8 min read

CEO with 3 kids and 2 companies to run

Brett is not just a father of 3 but the CEO of ~15 person marketing company AND launching another startup. So besides running a family, he's also responsible for running and growing a business and starting a new one too. Here's how he manages his time.

"It's impossible to work in the mornings" says Brett when asked about how he spends his day.

It isn't that Brett is not productive in the earlier part of the day but mornings are when his three kids are home. In his opinion, working before the kids leave for school is calling for frustration for the rest of the day.

Yet, in the end, when asked about what would he do if he had 1 extra hour in the day, he held up the coffee mug on his table with pictures of his 3 kids and wife and said, “I’ll rock with them!”.

Brett Farmiloe and his favorite mug

For most parents, this is how time management works. The kids, their requirements and then planning their workday around that.

But in the case of Brett, he's not just a father of 3 but the CEO of ~15 person marketing company AND launching another startup. So besides running a family, he's also responsible for running and growing a business and starting a new one too.

If you're thinking Brett would be struggling to manage all of those things?

I’m afraid, you're wrong.

That's what blew me away! Frankly, at the end of my conversation with him I felt it would actually be easy for him to manage all those things with the several concepts, principles and tools that he uses to guard and make the most of his time.

One key learning that I took away from him is how he reflects back on the tasks that he didn't accomplish by the assigned deadline. He re-analyzes if those tasks were really important enough or could they just be delegated or completely ignored. Instead of, you know, feeling guilty and crying wet tears over them. I mean that’s what I do at least. Unlike Brett, who does this whole re-analysis to help him make better time allocation decisions in future.

That's just one of the many useful techniques, concepts, tools he shared in our entire conversation. It's almost like a mini-productivity course if you read it through.

Let's dive straight in!

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Brett introduces himself

Hi I’m Brett Farmiloe. Father of 3, CEO of Markitors, an SEO company for small businesses and I’m also launching a startup that’s considered a knowledge network (terkel.io). Balancing all of those things is basically what I try to do everyday.

What is a knowledge network?

The knowledge network I’m building is called Terkel. Panelists can go in, answer questions from their area of expertise and get published. Sharing your knowledge is the best way to promote your small business.

It was born out of the fact that our SEO company was turning away 9 out of 10 leads as they didn’t meet certain criteria for us to develop a positive ROI for them. So we created this knowledge network where these small businesses could still participate, get value and build some brand authority for their website, so that eventually they can be a good client for us.

How Brett started his business?

I started Markitors as a freelancer, had a bunch of clients. I was having a really good time, I was  traveling around the world doing marketing and it was great. Then I got my website to rank at #1 in google search results. If you google the term “Digital marketing company” anywhere in the United States, you would find markitors.com on top, and then when you call the phone it’d just be me hangin’ out in my daughter’s bedroom. People would say, ”hey tell me about your company” and I’d go,” well it’s just me”. That inspired to actually go ahead and start a company and now we’ve got around 15 employees.

The thing that has recurred time and time again for the past decade or so is this notion that help is very hard to find in digital marketing. Small business owners have this aspiration or dream for their business and it’s very hard for entrepreneurs to realize that dream without proper help. Small business owners keep coming at me with a sense of distrust, which is valid as they might have burnt before or they’re hearing conflicting things from multiple people. They’re in a confused state, I know I need it but I have no idea what to do.

The thing that propels and motivates me with Markitors is to help small businesses make a big impact. With Markitors the goal is to create something larger than what a freelancer can and make a difference in many people’s lives. I believe small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and worldwide economy. If we can help that space by giving small businesses more clarity on how they could realize their dreams then I don’t think there can be anything better than that.

Why his company is called “Markitors”?

When I graduating from college, I majored in accounting. My first job out of school was of a “Financial Auditors”, so I was auditing balance sheets and financial statements. I then transitioned over to marketing and said let’s combine marketing and auditors in one company name and hence, “Markitors”.

It was a good representation of the differentiation I was bringing to the market and on top of that, the domain was available so I just went with it.

Another thing I like about the name “Markitors”, is that the misspellings are io which is short for input-output. Since SEO is increasingly technology and data-driven, so that input-output (io) really helps position the differentiation we’re seeking.

What the pandemic has taught about time management?

