Push On

Push On with Joe Glover founder of The Marketing Meetup

How to Push On, with the positively lovely Joe Glover

If you imagine three buckets, you’ve got the bucket, which you can, control. You’ve got the bucket, you can influence, the bucket you can’t do anything about. Then it’s only really worth thinking about the first two. Cause the last one, there’s nothing, nothing you can do about it. So, best to forget it. So that’s probably where I am right now.

 

Kim:

Welcome everybody. This is another episode of Push On, and I’m so excited for this one because I have with me the lovely, positively lovely Joe Glover.  Joe is the founder of The Marketing Meetup. And I’ve known Joe for quite some time now. So this, this conversation is really going to be quite a fun conversation and I’m looking forward to it.  Joe, welcome. How are you?

Joe:

Thank you for having me. Yeah, I’m doing well. I’ve just seen my mate. James has a, has commented with the wave, so Hey James. Um, and yeah, I’m doing good. I’m doing good. I think like a lot of people taking it day by day. But the positives outweigh the negatives. I’d say, how are you?

Kim:

I’m good. I’m happy. I’m smiling. It has been incredibly hard and every day is really hard for business owners… for everybody. But there’s a lot of positives in it and I think I’ve taken the time to slow down and make some changes, which have all been good and doing things like these things I’ve always wanted to do. So it’s been good to kind of push, push your boundaries and get you to try new things. Cause this feels a bit safer. I’m doing new things right now because we have to,

Joe:

well, we have to, and you’re in your home as well. So there’s something quite safe about that as well. So

Kim:

I’ve never thought of that. You know, you’re absolutely right.

So Joe, obviously I know all about the Marketing Meetup. That’s how we met. If you wouldn’t mind just explaining to everybody tuning in, cause there’s a number of people listening and if you don’t know what the marketing meetup is. So could you tell us a little bit about, about your story?

Joe:

Of course, and I’ll watch the participant numbers drop down as I speak! no I’m joking. So the Marketing Meetup is, um, at its essence, it’s a community where people come to learn. It’s the community where people come to meet one another, but most importantly, it’s a place where people could come and feel safe to do both of those things. You’re wearing the tee shirt right now, which has positively lovely on it, which is the brand message.

Kim:

Talk about a major brand advocate.

Joe:

That’s it! And that’s our you know, thing that positively lovely. It just encapsulates the spirit, which is, we’re just here to look after each other. None of us knows all the answers, you know, we’re all making it up as we go along. So why don’t we just look after each other in the process, the Marketing Meetup, even though it’s focused on, on marketing, because that’s what I do, that’s what we do. You know, is ultimately just to a place where like-minded lovely people, that’s together in a really nice way.

Kim:

And tell us a little bit more about how you, how you operate. Where are you working from the moment right now?

Joe:

I’m from the very fancy Littledown . I think me and my wife bring the average age down by at least 20 years in the village. Um, and that’s quite something, but, um, we, we sort of just live about two minutes from lots and lots of fields, which is great for the dog walks. But in terms of operation then in the non COVID world, then we have 13 locations in the UK where we run monthly events. And then we started in New York in February, March time. And then, um, now in the covert world, then we operate a lot on online with webinars conversation club, which is like a networking opportunity, um, and like workshops as well. So we’ve got a foot in both camps in both the, in, in person and the virtual world. Um, but it seems to be working really well, which much quite surprised because I was a big doubter of online stuff before COVID struck, but um, people really see, seem to have embraced it

Kim:

Definitely. And I know, there’s nothing quite like a real event or physical events you’re meeting people face to face and you, it makes it so much easier to build a community that way, but you’ve done exceptionally well building, continuing to build the community online.

Joe:

We’re lucky there’s a lot of lovely people in the community who have backed us throughout as well. So we are lucky.

Kim:

Well that says something about the strength of your brand advocates, doesn’t it?

