This blog was written by our founder, Natalie Noel.
In the last two years, TAG has gone from zero employees to 10, with no debt. I can attribute this to several factors. Obviously, passion was a big driver – loving what you do and doing anything you can to grow in your field. That being said, I think the things that helped TAG grow in the last two years are also the things that will help TAG thrive in the next 10. In fact, I think these practices can help any business
Show some humility.
The start of any business begins with the admission that you can’t do it alone, at least in the beginning. Starting from nothing and getting people to trust you is difficult – impossible almost. Ask any agency about their first client; chances are, it was family or a close friend. This step is almost a necessity because it acts as a launch pad. If you wait around for that ideal, picture-perfect client, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Give in and reach out to your inner circle. They are going to be the ones that help you build a solid foundation.
Focus on the work.
Piggybacking off my last point, companies aren’t going to trust a business with no substantial experience. To remedy this, focus on your work. Look for clients that will help you build an impressive and diverse portfolio. I spoke about this in my last post, mentioning how great marketing is a marathon. Your work has to grow with your company, and that will never happen if you’re just doing things to get them done. The work should be challenging in the sense of a creative problem to be solved. You should continuously be looking to do different things in different ways. Yeah, sure, this set of information would be great as a blog, but what if it was a video? What if that video was 360 degrees? What if it was made for VR and more interactive? What if it wasn’t a video? What if it was a billboard and we only had six words to convey this information? These are the questions that are going to fuel great work. Thus, these are the questions you should be asking clients and clients should be discussing with you. However, we all need to make rent, so understand that your clients aren’t all going to be receptive to a significant creative and financial risk. That’s okay because the next tip is to…
We all have our bread and butter clients and, most of the time, they won’t come to you saying, “Here’s a bunch of money – get creative!” Most of the time, they just need that blog to get done. And that’s great because it’s your job – our job, as an industry – to make that blog great. It’s very head-in-the-clouds to assume any business or person is going let you do outlandish and risky things on their dime. That just doesn’t happen. So it’s important to work with what you’ve got. View every client as an opportunity to grow, no matter the task. Don’t turn down clients just because you don’t like their idea or they don’t have the budget. Help them make that idea great. If they don’t have the budget for your idea, think of another one. If they can’t get to option A, help them get to option B or C. Think of a way to make the most out of what you’re given. Avoid any delusions of grandeur and understand that you’re not going to like everything you do. If you don’t do it in a way that helps you like it more, you’re going to be miserable and never fulfilled.
Have humility and focus on your work, being realistic in what you can and can’t do. Success takes a long time. Process takes a long time. This entire “building your business” thing takes a very long time. As I said in the beginning, it’s about having passion for what you do. If you love what you do, you’ll be willing to swallow your pride for the opportunity to do it. You’ll take that project from your aunt in Washington who sells candles. You’ll take it and make it great, focusing on how this project can be done in a way that will attract another project. The best way to build a business is to love what you do because when you do what you love, there’s no way you can fail.