Agencies & Brands

Cultivating a Culture of Confidence Within Your Agency

Confidence is extremely sexy.

Just ask anyone in the dating scene, a mate with confidence is attractive. In fact, a recent survey from Men’s Fitness Magazine found that nearly 80% of women identified self-confidence as the sexiest trait a man can possess.

(Men, let’s be careful not confuse confidence with arrogance. One is desirable, the other is repulsive.)

Obviously confidence is a big deal in the dating scene. But what does it have to do with running an agency? Turns out, the parallels between developing a romantic relationship and a business relationship are quite similar.

That said, it stands to reason that a prospective client wants to see confidence exuding from you and your brand.

Here are four ways to develop a confident agency:

1. Understand Your Story

Whether you are just starting a freelance career or have run an agency for years, you have a story. We all have a unique set of experiences, preferences, likes, dislikes, bias, and opinions that blend together to create a perspective that is yours alone.

As an agency, this perspective is likely the key factor for clients choosing you. This perspective resonates with some clients and doesn’t with others — that is fine! Not everyone is your ideal customer, you may not be their ideal partner. The point is, understanding how you got to where you are has influenced your perspective. Use that to your advantage and tell your story. Opening up and sharing this will set you apart from the mass of same-ness afflicting so many agencies right now.

Key Takeaway: Own your brand’s unique story and history.

2. Understand Your Design

As your story has been lived, you have likely found areas of work that are enjoyable — as if they are not even work! Congratulations, you have found your design. Now imagine making this your income generator, as well.

When you know your purpose, you can position your brand as an expert and leader in that particular niche. I predict that, over the next 3-5 years, we will see the traditional “all-in-one” ad agency transform to smaller specialty agencies.

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Having a specialty is hugely beneficial for agencies, it allows for:

  • Increased Fees & Retainers
  • Higher Demand
  • Larger Geographical Market
  • Less Competition
  • Increased Proficiency

The medical industry has been practicing this approach for years. Imagine a loved one experienced a medical issue requiring a highly-technical operation on their brain.

Given the choice, would you contact the world’s leading brain surgeon who specializes in this exact procedure or the general practitioner found at the community walk-in clinic?

Neither of these choices is less of a doctor; one is a doctor with a specialty. Much like you are a marketer. Be a marketer with a specialty.

3. Understand Your Limitations

Similar to understanding your passion and design, understanding your limitations (whether natural or self-applied) narrows your field of distraction and makes it easier to operate within your passion more often.

Take inventory of the tasks you do regularly for clients. Categorize them in the following matrix:

1. Enjoy & Excel
2. Don’t Enjoy, but Excel
3. Enjoy, but Don’t Excel
4. Don’t Enjoy, Don’t Excel

For me, one of my self-applied limitations is website design. I am capable of it; in fact, it is how I got my start in this industry (Yep, when I was 14-years old, I started designing websites for family and friends). Over the years, however, I realized that I was not passionate about designing them.

Interesting is how many things we do in our professional lives that fit into the ‘Don’t’ categories. If you are spending too much of your time working on things you don’t enjoy — or don’t excel at — re-evaluate the projects you accept.

Instead, proactively seek out projects and clients that keep you out of the ‘Don’ts’ and in the
‘Enjoy’ and ‘Excel’ columns.

Knowing your limitations helps say “No” when a project proposal starts creeping into those ‘Don’t’ columns. In my free email course, 5 Diseases Plaguing Agencies, I talk about the power of “No”; using No can help regulate where you spend your time and energy.

Because the decision has been made to not accept website design clients, I can confidently say no when approached by folks who are seeking a designer with this skill set.

4. Avoid a Poverty Mindset

All too often, I’ve seen consultants and freelancers undercharge or negotiate their own rates down — even when a client is willing to pay more!

This happens because the consultant does not have the confidence in their value to the client.

Our confidence is torpedoed when we bring our own negative biases to the table in professional settings. For example, if we are frugal with our finances, we often radiate those tendencies subconsciously in our sales meetings. Instead of sharing the excitement with a prospect of the value and benefit of working with us, we downplay those feelings because of our own financial biases.

Rather than operating with a scarcity mentality, decide each day that you are realizing the fruits of your labor. Reflect back on your journey; think of the hardships which you have overcome to reach where you are.

If you believe that your product or service provides value to a client, the rate or fee you charge should be easily justifiable.

Conclusion & Next Steps

Confidence is not built in a day; it is built daily. By taking these steps to develop a culture of confidence within your agency, you can put your best foot forward with new clients.

I would love to hear your story! Please share it in the comments section or find me on LinkedIn. Knowing where you came from is the first step to telling your story.

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