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Agency ownership is a demanding yet rewarding endeavor that requires stamina and ambition. A universal goal of entrepreneurship is to acquire enough clients to achieve multiple figures in revenue. But strategic growth necessitates more than mere tenacity. So what is the secret to next-level expansion that allows for freedom and a sense of personal accomplishment?

We chatted with some of the top agency experts from various industries who have developed tried and true systems for business optimization. They impart wisdom on familiar challenges, including failure, personal development, relationship building, client management, and leadership. These professionals even reveal personal anecdotes to help you feel less alone in your journey. Here’s what they said:

Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

Agencies often focus too much on the outcome of a project. After pitching an additional service to a client, Reid lost a profitable customer. That experience taught him that you can’t always control the result of an enterprise, but you can control the effort you expend. So when your venture doesn’t turn out as planned, learn to appreciate your dedication rather than dwelling on the loss.

Red Door Interactive is a fiercely independent marketing agency. Red Door helps optimize brand and performance marketing across all channels — paid, earned, and owned — using data, technology, and top-industry talent to deliver meaningful customer experiences. The business’ approach to client engagement helps enterprise marketers solve their biggest problems around stakeholder alignment, cross-department silos, resourcing, and measurement.

Learn more: Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive


Jonathan Snow, The Snow Agency

Jonathan’s advice for hyper-growth is to invest in your middle management team. First, buy in a team of talented professionals who can commit to long-term growth and consistent change. The objective when hiring these employees is to align them with your vision and ensure they understand you and your agency’s needs. When you build an ideal team, you can trust them enough to take ownership of projects with little supervision.

The Snow Agency is a full-service digital marketing agency for businesses looking to grow. The agency’s unique digital strategies produce real, tangible results for online businesses. The Snow Agency utilizes targeted and data-driven social media ads through pay-per-click campaigns, effective email and SMS marketing, and human-centered content creation to deliver business.

Learn more: Jonathan Snow, The Snow Agency


Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing

If you want to sustain the growth achieved at the beginning of your journey, Spencer says to maintain your initial processes. This includes anything that contributed to your growth, such as service offerings, client acquisitions, and team communication. Yet it’s not enough to simply scale your agency — you have to retain the knowledge you learn along the way so it can be applied to other endeavors.

Advantage Marketing is a Chicago-based marketing and media agency that provides customized, personal service and care to help businesses achieve marketing goals. With over 30 years of combined marketing experience, Advantage’s team understands and values the importance of strong communication and takes pride in building longstanding partnerships with every client.

Learn more: Spencer Hadelman, Advantage Marketing


Michael Millay, Rooted Creative

Rooted Creative
Michael takes a people-first approach to agency ownership. His company’s mission statement is to respect and serve each client to the fullest extent. To provide valuable services customized to your client’s needs, you have to hone your strengths first before building your agency strategically to the next level.

Rooted Creative is a full-service media house, creative ad agency, and marketing company. The agency builds experiences that inspire innovation and assist brands in connecting emotionally with consumers. Rooted Creative provides experiential marketing, brand activations, and visuals.

Learn more: Michael Millay, Rooted Creative


Tali Kulbeda, Signature Marketing

Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle that many business owners undertake to develop a flexible work-life balance. If your goal is to exit your company to have additional freedom, you must maintain a consistent growth mindset. As you scale, delegate your responsibilities to skilled people who exceed your performance. Once you have a team that understands your vision, you can hand the business over to them.

Signature Marketing is a nationwide event marketing agency focused on the design, execution, and staffing of promotional events and influencer campaigns. Signature helps clients connect their brand to their target consumers through live, meaningful, and memorable face-to-face and digital interactions. The agency provides reliable, effective, and sales-driven brand ambassadors.

Learn more: Tali Kulbeda, Signature Marketing


Bob Bentz, Purplegator

Bob says that to sustain your business, it’s crucial to have a continuous source of leads. Many agencies rely on word-of-mouth to generate enough leads and create a consistent scaling model. This method is effective because it allows you to acquire multiple customers simultaneously. The hardest part is finding one new client to spread your reputation.

