In the very first episode of Zen Moment, the RevenueZen podcast, content manager Rob Guthrie interviews CEO Alex Boyd and CMO Amanda Cyr about how they got this crazy company off the ground, what they love about the work, and how they became friends. The conversation ranges from bourbon to ballet, and just about everything in between.

 

 

Rob: Hello and welcome to Zen Moment, the RevenueZen podcast where we talk about sales, marketing, SEO, content, and all of that good stuff. I’m your host Rob, and today I have two very special guests. I have with me Alex and Amanda, the CEO and CMO of RevenueZen, cofounders. Would you two like to quickly introduce yourselves? I’m going to ask you a lot of questions later, but say hello to the crew.

Amanda: Alex, go ahead.

Alex: I am the founder and CEO of RevenueZen, and I hail from great Portland, Oregon, where we lead our wonderful team just a few blocks from Amanda, and create lots of dollars for clients. It’s great fun.

Amanda: Hi, Amanda, last name is Cyr. You won’t be able to spell it, but you can spell results, and that’s what we deliver. Hey!

Alex: Hey!

Rob: That’s what we like to hear. In addition to delivering results, revenue, sales, leads, we also deliver puns, good times, good feelings, all sorts of happy moments. So this is our inaugural recording, it’s our first episode of what will hopefully be a fairly regular RevenueZen podcast, Zen Moment. So we’re just playing this one by ear, we’re just going to talk it out and see what happens. 

But I thought it would be good for us to talk through how we got here, how we came to be in this position. So for that, why don’t each of you tell me how you got your start in this business, broadly constituted, the work that we do? How did you find yourself in sales, growth, marketing, content, SEO, lead generation, whatever. Alex?

Alex: That is the most broad and wonderful description to it. I will answer: accidentally.

Rob: OK. As we all do.

Amanda: Gracefully, headfirst.

Rob: Facefirst. [laughs] Gracefully, headfirst into where we ended up.

Alex: Speak for yourself on the gracefully.

Amanda: He’s more like a giraffe whenever he eats it, for the listeners.

Alex: It really was, and I suppose I was a giraffe in a suit and tie at first because when I was trying to get a job out of college in 2011, I just went to my college alumni list and made a list of people that were in finance or hedge funds. Because I was of course going to be an automated trader at a hedge fund when I was working, right? That’s the plan, of course.

Rob: Sure, what else would you do?

Alex: Exactly, yeah, high finance and adding very little value to the world.

[laughter]

Alex: Naturally, nobody really wanted me, although because they were alums they were very polite. They’re like, “Look, you don’t have a PhD in Astroscience, so your trading statement’s nice, but no thanks.” So eventually I called somebody who–and I realize now this was my first cold calling campaign ever, but I called an alum who was at a brokerage firm, and I talked to him about the positions, and he was like, “Well yeah, you can sort of do client service or sales. If you want to be in sales, you’ve just got to be a closer.”

And I said, “Oh no, no, no, that’s not me.” So needless to say, I applied for Research and Client Service. They just happened to be hiring for a sales position, so my football coach who was the sales manager literally sat me down and asked me some questions. I generally bungled most of it but was somewhat graceful. And then toward the end, he was just like, “Look, how does a Moral Philosophy degree translate to sales?” And I reportedly said, “Philosophy is just selling ideas. This is simply a different product.” And he just did this face like, hm! OK, all right, yeah. He didn’t say that sound, but that’s how he looked. He would later tell me that that was the moment he decided I was going to do well on the job because I had that clean little response, I just sort of winged it? Wung it? I came up with it on the fly.

Rob: I think winged it works.

Amanda: We could grammar it.

Rob: I think that’s the past tense of…

Amanda: Wung?

Rob: Wung it? You wung it? We’ll go with winged.

Alex: We’re content marketers.

Rob: We know what we’re doing.

Alex: So basically then I was thrust, kicking and screaming, into this ridiculous job where you’re dialing one notch above cold leads three times a day. It’s just trial by fire of, can you do it? A few months in, I was like, OK, I’m going to science the shit out of this. I just realized I had a method of, well if I know more than them about everything and talk about what I know and studied, they’re just like, “Ooh, this guy knows some stuff,” then they’re going to open accounts.

