Freelancer to Agency Founder: The Truth About the Agency Business | Jeff Sauer | Skillshare

Freelancer to Agency Founder: The Truth About the Agency Business

Jeff Sauer, Google Analytics Strategist

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13 Lessons (1h 39m)
    • 1. Crush THIS Mental Barrier before doing Anything Else

      9:19
    • 2. How To Get Your First 10 Clients

      9:14
    • 3. The Number 1 Mistake Agencies Make When Pricing Their Services

      8:07
    • 4. CASE STUDY How Sid 5xd his fees with a simple insight

      9:47
    • 5. 3 Secrets to Closing The Sale

      7:33
    • 6. Managing Your Clients The Right Way

      5:39
    • 7. Why 99 Percent of Client Projects Are Late

      8:01
    • 8. How To Outsource Your Client Projects

      6:06
    • 9. The ONE test ALL outsourced contractors need to pass

      4:43
    • 10. How to Select Business Partners

      5:22
    • 11. Hiring Your First Employee

      10:46
    • 12. Revenue Planning 101

      6:03
    • 13. Make Your Agency Great

      7:55
11 students are watching this class

About This Class

When you first start selling your services, it’s common to hear yourself saying “I can do that!” to anyone with a dollar in their hands.

Anything to bring revenue in the door. 

You position yourself as the solution, even if you've never provided that particular service before.

It's easier to get sales when you can provide all things to everyone. Deals that bring in a modest little side-income. Momentum so you can finally quit your day job, and pursue providing services full time.

It's what I did for years. I said yes to everything and came away with all kinds of experience.

To begin my freelancing career, I did the following gigs to make money:

  • Designed and programmed a website that provided NFL mock draft results
  • A campaign manager for direct mail campaigns sending baby formula coupons to expectant mothers
  • Manually added/removed contacts from a marketing automation system for a home-exteriors company
  • Scraped HBCU college listings from a website and built a better, search optimized version to sell AdSense ads
  • Took photos for a restaurant with my crappy point and shoot camera, and used them to create a custom-programmed 7-page restaurant website
  • Generated 100 variations of a landing page with keyword-specific URLs to try and drive favorable local Google AdWords results (i.e., domain.com/replacement-windows-st-cloud-mn.html)
  • Submitted sites to directories from my .edu email address, trying to game Google's system. I took on the persona of "concerned college student" who just happened to be surfing the Internet one day and noticed a link to website A, and thought that a link to website B might be "relevant to your audience" as well. I was three years out of college by this point.

And those are just the things off the top of my head that I remember doing in my first six months as a freelancer. $250 here, $500 there. Occasionally my gigs would reach 4-figures. Spending the money in my head before the checks arrived. 

Turning your freelancing jobs into a business.

After a year of this type of freelancing, I decided I wanted to build a "real" business with employees and cool office space. That meant specializing in the services I offered and focusing on services that generated a profit. 

That meant building a reputation and a team of individuals to deliver the work. It was a lot of hard work, but eventually, I got there.

In this course, I share what I learned during my journey from Freelancer to Agency owner.  Enjoy this free course! 

