Welcome to The Sauciety Hour! I’m your host, Kim Garmon Hummel, and I’m coming to you from my home office in the midst of COVID-19. Not to worry, though — through the power of Zoom, our episodes on this show will include a guest and be conversational.
However, on this episode I’m the host and the guest. Since I’m not going to do anything awkward like ask and answer questions with myself, here’s how this is going to go:
I’m going to tell you a little bit about my story; the story of my business, Sauce Marketing; and how the vision for this podcast came to be. It’s a story of ups and downs, excuses and realizations, but ultimately, it’s a story of growth, hope, and gratitude. So, let’s jump into the juicy stuff: excuses and realizations.
The vision for The Sauciety Hour was cast nearly two years ago. If you’re not wondering, “What in the world happened that a digital marketing agency couldn’t get their podcast launched in two years?” Well — you should be wondering. And whether you are or you aren’t, I’m going to tell you, because I believe that authenticity is key and owning your shortcomings is the first step to overcoming them and that’s how you help other people learn from your mistakes.
So, here’s what happened. In late 2018, we built a podcasting studio, invested in all the equipment, soundproofed the room like crazy women, and then we got too busy with client work. Sounds like a good problem to have, right?
Well, in some ways it’s right, but in some ways it’s wrong, because as Ben Franklin put it, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” I’m going to tell you why those are some very wise words: because you never know what’s coming next. Or after that. Or after the next thing. Or four things later that are all going to potentially stop you from starting.
Fast forward to May 31 of 2019. Additional chaos ensued. I was at the salon getting my hair done, but this isn’t a tale of hair care gone wrong. Instead, it’s a tale of a reckless driver gone the only way that reckless drivers go, which is very, very wrong.
So, I’m at the salon with foil in my hair and Taylor, our multimedia specialist, calls my cellphone. Now she knows that my once-every-six-weeks appointment to get my hair done is sacred and you shouldn’t interrupt it unless it’s something terrible. But she’s also only two weeks into her job with us at this point and the one thing that I know about Taylor from working with us and from before she worked with us is that she likes to pull pranks and tell jokes.
When I see that it’s Taylor calling me at my hair appointment, I assume that the other ladies on my team have put her up to bugging me and pulling a prank while I’m at the hair salon. Sitting there with foil in my hair, I answer the phone to hear Taylor tell me something horrible. To which I responded, “But seriously, why are you interrupting my hair appointment? What do you need?”
What I learned from Taylor that day and then what I saw when I arrived at my office with foil still in my hair, mind you, was that our only stairs had been struck by an SUV. And before they struck our stairs, they struck a tractor-trailer. There’s diesel fuel everywhere, and before it hit the tractor-trailer, I don’t know what else it hit in between the wreck that it had caused in the wreck up the road and its incident in front of our office.
When I say the stairs were hit, I mean the bottom half of the stairs were crushed and mangled, the rail that you hold onto to go up was bent all out of place, the very bottom stair was kind of okay, but then the second and third stair looked like The Incredible Hulk himself had come through and pulled them apart with his hands. The whole staircase itself was just… not really stable. So it wasn’t safe for us to use.
Since it wasn’t safe for us to use, and there was no elevator since that was the only way in and out, my team was actually removed from the office via the adjacent roof in the bucket of a firetruck ladder. There’s a video of it on our Instagram of Taylor waving like a pageant queen as they lower her safely to the ground if you want to go see that and laugh at our expense.
So yeah, we had to wait on the landlord to fix our stairs because they weren’t safe for us to use — except he didn’t fix the stairs for a really long time. So long, in fact, that we waited the 60 days in our lease that we were required to wait and then began looking for a new office space and ultimately ended up having to move.
We moved in the middle of August. Our new office is downtown and really fun. If you’re familiar with Downtown Memphis, it’s in the South Main Historic Arts District. Can’t wait to get back down there; there’s so much coffee within walking distance. I do have coffee within walking distance at my home office, but it just happens to be in whatever variety of k-cup I was able to scavenge at the store. I’m really missing some Vice and Virtue. If you haven’t tried that and you’re in Memphis, you really should.
Anyway, back to the point…
We have our new office downtown — only there’s no podcast room in it. We have to construct that. Through the construction phases we get to the point where the podcasting room is almost finished and I find out that my mom has stage 4 lung cancer and then we go through that journey with her.
Unfortunately, she did not make it. I miss her more than life itself, but at the same time, she would’ve been one of the high risk individuals that — this would've been a lot worse if, in my opinion, the Lord hadn’t taken her when he did. I miss her. It’s terrible. But it happened.
But because it happened, of course that was yet another thing that fell into the space between wanting to make this podcast and actually making this podcast. And after I got back in the office, I needed some time to process and get back in the swing of things. So I certainly wasn’t ready to jump back in and start recording; I needed some time. And the time that it took me to get in the headspace I needed to get into so that I could say these things that I need to share, COVID-19 happened.
And so, here we are again, working remote, unable to use our recording studio, and I had a choice to make. I had to decide: Am I going to let another thing stop me from starting? Am I going to let yet another set of circumstances outside of my control stop my progress or fuel it?
