If you’re thinking of starting an agency—we get it. We work with agency owners around the world who have figured out how to make six figures in revenue per month. These agency owners all started in the same place:
They had a digital marketing skill set that they commoditized…at scale.
The difference between working as a digital marketer and having an agency are those last two words. As a digital marketer, you only have so much room to scale. With only 24 hours in a day and a life to live, you can only work so much.
But, with an agency, you can hire other people to work alongside you—doubling, tripling, and quadrupling your output. That’s usually the North Star attracting digital marketing experts to start their agency, but it’s not always as straightforward for everybody.
If you’re going back-and-forth in your mind about starting your agency, here are 5 signs that are telling you it’s time.
#1: Your Clients Need More Work Than You Can Deliver
Freelance digital marketers will see the neon sign telling them to start their agency when their clients keep asking for more work. At first, you can handle the work on your own. Soon, you’ll have to hand it off to subcontractors. And after that, it’s time to consider turning your business into an agency model.
You’re clearly doing great work if your clients want more. But without a machine to clone yourself, you’re stuck at the ceiling of 1) how much work you can do per week, and 2) how much work you SHOULD do per week.
If you’re squeezing in 50-60 hour workweeks to try to get everything done on your own—it’s time to start a digital marketing agency. Your offer is validated, and it’s time to sell to your customers (businesses who need help with digital marketing!).
Start a digital marketing agency if your clients want more work from you than you can deliver on your own.
#2: You Have More Subcontractors Than You Can Manage By Yourself
Once your digital marketing business hits a point where you hire subcontractors, there’s a ceiling that’s above that. You passed the ceiling of being the only expert on your team. To pass the next one, you’ll need someone to take charge of your subcontractors. If you have a dozen clients and five subcontractors, you’re starting to feel that ceiling. That’s a lot of work to review, communication to handle, and accounting.
You need help. That help comes from your first agency hire—an Account Manager that sits between your subcontractors and you. You’ve officially become an agency once that Account Manager joins your team. Breathe a sigh of relief. That one hire will save you hours (if not days) of work that was making you feel like you were bursting at the seams.
It’s time to start a digital marketing agency if you’re too busy to run your subcontracting team on your own.
#3: You Have a Consistent Stream of Incoming Clients
This is the goal, right? Getting to a point where your inbox is filled with new client requests and your DMs all ask for more details about working with you is a pretty great life. Until it starts to get overwhelming, you want to help everybody, but you can’t bring on more clients because it’s impossible to get the work done for them.
Cue your agency. When you create SOPs, hire subcontractors and Account Managers—you can take on work and hire more people as needed to deliver it. It’s time to start an agency when you have more people requesting to work with you than you could possibly handle with your current team. This is a tribute to your ability to market…yourself. Impressive, very impressive.
If prospects are reaching out weekly to work with you and you don’t have the capacity to help them, it’s a sign to start your digital marketing agency.
#4: You Want to Focus On Your Business, Not the Deliverables
Deliverables used to be your passion, but now you’re like looking at the big picture. You’re watching the lead generation data, going into flow mode creating SOPs, and you like spending your time talking about the future of your business—not the deliverable due that day. If this made you nod your head, it’s time to start your agency.
You can take yourself out of the “deliverable chair” and put yourself into the “CEO chair.” Instead of publishing Facebook ads, writing content, or worrying about client data analytics, you’ll focus on getting more customers for your agency. Your team will handle the client work, and you’ll grow the business. Wanting to spend less time delivering and more time building is your sign it’s time to start your agency.
An agency model is your next step when the idea of growing your digital marketing business is more exciting than handling the deliverables.
#5: You Can Strategize How to Start Your Agency
Starting an agency is a natural progression of working as a digital marketer, hiring subcontractors, and turning that business into an agency. But, that doesn’t mean the education behind running a successful agency comes naturally. You’ll know when it’s time to add a subcontractor to your team when your contractors ask for it, or you can see their workload is maxed out.
You won’t know how to create an agency growth funnel, send a perfect agency proposal template and the lessons of marketing that nobody ever taught you when it comes to growing your agency. That’s all education you’ll have to learn through experience or choose to catalyze by reading the Agency Growth Toolkit inside of Lab. Inside the Agency Growth Toolkit, you’ll also get the Appointment Getter Template, Client Intake Questionnaire, lessons on creating the perfect agency pipeline, and the specifics of building a steady stream of clients in 30 minutes a day.
Growing an agency comes with dangerous pitfalls. Entrepreneurs are ready to start their agency when they’re open to learning these pitfalls and proven success templates.
Start Your Digital Marketing Agency
Your digital marketing agency can turn your annual revenue into monthly revenue if you do it right. Running an agency is far from a walk in the park, but for the determined and passionate entrepreneurs—it’s one of the rides of a lifetime.
Is it the right time to start your marketing agency? It is if…
#1: Your clients need more work than you can deliver
#2: You have more subcontractors than you can manage by yourself
#3: You have a consistent stream of incoming clients
#4: You want to focus on your business, not the deliverables
#5: You can strategize how to start your agency
Like any other business, agencies come with potholes and huge pitfalls. Avoid the inconveniences and potential business killers by learning how to run your agency with help from the experts.
Join Lab to get the Agency Growth Toolkit and learn the digital marketing strategies that have generated millions of dollars in revenue from top marketers (and agency owners!) worldwide.