If the thought of scaling your agency leaves you feeling queasy you aren’t alone. In fact, I’ve seen this feeling come up time and time again for entrepreneurs who’d rather just throw it all away and start over.
A lot of times, however, when people are feeling fear around scaling their business it’s usually because of some underlying idea they have about what scaling needs to look like.
In this episode, I am debunking what it looks like to scale. I’ll also be sharing tips on what to do if you find yourself in this place where you don’t want to scale your agency.
Welcome to The Scale Your Way podcast episode number seventy five.
You’re listening to the Scale Your Way podcast, where we share simple, proven strategies just for done for you service based companies here, you’ll learn how to scale your business on your own terms so that you can have more time, money, create a bigger impact and a better life. I’m your host, Nicole Jackson Miller. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
Hello, everyone, Nicole here and welcome back to another episode of the Scale Your Way podcast. Today we were talking about scaling and what is really going on when people say, but, Nicole, I don’t want to scale my agency. I don’t even want to grow my agency. I just want to make things work better. And I want to stick where I’m at. And I don’t want to think about all of these other growth things and all of these changes I need to make to scale this business that I don’t even know if I want to scale.
If you have ever been in this position, and I believe everyone has but I may be wrong about that this episode and conversation may be helpful for you. So a lot of times this comment comes up in conversation when I’m talking to people about making changes that are necessary in their business to be able to set it up to scale. And sometimes people get really tripped up on the word scale because that means setting your business up so that you can take on more clients, hire more team members and really continue to grow it.
And, you know, when people and I have been here myself, when you are setting the vision for your business and things aren’t necessarily working really smoothly or aren’t efficient, it’s very hard to then also see or vision what life would look like taking on even more clients and even more team members because that it doesn’t feel fun and exciting, which is what visioning is all about. Right. And so then what can sometimes happen is people question growing an agency, growing their services. Maybe instead they want to switch to another business model, to coaching, to selling programs, whatever that looks like. And I believe that everyone needs to do what’s right for them. And also, I want to make sure that I’m being really clear when I talk about what it means when we’re setting up a business to scale.
So oftentimes what I hear from people when they’re in this position of feeling a little stuck, when things are working but not working as well as they could be, is that they just they’re like, I don’t want to grow. I just want things to work. I can’t even imagine scaling right now. And I totally get it. And it can also come up when their vision doesn’t align with what others view as scaling.
So some of the fears that come up when we talk about growth, when we talk about scaling some of these hesitations are because of these fears, like maybe you’re currently having client issues, maybe you’re currently having team issues, maybe you’ve hired team members, but they’re still coming to you with a bunch of questions. You know, that you need to do some work to implement different processes to maybe switch out some team members that aren’t working to even change the way that you’re leading your team. And it feels like it’s a lot of work and you probably already have a lot of work on your plate. And so why on earth would you want to continue to grow and continue to scale?
What I believe that people really want is not necessarily immediately a business that can scale, but they want to have some peace. They want to have a bit of ease. They want to not have to be on call 24/7. They want to not constantly feel behind. They want to have some space and just want things to work. So that’s sometimes the immediate need. So this is what I want you to know when I say it’s important to set up your business to scale. So setting your business up to scale isn’t always about the end result of having an agency that services hundreds of clients and has hundreds of team members. Setting your business up to scale means that you’re setting up your business to have team members do one hundred percent of the delivery of the service while still being able to pay yourself a salary. So it means that you have different things set up in your business so that it’s not it’s not dependent on you being involved in client delivery. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in delivery, but it means that it’s not dependent on you being involved in client delivery. So it means that you’ve set up your offers. So what you’re offering your delivery process for those offers and your financials to work without you having to be involved in client work.
So if you are hesitating on making changes in your business because you can’t even imagine taking on more clients, I want you to know that you are probably doing yourself a disservice. Right, because those changes that you need to make will make your life better. Regardless of how much you choose to grow and scale your business, so this doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of the delivery process, what it means is that you being part of delivery is not a crutch, right? It’s not because your delivery process isn’t working with other people delivering it. It’s because you truly want to be a part of the delivery. But that involves making changes. And those changes are to help set your business up to scale, but then you get to decide how big you want to grow it. So out of the people I’ve talked to that have shared that they don’t really want to scale their agency, many of them are still heavily involved in client delivery or even if they’ve had a lot of them have implementors in their business, but they are still heavily involved in the management of the clients and of their team because they haven’t quite figured out a way to remove themselves. And so this actually happens most of the time with people who already have team members implementing, but it isn’t working super well or they haven’t given in enough time to work.
