The Impact Of AI On Agencies With Clodagh Higgins

Welcome to a brand new episode of The Agency Accelerator, the podcast that is dedicated to helping agency owners build profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable businesses. In today's episode, titled "The Impact of AI on Agencies," our host, Rob Da Costa, sits down with Clodagh Higgins, an experienced digital agency director, consultant, and coach. 

As experts who have worked with over 1,000 agencies globally, Rob and Clodagh delve into the transformative power of AI in the agency world, discussing its potential benefits, challenges, and the importance of embracing this technology rather than avoiding it. 

From the impact on work-life balance to the influence on creative content, join us as we navigate the future at the intersection of human expertise and artificial intelligence. Grab a notebook and a coffee and, let's dive into the conversation and discover how agencies can leverage AI to unlock their full potential.

Topics Covered In This Episode:

[00:00] Introduction to the episode and guest, Clodagh Higgins, on the impact of AI on agencies.

[03:20] The current opportunity for agency owners to embrace AI and focus on work-life balance.

[11:15] Exploring the role of AI tools in enhancing agency capacity and automating tasks.

[15:30] Addressing concerns about AI tools lacking creativity and the importance of asking the right questions.

[19:10] Practical example of using AI tools to automate the process of writing show notes for podcasts.

[23:40] The potential of AI tools to handle certain tasks and increase work efficiency.

[27:10] Clodagh’s advice to agency owners in embracing AI and finding someone passionate to lead the AI implementation.

[30:55] Comparing the impact of AI to the rise of Facebook and the importance of guiding clients through the AI process.

[36:00] Conclusion and final thoughts on the opportunities and challenges of AI implementation in agencies.


The term “AI co-pilot is the thing that really needs to be. Somebody your agency needs to be responsible for exploring AI. They are your AI Co-pilot!" — Clodagh Higgins
"If you are not looking into AI or if you are thinking it's something you shouldn't be using in your agency then you are going to quickly be left behind." — Rob Da Costa
The Future of Work: "I do believe that we are going to be working less because AI will help us produce more. I think we're going to have more time for creativity." — Clodagh Higgins

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 Full Episode Transcription

Rob Da Costa [00:00:00]:

Seems like everyone is talking about AI and there's a good reason for that because if you are not looking into it or if you are thinking it's something you shouldn't be using in your agency then you are really going to get left behind. So in today's episode of the podcast, I'm digging into all things AI and talking about how that's going to impact the look and feel of your agency, the services you offer and the people you hire and also how it's going to change their roles And I'm really excited to be joined by Clodagh Higgins to dig into this super important topic This was a really fun episode to record. I learned a lot, so I know you will as well. So let's jump into today's podcast. I'm Rob Dacosta, and this is the Agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started, grown, and sold my own agency, I know just 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 Agency Accelerator podcast. I am really excited to have you with me today Clodagh Higgins and Clodagh is the digital agency director, consultant and coach with a great group based in Ireland, and Clodagh works globally. And like me, we probably count it out. We've probably both worked with over 1, 000 agencies collectively around the world, helping them in areas of sales and marketing and scaling and growth so that they can deliver exceptional results for their clients. And today, Clodagh's joining me to discuss the very hot topic of AI and particularly how that is going to impact agencies and how it means that agencies will evolve their offer. And also we want to talk about the importance of agencies embracing this rather than avoiding it. So welcome to the show, Clodagh. Hopefully, I didn't do too much of a garbled introduction, giving you a potted history about your journey in the agency world. But let's kick this off by having a broad conversation about how you see the agency world right now when we're in a time that's pretty challenging with high inflations and clients, cutbacks and all the rest of it.

Clodagh Higgins [00:02:22]:

