BGBS 061: Beau Haralson | ScaleThat | Find YOUR Success In Its Season
Beau Haralson has over a decade of experience launching products and building brands both big and small including Google, Traffic & Conversion, DigitalMarketer, OfficeMax, and many others.
Over the years he’s worked with celebrities such as Lebron James and Arnold Schwarzenneger, and entrepreneurs that deserve to be celebrities, doubling over 15 businesses along the way. As the co-founder of ScaleThat, Beau is the creative force behind all campaigns that ScaleThat Select works with. He regularly consults for brands and speaks surrounding his unique approach to marketing strategy, campaign architecture, and generating traffic and conversions predictably.
In this episode, you’ll learn…
- Be patient and pursue things fully, but don’t pursue them all at once. You can have your definition of success in its own season.
- We think that our career and worldview have to be binary and put in a box, but there is so much we can do and learn in one lifetime. Get comfortable trying new things—you never know what you’ll find.
- Small brands may want to be big, but big brands want to be small. A small brand’s greatest advantage is that they’re nimble and able to create amazing relationships early on. Big brands study that!
[31:40] I think success is iterative. I think that people think success is like, “Man, if I could just buy a Lamborghini one day…” That would be the marker of success for some people and that’s great. If that motivates you, fast cars are cool, I get it, go for it. But I think like your definition of success can change every six months if it needs to.
[38:17] I wanted to be a great husband and be a great dad. And if I had to be a “good businessman”, that was okay. I’d rather not be a great businessman and a good husband and a good dad, or maybe potentially a bad dad because I run out of hours.
[44:15] A lot of people want success now and they define it in a certain way. But I think you can be patient and have your definition of success in its own season.
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Beau Haralson 0:02
And it all felt complicated at the time. But like, in hindsight, he was right, right, like life does have a propensity to get a little bit more complicated as you go on. I still encourage people that are that have that call to entrepreneurship, no matter the life stage, but but I’m glad I took the dive then. And you’re right. It was admittedly scary at that time. I think I remember the first time I got like a 15 $100 check from our first client. And I felt like it was like, This is crazy. Just like felt so real to me. So scary. And then I was like, well, like, would I get the check to, you know?
Just like it all gets real. Like, oh, yeah, there’s no departments for anything. There we go.
Marc Gutman 0:50
podcasting from Boulder, Colorado. This is the Baby Got Back story podcast. we dive into the story behind the story of today’s most inspiring storytellers, creators and entrepreneurs. I like big backstories and I cannot lie. I am your host, Marc Gutman, and on today’s episode of Baby got backstory. We were talking with Beau Harrelson, the co founder and brand strategist at Scale That and dedicated parent that the Harrelson family.
Before we get into the show, here’s a not so gentle reminder. If you like and enjoy the show, please take a minute or two to rate and review us over at Apple podcasts or Spotify. Apple and Spotify use these ratings as part of the algorithm that determines ratings on their charts. Today’s guest is Beau Haralson. Beau has over a decade of experience launching products and building brands both big and small, including Google traffic and conversion, digital marketer, Office Max and many others. Over the years, he’s worked with celebrities such as LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and entrepreneurs that deserve to be celebrities, doubling over 15 businesses along the way.
Beau is the creative force behind all campaigns that Scale That works with and is regularly consulted surrounding his unique approach to marketing strategy, campaign architecture in generating traffic and conversions predictably. But what is really fascinating about Beau, is his decision to put family first and build a company in life that supports that. A little side note, if you would have asked nine year old Marc what name he wished his parents would have chosen for him. They would have been Beau, inspired by Beau and Luke Duke fame. But I always wanted to be a Beau. Let’s get back to today’s Beau. Beau Haralson talks about working on the now famous of yourself campaign with officemax what big brands really want, and how small brands can compete in this is his story.
I am here with Beau Haralson, the co founder and CEO of Scale That Beau, thanks for coming on. And let’s get right to it. We’re both digging out of snow and dealing with snow here in Colorado. So well, we’re running a little late. But I wanted to start off with real simple thought of a question of what is Scale That? that’s the name of your company. Tell me a little bit about Scale That.
Yeah, number one, thanks for having me. I’m really honored to be here. And Marc, it’s been great to I felt comfortable wearing hat today. Because I know you love a good hat. And so anyway, thanks for thanks for that. But the name Scale That ultimately came from, I’ve been doing agency work and help them grow brands for the better part of a decade plus, and fortune 500 brands and everything in between. and the number one thing I see folks get wrong is they just scale the wrong thing. And as long as I want, like, it’s not like we woke up that day and said, you know, let me just grow my business in the wrong way. We’re all well intentioned people. But one of the things I’m really passionate is helping people find the right thing to scale. It’s not a matter of if people want to scale, that’s usually not the conversation, it’s usually figuring out the right thing to grow. And the right way to grow a business and so, so getting a little bit cheeky with it, we’re like yeah, let’s call it Scale That.
