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Remote office spillly

A Remote Office? Nevermind.

By Business Business Management Coaching Culture Entrepreneur No Comments

Remote office spilllyOver the past few months I have viewed and read countless opinion-based articles on the future of the office and how the last industrial revolution lead to what we now know as the brick ‘n mortar office. The problem is not with the point of view and insights but the repetitive nature and onslaught of the “experts” in the space. Like most offices, it’s all rather dull. The silver lining to Covid for some, including myself, has been the time to think and learn new skills outside of our comfort zones. I have rediscovered music and burned countless hours watching Rick Beato’s “Everything music” on YouTube [check him out!]

I have perhaps forgotten how much I love some good old rock ‘n roll and time at home has given me this luxury back. So now, for your entertainment and education please find a piece on the future of office that doesn’t suck, subtitled “If offices were rock bands!”

Drum roll please…

All one needs to produce a great rock song is a red guitar, three chords and the truth. Unfortunately producing a great remote working environment for a *service-based business is a tad more complicated and requires 5 stages of refinement.

  1. On stage one: Status Quo.

A band whose name literally means the current state of affairs was a formulaic rock band previously called The Scorpions before they renamed themselves in 1969. This band had no rock star mystique and what you see is what you get. We have all heard some of their songs, but I bet you couldn’t name them or even tell me if I played you one if it was a Status Quo song or not. They released 33 Albums [33!] and the only song that comes to mind is ‘Rockin’ all over the world [1977]. Like Status Quo, there are offices all over the world and even though they are prolific, they are what some might say, stale.

The Status Quo Office:

The Status Quo of offices are as we know them; non-deliberate, with no real move towards a decentralized system. Their knowledge workers can work away from the office for a day or 2 without leaving a major impact but the organization can’t function with team members being “absent” from their place of work for extended period of time. If you are happy to have staff off on sick leave or leave for a few days at a time, but need them back to work and are focused on bums in seats, then you are Francis Rossi, the lead singer from Status Quo: dull, stuck and now, irrelevant.

Status Quo was large format stadium rock. You could hide in the stadium just like your team “hides” by just being present in the crowd. Counted for, but not counted on.

From an employee’s perspective there is so much out of their control that it’s often constraining. One can’t control the room temperature, the shared toilets, no pets or pets, fresh air and windows, the smells, the talking of people over you, the kitchens, the shared fridges and the inconsideration of others.

 

  1. On stage 2: Linkin Park

What do you get when you take heavy metal music and combine it with other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, EDM, funk, industrial, and grunge and then throw in some singing, rapping, screaming and growling? Nü metal. And nobody did Nü metal better than Chester Bennington and the guys in Linkin Park. This is obviously my opinion, but I’m absolutely right! At first, their songs were 20% samples 80% instruments, and later was more like 60% samples and 40% instruments.

Linkin Park took elements from the big bands that came before them; Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, U2 and Korn and mashed them together to define a new sound that was timeous to the milieu. It was new, but it was just old thinking crushed together to make a new sound that filled stadiums. God, I miss Chester.

 

The LP office:

The Linkin Park of offices is simply recreating the office but online, trying to keep the past but doing it remotely. In the Linkin Park office you are now adopting some new technologies but still think time-based delivery and a factory model of online and inline office production work. In this group you are actually less productive as an organization than when you had an actual office. The processes, procedures and policies are just copied and pasted across the interwebs with no thought about the changed landscape and new efficiencies and frictions. You are still tracking where staff ARE.

Culture will be dramatically impacted here if an overhaul in the way you think doesn’t happen and you don’t love George, Ringo, John and Paul.

 

  1. On stage 3: The Beatles

Ok, ok, they may not be hard rock, but they were definitely “year one” of rock ‘n roll and pathed a way to so many great bands that followed and imitated them. They wrote their own songs and played their own instruments. Were they great musicians? Probably not the best but here’s where innovation trumps skill and their styles changed with the times and dominated every genre.

Yesterday” is the most recorded song of all time recorded more than 1,600 times by acts as diverse as Frank Sinatra and Boyz II Men. It easy to copy and works with the audience.