Joe:

A hundred percent. Well, absolutely. And, and uh, I say the community, but that very much includes people like you as well. So, you know, I’m just impossibly grateful for you as well, so.

Kim:

I know when I was looking to set up some sort of networking for marketers and I came across the Marketing Meetup, um, it was the values and the whole approach that you took that resonated with me because it was all about just being really nice and supportive and positively lovely, just struck a chord. And I think right now with everything that’s going on, it’s been so helpful for me and I’m sure others out there who are members of the community. Um, so how do you think those brand values have helped people during this time?

 

Joe:

Um, I think it’s, it’s a two-way street. So if I’m selfish enough to start with myself and then, uh, potentially I can sort of translate to why that’s useful for the community, um, is helpful for myself because when you start with your values, then you have a compass to make decisions by you’re able to, um, encounter a number of scenarios every day and say, does this feel right? Does this suit with the value set that we’ve decided that we want to focus on? And then the reason why that becomes relevant is because if a value set you’ve built a community around the value set, then the decisions that you make are ultimately those that are in line with what the community expect. Um, so I think ultimately it’s never really been, it was never something that I started out with the intention of sort of saying, we’re going to have these values and we’re going to write them on the wall and they’re going to live in a document or whatever.

It was just like what feels right about treating people well, what feels right about looking to help them and what can we do to improve people’s lives? And, you know, really that’s the reason why I enjoy marketing as well because, for me, the ultimate goal of marketing really is to improve someone else’s life, um, which, you know, you match a problem to a solution and you communicate it properly and Hey, bingo, you’ve done marketing, but you’ve also improved someone’s life in the process. So, um, I think ultimately it starts with the company in the way that we’ve got that value set, but then, uh, that translates to everything that we do by, uh, the decisions matching those values. It’s very much about being purpose and having that clear purpose and then everything follows so much more easily. Absolutely. Well, yeah, a hundred percent. It’s the same as, you know, I guess people sort of characterise it as that gut feeling.

 

Right. You know, what’s, what’s the thing that feels right in your gut. And maybe it’s a privilege of being a, a founder who can choose the direction of your own company and not having to sort of answer to anyone or anything like that, but except my community. Um, but you know, by having that value set and saying, this is the things that’s going to matter to us, it really does matter. Um, and it’s gotta be said as well that the marketing meetup is a vehicle for fulfilling a more general life purpose. You know, I sort of identify the thing that I want to do when I die. Eventually is people that look back and sort of say, I interacted with Joe and I feel like I’m going to be a little bit kinder as a result. And like, that’s a sentence which can be said quite flippantly, but it’s also something that truly matters to me. So the marketing metre really feels like a vehicle for people being kind to each other, which is really, really important to me.

Kim:

And I can attest to that, being a member of the community. That’s all you see happening, kindness and support. And that’s a pretty wonderful thing. So if, if you, sort of step back for a few moments and, help people understand how long you had been running, the marketing meets up and the changes he had made in your life when suddenly the pandemic hit.

Joe:

So the Marketing Meetup has been going for four years. The reason it started was I was a solo marketer looking for other people to meet and learn from, but I was far more introverted than I am extroverted. So I needed that environment, uh, which I felt comfortable entering him when I couldn’t find it. Then I just made it. And it’s just a hobby. That’s not highfaluting or patting myself on the back. It’s just what happened. But as it’s grown, you know, we, we built it around in person events and we did that for three years. And I say, we, because I was speaking to one, the person knowing the people who helped build it, you know, and take it to where it is. Um, so we, we grew it. So all these locations, we built it around in person events and boom covert hits struck, you know, and on March the 13th, we had to cancel our events.

And I spent probably four days finished, incredibly sad about it, probably went into a bit of cocoon of, of sadness and, productivity and, and not doing an awful lot. And then, I just decided to come out of it a little bit, you know, and, and decide what to do about it. And the thing that I did that weekend was message the world’s most famous marketers that I could possibly reach and say, do you want to get involved in this thing? Cause we want to help people. And, uh, I was really lucky that five or six of them said yes, so that built a whole new set of momentum for the Marketing Meetup in its online form. Um, when COVID struck, the interesting thing about this is that I see a lot of people characterising themselves as like a product of the things that they do.

