Many freelancers struggle to keep their businesses afloat. They often work by project, which means they have to continually search for new projects. One way to solve this problem is to become a small production agency that completes projects instead of billing for hours of work as a freelance writer.
Those who appreciate the flexibility of working in their spare time often find that the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored: the constant search for new projects. Not only does it take many hours of work that could have been spent on projects, but it also takes a lot of time and effort.
On top of that, freelancers are often stressed that the next month might not be as successful as the last. The constant fear of not knowing if the money will be depleted dampens the joy of working from home at your own pace.
Go from self-employed to agency management
One thing should be clear: no one can create an agency overnight. You can slowly become an agency or launch a product. Let’s look at both paths to find out what kind of challenges await you:
- Many freelancers would like to take on more projects, but just don’t have the resources to do it. What they can do is outsource some of their work or start hiring a part-time helper as a first step.
- Launching a product is much more complicated. It can be a course, an ebook, or software. While the dream of passive income sounds good, most people are not successful.
That being said, it is certainly not impossible to launch a successful product. Those who are successful often combine their services with products. Let’s look at an example of this list containing examples of product services:
Dropship For Sale mainly sells turnkey dropshipping websites which can be personalized with your own logo and domain. All you have to do is buy one of the ready-made templates. Although this is the main business, they also offer custom store designs as a service at a higher price.
Production of your existing services
A much better option for moving from freelance to building and scaling an agency is called production. Production is not just about putting a price on services and selling them as an à la carte product. It’s about reducing your core services, optimizing your processes, and running an efficient business with a high return on investment.
A great advantage of running a productive agency is that you:
- know who your ideal client is, and
- that you can easily create marketing campaigns.
This eliminates the need to constantly search for projects / new clients as they should find you through your marketing efforts. Marketing can be anything from a referral system to content marketing and paid advertising. One thing that is uncertain is which marketing strategy is best for you. However, you can take a look at the competitors and then experiment with the chosen strategies.
Decide what to produce
Without the theory, what part of your services should you produce? One thing is clear, not all of them. You will spend a lot of time analyzing your current services and will have to decide which ones are worth keeping and how to bundle them.
Suppose you are a designer and you have focused on the travel niche so far. Most of your clients are travel companies, some are travel bloggers. They usually hire you to create stylized graphics for blog posts, sometimes you need to create an infographic.
The good news is, you already have a niche: travel agencies. It helps you present yourself as the designer of everything travel related. Perhaps you yourself are a traveler who loves to take photos. In this case, you can take advantage of your own image portfolio and use it exclusively for your clients. This sets you apart from designers who rely heavily on stock images.
Then try to bundle your services into packages that give the impression of good value for money, for example:
- monthly package with graphic design for blog posts
- unique creation of a detailed infographic
- unique custom illustrations
Be clear about what each service contains so there is no room for interpretation, claims or disputes. Plus, link to your refund policy and test discounts for annual subscriptions.
Why recurring revenue is important
The example above mentions recurring services, and that’s something everyone should focus on during production. This eliminates the aforementioned fear of many freelancers that their cash flow will be unreliable and run out.
The best recurring service is one that is long term, billed quarterly or annually. This makes investing a lot easier for agency owners because they can calculate their monthly recurring income. With this data, they can decide whether it’s worth hiring new talent and expanding the agency. Or, they can invest in marketing activities to attract new prospects.
That being said, recurring services often require a bit more work. You’ll need to think about managing subscriptions, and whether you want customers to take care of it themselves. If so, they can cancel at any time, but also increase or decrease their plan. Some subscriptions also require detailed task management, including revisions. Good customer portal software can take care of all of these aspects for agency owners.
Going from freelance to owning an agency is a daunting task. Freelancers will need to adjust to the fact that they will no longer work alone, but instead lead a team of like-minded people. It takes a lot of effort, management skills and patience. However, an agency can also bring a lot of security in your life because its activity is easier to predict.