What’s the Recipe for Building a $3 Million Dollar Agency With NO Employees? with Julian Stubbs | Ep #49

By Jason Swenk on February 10, 2015

Do You Want a $3 Million Dollar Agency?

Are you often dreaming of being the proud owner of a $3 million dollar agency? Today’s Agency Master Class guest is Julian Stubbs, Co-Founder and CEO of Up There, Everywhere. He and his partner are the innovators that dreamt up the concept of a global, cloud-based agency and made it a reality.

Wait, There Aren’t Any Employees?

That’s right. Instead of employees, Up There, Everywhere has 160 MEMBERS in 20 countries. Members are freelance contractors who go through a series of interviews and if accepted, sign a confidentiality agreement. They are compensated by project value and have the benefit of flexibility to help balance work and life. The screening process is important because this work style is not for everyone.

Members work remotely and all work is backed up in the cloud. There are no offices, but recently Up There, Everywhere has opened creative space in both New York and Stockholm with a third opening later this year in Amsterdam. This space is available for members to meet with clients as well as for internal collaboration as needed.

How Was This Business Model Born?

Walking through Central Park, Julian was inspired by seeing so many professionals working remotely… He thought about his 90-minute round-trip commute to the office everyday and calculated that his commute was taking the equivalent of 2 ½ weeks of his time every year. Together, Julian in Stockholm and his partner in New York created Up There, Everywhere in 2010.

As new business was won and help was required they were faced with the challenges of bringing on new hires, such as: “How can we do more with less?”… “Would the work always be there?”… Their solution was to bring our cloud-based society to the professional world. They started talking to highly qualified professionals and developed a system for collaborating on work anytime, anywhere.

Don’t Clients Balk At This Arrangement?

Not at all. In fact, most clients are extremely receptive to it. Typically, new clients just need to understand how their work is backed up and that it’s accessible to other members if necessary. There’s also a structured account team for each client, so there’s built-in reliability and accountability that clients have come to expect from a more traditional agency. And Julian stresses the importance of the legally binding confidentiality agreement as well. Once clients understand the systems in place, the vast majority are open to this work style.

Take a step back and evaluate your business. Run the numbers to see what’s working and what’s not. Figure out how can you accomplish the same work in a different way. Don’t be afraid to turn things upside down and see where it takes you. If you’re inspired by Julian’s story, check out his books E-Ployment and Wish You Were Here. You can also check Amazon for his new book, Wish You Were Here 2, coming in March 2015.

What to Remember When Building Your Million Dollar Agency

So what should you take with you from today’s class and apply to your own agency?

If you are in the very early stages of building your team, don’t be afraid of investing in a team that work remotely and on a freelance basis. Collaborative work with your team can keep the creativity high and encourage a higher standard of work.

For established agencies, then it’s time to take a step back and evaluate your agency as a whole. You won’t achieve the dream of growing into a multi-million dollar agency if your goals and strategies aren’t clear and consistently kept in check.

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