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Stepping Off the Beaten Path: A Dropout’s Journey to Digital Success | Ben Heath

Today’s Guest Ben Heath

Fasten your seatbelts for Ben Heath, the maestro of digital advertising, captivating content creator, and the fearless Founder/CEO of Heath Media! This digital virtuoso knows how to weave magic in the digital sphere, turning bland pixels into breathtaking campaigns. Strap in for the ride with Ben, because in the world of online advertising, he's the daredevil at the steering wheel!

In this episode we explore:

  • Ben built his digital advertising agency around his personal brand, something that he says was not intentional but rather a result of early successes. This has been both a strength and a limitation for his business.
  • Much of Ben's client acquisition success is tied to the content he produces on platforms like Instagram. Potential clients often become actual clients after watching his educational videos, reinforcing the impact of his personal brand.
  • Despite its advantages, Ben admits that relying so heavily on his personal brand makes the business less scalable and more difficult to sell. He also notes that it could pigeonhole him into being seen as just "the Facebook Ads guy," limiting his ability to expand into broader categories.
  • When asked what he would do if he only had a year to live, Ben says he would spend the year traveling with his wife and son. Matt also shares his own family travel experiences, emphasizing the importance of creating memories.
  • Both Matt and Ben reflect on how having children has changed their lives, including their travel plans. Matt discusses his tradition of "Dads and Lads" trips with his children, and Ben is inspired to consider similar adventures for his own family as his son grows up.

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Sponsor for this episode

At Aurion Media, we're committed to helping you set up and run your own successful podcast to grow your business and impact.

"You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. I think just about any entrepreneur, or business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own businesses." - Matt Edmundson.

Is Podcasting Right For Your Business?

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Ben: [00:00:00] That's not much extra total work being done, but also I have. structure my business in a way where I only do very specific things and other people take care of that stuff. So if I was to get more involved, I'd probably just be getting in the way of things and stopping other people doing it and stuff like that.

So, um, so yeah, I've just found that for me, I just don't work that much. I don't deal well with chaos. And that's probably going to limit the size of my business and limit the speed of my growth. But I'm just willing to make that Um, sacrifice, um, to sleep better and, um, and have time to, you know, play with, I've got a two year old son to play with him and walk the dog and, and all those sorts of things.

Matt: 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'm chatting with Ben Heath from Lead Guru, Heath [00:01:00] Media, about where he has had to push through, what he does to recharge his batteries and to be as well as basically What growth looks like?

What does more look like? Well the notes and the transcript from our conversation will be available on our website pushtobemore. com and on our website you can also sign up for our newsletter and each week we will email you the links along with the notes from the show automatically they get sent straight to your inbox which is the beautiful thing.

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. Why on earth would you want to do that? That's a great question. Uh, you know what, honestly? Podcasting, best marketing tool ever, hashtag fact, just want to say, uh, I found running my own podcast to be really rewarding.

It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I've seen. I've built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers, my team and [00:02:00] my suppliers. And I think just about every entrepreneur or business leader should have their own podcast simply because of the impacts it's had on my own business.

Now, full disclosure, I actually have four podcasts at the moment. We're just about to launch our fifth and then possibly a sixth. Why? Because it just works. Now, of course, I'm a bit of a crazy fool, but it all sounds great in theory, doesn't it, but with podcasting, do you want to do it? There's a, there's a reality of things like strategy and how you launch and all that sort of stuff to think about.

Well, my secret, if I'm honest with you, Aurion Media, you see, I love talking to people, but not all of the other stuff. So Aurion Media take it off my plate. I get to do what I'm good at and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business.

Check them out. aurionmedia. com. That's A U R I O N media. com. Uh, you can check those guys out. Have a little [00:03:00] look, see what you think, and let me know. Now, let's talk about today's guest. Fasten your seatbelts for Ben Heath, the maestro of digital advertising, captivating content creator, and the fearless founder and CEO of Heath.

Media. This digital virtuoso knows how to weave magic in the digital sphere, turning bland pixels into breathtaking campaigns. No pressure, Ben. Uh, strap in for the ride with Ben because in the world of online advertising, he's the daredevil at the steering wheel. That's got to be the best bio I've read for a long time.

So Ben, welcome to the show, man. How are you doing?

Ben: yeah, I'm all good. I want to steal that by, I want to use that my, yeah, I definitely didn't write that. I want to use that myself because that's, um, that's, that's very good. That sets me up for a fall, but, but there we go. It's, it's a lot of fun.

Matt: This is what happens when you don't send in your pre written bio ahead of time.

Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matt: Yeah,

Ben: I should, I should not do that all the time though, because that was [00:04:00] great. That was, uh,

Matt: yeah.

Ben: was awesome.

Matt: No, Sadaf is great. She's, um, I think she just loves to create these sort of little bio snippets and I, I've said this before on the show, but I. I deliberately don't read the bio, um, until you're on the show. So that was the first time that I read it, just because I love the way it's written and the language.

And I just think it's fantastic. So Ben, welcome to the show, man. Where are you dialing in from?

Ben: Uh, Cheltenham. So for those who are not necessarily familiar with the geography of the, of the UK, it's sort of like West, Southwest England. Is that

Matt: yeah. I was driving through Gloucester yesterday. Uh, but, um, that's another story. Well, yeah, yeah. The sun shining beautifully down in that part of the country over the weekend. Um, Ben, listen. Let's jump into it. Let's get straight into it. And so, um, this show, uh, as I read out, was spon or is sponsored by Aurion Media, the podcast agency.