Purplegator is a leading mobile marketing agency providing marketing services that focus on geotargeting client audiences. Each client’s campaign is customized to highlight brand strengths and maximize results. Purplegator helps businesses optimize their brand, company, and products for engagement across all mobile devices through multiple media channels.

Learn more: Bob Bentz, Purplegator

Victory Harbin, The Social Brand

When starting out, many agencies try to accommodate every client to obtain those crucial first acquisitions. But as you become established, you realize that expanding your expertise to cater to each customer won’t grow your business. Victory says it’s acceptable to dismiss clients who don’t find value in your services.

The Social Brand is a branding and marketing agency that believes business growth happens by building relationships. The Social Brand’s digital marketing strategy focuses on creating connections between brands and their customers. The agency is passionate about helping companies speak to the right people on the right platform and in the right way, leading to more leads, hires, and revenue.

Learn more: Victory Harbin, The Social Brand


Tyler Mount, Tyler Mount Ventures

Tyler’s #1 lesson in agency ownership is to be an authentic leader. Some agencies lack the confidence to lead genuinely and focus on pleasing the customer instead, stunting their growth as a result. If you showcase your true self and values, you won’t need to overperform to acquire clients — they’ll admire your integrity and seek out your agency.

Tyler Mount Ventures is a bespoke digital media experience for the world’s most illustrious thought leaders and corporations. After over a decade of experience as a social strategist, social media manager, and digital content producer, Tyler Mount founded Tyler Mount Ventures to offer a real solution for digital strategy and social media management. The company offers tailor-made plans for every client through personalization, flexibility, and collaboration.

Learn more: Tyler Mount, Tyler Mount Ventures


Michelle Martinez, Make Your Mark

Entrepreneurship requires frequent trial and error. Case in point, when Michelle first launched her agency, she created proprietary automation tools that weren’t a great fit for her business goals. This type of failure can seem daunting and inhibiting, but Michelle says that experimenting with various ideas and solutions can help you grow as a business and learn as a leader.

Make Your Mark helps businesses find new customers online through strategic digital planning, implementation, and analytics. The agency specializes in online advertising, SEO, inbound and social media marketing, and website design and development.

Learn more: Michelle Martinez, Make Your Mark

Cindy Machles, Glue Advertising

Although clients expect top-notch services, they’re not experts in everything and don’t always know what they need. That’s why Cindy says to exceed client expectations by consistently innovating your processes. She automates daily tasks and systems to develop breakthrough strategies for her customers. It’s crucial to automate repetitive tasks to streamline service production for your clients.

Glue Advertising is a full-service agency that has been recognized as a top 20 New York City ad agency. As an independent and entrepreneurial agency, Glue has reworked the conventional model to respond to business needs by assembling talent that meets goals and aligns with growth objectives. Glue specializes in market research, strategic planning, positioning and messaging, branding, logo design, and creative development.

Learn more: Cindy Machles, Glue Advertising


Claudia Post, MOST Consulting Group and Scarlet Express

Every agency owner wants to be knowledgeable about their industry, but you can’t know everything. Many entrepreneurs avoid seeking help because they don’t want to admit inexperience or defeat. Yet, Claudia says that mistakes and failures display tenacity and are imperative to agency growth. So don’t be afraid to make a mistake or ask for help, as you just might gain critical knowledge and aid someone else in the process.

MOST is a cannabis consulting group that provides design, marketing, and paid media services. The group helps achieve sustainable success for cannabis industry companies by challenging the status quo and offering an expanded level of thinking. MOST works in the US and Canada with cannabis, hemp, and CBD companies, headshops, kratom brands, and other ancillary industries.

Scarlet Express is a state-approved, closed-loop delivery service that provides last-mile cannabis deliveries to patients in every state. ScarletEx’s dispensary delivery software allows companies to provide the best possible service to their patients. Scarlet is committed to connecting dispensaries with patients and providing them with safe access to their medicine.