Transcripts

1. Crush THIS Mental Barrier before doing Anything Else: Hey, Jeff sour here and this one goes out to all the freelancers consultants and would be agency owners out there who are looking to start their own business or grow their own business. If you want to start your own professional service business and be really successful, you need to crush this one mental barrier before you can get started. Now I'll tell you what that barrier is in just a minute here, but first of all, I wanted to start with the little story. There are two types of business owners. There's two types of entrepreneurs. The first type. They're like me. When I was in my twenties, they dive headfirst into starting a business. They're blissfully ignorant. They really have no idea what running of business means. They just know that people are paying the money to do something, and this is a lot like me. When I first got started, I would develop websites for people as a side gig, taking a little bit of income here and there, and I did it pretty much right out of college. I would make websites for people and they were OK. They weren't the greatest thing in the world, but they were OK. Now. I didn't really know if I was qualified or not. I didn't go to school to do Web design. I went to school for computer science, which I guess is loosely related. But there was no degree. There was no governing body. All I knew is that people said, Jeff, can you make a website? And I said, Yes, I can and it's funny because I didn't really know what I was doing. There's a lot of things that I probably did wrong. If you were to look at those websites today, they'd be pretty terrible. But all that I knew was that people paid me to do it and that I knew more than them. I knew way more than they did about making websites, and so it was a natural fit for me to do that for them. So I don't really have much troubles going into business because I decided I just saw it that way. I knew how to do this stuff. I was the guy who always fixed the computers in my household. All my family members call me for tech support. I was like the tech support guy And so this is just an extension of doing tech support. They weren't able to do it. And so I just Yes, I I put some HTML code in there. I play around with stuff. I'd make images, and suddenly there was something on the Web again. Probably wasn't perfect, wasn't the greatest, But I was blissfully ignorant, and I knew that it was more than they could do. And there's a second type of entrepreneur out there, and that's somebody who is afraid to do any of that. If somebody says, Hey, can you do a website for me? They would say, Well, I could do a website for you, but I'm not an expert. And so I'm not gonna do it until I'm perfect at Web design. Until I have all the certifications, all the degrees, all the things that matter in my business. I'm not gonna do it for you because I'm not qualified. I'm not good enough, and I couldn't possibly take your money because I'm not the right person for it. In other words, these business owners have imposter syndrome. This is when they think that they're not good enough to be in business for themselves because they don't have all the knowledge in the world or they don't know everything or they don't know enough for somebody to pay them. And this is unfortunate because most business owners never know all the things nobody ever has all the knowledge. And so really, what it comes down to is knowledge is not the most important thing that goes into being a successful freelancer consultant or somebody who performs services. Knowledge is not the most important thing. Believe it or not, really, it's your ability to deliver that sets you apart. And that's really what matters in the business. Your ability to deliver the goods, your ability to deliver something that makes your clients happy. That makes them satisfied. That makes them want to pay you not just for the work you did but to pay you for future work. So they want to keep on working with you because they know you can deliver results. That's really what makes your world go round in this business is by being able to deliver and you want to be the foremost expert in the world in order to get to that point. So when I go back to how I was blissfully ignorant in business. Why was that? Why was I so blissfully ignorant? Because I knew one thing. I knew that I knew more than my clients. I knew that my clients didn't know how to make a website, and it was pretty easy for me to be the one who could provide him with that expertise. I have been spending years training myself and getting confident and that I could help solve people's problems, especially people who didn't really get technology. So even though I wasn't polished, even though I was barely qualified to do the job, clients were happy with the results. And that doesn't mean that I didn't have imposter syndrome myself. I did. I knew that I wasn't the foremost expert in what I was doing. I knew that I wasn't perfect at every single part of making websites. I knew that I had strengths and I had weaknesses. I was not a very good designer. Even though I called myself a Web designer. I was actually not that great of a coder. Even though I called myself a Web developer, I was not that great at the server side of things There's a lot of things that I was not very good at. It was pretty much a jack of all trades, and I could give them something complete, and I could give it at a price that they were willing to pay. And yes, somebody who is more complete than me would have basically had been able to charge much more money. Then again, these clients probably wouldn't work with them because I didn't have much of a budget. It was a perfect storm. They get what they pay for, They get a non expert, and that's how it went on for a long time. That's how it went on for many years until I figured out how to become an expert. And so, yes, I had imposter syndrome. I kept on thinking that I get found out that people would know that I wasn't that great, that I wasn't an expert, and so what I would do is I would just go and try to have ah, evidence that I was an expert so I would keep on reading. I would learn everything I could. I basically wanted to be able to defend myself if somebody said, but what about this. You didn't know about that. I went and learned I wouldn't learn everything I possibly could about my craft and not just my my first craft have Web design, but of everything from search from S E O P. P C. Analytics, social Media. I learned everything under the sun about digital marketing in general so that I could deliver a complete solution and nobody ever really called me out on it. But if they would have, I would been able to say I'm an expert. And the funny thing is, becoming an expert did so many other great things for me. It allowed me to raise my rates. It allowed me to stay in demand. It made it. So people sought me out so they could work with me all these awesome things. And eventually, along the way, I became an expert. People started saying, Jeff Sour, my analytics expert, Jeff Sour PPC expert Jeffs, our expert sort of wild to see that happen. Now, you might not believe this, but I'm gonna tell you right now that you have what it takes to become an expert. The only people out there who are imposters are the ones who sit on the sidelines forever, always waiting for the perfect opportunity, always taking the newest online course, always going after the next fad, thinking that they're not gonna be good enough or wondering what's gonna be there or seeing an expert and then being intimidated by it. Those are the ones who the true imposters. You don't have to do that. You can become the expert you want to be. It all starts with developing great relationships and delivering the goods to your clients . And I'm going to assure you that you will make mistakes along the way. We all do. And those mistakes are are gonna make you better. They're gonna make you a better business owner. They're gonna make you more of an expert. The mistakes are what make us awesome. The mistakes of the best part. Even though we always think that we're gonna be a failure, that we just you fail once and it's over. That's not how it goes. You learn from mistakes. That's where you learn the most. So you are gonna make mistakes on your way to becoming an expert. Here's one simple technique to help you get over your imposter syndrome. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle on the left hand side. Write down the names of your previous clients on the right hand side, right value that you've delivered for them. You'd be surprised how much value you've already delivered. And if you are feeling like an impostor, if you're feeling like a fraud, know that you're not. You've already started to deliver, and if you don't have any clients yet, that's okay too. What you need to do is you need to go out there, need to find a client now think about it. From the perspective of me, when I was first getting started out, basically there were people who needed a website to get done, and they trusted me to do it. But they weren't really somebody who had a huge budget to get a website done. And so basically, I worked very inexpensively in order to get experience. I didn't know it at the time, but basically what I was doing then is way less than I was able to charge in the future. So, generally speaking, there's all kinds of clients for all kinds of service providers, very rarely do you start out at the top of your profession, working with the best people in the entire business. We all think that's how it's gonna go. We just get started. We we sign our first contract, and it's with Coca Cola or we're doing something for Netflix that will never be the case. They have big agencies working with them. They have the experts working with them because those people have built their way up to that point in time. You need to start somewhere. You need to start small, but you also need to get over this imposter syndrome. So go ahead and crush your mental barrier before you do anything else, get rid of your imposter syndrome, throw it away, go out there and be an expert for somebody. Doesn't have to be the foremost expert in the world. It has to be somebody who knows more than their client and can deliver the work that the client expects and make the client happy. So they want to work with you over and over again into the future. Do that once and you'll feel good. Do that multiple times, and you have a real business now If you like this video, I encourage you to subscribe to our weekly Sage newsletter at www dot agency course dot com . There you're gonna get a newsletter every single Friday where we share with you some of my favorite tips for running a successful professional service business. And once again, I'm Jeff Sour, and I hope that you enjoyed this edition of the agency sage. 2. How To Get Your First 10 Clients: It's Jeff Sour here agency course dot com, Jeff politics dot com And in this video, I'm gonna show you how to get your 1st 10 clients as a consultant, freelancer or an agency owner now going to start with sharing my own story about how he became a freelancer and how I found my 1st 10 clients. Now, this is one of those things where I was gainfully employed in a job. Well, I'm not sure about the gainfully part. I actually was making just enough money to get by and maybe a little bit less than that. So I crude a lot of credit card debt, and I didn't really have a lot going for me at my job. And so I was depressed. Things weren't really going that well for me, but then I got lucky, and I had somebody reach out to me and asked if I could help them develop a website, and I think I was doing a website for them for maybe 25 bucks an hour, and it wasn't enough to pay down my credit card debt, but it was enough to be occupied and be busy and have something to look forward to and this person basically ended up giving me lots of lots of work. And then they told their friends that first client ended up becoming the 1st 3 websites that I did. And actually, the 1st 3 paychecks I got as a freelancer and I was like, OK, well, what else can I do, hear what else can happen? And so I started telling everybody that I know about how excited I was to work on developing websites for people, how cool it was that I was able to get search engine results, how cool it was that I could create a database driven website, which is pretty novel back then and actually put something on the Internet that people wanted to see not just people, but search engines to It was really exciting for me. So I told everybody that would listen about that success about those stories, and it sort of became one of those things where I was almost insufferable. I was talking so much about how cool search engines were, but it started the work. People started to take notice. My friends would tell their friends that I was great at getting search engine results, even though I'd only done it a couple times and that if they wanted to, I could work on their website. So I basically started doing website designed for people on the side, and it has many gigs I could get. You know, one gig became two gigs, became three gigs, and soon I had other gigs doing other stuff. I was doing websites or restaurants for home improvement companies, basically anybody who would listen. And eventually I had 5 to 10 clients that were paying me a good amount of money, enough money that I was pretty confident that I could quit my job and do this full time. And so it was about a 3 to 6 month process from the first time that I took on a client to when I got the confidence to think, Oh, I might be able to do this full time and another six months of planning after that, Before I finally pulled the trigger before I finally went in and talk to my boss and said, Hey, I'm done, I'm leaving. And the funny thing is that I thought that the boss would be really upset and he's like no This is great. I'm so excited for you. It sounds like you've thought this through. Sounds like you have a lot of momentum. In fact, I would like to have you be a contract. And so I'd like to have you keep your job, work a little bit less hours, but still get paid the same rate. You're getting paid and you can work from home. And basically, you can work for us for another six months, work from home and have none of the stress of going into the job. And you can do what this is worth. And so that's really how it ended up happening with me to get my 1st 10 clients. Basically, I just kept on working hard, kept on telling everybody that I knew that I was open for business and eventually people started to take notice, and eventually people started wanting to help me out. They started to tell people that I was open for business. They started to I believe, the results that I was generating, I started to believe the results that I was generating, which is really funny, because at first I was like, Yeah, I think that I know what I'm doing. But eventually you do it enough times and you start to believe it. And when you start to believe it, people want to work with you. People want to work with you all the time. And so soon it went from, you know, pretty desperate to get out of debt, to try to find whatever client I could get, that I have my pick of the clients and it really didn't take that long. In the scheme of things, it took me probably a year to get on my feet. And then within the first year after that, I had blown away the income I had ever made at my salaried position. And all my debt was gone, too. So things went really well. And I want to talk about how you could do this for yourself. The first thing is that it all starts with getting one client. You really just need one client to get started. And once you have that client, you can start to declare that you're open for business like I did. You can say, Hey, I'm open for business and I'm starting to get results. Talk about it, talk about it with everybody that you can talk to share it on your LinkedIn shared on your Facebook. Let people know that you are open for business and what you're really doing then is you're putting yourself out there. You're telling people that you are open for business, that you are ready to go and that you want to take on whatever project you want to take on . Now, some people, maybe you're comfortable with your job or your friends of your co workers on Facebook. You don't want to publish that on Facebook. But others maybe you can. Or maybe you could just tell people at happy hours or gatherings or