I want to share something that may help my fellow agency owners. I ran my own agency for 11 years (before selling up), and even though I’m grateful for the experience… man there were some hard times.
Lately I’ve been reflecting on the experience I had towards the end of running my marketing agency. I was thinking about all the hard times, and how when I was so deep in the valley, it was tough to see the light. So I decided to write a letter to myself 15 years ago. I wish I had this letter at the time, because it would have been so encouraging, given what I was going through.
I wasn’t going to share this, but it may help some of you, so here you go. Here’s the letter I wrote to Rob, the burned out agency owner, 15 years ago.
I know you aren’t that motivated to be at work today and you are almost certainly distracted. No doubt your day will be filled with handling difficult clients. I know how hard it’s been recently dealing with the loss of XYZ client. They were 40% of your revenue, and you lost them virtually overnight. You’re panicking, and wondering how you’re going to make payroll with such a big loss.
You’re walking into work every day expecting to deal with yet another ‘wheelbarrow of crap’. Problem after problem. Frustration after frustration. You’re wondering how the hell the ACTUAL business has strayed so far away from the VISION you originally had for it.
You’re wondering how long you’re going to feel so damn… lonely.
But before you throw away a great business because you think the other man’s grass is greener, let me tell you one important thing: It gets better,
Rob, my friend, here is what you need to do to turn it around:
- You have the potential for a great business that not only earns you a lot of money but also could give you the freedom you desire – if you make the right decisions. So go and get some external assistance (a coach) to help you objectively see this.
- Remember to follow your passion. Ask yourself: What changes do you need to make to create a business you feel passionate about again? How can you spark that same joy felt when this business only existed on the back of a napkin? There is really nothing stopping you except yourself! Which is GREAT. Because you are in full control of your destiny. And you have what it takes.
- Create a REAL plan (not that ineffective plan sitting on your desk that’s not really a plan, just a to-do list for today) that fires you up and that you can get your staff to execute — with excitement. That way you can see that you are on the right track, rather than just meandering along, HOPING things will get better on their own.
Trust me, if you do these things, you will quickly realise there are more options that just selling the business. And done right, you could have the freedom to pursue other things. Like travel more. Start that business in Spain. Become a coach and so on.
Do you the know the best part, Rob? The part you can’t see right now, but I wish you could? It’s that you can do all this while keeping a business running that earns you a good income and provides a great life.
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