How One Agency Doubled Business by Giving Work to Other Agencies

By Jason Swenk on August 31, 2016

In this episode we’ll cover:

  • How one agency doubled business in just six months by giving work to other agencies.
  • Building a network and being a trusted client resource.
  • Why you should join a mastermind group to help you grow.

My guest today, Ian Garlic is one of very few two-time guests on The Smart Agency Master Class. He’s the owner of authenticWEB, which he founded 8 year ago. You might also know him from my “I Will Never Do This” Agency Pledge video as the naked ukulele guy. (Don’t worry, he’s not actually naked 🙂 ) In this interview, Ian shares how his agency business doubled in 6 months… check it out.

Not All Competition Is Bad

I don’t know about you but when I owned my agency I was always very guarded about who and what we were working on. I would never have even considered working with other agencies, let alone idea sharing with them.

Ian says he comes from a place of abundance and believes there’s enough work to go around. So share and share alike… Easier said than done though, right? It’s our natural instinct to seek and destroy. But….

[clickToTweet tweet=”This is how one agency DOUBLED business in just SIX MONTHS!” quote=”This is how one agency DOUBLED business in just SIX MONTHS!”]

3 Steps to Growing A Referral Network

If you want replicate the steps that Ian took to double his business here’s what you need to do:

  1. Change your mindset. Agency ownership can be very lonely. No one really ‘gets it’ besides other agency owners. If you look at them as part of your agency family instead of the competition it will open you up to a ton more opportunities.

  2. Specialize. You can’t be awesome at all things, so pick one and rock it. You can build a reputation for being the best in a specific area, and when another agency needs that specialty you’ll be the one they call.

  3. Do favors without expectation. As you meet other agency owners, build relationships and get to know their areas of expertise. Naturally, you’ll be able to refer your clients to other agencies when their services are needed. Over time, these relationships will evolve into a referral network.

I know what you’re thinking…

You’re skeptical because you think most other agencies will try to steal your clients out from under you. I get it.

Ian said it best, “If someone can steal your clients you’re not doing a good enough job servicing them.”

Be Your Client’s Most Valuable Resource

Your clients trust you. They rely on to bring awesome ideas to the table – even if you aren’t the one to execute them. Use your agency network to connect the dots and get things done for them. When you refer your clients to other agencies that specialize in an area you don’t, you’re proving that you are connected in the industry and they’ll view you as a valuable resource.

The Benefit of Masterminds

Ian credits his involvement in mastermind groups for a lot of his agency’s success. He’s actively involved in 3 different groups right now. He says the idea sharing and accountability are crucial to growing and scaling.

Ian says even if you have the best team ever, you still need a peer group to keep you in check. Mastermind members are great for:

  • A different perspective and helping you see things differently.
  • Giving you crap when you don’t follow-through.
  • Advice and the benefit of a similar experience.

In fact, Ian and I have been working together for awhile. We both have benefitted from mastermind groups for various aspects of our business and have decided to develop one strictly for agency owners.

Agency Elite is a group of agency owners with the common goal of idea sharing to grow and scale their agency. The group meets monthly by phone and in person quarterly, the day before various marketing conferences around the country.

If you think this format of mastermind is right for you, check out AgencyElite.net to learn more and apply. We are only selecting agency owners at the $300K+ level and who are committed to everyone’s mutual benefit will be accepted.

Agency Tools You Need to Check Out…

There’s a couple pretty fantastic tools that all agency owners need to check out with some amazing deals just for Smart Agency Master Class listeners…

Cashflow or bookkeeping issues? FreshBooks is the solution. FreshBooks makes ridiculously easy­ to ­use cloud accounting software for agencies that will help you work smarter, become more organized, and most importantly, get you paid quickly.

Check out FreshBooks.com/SmartAgency and enter SMARTAGENCY in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section for a FREE 30-day, unrestricted trial.


Klipfolio is a tool that is helping agencies continuously monitor and report analytics. It’s cloud-based software allows you to define KPI’s based on your preferences and filters. With 50+ built-in marketing metrics, you can create a dashboard for yourself and your clients which can be viewed on desktop, mobile or old-fashioned PDF.

For a limited time, Klipfolio has a special deal for my listeners. Get a FREE TRIAL and an amazing offer just for The Smart Agency Master Class listeners at Klipfolio.com/SmartAgency.

 

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