Experiment – Wundertre

Ryker of Wundertre in Lubbock, TX, takes us through the highs and lows of his own personal marketing journey and everything in between with great transparency as well as deep respect for the experiences that have led him to where he is today. Ryker describes his team and himself as generalists who don’t focus on one industry, but rather focus on one type of mindset; a similar mindset of growth, understanding, and knowing that great success takes dedication and time.

Company: Wundertre

Owners: Ryker Taylor

Year Started: 2016

Employees: 1 – 10

“An Agency Story” is a treasure trove of real-life experiences from the heart of the marketing world, and its latest episode, “Experiment,” featuring the remarkable journey of Ryker Taylor, is no exception. As we dive into the series, which is meticulously hosted by Russel Dubree, a seasoned agency owner turned business coach, we find ourselves at the crossroads of inspiration, challenge, and innovation.

This episode takes us through the life of Ryker Taylor, the brain behind Wundertre, a versatile branding and marketing agency that thrives on the ethos of growth and understanding. Taylor’s story is not just about marketing strategies or client conquests; it’s a candid share of the peaks and valleys of his agency ownership journey. From his early ventures into real estate to the decisive pivot towards building Wundertre, his narrative is filled with moments of doubt, bursts of inspiration, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Listeners will be particularly captivated by Taylor’s approach to business. He defies the conventional wisdom of niche marketing, instead valuing a “mindset over market” philosophy, which seeks out clients who share his vision of growth and patience. This refreshing take challenges the status quo and offers listeners a new lens through which to view their potential client base.

The episode is peppered with engaging discussions on overcoming youthful inexperience, the significance of adaptability in the agency world, and the journey towards impactful community contributions. Taylor’s transparency about the hurdles faced and the solutions crafted along the way offers invaluable insights for both budding and established agency owners.

Moreover, Taylor’s vision extends beyond the confines of marketing. He shares his profound personal goal of establishing a retreat center for young men lacking stable male role models, linking his professional endeavors with a deeper purpose. This revelation not only showcases his multidimensional persona but also resonates with listeners on a human level, highlighting the power of business to effect social change.

For those on the lookout for an episode that blends business acumen with personal growth and societal contribution, “Experiment” is a compelling invitation to explore the depths of agency life. It’s a narrative that encourages us to embrace the journey, with all its uncertainties and triumphs, and to continually seek out ways to make a meaningful impact. Tune in to “An Agency Story” and let Ryker Taylor’s story inspire your next move.


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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. From the excitement of starting up the first big sale, passion, doubt, fear, freedom, and the emotional rollercoaster of growth. Hear it all on An Agency Story podcast. An Agency Story podcast is hosted by Russel Dubree, successful agency owner with an eight figure exit turned business coach. Enjoy the next agency story.

[00:00:38] Welcome to another episode of An Agency Story podcast. I’m your host Russel. Today’s guest on the show is Riker Taylor with Wundertre. A branding and marketing agency based out of Lubbock, Texas. For almost his entire adult life Ryker has lived and breathed the life of an agency owner.

[00:00:58] You’ll be inspired by Ryker’s [00:01:00] authentic personality, where he tells the good, bad and ugly of his journey thus far, and a pretty cool vision of where he sees himself in the future.

[00:01:07] Also not to mention, his never an inquest to provide valuable contributions to his clients and community.

[00:01:13] Enjoy the story.

[00:01:18] Russel: Welcome everyone to the show. Today I have Ryker Taylor with Wundertre. Welcome to the show, Ryker.

[00:01:24] Ryker: Hey, thanks for having me, man.

[00:01:26] Russel: Absolutely. My pleasure. Well, start us off with a quick overview. What does Wundertre do and who do you do it for?

[00:01:33] Ryker: I hope this is not a podcast about how you should niche down because that’s not what we do. We are a little bit of everything in the marketing space, your traditional marketing, advertising, PR, branding.

[00:01:46] We do a little bit of everything that fits in that wheelhouse. I always tell people we don’t focus on one industry, but we focus on one type of mindset. I’m not necessarily looking for only people that work in one or two or three particular industries. Instead if [00:02:00] they have that same similar mindset of growth, understanding, knowing that it takes time, like-minded business people .

