Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. This is Kim Ades from Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.
As you know, I've been coaching leaders for the past 16 years with the Frame of Mind Coaching model. Typically, we asked our clients to journal in events. But here on the podcast, we don't have that kind of set up. And all we do is we invite our guests to share with us their greatest challenge.
So today I want to introduce to you my guest. His name is Nick Stagge, and he comes to us from Salt Lake City.
Nick Stagge: [00:00:47]
Hey, thanks for having me, Kim.
Kim Ades: [00:00:49]
So Salt Lake City, you are the President and Founder, I believe, of a company called VidArmy. And you are also a Co-founder of something called Mind. So I want you to share with us what those are, just fill us in. Who are you? What do you do? What's happening in Salt Lake City?
Nick Stagge: [00:01:08]
Yeah. Yeah. So I'm actually the CEO of VidArmy and then the Co-founder of Mind. But semantics aside, I'm in the process of learning how to juggle and manage two start up businesses. VidArmy has been around about three years, and I joined a little over a year ago as an advisor and only maybe seven months ago or so as the CEO.
And here we're a service-based company, and our mission is to make professional video affordable and easy. Too often video production has been a race to the top where people kind of wear it as a badge of honor that we'll make one video for $10,000, and at VidArmy we think that that's ridiculous.
So we found ways to simplify the process and make it affordable. So giant companies like Amazon, who we're partners with, can work with us and little teeny mom and pop companies that you've never heard of can work with us. So that that's fun, it's growing, it's been a really great experience and I love the company.
And just recently I launched Mind. And Mind is all about breaking the stigma around mental health. It's about building up a community and a conversation that normalizes the truth behind mental health. And our mission there is to raise money so we can give people free therapy who can't afford it on their own.
Kim Ades: [00:02:41]
Okay. Okay, so I have lots of questions.
Nick Stagge: [00:02:46]
I'm all ears. I'm excited.
Kim Ades: [00:02:48]
Okay, so you joined VidArmy initially as an advisor. What were you being asked to advise on? So in other words, in a way, what were you doing before VidArmy and what qua-- not qualified you... what equipped you to become an advisor for them?
Nick Stagge: [00:03:05]
Yeah. So, I've got a lot of experience in sales and marketing and candidly, Kim, I'm much more of a soft skills kind of guy than a hard skills kind of guy. So I was a CMO at a tech company and I'm not afraid to admit I'm a CEO who doesn't know how to run a paid ad on Facebook. That's not my skillset. Yes, you too? Okay.
But my skillset is in content marketing, it's in brand positioning, it's in owned and earned media. And while I was the CMO at this tech company, I actually hired VidArmy to help produce video for me.
Kim Ades: [00:03:44]
Nick Stagge: [00:03:45]
And I learned really quickly like, "wow, this model is super cool, there's a lot of potential". And, no disrespect to where VidArmy was before or where we're at now, because it is a journey, but I recognize there were a whole lot of things that were and were not happening that I thought should be.
So I went to them after we did our shoot and I said, "I think I can help you guys. You're a small startup. You have a hell of an idea, but it looks like you're kind of fumbling your way through the dark".
Kim Ades: [00:04:13]
Nick Stagge: [00:04:14]
"Let me see if I can help". And they said yes. So that's how I joined as an advisor, and I instantly really connected with the team and the process and the progress we were making. And at some point Levi, one of the co-founders there said, "look, we realize we don't have this sort of experience. Do you want to come be our CEO?"
And Kim, my response was "yes, under three... under these circumstances, these kind of understandings. One, I'm not qualified to be your CEO. Two, I'm going to make a whole ton of mistakes as your CEO. And three, like, as long as you're okay with that, let's go. Let's start. Let's learn. But you need to be okay with a whole bunch of mistakes from me. And somehow they still said yes, so here we are.
Kim Ades: [00:05:11]
They still said yes.
Nick Stagge: [00:05:13]
Kim Ades: [00:05:13]
Okay. So you're in, you've been in for about a year, you've seen some changes, some improvements even throughout COVID.
Nick Stagge: [00:05:21]
Kim Ades: [00:05:23]
I'm kind of curious because video is a hot topic in our office for sure, and it's something we talk a lot about in my network and among other people who are trying to push promotion further. What kind of videos do you create?
