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35 min read

The true power of HubSpot Academy (HubHeroes, Ep. 29)


We do our best to plan out every HubHeroes podcast episode in advance, so we can guarantee you always get the most out of HubHeroes every time you listen. However, sometimes the episode we end up recording is not the one we planned β€” instead it turns out to be the episode our community absolutely needs. 

That's exactly what happened with this episode. 

Yes, we planned to talk about HubSpot Academy β€” where it came from, how to get the most out of it, and so on. And we did touch upon some of that, as well as how to navigate HubSpot Academy (because it can be a little overwhelming at first!). 

But our conversation ended up taking an unexpectedly sentimental and emotional turn. You see, folks, when we spend so much time thinking about our content and are strategies as purely transactional, we can sometimes forget what impact you can have as an individual or an organization, when you educate to serve.

Hopefully this episode reminds you of that.

And don't forget to mark your calendars for World Certification Week, May 15-19!

Here's what we cover in this episode ...

  • What's the difference between HubSpot then and now?
  • How did HubSpot Academy come to be?
  • How did HubSpot Academy directly change the lives of Devyn and Liz?
  • What is George's story with HubSpot Academy?
  • How do you drop into HubSpot Academy and make the most out of it without getting confused with so many options?

And a heck of a lot more! 



Intro: Do you live in a world filled with corporate data? Are you plagued by silo departments? Are your lackluster growth strategies demolishing your chances for success? Are you held captive by the evil menace, Lord Lack, lack of time, lack of strategy, and lack of the most important and powerful tool in your superhero tool belt, knowledge. Never fear hub heroes.

Get ready to don your cape and mask, move into action, and become the hub hero your organization needs. Tune in each week to join the league of extraordinary inbound heroes as we help you educate, empower, and execute. Hub heroes, it's time to unite and activate your your powers. Before we begin, we need to disclose that both Devin and Max are currently employed by HubSpot at the time of this episode's recording. This podcast is in no way affiliated with or produced by HubSpot, and the thoughts and opinions expressed by Devin and Max during the show are that of their own and in no way represent those of their employer.

George B. Thomas: Goodness gracious. How's everybody doing today?

Liz Moorehead: Fantastic. I'm fine.

George B. Thomas: Well, that's joyful.

Liz Moorehead: Oh, am I allowed to talk now? Yeah. Or am I gonna get played off again by our own intro music? This is for the Oscars. The Oscars were last weekend, and here I am getting played off before the introduction even starts.

Yeah. George, I'm great. Happy Friday.

George B. Thomas: We should probably explain. Liz was trying to say something, and I just went ahead and hit the intro music very loudly, might I say, which then I kind of tuned it down a little bit. But, yeah, Liz, you're you're allowed to talk. We're glad you're here. We love you very much.

Are we good now?

Max Cohen: Wow. Wow. Wow.

Devyn Bellamy: Are we just taking turns pissing off Liz every week?

Liz Moorehead: Yes. I will take some salsa for this chip on my shoulder. Thank you for asking. I know this is gonna be a spicy episode. Would you like to know why?

Since we're pulling back the curtain on things. This was an episode topic that I am very excited about. George, I know you're very excited about it. I know everybody looked at the outline and what we were gonna be talking about, and no one left me any notes. So we are going in blind, which is horrifying considering George apparently is feeling a little bit extra spicy today.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. It's Friday. It's Friday, and, feeling spicy. Oh, yeah.


Liz Moorehead: Devin, how are you today? I am I'm still mad at you. I'm just kidding. No kidding. If you wanna know why I did that, listen to the end of last week's episode.

That's what we called synergy of content promotion. No, Devin. How are you?

Devyn Bellamy: I'm fantastic. How are you doing, Liz?

Liz Moorehead: I've been better. You know? I think I know what the haiku at the end of this episode is going to be about today. George. I feel like Max though.

He's been going under the radar for a little bit, so I might just get spiteful next week. We're gonna see what happens. But leaving all all of okay. Wow. So 2 weeks in a row for George.

Got it. Perfect. Perfect. But leaving aside all of the angst in my heart because I'm emotional, clearly. That's okay.

Leaving aside all the angst though, I am so excited about today's topic because we are talking about HubSpot Academy. Now I wanna share a little bit of my story with HubSpot Academy because when I started out many moons ago in the HubSpot universe, it was like 2013, 2014, there were 5 certifications. And I worked at a small a girl named Shelly or Shelby, and then my best friend, Jesse Lee, who is one of the most incredible website strategist I've ever met. She's now at Media Junction. The 3 of us at one point in time actually achieved all 5 certifications.

Devyn Bellamy: Oh.

Liz Moorehead: And then John made us little tiaras that had, like, each of the 5 little symbols for each pick. So, do you know what HubSpot Academy has now? Not 5. From my understanding, George, you have at least 40. Is that right?

George B. Thomas: Well, we've gotta be completely honest and transparent on this podcast.

Liz Moorehead: Oh, Nat, do you only have 39

Max Cohen: at 46?

George B. Thomas: Yeah. At one given point in time, it was 40. But as my daughter who is starting to get her certifications and and tells me that she's gonna eventually have more than me has, has informed me is that 11 of mine are about to fall off, and I need to renew. So let's just say that, owning a business and keeping your HubSpot

Liz Moorehead: That's great story, George. Okay. Continuing on.

George B. Thomas: Continuing on. So it's not 40, but it's a lot. And, it'll continue to be a lot because I will get them somehow, someway.

Liz Moorehead: Well, I Needless to say, it's not just 5.

