Today’s Guest Brendon Macdonald
Brendon is an astute problem solver who strives for excellence and executes plans with care and determination. He inspires others with his discerning nature and conscientious, measured approach.
Brendon Macdonald is Sales & Marketing Director at Digital Smile Design (DSD) where he took this position when DSD acquired Yello Veedub, his Sales & Marketing Agency in 2018. Yello Veedub, a Full Service Sales & Marketing Agency in 2015, specializing in the dental market. Before this he was involved in several social media consulting and e-commerce businesses focusing and specialising in the global health sector.
Brendon has extensive experience in brand & online digital strategies in the B2B & B2C healthcare & e-commerce sectors. He has a Bachelor of Economics from Rhodes University (2003) and worked in investment banking for a number of years before starting his own businesses in the retail sector before his last venture with Yello Veedub.
Brendon & his wife started their business over 10 years ago when a large publishing company left Europe after the 2008 crash. They started to sell advertising for their magazine and eventually bought out the other partners in the dental publication. As digital media became more popular they decided to start Yello Veedub as a social media marketing agency with 50+ dental clients including DSD who later bought their agency.
Brendon talks about the challenges he faced when he went from having his own agency and making all the decisions himself to working for DSD as an employee.
Brendon experienced an identity crisis with his business, Yello Veedub. He was constantly in a fight for survival and had no time to reflect or grow as an individual. After the sale of Yello Veedub, Brendon began focusing on four main pillars: balance, being, business and body.
There are three key areas to meaningful growth: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Brendon realized he was holding his team back by providing all the answers himself instead of allowing them autonomy and self-discovery. Becoming a coach was one of the biggest learning moments for him - working on the business rather than just within it had huge impacts on both his own productivity and morale within his organization.
Brendon suggests focusing on balance in order to maximize business performance. He recommends listing activities that are classified as working in the business and assigning a percentage of time towards them. He also emphasizes building processes, delegating tasks, and creating autonomy within the team to free up more time for long-term planning.
People are always looking to move up and have more success, defined however they see fit. This can be a difficult mindset to break out of, but it is possible. Brendon has gone through many changes in the past few years and shares that it was difficult at first because he had to get used to not being in charge all the time. He has since learned how to better communicate with those around him and present his ideas in a way that is more effective.
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Matt Edmundson: Welcome to Push to Be More with me, your host, Matt Edmundson. This is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that. Today I am chatting with my very special guest, Brendon MacDonald, all the way from Madrid, uh, about where he has had to push through, hat he does to recharge his batteries, uh, and to be as well as what he's doing to be more.
Now the show notes and transcript from my conversation with Brendon are gonna be available on our website pushtobemore.com. And whilst you are there checking those out, make sure you sign up for the newsletter cuz each week we will email you the links and the notes from the show.
Straight to your inbox automagically. It's free. It's easy. So why not sign up now? This episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. Brendon, you know what? I have found running my own podcast to be super, super rewarding.
It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I've built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers, my team, and my amazing suppliers. And I think just about any entrepreneurial business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own business.
And of course, That sounds great in theory, but in reality there's a lot of technical stuff to think about. There's strategy to think about. I mean, the list goes on, which is why so many people don't actually do it. You see, I love talking to people, but I don't really enjoy all that other stuff, if I'm honest.
So, Aurion media, they take it all off my plate, which is amazing. I do what I'm good at, and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.com. That's A U R I O N media dot com, and we will of course link to them on the website and in the show notes as well.
Now, Let's put all that aside. Let's focus on today's guest. Brendon is an astute problem solver who strives for excellence and executes plans with care and determination. He inspires others with his discerning nature and conscientious measured approach. Brendon is a sales and marketing director at Digital Smile Design, also known as DSD, where he took this position when it was acquired by Yello Veedub, his sales and marketing agency back in 2018.
Yello Veedub was a full service sales and marketing agency in 2015 specializing in the dental market. That was a pivot that Brendan made. Uh, before this, he was involved in several media consulting and e-commerce businesses focusing and specializing in the global health sector. He has extensive experience in branding online digital strategies in the B2B and B2C healthcare and e-comm sectors.
He has a Bachelor of Economics from Rhodes University, uh, and worked in investment banking for a number of years before starting his own business Yello Veedub, which is an interesting story in itself, why it was called Yello Veedub. I've known Brendon now for a few years, so I'm looking forward to this.
Brendon, great to have you. Thanks for coming onto the podcast, man. How you doing?
Brendon Macdonald: Great, Matt, thanks for having me on the podcast. Looking forward to our discussion today.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, normally we have great conversations. I just never record them. And you, you kind of go and it's like, oh, bugger, I should have recorded that.
Uh, but yeah, it's, uh, it is interesting. So tell me, um, just tell me I guess, a, a bit about Yello Veedub, how DSD acquired it, and why you are in Madrid.
Brendon Macdonald: Yeah, great. Great question and I'm happy to share. I think, uh, Yello Veedub was a marketing agency. Um, we started a very interesting story. We, my wife and I have been in business for, uh, very long time, so over 10 years.
And, uh, we. In 2008 when the, the big crash happened with all, with the whole world, with Lehmann & Banks starting the, the run on everything. Uh, my wife was working in a publishing company, uh, American Publishing Company, and they had some scientific publications. One was a dental one and the other one was a Separation science, you know, the CSI program?
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Loved it. Loved it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Brendon Macdonald: So, um, obviously in 2008, the American, uh, company obviously went through some issues, so they kind of left Europe and they just left all their titles there. And so everybody who remained in that part of the world kind of inherited these titles where they, they had like, the dental publication had like 60,000 paid subscribers.