The Beatles reached a dizzying, gargantuan level of popularity and success that we had not seen before and have not seen since. They released the first “concept” album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” in 1967 and is almost certainly the most influential recording in popular music of the second half of the 20th Century.

When they stopped touring in 1966, they thought of the brilliant idea of sending videos on tour instead of themselves in order to promote their singles. Their promo videos, specifically “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”, are considered to be among the first “music videos.”

The Beatles office:

Necessity breeds invention and offices at The Beatles level take full advantage of the medium. This is where we start seeing synchronous meetings and smarter tech usage. The factory model of the previous industrial revolution is being disassembled and rebuilt. It is also typically where the business starts investing in better equipment and is starting to look at outcomes rather than inputs. Your organization is 100% laptop based and cloud hosted and is investing in the written word and increased written word quality.

The remote thinking has been replaced with a decentralized rational. Your people will be able to move houses, tweak furniture, buy equipment, upgrade their internet, and otherwise adapt to being more productive in a distributed environment than they ever could be in an office. Products and services are being perfected all around the world that will make it even better. It’s exciting to see how this decentralized model will improve the majority of people’s quality of life, and unlock incredible creativity and innovation at work.

The Beatles level will most importantly require a very different management style with more personal check ins and culture dipsticks in order to keep a closer eye on staff welfare as you can’t see the physical cues of staff in the office. The staff that have been dust on your shelf [read; lazy and unproductive] protected by the dark, now have early morning sunshine sprinkled all over them and it’s clearer now more than ever, who should stay and who should go. [See what I did there?]

 

On stage 4: Led Zeppelin

 

Led Zep were the definitive story tellers with the most harmonized percussion, voice and guitars. They were 1st and may never be repeated. This is why 50 years later, kids still talk about The Zep with Stairway to Heaven being one of the most recognizable songs ever. What is crucial to recognize here is that Led Zeppelin had a jazz-like asynchronicity something you can feel in a “Whole lotta love.”

Zeppelin was the right band at the right time and understood production and harnessed the studio’s potential to make a super-grandiose sort of hard rock with mystical overtones. John Bonham recognised as one the greatest drummers, kept the group together. They were the start of a music genre copied and envied by generations.

The Zep office:

Things go asynchronous, with people all not online at the same time. KPIs are judging WHAT they produce and not HOW or WHEN they produce. The global workforce start using a clean “baton hand off” between time zones and skills, delivering work in a third of the time, a Status Quo office can, in the designated traditional 9-hour day. You start intentionally hiring from the global talent pool with teams only in 2-3 time zones on a 24-hour production cycle.

In the Led Zep environment, there are less meetings and more time to be thoughtful with a higher level of critical thinking. There is a massive move towards a meritocracy supported by sophisticated online security and processes. People behave like trusted stakeholders and not employees. There is nowhere to hide now, and the stars shine brightly on centre stage. At this level, most companies have outsourced hardware already and trust the software to protect them and their privacy.

On the main stage: Nirvana

 

Firstly, and some may say most importantly, Kurt, Chris and Dave saved the world from hair metal. Nirvana helped get a whole new genre of music out into the mainstream and certainly changed an entire generation by tapping into a new Zeitgeist. There are few flawless albums in the history of hard rock that hit me the way Nevermind did. After Nevermind nothing was the same. On Nevermind, everything just seems right, this album is perfect end-to-end, from the first sounds of Smells Like Teen Spirit to the soothingly simple but haunting final chords of Something in the Way. It was a new way, a brand-new thinking and once you saw this you could not unsee it. The death of Kurt Cobain crystalized a moment in time that can always be reflected back on a change in the path of music for many. Kind of like Covid-19 has done for so many now.

The Teen Spirit office:

The word “Nirvana” divorced from the band, speaks directly to the almost unachievable. It is an idyllic state or place in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. [Thank Wiki.] Something the current Zeitgeist is longing after, something that is not achievable in Status Quo office cubicles.

In the Nirvana workspace your business is doing better work than any office-based business could imagine

In Nirvana you can design your environment around health and wellness and exercising when it suits you. The old school HR department no longer indexes on time spend at the desk but will now focus entirely on output and quality. There are no questions about how or where you do the work and employers have no idea where their staff are hour to hour.

