Smart Agency Podcast: The #1 Digital Agency Podcast for Social Media, SEO, PPC & Creative Agencies

Are you looking to grow your agency fast while maintaining a work-life balance? Eager to start mastering boundaries without compromising growth? Today’s guest talks openly about growing her agency to over $1 million while fiercely protecting her personal life by establishing clear boundaries. She highlights the ongoing need for self-awareness to identify where these boundaries may be “leaky” and the importance of having people on the team who understand the challenges you face. Learn tangible tactics for aligning your agency’s growth with your personal well-being.

Caitlin Copple is the owner of Full Swing Public Relations, a PR agency with a mission to help leaders be seen and sought after so they can reclaim their power and build the platform they need. She describes herself as an unlikely agency owner who was able to grow her agency over the million-dollar mark in less than four years. Once this milestone was cleared, she realized the power of small business owners to change the world and was ready to tackle new challenges.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • Working smarter and thinking about future acquisition.
  • Aligning agency growth with team well-being.
  • Building self-aware leadership.



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Learning About Limits as an Agency Owner 

After a decade in marketing, Caitlin took the leap to start her agency, while still young enough to risk but seasoned enough to succeed. Exceeding her initial goal to match her salary in five months, she researched the industry, motivated to overcome dismal stats for women-owned agencies.

Caitlin credits mindset as instrumental in confronting the challenges of scaling. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot in the coaching world but there's also truth to that. We all have an idea of what we can achieve and there's something about growing a business that helps you constantly expand that vision. That’s part of what she enjoys about the ride.

Moreover, once you can generate revenue on demand, you can start setting the parameters for your life. And as someone who really values her freedom, she has really enjoyed that part of being a business owner.

Working Smarter and Preparing the Agency for Possible Future Acquisition

For Caitlin and her business partner, there was always a line in the sand regarding what they were willing to do to succeed. Working long hours and sacrificing time with family was never an option. After all, running an agency was supposed to free up their time to focus more on family. They even make sure to take five consecutive days off without cell phones or checking emails.

Therefore, the decision was made early on to try to work smarter and not necessarily harder. They sought to staff up, even though that meant their margins would be smaller. They built the agency with a very clear alignment around What's a number that would make this journey worth it? And where did they need to be in the next years to ensure the agency’s position provides options? They’re making sure they’re prepared for the future, including the possibility of being acquired by somebody who shares their values.

More recently, after making that early investment in operations, they’ve been documenting SOPs. This way, they aim to run the business more effectively and be prepared for a future sale. They started this in 2021 and have so far documented everything from onboarding to how to approach a press release.

Being very intentional about these values has helped them build the type of business they'd want to work at while still creating opportunities for their future.

Mastering Boundaries with Agency Growth Through Policy

Having people on your team who are going through the same challenges as you can be a great support for your growth. This is why Caitlin and her partner work so well as a team. They both understand the importance of drawing a hard line on what you’re willing to sacrifice for the business. In this sense, their partnership works a lot better than partners with big age gaps who are not in the same place in life.

As to their team, their agency attracts a lot of working moms wanting to be part of this boundary-honoring culture. Flexible policies, paid parental leave, instant healthcare - each perk affirms their commitment to work-life wellness. By living their values, they continue building a team as dedicated to family as success.

Building Self-Aware Leadership by Establishing Clear KPIs

Caitlin has made her share of hiring mistakes. To be fair, she also admits she wasn’t the best leader sometimes but has continued to grow and learn. Improving your leadership skills will take both humility and confidence. For her part, Caitlin recommends investing in your own self-awareness, whether paying for business coaches or whatever works for you. “It never stops,” she says; you’ll always be on a journey of self-improvement so you can show up for your organization.

How did these bad hires turn out? Unmotivated workers are not hard to spot in a remote agency. They have systems to track productivity. Anyone who is not self-motivated and committed to following the processes will not succeed.

Caitlin also tends to hire friends and has had mixed experiences with this practice. However, getting comfortable with having hard conversations and setting up clear parameters helps navigate those relationships. It’s important to set up clear expectations and boundaries from the beginning.

Having KPIs for the business and for each employee will remove the personal aspect from the relationship. This way, it becomes about data, not feelings, removing personal biases.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners who can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program enables you to take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: How_to_Master_Boundaries_Without_Compromising_Agency_Growth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am MDT