I would later come to realize this is “product knowledge”, but at the time I was just like, this feels like the right way to do things. I don’t have to close, I’m just sharing stuff. Shortly after that, my two VPs invited me to a conference room and sat me down. One of them said, “All right, Alex, you’re doing great man, keep it up. But you’re being kind of a dick about it.”

Rob: [laughs]

Alex: I was like, “Oh shit, yeah, you’re right, I am.” It sort of hit me, I was like, OK. I see the path now a little bit. I actually want to be that guy who knew to tell me that. So I was getting good at sales, but I liked leadership better. That was the start, the first little moment. Ergo, I’m here today. So that’s the long-winded background.

Rob: OK, that’s great. What an origin story for the ages! Amanda, how about you?

Amanda: Well, personally I never had someone tell me that I was being a dick about anything. I think they said it behind my back plenty of times, but I think that’s kind of a testament to success in itself. [laughs] If people aren’t talking about you, then you’re probably not worth talking about.

I also stumbled in accidentally, maybe slightly more gracefully than Alex, but I’m not one to judge. I was going to school for creative writing. I had a college professor pull me aside one day and tell me that I was a terrible writer, and I should find a different major. Shortly after that, I dropped out and published a book and dedicated my very first book to her. I won’t mention her name, but she knows who she is, and I know who she is, and I’m a big enough person to move past that. From there, I realized royalty checks on books are nice but not consistent, and especially for a debut novelist, it takes a little bit more work. Side note, please buy my books.

[laughter]

So I started doing some freelance writing. I had an abundance of time. I was this college dropout in Seattle who just wanted to write all day. This was back in the days where freelancers weren’t getting paid much. It was a very tricky space for us. It was very competitive. They wanted more copy instead of quality copy. It was a little bit all over the place, and it was frustrating because it was a revolving door: produce, produce, produce, produce.

So looked elsewhere, I looked into editing, I looked into ways that I could contribute that I didn’t just feel like a letterpress. Shortly after that, we moved to LA. My partner got a job down there, we were like, let’s try it! Side note: don’t move to LA. It’s terrible.

From there, I got my first real in-house agency gig, and it was very exciting. I was this starry-eyed copyeditor, and I was being told to basically fact check and add commas to a bunch of copy. I won’t call it mediocre copy because that might be a kindness. But it was just a bunch of copy. It was still in the days, again, where it was factory content, it was keyword stuffing. Guys, this was before Panda. This was before keywords and content really mattered, so it was just volume.

I worked for a very great manager at the time, Jeremy Tarr, who definitely pointed me on the right track and encouraged me to just focus on quality. We all kind of smelled the smoke that was this algorithm change. Everyone knew that this keyword stuffing era was going to be short-lived. We just didn’t know when the other shoe would fall, basically.

So on the sites that we were managing, we quietly started producing better content. We started optimizing in accordance with the best practices that we knew to be true. So when the Panda algorithm rolled out, all of the sites that we were working on were rewarded greatly, and all the sites that were still playing the keyword stuffing game went, pfft. And that is the technical term, if you ask any marketer, that is the technical term. That’s P-F-F-T. Three T’s, actually. So our whole department got this weird looking-at.

Rob: [laughs] That’s in AP Style. In Chicago Style, it’s P-B-B-S-T.

Amanda: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of Chicago Style. I’m an AP type, ride or die, but I will fight you on the Oxford comma every day of the week.

Rob: That’s a little copywriting humor for you fans out there. You’re going to hear a lot of that on this podcast.

Amanda: [percussive] Ba-pa-cha!

[laughter]

Amanda: Anyway, from there, because we got in front of this algorithm change and adhered to these quality content narratives, suddenly everyone wanted to know, how did you make it work? We just increased our volume, we got more attention. Content became less than a footnote. We were suddenly driving traffic and creating really awesome narratives around that. So, climbed through that agency, and we ended up moving to Portland because we frankly could not stand LA. Loved the gig in LA, it was fantastic, but it was the only good thing I had down there. So we came to Portland, ran a few more agency lives, ran a few more paid campaigns, decided that content was the place I wanted to be, and then one day Alex stumbled into my life like the graceful giraffe he is, and we can talk about that next I guess [laughs].