Dear team, there is nowhere to hide. In Status Quo there was ‘something in the way’ we worked that gave office staff a place to hide by being present [in the meeting, first to the office and last to go home,] dressing well and having a louder voice etc. It certainly appeared that these employees were delivering work and adding value, when they actually weren’t.

In Nirvana, just like Kurt, you can be socially awkward with no impact while now being recognised as the most productive, most creative and best thinking contributor who actually delivers valuable output.

The workforce and workspace is 100% distributed with organisational knowledge being hosted centrally on an internal “Wiki” with answers to FAQs and best of breed solutions to prior questions resolved in the org. Think internal Google alerts. A full work day is no longer 9-5 and people get paid for their own efficiencies and working smarter, meaning fast people work less and get paid as much as the slower people but can do more, output more and earn more.

I hope that people’s biases are removed in the new decentralized spaces where the work is being measured and not the people. Nirvana is a place where an organization’s communication is read with a positive intent first, so tone is never miscommunicated. Language and text will become human and kind, and audio is preferred over email, in fact, there is no space for email in Nirvana.

In Daniel Pink’s book “Drive,” he refers to three layers of an employee’s motivation and believes that if companies can give these three elements to their employees then the organization will thrive with happy, productive staff and clients:

  • Mastery – Are you able to get better at your job and can you accomplish your work?
  • Autonomy –Do you have the freedom and agency to control your environment to do work as effectively as possible?
  • Purpose –  Are you working for something bigger than your job, bigger than yourself or pay check – something that motivates you intrinsically?

None of these rely on an office.

“A common misconception about company culture is that if you have a good one, you have to hold on to it. I believe this to be wrong. If you want to have a great culture, the trick is to evolve it forward with your environment. Take the best things with you from version to version. Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.” – A tweet from Tobi Lutke, founder and CEO of Shopify.

The office; where most meetings are a waste of time, where the rumour mill and politics thrive, where proximity breeds contempt and where the old culture is protected. Yes, some firms and people will return to physically co-working with relative strangers, and some employers velcroed to the past will force people to go to brick n mortar offices, but the illusion that the office was about work has been shattered forever, and companies that hold on to that legacy thinking will be replaced by businesses who embrace the durable nature of distributed organizations.

@Spillly

Like all great musicians who were inspired by those before them, I have blatantly borrowed [and mixed] some thinking from Matt Mullenweg, Stephan Wolfram, Sam Harris, Tobias Lütke, Tracey Brower, Prof. Scott Galloway, Daniel Pink, Jo Meunier, Wikipedia and Rick Beato to produce this piece. *It’s also a sidebar but this all really only applies to organisations that sell knowledge and are not reliant on assets outside of laptops to deliver products.

I’m thrilled about the Covid Lockdown extension | A sales strategy for fearless leaders with cash.

By Business Business Management Coaching Entrepreneur Motivation Strategy No Comments

For the audio of this blog click here

 

 

10 April 2020

Dear you,

Covid overload. Death tolls. Minimalism. Flattened curves. Acts of kindness. Memes. Screen fatigue. Emotional health. Conspiracy theories. Short-termism. Existential crisis. Lead generation webinars disguised as support networks. Oh, woe is me. Dick-stain Trump. I’m over this pandemic. Over the panic. Over waiting for the financial pain to come, but then so is your opposition and perhaps substantially more so. If you have money in the bank today, you may have a life raft. Now all you need is a way to paddle into prosperity.

Now, here is the part that you may not like. It may even turn you off a little. Get someone to hold back your hair while you throw up. Look away if you are scared. Be afraid of what I’m about to say:

Kill your opposition. Ensure they are drowning in the freezing shark infested waters of despair. Don’t pretend you give a shit, you don’t.

The lockdown extension is a blessing. Your glib, living the Instagram best life bastard-of-an-opponent that’s been sipping Champagne on the top deck of the Titanic and is always at the pitch table too, is most likely leveraged to the hilt, geared to kingdom come and not making payments on those gas guzzling German cars he/she couldn’t afford to buy cash. They have no life raft. Let them drown.