at family events that you are open for business. That's what I ended up doing. And it worked really well, just telling everybody that I knew in person 1 to 1. Hey, this is what I dio. This is what I'm gonna be doing for the rest of my career. That was enough for me to get going for me to start turning that one client into multiple clients. Another trick is to look for somebody that's called an anchor client. An anchor client is somebody who you work with or somebody who you've worked with in the past who is willing to take a chance on you and give you somewhere between 80 to 100% of your target income, but only make you work about 50% of the time. And so instead of having to work full time, you can do it in half the time and have a lot more free time to focus on what's next, which is growing your business and getting past one client and having your 1st 10 clients. Now, while you're doing this, treat each opportunity as a unique experience. Each unique experience molds you. It's what makes you who you are when you're in business. And so if you take experience working on a website in one case or doing a search program or editing a blawg, every one of those projects that you can do that somebody pays you for is an experience that you can learn from some of these things you're going to find. You don't like doing them. They're not right for you, and other ones they're gonna find might be your calling. You need to work on several projects to really understand where things are going and where you want to take it. And while you're doing that, what you're really doing is you're developing in building relationships. You really want to build relationships. You want to build your relationship skills, that people know who you are, and they know that they can rely on you. They know they can come on you, and they know that you're passionate about what you do, and you can deliver the goods that you can deliver the results. And so it's all about building relationships. You don't need to maximize revenue in the short term because, honestly, it's probably not gonna be that much money anyway. The revenue will come over time, and it will be significantly more valuable than anything can do when you're first getting started. When you're trying to get your 1st 10 clients, and honestly, it's a lot easier to get clients when you're cheap. So if you're not charging that much, it's a lot easier to get clients than if you start out charging way too much money to think of it this way, you want to play the long game. You want to grow your skills, you want to grow your experience. You want to get to the point where everybody loves working with you. Your first client becomes 1/3 client who becomes 1/7 client and eventually, suddenly, before you know it, you have 10 clients that you've worked with and you have 10 experiences that you can draw upon in your business. And then once you reach 10 clients, you can start to drop patterns between what you like in business and what you don't like in business. You can start to connect the dots. You can start to say I'll never do this again. Or you can start to say I think this is gonna work out really well for me. And then you can say I'm drawing the line here. These are the only projects that I'm gonna take on moving forward. This is my niche. You can niche down as a result of these 10 client experiences, and then you can start to charge more. You can build on a real business, and your 1st 10 clients are gonna tell you a lot about where that business is going to go. So make sure that your patient as you go through this, be patient with what you do, Play the long game and just remember you're gonna be there soon enough. You're gonna have plenty of time to grow in the future. They're always feels like a lot of urgency when you start your business. And I know there is because you think that it's not gonna work out. But if you stick with it and you follow these tips and you can get to the point where you have 10 clients, even if they're not paying you all kinds of money and you're just getting experience, you're just building relationships. It is gonna work out in the end. That's what you need to do. You need to get out there and you need to go and find that first client, then parlay that into your next 10. So I'm curious. If you like this message, tell me where you're at in your business. Leave a comment on this video on YouTube or on our blawg, and I'd love to hear from you about where you're at in your journey. And also, if you like this video, be sure to check out the first video from the Siri's, where we talk about crushing the one mental barrier before you do anything else. If you have imposter syndrome in your business, if you don't think you're good enough, you don't have the skills. You're not sure if things are gonna work out. Make sure you watch the previous video, which will link to in our video notes. And you can see exactly what you need to do to crush that mental barrier. And you can even hear my story about how I got through it myself. And finally, if you like this video, subscribe to our Sage newsletter at agency course dot com with another video coming at you tomorrow, and our next agency video will come out your next Friday. See you then. 3. The Number 1 Mistake Agencies Make When Pricing Their Services: Hey, it's Jeff Sour here for another episode of the agency Sage and this one. We're going to talk about the number one mistake that freelancers and consultants make when they're pricing their services. How much should you charge for your services? And how do you know if it's the right amount that you're charging now? When I first started freelancing, I had a pretty unscientific method for knowing what I should charge, and it turns out that I was charging way less than I should. Now here's my method. What I did was I took my salary as an employee, and I divided it by 2000 hours, which is generally the amount of time that somebody will work in a given year. And I came up with the number of $25 per hour. That was what my consulting rate was for the first few projects that I worked because I thought that was what it should be. I thought that it was an honest number. I thought that was based on reality. That was based on what I was already making and that that was the amount of money that I should charge now. This worked for a while. But as I got better at my craft and as I got more clients working with me, and as I got smarter, I realized that $25 an hour was just scratching the surface. It was barely even worth my time to only get paid $25 an hour. It didn't account for things like taxes, overhead equipment that I needed to do the job, my Internet connection. It didn't account for any of the expenses that I had in my business. It really didn't account for much. And so it turns out that working for $25 an hour was not really that great for me, and it was a bargain for the ones who were receiving my services for only $25 an hour. But here's the thing. You can't treat consulting like a salary job because consultant carries way more risks than your salary job and has none of the stability, so you don't have any that stability. You don't have health insurance. You don't have the guaranteed paycheck coming to you every two weeks. You don't have any of the things that come with going into a job and yet you're working at the same price, so you need to factor all that into the amount you charge and make sure that you're getting paid what you're worth so personally, I eventually crawled my way up to getting paid $45 an hour working on a contract doing database marketing for this company called three D Marketing, and that $45 an hour seemed like a lot of money. But it was a pretty good bargain for them. The people at three Deep marketing. They later told me that because they ended up being my business partners. Now the most shocking moment that I had in my journey to discovering what I should charge is when another consultant told me what they made per hour. Now, this person had been doing it for about 10 15 years, and they said they were getting paid $100 an hour to do graphic design services for their clients. I couldn't even fathom that amount of money. I thought it was just an amazing thing that this person was worth $100 an hour or so surprising to me. I really couldn't even contain myself with the excitement for him and then also thinking, man, maybe I'm under charging now. This consultant that I was working with is a friend named Eric VV, and Eric actually used me as a subcontractor on several projects. And while we were working together, we'd go to lunches. He'd give me a lot of advice and one of things that Eric said was Jeff, you could easily charge $100 an hour to just don't do it on the subcontracted projects that I have, because I'm counting on you only being $45 an hour. So basically, I was told that I had what it takes to get the job done and to get paid way more and on future projects. I could easily command $100 an hour, so that was a huge revelation for me and a big breakthrough in my process. Honestly, I was like, Holy. I had no idea that I was worth that much, and I didn't think that could charge it. I really had that imposter syndrome at the point in time, and I just didn't think the market would bare me being able to charge that much, especially since it was such a leap from what I had been charging. But this type of feedback was invaluable for me because it made me realize that maybe I was approaching it wrong. Maybe I was under selling my services. Maybe I was underselling my own personal capabilities. My imposter syndrome seeped through, and it made me think, Am I worth this much money? Turns out that I was worth it. It turns out that I could charge that much and then much more. I charge $500 an hour now. I started out at $25 an hour, so over the years my rate has increased. But it wasn't an immediate thing. It's not like I just increase my rate from $25 to $100 overnight. Based on one conversation, I to test the waters I to make sure that the market would bare it. I had to make sure that I had a full pipeline that I could work with, and then eventually I did get $200 an hour. It took me about six months from that conversation to start charging that much. And then over the years, I just kept on charging more and more and more as I got busier because I knew that I could get away with it, because if I didn't get the gig, it didn't matter. I was already busy. I was already making a good amount of money. This way I could increment my pricing and I could base it out the reality that the market is willing to pay. So now that you've heard my story, I want to boil it down to the number one mistake that agencies make when they're pricing their services. And that mistake is not building your expenses and profit margins into your rates. It's doing what I did, and that is saying, Okay, this is how much money I got paid at my old job or at my current job. This is exactly what I should do. All this divided by 2000 and that's my rate. Yet you don't factor in any of the risk, and either reward that goes into being a business owner. That is a huge mistake, and I don't want you to make that mistake yourself. You need to account for any and all expenses that you have in your business, and you need to price things. So you have money in the bank. When all is said and done, business is not a break even prospect. Business is all about generating a profit. It's all about having more money. At the end of the day when you started out with because if you can't have that, then you're not gonna be in business very long. You're gonna go into debt and it's in a costume or in the long run, if you don't make a profit so even right away in the service business, you should be aiming to make a profit. And the only time that you can really sacrifice these ideals is if you just want to get experience. If experience is the number one thing that you need and you feel that's the case, then you can sacrifice these ideals and disco after experience, take a little bit less than your normal rate, even work for free. If you want to gain that valuable experience, it's OK to sacrifice short term revenue for long term experience, relationships and long term prospects for your business. But that's the only time that you're gonna want to make that exception. The other thing I will tell you is that if you do this every single time, if you always underprice yourself because you think you're getting experience or you're making an investment in the business at some point, the tables need to turn. At some point, you need to flip that switch and say, Hey, I'm good enough to charges rate. This is the rate that I deserve, and I'm busy enough that I don't need to take on this business. And so it might be like me where it took maybe 6 to 12 months in order to get to the point where you're charging the rate that you're worth. Maybe you need to get that confidence going, maybe need to get over your imposter syndrome. Whatever it takes. You need to get to that point. So I ask you, Are you making this mistake? Are you not factoring in your true expenses and making a profit rewarding yourself and your business at the end of the day? Are you not factoring this into your business? If you're having troubles getting over the hump and getting paid what you deserve, then I'd encourage you to leave a comment on this video, either. On YouTube or on the agency course website. You can let us know what your problems are. Well, listen to it and will propose a solution that you can use to increase your rates and get the rate that you deserve. No, Like I said, none of these things happen overnight. But if you plug away at it and you keep on going, thes things can usually happen within a matter of months or worst case scenario in a matter of a few years. And then you get to the point where moving forward for the rest of your career for the rest of the time that you're in business, you're getting paid exactly what you're worth. Now this video is a part of our series about the truth about the agency business. Now, if you haven't watch the other videos yet, I would encourage you to subscribe to our agency Sage newsletter at agency course dot com or to our YouTube channel, and you get notified whenever we put out new videos. These videos come out every Friday and we talk about behind the scenes the truth that goes into running an agency business, a freelance business or being a consultant so once again join our Sage newsletter at www dot agency course dot com, and I look forward to coming back at you next week with some more wisdom about the truth behind the agency business. This is Jeff Sour signing off for agency course dot com. 4. CASE STUDY How Sid 5xd his fees with a simple insight: Hey, it's Jeff Sour here and welcome to the agency Sage. Now, today we have a case study for you, and it's how Sid five, ext his consulting rates with one simple insight. Now, in a previous video, I talked about how to avoid the number one mistake that agencies make when they're pricing their services. If you haven't watched that video yet, click on the link inside of this video and you can go and watch that one first and then you can come back here and you can watch the rest and you can see the case study about Sid. Now I'll be waiting for you to click on it, so go ahead and do that and we'll be ready to move on when you're ready. Okay, so I assume you've watched the video by now. Let's move on to sit Story. Let's talk about how do we put this tip into action? So Meet Sidarth, who also goes by the name of Sit Sit, is located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and he provides many different services at his agency. Now Sid wrote into us with a really cool testimonial about how he's been able to five XS rates as a result of doing the things that he learned an agency course. But instead of using my words to tell Sid story, I want to use his words. Sid wrote to us and said, Dear Jeff, I've been in your agency course for about three weeks now, and I've just started the growing your agency module. This is what happened to me in the past week. I used the ideas from your business development module to identify my niche, hustle for meetings with key decision makers and, eventually, price of value driven proposal for a prospect. And they responded. I really hustled to get in front of him. After three face to face meetings and a long call yesterday we signed a contract with a retainer, which is five x of what I used to charge. And it also has a nice set up fee involved with it as well. Without