So here's our first question. If you had your own podcast and you could have any guest on the show from your [00:05:00] past or your present, the only caveat being they've had to have a big influence on your life, who would be a guest on your show and why?

Ben: Um, it's probably a super boring answer, but it's the truth would be Elon Musk, for sure. Uh, for me, he is the world's most fascinating man, um, at the moment, and has been for, uh, for a number of years. So, it would definitely be him. As boring and as standard as that might be, because I think a lot of people might say the same thing.

But, uh,

Matt: Well actually I think only one or two people have said it so far, said Elon Musk, which surprises me. I thought more people would have said Elon Musk. The most popular answer, by the way, to this question, I think, I've not, I really need to go back and do a poll and look at, but I think anecdotally it's dad.

Um, a lot of people want to speak to their dad, um, or their grandfather, um, but yeah, Elon Musk, um, you said is the world's most fascinating man, which is a really, uh, that's, that's quite an accolade. Why do you think that?

Ben: Um, I think what he has achieved is... Unbelievable. I think [00:06:00] the word unbelievable is used far too often to describe what things that might be impressive but are very believable. What I feel like what he has done is genuinely unbelievable. Just to, to have the multiple successes that he's had. And to be willing to bet the farm each time he goes again, you know, massive payout from being involved in, in PayPal and then immediately all gets thrown back in into super risky ventures.

So the, the complete disregard for his own personal financial security at the time, being willing to take on projects that are so enormous. I just couldn't imagine where to begin with something like that. I mean, I look at projects that are one thousandth the size and think, Oh, you know, am I ready for that?

Do I have, you know, it's okay. And, and he just went with these enormous things and, and is seemingly pulling them off. Um, he's certainly done so from like a, a net worth standpoint and an impact. And, um, yeah, I think that's, I think that's just incredible.

Matt: No, [00:07:00] I'm with you. I mean, the ability to sit there and go, I'm going to start a car company. When it's, it's quite, um, it's quite a closed shop, isn't it, being a car manufacturer? I mean, if you think about the, just the sheer, colossal investment that requires, and it's like, no, I'm going to start a car company, and it's now one of the world's biggest car companies and well known car brands, and you're just like...

And now he's racing into space and he's, uh, the, the acquisition of Twitter and all kinds of things. And you do, you do look at the man and think, oh my goodness, you know, he dreams, but I give him his dues. He does dream big, uh, when he, yeah, and, and, and hats off to him.

Ben: And seemingly everything he does as well, it's not, um, you know, it's not like a rich guy who's buying things and doing things for the sake of it, let's say, just throwing the money at it. Coming up with a car company, I mean, I've got to test it myself, the products are amazing. It's amazing. And to get that at the price point that he's got it at, where...

You know, I find myself looking for other cars and things like that and thinking, well, this, [00:08:00] for the price point versus what you get, this absolutely makes the most sense if, you know, if you can afford it. Um, so yeah, I, I could not be more impressed with what he's done. Plus, I think he's a really interesting guy.

His thoughts on many things are fascinating outside of what he has strictly accomplished. So yeah, so it'd be him.

Matt: Yeah. Interesting. Do you follow him on Twitter? Do you engage in his tweets? Yeah.

Ben: I don't, I'm not sure I engage much, but I do follow.

Matt: I don't, well, I, I reply every now and again. I don't think he ever responds back, but that's fine.

Ben: There's a few other people replying, isn't there? It might get,

Matt: yeah, this is quite a few. One day Elon will come on to the show, I've no doubt, but, um, but it's really interesting, isn't it?

I think he's quite a polarising character isn't he? Elon Musk? And I was talking to somebody about this the other day, that actually one of the things that you notice about a lot of people now is they're starting to become quite polarising. Um, so you take people like, I would put Elon Musk, you've got people like Jordan Peterson, who's got a massive following now, again, quite a polarizing character.

Um, [00:09:00] even J. K. Rowling, she's, you know, one of the wealthiest people on the planet, written some incredible books, and is incredibly, and it's actually, polarizing versus taking a stand, maybe it's the same thing, but I, it's, it's interesting how people in organizations like this feel like it's, it's their responsibility to have.

a thought, a, an opinion on something, uh, regardless of maybe what the rest of the world thinks, which I find is quite a, uh, an interesting trait in the modern, modern world. I sound old now, don't I? Um, but it's quite an interesting trait in the modern world. Um, so yeah, I, I, we could wax lyrical about Elon Musk all day and talk about what we do or don't like about him, but it'd be a really interesting, I would love to have him on the show.

I genuinely would. I've seen, have you seen some of the interviews he's done?

Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I've seen who's been on Joe Rogan, obviously the famous one recently where he had the BBC over, didn't he? And, uh, and, uh, I'm not sure it went quite so well for the interviewer in, in that scenario. Um, [00:10:00] but yeah.

Matt: that's maybe why I just need to do a little bit of prep, uh,

Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Matt: Yeah,

Ben: yeah, exactly. You will definitely want to be prepared for that one, if you're going to go into certain topics.

Matt: So let's talk about, um, let's talk about Heath Media. Tell me a bit about what you guys do

Ben: Yeah, so Digital Advertising Agency, so we create, manage, optimise, um, digital advertising campaigns. Primarily on Meta, so Facebook, Instagram and Google, so all the Google various products, search, YouTube and things like that. Um, and as, as, as a business, you know, we do a bit of consulting and things like that.

Um, but as a business, that's like our core thing is we run campaigns for clients.

Matt: How long have you, how long have you been involved in it?

