In today’s episode, Allan welcomes Kathryn and Michael Redman. They are the husband-and-wife team behind Half a Bubble Out (HaBO), a marketing and business consulting firm that develops business leaders. They’re the co-authors of Fulfilled: The Passion & Provision Strategy for Building a Business with Profit, Purpose & Legacy. They discuss how entrepreneurs accomplish so much more, and have success when they partner with people who bring strengths to their team. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must lead by example. Having a clear vision and core values will lead your team in the right direction.
For more information about Half a Bubble Out, visit Marketing and Advertising Agency in Chico, CA | Half a Bubble Out
Link to the book Fulfilled:
Allan has started and grown several multimillion-dollar businesses. His mission is to help you do the same. Welcome to the Business Growth Pod, building the future one entrepreneur at a time.
Everyone, Welcome to the Business Growth Pod. I’m your host, Allan Draper, serial entrepreneur, that term gets thrown around a lot. And I think for me, it’s more of something I aspire to. I find myself involved in startups all the time. And within the last six months, I have personally started a digital marketing agency, law firm and a financial lending company where I lend money to small businesses, startups that I’m excited about, you know that I also do angel investing. If you have an idea, pitch it to me, go ahead and head over to Allan draper.com. Schedule an appointment with me and let me know about your business idea, and how I can help get it off the ground. I am super excited about our guests today. And I don’t always get to interview husband wife Duo’s but I do today. We have Kathryn and Michael Redmond joining us. They’re the husband and wife team behind Half A Bubble Out which is a marketing and business consulting firm that develops business leaders. So right along my same kind of line of thinking, I love talking about leaders and I love talking about business. And the way that great leaders can create great businesses. They’re the co-authors of a book called Fulfilled: The Passion & Provision Strategy for Building a Business with Profit, Purpose & Legacy.
Super happy to be with you.
Yeah, this is exciting. Tell me a little bit about your journey. What kind of got both of you into the business world? And how did it work with kind of the husband wife dynamic?
Oh, yeah, that’s a good question. So we’ve been in business 20 years with our longest business that we’ve had half a mobile out. And that’s not our only one. And, well, to be honest, we used to be pastors a long time ago, okay. And we thought that was going to be the rest of our life. And then things changed, and a left turn came about. And through a series of events, we went, I think we need to start our own company. And marketing and sales is something we’ve both had a lot of experience in in the past. And so when I was actually 2002, we started our own marketing firm that was really in the beginning of digital marketing, and a lot of traditional marketing and advertising. I was building websites, and doing videos and doing those kinds of things. And we were designing logos and all that kind of stuff. But it was really clear, because we’d have a lot of experience working together already up to that point, that we got along really well together. And we liked it. So there was a sense in which this is something that we actually are better off together when we’re partnering than individually. So that’s what kind of drugged us into it. But it wasn’t easy in the beginning because Catherine had some other things she wanted to do. And there was some like, do we really want to do this? Do we not?
Yeah, for my piece of it, I call myself The Reluctant entrepreneur. So my whole plan was vocational ministry, I’ve got a master’s in theology like that was going to be what I was going to do. And when it came clear that we really did want to work together, it was really just my choice to say I need to change course. But it wasn’t simple for me in the beginning, because I didn’t want to be in a for profit business. I wanted to be in a nonprofit, you know. So But ultimately, as we settled in, it just became more and more clear, especially as the years when I’m working with clients, that we do our best work when we’re in the room together. We complement each other we think a little bit differently. Michael is the creative question. Asker draws a bunch of stuff out of people, and I’m the one who can help codify in some senses, what it is everybody’s talking about in a way that results in meaningful work for the clients. So it’s been a ton of fun. We just have so much fun. Yeah, that’s
awesome. And I talk about partners a lot. I have 14 business partners different It endeavors and I always say that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish the things that I have or my businesses have without partners. But there’s some people out there that they swear by never have a business partner, right? There’s some celebrity financial advice guru out there that we all know that says you should never have a business partner. But it’s clear to me that you have both made that work. What is it that cause? Your partners in more ways than one? Right? Isn’t one? Yeah. So is it you know, hey, this hour, we’re going to be talking about our book, our consulting business, and we’re going to be talking about these business type things, or is it a conversation where we’re talking about business? And then we start talking about the in-laws or whatever? Well, that’s a good question. It’s
a really good question.