Learn more: Claudia Post, MOST Consulting Group, Scarlet Express


Brad Casper, Heart & Soul Marketing

Sometimes, generating new business development requires venturing outside your comfort zone. Upon receiving an international assignment, Brad relocated to Japan for six years before becoming a business manager in Hong Kong and China. This experience taught him that embracing new endeavors leads to personal and professional growth. When stepping outside your comfort zone, Brad recommends remaining confident, because although you risk failure, the prospect for reward is greater.

Heart & Soul Marketing is a fiercely independent boutique marketing agency for the middle market and challenger brands. Heart & Soul helps brands discover and communicate their purpose to unearth ideas and drive conversions through human connection. The agency uses human truth, culture-shifting creativity, and media reach to deliver personalized experiences.

Learn more: Brad Casper, Heart & Soul Marketing


James Fink, Fabrik Agency

James recommends having a network of partners for referrals, leads, and acquisitions. Sometimes, clients request services outside your area of expertise, so by contacting your network, you can find an appropriate solution. These mutually beneficial strategic partnerships expand your reach and client base.

Fabrik Agency is a digital marketing agency that combines strategy, art, and technology to help businesses of all sizes grow their brands. For over 26 years, Fabrik has been transforming brands through digital services and campaigns that allow clients to scale and create profitable growth marketing channels.

Learn more: James Fink, Fabrik Agency


Margy Feldhuhn, Interview Connections

Managing a done-for-you agency is arduous and challenging. That’s why Margy emphasizes the importance of acquiring a dedicated team. She transitioned from freelancers to hiring full-time employees and created new standards and processes to navigate the accompanying learning curve. Talent is integral to a full-service agency’s success as each service has to be optimized for the client.

Interview Connections is a podcast booking agency that helps high-performing leaders attract more clients and build strategic relationships by appearing on other’s podcasts. Interview Connections provides high-touch, concierge-level, done-for-you experiences to keep leaders in their zone of genius and away from the tactics of booking consistent guest opportunities.

Learn more: Margy Feldhuhn, Interview Connections


Tyler Pigott, Lone Fir Creative

With so many full-service agencies in the market, it’s essential to differentiate yourself. Tyler advises identifying your vision and core focus during the early stages of your business so you can build your agency around a niche. When managing and developing your agency, each aspect — including your service offerings, team structure, and business model — should conform to your initial goal.

Lone Fir Creative is a digital marketing agency that increases sales for B2B companies by improving the path to purchase and creating optimal conditions to acquire new business. The team is comprised of business-minded creatives who hit ambitious revenue targets and grow brands.

Learn more: Tyler Pigott, Lone Fir Creative


John Stone, Revenue Architects

When launching an agency, gaining traction is difficult. John’s fundamental first step for generating recognition is to build your agency around an established brand and values. This helps you craft service offerings with an intentional methodology. Then you can market these services to a target audience and acquire initial clients who support your vision.

Revenue Architects delivers consulting and agency services at the intersections of marketing, sales, and technology. The firm specializes in architecting sales and marketing to maximize revenue growth and executing buyer engagement campaigns and programs.

Learn more: John Stone, Revenue Architects


Heidi Schoeneck, Grounded World

The marketing and advertising industries are constantly progressing, and it’s challenging to keep pace, especially for agencies with niched services. If you’re struggling to conform to the pressing demands, Heidi says to embody these core characteristics: fluidity, flexibility, and fearlessness. You can evolve with the trends if you’re fluid and flexible enough to anticipate changes and fearless enough to test various strategies and learn from your mistakes.

Grounded World is a multi-award-winning, B Corp-certified brand purpose agency that works exclusively with purposeful brands, startups, retailers, and nonprofits. Grounded helps these businesses articulate their purpose, activate their brands, and accelerate their impact. The agency specializes in design, branding activation, sustainability marketing, and social impact.

Learn more: Heidi Schoeneck, Grounded World


Nadya Rousseau, Alter New Media

While every agency strives for business growth, not everyone is prepared for it. Calculated growth is profitable, but unprepared development is detrimental, causing confusion and disorganization. That’s why Nadya recommends developing sound and scalable processes and educating your team on your mission and values so they can grow with you.

