About Corey Smith

Corey In A Nutshell

Undergrad in IT Management
Master of Business Administration
HubSpot Certified Trainer
37 HubSpot Certifications
Keap Trusted Advisor
Experienced Marketing Strategist
Father of Five
Husband of One

In 2007, when I founded Tribute Media, I had no idea where it would take me. Like every entrepreneur, I had dreams (delusions) of grandeur. I hoped for the best and pretty much expected the best.

I had just lost a job and knew that I needed to do something quickly. I was fortunate to have a friend to help me get started. In fact, without Darrell Amy, Tribute Media surely wouldn’t have come to be.

I thought that I had a 5-year plan to exit Tribute Media. Then in about 2013, I came up with a new 5-year plan to exit Tribute Media. Then, before I knew it, it was 2018 and I wasn't quite sure what my plan was.

Leading a Web Agency Isn’t Easy

Over the years, we had a lot of challenges as an agency. We’ve weathered economic storms and internal strife. We’ve had times when sales were amazing and when sales were an extreme challenge. We’ve had employees that were a bit “rough around the edges” that we had to let go. We’ve also had amazing employees that left, in great measure, because, at the time, we weren’t good enough for them to want to stay.

Help Was Needed To Turn the Corner

In 2014 I decided to share a bit of Tribute Media with a few key people. That included Lindsey and Jillian. Finally, I had key partners to help me share in the problems we faced. You see, prior to starting Tribute Media, I never had even worked in an agency, let alone run an agency. I was making it up as I went along.

It really wasn’t until about 2016 that we started to figure things out. Until then we did okay. But, it was not really great. 2016 was the year we started implementing changes in the way we operated. Office Free Friday was the first of many big changes for us that allowed our team time to focus on themselves. You can read my original post about OFF here.

The reason Office Free Friday changed so much about Tribute Media was that we began focusing on how we, as leaders, could serve our employees rather than how our employees could serve us. In the years since, we have added more and more benefits that allowed our employees to be more of who they wanted to be. 

It wasn’t easy for the next five years. It required a fair bit of self reflection. You know, it’s hard to admit when you make a mistake. It’s even harder to admit when you’ve made the same mistakes over and over again for years. We came to better understand where we were fumbling when, as a leadership team, we read the book “Rocket Fuel” and adopted Traction EOS. We started to better understand ourselves and each other, not to mention our roles as integrators and visionaries. Most importantly, we learned where there was overlap, redundancies, and even conflict.

My Stepping Back

Through that time, I gave my partners, particularly Lindsey and Jillian more and more responsibility. They demonstrated their ability to do amazing things. I had to learn to be patient with them as much as they had to learn to be patient with me. Together, we built Tribute Media into a pretty amazing company. In fact, in 2017, we were named the best place to work in Idaho. In 2022 they made 3rd place (but I think they were robbed... should have been number 1 again).

Planning My Exit

Particularly starting about 2019, I knew that there was still something more for me. I knew that in order for me to reach my potential, I needed to find a new challenge. I began talking with Lindsey about taking over Tribute Media as President and eventually running the whole shebang. In 2019, it was a passing conversation. Early 2020, we got serious and by August 2020 it was official… my time with Tribute Media was coming to an end.

Since August of 2020, I’ve been on the hunt for the next challenge in my life. I wasn’t sure what that meant. Many opportunities came my way but I needed to find something that would challenge me and would allow me to make a positive impact.

Leaving Tribute Media

After nearly 15 years with Tribute Media, I have officially left the company I started in 2007. Lindsey has proven her leadership mettle time and time again and can now take the company in the direction she sees fit. She has fostered an amazing environment for her employees and her clients and I have the highest level of confidence she’ll continue to do amazing things. 

Now it's time for me to go help others be amazing too. Whether those companies need marketing help or are agencies who need business help, I stand ready to help them grow to their potential.

I wish Lindsey and her team all the best and know they will do spectacular things. 

I look forward to this next chapter in my life.

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