I am 24 and started my marketing agency a little over a year ago and I’m the only one working. In 1 year, I made about $100,000. Please help me with tips for scaling!
The Problem: I love my clients (mainly working with nonprofit and social impact businesses), but I’m currently feeling maxed out every week. I feel like hiring someone to help might be a lot of work, and maybe I’m just scared to trust someone, but I still want to grow my agency.
In March I made 17k (my record) but I felt so overworked almost enough that the money wasn’t worth it. I work with 2-3 retainer clients and then any one off projects are usually referrals.
• is it better to hire a contractor w a wider variety of services or more focused on specific skills (I mainly run social but I also provide extra if asked like email, ads, some web)
• eventually I’d like the agency to run on its own so I don’t have to do too much work and can live more. Any tips for this?
Congratulations on having a problem many would love to have! :)
I’ve been through these early growth pains before, so here are my 2 cents:
is it better to hire a contractor w a wider variety of services or more focused on specific skills
Go with focused to start with.
In the beginning, it is better to start delegating very specific tasks rather than a whole category of it.
You may not realise it but you already have a culture embedded in the business you’re doing, and currently that culture is 100% yours. This is what your clients are returning to you for and it’s what they have a relationship with.
When you add new people to your team, you’re introducing new culture, new ways of working, and new world views to your business. Sometimes they complement your culture, sometimes they’re at odds. So it’s better to have them come on board to do smaller pieces of work to start with, to give you and them time to learn how to work together, without compromising the quality of the relationship you already have with your clients.
It’s easy to underestimate how much time it will cost you to onboard a new team member. In my experience, this took up about 50% of my time for each new contractor.
And the best time to take on a new contractor is when you’re NOT under pressure. So start looking now and when you find someone, start them on easy-to-manage tasks, while you have time to provide support to them.
eventually I’d like the agency to run on its own so I don’t have to do too much work and can live more. Any tips for this?
Sorry but you’ve picked the wrong business to have “run on its own” :). The agency business is resource-intensive. It’s all about your people on one side and client relationships on the other.
Your job eventually becomes one of three things: 1) hiring, 2) finding new clients, and 3) maintaining client relationships. Some agencies do reach a point where they have all their staff doing these things for them, but it takes many years to reach that stage.
But, it can be done, and the trick is to combine your bespoke agency service with “off the shelf” products that you can sell over and over again. Look up Jack Butchers’ Visualize Value for a great example of this, where the agency founder packaged the knowledge that he has into training material that can be sold repeatedly (and cheaply). Or PSD2HTML, a web development agency that came up with a service specifically for turning PSDs into HTML for a fixed fee.
Hope that helped a little. Feel free to ask more questions if you want to. Happy to help.
Thank you for your support!