Ben: Um, well, I've been running sort of digital campaigns since 2011. So that's what, 12 years now. Um, but I've had this as a business since, uh, the end of [00:11:00] 2015, early 2016. So just over seven years now.

Matt: fantastic, fantastic. And it's fair to say that you're in an industry that has changed a lot over recent years, I have no doubt.

Ben: Constantly changes. Constantly changes. Um, when I first started, Google was the big incumbent. That was where most of the digital advertising money went. And then over those next few years after I started, Facebook really became the popular platform where everyone was rushing to. And then over the last few years, that sort of switched to TikTok.

And now the platforms are just becoming more and more entrenched, but there's constant change, which is great as a content creator. So if you're someone like myself, who's got a YouTube channel, Constantly talking about the latest updates and build an audience off that, it's really useful to have changes.

More difficult when you're then having to roll out changes based on changes that have been made for, you know, 120 clients or whatever. Um, so, [00:12:00] uh, so there's definitely pluses and minuses. I mean, I did, I did, I did really well out of that growth because. If you're trying to make a name for yourself in an industry and you start sort of right at the beginning of 2016 and Facebook as a platform, their real growth phase was like 2015

Matt: Yeah.

Ben: to 2020.

As a, obviously as a platform with users it was before that, but as a advertising platform

Matt: Mmm.

Ben: The Golden Era. Um, so that was very lucky in hindsight because, um, I, you know, I didn't plan that. I just sort of caught a wave and rode it.

Matt: Well, oftentimes that's what luck is, isn't it? It's just being in the right place at the right time, uh, but being prepared to take advantage of the opportunities when they're there, you know. Um, and it's, it's one of those things, isn't it? And I, I, I've been involved in e commerce since 2002, right? So I've been around a little while, the whole digital market and the, just the, the, the rapid shift in the digital advertising space.

Um, if you've, if you've managed to keep up, good on you, because it's, it's, uh, [00:13:00] it's, it's quite impressive to be able to do that. What's your YouTube channel? People may want to go check

Ben: Yeah, so just search my name, Ben Heath, it's at Ben Heath and it'll, um, it'll pop right up. And I've got a couple of channels. I've got one for Facebook ads, which is like my original one, my bigger one. And then I've got a smaller one for Google ads as well. Um, just to separate those out in case certain people are interested in one over the other.

Matt: Yeah. Fantastic. Have you found it doing YouTube?

Ben: Um, it was interesting. So I started. And accidentally, I was creating some video ads, um, for advertising my own services to run on Facebook. This is in 2016. And I had all this video content that I was creating for that purpose, it was kind of working a little bit, so I just threw it up on YouTube. Um, and it didn't get many views, but I remember getting a few leads from it and thinking, okay, well, if I've only got a couple hundred views on these things and I've grabbed a couple clients, there's some potential here.

So just sort of saw that, leaned into it, and then slowly over the years. Um, have, you know, you [00:14:00] improve your recording quality and you get an editor and you know what to talk about. You learn the platform. So I published over 500 videos in that time. Um, and it's one of the, it's one of the most important things for my business is that is the content I create.

Not just YouTube for other channels as well. But that's where why my business has been able to grow because it's through my personal brand. So focusing and getting better at that. Has been, has been really important. So I enjoy it. I much prefer, you know, I personally prefer content creation over say, managing team members,

Matt: Yeah.

Ben: have a business, is, is, is a necessary thing you have to do.

Um, if I had to, if I got to choose what, what I do, what I would do based on enjoyment, it's certainly that content creation and um, and YouTube has been a really big part of my, of my journey. It's been a great place to market services, deliver value, show people what. They want to do and say, Hey, look, if you find all this, it's just making your brain explode because you don't know what this is.

We [00:15:00] can do it for you. Um, so, um, so yeah, so it's been really good. And now I personally, I spend more time in my business on content creation than anything else.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting because I'm the same way. Uh, I must spend probably two to three days possibly now, three, four days doing content creation. Um, same sort of thing. And I noticed on the wall behind you, you've got your little YouTube plaque going on there. Uh, so congratulations, you must have done really well to get the

Ben: Well, you know, I've got a small, so you take my Facebook ads channel. It's a small niche, right? There's not, you know, you hit, you have YouTube channels with millions of subscribers and there's. I mean, I don't know how many businesses are advertising on Facebook. We got numbers years ago from Facebook saying about 5 million.

So you just think, well, you're never going to have a massive channel then, because even if you get 10% of those, that's only half a million, and the chance you get 10% is very small. So yes, it's got about 184, 000 subscribers now, um, which is not massive by any means, but as far as I can [00:16:00] tell, the largest. In the Facebook ad space, as I said, because it's a, it's a small world, but when you're trying to grow a channel like that for marketing purposes, it's sort of financially much more valuable than, say, having 2 million subscribers on a, I don't know, a gaming channel, let's say, because people that are watching that content are business owners and they're, you know, they've got budget to spend and they're looking to do things and stuff like that.


Matt: it's much more niche, isn't it? It's much more targeted. Yeah. Oh, well done. Congratulations. What's been, um, what's been some of the challenges then that you've had to face in building your business, uh, life? Um, you know, some of the things that you've had to face along the way here, I mean, iOS changes aside, you know, with, with Facebook ads, but, um, what's some of the stuff that you've had to overcome?

Ben: The biggest one at the beginning was just the mad scramble and the feeling of panic trying to go. Something has to work. I just need to find something that can work, [00:17:00] that can reliably get me clients. Um, I felt pretty confident in delivering for the clients once I got them. Before I started my business, I'd run campaigns for like my mum's company and that done really well for her.

