Episode 273

6 Candid Lessons from Parenting 8 Kids + Running an Agency

Brett Curry - OMG Commerce
March 6, 2024
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I have 8 kids. Yep, 8.

Being a dad is like being a founder/entrepreneur (only harder).

Here are 6 parallels between the two. 

I posted this on LinkedIn several weeks ago, and it was my most shared, liked, and commented post on LinkedIn ever by a long shot. 

So, I decided to do a deep dive into these parallels for this week's podcast episode. 

Hopefully, these will be especially helpful if you find yourself in a stressful season. 

#1. We're all making it up as we go. 

Every week as a parent or business owner, you do at least 1-2 things you've never done before. 

Follow a system. Sure. 

Follow principles. 100%.

But don't shy away from the moments you feel like you're making it up. 

You are. We all are. 

#2. You're never really ready.


Waiting until you're fully ready to become a parent, a business owner, or a leader means you'll never start. 

Waiting until you're fully ready means you'll never launch that new service or new offering. 

You'll never feel fully ready. 

Step up. Do it anyway. Try. Fail. Learn. Improve. Try again.

#3. Listen and communicate clearly in multiple ways.


I haven't always been the best listener. 

I sometimes jump to conclusions. 

I've had the tendency to be dismissive. 

I'm getting better. 

I'm pretty good at communicating from the stage. 

Sometimes, I'm less effective one-on-one. 

Sometimes, you have to say the same thing five different ways before it really lands. 

#4. Admit when you're wrong.

Brittany (my superhuman wife) and I became parents when we were young. 

The "making it up as you go" stuff really applies when you're 22 and mostly clueless. 

We've had to apologize to our oldest a bunch (love you, Nate). But to all of our kids, a lot. 

Same with our team members at OMG. Especially those who've been with us the longest. 

Don't be the parent or leader who won't apologize. 

Own your stuff. 

#5. You might want a coach.

Our marriage got better when we saw a counselor. 

My parenting improved, too. 

We didn't wait until we were in big trouble. 

We sought help when we had a few things we couldn't solve well on our own. 

We're now BIG believers in counseling. 

Even when (and maybe especially) you feel you don't need one. 

My leadership skills improved when I got a business coach. 

My parenting improved more. 

If the top performers need coaches, it's silly to think that we don't. 

If Jordan needed multiple coaches, you and I probably do too. 

#6. Be all-in.

Parenting or leading in business well takes everything you've got. 

Not just focus and effort. Everything. 

Your emotions. 

Your brain. 

Your creativity. 

Your problem-solving. 

Your area(s) of genius. 

Your courage. 

Your tenacity.



(00:00) Introduction 

(03:12) Lesson 1 - Where All Making It Up As We Go

(06:58) Lesson 2 - You’re Never Really Ready

(09:19) Lesson 3 - Listen and Communicate Clearly In Multiple Ways

(12:17) Lesson 4 - Admit When You’re Wrong

(14:39) Lesson 5 - You Might Want A Coach

(19:39) Lesson 6 - Be All In

(22:52) Outro

Connect With Brett: 


Past guests on eCommerce Evolution include Ezra Firestone, Steve Chou, Drew Sanocki, Jacques Spitzer, Jeremy Horowitz, Ryan Moran, Sean Frank, Andrew Youderian, Ryan McKenzie, Joseph Wilkins, Cody Wittick, Miki Agrawal, Justin Brooke, Nish Samantray, Kurt Elster, John Parkes, Chris Mercer, Rabah Rahil, Bear Handlon, Trevor Crump, Frederick Vallaeys, Preston Rutherford, Anthony Mink, Bill D’Allessandro, and more. 


Other episodes you might enjoy: 




Hey, we are all of us making it up as we go, right? And we want to pretend like we've got this master plan and everything is well thought out. And the only reason I'm successful here is because my planning and execution is so brilliant and I think the truth is

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the e-Commerce Evolution podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. And today is a unique episode because one, I'm flying solo, so you just get to hear from me today. Two, I'm going to get a little bit personal on this podcast. Now, this is still going to directly apply to your business, to your D2C business, your service-based business, whatever the case may be. But I'm going to talk more about myself and my family and my background than I ever have before on this podcast. So recently I posted on LinkedIn six parallels or six lessons from being a father that also apply to running a business, and specifically in my case, a seven figure agency. And so I've mentioned on the podcast before, if you're a long time listener, you certainly know it, but I have eight kids, the OCHO eight count, 'em eight kids.