Yeah, no, I think it goes back and forth. There’s times when you’ve got clearly, like, we’re here for a meeting, we’re here for a conversation, we’ve got to do this, this because we got to staff, if you count all of our vendors is about 25 of us. And if you count our regular staff, W twos, there’s nine of us. So you’re in and out of meetings, and you’re doing things and you’re working with clients. So there’s that, I guess, over 20 years of learning to be disciplined about staying on topic when you’re with other people. But when you’re alone, we do the fade in and out of Yeah. What about this? What about, you know, our daughter’s 26. But she was in elementary school, and we started a business together.
Yeah, if you ask her about being in the car with us, she would say we free flow back and forth. We talk a lot of business, we talk a lot of life, we just kind of enter in and out of topics as they come up. So we haven’t had to do that. Like people go, you draw boundaries, and you don’t bring your work home. And I’m like, You know what, I’m a whole human, I come to work. And I bring my world with me and I go home, and I bring work with me. And so we’ve just learned to kind of flex and flow with all of that. Well, I
like your attitude about partnerships. We’re a big supporter with our clients, and even in our own businesses, that partners are critical. I think you do get more done if you go with other people. And you can’t handle everything. And I get the idea of trying to protect yourself and wall off any dangers. But the reality is, if you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re in business, there’s plenty of dangers. So when we started our other company that’s in the pet product, business, and 2012, we started that by 2014, we’d brought on a partner and given him half the company. And he runs day to day operations. And we do leadership meetings every week. But, and he was a friend, actually, which another thing people say don’t do is no
family, no friends, right? We are violators of all those roles.
But we made it through some pretty hard times because of some commitment to relationship. Yeah.
And we’ve worked. We’ve worked through this really amazing book, when we were working with this partnership and our second company, not between us, we already had that partnership set. But in the second company where we brought on our partner, we worked through a book called The Partnership charter.
Are you familiar with that book? I mean, absolutely. Hands down. Everybody who’s in business needs to read it, especially if they’re thinking about a partnership, because they built a firm that deals with legal issues, psychology and everything else, because his wife and two partners had a terrible partnership. And he believed that partnerships were still good. So he didn’t even go okay. So how do you do? Well,
yeah, it’s just it’s an incredible book. And obviously, we’re not here to talk about that. But anyone who’s looking at partnering, it gives you some really intentional things to be thinking about, and agreements that you’re making before you ever sort of sign up and sign on the bottom line for the partnership. And it helps you make sure your values aligned and like just various different things that make partnering something that becomes a positive and gives you something to reference back. I mean, it’s it’s funny how often in that partnership will be like, I don’t think that’s in the partnership charter. We’ll just laugh about that. Right. So it was an amazing tool. And we would really highly recommend that to anyone who’s considering because you know, the old adage is, if you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go with others, right? So we just are firm believers that you accomplish so much more when you surround yourself with people, when you partner with people who bring strengths to your team. And if you want somebody who if you really want to build your company, sometimes it means you have to give up part of your ownership or whatever else to make those things happen. So firm believers and all that.
