Went to DC Refresh last night at Viget Labs. The topic was “From Freelancer to Agency”. They invited a couple people, like a panel, to ask questions. Here are some notes I gathered:
Stay small, less owners, and have skills that compliment one another.
If your really love design, when you start your own company/agency,
it’s the last thing you get to do.
Hire people with lots of energy. Doesn’t matter if they’re jr or sr.
Try to take small opportunities and make them large opportunities.
What do you value as success? It’s not all about money. What model are
Don’t use your name for the company.
Ask your peers for advice. Most people want to see you succeed.
No speaker/panelist had an answer for how to balance life. How to
spend time with kids. Etc. They asked for advice.
One of the most important costs of business is realestate.
There is no exit strategy in design/services anymore. Hopefully your
employees will buy.
I’m just so glad I’m not in the agency business at the moment. I’m not a big fan of the pyramid system, nor tracking time in 15 minute increments. I love the culture at Clearspring. There are titles, but no one throws it around for leverage. It’s a luxury to be able to stop by in the hall and talk to Hooman (our CEO), or grab some wings with Joel (VP products), or play video games with Foo and Philip (our developers). This DC Refresh meet-up actually reminded me to cherish the culture and projects we’re working on here. Because here, I can have impact. Here, I can make meaningful connections.
I also learned one last thing yesterday… Justin Thorp (our Community Manager) knows everyone. In one room with about 50 people, he hi-fived about 20 of them walking in the door. The other 30 people tapped him on the shoulder with warm greetings.
Anyway, learn more about DC Refresh here. It’s the second one I’ve gone to.