What We've Learned From Running An Agency For 3 Years

April 15, 2019

Show Notes

  • Do what you're great at and delegate the rest - Hiring virtual assistants has been awesome. We’ve been able to focus on what we are good at and are able to delegate those tasks that are time-consuming or we just don’t enjoy.

  • Standardize your processes - Creating quality work is one thing but creating consistent quality work is another. Standards are crucial for a company that is growing rapidly. You won't be able to write a set of instructions for creating an award-winning design, but you could probably break down the steps for wireframing, creating design templates, content, etc. Find a way to streamline your workflow by creating a checklist for every function and role within your agency. Eventually, these workflows will evolve and your employees will find ways to make your processes easier.
  • Have goals and get everyone on board - We’ve had goals but never out in the open for everyone to see until we got a vision board. Our vision board reminds us of the things we need to accomplish this year in order to move our goals forward. Goals are ever changing so its important to revisit them often. Having your goals for everyone to see if a great way to get employees on board to achieve those goals.

  • Stay healthy - Working for yourself is hard and extremely stressful. You have to handle everything, especially when you’re starting out. Delegating helps a lot but there’s always that little voice in your head asking if you’re doing enough. It's super important to take care of yourself. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially, environmentally, etc. Make this part of your “company goals”.
  • Not EVERY client is a good one When you first start out, people walking up to you and offering you money sounds amazing, but sometimes it isn’t worth the headache. When you are in business long enough you start to realize who you enjoy working with and who you produce the best work for. Which means that sometimes you have to turn down business if it doesn’t align with your company and core competencies. It’s a short-term loss for a long-term gain.


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Hope y'all enjoyed this episode! We'll see you guys next week for another episode of The Marketing Natives!



Aaron [00:00:00] Hey guys welcome to another episode of The Marketing News. This is one that not only is super exciting but something we're really passionate about. I think that if you're a Type A business owner not only an agency you're going to get a lot out of this. We dig deep into things that we learned in our business things that we're still working on and things that you can use to implement in your business when not waste 3 years of times that you can grow and scale your business a lot quicker than we do. All right let's jump in.

Aaron [00:00:42] Hey guys.

Aaron [00:00:42] Super excited for this episode actually because this is something that we did in the very beginning of our business but the topic was not running in an ad agency for three years or running an agency for three years. It was things we learned from quitting our job and it was probably one of my most favorite things to write or talk about. I think we recorded a video as well but this is literally talking about what we've learned from running an agency in three years and I think it's going to be cool in the next five or six years to look back at it. So super excited to share this with you. And also before we jump in to hopefully anybody else who's listening or wanting to start an agency or even start a business I think this will be helpful but super excited.

Christian [00:01:27] Yeah I definitely think that I'm looking at them. We have five 5 things that we've learned Hoogland a lot more but we just wanted to go with 5. But I'm looking at them and yeah I think they all apply to any entrepreneur business owner out there. So maybe you'll get something out of this.

Aaron [00:01:46] Maybe they will. All right. Number one here do what you're great at and delegate the rest. This is something that I think that I think I know that we did for way too long. Is did we continue to do way too many things. We're not necessarily a specialty of ours. So it wasn't that we didn't do things well it was just more like it took us two or three or four times as long to complete them because it wasn't our core competency. And then when we finally did our core competency we only spent 20 or 30 percent of the time on it because we were busy figuring out the other stuff. So what we did was hire virtual assistants and the virtual assistants are great because they do all the admin kind of stuff. They don't do any of the creative. They don't do the advertising they don't do any of that kind of stuff but just the small things like uploading our transcripts or uploading small tasks things that you know they're very rudimentary or things that can be done over and over again that we're just not necessarily wasting our time. But we're not really the best use of our our skill set. So hiring them and getting rid of us doing them has really freed us up to take on more projects and be more creative.

Christian [00:02:58] Yeah absolutely. And not just virtual assistance but I mean think about like accounting for example. There's something that very early on we said we don't want to do a lot of this so let's figure out and hire an accountant that can handle a lot of stuff and we did because I mean we are a small business owner you own your own thing. You have to do everything. You know you have to hire and fire and the accounting the legal taxes marketing the marketing the sales like year everything was so overwhelming Yeah there was being a you know small agency for so long not so long it's only been three years. But I mean it is a lot you know you have to deal with a lot of different departments doing air quotes because there's no department as you figure in all these other stuff. So it's very important to delegate those things special and I'm very comfortable doing them.

