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Year-Ahead Planning (2023 edition)

Kami Huyse of Zoetica Media and Brad Farris of Anchor Advisors join Chip Griffin of SAGA to talk about the year ahead and how agency owners can best prepare themselves.

It turns out that the trio covered a similar topic almost a year ago, so perhaps this is now an annual tradition!

During this episode, the panel explores how to set clear goals and handle uncertainty. They look at how agencies should be thinking about their own business development and marketing activities, as well as what the talent market is likely to look like in the months ahead.

Key takeaways

  • Brad Farris: “The uncertainty – it’s hard for me to say it’s never been higher after the last three years, but I don’t feel like uncertainty is getting any less.”
  • Chip Griffin: “Pick the tactics that work from your past experience. And consistently do them over and over again.”
  • Kami Huyse: ‘”We’re too small to do full service anything.”
  • Brad Farris: “The proposal is actually the thing that gives us control. If we can hold back on the proposal that keeps the client coming towards us. Once we send a proposal, now we’re in no man’s land.”
  • Chip Griffin: “There’s no such thing as B2B. It’s always people to people.”
  • Kami Huyse: “The more people you know, the more you can do.”

The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.

Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Small Agency Talk Show. I’m your host, Chip Griffin, the founder of SAGA, the Small Agency Growth Alliance, and I am as always, delighted to have a couple of great panelists with me today. Kami Huyse from Zoetica Media and Brad Farris from Anchor Advisors. Welcome to the show.

Brad Farris: Thanks, Chip.

Kami Huyse: It’s great to be here.

Chip Griffin: It is great to have you here and, and we’re going to be talking about 2023 and, and much like 2023 I have no idea where this show is going. So if the pre-show was any indication, We could just as easily go off the rails, but I think, I think we’ll probably have some good nuggets in there along the way.

So before we jump into talking about planning for the year ahead and, and what we see in our crystal balls as we did about a year ago at this time, in fact, and we planned it that way, seriously, I mean, we sat down and said, you know, we’re… Okay, maybe we didn’t plan it that way. Maybe it just turned out that we happened to have the same panel together about a year later and said, Hey, why don’t we revisit planning for the year ahead?

But before we do that, why don’t you each introduce yourselves briefly for folks who may not have seen you on the show before, because they’ve been living under a rock or something. So Kami, take it away.

Kami Huyse: Cool. So, hi. My name is Kami Huyse and I am the CEO of Zoetica Media, which is a small agency, so I kind of belong here.

But I also work with agencies, small agencies as well with their marketing and PR plans. We work on social media management for them and through the small smart social mastery class.

Chip Griffin: And, and you definitely belong here. Brad. I’m not as sure about . He’s, he’s, he’s here anyway, so, so Brad…

Brad Farris: which one of these is not like the others?

I’m Brad Farris. My business is Anchor Advisors and I do coaching and leadership development for agency owners.

Chip Griffin: Excellent. Sweet and to the point. I love it. All right, so that leaves us about 28 minutes to talk about 2023. So what we will solve all of your problems for the new year. We’ll give you a great vision and the crystal ball and the whole thing.

So I don’t know, I mean we, we’ve talked about marketing for the new year. We think we’ll talk about some talent issues, but where would y’all like to get started? I guess Kami, I’ll let you set the direction here for us.

Kami Huyse: Oh, great. Okay. So yes, I, 2023 is upon us. I was actually really talking to my team going, I can’t believe we’re at the end of the year.

And really right now is the time to start thinking about what you wanna plan for next year. Obviously, one of the things that I think is really important is not to go too far in advance, so not all of 2023, but if we could think about just the first quarter of 2023. I think that might be helpful because I think when you try to plan the whole year out, I mean, you can have some broad goals, but things have been changing really fast.

So let’s talk about like how we can really react in a way that is going to, or actually respond, not react. I like to talk about responding, not reacting to the changes around us in a way that is going to move our agencies forward. That’s, What do you guys think?

Chip Griffin: Well, I, I think that’s a great point that, you know, looking at, at a quarter, at a time, because I think one of the challenges that a lot of small businesses of all kinds have is that they focus so much on these, these long term plans.