Um, and so the directors of that company all got together. My wife was part of that process and I was just transitioning out of another business, so I had time on my hands. So I started to sell advertising in their magazine cuz it was a magazine publication. Yeah, yeah. Um, basically, long story short, um, me and my wife ended up buying the other partners out in the dental publication.
Oh, wow. And so we, we were running that publication and we were finding it harder and harder to, to sell advertising space. Mm-hmm. . Cause digital was just about when that was, when all the big social media, Facebook and all that were becoming quite popular and that advertising was, uh, coming up. Um, and so yeah, we were, we were just floating along, just the two of us.
Um, and then we saw an advert by a prominent dental business coach, and he said, I, I want, I need someone to do my social media. and we had been phoning all the big suppliers trying to sell ads, uh, full page ads, uh, in our magazine and was being, wow. It was becoming much harder. And I had a couple conversations with the supplier saying, you know, this thing, social media or this Facebook, do you guys do that?
Um, cuz we are just about to spend this amount of money with this agency to do our social media. And I was asking for a fraction and I was suffering and they were considering spending so much more. So it kind of coincided with we need to get into social media marketing. Yeah. Um, and then this advert happened, and so we replied and said, of course we do that.
Please think of us. And we, we were, we were hired and as soon as we hired, we went and. For a social media course. I remember looking on online, trying to think, okay, how do you do the social media thing? Um, and then that's how Yello Veedub was born. Essentially was uh, we got very lucky, uh, the business coach would go into dental, uh, client.
And it was at the time when you needed to do social media. Mm-hmm. And they said, oh, great agency. And then kind of through word of mouth, um, we grew our client base very quickly. Mm-hmm. And then we had to start to hire people. And then Yello Veedub was a social media marketing agency, um, for, for a couple years.
And then again, same thing. We, we struggled to get results. Um, they started to taper off as the social work started to mature and started to charge you, you have to do paid media. So we kind of evolved into the full service agency because we were kind of having to start to do websites, have to do Facebook ads, do all the things that we needed to do to get results, and that's how we kind of evolved from posting Facebook posts to doing brand websites, digital marketing and everything.
And that's how we specialize in dental work cuz we just had over 50 dental clients. We became experts in, in how to find patients for the dentists. Yeah. And DSD was one of those clients, uh, we met them in 2012 and we stayed with them and, and then they had a big deal that they did and part of their strategy to kind of expand was to bring marketing in-house for their network.
And that's how Yello Veedub kind of was approached? Mm. They liked what we did. Um, and they said, come join us. And that's what we did. Uh, and so now my family, we live in Madrid cuz that's where they're headquartered and yeah. Enjoying the ride so far.
Matt Edmundson: Enjoying the ride so far. So it sounds, I mean, it's a heck of a journey, you know, and, and all the twists and turns that it takes and, um, you know, one of the things I've always admired about you and your wife, Rita, just the, the ability just to upsticks and move to a different part of the world, cuz it's not the first time you've moved and lived in a different country. Is it?
Brendon Macdonald: No it's not. No, we, we moved in 2005. We moved from Southern Africa, so my wife's from South Africa, I'm from Zimbabwe. And uh, yeah, the situation in, in Africa was what it was and so we had to move and so, yeah. Um, but I think, I think we're good now. I think we're
Matt Edmundson: kind of settled. Your kids speak Spanish fluently. You Maybe not so much
Brendon Macdonald: so?
Yeah. Uh, I have a, a family that speaks Spanish except me. So I've got three translators, which is great, and I'm a little bit ashamed to say it's been two years and I haven't learned anything. But that's cuz I've been pretty busy, so. Yeah. Yeah, it's something we can,
Matt Edmundson: pretty busy. So what's it like when you are, um, , you've got this agency, you've got your, your, uh, own agency, um, and then you get approached by DSD.
You go through the negotiations. They, they in effect take you over, buy you out. What was, what was that like, what was some of your thinking at that point? Because I mean, this is. In some respects what a lot of business people dream about, right? It's the exit, it's the how do I build this to sell it? And so you've done what a lot of people dream about and I'm, I'm kind of curious, what was it like back then when you were approached? What was your thinking like?
Brendon Macdonald: Um, I think transparently speaking, um, , it was something that I could see was going to happen. It was, it was starting cuz I was part of the conversations with, with DSD and their plans. Mm-hmm. So I could see it coming a long way off. Um, and if I'm being honest, um, Yello Veedub, although successful, it was very tough to run the business.
It was super stressful. You know, when you're an agency owner, um, effectively on your own. And cash flow is a constant battle. It was always a battle for us. We, we never had the amounts of cash flow. We needed to kind of scale to get to a place. So I felt with Yello Veedub, I had hit a glass ceiling and I didn't.
And I didn't, I didn't know, and I know now what I should have done in the past, but at that moment in time I was completely clueless and I just felt kind of stuck cuz uh, for, for, but two to three years, we, we were growing, but we weren't growing to what we needed. You know, we couldn't track the right talent or we didn't have the right,or it was kind of the chicken or the egg situation.
It was like, we need better people, but we can't afford to pay those people. So I was in that cycle with Yello Veedub. Um, and so the honest truth, it was, it was a relief, um, because obviously it kind of took the burden off trying to break through the grass ceiling away from me. Yeah. Um, and, and the process was fairly straightforward, um, because, uh, if I'm being honest, the value of Yello Veedub, um, wasn't hard to work out the value.
