In 2025, the market size of the digital marketing and creative agencies market will be £16.2 billion, and the market value of the creative content market will be £19.4 billion.
This trend will continue, with customers increasingly preferring to purchase products and services digitally and from brands they know and trust.
While the methods of marketing have changed, the need for talented marketeers has not decreased. In fact, the demand for creative agency professionals has increased, as organizations seek to harness the power of creative content, data-driven marketing and digital platforms to engage and convert consumers.
For those seeking to make a career change in marketing, how can they make the most of their creative skills and experience whilst also being entrepreneurial?
The answer lies in starting their own agency – a professional service firm that provides end-to-end services to brands and businesses seeking to build a connected audience, grow their online presence and capture leads.
Starting up a creative agency is a complex and busy process, and not one that can be done lightly. With careful thought and preparation, however, aspiring entrepreneurs can hit the ground running and profit from the demand for innovative ideas and solutions.
Why Own Your Own Agency?
Agency ownership allows you to operate with a high level of autonomy and flexibility, setting your own hours, making decisions and taking action without relying on others. It also provides you with more opportunity to grow and succeed.
The benefits of agency ownership extend from the boardroom to the shop floor. In the boardroom, you will have the freedom to decide which services to offer, whom to work with and what prices to charge. This level of strategic thinking and financial planning is no easy feat, and a feat that is often times restricted solely to large organizations.
On the shop floor, you will able to utilize your creative skills to the full, using your own branding, marketing materials and even processes to drive business, generate leads and achieve success.
Working for an agency also provides you with the security of knowing you have a stable future and growth opportunities – both now and in the long term.
How Do I Start My Own Agency?
If you are seeking to start your own agency, it is crucial to first consider the details, such as the legal side, compensation and how to finance the business.
On the technical side, you will need to consider what software you will need, the location of your physical office and the equipment required to maintain a team.
It is also important to research and understand the industry and the competition – both existing and potential. Data regarding consumer behavior, customer requirements and the strategies of your competitors will allow you to create a clear plan of action.
Get The Legal Side Of Things In Order
One of the first things you will need to do is to secure the legal side of things – your business plan, incorporation paperwork and the like. Depending on the complexity of your proposed agency, you may also need to look into buying or leasing a suitable office space and registering with the Registrar of Companies.
The UK government provides a comprehensive guide to the legal requirements for setting up and running a business under British law. If you are seeking to establish a creative agency in the UK, you can download a PDF copy of the guide here.
Set A Budget And Don’t Forget The Basics
It is crucial to consider how much you can afford to spend on advertising and marketing, as these are essential for growing your business. In setting your budget, it is important to consider how effective your budgeting is. Setting a budget without considering how much you need just to maintain your existing client base can result in you buying advertisements that don’t generate leads, or not buying advertisements at all. Set too much of a budget, and you may find that you can no longer afford to pay your rent or mortgage and have to close down your office.
The basics, such as the rent for your office, should not be forgotten about – the more you pay yourself, the less you have to spend on other costs, such as marketing and advertising. It is often said that you cannot buy self- belief, but you can certainly buy enough belief in your advertising agency to get started.
Get Financial Support
You should seek to establish your agency during a time when the economy is favorable. Banks and venture capitalists are likely to be more willing to provide financial support during times of economic growth, as there is typically more demand for new businesses at such times. If you are seeking venture capital, you should apply for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or raise capital through a Private Investment Scheme (PIS).
Make Sure You Are Ready To Operate
To avoid wasting time, you should consider going through a proper agency, brand and marketing training program – both online and in-person. During this training program, you will learn the fundamentals of marketing and branding, as well as gain experience in utilizing various digital platforms and tools.
Additionally, you should look to establish yourself in the industry. Being the owner of a creative agency is a great opportunity to get involved in various industry events and conferences – not only will this allow you to network and establish contacts within the industry, but it will also give you the opportunity to learn from experts in the field. Whether you are seeking to gain experience by shadowing professional marketers, business analysts or technology specialists, opportunities abound.
Make Sure Your Team Is Ready
You should seek to establish a small team of employees, with just a few account managers and creatives to get the business off the ground. The fewer the initial employees, the fewer the legal, financial and regulatory issues you will face. As you grow your agency, you can look to recruit more senior staff, as well as consultants or partners – those with specialist skills that you lack.
You should also make sure that your team is operationally prepared. Establishing and running a business is a time-consuming process, and there are a lot of details to consider. For instance, will you be setting up a procurement process, or using an agency procurement department? What will your staff benefits and compensation look like? How will you deal with staff training and development?
As a small agency, you won’t have the bandwidth to deal with these issues – that’s where external agencies come in. An operational plan detailing the daily tasks, responsibilities and accountabilities of your staff will be invaluable – as will a well-written job description.
Use The Right Website
A well-designed website is an essential part of any business. When designing your website, you should consider the type of content that will be placed on it, the voice you want to convey and the target audience. The right website can dramatically increase your chances of securing a sale – and, ultimately, making money from your business.
If you’re seeking to establish an online marketing agency, it’s essential that your website is properly thought through and that there is no obvious hitch. Before launching your site, try out a few different browsers and operating systems to ensure that everything looks and feels the same.
Get Inspired By The Work Of Others
One of the best features of the internet is the ability to get inspiration from the work of others. If you are seeking to establish yourself as an accomplished marketer, consider looking to the work of others to get inspired. Reviewing the work of others will undoubtedly increase your knowledge and skill set – as well as that of your team. You don’t need to steal ideas from others to be able to utilize their work product, however.
For example, you might identify a piece of marketing text that you feel has amazing potential and decide to write your own version of the text, adapting it to your product and audience. Writing a compelling piece of marketing text is difficult – but taking inspiration from others makes it much easier. You can also use online tools and platforms to aid you in the process, using tools like CoSchedule to plan out your content calendar, or Hootsuite to disseminate content to your target audience.
Establishing a creative agency is a great opportunity to make money online, but it requires a lot of preparation and attention to detail. With careful thought and execution, however, aspiring entrepreneurs can hit the ground running and profit from the demand for innovative ideas and solutions.