Mm-hmm. and, and frankly, part of the advantage of being small is that you can be nimble. And that doesn’t mean that you need to, you know, shift with the winds every day. But at the same time, it means that you don’t do things the same way that a big corporate behemoth does, right? Mm-hmm. , I mean, even if you’re thinking in terms of your budget for 2023, think about it more in those quarterly terms because do you really know what it’s gonna look like next September and October?

And, and if you say, my budget is this, you could be in a position where you’re basically giving yourself permission to spend money that you don’t have. So, so I, I love breaking it down into that component part, but you know, I see you nodding your head, Brad, but I assume that means you agree.

Brad Farris: Well, I’ve been, I’ve been working with clients to think about goals a little bit differently.

That there are gonna be some goals that are sort of like North Stars. These are the things that we know we want to head toward, or. That we wanna be more like by the end of 2020 or 2023, wherever we are here. So set some north star, some aspirational goals of things that you want to get toward, but then don’t make a whole plan to get there.

Just say, what are the next steps? What are the next right things we need to do to move us in that direction? And when we make those steps, then we can evaluate, okay, from here now what’s the next best step? Because like you’re saying, the uncertainty I mean, it’s hard for me to say it’s never been higher after the last three years, but I, I mean, I don’t feel like uncertainty is getting any less, let’s put it that way.

Chip Griffin: So what I hear you saying is that guiding principles are more important Yeah. Than detailed tactical plans.

Brad Farris: And not letting the detailed tactical plans get in the way of taking some action and learning from that action and then taking some action, then learning from that action.

Chip Griffin: So if,

Kami Huyse: Yeah, and I really agree with that.

Chip Griffin: If we’re thinking.

If we’re thinking about that then in terms of, of Q1 2023 and, and let’s say that we’re thinking about how we’re going to, to, to market our agency or get our agency out in front of more potential prospects and that sort of thing, how should we be thinking about that Kami?

Kami Huyse: Yeah, I, I really love what what you said there because I feel like we need to have like a plan for that first 90 days.

So what I’m working on right now with, with my Mastery students is we’re working on what is your content plan from here through that, the first three months of the year. So like, and what I teach is like one main piece of content per week whatever that might be, whether it’s a podcast or, and it can be every other week.

Whatever. I’m just saying, you need to set your plan in place. So if it’s like one every other week, once a week, whatever it is put that into place and actually have that plan out. Like so It’s off of your brain, like you know what you’re going to be doing for the next 90 days. And then from there you take those pieces and you use them as ways to create more.

So like, you know, if you do one, like, hey, we’re, we’re doing a really great livestream right now, you know, now I can go back and I can grab the little pieces of it and I can share those pieces with my audience. And so that’s, that’s kind of what I’m teaching in this point of view. And so you wanna think about what you’re trying to do.

Get that visibility because once you’re on the top, top of mind for people you know, whether it’s like sending out your newsletter, which is also another piece of it, like your emails and things like that, then people will think of you when they, when stuff comes up. Yeah. So, you know, things come up and they’re like, oh yeah, I should, I should send that to Chip cause I know he needs that.

Or, you know, Brad, whatever people think of you when you’re out there all the time. Yeah, that’s, that’s really important that you are at the top of mind for people.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. And, and I think that, you know, I, I always tell people that consistency is more important than worrying about the specific frequency or specific target numbers or that kind of stuff.

Pick the, the, the tactics that, you know, work from your past experience. Mm-hmm. . And consistently do them over and over again. And that’s typically how you’ll get results, as opposed to just saying, well, you know, I’ve gotta have a pipeline of X number of clients in order to be successful. It’s just continue to have that successful activity in mind, and that’s typically how you’ll have the most results, particularly as a small agency.

I love

Kami Huyse: Right, go, go ahead. Sorry. No, it’s okay.

Brad Farris: Go ahead. I, I love everything that Kami was saying there about having some themes and, and establishing that . And in thinking about those themes, what I’m wanting to think about is what is gonna get me in more conversations. I think we often think about what’s gonna get me more clients, but that that might be way too far down the road.

