Our fifth year was surprisingly one of the trickier ones. We came into it wondering, what next? We’d hit our capacity to take on any more clients. We were both burning out. We were scarred from hiring some Freelancers that didn’t work out. So we were left scratching our heads and wondering, what do we do next?
We’d been fighting the idea of owning a fully-fledged “agency”, I mean we even went as far as to remove the word “agency” from our business name… yeah, we used to be Oh My Digital Agency in full. We felt a bit ick when we thought of what an agency represented to us (based on past experiences).
So we set out to get some advice, and these are the steps we took next.
Step 1: Book a session with a peer/mentor who knows your space
When we were working back in agency land, we met an angel on earth named Kate Cook. Her knowledge and ability to pass that knowledge on to others blew us away. So we booked a session with her to talk about the direction of our business.
This session with Kate was transformative. She helped us snap out of the mindset that an agency had to be structured a certain way. That we either had to offer services and grow our team to a large size. Or we had to be the face of the business and only offer digital products and memberships. This conversation got us into the mindset where we realised we could have a small team, and sell digital products, but still offer the services we wanted to. Getting out of this mindset was the biggest challenge for us. But it was the next step in our journey.
Step 2: We hired the amazing Kateena from Davy HR (Formerly Club Sandwich HR) to build our team the right way
Hayley had hired staff before as a recruiter for her Dad’s company and employed 10+ people for the last agency we worked for. But when it came to the actual onboarding and HR components of building a team? We had no clue what was involved. And as a small biz owner, you want to get it right! So we hired Kateena and the team because we KNEW we would be in good hands. And boy were we right.
They set us up with everything from contracts, to checklists and employee agreements to make sure we knew exactly what we needed to do at each step of the way. And it took SO MUCH of the stress out of the process.
From there, all that was left to do was to hire! And that’s how we found our amazing first team member Erin and instantly wondered why we didn’t do this earlier. We didn’t want the stress of hiring. But if we’d known how easy it actually was with this new process, we probably would have done it sooner.
But, to be honest, we probably weren’t in the right mindset to have committed to such a big step in the business any sooner. And just because we waited this long, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right step for your business. One thing we’ve learned is that everyone grows differently. If we had jumped in any earlier, we might not have had our systems and processes in place and we might not have had such a smooth experience.
But that’s why asking for help is so important. Sometimes it helps to have someone else look at your business and tell you where you should step next, which brings us to our next step…
Step 3: Hire a numbers Guru
The scene is set. Our team had expanded to three. We slowly grew Erin’s hours with each new client we onboarded, and we hit those goals much faster than we’d anticipated (so proud of us). But then we hit the ceiling again! Neither of us are amazing with numbers, it is NOT our strong point. So taking the next step was a really scary one for us, because now we had others relying on us. It wasn’t just our own finances on the line.
So we decided to reach out to another highly recommended member of our community, Jen from Simply Smarter Numbers. And boy, that is an investment we wish we’d made earlier.
She was EXACTLY what we needed. We’d been shopping around for a biz coach for a while. We needed someone who could give us a no BS assessment of our finances. Look at our numbers, break them down and tell us exactly where we could step next.
And that’s what Jen did. She gave us this absolutely magnificent spreadsheet that works with us as we grow. We set our goals, put in our numbers and worked out that to hit our financial goals (paying us what we’re due), we needed to hire again. And having those numbers to back our decision was like instant stress relief.
So, we took that advice and hired the incredible Melissa! And we’re using the same approach with her, by increasing her hours as we increase our workload. And it has been another very smooth and wonderful addition to our team. We couldn’t be happier with our decision.
Now we use this magic spreadsheet to plan every move we make, and we have monthly reporting meetings where we check on our goals with the team, see how our marketing is working and if we need to tweak anything. Plus we adjust our goals as we smash through them.
And that is something we HIGHLY recommend investing in.
So, those are all of our lessons over 5 years of business! We hope you found those really helpful! And if you need a little more help, don’t forget to check out our All-Stars Membership, where you can get 1:1 support from your Marketing Cheerleaders!