Episode # 87 - A Giant Wrecking Ball
It’s good to be back! I’ve been gone for a couple months from the podcast booth and now I want to tell you about the giant wrecking ball that hit my business and kept me from recording.
About 60 days ago one of my largest, oldest clients decided to sell his business. This company has about a hundred employees and generates revenue in the low eight figures. This meant a lot of uncertainty for my company but it also meant a ton of extra work in the short term. This podcast is the story about what happened.
Welcome to the Get your act together podcast. I'm your host, Kelly Reynolds, ops strategist, and agency coach at the Reynolds OBM agency. This podcast is all about building well-run and profitable businesses so that we can create the lives you dream of.
Today, we are talking about where the hell I've been the last few months. So this is the first podcast I have recorded in, I don't know, almost three months. So this break wasn't exactly planned, or at least, how long this break has been. So in April, mid-April, we went as a family, the first real family vacation I had with my mom and my uncle, and my grandma. And we all went away for a week. And I was like, You know what, I don't want the stress of having to like batch record things and have my husband Bryan, figure all that stuff out and like, edit and like rushing. I was like, you know, what, why don't we just take a few weeks off? I've never really done that to any real extent, why don't we just take a break, I was getting pretty burned out, I was pretty tired, just you know, running a business and kid and all the things right? So we just forget to take like two, or three weeks off. Now it is July when I'm recording this. And I'm just back. And the reason is that a total wrecking ball went through my life. We went on vacation, we came home, and I thought alright, well, mid-May I'll start recording again, we'll get back and go. And then right about the third week in May, I had a client call me a large client that we've been with for a long time. And he was like, hey, so I'm going to sell my business. And I need you to help me. Because you're the one who knows where all this stuff is basically, right? Like we've been working with him for a long time. I know what the stuff is. And he basically went on to tell me that we had a 45-day window for due diligence and due diligence is really, they check everything out. They want to know why you're all your stuff is. They want to do research on the company. You know, what kind of, you know, 401 k plan do you have where your payrolls, where's all your files, like all that kind of stuff, they want to find all that out before they actually buy the company and 45 days is really short. Real, real short. So I go through all these motions, right? One, he's a large client, I've been with him a long time. And this will change everything. I don't know if the new people are going to want to keep us what that's gonna look like, what it's gonna even look like for the due diligence, like, I have never been through that big of a sale, we're talking an eight-figure business, and they are selling it to an even larger business. It was a lot. And it was an enormous amount of emotions. And at that moment, I knew that life was just going to change for a while. So obviously, the podcast did not get recorded, there were a lot of things that got bumped because this was happening. I had thought, all right, well come back kind of get my life together May. And then June will be this big push on marketing, we're going to start marketing different things. And we're going to be you know, I was gonna get my life together on that stuff. I'm not a huge fan of marketing, in practice. I like the theories about it. But I don't like having to make graphics and post things every day and all that stuff, so I was going to sit down and kick my own ass. And June is going to be a really big marketing month for me to kind of get a lot of other things going. And now I knew that wasn't gonna happen either. So there's also the fact that my kid is now going to be on his last day of school, like the 9th or 10th of June. And he was going to be home for a few weeks before camp started because his school gets out earlier than everybody else's. So he was gonna be home. And we were going to go to the park, and we were going to go to the beach, and we were going to do all of these things. Spoiler alert, we did none of those things. My husband did some of those things with him, but it was not me. So I ended up working a lot. And it's not that I don't like to work a lot. It's that. It really is the fact that I didn't get to pick any of this. I didn't get to say okay, I'm going to plan this out. I'm going to do this launch, I'm not going to do this launch. Like with I'm going to go you know, open around Get Your Agency Together. I'm going to plan that out. So I can work around my life. This did not work in my life, and I had no control over it. And I really had no idea, like I was nervous at the beginning like what the hell is gonna happen. But then, well, I had no idea what I was walking into. I had hired two people in I guess, April at this point, March. I might have no idea of the time like it's now July and I'm not sure how that happened. So I hired two people because I wanted to start getting more off my plate, one person from my own business to help me run