George B. Thomas: Uh-oh. Devin has a suggestion.

Devyn Bellamy: What you should do is look at the week of May 15th through May 19th.

Liz Moorehead: Yes.

Devyn Bellamy: Put time on your calendar. And this is not just for George. This is for everybody. What? Week of May 15th through 19th.

Put some time on your calendar. I'm gonna go ahead and do a quick plug here.

George B. Thomas: Do it, brother. Do it.

Liz Moorehead: Shill. Shill.

Devyn Bellamy: Shill. World certification week. Whoo. It's happening May 15th through May 19th.

Liz Moorehead: Yeah.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Let's go. Get all the certifications in that time. Why do they wanna do that, Devin?

Devyn Bellamy: Well, here's the thing. If you're not familiar with World Certification Week, it's an annual event that's hosted by HubSpot Academy, where individuals and partners are encouraged to learn and connect and grow, but most importantly, dedicate time to your personal development. And that's why we're talking about it now, instead of waiting until May, because we know how crazy calendars can get. So if you put time on your calendar for May 15th through 19th, and the reason why those specific days is because it's not just concerted effort, but for every HubSpot certification that is completed during World Certification Week, HubSpot's gonna donate $5 up to 50 $1,000

Max Cohen: Let's go.

Devyn Bellamy: To education focused charities

Liz Moorehead: Nice.

Devyn Bellamy: Around the world.

George B. Thomas: Let's go.

Max Cohen: So Nice.

Devyn Bellamy: In addition to learning

Liz Moorehead: Oh, my gosh.

Devyn Bellamy: Multiple online events like prep sessions, office hours, panel discussions, professional development talks, and it's happening all around the world across all time zones. So get time on your calendar, May 15th through May 19th. I would just, personally, I would at least block an hour a day. If you're the person who leads an organization, set aside time. Tell your team members to set aside time and make that your big professional development week.

Because not only you're gonna grow your team and grow your people professionally, but you're also gonna help, money go towards a worthy cause.

Max Cohen: I might have to

George B. Thomas: take that week off. Do it for the kids. I might have to take that week off and just see if I can get, like, a massively obnoxious number of certifications during that time frame.

Liz Moorehead: Oh my gosh. George, George, George, George, George.

George B. Thomas: Of the jungle? Weird. Watch out for that tree. No. What?

I don't know. Where are we going?

Max Cohen: You did start singing that song.

Liz Moorehead: I know we have literally just totally broken down in the introduction. But for long time listeners, first time callers, you knew this chaos was coming. This always happens, and I promise we will get to where we're going. Number 1, George Yeah. We've talked about me coming down to North Carolina.

Yeah. Guess what happens at the end of that week? Fast and the Furious 10 comes out on 19th. Wow. We need to have a convocation of the Liz and the Georgia, and I wanna suggest something.

Oh. I think I should come down that week, and you and I should see who can complete the most certifications in that week.

George B. Thomas: Oh, man. I'm getting dusted. Yep. Hey.

Liz Moorehead: Yeah. I like winning.

George B. Thomas: Let's let's figure this out because I think it's a really cool thing to, a, just get a bunch of certifications and give back to the community and the kids as well. And the fact that God, fast and furious.

Liz Moorehead: Oh my god. The furious. Oh my god. The mothership, it calls us home.

Max Cohen: Well, you spend a whole week spend a whole week just developing your brain in the best way, and then you just melt it down on

George B. Thomas: Oh, yeah.

Max Cohen: Fast and the Furious. Of course.

Liz Moorehead: Right? I'm sorry. It is cinematic excellence. They put Ludacris and Tyrese in a Ford what was it? A Pontiac Fierro and put them into space in orbit around Earth.

Devyn Bellamy: And that made you wanna see another one?

Liz Moorehead: Well Devin. Devin Devin Devin, you just got out of the dog house, and we're walking ourselves right back in.

Devyn Bellamy: I mean, listen

George B. Thomas: I'll be honest.

Devyn Bellamy: Don't don't get me wrong. I'm I'm going to see it. I'm going to watch it, but it's only because I'm culturally obligated as an American that I've already devoted hours of my life to seeing the first 9, I might as well keep going. But we've been to space. What can possibly come next?

Max Cohen: It's about fair.

Liz Moorehead: You're right, Devin.

George B. Thomas: You're right, Devin. You know what could come next? They could actually visit HubSpot Academy.

Max Cohen: You know what? No. You wanna know what

Liz Moorehead: comes next? God.

Max Cohen: You wanna know what comes next, dude? Fast and Furious 11. That's his

Liz Moorehead: ultimate timing now. Actually, that's true. It's the last installment. It's being broken up into 2 parts. But Devin is absolutely right, guys.

Because HubSpot Academy has become something incredibly comprehensive and amazing. Crying at the same time. No. So let's get back. First of all, everybody remember, May 15th, it's going to be the great HubSpot Academy World Certification Day.

I'm so glad we stopped for you to talk about that because that is just so freaking cool. Way to go big

Devyn Bellamy: whole week. World certification week.

George B. Thomas: Love it.

Liz Moorehead: Yep. So let's talk about why HubSpot Academy is important. Why we're dedicating an entire week to do this kind of work. Because like I said at the beginning of this, right, I started back in 2013, 2014, there were 5. Now there are like a bajillion.

Now whether you have are like me, and let's be honest, HubSpot Academy is kind of like the dentist. I know I need to go. I have not been. The longer I wait, the more problematic it becomes. And then for the people who are new to the HubSpot ecosystem, you might be walking around going, this is amazing.

