4 Things I Learned As An Agency Owner in 2021

by | Dec 27, 2021 | podcast

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For the last episode of the year, I wanted to break down the top 4 things I learned as an agency owner and how they have impacted my life and the business.

To learn more about our agency visit: www.socialistics.com









Hello, and welcome to another episode of Socialistics, social media agency stories. I am Jason Yormark, host of this very podcast and CEO of Socialistics. 

And this week I’m going back to just me. We’ve been interviewing folks left and right, and this is our last episode of season two year, 2021. So I thought, why not end with kind of a recap of the year and cover what I gleaned as the four things that I learned over the course of the year. And I thought that’d be a great way to end season two and just kind of share insights around what agency life has been the like this year, cause it’s been a crazy year and super excited. So I’ve got my new fancy microphone, decided to upgrade to [01:13 inaudible] Microphone. I figured if I’m going to continue to do this, I might as well get something a little bit more fancy. I don’t know if it makes me sound any better. I’ve always felt like I have a very nasally voice. So hopefully that helps. We’ll see. 


But let’s just dive right in. I’m not going to waste your time. I want to talk about, I did think about this. These aren’t just like manufactured things. I really thought about what happened over the course of this past year and what were my biggest takeaways. At first, I wanted to do like top five, right? Five seemed like a round number, but when I sat down and I wrote them down and I thought about it, it was four things. So it’s the four things that I took away more than anything this year. And let’s start with number one. 


No, the power of the word No. This year I got really comfortable with getting right with who we are and who’s a good fit for us. And that can be tough. You know, if you’re just starting an agency, you kind of have to say yes to everything. But if you’re fortunate and you work hard and you build something, you’re going to get to a place where you can start to say no. And I certainly did that, you know I definitely worked towards getting better at that over time and it really just comes down to learning the hard way, you know, for me, it’s, you know, I started to say no, you know, a while ago. But more so for the opportunities that were pretty obviously a no. You know, once you start doing that, once you’re in a position to be able to start doing that, then you know, when they’re obvious, that’s not, you know, you say, no, that’s not really where the growth happened this year.


For me, it was the ones that I was like on the fence about, I’m not sure. And on the fence could be, I’m 50% that these guys would be good or so 60 or 70, or, you know, you’re just not, you’re not a hundred or 99%, you know, you’re not really over the top about it. And in that case, I’d still say yes. I’m like, well, and I don’t know, let’s give it a shot, you know, maybe it’ll work out. Maybe it won’t. 


And most of the time it won’t. And that’s what I think I learned this year. You know what? If I’m not a hundred percent on these sales calls with potential clients, that’s a no, and I’ve just gotten comfortable with that and it’s not easy to do. But it’s so, the minute to I started doing that and really taking it to that level is when our business really started to take off in a variety of different ways.


Number one, it does a couple things, one, your team’s going to love you because you’re looking out for them Number one. Number two, your sales process, the calls that you’re on the time that you’re spending is so much more efficient. It is so much more invigorating when the majority of the conversations that you’re having with potential prospects are all strong and likely you know, we’ve done a really good job at vetting out things before we even get on calls. Like we’ve updated our contact us page. If you haven’t checked it out, if you own an agency or you’re thinking about it,  I stole it. I’m not going to pretend that that I, you know, figured it out on my own, but it’s really been great, you know, the leads that we get are typically good, right out of the gate. So that helps. 


But you know, it just seemed like  ever since I get more comfortable with saying no and being more aggressive about it, I’m enjoying the sales process More, the people that I’m talking to are good fits. It’s pretty rare for me to get on a conversation with somebody and not be the case. And it’s just invigorating to be able to be selective about who you work with. And there’s nothing but good things can come from that. So that’s been a big takeaway for me and if you own an agency or whatever, any type of service based business, you know, getting comfortable with that is a powerful thing. And I highly encourage you to get to that place, cause it’ll really make your life an easier in a variety of ways. So that was number one, power of no. 


Number two, getting comfortable with making big moves. And what I mean by that is traditionally with my business I’ve been really careful. I never wanted to go back to the old way, the old way of sitting in a commute and being chained to a desk and being in countless pointless meetings and bad managers, I just, oh man, I never wanted to go back to that. So it started with just being very protective about the business, you know, saving money, not making really any big moves and to a fault, you know, at first it was protecting me and then it was protecting my team. You know, I never I’ve told my team time to time again, and I never want to get into a position where I ever have to backtrack and take money away from people or let people go when they’re doing their job and they’re good at it. I never want to be in that position. 


