In the early days of starting his customer software shop, Quipro, John Parker suffered from what he calls the “freelance syndrome.” He thought that having an agency was as simple as getting a bunch of freelancers to work together. But John soon found that he had completely overlooked the management side of the equation, as managing his team and handling the back and forth with clients was taking 80 percent of his time.

Through trial and error, John learned from his early mistakes and grew the agency, but recently he took that growth to another level. Since he started listening to the Agency Advantage Podcast and applying the lessons from the show, his growth has gone through the roof. This year John has already beaten his previous annual revenue goals, and it’s only May.

What is the 'freelance syndrome' and how it affects your agency (PODCAST) Click To Tweet

John isn’t here to brag, though. Instead, he shares the most important lessons he’s learned and the challenges he faced trying to act on the advice. If you struggled to act on advice to improve your agency, or even find the time to, then this is the episode for you.

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Key Takeaways

Finding the time to work on the business [14:15 – 19:45]

When most of your time is spent on the seemingly never-ending back and forth with clients, managing your team, and putting out whatever fires come up, how can you possibly find the time to make any changes to your business?

That’s exactly what John felt, and he knew it needed to change if he wanted to reach his goals for Quipro. Bridging the gap between client and developers helped free John up, but there was still that costly back and forth for every project. To fix this, John spent time creating a checklist that clients get upfront to ensure his team have what they need to get the project done on time.

The main benefit of having this process in place is that it minimizes the back and forth that can eat up hours every week, but it also serves to set expectations at the start. By making it clear what is needed for a project to stay on schedule, the client now knows they have a responsibility to produce whatever is needed if they want to meet the deadline.

Doubling and quadrupling down on sales [19:45 – 29:45]

John estimates that originally he was spending less than 20% of his time on sales, with the rest of his time being eaten up in management and administration. When John brought on the project managers and started instituting processes to streamline projects, he cut down the time he spent on those tasks to almost nothing.

With this free time, he was able to focus on the area where he could add the most value: finding and closing more deals.

Project management tasks need to get done, but they simply don’t have a real impact on the growth of an agency. When you can shift your time away from these lower value tasks and instead double down (or quadruple, in John’s case) on your high-value efforts (like sales), the results will be tremendous. It’s this compounding effect that has allowed John to blow past his revenue targets before the year was even halfway over.

The process to free up time [33:30 – 50:30]

Every agency owner has a long list of things they know they should be doing to improve their business, but just don’t have the time to do. You know your agency needs to change if you want to achieve your goals, but there are only so many hours in the day, so where do you even begin?

John didn’t find this free time overnight. It was a long process of slowly picking away at the things that sucked up his valuable time. While it may not seem like much, start by setting aside just an hour a week to work on your business and set up the processes to save time in the long run. If you focus on solving the biggest time wasters, pretty soon you’ll find that instead of one hour a week to work on the business, you have four, and then 10, and so on.

While it can seem like the goal is so far away that you’ll never get there, it’s important to use stories like John’s as motivation to take that first step. If you are happy with where your agency is today, it isn’t going to get better if you do the same thing tomorrow. Figure out where you’re wasting time every day and set a goal of getting some of those hours back. Then repeat the process.

It’s going to be hard work, but if you stick with it, you’ll get there.

Want to learn more?

John didn’t come on the podcast to promote anything, instead, he just wanted to share his story to help motivate listeners and show them that with consistent effort you can build the agency you want. I’ll keep everybody updated with how things are going with John and Quipro, so be sure to follow along.

If you have any software development needs, be sure to check out Quipro, and if you want to see what John is up to, follow him on Twitter.

Resources Mentioned

Ben Lee
Bram Warshafsky
Brennan Dunn
The Ultimate System For Automatically Qualifying, Scheduling, and Preparing New Project Leads
Your Life in Weeks Chart

Thanks for listening!

How is your own growth story developing? Have you acted on any of the advice from the show? I love hearing from listeners, so please share your story in the comments and tell me what has worked well and what hasn’t.