the ideas from your agency course, I would not have even thought of quoting such a high retainer and then more so, demonstrating why and how I would add value to my client's business. A big, big thank you to you totally recovered my investment in this course many, many times over. Obviously, I love reading stuff like this. This is unsolicited. Sid. Send this in because he is putting the ideas into action now. My course wouldn't really be worthwhile if people didn't put ideas into action. And so I love it when I talk to agency owners nearly every single day who are putting in the actions that they need to grow their business. We're talking days, weeks, even months to seeing a major impact in your business. So let's break down why Sid was able to five XS rates. Using the techniques that he learned in agency course Number one, he chose a niche. Now Sit is capable of doing many things. He's a very capable guy, just like everybody else who takes my agency course programme. We have a lot of capable people go getters, people who know what they're doing and are very skilled at delivering work for their clients. But what you'll learn is that not every service you can provide is gonna be profitable. Not every service you provide is in demand. Not every service you provide is gonna be something that's gonna make your business better . And so he decided during his business development cycle to focus on doing one thing and doing it well, which is PPC, and as a result of that focus, he was able to get in front of somebody as opposed to thinking, Oh, I could go after anybody in the world. He's saying, I'm gonna go after people who are doing PBC in Dubai and I'm gonna express my local presence and I'm gonna show them how I can do really good things for them choosing and niches really vital if you want to increase your rates and you want to get paid what you're worth. Number two. He networked and worked to get in front of his target audience, using SIDS own words. He had to hustle in order to get in front of this person. He had to be persistent. He had to communicate with them multiple times in order to get in front of them. They were busy, but they wanted results right there busy. But they wanted to work with him, and so he could then persisting and you didn't give up after the first call. After the second call took him three different times, calling these people talking to them to finally get a commitment, and that happens at every single stage of the sales process. You need to do that when somebody's a lead. You need to do that with the contract. You need to do that every step of the way until you have signed ink on the contract. Number three. His contract is based on value, not on hourly rates. Now, if Sid would have stuck with the hourly rate trap and said I'm only worth this much money, then he probably would have never imagined charging five times more. But if he's doing the same work and he can charge five times more, that means that he was undervaluing his services by 80%. And that means that there's a lot of room for growth, and he just needed to change his mind set away from I'm not good enough to charge us much to. This is what I am worth. This is what I deserve because I'm giving this much value to my client and that shift in mindset really, really paid off for sit number four he negotiated. But he didn't compromise his profits. I notice here that he put a deal in front of them and they said that there was some back and forth. He did have to work with them in order to get to an agreeable deal. That is usually what ends up happening. You're not ever gonna nail it on the head. The first time you're never gonna have just a perfect storm where you put out a contract and somebody says yes to everything on the first try, sometimes you need to have some back and forth. Sometimes there needs to be negotiation. And when you do that, you just need to make sure that you negotiate in a way that doesn't compromise your ability to make a profit. And so Sid negotiated. But he still made a profitable proposition, and part of it came down, too. He wasn't afraid to ask for what he was worth, right, instead of compromising and saying, Well, maybe I'm not worth that much. He stuck to his guns and it paid off for him. Number five, he was persistent and following up. Now I'll tell you this. I've closed millions of dollars of deals in agency services. I've provided a lot of services to a lot of big companies, and very rarely do I close it on the first try. And if I were just to give up, then I probably wouldn't have nearly as much business. Maybe those millions would have been just thousands. If I wouldn't have followed up, you need to follow up. You need to be persistent. You don't want to be a knowing. You don't wanna be too pushy, but you do need to follow up. You can't expect that busy people who are hiring you to augment their staff to perform services for them are going to be always on the ball and always ready to go. They have a lot of things going on. That's the reason why they're outsourcing some kind of project or service to you because you have the time you have the band with and you have the process to get it done. So remember that and be empathetic to their situation. Follow up. But don't be annoying, but do make sure that you follow up. Don't give up until the ink has dried and that's on the contract and then the rest of the business can kick off. You can actually do what you're good at you can do what you're getting paid for. Sales is not a one time thing. Sales is a mentality. Sales is an ongoing process. Sales is something that requires nurturing. And the same thing goes for client relationships you need to nurture. You need to make these things a long term investment. Number six He wasn't shy about his prices and going back to our previous video about imposter syndrome. Somebody who has imposter syndrome, they're gonna be afraid to charge what they're worth because they don't think they're worth it. Well, I can tell you this. You probably are worth it if somebody's gonna pay you, and so you need to go out there and you need to figure out what you're worth. You need to figure out what you can charge, and you need to be confident in pricing. And if it's more than you've ever charged before, Good. That's the point. That's what we teach you inside of agency courses to be confident that you're worth this much because we give you data, we give you evidence. We show you the model that goes into making a good business. We show you how you can be profitable. We show you how you can calculate what your worth. And so now you're not just willy nilly throwing out a number and saying I hope they pay it like I was when I first got started. In this industry, you're going based on facts. The fact is that you need to get paid this much if you want to do a good job for them. And so there you need to look at it that way. You need to change your perspective. And it's not that you're not worth something. You are worth it because you want to run. Ah, good business. You want to run a profitable business and you want to deliver results for your client's. You need to get paid what you're worth for all of those things toe happen. Number seven Sid wasn't afraid to hear No, because he knew that he was their best option. Think about it. If you're the best option for somebody, if you're gonna give them the best results and you are totally worth the amount of money that you're charging for and you're gonna deliver the goods, then you shouldn't be afraid of hearing. No, because if they don't go with you. They're hurting themselves. They're hurting their business. They're hurting their prospects, and their chances of succeeding are very low. And then guess what happens. They come back to you and they say, Yes, I want to work with you. So even if you don't get it right away, you know, if they say no because you charge too much in their mind or they're looking at other vendors, it almost always comes back to you. Because if you provide the results, if you do the work, then they're gonna want to work with you in the future. So basically, sit did exactly what we teach in agency course. That's what his testimonial says, and that's what I'm telling you here in this video. So now my call to action to you is, Do you want to learn how to do all these things? Do you want to have that same level of confidence that I would encourage you to subscribe to our agency Sage newsletter at www dot agency course dot com? And each Friday we deliver to you wisdom about the agency business, how you can charge more how you can grow your business better how you can scale how you can do all this without sacrificing profits. In fact, we want to talk about how do you get record profits because you're running a good business and just a friendly reminder that this video is it part of a syriza about the truth behind the agency business. If you want to learn about the truth behind the agency business and you're just getting started right now in this video, I would encourage you to go to agency course dot com slash truth and sign up for that list . And then you can get all the videos from this sequence once a week will send you the videos , and you can get apprised as to what's happening behind the scenes in the agency business. I can tell you this right now you do not want to miss a video, so thanks for watching. Hopefully you enjoy this case study from Sid. Hopefully, you are excited about increasing your rates and not making the same mistakes that I did along the way. And once again, I'm Jeff Sour, and this is the agency Sage 5. 3 Secrets to Closing The Sale: Hey, it's Jeff Sour here. The agency sage. In today's video, I want to show you three secrets to closing the sale. Now, I'm gonna start off with a question. Have you ever sent a proposal of somebody only to hear crickets on the other end? Basically, your perspective Client went radio silent and you couldn't understand where they're coming from. You couldn't hear back from them. They wouldn't return your emails of your calls. Yeah, I've had that happen before, too. And it sucks. I really don't like it at all. And so in this video, I want to show you some things you can do to make that not happen. Now it's easy to put a proposal in front of somebody and count the check before it's been cashed. But actually, a lot of times that proposal is just the beginning of the negotiation when you're gonna work with somebody. And so before you start wondering about Tesla's or Lambros on the moon and wondering when you're gonna be able to cash all these checks, make sure you understand where the other person's coming from. Stop thinking of these things as a certainty. Auras. The proposal equals money in the bank because it really doesn't matter until the ink dries . Selling your services is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration. Even the best sales pitches, even the best proposals won't go very far without some kind of follow a process to make sure that you get the results that you're looking for. And so, for the rest of this video, I'm gonna show you three secrets to closing the deal. Number one. Build a relationship with your perspective client. Well, before you get to the proposal phase, Basically, what you want to do is you want to build relationships to the point where somebody you're working with, trust you enjoys. Your company, wants to work with you potentially into the future, and everything looks good on their end. And they're basically saying, I want to work with this person. I want to work with your agency. I want to work with your business and I want to do it well into the future. Now, from my experience, almost all the best deals that I've won are things where I had a previous relationship with the client. Whenever I'm going up and I'm running a proposal against a bunch of other agencies. Whenever I'm out there trying to close more deals, trying to get more results, it almost always comes down to having a relationship. Before I even get to the point where I put a proposal on the table that I get the best results. And when I say I get the best results, I've been able to close deals that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and have a pretty high certainty that that deal is gonna close because I had a relationship with the perspective client. Now you're not gonna have a relationship with every single person on your perspective, clients team. But you can definitely have one major point of contact that you're gonna work with. And so Secret Number one is to develop a relationship with your perspective client. Well, before you ever put a proposal in front of them Secret Number two, the longer you wait to show your pricing, the better chance you have of making it to each subsequent round of the pitch process. Basically, if you want to not win a deal, the best thing you can do is to share your pricing right away. Give somebody your pricing up front and they're going to run away from you run to the hills seeking shelter, seeking comfort in another agency. And the reason why is because you have improving your value. Yet it's all about proving your value. And if you haven't run a pitch yet, if you haven't convinced them that you're worth working with and you give them pricing, they're going to be scared and they're going to run away. So the longer you wait to reveal your pricing, the more you are in tune with what your potential clients budgets gonna be. The more you talk to your main point of contact from example number one, the better off you're gonna be. And this is something that works great. Whether you're an agency, a consultant or a freelancer, wait to reveal your pricing until somebody is invested in you until they know that you're going to be the solution for them. And then once they've already determined that you're the solution that they want, the price is not really gonna be that big of a detail. They're gonna find a budget. They're gonna find value in what you do. They're gonna basically see that there's a perceived return on your investment, and they're gonna say, OK, I want to do this even though they're the most expensive provider, even though they cost a little bit more than we were hoping for, we think we're going to get a strong return from this and we're willing to pay for. So the earlier you reveal pricing, the more you turn off your perspective client. And so you don't want to do that. You don't want to turn off prospective clients. You want to give them the indication that you are the best person out there that you were the best agency, the best service provider for them. And so Number two is wait to give your pricing. The longer you wait to give your pricing, the better the results are going to be. And finally, number three. Even the best prospects are going to go dark at some point in time once the proposal goes in front of them and it's up to you to have a process to get them to sign the contract, to get them to start working with you. So here's the hype cycle that ends up going into every sale every potential sale we have. The first thing is we have a great meeting with a prospective client. We have our primary point of contact. We do all these things that I'm talking about in this video, and they're pretty happy. We haven't revealed pricing yet, but we have a pretty good indicator that they're going to sign the dotted line whenever they're ready. They keep on asking, buying questions like, what are you gonna start? Who's on the team? All these questions that indicate that they are ready to go. They're ready to rock with you. They're ready to sign on the dotted line. So you get that proposal going, You basically spend an all nighter or you do it the next day and you get a proposal in front of them and then you don't hear back. You don't hear back in week one. You don't hear back in week two and suddenly you're wondering if there's gonna be a deal or not. Suddenly, all your enthusiasm, your test slip down payment all the things that you're expecting to have happen as a result of this contract go nowhere. And that's because it's not just your perspective. Client just one person who gets to make the decision. There's a lot of decision makers out there. There's legal. There's finance. You need to get approval for budget. You need to do all these things due diligence. Vendor management. All kinds of stuff goes into finally getting your contract signed. And the bigger the contract, the more work needs to happen. The more red tape you need to cut through in order to get the results that you want and