Advertising Agency + ADHD with Strategic Word-slinger & Copywriter Wrangler Konrad Sanders
Having ADD or ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Hear from people all around the globe, from every walk of life, in every profession, from Rock Stars to CEOs, from Teachers to Politicians, who have learned how to unlock the gifts of their ADD and ADHD diagnosis, and use it to their personal and professional advantage, to build businesses, become millionaires, or simply better their lives.
Our Guest today: Konrad runs a charming team of strategic word-slingers, known as The Creative Copywriter. They’re a fast-growing content strategy and copywriting agency that blend art with science to help bold brands sell more stuff. Brands like Adidas, Hyundai, TikTok, Geox, Les Benjamins, Superdrug, PTC, Thomson Reuters, VMWare and plenty more. His mission? To break the boundaries of corporate dullness. And help companies pierce through the noise with ‘real talk’, ‘word science’ and calculated creativity. We’re also taking about how to harness and Neurodiverse Superpower techniques today.. duh. Enjoy and thanks so much for subscribing to Faster Than Normal! [ you are here ]
00:40 – Thank you again so much for listening and for subscribing!
00:57 – Introducing and welcome Konrad Sanders!
01:34 – What do you do when you run a creative company and have ADHD?
02:00 – How are you Konrad?
03:02 – What’s your back story? Ok, your business’s back story then!
04:00 – Incredible procrastinator also? Tell us in the comments!
04:40 – On life and Travelogue
05:20 – On career beginnings
06:40 – On meeting his business partner and wife! Who is NOT ADHD or Neurodiverse…
09:50 – On the ADHD/Neurodiverse brain and a non-neurodiverse partner
10:37 – What makes it work.. I mean your marriage + biz partnership; what 5 tools do you use?!
11:27 – The steps Konrad has taken and processes they is practicing
14:37 – On dividing up the day-to-day work responsibilities, time management, ah, + hyperfocus!
17:16 – How do our spectacular subscribers find out more about you?
18:00 – Thank you so much for making time for all of us today Konrad.
[Konrad has kindly shared a few of his links/works with you and here they are]:
WATCH/LISTEN: Speaking with Tyler from Yes Optimist! On sales funnels: https://youtu.be/R8DXWhT_NAY
Panel discussion with The Fountain Partnership on the state of SaaS Marketing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrqYKxBKsuU&t=1s
How to make your content zig when the industry zags with Sales Impact Academy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdT6W7OJNeY
How to make money writing online with Teachable: https://discover.teachable.com/workshops/make-money-writing-how-to-turn-your-word-skills-into-wages
How Konrad copes with ADHD as a CEO and founder: https://deezer.page.link/3EByB6ncxtm26D4L9
How Konrad builds business brand based on demand (Brand Harder or Go Home)
READ: The 13 Lenses approach to writing content that converts on Neal Schaffer: https://nealschaffer.com/how-to-create-content/
Are B2B SaaS Marketers getting it wrong on Tech Crunch: https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/26/are-b2b-saas-marketers-getting-it-wrong/
Why your marketers should stop marketing on The Drum: https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2021/10/14/why-marketers-should-stop-marketing
18:44 – Hey, you there! Yes YOU! We are thrilled that you are here & listening!
ADHD and all forms of Neurodiversity are gifts, not curses. And by the way, if you haven’t picked up The Boy with the Faster Brain yet, it is on Amazon and it is a number one bestseller in all categories. Click HERE or via https://amzn.to/3FcAKkI My link tree is here if you’re looking for something specific. https://linktr.ee/petershankman
18:46 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits. Guys, as always thanks so much for subscribing! Faster Than Normal is for YOU! We want to know what you’d like to hear! Do you have a cool friend with a great story? We’d love to learn about, and from them. I’m www.petershankman.com and you can reach out anytime via email at [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse!
[ Ed: This is a relatively brand new experiment in editing show notes, transcriptions sort of; so if you notice any important, or significant goofs we’ve missed here or along, please do let us know @FasterNormal Thanks! -sb]
TRANSCRIPT via Castmagic.io and then corrected.. somewhat, (Ooh-ooh! Second trial run is today May 23, 2023. #gen_AI_for_whut??
– Background in philosophy, copywriting, and SEO.
– The challenges the speaker faced due to ADHD and how it helped him understand his limitations and strengths.
– Medication and ADHD coach.
– A lean management approach and agile process.
– Difficulties with time management and hyperfocusing.
– Struggles with planning and organization in personal life.
– “The Boy with the Faster Brain” and its success in sales.
– Acknowledging the challenge of living or working with someone who has a brain different from yours.
– The importance of acknowledging the struggles of non-ADHD partners or colleagues.