Alter New Media is a full-service digital marketing agency with services ranging from web design, online video production, digital strategy, SEO, social media management, public relations, and strategic partnerships. Alter New Media serves clients who are passionate about or interested in making an impact in the world with their products, services, or social causes.

Learn more: Nadya Rousseau, Alter New Media


Anita Nelson, IN Food Marketing and Design

Networking is a valuable tool for agency owners to share ideas and solve challenges. For each problem you experience, someone else has previously encountered and solved it. So Anita says that by building relationships with experienced professionals, you can gain new insights and innovative ways to grow.

IN Food Marketing and Design is a Minneapolis marketing and communications agency with a passion for helping food-related companies heat up their food service and retail sales. From strategic planning to tactical execution, IN Food has the insights, knowledge, and creative capabilities to make sales sizzle.

Learn more: Anita Nelson, IN Food Marketing and Design


Kasim Aslam, Solutions 8

Kasim recommends developing a niche to optimize your agency for clients. Whichever field you choose, it’s essential to ensure you have the appropriate experience and knowledge to serve clients effectively. You can then establish yourself as a thought leader, outperform the competition, and remain top of mind in your industry.

Solutions 8 is one of the top-ranked Google Ads agencies in the country, an “top 10” agency, and a Digital Marketer Certified Partner. With a strong emphasis on advanced, tactical Google Ads management, Solutions 8 has helped hundreds of organizations grow and scale.

Learn more: Kasim Aslam, Solutions 8


Brent Feldman, Matchbox Design Group

Brent’s top tip for maintaining efficiency is to listen to your team. They can provide insights into improving your processes and workplace culture and introduce you to opportunities that can scale your business. By coordinating with your team, you can streamline operations.

Matchbox Design Group is a group of fantastically creative individuals with expertise in many areas including website design, SEO, social media, web development, design, branding, and strategic marketing. Matchbox Design Group’s mission is to provide compelling design and graphic services to create digital brands for companies.

Learn more: Brent Feldman, Matchbox Design Group


Jason LaBaw, Bonsai Media Group

When it comes to budgeting, some agencies take a reactive approach. Case in point, Jason initially focused on his business’ past finances. Instead, it’s crucial to be proactive with your finances by developing a strategic plan for your resources and sales pipeline to forecast future growth and recognize key revenue sources.

Bonsai Media Group is a digital advertising agency that develops intuitive websites and apps for some of the largest and smallest companies in the world. Bonsai Media Group leverages emerging technologies in innovative ways to cultivate an online presence for businesses. The agency’s services include SEO, social media marketing, website design and development, and interactive media.

Learn more: Jason LaBaw, Bonsai Media Group


Ashley Ismailovski, SmartSites

In a volatile market, positioning is key. Ashley suggests focusing on your agency’s role within the industry so you can enhance your existing services rather than expending resources to diversify. This requires recognizing your ideal clients so that when you’re presented with a profitable opportunity from a potential new client, you can assess whether the customer is a good fit.

SmartSites is an award-winning digital marketing agency passionate about custom development and content creation. Through results-driven marketing, SmartSites offers website design, SEO, PPC, email and SMS, and social media marketing. SmartSites is a Google Premier and Facebook Marketing partner offering best-in-class digital marketing services.

Learn more: Ashley Ismailovski, SmartSites


Clifton Albright, Albright, Yee & Schmit, APC

Some agency owners hesitate to delegate tasks to their team, especially if it means surrendering control of the business. Clifton says it’s important to allow employees to take on tasks, make mistakes, and learn so they can grow professionally. After a motorcycle accident forced him to take a leave of absence from his business, Clifton noticed that his agency was generating additional revenue without him. This taught him that by allowing others to take partial ownership over your company, you can discover new methods of achieving success.

Albright, Yee & Schmit, APC is a boutique law firm with locations in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Washington, DC. Throughout its 40-year history, AYS Law has become known and recommended for the quality of its legal work and personalized services. The company’s mission is to take an interest in clients by understanding their objectives and exceeding expectations.