so don't count your checks before they're cashed. Don't count the contract until you've signed on the dotted line. And make sure you implement a piece of technology in order to follow up with the perspective client. And what I mean by that is implemented. CRM system. Implement a system that lets you know every week that you need to follow up with them, have a follow up process. Have a general newsletter that you send out to all your potential clients, letting them know what you're doing, keeping in front of them standing on the top of their mind. That's really what you want to do. If you want to get the best results through your prospecting process, you can't just go dark. When they go dark, you need to stay in front of them. You don't want to be pushy. You don't want to overdo it. But you need to stay in front of them to make sure that they're still thinking about you. But they're still finding value and that you've properly related what your values gonna be . Now, this is another key point. You need to make sure they know that you're gonna give value. And there's gonna be some kind of return in their investments in working with you because that's what everybody wants. They want a return on their investment. So number three in summary, even the best prospects go dark. And it's up to you to make sure you have a process where you can get these things done in a timely manner and that you can go ahead and get that ink signed so you can cash that check finally and you go get that Lambo. You can go get that Tesla, whatever you're looking for or re invest in your business, that's probably a smarter move. Don't think of clients as a down payment on your lifestyle. Think of clients as the funding that you need to keep your business healthy, to keep your business growing and to keep your business fund for you. Now, if you're interested in learning more about sales and how to close deals, check out agency course dot com. We have sales jump start where we teach you the step by step process that I used to close millions of dollars of deals every single year at my agency. And while you're there, sign up for our sage newsletter and get weekly wisdom delivered to your inbox. I'm Jeff Sour, and this has been the agency sage. 6. Managing Your Clients The Right Way: It's Jeff Sour here, and this is the agency Sage. In this video, we're gonna talk about managing your clients the right way. We love our clients. Or at least we like to think that we love our clients, right? Absolutely. We love our client, but sometimes our clients are difficult. I'm gonna pull up an old quote that I've actually either heard somebody else say. Or maybe I made it up. But this business would be a lot more fun if it wasn't for our clients. I love everything about my business except for having to deal with clients. And that's something that you'll hear yourself saying at some point along your agency journey. Hopefully, you don't actually say to a client because that's the surefire way you're gonna get fired. But it's probably something you'll think about when you go through your business. Now I'm gonna tell you that it's easy to blame your clients when things are not going well for you. When things are not going according to your plan, the first person you're gonna blame is your client, because it couldn't be your fault. It couldn't possibly be you. That's to blame. Could it? And Sometimes it is the client's fault. But most of the time it's your fault. It's the fault of the service provider, for they're not setting expectations, not meeting expectations, and this is probably gonna sound controversial. You're probably going to say, Oh, Jeff, you're an idiot But it's true. Most client problems are our own faults, but I have good news for you. Over time, you're gonna learn how to anticipate your client's needs, and you're gonna be able to deliver the results they're looking for. Things are going to get easier, and I want to help you get there as soon as possible. Let's talk about how to manage your clients the right way. Here are seven steps that you need to follow if you want to have better client relationships and you want to manage your client's effectively, number one set expectations before you do any selling before you try to sell somebody on some big contract set expectations with them as to what results you think you can deliver. Make sure that you think those results are reasonable to deliver, and then when you're putting something out there that you know that you're gonna be able to achieve success. Because if you're sceptical as to whether or not you're gonna achieve success before you've even started working on the project, you are probably not going to deliver. And it's gonna take a huge amount of effort to even break even on this project because you're probably going to sink a lot of hours into something and you're probably not gonna have much to show for it. When all is said and done number to develop a new client on boarding process. Now, this is an important one. Once the contract is signed in the ink dries, start talking your client about what the expectations are in your project, who they're gonna be working with, what timeline you have in mind and make sure you get all the materials you need from them in order to do the job the right way. So if you need access to their website to their content management system there analytics account or whatever materials you need access to, make sure you get that, make sure you let them know when they need to give it to you and the contingencies that happen. If they don't give it to you, make sure they understand the consequences and how it affects you doing your job if they don't do theirs, because if you can't set expectations and you don't have some kind of on boarding process, you're gonna be waiting a long time to get things. And guess what that time you're waiting is not time. You could be billing. You're not gonna let bill them for that time because you haven't done anything yet. So make sure you establish an on boarding process to get the materials you need and a set expectations properly. Number three, schedule a kickoff. Call with your new customer. Get everybody on your team who is important who will be dealing with the project will be talking to the client. Get them on that phone call and then get all of your major client representatives on there as well. And get everybody on the same page. Talk it out. Talk about what the plans are. Make sure everybody agrees. Make sure you get agreement on that call because that way you can proceed forward and you can do the things that you expect that you need to do to get the results they want and if they say something different during the kickoff call. From what you've told them during the sales process, that's good to know. You want to get that out of the way, because this way you can talk about it and you can establish what you're gonna do. And if this changes your timeline, you can let them know in real time. Okay, we couldn't do that. But it's gonna change the way that we deliver this service to you. Number four. Establish your points of contact with the client and then accountability for roles. Who is doing what? It doesn't just have to be everybody on your team who is doing something. It doesn't to be distant assignment of your team members. It could be what the clients doing as well establish accountability in main points of contacts within your roles. Number five. Define your communications strategy and frequency. Now, if you think that you should have daily meetings with your client, but they're only available once a month, that's a disconnect. Let them know how often you plan on communicating, how often you need updates from them and how often you need them to participate in the project. And that way you can set expectations as to what their involvements gonna be. Any of a verbal understanding as to how this is gonna go and how things are gonna play out in the future. Number six communicate clearly this one should go without saying, but be very clear with what you're going to do and what the expectations are. The more clear you are up front, the less chance you have of any kind of craziness happening down the line. As things start to go as you start to deliver on the project, communication at the beginning goes a long way in the end, Number seven in our final one. Remember, the only way that you win is if your client wins as well. You want to create win win situations cause it's a win situation for you and not a win for them. You're not gonna be winning very long either. You're not gonna get paid by them, you're not gonna get a future contract with them. And even your reputation might get dragged through the mud. So make sure you create win win situations because they need to win first. In order for you to win, make your clients look like winners and you will win, too. And I'm gonna close this with a rhetorical question. You want to win in your business, don't you? And you can pick up our sage newsletter at agency course dot com. This is Jeff Sour with another edition of the agency Sage. 7. Why 99 Percent of Client Projects Are Late: Hey, it's Jeff Sour here, and I want to talk about why 99% of the projects that you deliver for your clients are gonna be late. Let's start with the continuation of what we've learned so far in these truth about the agency business videos. You've done the work. You've gotten the contract signed your enthusiastic about the work that you're about to deliver. You love everything about the project. Everything is looking good, and your clients are excited, too. So you schedule a kickoff call. The client tells you on that call, they're going to give you all these resource is all these things that you need in order to do your job and then you wait. You wait and wait and wait. And these things are either delivered not at all or months later than you expect them to be delivered. And when that happens, your timeline for getting paid gets pushed back that easy money you were talking about it starts to become a struggle. You wonder why you took on this project at all. You wonder why this even seem like a good idea at any point in time. While you even considered it now that this thing's been delayed by months, quarters, even years, you question your contract writing skills, you even question your own sanity. You wonder if your clients are conspiring against you and whether or not you're gonna be able to make your mortgage payment or if you're gonna be able to pay your employees on time during the next payroll period. And here's the bad thing you've signed. A contract in this project is still happening. It's just not happening on your timeline. So you need to make adjustments to everything you're doing. You need to make adjustments to your resource is you need to make adjustments to your entire business. Simply put, you are not having a very good time with this client or at this project. So why did this happen? Why are 99% of client projects delivered late? Number one? You probably agreed to some dates that client put forth without doing your due diligence. He probably had an optimistic point of view as to whether you could get these things done, and it turns out you couldn't get those things done on the timeline that was promised, and you probably knew it as a sinking suspicion in the back of your mind the whole time. But you signed the contract anyway because you're an optimist. Or you thought that it was easy money, and you need the money anyway. Or you thought that this is gonna be the one of those 1% scenarios where something was delivered on time. And so you signed the contract anyway, Number two, maybe your client put pressure on you to get this thing done. Maybe they told you they wouldn't even entertain your contract if you didn't do it on their timeline. Maybe they're making up for lost ground because they're not really doing very well this year. And they need to have some kind of Hail Mary pass for their business. Doesn't put you in a very good position when that's the case, because they want you to get something done and you forgo your normal process because of the client pressure. Don't give in to pressure, even if it means you might not get the contract because the results of probably not gonna be what you expect and your clients not gonna be very happy with you anyway. Number three your clients priorities have changed. This happens all the time, especially if the client took more than a month or two to get the contract from concept to sign. If you're pitch process took a long time, their priorities could have changed. In the meantime, that comes to the surface. Once you start working on the project and they're nowhere to be found, number four maybe you underestimated the amount of effort involved with doing this project or the cousin of this is that you don't have your resource is available. He spent a long time in your sales cycle and you actually have all these projects do it one time. And so you're not able to prioritize the newest project. And henceforth, you're not gonna be able deliver it on time because your other projects are already even further behind and you need to catch up. Otherwise you're gonna have some unhappy clients. And so you'd rather make your newest client unhappy versus alienating the ones who are already unhappy with you and who are already threatening you for being in violation of your contract. Or maybe you just do that to head them off so they don't have some kind of argument so you don't get sued for your business. You underestimated everything. And now everything is slipping, and none of these things are getting delivered on time. Number six, your client isn't participating. So you had a kickoff call. You had your on boarding process, and then the client didn't give you what they needed to give you because they had subcontractors because they had their I T department they needed to work with. They have all these different people who are involved, and yet you can have a 1,000,000 beatings and you never get what you want. This is a common problem, and that's something you need to head off by being very clear with what people need to do, even if it's at the point where you need to write this into the contract, where the contract is no in void if they don't give you what they need to give you. That might be a clause you put in the contract so you can get these things delivered on time, or at least be able to say it's not on time, and it's because it's your fault. Number seven. Your internal team isn't delivering on time or you're using subcontractors and they're not delivering on time. Well, this one's on you. It's on your business. You need to make sure you deliver things on time. A lot of this comes down to setting expectations. We really are not good. That setting expectations when we're just getting started with our agencies because we always picture a best case scenario. We underestimate the number of variables that go into a successful product. It suffers. And so if you can't get things done internally, you're not gonna look very good in front. Your client and your client project is not gonna be delivered on time. Number eight. You have no process in place. This is very common for beginner agencies because you're starting everything from scratch. And so, with no process, you will not deliver on time. Number nine closely related to not having a process. Maybe you're just in over your head. Maybe you signed on for a project. That's the biggest project you ever taken on. Maybe you think you're ready to make the leap, but you're not. And so you're in over your head, and the results are probably that you're not gonna be able deliver this thing on time or you're not able to deliver it to the expectations. It happens. But you know what? You need to get in over your head from time to time. If you really want to succeed in this business, so maybe it's something you just need to understand and roll with it. If you can't number 10 you promise yourself that next time things will be different. Now, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. I think that most agency owners are insane and they're driven to insanity because they don't get ahead of the game because they don't make changes. And they do these things over and over again because a client comes to them and says, We need you to do something and they put pressure on you and you give in because that's the only way you think you can get the contract because you don't have enough money because you need the cash flow because you need to pay your