Rob: Yeah, that actually is my next question. I wanted to do a quick aside. Amanda, you don’t know this because I don’t think we’ve talked about it yet, but I also went to school for creative writing and was told in politer, but still no uncertain terms, that I was not up to the task by my creative writing professor.

Amanda: Isn’t that funny?

Rob: So I studied history instead, which I was good at. Took a long detour through academia. It’s funny how that happens.

Let’s talk about how you two found each other because this is the second part of the origin story. This is how we find our heroes, our superhero team!

Amanda: Ooh.

Rob: Our team up, our partnership, as it were.

Amanda: Can we say “Avengers Assemble” without ticking any copyright boxes?

Rob: Probably not, but we’ll see. I’m going to leave that in and see if anybody notices.

Amanda: Right, if we get flagged, I apologize. We could reshoot this next week, same time.

Rob: That’s OK, I can take it out. How did you end up meeting each other?

Alex: Bourbon.

Amanda: Bourbon? No, it was Moscow mules!

Alex: Oh, meet for business or meet as humans?

Rob: As human beings.

Alex: Oh, yeah.

Amanda: We met over Moscow mules as humans, but then for business it was bourbon. Oh, that could be a good name for this podcast too: Business Over Bourbon.

Here we go, we lived in the same building in downtown Portland, a fancy bougie high rise where everyone dressed well and everyone was hip and cool and vibing with the city, and my partner and I were drinking in the lobby as one does on a weekday. I think you’d only lived in the building for a week. We were like, we’re going to put forth effort and meet cool people. There are cool people in this building!

So we’re sitting there and we’re drinking, and Alex comes sauntering along in this camel hair coat with a scarf, perfectly coiffed, and we’re like, hi friend! Was that what we said?

Alex: Verbatim. Well, you sort of tilted your head and you both waved like this.

Amanda: Yeah, you can’t see, crowd, but it was very poignant, and just imagine side eye head tilt, polite wave with a smile…I think is the best way to describe what happened there?

Alex: Basically, yeah.

Amanda: I think that was the moment, and you sat down with us and we drank.

Alex: I do remember that. This was pre-COVID, so we could share Moscow mules.

Amanda: Yeah, this was three, no, five years. Four and change?

Alex: Four, yeah. It was the winter. You overestimate how well I was dressed.

Amanda: You were dressed very well. You polished your shoes. I had holes in my Converse.

Alex: Yeah. Conceded, with a D not a T. Yeah, that’s how we met. We were friends for a year, and I watched you market, and you watched me sell. Sort of, not really, we didn’t talk about it too much…until bourbon! I had been going through the ordeal that was the exit from my last company to RevenueZen. I remember the chatter at the table at Pope House, this lovely bourbon lounge in Portland. So good, I remember when we used to go out and gather as humans. For those listening later, this was recorded during COVID-19!

At some point, the chatter just turns to Amanda…I hear this from Amanda, something-something new job. I’m over here on the other side of the table, something-something copywriter. And then we just lock eyes, and then—ha—it sort of clicks! At that time, it had been Alex the sales consultant for a month and a half maybe, not even two yet. RevenueZen wasn’t even born in its current form. I had been talking about somebody to maybe write some sales copy, and I just didn’t realize there was a CMO in our group. And there clearly was. We bonded over words and copy. And then was it the next day…?

Amanda: Yeah, sober, we said let’s go out for a walk and actually talk about this because it’s a big decision. Any founder will tell you that you don’t just get drunk and—well, some founders get drunk and start companies—but we wanted to do this smart. Part of our ethos is we were born out of agency life. We had come from an agency background, seen it done in several different ways over the years—big, small, etcetera—and we wanted to apply all of our learnings to something new, something exciting. An agency that really embodied all of the things that we as humans really enjoyed. And that became a conversation.