So I can imagine if, if the agency was a lot bigger and there was a lot more value involved, um, it would be a lot more complicated process, but it was very straightforward what they wanted, what. What size we were. So I think we were the right size to be acquired by dsd, if that makes sense. Mm. Um, yeah, I, I, I will say that the biggest, I did have huge reservations because I don't think I'm a very good employee.
Um. I don't think anyone, I don't think anyone should hire me. Um, so I was really concerned about that, to be honest, that their idea of, you now have to communicate with a group of individuals and you might, they might not necessarily agree with your direction, so there was a lot more. You have to improve your communication skills cuz now when you are running the business effectively with one.
one or two main business leaders, but you make all the decisions normally to go into an environment where there's 10 people that also make the decision. Mm-hmm. , that was something that I was really weighing on my mind. I was like, will I survive? Will this, will this, will this be something that I can adjust and adapt to?
And, and it's kind of part of the process of how I changed and evolved for the better, to be honest. Yeah. Cause when you're kind of stuck by yourself, Making all the shots. Making all the calls, um, you don't have to develop those skills. Yeah, it's just. You just make the decision and you move forward and there's no negotiation, there's no discussion, there's no kind of debate.
Uh, if, if truth be told, it's just like, I want to do this and we're gonna do this. I feel it's right and we're gonna move forward. Um, um, so that was kind of the only thing that I, I struggled with in the first year, uh, when I started the, the process of, of kind of working with DSD and winding down the business in Yello Veedub.
Cuz what we did was we became the agency for their network, but we had some existing clients, so we had to offboard them over time. Yeah. And there's focus on the dsd, so it was a transitional period of, we still made money, but eventually after one year it was, we needed to stop all those contracts and then focus on, on DSD clients and their, and their networks.
Matt Edmundson: So it took, this transition then takes about a year where you go from being the owner to being an employee. And it's fair to say, I mean, you, you are quite involved in dsd, right? You are, um, the head of marketing there. It's not like you just, you went from zero, uh, hero to zero or anything. I mean, you, you took a fairly reasonable role in the company, right?
Brendon Macdonald: Yeah, it was part of the process of, um, cuz I shared, I was very transparent with their leadership saying, I have concerns about this idea of just kind of being part of, um, the workforce and not having any direction or say, or, um, kind of input in what the strategy and, and the directives would be. And we kind of struck a deal.
I, I'm now part of the board of directors and, uh, we took some equities, small piece of equity, not, not, not, not massive. Um, and that kind of helps that, it helps the transition phase to be honest. Yeah. Yeah.
Matt Edmundson: So you're still owning sort of part of what you're building. So the, so this transition then, um, . So you had to learn to communicate and you mentioned that there was stuff that you didn't know then, but you now know. What else would you, would you put in that bucket?
Brendon Macdonald: uh, you mean in, in terms of what, what I started to work on or what, what the transition was like because
Matt Edmundson: Yeah, just, just in terms of what you've started to work and what you've started to learn about yourself, about market, whatever, just that, um, you, you mentioned that, you know, when you started this process, there was stuff that you didn't know, but you now know about, about the whole thing, and I'm just kind of curious to dig into that a little bit.
Brendon Macdonald: Yeah. It, it's, it's fascinating. I think, um, and there's probably a lot of people listening that might be in the same position, um, when you're fighting to survive, cuz that's effectively what yello veedub was doing for many years, for five years because constantly iterating. We are trying to find out what we were, um, cause we had a bit of an identity crisis at Yello Veedub.
We didn't, we didn't know who were best serving for, although we focused on dentistry as like what type of marketing were we? We didn't know how to position ourselves. We were kind of taking on clients just because we needed the cash rather than really evaluating and understanding that, this is not a good fit.
And there's no, the likelihood of success is not that high because of the, these factors. But we took, we were taking the cash because we needed it. And so yeah, when you're in that zone of you are constantly working in the business to survive, there is no time to step back, reflect, and, and grow as an individual.
Yeah. So you're constantly in this, um, fight mode, this to survive mode. And so what. The, the transition here to DSD helped me do was I started to slow down and, and I didn't have to worry about that piece anymore. Um, and then, so there was, it kind of started this process of I could slow down, I could start to think and I could start to evaluate what, um, what the state of my life was at that time.
Um, and it, it wasn't a good place, um, because if, now what I do is I, I break, I kind of try and break my life into four main pillars that I wanna focus on. Okay. Um, and it's like a, it's like a, it's rather than yearly goals, it's more like a monthly mission type thing. Mm-hmm.. Um, and so the four pillars are, uh, balance being, uh, business, um, and body.
And these four areas I try and have, try and develop what's uh, behaviors and, and habits that reinforce and build on those four pillars. Okay? And when I, when I, when we made the, the sale of Yello Veedub to DSD. , those fours were completely lopsided. Business was probably 98% of that balance, right? Mm-hmm.
I was just working the business. I worked 70, 90 hour weeks. Um, so I neglected my body, definitely no being in terms of, you know, doing stuff that, uh, nurtures kind of my. . You know, I, I'm not into meditation yet, but I found a way for, to nurture my being. Yeah. And then the balance was completely off. I was just working all hours.
I wasn't spending time with, with the family just because, you know, you're in that survival mode. Mm-hmm. . Um, and so yeah, I think the process was, I, I got a bit of space and then I started to work my being, uh, a lot more. So I started to understand that working hard and making money because ironically, there was a little bit of, um, payback from all that effort.