But it's like when you went to the Disney store and your mom was like, you can have one thing and then you can't pick one thing. So you pick something tiny and then you're just mad at yourself the whole way home because you were just so overwhelmed in the moment you didn't know where to start. That is why we wanted to have this episode for today. This is not a superficial primer for HubSpot Academy. This is not just a big commercial for world certification week.

In fact, going into this, I didn't even know that was happening, but I'm so glad we got to talk about it. Today, we're gonna talk about the genesis of HubSpot Academy, where it came from, what it was intended to create for us, and why it's essential to understand whether you're new to it or you've been around the block and you treat it like the dentist like I do, what has changed? But one of my favorite parts about this conversation that I know we're gonna get to is that there's a stuff you're gonna explicitly learn out of HubSpot Academy, the actual certifications, the knowing and the knowledge, social media, sales enablement, deletion, service, operations. But there is something even more bigger picture than that that you can learn from HubSpot Academy. I don't even think Max and Devon know where George and I are going with this one, but I am so excited to get there.

But let's cap it off. I wanna throw this question out there, and I'm gonna give this to anybody. What do people think HubSpot Academy is versus what is HubSpot Academy really?

George B. Thomas: Yeah. So I wanna jump in here because, a, I'm gonna answer that question, but I also want people to realize the tipping point in which I knew that I wanted us to have this conversation. Last week, three times, I heard, yeah. It's just a lot. It's just a lot.

I don't know where to start. Man, I go there, and I'm paralyzed. George, can you give me, like, a a road map? What's the 1, 2, 3 destinations that I need to take inside of the entire city of education. And so what's interesting is for me where I go is what it's become is it's become a lot.

What's what I love is I've been able to navigate the city since it was a 1 room log cabin. Right? One certification. Didn't really even have individual lessons. Was only marketing hub.

And, so I know how to navigate the city well, which we're gonna talk about navigating the city, today in this episode. But what people, I think, especially newcomers, think is, it's a lot, and I don't know what to do with it. And the unfortunate thing is when I hear that, I literally there is not much that depresses me in the world. But when I hear that come out of people's mouths, understanding the true power that it could provide one's life and the growth that it could provide one's business, I get depressed, deflated, frustrated, and that's when I reached out. I was like, we have to do a HubSpot Academy session.

Devyn Bellamy: Exactly. That's the thing is is that in the beginning when there were, like, a handful of certifications, it was like it was really easy to collect them all if you're that type of person or just find something that fits what you're trying to do or if you're just trying to learn the software, that's great. And HubSpot Academy is a great place to learn the software. And some people, that all they wanna do is go in and learn the platform. But HubSpot Academy is so so much more than that.

There are not just about the platform, but best practices and regardless of what part of the org you're in, there's something for you. And there's more than just the certifications. When people talk about HubSpot Academy, they get so deep down with the certifications, they miss out on just the courses around. There are so many excellent courses that can act as continuing education for you regardless of what your education was when you came in, and that's that's the important thing. HubSpot Academy is can be as important for, someone who is going for, you know, their post doctorate versus someone who barely graduated high school.

If you can get this information and internalize it and apply it, it is going to change your life. And that's not hyperbole. That's just fact. If you take this information from all of these experts that are compiled on every certification, every course, and and you apply it, I mean, I'm doing things that normally are reserved for the world of people with letters behind their names. And I have no letters behind my name except for senior because I'm completely unoriginal and named another human being after myself.

But as a result, I, not even a month ago, was giving a lecture at as a guest lecturer at Howard University in an advanced social media class just off of what I've learned from HubSpot Academy over the years. And so it it it's more than just where you go to learn HubSpot. It's where you go to grow better.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. And I wanna jump in here real quick because, Devin, I wanna I said one of the things we're gonna do is help people navigate the city. And there's been by the way, if you haven't logged in to HubSpot Academy in a while, a lot has changed as far as the way of where you can find stuff. And, again, we're gonna talk about that at deeper level. But because, Devin, what you said is they think it's just about the software.

It's just about certifications. You need to pay attention to that in the one of the drop down areas, it literally says categories. And then below that, it says HubSpot software. So it's do you wanna learn about the category that is marketing, the category that is sales, the category that is service, and it goes on. Or do you wanna learn about HubSpot software marketing, HubSpot software sales, HubSpot software service?

So if you're a human that wants to learn about HubSpot software marketing blogs, you can go to HubSpot software marketing blogs. If you wanna learn somebody something about just blogging, it's gonna be up in the turn from the get go of your education.

Max Cohen: Yeah. And so oftentimes, like, I'll talk about you know, when you think about just HubSpot in general, there's HubSpot, the software, strategy, and they're meant to work together. The same kind of idea, like, applies in academy. You don't have to be a HubSpot user to get a ton of value out of what you see in there. You can technically do inbound without HubSpot.

You can do a lot of these things with other tools. And, you know, the academy will teach you everything you need to know about a lot of stuff. So even if you're just in it for, like, the strategic stuff, there's tons and tons, if not more, in there than, like, just strictly certifications on the software. And if you weren't wanna learn how to pair both of those things together, well, there's no other place in the world where

Liz Moorehead: you can do it like that. And the reason I

Max Cohen: think that this is so important and, you know, we we ask that question, like, what do people think it is versus what is it actually? Well, In terms of what is it actually, you gotta think about what this is a portal to. This is a portal to this massive HubSpot universe and ecosystem and community and job opportunities that sits behind this thing. You gotta think about it. You can work at HubSpot.