Your competition has bled all their cash and not acted quickly enough. They never booked a dingy. They have recently ruined their relationships with their own clients fighting over payments and pauses. Post lockdown, they desperately need to protect margin to keep the shareholders, the stakeholders, the sharks and the banks at bay. Why not learn and adopt a sales strategy from some of the most aggressively growing business in the world today? And it’s an uncomplicated one. Ready?

 

Don’t make a profit.

 

That’s it. Simple. For the next 6 months learn to live on the knife-edge of cash flow and zero profit and if today you have the stomach for this and some cash in the bank, sell at below cost and see how quickly the competition capsizes. Nobody can compete with zero margins when they are encumbered to others.

Pitch on everything at break-even. Land grab. Offer the competitions’ clients a life raft now. They too, are looking for deals as they have suffered and need support and cheap services. Brag ashamedly about your company’s stability, durability and reliability and ensure the market knows you will survive future traumas together. Unscathed.

The rich businesses will get richer and the majority middle class may be wiped out. Ephemeral thinking is for the middle class. Being eager to claw back profits now will flatten your oppositions curve. Why offer them a lifeboat to cling to when you can chum the waters?

@Spillly

 

Thanks to my editor at large @TheJoLurie

 

Start a Movement, Make It Public and Embrace Failure.

By Business, Business Coaching, Coaching, Culture, Motivation, Motor Bikes No Comments

During the past few public speaking gigs I have been fortunate enough to have presented, it’s become so clear to me, than every person, regardless of being a business owner or employee, needs to own page 1 of Google, if searched for by name.

I started Business, Bikes and Breakfast as a pet project, an experiment, a fun day out in February 2019 with nothing more than an idea, an Instagram page and some cool images stolen of the interwebs. Its now reached hundreds of people and is gaining momentum both in the paid for coaching events as well as the free social rides. This is my movement. This is my culture. This is my expertise and this is me owning my narrative and Google page 1!

Here is what I believe in:

  • START A MOVEMENT
  • MAKE IT PUBLIC
  • EMBRACE YOUR FIRST FOLLOWERS AS LEADERS AND PARTNERS
  • EMBRACE FAILURE [and keep improving!]

Very simple in nature and way more difficult in practise. I’ve started a community, which is hard, but hugely satisfying.

In the years to come, it will be these communities and events that will give me pleasure, not give me regrets and will the things I’ve done in life I’m most proud of on the business front.

There are a few other lessons learned here too:

  1. Double niche [Entrepreneurs who own bikes].
  2. Allow the community to contribute and change the way you operate in some way.
  3. Document the hell out of the events.
  4. Share content and let the community become your ambassadors and influencers.
  5. Fail publicly, you wont regret it.

If you want to find out more, drop me an email or Whatsapp.

Enjoy some of the images below from the 2nd BBBRAP social ride in Jo’burg on the 16th February. [All the cool ones are thanks to Richard Harper]

 

Social Truths – A Master Class on Social Media Strategy and Content

By Agency Business Innovation Social Media Strategy No Comments

“Transparency may be the most disruptive and far-reaching innovation to come out of social media.”

Many brands and business are on social media. Why? Because they feel they have to be. In this master class we will take a reflective view as to why you are on social media, what exactly you are trying to achieve and what does success look like. If you’re an agency running social media on behalf of brands, a brand running your own social media or a business with your own social media channels, then let us help you look at your social media truths and execute your social media according to a strategic plan.

Social Media is not just another marketing channel, but where you can have meaningful conversations with your customers, potential customers and people who are interested in your brand. Social media enables you to humanize your brand, drive brand advocacy and referrals, but can also open you up to risk if not managed properly.

COURSE OUTLINE

The HALF day hands-on practical Master class will feature sessions that include:

  • Why Social Media

○An overview of the landscape and best practice per channel

  • Structuring a social media team

○How to effectively set up a social media team and with what skill set

  • How to plan and deliver on campaign strategies

○A simple tool that will allow you to plan, deliver and measure results

  • Mapping out your social media strategy and content plan

○We will do a practical plan on how to map this out for your channels

  • Resources to help you manage and execute on your social media

○Accessible tools to help you manage your social media

  • When should you use influencers

○The good, the bad and the ugly

  • Paid media

○An overview of getting visibility beyond organic algorithms

Most importantly, this workshop shows how how to position yourself on social media, understanding how to structure and set up your team, as well as creating content that’s right for your brand.