It wasn't a lot, but it was a little bit of, and then I was like, I don't feel any difference. Um, it didn't, it wasn't the thing that I thought it would be, if that makes sense. So you, yeah. Yeah. You chase this goal, um, and then you get it and you're like, okay, now what? Um, and it's a little, you're a little bit lost.
So I started to work on myself. I started to listen to podcasts and read a lot about kind of what and it sounds cheesy, but what fulfillment is and, and, and happiness. Uh, that was the thing that I, I started, it was as covid happened as well. Yeah. So a little bit more time and the whole world kind of stopped and decided, said, what is it all about?
I was in that mode there, and, and slowly but surely, um, I used to just to work on and become more aware about kind of the three the three things that make everything worthwhile. Right? Um, it's, it's what we use at DSD and it's kind of this like the three areas we want every team member to go through to experience what we call meaningful growth.
And so I was trying to, I was becoming more aware of this idea of I want meaningful growth. Cuz at the, you know, you've been with me, uh, for many years when we, we worked together and, um, success and growth was the thing that I wanted for, for whatever reason. I don't know to this day I still don't know it was just a goal.
Didn't have any meaning behind it, but it was, but now I understand that the growth is not just in business, but in those four areas. Um, and. You know, I, it was a period of understanding that piece. Mm. Um, once I understood the three areas that, um, that made most sense, uh, in terms of meaningful growth, then I could start to work on the gaps that I had.
And that's, we can talk about what that is. Cause that's what I didn't know. So if I was to start again, an agency start in a completely different way. Cause I'd understand the kind of, Six to 12 things you need to scale a business. Yeah. Um, and I was completely doing it wrong. I was and it, and it, and obviously that's why I didn't scale, uh, as much as I hoped it would.
Right. Yeah. Yeah. So, so it's be interesting if, if that ever happened again to try and see if I could make it different with what I know now. You know?
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Hindsight's a wonderful thing, isn't it? Uh, and, and figuring all this stuff out as you go along. I'm curious, right. So you've got these four areas, so you said balance being body and business.
I may have got them in a different order. Yeah. Um, so you've got these four areas, and then you talk about three, the three keys that you have in DSD to meaningful growth. What are those three keys? Let's, let's complete this picture.
Brendon Macdonald: Yeah, so this was, um, I forgot what the book is and I, I'll, I'll, I'll try and if it comes to me, I'll, but there was a book that spoke specifically about, um, fulfillment and, and one of the quotes that stuck with me was that, and he used a quote saying, the, the fulfillment in martial arts is not necessarily
uh, winning the trophy or winning the competition, but it's in the practice of, um, yeah, of the martial art that you get true kind of fulfillment. And that really stuck with me because it was like, I'd always aimed saying, I'll be happy and fulfilled if I can get to that point, that end point in, in the end road.
But it's like, no, actually, if you enjoy what you do every day, then. , you then you're, you're in the place, right? It's, and you've, we've all heard it a hundred thousand times. Uh, you know, um, if you don't have a, a job that feels like a job, then you, you, you know, you're in the right place. So the three areas we've identified that we try and push for our team members that I push myself is, is autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Matt Edmundson: Um, and Oh yeah. Dan Pink's book, drive.
Brendon Macdonald: Yes, that's exactly, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So we, we kind of, we want. the team, or you want to feel in control on your day-to-day work, right? Mm-hmm. . And if I look back at Yello Veedub days, and also in the beginning of, uh, DSD days running the team, cause we had to build a whole new team, um, uh, in Madrid.
The, the way that I had done things, because I was working in the business and I was at the top and I thought, and the buyer that you introduced actually as an old buyer, um, which I, my identity was based on problemsolving, I was very proud that I could, you could come to me very quickly and I could look at a situation and I could find a solution for the problem.
That was my whole persona. My whole personality was, you come to me, I solve your problem. But what I didn't understand at the time was that I was actually holding everybody back, including myself. Yeah, because then no one takes initiative. No one has autonomy, and they basically just push everything on you, which makes you work harder.
Uh, you have a high workload. You get frustrated with everyone because you're like, why can't you just do these things and mm-hmm, you train them to say, come to me cuz I'll give you an answer in, in, in a minute or two. Um, and so I had set up systems that were very controlled. Like you, we use a sauna and there was like, A task with subtasks, which had subtasks and everything was measured.
We used to track the time with the timer, and so we were very, very controlled. And that takes away autonomy. And so people don't feel in control of their day. They just come, there's a hundred tasks that they need to get through during the day. They didn't choose it, they didn't, uh, figure out the pieces themselves, which yeah, which is a big part of them feeling, uh, happy at work.
Then it's, um, people want to feel that they're mastering their role and that they're growing and that they're. They're reaching the potential that they feel they can reach their potential. Mm-hmm. , uh, and then they want to do some work that feels like the purpose part. They want to do some work that has an impact.
Um, so yeah, these three areas are for dsd are. Are very defined because the type of work that DSD is doing is work that they'll talk about in 20, 30 years. They're breaking through, uh, how dentistry is going to deliver. And so in 10, 20 years time, the way DSD does it's dentistry is how every dentist will do their dentistry.
And so the team that are working at dsd, the purpose is clear, um, and the impact is going to be measurable and it's going to be big. And so the purpose part is very easy for us because we can communicate that, that piece to the team, and they feel like they're, they're part of something bigger. They're part of a movement that is, that is helping dentists and is helping patients in, in the long run.