[00:02:07] It’s more on the sales process for me to have to go through that, but just as much as they’re interviewing me to hire me as an agency, I’m interviewing them to hire them as a client.

[00:02:16] Russel: That’s a smart process to go through, love to hear it.

[00:02:19] Let’s go back a ways, though, what were your career aspirations before you got into the agency business and looking back, how do you think those endeavors helped you once you actually started your own agency?

[00:02:29] Ryker: I started my agency when I was 21. At that time, career endeavor was more like, how can I get traction in something in life?

[00:02:36] I had done several things leading up to this. I’d done real estate for a couple of years. I thought originally I was gonna be an architect or an engineer. I was homeschooled. Growing up my parents tailored my curriculum towards that engineering architecture bent. I did hand drafting and stuff like that when I was a sophomore and junior in high school.

[00:02:56] Fast forward a few years, right before senior year of high school. I [00:03:00] got a job at a local engineering firm. Did that for a little bit of time. I was their head draftsman. It was cool. I was pretty good at it, but I learned pretty quickly that’s not what I wanted to do.

[00:03:10] Engineering is great and you gotta have ’em, but there’s a lot of red tape and I am not a red tape guy. Bureaucracy and all that stuff, that ain’t me at all.

[00:03:19] To that end I decided, I’d go try real estate because that was something I saw a few people doing that I knew and they were doing pretty well at it.

[00:03:25] I was a young guy and I just thought, hey, I could go and do it just as well as they can do and make all this money. Not what happened, but what did happen, to your question, is while I was doing real estate, obviously it’s your own business to an extent, so you’re marketing yourself and you’re learning all of these things.

[00:03:41] I was doing that in 2014 and 2015 as these social platforms were starting to change who they were. Early social media was, hey, let’s follow each other and share pictures of our food and what have you. Then somewhere along the way they really figured out how they can monetize it, start making it a lot harder [00:04:00] to get organic reach.

[00:04:01] That’s like a thing of the distant past. All of these things were coming into effect as I was trying to market myself. I had to learn it. I like to be techy and learn those things. I had all my fellow agents asking me if I could help them, set up their Facebook profiles, help build websites, you name it.

[00:04:17] After doing that for two years, when my license was up for renewal, I was like, you know what? I’m gonna go and make a business of this. My friends and I had come up with the idea for the name months before, because we were talking about if we ever went into business together, what would it be?

[00:04:31] It would be something in the agency space. We had kinda already sat on the name and the idea, but they ended up deciding they didn’t wanna do it. I just sat on the idea for five or six months, then my license came for renewal. The rest, as they say, is history.

[00:04:43] Russel: What was that process like, getting started? As you said, very young in your career slash life. What were those early days like?

[00:04:50] Ryker: I just started dating my now wife at the time, but I was still a bachelor, we had only been dating a couple of months.

[00:04:56] I was living in a house with two other roommates, so rent [00:05:00] was cheap. I just jumped all in. I literally went and told my brokers at my real estate brokerage and I said, hey, it’s been a lot of fun. I really appreciate y’all on all the opportunities, but I don’t think that this is something I want to continue to do.

[00:05:13] I saw the writing on the wall that there was about to be a ton of real estate agents enter the market. If you do have the math, and I know real estate agents that are gonna listen to this and they’re gonna roast me afterwards. But if you do the math, if you have 1200 agents in your market like we do here in Lubbock, and on average, you sell 1200 homes in a month.

[00:05:31] That’s when you’re doing really well. You know that there’s agents that are selling 20 homes in a month. I know those guys. That just goes to show that there’s not something for everybody necessarily.

[00:05:41] Russel: Somebody’s not selling a home that month, is what you’re saying.

[00:05:43] Ryker: Exactly. That was my motivating factor. This was already tough. I’m already young. This was before real estate had skewed so young. When I was still in real estate, the average age was a 50 year old. That was the average age of a realtor.

[00:05:54] That’s why I was always getting asked by my colleagues because they were in that generation beyond understanding all of this [00:06:00] stuff. I was the young hip guy that just happened to know it. That’s what drove me to the point. I ended up selling my TV and my PlayStation 4 and an old cell phone in order to pay the rent.