And I'd Done some, some other things like on the side that had worked. So I knew this was the type of business I wanted to work with. I knew I could get them results. It was just about how do I get these clients in the first place in amongst a sea of other people that are all offering digital advertising services.

Um, and many of which are willing to do it for next to no money. So, that was the most stressful time, was working all hours, desperately trying to get it to work, just trying to find something. I'd do a few things, I'd run ads for my own services, it'd work a little bit, you know, I'd joined a networking group.

It works a little bit, you know, you get like a client or two and you think maybe this will work, but then nothing for a few months and, and, and dealing with that. And then for me, it was really not just on YouTube, but other channels as well. It was consistent content [00:18:00] creation. And I got just enough of a sniff of that.

To know, okay, this could work. I've got tiny views, almost no clients, but if I can get 10 times the views, will I get 10 times the clients the answer was yes. And then it was just a case of, right, more of this then, more scale, more going through. So that was the first thing, was just every night thinking, I've got to find the way, I've got to find something that can, that can be sustainable.

Um, so that was a big one. And then, and then since then, since I found something to consistently generate clients in the first place. I knew how to deliver for clients. Those are two main things in my business. The next thing, this is still the challenge and always will be, is about the people that you hire.

Is about how do we, how do I get, how do I attract really good people? How do I get them to stay? How do I get them to do good work? Um, and that's, that's been the big challenge since.

Matt: So how have you, how have you found that? Because I, I'm going to get, I'm going to make some assumptions here, Ben, and correct me if I'm wrong, which I often am when I make [00:19:00] assumptions, which is fine, um, but um, I'm going to make some assumptions. So I'm, I'm guessing, uh, you're hiring, Um, quite a young demographic, uh, given the type of work that you do.

So Gen Zs, Millennials, um, probably more than Gen X. And so how have you found that hiring process within that, within those generations? I'm, I'm really curious.

Ben: Um, okay, so, I haven't necessarily known, is that true? I haven't thought about it through a generational lens.

Matt: Mm.

Ben: Um, so the first, I don't know how many, 40 hires I made, let's say, were all remote,

Matt: Okay.

Ben: remote workers, and the whole place is remote, and then over the last, coming up in 12 months now, we've been transitioning to an actual office in person.[00:20:00]

And we've been finding that much better, enjoying that a lot more, even though I'm not physically located in the office day to day, but just having the office there, with all the team in it, and it's not everyone's not in there yet, but that's sort of the way, the way things are heading. So, hiring remotely, that in itself has created a lot of challenges.

In terms of the generational differences, I mean, we found the classic scenario of if you hire someone that say, too young, you know, whatever that means, is particularly when they're remote, is that that person can be very unreliable and is very likely to leave because they've gotten into this, they're not really sure what to do.

They've done it for a couple of months, thought. I want to do something else and they're gone. Far less likely to happen with someone that's older. Um, so that would probably be the biggest change. I think especially when we're hiring remotely, and I didn't know this at the beginning but I sort of learnt this, is it was really important that people had [00:21:00] previous working experience and have worked with other companies because there's so much more, there's so much more autonomy to a remote setup.

So what I found is that... With younger people, when you're hiring them, even if someone's really good at what they do, they haven't learnt, if they don't have much previous work experience, simple things like how to communicate with a client via email, let's say, to be, they would be a bit blunt, you know, they wouldn't be very sort of deferential, they wouldn't be very, you know, we could do this if you're happy with it, it was quite like, well, you need to tone it down here, you need to be nicer. Whereas people who are older who'd worked in previous environments sort of learnt that. So I do think that hiring remotely I naturally, um, shifted towards a, a bit of an older demographic. I mean, we're talking about, say, on average, probably people in their 30s as opposed to their 20s. Um, is, is, is what, what I leant towards.

Now we've got an in person location. [00:22:00] We're actually more willing to hire younger because they're going to come in and we're going to do much more training

Matt: Yeah. And you can stand over their shoulder a little bit, can't you?

Ben: Exactly, exactly. And because I knew I wanted to hire remotely originally, we very much looked for people that didn't need training at the time.

Um, we wanted people that knew what they were doing, for whatever reason, wanted to change their existing setup or something like that and come in, um, whereas that's, that's changing a bit to some extent.

Matt: So the, what I find fascinating here, Ben, is the way you're talking is a lot of businesses move towards having more remote workers because of COVID. But it seems like you're doing it the opposite way around. It seems like you're, you've gone, well, I don't know, sod that we're going to bring everybody into a building and start to build our team. So that's obviously a very conscious thing that you've done, right? So what have you discovered in that process that [00:23:00] that makes you think that Um, in house is working. Well, let me ask you the question. Is it working out better? Have you found this to be a better system? Um, and is it, is the aim to bring all those, say, 40 remote work stations in house?

Um, or are you going to do a mixture, sort of hybrid scenario going forward?

Ben: It will be a hybrid to some extent because we've got some good people in positions that won't leave and they were offered a remote position to begin with and they'll stay, if

Matt: Yeah,

Ben: But in terms of future hires... Most of them will be in person. So I think I almost separate this out into the different roles that people are going to do.

So if I say, for example, I'm hiring a video editor for my own content creation, very happy for that person to be remote. I'm not in that office, in the office day to day, right? So I am... Um, in a different location. And I think that's like a very sort of discrete task where they're going to be working directly with me.