Aaron [00:03:54] Yeah I think outside of the Accountant and what we've gotten to now is also hiring employees to help pick up our specialty. For example we now have somebody who specifically has full time to help us with video. And before I would shoot the videos on my iPhone the sound would be from our headphones from the very first episode of Tipper to go check it out and not those episodes but the new new ones. And then Christian would edit the video. So that was our video production team and our skills in video were probably like 3 out of 10. So now we have a full time videographer that is a video editor who is you know that's all they've been doing for four or five years and they're pretty darn good. So yeah. So I guess it's one thing because I mean I get we enjoy that.

Aaron [00:04:41] But we were not very good at it. So that's also another thing to consider is like you as a business owner or agency. You may enjoy certain things but you may not be the best person. I hate doing that says the board to realize that internalize it and say like OK I think the best thing to do is for me to hire this person who is actually an expert and do know what they're doing. They might be able to do what you've been doing and you really enjoy. But it takes you two hours and they can do it in 30 minutes.

Aaron [00:05:07] You know and I guess at that point like a Christian only took over the video stuff and then was also trying to do a Web site. His Web site wouldn't be nearly as good as what they could be if he was just focusing only on those so yeah. All right let's roll into number two here. And that is to standardize your processes. We've done this kind of like two iterations of what we're doing right now. One was very early on we didn't really even know what standards were. We knew of them but we didn't know that term and we didn't know what the operating procedures were. We just kind of intuitively what to do. Like Christian did these things I did those and we never wrote anything down. But then we hired somebody very early on probably I don't know six or eight months into the business and we got them written down but we didn't necessarily implement them. They were there. They looked good and they were online and we had these booklets to hand to people and say this is what you do. So we have a little bit of structure but as of recently probably within the last couple of months we've hired somebody who is a systems expert and we just met with them last week. This is April of 2019 and we're just blown away with all of the ways that we probably would've screwed up our systems and processes and how easily they made it so that anybody who comes in can figure out the way that we do things and how we do them and make everything like uniform. Yeah it's.

Christian [00:06:28] Doing like doing the standards and putting everything like on paper. It's Duffly going to help us out tremendously. And it's funny because we went to Social Media Marketing World which is the biggest conference on social media marketing. And there was a lot of agencies in there and I got to talk to a few and none of them are the ones that actually got to talk to none of them actually have standards in place which is very very surprising thinking about. I mean there was an agency that had maybe 15 or 20 employees and didn't have any standards or anything in place. And I was the one who's sort of introduced the term to them and they were like huh. Yeah. Like a Libo just got under Hesder like yeah this actually makes a lot of sense and would be a lot less chaotic you know in our office if we actually had standards. If you actually want to get started a really good resource for you know your standards and keeping them organized in place something that are the person who's helping us with our standards process its process.

Christian [00:07:34] We're actually not using that because we already have a project management tool that can handle that inside of it. So actually works perfectly with our project management to process street. If you're just starting out you don't have a lot of things in place that would definitely go there. They actually have a lot of good resources on different agency tasks even do that. I was looking at onboarding all morning a new employee. And I mean it's very detailed. The amount of steps that they have in checkmarks you can go through. So go check them out process.

Aaron [00:08:08] Yes. And also if you're interested in who we use for recipes and actually she worked with people all over the country shoot us a team on Instagram. It's @BitBranding and we'll give you the information for her.

Christian [00:08:24] All right. So this is the part where we talk about braining was the agency that Aaron I run here in Allen Texas. We focus a lot of our work into one either generating leads or. Sales for clients on social media by using marketing and advertising aka a Facebook ad TGU ads and things like that and B we make them look beautiful online by either creating brands logos flyers websites pamphlets. What am I missing anything creative anything visually that's online we created for them so we generate leads or sales and we make them look beautiful on line. But some of them very quickly won't talk of. I mean we've been doing this for three years now. We're by no means expert but we're willing to help anyone out who's just starting out. Whether you're an agency or entrepreneur with an idea or anything like that we've a lot of the things that we know we actually give it away for free. Hence why we have this podcast where we have a show where we are heavy on content on all our social media platforms. So again if you feel so inclined that hey maybe in each need to talk to these guys for 30 minutes an hour whatever it is please do so. We've already said that you can give us a shout on Instagram. That's probably one of the easiest way to get to talk to us. We're also pretty active on Facebook so you'd want to send us a message on Facebook we'll be there. And just let us know that you listen to this episode and they have an idea that you may be starting out or maybe you're a veteran and your business as usual and some fresh new ideas from us hit us up we're willing to help you out.

