Partners
4.9K members online now
4.9K members online now
Community space to get to know one another, talk about marketing and advertising strategy
Guide Me
star_border
Reply

3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Top Contributor
# 1
Top Contributor

Happy Tuesday Y'all.  It's my agency's one year anniversary!  It feels like it has been ten years...  Here's the top 3 things I've learned. 

 

1. Hiring and Firing is Hard

 

When we first started, we had 4 employees.  Myself and 3 developers. Within 90 days we went down 2 Developers and up 2 Social Media Managers.  The Developers were being paid astronomical salaries... because we didn't know better.  We learned Social Media Mangers aren't the same as Content Specialists so we added a Content Specialist.  We added a Sales team of 3.  They did not procure a single client. So let them go. 

 

6 months later we added 3 PPC Managers and another Developer.  We let go 1 PPC Manager because he was really bad and didn't want to learn.  The other 2 Managers left for greener pastures.  

 

We are on a trial basis with another former Google Ambassador.  Hopefully that works out well.  

 

As a company you have to be willing to take a risk in hiring someone. And admit you made a mistake in hiring.  A negative attitude brings everyone down.  But you have to hire to expand.  There are not enough hours in the day for you to work by yourself.  

 

2. There is Nothing More Important than Sales

 

When I first started I thought I wouldn't have to do sales... I was so wrong.  Our "expert" sales team couldn't sell a simple $500 package in 90+ days.  Their salaries were incredibly high and well above Houston median.  We'd gone belly up if I didn't make the decision to let them all go.  

 

Today, I do all our sales. I network all the time.  You won't get every prospect, but you should try.  The more prospects the more clients.  I attempted to train our staff to do sales, but they are largely adverse to the idea.  They think it's dirty... but in reality it pays their salaries.  Sales is the most important skill when operating a startup.  It's not easy to learn though. 

 

3.  Be Yourself.  

 

There are so many options for marketing agencies everywhere.  What makes RunRex difference is that it's mine.  It has a culture I created.   We go to lunches / dinners together.  And all of our staff loves Pokemon Go (we are trying to get a gym).  

 

I won't go into too many details, but the agency reflects my attitudes and beliefs well.  I even got to speak about it at Houston's Social Media Conference.  http://houstonsmday.com/tony-guo/  And yes I mentioned Pokemon (before Pokemon Go).  Now I get a lot of requests about Pokemon Go for small businesses.  Smiley Happy 

 

Hopefully that helps.  My best suggestion for those who want to have their own startup is to jump.  It's not that scary.  

 

 

 

 

3 Expert replyverified_user

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Congrats Tony - What a ride it has been for you and to still come out on top, says a lot about you and your team. Here's to 25 more!

-Tommy
Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor
Haha... I hope to sell the agency before I reach 10. Smiley Happy

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
That sounds like a very crazy year!!!

Tell me more on your thoughts of selling an agency. I've thought about this before. How is the market value of an agency determined? What would make you sellable? How do you ensure that the clients stick with the new owners?

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

I come from a software background. We made the runrex agency as a way to find clients for our ppc software. The marketing agency has engulfed the software company. It was supposed to be the other way around, but we had some terrible developers.

In the automobile world, agencies sell often and for large figures. At NADA 2015 our booth was close to Dealer Fire's. They sold right before the convention to Dealersocket. That's where I got the idea to make a marketing agency that developed software. I'd put all my clients on the software and then seek investors. The current clients would be the proof of concept.

The value of the agency is the last price someone is willing to pay for it. If someone pays 1 million for 10% then you are worth at least 10 million once the check clears. Investors care about revenue and proprietary software. You sell the software and your team. Normally all employees sign a 1 or 2 year contract staying on with the buyer and helping with the transition.

I love the concept since I love developing things I use. Smiley Happy

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Badged Google Partner
# 6
Badged Google Partner
Great write-up! I definitely agree with you about sales being the most important factor. Sales is the lifeblood of any business!

It's a tough task to sell for someone that doesn't fully understand how Adwords works but when there's a general understanding of the benefits with proof, it should be cake! Smiley Happy

P.S. Go team instinct!

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
I'm team Valor. Although all my top Pokemon are water types. I even have a Lapras!

But yes. It turns out you can't have a company without sales. And as the Owner you are the primary sales person. Smiley Happy

Re: 3 Things I Learned after 1 Year of Starting My Own Agency

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 8
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
I believe a lot of people think about starting a business or agency of some sort, but get intimidated by the prospect of doing sales. From what I understand, if you have someone familiar enough with your company and competent with client services, they can make all the difference.