Now, it's not a blended family. This is just go to old fashioned growth. Now, a lot of people ask one, do you know how this happens? Did you mean to do this? All kinds of quite personal questions honestly, but I don't mind it. And the truth is, my wife, Brittany and I, we always planned to have a big family. We wanted to have four, or maybe the stretch goal was five, and then we just completely overachieved and ended up with the crazy number eight. So it is not what we expected or planned for, but would not have it any other way. It is pure chaos. It's noise, but it's a ton of fun. We were talking in a, we actually host a small group at our house too from our church, but talking about how there's a lot of loneliness actually going on right now fueled by the virtual world we live in and things like that, and that it's a real issue.

That's not something we deal with. I do not have alone time because when would I do that? I'm either running a company and around people or at home, which is full, which again, absolutely love it. So what are the lessons here? Because I think there's a lot of parallels between being a parent, being a mother or a father, leading a family, helping a family grow, and also leading an enterprise. And I would argue that being a parent probably harder, it's probably more of a challenge to be a parent than it is to be a business owner. But let's talk through six parallels, and I'm going to get a little bit transparent and a little bit vulnerable along the way, but hopefully this will be fun and inspiring because my guess is you probably find yourself in a time of stress. We're all stressed, you're probably in a time of growth.

I think this year is going to be a year of growth for most of us in our industry. And so hopefully these six parallels or these six lessons will help you in your journey. So parallel number one between being a parent and owning a business is, hey, we are all of us making it as we go, and we want to pretend like we've got this master plan and everything is well thought out. And the only reason I'm successful here is because my planning and execution is so brilliant. And I think the truth is yes, we should plan. And so we've got over $10 million total revenue agency. It's growing. I got a team of 63. We're certainly quarterly, annually planning. We've got targets, we've got OKRs, things like that that we're trying to hit. But hey, every day, or at least every week and for sure every month, you're going to deal with stuff you've never dealt with before.

And the same is true as a parent. I remember when all of our kids were little and we had several in diapers and several in car seats, which by the way, the amount of diapers I have purchased and changed, and my wife obviously changed more diapers than me because I was working a lot, but it's an astronomical number. You could Google that sometime and do the math, but I dunno, it's like 50,000, I'm not sure. But it's an insane number. And so there was a time though when all the kids were little, and I remember hearing people say, yeah, enjoy it when they're little, because when they get bigger, the problems just get bigger. When they become a teen, those problems just get bigger. When they start dating people, the problems just get bigger. And I'm like, really? But this is difficult right here. I've got a kid who has declared war on bedtime and Maggie, who's now a teenager, but she declared war on bedtime for about five years.

About five years. She said, no, I'm not going to bed. So there are times when you're like, dude, anything could be easier than this. But then as is often the case, some of that sage advice of, Hey, enjoy them while they're young. The problems do get more difficult. I would just say they become different. And as your kids start to date and especially have daughters and they start dating, it's tricky. And so then you're dealing with, Hey, my daughter is initiating a breakup, or she's initiating a break with her boyfriend and I'm coaching her through that. We're talking through that and trying to help her be strong and advocate for herself and be independent. But then every day there's, there's something new. And the same is true in your business, slightly different dynamics. Maybe you've handled a situation similar before but not exactly the same.

And so we all have things we're doing that are new. And so I'm a big believer in systems, although I'm not a super detailed guy, I'm a little more of an improv guy, but I do like to follow plans. I love following principles, right? We are a principle based company, a culture first company. And so if you focus on culture, and for us at OMG, we think like owners. So we behave and operate like owners, not employees. We have fun solving problems. We don't shy away from problems. We have fun solving problems. That's part of what we're paid for. The biggest thing we're paid for, honestly. And then we constantly improve, meaning we help each other level up and we take the initiative to level up ourselves. So we are principle first, but the reality is a lot of us are making it up. I remember hearing this interview, this quote with Paul McCartney of the Beatles, and somebody was like, Hey, how'd you guys do it?

What was the plan? How did you become the Beatles? And he's like, and nobody knows when they're starting a band, we didn't sit down and say, Hey, what if we became, I don't know, the biggest band ever to ever walk the earth? They didn't do that. They just started making great music and then things started to make sense and unfold and still succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. So number one, we are all making it up as we go. Number two, you're never really ready and you're never ready to be a parent, never fully, never fully ready to start a business. You're never fully ready to start the new service or to launch the new product or to do the new thing. You're never fully ready. Why? Because you're always going to learn as you go. And if you wait until you're fully ready, then you will never do anything new.

