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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?