 

So for example, the Marketing Meetup could have been seen as an events company, but that’s not what we are, you know, we’re a place which spreads information, whereas place that spread kindness, uh, we’re a place where people can meet. So when COVID struck, it was actually quite a clear, clear direction to take, to take it online because it’s like, okay, we can’t do it in person. So what can we do? Well, we can do it online. So let’s do that. And it was like a little bit of research to figure out how to use zoom and stuff like that, which I feel like I can pat myself on the back now and say, I felt like a bit of a Zoom pro, but so does the rest of the world, I imagine. Um, but yeah, it was a, it was a fairly clear direction, but it wasn’t without its challenges. I guess

Kim:

you’re running how many events per week right now?

Joe:

Uh, so I do two a week. We do a webinar on Tuesdays and Conversation Club on Fridays. The purpose behind them is that Tuesday’s session gives information, educates, inspires.  The Friday session, allows people to connect and sort of build their networks and, uh, you know, sort of support with one another.

Kim:

That’s really good. And next week we’re going to try something new for the local events. So Colchester will be the first local event to try new format. And what, what I’ve suggested is a mashup of the two where you have the information at the beginning. So I really good talk, but a short talk cause nobody wants to be talked out for too, too long and then the conversations afterwards. I’m really, really looking forward to that.

Joe:

it would be great is it’s a really nice experiment to see how we can build these localised groups in a virtual environment. I haven’t seen many people put a geographic focus on it, so it’s going to be really interested in seeing how that goes. I’m looking forward to it too.

Kim:

Yes, yes. It won’t be good and it will be fun as they always are. Then now how about your personal life? How has the pandemic changed your, your daily working life and how that impacts your personal life?

Joe:

I would say that I probably feel more tired now than I ever have in my professional career. You know, that’s probably just a result of being unable to switch off a little bit. We were discussing beforehand, you know, like I said, you know, I feel like I need a holiday, but where would I go? Because you know, you can’t really go anywhere for more than a day or whatever it is, you know? So even when you get your weekends, then, then it’s not a lot of recovery time. Cause you still in the same environment. Um, that being said, there’s been an awful lot of positives.  I should start by saying my wife is still working. So she works at Addenbrooke’s hospital. So we’ve still got a structure to our week, which is quite nice. I find, cause we don’t lose that, that kind of like we’ve still got a weekend basically, which is really useful.

 

On a personal level, I’ve found that much like an entrepreneurial journey every day is like you wake up and you find out how you feel that day, you know? Some days it’s good. Some days it’s bad. Generally speaking, my positive days have far outweighed the negative ones, but that doesn’t mean to say that there haven’t been negative. Um, if we were to look at in weeks then to start off with, I was probably very blahzay about COVID and then, uh, went through a stage of real anxiety about it and then probably have now come out into a patch of just, you know, it is what it is. This is, this is life now. Um, so we’ll do the best work that we can in the scenario that we’re in. Ultimately I, I had a nice way of dealing with things the other day, which was, if you imagine three buckets, you’ve got the bucket, which you can, uh, control, you’ve got the bucket you can influence and the bucket you can’t, you can’t do anything about. Then it’s only really worth thinking about the first two, because the last one, there’s nothing, nothing you can do about it. So, uh, best to forget it. So that’s probably where I am right now

Kim:

What are the sort of things that you’re doing, or maybe routines that you have to help you feel a little bit more grounded and as though you’re positively influencing the things that you can control.