I realized that if I can make it through all of the stuff I just told you, and still be standing, if I can make it through losing my father to suicide in 2015 and still be sane, by the grace of God, I am resilient enough to launch this podcast in the midst of COVID-19 from home, without my awesome studio. Because quality is important. But it’s the message that really matters.
And once we get back to normal, sure, we’ll use our amazing podcasting room and I cant wait until that happens. But in the words of my late and wonderful mother, we’re gonna do the best we can with what we’ve got to work with until then.
Speaking of my mom, the course of my life over the past year — but especially the last four months — has inspired a very important shift in the purpose and messaging of The Sauciety Hour.
Around Thanksgiving of last year, I wrote on the chalkboard in our kitchen a quote: “Frame your world with gratitude and everything changes.” About a week and a half to two weeks later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. And I’m sure you can relate to the fact that I kinda wanted to look at that chalkboard and maybe punch it or throw it. Didn’t have time for any of that and I wasn’t really at home much during that time, but the few times that I came in and out of here, I had a love/hate relationship with that quote on the chalkboard.
When I finally got around to thinking, Well, I guess I should change it. The seasons are changing. It’s definitely not Thanksgiving anymore. I looked at it and I went to erase it and I just felt in my gut, You know what, you’re still gonna need that. You need to start framing your world with gratitude. You still need to hear that messaging. It doesn't matter what season it is. And so I left it.
And just a couple of weeks later, all of the COVID-19 stuff started. And we found out that we were going to have to work from home. And we found out that everything was changing.
It’s so easy to get caught up in framing your world with fear and negativity and that leads to pessimism. And I won’t lie, I began to slip into that at the beginning of this but I saw that quote on the board and it changed me. And I had to share it so it could change you, too.
Because when you frame your world with gratitude, it means you tune in and pay attention to the good stuff. It doesn’t mean you’re not seeing the bad stuff, it doesn’t mean the bad stuff goes away. It just means that tempering the bad stuff with the good stuff makes it so much more palpable. It makes it so much more easy to handle.
In the midst of COVID-19, everyone’s working from home, hoping they don’t get sick, trying their best to quarantine. Some people are getting sick and recovering, and other people aren’t as lucky and they’re not recovering. It’s scary and everything’s changing and for those of us in the business world, that’s not exactly new, yet this is definitely more extreme and far reaching.
But at the end of the day, everything is always changing, which is why COVID-19 inspired it, but I believe that the shift is necessary forever and The Sauciety Hour will not just focus on business growth, but also on hope and gratitude. Because business owners and marketers and sales professionals and decision makers are all people who are going for growth and have to step across multiple lines of fear toward that growth and it takes hope and gratitude to muster the courage to step across that line of fear over and over again.
And this podcast is dedicated to two things: telling the stories of the people who are doing just that everyday so that we can find inspiration from each other and also understanding what technology is best to use and what methodology is best to use to achieve your growth goals.
Years ago when I realized it was time to take our message to the masses in a way that catered to auditory and visual learners like myself (aka podcast and videos), I had no idea it would take this long to happen, but here we are and it’s happening.
About our message, it’s simple: At Sauce, we aim to help businesses of all sizes reach their growth goals. We do this by focusing on sales, marketing, and the customer experience. The methodology is to organize, optimize, align, and transform and by leveraging technology to both facilitate an efficient execution of systems and processes while also providing unforgettable customer experiences online and off, we help our clients #GrowSmarter.
We control the creative process from conception to completion and beyond, even remotely, to create consistently compelling, on-brand, data-driven content. Then by tracking it with the best martech software available, we ensure our clients’ investments and their digital presence continues to produce not just new customers, but a return on their investment.
We believe experience is everything and we have the data to prove it. Using the right systems and processes accompanied by the right technology can help you provide an experience that leads to growth. Ensuring that that is being done with maximum efficiency is the key to profitability. Because a good experience can lead to one sale. But a great one builds a relationship. And a relationship yields happiness both ways. It means that your customers are delighted with the experience and the service you’re providing (or product, if that’s the case) and you’re delighted because your customers are delighted and they can't help but tell other people about it which leads to repeat business and referrals for you.
So when I say experience is everything, that’s what I mean. The plan was and still is for The Sauciety Hour to focus on interviewing business owners, sales and marketing pros, and service providers so that we can help you make the best technology choices to #GrowSmarter.
On our next episode, Jason Smith from PCS Managed Services will share his insights on technology and gratitude.
To wrap this thing up, I want to tell you one more story. Team Sauce has been starting each day with a Zoom call and on it we take just a little bit of time to say one thing that we’re grateful for. I’d like to invite you to join our online community, The Sauciety, on Facebook. Once you're in, introduce yourself and tell one thing that you’re grateful for. You can also post a question and who knows, maybe we’ll cover the answer in a future episode on The Sauciety Hour.
Thank you for listening. I hope you’ll continue to listen wherever you find podcasts or videos. And until next time: Stay healthy, stay safe, and unless you absolutely can’t, please for the love of God, stay home.