When I first started my agency five years ago, I was doing everything “the hard way.” Because you don’t know what you don’t know… and guess what!? I didn’t know a lot. Here’s how you can run your agency better from my experience.
But what I did know was that I could (and still am) help businesses grow their online presence. I did know that – and it came from my experience of growing another company.
Not just growing, but expanding into three states, and adding 10 additional offices in two and a half years – THAT kind of growing.
After that, I knew I could do for other businesses what I did for them – market the heck out of them so that they got more leads from online and grew their businesses.
In the beginning, you’re trying to pull everything together, meaning your paperwork for clients to sign on, figure out when to blog to get more clients, and finding time to post on social media. Well, let’s face it, there are only 24 hours in the day and even THOSE are stretched thin.
But they don’t have to be. I’ve put together a list of resources that you can use to help you run your agency better and scale your business without losing your marbles. Here they are and here’s how they helped me.
When I first started, I used to do this process:
- Create an invoice on Word
- Fill it out
- Save it
- Download it as a PDF
- Upload it to my email
- Send it
- Add it to a spreadsheet
- Wait for payment
- Add the check in my bank
- Record it on the spreadsheet
- Double-check that I recorded it correctly
WHOA. Just looking over that makes me anxious! If you can believe it, I literally HATED sending out invoices – ironic, right!?
Enter Freshbooks. It’s a software I heard on a podcast that’s made for small businesses. Now, here’s what my process looks like:
- Add a new client in Freshbooks
- Set up recurring invoices (if needed)
- Send them an invoice
- The client pays
- I get a notification & the client gets a notification
Yep, cut the old process in HALF and saved myself some headaches along the way. If you’re looking to streamline your business and run your agency better, this invoicing software is step #1.
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If you’ve started a marketing agency or are thinking about it, keeping things organized is essential. Enter Asana. This is the project management application that we use on a daily basis.
This is my to-do list, reminder list, follow-up list, my everything list. This helps me remember what to do and what I can’t forget. It’s also my team’s to-do list, as well. It helps them know what to do and when it needs to be done so they can focus on tasks for the day instead of coming to me or another manager.
When I first started, I would use the scan on my computer. It was horrible. I would scan a document in, wait for the client to send it back and then save it to a folder.
Now, with DocuSign, I create a template, add areas for the client to fill in, sign it and send it. THAT’S IT. DocuSign has different plans for 1 person or 2 people (depending on needs) and this is the program I started using in the beginning. It’s easy for clients to sign your paperwork and send it back to you – saving you time and energy!
If you don’t have a professional email, stop what you’re doing and get one. Go to GoDaddy.com and get a domain name (they’re around $12-$15 per year) and then go to business.google.com to create your business Gmail account.
I can’t tell you how much more professional this makes you seem. It’s an instant credibility booster and it’s only $10 per month – and in the long run, it will help you run your agency better – because of all the tools!
Then, within GSuite, use Google Drive. We use the shared drive for our team so that everything is in one place. We have folders for our clients and folders for each thing we do for them. All organized. All under one place. So nothing gets lost – because that’s a major headache in itself.
This program is essential for any business working with other businesses and logging in on behalf of them. Hello website, social media and more!
LastPass has a free and paid version and if there’s one thing you take away from this (I hope it’s more than one) make sure you use this instead of the Google Sheet you’re using now. I know because I did it!
It’s much safer to have it saved on here because if you need to share it with your team or another person you’re working with you can keep the password hidden and they can still log in. It’s peace of mind for you and for your clients too.
I consider myself the female version of “Tim The Toolman Tailor” … just for programs. I’ve been able to streamline so many processes and save myself overhead and costs because of this. I have a whole toolbox (pun intended) of other ones that I’m happy to share with you too. But these are what I would consider ‘essential’ for anyone starting their own agency.
PS: If you’re looking to scale your current agency, I want to talk to you! I’m now offering Agency Coaching to help agency owners (like you) scale successfully. Check out the page and I look forward to hearing from you!