The next day there is really good weather in Columbus, OH, Aaron Hutchison will take his son to the zoo. But you won’t find him worrying whether his business will crumble when he takes the day off to focus on family. Instead, he looks forward to fun moments like this because he knows he is free to enjoy them.
I often write about the lives of N2 Area Directors, so listening to plans for family days and extended vacations isn’t out of the ordinary for me. In fact, it’s something I’ve come to expect when I talk to ADs all over the map. In a lot of commission-based roles, the concept of truly balancing work and personal time might get a stifled laugh – especially for those who are high producers in their field. For those with N2 Publishing, like Aaron, this is thankfully not the case.
ONE CLEAT IN, ONE CLEAT OUT
The one thing Aaron hasn’t made time for lately is baseball – and this is no small sacrifice. He played baseball in college, then coached at the collegiate level while in graduate school. He was eventually connected with N2 Publishing in 2013, working part-time as an Account Executive to supplement his coaching. And while passion is a great driver, so is income – especially when it comes to paying off student loan debt. He realized coaching sports, even at the collegiate level, wouldn’t be able to financially meet the needs of his family.
Aaron knew he had to make a bold call when it came to his future. In June of 2014, he entered ramp-up for his first publication and cut ties with coaching.
“When I decided to go into this full time, I knew I couldn’t have one foot in what I was doing before,” Aaron said. “If N2 became too big of a struggle, it would be easy to fall back on what I was comfortable with. I knew I had to burn the boat on coaching for the next several years so I didn’t try to leverage my time in the wrong way.”
And while ramp-up is never easy, Aaron doesn’t think his experience was that difficult.
“The plan was laid out for me beforehand. People are going to tell you no, cancel on you, stand you up, and you just have to get over that. It’s important to have those expectations going in and know that you’ll have to make a high number of phone calls for the next few months.”
Just as N2’s Culture Deck guides who we bring onto the team and influences how we conduct ourselves as an organization, Aaron quickly realized that the same cultural standards apply to advertising clients in his publications.
“The right advertiser is someone who is willing to invest in relationships within a direct community. I want them to partner with us for five to ten years and it’s my goal that we build a good relationship. I still keep that mindset when I’m meeting with people.”
Not only does Aaron focus on good client relations for his publications, he also sees great value in directly connecting local businesses with the residents beyond their advertisements. Just one by-chance introduction between a resident and client while grabbing coffee led to a contracted deal with the HOA and made a huge impact on his client’s business.
“I get so uplifted when I see those introductions being made. There’s literally no other way that can happen,” Aaron said.
Aaron and his family
THE NEXT INNING
Over the past five years with N2, Aaron and his wife have been able to reach some major milestones for their family. Just 15 months in, they were able to eliminate their heavy student and car loans while buying a house in the process. And not only does he have so much more time with his family, but he and his wife can go out on a date and not worry what the tab is going to be like on any given night. They’re able to give back to the community financially as a family to great organizations, but also through offering free advertising and editorial space in his publications for nonprofits he knows are beneficial to so many others.
The N2 opportunity has afforded Aaron so much – time with family and a way to make a positive impact in the community. In just a matter of days (we hope), he’ll be off to the zoo with his son in hand, but this isn’t the only fun family outing Aaron looks forward to. His son is approaching two years old in the next few months – a great time to start Tee Ball. Now that Aaron has three publications running and a few more years under his belt at N2, he’s found a balance that will allow him to put on his cleats and get back in the field of coaching – this time with a “littler” league.
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