What is the Next Right Step to Grow Your Service-Based Business into an Agency?

Updated: Mar 17

Are you a creative or consultant and feeling stalled in your business growth? Want to scale your service-based business into a lean agency but don’t know where to start?

You have this innate feeling that there are better systems and processes to take you where you want to go — but you’re stuck in place, unable to see the first step forward.

I know what it’s like to have larger-than-life plans for your business, always looking far into the future at where you want to go. When I started my business seven years ago, I wanted to become the go-to consultant for creative and marketing agencies looking to scale their services and/or team. Over the years, I’ve worked with over 50 business owners, some of whom still work with me today, as we’ve scaled their businesses into multiple six then seven figures.

Maybe you have similar dreams for your business. And maybe, like some of my clients, you’re facing a major problem: you know where you want to go, but you have no idea how to get there.

If that’s you, know that there are three stages of growth when scaling up your creative or consultancy business: Service Provider, Trusted Advisor and Lean Agency.

Getting from one stage to the next is a constant challenge for freelancers and agency owners alike — but it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re a freelancer, you might not know how to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

As a trusted advisor, you might bump up against capacity issues, unable to take on more work without doubling your hours.

For new agency owners, you might struggle to build systems that allow you to get out of day-to-day operations.

Sound familiar?

Wherever you are in your business development journey, one thing is true: growing pains are real. But with the right support and systems, you gain the focus, clarity, and momentum it takes to accelerate your growth.

I’ve worked with clients who have been ruminating for years, spinning their wheels without getting ahead. Even after working with other advisors and strategists, they couldn’t gain the traction they needed to propel their business forward. That’s where I come in: I bring a level of insight and provide clear, actionable steps for growth.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, take a look at these three scenarios to find out where you’re at — and where you’re headed — in your business growth.

You’re a Service Provider building a name for yourself.

You’re a freelance creative or consultant starting to build out your client list.

As a Service Provider, you have valuable services to offer but getting your name in front of the right people is an ongoing challenge.

You charge per hour or per project, and you’re making a living off your work, but you want a more stable income stream and to amplify demand for your services.

Maybe you just left the corporate world to give yourself more freedom and flexibility. Or maybe you’ve been freelancing for a while, and you’re unsure of where to go next. You’re great at what you do — and your clients know it — but you know you could be doing more. You need guidance on how to build out valuable service packages and become an established expert in your field.

You’re a Trusted Advisor who wants to work less for more.

As a Trusted Advisor in your industry, clients come to you specifically for creative or consultant work.

You have packages (or many!) and need a productized service to scale. You’re a cut above an everyday freelancer — your clients and peers see you as an expert in your field.

Your expertise shows in the steady stream of work you have flowing in, but you’re struggling to keep up. You want to take on more, but you have little or no systems and processes to support your growth. You’re nearing capacity, you’re overwhelmed by work, and you don’t know how to accept more clients without increasing your hours.

You need help establishing systems, processes and operations-thinking to scale up your business.

You’ve started up a Lean Agency and want to step out of the day-to-day.

You’ve taken your experience as a trusted expert, and you’re ready to build a business that’s bigger than just you.

With a Lean Agency, you’re able to take on more clients, provide more value and maximize your earning potential — all while reducing the time you spend on daily operations.

You’ve spent the last few years working in your business, and now you want to work on your business as a visionary leader.

But first, you need to build a team you trust to take care of your clients. Your ultimate goal: a long-term, profitable business that can thrive when you take time away.

Chances are you recognize yourself in one of those scenarios…and each stage requires different actions to grow.

You don’t arrive at one place, and then the work is done. You arrive at a new place and discover that it requires a whole new level of both being and doing.

Yes, that’s what makes this journey exciting and frustrating. But when you don’t have the clarity on what the being or doing is, you can spend a long time spinning the wrong wheels.

That’s why I created the Business Growth Chart for freelancers and consultants who want to focus on the right next step to grow a service-based business into an agency.

After seven years of working with service providers to grow their agencies to multiple six and seven figures, I’ve learned that there are concrete things you can do at each stage of development.

What stage are you at? What is the right next step for you? Click this link to download the Free Business Growth Chart.