The agency model is one of my favorites for a few reasons:
1) It’s a great way to grow – By hiring other people to ‘do the work’ you naturally expand your capacity to serve more clients (and make more money).
2) It’s a great way to leverage your expertise – The agency model allows you to focus on what you do best, so that you get known as an expert in your field.
3) It’s a great way to free up your time – When you build a solid team around you it frees you up to do more of what you love (and less of what you don’t)
Yes, the agency model is great BUT there is an important pre-requisite before you go this path.
Create success FIRST as a 1-1 service provider
I see too many people wanting to skip this step. They are just getting started in their business and they want to jump straight into creating an agency.
I get it – the agency model is great! But when you jump too quickly into it you miss a few things that working 1-1 brings you:
Clarity – working 1-1 allows you to become clear on exactly what you do – and don’t! – want to do for your clients
Confidence – when you serve your clients directly you get to see first hand the results that you help create, and can really own your value in the marketplace
Clients – when you can fill your business with 1-1 clients, you have proven your ability to make the sale (likewise, if you can’t fill your business 1-1 then you are likely to struggle more as you work to fill your agency)
Do great work as a 1-1 service provider, fill your business with amazing clients and then you will have a strong foundation of success to build an agency on.
In my role I constantly receive feedback from folks on all sorts of things, but perhaps one of the most disheartening things I hear is when I’m approached by a support professional who says they feel unappreciated in their role.
I know that in the throes of a growing business and the two-stepping, double-time pace that that growth can require, the simple “thank you” can get lost in the shuffle. But those two words hold great power, and when that power is untapped and unused, the wealth behind them lays in waste.
I like to use the example of a new dating relationship to illustrate my point a little. In that beginning “courtship” phase, we’re so quick to lavish our partner with compliments and praise on everything they do, but then over time we settle into routines and those once praise-worthy traits become the expected norm and we take each other for granted.
The same is true in our business relationships. When we first bring on a new team member and they’re just rocking out everything they touch, we’re quick to throw out lines like “I couldn’t do this without your help” or “your contribution is vital to our success,” etc., but then, just like in dating, over time we take our team members and their hard work for granted.
People want to know that they’re doing good work for you. They need to hear those words of gratitude and appreciation. For some people, a word of thanks can mean more than any dollar amount they receive in their paychecks. I find this especially to be true with support professionals. The need to be told that the work they do is of value.
So stop right now in the midst of reading this blog and take a mental inventory of the last time you said thank you to your team… If you can’t remember when that was, IT’S BEEN TOO LONG!
Pick up the phone, send an email, but get those “thank yous” out to your team, stat! Set yourself a reminder if need be. If you’re pleased with what they’re doing, make sure they know, and if money and circumstances permit, throw in something extra for them! It doesn’t have to be grandiose, maybe a gift certificate to a spa day or maybe a restaurant certificate for them and their spouse, but tokens of appreciation are invaluable.
Of all the things that could get lost in the hustle and bustle of this business world we live in, don’t let your gratitude for the team that serves and supports you be one of them!
(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)