Yeah, thank you, Rob. No, you did a great job and it's great to make this happen because we've been planning it for a while. Yeah, like broadly out there, you know, the impact of AI, I can remember the same thing happening about 2008 when business pages came online with Facebook. And I was in the digital agency marketing world at that time. And I remember a lot of companies were like, oh, we don't need a website anymore. We've got this Facebook thing we can do. We don't need this. And it was a huge distraction. It was huge where companies thought that they didn't need a strategy. They didn't need expertise. They didn't need a direction. They could just whack up a Facebook page and throw a bit of content on it. And I'm having all that same feeling again with AI and companies taking it on, kind of looking at something like ChatGPT, which is now in the mainstream, and questioning agencies going, sure, I don't need you to do our blogs, or sure, we can do that in-house now. And I feel what's happening is there's just this distraction going on where like a kid in a candy store, they're going to overdose on chat GPT. Companies will go, oh, we'll do our blogs. We'll do our social media posts, make a real overdose on us and get the sugar high, make a mess, something will go wrong, and they'll be back over to the agencies again. So now there are 2 things an agency can do right now, is basically let them and say, come back when you're ready when you've made a mess or you get in there and you guide them. And I think a lot of agencies right now, what they're seeing is, you know, we know 44% of companies I think was the latest HubSpot Stat saying that they're going to bring their marketing in-house over the next year or 2 years. Combine that with chat GPT, what the feeling is out there is so many agencies are hearing reports of, oh, we're going to cut our marketing budget. We can't do that this year. We're going to bring that in-house. And the agency that sits there and instead of going, I'll see you later, they go, let us help you. We are navigating this AI world together. There are a hundred new applications coming out every day. This is not something you can ignore, but I think get in there with your clients and not ignore it. Write about it, start blogging about it, how to navigate it, talk about the benefits of it, talk about what to be wary of, but not acknowledge the years of expertise that we have. It's not taking over humans, not yet, you know? But the agencies that I'm seeing right now, overall, the ones that are grabbing it and going, let us help you bring your marketing in-house, let us help you navigate this AI world together, we will help you. It could take a year for an agency to hand over everything back in-house, but you can be paid for that transition. You can do training and you can – we have the expertise. We know the difference when a copy has been written, 2 things have been created by AI, and we have the expertise to go, that's not the right format, or that doesn't make sense. It still needs human expertise.

Rob Da Costa [00:05:58]:

Yeah, and it's very interesting that I don't know about your experience, but I'm seeing, like internally in agencies, I'm seeing 2 things at the moment I'm seeing those agencies that are experimenting with it and looking at how they can use it to create more capacity in their business because people can do more or elevate their roles versus those people who are very precious about their job. I was sitting with a client a while ago, and there were a couple of senior copywriters in the meeting. And they were like, no, AI is never going to replace us and we don't want to use it. And I'm like, well, it's not, no one's saying it's going to replace you, but you're also making a big mistake if you ignore it and you try to say, you know, we're not going to embrace it.

Clodagh Higgins [00:06:45]:

I don't know if you heard that in Tundra.

Rob Da Costa [00:06:47]:

Oh, exactly.

Clodagh Higgins [00:06:52]:

That flash was lightning. I was going, oh no, that's it. Yeah, definitely. Okay, so again, like I said, I feel like I'm showing my age now. I've been so long in this. I remember everyone going, oh, I don't need to be on that LinkedIn in 2008. Oh no, no, that Facebook is for the young ones. Like I heard all of this. I've heard all of this. Oh no, we don't need to be using social media in 2008. Right. We're back here again. This is, it is going to be used like I'm super excited about it. I feel like it's got out the door too early, but it's out now and it's up to us to grab it, you know, not ignore it, not let it get into, it will fall into the wrong hands. But if we start using it and start teaching it positive messages and we start to use it as a tool, like I personally in my own life, I kind of feel it's going to do a lot of really boring admin stuff that I can't stand in the future. Like having a personal assistant without having a person. That's the part I'm excited about, things like tax returns and fricking admin-y, paperwork-y things that I just have no interest in. I'm looking forward to those. But when it comes to anyone right now, if they start saying, I don't need to use this AI, we won't be using it. Oh, no, no, we'll stay away from that. It's as equal as in 2018,

Rob Da Costa [00:08:18]:

I don't need social media. Where are we now? It's sort of even worse, isn't it? Because not only will they not be embracing it in their agencies, but as you just said earlier, they're gonna have clients who are gonna say, nope, we're pulling our marketing house because we've got these AI tools. And if you're not on top of it, then you won't be able to stay aligned with them to help them make that transition or actually explain to them that that isn't the right transition.

