EPISODE 8 of the Managing Happiness Show!
Dan Golden is a veteran digital marketing executive, a regular conference speaker and a proud dad of 2. He is the co-founder and President of the digital agency Be Found Online. In this interview, he will share how he manages to have a happy family life with his wife and 2 kids while running a successful digital marketing agency.
About Dan Golden
My guest in the 8th episode of the Managing Happiness show is Dan Golden, a veteran digital marketing executive, and speaker. Dan is the co-founder and President of the digital agency Be Found Online (BFO). He is a rock star in his field and has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Mashable among others. He taught the Google Agency Training Program and is a fellow YC member.
In this interview, he will share how he manages to have a happy family life with his wife and 2 kids while running a successful digital marketing agency.
Fostering the right company culture
Dan comes from a family of entrepreneurs. He started Be Found Online because he saw the demand and spotted a niche. Be Found Online is a full-service performance digital media agency with 40 full-time employees in the US and offices in London and Singapore. The business evolved based on the mentality of finding opportunities and going for them. The company celebrated its 6th year in a row on the Inc. 5000 list. In 2016, it got AdAge’s prize for Best Agency to Work for.
Of every kind of honor or piece of recognition, this certainly means the most to me. Building a place where people can feel fulfilled at.
Dan and his team practice the so-called ‘open book management’. This is a management approach where every employee is empowered to feel and act like an owner of the company. That’s why Be Found Online is a very transparent organization through the good times and the challenging times.
We’re fanatical about projecting out the next month and the next quarter and breaking it down into tangible things that any person here can affect. We talk about our Cost of Goods Sold (CGS), we talk about what the expenses are. Everybody here knows how to read a balance sheet.
Everybody feels like an owner and they can speak up and influence the decision-making.
I don’t want to be greedy. I want people to share the pain of being a business owner.
The company has seen high growth but earlier this year it went through a challenging period. Dan had to make the hard decision to fire one of his biggest customers because they didn’t treat his employees right. When this happened, the management called an all-day appreciative inquiry session getting everybody brainstorming how they can cut costs, win new business and not fire people. The result was amazing and Be Found Online achieved better results than ever.
Being a dad makes you a better entrepreneur
Dan is certain that becoming a dad has made him a better entrepreneur. He admits that before the kids, he found it really tough to unplug from work. Now, he doesn’t have a choice because his kids need his undivided attention.
Another quality he has obtained after becoming a father is patience.
I’ve certainly increased my capacity to be patient and deal with maddening situations.
Having kids has forced him to become more organized and efficient in using his time. When his first kid was born, he stayed home for 6 weeks. At that time, he had seen a lot of dads that took the 2 weeks off to watch TV while the baby slept and then went back to work. He didn’t want to waste his time and used the baby’s naps to stay on top of his work.
Babies sleep a lot and during that downtime, I stayed on top of sh*t. I had zero inbox and I had never had that.
I find myself less stressed out when I have the things taken care of. A certain level of checking in and staying on top of stuff can make things less stressful than fully unplugging.
Dan unplugs from work when he’s spending time with his kids or playing music. He used to play in a band and music is an important part of his life.
He admits that managing stressful situations is part of his nature and he’s good at it. Faced with a problem, he prefers to think about the positive outcomes rather than the problem itself. When he’s focused on the solution rather than the issue, he manages to keep the team spirit high. Good leaders have control over their emotions and feel empathy for the people they work with.