[00:06:11] Fortunately I was driving a 1998 beat up Blazer at the time, so I didn’t have a car payment or anything like that. My expenses were $1,200 a month, and that included a $600 a month food budget because I ate out every meal.

[00:06:24] Russel: You weren’t gonna eat the PB and J.

[00:06:25] Ryker: That was the one thing.

[00:06:26] I’ll skimp out a lot on stuff to be cheap and to be frugal, whatever. But that was one thing I always told myself, now you’re going to eat good. You’re going to eat what you want to eat. Put yourself in a good head space. Have what you want to have and don’t make that the thing that makes you suffer.

[00:06:39] Russel: I love it. How did you get your first set of clients and what did that look like?

[00:06:43] Ryker: I went to the trusty old realtors. They’d been asking me for help, for years. Most of them I had been helping for free, just out of the goodness and kindness of my own heart. I went and told my brokers I’m out, and then I went back up and down the halls, literally up and down the halls of the brokerage and I [00:07:00] walked into some of my colleagues’ offices and I was like, you know how I’ve been doing this for you for free? I’m charging for it now, but I’m not competing against you anymore as being an agent myself.

[00:07:10] That’s how I’m justifying the charge. I got three or four people that paid me 150 or 200 bucks that day. I got 500 bucks, coupled with the stuff I had to sell. That got me through for a month. I just stacked it from there.

[00:07:23] It started with me just selling one off stuff. Hey, I’m gonna sell you $150 and I will refresh your Facebook page images or hey 200 bucks and I’ll build you a quick website. At that time, Zillow basically had their own skinned version of WordPress that you could buy as a real estate agent.

[00:07:38] If you understood WordPress, you could understand Zillow’s web builder platform for realtors. That’s what I did. I sold a couple $200 packages where I would just go and set that up for people. It was all one-off, but then I quickly realized, hey, I’m gonna have to do this every single month, so I’ve gotta get some kind of recurring model going here.

[00:07:58] I got things set up on the admin [00:08:00] side to be able to keep people’s cards on file securely. Then charge them every month. I got people to sign on for $200 to $250 a month for me to manage their social media, which I say out loud now, and I’m like, gosh, that’s insane. I’m so fortunate that I had that, but we don’t charge $250 a month anymore.

[00:08:17] Russel: You only needed six of ’em to pay your rent and your extravagant food budget.

[00:08:21] Ryker: Exactly.

[00:08:23] Russel: How does that compare today? I assume at some point you got out of the real estate focused niche there and as you said, more focused on style of client.

[00:08:30] How do you get your clients today?

[00:08:32] Ryker: I’m still the lead salesperson at my agency. I’ve had other people in the past that did different roles that I also had in the sales position, and I’ve learned that doesn’t work for me. I like to be the boots on the ground, the one selling, the one nurturing the relationship.

[00:08:47] Maybe that’s me being a little a control freak.

[00:08:50] Russel: Spoiler alert. For the record, it doesn’t work for most agencies. A large, vast majority of agencies, even larger agencies are still principal driven sales.

[00:08:57] Ryker: It’s good to hear you say that because that’s something on the [00:09:00] outside looking in.

[00:09:00] I look at other agencies and there’s a reason that you don’t often see a salesperson or a business development title or anything like that. If you do see that, you don’t see them there for long. That’s always a high turnover thing. I think it’s because, you have to just have that owner drivenness.

[00:09:17] As far as how we get clients, it’s still very much so me driving that boat. Like I said, I do empower my team members to not be afraid to go for the lead, at the very least.

[00:09:25] You can get the lead and say, hey, Ryker will give you a call, but at least get the lead and give it over to me. That’s been effective. We get some leads that way. And then, this is the newest tactic I’ve learned, doing things that have high impact, and this is kind of me on the next evolution of my own business journey, now that have a little bit of money to play with and a little bit of standing in the community, I can do certain things like big businesses do.

[00:09:48] It looks like a big business and then that’s gonna bring you more business. Like sponsoring certain things or being part of bigger projects or stuff that because inherently you do these things, people are gonna [00:10:00] come to you. That’s the part of the agency business that I haven’t had leading up to honestly, like the last six months.