Clodagh Higgins [00:08:41]:

Yeah, or how to create that strategy. Just while I remember as well, there's a great, he's a friend of mine, Martin Broadhurst, you probably know him, a UK guy. I'll send you the link after the show. And he has a fantastic newsletter. He's been dabbling in this AI. We've been talking about this with PR 2020. 5 years ago, Paul Reitzer, more, than 8 years ago, he got into this. 5 years ago, he started using AI in his own agency. There are tools that are there. It's just now it's mainstream. But there are people out there, We know about this and we have used these tools. So Martin has a great newsletter for agencies or just general, and he just breaks down various different parts of AI. But I've been like, this is a long time coming. It's not like, oh, surprise. It's not. Now the surprise is the clients didn't know about it. But now we can say, actually, that's great. I'm delighted you found that too. Let me show you how to use it properly. Yeah, well, can I- Let me show you how it sits inside and your overall strategies.

Rob Da Costa [00:09:47]:

Can I just show my age for a minute? Because I think a lot of people won't know this, but I actually did a computer science degree. And my first job was at IBM and I hated it because I didn't like working in a big organization. And then I left And I got a job with a company called AI International. And this was back in the 90s. And we were working on AI tools and then on expert systems and object orientation. And that was a long time ago. And it feels like only now we're actually starting to see the benefits of what the promise was back then where we talked about how expert systems are we going to replace doctors and all that stuff which never materialized but potentially now could become sort of the front line of that stuff. How do you feel like agencies should be embracing it internally in their business? What should they be doing and how should it be changing people's roles and being integrated into their agency?

Clodagh Higgins [00:10:36]:

Yeah, I just got off a coaching call this morning. We were just having that discussion about what's next. So right now, you're going to have to look at somebody in the company who is drawn towards it. There is going to be somebody on your team who is hoovering up on the latest newsletters, and reading about the tools. And I think the role is, it's kind of an interesting role no matter where you have a company or an agency, but the term AI co-pilot is the thing that really needs to be. Somebody in the organization needs to be responsible for tackling 1 tool may be at a time or 1 pain point in the agency at a time. Reading, you know, there's plenty of newsletters like, Martins is a great 1 but there's another 1, you know, too long, can't read or whatever. There are summaries of them and looking at what are the bottlenecks in our agency, what are the challenges and getting that person to write about them because if you don't claim it now and start writing about we're not afraid of it, it's not under the rug, we're not worried about it. Hey, check out this tool, this is how you would use it, contact us if you want to know how we'd fit it into your strategy. You just got to jump out on it. So step 1 would be, I know that this will be a full-time role in the future, but right now, maybe 1 day a week, you've got an account manager on your team who's really strong in this, they've just got a mad passion for it, they're using some tools in their personal life and let them own this and then eventually they will be the go-to person for, hey look we still have this challenge over here with this client, can you help us find the right tool? And they get that tool into the agency and they educate everyone about it. And what will happen is you'll have account managers who could only look after 6 clients at a time, will now be able to look after 30 clients at a time. We're not going to get rid of people but we're going to make them much more expertise and you know driven kind of individuals they were using their brain and they can have more time to do more fun things and be creative maybe even God read a book during you know the week that's going to educate them more so like that's how I see it. But right now, you gotta find an advocate or somebody in the team that is showing signs that would own it. As don't even dream of taking it on as an agency owner. I'm well-known for telling agency owners to stay in their boxes. You can be interested in it, but you can't have multiple jobs in the agency, especially as you get on. You'll probably see the same rub. Yeah, and yeah, exactly. And it can become a huge

Rob Da Costa [00:13:22]:

distraction from the things that only the agency can be doing, which is driving the business forward.

Clodagh Higgins [00:13:28]:

So using it, You know, nothing, what you don't want is a lunch and learn on a Friday about, oh, look at all these great tools that have absolutely nothing to do with the agency. You give that person 3 challenges, go look, we have this challenge. This is what our clients are. This is what our agency is facing. And you get that person to go off and do a bit of research, maybe do a presentation, lunch and learn, okay yeah that's the 1 for us let's go and they're the project manager for implementing it and then get them to blog about it, just write or do a YouTube video about it, whatever you are fixing inside, tell everyone about it. Because right now, I know companies are off high as kites on chat GPT, full of sugar. And they're going to come back to you. But they can't come back to you if you're not talking about AI. If you're hiding from it, they'll go, we can't go back to them because they don't want to do this. So you better start now. That's what I'd love to know. What do you think, Rob?