I remember, Alex, you were like, so sales sales sales sales sales sales sales. And I was like, well what about marketing? He’s like, we’re a sales agency. I’m like, Oh. How do you feel about marketing, though? I think now we’re branding ourselves as a marketing agency or a growth agency?

Alex: I think it’s either growth or demand, depending on who you ask.

Rob: Well, if you ask LinkedIn, RevenueZen is a boutique revenue growth agency run by former sales and marketing leaders at high growth startups.

Amanda: Oh!

Alex: Ah!

Rob: Voraciously effective, unique growth strategies that combine both outbound and inbound are our core. Well written! Amanda, I assume?

Amanda: I feel like—was that you?

Rob: Was that you, Alex?

Alex: That’s definitely me.

Amanda: I feel like I finessed it, though.

Rob: Anyway, it covers both! We’re all things to all people. 

Alex: Indeed! And we are also definitely both agency and in-house. I remember one of the hardest things about creating an agency was that I was used to being the Director of Growth, mostly on sales, for a venture-backed Silicon Valley company. And so I was very much not used to doing more than one thing at once at first. That was my adjustment I had to make: how to do more than one thing at once. An adjustment, definitely, but tons of fun too.

Rob: Cool! Well, we sort of asked this, but this is now the million dollar question: what led you to start RevenueZen? It takes a certain type of person to strike out on their own, to hang up their shingle and seek out clients. Why not continue to work for The Man, friends? Why strike out on your own?

Alex: That’s a great question. Why not work for the genderless mask otherwise known as The Man?

Amanda: [laughs] The genderless mask!

Rob: The vague authoritarian figure above us all, The Man.

Alex: I had definitely had good leaders and mentors and people who helped, but no matter where I went in the corporate world, I kept tending to go smaller. I started at a public company for two and a half years and tried for every promotion I got, and someone almost had a couple beers and admitted that I just wasn’t corporate enough for any of them. And so I found myself at a startup after that. It was closer, but it just felt like now was the time, and I wanted to build a culture from the ground up. And I couldn’t do that at another company I worked at unless I was the CEO, so I figured if it’s less money for the time being as we get ramped up, I’m just going to do it and see how it goes.

My thought process was, well, I have a bunch of commission checks saved up that I didn’t touch, so if I can’t make this thing work in the runway it takes for me to run out of those savings, then I didn’t deserve to have done this anyway, and I may as well go back to that life because I could just try again later.

Like I said, you have this much time to prove that you can do it. Otherwise, if you can’t grow it that quickly, what business do you have running a growth agency? It was almost a tautology where, by definition, for us to deserve success, we had to prove that we could do it. It’s funny that the logical perfection of the idea that I thought, was the proof that we could do it.

It’s not like starting an IT services company where your ability to grow it has nothing to do with the work that you do. For us, it’s very much the same thing. I just figured, if I get to three months of runway in my bank, then I will go apply for jobs and will get one really soon.

Rob: Love that confidence. That’s probably why you were able to find jobs out of college…unlike some of us who struggled through the 2008 Recession! You made it through your three month runway, then? Or didn’t make it through?

Alex: We never hit that. We thankfully have never lost money in any given month, which is—

Amanda: Humblebrag!

Rob: You can be proud of that! You’re allowed to celebrate successes like that.

Alex: I mean, there’s two camps. One camp is like, well obviously you’re a services company. Services companies don’t lose money. The other camp is VC-backed where you lose money intentionally for a while. I’ve seen private equity people email companies saying, your pro forma, your projection has you making a profit. We don’t like that.

So it’s either completely a brag or not depending on who you ask, but I don’t consider it that much of a brag because as an agency, you’re not supposed to lose money. If you lose money, you’re doing something very very wrong. Now, we didn’t make too much personally for a while, but that’s less of a humblebrag and more of just what we are.

Rob: What it is. Got it.

Amanda: Mic drop. It’s like that’s not a humble brag, that’s just fact.

Alex: Except not, because the equipment is expensive.