Beau Haralson 4:24
because those those are the moments we look for and conversations with folks and help them grow their business and go, Hey, hey, that’s nothing skill that. So taking a bit of that excitement, and that’s how we ended up the name. Very cool, you know, and I think that we hear this word scale all the time, you know, scale this, scale that I want to scale. You want to scale, let’s all scale right. But I think that much like the genesis of your name, you know, it has different definitions. I think it means different things to different people. What’s it mean to you? Like, how do you define that? Yeah, it’s interesting. I think people
Definitely romanticize the concept of scale. I mean, you know, I think it’s definitely every entrepreneurs dream to find that that predictable path to revenue is words that I hear tossed around, there’s a great book of that title, written by his name escapes, I think, is Aaron
Rodgers, but one of the early guys at Salesforce and talks about this idea of predictable path to revenue, and everyone kind of caught on to that idea of like, Okay, if marketing can get predictable, if sales can get predictable, and we can scale, then like, that’s the that’s the golden ticket. And and to some extent, you know, marketing has gotten to be somewhat predictable. You can you can figure out your customer acquisition costs, and figure out some of the customer journey. But there’s, there’s part of this lightning and bottle that’s just elusive. And I think, to answer your question, ideas, scale, to me means finding that as close as you can, finding that algebra equation, if you will, going, Okay, if we do this, and we do that, it’ll cost us x, and the output is y. And if we, if we do that consistently, then we’ll grow in scale. The challenges is those inputs change, marketing changes, people change, we’re kind of complicated ourselves.
So it’s an ever-complex kind of system of variables. And then deep within that is the question of scale readiness, a lot of a lot of companies will get into it. And they’ll find that path to scale. And then, you know, they’ll break. we’ve, we’ve run a lot of folks out of inventory, we’ve broken some companies, and I think, like, part of our questionnaires we get to know companies is are you ready to scale. And you know, there’s assumptions within that. And often in fixing those things and taking a half step back, you’ll find more efficient ways to scale, you’ll
just get more exciting from there. But so I think, as much as I love to talk about scale, what I love to talk about is growth, readiness, and close proximity to that as well. Because that’s the thing, you can control some of those variables, you can’t kind of at the top of the funnel, but the things you can’t control is like if you were to say, sell 500 units or whatever you’re selling or fulfill, I have to fulfill five more contracts this this week. Would it break you? Are you ready? You know, so that type of stuff is stuff that it’s not as romantic as romanticized. But a lot of the good answers are found within those questions. Such a great answer. Thank you. And as I think about that, you know, I also consented a twinge or a twin, if you will, in your voice that suggests that you’re not necessarily you didn’t you were born and raised here in Colorado. And so as you were, as you were growing up, why don’t you take us a little bit back to where you were raised? And where you like, Did you think you’d ever be into this, this concept of scale and marketing and all this kind of stuff.
So I was born in Texas, pretty good West Texas, which everyone’s on particularly I’m talking about getting my oil changed, it comes right out. But most most of my accent, I think, is somewhat neutralized, but totally depends on who I’ve been talking to, particularly if I’ve talked to my mom that day, it comes right out, but or if you’re applying a lot of snowbank and a truck, right like that, that gets as centralized as well. That’s right. But um, but yeah, so I was born and if you’d read like, say, my high school yearbook, it would have said, like, hey, Bo, you’re going to be a great youth pastor someday, and or you’re going to be like, a park ranger someday, I’ve always been in the outdoors. I grew up in a home, where my folks were missionaries growing up. And so by the nature of that, by the time I was 13, I’ve been to I think, like, six different countries, all of them in very much Third World environments. traveled, the majority of the US just grew up. And really, I wouldn’t say like, first class traveling very much a lot of places with not a lot of water. Had a knife pulled on me had a gun pulled on me in those travels, like had had a lot of interesting, you know, perspectives. I think by the time I was like, 1314, and I didn’t realize how weird it was entirely compared notes for some some of my friends and was like, What do you guys do this summer? And they’re like, we’d like baseball on I’d be like, cool. I almost got shot.
Oh, that’s different. Yeah. So I think on the other side of, you know, of that, I think, as scary as some of those experiences were, I’m really, really grateful for some perspective that gave me on just kind of, I felt like I got a small undergrad degree and anthropology, by nature of just getting to travel and go to places where, you know, there wasn’t electricity, there wasn’t running water, you know, just makes you grateful for for every day, and I’m grateful for that experience as well. So pastor, youth pastor or Park
Marc Gutman 9:59
Ranger, you are neither right now. Like what happened? Like, like, we’re, like you saw in the yearbook and you came out, you know, you’re like, I’m gonna conquer the world as a youth pastor, or a park ranger, what happened? Oh, man, that’s a great question. I think along the way, I met a girl.