Um, and then the autonomy and the mastery piece was the, the biggest learning that I had was this idea that, leaders make great leaders, right? Um, and this is the piece that I missed. Um, I was always giving the answers rather than asking the questions and letting the, the team or the members self-discover the answer themselves.
And once I started to do that, I can tell you that the, the potential of everybody, my time, my input was less and the impact was much bigger because I, it wasn't down to me and the team were much happier, much more fulfilled, because now my role is to determine what we need to do. Mm-hmm. . So guys, we need to make this amount, uh, of profit this year.
And then they figure out the how, um, and say, okay. It's like, uh, the, the analogy of like, we need to build a, um, we need to get across the river. And then it's like, that's it how we get across the river. You guys figure it out. I trust you. I figure, and you, you give the boundaries and you give the frameworks that they, you know mm-hmm.
but I, I might think that we need to build the bridge. But they might decide that they're gonna bring a build a pontoon or, or whatever it is. I said, I don't really, it doesn't really matter to me as long as we can get across the river. And the autonomy and the mastery piece in that for the team is huge. I, I've seen it with how our team has transformed, cuz we, our team had two parts.
When I took over from dsd, there was a part where it was totally controlled, where we took all the Yello Veedub systems and we imposed them on everybody. Mm-hmm. and, uh, we used a system called Office Vibe, which is, um, kind of a tool for employee engagement and it measures, uh, okay. 12, 12 areas of employee satisfaction.
Right. Relationship with peers, your manager, you know, compensation. It, it's very, very good system. Mm-hmm. And, um, we started with really high because we had this big promise and we were a scaling company, dsd. And then because of our systems and because of the way I was. The score gradually went down, like it went from eight eight outta 10, cuz I do it outta 10 to about six outta 10, which is very low.
And that was the time we were like, we need to do something cuz clearly it's not working. And then we basically, Said, okay, uh, we now gonna just set the goals and you guys figure it out and now we're back up at 8.9 or something. So people are super happy, they're growing, um, and they're taking on so much.
It's, it's, it's really nice to see. Um, yeah, and and everybody's super annoyed with me now cuz I never give her a straight answer, unfortunately.
That's really funny. Heard team members say, just tell us we know, you know, just tell us and I'll, and, and, and I refuse. I said, no, I'm I. I think that you can, you can get this, I, I sometimes ask the questions in a way that the answers, the answer to the question is the answer, if that makes sense. You structure the question very well.
But, um, yeah. Becoming a coach is kind of the, the big thing that is the big aha moment that I had, two, two big aha moments in the transition was I needed to work more on the business than in the business, I've heard it a hundred times. I went to many business courses. It never stuck with me because I was in the, I was in that survival mode.
But once I, and I started to do that and I started to see the impact. Mm-hmm. It was huge. Um, and I've been there. People's like, you need to work on the business. I'm like, well, I need the clients to pay me, so I'm, I'm gonna have to solve the client issues. Yeah. Um, we have to find the cash. I'm the salesperson.
I have to sell, so that's all very good and well, but I'm not gonna survive, but I wish. I would've listened and said, okay, we need to do this. Um,
Matt Edmundson: so, so how would you have, um, how would you have done that? It's interesting, isn't it cuz it's, it's like you, it's great having this learning now where you've got the space and you know, co one of, like you said, one of the things Covid did was give us space and you've got the company, you've got the structuring, you can play around with these things and maybe we'll come back in a minute to the pain of this learning cause I'm curious about that.
But, um, You, you sat in these business seminars, heard that you should work on your business, not necessarily in it, and you're like, yeah, whatever. Because you know, I've gotta work 60 hours this week just to pay the bills. So what would your advice be to your older self? Now you are sort of three or four years in the future and you, and you can look back and go, Brendon, this is what you need to know. Bud I'm, I'm kind of curious what that would be.
Brendon Macdonald: Yeah, there's, there's two parts, right? Um, the first part is if I was. because again, uh, it's a weird thing. It it's, it's a momentum thing, right? So when I, by the way, when in, when we sold Yello Veedub, when I came to Madrid, I, I was 50 pounds heavier. Right. So just to show you the balance out of it.
Yeah. So I was extremely, I was tired all the time. I wasn't in great shape. Uh, and then I started, because I had time, I started to get in shape, and then I started to have a bit more focus and a bit more energy. Mm-hmm. . And, and so it's a weird thing because you, they all build on each other. So that's where the balance thing comes on.
So the first thing I would tell myself is like, listen, you. , you need to address this balance in small micro, like 1% better. That's the way I've been doing it. It's just like you're not gonna make everything equal. Mm-hmm. , but you have to start to focus on the body and you need to do stuff to kind of make sure that you get the optimal kind of, uh, Outcome outta your body.
Yeah. Because if you're not, if you're not in shape or you're not ready or focused, then the rest is really difficult. Um mm-hmm. . And then you start to work on each, each of those pieces. So the first thing I do is like, they're these four areas work on the balance. Look at, like, write on where you are with each one.
Um, and try and get the other ones closer to the business part cuz I think most business, small business owners or, or where, where you are hitting a glass ceiling is you, you're focusing on the business a lot. Um, and actually you're suboptimal, if that makes sense. You units and you can't break through that ceiling.