They [00:24:00] don't really need any communication with lots of different team members. So very easy for that. I can easily judge the quality of their work based on the edits that they bring back to me. So all of that is quite easy and straightforward. Where it became really difficult was when you had, say, three or four people working as a team on a client's project.

That became a bit of a nightmare. And I think having that structure. In a physical location

Matt: Mm

Ben: a lot better, is what I found, and we have seen, so we started this process, um, sort of last summer, like August last year, and we monitor it really closely in terms of client retention numbers, and things like that, how long a client is sticking around for is a metric that shows us how good a job we're doing effectively, and they've been improving, particularly with the clients that are managed with the sort of in house team, as opposed to the remote team.

So, I actually think a lot of companies are going to come back to... Wanting people in the office. I would, I would predict that. And I also think there's a distinction needs to be made here between a team that, [00:25:00] say, have worked in the office together for a number of years, and then it goes remote or partially remote.

I think that's a lot more manageable because there's friendships established, people know a bit about each other. We were building remote from scratch, so I've had people working for me still to this day for four years that I've never met in person.

Matt: hmm, mm,

Ben: So that creates quite a... It can create a difficult scenario, and there are all sorts of issues with that.

We've had people that we weren't able to prove it, but we pretty sure had another job alongside doing our work. Their output really went down, and they weren't available for quite a bit of time, thinking, what's going on here? Um, we've had people, we've found that there's little loyalty. If you don't...

Communicate and spend time face to face with your team. It's quite easy to not have much loyalty to that team and decide to leave or whatever. We have, when, not everyone, but when some people are remote, they will behave badly in a way that they wouldn't if they were in an office. And that will, will, can, I think a lot of companies are going to start to realise that over the [00:26:00] next few years of, you know, Oh, okay, our productivity has really gone down.

We're not doing as well here, we're not doing as well there. So, as I said, I do think you need to separate out the roles though, because, um, because there are roles for which it's like absolutely fine, no issues. Video editing would be a good one, I find. But, they're working with a team, problems.

Matt: That makes a lot of sense. And is the office based near where you live or is it somewhere else in the country?

Ben: No, it's not fine, it's about an hour north of me, so yeah, it's, um, it's, uh, pretty close. Easy for me to visit, but I don't want to physically be there anyway, but it's also giving me a little bit of distance. Um, as well,

Matt: it's interesting. It's interesting listening to you say that because on one hand, you're saying, um, it's good that everybody's in the office working together, um, for depending on the job, you know, but everyone, if we could get everybody in the office together, that would be great. But you're the one person who doesn't want to be in that Office, right.

It's, it's, it's quite an interesting, so how's that dynamic in the [00:27:00] sense you're the CEO, you're the founder, um, but you're not in the office, but you're wanting other people in the office. Is everyone, is everyone okay with that?

Ben: I haven't come across any issues. I think partly it's, um, okay. So partly it's because of my role as a content, primarily now a content creator. The most important thing I do for my business is, well, the two things to do is going to be hiring and content creation.

Matt: Mm.

Ben: It's much easier for me to create content, like, right now I'm in a, like a garden office building in my garden at home, right?

It's much easier for me to create content here. Yeah, there you go. Much easier for me to create content here, um, than, than with everything going around. I have found, and I know a lot of bosses find this, that if you are there or too available, you get asked every question that anyone pops up with and it drives me nuts and drives loads of people nuts when you go, you could just Google that.

You don't need me to tell you how to do it, crack on. So I think a bit of distance, Richard Branson's talked about this a lot. He's always talked about having [00:28:00] distance between. Like himself, but also upper management in his companies and below and allowing people to work things out for themselves if you're not there.

And then the other part of it just honestly comes down to like tough. It's my business. If you want to work for me, this is just how it works

Matt: it is. Yeah.

Ben: just the way it is. And I've developed this. I've built it around my lifestyle. I've got a young family. This is just how it's going to be. Um, which sort of no one seems willing to say nowadays, but it's just, I mean, that's it. That's just true.

Matt: Elon Musk would definitely say it.

Ben: He would. He would, yeah, yeah, yeah. He would,

Matt: No, that's fine. And you're right. I think there's, um, one of the things that I, I hear a lot about with, and I'm not talking about my team. So if you're listening, dear, my wonderful team, I'm not talking about you cause you're all awesome. You're all absolute legends. Love the bones off you. And we genuinely have a fantastic team.

It's taken us a little while to get there, but we, we've definitely got a great team. But the, um, the thing that I. That has always struck me when I talk to [00:29:00] people who are employees in a business that's a small medium business and the founder's still involved. And there can be some complaints amongst the staff, it's like, well, you know, he takes all the money or she takes holidays and I can't and blah, blah, blah, and you're like, yeah, but you weren't there.

When they weren't paid for a year whilst they were hustling this out, or when it went bad and they went without money because everybody else needed to get paid first. And they were working 60 hour weeks just so Jean from, you know, accounting could go and see her. You weren't, the buck always stops with the leader, doesn't it, and the owner and there's, there's a lot of those untold stories in business, which I find quite fascinating that the team doesn't necessarily know about.

And so I think you're right. A lot of people are very skeptical to say things like that now, you know, like, well, this is my business. You want to work for me? Deal with it. Get on with it. Um, because we've got into this culture of actually. Um, it's [00:30:00] almost like, and in some respects, I think there had to be a shift for, for employees and for staff to feel a lot more empowered than they were.