HOW WILL YOU BENEFIT?

On the day, you will be taken through a program that looks at your existing social media channels and how you can improve on them by taking a step back, rethinking your team, your resources as well as how you plan content effectively.

This investment should enable you to run your social media effectively, which in turn drives benefits for your business whether it being positive sentiment or driving leads.

This will be an informal but interactive day. All participants are encouraged to participate,

ask questions and make observations from their own perspectives and experiences. There will also be practical activities to ensure you walk way with useful implementation plans on running and executing your social media effectively and efficiently.

IDEAL NUMBER AND PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

Maximum 20 participants

The course content is universally relevant to all businesses, regardless of industry or size and will help a freelancer, community manager or a corporate marketer come to grips and plan their future social media requirements.

COST OF WORKSHOP:

The total fee for this process is R4699 per participant INCLUDING VAT. This includes refreshments, breakfast, as well as any materials provided on the day.

WHO IS DELIVERING THE CLASS?

Elena is a seasoned publishing, content, social media and digital marketing professional. Previously head of social media and content at Aqua (now Wunderman) she now consults to numerous agencies and brands. At the forefront of social media marketing in London in 2010, Elena has gone on to clock up career highlights such as establishing the MTN Group’s social media policies, guidelines and strategies across 22 Opcos; as well as creating a social media command centre for a global beverage company.

Known locally to many agencies as a secret weapon to bed down new clients (on-boarding teams, setting up policies and guidelines, writing strategies), she is also adept at working direct with clients to manage their agencies.

Brent Spilkin over the past 7 years has helped over 150 advertising, media, marketing, PR, digital, software, branding and content businesses and their owners develop, manage crisis, strategize and flourish. He has clients throughout South Africa, Israel, The United Kingdom and The United States that now generate over two billion Rands worth of annual sales revenue. His mini-MBA text book is now lectured through reputable private tertiary colleges. He is a loud-mouthed, tech-adopting, motorcycle-riding business coach who won’t settle for mediocrity.

He has an endless supply of hope when it comes to the resurrection of a beautiful, successful South Africa in which he wants to live and thrive.

BOOK TICKETS HERE:

https://qkt.io/WsjJPD

Get. Shit. Done.

By Business Business Coaching Coaching Entrepreneur Mentoring Motivation No Comments

The single biggest contributor to success in a business is your attitude towards everything and everyone and your ability to Get Shit Done.

As a business owner you are responsible for multiple tasks and responsibilities and GSD applies to every aspect of your business. Getting Shit Done entails asking questions when you are unsure and learning from the process and your mistakes. Getting Shit Done is believing in urgency, excellence and delivery. GSD is often referred to as “Hustle” but it’s more than that in your business. It’s the grit, the mental toughness, your emotional capacity and your passion to be recognised for greatness, recognised for always delivering what you said you would, on time, on budget and without fuss.

 

Constant improvement and putting in the extra effort with suppliers, staff and clients alike will pay off in more than just dividends; you will attract and retain better quality, higher paying clients and MATTER to the people your business touches.

 

Set your goals, push the boundaries, and achieve success and always over-deliver. Copy Paste. Copy Paste. Copy Paste.

 

Getting Shit Done means you do the work you dread, submit the taxes your hate, have the hard conversations with your stakeholders, the harder conversations with your clients and the most difficult conversations with yourself.

 

Your talent will only take you so far, but the ability to learn the skills required to grow an organisation of one, that will get the important tasks done professionally, deal with clients maturely and communicate effectively is what will set your business apart from your talented peers.

 

Having a high GSD factor will allow you to work on the big picture and vision in small bite-sized achievable chunks, looking at the long road ahead and never feeling that it’s too far to go. Building your GSD factor is work. It needs to be developed and exercised like any other muscle in your body. If you keep pushing yourself to do the hard things, the hard things become easier and you build tolerance to them and this will allow you to grow through the mental barriers you had subconsciously set yourself. Achieve more.

