From Freelancer to Agency: 6 Steps to Scaling Your Business

You’ve conquered the world of freelancing and become a bona fide industry expert. 

So, what’s next? 

With over 70 million freelancers already working in the USA, it’s a smart move to change your business model in order to grow. For many solopreneurs, that means becoming an agency. 

Hiring experienced employees can drastically increase your client base, diversify your services, and see profits soar as your business does more. But a quick look into how to scale a business shows that this isn’t an easy process. 

You want to maintain your freelance values and quality of work while changing your operations and internal structure, which can be tricky to balance. Luckily, though, you aren’t the first freelancer looking to become an agency, and there’s plenty of advice out there from those who have successfully navigated this maze before. 

To help you get started on solid ground, we’ve put together the top 6 tips out there.

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1. Define Your Values and USP

It’s crucial before you begin scaling that you make it clear what your business stands for. This will help you focus your agency goals, find your place in the market, and ensure you attract both the right employees and the right clients.

Consider what’s important to you as a business and how you’ll put your values into practice. For example, if you want to be an eco-friendly business, you could join the reputable 1% for the Planet organization and work only with sustainable business clients. 

Your values can feed directly into your agency’s unique selling point (USP) too. Eco-friendly values and sustainable expertise are USPs that are in high demand, while a value such as innovation can mean that you’re always staying up with the latest tech in your industry to bring your clients fresh, new ideas.

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2. Upgrade Your Website

When scaling your business to become an agency, a website is a must. 

Your site gives your clients a digital touchpoint to learn more about your business and contact your team, and it’ll work as a crucial tool in your marketing strategy, too. 

Whether you already have a site or not, be sure to prepare your platform for increased traffic and high speeds. 

We recommend avoiding any beginner-friendly hosting sites which aren’t typically built for high-performance websites. Instead, opt for managed hosting providers, which offer easy migration from other hosts, lightning-fast speeds and multi-site hosting, making it ideal for scaling your agency.

When building your website, make sure it:

  • Is responsive across devices.
  • Is easy to navigate.
  • Has clear calls to action.
  • Includes your contact information.
  • Isn’t cluttered with content (white space is your friend!)

If you’re not an experienced developer, it’s a smart move to hire one to build a user-experienced-focused website for your agency. 

When you consider that 85% of people check out a business online before making a purchase with them (including for services), you won’t want to skimp on your site. 

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3. Focus on Building a Client Base

One of the key aspects of how to scale a business is building up a healthy client base. This means upping your marketing and might also include introducing new services to your agency with the help of a growing team.

For example, if you currently offer web development services, adding a graphic designer and copywriter to your agency is likely to make your business more appealing/suitable to a wider audience. You’re casting a larger net, helping you catch a few more big fish. 

But, it’s vital that as your client base grows, their experience with your agency doesn’t change. As a freelancer, you were probably able to offer a personalized service with stellar customer service, and your existing clients shouldn’t see this slip. 

For that reason, you might want to keep communicating with your existing clients yourself during a transition period and only hand new business over to your capable team. 

It’s a good idea to create a clear plan for customer service, too. This should include the tone of voice your team uses with your clients, how quickly you expect them to respond to queries and training in the level of customer service you expect.

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4. Tips to Gain New Clients

You might already have enough clients to warrant turning your freelance business into an agency. Or, perhaps you’re looking to grow your client list to make the move profitable. 

If you come under the latter, here are some tips for gaining new clients as an agency:

  • Encourage referrals from current clients using a reward scheme.
  • Create an engaging social media marketing strategy.
  • Attend industry events.
  • Partner with other businesses/agencies/charities to increase your reach.
  • Build a presence in your local community.

5. How to Scale Your Business Workload

As you gain new clients, your workload is going to increase. You need to be ready for this before it happens, allowing you to handle a larger to-do list with ease.

Of course, having an experienced team ready to take on work is a great start. Get to grips with delegating tasks to the right staff and prioritizing work to meet deadlines. 

You’ll also need to ensure you have efficient processes that create functional workflows. A project management tool, like Trello, makes this a lot easier with intuitive interfaces and seamless collaboration. 

You might also need to upgrade your software to handle new client work. Research industry tools and take a look at what competitor agencies are using to understand more about what you’ll need. 

Remember that the more tasks you can automate using software, the easier your job will be!

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6. Get to Grips With Tax and Law

As you look into how to scale your business from a freelancer to an agency, it’s important you pay attention to tax and legalities. This will help protect your agency from any future problems and ensure you run a legitimate business.

First, register your agency and apply for any necessary permits and licenses. Get to grips with local, state, and federal tax, too, to ensure you aren’t handed any heft fines down the line. Set up a system to monitor your cash flow, too, making sure your finances are tax-compliant for an easier end-of-year. 

Final Words

Moving from a solo entrepreneur to a legitimate agency is always exciting, but it comes with its fair share of hard work! Start your agency with solid foundations using digital tools, strategies and advice we’ve shared in this article to achieve long-term growth

Image from Unsplash

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