Taking the Leap: From a Freelancer to an Agency Owner

February 8, 2021

You would have aced at freelancing, and you think you are ready to move on to the next step- building your agency! Then take the journey with us. Working as a freelancer and running an agency are two different things, but with a few guidelines and a checklist at hand, we will make it easy for you. In this blog, we will list all the things important for you to know when you start your agency.

Determine Your Services

Before you launch your agency, you will have to decide what services you will offer, what industries you will serve, and what type of businesses will be your target. You can start with the services you offered as a freelancer because that is your expertise and then slowly broaden your offerings as you grow.

Build Referral Partnerships

Best practices of starting an agency include building a professional network instead of hiring for every skill in-house. This doesn’t necessarily mean you collaborate with competitive agencies, rather work with agencies that complement your skills. When you are starting your agency and planning to offer a single service, you may want to start thinking about collaborating with agencies that offer related services that your client may ask for.

Choose Your Headquarters

If you are in the US, you would be aware that the business laws are enforceable at the state level. If you can decide where your agency headquarters will be at the beginning itself, it can save a lot of work later. You can also decide whether you want to have a physical office or you want to work remotely. However, many agency owners believe that a physical office or a studio brings a lot of credibility to your business, especially for big clients who may want to have in-person meetings.

Select a Name for Your Agency

This is a critical piece and a complicated process too. You need to consider many things before choosing a name for your agency like trademarks, domain, and others.

  • Make sure the name you select is not trademarked since the infringement charges and penalties can be heavy on you.
  • Contact your state filing office to find out if the name you have chosen is available or has been used already. This can avoid issues when you want to incorporate your agency.
  • Check the availability of the domain name that uses your agency name before you decide on a name.
  • Choose a name that generic and multi-purpose since you do not want to be limited when you decide to expand your services.
  • Review all the laws and regulations in your country—or talk to a business attorney before taking the step.

Put the Org Chart in Place

Running an agency is different from being a freelancer because you will have multiple people in your team with different ideas and opinions. As a team, you can get stuck because of not being able to choose a direction. However, if you have a basic hierarchy or a leader in place, you can take a call on behalf of the team and move forward. Your team will also have better clarity and accountability to work on tasks. 


When you will start your agency, you will face a resources crunch and will have difficulty finding good resources for your team. Most agencies will start with the freelance model where they will hire freelancers for all of their resourcing needs. One of the biggest advantages of this model is that you pay freelancers only for the work completed. Your cash flow may not be stable initially, so this can work in your favor. Once you build a clientele and have a stable inflow, you can make some of your good freelancers your full-time employees.

Where do you look for resources?

Zelio is a great place to start looking for freelancers as well as full-time or part-time employees. You post a requirement, and we will ensure your resourcing needs are met.

Fee Structure and Clients

There are three kinds of fee structure mainly- Hourly, Pay-per Project, and retainer model. The retainer is the most preferable model in which clients would pay a monthly fee for the contract period in exchange for services. This way you can ensure your revenue, and you continue to work hard to ensure that the contract is renewed. You should also create multiple packages to offer to clients who do not choose the retainer model. There would be clients who want to hands-on but only need a little guidance. A DIY package or a consulting model would work very well for such clients.

Where do you look for leads?

Zelio is a highly integrated ecosystem and the one-and-only online community of small, medium, and big agencies. We create an autonomous system for you that will help identify & nurture quality sales leads for your agency. You can apply to open projects or collaborate with other agencies on their clients.


Last, but not least. You will need a sophisticated solution to run your business operations. You cannot be doing things manually in Excel or other legacy software. As an agency, you will need a solution that has at least the below features:

  • Project/ Task Management
  • Calendar Management
  • Timesheets
  • Pay and bill
  • Reporting
  • Chat or Communication

If you are a freelancer and want to start your agency, join Zelio today.

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