You'll never start the family. You'll never start the business. You'll never launch the new service. Here's the deal. It does depend a little bit on what type of business you're in. If you're selling a physical product, obviously you can't launch before it's safe or tested or at least a minimum viable product. But there's something to be said about launching and iterating. This is kind of the way Google has always operated. Hey, let's launch a beta. Let's test. Let's learn, let's fail, and then let's improve. And then let's keep iterating and iterating and iterating until eventually we've got Google search. We've got Google AdWords, which is now just Google Ads, but we've got a product that is absolutely amazing, but it wasn't perfect in the beginning, but we launched a minimum viable product and kept improving. Now, apple is a little bit different. That's more of a measure, twice cut once type of company.

We can't just launch the new iPhone and say, Hey, this iPhone's going to be, it'll just be okay, but we'll be better on the next one. And so that doesn't really work in that model. But for the most part, you can't wait until you're fully ready. You need to launch, just do the thing and then get better as you go. I love the explanation or the picture of being an entrepreneur is jumping off a cliff and assembling the airplane on the way down and hoping that you complete that thing before you crash and come down to earth. And there's certainly some elements of that, right? There are some things you can figure out ahead of time, but a lot of it you have to figure out as you go. And Jeff Bezos talks about a lot that, Hey, when you're 70% sure about something, do it.

Because if you wait until you are 90 or a hundred percent sure it's going to be too late, you're going to be too slow. And what you learn in that extra 10 or 20% or whatever, probably won't make a difference. Launch the thing, learn, get better as you go. So number two, you're never fully ready. Number three, listen and communicate in multiple ways. Now, I can be a pretty good listener. I love people. I genuinely love people. I love hearing stories. I love meeting people. I go into trade shows. As long as you're meeting authentic people, and it's not just an endless line of people that want to sell you stuff or whatever. I like meeting new people. I like engaging in conversations. When I go to an event and I speak from stage and then I share in a group or whatever, it's more of an energy gain for me than it is an energy drain.

Of course, it's tiring too, but I love it. I thrive on it so I can be a good listener. But let's face it, man, I can tune out as well and I can jump to conclusions. And I'm not always the most patient person. I do like growth. And so sometimes I'm not the best listener. I think I'm a pretty good communicator, and I can communicate on stage and be pretty clear on a podcast and be pretty clear. One-to-one can be really good, but sometimes I don't do so well. And I'm going to share a quick story, quick story from when my daughter Sophia was a kid, and Sophia is spunky and ornery and smart, and just, she's so much fun. But when she was little, I was tucking her into bed and I wanted end the day on a positive note. I just wanted to be an encourager.

I totally believe in words of affirmation and building your kids up, and they're going to rise to that level if you keep putting positive thoughts and positive words into their minds. And so I said, Sophia, there's no one like you, right? And I'm just kind of smiling looking at her, and she pauses and she thinks for a minute she says, well, Nana likes me and my friends like me. And then it dawned on me, I was like, oh no, you misunderstood. I was like, no, no, no, no, no. Of course, of course Nana, that's her grandma. Of course Nana likes you. And of course your friend's like, I like you too. I think you're amazing. I said, but lemme think of this another way, no other. And I kind of point at her and I touched her. There's no other Sophia. And she says, dad, I know three other, there's two at church, there's one at school.

And I'm like, okay, all right. This is not working well. And so I said, Sophia, I love you. You're awesome. And that was it, right? And so what's interesting though, I thought I was being clear. I was like, there's no one like you, Sophia heard. No one likes you. And so it was just a reminder though, like, Hey, your market or your team, they may not be as transparent or as quick with their feedback as Sophia was. You may have said something you thought was brilliant and super clear, but your team's walking around thinking he doesn't like me, or He doesn't like this, or this isn't going well. So we have to be ultra clear. And usually the way you become ultra clear is by saying the same thing in multiple ways. Listening, listening for feedback, listening and watching body language and the way people are responding and reacting, but communicating in multiple ways.

I believe everything hinges on communication. You want to be a better leader. You want to be a better CEO, you want to be a better founder, you want to be a better marketer. You got to be better communicators. That's point number three. Point number four, this is a difficult one. You got to admit when you are wrong, and this is hard. If we are confident and we have big egos with which most of us do if we're leading a company, it's hard to admit when you're wrong. Nobody wants to do this. But this is something my wife and I had to do. So we got married very young. I was 20 when we got married. We had our first son, Nate when I was 22. And so this whole thing about, we're all making it up as we go, let me assure you, as a 22-year-old, first time father, I was absolutely making stuff up.