Rob Da Costa [00:14:33]:

I really like what you just said, and it's exactly what I would say, that AI tools are not going to replace anyone. They're just going to elevate everybody's role, and they're going to give us more capacity. As you said, someone who was looking after 10 clients or 8 clients can now look after double the amount because that whole lower part of their job or the research part of their job can now be done by this virtual assistant, which is exactly what I think. And that's what I tell people. And when this senior copywriter was saying, no, we're not going to use it because it's never going to be as creative as ours I'm like, yeah, you're absolutely right It never will be but you need to be the smart person asking the right questions to get it to give you the right output Yeah, you know ask a bad question. You're going to get a bad output. So I completely agree with you. And I'm, 'cause I'm a bit of a techie nerd. I'm that actually advocate for my own business, but, and I give you a really, really good practical example of this is that I really enjoy recording podcasts like this. And I really dislike all of the admin aspects that go with that. I remember you giving me that tip. Yeah, like writing the show notes. And I have a really good VA team, but they're not great copywriters. So I would invariably write the show notes. And I would have to invariably either rewrite or write from scratch the time recording and the timestamp. Well, now I'm using a tool that just takes the audio and does all of that for me. So it's taken a two-hour job, and it's cut it down to 10 or 15 minutes. So I think there's a really great practical example. You still have to go and proofread it, and you still have to edit it, but it takes me, as I say to people, if you were going from 0 to 100% to get something done, now you probably can start at 30% to 100% because the 0 to 30 can be done by some AI tools. And that's how I think we should be looking at it, which kind of aligns with what you said as well. Yeah, 100%. And what I don't want to see people doing then is,

Clodagh Higgins [00:16:32]:

I don't want to go back to a Gary Vee hustle, hustle, kind of grind, work 40 freaking hours a day, like kind of vibe here going, oh, it's great. We could be more productive. I want people now to kind of, this I feel the opportunity is with that extra time don't be ramming in more work actually look at could I go and take up a hobby like painting doing something physical so that you know maybe it's a sport or maybe it's volunteering or maybe it's, I don't care what it is, but this is where the in-person stuff needs to kick in. And so that you can go out and be stronger or have more creative energy or feel because then you're gonna bring that back. Cause that's the difference. If we start going what I'm going to do more work well you know now we are then now we're working for the bots.

Rob Da Costa [00:17:28]:

I love that and I think that is definitely how agency owners should be thinking about this, not just I can make more money out of my team. But 1 thing I think it will do is elevate everybody's role. And that means that they can do more interesting work because like you said earlier, there's all that crappy stuff that we have to do that we don't like doing, but nevertheless it's vital in terms of running a business or running a client account. Well, now we can sort of start to automate that and we can free us up to do some of this more fun strategic stuff. So I think and we can get there yeah great and I think we can get there to this you know we talked about a four-day week and a three-day week and we can get there. Like Basecamp have been doing that for a long time where that's

Clodagh Higgins [00:18:06]:

for a long time, there's companies you know there are companies in the Nordics that won't you cannot email anyone after a certain time you know we would look at that going oh that's really hard to do but I think carving things back, that back, someone on your team might say, I would like 1 day a week off because I'm going to go and learn how to become a yoga teacher. I have no idea what people want to do, but you'll still be able to pay them a full wage. They're still producing double the amount of work that they did,

Rob Da Costa [00:18:38]:

and they're now expanding themselves as a person. Like how good is that? Fantastic, and they have a, they do perform better at work because they've got that better life balance. I am a big proponent of the 4-day week. I've been working a 4-day week for probably nearly 2 years or 2 years in September. And the secret of a 4 day week, besides being super organized for me, has been to know what you're doing with the fifth day. So in my case, I have a personal YouTube channel, not yoga, but I have a personal YouTube channel. I spend my Fridays editing videos and uploading videos and all that stuff. So it works. Let's just flip this on its head a bit. So I think people will probably be nodding their heads at what you've been saying, but there'll also be people that are worried about copyright infringement, plagiarism,