things. because I was just doing, I was reading every single email, like if you've got an email from Reynolds OBM, it came from me, I've been doing all of that because I've kept everything very lean. And we don't have a lot going on, I don't want to have 500 people in membership or something like that, you know what I mean? So we could keep it very lean. But it was getting to the point where I needed help. So someone came in for me, and then someone else for client work, so I could start moving other things off my plate that I have been doing. And thank God, I hired those people. Because in June, just June, this doesn't include the hours from the end of May. And it doesn't include the beginning of July, just June, we booked almost 400 hours for one client 400 hours, so this wasn't a 40-hour retainer. This was 400 hours of work booked for that client. There were multiple team members on it. I was working like crazy. This was just everyone stopped with your doing and work like how with no warning with no plan. I thought it was gonna be like that for a little bit. I thought when I started like, alright, well, the first week is going to be crazy. And I'm just going to pull the stuff and then they're going to be fine. And I didn't realize that was going to be for five to six weeks of just all the time. Cold phone calls. People were just calling me. I don't, my mother is the only one who calls me like my aunt. Like no one calls me anymore. My phone was ringing on Monday mornings, my life didn't look like my life anymore. I don't take calls on Mondays, and no one calls me. So I had all this crazy stuff going on. I feel like all this is like a microcosm of all the things I talked about coaching, boundaries, making time for your children, the guilt of mom, like the mom guilt, like all of these things that I've been talking about. And I was pretty good at putting into little places in my life, time blocking things, and not taking calls on certain days. And I really like getting my life into a place. I really liked it. Like, everything blew up. I was on calls all the time. And it's my kid, all of it. And it sucked. It sucked. So I'm telling you all this because I kind of want to write it down in a way. But I also want you to know that sometimes no matter how successful you are, the business changes and the work changes. And all of a sudden, you have no control. And I could have said no to this. I could have. But I didn't really feel like I could. To be honest, this was a longtime client, this was a life-changing deal for him. I'm the one who could help them do that. And we were going to all make some money because we were going to work like crazy. And the thing is, I wasn't sure once that 45 days was over if the new people would want me, they might just cut everyone. And there was a conversation about contractors that I'm a contractor being caught, or not being kept, or not guaranteed that kind of thing. So there was a real sense of okay, this is a big chunk of business that I could lose. If we all work and get all this stuff done and really bust ass, we can put some cash in our pockets, to make sure that we have enough money to do the things we need to do. This is a big chunk of my business. And all a sudden it all changed. Everything's all over the place. We're working like crazy. So I figured I would also just show you what it's like to be in that DOO OBM operation person role going through an eight-figure sale on short notice. So the first thing is chaos. Everything's a rush. There are about a billion questions and everything has to be answered right now. I handle HR ops and accounts receivable Accounts Payable although the numbers kind of stuff, I don't do hiring for them. The lawyers have a million questions they want to know all these details like what was sent to the IRS, what was sent to the government about payroll where's your 401k plan and it's like all these things that you have the access to but you have to go get it you have to make them a copy you have to put it in a folder and then you have to share that folder with certain people because the HR people can't see the accounts receivable side. Everything has to be segregated. All these people have to see things not then like someone can't get access you have to go back and forth. It is a lot like going through every HR folder to pull out an NDA or whatever they wanted. They wanted to see certain forms for everyone, not just now, but for historical. This is hundreds of people, hundreds, contractors, and employees, what kind of contracts do you have for your software? All this stuff, like, if you're going to buy that business, you want to know what the hell's going on in it. And it was my job to help them figure out what they wanted to know. We worked like crazy. I will say that I am super proud of my team because everyone just really pitched in. I hate being the one who says Friday afternoon is like, here's a bunch of work. Or hey, can you do this in an hour, I like to be able to give people work, have it scheduled, and really make the plan so everybody knows where they're doing. And then they can live their life around their job. I like to do that. Because I like to have that. And that's what this was. So there were a lot of times I was like, Hey, do you have six hours today to like work on a major project? Can you start now? And I did not like that at all. I didn't like the feeling of all