You Must Evolve to Scale with Tyler Horsley at Nuclear Networking

Adaption is required if you want to grow a company. You must evolve to scale your business if you’re going to lead consistently through the market’s challenges. Today’s guest is Tyler Horsley, co-founder, and CEO at Nuclear Networking. Inc Magazine ranked his company #495 on the 2020 Inc 5000 list. Nuclear Networking is a leader in SEO and SEM for companies that want engagement. Tyler gives us the core principles of growth that have allowed his company to be on the Inc 5000 list. He believes you must evolve to scale. Evolution is not just about business but personal growth too. When you evolve to scale, you adapt to the changing world faster than your peers.

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Tyler Horsley: The Transcript

About: Tyler Horsley is the Founder and CEO of Nuclear Networking. Nuclear Networking starts with education on how digital marketing works and what is possible. Create and harness marketing technology to serve humanity and shape the way we grow business. Once engaged, they provide strategic marketing services paired with ongoing actionable consulting to create a powerful online presence and help our partners reach their goals.


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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Tyler Horsley
From a survivalist mentality, just get as much work done as quick as possible. And I had kind of a burnout scenario in life. And that really opened my eyes to qualifying What are my values? And why am I doing what I’m doing. It’s good to be a performer and an achiever, but basically after trying to identify identifying those values, I came to relentless results. And integrity, obviously, I know that as you’re going through EOS and other programs, trying to further define value sets is pretty important, but positive energy so I realize that it’s it’s obviously not just the chase, for finance and more, but I love the, the mystic part a little bit, and but being able to use that for good, so I call it exclusive knowledge. And I found that moving from my past career into marketing here, where I was able to basically leverage knowledge to help business owners grow and more. And so that’s really been one of the core drivers that really got me into this space.

Intro [1:05]
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs of the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

Gene Hammett [1:23]
Evolution is necessary. In fact, it’s required if you want to be the leader that your team craves, evolve, evolving to scale is not just about making more money about creating more revenue or profits. evolving to scale is about you evolving into the leader that you could be. We all have certain innate qualities and skills that are available to us. But we must adapt beyond just what’s given to us by chance, and create real growth inside of our own leadership. This is about being intentional. This is about having deep integrity, and really the desire to grow. Today’s guest is the CEO founder of nucular networking, and they’ve been on the Inc list number 495 in 2020, but we’re talking with Tyler Horsley. Tyler really is an amazing leader who’s got a keen mind on what does it take to grow a business and grow and engage people. Today we look at some of the core principles of his leadership. But we also look at why scaling to evolve is such a necessary element of who we are, who we can become. When you think about your own journey. As a leader, you’ve got to push beyond what’s easy, and what’s natural, and what’s comfortable, to evolve and adapt to become a stronger leader. Because that’s what’s required of you. That’s what you have signed up for if you want to be the strong leader that your team craves. Before we jump into the interview, I want to remind you that if you haven’t already checked out, go look at

Gene Hammett [3:00]
On that page, you will find some information about the network that we’re creating together the community if you will, around founders, CEOs, and executives that want to grow their business fast. Now, why do you want to be a part of a community? Well, one of the things is you want to surround yourself with others that will challenge you and your own thinking, challenge you to keep growing, challenge you to set bigger goals, and challenge you to really get real with yourself. But what does it take to create a fast-growing company? Well, the only way you can do that is by surrounding yourself with those people. I also will be the resident coach inside this community where I facilitate ways to grow and ways to learn and help you build systems and structure around your leadership skills. If you want to be an extraordinary leader, and check out fast growth if you are kind of sitting on the fence, then this community’s probably not right for you. But if it’s something you’re hungry for, and you know that that has a direct impact on the ability to create the company that you really want. Check out fast growth now here’s the conversation with Tyler.

Gene Hammett [4:09]
Tyler, how are you?

Tyler Horsley [4:10]
Doing well. Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Gene Hammett [4:13]
Excited to have you on growth think tank to talk about leadership and culture that drive companies fast. Give us a little bit of context around nuclear networking.

