I'm currently working on starting my own digital agency but with every step I take, I find myself thinking about several questions like;
How do I get clients?
How do I gather a team together and ensure the availability of their pay within the first 3 months?
How do we get funded apart from waiting for revenue generated by our services and a whole lot of other questions.
If you have ever been in this stage, kindly spur me up with some advice.
Maybe you're trying to solve problems you aren't in a position to solve, which is why they seem unsolvable?
Every complex system that works evolved from a simple system that worked. Maybe you don't need to create an entire "digital marketing agency" from scratch overnight. Instead, maybe you can create "a person who does Facebook advertising for other people" from scratch overnight.
I haven't done this, but I follow people who talk about it. The best I can paraphrase the advice is that you should:
1) figure out one thing you can do to help and one easily identified group that needs that help
2) find lists of people in that group and cold call/email all day every day
3) gather a few clients who pay you to do the thing
4) build from there
For example, if you're going to do Google SEO, pick a market like "dentists", search Google for "dentist" and skip to page 20. Then start cold contacting everyone with something like "If I couldn't find your practice how are customers going to find you? Pay me to fix your SEO." Then do your thing and make their SEO better. Ask for referrals but keep cold contacting people so your funnel is full.
When you have too much business for one person to handle, raise your prices. When you've raised your prices so much you're embarrassed, hire someone else to help.
Samuel, not to discourage your interests, but you're right to have serious questions like the ones you're facing. If you don't know how to get paying clients, then you shouldn't go into business until you do. Funding? No one funds an agency. That comes out of your pocket. You won't get a loan or an investor, period. Digital agencies are a dime a dozen and most aren't worth a dozen dimes in my experience.
What you need to think about first is how you're going to differentiate. What does a digital agency like yours actually do (what can you deliver best, most, or first)? If you are unable to derive a strategy to market your own company, you will never persuade anyone else to put their trust in you doing their advertising or content creation or managing their online presence. You'll need to lead by example. If your own company is marketed in an unforgettable, clear, and trustworthy way, then potential clients will assign credibility to your offerings.
If you're struggling now figuring out the stuff you're intimate and directly involved in doing, an agency is not the business for you.
The best planning is not just planning to act, it's also planning to know when not to act.
I echo Mr. Maier's advice...narrowing your focus will naturally minimize the volume of questions that are currently hindering you. If you're trying to be everything digital to everyone right away, you'll find yourself overwhelmed and stretched far too thin.
Try focusing on a specific set of services, ideally services that fit your individual strengths and don't require hiring a bunch of overhead (if needed you can also freelance the resources, there are plenty of resources a google search away); and then identify a specific type of client to sell those services to...do a few things really, really well and your organic growth in the digital space should start to come a bit more naturally.
Best of luck.
I think you have some issues with why you started your business. As a digital marketing agency it is your job to get clients. Why are you looking to get funded in this space? You have nothing special to offer. It is an easy space to enter. Why are you worrying about a team when you have no clients or nothing to work on? I am in this space and have been for the past 6 years. Send me your business plan or concept and I can get you 5 clients in 30 days.
A question I would ask (sorry if it's silly) is why are you doing it? Is it a passion? a niche etc.
Mr. Maier's advice and path seems spot on.
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