Learn more: Clifton Albright, Albright, Yee & Schmit, APC


Karen Murphy, FVM

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed as a leader, it’s helpful to have a team of talented, passionate people who can rise to any challenge. If you acquire people with diverse skill sets, you’ll find that each expertise complements the other and bridges any knowledge gaps in your agency. Support and collaboration are key to leveraging each member’s talents and executing difficult projects.

FVM is the marketing agency of choice for mid-sized B2B organizations that need a clear and effective way to communicate their value. Through inspired storytelling, thoughtful design, and smart marketing strategies, FVM helps clients reach critical target audiences and set sales teams up for success.

Learn more: Karen Murphy, FVM


Kim Lawton, Enthuse Marketing

The most indispensable component of every successful agency is its people, both clients and employees. For Kim, this means regarding employees as you would clients. Since clients need direction and guidance for each service, it’s critical to provide your team with enrichment opportunities so they can give clients the same level of care. Employees will collaborate effectively with customers if you treat them as an integral part of your agency.

Enthuse Marketing is a purpose-driven, women-owned experiential agency created and run by industry experts and entrepreneurs. Enthuse is comprised of marketers, educators, digital strategists, and branding specialists who all share a common passion for creating, nurturing, and supporting lifestyle brands through carefully crafted experiences.

Learn more: Kim Lawton, Enthuse Marketing


Michael Melen, SmartSites

According to Michael, reputations determine the profitability of any digital marketing agency. This is because customers use online reviews to select service providers, and each review measures client satisfaction. So it’s crucial to focus on maximizing the customer experience to boost positive reviews and position your agency as a top choice. Michael’s agency analyzes online reviews to measure results and enhance client communication.

SmartSites is an award-winning digital marketing agency passionate about custom development and content creation. Through results-driven marketing, SmartSites offers website design, SEO, PPC, email and SMS, and social media marketing. SmartSites is a Google Premier and Facebook Marketing partner offering best-in-class digital marketing services.

Learn more: Michael Melen, SmartSites

Dawn Kane, Hot Dish Advertising

Sometimes, entrepreneurs launch their agencies with one niche in mind before moving in a different direction. It’s crucial to hone your skills so you can determine a sector that’s an optimal fit for your agency. Once you’ve developed an ideal niche, Dawn says to remain focused on optimizing your specialties to align with the market so you can become a thought leader and grow within that area.

Hot Dish Advertising is a full-service franchise marketing and branding agency that elevates ideas, crafts creative solutions, and generates meaningful results. With two decades of industry-leading expertise, Hot Dish connects customers to franchise brands, delivers quality franchise leads, and sparks brand loyalty to ignite success.

Learn more: Dawn Kane, Hot Dish Advertising


Ken Kerry, Script to Screen

Entrepreneurship is a series of highs and lows, and perseverance is fundamental to managing an agency. Ken emphasizes hustling to outperform others in your industry. Although this entails long days and nights and regular isolation, it’s important to continue learning, innovating, and overcoming challenges to achieve growth and prosperity.

Script to Screen is a results-based, brand response, DTC agency with over 35 years of experience creating and producing successful infomercials and commercials for numerous offline platforms. The Script to Screen group creates and elevates brands, acquires leads, activates customers, increases loyalty, and maximizes ROI with measurable results.

Learn more: Ken Kerry, Script to Screen

Ben Kniffen, LinkedSelling

Ben maintains that a process-oriented marketing strategy is paramount to running a high-performing agency. This involves establishing a competitive offer that aligns with customers’ most urgent needs. Carefully-structured offers allow you to acquire prospects and move them through the sales funnel to become valued clients.

LinkedSelling is a lead generation and client acquisition agency specializing in generating high-quality leads through inbound and outbound marketing methods utilizing a multi-channel approach. LinkedSelling works with B2B companies ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, generating unique strategies for each business.

Learn more: Ben Kniffen, LinkedSelling