An Interview with Spencer McClung: Entrepreneur, Advisor and Investor

Interview with Spencer McClung

Spencer McClung is currently a Principal at Advisory Firm Three. He is an entrepreneur, executive, advisor, and investor with over twenty years of experience in digital media and technology.

Spencer helps entrepreneurs build and accelerate the growth of their companies, advising them in areas such as strategic planning, revenue planning, operations, team-building, and fundraising. In select situations, Spencer also advises investment groups and provides insight throughout their fundraising and investment processes. 

Before his current role as an advisor at Advisory Firm Three, Spencer McClung was an entrepreneur and executive in the digital space as EVP, Media, and Partnerships at BFA/IPSY ($1bil+ revenue, the largest beauty subscription/e-commerce platform, driven by digital creators, community 25mil+, 180mil+ product reviews), where he was responsible for leading the company’s media business.

This included its creator community, programming/editorial studio, branded content, creative, sales/integrated marketing, business development, and events businesses.

Prior to joining BFA/IPSY, he was COO at Kin Community, a leading women’s lifestyle media platform for digital creators.

He led the operations of the company, including its creator community, programming, sales, business development, finance, strategic planning, HR, and legal teams.

Before joining Kin, he was head of Corp Dev and a Board Member of CERECONS, a B2B SAAS healthcare platform. Prior to CERECONS, he held leadership positions in business development, advertising sales, and finance at Yahoo! Music/Launch Media (digital music discovery) and Disney.

Spencer McClung works with companies across the US, and sometimes internationally. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two children. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BBA in Finance with honors from Texas A&M University.

We spoke with Spencer McClung about everything from the habits he has which make him more productive to the worst job he’s ever had.

How would you describe yourself as a product?

An entrepreneur turned advisor who loves problem-solving with entrepreneurs. I am inspired every day by collaborating with them on ways to grow their businesses, nurture and equip their teams, and fulfill their mission.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?

I put a huge priority on sleep and exercise. I used to not be a morning person but that changed dramatically when I hit my 30s, and I love it.

When I was at Harvard Business School, a professor told our class that the most important piece of advice he could give us for our two years in school was to get our sleep. Sleep lowers stress, burns fat, helps the brain think clearly, increases energy levels, improves focus, and helps build a strong immune system. If you don’t believe me, you can Google it. But make sure you get your sleep!

Exercise in the morning has been a regular part of my routine for many years. It clears my head, helps me sleep better, improves my energy level and how I feel mentally, physically, and emotionally – it reduces stress and relaxes my mind. Every morning when I walk into work, I have already been awake and actively solving problems for several hours. I am much more effective before noon than most.

What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Get outside and enjoy nature. I am an avid hiker and spend 4-6 days a week hiking at a massive park by my house in Nashville.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The summer before my senior year in high school I worked as a brick-laborer, which is a level below a brick-layer. My days were spent outside in the Texas heat. I learned many things that summer, like that making money is really hard work for most people.

It motivated me to want to do well in college so I would have career options and never have to be a brick-laborer again.

That summer I learned to have respect for all people and that everyone has a story. I met some incredible people. They were manual laborers who worked hard.

My coworkers included a former Vietnam War sniper and other war veterans, a guy who broke his back after a 60 ft fall off a scaffold, dedicated family people, convicted felons who were working hard to turn their lives around, and many folks who were not motivated to do much of anything at all with their life.

Most of them were not rich or respected among the elites in our society, but they were individuals who helped build homes and other buildings we all use every day. I am beyond grateful for all I learned from my coworkers that summer. 

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The rise of the creator economy is so exciting to watch. Digital creators have sparked a revolution in how people discover and get inspired all around the globe.

They are disrupting spaces from beauty, to banking, from education to healthcare. And I think we are just getting started.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

My most satisfying moment in business was when we raised the first Advisory Firm Three fund with 6 incredible investors and then I invested the entire fund in my BFA/IPSY stock.