And so was my wife, Brittany, although she's better relationally and she was just made to be a mom. She's amazing. But we were making stuff up as we go. We've had to apologize to Nate on multiple occasions. And even recently, he's 22 now, but we're like, Nate, hey, we didn't know what we were doing. We were young, we were figuring it out. And unfortunately you caught the brunt of us not knowing what the heck we're doing as parents. Fortunately, he's doing awesome. He's got a sales job, he's a great kid. But we had to apologize a lot on the work side. At OMG, we have two longtime employees, two employees that were here almost from the very beginning. So they've been with us now for over 13 years. They've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in every season. They were with us when we were just doing cool stuff, but making lots of mistakes.

And so they could have quit or they could have harbored resentment or they could have not gotten over things or the whole thing could have not worked. But we have had to apologize in numerous ways at numerous times being like, Hey, thank you for sticking with us. We didn't know and we didn't show enough appreciation on this, or I didn't understand you fully in this, or We didn't handle this situation the right way. And so don't be the leader, don't be the parent who won't apologize. It is not a sign of weakness. One of my mentors and actually the pastor of the church, we attend Craig Gross show. Shout out to the Craig Row show leadership podcast. He says, people would always rather follow a leader who's real than one who's always right. You should always be real. Don't try to always be right because you're not going to be always right.

So be quick to apologize when necessary. Number five, you may want a coach. Now, lemme just talk about my marriage for a minute. I'm super, super grateful for Brittany. She is a supermom. Anybody that can give birth to eight kids and still be functioning and be a sane member of society. And she's awesome. She maintains relationships. She's a cheer coach. She keeps me in check. She's amazing. So we've actually had a pretty solid marriage. We genuinely like each other. We like to spend time with each other. We like to travel together. We like to have occasional date nights, which by the way, we are prioritizing this year. Over the last six months, we've prioritized date nights, as you can imagine with eight kids. That has not always been possible. There for a while I was like, Hey, we're on our semi-annual date here. We get two of them a year is basically it.

But now we're doing it on, we're having dates on a weekly basis. And so we've had a pretty solid marriage. But we went through this period of time about four years ago where we were just disagreeing a lot. It was kind of when a couple of our kids at the teenage years, we started disagreeing more than we ever had and still committed. Relationships still solve, but it was kind of rocky. And my wife suggested, she said, Hey, what if we saw a counselor? What if we met with a counselor? She'd actually been meeting with a counselor to kind of help her work through stuff. And she said, Hey, Nicole, who's her counselor? Nicole can do couples therapy. Would you be willing to do that? And I said, yes. So here's what we found going through that process. One, it allowed me to see myself a little bit better.

How am I showing up in ways that are unfair? How is Brittany perceiving me in the way I'm behaving at home? Or the way I'm a little too relaxed with teenagers or whatever, and not, she's more structured. I'm a little more loosey goosey on certain things, especially at home. And so it allowed me to see how she was perceiving me, showing up. It also allowed me to dig into and say, what are some false beliefs that I'm holding onto? What are some half-truths or no truths that I've got playing in my head that I need to rewrite or get rid of so that I can be a better parent? And it was not always easy. Being vulnerable and being transparent is not always easy. Again, this was another time we had to admit to each other when we were wrong. We also had to fight for like, Hey, this is why I'm doing this, and I don't think this is actually wrong, but let's talk about it.

And so it was hard work, but it was so worth it. And similar things on business. And myself and my business partner, Chris, had a great partnership over the years, but had a few times we're like, Hey, we're not agreeing on this. Let's bring in a coach. Let's bring in someone to kind of help us. And so we went through a period of time, met with a coach. He coached us through the process of nonviolent communication. Really recommend that book Marshall Rosenberg, I believe it is. We'll link to it in the show notes. I may have said the name wrong, but nonviolent communication, this coach Matt walked us through, helped us with that. It was so transformational. It improved my communication and my listening and me understanding. When am I communicating a way that's really feels and sounds and kind of is judgmental rather than communicating, fact communicating, emotion, communicating when I'm frustrated or when I'm disappointed, or when I'm fearful about something.

