Why I Thought I Needed to Build an Agency and What I’ve Actually Decided to Do Instead

I’ve been running ads for about six years now really.

Jody Milward

I’ve been running ads for about six years now really. And over that time, I’ve done quite a few various niches. I’ve worked with real estate people, and I really niched into the coaching and courses space and that’s who I’ve been working with predominantly over the years. Other lead gen, haven’t really ever got into e-commerce, but as I’ve gone along, I’ve really got entrenched with things.

So with one of my clients, they’re my favoritest clients, favoritest people, and we generated a million dollars in the first nine months. It was intense, really, really busy timeframe and I was running the ads. And then I was also building the funnels as well, and also doing some of the email management and just really doing all that back online marketing stuff. So I was working with them in-house, full-time, doing all this stuff.

And this is where after some time and just realizing that working with one client all the time, while it was great, absolutely loved it, I also wanted to expand a bit. I wanted to get other clients on board and I thought I wanted to build an agency, one, because I got to the stage where I thought, “I don’t want to do all this myself. I’m exhausted. I’m actually feeling somewhat burnt out.” So I thought an agency is the key so someone else can run all the ads. Someone else can do this. I can just go off here and be the business owner.

Now, when I was doing all the learning to run an agency, I remember in one of the trainings that the person said, “You’re not here to be Jon Loomer. You’re here to be a business owner.” Now if you don’t know who Jon Loomer is, he’s a Facebook ad expert. And I remember at the time thinking, “But I want to be Jon Loomer.” I wanted to have that in-depth knowledge of ads, to know the strategies, to know the reasons why in the background, like why the data points might do this, or why the algorithms might work in a certain way. I wanted to have that kind of expert knowledge.

So for me, taking my hands off the wheel and getting other people to run ads, one, that was a challenge for me honestly. I can say that. And also you really need to make sure you have some great systems in place. So that, and this is what I’ve seen a lot of things happen with ad managers who try to make that transition to become an agency owner, is as they try to get other people on board and they don’t have the systems, they don’t have the strategies that they want people to implement. So while they’ve had their head knowledge of how to run ads and campaigns, they’ve outsourced, they’ve white labeled, they’ve got other contractors on board who do things their own way, which doesn’t always work for you. It doesn’t always work for your client. And then what else happens is they’re busy. They’ve got their own client base as well, and when things get a bit busy and crazy, you know that it’s most likely they’re going to focus on their clients rather than your clients. You’ll get a bit less attention there.

So rather than being an ad manager, you actually become a personnel manager. You’re managing the people in the team, and then it’s quite often two steps forward and then three steps back as you try to then also get a business manager on board to manage the sales, an account manager as well. So you end up going from an ads manager to a personnel manager and managing all these other aspects.

How to run facebook ads for clients

Now that is great. That works for a lot of people. Hats off, kudos to you, but not all of us are designed to be personnel managers. Not all of us are designed to manage big teams of 20 or whatever it may be. So for me, and actually for a lot of ad managers that I have spoken with over the years who’ve also had the same thought that, “Okay, I need to run an agency,” and they want to start going down that trail and they’ve got all these lead gen campaigns going out there and they’re taking call after call like seven calls a day and it’s all these unqualified leads. And then they need to … Then they hire people and then they need to keep up with this lead flow.

It does work for many people, but works for people, but not all of us are designed that way. And for me, particularly with my background of working in-house, working full-time for clients, and then knowing the intricacies, having that attention to detail, that was something that honestly, a bit of a fault probably, I couldn’t let go. So whenever I would have a client come on board, I wouldn’t just be looking at the ads. I would be going, “Okay, let’s look at your whole funnel. What’s going on with the email campaigns? What’s the open rates like over here? What’s your webinar like over here? What’s your sales process like?” So looking at all of those elements, really partnering with that client to help them to make sure everything’s running as effectively as possible because it’s … Wall ads are bringing people in. It’s not just the one and only way to make the sales. If the back end’s broken, then you can bring in all the leads in the world, but they’re not going to convert.