So this does not happen overnight, which is why I have a program called AGENCY, which is specifically designed to remove business owners from client delivery. That program, and I’ve talked about this in prior episodes, is a minimum of 12 months, and it’s because this also takes time. So if you’re telling yourself that you don’t want to scale is I want you to just ponder this. Is it because your business isn’t really set up to scale? So do you have team members but still feel like you can’t take any time off? Do you still feel like you need to constantly be at your computer or in Slack answering questions or in Asana? Do you have team members, but you really aren’t able to pay yourself the salary that you desire. Do you have team members who are helping with client delivery but still feel stuck and how to get more work off of your plate? If these things are happening, then it’s because your business isn’t set up to scale. And I’m not saying that that then means that you need to double your client load. I’m saying that the changes that you will make to help set your business up to scale will help you do those things that you want. And many of the people I’ve talked to have expressed that they want to have a team so that they have more flexibility with their days, so that they’re able to step away from their computer and not feel like they won’t be able to deliver their services, who want to be able to still be able to pay themselves or to give himself a bonus or a raise to be able to then maybe think about how they do want to grow or just take some time off and enjoy themselves and spend time with their family or whatever else they want to do.
So if any of these things are true, then I invite you to consider that there are changes you can make to allow your business to function in a much better way. I’m not saying there won’t be challenges. I am very honest about this, that there will always be challenges. I unfortunately have not figured out the magic formula to completely avoid challenges. If I do, I will absolutely let you know. Challenges are a part of business. They are a part of life. They are going to happen. It’s how we gain experience. It’s how we learn, and it’s how we do better.
But I have figured out how to avoid a lot of challenges that come up with growing an agency and specifically delegating client delivery so that it doesn’t come back on your plate or if you do need to step back in again. It is very temporary because there is a strategic plan in place to get it back off of your plate and have it function even better. I just this with a client the other day where she was releasing a member of her team and felt like she had to come back in and maybe it would be a permanent solution for her to take over this role. And after talking through it, she realized that that was actually not what she wanted and that there was a way for her if she even needed to, which she actually might not now to step in very temporarily so that wow transition happened where she could bring somebody else in to fulfill the role. So and now we don’t even think that she needs to do it even temporarily.
So we want to make sure that we are being strategic, that we are not making decisions that cause us to cycle back to where we were before and that actually allow us to move forward to what it is that we truly want. So what I have figured out are a few different things I want to walk you through when it comes to actually delegating client delivery so that it doesn’t come back on your plate and there are three things that I like to focus on. So the first are the foundations of your business. The second is delegation and the third is management. So let’s walk through each of those so that you can see maybe there are some things here that you’ve already done, but maybe there are some things that you have in that you might want to explore further.
And these are three things that I cover more, way more in depth in my program AGENCY, which helps service providers grow agencies and remove themselves from client delivery and client and team management. So the first are the foundations. So is your business truly set up to have a team deliver for you? Oftentimes they are not. Which is why I include this as the first thing in my program. So what happens when you are the only one delivering the service or when you are the primary person delivering the service is that your offers, your clients, your delivery process is based on you being a part of the process. Right? And you then gain a set of knowledge that you have where you just kind of have a process that you work through. Things aren’t really documented. Maybe you’re working with clients who would work really well with you, but if they were to be handed off to a team, it would be a complete disaster. Has is anyone ever experienced this? I know I have. Right?
So we want to make sure that your offers and your clients and your delivery process and your financials are set up to have a team support your business in the delivery and management of all of your client work. So that’s the first thing that you want to look at your offers, ideal client delivery process and your financials.
Then you want to look at delegation. So you want to develop a plan, a very strategic plan for what needs to come off of your plate next. And if you need to delegate that to somebody who is currently on your team or if you need to hire someone new and in what order? Because just, just because you have a bunch of stuff on your plate does not mean that you should be delegating all of that tomorrow. Maybe, maybe you can. But most people are not in the position to do that or it doesn’t really make sense for them to delegate everything. Right. So what are the most important things that you should be delegating next? And should it be to a current team member or a new hire?
And then the second piece of delegation is making sure that the things that you have already delegated, because many of you already have team members that are implementing for you, the things that you’ve already delegated are actually being 100 percent owned by the team members that you’ve delegated to. So we want to make sure that your delegations skills are really strong. And this is what I hear often from people that will say, well, I have or are thinking I have a team. Why am I still so involved? Right? It’s usually because the process is not being one hundred percent owned by the team member.