Beau Haralson 10:18
And, and I really, you know, like, there’s some of that that was really good for me to be honest, there’s some immaturity in the early on around this context of like, providing and protecting and figuring that out. And then using some skills. I saw a good movie called Amazing Grace along the way. And there’s a scene with William Wilberforce. And, and, and it’s pretty poignant for me, but he has an intervention from his friends, and they come together, and they say, Hey, we understand that you’re really, really excited about like, becoming a pastor in his scenario. And we understand that you’re really, really also excited about becoming a politician. And in his context, actually, changing the nature of the slave trade really being one of the early forefathers of that. And his friends hosted an intervention. And they basically say, Hey, we humbly suggest that you can do both, like, just just go do you, like go be you and pursue your interests, and you’re going to like, maybe touch some people along the way, and help them out. And you’re also going to, in his case, change public policy, where he can impact people on a different level, potentially, then he could have maybe from behind a pulpit. And so regardless of worldview, the thing that’s interesting to me about that is, I think that we think that our career, our worldview has to be this binary thing that we put in a box somewhere, and I had a literally I, my friends, I was interviewing with me my junior year of school, and they’re like, Hey, dude, I don’t know if you know this, but you’re good at other things, like you can actually help people out in the business world. You’re halfway decent as a strategist, like you can go do other things. And I said, well, worst case scenario, you try those things for a little while, and I’m not good at them. And I go back to what is, quote, more comfortable for me what I grew up around and with, and it doesn’t sound like a terrible way to go. And so I my friends, humbly suggested I do both. And I sat down and, and really reflected through that. And since then, I’ve been, you know, doing this thing called business and
recognize as being halfway decent along the way. So I haven’t stopped yet. So we’ll see if one day I’ll just retire into being a park ranger, though that’s still the goal. So how did your parents feel about not carrying on the the line of work, and I imagine they probably had a lot of hopes and dreams for you, as you were thinking about being a youth pastor, or growing into the kind of a similar similar areas, then, you know, I think, I think, overall, my dad is still a great mentor of mine. And I think overall, they’re wildly supportive. I mean, I think that if I had gone into nearly anything, they would have been pretty excited about it for me, so that I never felt any undue pressure from them. Let’s be honest, and they’ve been part of the journey. They geek out on it when I release new commercial or import a new project. And so I’m really grateful for the support.
Marc Gutman 13:05
And so like, how did you get into marketing? You know, that’s still like for your friends to say, hey, like, you’re kind of good at this stuff for you know, to get actually into marketing and start doing it. And, you know, what was that? Like? How’d you even get get involved in this space? You had a lot of choices. At that point. If someone says to you, hey, you’re good at business?
Beau Haralson 13:23
Yeah, no, it’s broad. I mean, I graduated degree in communications, and second, second, whatever. It’s called a minor in business from Texas a&m. And, and I remember I was walking to a career fair. I mean, it was just like, I was like, literally my last career fair, my senior year. And I’d already proposed to my girlfriend, then three years, we were in our one year engagement period. And, you know, I was like, Alright, I got to show up and make this thing happen. And I was knocking on doors and dial in and you know, trying to kick a kick, open whatever door I could, and I ran into someone, recruiter from officemax. I walked up in point blank said, Hey, listen, I’m not gonna. I’m not a geek on office supplies, like, but I’ve seen some iOS commercials and some of the stuff y’all do. And it’s interesting. And they wrote me in and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Chicago and met a guy named Bob sacker. And Bob was the guy that brought Michael graves into target. And Michael graves was one of the earlier designers there used to be this store called Kmart. And there’s kind of like these big three, there’s Kmart, Walmart, and target. Were kind of duking it out. And Bob Thacker bra designers in to target and brought design to the masses, ultimately through target. And, and I said, I don’t really candidly care about office supplies, but I want to learn from a guy like that. And so
at the time, we wanted to move to Colorado and had opportunities out here and I punted on all of them, and I said, Hey, we’re gonna go do this whole thing in Chicago, and give it a go. And so I went worked at officemax corporate headquarters, actually on the business side of things and then I reported in
Because it’s kind of a liaison from the business side to the marketing side, so is representing the voice of the business to the marketers and saying, hey, go and grow this accordingly. And I’d say we’re like marketing kind of hit me hook line and sinker was I got to be part of the elf yourself campaign. So I don’t know if you remember this campaign, but you got to like you pasted your face on a dancing elf when flash animations were saying and, and you share with friends. So Bob originated that campaign along with this team, and you got to be a part of that. And I was like, Okay, I yeah, this is it. This is the fun side of things. And then that was kind of that was it for me for marketing.
Marc Gutman 15:38
And then where did that job lead you to? So eventually, you know, you got interested in marketing. And, you know, you’re learning from one of the best at what point do you come to Colorado?