Amanda: Yeah, don’t drop your mics. There is a shortage. Again, this was recorded during the times of COVID, when webcams are a hot commodity.

Rob: That’s right. That’s a great summary. This is a question for each of you, but what gets you fired up about this work? Let’s reverse the order. Amanda, why don’t you start and tell me what excites you about what you do, this work, why you like doing the thing?

Amanda: Oh I love doing the thing, first and foremost…most things—not all things, but I do love in fact doing most things! The thing I love most about RevenueZen is, for me, I honestly came in just wanting to build a legacy. I was in a fairly comfortable position where I had royalty checks coming in, I was freelancing, I had a little bit of room to breathe after leaving my last gig, in which I helped a startup work towards their IPO. That was all exciting, but I was like, this isn’t for me. I want to build something. I want to be able to have a greater impact than I am in this moment.

RevenueZen was a great moment for me to just throw off everything and just charge boldly ahead. There were no rules about what we could or couldn’t be, aside from don’t be an asshole…which I think, if not already, should be our company motto. Just don’t be an asshole. We are in a unique position in which we have always stood by who we are, and if you’re a good fit for us, we’re going to be a fantastic ally for you. The confidence that we build within our team and our client base is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my, what, ten years of working. It’s being able to build anything you want and having no rules about what’s right or what’s wrong—well, there are certain rules about what’s wrong. Any marketer should know there are certain rules about what’s wrong: don’t spam people, don’t just scrape email, just don’t be a dick. That’s the overarching rule of marketing. Don’t be a dick.

That’s what I love about RevenueZen. We’re not dicks. We innovate, we adapt, we’ve gone through so many iterations as a company, and there’s no ceiling. We can just keep going and keep adapting and innovate at every turn. That for me is the most exciting part about this job. I came in ready to do SEO and inbound marketing—that was my thing—and now we’re building all these beautiful LinkedIn service offerings, which a year ago, I was like, what would that even look like? And then we started playing with it. And then it got exciting and it kept unfurling. There’s just something new at every turn. 

You can’t see it, listeners, but Alex is unfurling in the video. Maybe one day we’ll actually do a video and you can see how absurd we all are in real life?

Rob: Hopefully someday this podcast will come with a video version.

Amanda: Yeah, we could do it in person, like people?

Rob: [laughs] Let’s not get crazy here, folks! Someday, maybe.

Amanda: [laughs] So I think for me it’s being able to innovate. At a big agency, even if you’re a senior member of leadership in marketing, you still have to run this up the ladder anytime you want to roll out something new. There’s still people that you have to go and ask, is this OK? Being able just to say, we’re going to do it, and it’s either going to be OK or it’s not going to be OK. And if it’s OK, it’s going to be great, and if it’s not OK, we’re just going to slowly back away and go from there. I love that.

Rob: Love it. Alex, how about you? What do you love about the work?

Alex: Good question. And also stay tuned for videos because I am actually going to do some videos soon.

Amanda: Oh are you going to make a TikTok?

Rob: [laughs]

Alex: Not a TikTok, actually videos. There’s a ring light. I now have a ring light and know what a ring light is apparently. There is a tripod and all this stuff, so soon to be doing that. 

Unfurling is the coolest part, isn’t it? I think at first it was just an expression of that same freedom of, we can just do the stuff. The cool thing about that is, you’re bound by what works and your own values. The real problem I used to have with a lot of cultures I’ve come across, is it’s less than a true meritocracy. One thing I love about what we’re doing with sales and growth is that it really is. If you get results, then it’s very indisputable, whereas a lot of agencies do these fancy ad campaigns that, if it’s very tightly defined digital marketing, then you could track it very well…but I’ve always been very attracted to the things that don’t need to be defined in a wishy-washy way. I love those things, but they’re harder to build a business on in some ways, or at least I perceive that. If you have an example of a business you’ve built on more of that, then I’d love to hear it, listener, but for me it was easier to just rely on something very cut and dry.

The amount of organic traffic, SQLs, and ops and deals that our clients were getting were just so cut and dry. I relished in the ability to point on a dashboard and say, hey, look, we did that as a team. Isn’t that cool? Let’s do some more stuff!