[00:10:06] Now, I’ve been around long enough to finally be in these positions to have these bigger projects that we are a part of. Then people are like that, I want that for us. I’m like, okay, cool. I know how to do that now.

[00:10:16] I didn’t know how to do that six years ago, but now I do. I guess a short answer would be that I do things that have impact and that people are naturally drawn to. I pick my projects as best I can.

[00:10:27] Russel: Once you got moving a little bit inside the agency, what were some of the early stage challenges that you were facing and subsequently, how did you overcome those?

[00:10:36] Ryker: I have a laundry list of things. I always tell people the business has matured as I’ve matured. That’s a good thing because I’ve matured quite a bit. It’s a bad thing because my God, when I was 21, I was not near as mature as I thought I was at that time.

[00:10:49] I looked back on it, I was like, man, now you were not what you thought you were. Those challenges often crept up, they were limiting beliefs about myself. On the sales front oh no, I can’t do this thing, or, oh no, I don’t know how to do that thing. Not to go super in the [00:11:00] weeds on this, but I didn’t grow up in a very stable and nurturing environment. I didn’t have a roadmap of what success looked like. You can always tell when somebody whose parents, they’re successful because they naturally instill in their kids those subconscious things of how to be successful. I didn’t have that.

[00:11:17] I think a lot of my challenges were really just lack of knowledge, also lack of resources. To start the agency. I had a few hundred bucks.

[00:11:26] It wasn’t like I had 20 years of a retirement fund built up, and I was like, hey, now I’m gonna go do this thing. I didn’t bring on an investor from day one. I actually did bring on an investor right before Covid hit, but I’d already been around for almost four years at that point in time.

[00:11:40] As the team has grown, there’s obviously been leadership hiccups. Then you throw in something like Covid and the way that has shifted. There’s a whole other thing to have to navigate in a challenge to overcome that. I’m pretty proud of myself. We were able to retain anybody that’s left the business since Covid hasn’t been because of Covid.

[00:11:57] It’s been because a better opportunity in a different [00:12:00] town or, they wanted to move or whatever. That’s something that I’m very proud of. I’ve had all kinds of challenges, and also, being the young guy, you are inherently, gonna be perceived a different way.

[00:12:10] Even if I knew everything under the sun on day one, it didn’t matter because I didn’t look like it. I didn’t have that gray hair effect. I still don’t, right? There’s something to be said for that. That’s been a challenge that I’ve had to overcome too. I’m a chip on the shoulder kind of guy, so I always like to overcome my youth, I just have to have an overwhelming amount of knowledge about what I do.

[00:12:31] I’ve told myself from day one, you can’t change your age. You can only get a little older. What you can do is have so much knowledge and deep understanding of what you do that people have to listen to you because you’re saying what works.

[00:12:43] Russel: You make me feel like I was old when I started an agency, but all things considered, I think I was 25. Most all agency owners I’ve talked to had some level of imposter syndrome, but I think that youth even brings a whole nother level to it when you’re going into conference rooms with 40, 50 year olds and, having to come across as expert.

[00:12:59] But like [00:13:00] you said, that kind of chip on your shoulder where you’ve gotta up your ante a little more was definitely motivating.

[00:13:04] Ryker: My first year in business I made $16,000. Now granted, I didn’t have to make that much, we’ve already covered that.

[00:13:10] When I’m sitting in a room at that point in time, knowing that I just made 16 grand in a year and I’m having a conversation with somebody that, their business is knocking down in millions. It was this inherent feeling of I don’t belong here. How did I even get in the door?

[00:13:24] Thank God for some of those people because they did take a chance on me. Some of those clients I still stay in touch with. Some of those clients we still do work with, and it’s been good. That’s been one of the biggest challenges for me. It has been overcoming my own youth in various different ways.

[00:13:39] Russel: Thank you for sharing that. One of the things you mentioned in our previous conversations that you feel like you’re in this defining moment for your agency. What are the accomplishments or what makes you feel like that?

[00:13:48] Ryker: The feeling that I get when I wake up in the morning.

[00:13:51] I know that’s crazy, but Sunday night dread, that’s a real thing that happens to entrepreneurs. I don’t care how successful you are, how long you’ve been around, there comes a [00:14:00] point in time and it’s all cyclical, so it’ll happen again. Where on Sunday night, you’re just like, ah, I really don’t look forward to the week.