You can work at a HubSpot partner agency. You could work at a company that builds products on Hub Spot. You could work at a company that uses Hub Spot. There is an almost, like, unlimited amount of different variations of that, and all the knowledge that you need to enter into those spaces, or at least the majority of it, and different certifications and experiences that you can have that'll help separate you from others. And especially in the world where the HubSpot talent pool that's just available out there in the universe is very scarce right now because there's tons of customers using HubSpot that are hiring people for their HubSpot experience.

There's tons of partner agencies that are sucking up all the the HubSpot talent that's out there in the universe because HubSpot is scaling and those partners need to scale with it. Right? All of that is available to you. All those learnings and education that you need to thrive in that space is available to you for free. You do not need to go back to college to learn this stuff.

It is given to you on a silver platter. A lot of people talk about breaking into tech. Yo. Break into HubSpot. Break into inbound, and it's all right here.

It doesn't cost you a goddamn thing, and you can go and start consuming it and get into this wonderful world that we all live in so much that we made a freaking podcast about it. Right? It's all right here.

Liz Moorehead: Max swear.

George B. Thomas: Max got a little passion. Max got a little passion. But I but I but I have to double down on what Max is saying because and I'm glad that you brought that up because I was literally trying to give Liz, like, subtle signs that I wanted to say something. Because the cherry You

Liz Moorehead: don't have to hold on.

George B. Thomas: You don't

Liz Moorehead: have to give me a subtle sign. I was literally watching you like, don't say anything, Liz.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. No. It kinda was it kinda was it.

Liz Moorehead: I wasn't gonna say anything.

George B. Thomas: I kinda was like that, but the cherry on top is the fact that it's free. And and I bring this up and wanted to make sure that we brought this up because I was on a call this week with a potential client, and they asked me the question, hey. We're trying to hire a new content person. And if we can find somebody that isn't, like, just ready to go, where would you send them to learn about digital marketing and content marketing and, like, the things that we're gonna do with HubSpot? And I rattled off 3 certifications that they should have that person do, and I said, and the good thing is that it's free.

You would have thought it was the second coming of Jesus. That's my battle against the Max's swear, by the way. Oh, shit. The second coming of Jesus. Their eyes opened up, and their mouth dropped open.

They're like, wait. It's free? And I was like Free. Yeah. It's free.

So, see, here's the thing. HubSpot does have some paid trainings. And I think along people's journey, they see some of these paid trainings, and I get fearful that they see that and then maybe start to think that HubSpot Academy is something that you actually have to pay for. And the answer to that is absolutely

Liz Moorehead: not. What's fascinating to me, George, though, is that I wanted to pivot back to you to tell your story with HubSpot.

Intro: Oh, gosh.

Liz Moorehead: Because you have I know we've talked a little bit about it on here. But I think each of us to some degree, even though maybe we take it for granted now, even though we look at it and go, look at all the certifications I should do but haven't. Like like that was our gateway. That was our gateway to changing our career. Like, for example, like, I I think people are always surprised to find out, like, I am a college dropout.

George B. Thomas: Yeah.

Liz Moorehead: I got you. Got you. I made it. I I know. But I landed in inbound completely by accident because I had worked my way up to a senior editor position at a digital publisher, but then they did a massive squeeze, a massive layoff, and I didn't know what to do.

I got picked up by and John at Quintain. And because of HubSpot Academy, I was literally able to immerse myself into a new career, actually get real free education, not fake free education like is so common nowadays. Jeez. Who isn't making a course? Who I need women and felt pink hats to stop making courses about how to make courses about how to make courses for coaches, who coach coaches, who go coach coaches like these.

Wow. Stop. Very

George B. Thomas: specific. Very specific.

Liz Moorehead: Look. They know who they are, and every white woman on Instagram knows who they are. And they know at least 5 of them.

George B. Thomas: They do.

Devyn Bellamy: Yes. That makes sense because I have no idea who they are. That's

Liz Moorehead: They're horrifying. And, Devin, that's because you're a smart man who would never be your work. So

George B. Thomas: For sure.

Liz Moorehead: But my point is this, is that, like, I was able to make a massive pivot in my career during a time where the job market was not that great. And now this is my career. I found my life and my passion and it's not because I ended up at a HubSpot agency, it's because of the accessibility of the the education. So, George, I was so surprised that when Devin shared his story, you didn't take us there, man, because it's so incredible.

George B. Thomas: I I can definitely take us there. Again, I want this to be the HubSpot Academy episode.

Liz Moorehead: Mark, I'm gonna get there.

George B. Thomas: Trust me. Episode. But but here's the thing. I can I can make it real short? High school dropout to agency owner.

And now if I extend that a little bit longer, what I want people to understand is in 2012, we stumbled into HubSpot Academy, and I forever the rest of my life will have a very special place in my heart for Mark Killins, for Chris LaDolce, for Sarah Bedrick, right, for the old school House Academy folks who were hustling and grinding to create content. And I literally at one of the inbounds after I had actually started to, like, do the hub cast with Marcus Sheridan and start to do tutorials and realized there was a little bit of this brand starting to to be built, I made it a point to go into the place at inbound where HubSpot Academy, employees were and thank them from the bottom of my my heart for creating the engine that allowed me to become who I was becoming. HubSpot Academy was the catalyst, the place where I could absorb like a sponge all the information that I needed to know to help the businesses that I was working for and the businesses that we were helping to grow pertaining to educating people with HubSpot and how to use it in their business.

And and without HubSpot Academy, there wouldn't be a George b Thomas brand. It would be impossible, at least not in the HubSpot ecosystem. It would have been I would have been at Salesforce. No. I wouldn't have done that.