– The speaker’s tendency to go off on tangents during conversations.”
Peter Shankman [00:00:40]: Hey everyone, Peter Shankman here. Welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal. Glad to have you. It is a Friday here. We’re recording on a different day for a change, but it is kind of gray and gloomy outside, so what better thing to do than be inside talking to cool people? Today we have Conrad Sanders. Conrad has an interesting backstory. He’s masali ADHD and he runs a company, as he puts it, a charming team of strategic word slingers known as the Creative Copywriter. His company is a fast growing strategy and copywriting agency that blends art with science to help bold brands sell more stuff. He has clients like Adidas, Hyundai, TikTok, A, Superdrug, PTC, Thompson, Reuters, VMware so names, you know, he tries to break the boundaries of corporate dullness. I love that. What do you do when you run a creative company and you are ADHD? I have discovered this when I was running Help a Reporter Out about twelve years ago now, problem is, you’re so creative tend to forget the day to day. And so I want to ask Conrad and I want you guys to hear how he handles that. So welcome, Konrad. Good to have you.
Konrad Sanders [00:01:50]: Yeah, thanks for having me. I’ll just say that I’m across the pond. You might be able to tell from my accent. And believe it or not, it is a rare sunny day here on this.
Peter Shankman [00:02:00]: I was going to say yeah, I figured it would be cloudy and rainy just like it is here, but no, you have a sunny day in London. Nice.
Konrad Sanders [00:02:05]: Yeah, we’ve had the worst weather this year possible, but the skies have opened up and the sun is shining, so I can’t complain.
Peter Shankman [00:02:14]: I’m hoping it stays that way. I’m going to be there on Sunday, so please keep it that way if you could.
Konrad Sanders [00:02:18]: I’ll do my best.
Peter Shankman [00:02:19]: All right, so tell me about running a company when you’re ADHD, because I know my story, but every story is different. Tell me your backstory. When were you diagnosed? The whole thing?
Konrad Sanders [00:02:29]: Yeah, I mean, I think if I tell you my backstory, I think it’s probably best to start with the backstory of the business. Like how that kind of started because I was only diagnosed a year and a half ago. Okay. I think that the diagnosis once I got it, it made a lot of sense, right? Once I kind of understood more about ADHD, looking back at my journey, my life journey, things made a lot more sense. It explained a lot, essentially. But shall I start with kind of the beginnings of the creative copywriter? I’ll try to be succinct story and how I’ve got to where I am today. So I think it all helps you understand my journey and where I’m at and how we operate now. So I’ll start off the uni left uni. I studied philosophy at Uni. I was one of the kind of guy that didn’t go to found it very hard to go to lectures when it came to writing essays. I always left it literally to the last day and would drink loads of coffee. And I was good at kind of cutting corners and good at writing. Right? And I was good at cramming things in. Obviously, this is a sort of trait of having ADHD, leaving things the last minute and only being good at working under pressure, but being extremely good once, I’m very pressured again. I didn’t know at the time I had ADHD. I just thought I was an incredible kind of procrastinator. I just didn’t really understand why I could never start a project until it was, like, right at the last very minute. So Left Uni went traveling in Australia, all around Australia, met my wife well, she’s now my wife, a girlfriend at the time, and she’s also the managing director of the agency. So she’s played a very important role in my life for many reasons. She also has a very different brain to me, to mine even. And anyway, we met traveling in Australia. She’s from Israel originally. So I ended up there after two years of being in Australia, traveling Southeast Asia on a shoestring budget, literally, and ended up in her parents house in Israel without a work visa because it took a while to apply for one. And that’s when I basically discovered the art and science of copywriting and SEO and kind of combined those things to sort of start a business and start an online business, which has kind of grown since Than and later in that journey. So I was kind of very good at kind of the sales, the marketing, the ideas. And actually, what some people don’t know about me and my kind of entrepreneurial journey, which I’ll share for you guys, is that that wasn’t the only business idea I had. Right? There were plenty of the things, and I definitely had shiny object syndrome. And early on in the journey of our agency and I started as a freelancer, quickly kind of wanted to grow it and managed to kind of turn Than into a collective, gradually was building an agency. But I had what we call what I call shiny object syndrome, right? I was like, anything that came my way, I wanted to jump on and was hugely optimistic with time, which is again a common trait and terrible with time. So there was a point at which, believe it or not, I was kind of a co founder of, I believe, five different businesses, right, because there would be friends going, hey, why don’t you join the Brcmo for this? And it made no sense, right? It didn’t make sense. You can’t really focus, and focus is extremely important as a business owner. And I gradually kind of understood that I was burning out, basically, I was doing too many things, spreading myself way too thin, doing far too many things, and then kind of matured a bit and understood I need to focus on the agency. That’s the only thing making money. There’s lots of potential there and a key milestone, right? A key ingredient in this sort of recipe or