I just want to have more conversations with people who can hire me, and so what are the things that I can be talking about that people are like, oh, that’s interesting. I wanna learn more. Or, oh, I’d like to get on the phone with Kami and talk to her about that. Right. And so what is the content? What is the message?

What is the, the activities that are gonna get you into more conversations with people who can hire you.

Chip Griffin: I think that makes a lot of sense. I mean, so from that perspective, do you think that it’s helpful for agency owners to, to get on the phone with, with most people who ask them for a call? Or do you think they need to go through a detailed vetting process to pre-qualify them before they agree to a call?

Brad Farris: Well, it depends on what your problem is. When I talk to most agency owners, what they say to me is, Brad, if I can get in front of somebody, I know I can close ’em, but I’m just not getting in front of enough people. Well then quit gating everything and just invite people in for conversations and, what I’ve found is when you get into a conversation with people, even if it’s not a sales conversation, even if you’re just being helpful at the end of it, a ton of people will say, you know, I, I’d really be interested in you helping me with that.

Oh, well, we could talk about that. Sure. But just having more conversations with people that can hire you, that’s building that know, like, and trust that people need in order for you to be considered as a resource of someone to be hired. .

Kami Huyse: So one, one of the things that happens, I wanna ask you this question a little bit of a follow up, because I get this a lot from my students too.

They say, but I’m really busy right now. Like, I, I’m super busy and I don’t really have time for all these conversations. Like, I would love to be able to do it, but I can’t. But then, of course, you know, six months down the line, They’re gonna be, they’re gonna be like, yes. They’re not gonna have any work.

Right. Anyway, so could you talk a little bit about how you, how you advise people like that? Because I know what I do, but I’d love to hear that.

Brad Farris: So it’s interesting when someone says to me that they’re too busy to do their business development, then I start asking like, busy with what? . Right. And, and more than likely what they’re busy doing is doing the work.

They’re, they’re engaged in the activity that they’re selling to clients. Mm-hmm. . And that is a huge barrier to growing your agency. The more time you’re spending selling your time to clients, the less time you can be the leader that your agency needs in order for you to grow. And so, if you’re too busy to be having conversations with people that can hire you, I would say maybe you need to think about hiring some people to do that work that’s on your plate so that you have time to have those conversations. Because if your objective is to grow, you can’t grow without getting that work off your plate. That is, that’s, that’s the, you are creating yourself as a bottleneck to growth.

Chip Griffin: Well, and, and to Kami’s point, if not only can you not grow, but you can’t have stability. Yes, that’s right. If you don’t have the time. Right. Because the, I mean, you know, we hear people in the agency world talk all the time about feast or famine. Feast or famine exists because you’re not being consistent in your business development issue.

That’s right. Efforts. By and large. Yes. And, and if you are consistently trying to generate new business, that smooths out that revenue rollercoaster so that you don’t have those giant peaks and valleys that, that people worry about. So you need to be making the time for it. And Brad as you suggest you need to figure out what it is that’s holding you back.

What are the things that you’re spending your time on? Do some time tracking. If you’re not already doing it, figure out what you can get off of your plate because business development doesn’t happen by magic. Mm.

Kami Huyse: It doesn’t? Wait.

Chip Griffin: It it, it doesn’t. And, but, but I will say, I will say that I think a lot of people overcomplicate business development.

Yeah. Yeah. And, and part of the reason why they say they don’t have time is not because they don’t have time for the initial conversation. It’s because they jump too fast in the process to putting together a proposal and a plan and all that. And that’s what takes the time. I was talking with an agency on a recently who said, how can I spend less time on my proposals?

They take so much time. You’re putting too much in them, right? There’s, there’s no reason to be putting that much level of effort into a proposal until you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve already pretty much closed the business anyway, in which case you’ll be happy to put that effort in.

Brad Farris: That’s right.

Mm-hmm. . So two things that I want to observe from that. One is I think people don’t spend enough time in the… I don’t wanna say getting to know you, but relationship building and building your expertise and, and the, the, the trust that people have for you. Mm-hmm. , we end up in sales conversations too quickly, and because of that then we’re, we’re writing this giant proposal to justify why people should trust us.