They don't have it either. I would have been at, you know, Marketo. No. Wouldn't have been there. They don't have it either.

Like so I I sit and I look at my story and I go from 2,012 to an inbound 0. And I look at now 2023, what I would consider humbly an inbound hero, and I go, thanks, HubSpot Academy. Thanks for all the road that you laid that I could educate and then turn around and educate others and and live this life. Like, listen. People ask me.

I'm like, I'm living the dream. And I it's not a joke. It's reality. And I know that all of that goes back to those founding humans

Liz Moorehead: who had

George B. Thomas: an idea, a crazy dream, and they chased it. And and I can only imagine the amount of humans that are like me. And and I I can't wait till the day where I can just see, like, hey. I wanna see how many people this HubSpot Academy like, what are the ripples? What are the effects that that actually had on an entire, like, planet?

Liz Moorehead: I went from someone who was so afraid to give my resume to anyone because I would have to address the fact that I was at Boston University for about a year and a half. And then, know what? We need to bring visibility to mental health. I went to college to escape a lot of things. I didn't there were there was nothing nefarious about it, but I left and I had to go find my own way, and I actually moved to Boston for six and a half years.

But I remember for so many years, giving my resume over was such a horrible endeavor. And then, you know what? I gotta give another shout out to Bob Ruffalo, who's the founder and owner of Impact, who's another HubSpot agency. It got to the point where I was able to sit down with someone like Bob, and he saw something in me because of the education I did. And I actually ended up not showing him a resume.

Now to be fair, I came in as part of an acquisition, but, like, he didn't want to ask my background. I was able to sit down and have an educated conversation about what I brought to the table. And if anybody's ever met Bob, you know he's a special kind of guy. He really takes bets on people. But the only way I was able to show up as that confident person who had built a career, then niched it down into the story of HubSpot Academy.

Because I think sometimes whether we're talking about brands, people, HubSpot Academy, George, you haven't said humans yet, so can you throw me a humans real quick?

Max Cohen: Oh. Humans.

Liz Moorehead: Oh. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that was so lovely. No.

But, like, we forget that it's not just where someone is, it's the story that matters. Says. So you started you don't you started digging into it a little bit. Let's dig a bit more into the story of HubSpot Academy, but why should anybody care listening right now about where HubSpot came from and why in order to use it effectively today?

Max Cohen: I think, like, HubSpot Academy is probably, like, one of the most tried and true examples of how inbound works. Like, if you think about it, like, all the customers that I was ever talking to at the beginning when I was an implementation specialist and I asked

Liz Moorehead: how they heard about HubSpot.

Max Cohen: 99% of the time, the answer was like, oh, your academy, your content, all that, like, you know, and and leading with educational content to really get people to, like, trust you and do better in their jobs, do better in their lives, and to, you know, educate them, you know, in in a lot of different ways. And, you know, that's how we were primarily like building a a customer base for a long time. That's cool. But I think the other brilliant thing that HubSpot Academy did, you know, throughout its kind of history was like it provided our customers a way to continue to be like educated and self sufficient and, like, build these different communities that ended up being the backbone of why we could continue to be successful and kept customers for so long. And they kept growing with us.

It's all because that educational content and the the the care that HubSpot put in to ensure that, like, not only did we get customers, but we actually, like, enabled them to be legitimately successful with the stuff that they were buying from us instead of just using it as a way to, like, capture new leads and start selling to them. So I thought that was, like, a really kinda cool thing that happened.

George B. Thomas: So it's interesting, Max, because you just unlocked something in my brain that I don't know was fully unlocked before. And and if you know me, if you're a listener, you know me. I I do really bad with compliments. Like, yeah. Yeah.

Humbly. You know? Like, happy, helpful, humble human. Almost almost to, like, a a bad point, to be honest with you. But but one time, I remember, Dan Tire.

He said, dude, you are inbound in human form. And I was like, oh, thanks. Cool story, bro. Like Yeah. And and and but but the word stuck with me.

And, Max, it wasn't until I heard you talk about what you just said about HubSpot Academy that a flash came to my brain where it's like, you are what you focus on. And for 10 years, for over a decade, I've been focused on HubSpot Academy, certification after certification after certification, which has forced me to connect the dots, connect the dots, marketing to sales, sales to service, service to marketing, to operations, to rev ops, to CMS, to CRM, to, like, and so focus on, focus on, focus on. And so it's interesting when I now think back about Dan saying you are inbound personified in a human form, it's because it's a decade of focusing on what HubSpot Academy was putting out, what they were what they were teaching from a cultural best practice and click it to make it happen standpoint. And that just is kind of an amazing thing to sit back and kinda think about.

Liz Moorehead: You know, I'd love to get Devin's take on this and and see if he agrees with me or not. What you're speaking to, though, George, is something that and I'm gonna be honest. I'm almost glad you guys didn't give a lot of notes because I think this is getting a lot more deeper and human. I don't have a fancy board, but that's what

Max Cohen: we've got.

Liz Moorehead: I think we're getting into much deeper topics here than maybe we anticipated. Because what you're speaking to, George, is something that not necessarily HubSpot Academy can give you. You're either hungry to learn or you're not. Oh. You know, you're either you're either able to look at HubSpot you're either looking at HubSpot transactionally as I would like to increase ROI of the platform, which is true.

