Building – Week 1

It’s been a while since I posted an update about building my agency, Hidden Link Studios. So I’m redoing the format to a weekly review that is published every Friday. Doing daily reviews just didn’t seem to work since most days were/are filled with client fulfillment. I’ve also decided to bundle everything that I’m building into one post versus just the agency. So this will be Week 1.

I said I was going to be transparent about the entire process. And I’ve realized I never gave a full introduction about Hidden Link Studios. So here’s a quick rundown. If you don’t care about the backstory, feel free to skip to the line ————.

I originally came up with the agency back in September 2019. 

In October, I went on a mastermind workshop and to be completely honest, wasn’t what I expected to be. I met some great people and took a few tidbits of information. But the workshop wasn’t worth the price that I paid.

Fast forward to January 2020 and that’s when I officially began taking this agency seriously. Then, COVID-19 had taken the U.S. by storm and put a wrench into growing the agency. I personally did not feel that it would make sense to try to sell at the beginning of this pandemic.

And now, here we are… the week of June 15, 2020.

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A few updates since my last post:

  1. Brought on our first team member. He’s going to help with client fulfillment for SEO and web design services.
  2. We’ve brought on another web design project that was referred to us by someone in our network.
  3. Completed another website project for a renowned Michelin star chef.
  4. Preparing for the launch of Las Vegas Guides.

Lesson #1: Set expectations with everything

Now that we have our first team member, other than myself, it’s been an eye-opening experience on how to manage another person again. Since I’ve been freelancing for a year now, I’ve forgotten about the time needed to train and manage another team member.

He’s already hit the ground running and taken a lot of work off of my plate, but the communication is constantly there. So I’m getting accustomed to being contacted on a consistent basis, again. 

I’ve begun to set boundaries and expectations when it comes to the team. My schedule is now: 

  • Monday, Wednesday, & Friday are the days I have meetings.
  • Tuesday & Thursday are dedicated to deep work.

Of course, I’ll still communicate daily with team members. However, meetings are reserved for the days I mentioned.

But, setting expectations isn’t just limited to team members, it also is needed with clients.

With the web design project that we’ve recently brought on, I’ve realized I failed to set expectations. Before the client signed, we had an outline with timelines and expected dates of completion. When the client signed, the timeline got burned to shit and was pushed forward by two weeks. Given the fact that we are just starting out, we couldn’t turn down this project.

Our original plan was to redesign her current website. However, it was unclear whether or not we were allowed to use a theme to accelerate the website build. 

Typically with themes, we will have the client select a theme and we will implement. However, since we didn’t set the expectations, we are now scrambling to find a theme and will purchase out of our own pockets.

Lesson #2: Time management is tough

Time management was already tough for me. My plate had reached its capacity and my to-do list continued to grow quickly, all while it was taking me longer to check off one item. Let’s just say, since my last update its been a non-stop sprint. 

Now throw in a team member that requires a lot of communication and time to train. I’ve realized I have to switch something up and really focus on what’s going to push the agency forward.

I plan on experimenting with my time management and trying to find the best method for me. We use Asana as our project management tracker and have organized my task list like this:

If you’re looking for a better breakdown of how to use Asana, I actually took it from Ladder, a full-funnel marketing agency. Here’s the post.

I’ve also created Top Priorities for next week in Notion: (This was also stolen. I took it from Nat Eliason, here’s his post.)

Going to see how these options work for the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to update you on these.

Until next week!

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