of that. I didn't like it, I don't know, I didn't like all of it. To be honest, and it was this exciting thing because it was all crazy. And it was also terrifying. Because what if at the end of this deal, that was it? So my team is really amazing. We have a new person on the team that I hired. And, Leah, if you're listening to this podcast, you're amazing. Because she's young. And she started and she was like, I don't she didn't have a lot of experience coming in. And I just, I thought a lot of her. And she totally showed up. Because there's no way I could have done this by myself. There's no way I could spend 400 hours by myself, like going in every single folder finding out what's there, what's missing, what we have to get, like, all of it, keeping it massively organized. It could have been a disaster without my team. It also could have been a disaster if we hadn't been on the ball for the last five years. Do you know what I mean? We knew where all the stuff was, it was a huge pain in the ass to have to make copies of every single thing to like, and put it somewhere else that someone could see. But the fact is, we went through that due diligence, and we had the information. We had everything. And we knew where it was because we had been doing a great job of running the operations there. So there was an enormous pride I had for the work we were doing, and the team showing up, I was so proud of us as a company to be able to help them with this enormous amount of mixed emotions scared, excited, proud, terrified, crazy, happy, like all of it tired. There is an enormous amount of wine that was drunk in this house over the last few months. Yeah, it's been a little crazy. So on top of all of these crazy feelings, and all of this, like the mixed up world, on top of feeling awful that my kid was here at home, and I barely was seeing him, he would come into my office and hang out with me for a little bit, and then go back and do something else without me. I missed going places with them. And it sucked. But on top of all of that. There's this whole new dynamic of what happens now. The deals closed, what happens now? Are they going to keep us what's going to happen? Are we gonna like these people? Are they going to want us to run things? All of that is like an unknown. And it's still unknown. It's been about two weeks, maybe No, three weeks, maybe with the new company. And right now everything's kind of in a holding pattern. We are still there. And it's hard. Anytime someone talks to me about growing an agency, one of the big concerns is delegating, and people touching your stuff. Right. And I have had the biggest problem right now, with people touching my stuff. And the funny thing is, it's not my stuff, right? It's client stuff. And then someone bought my client stuff. So it's this new company now. It's all their stuff, right? But I have been doing this and it's all in a process and we have it all mapped out and now they want to come in and touch things and change things. And that has been the hardest part for me. It is the change if at all.
We've been doing this for a long time. And now everything's gonna be different. And the funny thing is if you if I listed what was different, you'd be like nothing has changed. But in my world, everything has changed because I am now having to figure out new ways to do everything every day, we had it so processed out, we had it, everything was SOP, everything was processed out, and everyone knew what was going on, we all work together. And now it's all changing. And that has been the hardest part is like, I don't like change. I'm not a big fan. I'm not a big fan at all. But I have to. So figuring out, like, who approves things now, or how things get paid, or what kind of reporting they want, or we're going to change the accounting process or all these things. That's what I didn't like. And I don't like, it because that's not the way my brain works. I don't like it. I don't like to change. And the funny thing is just like at the beginning of this whole process, when I was saying to myself, alright, it'll be hard for a week, I'll pull some, you know, documents, and I'll be good. And then it was like five or six weeks. Now I'm like, alright, well deals over, it'll get easier. And then I realized, it's not going to get any easier. This is going to be just as hard. But in a different way. Like now it's going to be hard because all the things we've been, you know, kind of on rinse and repeat are all getting changed. Like everything's being looked at, what are we doing this for? How are we doing this, I need this information. And I'm realizing that, Oh, this isn't going back to normal, there is no normal, this is a new thing. And it's a lot of change at once I was like we have a new neighbor. They're like doing things differently next door. I know that sounds silly. But like we had an old, an old gentleman that used to live next to us who was sweet and never bothered me didn't bother my plants, my garden was always fine. And now we have this nice couple that just moved in. And I don't know if they're going to touch my stuff, right? And then we have all this construction down our street, everyone's doing things to their house right now. So there's like noise everywhere. I'm literally sitting on the floor of my bedroom with the door closed, hoping that you don't hear all of the hammering going on right next door. Because