Grateful & Looking Forward: A Word From Taylor & Carter

Grateful & Looking Forward: A Word From Taylor & Carter

Taylor & Carter here. We’ve had several conversations this year about all the things that have come our way and how grateful we are for the opportunities we’ve been given to work with the greatest clients in the world and the best employees a company could ever hope to have, and for the relationships that have been formed or solidified this year. Without a doubt, it has been another great year, personally, and in our business. Looking back, here are some of the ways our company has changed, shifted, and come into its own this year, and what we look forward to going into 2017.

The Vision Summit & Client Tour

One of the things we are most grateful for this year is the people around us who have continually pushed us to get better, be better, and get ready for the next chapter. Early in 2016, we received some very wise encouragement to really look at our business from the inside-out, and started by closing down our business for two and a half days. During this time, we gathered the Spark Marketer staff off-site, in order to hone in on what is most important to us, and define our Core Values, Purpose, and Mission. We called it our “Vision Summit,” and it was amazing what came out of those sessions! We are now very clear and intentional about our company’s Core Values, and what our Purpose is, which is “To build a better world by strengthening Blue Collar Businesses.” If you haven’t done this for your business, I would highly recommend doing it in 2017.


Taylor Hills & Avery Soderman of Wells & Sons

Taking a client tour up the East Coast and through the Heartland this summer was also an eye opener, giving us a glimpse into the challenges that many of our clients face. While a lot of you are in the same industries, it doesn’t mean you all have the same marketing challenges. It was incredibly insightful to be able to spend some time with our clients, one-on-one, and to hear their unique challenges. This tour has made our commitment and resolve to staying in front of any changes in online marketing that much stronger, in order to help our clients at the highest level possible.

What Drives Us Forward

Developing our Core Values, Vision, and Purpose, together with our nationwide “Tour of Clients,” have been the two driving forces behind our plans as we gear up for the future. Getting clearer on who our customers really are, as well as who and what we want to be for them, has been the most important thing we have done to date. It has impacted the focus of the podcast, Guys In Trucks, as well as the future products we would like to create to help blue collar businesses better serve their customers.

It’s Personal

But there is something every business owner knows, even if he won’t admit it: Your business cannot grow or change unless you do. This year, Carter and I knew we had some work to do personally in order to lead Spark Marketer and Guys In Trucks into the future. We attended quite a few conferences, seminars, and groups this year to help us become better leaders, planners, and doers , and to get us to the next level. We also hired several coaches to help us stay on track, because we know we can wander around a bit if we’re not careful.

So what exactly are we doing? It’s really simple: We are preparing ourselves for what is next. Working towards the future with great intent. Getting as many ducks in a row as we possibly can, knowing that ducks don’t walk straight. Why? Because we’re going big! That’s right. We have decided to dream big and go after it, just like we talk about on Guys In Trucks. We now have a mission and a purpose that are clear – and they are big. They are much bigger than just the two of us, in fact. And they are powered 100% out of a desire to impact the world, not just grow our personal net worth.


Taylor Hill & Carter Harkins

A Big Purpose Requires A Strong Focus

In fact, the decision to pursue our stated purpose means that there will have to be more changes very soon. In order to better align and focus our ongoing projects and platforms with this purpose, we will be changing the name of our podcast to The Blue Collar Proud Show early in the first quarter of 2017. We are writing a book by the same name (just drop the word “show”), and who knows what other opportunities might emerge. If it helps us fulfill our purpose, then we are open and willing to consider it.

One Life

We’ve all got one life to lead, and we decided we want to live ours doing what we love: Serving others. We can’t think of a group of people that deserve that service any more than blue collar business owners. So, we are dreaming big and we want to do big things for this industry. We love you guys and believe it’s time to start a movement. We are Blue Collar Proud and hope you are too!
Happy New Year!

-Taylor & Carter

Keeping Your Vision For Your Business Where You Can See It

Keeping Your Vision For Your Business Where You Can See It

No one starts their own service business because they’re lazy or looking for the easy way out. No, when you made the decision to go out on your own, you knew you’d have many long, hard days ahead of you.

But even knowing that, the amount of work required can be overwhelming and downright despairing at times – especially if you lose sight of your vision, the vision that got you excited and motivated to start your own business in the first place.

Here are some tips to help keep your vision front and center and your focus sharp during the late nights and hard times…

#1 Surround Yourself With Reminders

Think back on your first break-up. Everywhere you went, everywhere you looked, you saw or heard something that reminded you of The Ex. And all that did was make it harder and harder for you to forget about him or her and move on with your life.

Well, when it comes to maintaining focus on the vision you have for your business, it helps to use this law for good. Plant things around your home and office that remind you of your vision and business-related goals and dreams, and that stir up excitement and drive within you.

For example, you could:

  • Write out your 5 year goals and pin them to the wall in front of your desk.
  • Write your mission statement on your bathroom mirror.
  • Fill a white board with words you’d like customers to use to describe your business.
  • Keep the first dollar your business brought in framed on your desk.
  • Tape an appreciative letter from a customer to the dashboard of your truck.

There are so many ways to make your surroundings one giant vision board. Whether you buy into The Secret or not, having your vision and your goals written out and in plain sight, day and night, will help keep your mind focused on where you’re going, your eyes open to opportunities along the way, and your feet taking the next steps to get you there and keep you going.

#2 Stop & Celebrate the (Big & Small) Wins

One of the best ways to prevent burnout and keep your vision in view is to take the time to celebrate those times that you win, reach a goal, or take the next big step. Whether you choose to simply verbalize the win to the rest of your team, give yourself a little treat (like dinner at your favorite restaurant), or reflect on what it took to reach that goal or take that step, taking a moment to acknowledge progress is critical and can give you the energy and focus to keep going.

#3 Read & Listen

Remember, you’re not the only business owner who has struggled with the issues that keep you up at night. Make a point to find others who have faced some of the same challenges and listen to what they have to say about overcoming and carrying on. That can mean having a lunch date with a mentor, reading a leadership book, or listening to a podcast.

The point is: You aren’t alone, and your goals are attainable! Don’t lose sight of the reason you set out to do what you do. Keep your vision front and center. With focus, drive, and hard work, it will pay off!