employees. This happens all the time and then you say to yourself, Well, never let this happen again. This is a one time thing but it happens over and over again. The business doesn't progress. Nothing really good happens and you're always stressed out. This is what happens if you don't put a process in place. If you think that next time somebody different magically. I'm sorry to tell you that it's not gonna be different. This is the bad news. Things are not gonna be different next time. You need to put process in place. You really need to do a better job at setting expectations. Otherwise you're gonna be late. You're going to let the 99% of people who deliver services who don't deliver them on time. And yes, it's not always your fault. But no, that's not a valid excuse, because you can make the clients do what you need them to do if you do a good job at developing your contract and putting a process in place to make sure this doesn't happen again, So what can you do to fix this problem? Set expectations of their clients, tell them exactly what you're gonna do, how you're gonna do it and how they need to be involved with it. Put milestones into your contract and into your project plan to say, If we don't hit this goal by this point, then we're not gonna be delivering on time. And it's not our fault. It's your fault. And there's some kind of financial repercussion for this. Either We're getting paid still, because we did the work or you're gonna pay us extra now because we need to shift. Our resource is in order to account for the way that you're doing things. Number three. Make improvements to your account management and your expectation management systems, both the people and the way that you do business. Make sure you set better expectations and, if needed, put a dedicated account manager on the account number four. Ask better questions early and often. Number five Tightly defined the services that you can provide. The tighter you are with the definition of your service, the easier it is to repeat it over and over again. For your business and number six make delivery part of your company DNA. In the end, you want to be on time and under budget, or at least on budget. And this is not just a dream. It's a process. And finally, if you like this video, subscribe to our agency Sage newsletter, which comes out once a week at agency course dot com 8. How To Outsource Your Client Projects: Hey, it's Jeff Sour here and I'm gonna talk to you about how do you outsource your client projects? So if your agency owner or a consultant or a freelancer, the question I'm gonna answer in this video is, should you outsource your tasks to other freelancers, consultants and agencies? Is that a good idea? And what cautions do I have for that entire process? I want to start off by saying there are many times where this makes sense. It can lead to easy money and also that with air quotes, it leads to easy money. But without a process in place for dealing with these outsource contracts, it can be painful. You can actually lose money on these projects, or you can lose time. You can spend all your time managing these projects, and it will suck all the profit out of the project. They can ruin client relationships, and it can give your business a bad name. And there are even cases where you can violate the terms of your client contract and break the law by outsourcing your project. So make sure that those terms are not in your contract. If you're ever gonna consider outsourcing So why do agencies fail when they're outsourcing work? It's because they don't make adjustments to their business model. They assume that their previous model will work just fine when you have subcontractors. But the truth is, it's different when you're working with subcontractors than when you're working with employees. There's an entirely different economic model to it. And so your employees who are on a fixed salary yes, you can give them one more project, and it's gonna be profitable. But when you're working with subcontractors, if you don't scope it out right, they could eat up all your profits or cost you more than the entire project that you bid. And I've seen this happen hundreds of times for agencies who don't know what they're getting into thinking they're going after easy money and, it turns out, doesn't work very well at all for them. So if you haven't adjusted your business model yet and you want to outsource, you need to adjust to the new reality outsourcing. It's something that could be very lucrative for your business if you do it the right way. Number one. Charge your clients appropriately for the service being performed. It's not just about charging an amount that you would normally charge or something you're comfortable with. You need to adjust the charge in order to account for the new business model, which is using subcontractors. And you need to understand that if they go over there time that it doesn't suck into your profits, that if they go over in their time and they didn't estimate things right, it's on them. It's not on you. You can't be the middleman or the middle woman in between these two different projects and hope that it's gonna work out, especially if you don't account for the upside or the downside that comes with the resource . Is your working with number to build strong margins in your pricing, make sure that you account for the margins that you want to get in your business. And I would say the margins of outsourcing should be at least 50% but preferably even lower than that. If you want to make a profit from an outsource project, really, if you can't make at least 50% off of what the people charge you, the outsourced labor charges you, then you are not gonna make a profit because you have other operating expenses for your business. You have project management expenses, and you need to also get credit for the sale itself. So you need to get a sales percentage because you're the one who sold the deal. And you should get credit for that because you did the work to get that client relationship in the first place. Number three. If your clients ask if you're outsourcing, be transparent. Just because it's not in the contract doesn't mean that they shouldn't know in case they need to know if you're working on sensitive data. If you're working on projects that they don't expect to be outsourced, be honest and make sure that it's okay with them because you don't want to be in for surprises. And, yes, agencies work without source. Resource is all the time happens every single day, but just be clear about it. Don't lie. Make sure you're honest because otherwise bad things could happen to you If you're not honest with what's happening in your business, number four be very clear on the work that needs to be delivered both with your clients and with the person who's outsourcing. If you can't give the outsource labor the exact definition of what they need to do and how they need to do it and the budget for then they're probably going to come in over budget. In the end, they're probably gonna take more time. And they said it would. And it's all gonna be your fault because you didn't set expectations. Make sure you're very clear with this thing and say, Hey, if I'm gonna outsources to you, I need to make sure that I'm getting a return. And here's what I expect set expectations. Otherwise, you're gonna be in for some harsh realities with that part of your business. Number five. Build your project management time into the estimate. Don't just think because somebody else is doing the work that you're not gonna have no work at all. A lot of times it takes way more effort than you think to be the liaison between your client and the outsource resource. So building that project in account management time so you make sure you get paid for it and factored into your profit models as well. Number six have tight project deadlines, scopes of work and definitions of what you're getting done again, make sure that you are very clear with what needs to happen and who needs to do it in number seven. Account for the new reality of a completely different business model than how you run things in your agency. Normally, it is a different business model, and you need to make sure you account for it because otherwise you will not be profitable, even if you do the exact same thing that you're used to doing for your normal business. Outsourcing can be a major profit generator for your business, but most agencies don't do it right, and they actually lose more than they gain, and they don't find it to be worthwhile. And they say outsourcing doesn't work, and it's not really the fault of outsourcing. It's not really the fault of their clients. It's their fault because they're sitting right in the middle and they have not made the adjustments that we're talking about in this video boards because they have no process in place or finally because they the wrong business model. At the end of the day, the question of whether you should outsource or not is a numbers game. Now, an agency jumpstart course, my flagship program for agencies and small business owners. We provide many calculators, frameworks and decision making models that you can use to decide whether you should outsource or not. And so it doesn't have to be a guest. Doesn't to be something where you're just throwing it on the wall to see if it sticks. We provide you something that's based on the reality of your business, using your own numbers to see if you should be outsourcing or not. So if you're interested in learning more about taking your agency to the next level, visit agency course dot com. Sign up for our newsletter and you get this age blawg, and we'll let you know the next time we open up the agency jumpstart course so you can get these calculators and you could make a better decision about whether you should outsource or not and make better decisions about your overall business 9. The ONE test ALL outsourced contractors need to pass: Hello. It's Jeff Sour here, and this is the agency Sage. And in this video, we're going to talk about the one test that all outsourced contractors need to pass if they want to work with you and work with your agency. This is a continuation of our last video from this Siri's where we talked about outsourcing and subcontracting projects out for your agency or freelancing business. Now we talked about how this could be a very lucrative proposition for your business as long as you do it the right way. And as long as you adjust your business model to the realities of having subcontractors as opposed to the realities of having employees. Of course, if you follow all the rules we laid out in that video, you're gonna be well on your way to being successful. But the business model is not all that matters. You also need to surround yourself with high quality contractors who can deliver the goods that you ask them to deliver, who can do it on time and who could do it on budget. If you don't adjust your business model, you can get burned pretty bad. But that's not the only thing you need to consider when you're talking about outsourcing work. The other thing you need to consider is the quality of the contractor you're working with, as well as the quality of the work that they produce. Now I'll talk to 100 contractors who say they knew S CEO who say they do analytics and every one of them is gonna say they're capable of doing the work. That's the nature of the game. Everybody thinks they're capable. Everything's they're really good at doing these things. But not everybody is the same, and not everybody is equally capable. The funny thing is, there's no governing body that says this is the best contractor in the world, and so people can just say, Yeah, I do that I do this, I do that The barrier of entry of being a contractor is very low, and so you're relying on people's integrity and what they say and their choice of words to think that they're going to be good or they're not gonna be good. But the problem is that everybody thinks they're capable, and most contractors are not. At least most of them are not at the top of their game when you think about it, if you want in a player, how do you weed out the C, D, F and F minus players and Onley? Bring in a players to your organization because if you bring in F players, what's gonna happen is they're not gonna deliver for you. They're not going to deliver the goods. They're not gonna be on time. They're not gonna be on budget. They're gonna be asking for more money. They're gonna be complaining, and it's gonna make you look bad. It's actually gonna make you look bad in front of her clients. And if you do it enough, if you do it enough times, it might actually sink your business entirely. People that aren't even related to your business could bring your business under if you're not careful, so you need to be careful and you need to get good at this thing. You need to make sure you test independent contractors to make sure that they can deliver the goods and they can do things exactly how you want them to get done. Here is the one test that all contractors need to pass if they want to work with your business. If they've been on a job with the information that's available to them at the time with price quote they give you in the time it takes to get it done, will they deliver to you on time and on budget? And if they don't deliver on time and on budget, would they be willing to knock it? Paid it all for the project to get it done in order to make you satisfied in order to make your client satisfied? The best contractors out there are willing to give that level of guarantee because they know that they can get the job done. And they know that their integrity matters if they're willing to make that level of commitment that I think they pass the test. And not only that, but I think they're gonna do really good work for you and the reason why this is important because we want to test if they're gonna live up to their end of the bargain. And are they comfortable meeting your expectations as a business owner? Are they willing to put things in the writing? Are they willing to lose money on this relationship? Do they believe in it that much. If they're willing to do that, then they pass the test. Of course, I don't want anybody to lose money. I don't want you to take advantage of people. They're out there. It's more of a sign of commitment and integrity, and it is an actual test You want to run. You don't want somebody to lose money on these projects because otherwise they're probably not going to deliver good work anyway. But you do want to make sure they're committed just as committed as you are, especially if you're gonna bring them in front of your clients. And if you want them to reflect the quality of your business, what you're really looking foreign contractors is commitment, integrity and the desire to get the job done because they take personal pride in in their business takes pregnant, and that's the way they do business. So let's close this video out with a thought. Does your contractor have what it takes to get the job done, and are they willing to put it in writing? Are they willing to commit to it and then think about it for your business as well? If you're a subcontractor, would you do the same. Do you believe in the project? Enough. Do you believe in the relationship enough? Would you put your reputation on the line? This has been the agency sage. Make sure you sign up agency course dot com to get our weekly sage newsletter. 