Yeah, no, I think that having a partner in addition to all the kind of tangible benefits of having somebody else that kind of shoulders, the burden somebody that kind of feels what you feel being a business owner is a very lonely endeavor partners are not I wrote a blog article about this recently because I had a mass exodus from one of my companies about a month ago, six weeks ago and I talked about how I felt this crazy isolation. A lot of it stemmed from rejection, I lost 60% of the company. All within 15 minutes, they just started dropping like flies. But I wasn’t alone at all right? I have three small kids. And right in the middle of it, my three year old daughter came and knocked on my office door. And so it wasn’t about that. It was that I wasn’t alone. In kind of the normal sense of the word I was alone, because no one understood what I felt. And it’s not that I’m special, right? It’s just, that’s the way it was. But when you have a partner, and one of the people that left was my partner, and then he took everybody with him. But when you have a partner, you can have somebody that’s like, yeah, I get that. Another reason why I like business partners, is because it’s something that I’m really working on, I’m kind of in the phase of my life, where I’m starting to think about my legacy. I’m starting to think about what is left when I’m no longer here, and what things people are going to say about me, and I have a goal to help 15 business partners become millionaires in the next 10 years. And I’m on like five, or something six, and nice. And above all, that what I want my partners to say about me at the end of this journey, whatever that is, or whenever it happens, is that I was a good business partner. And to be a good business partner is very hard. And it’s not about making money. And I think it goes back to how you treat people and how you help them grow and develop. Recently, I had a business partner that said something to a group of leaders, there were 16 leaders on this thread. And he said something that he really shouldn’t have said he was upset, and I didn’t know how to approach him. How do you approach a business partner in that type of scenario? And I don’t know, maybe I was wrong, maybe what he said was the right thing. How do you approach them? In a way? I find it easier to approach employees or other team members, even other managers or leaders? How do you approach a partner in that scenario?
It’s a great question. You’ve had many opportunities, my God.
I mean, entering into this for her and I for Katherine and I, there’s the conversation that has to happen. But we always have it offline. There is a it’s strange, you know, you’ve got kids, and we have, we chose to only have one, that was enough for us, the world wouldn’t let us have any more.
It’s all we were allocated. One kid to businesses, you’re done. But I remember,
I remember some really good advice that came to us when Katherine was pregnant, actually, and it kind of played itself over and over again, was when you’re disciplining your kid, make sure that you that you are aware of their dignity and allow them to maintain their dignity. So a lot of times, if it’s at all possible, you would remove them from the situation and discipline them there. That rule of thumb stuck with us in adult interactions, people were leading employees and partners. And sometimes there’s something that needs to be said at the moment. But rarely, I’m going to throw out a number. I don’t know if it’s true or not. But the sentiments there, I’d say 80 to 90% of the time, feeling like I need to say something in the moment. I don’t need to because when I do, it escalates or skews the problem. Now, there’s times when I can say, I’m not sure I agree with that, or, Hey, that’s inaccurate, because it was just said in front of a bunch of people. But I’d like to think about that. And then I circle back around. Because if we’re in front of a client, we’ve been in places where people call you on the carpet right in front of everybody else. It doesn’t feel good. And sometimes, if you said something really escalated in then you do have to, you need to approach that and go, Hey, that’s not okay. But we can talk about that later. We don’t have to have a fight in front of everybody else, or a heavy discussion. Our other partner, he and I have had a lot of really hard conversations over the years, because we had some times where that other company, we thought it might go bankrupt for a couple years. It was in a T jury place and there was a lot of stress. And we managed through it because I remember one moment, it was really, really hard. And I was furious. And I kept my mouth shut. And I got up from the table. And I walked away. And I said we need to talk later. And I went away to cool off most of the time. I wasn’t angry like that. That only happened once. That later conversation allows everybody to cool off a little bit. Yeah, and usually allows for better conflict management. The other thing that I want to say is a mentor of ours just wrote a brief recently that Katherine shared with me this morning. Yeah, and he’s an introvert. He’s one of the 49% of people in our society that are introverts, and he will easily admit he would rather write something down when he’s upset, even if it’s a one on one communication or in a thread somewhere else, he makes his point. written words carry a lot more weight, and land heavier, and kind words, or even hard words spoken land a lot softer. And he basically his advices. I don’t care how hard it is to talk to somebody face to face or on the phone. Don’t put your negative emotions in writing. That never goes well. But writing positive words, because written words seem to carry more weight,
when people will reference back to them. And they’ll I mean, we all know this right? With texting people read tone. Yeah, exactly. That may or may not even be there. And so his advice really was just if you’re struggling and you’re angry, or frustrated, or there’s something negative, you want to speak badly. Half our society is doing this all the time online. Don’t put negative emotions in writing. Yeah. So I think that was for me, I forwarded that to my entire staff. It was like, let’s talk about this, because we want to make sure that we’re speaking positive words that we’re writing positive words, and that when hard things are happening, it is a conversation, because the conversation honors the relationship. Yeah.