Like, that is a thing. But you also can walk in there. And I know we're gonna talk a little bit later about focus, like, how you bring focus to, like, this big giant Disney store of HubSpot, but that's something you can't fake. But to your point, George, you it's almost reminds me of you are what you eat, and I think we forget that our brains are little consumers too. And we can feed it junk food or we can feed it with learning.

And I've noticed that I'm always happier, helpful more helpful, but never humble, when I'm learning. I don't know, Devin. What are your thoughts on that?

Devyn Bellamy: If you are self motivated when it comes to learning, if you are ADHD and you hyperfocus, HubSpot Academy is the place to go. I had been obsessed with marketing since I was 15 years old and I saw a URL on a website or on a commercial for the first time. And it just blew me away because I was already designing websites, but at the time it was like this underground nerdy thing and the next thing you know, American Airlines comes on, and at the end of the commercial says That was game changing. That was, like, Super Bowl QR code, like, level game changing for me.

And it's always been a hobby to reverse engineer and try and duplicate marketing strategies, but the barrier of entry was entirely too high, having only gone to college like Liz for a year and a half, and at that, being a music education major. And so the the thing is is that I'm I've done a lot in my life. I've learned a lot. I've mastered a lot, but it's always been through atypical nontraditional means. It's learning it myself, doing it myself, going to to to online, and and figuring it out.

And so when I finally was able to get in marketing, 20 years after the spark was initially lit the flame, 35 years old is when I got into marketing full time and not as a hobbyist, not as a quote unquote agency owner who's really just a glorified flyer designer. I was doing it for real and I was doing it for, like, peanuts because somebody took a chance on a guy. And I ramped up from entry level to director in a year because of HubSpot. I have had so many amazing jobs and amazing experiences, and I've accomplished so much for other people, helping them grow and helping them make money. And there is a direct connection to every success in my life right now, including being on this podcast because of HubSpot Academy.

The thing is is that with with with HubSpot Academy, what what what was challenging for me is that I understood the concepts. I was able to connect the dots and I was able to basically duplicate the inbound strategy by reverse engineering it without having any sort of vocabulary, without having any idea how to articulate what I was actually doing, Let alone being able to commit it communicate to c suite for buy in. I didn't know what a KPI was. I didn't know what a marketing funnel was. I remember the day that I googled funnel expecting to see one thing and I saw section triangles and I'm like, no.

This can't be what I'm looking for. And, like, I I remember learning all of that and and and and being able to speak in a way that not only conveys what it is that I'm doing, but conveys it in a manner that inspires confidence in the people that are handing me money. And the entirety of that is because of HubSpot Academy. When people when I was doing onboarding, people asked me, it's like, Devin, how can I be like you? Oh, my goodness.

You're so amazing in marketing. You're so good as a strategist. Oh, you're just working

Liz Moorehead: on a HubSpot platform like a champ. How did

Devyn Bellamy: you learn that? I learned it all at HubSpot Academy.

George B. Thomas: Yeah.

Devyn Bellamy: Me, the college dropout tuba player. I was I was working in radio were making $18,000 a year. I went from making that in 2,000 15 to making way more than that in 2023. I'm not gonna tell you about my pockets, but I'll just tell you that. I'll be.

Alright? So I'm I'm doing good.

George B. Thomas: A fast and furious reference.

Liz Moorehead: A fast a fast My pockets ain't empty, We

George B. Thomas: probably hungry, bro.

Liz Moorehead: We ain't hungry. Bro. Damn it. What matters the only people that matter are the people in this room right here, right now, except for Max, who said family like a swear. Family.

Devyn Bellamy: But, yeah, hub HubSpot Academy, is the reason I am enjoying life right now.

George B. Thomas: It's the

Devyn Bellamy: reason why my kids go to one of the the best daycare in the city. Why like, my kid does yoga. Yeah. I have a kid that does yoga. Yeah.

Liz Moorehead: There was once upon a time where

Devyn Bellamy: you would get your hood card pulled for having your kid doing yoga. And I'm like,

George B. Thomas: man, it's crazy, buddy. Show up

Liz Moorehead: and he's just like, I will take that? Yes. But it's just

Devyn Bellamy: however way it works in the community. If you're doing something that's considered atypical, you're gonna get the side eye. But the thing is is that my children are living their best life Yes. Right now. My family is living their best life right now because of HubSpot Academy.

Every every success in the past 5 years of my life directly attributable to HubSpot Academy. So just to recap, from college dropout to guest professor on the rev op certification. So feel free to check that out if you're gonna get certified in, World Certification Week. You'll see me there talking about stuff that I learned through HubSpot

George B. Thomas: Academy. I like

Liz Moorehead: the call back. Joke like yeah. I wanna make a joke like free. And it's free. And it's free.

I wanna make

George B. Thomas: a joke.

Liz Moorehead: Let me let me say something. With my wife about that.

George B. Thomas: I don't even know where to go from there, Liz. You better you better herd these cats. Heard these cats, girl.

Liz Moorehead: Oh, man. And I love when you 2 just when all of you just go, no. I'm just kidding. Actually, what was funny, Devin, is I wanted to make a joke there about, like, well, now I know what certification to avoid. But that story, like these are the stories that make me go now that's the first certification I'm taking.

I may not wait because that's what this is all about. Now I wanna pivot the discussion here not away from stories but because George, I think we accidentally backdoored our way into our big idea because I think what happens is that when we think about content, we think about it like a commodity. When we think about education, we think about it as that, but what part of the funnel is the which triangle part, right? Like we're trying to feed the flywheel, the funnel, the, awkwardly shaped Tupperware with the wrong lid on top, whatever, however you measure your sales cycle. We think about content and education as something with a very transactional value.

