It’s been a full year since Jack and I joined forces to open our own agency, The Social Shepherd (‘The Social Stephenson’ just didn’t have the same ring to it!).
We’ve been busily beavering away on campaigns for the past year and are finally ready to launch our website, so we feel it’s an opportune time to share some of the ‘lessons’ we’ve learnt from our first year of business.
Two heads are better than one
Becoming a ‘business owner’ is terrifying – especially on your own. Knowing that you’re not alone is a big help. Working across multiple clients, both on retained and project work means tight deadlines and long days. Before we took on our fantastic staff, there were a lot of late caffeine-fuelled nights, but having another person there for help and motivation was what really got us through.
Learning from mistakes
It’s been a big learning experience. We haven’t always got it right, but when we’ve got it wrong, we’ve been able to take something positive from the experience to help tackle the next challenge. Most problems can be solved by working pragmatically and methodically.
Time is money
We’ve both sat through countless meetings in the past and thought: Why has it taken 2 hours to discuss something that should take five minutes? So we decided to ‘cut the fluff’. Easier said than done, but when it comes to decision-making, adopting a practical, no-nonsense approach usually gets the job done much quicker.
We know it’s boring, but developing and fine-tuning sound business practices and processes make it easier for clients to work with us, deliver better service and help get the results we really want to see.
The good, the bad and the ugly
Of course, we’re big believers in Social Media, but we understand that with the pros comes cons. As a way to drive revenue and reach new and bigger audiences, it’s incredibly effective, however, there are downsides too, mostly affecting consumers. The unrealistic expectations set by Instagram and Facebook data breaches are just two examples of that. As a result, we’ve put in place a few house rules (maybe I’ll share these in a later blog!) to ensure we never promote anything that adds to the negative aspects of social and we try to raise awareness of the issues in-house. After all, the more aware we are of the negatives, the more we can do something about them.
So, that pretty much sums up what we’ve learnt in our first year of business. While there’s been a steep learning curve with a few setbacks along the way, we’ve also had a lot of fun. Most importantly, we’ve learnt how important it is to have a real sense of pride in what we do, both for us and for our clients. We’re very excited to see what the next year of business has in store for us… without a doubt there’ll be plenty more lessons to learn!