84 Tips For Starting A Successful Marketing Agency (2024)

Updated: January 19th, 2023
Start A Marketing Agency

Want to start your own marketing agency? Here are some tips you should know:

Learn more about starting a marketing agency:

Where to start?

-> How to start a marketing agency?
-> How much does it cost to start a marketing agency?
-> Pros and cons of a marketing agency

Need inspiration?

-> Other marketing agency success stories
-> Examples of established marketing agency
-> Marketing ideas for a marketing agency
-> Marketing agency slogans
-> Marketing agency names

Other resources

-> Profitability of a marketing agency
-> Blog post ideas for a marketing agency
-> Marketing agency quotes

We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a marketing agency:

#1: Dr. Eren Kocyigit, founder of NBT (Next Big Thing):

We chatted with with Dr., founder of NBT (Next Big Thing) ($/month). In our interview, Dr. says:

After your initial business launch operations, it’s paramount that you need to structure all your processes from HR to managing cash-flow, marketing to daily operations.

Additionally:

You can be an expert in what you do, but that’s is not enough to run a sustainable business. Always have a team of other experts in regards to the skills you’re not equipped with.

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#2: Anthony Tumbiolo, founder of Jakt:

We chatted with with Anthony, founder of Jakt ($300K/month). In our interview, Anthony says:

I started Jakt from the realization that I loved helping other businesses succeed and in turn help many other people.

Additionally:

Instead of talking with our leads about 1 to 2-month projects, frame them as 6 or even 12+ month long relationships. Framing it like this instills confidence in the buyer that you are really care about their future success.

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#3: Brian Cohen, founder of Visiture:

We chatted with with Brian, founder of Visiture ($900K/month). In our interview, Brian says:

Forget the instant gratification and focus on long term decision making. If you’re an agency, figure out a way to work with well-known brands that you’re confident you can deliver great results

Additionally:

One of the most impactful decisions that we made was to focus on clients with recurring revenue versus project-based work for a few large clients. This allowed us to predict our monthly revenue and make investments

Further:

Don’t start multiple companies and don’t allow anyone else to sway your direction. Pick one company, one core product or service line and be the very best at that

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#4: Travis Zigler, founder of Profitable Pineapple Ads:

We chatted with with Travis, founder of Profitable Pineapple Ads ($167K/month). In our interview, Travis says:

For those looking to venture into the e-commerce space, understand that value is your most potent tool. Instead of hard-selling, focus on educating and serving your audience.

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#5: Darren Magarro, founder of DSM:

We chatted with with Darren, founder of DSM ($500K/month). In our interview, Darren says:

If you are going to lead, lead from the front. Don’t shirk that responsibility. Don’t expect people to follow you and your dream if you’re not being responsible to them.

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#6: Kenn Kelly, founder of Never Settle:

We chatted with with Kenn, founder of Never Settle ($150K/month). In our interview, Kenn says:

In a culture that’s insistent on blaming others and finding excuses - ownership stands out.

Additionally:

We put ourselves in our clients' shoes to determine how we can resolve problems in a reasonable way.

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#7: Chris Ciunci, founder of TribalVision:

We chatted with with Chris, founder of TribalVision ($700K/month). In our interview, Chris says:

The leaders that form on your team are going to shape your internal culture which will ultimately decide how successful your business is.

Additionally:

Don't expect results overnight. You don’t just wake up one day and have 7 figure revenue.

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#8: Michael Gardiner , founder of DFY Meetings :

We chatted with with Michael, founder of DFY Meetings ($60K/month). In our interview, Michael says:

Instead of doing everything ok, doing a few things great. I believe this is a common struggle for all entrepreneurs and creatives.

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#9: Matt Tomkin, founder of Tao Digital Marketing:

We chatted with with Matt, founder of Tao Digital Marketing ($40K/month). In our interview, Matt says:

If you have a decent mix of experience levels, your team can then learn from each other rather than much of it falling on you.