Clodagh Higgins [00:19:27]:

and all those things that are going to rear their head as time goes on, as this new technology becomes more mainstream. What's your thoughts on that? Yeah, I think that's just going to be a big big hassle for Google right now isn't it because they're like you know they would say oh this is out there already I don't know if anyone can keep on top of that. I think the balance there is if you're over-reliant on it and you are you're you're I see it as a starting point, creative, you know, like you'd hear someone going, oh, I've got a creative block or I can't write it more, I've got writer's block. I feel that's gone now but your starting points, your bullet points, it's the layer of you start it, it's your creativity as a human being and then maybe there's finishing like grammar or spelling right so layering it now and that way why would you take everything out of the human the creative experience. If you do well then you know you're just pumping out content which is kind of what a lot of clients are at right now, just using chatty PT raw and cutting and pasting. Well, that's up to them. That's why you have to get in front of your clients and go, absolutely, we're as excited as you are about all this AI, but let us make sure that you do not make any mistakes so that you don't get slapped for any of this or don't run into problems in the future. So I think that's up to us. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. And that's where, if you're gonna be, if you think you can create blog posts straight out of chat GPT and not have any human intervention, not put your own spin on it, your own voice in it, you're just going to cut and paste, bang out to the internet, you are going to run into a problem. It also would probably won't work for you because it doesn't sit within the strategy, doesn't have the right keywords, it's not linked to the right messaging for your company. That's all the human stuff. I do know with the university, they just, I think we're potentially looking at the demise of the university. Like I know that there's so many tutors and education, even in the secondary, we were just talking about it here with my aunt who's an ex-teacher. We're just really worried now about, did my child actually write that essay? Like homework, okay, all the stuff that we had to do. Then going into university, we've heard about CHAT-GPT passing a law exam, and passing a doctor's exam.

Rob Da Costa [00:22:01]:

I think,

Clodagh Higgins [00:22:02]:

to remind the business world what we're experiencing, the university and education world is going to have a massive, massive, massive upturn.

Rob Da Costa [00:22:11]:

Yeah, don't you think though, don't you think like you and I have been around long enough that we've seen all these cycles before because listen when I went to school we still used logbooks and then after I finished school calculators came along and that was the end of kids thinking for themselves and the end of maths and of course it wasn't. They just changed how they taught and the exams and don't you think the same thing is going to happen again with this? I mean I have no idea about schools but that's what I feel like, we've seen it all before.

Clodagh Higgins [00:22:42]:

Yeah but not at this scale, so you were talking about 1 thing at a time, a calculator, that's 1 tool. We're talking about logbooks, that's 1 thing at a time. The amount of investment that's going into these tools, like it's non-stop, it is endless. It's not like 1 thing a week. In 2008 we were only dealing with Facebook Doing business pages 1 thing. It caused huge disruption Every day, there's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tunes coming out. That's the difference I'm talking about It's the volume it was like all the computers came out or the laptop came out. That was 1 thing. We're dealing with thousands.

Rob Da Costa [00:23:23]:

Yeah, yeah. I watch, and I follow a number of people on YouTube who are talking about this. And when they publish a video today, by tomorrow, it's completely out of date because something else will come along. I totally, I totally get that. I feel like 1 of the things that agencies are going to need to do is create some ground rules and some ways for their team to use it because anyone who thinks they can type in, write me a press release on this topic, including this quote, and then take that verbatim and send it to the client is going to be sorely, they are going to do themselves out of a job. They are going to be the ones that are enforcing to the client that the client can do it themselves. And so, as you said, they should never be doing that. So I feel like agencies need to create some ground rules. Exactly right. Yeah, and I think, you

Clodagh Higgins [00:24:10]:

know, from a starting point, it's not like you have to start from scratch. Like I said, Paul Racer has figured all of this out a very long time ago. I remember being at an inbound talk he did at least 5 years ago. He talked about all the AI tools he was using in his agency to speed up the time for doing reports and for doing all. He's been at this for a long time and he's got great education there. I think it's Marketing AI Institute. So go and get the SOPs. But that's why you need to get yourself an advocate in the company, in your agency. Someone who's going to own this, who's got an interest and a passion in it, because you have challenges in the agency that you have to figure out. And if it is all the things that you go, well, you can only use it as a starting point, but you are not allowed to use it. This is how you use it. Well, then figure that out in your own agency and then do a video and blog about it and show people how you as a company and agency in marketing are navigating this world and then educate other people about it. That's where it's going to be and you can do it in your own tone, your own voice and eventually when they're out there because what you want is when the company maybe they've gone off and they made a boo-boo and just open that, keep the doors open, let them come back, don't chastise and don't go, I told you so. Just let them, right? Let them come, I'm so sorry you experienced that, but look, if we had the same problem here and we fixed it, let us help you.