So communicating with emotion, but communicating in a way that is non-judgmental towards the other person, transformed the way my business partner and I communicate. But at the same time, it may be better communicated to the whole team, and it made me a better communicator at home, made me a better dad, better husband. And so you probably need a coach. And hey, I'm a huge sports fan. I am 100% in Camp Jordan, team Jordan, for the goat, for basketball. And here's a way to look at it, right? If Jordan had multiple coaches, if the greatest basketball player to ever lace up a pair of Nikes, which by the way, he was such a good basketball player that Nike is what it is today. Without Jordan, there is no Nike as we know it. If he needed multiple coaches, if he needed a strength coach, if he wanted a shooting coach, if he wanted a mindset coach, which already his mindset, his mentality was insane.

He wanted and needed coaches. If he did, then you do too. And I know, depending on where you are in your journey, you may be able to invest in a counselor, invest in a coach, or you may not. But hey, podcasts, books, those can make great coaches too. Somebody that I consider to be a coach of mine is Jim Collins. I never met Jim Collins, but read a lot of his books. And I pour over those books and he becomes like a mentor to me. I mentioned Craig Rochelle, I've actually got to meet Craig RHEL and hang out with him just a little bit. But it's not like we talk a lot or ever really, other than just one time. But he's still a mentor to me. And so you can find coaches, you can find mentors even if you can't afford one. So number five, you may need a coach.

Alright, number six. And to wrap it up, hey, you got to be all in, right? There's no halfway in this thing. There's no halfway as a parent, there's no halfway. As an entrepreneur, there's no time for you just to coast. You can't mail it in. You've got to be on your game. So to use another sports analogy, I like to coach. I coach basketball. When you are on the floor, this is what I talk to my kids about a lot. When you're on the floor, your head is in the game. You're not anywhere else. When you're on the floor, that's all that exists. What's going on in the stands doesn't exist. What's going on at home doesn't exist. That's all that matters. And all there is because you start to lose focus for a minute, you're going to catch a ball to the face, you're going to dribble it out of bounds.

You're going to make a mistake. You're going to let your team down if you're not all in. So what does it require as a business owner? Well, it requires your creativity. It requires all of your brainpower. It requires all of your tenacity. Not giving up, not giving in. It requires all of your wisdom, right? Because we don't want to quit on things. But also, we do need to learn where's there a time to be wise and to pivot because this isn't working as we're doing it. So we got to pivot and do something else. So it's going to take really all that you've got. And another parallel. I trained in Juujitsu for just a short period of time, didn't work out in my schedule. I actually loved it. I'd love to get back into it one of these days. But when you're on the mat and you're rolling with someone, especially for me, man, I was a white belt, obviously, very much a beginner.

You are not thinking about anything else, right? The dude across from you is trying to choke you out, right? You are fully focused on what you're doing. You can't panic, right? You got to stay calm and monitor your breathing and learn to try to make moves and counter moves and things like that. And that's really the way it is in business, right? Yes, we need times to rest, but you rest after the bell sounds right. You rest when it's time to sit and rest. You rest when you're on the bench catching a breather. You don't rest when you're in the game. And the same is true as a parent. We rest when the kids are asleep, which when you're in my world where you got little kids and you got teenagers, nobody's ever, there's never a time when all of them are asleep, it feels like.

But it's going to take all that you've got and then more. And I love a quote from Alex Hormo that I heard not long ago where he said, I'm not going to just say I'm going to give my best, right? Because what if my best isn't enough? I'm going to tell myself I'm going to do what's required. And I think that is very much true as a business owner or as a parent, because listen, there may be times when your best isn't good enough. Now, I fully believe you are capable. You're capable of being an amazing parent. You're capable of being an amazing business person. But you may need some tools. You may need some skills. You may need that coach we were talking about. But you may need some training and you may need to level up. So have the mentality that I'm going to do whatever it takes to be successful in this endeavor, or to be successful training these kids, giving 'em what they need and helping them become amazing humans.

And so, hey, I hope that was fun. We'll get back to the pure moneymaking content and talking about ads and e-comm growth here with just the next episode. But that was fun for me to record. Like I said, it really landed, it resonated in the LinkedIn, and so I wanted to dig a little bit deeper and share those insights with you. But as always, we would love your feedback. And so if you've not left that review on iTunes, please do that. If you listen to this podcast and someone else would be encouraged by it or someone else would enjoy it, please share it. That would make my day. If you've not left a review on iTunes, I would love that as well. That helps other people discover the show. And with that, until next time, thank you.

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