Mm-hmm. . The second thing is probably say take a table. What really helped me was list all the activities that you classify as working in the business. So if you are the main salesperson, if you are the one who has to be client strategy working, you're the one who they call, like when there's a client has an issue or whatever it is, and you list all those things and then you put a percentage of how much you do in each business, and then you slowly, and then you have a working on column and you just be as honest as you can list it, and then you have your breakdown and then you just focus on trying to get one of those things across to reduce, be like, okay.
selling, maybe I can't take, go away from selling cuz selling is a very, very important piece. Mm-hmm. . But building the processes, the planning, the training people. Can I find somebody in my team that can take this time? Mm. So then I don't have to, then I can start to focus on the business. Um, I think that's, that's what I started to do.
Um, biggest one for me personally, was building processes. I love building processes. But again, it's the autonomy piece, right? Yeah. So if you build the process, the team don't take it on board. They, yeah. Then it's not gonna stick. They're gonna do it. So that was the took a lot of my time. Um, so I took that one out and I said, guys, this is what we need to do.
Um, and then that was it. And so that's, that's what I would, I would start there because that gives you kind of a blueprint on how you can get more time in your day, because that's all you really need is the time. Kind of look up and look on the horizon. And cuz sometimes you're just busy, right? Yeah. You work,
Matt Edmundson: you become busy full time, don't you? In a lot of ways. Um, yeah. So that's what you'd tell yourself. I guess my question then, my follow on question to this Brendon, is okay, would, would Brendon of five or six years ago, listen to what you just said?
Brendon Macdonald: It's a good question. Um, probably not. No. Cuz I wasn't ready. Um, uh, because I hadn't, I didn't work on my, my being I mm-hmm. and that's, that's what I'm quite. , uh, fastidious about now is, um, the way that I do my being and I'm gonna try, uh, but I, I dunno if it's gonna happen. I'm gonna try and do a little bit of meditation, um, that sort of stuff, but it's never stuck with me. Mm-hmm. , um, to be still and think, but my meditation is learning.
And constantly reading. So I listen at least every day, uh, to a podcast. Uh, so on the way to driving these kids to school, and I want, on the way back, it's about 20 minutes each way. So I listen to just podcasts and business, podcasts and self-development podcasts and yeah, all kinds of stuff. And then I have the blinker step, which summarize books that help me figure out which, um, and I'm just constantly learning.
I'm, I'm part of section four. I'd recommend everyone who hasn't to look at section four, cuz it it, for especially on business strategy pieces. Mm-hmm. and then another service called Maven, uh, which is kind of a competitor to section four. Um, and they have all these smart people just kind of teaching you business concepts and ideas and that kind of is how I opened or changed my perspective on a lot of things.
And so as I started to listen and read, these, these ideas and concepts of these smart people. I started to see all the gaps that I had, and then I started to apply when they were telling me to, and then I was seeing success and I was like, wow, this is, this is great. Um, I wish I'd done this earlier. So yeah, , probably the first thing to do is start to kind of open your mind.
I, I, I think being open to new ideas and concepts, right? Because, that's one thing that is different is I know, I understand that I know very little. Um, and that I just have to constantly open my mind and Yeah. Ideas to, to what people are sharing.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. , yeah. That drive, that growth mentality, that, uh, desire to constantly learn to be curious.
Um, different people use different language, don't they? And it, but it's the same thing, uh, the, the, the constant desire to learn and, and to grow, I think. Um, but I think in some respects, Brendon, as long as I've known you, you have always had that. You have, you have consumed more online courses um, than anyone else I know, if, if I, I, I'm, I'm always where, like with section four, I, I remember sitting down and you would, you know, I'm on section four because you told me about it, right?
Yeah. And it's one of those kind of, uh, it's one of those things where I, I, I know that you've been prolific at, um, just absorbing information and it's good now actually listening to you talk that what you have, it feels like is a lightness and a capacity to put some of this stuff into practice. Whereas before you would learn it, but then you would just crack on, uh, and, and, you know, you would pivot and you would change, but it was.
but now it's kind of like, no, no, no. I'm starting to, to realize a little bit more about myself here. Is that a fair reflection?
Brendon Macdonald: It is. Yeah. I, I think I, it's a good, it's a good, actually, the growth mindset piece was always something that I knew I had to do. Um, but to be honest, the, the industry or then the way that the information was shared Wasn't there yet because there was, the quality of the content that you learn was very hard to find good quality stuff.
So there's a lot of noise. In the past it was very like one man bands, and so you would buy, and I didn't have a lot of money. Then you'd buy a course and then it wouldn't be that great and you'd be like, oof. You know? Uh, but now with Section four and Maven, you, you can find really, really good content and then speed up your process.
But, um, It's an interesting thought. I've never thought about that. If I went to back to my stress or my, my survival self, um, as I refer to it now, what would I do? Because you'd have to, you have to survive and pay the bills and pay the salaries, but how do you get out of that trap? Because I was lucky, cuz I'm, I, uh, I was very fortunate as that this kind of DSD came along and, and helped.
Buy space and time, but I think probably it would have to be, you need to scale down and find time. Mm-hmm. Uh, to develop, which, which sounds super radical, but I don't know how else to get out of it, because you're kind of stuck in this, gotta find the, the fixed cost every month. Yeah. You know? And so you just keep going. So it might be,
Matt Edmundson: yeah, you do, you do, don't you? And you get trapped in this. . It's interesting, I, I've never yet had a conversation with somebody where they said, oh, I'm moving and they're moving to a smaller house. Unless they're like downsizing cuz the kids have left in their fifties and sixties, or I'm moving to a slightly worse neighborhood.
It's like this, the drive for success is always, I need to be in a bigger house. I need to have the newer car. I need to have the better neighborhood. My kids need to be in the best school. I need to go on a better holiday Do you know what I mean? And there's this constant, whatever defines success for people, you mean whatever it is.