Joe:

Yeah. The dog walk is a really good thing cause they got two breaks a day of, you know, two hours at least until two hours away from screens, uh, which is so important. Cause I could very easily go from my laptop over to the TV and spend my entire day doing that. So dog walks are very important. The exercise has been really important. I wish I could say that I’ve been meditating, but I haven’t. I should have been, cause it’s so important to and then yeah, just, just, just trying to find those opportunities to say, okay, I’m not going to be using screens for the next few hours just to get that internal stimulation rather than an external flashy thing in front of my eyes. That’s been the biggest thing that I think over the course of these 12 weeks, it would have been so, so easy to have sat in front of my computer for 14, 16 hours a day. Uh, and just keep on working because at the end of the day I absolutely loved my job as well. You know, so it’s my hobby is the thing that I love. So it would have been very easy to have that just carried on doing that. But yeah, finding those breaks has been really crucial.

Kim:

Right. So, so, so important. I actually started not working on Fridays four day work week, four days are long. I’ve tried to limit them to 10 hours, but that never happens, but yeah, Fridays are my day and I switch off and I do other things so, so important. If we look at, you know, week by week, things are changing so much or at least I feel that things change so much. Um, what’s something that’s happened this week. That’s gone really well for you, something you’d like to share.

Joe:

So yesterday was the three year anniversary of me and my wife getting married. So, that was lovely. So I planned out the day, woke her up with breakfast in bed and then,  the destination tea, we’re very food orientating. It turns out. And then we drove over to Norwich and, and went for a walk with her nanny cause her nanny’s one of her favourite people in the world. So I’d secretly arrange that as well. So that was really nice and yeah, just sat and played board games and then the football was back as well. So that was really great way to cap off the day. So yeah, that was, that was a really great day. Oh, that sounds positively well it really was.

Kim:

I know during this period there’s been some pretty challenging times for all of us. Being an entrepreneur right now is hard and the sole reason behind the Push On series is to try to share some of those stories. And one of the things that I always ask people is to share a story of a silver lining. So is there any silver linings that you could share with us?

Joe:

Yeah, for sure. Well, again, we were discussing this before because I kind of felt a little bit self conscious walking into this conversation where as potentially being mr. Positive and then on way for it may be. Um, but the truth is that this as an entrepreneur, even though I struggled to give myself that title, um, you know, business has been okay for the moment, you know, w we’ve the sponsors have stayed on, which is the main revenue source of marketing meetup. The community has grown and we’ve been forced to innovate as well. Now all of those things are really, really good things cause it’s, it shows that we’ve got great relationships. Um, it shows that the quality of the content is good and it also shows that people want to engage with it. Um, so even though I think it goes without saying that nobody would want to be in this scenario.

 

The fact that it has happened has almost been a nice reset button, on a lot of things, but it’s also been a nice opportunity to sort of just find out exactly where people are and just have those conversations and say, you know, are you OK? And, and all that sort of stuff, you know, and so I think there’s been many silver linings, you know, and, and maybe it’s because I’ve been avoiding the news, but my Headspace is actually one of real positivity at the moment. Because, you know, despite the difficulties that life has bought, there’s also, you know, lots of positive things too,

Kim

that kind of leads into another question is even with all that positively loveliness, have there ever been any moments where you thought you might want to just give up?

Joe:

It’s probably more tied to the in person events and times. So one of the things that, you know, you and I would always love to see is a really nice full room of people and that doesn’t always happen, you know, and sometimes people say they’re going to come and then they don’t. And the reason why this is a relevant example is like when you’ve run an event and you’ve had half the amount of people that you’re expecting, then it’s, it’s amazing, but it’s also disappointment. And like, there are moments where you’re like, Oh, you know, carry on. You know, I’ve worked so hard to get these people in this room and, and, and provide them a great time and, and do everything that I can to help them along. And they’ve chosen not to engage with it. And I know that’s because people have lots of things going on in their life and stuff like that.

