Marketing Mishaps Monday: When We Tried To Reach The Summit Alone

Ashtan again. It’s that time of the week again, the time where I interview the best and brightest marketers I can find to see if they can help us chart our own path to the marketing summit a little more safely. This one’s a simple story about going at it alone, and what happens.

Spoiler alert: To summit Everest, it takes more than 20 people to a team.

Our guest this week is Mike Utaegbulam, a social impact focused founder who, if you ask him what he does, says that he “does good work with good people.” To name a few of those good people, it’s: NAACP, Campaign Legal Center, Public Health Institute, Advancement Project, National Fair Housing Alliance, and The Executive Leadership Council.

Mike’s secret sauce at his agency, Black Digital, is that “diverse teams produce better outcomes.

You should know the question that I asked Mike by now. It was: “what’s the most challenging marketing problem, or mistake, in your career and what did you do to fix it?” Here we go!

When I went full time into the business in 2020, I started solo and burned out very quickly. My health and personal life suffered tremendously. While this was the most “profitable” year, it was also the most disastrous. Since then, I’ve brought on several team members who are truly brilliant.

While expenses have increased, it’s great to see how far they’ve taken many of the projects and tasks I used to have to do by myself.

I can now focus on doing the activities that grow the business vs working in the business. A new set of problems that I’m happy to have.

I also have a great coach and several support teams (i.e. Entrepreneurly). We’re on the way to surpassing $1 M in annual revenue and I’m now able to lean on my team so that I can enjoy life.

— Mike Utaegbulam

Ashtan again, switching back to me. I apologize for mixing metaphors from climbing mountains to feeding villages, but bear with me.

Once upon a time, we had hunters and gatherers. In the case of the hunters, many of them went at it alone; they went off into the fields and forests, and I’m certain that it was very lonely for them. To wait for the right moment to take an action that could feed them.

But they weren’t alone for long.

There was an entire village that depended on them, who they were feeding, too. A village that supported them with a crazy mix of varied high-skill talent. And the moment they succeeded, there were people waiting for them — to help. Because they were using their unique talent to take care of — and provide value to, and receive value from — many others.

There is a myth in entrepreneurship that we have to, or should, go at it alone. I don’t know where that came from, but I can guarantee you that it’s wildly incorrect. We’re meant to work together. As a village and as a team. Kim Scott once said, “there are few greater joys than doing work you love with people you care about and achieving great results.”

Mike broke through the myth and figured it out. If you’re challenged with the same thing, just ask yourself: did anyone ever really accomplish anything that changed the world simply by themselves?

Behind the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Mary Walton, and Henry Ford, there were villages supporting them. Remember to find your team and tribe and go after it together.

Let’s build beautiful things together.

As ever, thank you for reading. And thank you, Mike, for plugging Entrepreneurly! Entrepreneurly is a non-profit here in Washington, DC where I volunteer to coach founders on how to bootstrap and grow their companies from $250 — $999 K to tip the $1 M in annual recurring revenue mark. If you’d like to learn more, please book some time with me below.

Source: Ashtan Moore on Medium

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