Tyler Horsley [4:22]
Sure. Nuclear networking. We’re located in South Denver, if you’re familiar with the landscape, Denver Tech Center, so not downtown proper, but we focus on two core deliverables and so from SMBs to private equity search funds and all the way up to enterprise we offer SEO and SEM. So just to translate the acronym search engine optimization search engine marketing, we primarily play on common ad platforms, so Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And then we also leverage backlink acquisition tools to help companies increase organically online on search engines.

Gene Hammett [5:01]
Love it. I am really fascinated to talk to you today. Not that we’re gonna dive into the marketing side of this. But we’re going to talk about the leadership and culture aspects that have kept nuclear networking growing. I know you’re acquiring companies, you’re probably looking to grow in many different ways, would you if I had to back up for a second and say, you know, what, what is the core leadership principle that drives you to the success that you’ve had.

Tyler Horsley [5:27]
Core to leadership principles? We did. Just to give you a really quick context, I did for the first time, I’ve always been kind of a sprinter in business and from a survivalist mentality, just get as much work done as quickly as possible. And I had kind of a burnout scenario in life. And that really opened my eyes to qualifying What are my values? And why am I doing what I’m doing. It’s it’s good to be a performer, and an achiever. But basically, after kind of identifying, identifying those values, I came to relentless results. And integrity, obviously, I know that as you’re going through EOS and other programs, trying to further to find value sets is pretty important, but positive energy. So I realized that it’s obviously not just the chase, for finance and more, but I, I love the mischief part a little bit, and but being able to use that for good, so I’d call it exclusive knowledge. And I found that moving from my past career into marketing here, where I was able to basically leverage knowledge to help business owners grow and more. And so that’s really been one of the core drivers that really got me into this space.

Gene Hammett [6:38]
I want to make sure that we don’t miss something here on the values because we could be talking about your personal values and the company values. And there could be certainly some overlap when you’re rattling off the values with those personal or company.

Tyler Horsley [6:51]
I’ve rolled a lot of my personal values into the company as well, through our exercise. Largely those are, those are our operating company values, from relentless results, intellectual agility, and positive energy. But it’s, it’s on a personal side if that’s kind of what you’re asking. I want to bring kind of more of a positive impact to purpose-driven businesses and more. Again, I firmly believe in a lot of other founders out there, I think, would say this about themselves too. But anything that you can kind of focus on and you will, you will do well, if you have perseverance, and you fit that like the crazy mindset that all of us entrepreneurs have. But at the end of the day, what’s the impact I am really making in what I do. And I found that a lot of doing well in this space in terms of marketing and more work, when we’re able to help other business owners kind of grow and more it’s, it’s more of a rewarding space to be in, for that matter, just to help people reach their goals as well. And I know it’s marketing, but that’s a crucial tool, that that I found pretty rewarding, gaining feedback from other peers. And that’s Yeah.

Gene Hammett [7:58]
So I appreciate you talking about some of the core values and you rolling in your personal values. I think a lot of companies don’t understand the importance of values. I’ve had conversations with even fast growth companies that have grown fast, but more times than not, they will go back and say our values have been the cornerstone of our growth because not only do we hire by them, we lead we fire, we onboard aspects of using values. If we were taking a peek inside your company, go through a couple of the things that you feel are most important to living the values that nucular networking.

Tyler Horsley [8:36]
Sure. Yeah. So some of them I mean, just by nature, given the industry that we’re in our first core value is around relentless results. So before I even dive in, I think it’s worth mentioning, one of the implementers that I had worked with when we were starting to create values, it’s like, if you’re going to create values, make them count, right? Trust, integrity, respect, it’s like those, you know, Enron shared a lot of those same values. So it’s like, they have to be practical And to your point, you need to live by them, hired by them, and fire by them and so relentless results. We wanted to make sure that it was a core focus here that we’re highly accountable to all stakeholders. And there’s a there’s an acronym GRSD, getting the right stuff done, use the more polite version, but it’s, we’re fanatical about getting the right stuff done. And as you may know, to in marketing, you know, you could do the 8020 rule, there’s 20% of the work that can kind of get you 80% of the way there. And we want to make sure that individuals that we’re working with including employees and clients know that we’re out for their best interest. Intellectual agility is another one.