Rob Da Costa [00:25:46]:

I feel like agencies, I really like the idea of working out and then sharing what their experience is, the good, the bad and the ugly with the world, because I think it means they can be on the leading edge of this rather than on the chasing edge of it. So

Clodagh Higgins [00:25:59]:

let me just- And do it now today, Rob. Like I wouldn't even be going, oh, we'll do it after the summer, like on it now. And you probably could give somebody in your team this opportunity for them to, they might be going, oh, brilliant, let me add it. And then, you know, maybe they're doing it an hour a day, 2 hours a day and building up and then it will generate business for you. Yeah, that's it's good. It's good advice for me to hear from you really because I've been very reticent about talking about AI because I'm no expert.

Rob Da Costa [00:26:28]:

But I did record a podcast a few weeks back on this topic and obviously you and I talking now and as I was saying to Clodagh before we jumped on the call that my group coaching program the members there were asking about this as well. So it's obviously on top of everyone's mind and there's no real experts but it's just a lot of people having some experience and so let's share those experiences.

Clodagh Higgins [00:26:50]:

Now if I could- I'm not sure, didn't we all do that when Facebook business pages came out? I remember there was 1 instant where we were in the digital world, so we were using, I was using the tools And then I remember somebody in the team that I was working in Sydney at the time. And apparently, 1 of the newspapers came along and they couldn't figure out this Facebook thing. 1 of my friends charged 15 grand to set up a Facebook page. Oh, my God. There wasn't even half the amount of YouTube videos that there are now. So we have been doing this all along. Do we know everything about AI? No, but we know more about the marketing and how it would fit in. And we are the type of personalities who are not afraid to try something. That doesn't mean we're posting anything. We're just figuring it out, and we're downloading it, and we're having a little play. That's our role. We're the whispers, you know, we're the brave ones. We're not the ones that shouldn't be shying away from it. We're the ones who can handle this because we've seen it all before like you said.

Rob Da Costa [00:27:47]:

Yeah, yeah. Let me just put you on the spot, if I, and this is probably a really tough 1, but if you had a crystal ball and you could look a few years in the future, may not even be a year, maybe, I don't know, what, how do you think this is all going to play out?

Clodagh Higgins [00:28:02]:

I mean the optimistic side of me, well there's kind of 2, there's 1 side which is if something really bad happens. I think it has the potential to make an absolute pig's mess the elections next year in America, which somebody pointed that out to me, going, oh, if something terrible happens with it, it'll just there'll be such an attempt to clamp down on it, but it'll be like playing whack-a-mole. You can't now. That's the kind of, you know, I don't want to think too much about that, but that's the only thing that could stop the alternative, which I believe is, I actually believe it's going to do a lot of admin. It's a new world on Earth, right? All the things that we don't want to do, all the little crappy jobs, you know, Elon soon will probably make an AI robot to clean my house. I'll be signing up for that I can tell you. You know I do believe that we are going to be working less. I think we're going to have more time for creativity. I think it wasn't the right time Like I don't know enough about Greek mythology or anything, but you know that time of the writers, the Renaissance. Yeah, that's on. And I know it sounds hilarious, but I do feel the 9 to 5 is outdated. You know, we were all going and commuting and going to an office. Sure, we're not doing that anymore. We're working. I think we're gonna work less. We're gonna produce more. It's gonna be more valuable. And then there's gonna be more time for arts, creativity, health, wellness, like all the tech that's coming into the medical, you know, we're going to live longer, we're going to have healthier bodies and minds and maybe get back to a bit of basic like growing our own food and thinking about what we're eating and drinking in our own bodies. I think this technology is gonna provide the things that we actually need to be doing. We don't need to have as much childcare anymore because we're not working as much so parents can spend more time with the children that are growing into this. So I know, I think it was the guy, Bidstone, who said about himself that he was hallucinogenically optimistic with how he looked at life. And I can be like that sometimes, you know? I'm aware There's darkness over here, but I'm

Rob Da Costa [00:30:18]:

pumped for it. I'm looking forward to it. And I guess that darkness has always been there and will continue to be there. I feel like maybe a good analogy or comparison would be the industrial revolution, because obviously when that all happened, there were probably, you can imagine lots of people saying there's going to be loads of people out of work and you know all these machines are now doing the things that humans did, well it just changed what humans did right and I think that's the same thing and I hope that you're right that it will give us more