10. How to Select Business Partners: Hey, it's Jeff Sour. Here in this video, we're gonna talk about how to select business partners for your agency, freelancer or consulting business. So one of the questions that I get all the time is should a successful consultant or freelancer bring partners into their business? Should they actually bring somebody on, give them equity in their business and make them a part of the organization? The first question I have back to them is, Do they want an affiliate or do they want an actual business partner and affiliate is somebody who might be a commission sales person or somebody who's bringing in new business for you? But you're not giving them equity in your company. You might give them a share of the profits, or you might give them something else. But they're not an equity partner in your business, whereas a partner is exactly that. It's somebody that you give equity to in your company. Now the word partners, something that gets thrown around. There can be different terms that you hear to describe somebody who has equity in your company. But what we're talking about here is do you want to give up equity in your company and I want to start off by saying that partners can be great for your business, but they might not be necessary. It really depends on the business you've built so far and the skills that you have in place and where you see holes and whether or not that equity partner can fill the holes that you have in your business, or if they can take something off of your plate so you can grow more. Generally speaking, you want to give up equity in return for growth in your business. So before you go down the path of giving out equity or hiring somebody into your business or bringing on a business partner asked these questions. Is this person critical for your success? Do they have complimentary skills to you that will increase the value of your business? Is it a one plus one equals three type scenario where the two of you are equal to three times what you could do on your own? Who has control of the business? Do you maintain control the business, or does that person have equal control? And finally, do your personalities mesh with each other? Could you picture this person being in your life even more than your significant other every single day of your life moving forward. Do you think that personality will get on your nerves, or is it one that you can grow with and do well with? Make sure you understand that about somebody before making them your business partner. And there's some more precautions you should make before taking a partner on as well. You should ask these questions. How many partners are you ultimately gonna have in the business? Who owns what percentage of the business who has decision making power? Are you gonna form a board of directors? Do you have shared values, ideas and goals? What are your thoughts on family In business as well as things like nepotism? Do they automatically let their Children into the company? What about their spouse? What about their significant other? Or is that something that's against the rules in your company? You need to decide that early on. Otherwise, it could be attention point later on in the business. Do you feel the same way about how this business should be run and the decisions that you're making? Are you on the same moral plane? Or does this person not have the same ethics that you do? And finally, what are you gonna do in the event of a life event or even death of a partner? Now I know it's something that nobody wants to think about when they're starting a business . But how do you get out of the business at the end? What happens if something bad happens? You really do need a plan for the exit of your business. Even when you're getting started. Make sure you have an ironclad partnership agreement with your business partner before you do anything else together. Understand the roles and responsibilities of each partner, for example, financial reporting requirements. Who was required for reporting what and who's responsible for what parts of revenue, profits, expenses. How are you gonna handle conflict resolution? Who gets the final say if you don't agree with something, usually when it's a 50 50 partnership. If you choose that route, it's gonna be tough because one person has to be the odd one out, and they're not gonna feel very good about it. So how do you handle conflicts? And who has the ultimate decision making power for the business. And really, these things may all seem really small, but it's very important to understand these things before you get into business. Partnership with somebody because once you're a partner, it's hard to make changes. So make sure you have addressed these things early and often in your process and also plan around the exiting of the business. Make sure you have a buy and sell agreement in place for the shares of your company. I understand the risk of bringing on a partner. Define what happens in the case of death or disability of another member of the partnership and plan for the end. At the beginning. Owning a business with somebody else is like a marriage. It's not something that you should be taking lightly. And even though it could have great benefits, you want to make sure you're looking for a partner that you can spend the rest of your business life with. Plan for this lasting for a long time and understand what you're getting into. It really is like a marriage. So when you look for a partner being compatible with them, personality wise is one thing, or having complementary skills is another thing, but make sure you really understand this person. Make sure you've worked together long enough or you've seen enough from each other that you know how it's going. Or at the very least, make sure you maintain the control over your business if you're the one who started the business and that you have decision making power. Because if you are the one who is leading the direction of the company, you're gonna want to make sure you have full autonomy over decisions. And that's gonna be an important consideration with your business as you bring on other partners. So that's all for this video. Make sure you check out all of our awesome tips at agency course dot com. I'm Jeff Sour, and this has been the agency sage. 11. Hiring Your First Employee: Hey, it's Jeff Sour here. And in this video, we're gonna talk about hiring your first employee at your agency or making a leap from when you're a freelancer, just a solo consultant to hiring your first employee. There's a lot of consideration that goes into hiring an employee, and I just want to talk about some models that you might want to work through as you go through this process and give you some ideas as to what you can expect down the line with this process. Now the first thing I want to say is Congratulations. This is a really big step in your business, the point where you are so busy you have so much going on. So much work, so many clients, whatever it is that you've decided that it's time for you to bring on an employee now, you probably thought long and hard about this, whether or not it's a good idea what you can cash flow it, meaning whether you have enough cash in the bank to pay somebody's checks, you have all kinds of ideas around. How do you pay them on time? How do you get payroll software? How does all this work. This is actually the biggest question I had when I was starting my business and when I was really growing my consultancy when I first got started, and so one of the considerations that I had was can I cash flow enough to pay people? Can I pay people salaries? Can I do the tax liabilities? Can I do the payroll liabilities? And those are really good questions to ask And to be honest, in my case, rather than hiring employees, I joined another company where I became a owner and an employee of that business, and they had a lot of that infrastructure in place. So that was the way that I handled it when I first got started because I didn't really want to deal with those things, and I thought they were strength in working with another company. So instead of bringing on employees myself, I brought on business partners or I became a partner in the business and was able to go through that on my end. Now that is a valid choice for you as well. That's just how I did things in my case, and I really don't have many regrets about that. But I can understand the reason why you might not want to do that. Or maybe that offers not on the table for you. And so you might want to do something differently. You might want to hire an employee. So here are some considerations that you need to make. When you hire an employee, the 1st 1 is cash flow. Think about cash flow from this perspective. When you pay yourself in your business, it probably is the result of your contracts coming in, people paying you, your clients paying you. And it's probably not something you do consistently. Now. You might pay yourself a salary every single two weeks like you did when you had a job. But most of us who are freelancers or really small consultancies or one person agencies whatever we want to call it, most of us will pay ourselves whenever the money comes in. So it could be that we have months where we make zero money, none at all. I've had those myself, many of those, or it could be some case where we have $10,000 or $50,000 coming in, and we pay a significant portion of that back to ourselves as the owner of the business as the number one employee of the business. And so that's okay when you're doing by yourself. But it's not something that really works out well when somebody is expecting a paycheck every two weeks and not just a paycheck, but they're expecting maybe health insurance or benefits, depending on where you're located, there expecting all kinds of different things that come along with employment. And so it's not the same toe have just you paying yourself whenever the money comes in, as it is to pay an employee. So one way you'll need to change your thinking is to think about this as a six month proposition or a yearlong proposition, as opposed to something that's month, a month like you might currently run your business. So how do you think about it that way? Well, first of all, what's thesis salary that you need to pay somebody plus benefits? What's the amount of money you are on the hook for for paying somebody? If they become an employee, it's probably about twice their salary. I'd budget for that much, so if somebody wants $5000 a month. I would try budgeting somewhere around $10,000 a month to say you have enough cash to cash flow this and to take care of that, employees. Now, if you're a risk oriented person or if you want to take a loan from a bank or if you I don't really worry about cash flow much, you might decide. OK, well, if I have a month in the bank, I'm gonna hire somebody, and I'm gonna make that money back by the end of that first month. And I'll never have cash flow issues. If your more conservative like I am, it might be three months. Actually, I'm so conservative that I'm talking more like six months that you can afford to pay this person before you bring them out or some people even go as far as a year now. A year is pretty crazy, but it's something you can consider because a year gives you a lot of stability, and there's really not a lot of risk if you have a whole year to make that salary back. But generally speaking, the longer your runway that you can afford to pay somebody, the less risk is involved with bringing on the employees, and the sooner you do it, the more risk you take on, the quicker they're gonna get on board. But you're also doing risk so risk can get you on board. Quicker risk can help your business grow much more quickly because you're bringing that employees on after month one as opposed to 12 months later, and you need a way that balance to decide. What do you want? Do you want a lifestyle business? Do you want a high growth business and how do you want to do this? And do you have the cash to do it? Or do you need to go out and get the cash from another source? And at what price does that cash come from? At what price does it cost your business? Does it cost you? Does it cost you an interest? Does it cost you in lost opportunities? Does it cost to equity in your company? These are all considerations you should make before you hire an employee. And then, from a practical perspective, you might say, OK, well, I might do a cash flow projection where my six month cash flow is. How I decide if I have an employee or you might do a revenue per head count calculation, and this is one that I've done and relied upon for years. And basically, you need to have a certain amount of revenue per person in your business in order to to turn a profit and in order to be comfortable hiring somebody so you might choose that number is $100,000. If you're bringing on a junior employee, you might choose that number to be $200,000. If you wanna have a super profitable business in a nation where salaries are expensive, that's a number you might choose to use. For example, if you're in the United States and so those numbers are guidelines that we can use to decide, Are we ready to bring on employees or not? And so basically bringing on the employees and hiring them, that is a big consideration, but that's more of a formality, Really. It's about the mentality that we go through and the mental hurdles we need to clear to decide if we're ready to do that yet. And so in this video, I'm talking more about those mental preparations you need to make versus going out there and where you confined people's resumes and where to post your job listing. Because, really, that's more of a formality. There's probably a lot of people who want to work with you, who want the opportunity to work with a growing company and who are excited to work with you and to capture the momentum that you have. That part is relatively easy compared to the mental decisions you need to go through. And so figure out what your framework is. I've given you a couple decision making frameworks you can do to say, Am I ready for this or not? And what gains amount gonna have now? The reason why we hire employees in our business is because we want to grow. We see some kind of cap on what we can do as individuals, meaning we can only take on so many clients. We could only do so much work. There's only so many things we can do with the time we have available, so you might find that your income gets capped as a result of being a one person business and so employees what they're designed to do is one they're designed to help you generate profit. And the reason why the generate profit is because now you can do more work and you can bring in more revenue for your business. And most likely, any employee you bring on is gonna be paid less money than what you pay yourself, depending on how strong you are in business and how long you been in business. And so basically, you can bring on somebody who gets paid less than you do. You can take on more work, more of the same work, maybe even double the size of your business and pay somebody less. And ultimately, if that happens, that becomes a profit generating machine. And now I notice that I said, if there, because this is not a guarantee and it actually does take a lot of effort in order to get to that point. But that's the reason why we even consider hiring employees in the first place. Because if we didn't do that, then we probably tried outsource or we would probably basically say, Let's just stay the same size business forever. And so the reason why we hire employees is because the writing is on the wall with our business that there's more to it than just being a single consultant, bringing on your core clients and working for them indefinitely. You need to hire people if you want to grow hiring people in doing it the right way, and having the right people on your team can be a major profit generator for a service business. And also it can help you legitimize your business entirely. It helps you diversify, bring in more revenue and puts them process in place that makes your business run even better. And so these air many of the reasons why you might want to hire an employee. But again, before you get started, it's all gonna be about clearing a mental barrier in your business. So hopefully this video's been helpful for you to understand exactly why we do the things we do, why you might want to consider hiring somebody and why you might want to wait a little bit before making that higher if you have cash flow issues. So those are some simple frameworks, some simple mental things that you need to clear with yourself before you bring on employees. But if you want to generate big profits. And if you want to generate revenue in the 500,000 to 1 million plus dollar range, you are gonna need some type of employee or you're going to need to join your services up with another business and become one of their partners, sort of like what I did. If you want to grow beyond a certain point, the only way to do it is through hiring people onto your team in the final thought I have on this is what role should you hire for? Well, the obvious one that will get your money back right away is to hire somebody who is either in charge of business development or somebody who can free you up from the day to day tasks so you can focus on business development. Remember, hiring somebody is supposed to be a one plus one equals three scenario where you plus this other person, it's supposed to generate three times the income that