So I’ve been very careful, you know, as the business has grown, just being really protective, making sure that there’s a nest egg there and if we can absorb some difficult times. And so I, to a fault for me that that has been the case. So our, our growth has been relatively slow, you know, methodical and slow and calculated and really afraid to kind of do anything big to kind of, you know, take things to the next level. And eventually got to a point where I realized like, look either you’re going to be okay with this pace, or you’ve got to, you got to make a big move. You know, you’ve got to take some, you got to take some risks and not little ones, but you know, you got to make a big move here and there, if you really want to grow as a bit and so on and grow your business. So it wasn’t until the later part of this year that I started to get comfortable with that, the idea of that and what that would look like. 


And that can look like a lot of different things for people, you know, for us it was a couple things, one you know, we’ve redone our website like every year and some might argue that that’s not necessary, but for us it really is. It’s our calling card. It’s what everybody sees. It’s a really critical component to what we do. And we just outgrow our website like once a year. And previously I, you know, I haven’t really, I’ve tried to not spend that much on it in the past and you know, you get what you pay for just like anything in life. And this time I just decided, you know what, I’m going to go with an agency that I’m going to, I’m going to pay 3, 4, 5 times what I’ve done previously. I’m going to up level who we’re going to work with and that’s going to get us what we really need. And so that was, you know, a little bit of an uncomfortable investment to make, and we’re in the middle of that process, but I can’t, it’s been going incredible. Just the experience that we’re having in terms of how we’re being treated, the quality of the work that’s coming out of the gate has really been super impressive. We’re working with they’re called the SHER agency, SHER agency. If you’re looking for web work, they’ve been fantastic so far, so call out for them. So that was a big move. 

Another one was the other big one. This is even more significant is hiring a salesperson and that’s been a lot of work and that’s a big move for us cause, it’s been me pretty much. And, you know, trusting that responsibility to somebody else and pulling myself out of that is that’s a big move. Not only is it a big move from a trust standpoint, it’s a big move financially. You know, again, you get what you pay for, you know, having to invest in somebody and take that leap is a big one. And it, it, it has the potential to revolutionize our business because look, I’m great on pitches, but I’m not a traditional salesperson. You know, all of our business has been predominantly inbound at this point. I need somebody to come in and, you know, anecdotally like knock on doors, you know, not literally, but you know, go out and find us the type of clients that we want to work with in addition to, you know, managing our inbound ones. So that’s a big move. So, you know, you got to take some risk, you got to take some big moves if you want to, if you want to grow as a business. And we’ve reached that point. So taking big moves was another learning for me is, is something that you kind of have to work into the mix. 

The third is energy is everything. So I am, I’ve traditionally been an introvert relatively low energy in my social life. You know, by the time I’m done during the day, I’m like, I’m checked. Like I just don’t have a whole lot left and look, I’m old, I’m getting older. Like I just, I don’t have the same levels of energy later in the day that I used to. And the one thing that I’ve learned on pitches is, you know, you try to craft a pitch, you know, from how it looks to what you’re delivering the, the process. And the thing, the takeaway for me on pitches is, and this goes back to kind of that whole power of no, like making sure you’re on pitches and calls with individuals and companies that you really want to work with because it makes this part a lot easier is just bringing high energy to your calls. I mean, these are all zoom calls and this is the world we live in now. So I’m not really pitching in person anymore. So we’re getting on these introductory calls and these pitch calls and you’re on stage and everything speaks. That’s one of my things that I’ve always, you know, lived by everything speaks in, in terms of how you look, what it looks like behind you and the energy that you bring to the conversation, because passion is everything. I keep telling and potential clients. If you really want to know the difference between the velocity of your success with an agency, it really comes down to three core things. One, size of your ad budget, cause organic reach is nonexistent. So your budget’s going to affect that tremendously. Two, experience, you know, do they have experience in what they do or who they do it for? 


And then the third, which to me is the most important is passion. How passionate is that person, that team, that agency and working with you and not only how passionate are they out of the gate, but do they maintain that level of passion throughout the relationship? When I come to introductory calls and pitch calls with high energy and passion and an excitement it’s infectious and I win those 99% of the time. Now I’m not faking  it. I just refuse to fake it. Like there’s no reason to do that. If I’m not authentically feeling that way about that opportunity, it won’t even get to that point. 