Clodagh Higgins [00:30:45]:

freedom and not just make people work harder and harder. Yeah well, that's up to us you know if you're getting extra and this as an agency owner and which we all know agency owners they just love to show that they're grafted and they're working hard and it's their natural instinct they're very hard-working people but as an agency, the owner is now your lead to go and show people that you take clarity breaks, that you're reading, that you are investing time in. Maybe you're going on a holiday with your family that you haven't gone in a while, maybe you're taking Thursday afternoons off because you've decided you're going to take your son to football because you haven't been able to do it for a long time. As the agency owner you have to set the tone for that because if you're setting the tone of oh AI saved me 4 hours this week and I just whacked another load of work in there.

Rob Da Costa [00:31:35]:

Not an attractive place to work. Yeah. And listen, I'm not going to, I am going to open a can of worms a bit, but I'm sure like you, I'm a massive proponent of clients pricing on value and not pricing on time. And actually what we've just been talking about really reinforces that, that we need to stop thinking. Now I think, you know, we need to stop thinking about time. We need to start thinking about outcomes and outputs and value to our clients. Yeah. So anyway, listen, I'm totally conscious of time and we want to stick to 30 minutes. I love a good guess because we can talk for hours but let me ask you the question I ask all my guests 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?

Clodagh Higgins [00:32:16]:

It would definitely be going after the creative side of me. Because I had this sort of interesting childhood where I was very creative as a child. I was making things. Like I learned to knit and dress make and sew. And I was quite very artistic, but also, you know, not particularly, I could, well, I wasn't very good at applying myself, but I was kind of directed into, you can't make money out of creativity, that kind of thing. And I think I would have, I went very businessy, sales worked for Dell, worked for Sony. I've had a fantastic career, and don't get me wrong. But yeah, I think it's not a follow your dreams kind of thing. It's just trust, that when I know, when I just do the things that I love, the money comes, everything sort of works out. And yeah, I wish I'd have known that earlier on. And I don't think a lot, there's so much pressure on us. And of course, we have to pay our bills and our mortgages and things like that but oh god it just works out you know comes from somewhere.

Rob Da Costa [00:33:24]:

Yeah I mean goodness that's a great piece of advice I would completely concur and I also feel like that's a bit of a mantra that we should all live by which is like follow your passion and the money will follow, chase the money and you'll never be happy right. So

Clodagh Higgins [00:33:38]:

and this is a huge opportunity you know for agency owners right now, nobody you know if we think about who's coming underneath us you know that whole hustle culture and I work, you know, 60 hours a week and you have to be an agency owner that is now, you have to sit down and think about your holistic life. Are you investing in this more time in your family? People are now going to want to work for a whole human being, not some entrepreneur grafter that's out there. They want to know that your family, like that what they're interested in is aligned with them. That you spend time with your family and you have a hobby and you take care of your health. And that is important to you. I feel the younger generation, I think called indigo children or something, that It's all part of this new, I sound like a bit of a hippie, but those integral, they are looking at everything. They want spirituality, they want health, and they believe in this new world. And I just feel these AI tools are just gonna give us what we, it's kind of, this technology is gonna bring us back to what's really important and that's the human connection that's our spiritual health our physical health our mental health like everything.

Rob Da Costa [00:34:57]:

Totally, totally I love that and I think I hope you're right now Clodagh if people wanted to find out more about you where was the best place for them to go? Oh god I have been

Clodagh Higgins [00:35:06]:

really bad at creating any content I sold my podcast and that's what happened so I used to say oh come on the podcast but that's um no longer mine now and but just go or look me up on LinkedIn and if anyone yeah just wants to talk more about this topic or feels you've got some challenges, I just love helping agencies. And yeah, that's the easiest place. I can tell.

Rob Da Costa [00:35:37]:

We'll put those links into the show notes. I just want to say a huge thank you for your time and your thoughts and your wisdom. And, you know, we'll see how it plays out and maybe come back in a year's time and tell us how it's all going. With a crystal ball and go oh well that was interesting. We'll listen to this episode first and then we'll decide.

Clodagh Higgins [00:36:00]:

Thanks so much. Thank you. Thank You

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