How to go from freelancer to multimillion dollar agency

Top 4 tips for freelancers looking to reach the next level…

  • Take advantage of a new/emerging trends and narrow your focus/niche
  • Find clients with a bottom-up approach and lead with value
  • Only offer recurring, value-based pricing 
  • Create a killer onboarding process early

Take advantage of a new/emerging trends and narrow your focus/niche

If you’re launching tomorrow and want a shortcut to becoming a premier agency, specialize in/focus on an emerging trend. For example, you could launch on the back of a new:

  • Channel: Become one of the first TikTok ad agencies
  • Technology or tool: Make the best Airtable systems and processes for startups
  • Movement: Start a micro-influencer marketing agency
  • Industry: Specialize in cannabis and CBD marketing

You can also focus your offering vertically (e.g., only work with SaaS companies) or horizontally (e.g., only offer email automation optimization services across industries).

Find Clients With a Bottom-Up Approach and Lead With Value

Aside from having a clear focus, having a niche client base makes it easier to find. Instead of thinking about lead generation from the top down, consider it from the bottom up.

A list of 2k+ potential prospects is the ideal market size. In order to build that list, you should start asking yourself where your ideal client lives online. If your ideal client is a CBD startup, this could be:

  • Startup accelerators
  • Online learning platforms
  • Tool and techs for startups
  • Podcasts for founders

Manually search these locations for clients who share your vision. Once you’ve created your list, you’ll be so familiar with your customer persona that marketing to them will be a breeze.

Write down 10 questions that your ideal client needs help answering, and then package that content in a shareable way such as e-books, newsletters, webinars, and podcasts. 

Reach out to the people on your list and give it to them for free. Repeat monthly. Do it manually until you’ve personally closed 10+ clients. 

You can combine these long-term, scalable tactics with once-off scrappy ones to get your first clients in the door. 

Only Offer Recurring, Value-Based Pricing 

If you want to go down the route of being a thought leader, stay away from conversations about project- and hourly-based pricing. 

Rather tie your pricing to things like the value you will provide, with a focus on the client’s revenue and growth. You can then charge a fixed monthly retainer (and earn predictable, recurring revenue). 

I suggest creating an ROI calculator that visually shows prospective clients what you think their business could look like after working with you. The growth that you can offer should more than pay for your monthly retainer. 

Create a Killer Onboarding Process Early

A failure in process will cause much more pain than a failure in results. You can deliver great results to a client, but if your process falls apart you can easily lose the engagement. 

Really think through the client experience over the first 30 days, and ask yourself how you can engineer an onboarding process that makes your client think “holy smokes, this agency is amazing.” For example:

  • Week 1: Present a visual road map
  • Week 2: Get an early quick win
  • Week 3: Wow them with well-designed deliverables
  • Week 4: Tell them something they didn’t know about their customer

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