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Build a Better Agency Podcast

Scale and grow your agency with better clients, invested employees, and a stronger bottom line, with Drew McLellan of Agency Management Institute.
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Build a Better Agency Podcast
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Now displaying: March, 2021
Mar 29, 2021

Every week I get an email or three from an agency owner asking me if I have a contract template or some other legal document that they can just copy and use. My response is always the same. For a few hundred or thousand dollars – do not put your entire agency at risk. It’s dangerous and short-sighted for an agency to use someone else’s agreement as a template. They need to be built for your agency, your clients and your particulars. But when is a DIY approach acceptable? What, exactly, is a “done with you” model? And how can you determine when an actual attorney is necessary? Understanding the when, what and how of various legal tools available is vital to protecting your agency. The good news is that you can spend a little now to avoid paying a lot down the road.

As AMI’s go-to attorney, Sharon Toerek* specializes in working with agencies just like yours and mine. She understands the constraints and challenges of running a small to mid-sized agency and helps clients dodge legal bullets every day.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Sharon and I talk at length about ways agencies need to best prepare their agencies legally. We discuss a wide range of topics, including the need for a legal readiness audit, agency insurance, IP rights, regulatory issues, influencer marketing, freelance contracts, data privacy compliance, the legality of unsigned agreements, if DIY legal agreements are safe, how exactly the “Done with you” model works, and when you need to get an attorney involved.

*Please note, Sharon is here as an educator speaking to her experience and nothing she shares should be interpreted as legal advice.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Legal tools

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The three different agency owner personas and how they approach legal decisions
  • What legal tools are available to you and why they matter.
  • How to audit your legal readiness as an agency
  • The need to review agency insurance
  • A look at IP rights and usage
  • Regulatory issues and data privacy compliance that need to be considered
  • Is there any value to agreements not signed by the clients
  • When DIY legal agreements are acceptable
  • How a “Done with you” model works
  • How to know when you need to get an attorney involved
Mar 22, 2021

It’s lonely at the top. While that’s a cliché, as agency owners we all know it to be very true. On those days when you’d sell your agency for a nickel, who do you have to confide in? On the flip side – when you land the biggest account in your agency’s history, who can you call who will be as excited as you are? Surrounding yourself with people who care about your success as much as you do is critical. No one gets owning an agency more than another agency owner. And no one gets owning a business more than another business owner. How do you surround yourself with people who genuinely understand your world and are in your corner?

Mastermind groups of various forms have been around for a long time. In fact, Agency Management Institute was founded with agency owner peer groups which are, in essence, a mastermind group. There are plenty of organizations that offer formal mastermind groups but you can also form your own. Either way, it’s essential that you have peers who will be your sounding board, tell you the truth when you don’t want to hear it, and will bend over backwards to help you succeed.

In this episode of Build A Better Agency, I want to talk to you about the value of these groups, as well as outlining several ways to ensure its success, including things to look for in a mastermind, understanding the difference between formal and informal groups, meeting structures to implement, the importance of accountability, and creating a safe space for facing crisis.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Masterminds

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The value of a mastermind group
  • Four things to look for in a mastermind
  • Formal vs Informal mastermind groups
  • Models for successful masterminds
  • Ideal size of an informal mastermind group
  • The importance of accountability
  • Deal with crisis in a mastermind
  • How often a mastermind should get together

“What a mastermind does for you as a business owner is it gives you other people who have some shared experiences, some different perspective on those experiences, and also have your best interest.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“The first thing that matters when you’re thinking about a mastermind is to be in a mastermind with people who genuinely care about you as a human being and who care about you in terms of your business success. They are committed to you being…CLICK TO TWEET“I have often said, the best thing about being a business owner is, you’re accountable to no one. The worst part of being a business owner is, you’re accountable to no one.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“There’s great comfort in knowing that you can command everyone’s attention and they are willing to give you that time and attention.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“There are times when you don’t honor the exact agenda of the mastermind but, honestly, having an agenda is probably one of the most critical elements of whether or not this is going to work.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET“The questions they ask me help me see with a clarity that I couldn’t see if I was doing it all by myself.” @DrewMcLellanCLICK TO TWEET

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Mar 15, 2021

At AMI we preach the idea of building your wealth outside your agency, while you still own your agency. Sadly, many owners leave too much in retained earnings inside the agency and over time, they piddle that money away. Every agency owner deserves to profit from the risk they took to start the business and the sweat equity they’ve put into it for years. Agency owners often ask me about how other agency owners are building a nest egg outside of the shop. Most will consider real estate but rarely do they think about passive real estate investments. I want to make sure we change that!

