Celebrating 6 Years at Method Agency!

Today is our 6 Year anniversary!

Do you know what that means? We beat the statistic that says half of all businesses will fail within 5 years. According to Small Biz Trends, our favorite website (no it’s not):

Of the Small businesses that started in 2014, only 56% made it to the 5th year.

(We started in 2013, so Maybe that’s why we’ve had such good luck? We have so many jokes for a business blog!)

We can’t believe it’s been 6 years since we started Method Agency. It was a dream of ours for years prior to launching our company, and we’ll be forever grateful to our first client Fickle Fish Films for kicking our butts into gear and asking us to run their marketing.

As I sat down to reflect on this momentous day, I realized I could come up with 6 pieces of advice based on our experience the last 6 years:

1. Work with people you like
2. Hire a really good accountant
3. Have a backup plan
4. It’s okay to say no
5. Be protective of your time
6. Know Your Worth

If you want to know more about those six tenants of Method Agency that I just made up 30 seconds ago, read on:

1. Work with people you like

The best relationships we have with our clients are with those that we just really like. We may not hang out outside of the work day, or really have much in common, but we could totally grab a coffee/tea/whiskey with them and enjoy spending time together once in awhile. Those clients make the BEST clients!

But we spend more time together as a team than we do with our clients, so it’s important that you like your business partner too (Ps: I like mine). And when you start to grow, bring on people who fit the culture you are creating or want to create. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have diversity in your team, but a team that flows well together is going to do great work!

2. Hire a really good accountant

From the beginning, make sure you’re not using “That guy my dad told me about who works part time from his home office” to do your books. Businesses are complicated- especially when you’re bi-coastal- and you need someone who understands taxes, can help you make a plan, stock money away for tax time and advise you as your business grows. Trust us, we had some big tax bills due when we finally learned this lesson, and we hear this from other entrepreneur friends all the time. Pay for a good accountant. It’s worth it.

3. Have a backup plan

I suspect that so many businesses fail within the first 5 years because the owners are all-in financially from the start. People advised us, and we would advise others, to start a service-based business liked ours as a side hustle. Build it up slowly while you still have reliable income. When you do that, you can work on projects that seem fun but may not pay your full rate just for the experience. You don’t have to worry so much about the day to day cash flow if you know you have another source of income. If you’re lucky enough to have a “day job” (or night job) that allows you flexibility, you can balance your workload so that you can grow your side hustle into a full-fledged business at your own timing and where you feel more financially secure.

While we’re both full time with Method Agency, both Nikki and I do still have outside income. Maybe we always will. We have private clients we had long before Method began that we’ve continued to both work on ourselves. While it’s not the majority of our income, it does allow us the flexibility to pay ourselves less when necessary and the budget/cash flow requires it.

4. It’s okay to say no

Do you trust your gut? Can you tell if a relationship is going to work out within your first introductory call with a potential client? We can…. sometimes. We’ve gotten better at it, and sometimes it’s really obvious that a project is going to be a tough one. We’ve taken on jobs we probably should not have, and we’ve learned lessons including the big one of just trusting our gut(s). If something seems too good to be true- it probably is. If it seems like a complex client with expectations you think are outta wack, it’s okay to walk away.

This is really difficult to do, especially if the money for the project is significant, but from our experience, every time we haven’t listened to our gut, the job wasn’t worth it. The time and headaches did not make the larger checks easier to cash.

5. Be protective of your time

Because you work for yourself (and possibly work from home, like our team does), people in your life often think you have more time than if you worked a normal 9-5. The reality is, you probably do have more flex time. You can get a coffee in the middle of the day, run an errand, do your laundry and be home to meet a contractor. But work still needs to get done, whether it’s done during traditional working hours or on the nights and weekends.

Because I came from an office setting not too long ago, my mindset has been around working mostly during 9-5 hours. And I still like that mindset because my partner has traditional hours and I want to present for dinner, and spend our evenings and weekends together. But I also have learned to be okay with the occasional late night working or Saturday morning coffee shop ‘blow through a client strategy’ working hours so that I can meet my grandma for lunch on a random Wednesday in October.

But make sure you are in control of your time. Just because you CAN meet for coffee doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you CAN take a 4 day weekend every weekend of the summer if you want, doesn’t mean you don’t have to find time to make up that work somehow. Just know how you want to set up your life, your work structure and your work time. And then communicate it to your team members, partner and clients!

6. Know Your Worth.

There are people who do what we do at Method Agency and charge less. There are people who do what we do and charge way more. Figure out what you’re worth based on market averages, the time you are committing to a project, the amount you need to make to pay yourself and run your business, and ask for that amount. Our fees are in line with our experience of 15+ years of marketing (yikes!).

Most people won’t run away immediately and tell you you’re crazy (most!) after seeing your proposal. Some may ask for a lower rate and try to negotiate. If you have some wiggle room to drop the price or adjust the deliverables and think the client values you and your time, work with them! But know it’s okay to walk away if the job doesn’t financially make sense. It’s pretty impossible to do early on, but remember your time is worth something. Time away from building your business is costing you in the long-run.

We could continue- we’ve learned so much! We can tell you what software not to bother with, how we structure our day to day work and client communication. We can talk about paying freelancers and what to put in a contract. But it’s our 6 year anniversary and I don’t feel like writing anymore!

I’m going to pop the bubbly to celebrate and… well, never mind. It’s 1 pm on a Tuesday and I have about 12 hours of work I have to fit in the next 5. Did we mention the #smallbiz life is super glamorous?

It’s not, most of the time. But 6 years in, I can tell you it’s so, so worth it!

Happy 6 Year Anniversary Method Agency!


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