Because it doesn't matter necessarily how you get there. Right? It's all about whether or not that's going to achieve you with what you set in place.

Rob Da Costa [00:19:10]:

Yeah. That's very, very great. And good advice, I think. I often see this almost contradiction between the account management and the project management function. So even the project manager and the delivery team. So the project manager might say, right, we need to do what I've agreed with the client. We're gonna do this. Can you get on and do it and then the designer or the writer is aware of saying, well, I'm stacked. I can't I can't do it. Or, actually, the fee that you've quoted to do this piece of work can never be done within what you've agreed, we won't be able to do a good job. So I guess communication becomes super important to make sure that those functions are aligned between, you know, the client and also the people that are delivering the work internally.

Rachel Gertz [00:19:57]:

Totally. I'd say having a basic understanding of how requirements happen in the organization, like, where do they develop. Who develops them? Who gets to weigh in on those? at what points in the process do you get to weigh in? Probably what you see, Robin, I see this too, is that we predetermine a scope before we truly understand it, and then we lock it in. And then we go, okay. Well, we can't actually deliver that. So can we all work harder now? And it just it doesn't work. Right? So having the ability to understand that project a will evolve into project b. It will. That's its default mode to change. And if we build that change in adaptability into that system, and we have those great checking points. That's where that relationship building can happen, not only between clients and team, between owners and delivery, right, and between the folks who lead projects.

Rob Da Costa [00:20:49]:

Yeah. I mean, it's that old adage of you know, the person who's dealing with the client just wants to delight the client and say yes to all their demand and then the project team back in the office has actually gotta deliver it, and that might not always be possible.

Rachel Gertz [00:21:03]:

Yeah. I would be super curious on your take on this and without getting too off-topic here, I find that oftentimes account management, it can almost be indicative of people-pleasing behaviour where it's like, yes, we can, even when we can't. And when you have that pushing of information from a client to an account manager to a PM and the delivery team, that can actually undermine the entire process if it's not done in a way where PM AM are aligned on those system dynamics. and I do think each of them has something to gain there. What are your thoughts on that?

Rob Da Costa [00:21:40]:

Yeah. I no. Listen. I think it's the big difference between me having a partnership relationship with the client versus me having a very imbalanced customer-supplier. where the supply just feels like they have to say yes because if they say no or push back, they're gonna lose the client. But if we can build more respectful partner relationships with our clients, then it becomes a bit easier to manage that. And, of course, that means that we have to train the client-facing people, the client services team will be the account management team, to be to have the courage to actually say to a client. Like you said earlier with scope creep. Yes. We can do. I always say to people, there's 5 answers to a question when a client says, can you just do this? There are 5 answers you can give. and a lot of people think there are only 2 answers. And the 2 answers, they think, oh, yes. We can do it or not. We can't. And no one wants to say no. We can't, so they say yes. We can. where in fact, the 5 answers as far as I see, if I can remember them are, obviously, yes, we can do it. Yes, we can do it, but not until this date. Yes. We can do it, but we need to swap something else out in the plan. Yes. We can do it, and it will cost you this much extra money because it's not in the scope of work. And, of course, the 5th one being, no. We can't do it. So I think it's so important that we train our client-facing teams or our account managers to understand that those are the responses they can have with the client.

Rachel Gertz [00:22:59]:

Yeah. That's beautiful. I like the way that you worded that, and that comes back so much to I see, like, these opportunities to learn from folks that are doing more, like, maybe logical sequential work. So imagine, like, you have engineers. They're Their entire world is about logical statements. If this then that. Right? And so imagine having those conversations between either accounts and delivery or PM in delivery where you're actually looking at, like, rehringing that conversation based on if we do this, then we do that. And those common patterns that break down are usually in that complexity around development or we can't do that, you know, like, taking a design, and we can't do that in engineering. So I think that there's some beautiful things that can happen when you have different practice areas come together in workshops and actually teach each other how to imbue some of those skills that they each have within their collective focus area. It's beautiful to watch.

Rob Da Costa [00:24:01]:

Yeah. So let me let me ask you a question about that before we jump back onto the systems and processes, which is do you think you can train an account manager to become a project manager and vice versa?