[00:14:06] That was me for a long time, and I’ve had moments where that hasn’t been the case. Right now I’m in one of those moments where that’s not the case, and every time that’s happened, usually it’s led to some dynamic long-term, taking hold in the marketplace type of a change. To me it’s just that feeling that I have on Sunday night, I’m not sitting there saying ah, crap, tomorrow’s Monday, or on Monday I’m not waking up like, my God, I have to make this phone call.

[00:14:30] I have to do this thing. Yes, I have to sometimes make a difficult phone call. I have to do a difficult thing. It’s just the mindset shift. Another reason I say a defining moment is because we’re doing the best work. I feel like we figured out some of these challenges, some of these things that have plagued us for a long time.

[00:14:46] We’ve always been good at websites. That’s what I started with. That’s what I know the best. That’s what naturally the agency was gonna be best at. I’ve not been a photo and video kind of guy myself. That’s something I’ve had to learn over time. My team members I’ve [00:15:00] hired around strategy, around design.

[00:15:03] Our graphics design has always been really good. I’ve never gone out and hired a video walker or a photographer. That’s not something I’ve ever directly hired for, but it’s something that we offer because we need to, you gotta offer that if you do marketing and stuff. That’s been one of the things that’s come the furthest in the quickest amount of time. I’ve invested a lot of money in having the proper equipment.

[00:15:25] Doing the training. We’re a team of generalists. Back to the whole, I hope we don’t talk about nicheing down. That whole thing applies to not just my approach to what type of clientele we work with, but it’s also the team members that I hire. I hire a guy to be a designer, but he also writes social media captions and he can do video.

[00:15:42] I believe in having a team of generalists. And you might not ever quite have that max ceiling if this was the only thing you did, but I don’t think in today’s world you need to have that. That’s my personal belief. You have to adapt and generalists can adapt the best. I don’t wanna lay somebody off if I no longer need a videographer.

[00:15:59] I wanna [00:16:00] be able to say, hey man we’ll just do less video now and we’ll do a lot more graphics. That’s been my saving grace from not having to lay people off in Covid is cuz I had a bunch of people that could do other things. If I’d done video in 2020, we would’ve been screwed because we weren’t allowed to go see people. We had to pivot, and I had the team to be able to do that. That’s how I feel about that.

[00:16:17] Russel: I consider myself a generalist at large as well, with a few areas of specialties.

[00:16:21] Emphasis on the few. There’s a great book out there. I don’t remember who it’s by, but it’s called Range that actually talks about the power of generalists in this society today that hyper focuses on nicheing at least too soon as we relate to individuals and our kids.

[00:16:35] All kinds of subjects. We could dive into some rabbit holes. One of the things that’s definitely come across in my conversations with you is your passion for your community, and in this case, the city of Lubbock. I think even one of the thing times you mentioned, bringing it further into the digital age. Is that true and how has that played out in your business?

[00:16:49] Ryker: I love Lubbock. Born and raised here. Moved away a few times, but always found my way back here. I love it. It’s definitely on the come up, but at [00:17:00] times it can still be 5 to 10 years behind a big city. It’s not as bad like it used to be.

[00:17:04] For instance, when I started the agency, I had to charge $200 for a website, not just because I felt like that’s all I was worth, but also if I had tried to charge even a thousand bucks for a website, I would’ve gotten laughed out the door. In fact, I did get laughed out the door when I tried to do that. I would still get asked the question, why do I need a website?

[00:17:21] I know that happens in other markets, not just limited to Lubbock, but it happens more here or did, it doesn’t anymore. We’re finally where I don’t have to explain to somebody why they need a website and why they need social media. To that end, there’s been this feeling of, when it comes to your digital presence, let’s just do what we need to do to get by, but not necessarily let’s be artisans or let’s do something crazy because we can. There’s a couple of other agencies in town that I would consider also trailblazing and trying to push the community at large in a certain direction. Back to the weaknesses of the photo video, that’s something that was an area of lack at large in our community.

[00:17:56] Fortunately other agencies have come on board that did a good [00:18:00] job, and now I feel like we’ve finally caught up, but I felt like we were pushing things for a long time.