Aaron [00:10:14] See for those who listened last week we did a selfish or selfless selfish selfless plug. Southwest Southwest. Yeah. South by Southwest. Gotcha. Airlines. Sneller. Real confused. I don't know which one it was. Both are good causes but we were doing a plug for something different and so that was really more of a give back which ironically I had somebody message me was going to tell you about that. My record is some guy from McKinnie said he's looking to start a business has been following us. And then he ended up falling my personal page and ended up messaging me like 6 months later and he wants to take me to coffee or whatever else to answer some questions for his business. I don't know what he's looking to do but so it's that easy just shooting us a message on Instagram and yeah I mean buys some coffee we don't drink coffee but maybe some tea or a nice little or Derb croissant croissant or some little ham ham and cheese sandwich sandwich. Yeah but we don't want to drive that far ahead of you.

Christian [00:11:15] Were even recently we had a good friend of ours from Kansas come to our office. They actually recently moved to beginning and yeah just came into office and he's actually has a full time job and he's doing awesome but he knows it's not fulfilling I want to do something on my own. And yeah he just came. We just talked a little bit. It was awesome.

Aaron [00:11:32] And yes that's another side note I put that on our Instagram. You should go check it out. But is that we love visitors. So if you're walking around or you know you're not really gonna walk by our office. But if you're in the area and Alan come by our office we're 550 South swatters road 271. Check out the office. Come say hi let's grab a picture and we've had a lot of visitors lately so we really appreciate that so you should come you come too. Yes absolutely. All right so let's get back into this what we've learned from running an agency for three years have goals and get everyone on board. Well I think it was easier when it was just Christian because we kind of had aligned goals and we said hey just do what we want to do this is how we want to do it. And that's great. But then when you start hiring employees are you adding people to your team. They need to know why they're working to most people who are working for you know they want to make sure that they make a certain certain standard of living and may make money. But at the end of the day they can do that anywhere for the most part. So they got to have a reason or something to be striving for a reason why that they're doing what they're doing so kind of your goal and your why and what you're doing is is really so important. So we started putting our vision board on our wall. It's very clear for everybody look this is what we want to do. And then last weekend it took us a little while were not carpenters.

Aaron [00:12:54] We put our our our student our standard what the heck are those called for value courses. I was going to take courses the injured our core values on the wall. I might say that when you combine it they are very straight so good.

Christian [00:13:08] And I spent two hours putting these away it was an hour about two and maybe a little bit. Who. There was a break in between. But anyway no they were there. Those things are very I guess. Apparent when you come into the office we're talking about our business development our physical well-being our growth our goals philanthropy physical surroundings and then our core values over here on the wall too it's just just having those there.

Aaron [00:13:37] But then also acting them out and making sure that everybody knows what our goals are and getting everybody involved versus these are just now Christianize goals. It's more of what's been braining goals and making everybody else involved with it.

Christian [00:13:50] And it's important to also revisit those things. Technically the vision board is a snapshot of this year and the things that we need to accomplish this year to get us closer to our goals. So we have 3 5 10 year goals down the line and you know everything that we do on a yearly basis needs to be broken down into a you know quarterly and then a monthly and and a daily. So it's very important to have those big goals but be able to do a vision board where you can actually see them every day break those down. We actually have a little list right next to the vision board we're actually has a very detail on what those things are the vision wars images you know so we actually want to have a list of the detail of things that the vision actually represents and act on them make sure that you actually act on them and revisit them like us and revisit them as often as possible to make sure that you're on the right path.

Aaron [00:14:54] Very much awesome. So definitely get a vision board if nothing else. Figure out your goals. That's it. It's really hard to go where you want to go if you don't have a roadmap. So do those. All right. Our next one here is to stay healthy. And when I think of healthy at least for me it's more of like physical well-being. So making sure that you know you get no six pack abs. But not really. It's also there's a lot of other things that are important for health and that's only your emotional health your spiritual health your physical health even your social health and economic health too. You got to be all of those things and balancing them is is really like juggling. And I'm not a juggler so trying to even throw two of those things in the air and be balanced is really difficult but finding that balance and being comfortable being uncomfortable is really important. But I think it really does all stem from what I said in the very beginning doesn't sound like but it is the physical health physical health kind of pushes everything else to have more clarity to have a more spiritual health to be more social.

Aaron [00:16:04] And then everything else kind of builds from that discipline is more of like a muscle that you're working so that part has probably so important because if we're not healthy it doesn't matter how much work we have or how much work we don't have we're not going to be optimized or primed to do our best work.

