We recently wrote about an important decision many brands and businesses face: whether to keep marketing in-house or work with an agency. It's a great post that delves into the various factors that push large companies in one direction of the other. If you're an executive, in-house marketer or part of an agency, it's worth the read.
In discussing our post internally, however, we realized we left out a large chunk of business owners: the ones who go it alone. Often called solopreneurs, one-man or one-woman shows, this group of smart and courageous individuals is actually growing in numbers. According to a study by Intuit, the future of solo operations is bright, as the number of small business owners is projected to hit 42 million by 2026 (up from 30 million in 2016).
Suffice to say, 30+ million people should not go ignored, so for all those solopreneurs out there, we came up with the 3 ways working with a marketing agency is better than going it alone.
It Solves the "Time is Money" Problem
One thing we hear often from solo business owners is that they're incredibly busy. When you're responsible for every aspect of an operation, it makes sense that there aren't enough hours in a day to get everything done. As a result, time management is a critical skill for solopreneurs to master because there comes a point when you can't possibly do any more on your own. The key is keeping your sanity before you move past this point!
Enter marketing, which every business does, in way way or another. Solopreneurs, whether they know it or not, have a natural ability for marketing. Some understand the importance of SEO and content marketing intuitively, while others have a knack for tapping into their personal sphere of contacts to drum up business. But you don't start a business of any size without the understanding that marketing is important.
What solopreneurs don't usually have is time to execute and deliver the marketing campaigns their business deserves. Because at the end of the day, time is money, and while you spend hours and hours on marketing, you're losing time during which you could be delivering products or services.
Working with an agency solves the common solopreneur "time is money" problem. An agency handles the marketing side of your business, and you spend your time how you always intended: delivering your products or services.
It Keeps You Out of the Sell-Do Loop
For many solopreneurs, the sell-do loop is an everyday reality, and once again related to time. Most one-person shows don't engage in traditional digital marketing, because there isn't time to write blogs, join social discussions or send emails. They have a small group of customers or clients that they serve on a daily basis, which are the bread and butter of the business. Then solopreneurs have a batch of potential customers or clients who they are eternally discussing – but not actually doing – business with. This is the sell-do loop: you sell, you do, and then you repeat. There is never growth or movement, because how can there be? There is only one you.
Of course, there is a whole host of ways you can get out of the sell-do loop. But many of them are complicated. Getting a business partner or hiring employees ends the sell-do loop, but it brings with it a series of other issues. Farming out some freelance work might alleviate the pressure of the sell-do loop for a moment, but it's a bandaid, not a solution.
Working with a marketing agency is an obvious solution for solopreneurs who want to climb out of the sell-do loop forever. Once an inbound markering campaign is in place, the leads will come to you, ready and willing to pay for your products and services. No time spent selling, and no time spent marketing. It's a win-win for the solopreneur.
It Provides Knowledge, Which is Power
When it comes down to it, working with an agency is better than going it alone – even if you're a solopreneur – because there is so much to learn about the digital world. We say it all the time, but it's tough to keep up with digital marketing trends, even for marketers and agencies. And we live this stuff, every single day!
When you work with an agency, not only do you solve the "time is money" problem and escape the sell-do loop, you also gain access to the knowledge of people and resources who can take you – and your business – to the next level. Gaining knowledge is power, and it's also so much better struggling by yourself.
This post has largely been about why solopreneurs can benefit from working with a marketing agency. But here's a bonus thought for agencies and marketers: maybe you too can gain from working with small businesses, or even solopreneurs.
Traditionally, marketing agencies often shy away from working with smaller businesses and solopreneurs. On the surface, this is understandable.
Yet, given the sheer amount of small businesses – and the fact that the percentage of them in the marketplace is increasing – it stands to reason many of these operations will grow into not-so-small companies. What if your agency helps a solopreneur kickstart his or her small business into something much larger?
As the saying goes, it's easier to retain a client than it is to find a new one. Perhaps it's easier to turn a small client into a big client than it is to find a big client – especially if you're part of the reason they get bigger, faster.
Either way, it seems the two groups – marketing agencies and solopreneurs – can and should work together after all. If you're a solopreneur who is looking for some marketing help, we'd love to discuss your marketing situation with you!