So what do you think about that?
I think you’re right. I think that when we read something without all of the other normal, verbal and nonverbal cues that come with communication, especially face to face, but even over the phone, or whatever, I think our brains automatically infer the worst. Yep. Right? If somebody says something neutral, and so you, if it’s written, it really has to be like you have to make. And I’ve made a lot of mistakes doing this. But I think this is a great point. And I tell a lot of my leaders that some of the best decisions I have ever made as a business owner and as a leader, have been certain moments when I thought about saying something and I didn’t. Because I think as leaders were like, okay, something’s wrong, I need to say something, this isn’t the way we do it, I need to say something. And it’s just not true. You really have to pick your battles. And the greatest leaders are the ones that decide when and how to say something. Yep, I know that you both do a lot of work with leadership development. Let’s talk about that. A little bit. In the last few minutes that we have left? What are some things that early entrepreneurs can do people that are hiring their first and second people that, you know, are really starting to make an impact on their business? What are some kind of just big general keys and how they can help those individuals become leaders in their company?
That’s good. I like that a lot. And this is probably our most favorite subject, especially over the last five to seven years.
So I’ll start with this one of the places that we really focus on with leaders, especially early on, that are starting businesses is how do we train you to think holistically about your business, to not just focus on the thing that you’re good at the widget that you build the service expertise that you have, but to really begin to understand that you have a business model that has multiple parts, and that as you grow a business, you actually need to have some minimum competency in a bunch of areas of business if you’re going to be successful. Right. So we talked about being holistic, another I think, really big, huge piece that we spend a lot of time focusing on with young leaders, but even with those that have gone far in their companies, but haven’t quite codified things, is we believe firmly that one of the first jobs of a leader is to really understand and create and codify. What is the vision? What are we doing? Why are we doing it? And what are the core values that we’re doing it with? So how are we going to behave along the way. And I think that that matters a great deal. Because if you can identify what your core values are as a leader, and then as the company, then what we’ll talk about with our folks is then you hire, train and fire to your core values, right? So it helps that initial whether you’re talking about a partner, or whether you’re talking about hiring an employee, finding someone who’s aligned with the things that really are deep for you, right, that is significant. And for us, you know, a core value just to define it is I would rather close the doors of my business, then run it if one of these is violated. Hmm. So it’s that kind of stuff that like when something happens, like everything in your body goes, No. So those are a couple of initial pieces of our puzzle is we’re just like, you really need to figure out who you are from a values and vision standpoint. And then Michael can speak more to this. But then the other piece is you have to have a growth mindset as a leader. You have to be growing both your skill set your tasks, how you manage tasks, how you manage relationships, and your inner world and your outer world. So there’s got to be a commitment to growth, if you’re going to be successful leading anyone anywhere, whether it’s your family or your business or anything else in the world. So
we talked about Developing the whole leader for the whole business. Yeah. And especially when you’re in that beginning phase of starting to put people on, because that’s one of the places where we’d been in business about four years doing the ups and downs and struggles. And we were at about 400,000 a year in revenue. And we had some growth pains and stuff like that. But then we hit a market where we grew 400% in 18 months. And we just hired people left and right. And we had all this work. And we thought we had it figured out, and we ended up doing is creating a company we hated, we almost shut down. I mean, we did everything we were surviving, we had broken the $1 million mark, which only 4% of companies that survived make it, we thought, This is great. This is the dream. And we got to the point where we hated coming to work, because we didn’t have some of those things really codified, so that we could hire to them. Because we ended up hiring people that didn’t align with our values. They seem nice. But then all of a sudden, when things got sticky and choppy at work that came out, and then realizing where are we going with this? What are we doing? Because I think we were a marketing firm. But what were you going to do? What was our goals? Kind of like you the idea that you’re going to make? What was it 15? Business Partners, millionaires, that’s some clarity. That’s phenomenal. And then along with that, what’s the behavior mechanisms along the way? What are those core values. And so when we’re talking to brand new leaders, that’s really where we start, get that vision of corporate vision. We literally love the stuff that came from good to great, and all of that those books out of the 90s, one of my favorite a better than that, yeah.
