Do you know what’s working, and what isn’t in your business?
If you’ve been working your business for a while, you’ve probably found a recipe for success. Reality, however, is that if you give it enough time, we get stuck in a formula that has served us well in the past.
So here’s a question for you:
When was the last time you thought about a simple tweak that could move you to the next step in business? Set you off on a whole new trajectory?
I find listening to other business owners and how they run their business sparks my brain like a Christmas tree after dark (I am totally getting into the Christmas spirit. Can you tell?).
Which is why I am jolly grateful for people like Jenny Suneson from Savvy Podcast Agency who have the courage to speak candidly about what’s going on behind their business doors.
Feel The Fear (To Start An Agency), Do It Anyway
So about Jenny and her business.
Jenny used to be a Social Media marketing strategist. The short story about that time in her life: she hated it. In the end, she burnt out.
While trying to figure out her next step, her own podcast helped her get her mojo back. When she was asked to also create a podcast for another business, she realised this was the answer to her quest.
And while I speak to Jenny about this, out comes the wisdom:
‘You can get stuck in what you do because you’re scared of change. But it’s ok to change your mind and to evolve.’
Abso-f**king-lutely! (Thanks, Mr Big)
Fast forward to June 2020. It was the month Jenny became a mum. Desperate to spend that special time with her son, she also didn’t want her business to crumble and die.
So, she had to swiftly address the fear of starting an agency, so she could offload parts of the work to contractors.
It became a mad scramble. But all worked out in the end.
The Runnings Of An Agency Business
There’s an interesting thing about agencies.
I’ve noticed how many business owners battle the fear of starting an agency. So I’m thrilled when Jenny is open to sharing how she dealt with that and how she makes her agency business work.
Contractors vs. Employees
Jenny’s team counts 8 people. On the roll are two audio editors, a video editor, a social media manager, a graphic designer, a show notes copywriter, a PR person for podcast pitching, and an admin.
Jenny herself is still very much in the weeds, but she’d like to get out of that really, really soon. An account manager scores high on her list for the near future.
Every single person on Jenny’s team is a contractor who is paid an hourly rate. This gives Jenny the flexibility she needs on several levels:
- Scaling is easy with contractors. Usually, the business projects for the Savvy Podcast Agency are long-term, so the fluctuations aren’t crazy. But Jenny learned from experience she can expect an influx in the months of October and January. Smart woman that she is, she makes a point of knowing how much scope every contractor has. If she anticipates reaching capacity limits, she hires a new contractor and starts with the onboarding process, well in time to have them up to speed when the orders roll in.
- Unlike package rates, an hourly rate allows Jenny to keep the finger on the pulse. The flexibility it creates means she’s certain she can keep her service profitable.
- Contractors (as opposed to employees) mean Jenny doesn’t have to stress about the responsibility of making sure everybody has enough work to put food on the table for their families. Contractors run their own business. They know things are going to fluctuate.
The Agency SOPs
That mad scramble I mentioned at the start of Jenny’s agency days? A lot had to do with the fact that Jenny didn’t have an onboarding process in place (yet) for her contractors.
Loom proved to be the saviour.
Loom is a video messaging tool that lets you record your camera, your desktop and your microphone simultaneously. Jenny recorded the agency SOPs as she was doing them and shared them in a folder on Slack; pinned at the top.
It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job.
These days, she has some tidily written instructions to accompany the Loom videos, including client-specific colours, templates, and a wealth of how to’s.
What are the company colours? How to upload? How to create graphics? What do I want the Show Notes to look like? It’s all there.
A single month is all it takes to get a new contractor up to speed.
Vital Agency Systems, Procedures and Tech Tools
As for the other tools and systems Jenny uses for her business, Slack integrated with her CRM is indispensable. It’s how she communicates with both her clients and her contractors.
Once a week, she also has a staff meeting for good measure.
ClickUp is her project management system of choice. FreshBooks (soon to become Quickbooks) is essential for the bookkeeping side as well as the contractors’ time-tracking.
The Love for Summits
There are many tentacles to Jenny’s business.
The core is formed by her ‘Podcast Launch’ and ‘Podcast Management’ packages. Although there is some room for negotiation, Jenny prefers to stick to the packages rather than offer a bespoke service because of the workflow challenges that come with a customized service.
If you’re running a service agency, you’re probably familiar with that one.
But Jenny is also a sucker for helping people, especially other mums that are looking at building a business around their children. On offer is a Podcast Launch Toolkit course, a Podcast Workflow course, and of course her own podcasts, most recently one dedicated to podcast managers.
Her virtual Summits for podcasters is just another way in which she loves to engage with her community.
The Power Of A Referral
I ask Jenny if the summits are part of the marketing strategy for her agency business.
The answer is surprising, but at the same time, it makes complete sense. The Summits are just for fun. Word of mouth, on the other is her primary marketing strategy.
I have to agree, there’s nothing like the power of a referral. Which is exactly why Jenny will implement a process to encourage referrals in the not too distant future. Smart!
If you’re thinking about starting an agency, but you’re also totally freaked out (or just curious about how other people in business run their agency), then this Business Your Way podcast is for you.
Grab your FREE Podcast Launch Blueprint to launch your very own podcast with a bang here.
Connect with Jenny Suneson