Beau Haralson 15:49
Yeah, so we decided that for three or four years, and honestly, it was in the mid to late 2008. So you can do the math, not a great year to be selling much of anything much less like just but like discretionary office supplies and things like that. And so things did compress a bit in the market. And so that was like my first run through a recession, which was, which was really healthy for me from a professional standpoint, to navigate that we got created an innovative and being a part of the business unit that sold store within a store within a store solutions. If you imagine like, at one point time, Best Buy didn’t have a designated Apple section or designated like Samsung section that was all like a new concept. And what we would do is take that similar concept and take it into say Kroger, or a Safeway and say, Hey, you guys are selling office supplies, can we just take over that run for you and do that, and so was wrapping up that was helping sell that solution and and got used to kind of selling and enjoyed that part of it and negotiating big deals and be a part of that whole thing and just innovative business modeling. And we’re able to save a few jobs.
I was like that was that was cool. We were able to actually put some bread on the table for the company gets maker mental funds and a really challenging time. And roundabout. Then Office Depot went to announce they were in they were they were actually going to buy out Office Max. And even if my number would have been called I would have been moving to Boca Raton, Florida. And nothing against Boca Raton. I just I was like, Yeah, I think I think this is our chapter change. And so I’ve been building a network out here in Colorado for seven years. At that point time, I’d flown out here and I’d ski a day, I’d bike a day. And then I’d go shake hands and have coffee with people out here for seven years straight, regardless of the year. I always just did. That was how I did spring break. And so called up some folks in the network out here and went to work for an agency out here for a little while. And so I got the bug for entrepreneurship.
Marc Gutman 17:46
Yeah, what was that agency out here?
Beau Haralson 17:48
So they’re actually up in long on St. avocet. So is a company that I’ve interned for and so I knew them a bit and, and really enjoyed that part of the digital was happening at the same time. And a good buddy of mine named Mike Worley was and I had kind of geeked out through mutual mentors, kind of guys that were under the tutelage of Seth Godin, and we’d meet up for, you know, meet up once a month, and just kind of riff on digital marketing, what was happening and believe it or not, like, pay per click, and Google and all that stuff was still just then happening. And we were like, hey, this thing’s happening at a fast pace. And he was like, Hey, you want to take the dive? Like, let’s just go start something on our own. And so we started an agency ran that for three or four, four years. Yep. And then that was my first foray into entrepreneurship. quickly after quickly ish after moving to Colorado.
Marc Gutman 18:40
Yeah. And so like, you know, I think like, because we remember things, it’s like, Mike’s like, hey, and let’s start a business. You’re like, Yeah, sure. But like, why did you really want to start your own business? Like, why do that? I mean, it’s, it’s not easy. You mentioned that you I’m assuming you, you know, you have a wife at this point. I don’t know if your family situation, but like, you know, you’re you got some responsibilities. So it’s not like, nothing’s happening, like, you know, why start your own business? Like, why go into business for yourself?
Beau Haralson 19:06
Yeah, I mean, coming from a organization of like, 35,000 folks, where there was like, an HR departments and, you know, like, some, you know, cogs to the wheel all moving with or without me showing up like, it was, it was an interesting thing to make that transition. And I had, you know, felt like felt complicated to me at that time. But I had a good friend and another mentor, guy named Aaron McHugh that dropped this now, like this little nugget on me, and he said, Hey, like, to be honest, though, like, life isn’t gonna get any more simple than it is right now. Like, I know you have a wife and obligations and all this type of stuff, but like, pretty soon you might have a dog, like a baby, girl family, bigger mortgage, like all the stuff he’s like, if there’s a time to be risk tolerant, and make a jump and if you feel like you have like a burning, you know, sensation in your heart to like, go do something and put your stamp on it.
Like, I got news for you, it’s probably in this, maybe in this decade, maybe even in this like two or three year gap that well, things are simple. And it all felt complicated at the time. But like, in hindsight, he was right, right, like life does have prevented you get a little bit more complicated as you go on. I still encourage people that are that have that call to entrepreneurship, no matter the life stage, but but I’m glad I took the dive then. And you’re right, it was admittedly scary at that time. I think I remember the first time I got like a $1500 check from our first client. And I felt like it was like, This is crazy. Just like felt so real to me. So scary. And then I was like, well, so like, would I get the check to you know?
Just like, it all gets real. Like, you’re like, Oh, yeah, there’s no departments for anything. There we go.
Marc Gutman 20:51
Gotta do it all, I’m the everything person. Yeah. And those words from Aaron McHugh Wow. resonates so much with me. And it’s just like, you just don’t realize that even when you think how complicated Your life is, it just never seems to get less complicated. It just kind of keeps getting more and more complicated. So great, great advice, and great insight. Great mentorship. That’s that’s really cool. So that businesses that when I met you and Mike the first time, like when you were in that business?
Beau Haralson 21:17
That is, yeah. up at Cloud camp, we had a I’ve been friends with people Argus for a long time we met at one of Pete’s events. But yeah, that was I think that was year two year three ish for us. And decline. But yes, that’s when we crossed paths.