And then No, no need to reinvent that wheel, that was a good one.
Go if you get that. And then you understand that that’s the first job was being a leader. And the second job of being a leader is learning how to set up love grow your inner and outer values and develop your core skills in what we look at is five core five core categories, then of business that involve 18 competencies, then you’re off to the races of learning to be a better leader. And then you’re set because you have a mindset. And you kind of have a goal of the company and you have a goal of the areas that you want to develop as leader and then get a coach. Yeah, if you’ve got a coach or a mentor, and you’ve got that kind of framework, then you can grow it into any kind of company you want with any kind of temperament or personality or niche. Because you’ll have some fundamentals that are really critical.
Yeah, yeah. You know, I spend a lot of time talking about vision and talking about core values, or the why, as parents, we don’t like that question very much. Right? When our kids are like, we’re like, hey, put your seatbelt on? Well, why, right. But as business owners, we’ve got to love that question. We’ve got to love it when our people ask us why? And we’ve got to be ready to answer it. We have to, as leaders, we can delegate and we can replace ourselves, most of my companies, probably all of them would be just fine. If I went to Aruba for three years, I’ve spent the last several years creating that. But one thing that I can’t replace is I’m the vision leader, right? When somebody asked why I’m the one that has the answer, and I talk about it all the time. And it’s so important. Well, as we’re wrapping up here, why don’t you guys tell us a little bit about what you can do to help entrepreneurs and how people can reach out to you learn more about all the great things that you’re doing?
Yeah, we have a our firm Half A Bubble Out. And through that we have been doing business consulting and marketing for years for the last two decades. But in the last several years, what we’ve done is we’ve expanded into really working one on one with coaching individuals. And then we just started this last year, an annual coaching program for business development. We do a lot of two day workshops on these subjects of these fundamentals. And then really go okay, how do you build a plan. And one of the things we’ve got is that is just a great place to start is a small basic assessment with a small, basically two hour workshop. And then one coaching call. So you can kind of have this cycle of assess, learn some content about this, and then have a coaching call and get a feel for that and see if it works. And right now, our goal is to help 10,000 leaders build these passion and provision companies. And we’re basically at that point in our life where we’re saying, this is the rest of what we’re doing. So we stop, we’re not going to stop. So that whole process there we’re offering right now, the assessments free as our lead magnet you can get to on our website, but it really is a $27 cost. And I’ll be honest, I mean, we’re marketers and we love leads and it’s a funnel. But what I will tell you is we built the funnel to actually go if nothing else. Here’s an idea and a concept that you should go implement. Find coaches You’re find a model, do that. And this is a great, inexpensive way for a small company starting out, it’s not going to break the bank. And if you just did that and walked away and took that call and used it to get some momentum and some direction and never talked to us again, but it helped your company. I’d be thrilled.
Love it. Well, that’s fantastic. Michael, Kathryn, thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you for shedding some light on what it is to be a partner in a business and how to help develop leaders. It’s a real pleasure and I wish you nothing but success in the future. Thanks so much.
It’s so nice to meet you.
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