If we spend more time building trust and building relationship, then we can put a one page proposal out there and people will hire us because they’ve already experienced what it’s like to work with us.

Kami Huyse: Right. That’s a really good point. I think, I think, I mean, I could even learn a little bit from this cause I, I tend to overdo proposals a lot.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. Proposal. I, I love that you said one page proposal, Brad. Right? I mean, That’s all you really need. If you’ve already gotten a meeting of the minds on what you’re going to do in general and what it’s going to cost mm-hmm. , and, and that should be the only point where you start documenting this. It shouldn’t be, I have one conversation.

The, the prospect says, oh, can you send over a proposal? I’ll take a look at it. The answer to that should be no.

Brad Farris: Yes! I, I’m happy to talk about how we could work together and if we have an agreement, then I can send you a contract for us to get to work.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. And, and you need to spend more time actually talking, having conversations, because a, a huge part of the business development problem, whether it’s 2023 or any other time, is that you’re not listening.

Yeah. And, and now I would argue that particularly with all the uncertainty, we really need to be listening to our prospects and really understand what are their concerns, what are their priorities? And frankly, for most of our clients, What are they spending the rest of their day worrying about? Because we always focus on what they’re doing with us, whether they’re an existing client or a prospect, but that’s typically a very small portion of the job for our, our day to day contacts.

The more we understand about what’s, what else is on their plate, what other pressures they have, the better we can figure out how to fit in or if we even do fit in.

Brad Farris: I think it’s interesting that people rush to proposal. And I, I think what’s going on there is that we’re anxious to get to the sale and we feel like the proposal is the way to get to the sale.

But in my experience, the proposal is actually the thing that gives us control. If we can hold back on the proposal that keeps the client coming towards us. Once we send a proposal, now we’re in no man’s land where –

Kami Huyse: Well, now you’re in chase mode.

Brad Farris: Yes. Right. And so now the power has switched in the relationship. Why do that?

Kami Huyse: So tell like, like what would be your, how many times would you talk to somebody before you’d send ’em a proposal? That’s interesting to me. Yeah.

Brad Farris: A lot. So, I think even for most agencies, we wanna think that someone’s gonna call us and hire us right away. But if we’re having these conversations with people that can hire us, we’re often having conversations before they’re ready to hire us, right? So, so we’re having conversations with people who are in our ideal target market to build a relationship so that when they’re ready, they come to us for a request, right? And then when they’re coming to us for a request, Yeah. Great.

Let’s talk about what’s going on there. Like Chip says, what’s going on around this problem? What is this problem gonna, if we solve this problem, what is that gonna do for you? The, the most likely scenario from any business development conversation is that they do nothing. So, so if you do nothing, what’s gonna happen?

You know, is there something terrible that’s gonna happen? Or is it just, you know, kind of something that you’re thinking about? Having all those conversations and then coming back instead of giving a proposal, coming back and saying, right, let’s get back on the phone. I’ve got a couple ideas I want to pencil through and let’s talk about these various ideas to see if one of them resonates with you.

And now I’m not writing a proposal, I’m, I’m involving them in designing the solution to their problem so that at the end of that conversation we can say, great, if I came back to you then with a contract to do things this way and it’s gonna cost about that. Is that something you can say yes to? Sure. Now you’re just writing a one page proposal and you’re getting approved.

Kami Huyse: Oh, okay. Yeah. That’s really great. I love that. That’s really good stuff.

Chip Griffin: Well, I, I, I think the number of conversations and the, the length of those conversations is also dependent upon how well you’ve done the job in educating the prospect before you even have that first conversation. And that goes to a lot of the work that you do with them, Kami. Yeah. It’s making sure that you’re, you’re getting this information out to them. They, and, and when they first talk to you, they feel like they already know you. I, I know when I, I first started doing this kind of coaching and consulting for agencies a number of years ago. My, my early sales conversations with prospects, there were multiple conversations because, you know, we needed to get to know each other.

