When I left my last agency job to start my own shop, I was the perfect combination of ignorant and arrogant. I assumed that if my doofus of a boss could run an agency, I could too. I found out many years later that he ran it right into the ground. So perhaps, not the best yardstick. And I thought the hard part of agency life was the client facing stuff. I’d taken a few business classes as an undergrad, so how hard could it be?
Ignorant and arrogant.
When the shingle got hung, I learned very quickly how hard it could be. I was great at the client facing side but the back of the house stuff? Forget it.
- I didn’t understand what a P&L should look like or tell me
- I didn’t know how to price the work so we always made a profit
- I had no idea what financial metrics were unique to agencies and how they could help me run my agency better
- I was clueless when it came to how to hire objectively and for the long term
- I didn’t understand how I would influence the culture as an owner (I was awesome at influencing culture as an employee…wouldn’t it be the same?)
- I didn’t know how to use the tax laws to my advantage and for years — we paid through the nose because of my ignorance
- I had no idea I was supposed to use my agency as an ATM machine and build my wealth outside of the agency itself
We did okay…some months and years better than others. And then I took a workshop. It was like I had been hit by a truck. Where had all of these industry specific insights and knowledge been? Why didn’t I know all this stuff?
Of course, I wished I had known it all before the agency was launched. But I was and am grateful that I learned it when I did, as opposed to 2, 10 or 15 years later.
The truth is — it’s not in a book or taught in an MBA course. It’s unique to our world and I felt like I’d been given a magic key. Suddenly, everything made more sense. I went back to the office and changed so much of how we worked. I didn’t wonder anymore. I knew what to do. I didn’t always do what I should have…but at least I made those dumb choices with full knowledge of which rule I was violating.
We began to make money consistently. We weathered clients leaving, employees leaving us holding a hot mess or two, financial downturns and even for me, a very ugly partner break up. Through it all, I used what I learned in that workshop as a guide and it helped me build a very profitable shop.
That workshop was taught by the guy I bought AMI from over a decade ago. And in a full circle moment, I am teaching an updated version of that workshop on April 6-7 in Chicago.
If you’re not:
- dropping double digit profitability to the bottom line
- taking a healthy salary, plus dividends and building wealth outside of your agency
- choosing which clients to accept because your pipeline is so full
- Only paying what you truly owe in taxes (if you’re not smiling when you file, you know you’re paying more than you should)
- hiring people who remain a right fit, work as hard as you do employee
- profitable on every job you do for your clients
- having a blast running the agency
Then I would humbly suggest — the running your agency for growth and profit workshop may be your ticket to doing all of those things for you, your team and your family. As always, we offer money back guarantee (which we’ve never been asked to honor).
We try to teach some of these principles on our podcast, in blog posts, etc. But this workshop is where it all comes together so you can truly re-align your agency with agency best practices, metrics and guidelines.
We offer this workshop once a year…and we’d love to have you with us, if you’re ready to travel. You can learn more about it or register here.