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#10: Joshua Hurley, founder of 930Tech:

We chatted with with Joshua, founder of 930Tech ($6K/month). In our interview, Joshua says:

When trying to save money on expenses, your goal should never be to let your clients see any changes to their service.

Additionally:

Take it day by day, and you will be fine as long as you focus on your passions. When you do that, others will see you eventually.

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#11: Stephen Seidel, founder of The Seidel Agency:

We chatted with with Stephen, founder of The Seidel Agency ($0/month). In our interview, Stephen says:

I started out doing all the work myself, which I advise, so you can know every step along the way. Once you know your constraints and bottlenecks you can either do, delegate or delete tasks to automate and save time.

Additionally:

You’re only as good as your word. So if you say you’re going to deliver, then deliver. If not, it’s important to accept your responsibility and pay the ultimate price for inaction.

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#12: Travis Richardson, founder of Impressions Agency :

We chatted with with Travis, founder of Impressions Agency ($100K/month). In our interview, Travis says:

Just start. You don’t have to have everything figured out before you begin. In fact, to this day we are still figuring things out. Each season of your business will provide a new learning opportunity.

Additionally:

Part of our mission is to build long-term relationships and to truly be effective in this area it requires us to be flexible and to sometimes lose profit. When a customer is hurting, we are hurting.

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#13: Michael Gardiner , founder of DFY Meetings :

We chatted with with Michael, founder of DFY Meetings ($60K/month). In our interview, Michael says:

I would recommend choosing 1 or 2 skills that can transfer between businesses and getting really good at them.

Additionally:

I personally believe that happiness is far more important than success, fame, or anything else. For myself, I would rather make less money with more freedom to travel than make more money with less freedom to travel.

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#14: Matt Tomkin, founder of Tao Digital Marketing:

We chatted with with Matt, founder of Tao Digital Marketing ($40K/month). In our interview, Matt says:

Failures happen! If we didn’t fail we wouldn’t move to the next step. That member of staff, that expense that went wrong. Things just go wrong and sometimes it’s no-ones fault! Just keep going!

Additionally:

Charge what you are worth and charge for the value you bring rather than the time spent.

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#15: Sam Wilcox, founder of Tribecto Automations:

We chatted with with Sam, founder of Tribecto Automations ($10K/month). In our interview, Sam says:

I should have prioritized my physical and mental health sooner. In the beginning, the business was all consuming. I was working extremely long days and not seeing much of the outside world.

Additionally:

I was able to build up enough cash in the bank to give me plenty of runways to make mistakes and have bad sales months.

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#16: Karl Hughes, founder of Draft.dev:

We chatted with with Karl, founder of Draft.dev ($90K/month). In our interview, Karl says:

Be careful about listening to experts. Experts forget what beginners don't know, so they skip things that are obvious to them. I’m not saying you should never listen to experts but don’t assume that everything that worked for them will work for you.

Additionally:

I ultimately want a business that is enjoyable to run, but you don’t get there by only doing things that you find easy. Struggling into the unknown, scary situations is how you grow.

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#17: Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog:

We chatted with with Emenike, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month). In our interview, Emenike says:

If you starting a blog in 2023, focus on choosing a profitable and specific niche, then go hard at creating highly optimized articles.

Additionally:

One of the outstanding lessons I’ve learned in the last year is to prioritize my health, enjoy a good sleep and work hard.

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#18: Karan Bhardwaj, founder of ExperientialEtc:

We chatted with with Karan, founder of ExperientialEtc ($68K/month). In our interview, Karan says:

I believe that if you do something with the right spirit & do it consistently, it’s bound to be successful.

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#19: Kenn Kelly, founder of Never Settle:

We chatted with with Kenn, founder of Never Settle ($150K/month). In our interview, Kenn says:

It’s fun to read about others who have ‘made it’ per se, but once you dive into their story you’ll find the same thing over and over. Nothing came easy and it was consistent hard work that got them where they are.