Rachel Gertz [00:24:15]:

Oh, I love this question. Okay. So I think that my belief is that project managers can make great account managers. However, not all account managers can make great project managers. And I think the reason is that there like, I think maybe you've had this conversation previously in other episodes, but the idea of the ability to see into the weeds, be in the weeds but also have that ten thousand foot view. And so what we're looking for usually is the ability to zoom out the ability to be thoughtful, the ability to be reflective, the ability to look at continuous improvement from a project management standpoint that will indicate to us This person is capable fully capable of taking on account related tasks. And most, I'd say 90% of the PMs that come to us are client-facing. They are doing that account management split and or digital production, so they're doing the implementation work as well as leading the project. on the flip side, and this is not a knock against any account managers. But there is a special skill set involved in sales and managing accounts where you have to be able to look at the wide open spaces, the greenfield, the blue sky, looking at that, and having a vision that doesn't always need to be tied back down to delivery constraints in reality. It's really helpful when it is. But sometimes using those parts of the brain and then trying to bring it back home, like, from divergent down to convergent thinking can be very, very difficult. And that's just a practice that not everybody needs to be able to do. There's special skill sets for both types of folks. But I do look for that ability to zoom out and that ability to be, like, Like, there there are patterns here. If I can ask them, do you notice patterns? That's another good indicator to me that a PM might be able to take on the AM qualities and vice versa because -- Yeah. -- being able to root it in that.

Rob Da Costa [00:26:19]:

It's I think there's some really good hint there about what you should look for and the kind of questions you should ask when you're interviewing and recruiting someone. And I think also you're highlighting why it's so challenging to find people that can do both jobs. And in fact, you know, for smaller agencies, they're gonna hire people that have to do both jobs. They might be I might be working in PR, and I might be the main client contact who and I've got some business growth targets with that client, but I've also got press releases and do the, you know, the journalist outreach as well. So I need to have both of those skills, but I think you're sort of highlighting why it is so challenging to actually find them in one person.

Rachel Gertz [00:27:00]:

Definitely. And it all has to do with capacity and and project load as well. So, I mean, we'll see. Like, if you're in a small to medium sized agency, there's the ability for you to have midsized projects if you can, those mid sized projects, you can reduce the focus so that maybe only have 3 clients to focus on per week even if you're running more than 3 projects. Right? Otherwise, it can be incredibly overwhelming to have to balance your making schedule with your managing schedule. And and those are two very different parts of you that don't always wanna play nicely together. They they need to be almost, like, complementary and and run parallel.

Rob Da Costa [00:27:38]:

Yeah. So before we wrap this up and just to wrap this piece of conversation at what broadly speaking, what kind of tools and systems do I need to put in place to make all of this work? What would you say, like, the nonnegotiable type of tools that we should put in place?

Rachel Gertz [00:27:56]:

Yeah. Absolutely. So make sure that those agreements so contracts, statements of work, and SLAs are dialled. Try to make sure that you focus on flexible and adaptable language over rigid language because, again, that's going to make sure that you can have that change built into the process. I can talk more about what that looks like on another level another day. But In addition, you're going to make sure that you have clarity around roles and responsibilities. This starts to get really fuzzy as you grow beyond that, like, 5 to 7-person range because different folks are used to taking on roles, like responsibility, accountability con consultation and and being informed. So having a racey will be really, really helpful for you. Understanding at a distance what metrics are important to track I have talked to so many PMs who are like, well, it was on time or it was on budget. Therefore, it must have been profit. and they don't even understand what profitability means. So you could have a project land on time, but be completely unprofitable and vice versa. Right? So It's it's very, very true that financial literacy is something that you shouldn't look at investing into your team as early as possible because it doesn't just have to be the owner's or the salesperson's job to be able to actually make sure that project's --

Rob Da Costa [00:29:15]:

I just wanna butt in here and just give you a big thumbs up for that because the sooner we teach our people to have a commercial mindset -- Yes. -- and understand what profit means. beyond doing a good job of delivering on time and on budget then the better. So I just wanted to, sorry, button and say, I completely hardly agree with you. I love that. I'm glad we're on the same page, Rob. It's so true, isn't it? Just makes it such a different -- Totally. And then wonder if we take this back to the beginning of the conversation. No wonder the owner gets frustrated and doesn't wanna let go because, you know, he's he or she's not giving their younger staff this kind of commercial mindset And so they need to take responsibility for that and actually understand it. I think not just assume because I get it, you will get it as well, which is often what happens with a lot of them entrepreneurial. people just assume sort of by osmosis or, like, some magic that other everybody would get it, but they won't, so we need to train them in that. Any other any other sorry. I interrupted you in your flow there, Rachel, which is terrible. But any other systems and processes?

