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What is a creative agency? 12 reasons and signs to start one

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Manage your freelance creative business with the all-in-one suite from Bonsai.
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Updated on:
December 11, 2022
December 11, 2022
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Manage your freelance creative business with the all-in-one suite from Bonsai.
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As the advertising world shifts towards a digital-first focus, the need for creativity in marketing grows ever-more pressing. Now, many companies seek to sign agreement templates or contract templates with creative agencies in order to bolster their brand voice. These specialist companies can give a business a modern makeover that transforms them into a more engaging enterprise.

For solo freelancers, starting their own creative agency is a natural career progression. In this article, we’ll discover the ins and outs of creative agencies, so you can discover if it’s the right move for you.

Types of creative agencies

There is some debate as to the differences between various types of creative agencies. An especially hot topic is that of a creative agency vs digital agency.

What is the difference? It’s time to find out.

What is a creative agency?

Essentially, a great creative agency offers a fusion of branding and communications with digital marketing and graphic design. Ultimately, they help companies engage a wider audience through their marketing channels, whether it’s via commercials, social media, or through print ads or events.

What is a digital agency?

The typical digital agency comprises many of the same elements. The key difference is that digital agencies offer more in the way of search engine optimization and lead generation.

What is an advertising agency?

An advertising agency is comprised of a team that possesses creative skills as well as media planning expertise. They can help businesses meet their objectives through careful communications management and audience targeting. Bonsai can help such agencies calculate their advertising tax deductions.

What is a media agency?

As you may expect, media agencies develop media products such as photography, video, podcast, and multimedia. By focusing on finding the right placement for your ads, these agencies can help you negotiate better deals and secure cheaper advertising rates. There are also some hybrid agencies out there that provide both creative and marketing services. This is referred to as a creative marketing agency.

How do creative agencies run their business?

Running a creative agency is not easy. It involves juggling a handful of projects and managing diverse client portfolios. This requires a tool that aligns with the unique needs of creative professionals. These tools should be able to enhance their productivity and streamline operations of creative industries. Bonsai stands out among these tools as an all-in-one solution for creative agencies. 

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By using Bonsai, they can centralise all their projects effortlessly. The project management tool ensures clarity for everyone regarding tasks and deadlines. Bonsai also helps streamline financial matters, like invoicing clients and monitoring expenditures. Its CRM facilitates communication with clients. This is important for business success.

However, Bonsai goes beyond mere functionality; it aids in optimising operations. By providing insights into time management and areas for increased efficiency, it empowers improvement. Bonsai seamlessly integrates with existing toolkit which helps ensure smooth operations throughout.

5 benefits of starting your own creative agency

If you’re a freelancer looking to make a step up, you should consider starting your own agency. There are many great benefits to developing a new business model based on any of these types of creative agencies, such as:

1. You will be able to focus on your key strengths

The fundamental idea of freelancing is to be able to work on your own terms. In the early days, that involves a lot of hard yards. Having your own creative agency allows you to hire specialists to do the hard work while you focus on the things you love to do.

2. You can plan for the long-term

The one-man band will always struggle in comparison, but with extra hands on deck, it’s more feasible for the business to achieve sustainable growth and earn more money freelancing.

3. Your billable hours will increase

When you hire other writers, designers, and specialist staff, productivity will go through the roof. This allows you to take on more new projects, track more freelance work time, and bill clients for a lot more hours each week.

4. You can build your skillset

Perhaps you just want to do something you’re already skilled at. However, when you have a skilled team of professionals around you each day, you may soon be motivated to embrace new challenges, and learn new things.

5. You can accept broader projects

Every freelancer has turned down a project they felt was beyond them before. When you have a graphic design guru or coding wizard in your ranks, you’ll feel a lot more confident in tackling new projects that are outside your wheelhouse. That opens the door for you to work with bigger brands, with deeper pockets.

Does this sound like the right move for you? Sign up with Bonsai to take your freelancing career to the next level today.


7 signs you should start a creative agency

Are we preaching to the converted?

The stumbling block for many freelancers is the uncertainty - they just don’t know when to start their own agency. Here are some surefire signs that it’s the right time to bite the bullet.

1. You are regularly snowed under with your workload

The nature of freelance life is feast or famine, and so you may take on more work than you can handle. Some long days are par for the course, but if you find yourself burning the midnight oil every day, then it may be time to hire someone to lighten the load.

2. Your business shows no sign of scaling

If your schedule is full, the only logical way to grow is to take on more work and hire people to help you with it. Sure, you’ll earn less per job, but once you get the balance right, you can have a lot more clients and a lot more profit.

3. You are collaborating with other freelancers

Referrals are a fantastic way of extending your network. It may start with one job, but it doesn’t have to end there. You can suggest a partnership where you combine your skillset to take on new projects. As an agency, you can offer more, and charge more for your creative agency services.

4. You need more time for other projects

The flexibility of freelancing is one of its biggest attractions. Whether you like traveling or stay at home with the kids, you need to be able to decide your own hours. With an agency and a solid freelance product suite like Bonsai, you can free up the time you need for other passions and still keep your clients happy.

5. Your clients need more

Many businesses want more than one aspect of digital marketing. They may need a blog writer, but also require an SEO specialist. By hiring specialists in other areas, you can form a strong team that offers the all-in-one solution your clients need.

6. You’re a good team manager

If you thrive in team environments and can manage large tasks with many moving parts, then you may make a great manager. There are plenty of great project management apps that make it easier to run an agency even when people are scattered around the globe.

7. You’re obsessed with marketing

If your agency is to survive, you need to promote it so you can find new clients. Otherwise, no freelance invoice gets paid. If you enjoy this, perhaps you should focus on growing a client base instead of slogging it out with freelance work. Try using Bonsai's freelance proposals to win more clients for your agency. Check out our advertising agency proposal template for some extra help getting started

How to start a creative agency

There is a lot to consider here. Whichever type of creative agency you decide to start, here are three big tips for getting off on the right foot.

1. Get savvy with money

First and foremost, you need to get on top of your finances as you’ll be taking on more clients, and also the responsibility of paying other freelancers. Get the best accounting software recommendations from Bonsai to stay on track.

2. Be unique

The world doesn’t need another general agency which offers broad, wishy-washy services. Identify the skill-set in your ranks and offer specialist solutions. To stand out from the pack, you need to go niche and go deep.

3. Be lean

It’s important to reduce costs to a bare minimum, especially until you secure long-term freelance contracts with reliable clients. Staying small and agile will allow you to adapt to new opportunities as they come along. In addition, you can find tons of resources online to help you through accounting and legal requirements like a model release form.

The perfect time to start a creative agency

Starting your own creative agency is never easy, but if the signs are there, it’s better to dive in rather than delay. The digital marketing landscape never stays still for long, and the only thing that is certain is that more businesses will need digital solutions going forward.

The president of Wieden & Kennedy, Dave Luhr put it best:

"Disruption and chaos bring amazing opportunity if you play your cards right."

Waiting for the perfect time could be folly, and may cost you great opportunities. The truth is, if you have the skills and motivation, there may be no better time to start an agency than right now.

Explore Bonsai's free trial today to get the tools you need to run a successful freelance business.

Manage your freelance creative business with the all-in-one suite from Bonsai.
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