At this point, they tend to be one or two calls and, and it’s then, you know, go, no go because they already feel like they know me from things like this and all of the other content that I put out there. And, and so the, the more that you’re able to, to lay the groundwork for those so that when they come in, it’s really understanding the nuances of their problem, but they’ve already sort of made the judgment that you are qualified for it.

So you’re not wasting a lot of time having to say, oh, well we do all these great things and we’ve got all these logos on our capabilities deck. And yeah, I really wish people would just get rid of capabilities, decks they drive…

Brad Farris: Never, never do a capabilities deck.

Chip Griffin: They drive me bonkers.

Brad Farris: Terrible. The worst. Kill it right now.

Kami Huyse: It’s actually required for some things like, so I was looking at women owned business designation and they require a capabilities deck. So there’s this whole capabilities thing that’s built into like the business mindset. So I mean, having one is probably okay, but using it as your marketing is probably the worst idea ever.

What I will say is interesting is that and maybe I’ll, I’ll just stick this out here, is that having like a an idea of what your products are. So that’s the other thing that I think that I made a mistake with for years and years is that, you know, I’m like, I can do anything. Yeah. You know, just tell me like, we’ll put something together.

And then that takes forever because you have to like develop it, you know? So developing a new product or a new service is very time consuming. So every time you go out and say, I can do anything for you, you are telling that person that you’re gonna develop a specific product that only they want. And that’s gonna take you a ton of your time because you have to make sure you have the right people for it.

You have to have the right resources for it. You have to have the right everything for it. So I think having a, you know, a, a some things, some general targets, and then of course you can, you know, move those around a little bit and, and, and customize them, I guess. But you need to have some big targets that you’re aiming at that people know what that you do.

So I guess that’s the capability side, but I wouldn’t do it as a deck that’s, Because you wanna only give them what, what solves their problem.

Chip Griffin: And, and if you have the word full service on your website, in your email, or coming out of your mouth, stop it. Knock it off.

Kami Huyse: We’re too small to do full service anything,

Brad Farris: Even a big agency is not full service. I mean, they hire small agencies all the time to do the things that they can’t do.

Kami Huyse: That’s why they do it. I mean, they, I love what you just said there because the reason a big brand will hire you, and I’ve been hired by a lot of big brands, is because you have a specialty in something they have no idea how to do.

Yes. That’s called a specialty.

Chip Griffin: Also, I, the big brand doesn’t hire your agency. The client contact at the big brand hires you. Around and, and, and we, we tend to forget this. We think that, that we’re selling one business to. And it, part of it’s because of this whole, you know, B2B thing. There’s no such thing as b2b.

It’s, it, it’s always people to people. Right. I, I have yet to meet a corporation that actually goes out there and makes purchases on its own. It doesn’t happen.

Kami Huyse: No, I mean they, they do have a purchasing department sometimes, but if you have your purchasing…

Chip Griffin: Oh, let’s not go there. Please.

Kami Huyse: No, don’t, yeah, exactly.

What I’m saying is that the people inside

Chip Griffin: don’t ruin my Friday

Kami Huyse: They don’t wanna use the purchasing department stuff because they’re like, they don’t even understand what we need.

Chip Griffin: That’s it. Right. Yeah. If, if procurement is involved, get the heck out of the conversation. Say bye bye. I got better things to do with my life

Kami Huyse: and we’re too small for that.

And so, I mean, I was thinking the first time I was hired by a corporation, the reason I got hired by that corporation is because I was serving on a PRSA board. With the woman who ran that department and I was doing a, a magazine for one of my old clients and she wanted a internal newsletter. And she’s like, oh, you’re good at that kind of thing.

Why don’t I have you come do this for me? Right. And so yeah, that was my first huge corporate. You know, contract and then, you know, kind of things go from there. But that’s really true. It’s like this person knows you and they know you’re capable of something and they hire you.

Brad Farris: And how many conversations did you had with that person?

Kami Huyse: Oh, good lord. Exactly. I mean, and since then too, I mean, we’re having lunch next week somewhere. Yeah. So I’m just saying it’s, it’s a, a very specific thing. So you’re absolutely right. It’s about the relationship, relationship, relationship every day. And that’s really what I teach on the, on the content side, either it’s not about putting out your messages and messages and messages.

