Nate Knox is a Minnesota-born digital marketing nerd

Trying to recapture creativity while working in the uncreative side of digital advertising

Nate Knox is a huge digital nerd & works in search / ppc, social media, content, etc. Contact him if you need help with your digital marketing

One Year at Carmichael Lynch

Today is my one year anniversary at Carmichael Lynch. It's only a year, but it's a big deal to me. 

Why is it a big deal? It's a big deal because I was afraid of accepting the job. Carmichael Lynch is a hard hitting advertising agency that puts out amazing, award-winning work. Why be afraid of that?

1 year anniversary at carmichael lynch

Look at it the way I did at the time… I'm a dad, I have a pregnant wife, we have a mortgage, I already have a solid job and work with awesome people. Why leave a comfortable situation to start over in a new place that's a legit ad agency?

the idea is scary!

The idea is scary because:

  • Agencies have a bad rap for the work/life balance debate. All I want to do is be around my wife & kid(s), so if I take the job, my time with them is going to be killed off almost completely during the week. Plus, constant fire drills happen days, nights and weekends… who wants to deal with that? 
  • The position would be part of a media department. I've been a part of media departments in the past and I hate the lifestyle and the people who run that side of the business. Beyond that, it would be part of a media department full of crazy-smart people who manage a TON of money and win awards. The people are probably going to be way more intense and terrible... plus wayyyyy too smart for me.
  • I would be managing all search for a car company.
  • The budget I'd be managing is so big - bigger than most whole companies - it's scary. 
  • Agencies like this burn through people and are willing to fire someone immediately for almost no reason. 

Yadda yadda yadda. I felt, as a dad, I had the right to be afraid and stay comfortable. 

what are my goals?

Over the years, I've learned a very important lesson about myself: I hate plateaus. I was rock solid in my situation and very comfortable. I realized this while considering the offer, which came out of nowhere, by the way. Hooray for recruiters. I was comfortable and didn't want to get into deep, troubled waters. What if I don't get to see my family as much? What if ABCD happens and I'm fired? What if…? What if…? What if…?

Pretty negative, right? What on earth would make me consider the job? What are the positives in the situation? Would the move help me move upward & onward? What goals would be accomplished if I moved? Well, hey, I have an answer for that! Last year, I had several goals, both long & short term:

  • Work on a car company.
    •  I'm not at all a car guy, but I've always wanted to work on a car company, regardless of where or when in my career. I thought, "of course I'll have to move eventually to get a Car under my belt." 
  • Work on a large restaurant.
  • Hit the $1 Million mark in budget management. 
    • This was a lofty goal at the time, but could be eventually be hit if all clients were counted. 
  • Increase my personal earnings by at least 10%.
  • Manage a search department.
  • Diversify my knowledge of the digital landscape, especially in display advertising (I.e. Learn and do new, cool stuff).

I can't accomplish my goals by staying put

Those were some of my goals. They were solid and worth writing down, but I knew I couldn't reach them in my current position, although, the $1M mark had (the most) potential. Those were the goals, so what about the positives for making the move? Aside from possibly checking off some goals, the positives, as I saw them, were:

  • Carmichael Lynch has been on a list of "I'd love to work there some day" for a number of years.
  • CL has big-named, commonly known clients.
  • CL exports amazing work.
  • CL is full of passionate and very smart people. For example, my supervisor/boss/whatever is presenting at AdTech with the CEO of White Ops on "the many faces of fraud in advertising."
  • I could/am going to/always will learn very cool stuff and never settle down.
  • I'd finally be working at a real advertising agency.
    •  I was always annoyed when hearing people say "we work in advertising" when we honestly didn't at all. Sure, we built websites and I spent money on AdWords & Facebook, but that didn't make us an ad agency. This same idea applied to other places I've been, too, and I've never liked the idea of being something you're not.
  • CL is notorious for being an awesome workplace. 
  • Lots of others reasons. 

That last bullet point really hits home, doesn't it?

Of course, I took the job! Like I said, I'm celebrating my one year anniversary of starting at CL today. It's been a wild and fun ride. I've learned more than I can adequately communicate. I like everyone I work with, which is a major plus. 

The two coolest things are: 

  1. Of all the goals I listed above, I have crossed each and every one off the list. 
  2. My work/life balance hasn't been totally screwed over — I still see my family! A LOT! ALL THE TIME! Thank God for that!

All in all, it's been an awesome (and very fast) year. I don't know what the future holds, except for our media plans, but I'm confident the ride is going to be exciting & captivating. 


It's the first of December and I've been putting off a site refresh for what feels like all year. I'm a new dad, so cut me a break. My wife is due with our second at the end of this month, so this is most definitely going to suffer from that experience.

Whether you like it or not, this whole has a new skin. The bones are still gross, but true beauty is on the outside. That's the phrase, right? 

Cheers to me and my insane skills.

Douche, out 

you are a small thing

My friend, a real one, posted this on Facebook recently and I compulsively needed to share it.  

There are roughly a trillion galaxies (galaxies! not stars) in the visible universe. The largest galaxies contain a few trillion stars and are about a million light-years across. Our own galaxy (The Milky Way) has roughly one trillion stars of its own and is about 100,000 light-years across.

Hard to comprehend? I would say so.

Minnesota's Best (and Hottest) Auctioneer

Yesterday, Sarah launched her new video promoting her auctioneering business. Her talents, charisma, networking and crazy hotness have set Sarah on an awesome path. I'm proud of her and can't wait to see how far & high she goes. 

Check out her new video below, share it, and head to her website, If you know any fundraising, foundation, event planning folks around town, send them to Sarah.