Cause I grew up, you know, when I grew up in the sort of 70s and 80s, it was, we called it a command control, uh, structure, a bit like the army, you know, the guy, the boss. He tells the guy below him what to do, who tells the guy below him what to do, and so on and so forth. And that's not really a fun place to work, if I'm honest with you.

You know, it's fine for military, it's fine for when there's a crisis, but it's not really what we need on a day to day basis. And so, um, I'm just fascinated actually by listening to your story about it. So how often do you go up to your office?

Ben: Um, I like to see important people, say, once a quarter, something like

Matt: Okay, and so how do you manage communication? Are you a Zoom guy? Are you a, is that, do you have like slack, just slack with your team?

Ben: We'll do, we'll do Zoom calls, but, but... And also, I don't have direct communication with everyone in the team either, so I've got, like, people that, you know, that, like, run things that [00:31:00] I will then communicate with. Um... As opposed to having sort of direct communication with people. But yeah, Slack and Zoom will do it for the most part.

Matt: Fantastic. So do you have a small team of people that you invest in? And then they, they work it with everybody else. Is that how it works?

Ben: Um, basically, yeah, basically, exactly. Yeah, yeah, we've got, you know, like a, you know, leadership group, I'd say. Which sounds, sounds like a funny thing to say to my ears, given, you know, I know that just not that many years ago it was me with a laptop. Um, but uh, but yeah, something like that. And then I communicate with, let's say, three or four people on a regular basis.

Then there are people outside of what I would say is like the core of workers. So like I said, I have video editors for my content that I will directly deal with because I know how I want things. But within the people actually doing the work for the clients, that will be the structure. I'll have like three people I communicate with from there and then from then on it all.

It'll be, um, yeah, then they'll [00:32:00] manage the rest of them and feed it back and all that sort of

Matt: fantastic. So how do you, I mean you say you've built the business around your lifestyle, what does that look like in terms of, um, you've got a young family, you've got the business, you're doing a lot of content creation, you've got beautiful weather down in South England, you know, but how do you, how do you manage, um, this in terms of your personal being, how do you, how do you fill your tank, how do you make sure you're sharp?

Ben: Um, I just don't work that much, is probably the, the sort of, the simple way of saying it. Um, I've done the 60 hour work weeks, I did it for years. Um, and, yeah, I'm just not doing that anymore. And I, I almost think I don't know what I would do. Okay, maybe that's it. There are things that I could do.

Matt: Mm.

Ben: But the...

Incremental improvement in my business would be [00:33:00] so small. If I went from working, I probably work 30 hours a week. If I went from working 30 hours a week, 60 hours a week, I don't think it would make a huge difference to the output. Firstly, that's, you know, let's say our team is 30, 35 people right now.

That's not much extra total work being done, but also I have. structure my business in a way where I only do very specific things and other people take care of that stuff. So if I was to get more involved, I'd probably just be getting in the way of things and stopping other people doing it and stuff like that.

So, um, so yeah, I've just found that for me, I just don't work that much. I don't deal well with chaos. And that's probably going to limit the size of my business and limit the speed of my growth. But I'm just willing to make that Um, sacrifice, um, to sleep better and, um, and have time to, you know, play with, I've got a two year old son to play with him and walk the dog and, and all those sorts of things.

Um, and, uh, yeah, it's not something I ever expected. I never expected to be this way. I thought it was like, I'm going to build the biggest business I possibly can. I'm going to [00:34:00] grow and everything like that. Um, I actually don't even necessarily think those two things are different. I don't think you have to have an attitude of.

I'm going to either grow and work all the hours or I'm going to have like a good lifestyle business, and the opposite. I'm at the point now where I'm not going to sort of learn a specific new skill, so if we want to add something to business I'm going to hire for it, um, and there's people in place to do all the things.

So there's just not that much utility in me working a ton more, I feel at this point.

Matt: So what was the switch? What caused the switch then? Uh, was it the birth of your son? Was there something else that caused that switch in your thinking?

Ben: The honest answer is financial success. I finally got to the point where I was like, oh okay, we're good. And not good for the rest of our lives, but like, we earn plenty of money here, um, and I always thought I would push on for more, but then you just sort of see it stacking up and you're like, well, you know, why, why would I go and take on a stressful client [00:35:00] project that's, you know, a bit borderline for us to earn a bit more money when it's not going to do anything?

Um, so that's what did it. The other aspects, it's almost sort of like a waiting. So I was, When I, my business first started sort of getting going, I'd been through like the first year I ran my business, I made 8, 000, second year I made 17, 000. So I was just, I was just like, I just need money. I don't want this constant stress.

I don't want this, oh, we're dipping into savings I had from a previous job to pay rent, stuff like that. But once I got to the point where I felt comfortable, the drive to, to do more and grow. Dropped and then the importance of all the other stuff. Fortunately for me this happened before my son was born

Matt: Right.

Ben: So it was probably a couple years before he was born that I was like, okay, we're comfortable now We don't need to to take I suppose take risks and keep growing.

We have grown quite a bit But that mindset shift definitely changed.

Matt: Yeah. That's interesting. That's really [00:36:00] interesting. So what does then more look like for you? What does growth look like? Where's the, where's the future going?

Ben: Yeah, so So I think in terms of the way that my business acquires, there's two main things the agency game is client acquisition and client retention. So in terms of the way that we acquire clients, that's going well, but could definitely grow. If my personal brand and my audience grows, we get more clients.

So that is. What most of my work focus goes on, it's about better quality content, more content across different channels, things like that. Then the other side is client retention, and that's obviously managed by the team, doing better job for clients, always looking to improve on things, integrating AI tools in to get better results and stuff like that.