Chris Prefontaine is a returning guest (episode 203) who talked in general terms about real estate investing last time. I asked him back to specifically talk about passive real estate investments. Speaking from personal experience, one of the beautiful things about this option is that you can generate a pretty remarkable return without you as the investor doing any of the leg work!

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Chris and I discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of real estate investments, especially passive partnership options. We talk about ways to vet these estate opportunities, what kind of investor would be ideal for this kind of deal, and the questions to ask when considering an investment.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Passive real estate investments

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The three paydays of an active real estate investment and which two of those apply to passive real estate investments
  • What the payouts look like for passive real estate investors
  • How to vet passive real estate opportunities
  • Who makes a good investor in passive real estate
  • What questions to ask when faced with a passive real estate investment opportunity
  • Does it make sense to invest in multiple properties or a single property?
  • Specific financial requirements for being a passive real estate investor
  • How does this work from a tax perspective?
  • The trends that are happening in real estate investments
Mar 8, 2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic but many agency owners wonder how, exactly, it can benefit their shop. They get how it works but they think that either a) they don’t understand it enough to deliver on it for clients or b) they can’t afford the AI tools out there for agencies. The truth is – now is the time to experiment. Most agencies are at the infancy stages of learning about AI and how to use it to serve clients better. But we have to get up to speed or we will find ourselves left behind. The good news? It’s within your grasp.

It’s with these challenges in mind that I was inspired to reach out to RJ Talyor and have him on the show. RJ’s SaaS company, Pattern89, works with agencies and brands and improves their ad effectiveness and efficiency by measuring over 49,000 characteristics of a digital ad. With that data, they can provide insights on what’s working and what isn’t, as well as the predicted shelf life of any ad. Through their analytics, they’re also able to predict with over 95% accuracy whether or not a piece of creative is going to work.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, RJ and I discuss the many ways AI insights are quickly becoming a necessity for agencies of all sizes. We look at the specific data it can provide, as well as how an agency can begin to experiment while convincing even the most dubious of clients of its importance. We also talk about the way the creative life cycle is changing, how agencies approach AI wrong, and what is coming next in the world of artificial intelligence.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

AI for marketing

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • The specific data AI for marketing can give to an agency
  • Why AI doesn’t undermine creative
  • How small to mid-size agencies are leveraging AI marketing insights
  • Why AI is quickly becoming a need-to-have for agencies of all sizes
  • How the creative life cycle is changing
  • How iOS 14 is changing the way marketing will work
  • Why the speed of change is disruption A/B testing
  • Ways agencies can begin to dip their toes in AI
  • Where agencies get AI wrong
  • What is coming next in the world of AI
Mar 1, 2021

Back in the good old days (pre great recession) agencies used research to make their work smarter and more effective. But it became a luxury we trimmed out as we had to squeeze budgets. As we emerged from the recession, we dismissed research as expensive and didn’t build it into our recommendations as often as we should. But what if we could benefit from the insights research provides without busting the budget?

This week’s guest Matt Seltzer has worked in several agencies in a research capacity. A couple years ago he started a market research firm specifically to partner with ad agencies to create more revenue streams and gather insight for themselves and their clients.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Matt and I talk about the many ways agencies of any size can utilize DIY research to build better pitches and client work. We discuss options for reducing bias, increasing response, and minimizing survey fatigue. We also explore ways to approach clients about investing in research, different ways to utilize the insights, and specific areas where agencies get research wrong.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

DIY research

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Effective DIY research options
  • The benefits of simple surveys
  • Why customer personas are helpful
  • The way to increase survey response
  • Ways to reduce bias in DIY research
  • Why clients appreciate research
  • How to avoid survey fatigue
  • How to approach a client about adding research
  • Different ways to use the research insights
  • Misperceptions that keep us from DIY research
  • Ways agencies get research wrong
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