3 things I learned from working alone to running an agency

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It’s been approximately 18 months since I resigned from Project Octo, the agency I co-founded back in Manchester, so I thought I’d share a few things I learned during my experiences.

Project Octo was running for around four years before I left, and previous to this I was a freelance designer working very successfully, for seven brilliant years, from my little office back in Bolton Enterprise Centre.

  1. Don’t go into partnership with someone who thinks they understand the industry, especially if they are a just a glorified salesman. When things don’t go their way, you’ll see their true colours. And, if this salesman ever tells you to go out and find business when it’s their job, then it’s time for you to get out!
  2. If you are working for yourself right now, have great clients and being successful, don’t throw it all away and start an agency, especially with someone who has no clue. You’re better off continuing alone as you are – this was my biggest regret.
  3. Never let anyone take away what you love doing. Stupidly, I allowed my business partner force me into becoming a full-time developer. I’m a designer – it’s what I studied in, know, love, and what made me successful (I’m just one who knows how to code too!). Just because you run an agency, doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love and know.

And one more…

  1. If you are in partnership, make sure you keep an eye on the business bank account. Trust nobody.

If this is all sounding very familiar, it’s time to reflect and think about where you want to be.

Why I don’t have a business partner, and you shouldn’t either

Whether your business partner fits the bill, is the consistent message here. I’m a very efficient, productive person, and I can finish a project at a higher rate than a typical designer/developer without any reduction in the quality of my output. Because of my productivity, I was completing 85% of my work while my business partner was still on his 10% (and doing more straightforward tasks than I).

So, for me, a 50/50 share which is what we had, wasn’t right.

I came across this video on YouTube, which resonates entirely with my experiences, and it’s definitely worth a watch if you’re having similar thoughts.

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