Christian [00:16:21] Yeah it's one of those things like the typical Silicon Valley or entrepreneur is like they're you know waking up at 5:00 and working out and doing all these things what kind of from the outside you look at it like everyone's doing that. Like you don't understand why. I mean it's very very important to be able to do that. I mean I can tell myself like my mood changes dramatically when I don't have enough sleep or food. Yeah food we eat.

Christian [00:16:54] And all these things that you know it just stems from taking care of yourself and eating correctly getting enough sleep working now you know releasing all the energy it helps you and your business thrive. And at first I guess I didn't get that. But the more I work on the business and the more I do those things the more beneficial it is for everyone in the office and for the actual business. So staying healthy is very important.

Aaron [00:17:24] Yeah and also some good right. We got a list of the business that also helps with like I said every other aspect of your life too. There's no con to working out or to you know kind to physically being in better shape. There's only plus sides plus sides to that and I kind of equate it to in college a lot of my friends would stay up super late and pull all nighters to do studying and I was like no screw that I'm going to bed. And if anything I'll wake up early. But I end up doing it a little bit better on tests than a lot of them just because you're not getting much better or you're not getting much out of your body the physical body just by staying up later or by trying to grind it out and work 16 hours a day when your body physically can't do it. So taking the breaks and taking the you know getting the sleep like Christian said is so important to them when you come back to it you're more refreshed and in creating better work too.

Christian [00:18:18] Yeah and a little strict. Add this like staying healthy as part of your company goals. And we've done that with our little section that we call it rest and relaxation. Bonus Bonus oh where we're doing things you know with the employees and making sure that you know the company is paying for certain things where you know we're helping our employees and ourselves stay healthy by you know relieving some of the stress by maybe getting a massage once a month or going on a you know even then like a little company you know dinner or you know maybe helping with some of the gym memberships and things like that. Just think about those little things that your company can implement to help everyone else stay healthy.

Aaron [00:19:09] Yes. All right. Number five getting back to the business side. This is one that some of you guys are going to fight us on. Maybe some people won't. Some people will agree completely but I think if you're business long enough you will find out that not every client is a good client and not everybody who tries to pay you money is somebody you should take on. We've learned this is kind of like a punch in the face. OK we learn. Let's do it again. We did it again. We're slowly learning. You know we're guys so we're really stubborn. So maybe there was another woman here who is leading the company we probably wouldn't be doing this again. But please don't make the same mistake we did it is you know if somebody is offering you a decent amount of money you're like wow I'm going to figure out a way to make this work because that's a good chunk of money. And why not. We you know we need the cash. We want to grow versus. OK let's look at this. Are they a good fit as a client. Are we going to have fun with them and be or are we going to deliver really good results. And if they don't hit all of those boxes we really shouldn't be taking on that client because we're just going to set ourselves up for failure. The money is only going to last so long. But if they leave after three or four months or we have to fire them after three or four months then we've wasted more manpower we've wasted more time of our employees our virtual assistants ourselves learning how to do this business and how to run that business and it doesn't do us any good versus what we want to do is foster long term relationships like we've had a client since literally day one of the business and they're still with us today and we know the Business Insider now we can tell you their clients we know everything about them and that relationship is one that you know it's going to continue to flourish when we produce the best results for them unlike businesses who may not understand our services or you know.

Aaron [00:20:55] Maybe more of a headache for us in more of a blessing. It's more of a headache. So we don't want those.

Christian [00:21:03] I don't think we even to this day like we're not like super picky about you know the customers the people that we work with. To some extent like we can't necessarily afford it you would say. But still like you you need to have a certain criteria that your clients need to meet in order for you to work with them. Yeah definitely don't look at the dollar bills and call it a day. They'll eventually end up being more of a headache than than than it's worth it. So yeah that's a finitely really hard one. And we're still definitely learning from it and tweaking and trying to figure out OK you know what are those things that we're really looking for in a client. And I mean sometimes you get duped you know sometimes the first few meetings are awesome and all of a sudden it just something flips and then they're not where you think it was going to be. So that stuff is going to happen but just kind of live learn and trust your gut from just doing it for so long play that long game. All right. So that's all we have for today. Again have you enjoyed this episode. Make sure to leave us Erv review on iTunes. I think that's the best way for for us to gauge on how we're doing with this podcast and make sure that we're getting you the information that you want. If you love this episode make sure to message us on that. Send us a message.

Aaron [00:22:34] Tell us that you loved the episode again if you want any help or you're wanting to start a business where you've been running your business for a while and you want to chat hit us up Instagram Facebook @BitBranding. Let us know, bye!

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