I do think there's a ceiling to that for my business. It's probably 5 to 10x where we are now, but I do think there's probably a ceiling with that for my business. Um, I'm not willing to move to London and do [00:37:00] the meetings with the really big companies that demand insane stuff and it's just not what I'm going to do.

So there's not growth down that avenue. I think at that point for me personally, it would be... Um, not sort of ending my agency business, but if I want to keep growing, it would be through a different, through a different business at some point

Matt: Yeah. Okay. Well. So do you plan on exiting the business? Are you, are you building it to sell it? Or are you just not even thinking that far? Just like, well, we're just going to see where it goes over the next five years.

Ben: I, because it's so reliant on my personal brand, I don't think there would be much, I would get much of a valuation for it, because if I was to step away, there wasn't the content creation, there wasn't the audience there. I think our client acquisition would dry up. So I can't see any scenario in which someone would give me enough money for it to make it, make it worthwhile.

So, um, it's one of the downsides to what I've, I've, the way I've set things up is that I'm pretty much tied to it.

Matt: So this comes back to the fact that you've built the business around a personal brand. Um, but [00:38:00] again, I imagine that was quite an intentional decision, right? That, uh, or was it just something that you, you just sort of did, because that was what you did at the time and it sort of stuck?

Ben: It just kind of worked a bit and at the beginning I was just desperate for things to work, you know, and it just kind of like, oh, okay, that guy I just had a call with has signed up to become a client and he said he watched, you know, four of my videos on Instagram or whatever. Oh, okay, right. Okay, let's do more of that then.

Um, it really was, it really was that simple. Um, so I just lent into, to what worked.

Matt: Well, and would you, if you, if you could go back and have a conversation with yourself, would you do it the same way? Would you still do the personal brand way? Or would you, would you maybe try something different?

Ben: I think it would be better to go down a different path, but because I don't know how to make it work with an alternative setup. I would probably end up doing the same thing at this point. If you ask me that question again in like 10 years time, and I had since developed the skills and had the [00:39:00] knowledge where I couldn't not necessarily be the personal brand, um, that would, that would be ideal.

One of the things that I. Um, I think I'll run into, so one of the things that people in my situation do where they've had success with like something really specific, like a digital advertising agency, and they, and they've done through their personal brand, is they will then try and take a step up into a different category.

So from there, you go from say, digital advertising, tutorials, which is mainly what my content are, and you step up to the marketing category, or maybe even the business category, huge categories that are much more difficult to compete in. I do think there's a bit of an issue if I wanted to take that step in that my audience are going, hey, you're the Facebook Ads guy, why are you telling me about, you know, how to do, how to hire people, or how to...

Do sales or whatever, like, no, no, no, like get back in ads manager and do some, some tutorials, please. So I think there's some potential limitations around that, which, uh, which are challenged, but there we

Matt: It is what it is, you know, you, you, and you [00:40:00] make the best of what you've got in front of you. Listen, Ben, we've got to that stage where I need to, Attack or attack is the wrong phrase. We're going to go to the question box. So the question box is where I pull out my random questions. We're going to flick through them.

You're going to tell me to stop wherever we stop. That's the question that we ask you. Oh, wow. Okay. So you stopped earlier than most people and normally a lot of people go through to the end, which is, uh, which is cool. They've all fallen on the desk in front of me. So. This question I actually asked, uh, has been asked before on the show.

Uh, we asked this question to Chris Ivers, uh, who, uh, you won't have heard, I don't know, you probably won't have heard the Chris Ivers interview, but Chris is one of the most beautiful people on the planet. She is just an absolute lovely person and she's, um, she works in New Zealand. And the question we asked her was, if you only had one year to live from now, how would you spend The next 12 months.

Ben: go. Um, [00:41:00] that one for me, that one's quite easy. So take my wife and my son and we would just go traveling

Matt: Okay.

Ben: the year. We go and see and do as much as we, uh, as much as we could. That would be the easy option. I certainly wouldn't be doing any work. Not because I don't enjoy work, but just because there wouldn't be a future to it.

Matt: Right.

Ben: of my enjoyment around work is, what can this be in five years time? What can this be in ten years time

that. So we'd go travelling and just try and enjoy as much stuff as we could.

Matt: There's much time to get. And where would you travel?

Ben: Everywhere, everywhere. I probably time it so that I, you know, the nice weather. So UK

Matt: From summer to summer.

Ben: New Zealand, exactly that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Spend a bit of time in South America and come around Europe and, uh, and yeah, and go to as many, many places and do as many things as we can.

Matt: it's a fascinating question, isn't it? And I think a lot of people would answer it the same way. Take the people that I love and just go travel and go see what paradise looks like. Um, do you do much [00:42:00] traveling at the moment?

Ben: Yeah, yeah, as much as is sensible with a two year old. Actually, probably more than is sensible with a two year old, but, uh... The travelling has changed. Me and my wife would go on very explore y type holidays, and now we're after, you know, an all inclusive resort, because, uh, because we can get food at any time of the day for him, and, uh, and

Matt: We want a pool with water this deep. Yeah, yeah.

Ben: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So they've changed, they've changed somewhat whilst he's, uh, whilst he's younger, but once he, once he grows up, then there'll be, there'll be other fun stuff.

Matt: it's funny the different seasons of life you go through. My business partner, um, in a, in an old company, a beauty company that I had, he took his kids and went traveling around the world for six months. He took them out of school when they were teenagers and they went traveling and it was just phenomenal.

Ben: Yeah.

