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Why Agencies Struggle to Scale (and How to Fix It)

Andrew Dymski
Andrew Dymski I'm a Founder at ZenPilot where I help marketing agencies buy back time by developing the processes and systems they need to scale without reinventing the wheel for every client. I'm co-host of the Agency Journey podcast where each week we interview an agency owner, consultant, or author.

Two weeks ago, Gray and I released a podcast about our rebrand from DoInbound to ZenPilot. If you haven’t heard that story yet, you can catch up here

In that episode, we brought you into our decision-making process. It is a big deal to change your focus and your offering.

It was a hard and stressful process. And we know we’re not the first or the last set of business owners to go through that. 

So this week, we wanted to share the second half of the story. We want to share what has us excited about the future!

Over the last five years, Gray and I have had the amazing opportunity to work with over 950 agencies.

Through this experience, we’ve been invited into some delicate and personal conversations.

Conversations reveal that there is no separation between our “personal” and “business” lives.

When you’re building a business, you’re giving yourself to that business. 

You’re nurturing this young plant with your sweat, blood, and tears.

Your future is interwoven into the future success or failure of the business. 

The sad reality is that most agency owners, in both small and established teams, are feeling:

  • Overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions. 
  • Overworked and stuck staying late and working weekends just to stay afloat. 
  • Underpaid because they’re struggling to keep existing clients happy and don’t take the time to develop opportunity flow. 
  • Stressed-out and burnt-out because they’re stuck in the grind. 
  • Under-utilized because they’re stuck doing tasks that are urgent, but not important while their core skillset sits on the shelf. 
  • Stuck-in-a-rut because if they bring on any more client work, things are going to break. 

It is heartbreaking to see hardworking entrepreneurs in these positions!

But this is real life.

If you’re there right now, don’t feel alone. 

Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re a failure. 

Just last week, we were up in Boston at #INBOUND18

In a session at HubSpot’s Partner Day, I had the chance to share our transition story. 

And the coolest thing happened…

Instead of people laughing at us or discounting us for failing, people connected with it. 

We heard from more and more agency owners that they had been in those dark days or still were stuck in those dark days. 

The pain and the struggle are normal. 

Being there isn’t the problem. Staying there is the problem

So, how do you move forward? 

There are two options to move your agency forward:

  1. Bushwhack through the forest to blaze your own trail. 
  2. Work with a guide who has been there before. 

Our heart is for you, the agency entrepreneur. 

We want to see you build a business that you love. 

Please build a business that allows you to live the life you want to live. 

After working with so many agencies, we’ve seen the patterns.

There are principles out there that guide your path forward. 

We’ve seen these principles implemented dozens of times successfully. 

And we’ve seen what happens when they’re ignored. 

And that is why we recommend you follow path #2 🙂 Let us be your guide. 

The Exact Process We Use to Help Agencies Scale

We’ve started and scaled our own agency. We’ve consulted with 950+ agencies. Worked with agency owners around the world and interviewed 150+ on the Agency Journey podcast. Along the way, we’ve invested nearly a million dollars of our own money into building an agency project management tool from the ground up.

We’ve distilled all of those experiences and the lessons we’ve learned along the way into a streamlined system to help you win without reinventing the wheel.

We call this the Agency Freedom Model. 

See The Agency Freedom Model

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