Marc Gutman 21:33
Yeah. And it was my impression at that time that that business was really strongly weighted towards digital marketing funnel building, working with other partners like digital marketer, can you can you tell us a little bit about that business? And did it? Did I have that right? I’m gonna make sure I read return on that a little.
Beau Haralson 21:50
Yeah, you’re 100%. Right. So we, I would say we were heavily influenced by HubSpot and some of their methodologies in terms of like, there’s a big content marketing push at that time, which is great, and still is a valid marketing strategy. But we paired that with paid media, and that was kind of like the perfect Venn diagram of going, Okay, that’s great that you can create content, but how do you amplify it? And then what’s the creative behind it? And so that was, I think, what that linchpin between, I had a house rule, which is if you’re going to spend, you know, $1,000, creating content, then you probably should, at least from one to one ratio spent $1,000, sending that content out, right, proliferate, like actually, like sharing that content, through paid ads, or whatever. And it’s not a perfect role. But it ended up being a good rule.
Because a lot of folks that were just in the content marketing game, at that point in time, didn’t fully understand the power of paid ads, and advertising and amplifying that content. And so we, I think we quickly moved up in the rank amongst our peers in terms of like understanding and how to create an amplify a funnel, also under the tutelage of you mentioned Digital Marketer under the tutelage of Ryan deiss. And, and Richard Lindner and the crew there, so we kind of met up with them that stream throughout that and drank a ton of the digital marketer Kool Aid. And I’m glad I did it was it’s been impactful for me and my career, went on have an opportunity to support them from the paid ads side of things actually run their ads for them in a later chapter, and really form a long, long term relationship with those guys.
Marc Gutman 23:23
Yeah. And so you know, we’ll fast forward a little bit. I know that you had tremendous success at this company, which was called Clymb Right? Is that the way it’s spelled?
Beau Haralson 23:33
Correct. Yeah, yeah.
Marc Gutman 23:33
Yeah. Just really had a Yeah, the y threw me off. Right. And in your partner, you and Mike, I think Mike went off to do something else. You guys guys separated, but on good terms, and he went off to do something else. And you continue to, to grow the business? And then and then you sell the business? What happened there?
Beau Haralson 23:52
Yeah. Yeah, it was interesting. So at the end of year four, we had an opportunity, unsolicited, actually, we had three opportunities coming on the business at the same time. And and just people saying, Hey, we love what you guys are doing. And we want to we want to buy it, we want to acquire it, we want to partner whatever. And we weren’t hunting or shopping for any of this at the time, I’d read a book by john warrillow called Built to Sell early on which I highly recommended if you’re creating anything, and you did, like, if you’re a creative a bit like me, it’ll drag you into systems thinking, which is great. And, and so I’d read that book, but kind of like, tucked it away, and also had to pull that book back out, you know, what do we do? And so Mike and I looked at each other, we had one of the opportunities was from a company down in Texas, and I love Texas, born in Texas, but I just wasn’t in a hurry to make it transition back there. I’d worked pretty hard to get here in the state of Colorado and raise a family out here. And and so that was the that was the small minute detail that kind of introduced this idea of like, Okay, well, like we graduated our college and entrepreneurship we’ve been we’ve been doing this for four years, like cool. It’s our senior year.
So, so or excuse me, Mike and I had that conversation and like you said part of amicably and he ended up your work work with that company down in Texas for a little while. And that was great. And I took over complete ownership of climb, and ran it for a good another six to nine months, something to that effect, and one of those other suitors if you will continue to pursue me in that in that gap of time. And, and that was a local creative agency out here in Boulder called human and human ultimately acquired climb, I think six to nine months past that, that four year mark, where Mike and I separated. And it was, again, I got in, I think I’d had a dress rehearsal through of like, what the whole acquisition could look like, and, and got a taste of what the main act could look like. And, and really could see acceleration through through acquisition as part of my journey at the time. And I’m really glad that I stepped through that door. Yeah, and got through those conversations and had an exit. And, and, you know, I think it’s not as common in the service industry. But I could write a, at least two or three chapters of a book on like, what I learned going through it. And, and I’m really glad I did, and was able to, you know, go through that process and provide for my family and get some level of, you know, like an exclamation point on, you know, four years of 60 and 80, and sometimes 100 hour weeks of just kind of pushing and working hard.
Marc Gutman 26:35
This episode brought to you by Wildstory. Wait, isn’t that your company? It is. And without the generous support of wildstory, this show would not be possible. A brand isn’t a logo, or a tagline, or even your product. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product service or company. It’s what people say about you, when you’re not in the room. Wildstory helps progressive founders and savvy marketers build purpose driven brands that connect their business goals with the customers they want to serve. So that both the business and the customer needs are met. This results in crazy, happy, loyal customers that purchase again and again. And this is great for business. If that sounds like something you and your team might want to learn more about, reach firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’d be happy to tell you more. Now back to our show.
