Using Collaboration & Contractors to Grow Your Marketing Agency

By Jason Swenk on January 31, 2018

Would you like to scale your agency? Is the thought of hiring a full-time employee overwhelming? Does your agency have a speciality that other agencies might need? Consider this tactic of collaboration and contractors as a means to grow your agency.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Growing your agency without hiring.
  • Maintaining quality, without overseeing everything.
  • Managing contractors and inspiring the good ones to stay.

Today I talked with Mandy McEwen, Founder and CEO of Mod Girl Marketing, which not only manages their own client base in healthcare and technology, but also provides services to other agencies looking to stand out and scale. Not hiring her first full-time employee until over four years of being in business, Mandy found the beauty and benefit of collaboration. Today she shares with us tips on using collaboration and contractors as a growth tactic.

How to Grow Your Agency Without Hiring?

Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate

When you are in the beginning stages of growing your agency, it should be pretty easy to realize what you are good at and what you love doing. And with that, you’re also able to realize what areas might not be your strong suit, or shouldn’t be taking up so much of your time.

If you’re doing it all, it’s time to realize that there are other vendors and freelancers that could be doing some of it for you. This is how the work can start to be broken out, without having to invest in a full-time employee.

You can also consider working in partnership with other agencies who white label their services. I’m not typically a fan of straight up white labeling, but it can work if you leverage it into a partnership with mutual benefit.

As Mandy points out, “why compete with agencies, when (we) can collaborate? They can hire (us) and (we) can hire them.”

How Do You Manage Contractor Quality?

Vetting, Vetting, Vetting

Don’t hire a white label agency or contractor based solely on reviews or price. Finding good people is key and will save you money in the long run.

Check on their capacity before starting with them. Ensure they have the bandwidth to dedicate the needed time to the project they will be working on.

Mandy assigns trial projects, whether directly working for her or one she made up, to get a feel for the person and their work product.

It’s kinda like going on a date with someone. You need to see if you and that person click before you would ever enter any type of partnership. My former guest, Melinda Byerly, talked about  tactics of a contractor courtship.

How Do You Keep Great Contractors?

Culture, Culture, Culture

People will stick around if they are enjoying themselves.

Bring in people who not only have the skill set you are looking for but have the personality and vibe that is going to mesh well with the rest of your agency team. Create a desirable agency culture so there’s nowhere else they’d rather work; and no one else they’d rather work with.

There is something to be said for working with people that you would also enjoy hanging out with.

Who Manages The Contractors?

Divide, Divide, Divide

Divide and conquer. This can depend on the size of your agency, client profile, and definitely, the project itself.

One of the best first hires you can make is a project manager. I know a lot of agency owners have a hard time justifying this type of hire because their hours aren’t billable, but their skill set is invaluable. My advice is to hire a PM early in the game and adjust your fees accordingly. It’s worth it in the long run!

If you are doing it all, you can’t focus on the growth aspects of your agency. Trust and delegate so you can grow and scale.

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Growing Your Digital Agency

What other issues are within your agency that needs your attention?

Take a step back, look for weak spots in your business and then think of how you can fix them. No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

From my experience in the industry, there are many topics I can offer guidance from the different phases of growth you will experience to how you can build authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show from knowing when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team, creating a process for performance based pricing which can be the best pricing strategy for your business and learning 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.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.



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