 

But when you wake up that next morning and you’re feeling a little bit flat, you’re like, okay, I’ve got to pick myself up again and go again and put on another event, you know, that that’s not, that’s not easy. And it certainly there’s been quite a lot of moments like that. The reason why that’s relevant for a wider audience is that there are moments of like disappointment or a moments where your expectations aren’t met for your own delivery of, of wherever it may be. I think in those scenarios, it’s just really useful to kind of take a step back and sort of say, well, look, there’s a reframing exercise that needs to be done here. Cause there were 50 people in the room and isn’t that amazing rather than the a hundred that you wanted, that 50 people changed their lives to come and spend their evening with you.

 

That’s incredible. You know, just, the thing is to notice how far you’ve come. So I heard a quote the other day, which was, you don’t notice the speed that you’re going only the acceleration now that’s I found myself sort of like nodding along at the time. I was like, yeah, you know, I can understand that, you know, you only notice when things get faster, but, or even slower as the case has been with COVID. But I think there’s a huge piece that has got to be set in noticing the speed that you’re going up by being grateful for where you are and what you have right now, but also the distance that you’ve travelled. So compared to four years ago, as an example, in my personal environment, the marketing didn’t exist and look where we are now, you know, and, and say that disappointment is then framed in like Christ. It didn’t exist four years ago and now we’re getting 50 people here. And how amazing is that? You know, so I think there’s a reframing thing. I think there’s a speed thing. I think there’s also a distance thing.

Kim:

Absolutely. And, and thinking back to those moments, when maybe you didn’t have enough people in the room, and you know, I’ve chatted with you after moments like that when we’ve only had, you know, in Colchester yeah. 35 people show up for 25 people show up and your heart sinks and compare that to where you are now with the online events. I mean, what are some of the numbers that you’re seeing now? And could you ever imagined that that would happen?

Joe:

No, you know,  it’s bonkers. I still think of this thing as like a thing that I started in my bedroom and, you know, the weirdest thing quite recently is like, I put something out on LinkedIn with like different images of branding and stuff like that. And people were commenting back and sort of saying, well, I prefer this one because that looks more like your brand. I’m like, I didn’t know I had a brand, you know? And, I think it’s very, very odd to think that the thing that you created is a thing in someone else’s mind. Um, and also quite gratifying to think that, you know, you’ve worked hard to create something and someone else recognises that as something valuable and useful.

Kim:

Absolutely. So just noticing the time we’ve been chatting away quite, quite nicely and easily, it’s positively lovely. Last thing that I’d like to ask you before we say goodbye, is what message would you like to share with other business owners at this time? Because it is tiring and it is really tough right now.

Joe:

Yeah. I think, you know, the thing that I always go through my head is that we’ll, we’re all just making it up, you know? And I, I feel that there’s this huge pressure for people to feel like they know all the answers all the time and there needs to be a little authority or whatever. But when you actually just give yourself the time to step back and sort of say, you know, Oh, this is the actual reality of my situation, which is I’m doing the best that I can. And the person across the room is also making up. Then I feel like that kind of gives us a lot of freedom to kind of drop the charade and just be a bit more normal with each other and say, I like this thing. So I think we should do it. Or I think this is a good idea for this reason. And, uh, by giving ourselves that freedom, like what work in life becomes a lot more fun as well, I think. Um, so we’re all just making it up. It feels like a nice, a nice thing.

Kim:

I think that is a lovely thing. And I’m also having a bit of fun along the way.

Joe:

Absolutely. A hundred percent. What’s the point if we can’t have fun.

Kim:

Right. Well, this has been really fun and I really appreciate you coming and chatting with me. And so thank you, Joe. Thank you to everybody who’s tuned in. I hope you found a little bit of inspiration here to help you push on. Talking to Joe always helps inspire as well.

 

Next week we have another episode.  Every Thursday at 12:00 PM. Next week we have Murray Hudson, the MD of Gratnells. If you’ve not heard of Gratnells, Google it because you’ve seen them, the trays that are in every single classroom, across the country and around the globe. And so we’re going to see what he’s up to and the impact that they’re having in the education sector or something completely different next week. So goodbye for now. Thank you so much.

 

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