For me, it’s essentially that it’s impossible to work in the mornings with kids at home until they’re off to school. Else, it’s just calling for frustration throughout the day. The first part of my day, say 6 AM to 8 AM is focused on getting the kids out of the doors so that I can focus on work.

Instead of having this balance, I prefer giving full attention and focus on 1 thing. That’s lesson number 1 for me. In the mornings it’s my kids, and then my work.

Productivity tools he uses

I use a project management tool to organize everything, for me that’s Asana.

Asana helps me plan-out and prioritize different tasks based on today feature, upcoming feature and the stuff that’s later. That helps me organize my activities based on when they need to get done.

Then I use Google Calendar for scheduling and blocking time for activities. I have mainly 2-hour blocks to get stuff done. Time-blocking on my calendar helps limit distractions and really get things done that need to be done.

I’ll also give a shoutout to Mailman, it has been awesome from a limiting-distractions point of view. The way that I structure and use Mailman is I have 3 email deliveries throughout the day, morning delivery at 7 AM, the afternoon delivery at 12:30 so that I can have lunch and when I come back there are some messages to address and then I have the end of day delivery at around 4:30 PM to quickly address the things that I need to before I log off for the day.

I don’t if you’ve watched the documentary Social Dilemma. It basically talks about how people are addicted to certain technologies and I find it funny that one of my friends who I went to high school with, wasn’t addicted to social stuff but he was addicted to email. Honestly, I could sympathize with that, as I’m not very active on social but digital addiction can very well be email. Mailman has really helped me limit those distractions and stay productive.

Talking about productivity tools, another good one I use is Calendly. It has been really helpful in self-scheduling meetings and client calls, availing the continuous back and forth for finalizing a time that works for both parties.

On managing a team

Recently, we made a key hire at Markitors, “VP of Operations “ to take care of the day to day things that keep coming up. When you’re running a marketing agency, small fires keep popping, and those need to be addressed, so having someone responsible to take care of all of that really helps the founder or CEO focus on the more important things like growing the business.

This is also a good thing for the team, as I think of myself as more like a disruptor, I like to experiment, challenge, and change things. That chaotic nature is not good for employees, who’d like to have some stability. Bringing in someone to take care of operations has ensured that, while I get to dabble more in creative work, taking the business forward and in the direction we want to go in.

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Team productivity by “wins”

Every morning at 8:30 we have a team meeting where we all discuss our “wins” from the previous day and 1 priority for the day, then everyone goes their own ways and we hold each other accountable to accomplish that 1 thing.

On burnout

I think if any entrepreneur would be lying if they say they’ve never been burnt out or close to burnout. Being an entrepreneur is like pushing a boulder uphill, in the beginning you’ve to bear the entire weight of it as you can’t hire too many people but as you start doing well, you can probably hire more people to share that weight with you.

Once you get to stage where you can get other people to push the boulder, you can take a breather and even bend over to see if there’s a blockage in the way of the boulder.

Somethings that have helped me come out of a burn out like situation are getting out, exercising, biking, yoga and playing with kids even though that burns me out even more *laughs*.

The Eisenhower Principle

One principle that has really helped me prioritize things well is “The Eisenhower Principle”. It basically says that you should prioritize your tasks in this order-

1. What’s urgent and important - Do these on priority.
2. Important but not urgent - Do these as soon as you get time, make time for these
3. Urgent but not important - Try to delegate or outsource these
4. Not urgent and not important - Ignore these completely, this can make you look bad at times but it’s necessary to protect and guard your time.

Overpaying people

An unconventional and slightly expensive way of increasing the overall effectiveness of the team is by overpaying your employees. I know this can make your business a little financially uncomfortable and that’s why very few companies try doing this. But I feel it pays off the business very well in the long term.

When does he call a day productive?

I end my day by writing my “wins” on post-it notes. It makes me feel good about what I accomplished throughout the day and a good check if I kept on track with my priorities. Then the next day everyone shares their wins in the team meeting and that how we keep being productive as a group.

How to contact Brett?

You can just google “Digital Marketing Company” and you should find Markitors on page 1 or 2. Click there, on our website you can easily schedule a 15 minutes consulting slot with us.

For entrepreneurs looking to boost their brand authority, I’d encourage you to get on Terkel and start sharing your expertise. That can get you quoted in publications and also drive traffic to your website.