[00:18:04] I might be biased, but we’ve been building some spicy websites for years now. I’m watching other agencies come on the scene and now they’re catching up to us in that regard. Everyone’s got their thing.

[00:18:13] We do nice looking websites, some of them have good effects to ’em, dark mode and fun stuff because why not? I consider myself a trendsetter on the ad side of things.

[00:18:22] If Google’s releasing a new type of ad, I’m tinkering with that thing pretty early on. That’s something I’ve had to become more disciplined on as the years have gone by. Just because Google releases it and I’m learning it doesn’t mean I have to go and sign a client up for it right now. I could give it a little time and experiment myself.

[00:18:38] In a nutshell, that’s really what it is, bringing to light, to the community what is available.

[00:18:44] Russel: At that point it’s become an accomplishment.

[00:18:45] Ryker: Exactly. Anyway, that’s how I feel like we’re part of that conversation.

[00:18:48] Russel: That’s fascinating.

[00:18:49] With a lot of agencies I talk to, and this is a known problem in our space.

[00:18:53] The cobbler’s kid has no shoes. Keeping up to date with their own marketing efforts is certainly a real challenge. I was pretty intrigued. You found a pretty fun [00:19:00] way to handle this in your agency. If you don’t mind, tell us about that.

[00:19:03] Ryker: I’m gonna preface this with the cobbler’s kids don’t have their own shoes.

[00:19:06] I love that. I say that all the time. I still feel that way at times because me, I’m always like, we could be doing more, but the hack, if that’s what we wanna call it here, that I found a while ago, is to set time aside intentionally.

[00:19:20] I know that sounds super simple on the surface, but it really is that simple. Time block. Now what we’ve done is on Thursday nights, we’ve set that time aside and said, okay, it used to be every Thursday night. Now I’ve made it every other Thursday night, it’s more manageable that way for everybody’s schedules.

[00:19:36] Every other Thursday night, I’ll send everybody home at five. They come back around six, I order in dinner. Then as a team, we work till about 9:30, maybe 10 at night. We’ll get a good three hours in of good solid work.

[00:19:49] Sometimes we work on some client work if we absolutely have to, but I try to make the rule this time is our time. We need change to our website? Do we need our own freaking social media posts? [00:20:00] What do we need? That’s what we did. In fact, this is timely because last week, Tuesday, week of a holiday, people are mailing it in, right?

[00:20:06] My time to thrive is those weeks of a holiday. Tuesday of last week, I was like, okay, the entire day is ours. We’re working on our stuff today. We shot a ton of video, we worked on some process stuff, looked ahead to the future and just worked out some stuff.

[00:20:20] That Thursday night thing has been really fun. We look forward to it. I try to find ways to make it fun. One of the Thursday nights every month is a team building night. We work on us as a team and we do fun activities or we’ll do team building exercise or what have you.

[00:20:34] Russel: I love that.

[00:20:35] Invest in yourself is an important takeaway there. You’ve referred yourself as an experimenter in your business and probably in your own personal journey. I’m just curious what are you experimenting on right now?

[00:20:45] Ryker: Back to the photo video stuff. That’s my newest thing right now is tinkering around with different ways to shoot stuff from a videography standpoint, tinkering with different settings. I’m always trying to fix problems and mess with stuff and learning random things. [00:21:00] On a personal front, I one time went super deep on the box jellyfish and learned whatever I could, in one week I was like, you know what?

[00:21:06] I’m fascinated by this creature. I learned as much as I could about a box jellyfish, but that was three years ago and I’ve since forgot it, so don’t ask me any questions about that.

[00:21:13] Process and inventory management is another thing I’m messing with. I see that a lot of businesses, not just agency specific, they don’t have a good inventory management process. Something I’ve actually been working on today has been going around and every camera battery, every stand, every desk, I’m putting a little label on the underside.

[00:21:33] Labeling it and putting together a spreadsheet of all our inventory. It’s a camera, pieces of camera equipment? We’re gonna start having a check-in, checkout system. Everything is individually labeled so we’ll know camera battery number one is at half of its life, we’re gonna need to replace it soon.

