Agency business is not for the faint-hearted. As an entrepreneur who has been on both sides of the table, I can assure you that it takes all your grit, perseverance and power to stay sane and in your lane.
While the business bug bit me quite early at the age of 14, I feel nothing in life can prepare you for the depths that a marketing mammoth asks for. Yes, eventually, you do learn to ride the wild horse, but until then, there is a lot of galloping with no destination in sight.
Nevertheless, as one says, some things in life only come with experience. In the 2 years of founding, establishing and growing Stallion Cognitive, I have found enough success to turn down a $500,000 offer to acquire the agency.
There’s still a long way to go. No matter if you’ve just started off or are already in the fast lane, here are 5 valuable lessons that I learnt. (the hard way)
Lesson #1: Carve a Niche for Yourself
I personally chose the investment and finance sector to market my services.
The decision came quite naturally since I have been investing in stocks since adolescence. Upon becoming of legal age, the prospects expanded to cryptocurrencies and mutual funds. You see, my end goal is to create a diversified portfolio that supports my desire to be financially free in all aspects.
Here is what you should know - choosing something that keeps you going through the end of time is what shall help you get out of bed even on the most challenging days. The agency business will make or break you every single day, but having something you truly cherish can get you through those taxing years.
Lesson #2: Find the Holy Trinity of Money, Passion and Prudence
No matter how much you adore your profession, if it doesn’t pay your bills, it won’t last a lifetime. The logic is quite simple here. Figure out a task that you prefer to do, understand its market value, and then give it your own spin.
That’s all you need to do to stay on top. Now I won’t tell you something as vague as – “Find your true passion in life.” But, you need to find the one thing you’re really good at and keep doing it over and over again.
I found my one-true-love in computer science. That led to video editing, web designing and finally, a financial marketing agency. The key was that I stuck to what I wanted to be from the very beginning – a complete digital nomad.
Lesson #3: You Can’t Afford to Get Complacent
If you’re running out of your 9-5 job to open up an agency in dreams of a relaxed lifestyle, let me warn you that peace of mind is a myth in the urban jungle.
I started my journey by making $200 a month at the age of 15. Today, I charge anywhere between $5,000 – $12,000 for most website that goes through the grind. At any point in time, I could have stopped saying, “This is enough.”
But sadly, the agency business doesn’t entertain slackers. To be the finest in your field, you need to continually be at your toes, innovating new ways to keep your existing clientele happy and the new ones interested.
Another essential thing to remember here is that adaptability is the key to survival. Be in one space for too long, and you can risk becoming a modern dinosaur.
Lesson #4: Take the Leap
With the years of experience under your belt; you shall develop an internal instinct to seize an opportunity or let it go. The message here is to trust that gut feeling. Yes, there can be real risks involved, but it will all boil down to a single yes or no once you calculate the pros and cons on the table.
As a school dropout with multiple successful businesses around the globe, I can assure you that taking that chance and putting everything you have towards it can definitely get you to the top of your industry.
It goes without saying that some failures will come inexplicably. The crucial turning point from thereon would be the learning you take away from the process. In the end, it all moves down to your set of experiences and how you harness them to take the right professional decisions, the right service offerings, and the right hire.
Lesson #5: It’s All About the People
Agency work is a service that is by the people and for the people. The ones you surround your business with shall make all the difference between pushing your work forwards or backwards. Learn to identify the potential a new hire may have and be ready to let go the ones that create redundancies in your environment.
The same concept applies to your user base as well. As a customer service company, keeping your clients happy shall ensure not only loyalty but also great reviews and profitable referrals.
We are in the third year of business with Stallion Cognitive, and I can proudly say that word of mouth is our most significant source of marketing. The old clients keep referring us to the new ones, striking out the need to keep actively searching for work.
I hope you have a clear image of what a day, a month, a year, or even a lifetime in the agency business looks like by now. There are a hundred ways to go about building the firm, but choosing your path and sticking to it is what counts at the end of the day.
Remember to shrug off the minor setbacks, always aim for the long game, prioritize your time over anyone else’s and be clear of what you’re aiming for.
Everything else shall come with time.