Nick Stagge: [00:05:42]
We create all types of videos. Our partnership with Amazon, as an example, we make their OTT, so essentially TV commercials, but with digital background in analytics. We make hype videos. We make product demo videos.
We-- our customer range is literally product companies like No Hair Crew, we're making a TV commercial for them today. Yesterday we filmed for a law firm talking about litigation process and how they work with their clients. Two days ago we filmed in a restaurant and showed how they prepared food.
So we do everything. Legitimately, if you drive up and down state street in whatever city you live in, you can ask yourself which company, as you drive by companies: one, can they use video to their advantage? I am looking on my window across the street, we have a carwash. Yes, they could use video to help grow their business.
But then you have to ask yourself, do they have $10,000 for one video? And 90% of those companies, the answer is no.
Kim Ades: [00:06:56]
Nick Stagge: [00:06:57]
So we specialize in a whole variety of video types and customer base, which in some ways is a good thing. And as a marketer, in some ways, you know it can be a bad thing because it's so broad and so generic, it's hard to really say who your target persona is.
Kim Ades: [00:07:17]
Right. Okay. So you're doing this, you're running this business, you're finding some success in this role. What's your greatest challenge?
Nick Stagge: [00:07:25]
I am... I come with experience in sales and marketing. I don't come with experience in the legal side of startup or the financial side of startup. So whether it's raising capital, whether it's working through legal issues that come up, those sorts of things are really a weakness for me.
There they're a blind spot and in a startup it's hard to... If you don't have those skills, you've got to pay somebody to either come in full time or be an advisor or execute against a specific project and in startup world, cash is tight. So it's hard to find people who can really overcome those hurdles and those needs for you at an affordable rate.
So I think that's-- and really on the finances side, we were at a point where we think we would like to raise money, see some cash infusion to support ideas that we have, and we've tested that show we could grow. But there's a whole lot that goes into that, and that's not my strength, and I don't have anyone inside the building who has that strength.
Kim Ades: [00:08:45]
So, is that where you're at? Is like when you say "juggle", 'cause you're also talking about this mental health concept. Is it juggling your time? Is it juggling your kind of personal life with your professional life? Or is it going into an organization to try to make it grow when you don't have the expertise in your back pocket personally?
Nick Stagge: [00:09:08]
Can I say all of the above? I mean, it really is that complex, that it's so much. I feel... if I'm working on VidArmy and I'm seeing things with Mind... We launched Mind four weeks ago kind of on accident, to be honest with you. And the reception was incredible. It's been... Mind-blowing.
Kim Ades: [00:09:29]
How does that work? Tell me a little bit more about Mind. Is it a platform? Like, how does it work?
Nick Stagge: [00:09:37]
Yeah. Good question. Four weeks in, there's still a whole lot that is up here in my head, that we haven't executed against. But the idea is so many of us struggle with mental health and whether that's anxiety and depression, stress, burnout, bipolar, you know, the list can go on and on and on.
And yet, ironically, Kim, everyone kind of feels alone and isolated with their mental health journey because it's a taboo topic. It's not something that people feel comfortable sharing. What's going to happen if people know? I mean, we're on video, I have these poker chips right here. These I use to help me manage my anxiety and depression might sound weird, but it has really helped me.
But for years when colleagues or a boss or an investor would ask me what's with the poker chips, I would honestly-- I would jokingly respond, "oh, I have a gambling problem" because it was easier for me to have my colleagues think that maybe I liked to mess around on the tables a little bit, rather than think, "oh, Nick battles anxiety and depression".
So at Mind we want to increase the awareness of this and allow people to start talking. So we're building a community. We see ourselves pushing that into an app or a platform where people are able to connect and talk with one another. Right now the engagement on LinkedIn is through the roof.
But we are also working on helping people tell their stories through blog form, or even with VidArmy through video. So we're-- we'll do free video for people telling their stories with mental health. And then we sell apparel on the backend, but 100% of our proceeds from the apparel go towards funding free therapy for people in need.
Kim Ades: [00:11:36]
I see. Okay. So it's a place where people can communicate, and on top of that, you're supporting-- you're raising funds for people to access services if they cannot afford it on their own.
Nick Stagge: [00:11:50]
Yep, and our goal is to give each person who needs it one year of free therapy and four weeks in we're able-- we're closing in on double digits already of number of people that we're going to be able to get free therapy to.