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#20: Aida Vopyan, founder of Prodigi:

We chatted with with Aida, founder of Prodigi ($160K/month). In our interview, Aida says:

The first and most crucial point to understand exactly who your customer is because targeting everyone is the same as targeting no one.

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#21: Kathryn & Michael Redman, founder of Half a Bubble Out:

We chatted with with Kathryn, founder of Half a Bubble Out ($98K/month). In our interview, Kathryn says:

When you understand who you are as a company, you start to realize that not every customer is the right fit for your company. We had to learn to not say “yes” to every customer or take every deal that came our way, which was tough.

Additionally:

Just keep showing up and working hard. We know it sounds trite because we thought it was trite when we were younger, but looking back now, we realize just how true it is.

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#22: Darren Magarro, founder of DSM:

We chatted with with Darren, founder of DSM ($500K/month). In our interview, Darren says:

In addition, get out there and get involved. Don’t join a networking group or chamber of commerce and expect business to come to you.

Additionally:

Being an entrepreneur is difficult enough and many times, you feel alone. Once you have a great team, do whatever you need to do to keep them surrounding you.

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#23: Forrest Webber, founder of Digitail - Wander Media LLC:

We chatted with with Forrest, founder of Digitail - Wander Media LLC ($50K/month). In our interview, Forrest says:

Double down on what you know, delegate what you don't know, and always assume there are unknown unknowns.

Additionally:

Determine what you want, and comprehensively fix your (inner) eyes on the prize.

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#24: Brice Gump , founder of Major Impact Media:

We chatted with with Brice, founder of Major Impact Media ($28.5K/month). In our interview, Brice says:

Find your people online. Stick with them. And win together.

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#25: Darren Magarro, founder of DSM:

We chatted with with Darren, founder of DSM ($500K/month). In our interview, Darren says:

There is nothing that will prepare you for the highs and lows that come along with taking the responsibility for others’ lives - both professional and personal. This is a tremendous responsibility and honor.

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#26: Oliver Op de Beeck, founder of Kreatix:

We chatted with with Oliver, founder of Kreatix ($10K/month). In our interview, Oliver says:

Our mistakes make us what we are. I wouldn’t prevent them. We love experimenting and I think people should stop overthinking and start doing more.

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#27: Matt G Davison, founder of Travel Tractions:

We chatted with with Matt, founder of Travel Tractions ($35K/month). In our interview, Matt says:

A business can be started with less than $100 or $500 nowadays, and not enough people try an MVP or test the market before taking months to get started.

Additionally:

Going to a conference has been one of the best decisions we have made as a business and building partnerships.

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#28: Stephen Freeman, founder of Kairos Digital:

We chatted with with Stephen, founder of Kairos Digital ($65K/month). In our interview, Stephen says:

Fear is your enemy when choosing who to work with. You see your payroll and you know you need to onboard new clients, and that fear of failure often drives you to say yes to people you know are a bad fit.

Additionally:

People always talk about working in your business vs working on it. It is not a problem you will ever solve - it’s a tension you will have to manage the entire time you are in business.

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#29: Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog:

We chatted with with Emenike, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month). In our interview, Emenike says:

When your back is against the wall, you will do everything to survive. Personally, I chose to survive it and I did through the power of blogging.

Additionally:

The biggest mistake I made which I still regret till date was failing to start building an email list immediately the blog was launched. As a result of this, it was difficult to reach people who had visited the blog in the past.

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#30: Trey Christensen, founder of VastGG:

We chatted with with Trey, founder of VastGG ($40K/month). In our interview, Trey says:

We had a mentality of “do everything ourselves” but ultimately, saving a few $$$ and losing hours potentially each day started adding up as a net negative for the business. We have paid for more tools and new processes this year than ever before and our efficiency as a team has quadrupled.

