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Freelancer to Agency: A look at the Pros and Cons of Each

Moving from Freelancer to Agency
Freelance life has its ups and downs. As I investigate the change required to go from being a freelancer to becoming an agency, I have learned a great deal from lots of folks who have been there and done that with their own agencies. These mentors shared similar ups and downs as they apply to the agency life. Most of all, I heard again and again, “Agency life is tough!” Consider this something of a Benjamin Franklin pros vs. cons list for going from freelancer  to agency.

Freelancing

Pros Cons
– Flexibility with time and place – You’re your own boss – Work when you want – Take the clients you want – You can do the work the way you want to do the work – You eat ALL of what you kill – You don’t hunt, you don’t eat – When you don’t work, you don’t get paid – Business development is full time – Clients sometimes pay slowly – You have to do all the work

Agency Life

Pros Cons
– You have a team – You can do more b/c you have a team – Delegating gives you freedom – Dedicated resource for biz dev (still might be you, but…) – Delegate the work you don’t do best (minimize your weaknesses) – Focus on the work you do best (play to your strengths) – You have to recruit, attract, and hire the team – Trusting others with work you do is hard – If you run the agency, you never actually do the work you enjoy – A team means people, and people means responsibility – You get paid last

Freelancer to Agency

These are just the top of mind items that come up first when I consider the things I love about freelancing and the things that I struggle with as a freelancer. When I did this exercise, it caused me to take a step back, and list out the things I love doing (WordPress, Mailchimp, writing new content for blogs, publications, and social media) and the things I can do, but am not really good at (bookkeeping, payroll, business development). Changing from Freelancer to Agency may or may not mean I get to do exactly what I want, but over time I should be able to do the work I’m good at. As I work through this change, doing exercises like this helps me determine who and what kind of people I want and need to recruit to build a strong agency. I’ve always said “I can’t code, and I can’t sell, but I can do just about everything in between.” That still holds true, but actually doing everything in between would just make me a busy freelancer. Building an agency will enable me to invest in the growth of others and focus on doing what I do best.

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