Hiring Tips for Agencies in the Growth and Scaling Phases

By Jason Swenk on February 15, 2023

Are you in the growth phase or the scale phase of your agency journey? Do you need generalists, specialists, or both? Knowing where you’re at is the key to knowing who to hire to get where you’re going.  Today’s guest is in the scaling phase and believes this is when an agency needs to hire specialists. Before that, it’s all about hiring generalists that can handle multiple tasks and get the business to the next stage.

Manish Dudharejia is the founder and president of E2M Solutions, a full-service, white-label digital agency. His agency works as a trusted partner to scale your agency business behind the scenes. E2M has been serving agencies for 10 years and currently works with about 130 agencies across the U.S.

Manish is a valued partner of the show and as a repeat guest, he shares his experiences solving some of the most common agency growth challenges. In this episode, he shares some of the hiring decisions that may be holding back agency’s growth.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • When to hire a generalist or a specialist.
  • The differences between the growth phase and the scale phase.
  • Why automation is the next step after hiring specialists.


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A Common Hiring Mistake for Agencies in The Early Growth Phase

If you’re past the initial growth phase with your agency, what would you have done differently to scale faster? Like many agency owners, Manish didn’t know a lot about building a team back when he started his business. More than 10 years later, he has learned that when you’re starting an agency or you’re in the growth phase, you want to make sure you start off with a team of generalists.

Generalists are people who are not necessarily tied to a specific role. They are able to work in several different roles during the agency’s growth phase. After reaching certain goals and entering the scale phase is when you need to hire specialists.

After opening his agency for business, Manish started looking for specialists right away. He figured he couldn’t run the agency without them.

The Importance of Hiring Generalists in the Early Growth Phase

When starting an agency or in the growth phase, it is essential to hire individuals who can be flexible and perform multiple roles. These individuals, known as generalists, can provide much-needed support in various areas, allowing the agency to save costs and reduce the number of people to manage. Hiring generalists during this stage also enables the agency to avoid having idle employees and ensures that the quality of work does not compromise.

3 Advantages of Hiring Generalists

In the early growth phase, it is common for agency owners to approach growth-related problems by hiring more people. However, this approach can be both costly and time-consuming, especially if the right employees are not found. On the other hand, hiring generalists provides several advantages, including:

  1. Reduced Costs: By hiring generalists, the agency can combine multiple roles into one, saving on costs and reducing the number of people to manage.
  2. Increased Resourcefulness: Generalists are known for their resourcefulness, which is an essential trait in the early growth phase. These individuals are versatile and can perform multiple tasks, providing the agency with much-needed support.
  3. Improved Quality of Work: Hiring generalists ensures that the quality of work does not compromise, as these individuals can perform multiple roles and provide support in areas where it is needed.

The Right Time to Hire Specialists

As the agency moves from the growth phase to the scale phase, it is time to start thinking about hiring specialists. Specialists bring unique skills and expertise that generalists may not possess, and they play an essential role in scaling the agency. Once the agency has reached a certain level of profitability and established a talent pipeline, it is the right time to start thinking about hiring specialists in each department.

Hiring generalists in the early growth phase is crucial for the success of an agency. These individuals provide versatility and resourcefulness, saving the agency costs and improving the quality of work. As the agency moves from the growth phase to the scale phase, it is the right time to start thinking about hiring specialists who bring unique skills and expertise to the business.

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