Yeah, you said you learned a ton. If you could share one thing that you learned out of out of that experience? What would it be? Or what do you share most often with people?
Beau Haralson 27:45
Yeah, um, I mean, there’s the really tactical stuff of like legal setups, and all those types of things, which I think you can you can google and find out and happy to do that. But more like a philosophical level, I think.
The the way I learned this lesson was by nature of the birth of our first kiddo, so he Eli was born about two years into a four year stint, if you will, as an entrepreneur, and he was born two months early. And so we spent six weeks in the hospital with him. And it was a really intense six weeks, right, like, you know, I could answer emails, sometime at 10 o’clock at night. And it was, you know, we literally lived in the hospital with them. And it was really, really humbling, because I came out of that experience and thought, Man, I built this business for it to survive with me being in the room 60% of the time. And I can’t be in the room 60% of the time, like, even if I want to, like there’s life circumstances that come up. And so I sat down, and I wrote out all the things that I did on a week to week basis. And I literally just was like, Okay, what is that I can I delegate operationalize form, put a process around. And one of that’s like the top 20%, that like, absolutely requires the, the me being in the room moment. And I cut out about 40% of what I did. And I operationalized it as best I could with Mike coming out of the hospital. And if I hadn’t done that, I don’t think we would ever accident to be honest. Because like, it just would have been a talent acquisition, and not like a company acquisition. And by nature building those processes. And they weren’t perfect to begin with, but they got better and better. And we got better and better. We actually had something that was acquirable that people were interested in. And I think I had to lower some pride, right. I like to I like to be the Don Draper. I like to come in with creative ideas. I like to be that guy. And I think I have a knack for it. But but if that’s the 20% and like, what’s the other 80% that that is necessary, but not, you know, maybe a necessary evil is big. You know
Like to that actually takes away from those creative moments or takes away from those impactful moments? And how can we, you know, so anyway, I could wax and wane on about that for a long time. But I think I’d encourage you, wherever you’re at. No matter what business stage, I read a book called essentialism. Man, scrag McEwen. There it is, if you read the first chapter, it’s great. But it just talks about the idea of writing yourself out of the job out of a job, and doing only the stuff that you’re the best at, and delegating the best as the rest as best you can. So even if you’re ever going to axe it or not, it’s good practice. It’s a good thing to get used to. And a good, good, good audit. And I’m glad that by nature of circumstance, I had to go through that audit the hard way to do it the easy way. don’t end up in the hospital.
Marc Gutman 30:54
Yeah, and thanks for sharing all that. I want to make sure we get to probably one of the more pivotal moments of your life in your career. And so you’ve, you’ve exited, you’ve been acquired by human at least from the outside, I’m you know, and I followed it. I was watching, I was like, How awesome is that? Right? Like you then like it elevated into some pretty sweet clients and opportunities and big name clients that I’ll let you talk about if you want, but I’m looking at it. Like how cool is a strategist and a brand builder and a marketer? What an amazing opportunity exited into a really cool hit Colorado ad agency and brand building agency. But then, you know, life didn’t get any less complicated for you did it?
Beau Haralson 31:38
Sure. No. And I think like success is iterative. I think that people think that success is this like, man, if I could just like buy a Lamborghini one day, that would be like the marker of success for some people like some and that’s great, man, if that motivates you, fast cars are cool, I get it, like, go for it. But I think like your definition of success can change every six months if it needs to. So you know, I’ll start with kind of that, sign that human for, I think two years. And
I think week one, I found myself like on a plane up to like Nike headquarters and stuff like that. And I was like, oh, okay, here we go. And I’d work with some like, fortune 1000 brands call it but not like fortune 50 or not like fortune 100. And I was like, Okay, all right, here we go. And so I bought a new pair of shoes, which was a good idea. And you know, like, just like, you know, all sudden were but it was what was ironic about the whole thing is that the conversations weren’t that dissimilar of early stage startups. And I’ll leave you with the I’ll leave one concept one, one footnote of this whole experience is that the secret of what I think of working with big brands is that small brands want to be big. And big brands actually want to be small. And so like there’s this interesting, like, kind of triangulation between these two things I saw on getting to work with small and big. And actually, I think that’s pretty cool. But if you’re a small brand, listening, and if you you know, maybe you’re a challenger brand, or you’re just kind of like in that early stage of creating that momentum, your greatest advantage is the fact that you’re small. It’s that you’re nimble, that you can create these amazing relationships with your customers early on, and that’s going to that’s going to be what’s creates raving fans.