So having that intimate experience working with my clients, that was something that I really wanted to keep hold of, but I also know how important it is not to be a one-man band, that you do actually want to have a team. So therefore, what I’ve actually done is really condensed things so that I only have maybe one or two contractors and I have a limited number of people who come on board as clients, rather than keeping taking more and more on and then we scale up a bit. Inevitably we’ll lose clients. It’s the name of the game. It does happen for whatever reason. It’s this ebb and flow all the time and then managing your staff to come and go with you, and it can be such a challenge to try and step out of that role, especially with an agency that where people have heard that you’re great at running Facebook ads and they want to deal with you and to step out and have other people managing all that for you.

So that’s why I made the decision to step back and work intimately with some clients. And when you do that, that’s when you really specialize in, and that’s where there’s that exclusivity, that I only work with five or six clients at a time. And therefore, it’s a privilege to be able to work with me, and this is what I’m saying to you as well. If you are wanting to just have a limited number of clients, and if you wanted to charge well for your services, that it’s an exclusive opportunity for people to work with you, then that may be a much better model rather than trying to build an agency and get lead after lead after lead that you have to continue to fulfill on, that you have to continue to make sure that you’ve got team members who are on board and who are able to fulfill.

And because also contractors can cost a lot of money and that’s where you need to step back and consider: does it serve me better to charge $2000 for a client or $3000 for a client and then a percentage of ad spend or a certain price per lead, whatever it might be? Is it better to charge that, and I do it myself, with just one person supporting me? So I just have five clients paying 3000 a month, making 15 grand or having 10 or 20 clients on board where I need to therefore have an ad manager, an account manager? Is there someone who’s doing the business sales? How much are you going to be bringing in for yourself when you need to have all that additional support?

And that’s where things can really add up and you have to be very careful. If you’ve got a background with HR management, then this could be your zone of genius. That’s for sure. But if you are someone who loves working with people, you love running Facebook ads, perhaps all you need is to have one, maybe two people who support you in getting all the deliverables together, who you can train with your systems to be able to create the ads and the ad shells, because that can be such a time consuming process and leaves you up for a bit more strategy, client communication, because it’s that relationship with your client, which is golden, and just work with a lean mean profit making machine could be the better way. And for me, that’s the way that I’ve chosen. I always had my foot in two doors. Do I want to build up an agency? Do I want to get something big going, or do I want to work more intimately with clients and have a small boutique agency?

And finally, I let go of the resistance and I went, “Okay. It’s okay for me to have this small team. It’s okay. I don’t need to have this big agency. I don’t need business developers, ad account managers, ad managers,” and all the other bits and pieces that go along with it. Copywriters on hand, graphic designers on hand. I’ve decided I found people who can do the copywriting, who can do the graphic design. I found people who can support me as we run Facebook ads for clients and it’s been a much more enjoyable agency model in working in that boutique style, working where it is just me. I’m working exclusively with a small number of clients and therefore it is a premium. And that’s where I encourage you to maybe consider as well.

And I know that when you’re starting out, many ad managers may think, “Oh, I could never charge that much.” Once you get into it, once you get a bit more experience, once you get some great results for your clients and then that word of mouth is going around, that is golden as well. Word of mouth referrals as well. And therefore, there is no reason why you can’t get to a point where you are charging a good premium for your ad management services. Because remember, you are a rainmaker. You are helping people to generate revenue for their business and you’re partnering with them in that.

So that was why I said bye-bye to the traditional agency model and I’m embracing my little boutique style, where I work exclusively with a small number of clients and I just have a very, very tight niche, one or two people on board to help with all of that as well. So I hope that has helped alleviate some questions that you may have, some struggles that you may have about what you need to do or what you should do. It’s your business, your decisions, you create the business that you like, that you want so that you can create the lifestyle that you want.


I love to share practical information to help you improve your skills, learn something new or help you avoid the mistakes that many Ad Managers and I have made to help fast-track you on your journey as a well-paid and in-demand Ad Manager.