Kim Ades: [00:12:05]
Nick Stagge: [00:12:06]
So it's really pretty cool. Yeah. Yeah. We're... we feel blessed that we can-- that the community is really coming together to help one another. We've been a little bit of the vehicle, but truly it's been the community.
Kim Ades: [00:12:19]
So, what do you see in all of this as your greatest barrier to success? Again, I'm just trying to hone in on it.
Nick Stagge: [00:12:26]
Yeah, I think it's time, and I think it's the mental state of no matter where I'm spending time, if it's with my family, if it's on myself, if it's with VidArmy, if it's with Mind... One, time is not a luxury I have. And two,, anytime I'm spending time doing one, I feel guilty that I'm not spending time doing the other.
Kim Ades: [00:12:55]
Nick Stagge: [00:12:55]
And so, that becomes a really heavy burden. It becomes this weight that is hard for me to justify. Even on this podcast, I feel like, "am I-- so should I be talking about VidArmy right now? Or should I be talking about Mind or should I be talking about myself or where are we?" And I think candidly, Kim, that's my biggest barrier. It prevents me from really fully locking in on even just one of them for two or three hours. It has me feeling like I'm a moth, just chasing bright lights. Next thing. Next thing.
Kim Ades: [00:13:35]
So, I'm kind of curious. In your role, are you also supposed to provide guidance to the team? How many people are on the team?
Nick Stagge: [00:13:45]
Yeah, at VidArmy we have 20 employees, and at Mind there's myself and a co-founder, but we have a whole community of people who are stepping up saying, "I'll volunteer, you just need to give me guidance, you need to tell me what needs to be done next and how to move". And so, that team of active people, double digits easily with Mind.
Kim Ades: [00:14:12]
So again, quick question. When someone says "you need to give me guidance", are you lost or are you completely clear about what that guidance looks like?
Nick Stagge: [00:14:20]
Depends on the company, the situation and the person who's asking. At VidArmy, it is very much "team, here's the big picture, what we need, where we're going and how I need each of you to deliver against that. If you need guidance, I'm here". And I feel very comfortable in that, outside of the financial fundraising side.
With Mind, it's very different. When people ask my response that I'm leaning towards and coming with most of the time is "well, here's the vision of Mind and we're four weeks in, so some of it's going to be a little hazy. Some of it's going to be more conceptual than tactical at this point, or real at this moment, but why don't you tell me how you can help? And if you want to be a volunteer, what you can do is tell me how you can support what we're trying to go against" and then put it back on them for the moment.
Kim Ades: [00:15:19]
Okay. So here's what I'm hearing and I'll tell you exactly what it is is that I'm hearing that you actually have a pretty good handle on things, and when you say--
Nick Stagge: [00:15:29]
You made me feel better!
Kim Ades: [00:15:30]
...you're a moth that's looking, you know, at the next bright, shiny light, the truth is that you're, like, the guy who's in the bottle trying to read the label outside of the bottle. And so... and really what that means is in the role of an advisor, you had total clarity. You knew what had to be done when, by whom, in what capacity you saw the very big picture.
And what you did is you suddenly put yourself in the bottle and you're like, I can't see anymore. Right? Essentially you-- your role switched, and so you think because your role switched your ability to see has shifted. And it has shifted, your vantage point has shifted, and so what we want to do with you is actually put you back in the role of an advisor and pretend you are advising the guy who's sitting in your seat. Does that make sense?
Nick Stagge: [00:16:28]
Yeah. That's a really interesting way of thinking about it. Yeah.
Kim Ades: [00:16:32]
And so, you know, as an advisor, if there was somebody in your shoes saying, "Hey, you know, I'm interested in raising money, but I don't know anything about it". You know, I would have some ideas of what to do, right? In terms of I would have some ideas or some recommendations for this person who's looking at raising money with no experience. Would you?
Nick Stagge: [00:16:58]
Yeah, I think it's about leaning on people who'd be willing to offer support and guidance, who've been there before.
Kim Ades: [00:17:05]
Yes. And do you think all of those people would charge you money?
Nick Stagge: [00:17:10]
Likely, no. I think there are some who would do it for free.
Kim Ades: [00:17:14]
Yeah. And so--
Nick Stagge: [00:17:16]
Or for a smaller amount of money.
