You've moved from freelancing to running your own agency, and it's exciting as all get-out. But after the rush of creativity and the fun of a new project wears off, you're left with the reality of work. There are so many difficulties when working as a freelancer, but one of the perks is the simplicity of income.
An agency has so many more things to take into consideration, especially when it comes to investments, costs, and overall profits.
Are you in this situation, and wondering how exactly agencies stop working on bad, short term projects just to stay alive? Want to become an agency that has financial stability and the promise of growth without the constant threat of debt? Here are some ways to try and get out from under that weight, and start making money.
Streamline the Daily Grind
As an agency, you are going to start having many more monthly, weekly, or even daily tasks than you had when it was just you and your clients. The biggest issue here is that these tasks are, in many cases, necessary. How are you supposed to escape this, when you can't exactly stop doing these things?
It may seem silly, but when it hasn't been worked out, an agency can miss the opportunity to build a strong, consistent framework. You need to ensure that you create an outline for approaching these tasks – how and when they will be done.
This is monotonous, but essential. The difference between dealing with these tasks as they arise and having a standardized model of completing them is extreme. You will save so much more time, and have the basis for training and confronting unknown problems in the future. This will be a few dry hours of work for so much payoff in agency freedom and profit.
Always Analyze Projects
As a freelancer, you can view any project you are proposed as doable – it is a wild world, exciting and challenging for any number of reasons. In this case, a project is a project and income is income.
This seems like a process that should work no matter what level of work you're at, but you'd be wrong.
For an agency, a project isn't always a project. In fact, this line of thinking can be a huge mistake. Because there are so many moving parts in any agency, you need to make sure that everything you do contributes to your success. Sometimes, you will be presented with a project, and it can be tempting to take on what you need in order to get that money.
You need to take every proposal into serious consideration. It won't just be the end goal to keep in mind; you'll be paying for the workers doing these projects, and the plans and proposals you will now be making and presenting, the meetings, the whims and decisions of the clients.
You need to make sure that the projects you take on are worth your time and effort. Know what you need to keep growing, or you'll just be spiralling downwards.
Value, Value, Value
Make sure you're providing the best possible work. A good indicator of future success is present quality. You need to hold yourself to a high standard, and ensure that all of your members are keeping the agency's level of work at or above that bar. If you give quality work, you will make a profit.
But this isn't a one-way street. You need to work on charging differently – which is a whole other challenge to figure out. But once you've got the details finalized, you'll be ensuring that you're not getting paid hourly, but by the value that the project will bring to the client. How much will this be? It really does depend on the specific project, your experience, and whatever aspects you are going to pour into this project.
Time is money, but value is profit. You need to take the right path.
The Right Stuff
You need to be able to see the best decisions for you personally. Ego is a quiet monster, and it can destroy what you've spent time and money building. Know your limits, know when to delegate, and know when to say no – it isn't a failure if you learn from it.
Going along with this topic is the need to find the right people. This is your team, and you can build it however you want. Make sure you are constantly scouting the best workers with the right talent for you.
Managing people can be very, very difficult, and there will be some unpleasant times. You need to have an agency made up only of the people that will all but guarantee your success.
Making the right decisions also means doing the right marketing. You will have to spend money in order to promote your brand, but it doesn't take a fortune if you understand the tools and do it well. Many agencies spend so much money on branding that they are constantly strapped for cash. Don't make that mistake. The right ad, on the right platform, at the right time – this is what could gain you that stellar client.
Partnerships and Passive Income
Of course, the ultimate goal is to be turning a profit regardless of how many projects are ongoing. Hitting this level of agency fruition isn't easy, but it is phenomenally rewarding. Make it here, and you'll have enough financial stability and influence in the industry that you'll be able to branch out, take on more dynamic challenges, or just take a nice, long vacation.
This is where partnerships and passive income are your secret weapon. You can be doing whatever you want up front, but behind everything you also have cash flowing inward. This can be through any number of avenues, such as commission for having referred business to the right client.
Networking and knowing your strengths are, as ever, a key here. See the opportunities when they arise, and see the potential in the environment around you. Just because it'll passively come in the future, doesn't mean you're allowed to get passive about things in the present. Put in the work now to make money for no continual effort later – manage a steady stream this way and you've got it made.
As an agency owner, there are few better things to see than money flowing in right now for that thing you did way back when. But it takes a lot to get there. Remember, nobody owes you anything, so don't get entitled. You've got to produce quality work with quality people to be considered a major player.
It's going to be tough at times, and you may feel overwhelmed. But if you can stick with it and make all the right moves, the game is yours.