you could do on your own. If that happens, then you're sitting pretty in your business. So when you consider bringing on an employee, think about what they can do for your business or what they can take off your plate so you can go and improve your business as well. And that's the key to succeeding when you hire employees in your agency business or if your freelancer looking to expand into a consulting shop or an agency, that's the way we think about doing it. With every single higher, what benefits can they do, and how do they make us better as a result of joining the team way? 12. Revenue Planning 101: it's Jeff Sour here. And in this video, we're gonna talk about revenue planning 101 for your agency or freelancing business. Now, when it comes to revenue planning, the first thing we want to talk about is how do you know if revenues coming in the door or not? Generally speaking, if you're first getting started, you might sign a contract or you might have some kind of agreement with somebody, and that might be your only client. And so the way that you plan for that revenue is that whatever they tell you that they're gonna pay you is the amount of money of revenue you have coming in. And it's easy if you have some kind of recurring payment system or some way that they're gonna pay you over and over again. It gets a lot more difficult if it's sporadic or if you're doing things based on a project basis. And so this is why starting your own business can be difficulty. It could be scary, and there's a lot of unknowns, and so I would generally recommend before we leave and start your business, have some kind of revenue lined up, and not only have revenue lined up, but try to come up with some kind of contract or at least formal agreement saying that you are going to do this work for somebody and they're gonna pay you for it. Because that way you have some kind of certainty in your revenue. And as you progress in your business, this problem doesn't really go away. You're always gonna want to know how much revenue you have that fits into your plan So you can know all kinds of answers about your business. You want to know what they're not. You can hire employees. You're gonna want to know what their you can pay yourself or if there's gonna be any profit left over at the end of the year. So as things get more formalised as your business starts to take shape, revenue planning takes its own form. Instead of just saying Hey, give me a contract for this one project we have. If you have multiple clients, you're gonna wanna have contracts you're gonna want have agreements with all of them, and you're gonna wanna build up to the point where you have a repository and even a tracking spreadsheet to say Here's what we think that revenue is coming in from and a lot of companies, what they'll do is they'll project this in a financial statement or in a budget statement that says, Here's what we think that revenues coming in and here's our plan for it now. The reason why this is really nice toe have this whole revenue projection and revenue planning process, because then you could make decisions about the rest of the aspects of your business. A lot of times, the biggest concern we have as business owners is whether or not we should expand. Well, they're not. We can afford to expand or whether or not we even want to expand. Is it a good idea or not? Well, when I talk about expansion, it could be expanding into new markets. It could be going after new clients, or it means hiring employees, making it official, having people who are on your team that you build out with your organization. Well, when you're hiring employees, it's a big consideration, and the biggest one is can you pay them? And it's not just can you pay them tomorrow? I think anybody who has a little bit of money. The bank can pay the employees for their first paycheck. But can you pay them six months from now 12 months from now or whatever that number is, you need to determine if you can continue to afford to pay them overtime, and that's a big consideration to make Now. What I recommend doing is projecting out your revenue for as long as you can into the future for six months, 12 months. Whatever it is, At least through the end of the current year, you should be projecting out your revenue for your business and then compare what you would have to pay an employee not just their salary but also their benefits and the expenses that goes along with bringing somebody on board and then make a determination as to whether or not the revenue coming in the door is gonna be able to afford them over time. So you're basically projecting that expense against revenue. That's really what revenue planning it's, and this is the most basic thing we can do with our business is plan as to when the revenues coming, whether or not we have the cash on hand in order to bring somebody on board whether we foresee that there's gonna be a deficit between our cash and the amount of money we owe our debts or if we're gonna have things in the clear And the more that you are able to project this out, the more comfortable you are with taking on risk in your business. Now, the business owners who are not prepared to take on risk are the ones who don't understand where things are coming from in there business. So the more information you have, the more powerful it can be to understand where your risks are coming from and where the rewards gonna be in your business. Because the funny thing is, not everything is a risk. Sometimes the numbers tell you that you have enough revenue to pay somebody for the next six months the next 12 months, and you really don't have a lot of risk in your business. Well, you wouldn't know that if you were just guessing if you were just hoping that somebody would sign a contractor hoping that your clients continue to pay you on time. That's not gonna last very long. That gets a little bit out of hand really quickly. And so what you need to do is you need to be able to project these things out. So to summarize revenue planning 101 You need to project out your income for the next 12 months or even longer, or at least through the end of this current year. You need to project out what your expenses are gonna be both your current expenses and anticipated expenses. If you think you're gonna hire an employee or bring somebody on board, you should also project out sales in your pipeline. Whether or not those sales of closed or not doesn't matter, give them some kind of value and put them into your revenue column. Make sure that your expenses are tight and then you're having there, and then you can determine whether or not you're gonna have profit both on a monthly basis as well as on an annual basis. When all is said and done, that's really what it comes down to from a revenue planning perspective. You need to have income greater than your expenses, and you need to plan for profit. Now, the reason why companies don't have a lot of profits when their first getting started is because they don't know what they don't know. They don't know where the future is gonna hold, but you can still do this process. And you can still get an idea as to where your business is going, whether it's healthy or not. And if there's gonna be profit left over at the end of the year, or at least if there's enough money to pay yourself and your employees at the end of the year. So hopefully you enjoy this view into revenue planning 101 It's the very basic parts of How do you plan for revenue in your business? And we talked about some techniques and some tools that maybe you've never heard of before . And if you want to learn more, make sure you check out the agency Sage Blawg as well as agency course dot com 13. Make Your Agency Great: It's just sour here. And let's talk about how to make your agency great. So you started a business. You've built it up. You found clients. You're starting to get revenue. You've done all the things that we've recommended in this video. Siri's and things are going pretty well. You found your 1st 10 clients. You understand how revenue management works and revenue planning works. You really have a pretty good idea as to how you could make an awesome business. So how do you make your agency great? Well, honestly, that's a big question, and there's a lot of different ways we can take it. And I'm gonna talk about a few things that I did at my agency to make it great. Now the first thing I want to talk about is the treatment of employees and how you make it a fun place to work in your workplace at your agency. Now agencies are at an advantage where it's fun to work there. It's cool. A lot of people who are young both in age and an attitude, flocked to agencies. You get to work with a lot of cool clients, you to work on a lot of cool projects, and it's a typical work, hard play, hard environment, and that's fun. And that could be really entertaining and really cool for the people who are involved with it as well, especially people who act young. They like that. They like the things that go along with it. And so, at my agency, in our offices we have things like a foosball table, a ping pong table, pool table. We have dart boards. We have a keg aerator, you know, with beer on tap, with all kinds of different entertainment perks that are for a certain type of person that they enjoy in the business. We also have the ability to work from home. We have a lot of different things, like pizza parties, chili cook offs, all kinds of different cool stuff that you would picture being in a cool workplace and because we offered these things and because we gave people opportunities for improved employment opportunities to make more money than they would in other jobs and just opportunities to be treated like they deserve to be treated. Our company has won several best place to work awards, So one thing that makes your agency great is the ability to attract and retain awesome talent. And the way that it happens is by treating them well and given them the things they want given them the things they deserve because they work really hard. Another way you can make your agency great is by growing revenues and being profitable. There's nothing wrong with achieving profits in your business. And in fact, the more profitable you get, the more you can do with the money. Now, you might choose to put some of it in your own pocket at the end of the year or whatever you do there. But a lot of companies, what they do is they decided to reinvest their profits back into the business, or they give a piece of the profits to their employees. And so that's something that could make you great if you found a way to differentiate yourself to the point where people are knocking down the door to pay you money, to work for them and to do work for them. And it's so much that you have money left over at the end. There's all kinds of cool stuff you can do with it. You can organize opportunities to volunteer for your team. Instead of focusing on Leon having them work every single day, he can take a day off and volunteer your time. You could make improvements to your process. You can upgrade your employees skills by giving them education. You can upgrade your computers, your laptops. There's all kinds of different things you can do when profits happen. And profits are not just something that happened by accident. You need to have tight expense control, so you're not spending any money that you shouldn't be. You need to have incentives for people to help bring in revenue. You need to make your employees help with the business development. You need to have dedicated business development teams that help with that piece. You need to give people all kinds of reasons why they want to focus on growing revenues and why they might not want to spend all the money in order to get there. So, generally speaking, the more you give people incentive to grow revenue and to reuse expenses, the more they're going to do it. And the more that that happens, the more you have at the end of the day, the more profit you have and the better run your businesses. And frankly, if you can do that, your business is great. And trust me, my company has grown like Crazy five Time Inc. 5000 winning agency. And throughout it all, maintaining profit was the most important piece. And that's what makes an agency great. Growing revenues is one thing, but doing it profitably is much more important. So we talk about revenue. We talk about people. What else makes your agency great? How about having a process in place so that you know, when something comes in, you know how to handle it, specifically having process in place that you can service your clients well effectively, and so they love working with you. So process is a very important piece of making your agency great, and you do this by deciding How do you standardize the way that you do things? So instead of delivering things as a one off for delivering it differently every time, how do you put a process in place to make sure that you do things consistently and effectively? Not only that, but how do you develop project plans and standard operating procedures to make sure that not just you do it right, but everybody else in the future doesn't write as well. So making an investment, maybe if your profits into having a role that is dedicated to operations and project management can really be effective for making your agency great. Now it's an expense at first to have these things in place, and it takes a lot of time. But in the end, it can also be a profit generator. So having the right process is in place at your business is a huge way of making your agency great well into the future. And the final thing that I would say for making your agency great is to focus on clients. Remember, The reason why agencies exist is because clients don't have enough time to get the things done that they want to get done. And so they're buying our time they're buying our resource is in order to help them achieve their goals. And, you know, it makes clients happy achieving their goals or at least making progress towards their goals. So you can't be a great agency without happy clients. You don't makes happy clients delivering, delivering the goods being honest with them, being clear and communication, knowing exactly what they're going to get from you when they're going to get it and how they're going to get it, and knowing that when you deliver it, you're gonna deliver it with a smile and you're gonna deliver it in a way that makes them better. That's the only reason why we exist is because of our clients and the only reason why clients keep on paying us money over and over again. It's cause we give them a sense of satisfaction. We let them know that their relationship is valuable. We let them know that that relationship is something that we value to the point where we couldn't imagine living without them. It's a symbiotic relationship that we have with our clients. And if you don't have that, if your clients don't like you or if you think oh man, that clients calling me again What's wrong with them? If you don't like your clients and your agency is not great, it's not gonna be great. Any time in the future, you're gonna lose clients, you're gonna lose contracts and you won't have any of that fun profit any that fun employee relationship stuff that you have because you slept on it. You slept on your clients. So none of this matters. All the cool stuff, all the fun stuff, the beer fridge, the foosball table. The Inc 5000 awards. The process maps the standard operating procedures. None of that matters if your clients aren't happy at the end because unhappy clients means all of it goes away. So that's the final thing about making your agency great. Make your clients great. If you can make your clients great than your agency will fall into line and it's gonna do well. And you know what? You won't really have any problems with your business. Make your clients great. Make your agency great and I can't wait to hear about the developments you have within your own business. And I hope that you enjoyed this series of videos about the truth behind the agency business. There's really a lot going on in the agency world. I've tried to give you an overview of what's going on, some specific things you can do to get started and finally, what the picture looks like in the end. Once you put together the pieces and you built a great agency. Thanks for watching and leave a comment to let me know that you enjoy this video and that you enjoy the entire the truth behind the agency Siri's.