[00:21:48] Those kinds of things. When I say a tinker and I experiment, it’s with concepts, it’s with ideas. A couple of months ago, I was trying to work on, how could I get everybody working at their house to [00:22:00] remote into one computer at the office that’s just a super beefy computer that they could use.

[00:22:06] It ended up not working out. I spent probably 10 hours over the course of two weeks working on it and it didn’t work out. That’s what you have to do. Try things, push the bounds on stuff. Cuz I’ve found different hacks by doing that, speeding up a process significantly just by doing those different experiments.

[00:22:19] Russel: Gotta tinker.

[00:22:21] Another thing you mentioned is you had a pretty cool long-term goal for yourself that you kind of transition into the purpose and really even the foundation for your goals within the agency. What is the big plan for you and your endeavors down the road?

[00:22:33] Ryker: I like to share this with anybody and everybody, so it’s perfect to share it on this too. I’m a man of faith. I’m a Christian and I felt like at nine years old, God told me that he wanted me to be a pastor. At the time I thought that was the traditional standing up on church on a Sunday morning, speaking to people.

[00:22:48] That’s not what that meant. I can do it. I’m all right at public speaking, but that is not what I wanna look forward to every week. I think they’re better people qualified for that. What I’ve learned, like I [00:23:00] mentioned, I had a rough childhood. As I got older and into my adulthood, I realized that those experiences happened to me for me to learn from, but also to be that stop gap for somebody else that is coming out of that situation.

[00:23:11] This calling of being a pastor, piecing together these life experiences and this calling of I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I truly feel like that’s what’s gotten me through some of the rough times, cuz there are rough times.

[00:23:22] Everything that I’m doing is aligned through the purpose of, towards the end of my life. I feel like it’s my calling to open up a big retreat center. I’m still working out details and all of that, I’ve got some time. It’ll be to help young men coming out of homes where they didn’t have a father or a good stable, male role model in their life.

[00:23:40] That was me. A challenge for me has been having to tooth and claw my way through this and learn these things. I’ve had a handful of male role models that have helped me out in various aspects. I wanna be that for somebody else. I just like to have a path for people to follow.

[00:23:54] I feel like it’s my calling to build an outlet where these guys can come [00:24:00] spend three to four months during a summer and get trained up on jobs, whether it’s going to college or going to a vocation. We help them identify those. If it’s working through mental health issues, we’ll have therapists and psychologists there.

[00:24:12] I wanna be that quick four month bootcamp where men can come and go and have knowledge and tools and the skills that they need to succeed in their life for the rest of their life.

[00:24:24] Russel: That’s amazing. On behalf of myself and probably everyone listening, I can’t wait to see that come true.

[00:24:30] What a great calling and way to apply your efforts, your skills and strengths. Best of luck on that for sure. As an agency of many talents, there’s the biggest accomplishments you’ve ever achieved in your agency. You got one of a very coveted award, especially for a Texan.

[00:24:45] Can you tell us about that?

[00:24:46] Ryker: We currently, and for the next, 10 and a half months are the reigning champions of the brisket competition for our Hub City Barbecue Cookoff that we do here. It’s a citywide event put on by the [00:25:00] Chamber, and there’s other sponsors as well, but the Chamber heads it up.

[00:25:03] We won that at the beginning of October. There was a little over 80 contestants that ultimately entered our category from what I heard. We took home first place. That’s awesome. Now we also entered a couple of the other categories, ribs and things like that.

[00:25:15] We didn’t place there. That doesn’t matter cuz the briskets that’s the thing.

[00:25:18] Russel: This is Texas and that is briskets. You’ve done well for yourself there. When clients come in now are they like, yeah, sure, let’s talk about marketing, but gimme some brisket?

[00:25:25] Ryker: They put it in the newspaper and various stuff like that. I had a client text me a screenshot of the newspapers website and it had our name at the very top of the winner’s list for the brisket. He’s, am I reading this right?

[00:25:36] Did y’all dominate? I was like, yes, we did. I’ve had several clients bring it up. We have the trophy in our office now so people can walk by and see it. It’s been a good talking point. Everyone wants to know the secret recipe, but I have to keep it a secret for sure.

[00:25:49] I mentioned the having an impact thing. Us being there had an impact. Certainly us winning, that was something I couldn’t necessarily control. I can’t say I was signed up cuz I was gonna win and I knew [00:26:00] that was gonna happen.