Kim Ades: [00:17:17]
Sure, of course. But what I have found personally is that very often when we have a blind spot and say, "I don't know how to get from here to there", they're trying to figure it out for themselves specifically.
But what I notice is that they're not accessing resources that are probably right at their disposal because they have a story or a set of beliefs that say, I can't afford this. I don't want to look stupid. So I don't want to even ask the questions because that makes me uncomfortable. Or I'm walking into territory where I have no knowledge, I don't know where to begin.
And so all those thoughts, those beliefs create paralysis, but if you were to step outside and provide advice for that person, who's marching forward, it would be a lot easier to create a game plan. And you're not doing that for yourself. And in essence, what we see is that leaders have this incredible ability to give direction. They're not always able to see the role they play and how their thinking is impacting the decisions and the actions that they are taking.
And so this applies to you specifically, right? So in the role of advisor, you're like, "yeah, here, here's the plan. It's really critical, clear for me". In the role of CEO, you're like, "wow, suddenly this is complicated. Can't see it clearly". But you haven't changed.
Nick Stagge: [00:18:46]
Do you think that... by the way, this is so incredibly helpful. What comes to my mind is as an advisor, is that my thinking, that my perception changes because as an advisor, yes, I'm a part of that company, but I'm also an outsider. And so the impact or the responsibility is less on my shoulders.
So as CEO, I feel this, you know, I'm... I've been married almost 20 years. I have four kids and I feel this... not in a bad way--
Kim Ades: [00:19:24]
You look very young.
Nick Stagge: [00:19:26]
Well, thank you. It's the background behind me that does that. But the... there's this, like, insane amount of responsibility that I care for my wife and my four kids. And the, as an advisor, I'm thinking like, "well, here's what the company should do. And guys go make that happen".
But suddenly as a CEO, I feel the same amount of pressure I feel to care for my wife and kids. I feel to care for Steve and his wife, you know, our head editor and his wife, Allie. Or Eric and his wife and two kids, or Elisa and her kids. And...
Kim Ades: [00:20:04]
Nick Stagge: [00:20:05]
So that... responsibility almost tries to come down...
Kim Ades: [00:20:10]
You were about to say pressure.
Nick Stagge: [00:20:12] Yeah!
Kim Ades: [00:20:12]
Nick Stagge: [00:20:12]
It is, it's pressure. And so then it almost like stalls me from making a decision because I don't want to make the wrong decision that not only impacts me and my family, but 20 people's families.
Kim Ades: [00:20:22]
So when you-- and I wanted you to say pressure, I was waiting for that word to come out. And so when you say "I have this incredible feeling of pressure", the feeling of pressure comes from the story we tell about what's in front of us and what our responsibilities are and what would happen if we failed and how equipped we are. And so what's really surfacing is all this self-doubt.
And that self-doubt is really what's driving the shift, which is "okay, I'm turning in a million directions and I'm not necessarily making a decision to move forward. So I'm stalling", as you say. And it's that self-doubt that's really getting in the way. It's not really time.
Because when we look at time, we all have the same amount of hours in the day, and really how do we leverage time by leveraging resources, by creating structures, by creating processes, by bringing in the right people.
So, you know, we're all playing with the same hours in the day and the way we leverage time is different based on how we think about time. And so if you think, "Hey, you know what, just because I'm one human being doesn't mean I only have eight hours a day to put into my work life. I can leverage myself by accessing the resources and multiplying the hours I put in". So it's not a time issue.
In your case, it's really an issue of "my role has changed, so my feelings of responsibility have changed. And so I wonder--" and by the way you set it up at the very beginning, you said there are three things: "I don't know what I'm doing, I'm going to make mistakes. If you're okay with that, let's go".
What you really said was "don't expect a lot 'cause I'm terrified, and I have a huge amount of self-doubt". That's how you set it up from the beginning. From the very moment you agreed to walk into this role. So that self-doubt is leading you right now, but that's the thing we need to address.
Nick Stagge: [00:22:13]
And what's so interesting, Kim, is I can take and almost compartmentalize that, the sales and marketing side of VidArmy. I don't... I don't have that self doubt. So... I mean, we make decisions on sales and marketing like this, and we're seeing revenue go like this, it's climbing, brand reputation is climbing. We're see--
But you're right. It's in the areas where I have that self doubt that I then... I almost-- I don't know if you said this exact word, but, like, I stall. I, like, "whoa. Let's try to slow things down because I'm not confident that a convertible note is better than a promissory note", because I'm like, I don't totally understand the difference of those things...