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#31: Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog:

We chatted with with Emenike, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month). In our interview, Emenike says:

Never be emotionally attached to a strategy. Once it stops working, discard it and move to the next.

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#32: Gilberto Rosas, founder of Maverick Media Lab:

We chatted with with Gilberto, founder of Maverick Media Lab ($10K/month). In our interview, Gilberto says:

Within 30 days I got my first client and it began to take off from there. I realized then that amazing things happen when fears are faced head-on.

Additionally:

Having a mentor will be what I call a “feedback accelerator.” It’ll speed up the process so fewer iterations and less time are having to test and tweak.

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#33: Emenike Emmanuel, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog:

We chatted with with Emenike, founder of Entrepreneur Business Blog ($13K/month). In our interview, Emenike says:

Never give up on a business with a great prospect.

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#34: Jeremy Kanne, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency:

We chatted with with Jeremy, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency ($8K/month). In our interview, Jeremy says:

One of the top lessons I’ve learned is being confident in saying “I don’t know” when I don’t know. This honesty and transparency when paired with a great work ethic, creates trust and drives successful partnerships.

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#35: JB Kellogg, founder of Madwire:

We chatted with with JB, founder of Madwire ($8.5M/month). In our interview, JB says:

We’d often say that a client can cancel for a million different reasons, but let’s not allow one to ever be that we did not do everything we could to “wow” them in customer service.

Additionally:

We have never done any cold calling or outbound sales campaigns. All our leads and customers are generated from inbound strategies. We believe in a multi-channel strategy that extends to social, content, reputation, advertising, email marketing, and beyond.

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#36: Stephen Freeman, founder of Kairos Digital:

We chatted with with Stephen, founder of Kairos Digital ($65K/month). In our interview, Stephen says:

Early on, we said yes to almost everyone - as the agency has grown, we’ve needed to start saying no more often to leads or clients who aren’t a good fit for us.

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#37: Victoria Harrison, founder of The Exposure Co.:

We chatted with with Victoria, founder of The Exposure Co. ($/month). In our interview, Victoria says:

It’s about having the determination and grit to not shy away from the challenges, which constantly evolve as we grow and mature in personal and professional life.

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#38: Jeremy Kanne, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency:

We chatted with with Jeremy, founder of Smart Yeti Creative Agency ($8K/month). In our interview, Jeremy says:

I saw an opportunity to leverage the problem-solving skills forged in my engineering background to provide valuable ongoing marketing support.

Additionally:

Be open, honest, and vulnerable. Treat every piece of feedback with respect and try to learn at least a little from it. And then the more feedback you get, the easier you’ll be able to find insightful patterns.

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#39: Joon K Lee, founder of Inquivix:

We chatted with with Joon, founder of Inquivix ($100K/month). In our interview, Joon says:

Taking risks is essential for keeping things interesting and moving forward – without exploring new options, growth can't occur!

Additionally:

Investing in technology and systems will ensure that your operations are efficient, streamlined, and ready for growth when the time is right.

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#40: Karl Hughes, founder of Draft.dev:

We chatted with with Karl, founder of Draft.dev ($90K/month). In our interview, Karl says:

Initially, I was set on Draft.dev being a nice little lifestyle business, but it’s clear that there’s more here. We’ve been continuing to improve our processes with an eye on hitting $2 million in revenue next year.

Additionally:

I’ve learned that no matter how uncomfortable it is, I have to learn to trust others on my team to do things without me. If I were checking every piece of work, we would have stalled out months ago.

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#41: Claire Ficek, founder of Altar'd Socials:

We chatted with with Claire, founder of Altar'd Socials ($5K/month). In our interview, Claire says:

Social media is a long-term game, and to grow organically and the right way with quality followers, you have to be in it for the long haul.

Additionally:

The company grew dramatically within the first year of being in business. We had 10+ clients, and a team of 5 women working, and on our way to making $100,000 in 12 months. This ridiculous growth showed us that there was a market for this type of social media management for women-owned companies.

