Starting own agency - Strategies

ux
getstarted

#1

Hello everyone.

I started an UX/UI and Web design agency with an associate in the beginning of this year and I need some help with possible strategies to be recognized and start getting jobs.

We don’t have a good portfolio yet and many projects but we already made 4 projects to real clients, some friends, with no budget, only to get some experience but everyday we are working in another projects for our portfolio until we find some job.

So, I have to ask some questions. Just a good portfolio is enough to start getting jobs and proposals? What’s the ideal amount of projects to start getting recognized? Some marketing strategies like email marketing, social media, landing pages and opt in are efficient in the beginning? We are using these strategies of marketing but it seems to not working well.

I was reading another topic about something similar but then I was in doubt if it was a bad choice start an agency with no experience and no cash. Do you think that’s better for us start the career in some consolidated agency and only after that start an own agency?


#2

Hey there,
Welcome. :slight_smile:

Wow, that sounds like a huge undertaking.

I think you’re definitely biting off a lot by starting an agency while breaking into the industry. I guess a lot will depend on the market in your country, but here in NZ people tend to employ the services of an agency specifically because they have lots of relevant experience.

Can you explain your reasoning for wanting to take this approach?


#3

Oh I see.

Well we wanted this approach because here in Brazil the market is growing a lot with great demand and I thought It was a good ideia to sell a complete service like UX and Webdesign together to get more projects. But seems it was a little bit precipitated decision.


#4

Welcome in the business world, to start your own business is a moment to remember it always, there are many difficulties but it’s worth the effort.


#5

Absolutely! I think, however, you need to recognize one thing before you begin.

Understand that the business side of opening your own agency is the most difficult part. Even in Brazil, there are laws to adhere to, accounting, marketing, and networking that need to be done - all of which are difficult in their own right. Without a love and knowledge of running a business, you’re likely to struggle. If you are not passionate about the business side of things, it may be worth looking to bring in someone who is.

To answer some of your more direct questions:

Just a good portfolio is enough to start getting jobs and proposals?

Yes, although the portfolio needs to be of high enough quality to represent that you can, in fact, do high quality work.

What’s the ideal amount of projects to start getting recognized?

Your first 5 paying clients are usually the hardest to get. If you can get past that point, you’re likely to see some success.

Some marketing strategies like email marketing, social media, landing pages and opt in are efficient in the beginning?

Yes, and these strategies will continue to be important is you grow and build your business.

We are using these strategies of marketing but it seems to not working well.

Keep plugging away. If you do good work, your primary method of new clients will likely come from referrals. That’s one of the reason why getting those first five clients is so crucial, and also so difficult. Without a well of referrals to draw from, it’s going to be rough going at first.

One simple way to get referrals is to ask everyone you know if they need any UX work done. Start with your LinkedIn contacts, move on to other business contacts, and work your way down to friends and family.


Most of this advice comes from Andy Ruteledge’s designprofessionalism.com - a resource I highly suggest you read before going any further. Particularly relevant is Chapter 3, which covers striking out on your own, either as a freelancer or starting your own agency. http://designprofessionalism.com/career-path-starting-your-own-agency.php


#6

Thanks. Totally agree.


#7

Thank you very much. It helped a lot. I’ll check this material, seems very interesting.


#8

As previously mentioned, the start is the most difficult. I usually advise new comers to even offer free website design to their local businesses.


#9

Great, epic, awesome offer description is a key to get new customers. If they will be happy they will bring the next ones.
My last project:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/65899337/ArcheAge-Gold-SellersAndFriends


#10

Hello. :slight_smile:
Can you explain what you mean by offer description? I haven’t heard that term before.


#12

Start small and scale afterwards. Unless you are well versed or have partnered with those that can offer value, do not venture into unfamiliar territories. Establish a strong method. Be disciplined to follow it, flexible enough to adapt to change, and ensure you treat each new client as NEW. I see a lot of successful and highly profitable agencies “templatizing” their work. It almost becomes a mode of shoe horning your customer into your work model. It is a delicate balance. You need to make money as well. Show your value.
Regards,
JC


#13

You definitely need a solid portfolio. Identify your target audience. Put yourself in the shoes of potential clients. Who are they? Given your portfolio, who would likely buy from you? Would they pay low or high prices? Do you have reviews or any credibility? Or a unique selling proposition? Why should they choose you over your competitor? Your portfolio needs to communicate this.

After this you need to get yourself out there and in front of your prospective customers. Where would they go to look for UX/UI/web design services? If you think via google, then get on adwords (short term)/SEO (long term), if you think via a directory/forum, then get on the directories/forums etc. Be where they are.

Alternatively, are they actively looking or are they even aware that their website is underperforming? Another strategy could be to reach out direct offering solutions to their problems.

Getting good paying clients is the hardest part of running an agency, good luck!


#14

I mean if you write about your product “It cost 100$ dollars monthly” there is nothing say to customer.
If you say “It cost 100$ dollars monthly and you get this and this and this so it is cheap because you have 3 in 1 only now and only here and you need this” it is better. You need in your text touching peoples emotions. Showing what will your product change in customers life. Showing your product as a straight road to cutomers dreams. One product described in several ways can have totally diferent volume of sale.