I can't even be in my office right now. It's so lab. So like, that's changing. There's just so much that's changing. And I have been a little bit cranky and been like, right? Like, I don't want to, I don't want to change. But that is what business is all about. Right? Even when you get to a place where you're like, Okay, these things are working, I'm gonna go do other fun things. These other fun things can change, but this stuff I don't want to change. And then the universe doesn't care what you want. It doesn't care that you have a plan. It really doesn't. I had a ton of plans in April, I was gonna do marketing, I was gonna hang out with my kid, I was gonna do all these things. None of my plans mattered. The universe is like, Yeah, we're gonna do something totally different. We are gonna blow up your life, we're gonna just like sending a big wrecking ball through it. And yeah, it's gonna be rough for a while. And you may make more money, you may make less money, you may work a lot, you may work less, you may, you know, have to market to get more clients to do things that you're not sure what's going to happen. Like everything is all a question right now. And I'm in my coach Melissa says, This is not good for Enneagram sixes. I'm an anagram sixes she is and we don't like this kind of change. We like things to be planned. And we like to know what's going to happen. I'm the one who brings all the things that fit in the car. I prepare so that my kid falls down, I get a bandaid or like, I'm that person. And there's no plan for this. And I'm not good at that. My whole business is built on systems operations, running things well, helping other people run their agencies. And now it's all chaos. So where are we now? Right now? We're working with the client and everything's up in the air. I don't actually feel consciously stressed out all the time, but my body is reacting badly. My hands hurt again a little bit and my feet hurt. I wake up in the morning and I'm all tense. Like I've been clenching my jaw all night. Because of the unknown where the world is right now. Inflation, maybe a recession, war in Ukraine. supply chain issues, like all this kind of stuff, and business is getting a little wacky right now. I don't necessarily think it's a bad time. I think things are just changing from last year. A lot of my peers had Facebook ad businesses that completely blew up because of iOS changes. And Facebook ads don't work the same way anymore. So I feel like I'm almost overdue for a big wrecking ball for my business.
Everything's been pretty, you know, trucking along for a while, and we're by no means any kind of trouble at this point. And we were fine. We have other clients. And I mean, I have an agency, I have a team, like, it's not like this was the one client I had. And now I'm gonna die like, it's not, it's not I feel like my brain will say that to me, I will freak out a little bit. Because I freak out. That's like what to do. And it is been enormous, it's an enormous amount of thought work that I've had to do, to literally calm down to remind myself who I am, what I'm good at, that we're fine, that there is money in the bank, like we are going to be okay, we have other clients, we can get other clients. But the mind junk sucks. And I'm seeing a lot of people go through that right now. I'm seeing a lot of people that are just tapping out, like, I don't want to do this business thing anymore, I'm getting a job. And everyone's got to do what they got to do. I feel like I can never go back to corporate. I think I won't deal well with being managed anymore. But there's a lot of people right now that have just this whole mind junk stuff going on. And if that's you, you are not alone. It's hard. I was just listening to a podcast from Emily Hirsh, from Hirsh marketing. And she's talking about the same thing like all this kind of, you know, her business blew up last year, and getting through all of that. The mind junk sucks. So if you are freaking out right now, and saying you can't do this, and it's all gonna end, right? Take a deep breath, and try to look at what is actually happening. Are these things true? Or any of the things you're thinking true? Because if I asked myself that most of the time, it's like, no, no, they're not the world is not ending. You don't I mean, I've told you this before, like, I tend to prepare, right? I've got like 100 pounds of flour in my basement, I make a lot of bread, but still, it's a lot of flour, I can things I have a garden, like I'm prepping for. I don't know what, that's how I am. So the mind junk is strong. It is hard. And I want to be honest about that. Because a lot of people, I hear a lot of people talking about this, and then they're like, Oh, you just have to hustle harder. Don't ever show weakness. It's always like this, like, I don't know, I was on Wall Street for a long time. So like that bro culture of like, just suck it up, you'll be fine. Like, I tell myself that. And that's not good. For me. It's not good for anyone. Like, knowing that it's okay to not be okay, is a big thing. Like, I'm always the one who's like, Oh, I just gotta push harder, just gotta push harder, I just had to work harder. That's all it is. I'm just not working hard enough. And there's a place where you have to say like, that's not the problem, like life is going to change, you cannot control everything. And I don't like that. I