[00:26:00] I was around 80 other businesses cuz it’s all businesses that enter these things. When you’re out there and you’re out there for the entire night smoking meat together, you get to know different people and build different relationships.

[00:26:11] Those are the types of things that I do now to have an impact on the sales front.

[00:26:15] Russel: Last main question for you and someone that started out the gate as an entrepreneur, are entrepreneurs born, or are they made?

[00:26:22] Ryker: I’ve heard this question asked many a time. I’ve never asked it of myself.

[00:26:25] I think they’re made by their life experiences, but I think it happens mostly during childhood. In childhood, you’re disproportionately affected by your surroundings, your situations, things like that.

[00:26:36] To be an entrepreneur, it takes a certain type of mindset. You literally get beat up almost every day. It’s rough. It’s not always like this egregious, taking giant Ls. It can be some of the ticky tacky comments that people make to you.

[00:26:48] It can be tiny little things. It doesn’t matter. It’s death by a thousand paper cuts. Those things will add up. You have to be so resilient. I don’t think you’re just born with resiliency, but I don’t think you can just magically [00:27:00] wish, oh, I wish I was resilient.

[00:27:01] You’ve got to go through things in your life. If you have to be resilient in your childhood, it’s gonna help you later in life. I still think even into adulthood, you can do it. You maybe aren’t paying attention to it as much cuz the hustle and bustle of life at that point gets in the way.

[00:27:14] I hope that helps, that’s my opinion.

[00:27:16] Russel: I love that answer.

[00:27:17] I’m glad you expounded upon your initial thought process there. If people wanna know more about Wundertre, where can they go?

[00:27:22] Ryker: Wundertre.com.

[00:27:23] It’s Wunder with a u. W u n d e r t r e. One e in tree, .com.

[00:27:30] Russel: When I initially thought I was like, “wounder tray” maybe is some kind of German alteration. Thank you for clarifying that.

[00:27:35] Ryker: Wonder tray actually means great growth in German.

[00:27:38] Russel: Riker, thank you so much for being on the show, today. It is absolute pleasure to get to hear your story and I really appreciate your time today.

[00:27:45] Ryker: Absolutely, man. Thank you.

[00:27:46] We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of An Agency Story podcast where we share real stories of marketing agency owners from around the world. Are you [00:28:00] interested in being a guest on the show? Send an email to podcast@performancefaction.com. An Agency Story is brought to you by Performance Faction.

[00:28:10] Performance Faction services to help agency owners grow their business to 5 million and more in revenue. To learn more, visit performancefaction.com.

[00:28:24] Ryker: One time, my siblings in-law, they’re all younger than me, my wife is the oldest of four kids. My siblings in-law they have friends that were all over at the house all the time, and we were always over at in-law’s house.

[00:28:35] Their friends were in my circle to an extent. One of their friends, I didn’t have their numbers saved. He knew how he could get to me was to message me from his number that I didn’t have saved in my phone and start asking me random questions like, “hey, you own a marketing agency” and all these things.

[00:28:51] He messaged me a lot of leads, obviously, you’re not gonna have their phone number saved. I start thinking this is a real lead or whatever. I’m going back and forth with him and then one of my [00:29:00] qualifying questions is what’s your business?

[00:29:01] What’s your industry? He was like it’s Pete’s Porn Emporium. I was like, okay, no, I’m out on this. I’m out on this. I told my wife, I was like, what is this? This is so random. That sat there for probably a month or two. Two months later I was bringing it up.

[00:29:16] Cause it was one of those things that just bothered me for some reason. I was like, this whole thing felt weird. I brought it up in front of the group a few months later and one of the kids that was there just started laughing so hard and he was like, that was me.

[00:29:29] I can’t believe you still think about that. I was like, oh my gosh, dude. He had me going. .

[00:29:33] Russel: That just reminds me that I haven’t done enough prank secret shopping to other people I know in the business at large.

[00:29:40] That’s gonna gimme an idea to maybe start doing that to some folks to keep it lighthearted.

[00:29:44] Ryker: Yes, absolutely.

[00:29:44] Russel: Thank you for sharing that. That’s that’s hilarious.