Ok here’s the deal. I started a digital agency 6 years ago with a chap I worked with at an IT company. 7 months ago, I sold my shares to him because I felt we weren’t delivering the quality of work / working with clients that I aligned with – I didn’t get a restraint of trade because digital is my craft. We had a team of 7 and built it to the point where we had solid cash flow and a core group of clients, but it just wasn’t my jam.
I’m passionate about digital commerce + cutting edge stuff, he liked small businesses – so there was a huge disconnect in where we were passionate / where we could build value.
Over the past 6 months I have built another agency that focuses on 80% digital commerce – its going swimmingly to be honest. Turnover of 35k a month on average with this looking to increase from here. The profits margins are insanely high because a lot of the work is done by me. I specialise in the digital side of things – PPC, SEO and high level strategy – mainly digital performance based stuff.
I am technical enough to manage dev ops and can use XD to the point where I can mock up wireframes and hand then over to UI guys to make them look pretty.
I have a team of devs I use (that i have used for 3-4 years) and they are “ok”, a lot of managing and a lot of bug testing – the end product always turns out good though because they do what you ask, but just dont have the X factor when it comes to development (most outsourced dev outfits are like this IMO).
I have a few contract UI guys and although the work they do is good, its still missing that 20% that takes an ok design to an amazing design. This is generally due to the disconnect between the designers and devs. Some of the best projects I have worked on is when they communicate directly and can have open and honest convos about what animation, where, how it should behave in screen X vs screen Y – all of those final touches that make a web presence amazing.
My plan is to run my current setup like it is now to the end of the year and make a decent buck at the end of the year. In the new year – I want to take it and scale it. I strongly believe that by the end of 2021 we could easily hit the 2m mark (have done it before but with a completely different set of clientele), with a set of large retail / ecommerce brands as our core clientele….. These higher end clients always appeal to me because:
A) Larger paid budgets so the retainers are generally a lot juicer + it allows search guys to actually drill down and fine tune their craft – not work on 100+ smaller accounts that are, well, shit and boring.
B) More technical requirements for web – more complex website = more hours = bigger projects. Once again, more room for devs and designers to properly get their teeth sunk in to projects to produce industry leading platforms. Not a lot you really do for a client that has a 5k budget apart from banging up something that “works”, but is by no means “wow”
C) Way more recognition and the potential to start hitting exponential growth once you have landed a few whales are huge (there is an agency where I live that have done just this and now look after some MASSIVE brands world wide)
To do the above, I really need people who are some of the best / motivated in their field. I have worked with lots of devs who are ‘ok’, lots of designers who are ‘ok’, but the majority of contractors that you pay $ 30-$ 40 an hour to are there for the pay check and I have found aren’t able to properly take full responsibility for an outcome (I realise this could just be a bias).
Now, this isn’t a “a want the whales to come to me” post. I actually work on some worldwide brands that pay very hefty retainers. This is on the search and organic side, and I am gearing up to roll out a new web solution to them. But, before I do that, I want the right people on board.
After many hours thinking, weighing up options and and generally banging my head trying to get out of this paradox, I have finally realised that the only option to create beautiful things, is to dilute my share holding and find people who have the potential to be the best in their field – and give them a piece of the pie.
For instance, development is a whole other world and so much time is burned going back and forth between my dev team….
So I need a CTO / Technical lead that can:
A) Do the dev work at the start B) Come up with a workflow and choose scaleable frameworks that fit with what we want to do C) Help find other devs, induct them in to the fold of the way OUR dev ops works.
I will also need a creative director that can:
A) Do the UX/UI work at the start B) Come up with a design framework C) Find other designers who fit well with the way we flow.
I’m writing this because I literally do not know where to start with finding these guys. I believe it’ll take some time to find those that have the technical acumen but are also willing to grow this to something amazing AND can communicate within a team (once again, yet to find a dev that can communicate properly – once again, could be a bias and I could just be working with the wrong types of devs).
Reddit, any thoughts on how I can do this….