Tyler Horsley [9:46]
I am a super nerd myself, and not just in this space like video games and more, but I think resourcefulness, effectiveness, and presenting appropriate solutions is a large portion of What we’re doing here, lastly, just positive energy. That’s not just, you know, I’m up here in the Colorado space. So if you go to Boulder, you’ll see a lot of positive energy but in different ways, but it’s, we want to celebrate success. Have fun, give back. We also believe that under that positive energy, having each other’s back is really key, too. So that’s, those are ways that we kind of life that out in our own company.

Gene Hammett [10:26]
I’m kind of curious, a lot of leaders, as I said earlier, would say values are a little bit touchy-feely, like, Yes, we have values here. And but we’re really here just to get the work done. What would you say to a leader that says, valuers are just not that important? Because we’re here to just make money or serve our clients, whatever that may be? Why would you say values are important.

Tyler Horsley [10:48]
Man, I would I’d use myself as an example and say, given another chance, you’re missing it. So let’s just use experience here. But it’s like I was I mean, I’m efficiency and optimization, 101, that’s my life. If I can get anything to work, even even a quarter of a percent better, I will try. And hiring was where this played the biggest role for us. But you can look at resumes all day. And then you might have the the the wrong person, right seat, right. And so getting right seat, right person is pretty important. So when you’re able to really look at values and culture, those two things were the kind of shook my world in a great way, I was kind of the anti group, I can kind of do this on my own. And I’m just being candid. It’s like what you know, this has been working so far. So I fix it if it’s not broken. And it’s like, great, that may have worked for zero to a million or one to two, but go to 10, go to 20. Go to 50. You know, when you get massive amounts of employees, and more just like a family or roommates living together in a house, you want to make sure that everybody works together well, and has a has a shared vision. And so learning about and implementing values has been pretty life-changing for us. And that’s just my experience. And that’s probably what I would share to those who question values.

Gene Hammett [12:04]
Tyler, you said something really important that I want to make sure we don’t miss? Sure, I can do this on my own. Yeah, I think that’s a common thought that a lot of founders have. Because they in many cases they have they like they had an idea for a company and, and not sure about where this started for you. Because I know you have a background in law enforcement and outside of the marketing world. But I can do it myself gets gets you to a certain point. But you’ve got to learn to shift that and change your thinking. Because it’s not just about what you could do yourself. It’s but what could you do with and through people, and leveraging the most out of this? And this is really the backbone of leadership. Do you remember back when you made that shift from I can do it all myself?

Tyler Horsley [12:48]
I do. Yeah. And I also just want to communicate? And it’s worth looking into and researching, but it’s like, the most successful founders, right? How are you raised? You know, were it was it a performance-based love system, and we won’t go down there. But I mean, I’ve done a lot of work, just trying to realize myself, some of those, some of my top strengths are also my biggest weaknesses when it comes to leadership. First and foremost, because they’re not scalable. It’s like, I can’t throw the ball and catch it as well. So if I want to be a one-man, show, it’s, you know, I can, I’m going to be stressed out all the time. And I, you know, it’s just not not sustainable. So given kind of how I was raised in certain big areas of my life, that that helped kind of wake me up just for lack of better words, that gave me a better perspective in this space.

Tyler Horsley [13:42]
Certain things that I’ve learned even really basic things outside of the importance of values and more, it’s like, trust, I think was a big one. It’s I grew up in a family where it’s like, if you if you want something done, right, get it done yourself, or do it yourself, and being able to hire other qualified individuals that I would absolutely call equals, or even, yeah, hopefully, they’re better than I am, or smarter than I am in specific ways. It’s like the scale the perspective. perspective is key. And I think one of the clicking moments here is when i and this is not a plug by any means. But I joined entrepreneurs organization here in Denver, and I’m again, I was the anti-group guy, I’m like, I’m not gonna go sit in groups and you know, listen to other people. And I also had this weird thought that they were just trying to sell me stuff. You know, the whole time I was in this business group, but man, it’s it really helped me gain a different perspective. You’re only allowed to use experience, share and not give advice, no solicitation. But learning from people from all different backgrounds, demographics, experience levels, both personal and professional, has done nothing but helped me grow. And so I’ve almost become, you know, addicted to trying to learn as much as I possibly can about people who aren’t me and yeah.