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#42: Ash Ome, founder of MOTIF®:

We chatted with with Ash, founder of MOTIF® ($35K/month). In our interview, Ash says:

Measuring my time on each task is helping me focus on great business things and finally freeing myself from time prison.

Additionally:

My #1 advice, as always, will be to niche down to something, be passionate about that, talk-breathe-eat that niche, and learn how to sell.

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#43: Jace Thomas, founder of Hiperion Marketing:

We chatted with with Jace, founder of Hiperion Marketing ($20K/month). In our interview, Jace says:

As a solo founder, I offered anything marketing a client asked for. Even if I didn’t have that skill, I would play it off “Oh of course we do logo design!” Then I would spend hours watching Adobe Illustrator tutorials on logo design. It was an extremely scrappy way to run a business.

Additionally:

If you’re doing under $1 million ARR, there are so many things that aren't as important. Your website, logo, branding, etc. aren't nearly as important as your ideal customer. Focus on your customer, and what keeps them up at night.

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#44: Bryn Elizabeth Bonino, founder of Bryn Elizabeth Co.:

We chatted with with Bryn, founder of Bryn Elizabeth Co. ($1.3K/month). In our interview, Bryn says:

I’m a planner, and that quality helps me out a lot. But I learned that it saves time and energy to launch something before it’s perfect, sometimes even when others tell you not to.

Additionally:

Creating valuable content for your ideal clients is extremely important. But you don’t have to do that on your own platform. When first starting out, spend your time guest blogging for other publications and linking back to your own website or landing page.

Further:

I recommend keeping a diversified marketing strategy for your business - always. In my networking, I’ve met too many people who have put their proverbial eggs in one basket and then after a year or two, that one source dries up and they are back to the drawing board.

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#45: Matt Tomkin, founder of Tao Digital Marketing:

We chatted with with Matt, founder of Tao Digital Marketing ($40K/month). In our interview, Matt says:

Don’t spend too much time wallowing in mistakes or things that go wrong. Business is not easy, and you will fail more times than you win. But every failure is one step closer to your goal and make sure you learn from every one of those failures.

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#46: Robb Fahrion, founder of Flying V Group:

We chatted with with Robb, founder of Flying V Group ($250K/month). In our interview, Robb says:

Stop wasting time trying to do everything and leverage different tools and/or people to help expand your bandwidth.

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#47: John Ainsworth, founder of Data Driven Marketing:

We chatted with with John, founder of Data Driven Marketing ($59.3K/month). In our interview, John says:

One of the best decisions I made was to niche down into working exclusively with online course businesses.

Additionally:

If you're working in a service business, go after the firms that can afford to pay you the most for what you're doing.

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#48: Matthew Flowers, founder of Ethos Copywriting:

We chatted with with Matthew, founder of Ethos Copywriting ($12K/month). In our interview, Matthew says:

I work with people who are excited about ramping up new marketing projects, passionate about their work, and poised for healthy, organic growth.

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#49: Michael Gardiner , founder of DFY Meetings :

We chatted with with Michael, founder of DFY Meetings ($60K/month). In our interview, Michael says:

It’s important to intentionally reflect on where you are, where you’re trying to get to, and map out the steps in between as actionable and specific to-do-items.

Additionally:

Having at least a bit of income while starting a business makes growing a lot easier. Don’t be afraid to have a part time (or full time) job that allows you to invest back into what you’re building.

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#50: Aida Vopyan, founder of Prodigi:

We chatted with with Aida, founder of Prodigi ($160K/month). In our interview, Aida says:

Last year was a period of rapid growth for our organization. And when you have a small team, the processes are simpler and the problems are easier to solve, but it is different when the organization has 43 employees.

Additionally:

We work hard on our website optimization every day. The important part of this process is research, analyzing our competition, user personas creation, and mapping the user experience. We continuously optimize our lead generation process and sales funnel.

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