The other thing I like about it too is who we do it with. That’s two things: one, we get to choose all of our people. There’s no inherited team. As much as I like the cross-functional collaboration, it was something we didn’t need to do because we built our own team. Being able to build my own team from the start completely from scratch with Amanda was super cool.

And then there was who we work with. Not having investors means we can choose who we work with. There’s a weird point where companies who are VC-backed, especially in SaaS, there’s this thing where you can’t really turn down a customer that is willing to pay but is a pain, right? You can’t just do that. But when you’re working with all those clients yourself, and you don’t have investors…not that we have an asshole tax. [whispers] But we have an asshole tax. We do, it’s true.

Amanda: Shh. Don’t read our MSAs!

[laughter]

Alex: It’s actually more like, I wonder if it’s that or it’s more like a nice person benefit. People often don’t understand how important it is to be really cool with people that you pay because I definitely go above and beyond in ways are out of scope for people who are just great to work with. So we choose our team, we choose our clients, we choose the direction we go. It’s market-based meritocracy. Did the stuff we did work? Are we dealing with people that are really on board and showing up and are very present all the time? Which is part of the choice of the company name of course because, as we all know from the great wisdom of Kung Fu Panda….

Amanda: Mm-hm. You’re going to quote it.

Alex: …Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery…but today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.

Rob: That is absolutely the truth.

Amanda: So if we couldn’t make an Avengers Assemble joke, how can we take a direct quote from Kung Fu Panda?

Rob: My instinct is that the Kung Fu Panda marketing thugs are less enthusiastic than those representing Avengers, but I guess we’ll find out.

Amanda: OK, but they know kung fu!

[laughter]

Rob: We’ll see who sends us a cease and desist letter!

This is a good point for us to get to our final couple of questions. Listen, all work and no play makes RevenueZen a dull agency. So why don’t you two tell me about what you’re excited about outside of work? What is your jam when you are not slaving away in the growth vines?

Alex: Well, when I was younger it was kung fu. [laughs]

Amanda: No, no, this is actually a great quote! You should totally talk about this. Guys, he had nunchucks.

Alex: This is true. People don’t usually know this, but yeah, I got a black belt in Kuk Sool Won, which is a Korean martial art in middle school and high school over seven long years. The sword that I was given upon reaching my black belt is actually at Amanda’s place.

Amanda: Oh my god, is that the sword?

Alex: That is the sword, and it was used to play real life Fruit Ninja, at my gleeful acceptance, because it was so much fun. If you’ve never played real life Fruit Ninja, you get a sharp sword, someone tosses fruit at you, and you know what to do. You know what to do with that!

Amanda: We have a video of this that we can put somewhere, wherever this podcast lives, if there is a comment section. I have a fantastic video of Alex just getting hosed by a watermelon.

Rob: I can absolutely make sure to put that somewhere.

Amanda: Thank you.

Rob: Somewhere, somebody has a picture of me chopping a watermelon in half with a katana, so I understand the joy of real life Fruit Ninja.

Amanda: It’s also a perfectly socially distant, friendly activity!

Rob: Somebody can throw a piece of fruit at you from six feet away, and everybody has fun. It’s perfect.

Amanda: Yeah, we just surrounded each other in a triangle formation and pelted with mangos. I had a bruise from your mango throw.

Alex: Sorry about that. They have pits.

Amanda: Well, I don’t even know how to follow that up. I don’t do kung fu. I did a bunch of ballet, and I can still stand on pointe for probably longer than anyone on the RevenueZen team. Except for maybe Lisa. We should definitely bring in Lisa with her secret talents one day.

So I did a bunch of ballet. I am a fairly graceful human being when I attempt to be; however, when I am not attempting to be, I am often face down in the dirt. Or alternatively, something I enjoy doing: raving. I am an excellent rave kid…I say as I approach 30. Still a rave kid at heart. Love going to a festival. Love going to the crowds and moshing hard. Really skilled with a fan. If you ever see me in the club and you’re overheating, find me. I will fan you all day!

