Starting an agency can be scary. But you have to remember, you’re not on your own. Neither do you have to know everything. Wisdom can come from anywhere, so we asked Vanhishikha Bhargawa from Contensify about her top 3 tips for building your own agency.
Bill Nye is claimed to have said:
‘Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.’
I agree. The man has wisdom.
But I like it even better when you combine it with this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:
‘Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’
The reason I’m such a fan is that it implies the connection between people, that we don’t travel it alone.
I mean, only a fool thinks learning through your own experience is the only option, right?
Unsurprisingly, it’s for this exact reason I love listening to podcasts so much. Especially the ones that discuss how other business owners tackle their journey.
My current fascination is the agency business model.
Here’s me turning on the mic!
3 Tips For Starting An Agency
One of my favorite thing to ask other agency owners is their personal top 3 tips for somebody who thinks about starting an agency.
It was my question for Vanhishikha Bhargawa, owner of Contensify, a successful content marketing agency.
Her answers are enlightening.
Tip 1: Stay In Your Lane. And Also…Don’t Scatter Yourself
People often think that offering more services means you have a wider scope and you’ll attract more business, which in turn will earn you more money.
You’d be wrong!
Vanhishikha tells us it’s important to focus on what you do best.
Her company Contensify focuses on content for SaaS business (SaaS stands for ‘Software As A Subscription’).
Just content; just SaaS.
Certain aspects that could easily land under the same business umbrella (like the handling of the email automation), the team leave well alone. By choice.
They also strictly target their services towards B2B SaaS businesses. In the early stages of her business, Vanhishikha considered the option of doing it differently … and dismissed it.
She’s seen other content marketing agencies trying to do it all. Yet it’s telling when SaaS companies are happy to pay the premium price tag in order to receive the quality specialist work Contensify offers.
It makes you think, right?
But there’s even more to her first tip for building your own agency.
Tip 1b: Know Thyself
Vanhishikha doesn’t just want you to focus on the services you offer, or your target audience, for that matter. She also wants you to seriously consider what responsibilities you should take on as a business owner.
Where do you excel and where… not so much?
I know. It takes courage.
Staff kindly pointed out that hiring wasn’t Vanhishikha’s forte. So these days, she allows somebody else to do the initial interviews. Of course, she gets a say in the matter later down the track. It is her business, after all. But not until the team has a clear picture of who they have in front of them. Before Vanhishikha is allowed to offer her 5 cents, the candidates have already gone through a few interviews, a background check and a sample piece of writing.
Part of that preliminary process is also making sure any potential hires have the right expectations.
Then, after all the boxes are ticked, it’s up to Vanhishikha to trust her gut on whether it is a hire or not.
Tip 2: Get the company culture right: good vibes and work ethics of a remote team
When Vanhishikha brings people on board, the cultural fit with the rest of the team is on her mind. She’s acutely aware that it takes just one negative person to kill the good vibes in the (virtual) room.
Similarly, sometimes, weekend work is needed, and she needs the work ethics that allows for that.
Running a fully remote team that is spread across India with two of her staff in Europe, of course, doesn’t make things easy. (She’s eyeing up a UK and/or USA hire to cover round-the-clock availability and time zone challenges, in case you’re keen.)
But according to Vanhishikha, the success of your agency hinges on how you communicate with each other. Frankly, it’s a myth that you need to sit side by side to sink your teeth into bigger projects. Some solid systems that involve Google Drive as well as a Trello and Slack subscription take care of that.
But as far as systems go, Vanhishikha runs a tight ship.
- At the start of each month (sometimes the end of the previous month) the work calendar is mapped out.
- A work channel keeps everybody up to date on who is working on what on any given day. No chit-chat allowed here. (Although there’s plenty of that happening elsewhere.)
- Even when people have time off, Vanhishikha wants to know about that at the start of the day.
- If anybody runs into trouble with the timeline, she wants that to be communicated asap.
Apart from that, the team has heaps and heaps of fun together, each on their side of the computer. You see… it certainly is possible!
Tip 3: Launching Your Own Agency? Easy Does It!
I’m not surprised when Vanhishikha brings up the third or her 3 tips to start an agency. It ties in nicely with the first.
In Vanhishikha’s eyes, you shouldn’t rush the growth of your agency. Get right what you currently have on offer first. Only THEN take the next step. Faster doesn’t equal better, no matter what other people tell you.
In the end, if you focus on offering quality services, word of mouth will find you.
And that… is invaluable!
These and many other pearls of wisdom are the topic of today’s podcast. Interested in what else Vanhishikha has to say about how to start an agency? Plug in the earphones! You’re in for a treat.
And of course, drop a line about what your 3 tips for launching an agency would be.
Connect with Vanhishikha Bhargawa