Matt: And I remember we were, my wife and I were going to do the same thing in 2012. We decided, uh, it was around 22, I can't remember the exact year, but it was around that sort of time. Um, so Josh is what, 22 now, so he would have been 10. Zak would have [00:43:00] been... Like seven and Zoe would have been five. So some good agents, you know, before they really started to get sort of seeded into secondary school for want of a better expression.

And we were going to take them out of school and spend three or six months just traveling around the world. We didn't really know where we were going to go. We just knew we were going to go and have a laugh. Um, but The start of that year, I'll never forget it, the very start of that year, like within five days, it was like January 4th, January 5th or something, I got a phone call, um, from one of the team, uh, here in Liverpool, um, And I won't bore you with the details, but I thought my business was going to collapse after the basis of that one phone call.

And so that year, that travel, those travel plans got put off because it took us about three or four years to rebuild, um, the business. And so you're kind of like, I look back on it now and I, I don't have many regrets, um, in [00:44:00] life, but I do wish that I'd somehow found a way to travel with my kids when they were still younger.

Um, I did this thing where. When the two boys were a certain age, they could pick anywhere in the world and I'd take them. And it didn't matter where we went, we would just go. Dads and lads trip. That was epic. And then last year, I did the same thing with my daughter. She turned, um, 15 and she had a year before GCSEs were due.

And I'm like, anywhere you want to go in the world, you choose it. You and me, we're going to go. Dad and daughter type trip. And, um, And they were epic, and I'm glad I did those, but I, I totally get why you would, you would go, No, let's just go travel for 12 months, because you, there's so much of the world that would be lovely to see.

Ben: Yeah. Definitely. That sounds really cool. I'm going to remember that for when, uh, for when mine are older that, um,

Matt: It's really interesting to give them a right, I, I think with boys especially, a rite of passage is quite important. Um, when they hit teenage years, what are you going to do then? And at various ages, having certain [00:45:00] things that you can do with them that they can look forward to. And so, yeah, the, the, just going anywhere in the world, just you and me.

Dads and Lads Trip. Um, it's, we still talk about the holidays now, the trips now, and it's, it's, making memories is more important than most things, right? And so,

Ben: It's always what, it's always what you remember, isn't it? You know, if I remember what I did when I was 15, it was, it was the holiday that we went on as a family, you know, as a family, it wasn't, uh, it's not the, the day to day stuff. So yeah, that sounds really cool. I'm going to, I'm going to try and I'm going to steal that.

That sounds really good.

Matt: yeah, no, do it. Do it, man. Go for it. You just got to let them choose. Uh, and so we got a big world map out and it's like, right, where do you want to go? And the,

Ben: Did you give any parameters, like no North Korea or, uh, or something like that?

Matt: no, I don't think they'd probably want to go North Korea. I mean, if they did, it would have been, I would have gone, no,

Ben: Yeah,

Matt: um, yeah, no, you can go.

I'm not going. Um, no, no, I, we just talked about very, ironically, both my [00:46:00] boys, my boys wanted to go to the States, um, to watch the CrossFit games. They were big into CrossFit. And so we went to the CrossFit games, camped out in the CrossFit games. Stadium. Um, and then because I used to live in the States, we did a few other things, like we went and visited family and then we did New York and we did a whole, that was a great trip.

And then Zoe, she also wanted to do the States, but she wanted to go and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, PCH1 they call it. And there's this beautiful drive that we did, it took over a week. And just watching seals and dolphins at various, anyway, it was magical, but um, yeah, I was really surprised they both chose the States.

I thought for sure somebody was going to choose the Maldives.

Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, go, uh, go lie on the sea.

Matt: Yeah, but apparently that's not interesting to teenagers, who knew, who knew. Listen, Ben, it's been great talking to you man. If people want to reach out to you, if they want to connect with you, if they want to find out more maybe about Heath Media and how you can help them, what's the best way to do that?[00:47:00]

Ben: Yeah, so website is heathmedia. co. uk. And then, um, if they want to find more about my content, the obvious place to go to is my YouTube channel, which you just search for Ben Heath and it'll pop up. And from there, every video on the channel, there's links to other social accounts. And, um, yeah, it's all me talking about digital advertising.

Related stuff, so if you run campaigns for yourself or other businesses, then probably find some, some useful info in there.

Matt: Fantastic. Fantastic. Check it out. We will of course link to all of that information in the show notes as well, uh, which is in the, which is available at pushtobemore. com or it's going to be in your inbox if you sign up to the newsletter. Ben, listen. Genuinely love the conversation, man. I've, it's been quite refreshing just hearing a different way of doing life and, and, um, uh, the, the fact that you're doing this, you're doing well, you've got a young family.

It's awesome. So I hope it goes well. I hope you continue to prosper and in all that you do, man, it's been a real privilege. Thanks for coming on the show.

Ben: Well, thanks very much for having me and, uh, yeah, [00:48:00] it's been, uh, it's been great to chat and all those nice things right back at you.

Matt: right back at you. What a great conversation. Huge. Thanks again to Ben for joining me today. Also, a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media. If you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at That's a U R I O N Now be sure to follow Push To Be More wherever you get your podcasts from because we have got yet more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, you are awesome. Yes you are. Created awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. I've got to bear it, Ben's got to bear it. You've got to bear it as well. 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 on Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Our theme music was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, if [00:49:00] you'd like to read the transcript or show notes to simply head over to the website, push to be Now. That's it from me. That's it from Ben.

Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world, I'll see you next time. Bye for now.