Kim Ades: [00:23:07]
Nick Stagge: [00:23:07]
...at the level, I'd like to, to feel confident that I want this option, not that option.
Kim Ades: [00:23:11]
Nick Stagge: [00:23:12]
And I'm not using the resources to help speed that process up, and I'm just confusing that as time.
Kim Ades: [00:23:19]
Yes, and you're not using the resources to reduce your self-doubt. Because part of self-doubt is being uncomfortable accessing resources as well.
Nick Stagge: [00:23:31]
Because then you almost have to admit that I don't know.
Kim Ades: [00:23:34]
Exactly. You have to have a conversation with someone about a subject where you're at loss and you have to say, "hold on a minute, let's start again. Speak in English". Right? So...
Nick Stagge: [00:23:45]
Kim Ades: [00:23:45]
Yeah, so that's part of it. And so the story that you tell is, "Hey, I can push revenues forward, but there are all these other areas where I'm totally green and I feel afraid. And I feel afraid to make a bad move. I feel afraid to make a bad decision". And so that tells me you're not leveraging your resources.
You're not taking that as an opportunity, as an exciting opportunity to learn and develop, but rather to go in with trepidation and say, you know, "my slow down means like it's a bit of an avoidance tactic".
Nick Stagge: [00:24:21]
Yeah, you're right. It is.
Kim Ades: [00:24:22]
So the question becomes: how do we get comfortable? We get comfortable by learning. We get comfortable through education. We get comfortable by leveraging other people's knowledge and experience. And so, I would invite you to accelerate that.
Not necessarily accelerate your decision-making yet, but accelerate your learning and your exposure, and look at time as a resource, like everything else. Right? Just like marketing dollars, you know how to leverage that. It's the same concept.
Nick Stagge: [00:24:56]
Kim Ades: [00:24:57]
Yeah? Does that make sense for you?
Nick Stagge: [00:24:59]
Yeah, no-- I mean, it just hits me so deep. Yeah. I feel that. I feel that at a very deep level.
Kim Ades: [00:25:09]
Amazing. That's my job.
Nick Stagge: [00:25:10]
I can see it at VidArmy. I can see it at Mind. I can see it in my personal life.
Kim Ades: [00:25:17]
Yeah. And here's the thing is that self-doubt can be useful for identifying where you need to bring in more expertise, where you need to lean on more people, where you need to ask more questions, where you need to do some learning. That's okay. It's okay to have self-doubt.
But it's not okay to lead a company from that vantage point. Right? And it's not where you want to be, and it's not how you are in every area of your life, but it's overtaking. So we don't want that either.
Nick Stagge: [00:25:54]
Kim Ades: [00:25:55]
Nick Stagge: [00:25:55]
Kim Ades: [00:25:55]
Nick Stagge: [00:25:56]
Ooh, that's a good word for it. That was amazing.
Kim Ades: [00:26:01]
Nick Stagge, thank you so much for being on the podcast with us. If people want to learn more about your video services, where can they find you?
Nick Stagge: [00:26:10]
Kim Ades: [00:26:12]
Nick Stagge: [00:26:14]
And thank you so much, Kim. This was great.
Kim Ades: [00:26:17]
You're very welcome. It was my pleasure. I enjoyed our conversation. A lot of leaders go into their leadership roles with some degree of self-doubt. You know, a lot of leaders go in and they feel like, hey, they're good at producing a product or they're good at marketing, or they're good at one aspect of the business, but not all aspects of the business.
But the truth is that amazing leaders surround themselves with other amazing people too. And so that's your task right now is to find the right team, the right people who can make sure that any gap you have in your knowledge and experience is filled and you're learning quickly. The faster you learn, the better you get.
For those of you who are listening, I hope that this podcast delivered some value. If you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me.
My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com
If you have a challenge that you have, that you're not so willing to share on the podcast, please reach out to me anyways.
My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com
Nick, thank you so much for your time, for being open and vulnerable. We appreciate you.
Nick Stagge: [00:27:28]
Thank you, Kim.