How to Transition from an Agency Owner to Agency CEO with Hannah Paramore | Ep #40

By Jason Swenk on November 18, 2014

Going from Agency Owners to Agency CEOs

In today’s session of The Smart Agency Master Class, I chat with Hannah Paramore, president of Paramore Digital. Hannah is going to talk about the five jobs of an agency owner, how to handle those roles and transition from agency owners into an agency CEOs.

The 5 Roles of an Agency Owner.

As the agency owner, it is your job to:

  1. Grow and mentor the leadership team.
  2. To be the face of the company.
  3. To set vision and direction.
  4. Manage the financials.
  5. Be available for key relationships.

Whatever you’re doing, make sure they are part of these five roles. If it’s something outside of these, you need to assess whether or not you are the one that should be doing it.

Being comfortable as the agency CEO.

No doubt you started out as the smartest person in the room. You were consumed with passion and drive. You were the best at everything, from account management to writing to sales.

But as you started to grow from a one-person agency, you probably realized you need to hire people to help you. Suddenly, you’re not the smartest. And that’s a good thing! You want to hire people smarter and better than you to do the work you don’t have time for anymore.

Who to hire for your agency.

It may take some trial and error to find the right person. You need to clearly define what it is that you need, and how you envision working with someone.

Think about what you want your team to look like. Try using a personality profile to find the right fit.

If you hire someone, and it goes poorly, don’t be disheartened. Remember, it’s trial and error. Maybe you need to redefine what you need, or how you want to work with someone. Maybe that person was just an awful fit for your agency. It’s okay. There are lots of wonderful people out there.

If Hannah had to do it all over again, her first hire would be a Director of Client Services. According to her,

Good work doesn’t keep the clients. You’re hired for your creative and technical abilities but you’re fired for your service.”

How to motivate and inspire your team.

All agency CEOs should know the importance of a happy team. There is no magic formula, but here’s a darn good one:

Great clients + Great office space + Great culture + Ownership of work

These factors, when combined with the right people, make for happy employees. Happy employees motivate and inspire each other, and that’s how awesome agencies thrive.

(Note: giving out employee bonuses doesn’t hurt either!)

The “too busy” excuse.

Sometimes also known as the “too poor” excuse, and it’s just that – an excuse.

If you want your business to grow, you’re going to have to make time for it. Hire people organically as you grow. Don’t think you can afford them? Then you’re not charging enough. Your team is part of the billable hours, don’t be afraid to include them in the costs.

Would you like to get more strategies like this, and be apart of an elite group of agency owners?

It can be very isolating running your own agency. Wouldn’t you like to join a community of other agency owners that will hold you accountable for growing beyond yourself, all while supporting your journey to get there? That is exactly what the AGENCY Mastermind is all about. Check it out now. 

Find the right Systems and Strategies that will help you grow faster. Check out the Playbook and the exclusive digital agency elite mastermind.

Taking Your Agency to the Next Level

Now that all your business owners know how to transition into agency CEOs, are there weaknesses within your agency that are causing everything to break down? Don’t worry, I’m here for all the advice you need.

I have been in the industry for a long time and I have had my own experience running my own digital agency as well as helping other digital agency owners so there are many topics where I can offer guidance. Whether you are experiencing challenges as an established agency or a new agency unsure of what the different phases of growth you will experience will look like, I’ve got you covered.

As you continue to grow your agency team, I can show you how to recognize when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team to perfect your business strategy by creating a process for performance-based pricing and how to keep your big name clients happy.

Are you ready to create something cool and want more advice? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks, and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics. Or if videos are more your thing, visit my YouTube channel!

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