And the secret to the big guys, don’t tell you is that they actually are kind of like, jealous might be the wrong word. But they, they study you and that’s why you have these acquisitions of like Hormel and Justin’s nut butter or watch Dollar Shave Club and what they’ve done over the last five to 10 years, they were a challenger brand not too long ago. Harry’s fall we’re talking about shaving has taken over like four feet of space and target they started as a DTC brand. But you know, I think small isn’t a big, big, serious fall. Have fun with that one. But like I think that was the thing I learned is that I could take these small brands strategies, help them apply, apply them to bigger brands, and get them super excited about that. And here’s the the one thing that was ultra exciting about that is that we could take some of those bigger brand budgets and apply those smaller challenger strategies to them and create a bit of jet fuel behind that success. So first, long I had the opportunity to work with I mean, World Expo and Dubai
had an opportunity to inform a bit of the strategy behind the brand launched with LeBron James Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Vaughn, and Cindy Crawford, and got found myself in this really like interesting brand strategy role along with marketing in those hallways, and that was great. Here’s the deal. I was in those hallways for a long time. And that’s not a knock against the the brand specifically this agency specifically I have good friends across the agency environment and the hours are not normal hours.
And a lot of that’s just because a lot of folks and agencies care and they care about those brands, they’re gonna they’re gonna put in the hours to make sure that they show up. It is a competitive environment. There’s about 15,000 small to midsize agencies in the US, there’s probably about 100 200 Omnicom level, broader, bigger agencies, and every one of them that I’ve, you know, that I’ve had the opportunity to interact with,
you know, in the trenches are all working dang hard. And I’ve got an amazing amount of respect for that. But to tee up the second part of that conversation, which is the transition of like, how to my version of success, my professional journeys been marked by my kids in a good way. But we got news at the 20 week appointment for our second kiddo, that she was going to be born with Spina Bifida. And there’s a lot of different types of spina bifida, hers was on the spectrum of good to bad or like menial to like, not,
hers is more on the not great side of things. So doctors looked at us in the eye and said, hey, there’s 80% chance she’s going to be born with some some level of cognitive cognitive issues and her hydrocephalus, she likely won’t walk. And, you know, it’s going to be a tough journey. And they asked us, they’re like, do you want to go on this journey? I was like, Are you asking when I think you’re asking like, yeah,
we’re in like, without hesitation, my wife and I like we definitely cried at the diagnosis, we had our moment. and work through that. And so we’re working through that. But we’re, we’re in, right, and I’m kind of all in or all out type of guy. And and, and so let’s see here tweeted, like 15 weeks later, 15 to 16 weeks later, she was a little bit early. We’re on the roller coaster wife goes and labor. We just seen we just been in for an ultrasound that day. So I saw me in the womb, the day she was born. And and I actually asked the doctors like, hey, real talk. If Jenny goes and labor tonight, what do I do like burden at risk category, we live 45 minutes from children’s, which is where the baby like person needs to be born with all the help and support available. Or we’re like 20 or 30 minutes away from you. And she was like, didn’t push it the extra 15 minutes, you’ll avoid being on a helicopter and your daughter will avoid being on helicopter, like and being separated from mom. And I was like, Yeah, well, like that sounds great. So literally that night, Jenna went into labor. It’s like 20 degrees out.
If you live here in Colorado, you appreciate this. But there’s a 470. And it’s a toll road. Thankfully, and and so I pushed it 115 120 miles per hour on that thing and made that drive in like 2530 minutes. And and Jenna was I won’t get into specifics, but she but she was it was it was time that Amy was nearly born in the car. So Amy was born, had surgery on her spine within 24 hours and then hung out in the hospital for another nine days. And my life changed forever. And the best of ways. And, and with that my career needed to change a bit too. But I knew that at that moment, you know, from a priority standpoint, in order, I wanted to be a great husband, and be a great dad. And if I had to be, quote, good businessmen.
That was okay, I’d rather be like, I’d rather not be a great businessman, and a good husband and a good dad, or maybe potentially bad dad because I don’t run out of hours. And so I reprioritize completely. And I don’t regret a single bit of that. But I was working 80 hours a week at the time. And I just literally just started working 35 hours a week and hit my numbers and doing my things and it became apparent that you know, I needed to be in the trenches, we all need to be working on those light late night pitches together, etc. And I wasn’t gonna be that guy anymore. And and so I just gracefully accepted stage left. And that was that was kind of our departure. And I don’t regret a bit of that because I think a lot of people would say hey, like pursue the thing hustle like I love Gary Vee, I’ve had the opportunity to meet him and talk to him about work life balance, and, and he he actually is an inspiration for me in the context of I’ve asked him point blank, I said, hey, what would slow you down? And he said, If I had a medical need, or if there was something going on with my family that required me to be home, I said, Thank you, thank you. I didn’t need his validation. But hustle culture can, I think get too turned up to too high. And so I turned my volume down. And that’s been a good transition for me on the back end of that. So that’s a bit long winded. But that’s that’s been my my journey. We can kind of end on the current chapter, if you’d like but any questions on that part of the journey?
Marc Gutman 39:55
Yeah, no, I’d love to get into it. way deeper. We are running tight on time. I know that you have to To run along here. And so what I’d love for you to do is just let us know, you know, what’s next for for Beau and Scale That like, what are you looking forward to? What are you most excited about right now?
