How to Stop Doing Things You Suck At & Improve Your Team Leading Skills with Pia Larson

By Jason Swenk on January 11, 2017

Stop Doing Things You Suck At & Improve Your Team Leading Skills

Want to improve your team leading skills? Just can’t stop doing the things you’re no good at? If you’re looking to break through the plateau of running a solo agency, this episode is for you.

Today’s guest is Pia Larson is the Chief Imagination Officer of Fingerprint Marketing, the digital agency she founded ten years ago. Pia shares stories and lessons learned about successfully building and leading her team.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • Solutions to 3 challenges every agency owner faces.
  • The difference between being a leader and being a boss.
  • How to stop doing the things you suck at.

3 Challenges Every Agency Owner Faces + Their Solution

  1. Are you constantly chasing clients? The agency business is about relationships. And Pia says her company vision included long term clients. However she felt like she was always chasing the next client, which left her no time to build relationships with existing ones. When you can’t focus on current clients and make them feel special, they have no sense of loyalty.

  2. Do you try to do everything yourself? As an entrepreneur we’re wired to wear many hats – even if something you don’t know or haven’t learned. One of Pia’s big challenges was the time of suck of educating herself in areas she didn’t know, like SEO or copywriting. (She’s a designer by trade.)

  3. Do you find yourself doing things you hate or suck at? Lots of business owners end up doing things outside their wheelhouse because they don’t think anyone else can do it better. That’s a pretty common mindset but truthfully you’re standing in your own way.

The solution to ALL these challenges is to add to your team. If you’re a one-person show, you really can’t grow and scale without hiring. When you ignore your gut and hold off on hiring, you’re actually sabotaging your potential for growth. You’re at max capacity – it’s time to bring in some help.

Pia says she dragged her feet for a year on hiring, but when she resigned to it and hired two people she saw results within a week. She admits there’s huge risk when you hire… What if they don’t work out? What if you can’t keep them busy? What if clients don’t like them? What if you can’t pay them? BUT, the payoff is so much greater than the risks.

Team Leading: How to Be a Leader, Not Just a Boss

Once you commit to hiring, you’ll will discover a shift in your role and focus. But you’ll also have a new role as a leader.

Being a leader is not the same as being a boss. I like to tell my clients, if you’re their biggest cheerleader your team is more likely to walk out on a limb for you, even if they’re afraid it will break, because they know you’ll catch them. Team leading is different to leading a business.

Pia has experienced the same over the last decade running her agency. Rather than dictate decisions and responsibilities, she likes to find the special talents and gifts within her staff and nurture it. She has had great results by asking people what they want to do, versus telling them what they have to do. This management style gets a great response and can be very motivating.

How to Stop Doing Things You Suck At

It starts with self-awareness. You need to have an ‘ah ha’ moment when you realize what you DO want and DO NOT want to be doing. It means taking a good, hard look at your skill set and being honest with yourself about what you enjoy doing.

Then, make a “No List” and tell yourself these are the things you aren’t going to do anymore. Next: eliminate, delegate or automate tasks on the No List.

Whatever you suck at – eliminate, delegate or automate.

Pia took it a step further by asking her mom and childhood friends to tell her the attributes and characteristics they remember about her as a child. She says she got some really great insight into her strengths by taking this approach, then applied it to her role in the agency.

#1 Tip For Dealing with Bad Clients

First of all, there are no bad clients – just bad prospects or bad processes.

But every once in awhile a bad one does sneak in. Usually bad clients are just bullies with a budget. If you’re being treated poorly, it’s not worth it – cut them loose.

Pia is competitive by nature. However, when she let her guard down and accepted that there’s plenty of new business out there for every agency it opened her agency up to a ton of new opportunities.

Being able to turn down business is a major milestone. In addition to your formal qualification process, you should also interview prospective clients. Prospects aren’t the only people who should be asking questions in an initial meeting 🙂

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Build Your Agency Authority

I hope this has given you an insight into improving your team leading skills, how to face challenges that may come your way and how to stop doing things you suck at. Have you taken the time to see what other challenges you are facing within your agency? Now is also a great time to step back and look at other processes that need attention. No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

There are many topics I can give advice on from what to do when you want to speed up sales processes 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 you the different phases of growth you will experience, how placing a process for performance based pricing can be the best pricing strategy for your business and the three questions you need to ask yourself to sell more!

Want more? 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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