The solution to that could either be you giving them the information and fully empowering them to step into that role and owning that process or that part of their work. Or it might be that the person is not a good fit for that role, too. So those are some different things that we need to look at as solutions. But it really comes down to those two areas when it comes to delegation. Right? What needs to come off your plate next? In what order? Who does it go to? And then making sure the things you’ve already delegated are actually being done by the people that you’ve delegated to.
And then the third area that we look at is the management. So looking at your business from a bird’s eye view when it comes to your services. So what are the roles and responsibilities that you need to delegate now and then, what are you working towards in the future? So that is is a lot of what we focus on when we map out what needs to be delegated and when is really looking at, OK, this is what the business currently needs. Let’s implement this now. But we know that we’re working towards this future outcome. And so that’s where we want to map out the roles and responsibilities we do, organizational mapping, creating team success metrics. So how does somebody on your team know that they’re doing a good job? How do you know that they’re doing a good job? This is a question that I hear from people. They’re like, wow, this team members in this position and I think they’re doing a good job, but I’m really not sure. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not giving them the information that they need or maybe like they’re just not doing the job. I can’t really figure it out. This usually comes back to being really clear on what the role and the expectations are in the role and then also defining what success looks like in that role.
And then also with management, it’s important to create a self managing team. Now, this doesn’t mean that you hire someone and say, “good luck, self manage, don’t come to me with any questions”. It means how can we set up this person to be able to really own their position so that they feel comfortable making decisions and doing their job. And then part of that is talking about leading your team versus managing your team. So I want you to ask yourself, do I have all of these areas in place so that I feel confident in stepping out of delivery, client delivery and management team management? And if I’m in delivery and management right now, it’s because I truly want to be there, not because it wouldn’t work if I wasn’t.
So really think about and you can read listen to this episode as you go to implement some changes in your business. But like, what are some of the areas that you feel like you have down pretty solid and what are the areas that you need to work on?
Because ultimately we need to remove you as the crutch, you being involved. It’s very, very likely that if you right now are involved in client delivery and management, it’s because it would not work if you were not there. We want to set up your business so that that’s not the case and really uncover what’s happening under the surface so that you can actually create a business that you really love. So many people say an agency model business won’t work, and that’s not true. But in order to make one that does work, you have to be willing to look under the surface and really just wipe out those cobwebs so that you can create a business that you believe in. And and again, if you do, if if client delivery or a portion of pipe delivery really lights you up, that’s awesome. We want to make sure that we’re doing it because you are so passionate about it that you it’s fulfilling for you to do that job every day, not because the business would wouldn’t work if you weren’t there. All right, everyone.
So that’s what I have to say. If you have ever had the thought of. But I don’t want to scale right now. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to. I just want it to work. Right? It’s not really think about like when it comes. That’s why at the end of all of my interviews, I always ask people, what does it mean to scale your way? And it’s so interesting to hear people’s answers. What does it mean for you to scale your way? Does it mean having hundreds and hundreds of clients? Maybe, but maybe not. Right? Maybe it’s about you being able to set up your business so that you can show up in a better way for the people that you’re serving. Right? If you are so involved in client delivery and so involved in the day, it’s very likely that you’re not going to be able to focus on some of the amazing changes and ideas that you could be implementing that would help serve your audience even better, your team better and yourself better, too. It’s about all of the people in your business, including you as well. So we want to make sure that you are taking good care of everyone, including yourself. So with that, I will let you kind of think through what some of the changes are that you could be making so that things work better. And if you are interested in learning more about how to do this and diving in deeper, check out my program AGENCY. It’s all about helping you delegate client delivery and management so that you can really lead a business that you love and be able to ditch that burnout cycle. And obviously there will still be challenges. There always are. But we want those challenges to fuel your growth and to help you move forward. I will see you next week.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you are ready to stop settling for being a done for your service provider and really fully step into the role of agency owner and CEO and lead a team that you love that just delivers excellent client results, then you have to check out my new program called AGENCY, which is specifically designed to remove you from at least 50 percent of client delivery in 12 months or less, so that you can have the time and the space to be able to run your business and, you know, to take a tech free vacation, too. That’s always nice, right? So if you’re interested in learning more, head over to NicoleJacksonMiller.com/apply. You can learn more about the program. If it looks like a good fit, then apply and we will send you before our call. We’ll send you a free business assessment that will really explain more about the framework that we use to remove you from client delivery. And it’ll give you an assessment that you can take to really show where you are now and where you’re going. We’ve had so many people get a lot of insight just from taking that assessment, so I can’t wait for you to check it out.