After almost a year of running my own agency, I got to learn all about the business model and how it works.
For months I struggled to realize why my business was not successful.
I was seeking video after video, course after course, and nothing I did helped me move the ball forward.
I spoke to as many gurus as I could, but nothing they said benefited my agency in any way, only their pockets.
If you're running an agency or looking to start an agency, you might be in a similar position currently.
You might hear that 'outreach is a numbers game,' but you've tried sending 1000s of messages and no one has gotten back to you.
The reality behind the agency business model is that the more people who start an agency, the more tainted agencies will get.
The fly-by-night business owners looking to make a quick buck are the reason that you're no longer seeing the responses you want to see.
A few years ago, it might have been incredibly easy to just message someone on Facebook, or LinkedIn, then get a reply.
Today, prospects receive 10s of cold messages, cold emails, and cold calls every day and so They've built a sort of immunity to your outreach.
So how do you overcome this? How do you make sure that you separate yourself from all the other agency owners in the space?
It's very simple, yet I haven't seen many people talk about it.
Build a team!
The only thing the public will tell you is 'don't give up... it's a numbers game.'
When you build a team, you're no longer the only one doing everything in your agency, instead, you're going to be making sure everyone else is doing their role.
You can apply the 80/20 rule and build your business.
Here's how you can build an A-team to scale your marketing agency.
The most important thing you need to do to be successful at running an agency is make sure your current clients are getting the results they signed up for.
If you're starting from scratch and have no clients, this still applies to you.
You need to make sure that your clients will be getting the results they'll sign up for.
When you're reaching out to prospects, you're going to be telling them about a certain transformation you can bring to their business.
With that, you'll want to be 110% sure that you're able to deliver on that promise.
A lot of prospects have fallen for the old trick of getting in bed with an agency owner then realising they're only there to take their money.
You don't want businesses to work with you only to request a refund or leave the following month - you want to build real, long-term relationships with these clients.
You might not be very certain that you yourself can deliver on these promises, that's fine!
You don't need to be the one who delivers on your promise - you can have a service delivery person do that for you.
In the marketing world, that's called a 'media buyer.'
In my opinion, the most important part of running your agency is having the infrastructure in place to scale your business.
To start, I recommend finding a world-class media buyer who can help you deliver the results so that your clients are happy.
It's very difficult to run the company, find more clients, deal with existing clients all by yourself.
The media buyer will take a lot of weight off your shoulders and so I highly recommend this be your first hire.
It will not only give you a lot more time in your day to focus on outreach (if you're going to do that), it will also enable you to look more professional to clients whilst delivering the best possible results.
Business owners, especially long-time business owners, know other business owners.
When you deliver great results for one owner, they'll most likely share this with their network and get you a few referrals.
For every hire you make, I recommend looking in 2 places:
- Facebook groups
I've had the most success with Facebook groups.
Simply write a post outlining the fact that you're looking for a media buyer in X niche, and tell them to drop a comment or a DM if they know anyone.
In many cases, you'll get media buyers messaging you themselves.
you'll want to find relevant groups on Facebook - media buying, Facebook ads, google ads, or whatever your service is.
On Upwork, it's almost the same thing - this time put as much detail in the description of the post as possible.
The great part about a media buyer is that they only get paid if you get paid - meaning once you get a client, you'll usually pay your media buyer a % or a fixed amount of the retainer.
We'll be using these two means for the other hires we also make.
The first part of building an A-team to scale your marketing agency is to hire a media buyer.
Virtual assistants are, again, one of the most important pieces of the system as a whole.
Without any virtual assistants helping your business, it will be very difficult to scale.
Virtual assistants are like superheroes - they can handle multiple tasks per day, every day.
Although you should never overwork your virtual assistants, it's important to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck.
Since virtual assistants are not very expensive, it's crucial that you hire one or two as quickly as possible.
When I owned an agency for the first time, my partner and I struggled to do outreach. We were setting no meetings with prospects.
It was almost pitiful to call what we were running a 'business,' it was more like a circus.
We were out of sync and nothing was getting done.
I was stuck in the mindset that business partners should share the workload evenly.
Although it's true, that never works out well in the end.
Business partners should both do everything in their power to make a business successful.
After a few weeks, I was approached by a young lady who was running a virtual assistant outsourcing business.
It sounded interesting and caught my attention because it was both cheap and exactly what we thought we needed at the time.
We thought that if we bought in a virtual assistant, she would help rebuild our business - this was far from the truth.
The business is only as strong as it's foundations, it's founder(s). We were not running the business the way it should have been run, and so the virtual assistant would not have made much of a difference.
When you're already setting a few appointments, got a system in place to follow up with prospects, and to meet and close prospects, you should think about hiring a virtual assistant.
Before you've got this infrastructure in place, the business will only become more and more shambolic the more moving parts you bring into the mix.
Nonetheless, the virtual assistant we hired quickly made a big difference in our business.
With almost no meetings being set prior to her hopping on board, we started to set 10 meetings per month.
Once again, however, we did not have the right systems and processes in place to close deals or follow up with no-shows and so all those meetings slipped through the cracks.
This led us to let her go at the end of the first month. It was completely our fault.
Whenever your business is ready for it, bringing in a virtual assistant can skyrocket your growth.
For only a few dollars an hour, less than $500 per month, you could get an ROI of 4, 5 or even 10X.
Hire a virtual assistant as soon as possible to scale your marketing agency.
This is often the most controversial part of running an agency.
A lot of courses I've watched talk about how you should not hire out closing.
On the other hand, some courses or programs I've seen say that this is one of the best decisions ever.
The right answer? Whatever you feel like it is.
Don't let anyone tell you how to run your business - you can use strategies and principles from people, however, you should never just blindly follow advice because some 'guru' said so.
The right answer for this question is simply your choice.
Personally, in my own business, I think that a closer would be very beneficial.
There's a simple, yet overlooked concept in business that says you should 'hire out your weaknesses.'
Meaning, if you're not a great media buyer, you should hire a media buyer as quickly as possible to fill this gap.
If you're not a great salesperson or closer, you should hire a closer as soon as possible.
It's only logical - it's more profitable to hire someone to plug the holes in your business rather than letting opportunity after opportunity slip through the cracks.
Closers, similar to media buyers or virtual assistants, are crucial - especially if you're not much of a closer like myself.
The only problem with hiring a closer is that good high-ticket closers usually come at a big cost.
Although you can bargain a commission split, which is how almost every closer works, you should try to get a great deal out of it.
For example, if they're closing a $5000 per month deal for your business, it's only fair to give them up to 50% of the first month retainer.
If that business owner stays for 6 months, you're making $27,500 for a small $2500 commission.
That's an 11X return.
When hiring a closer, it's important you find someone who is genuinely interested in your business and working with you.
A lot of closers, even good closers, are just looking for a quick commission.
If you're building a long-term business, you need to find someone you can easily work with and communicate with.
Better yet, if you can eventually hire the closer and have them on your team, this will save you lots of money and time too.
Both closers and virtual assistants need to know exactly how your business works, what you do, results you get, and fit with your vision and brand message.
If they don't it'll be difficult to communicate your services to business owners.
I recommend hiring in the order I shared with you today:
- Media buyer
- Virtual assistant
- Client closer + success manager
When you have these pieces in place for your business, it becomes impossible not to grow a lucrative marketing agency.
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