don't like that I want to be able to control it all. I want to be able to put it in a plan. And even, you know, plan for contingencies. But I want to be in control of it all. And that is not happening right now. And I want to be honest about it. Because the shiny happy people are always telling you that business is great. And they're always making seven figures and they're always making a huge profit and they're always just wonderful. I don't think that helps any of us. So I figured the first episode back, I would tell you why. I have not been recording podcasts and where I've been I am drinking a lot of wine. I am doing a lot of paddleboarding. I'm doing things intentionally to keep my shit together to keep going without breaking. My hands were really really bad in February, March, and April, and I got them to the point where they are working again. They're really good. Lots of things. I haven't had caffeine in months. I don't really think that was it. But like, now I just like not having caffeine in my stomach. But I intentionally had to make sure that I didn't break through this. That I didn't hurt my life. I could be stressed out and I could work in a short term really, really hard. But that I didn't, it didn't impact my life. Real life. Like my business is real life but like I met like my life. My husband, my child, my health. My sanity. Sanity is a really hard one. So we have been paddleboarding a lot. It was a new thing I got into last fall. It was all in the ‘4 months of Uncomfortable’ and it's fantastic. We get out there. I live in New Jersey. We're by the ocean, the bay, and two rivers so there's tons of water everywhere. And we can just go out there. I think last week I was so stressed out that I don't think Dan and I spoke to each other the entire time we were on the paddleboards. Like we barely even spoke. And it was just like, we both needed to just be out in a quiet place and that has helped.
So I guess I wanted to come on today and tell you that business is hard, that it's okay. Businesses will always be hard, it won't always go the way you want. You can't control everything. And that's okay. At least they tell me that it's okay. That you need to look out for your real life, no matter what is happening, like you need to eat food, that's good. And you need to walk and you need to drink some water once in a while. And you need to breathe fresh air and you need to walk away from your desk. And those things are true. No matter what happens in your business, no matter what, like on a good day. On a bad day, you still need to drink water and take a break. There are just things you have to keep doing. And I have been fighting sometimes because I don't want to do all the good things. I just want to sit in a pot a pile of, you know, cranky, but like, yeah, it's okay. Like, it's okay, that shit goes wrong. It's okay. If you freak out. You just gotta pull it back together and go okay, like, how do I fix this? How do I go forward? Right? Because I still don't even know if this is a bad thing for my business, this could be a great thing for my business. The thing that's bad right now is just the stress of it. The work, the stress, the worry, I like to worry, I'm a really good warrior. That's a lot of it. So, I just wanted to give you a look behind the curtain of what the hell's been going on and why I haven't been anywhere. I think I posted on Instagram twice in the last few months, about where I've been and what's been going on. And like an honest look at how hard business can be sometimes even for someone who may look like they are successful, they have a successful agency, and we all look happy and shiny on Instagram. But that's not always how it is like, and that's normal, it is totally normal for a business to be crazy. It is totally normal for you to freak out a little bit. And it's totally normal for you to want to go get a job. And then you have to decide what you want next. I'm a big proponent around here of figuring out what you want and then building that life. And this is part of it. So regardless of how this plays out, I will still be here. Because this is what I do. Right? We have clients, we have other things we're doing.
I am coaching, I am doing VIP days. I am you know, talking about other people, we are going to do another round of Get Your Agency Together in the fall like we got stuff going on over here. This is just an interruption of your regular scheduled programming. So I guess I just wanted to give you guys a behind-the-scenes at how this all worked, and what it looks like to sell any figure business a little bit, or at least the craziness behind it all. And we're gonna get back to podcasts weekly. Again, we've got a bunch of new stuff that's coming together right now that I've been super excited about that kind of just got postponed through all this. And that will be coming to you shortly. So stay tuned, and I'll see you next week.
Thank you so much for joining me this week. If you have an agency or want to create one, come join my Facebook community. Get your agency together, where we talk about all the things growing and scaling your agency for show notes and more info and all things head over to Reynoldsobm.com Follow me on Instagram and Facebook at Reynolds OBM. And finally, if you enjoy this podcast, I would love for you to give us a review on iTunes.
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