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My own agency that I started some time ago has been having a very difficult time for quite a while now. Been loosing my own money just to keep it afloat...
Can't go like this anymore. There are simply no more funds left.
NOW. I have recently been offered a CD job, in-house at an up and coming and fast growing company.
Should I take it?
As an entrepreneur, I don't mind failure, think it is something that you have to go through and learn from it. Just don't want to stop fighting for a dream.
It seems perhaps running an agency is not what I am here to do and I am better of as a Creative within an organisation.
Anybody out there made a similar transition? Is it creative suicide, and something I would regret all my life? Hope not...
Almost exactly the same this happened to me about 5 years ago. I moved into a larger agency as CD, it was the best thing i ever did. The bollocks that comes with running the agency was soul destroying when my real passion doing the colouring in.
I still have entrepreneurial projects/ideras oin development and they will happen one day, but now i'm a little wiser about the potential business success/failures of the projects. Good luck fella, whatever you choose.
why would you keep on losing money?
economics doesn't work like that
If you are passionate about what they do and there are opportunities to become a partner or involved in the strategy of it - you will cover all bases, good luck.
make the change
I hear ya. Sounds like you have made your decision. You've done something that the vast majority bleat on about and never do. Sometimes there are just better businessmen/cogs that can't be put into place individually. I admire your clarity of thought, you obviously hav ethe right stuff no matter what...Best of luck
Was in a similar position.
Take the job. Save up. And pray you don't get comfortable enough to quit chasing your dreams again.
Take the CD position and hire someone to replace you at your agency! Win-win-win!
Thanks for the nice comments.
It's not an agency, but rather a brand/company that needs to communicate through editorial content. Like most brands do these days...
So it could be an interesting change.
I think what killed my company is my lack of business experience, coming from a purely Creative background.
Also lost most clients by not being able to handle the accounts correctly. Not sure I would do it again without proper backing and a strong business person on board. If I manage to make the move swiftly I will share my experience for any upcoming people out there wanting to start an agency.
It's competitive out there, that for sure.
Stop the bleeding, and cut your losses. I would take the position as CD and start all over, where you can stabilize your finances with a regular pay check, health insurance, etc... You can always take on some extra freelance work for creative projects and some extra cash on the side. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Depends on what your expenses are. I've debated the same thing many times, particularly with the economy since 2009.
There's not a 'right' answer. Personally, I crave the 'hope' that comes with having your own company - ie things can go up exponentially the next day. You can dream. I also would prefer to work more, but have flexible hours.
Working for someone else you have stability (kinda, I know many that would say there isn't stability anymore), but no dream. You get your pay check, maybe hope for a promotion or bonus, but that's about it.
Oversimplified, but that's more or less how it breaks down.
The one thing that is for sure is that "success" takes luck. That might happen in 5 minutes, 5 years or never. Plenty of horrible companies with no talent out there that are super successful, plenty of talent out there that just never got a break.
Perseverance is part of the equation, but only part. I don't have a stomach to bet every penny, but I am fine with risk and some ups/down. All about your personal limits and expectations.
Lastly, consider taking some time to evaluate business, your model, and markets. Sometimes it is good to take some classes (Small Business Development/SBA has some great classes, free consultation, etc.), get another angle on how to market, get new business, etc.
Lastly again...depends on your age too. If you are mid 20's you can do anything 10 times, if you are mid 40's, you probably won't.
"Lastly again...depends on your age too. If you are mid 20's you can do anything 10 times, if you are mid 40's, you probably won't."
Bullshit....I'm 42, you try stop me from doing anything.
when you say "your own agency", is this an agency of one? or do you have employees?
If it's just you, you probably need a partner or two with some business/accounts talent. Taking a CD role may be a good way to bump into those people and start making connections. But if you already have some connections, reach out and see how interested they might be in co-ownership.
If you have employees, your jumping ship is going to have a ripple effect on all those people. It's a very different decision when you're taking away other people's jobs. You should take a long hard look at why you are losing money, and take steps to fix that. And if there are areas you are not good at, by god hire that talent! Offer equity if you need a senior person and can't afford them. If you need near-term funding, seek it out from the bank or investors or new partners (make sure you have a buy-out clause). And if you already have those people in place, and they're not delivering. Hold them accountable and let heads roll if they need to.
Some seriously stupid people run successful companies. Their key to success is they've usually hired some smart people to get the job done.
It all depends upon how you're geared.
A friend of mine just did exactly what you're talking about, and he's really happy with his choice. (I haven't seen him so relaxed in a long time.) Instead of having to deal with any business development, he can now concentrate solely on creative work—and he also has found time on the side for his own side-projects.
Personally, I could never do it. I haven't worked for an employer in over 15 years, and I don't want anyone else to own my days. (I've learned that one of the keys to my happiness is in not being managed or having to manage others.)
As you know, agencies are really fucking tough to run—particularly small ones, as work tends to be project based (therefore billings are highly variable) and staffing costs can bleed you dry while you're waiting for the next gig to come in.
One possibility you might want to consider, is looking at how to reduce your costs. If you can get down to a one/two person operation, you could run pretty lean. Additionally, you might want to look at where your most profitable work is, and concentrate on developing that a little more. (For example, if you check your past years' records, you might learn that maintenance work or consulting was more profitable than pure design.)
Regardless of whether you're an employee working for others or an owner running your own shop, there are pros and cons. That said, if you can determine what's most important to you (freedom or security), you'll be closer to making the right decision.
One thing to remain mindful of is that either way, you'll be fine.
Asking the questions as you are is wise—you don't want the situation to get to the point that you don't have a say in matters. Nevertheless, if you take that gig, you'll get some breathing room, and gain some perspective. If you stick it out with your agency, you'll find a way to get through, and you'll look back at this as just one more obstacle you overcame.
I was in the same boat. Running a small agency and the stress of the business side of things got to me plus the business model is terrible.
I now make more money working for one of our old competitors and have some side projects/client on the side.
At the end of the day clients grind you and payroll is a bitch. I did it for 7 years and will never, ever go back to running owning a agency/web shop. Way better choices for internet businesses than a service company.
Life's too short. If you like the people in the new job, take it.
Take their money, work less hard, enjoy life.
You can always quit and start again in 2 years.
Taking the job, will try to bring this back up in 6 months time.
See what happened with me...
good call. follow the opportunity; not the decision.