"Any advice for a new agency founder?" This was a real question posted in a large agency group yesterday.
My Answer: Focus on REVENUE GENERATING ACTIVITIES.
Playing around with your website is not a revenue generating activity.
Fiddling with your offer is not a revenue generating activity.
Similarly, writing copy is not a revenue generating activity.
Cleaning the company bathroom is unquestionably not revenue generating activity. Yes, I have seen founders try to hide from their business by doing this.
However, getting conversations with qualified prospective clients is revenue generating activity.
Focused Advice for a New Agency Founder
Know and apply the difference between Pay Time and No Pay Time. As a result, do non-revenue generating activities in No Pay Time.
Set a specific money target and go for it. "Trying to make as much money as possible" is no target at all and dumb. Your subconscious needs a target. To survive, you need a money target. Those who don't set a specific money target (which you can achieve and then raise) tend to lose a little or a lot of money month after month until they have to go back to a j-o-b.
Therefore, set your money target for at least 2X of what you thought. You are responsible for EVERYTHING now. You can't go down to the company storeroom and pick up a pack of pens and a notebook. You have to pay for all that stuff now. You need more money than you think.
If you're not talking to at least two qualified prospects a day, you're bound for failure.
The Four Systems Every Agency Founder Needs To Be Concentrating On
Every business needs four systems:
Hardly anyone I've known over the past dozen years in the agency game thinks that way. They make things up as they go along. Then they end up with a sloppy set of processes and outcomes, and in fact are not even thinking of processes to make up systems at all. At that point they wonder why the business is slushy.
Be thinking every day about how you are accomplishing these four systems. How are you executing them, written in plain language first and then applying technology last? How can you improve them?
Advice for a New Agency Founder—What They Won't Tell You
Your business needs eyeballs (Traffic) and a way to turn some of those eyeballs into buyers (Conversion). Don't buy anything unless you understand EXACTLY where it fits in, in either generating Traffic or helping you with Conversion. Is there a hole in Traffic or a hole in Conversion that this thing can help you fill?
So many people buy a tech solution or other offer because the sales copy made it sound cool. They get things off Appsumo because "it's a deal". They have no idea where it fits into Traffic or Conversion, and therefore they never use it. I have watched people make this mistake again and again over 10+ years. Markedly, I have watched some specific people stay in the wrong mindset and remain broke for 10+ years. Don't be one of them.
Your job is to get at least two conversations with qualified prospects a day. "Qualified" means they admit they have a problem you can fix and want help fixing it; the size of the problem warrants your involvement; and they have a personality you can get along with. If you do this, you'll get 10 conversations a week. That's over 40 a month. Even if you suck as a salesperson, over a month you should land at least one client by accident. That's called a "laydown", someone who was waiting for someone like you to come along and wants to give you the money.
What New Agency Founders Need To Understand About Sales
A final mindset thing: There are without a doubt people out there who WANT to Give You The Money. They have money and they are desperately seeking Talent. "Please," they are praying, "send me someone COMPETENT who I can give this money to in exchange for them taking this Serious Problem off my hands." Understand, therefore, that they want this problem taken care of more than they want the money. Broke strugglers have an impossible time understanding this. Imprint it on your soul. Someone out there is desperate to give you money right now. You don't have to convince, force, or fool them into hiring you.
Print this out and tape it up in front of you in your work area. In addition, read it at the start of your day, the middle of your day, and the end of your day. Do not expect your mind and your memory to remember a darn thing on its own. For that reason you have to keep the instructions, the vision, the outcome you want right in front of you.
When I have not kept these principles in front of me over the past dozen plus years, I have forgotten them. That has led to trouble.