And it's that constant drive. And once you're on that treadmill, it's very hard, I think, to then take a step back and go, I need to redefine what success here is at the end. Pull that back, change my thinking for a little bit, and then see what happens. So coming back to this, you, you've obviously undergone a lot of personal change in the last few years.
You've, in effect, slowed down on that treadmill. Has that been painful? I mean, I, that you are talking about some of the stuff about yourself a bit like, oh, I was like this, but now I'm like this. But those revelations I don't think are, are necessarily that easy to swallow, are they?
Brendon Macdonald: No. And uh, it's interesting.
The first two years was painful. because I was having to get used to not being in charge, which was a big thing. It was an ego thing for me. Um, and that was actually the other piece was I had an, I had an ego before. I, I suppose when you're a young man, you, you just naturally have ego. Mm-hmm. . And so a lot of my, my stress and a lot of my conflict came from just my ego getting in the way.
And so being put into an environment where you're forced to keep it in check, um, is, is healthy, um, because now, my opinion was one of 10. And I, I was like very, like, this is the right way. You know, I, I know this is the right way. And then other people have different perspectives and different views and different cultures and mm-hmm.
and it kind of forced me to work on that because I would come home very frustrated and really like, this is not gonna work. I, I, I can't handle this. This is ridiculous. Like, um, why don't they just do this thing? And they're not, they're not listening. to me and in the end it was, well, you need to, if you feel so strongly about this point, you're going to have to position it correctly.
You're gonna have to improve your communication skills. You're going to have to understand the impacts, uh, with the pros and the cons. So you have to build an argument. Before I didn't have to build an argument. And then guess what? When you build an argument, some 50% of your ideas are not good.
If, probably more. So, so you know, there was a book that, and I'm sure you've heard of, was called Radical Candor and, and that transformed, um, our team's communication when we started to do that. This idea of direct feedback in a high caring way. And so now I tend, because I learn, cause I do of course, once a week now, um, so before it was once maybe a month, um, now it's once a week, maybe two a week.
I just have specific times and I just, like I said, that's my being piece. It's not even, yeah. I'm trying to learn something new. It's just, it's a form of meditation for me to acquire new ideas and concepts. Hmm. . So I come a, I come to the team with a lot, right? Um, and now I, we're in a place where they can challenge me directly, um mm-hmm.
and, and they don't feel awkward or upset about it, and they're really. show the blind spots of what I see. Cuz obviously in my position, I, I have blind spots because I don't do the work on a day-to-day basis. Um, and so, yeah, I would say about 30% of the stuff that I, that I bring forward, we move forward in some way, but a lot slower than we used to do before, which is also useful because super disruptive to constantly change things.
Uh, and I'm not building the process anymore. Um, so yeah, I'm kind of in a mode where, we have a channel. We, we use Rocket Chat, which is the, like a Slack alternative. I've created a channel and so I agreed with the team. I just put everything there and why I think is a good idea, um, the managers and the leaders, there's only three or four of them.
And then, Because I was kind of burning everybody with, with new ideas. Um, and then we, we, we let it like stew there and then I, I, I get it out, it's there. Um, and I don't, I don't hassle, uh, cuz it's, you know, telling everybody every week about a new concept or idea. It's too much. It's just too much. That's it.
But I needed a place to put it. So that's kind of how I handle it. Yeah, no, that's great. It was, it was super painful. I had lots of, lots of conflict, lots of arguments with lots of people and the managers basically ended up understanding that most of the time it was my issue, it was my fault, and I was being unreasonable.
And we just had open kind of dialogue between the leadership and the managers and the team, um, where they tell me that I was being unreasonable, which I was most of the time, or they didn't understand why I was the way that I was upset or frustrated because my personality is one that I am. I, you can never tell what I'm feeling.
Um, so I'm quite detached. Mm. So they don't know if I'm mad or happy or sad or angry at them or not. It's just a very, so, uh, yeah. So they were like, we just don't get it. Why are you upset? Or why you angry? I'm like, I'm not angry. I'm not at all. I just, I don't share. I'm not an open book, if that makes sense.
Yeah. Yeah. And so now they understand that about me. It's also much better as well, so they don't assume that I'm feeling something,
Matt Edmundson: Ah, fantastic. I think it's really powerful, mate, and, and such a wonderful and lovely story. When you, you talk about these were the problems and predominantly it was on me. That that takes humility.
Um, and it's not something that you see a lot these days because normally people go, there's a problem. It's your fault. You need to fix it, for me, or you need to change this or you need to change that. There are very few people I think out there that go, there's a problem. How much of that can I own?
Um, and it's uh, it's a different mindset and it's, it's wonderful to see, mate, listen, we have got to the stage of the podcast and there's a lot of conversation I feel like we could go into, but I'm aware of time. So we have got to that section of the podcast, which I call question box. And if you're watching on the video, hope you're enjoying these state-of-the-art graphics, um,
So this is where I take, uh, a whole bunch of random questions, um, out of a box. Uh, I don't even know who wrote these questions. I can't even remember how they appeared on my desk. But anyway, um, say stop. I will, uh, stop at that question and then we'll find out what your answer is.
Brendon Macdonald: Stop.
Matt Edmundson: Okay. If, uh, and I'm, I read this question.
I'm trying to think, how would Brendon actually answer, uh, this question? I don't actually know, so I'm gonna ask it. If you could own one piece of art, what would it be?
Brendon Macdonald: Oof.