It’s about creating a, a body of work around the topics that you are an expert in so that people can get to hear how you think.

Brad Farris: Say more about that, Kami. That’s, that is really important.

Kami Huyse: Yeah. So that’s what I teach. So we talk about, like, if you think about the I really want them to have a, a very specific type of thing that, that they’re known for, you know, whatever it is.

And then we come up with, Buckets of information or categories. I think of it as, I’m a blogger, so I think of it as categories. You know, you have your blog and your blog is about the intersection between social media and public relations. Sorry, I’m just putting that out there. That was what mine was, and inside of that, then you have to think about what is it that I talk.

And on a blog you have categories and that’s how Google knows that you are good at whatever it is you’re good at or you talk with authority about whatever it is. So then I work have, have them work on categories, like set up your categories, what are those going to be? And they have to be like, you know, four to seven no more, you know, like these are the categories of things that you can talk about because I don’t know if you are like this, but there’s lots of people online that I know very well, but I have no idea what they do.

How many…

Brad Farris: they haven’t been clear about it.

Chip Griffin: And it, it’s, or, or worse, and I see this a lot, is there are agencies out there producing content that’s good content, but doesn’t speak to their expertise that they’re actually selling. Nor does it speak to the audience that they’re trying to reach.

Right. And so you need to make sure that there is a real connection between. What you’re putting forth mm-hmm. and, and who is interested in what it says about you? Because, just because you can talk about something doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to be talking about. If your, if your goal is to promote your agency. And look, I mean, this is a mistake that I’ve made in the past too.

I’ve created a lot of content mm-hmm. and it actually, I used to have a publication called Media Bullseye, Kami, I think you may have written for it.

Kami Huyse: I was very involved in that. .

Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and, and it was a, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it spoke not to the, the clients of CustomScoop, which was the company that I was running at the time.

And it was much more useful in communicating with some of my peers in the communications industry that I was interested in connecting with and having conversations with and all that kind of stuff. But it wasn’t necessarily directly beneficial to people out there trying to purchase media monitoring services on a day to day basis.

Yeah. And, and, and so it’s important to think about those kinds of things when you’re putting yourself forth as an expert so that it really resonates with the right people and, and when it really does make that sales process easier because they come in knowing how you think and how you’re gonna approach their challenge.

Kami Huyse: And you will know what their problems are.

So one of the things that I teach too is something I call the word vault and it’s where you are going out and listening to what people have to say and having those relationships and conversations like on the phone too, really important. Mm-hmm. , I often will be like, scribbling down something somebody says.

Like this is like, this is driving me crazy, blah, blah, blah, whatever. And then you write down word for word what they said. And by the way, that becomes great content. Not that you use their words, but that you take that piece of, of, of that problem, that, that whatever, and then you develop it into like content.

I think that’s really powerful and people think you’re reading their mind. Truly.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. Right now. But before we run out of time here, I do want to touch on one other piece of the, the 2023 puzzle. Because we’ve talked a lot now about how you can think about getting yourself out there in front of the right people, even in this uncertain environment that we keep talking about.

But the, the other people part, we’re selling to people, but we’re also, we’re also trying to employ people, whether they’re employees or contractors, in order to get work done for clients. Because does this no good to win all this business if we can’t service it. Going to the point that we talked about earlier, owners feeling overwhelmed, like they can’t take on new business.

So, so how do we see the talent market evolving in 2023? Is there hope? I, I mean, are, are we, are we still in a position where we think that agencies just are not gonna be able to hire? Because it’s, I mean, every agency I know is, is struggling still, even after a couple of years now, to, to find good, talented employees who are willing to work. Is that improving?

Brad Farris: I’m seeing improvement, at least in the freelance market, that the freelancers that were really booked six months ago are calling and saying, Hey, do you have anything for me? So that’s a positive sign that at least there’s some freelance talent out there if you wanna to bolster your team in that way.

And I don’t think that’s a bad way to think going into 2023. If there is a lot of uncertainty, having a little bit of flexibility in your talent pool is not a bad idea. And so pulling in some freelancers and getting some people that know you and you know them is a great way to kinda get started in 2023.

