181: Fluctuations in the agency world - with encore guest Martha Carrigan
Martha Carrigan is the President & CEO of Big Shoes Network (BSN): a family of niche job boards and resources serving the Midwest and Southeast. Big Shoes Network specializes in advertising, digital and traditional communication, graphic and web design, marketing, public relations, and social media industries. Martha is responsible for business development, strategic marketing, and financial management.
What's changed in your world since the last time we chatted/recorded?
“Well, my world consists of my work personally and then the industry. And so as far as Big Shoes Network goes, what's changed with that is we've added, sort of under the current consulting arm, called Next Steps because we had been doing so much personal branding and some professional branding…”
Let's dive deeper into your business. Who do you primarily work with?
“one Avenue for our target customer, our folks that are seekers or not seekers, but potentially great employees or talent. Where we generate our money from is from clients posting jobs and adding ads on our site. So that client, we have about 40% of our business is agency, 50% is corporate and 10% is nonprofit and government. And I define that a little differently because although for example, the University of Wisconsin is one of our largest clients and they are nonprofit, but they have more of a corporate sort of feel and size and all of that. So, we lump them in with the corporate. Um, yeah. So, we have about 4,000 clients and we've posted well over 10,000 jobs in our history.”
What's the value-add they will get by working with you?
“We are very customer service and high touch. That's our culture. We love helping. We will bend over backwards for you.”
How can you be a resource to your network and mine?
“We really love, like I said, helping people. We get a fair number of clients that will post, and we'll circle back to them and say, perhaps you can modify this a bit in order to get a better response. Additionally, when you are utilizing a larger organization, if you want to do some adjusting, tweaking, extending, that's really not an option. But with us, it really is…”
In our initial interview - you had said you'd like to connect with Denzel Washington or Bill Gates. Have you made progress on connecting with them?
“I've connected with Denzel in my dreams, and I have not yet connected with Bill Gates. I'm working my way up the ladder. I just had a conversation with Michael Moni, UWM’s Chancellor. And the CEO of Microsoft now is a UWM grad.”
Paying it forward is an overarching theme that we hear and see often in the business world. Please share a recent pay-it-forward experience that you've had... Received or given.
(Discussing a recent experience at a grocery store) “You can only pay with credit card. And I've seen that more and more and I get it. It's fast, it's reliable. But this woman didn't have a credit card and a lot of people don't, or they opt not to use it for various reasons. So, she got back in line into the line next to mine, got to the front of the line and the woman said it was for credit card only. We're talking an hour later. So, she got in line behind me and I just, I could hardly talk. I was so upset. She was fine with it. I'm like, this is not fair. So, she and I struck up a conversation and then as I was leaving, I'm like, no. So, I went back, and I swiped my card and I was like, this is for her and whatever she's buying.”
Everyone loves a good tip or tool/resource that will help save them time or make their life easier. Do you have any tips or resources to share with our listeners?
“one of those is we have a business directory. So, if a client comes to us and says, Hey, I need a website built. I don't want to hire an employee necessarily to do that. It's just a project or it's a, you know, a one-year thing. I'll send them to our business directory and say, go look on the web developer site, and Keystone click is in there…”
If we could remove all barriers and constraints what project would you do or take on? (this could be personal or professional)
“I'd really like to learn Spanish. I would love to just for the fun of it. I love the language, but secondly, I'd like to be useful in underserved markets. I've always wanted to volunteer for, for example, Red Cross Disaster Relief because I'm super good at organizing, but I just don't think it would have much value unless I spoke a different language.”
You can get in contact with Martha at:
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