Matt Edmundson: That's a really hard question. I think it's a really hard question.
Brendon Macdonald: I am into, uh, NFTs, so please don't judge me. I'm into NFTs.
Matt Edmundson: okay.
Brendon Macdonald: Um, and, uh, because I, I see them as the next form of fundraising kind of vehicles. There is, um, A series of NFTs, which are called the Board Monkeys. Um, and I would, I would want one of those. Those are are rare. Yeah. It's kinda, that's my space.
I'm not that cultural. So digital is my, My thing.
Matt Edmundson: Of course it would be an Nft, of course it would be digital. Why would I expect anything different? And I was thinking he's not gonna, I can't think of any artist or, uh, he's ever mentioned I, I sculpture. No, I can't think of anything. I, how's he gonna answer this for, of course he's gonna go digital. Uh, that's really interesting.
Brendon Macdonald: The being, the being piece is, yeah. That's, it's never to go to, uh, museums or stuff.
Matt Edmundson: Yeah. Now we had, um, we had a lady called Chris Ivers on the podcast, and her thing, her whole being is just like, I need to go hang out in art galleries. That's, that was the whole thing. And so I'm kind of curious what the answer for her that question would be a bit. For you it's just No, no, no, no. I'm gonna do an online course. It's funny, I love the fact that people wire differently and it makes everybody's story different. And I, I genuinely love that about humanity.
So, Brendon, as you know, this show is sponsored by Aurion Media, right? Which specializes in helping folks like your good self set up and run their own podcast. So I'm kind of curious, right? If you had your own podcast, out of the people that have impacted your life, past, present, uh uh, who would be on your guest list and why?
Brendon Macdonald: Well, uh, it sounds like we set this up, but, uh, I think you'll definitely be on my guest list, um, and, because you, you, you, we didn't mention it, but you, you helped us a lot though, um, because obviously you, you joined us, uh, in our journey with Yello Veedub and you bought us time as well.
We, you know, at that time we also kind of every, and that's kind of why you say, what would you do differently? I, I don't think I'd do anything differently because when before you came along, I had less time mm-hmm. than you came along. We had a little bit more time and then DSD came and then, so it was all part of that process.
So definitely you, um, and I'm very interested in understanding the, the statements of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. The understanding what's, what is that secret sauce? What's the X factor that, yeah, yeah. You take things differently, they are valuable, but when you put them together in a certain way, uh, there's a lot more value in that.
So I would be interested in, uh, in my industry specifically, I'd want to interview all the people that I see have successful businesses, uh, dental clinics specifically. I'd just like to understand, uh, on the key parts of the business, what they did, uh, to understand if there is kind of a common thread, um, of what, cuz everybody has the same materials, has the same processes or same pillars that they have to focus on and something that they've done has made them more valuable than the others.
Um, so, yep.
Matt Edmundson: That's really interesting. It's interesting, that whole synergistic thing, isn't it? And you're, you are all right that, that, that desire how in the world have you, and that's part of the reason why I love this show. You get to pick people's brains and you kind of go, how did you do what you do?
That's really interesting. Yeah. So, Brendon, listen, thank you so much, bud, for being on the podcast. I managed to record this conversation this time, which is super, super helpful. Uh, and everyone's listening to it, and if they want to reach out, connect with you, what is the best way to do that?
Brendon Macdonald: The best way is just to message me on LinkedIn, I think.
Um, so just find, find me. Uh, it's just Brendon Macdonald as you can see, uh, on, on the title, uh, graphic there. And yeah, just reach out if you wanna understand my journey or if you need some help. Um, I have failed at many things and I've tried almost anything, so please, if I can help someone miss one of those failures. I, I'd be a happy person. So,
Matt Edmundson: yeah you and me both. You and me both. I just tell people I've failed more times than I've succeeded, but it's just that my successes far outweigh my failures, which is the reason why I'm here, uh, which is a beautiful thing, and I'm very grateful for that.
Brendon Macdonald: Exactly.
Matt Edmundson: Ah, brilliant. Thanks mate.
Thank you for joining us and we will of course, link to your information to Brendon's information in the show notes, which you can get along for free, along with the transcript from today, uh, at pushtobemore.com, or it'll go direct your inbox if you are subscribed to the emails, news, emails newsletters, or email newsletter. Just pick one. Just. It's awesome. Brendon, you are a legend. Thank you for joining me my friend.
Brendon Macdonald: Thank you, Matt. I enjoyed it.
Matt Edmundson: Ah, it's been great. What a great conversation. Huge thanks again to Brendon for joining me and also a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media. If you do wonder whether the podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.com a u r i o n media dot com.
Uh, of course you'll find the link on the website, pushtobemore.com as well. Be sure to follow our podcast, push to be more wherever you get your podcast from because we have even more great conversations lined up just like today. Uh, and I don't want you to miss any of them, and in case no one has told you yet today, I need to find the, the button on my thing.
Uh, I think it's this one. Yes. Woohoo. You are awesome. Sorry. Uh, that's right. It's just a burden you have to bear. It is burden. Uh, Brendon has to bear this burden. I have to bear it. You have to bear it too. We're just awesome people.
Now, push to be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app, the team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Josh Catchpole, Estella Robin and Tim Johnson. Uh, theme music was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, the transcript and show notes are available on our website pushtobemore.com where you can also sign up for the weekly newsletter and get all of this good stuff direct your inbox totally.
That's it from me. That's it from Brendon. Thank you so much
for joining us. Have a fantastic week. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.