Beau Haralson 40:12
Yeah, um, so join forces with a good long term friend of mine, named Alex turned in about two years ago now. And we played to our strengths, right? So he’s really good at paid media. I’m pretty good at creative. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot shoot national commercials and Facebook ads and all the things. And we said, hey, what would what would success in this chapter look like he had access to the agency prior as well. And so we kind of, you know, met up classic thing got out of napkin, and we said, hey, let’s just take on a half dozen clients a year that have our cell phone number. And let’s take really good care of them and say no to anything above that. And so we’ve got five or six private clients, private in the context that I can’t share with you, I can share with you like one or two of their names. But I’m under NDA where I can’t for the others, and we spend, you know, three to $5 million plus on advertising a month for those guys and take really good care of them. And when they have creative needs, and when they have other stuff that’s coming up and business strategy stuff, we advise on those and take care folks as best we can. And so that’s been a privilege to step into that it’s right size, I get to be a dad, I get to be a therapy appointments, I get to be, you know, I’ve got to get my oldest to gym here in a minute. And that’s I mean, that, for me is my definition of success.
Ferrari or no Ferrari, I’m plenty happy with that. And we’re moving the needle for folks and taking good care of our clients. And it’s just been great. So I think there was like a, how can we help kind of nature of that, or what’s kind of what’s what’s within that. So the business models pretty simple. Take care of a half dozen folks, we’re moving in the consulting with whatever extra hours we have. So we’re taking a group of clients that, quite honestly wouldn’t be initial great fits for our direct service model. And we’re gonna do some on ongoing coaching for folks that just need high level support, but have people in house to help execute.
So we’ll be unveiling that in the next probably 30 or 45 days. And we’ve built out some software in the background that helps people buy ads more effectively and efficiently, and took parts of Alex’s brain and a bit of mine and had that all coated up. And so we’ll be selling that software. Again, it’s just about replicating what you can and, and then we’re kind of in a mindset that if we don’t share some of the success that we’ve been able to create for clients, it’s actually been I mean, this was with no ego, but I had a good friend that was like, hey, it’s kind of selfish not to share, you should start sharing how you help people. And that will help other people help other people. And I was like, Great, yeah, you’re right, you win. So we’re kind of pivoting to like, actually starting to share some of the stories that have, you know, typically been hidden in conference rooms and boardrooms of, you know, fortune 100 companies. And I’m excited to start sharing that a bit more and sharing how to how to make that impact.
Marc Gutman 43:14
Great, well make sure you’ve let us know how we can help you share that where our listeners can find access to add or get more information or enroll in that in the ability to receive those stories and Beau as we come to a close here. You know, I’d like you to think back to that that boy in high school who is way in the the idea of being a youth pastor or a park ranger, and what do you think he’d say, if he saw you today?
Beau Haralson 43:39
Hmm. He probably taught me to rest a bit more.
But I think I think he’d also say like, um, you know, everything in it season is probably a good way to summarize that is like, hey, like, that’s, that’s great young Bo, that you have this, these these, like, your heart is excited about these things. Because oriented, be it like playing outside, but like, I think I’ve come to this conclusion that like, everything has its own little season, like, you know, dumped on us this weekend. And people were like, do you go skiing? And I’m like, Nah, man, I was hanging out with a two year old, like, that’s fine. And I was happy to be.
So I think a lot of people want success now. And they define it in a certain way. But I think you can, you can do both. And I think you can be patient and have your definition of success in its own season. And I think to be patient and that and to be discerning in that and to readjust and calibrate for that is probably what I would say to the young buck sitting there with this yearbook open was just like, Hey, be patient man, and pursue things fully, but like Be patient and don’t pursue it all at once.
Marc Gutman 44:51
And that is Beau Haralson, co founder of Scale That I’ve been following Bo’s career over the years and in typical Beau fashion.
He was very humble and understated about all the brands he’s worked with, and his successes in the marketing space. Maybe we can get him back on the show for a round to brag session. There were so many nuggets in this one, but two that stood out to me. everyone finds their success in their own season. That is so true. And I think that if we just let that hang and resonate for a moment, you’ll feel how impactful that insight is. And the other big standout idea was that big brands really want to be like small brands, and small brands have all the opportunity is there adaptable and nimble. You hear that small brands go out there and kick some big brand but a big thank you to Beau Haralson and the Scale That team I love your order of priorities and it is inspiring to hear how our business lives can be prioritized if we only ask, can I delegate this, we will link to all things Beau Haralson and Scale That in the show notes. And if you know the guest who should appear on our show, please drop me a line at podcast at wildstory.com. Our best guests like Beau come from referrals from past guests and our listeners.
Well that’s the show. Until next time, make sure to visit our website www.wildstory.com where you can subscribe to the show in iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS so you’ll never miss an episode a lot big stories and I cannot lie to you other storytellers can’t deny.