And I think one of the greatest things that people could take away from HubSpot Academy that has nothing to do with you going into the certifications and actually taking them is understanding that HubSpot is a business. HubSpot is a business that needs to make money. This is kind of like the conversations I have with people when they're like, why can't just go on stage and be myself? I'm like, I go on stage and talk about Cage and Rant and Raven. George, you saw me talk at retrofoam.

I made people clap for me because they didn't clap hard enough when I told them I got married and I got mad. Yeah. So I made an audience of foam insulation installers clap for me and they did and then they also took me seriously. HubSpot is not is special and it's also not special. You can do these things too with your education.

You can look at the constituency of humans that you serve and you can make a choice to say there is a greater good we are going to serve through education and maybe it's impacting their lives. Maybe it's so Devon's kid could go to yoga. Maybe it's so George can stand here and own the fact that, by the way, you called yourself an agency owner out loud.

George B. Thomas: I did.

Liz Moorehead: Which is incredible considering the conversation you and I had a week ago or so.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. I know.

Liz Moorehead: This is I think the big idea that as a content nerd, I just light the freak up. Words move people, education empowers. You have the ability to change lives. I do not care what you do or sell. I genuinely do not care.

Somebody somewhere maybe just might be able to feel better about putting food on the table just because you went out of your way to educate instead of selling all the time. George, help me out.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Well, I think there's there's something that has kinda come into mind, and and I feel like maybe it's a good piece to share. And that is you mentioned transactional. My relationship with HubSpot Academy has not been transactional at all. It has been a relationship.

It's been a relationship with the content. It's been a relationship with the people who have been creating the content. It's been a relationship with the communities that I've been able to build because I've then been able to turn around and educate people. It it's it's all about relationship. It's all about humans, and it's not transactional.

And and here's what I would hope that people would understand. If you're listening to this and you live in a world that this is not you, the phrase that I'm about to say, then take some time to think about if it should be. Because for the past decade of my life, these are the words of wisdom that I would give somebody, and that is education trumps entertainment. And if you realize that education trumps entertainment and you realize that you have an entire library on how to do good business in a human way with tactics and strategies that don't suck and make you look like a butthole, then I don't know what to tell you. If you're sitting there and you're

Liz Moorehead: worried wonderful.

George B. Thomas: If if you're worried yeah. If you're worried about, you're getting certifications because your boss wants you to get the certifications, your boss is demanding you to get the certifications, let me tell you how many bosses I've worked for in the last 10 years that told me I needed to get a certain certification by a certain date. 0. Because I took the mentality of education over entertainment. I'm gonna catch them all.

I'm gonna know everything. And, again, I fully understand for me, it's gonna be different for you. For me, it was because somebody told me I would never amount to anything, and I felt stupid. And I saw HubSpot Academy as a way to never feel stupid again. And I took it, and I ran with it.

Liz Moorehead: So I kinda got

Devyn Bellamy: stuck with it. I live, man. That got me.

Liz Moorehead: I mean Damn. That was that yeah. I I think so many people take for granted. Man, my boss is making me make my brain better and bigger and more smarter, gooder forever. What a jerk.

I don't like them. Again, we can't sit here and share these stories and anticipate that suddenly you're gonna be like, man, I also wanna change my life with HubSpot Academy. But I think it does invite the idea of I hope there are business owners right now listening to this Yes. Who felt a ding the way I saw. Like, Devin literally went, like collapsed upon himself like a little tiny dying star just for a second, feeling that in the feels.

I hope business owners are listening right now and you don't need to know what certifications they need to go get. Make that part of their thing. Make it a part of their week, their month, something. Make education a requirement. I'm always amazed by companies and leaders who do not do this.

And it can't be stuff that's in your ecosystem, you can't do self education on the stuff that's already in your house. You got to go out and get new stuff. It's only going to make your organization stronger. I get it, it's not technically quote, a revenue generating activity at the, like, very direct and obvious level. I don't know.

I just Yeah. I'm I'm always I'm sorry. I'm feeling a feeling right now, which is why I'm struggling with my words.

George B. Thomas: It's all good. It's a good feeling. Embrace it.

Liz Moorehead: In places. I've worked in places where education is not prioritized. Or if education is prioritized, it's where you're gonna have to do it and it's part of your requirement, but you're gonna have to do it during off hours and that's not billable. And like, I have worked in organizations outside of even just the inbound ecosystem where that's been the case. And do you know what that made me do?

That made me realize I was a number. That made me realize that I was only ever as good as the stuff I was bringing in the door. And to be fair, everyone's replaceable, like, you know, company culture conversation for a different day. But that's a great way to increase turnover. That's a really great way to to move people out the door.

George B. Thomas: And I want everybody to realize too that's listening to this, like, especially business owners. This isn't a pipe dream. I'm not gonna sit here and sell you a bill of goods that I'm not willing to do myself, and I don't say this to boast. But if you go look at our new HubSpot implements implementation specialist, and you can go to the blog, you can learn about Jorge Fuentes. Go to his LinkedIn and see in the last 3 weeks from being part of the team how many HubSpot Academy certifications he's gotten, and let the world know that he's gotten and is on the track of he even, out of his own mouth, said, I'm gonna catch them all.

You wanna talk about a boss that was energized when he said I was gonna catch them all, and I knew that I didn't have to, like, force him to have that drive, force him to have that grit. And so, Liz, where I'm going with this is you said make it mandatory. Lead the freaking way. Be a boss who gets the certifications. Not it doesn't have to be all of them, but lead the way and then see who wants to follow and who wants to exceed what you're leading the way into.