I do think that the likelihood is that the talent market is gonna open up as 2023 progresses.

Chip Griffin: Looks like Brad froze up there.

Kami Huyse: He froze. Like Brad, its like Oracle.

Chip Griffin: So we’ll, we’ll pick up in his stead while the internet demons are, are at play here. Yeah. But you know, I, I think the, you know, we’ve seen a lot of bad news in the headlines in term, particularly in the media industry with just about every media outlet it seems, laying people off left and right.

We’ve started to see it now with some of the larger agencies. Edelman just laid off a bunch of people yesterday according to reports. And so I think that is going to help the labor market overall for smaller agencies. And so the, the pain that other large organizations are experiencing can actually be to the benefit of small fry, right?

I mean, there, there’s an advantage.

Kami Huyse: Here he comes, maybe . But he, but it was really interesting to me because this last year, over 2022, that happened to me too. So I had like a employee that was poached from me from Forbes and then like laid off by Forbes, like, like within a, a couple of months. I mean, it was crazy.

So I do think that having these contractors are really important. I have like, there’s 10, I have 10 people that I work with. The vast majority of them are contractors. I think I, well, I don’t know. I, I have two employees. I have two W2 employees that are on my, on my payroll like that. And the thing is, you have like, every month you’ve got your payroll and you’ve got, you know, you’ve gotta have enough money on there to make sure that you, that you could pay them, you know? So I do like the idea that you’re paying people for the work that you actually have at that moment. That’s, I think, really powerful for a small agency, especially if you’re starting out, like you’ve never really had anybody work for you. This is the only way to go, in my opinion.

It just, it’s because it’s a lot to take on an actual an employee. I mean, an employee is like a lot because you want to make sure that you’re, you’re taking care of them, you’re making sure that their, their families are fed and that they’re, you know, all that kind of stuff. They’re kind of family to you in some many ways for that reason in a small agency anyway.

And so yeah, and, and we do, I mean, I’ve got two and we, we’ve got healthcare benefits. We’ve got like, all these things you have to deal with. So Yeah. I love that. I love the idea that you should use some contractors. Okay, now you can take over .

Chip Griffin: Well, welcome back Brad. Thanks. It was great to have you here on the show.

At least you were frozen with a smile on your face. Good. So that it wasn’t one of those awful freezes where, you know, your face is like, yeah, no, you were good. But, but yes, contractors are, are a great way to, to be able to flex up and down as long as you do so within all of the regulatory requirements, gonna get my usual disclaimer here.

I’m not a lawyer, accountant, all that kinda stuff.

Kami Huyse: Signed contracts and yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff you have to do there.

Chip Griffin: There’s a bunch of stuff. And that’s for a different show.

Kami Huyse: Where would you, I mean, I know where I get some, some of mine, but where do you find yours?

Brad Farris: Lot of referrals. There are Obviously marketplaces where you can go looking for freelancers and some are better than others.

I think that there are a lot of people reaching out to agencies right now, people who are newly laid off, or people who had good freelance businesses, but that have slowed down and vetting some of those is worthwhile. I think also networking in your local industry association is also a great way to find some freelancers.

So I, I think all those things are important.

Kami Huyse: And I found them all, all those ways. I also, whenever I ran an employment ad, I ran it on LinkedIn and it went really well. I’ve done it twice now, and it’s gone very, very well on LinkedIn.

Brad Farris: I have not had a great experience on LinkedIn, so

Kami Huyse: every time I’ve had a great experience, but I have a vetting process.

Mm-hmm. , so mine go through a vetting process and then they have to do it. They actually have to do a little test.

Brad Farris: I just, I don’t get as many applicants there as I get on others.

Chip Griffin: Really? No, my problem thinking is, is way, yeah, way too many. Generally when I’ve used LinkedIn.

Kami Huyse: But I like that they have the the filters. So like I can filter out anybody who’s not in Houston, not here, not there. I mean, I do a lot of filtering with that often.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. I mean, I, I would say in general, whether I’m hiring employees or contractors, I find them typically the same way I find clients, which is, you know, have a lot of conversations. You know, it’s one of the reasons why I’ll take a conversation with almost anybody even if I don’t think they’re someone who potentially can buy for me.