Commercial [15:01]
Hold on for a second. Tyler’s has talked about your top strengths or weaknesses. Maybe you’ve never thought of this. But let me describe what this means. Every strength that you have is good for you and pushes you forward. But there’s some element that has a dark side to it. And many of them will hold you back, for example, I just got off the phone with a great leader who’s driving their business really hard and fast. And he said, grit is one of his top strengths. Now, I know from my experience about the dark side of this, I said, what happens when you focus on your grit, and that’s just all you see, he goes, well, that that dark side is really about, I can just put my head down and execute and forget to pull my head up, I can try to push through all the the issues and challenges in front of me. But my job is not to just push through some of these challenges, but to really understand them and get to the core of it. So sometimes you need to look at the dark side of your strengths. My job as an executive coach is to help you understand how to push yourself forward, not just by focusing on your strength, but looking at the dark side, so that you’re aware of what could come in between you and your next-level growth. Just a moment for you to think about the dark sides of your strengths. Back to Tyler.

Gene Hammett [16:18]
Talked to a lot of leaders who don’t want to be in group programs. Yeah, many of them have left EO, Vistage, and other groups, because if you’re growing on the Inc 5000, you’re growing faster than the people that typically come to those groups. And so they get a little bit worn out because they they think about leadership in their team differently. Have you seen that within your groups?

Tyler Horsley [16:42]
I think and this is just my experience, right? So I think depending on how the chapter is ran, just like companies, its culture, I can just speak for our chapter in Colorado, we have quality leadership, I was able to serve on the board, you know, last year, but I we also have an accelerator program, too. So if somebody is not there financially, you know, they’re in a, they’re in an introductory place to help them get up. And, but I mean, we have some pretty aggressive individuals. And like, I’m, I’m one of the smaller ones there. And so I mean, I guess for me, I’m still getting a lot out of it personally. And I’d say a lot of the personal transitioning into business, it does not just have you hit this revenue number, and are you big enough, and are you learning enough, but you could have the best business person in the world and maybe their family life is suffering at home. And so being able to get a lot of personal coaching as well has been pretty beneficial for for the entire life journey that you want to create. one without the other may not be the best. And so it’s cool to have people support you on both.

Commercial [17:45]
Tyler just said something I want to make sure that you pick up on, he said, I didn’t think I was a group person. He talked about the value of EO and this is not a commercial for you. And it’s not going to be a commercial for my community for fast growth boardroom. But I want you to think about this. If you aren’t surrounded by people that can challenge your own thinking that can support you and help you grow and help you see the missing gaps and the blind spots. Then what are you doing? If you’re just looking for people to say yes to you, or you’re just looking to focus on what’s right in front of you, then maybe you shouldn’t be a part of a group. But a group will give you a sense of community but will also give you insights that’s broader than where you are today allow you to challenge and grow and adapt, learn from others mistakes, because that’s one of the best ways you can actually learn is not having to go through the mistake yourself. Now we all know that mistakes give us a deeper understanding of of that challenge. But some of these things you would like to avoid, right? Well, if you surround yourself with the right people, the right people will help you see what you can’t see, and help you grow beyond where you are today. So don’t be close to groups. And again, this is not a commercial for my group, But I want you to think about why you would say I’m not a group person. Back to Tyler.

Gene Hammett [19:08]
I want to bring back to your own personal journey for leadership. Tyler, we’ve been talking about the values of the company and why they’re so important. I know you’ve you’ve been through some tough times you’ve hit some some probably had some mistakes and those learning moments. Is there one that you can share with us today without breaking confidentiality and putting you into an uncomfortable place that that would help us grow as leaders.

Tyler Horsley [19:31]
Sure. So Geez. Which mistake tons tons of mistakes and yeah, I I’d say the one of them that sticks out in my mind and this might seem simple to some but i i hope somebody out there listening it hits home for them hiring quality talent, specifically in the C level or management arena. In more cases than not you absolutely get what you pay for. And oh my gosh, we I held off for too long. finding other individuals that really could support me if you go through the EOS practice or other practices, you’ll learn keywords like integrator and visionary. And when I found out where my strengths were, as an example of visionary, you might, you might be able to solve world hunger. But you know, you you fail to, you know, pick up your children on time from school, because it’s like, you’re not an organized person, you’re a great visionary. And so finding the the, your other compatible integrator, somebody to help you kind of execute your ideas is going to be crucial to your success, perhaps.