Liz Moorehead: This has been such an incredible episode. And, George, understandably, we're gonna have to do a part 2 of this. But I

George B. Thomas: swear we have to do a part 2 to almost everything we talk about. It's kinda crazy.

Liz Moorehead: I well, I mean, we should never just talk about something one time. I I that is by the way, content strategy trip tip of the day. If you think you can only talk about something once, you've got a content problem and you are writing, we just call me. Let's talk. But I I hope you guys feel good about me letting us go a little off the reservation today because I think we had the conversation we were supposed to have.

Yeah. Absolutely. I I do. So here's what I want us to end on

George B. Thomas: before

Liz Moorehead: short and sweet, one sentence. What is your piece of advice to someone who is either new to HubSpot Academy or suddenly feeling moved by this conversation to reintroduce themselves? How do they make sense of the overwhelm? Because it is a lot. What is your one sentence advice?

Max Cohen: Alright. This is gonna be for someone who's who's new to HubSpot, how you can use HubSpot Academy. If you're if you're stepping into HubSpot for the first time and it looks like a giant blank canvas and you have no idea where to start, all the context that you need to make it all make sense can come from doing a couple of strategic certifications. Don't worry about the tool ones. You don't need to get certified in the marketing hub to use the marketing hub, but you need to have an overall understanding of the strategy so all that stuff starts to make sense.

Liz Moorehead: Start there. Strategy 1.

Max Cohen: Yep. Yeah. Start there. Then all of a sudden, it will become a lot clearer what the job is to be done with that thing. Then then get your get your software strategy after that.

Right? But the more important thing is that you understand the strategy, and that is the best possible place for you to go to download all that into your brain super quick.

Liz Moorehead: So many sent semicolons in that sentence max, but Yes.

Max Cohen: Those were all commas. All commas.

George B. Thomas: Yep. It was a little bit of a run on.

Max Cohen: You didn't say, hey. Hey. To be fair, you didn't say I couldn't use a run on sentence, so I stayed within the guardrail. I

Liz Moorehead: okay. I'm blessed and learned. Devin, you're up next.

Devyn Bellamy: World certification week. No. No. Put it back on. Put it back on.

World certification week, May 15th through 19th. If you're interested in developing your career, put time on your calendar today. That was fantastic. And

Liz Moorehead: what if it's what if somebody doesn't wanna wait until May?

George B. Thomas: Because that's like get

Max Cohen: sued for that. That's

Liz Moorehead: like 2 months away. So, like, let's say in between now and then, what's your advice?

Devyn Bellamy: Just set a goal, get in there, and try and find courses and certifications that align with your goal.

Liz Moorehead: I love that. George?

George B. Thomas: Every time Devin walks in a room from this day forward, Max is gonna walk around with the soundboard with it. So, here's the thing.

Liz Moorehead: That was a great sentence.

George B. Thomas: Thank you, George. Figure out figure out what your major pain point is. Go to the search bar. Search the thing. Find the videos that come up.

Hit the little heart on the videos. Then realize instead of being paralyzed by everything, you'll go to the my saved items tab, and you'll watch the videos that will help you fix the thing that you have the most hurt in at this moment. Meaning, you don't have to have a certification mindset. You have to have a what do I need to learn today to get my ish done mindset.

Devyn Bellamy: Those were semicolons.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. I'm is a little bit going on.

Liz Moorehead: I agree with that.

George B. Thomas: You know, I try to keep it short. It's hard for me to keep anyway, whatever.

Liz Moorehead: Gentlemen, this is how it's done. If you're new to HubSpot or you've ignored it for a very, very long time, go to HubSpot Academy and just pick something that interests you. Just take the first step. It's like going back to the gym. Just start by thinking about putting on the gym clothes.

Like, just take the baby first step.

George B. Thomas: There you go.

Liz Moorehead: Alright, George. Are you ready for your poem, and then I'm gonna take us out?

George B. Thomas: Yeah. Let's let's hear the is it a haiku or a poem?

Liz Moorehead: Oh, it's a poem.

George B. Thomas: Oh, okay.

Liz Moorehead: I had some feelings. In fact, I asked chat GBT to this is gonna be more embarrassing for you than it is for me. Trust me.

George B. Thomas: Oh, god.

Liz Moorehead: Write a poem about how George is mean to me in the style of Christopher Walken.

George B. Thomas: Oh, snap.

Liz Moorehead: I've never done a Christopher Walken impression. We're gonna go on this journey together like a family. Are we ready? I see Maxi's like, this is gonna be terrible. Bro, man.

George B. Thomas: I'm so worried right now. Oh, George. I'm so worried.

Liz Moorehead: Oh, George. You make my heart so sore. Your words like daggers, they cut me to the core. I'm feeling like a wounded deer lost in the dark. Thanks to your mean behavior that leaves me with a mark.

I'm not gonna do the rest of that now, but I am gonna read the end of it. Thank you. Thank you. Whatever it is you say, I will not let you bring me down. I'll keep on fighting and turn it all around.

For I am strong. I will not let you defeat me. I stand tall like a tree. Rise up and you'll see. If you enjoyed that poem, if you enjoyed what we talked about this week, if you actually just have feelings, grievances, stories you wanna share, please go to your local podcast provider and leave us a review.

But, otherwise, gentlemen, I will see you next week.

George B. Thomas: Yeah. I'm gonna have to use the whole week to start feeling good about myself again. Holy crap. Okay, hub heroes. We've reached the end of another episode.

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