 

Getting Shit Done means you question everything. Question your processes. Question your clients. Question your prices. Question yourself. Will power ebbs and flows and your motivation levels will never be at 110% every damn day so stick to a schedule. Be regimented in everything you do and avoid distractions that are shoved in your path every minute. Get off Social media. Stop reading rubbish and only consume for improvement. Get off social media. Learn from the best that have done it and have the most valuable lessons to learn. Get off social media. Set small habits and expand on them over time. If you want to cheat then make it part of the habit and routine. Cheat only when your calendar says you can.

 

Consistency is the fuel of getting shit done. Pick a pace and tone that works for you and your clients and be consistent in everything you do from the way you answer your phone to the automation and frequency of raising your invoices.

 

Starting a business is easy. Growing a business is painful. Growing a great business is extremely tough and takes resilience. Getting Shit Done is Godly. Your clients, suppliers and consumers will not remember the work you delivered in the months and years to come. They will remember the way you delivered the work, your level of professionalism, the way you presented yourself and how you communicated with them at all touch points in their business.

 

Getting Shit Done is what will make your business a success. Getting Shit Done is what will make you a success. Get. Shit. Done.

WeWork host the August edition of Business, Bikes and Breakfast

By Business, Business Coaching, Coaching, Entrepreneur, Motivation, Motor Bikes One Comment

The Jo’burg team at WeWork helped successfully pull off the coaching element of last week’s Business Bikes and Breakfast event!

The prior months group voted on “Social media strategy” as the August theme and after doing a fun ice breaker event on top of Northcliff Hill we pulled into the Link building [scaring the security guards] where coffee and coaching was served!

All pics by Brandon

Business, Bikes and Breakfast – a Radical Accountability Program. Jo’burg April 2019.

By Business Coaching Lifestyle Mentoring Motivation Motor Bikes Photography No Comments

This month 10 business owners shared insights into their big ambitious business goals and how to start with a strategy to deliver this.

Some of the tools used included a Value Proposition canvas and a customer window matrix.

Unsure what these are? Contact us to find out more brent@spillly.com

All pics with love from Brandon.hinton.jpeg

Business, Bikes and Breakfast Radical Accountability Program #BBBRAP 1 Feb. 19

By Business Coaching Mentoring Motivation Motor Bikes Public Speaking No Comments

Business, Bikes and Breakfast Radical Accountability Program #BBBRAP 1 Feb. 2019

After months of planning and building the methodology, the first Business Bikes and Breakfast Radical Accountability Program was held on 1 February with 14 delegates each riding their motorcycle our from Parkhurst, Johannesburg to Parys in the Free State.

It rained. It rained a lot. Let’s be clear, it was wet but the riders were in good spirit even after half the crew took the wrong highway off ramp and got lost on a dirt road that was not ideal for Harleys and Ducati Panigales.

Breakfast and coffee was served at the Dog and Fig Brewery just outside of Parys whereafter the group coaching program was facilitated by Brent Spilkin, aka, Spillly.

The program started with a fun introductory and memory exercise and some deep reflection on 2018, the year gone by. After this some perspective was given on the highs and lows of their year, we ran planning and deliberation on what 2019.

Using the #BBBRAP redline worksheet, each biker looked at their personal lives and business life and devised 4 crucial plans to improve these over 4 periods. These were shared, under no obligation with the rest of the participants, leaving pride off the table and vulnerability in the open.

It was a new experience for all with friends and memories being made as well as driving away with some clarity and purpose for the coming months.

Here is what a few delegates said:

“Over all a really open and vulnerable experience. Spillly also has a way of communicating in a way that makes sense to me plus invites me to get to down to the ‘nitty gritty’ if where the challenges lie…in me!!! Great way to meet new people. Often those people are a mirror to your own experiences, both personally and professionally, so you kind of all help each other out.”