Tyler Horsley [20:41]
So, for me, I was still in that startup mentality. that’s largely what got us to the initial growth bump, but then I stayed there. And evolution is necessary to scale again. And it’s like, Man, you can’t keep operating at this level, you need help, that requires trust. And it also requires really quality individuals and swallowing, you know, hey, I need to pay for sea levels that really know what they’re doing and hopefully even know far more than I do. That was game-changing for me, not only for growth, for life balance, for happiness, for joy for sleep. So that’s like, that’s the biggest thing, I think I have taken away from the mistakes that I’ve learned.

Commercial [21:25]
If you’re listening to me through a podcast player, or through your web browser, then I want you to know that you can actually get content in video format. on YouTube, we have some of the interviews we do over there, some of the content that we only put on YouTube is available at And if you want to be an extraordinary leader, you want to tune in to what really great leaders do and how they think, then make sure you go to, subscribe, and make sure you don’t miss an episode. Because if you do, I can’t help you.

Gene Hammett [22:01]
I want to go through one thing that you just said, because one of the biggest benefits of having these conversations with founders, CEOs like yourself, is to be able to take apart how they think. And I think a lot of people sitting in your seat believe in evolution is necessary. But yet, they’re not really evolving. They’re focused on work. They’re focused on the things that have to be get done, or the you know, the goals that were set a quarter ago or a year ago, but they’re not really working on themselves. If we were looking in your life, how would we see that you’re really working on yourself and what that looks like?

Tyler Horsley [22:39]
Yeah. So one thing that you said, I just kind of wanted to point out that I’ve learned a lot, it’s not work, work performance, and success is not who can sprint and run in and run themselves into the ground quickest. It’s really not. And I don’t even think those with the most capital are the best ideas win at the end of the day, as we’ve seen through this last year, even I think adaptation is really the key. Being able to see your point kind of evolve in this space, and quickly adapt and remain flexible and uncertain times is pretty important. In my own personal life. And this is a balance for me, because I tend to over-schedule myself and do everything at once. And so even I even had to scheduling personal time. Right. So I mentioned, I’m a part of eo.

Tyler Horsley [23:34]
So I mean, we have forum, you know, monthly that I attend, which is helpful from a business perspective and growing relationships. But I’m in a personal group every Thursday night. And it has nothing to do with business. And in fact, I don’t even know I’m not even certain that a lot of the individuals that know me, well, personally, we just don’t talk business. So it’s kind of cool in that way because it forces the family life, the home life, the personal health, the mental, you know, well-being and spirituality, and any other areas of focus. So that’s what I pursue weekly. Those relationships are really great. They are healing for me, helps me get out of my work mode. That’s what I that’s what my wife and we call it, it’s just like, I’m in gogogo mode. And that’s really helped to create balance for me. So business supporting and personal support are key.

Gene Hammett [24:26]
Tyler, I really appreciate you opening up to us a little bit sharing that journey. I don’t hear that very much about you know, having something every week on your calendar where you’re working on your, your personal elements and growing from that. Top, probably talking about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities so that you can make commitments to yourself and your families and those around you to be the best you can be. And it’s not just about work, so I appreciate you sharing that.

Tyler Horsley [24:53]
Yeah, yeah, you got it, of course.

Gene Hammett [24:55]
Well, I want to wrap up our conversation. I know Tyler’s listening in here, but I just wanted to reach After a little bit of this, you’ve got to continue to evolve. Your values may evolve as your company grows, your leadership style will certainly have to evolve because what you did with 10 employees won’t work with 50. And you have to be conscious and intentional about the evolution of who you are as a person. But as a leader, this is never more important than right now. So if you’re thinking about evolving as a leader and pushing yourself and your boundaries and becoming extraordinary and making a big impact, then make sure you check out the community that we’re building called will help you understand how to identify the gaps, identify the shortcomings and the leadership gaps that you have to become an extraordinary leader. Again, that’s It really is a group of other fast-growth founders that want to grow beyond where they are today. And you can check it out. If it’s right for you can apply. When you think about your own leadership, make sure you continue to evolve just like Tyler has talked about. When you think about leadership and grow think of Growth Think Tank, as always, lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.


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