Katie Wagner is the President and CEO of KWSM, a full-service digital marketing agency made up of journalists. They specialize in website development and SEO, social media strategy and management, content creation, PR and influencer marketing, and digital advertising.

Katie spent more than 15 years as a journalist and spent a decade as a television radio news anchor. She worked at CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN, and National Public Radio. In 2010, Katie realized that she could use those skills she learned in the newsroom to help business owners connect with their clients online — so she opened KWSM. Katie is also an active member of various organizations, including the Young Entrepreneurs Council, ProVisors, and Vistage.


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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Katie Wagner talks about the power of community and relationships
  • From television anchor to agency owner, Katie shares the back story
  • How Katie serves clients like Dale Carnegie, Mitsubishi, and more
  • A peek into the agency brand relationship process
  • Productivity tools and work-life balance hacks for your team
  • What is the 9-80 policy, and why should your team try it?
  • A simple staff training process that works
  • How Katie keeps track of their SOPs at KWSM
  • Katie shares her experience as a first responder for the American Humane Association after Hurricane Katrina

In this episode…

Agency life is hard. There are many moving processes with different people and brands involved, and we don’t share enough about what that life truly is. From client inquiry to results, Katie Wagner of KWSM unbundles the agency lifestyle and shares how she and her team stay on top of their work while being present in their personal lives.

If you’ve been looking for a better way to train your team, make them more productive, and achieve healthy work-life integration, Katie shares a few hacks that truly makes agency life easier. There’s so much to unpack, from the no-emails after work structure to the 9-80 policies and best-self management tips — Katie explains it all!

In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz chats with Katie Wagner, President and CEO of KWSM, about navigating the digital agency life. She shares how she got into the agency business, the caliber of clients they serve, how she gets the best from her team, manages processes, and gets work done efficiently. Stay tuned.

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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz 0:19

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of InspiredInsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders I’m gonna introduce in a second Katie Wagner of KWSM digital. And Katie, I always like to mention past episodes of the podcast people should check out and there’s some dating back. I was talking to someone earlier today I had Pat Williams, who essentially kind of started the Orlando Magic. And he pre sold the tickets before they brought the franchise to Orlando. So he went door to door and Anne’s pre sold season tickets. And when he sold them out, he’s like, okay, we can bring the Orlando Magic to Orlando. He was also responsible for drafting, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. And he also has 18 children. Not all, you know, I think 11 or a number of them are adopted but amazing story and others like that. Check out InspiredInsider.com for for more episodes, and this episode is brought to you by Rise25 and at Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And we do that by helping you run your podcast and you Katie for me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. And I’m always looking at a way to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and the companies I admire and share with the world what they’re doing and have my podcasts like yourself. So if you’ve thought about starting a podcast, you should, if you have questions, we’re here for you go to Rise25.com, contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions that you have. And I’m excited to introduce today’s guest Katie Wagner, she spent more than 15 years as a journalist. And she spent a decade as a television radio news anchor. She worked at CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN, National Public Radio, so she’s no stranger to these calls and interviews. And so right now, you know, in 2010, she realized that she could use those skills. She learned the newsroom to help business owners connect with their clients online. She opened KWSM, you know, she was telling me before, she’s like, I thought I was just going to help companies be a consultant in my bedroom, that turned into 40 staff, she has offices all over the country. And you can everyone can check out her website, what she’s working on kWSMdigital.com. Katie, thanks for joining me.

Katie Wagner 2:51

Yeah, thanks for having me. I love what you’re doing here.

Jeremy Weisz 2:54

Thank you. And I want to start off with no big part, you said, you know, you just learned along the way, and we all kind of stand on the shoulders of giants. And I love to hear, you’re a part of a number of groups that, you know, we’re a part of ProVisors together, that’s how we met and some of the lessons learn from some of the groups that you’re in, because I feel like that collective knowledge from peers is just always helpful.

Katie Wagner 3:23

Yeah, you know, before I started my company, I was a television anchor for my whole career. And, and I like to say I’d never even had a corporate job, I didn’t never been the boss of anybody, you know, I, I was in a different field. And when I became the CEO of my company, and we started growing, I had employees, I had to figure that out really fast and all alone. You know, one of the downsides to being a CEO, Jeremy is that there is no one above you to tell you how to do things better, or if you’re doing a good job or not. And so I quickly became involved with an organization called Vistage, which is the CEO peer group. And I think that is probably the most important thing I’ve done on my leadership journey was find a group of mostly men, but other business leaders who had been where I was, who had grown successful companies, and continue to face You know, the challenges and the obstacles that I was up against along the way. And so some of the things they’ve taught me were, were, you know, to go with my gut and believe that I can do this, that I know how to lead the company that I can make good decisions, and make them and don’t look back. You know, they’ve taught me a lot about communicating with my staff with my clients. They’ve taught me a lot about what’s important when running a business. You know, big ideas are only good if you keep the balance sheet in mind and, and they really pushed me to be better than I could have been alone and also built a better business than I could have alone. So I’m grateful for those relationships. And then, you know, of course, our ProVisors, colleagues. I love that that’s how you and I met and I’m big fan of pretty advisors, which is a professional networking Association. And I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from my professors colleagues is really the value of giving back and being there for each other. And you know, if one of their clients needs help, they can just call me and I’ll give them the answer or have a quick phone call with that client. And they’ll do the same for me. And it’s really a supportive network where we share a lot of knowledge and expertise. And that makes us all better. It makes us all better resources for our clients. And it makes us better at our jobs, just to know we have this people who have our back, we need it.

Jeremy Weisz 5:34

Hey, take me back to the journey. So you’re thinking I’m going it’s going to be in my bedroom be consultant help some companies to now growing to 40, or more staff offices all over? What was the take me through the evolution of the services you offered? You know, starting with the kind of the consulting?