_______________________

“Spillly helped me finally put a strategic plan-to-action down to paper on things that had been dwelling in the back of my head for months – such a refreshing and inspiring way to start the year. That’s for not only being a good coach Spillly, but a friend in this process too.”

_______________________

“This platform allowed me to reevaluate aspects of my life from a personal and business perspective and in turn, opened my mind to making positive changes. Best of all, I was able to do it with like-minded business people.”


Each Biker walked away with some insight into themself and appreciated taking the time out the office to focus on growth and improvement across all elements of their life! They also had a working document to reflect back on, as well as a few stickers and a unique BBBRAP poster for the days ride.

Friends were made and bonds of trust established – all crucial for the next ride out on 1 March 2019!

“REFLECT | WRITE | PLAN | SHARE

Here are a few images of the day thanks to Joe at Bonafide Studios.

The top 8 things advertising agencies should be doing to build their business models around freelancers

By Business Coaching Freelance Mentoring No Comments

Not too long ago, agencies hid freelancers behind the curtain as they quietly pumped out work. Today, success requires you to view freelancers as strategic assets. With the growing gig economy and technology making it so easy to work remotely, it is becoming irrelevant whether
a worker is a freelancer or belongs to permanent staff. Clients do not care who does the job — they want to know you have the experts available to produce quality work on time and within budget.

Here’s why you need to create a freelancer strategy

Many agencies look to freelancers to provide cost-effective, quick labour. However, if you do not manage freelancers appropriately, they can cost more time and money than you realise. It takes time to find them, manage them, and to fix their work if something goes wrong. These hours add up and take away from your margins.

When you hire freelancers correctly, i.e. build them into your business model, your bottom line will benefit from the consistently superb quality work they produce. Freelancers add value. Most projects need a team of experts, and few (if any) agencies can have them all on their staff. Additionally, the best talent for the project may not be available locally.

Freelancers help you reduce overheads, increase specialisation and improve service levels. Providing higher-quality output and lower costs to clients is why you should be gearing your agency towards operating via freelance talent.

Developing an arsenal of trusted freelancers, who are well-coached in your company culture, and creating systems for scaling, can help your agency grow without straining your budget or sacrificing quality. Here are the top 8 things your agency should do to build your business model around freelancers:

1. Have a wide bench of talent

Instead of the same teams hiring the same freelancers, ensure you have a wide choice of freelancers on the bench which any team can access when they need specific talent.

 2. Consider their rates, as well as their ratings & reputation

 Thoroughly vet talent until you can trust their work is up to scratch and that they know how to deliver what you expect. Contact your peers to chat to them about their experiences with some of the freelancers you are considering adding to your bench of talent, or use online freelance resources where they are rated by the companies who have hired them before.

 3. Develop relationships with them

 To improve work consistency, shorten ramp-up time and minimise costs, build relationships with your go-to freelancers and ensure you always have a reliable pool of talent on hand.

4. Let freelancers know they are assets

You are hiring freelancers to add value, so treat them like they are valuable. To benefit from cost-effective, high-quality results, your freelancers must feel that their talent and experience are beneficial to your team.

5. Give them all the information they need

When a freelancer is empowered with all the information they need for a project, they become more dedicated and willing to collaborate on making said project successful. You can further assist them to develop a deeper understanding of the client and project by including them in relevant meetings and connecting them to the right people to answer their questions.

6. Communicate expectations clearly

 Be upfront about what the work entails, what the deliverables are, and what success looks like for you. On the other side of the coin, invite the freelancer to express their expectations too, so that you know what they will be billing, have an idea of their availability, and any other essential details which may affect the project.

7. Bring contractors onboard earlier

 Before your pitch to a new client / for a new project, bring your freelancers onboard to help shape the project scope with their specific expertise and assist in defining what success looks like, as well as to better estimate the rate your agency will charge for the work you are pitching.

8. Give them access to your tools

From day one, give your freelancers access to your collaboration tools, such as Asana or Slack. This promotes open communication, which helps them resolve issues efficiently and hold each other accountable.

The bottom line for agencies hiring freelancers is to find the best possible talent and use them wisely. By building a contingent workforce into your business model, you can increase your agency’s immediate margins and ensure that the value of what you are offering grows over time.