Because maybe they can refer somebody else. Yeah. Maybe, maybe they’re someone who can do some work for me somewhere down the road. Or maybe they just know somebody who can help you. So I, I mean, I’m

Kami Huyse: The more people you know the more, yeah, the more you can do. Right.

Chip Griffin: Totally. Yeah. And so these, these people who say, oh, you know, I, I’m not gonna let someone pick my brain because you know, they ought to be paying me for that.

Look, if you can’t find a way to get value out of that conversation, it’s either, I mean, for me it’s, it’s a new connection. It’s market research, it’s all sorts of things. You know, find a way to get value out of it and then you’re not gonna be afraid to have those conversations.

Kami Huyse: Do you set some time aside in your calendar each week for these kinds of calls?

Or do you just spread them all over?

Chip Griffin: I don’t have specific time because it, it comes down to what you can schedule with the person. So I, I mean, certainly I’m not gonna load my whole week up with, with just those kinds of conversations, but usually I can find. The time because they’re 20 to 30 minute conversations.

It’s not like, I mean, I certainly don’t encourage you setting aside an hour. It was my issue with what was that online service that took, took off during the pandemic, like lunch club or something like that. Yeah, yeah. And, and, and they set aside an hour, which is just dumb. Way too much time. I mean, first conversation with somebody should never be an hour.

Yeah. Ever. Agreed.

Brad Farris: I keep, I keep my calendar in such a way that there’s always space available for me to add those conversations within, but I don’t block specific times for ’em.

Kami Huyse: Yeah. Interesting. I, I’m just wondering how other people do it. I kind of do the same thing. I just take ’em when I can. Like, like right now I can’t take any like until probably I mean, it’s getting into 2023. Yeah. So it’s, it’s just because of, you know, stuff that has to be done before the end of the year. But yeah. Really interesting though that I also have found a lot of great people for specific types of project on Upwork. Mm-hmm. , I’ve done really great things up work because you can, you can really pinpoint what kind of skill sets you’re looking for and you can And you can, you know how many stars they have, how long they’ve been on the service.

Like I have found some great talent in Upwork. I also have, yep. Yeah, just putting that.

Chip Griffin: So, and that unfortunately is gonna take us to, I mean, actually it, it’s taking us way past the amount of time that we have because we, we have exceeded the 30 minutes that I try to keep this show to. So shame on us. But I think we, we created some additional value in those additional three minutes.

So I feel good about it.

Kami Huyse: I threw out some tools. People love tools.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. Absolutely. So lots of practical advice here and, and hopefully an entertaining conversation at the same time. If someone would like to learn more about you, Kami, where can they find you?

Kami Huyse: They can find me kamihuyse.com.

Chip Griffin: Do you want to spell that for folks?

Cause I, cause I didn’t prepare an onscreen graphic here. And if someone’s listening to the audio version of this, they may have a little bit of trouble with that one. No offense .

Kami Huyse: That might be true too. Actually let’s do kamichat because that’s easier. K a m i c h a t.com.

Chip Griffin: Hopefully they can spell that one.

So

Kami Huyse: KamiChat.com and it’s got all of the, all of the different social medias. I’m on everything. It’s one page with everything on it, so.

Chip Griffin: Excellent. And Brad, where can people find you?

Brad Farris: Anchor advisors.com.

Chip Griffin: Excellent. And if you’d like to learn more about SAGA, you can go to smallagencygrowth.com. If you’d like to see previous episodes of this show or all the other videos I put out, just go to smallagency.tv.

And with that, that will wrap up another successful episode of the Small Agency Talk Show. I look forward to seeing you all back here again next week, and I look forward to having you Brad and you Kami back again as soon as you’d like. So.

Kami Huyse: I thought it was gonna be December 2023!

Chip Griffin: No.

Kami Huyse: I’ll come back sooner. I promise. This’s been a crazy year, but I’ll come back sooner.

Chip Griffin: Have a great weekend everybody.

Kami Huyse: Bye,guys.

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