So it’s relatively easy for me to be that, but it still takes work. I mean, you have to kind of, you got to bring high energy and when you do that, it is so effective. I can’t even tell, it seems like an obvious thing. And you know, it seems like, oh that, okay, I’ll start doing that. And I mean, obviously there are other things that fact you have to be competent. You have to have a good looking pitch deck. All those things are given, but that high energy is the difference maker. I win so many opportunities when I bring that type of approach to the conversations that I have. And it works it’s by far the number one difference maker in winning business says not. And I know that and if I can’t be that, then reschedule the call or don’t do it. You know, there’s no point if you can’t be that, but you got to be prepared to bring that energy. So drink your red bulls or get a good night’s sleep or whatever the case may be. Cause when you do that, you’re going to be very successful at landing new business. 


Number four, last one. Freedom changes everything. When I started socialistics, I just wanted to be free. I just wanted to live life on my own terms. I Didn’t want my schedule to be dictated by others. I just sitting in a car for two hours to work two hours back. It just, all those things. Look, I’m very fortunate. I know that there’s a lot of people that don’t have that luxury. And I recognize that. But to those that can or have the opportunity to carve that out for themselves is just, it’s just the most amazing feeling in the world to, to wake up every day and know you can do whatever you want and I’m going to take, I’m going to take the rest of the day off today or I’m going to I’m not going to work today or I’m going to take a couple days off or I’m going to work from five in the morning to 2:00 PM today, whatever the case may be just to live life on your own terms. I’m going to go hang out with my kids today. I’m going to go to their little league game. I’m going to work from Cabo for two weeks. I’m going to go fly down and be there and work from there. Like it’s just, it’s incredible to have that. And it just changes your life. Stress, it lowers stress. It lowers anxiety. 


If you play your cards right, and you build a successful business that stability that a lot of people typically associate with traditional nine to five jobs is actually it actually exists in that world cause you kind of control your own fate, you know? And that’s, that was a big learning for me initially. And just this year was the year that the business really took off. And I really started to think about how fortunate I am to feel that that, that freedom in my life in terms of just being able to, to do what I want, when I want.


And there’s nothing more powerful than that. And to be able to not only have that, but to give that to others, to my team, to give them an opportunity to live their life. That way that’s the most probably rewarding thing that I get out of, of running this business and doing what I do. And I love it. And I’m never looking back. It’s been a tremendous thing to be able to have that and to give that to others. 


So those are the four things. Those are the four things that I learned this year, more than anything that have been a big difference in my life. And all of those things. I think all of these things are in the book. I here, I wrote a book it’s done, it is called anti agency, a realistic path to a million dollar business. I have a publisher, it looks like a real book. It’s a real book and I’m excited. It’s going to be out in February and I will certainly have that available on our website. And we’ll talk about that more in future episodes, but it’s a book that’s just really it’s a love letter to what I did and I it’s really just meant to help others carve out their own path that anybody can do it. I started with nothing and I made it happen and I want others to know how I did that so that maybe they can inspire them to take that same leap or, you know, get some takeaways on how they may be able to capitalize on some of those things to, to do their own things. So it’s coming soon. I’m looking forward to it, but 2021 has been an incredibly year for the business.  I can’t be more thrilled and excited about the future, what the future holds for us, new website, new book, hopefully next year we get back to some sort of normalcy in the world. 

We got a trade show that we’re actually potentially going to in April. So we’ll see how that goes. So good things. As far as the podcast, we’ll see, we’ll continue to try to find interesting guests and, you know, sprinkle in a couple of these sorts of episodes with myself and the team and really appreciate those of you that have continued to listen and find some value in this. Really appreciate your support and thank you for listening. We’ll take a little bit of a break and then pick things back up in early 20, 22. But thanks for listening, you know the drill. Like share, subscribe, tell your friends, all that good stuff. 

Thank you for listening to the socialist podcast and we’ll catch you in the next episode.






Jason Yormark
Jason Yormark

Jason is a 20+ year marketing veteran including time spent at Microsoft overseeing social media for Microsoft Advertising & Office for Mac. Once named to Forbes Power Social Media Influencers List, Jason is the owner and founder of Socialistics.