In this episode of Agency Journey, Ryan Malone from Smart Bug Media talks about building a remote marketing agency the right way.
If you're interested in hearing his story of building Smart Bug, check out our previous interview with Ryan.
Here are the main takeaways from the interview:
Figure Out Your Ideal Agency Structure
Many agency owners will go into building a remote agency for the costs benefits. It's easier to hire contractors and get lower rates for the same skills sets. You don't have the overhead of an office, etc.
However, Ryan talks about how this isn't the wisest approach.
Remote teams are hard, especially when you're trying to build a real business that's seven figures and above. You need to be building your remote team for the right reasons.
If you want to hit a certain level, it's not about the cost savings or loose contractor network. You need to be heavily considering the culture you're building too and the benefits.
To build a culture and remote agency, you need to understand these two concepts when hiring. Get an idea of your ideal employee. Figure out what matters to them and who will fit into how you want to structure your business.
For Smart Bug, they are looking for employees who value their family life and the flexibility of a remote job. By knowing this fit as well as skill sets the agency needs, Smart Bug doesn't have to rely on a freelancer team. Instead, they have a strong culture and team that serves as the foundation for a large and profitable agency
How to Hire a Remote Team
Once you've identified your ideal employee, you need to find a way of filling your hiring pipeline with these individuals. To do this, you should always to be actively prospecting candidates. You never know when you will find a rockstar and when you will need them for your business.
Promote your business online with openings, ask for referrals, post on job boards, and more.
Be transparent about what you're looking for and who you want to hire.
Once you have a pipeline, use a hiring manager and ask for recommendations to filter out prospects, so you're not wasting any of your teams time with poor fits. The focus of the hiring is skill set, experience, and background. You also want to make sure that you're interviewing people who just don't want a job, but people who are interested in working with your business.
Someone passionate about the company will stay there a long time and add more to the culture rather than just someone looking for the next gig.
How to Build a Remote Culture
Building a remote culture can be difficult. The lack of in-person connection can make it difficult to make everyone feel connected to each other and the company.
To help with this, Smart Bug works hard at setting the example of openly complimenting each other and the work that team members are doing. By publicly expressing appreciation and great job, the entire team can celebrate and encourage each another.
Another piece is working on open communication throughout the organization and no matter their level. This makes the organization flatter. It makes it easier for information throughout the organization without becoming silo-ed.
Smart Bug also works hard to make sure that their team still has the work-life balance they initially went to the company for.
One way they do this is with time tracking. Time tracking usually comes across as a way to micromanage and control staff and efficiency. However, Ryan's focus is to make sure that his team isn't overworked. Working long hours and feeling overwhelmed will make your employees discontent.
If you're concerned about time tracking your team to micromanage them, then you need to hire better employees.
Treating your team right carries over into how they treat your clients too. Happy employees become loyal to your business and take pride in your agency and the work they do there.
This means delivering outstanding service to clients and building an agency that you love to run and your team loves to work for.