this journey, was my wife joining in 2017, and she has a very different brain to me. And she was in the NGO world prior to that, trying to solve the conflicts in her region. Didn’t manage to do so. Kind of felt disillusioned with that whole NGO sort of world. And I said, hey, why don’t you join us? It’s when we’re a small kind of, I think, a few person agency at the time and using freelancers, why don’t you join? I know you’re good with project management, that kind of stuff, right? You’ve got an operational type brain, so we could probably do with a bit of that. She joined just part time to fill in for someone, and the first week we were just clashing high, massive arguments. Why is it so chaotic? Why is it so chaotic? And I said, I was like, Babe, that’s just agency life, you have to get used to it. And there was maybe a slither of truth in what I was saying, but for the most part it was because I was running it with my ADHD brain. And my second in command was also a creative and further along on that kind of spectrum, let’s say. And we were going around putting out fires in a very charming way. We’re very good at putting out fires, but rather than preempting them, rather than building process, right? And there were loads of parts of the business that I just wouldn’t even look at, like finances. My brain wasn’t interested. I wasn’t interested in that. I was interested in the big ideas, the schmoozing, the charming, that kind of stuff. And there were holes, there were gaping holes in business, which I didn’t even see at the time because my brain was kind of and I was closed off to it, I didn’t want to see it. So things like money owed, right, I thought was money in the bank and there was debt, right? There were people owed us money and I was like, oh, yeah, they’ll pay it, it’s fine. And I didn’t want to chase them up because I wasn’t interested in the invoicing and things like that. So gaping holes which my wife discovered and she kind of naturally lent into that side of the business. What happened was the became the integrator and I was the visionary. And it actually worked really well after we got past the blazing rouse and kind of found our strengths and kind of limitations. And she helped me really understand where mine were and are. And she kind of obviously knows me on a personal level. So kind of it made a lot of sense. She started together with me building structure for the business, like processes lasering on the building process and making sure that we follow through and those processes are followed through. And gradually what happened was we built structure and then we started to grow that’s properly. When we started growing as an agency, we’ve hit 40% growth since then and we’re kind of approaching the 2 million mark now. I owe a lot of that to having someone like NIT Sam, Marga Hart and her very different kind of brain complementing.
Peter Shankman [00:09:46]: Let me interrupt you for a second because that actually brings up a really interesting point. You work and partner with someone both personally and professionally yes.
Konrad Sanders [00:09:55]: Right.
Peter Shankman [00:09:55]: Who has the complete opposite brain that you do. I think there is not a listener in this podcast who doesn’t want to know five ways to make that work, because that is not easy. Forget about just one. Like living with someone with a different brain or working with someone with a different brain and you’ve chosen to do both things. And the fact that your partner hasn’t thrown themselves out of a window yet is when you’re ADHD it is difficult. We don’t often talk about how difficult it can be for the other person.
Konrad Sanders [00:10:34]: Yeah.
Peter Shankman [00:10:34]: So tell us what makes it work?
Konrad Sanders [00:10:38]: I think that’s a great point to make. And I write LinkedIn posts about my ADHD quite a lot and I actually wanted to write one specifically on that. There’s a lot of neurodiversity awareness at the moment, which is brilliant and it’s great. And I almost want to do kind of partners of people who have neurodiversity awareness because yeah, and you said, like, she hasn’t thrown herself out of a window yet. But I’ll be honest, it’s come close to that. But again, both based on our work life and personal life and often they’re kind of woven into each other naturally. So how have we avoided that? I think, first of all, awareness of how my brain works. I did get diagnosed a couple of years ago. That made a big difference, even for myself, because in terms of understanding really where those we knew where the limitations were. We knew what I wasn’t good at. Right. But there wasn’t an explanation. And I think you know as to why. And I think when you understand why and I am on medication, and that’s definitely helped. I also have ADHD coaching and that’s really helped as well because it’s someone else who’s an accountability partner rather than just my partner in my personal life that’s been really crucial and it’s really been life changing for me having an ADHD coach because at work we built these processes, right? So there’s something about building a business where even with my ADHD brain I really wanted to succeed. I know process is important and I know than following is important as much as my brain doesn’t want to. And we have just this lean management approach, we take this agile approach based on like Gemba Kaizen, the Japanese business management philosophy where when there are hiccups, we call them Oopsies. Whenever there’s something inefficient a hiccup, something has not quite gone wrong. Rather than blaming each other or blaming team members, we write it down on a slack thread and two weeks later we tackle it in this level ten meeting where we look at the problem, what was the root of the problem, how do we then preempt that issue for next