I also write books. Please buy my books!

Rob: Do you want to plug your book? Is that something you want to do on our podcast?

Amanda: Ooh, tempting. I’ve actually been ghostwriting for the last couple of years. There’s a handful of people out there who know my pseudonym, but for now just go buy my debut novel. Amanda Cyr, that’ll work. Or alternatively, just come to RevenueZen and let me market for you. I’m happy either way.

Alex: For context, if you’re listening, I do not know Amanda’s pseudonym.

Amanda: No, he has been fighting so hard, and now…maybe when I die, I’ll leave a mention in my will for you.

Rob: [laughs]

Amanda: Now he’s plotting to kill me. You can’t see it, but he got real quiet, and he’s thinking, I’ve got to get that sword back so I can mess with her.

Alex: Yeah. I mean I want to know what that is.

Rob: I have one last special thing to share with the both of you. It is a dramatic reading of something about our fearless leader that I found on the internet. So this is a comment praising Alex Boyd from his LinkedIn page, so please listen:

“May we all take a page from the Alex Boyd book of doing business well. For me, it started when I couldn’t help but notice what he was writing, and more importantly, the way he was packing a serious punch through the structure and style of the spot-on content he was sharing. The thoughtful engagement he recognized stood out the most, and I dropped everything to reach out and to get to know him. That is where my life immediately became better. See, Alex is the kind of person you want in your life professionally and personally. He is paving the way for doing fantastic business without cutting corners or being a jerk. I doubled down on my content efforts after getting to know Alex better and learning from him. His business has exponentially grown, and his clients’ businesses, because of his remarkable way of approaching the power of marketing the right way. He sets an incredible example, and I am a better businesswoman for it.

Alex: Aw.

Amanda: Who said all those lies about you? I want to know who!

Rob: High praise! I’m not going to call out the person who wrote it, but I was trying to find something to read about both of you. I did not find anything for you Amanda, but I found plenty of things about Alex.

Amanda: No one had nice things to say about Amanda. [laughs]

Rob: Well, I was going to read your author page, but…

Amanda: Oh, don’t do that.

Alex: Well, everything I know about marketing, I learned from Amanda. So Amanda can take credit for at least 52% of that?

Amanda: I’ll take 52%. That’s a majority share. Actually, I would love to unpack this on a later podcast episode, learning how to market yourself. Part of the reason I started writing under a pseudonym is because up until recently, I’ve been very bad at marketing myself, which is something that’s almost shameful for a marketer to say. But I struggled to find my own brand voice. I was very good at doing it for other people and doing it for people I could hide beyond, in terms of a pseudonym, but I think a lot of marketers out there still, in fact, struggle with learning how to market themselves. For me, I recognized this whenever I was writing books, and I found a solution, which was pseudonyms…but I would love to make that a conversation for more marketers. It’s OK to not know how to present yourself to the world and be really, really good at what you do at the same time. So reach out!

Rob: We could maybe do that, you and I, Amanda, because I have the exact same problem as a marketer, I’m terrible. Honestly, this is why I was not a great—I was a good freelance writer, but I was not good at the freelance writing business—because I just did not have the self-promotion and hustle instincts to get the work. That would probably be a good thing to talk about on a later marketing-based episode.

So we’re just about at time, friends. Any final thoughts for this podcast? It’s been a delight to talk to both of you, as it always is. This has been a real fun conversation.

Amanda: I loved every second of this. Thank you so much for welcoming us onto the inaugural episode, Rob. You are a great host. I hope to be invited back sometime soon.

Rob: Of course!

Amanda: Maybe someday in person, when COVID is behind us.

Rob: Wouldn’t that be great?

Amanda: A girl can dream.

Rob: Well, thank you both for taking the time to talk to me. We’ll have more of these. Thanks to our listeners for tuning in. Please don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share, give us those ratings.

Until next time, this is Team Zen, signing off.

Jake is the Growth Manager at RevenueZen. He works with a number of entrepreneurial clients to help them tell their personal stories as it relates to their professional brands. He has three cats, loves bread, and is a pop singer under the name Jame Doe.