Rachel Gertz [00:30:19]:

Oh, I was just thinking about that profitability element that you mentioned there and how when you can, again, zoom out with that levers and dials the ways of make making money move through the business and helping junior and mid-level folks to understand that, like, that that's something I think a lot of owners also find tricky. Right? So, like, a concept like open book management where you actually empower your team to understand, hey. These are the ways you get to make those levers and dials move. And when you do that, this is the impact directly on the business related to that. That's when you suddenly have differences in how your team will show up. When they are looking for raises and compensation changes or title changes, they're gonna come back and say, oh, I know that we need to have this revenue per full-time employee, not that revenue per full-time employee. So I know that if I can assist in generating additional revenue here, I can ask for that raise because now we've actually lifted the tide on all of those boats. So I think that's absolutely vital.

Rob Da Costa [00:31:20]:

That's so true. And I think the conversation I have a lot with people is they're very reticent to share that information. And because I don't really know why, but they feel like you know, maybe they're gonna scare people if they share information about how the business is performing or maybe I don't know. And, of course, what they don't understand is when you don't share that information. Yeah. At best, you're making your team operate with their blindfold on. And the worst they're gonna make loads of assumptions about how profitable the business is and how I'm working really hard just to line your pockets. So I think open book management is a great thing that everyone should be implementing.

Rachel Gertz [00:31:57]:

Yes. And to your point about the shaky foundation, right, people are not silly. They understand that when there's something wrong, they feel it. They can look around and they can sniff it out. So why not empower them if you don't know how to run an open book workshop management workshop? There's definitely folks that can help you as an owner teach your team how to do that, and that will make it so that now you can share information that empowers them because they know how to make the change to actually make things better.

Rob Da Costa [00:32:28]:

So, yeah, absolutely. Fantastic. -- part of that. Yeah. Listen, I'm really conscious of the time as ever. I know a good guess because I've got so much to talk about. So much. but I'm just conscious of the listeners to keep us as close to 30 minutes as we can. So let me ask you the sort of wrap-up question before we I ask you about how they're able to find out more. about you, which is if you could go back in time and give your younger self just starting out in business a piece of advice, what would it be?

Rachel Gertz [00:32:54]:

When you were talking about how when you started, you felt entangled with your business. I think that that resonates very much with me. What I didn't realize, you know, is that entanglement doesn't always look the way you think. It doesn't always look like you're afraid of losing control. It doesn't always look like you're dominating. It can look like you seek out confirmations and validation for your identity. And the way to know, for me, it was like, ask my friends, hey. When I started, like, how did I seem to you? What was I like? You know, like, oh, you were really, really passionate about your business. Like, all you ever talked about. and you worked so hard. And, you know, sometimes it looked like you just needed to have a break, and that was early days. Right? And so for me, like, realizing that it is a lonely path and understanding that in order to disentangle, you have to actually ask yourself some really hard questions. For me, it required actually getting therapy, and getting support to start to look at listening. I'm not just the sum of my parts. I'm not just this business. I'm not just what I can do. I don't just have to don a sales hat. The work that this business needs to be able to provide for me as an employee of my business, I need to be able to separate and have that disentanglement. So I think for me I think I have a lot of compassion for business owners who are going through that because that is a very real thing. And I don't think anyone is trying to be controlling and trying to be you know, incapable of of letting go. It's just that it's really hard, and I and I feel that. So -- Yeah. -- I have a lot of passion.

Rob Da Costa [00:34:35]:

Great advice. And we're all just doing our best. Right? But we also only know what we know, you know, when we know, you know, and often that's learned by Charlie now. It's one of the reasons why community is so important and having being surrounded by other agencies who are going through the same journey as you is so so helpful. If people wanted to find out more about you, Rachel, or louder than 10, where would they go?

Rachel Gertz [00:34:59]:

Yeah. You can check us out at and you can find me at We were more active on Twitter, but, you know, lately, it's we were more on LinkedIn these days.

Rob Da Costa [00:35:09]:

I wonder why that is. Oh, funny. We won't go down that route. But okay. Great. Well, we'll share those links in the show notes and Just wanna say a big thank you for joining us today and sharing some really great insights. There's definitely some good takeaways that I have got from this, so I know the listeners will as well.

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