time? Let’s work it into a process and who in the team is going to take care of that? Two weeks later it’s done, right? So it’s this very very lean approach to kind of we call it the quest for perfection. You can ever be perfect bu if you’re on that quest, it really really helps. And that was something we installed quite early. And I think that back to your question. I think that’s one of the ways where we’ve perhaps avoided killing each other because we have this approach to business where if something’s gone wrong and it might have been caused by me and it might be caused by something that hasn’t been conducive to how my brain works, but it’s written down and we tackle it and we think about what’s the process that would be good for avoiding that. So I’ll give you an example back in the day, for many years I’m in charge of getting the business in, right? Nita is in charge of making sure we deliver, you know, great results essentially to simplify it. And back in the day I used to do the proposals and a proposal is a project that has many different parts and that is not good. I’m not great at doing that, especially when it comes to time management, way, way too optimistic and also I would hyper focus on the wrong things, right? My brain wouldn’t want to write the proposal, I’d be sitting there spending I could spend 4 hours adjusting the design of one slide because I like how things look and I wanted to look perfect and I’d hyper focus and what would happen is I would spend many evenings literally like until three or 04:00 A.m. Working on proposals and burning out and it wasn’t good, but I thought oh, it’s just because it had to take that long and there was the deadline tomorrow, there’s no two ways about it and the other team members perhaps are not doing the right thing. I’m really pedantic and I have to kind of go in and change things. When we kind of took this much more process driven, agile approach to kind of uncovering why, what’s going wrong and why and what’s the root of the problem. One kind of look at it from Nitsang going in and looking than process the could uncover those holes and realize right there’s A, B and C, there’s this issue, we don’t have a good process and Conrad is not great at doing that. So let’s give it to another team member and then jump on a meeting with me and I will go through it and do you see what I mean? We created structure and process whereby the bits that I’m not good at, we’re delegating and bringing me at the right time. And it was again, life changing transformative for the business and really, really crucial. So that’s definitely one of the ways I say is like taking this, I mean, Gemba Kaisen is this book. I recommend this approach to business, which I think is probably one of the main ways which has helped us in our work life, really play to our strengths and really build structure that works not just for me, but other team members too. And in our private life, I’ll be honest, that took a lot longer, right? That’s where I feel like up until recently, even at work, I’ve been really good. Great at work, great at what I do. And we built this structure where I can really ADHD has superpowers as well, right. The amount of ideas I have kind of really brilliant just to blow my trumpet, like brilliant ideas in terms of branding and marketing and what we can do to kind of drive those forward, but the limitations as well. But I feel like I’ve been doing really well at work and then suddenly when it comes to after work hours, it all goes out the window. I don’t have that structure, it’s just this big void. And yeah, it has been difficult relationship wise because Nitzan traditionally has taken on way more than me. It’s been very one sided relationship outside of work. She books the holidays, she plans them. Like when it comes to cooking, she’ll buy the ingredients and plan. And I would take kind of I’ll cook on this day and the other, but I haven’t prepared bu. It’ll be 07:00 p.m.. I don’t know. I haven’t got the ingredients. I don’t know what I’m going to cook. And it causes friction. And that’s just one example of the kind of way that friction in a relationship.
Peter Shankman [00:17:22]: We try to keep these to 15 minutes because ADHD but tell people how we can find you and we’ll definitely have you back.
Konrad Sanders [00:17:29]: Yeah, I go off on tangents.
Peter Shankman [00:17:31]: No, it’s cool. I love it. I love it. I can relate.
Konrad Sanders [00:17:34]: Yeah. So find me. LinkedIn is the best place. I’d say. Comrade McKay. Sanders. S-A-N-D-E-R-S-I talk about ADHD on there. I talk about copywriting and content strategy, I talk about my agency journey. And, yeah, there’s so much more to talk about, but as you know, I will go off on many different tangents and not be very succeed, but I hope there’s been some value and some interesting interest there in what we’ve chatted about today.
Peter Shankman [00:18:02]: No question about it. Really appreciate it, guys. We’re talking to Conrad Sanders. Really interesting stuff on how to survive ADHD. When your partner doesn’t have it, you do, and you work with them as well. My God, that is just I can’t even get over that. That’s very impressive. We will definitely have you back, guys. Thanks for listening to Faster Than Normal- we love when you listen, we love when you comment. We love your emails. Send me a note, let me know how we’re doing. The book The Boy with the Faster Brain continues to rocket the charts. We are thrilled for everyone who has purchased it. I am greatly appreciative. And we’re changing the world about ADHD. One book and one podcast recording at a time. We’ll be back next week in another episode. Have a great week. Stay safe, stay humble.
Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at shankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week!