Solo Solutions: Can You Run a Marketing Agency As a Single Person?

Editorial Team

Run a Marketing Agency As a Single Person

Running a marketing agency is no small feat. There are clients who need to be nurtured, employees that want to be challenged and you need to price your services so you are working with a profit. That does not mean that a single person cannot run a successful agency, but it will be a big undertaking. There are ways that a freelancer can make the shift from a consultant to an agency operator, so let’s find out what it takes and what considerations need to be made when setting your agency up for success. 

Outsource your ideal team

If you really think about it, there is little definition of an agency. An agency is simply a group that provides a service on behalf of the business, typically a specialised service. As such, an agency can be made up of one or more professionals working with brands and businesses to achieve their goals. It’s common for solo agency operators to outsource work in the event that the scope of the project extends beyond a skillset. For example, a business may want to hire you as a white-label link provider but would also like some regular non-paid social media posts on their account. This would be an opportunity to have a social media specialist on hand to step in and take on that work so you can secure that client and the SEO work.

You may also want to outsource your payroll, email marketing and any other function that will allow you to lead the agency you want. As your solo agency grows, you may want to hire casuals, part-time staff and even full-time staff if your contractor arrangements do not suit.

Setting boundaries and expectations

As only one person, your agency is going to be pretty busy most of the time. It is important that you set boundaries and expectations with your clients early so that they can understand what kind of communication frequency is appropriate (and during what time periods) and what you can do when you have reached your capacity. The longevity of your agency career is going to be dependent on this point, as you want to continue to deliver value to your clients rather than stretching yourself too thin and failing to provide the best for your clients and team. 



There are many ways to approach boundaries and expectations. You may want to write a social contract that stipulates what you expect from clients and what they can expect from you. You can also set expectations early on with clients and can mitigate any risks so that you are only accepting and working with clients who meet your capacity as a solo agency.

Is running an agency a better career move than operating as a freelancer?

If you are a solo operator, you should assess whether there is value in taking the plunge and becoming an ‘agency’. Perhaps you want to have a more official look and feel for a client that is traditional and expecting an agency feel. Another reason may be that you are intending to grow your agency in time, and you want to put in the hard yards now and build agency awareness before you fill your office. Take the time to identify your business objectives and whether you can achieve this as a freelancer, or if the agency route is more appropriate. There are no wrong answers, just better outcomes!

Working out the tax responsibilities and legal commitments

New business owners in a rush to set themselves up might fail to complete the right registrations and licenses. If you registered your agency in the wrong business class, you may be up for a high tax threshold. Similarly, if you do not acquire the right business licenses, you may be in breach of certain codes of conduct and business operating standards. When you are considering whether you can run an agency as a single person, first understand what your legal and tax requirements are, and then work backwards to see what kind of income and business structure you need to create to support that business structure. This might be a good time to engage an accountant and legal professional so you can navigate this step with all the information you need. 

Curating an agency image

Brands and clients will do a deep dive into a selection of agencies before they choose who will represent them. Typically, part of the selection criteria will involve perusing the team, understanding the ethos of the agency and getting a sense of the hard-to-define ‘vibe’ of an agency. So, how can you present a solo-operated agency as a team, with an ethos and vibe when you are only one person? There is no dishonesty in populating your Team page with the contractors and freelancers that you know and trust, especially if they are likely to be working with clients. 

You can also create an About Us page that clearly defines your values and beliefs, as this will be relevant for an agency of one person or many. Another great way to communicate your vision is through blog posts that cover different topics that you can really dig into. Take a look at other agencies who are doing this well and see what ideas you can glean without stretching the truth or committing to something you cannot deliver.

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Can you run a marketing agency as a single person? Yes! In fact, you can take your agency to great heights if you set yourself up for success and stay within the means when it comes to pitching and delivering.