4 Things Every Agency Owner Needs To Take A Real Vacation

When’s the last time you took a vacation?

And I mean a true vacation…

Away from your phone.

Away from your computer.

Not taking meetings.

Not going back and forth with your team.

If it’s been a while for you, then that probably means YOU are the business and you’re the bottleneck.

Here are the 4 things you need to do within your business in order to take a real vacation.

​Transcript / MP3

If it's been a minute or possibly four years since you've taken a vacation from your agency, you probably are the centerpiece of the business.You're responsible for sales and marketing and you're responsible or at least a key piece of fulfillment. ... If that's the case, no wonder you haven't been able to take a vacation where you've truly been able to disconnect, not check in with any of your team, not checking with your clients.

So if that's you, we need to change something.

So in this episode, I want to break down four things, four areas or really the only four things that you need to focus on right now in order to position yourself to actually be able to take vacations from your business in a way where you're not actually working on vacation.

Let's get it going.

For three years, my agency built funnels and automation systems for the biggest names in marketing today since then have transformed that agency into a hyper profitable training and consulting business. While everyone is out there and talking about scale like it's some sort of destination. We'll be asking the real question, how do you transform your business into a more scalable model using the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you already have? This podcast is here to give you the answer. Join me and follow along as I learn, apply and share the strategies I'm using to build my multimillion-dollar business. My name is Greg Hickman and welcome to Scalable.

What's good everybody and welcome back.

Like I said in this episode, I want to talk about the things that you should be focused on if you want to actually be able to take a vacation.

And this comes at a really interesting time because I just got back from a vacation of seven days.

I went to the beach with my family and met up with my parents, my sister, my son, got to play around with his cousins that he hasn't seen in a while since really he's was six months old the last time they actually met and so they got to run around the beach and have a great time. And the great thing is I didn't have to work. I didn't take any calls, I didn't really check any email. I didn't have to do anything. And the business continued to grow. The business continued to get new leads, uh, get qualified sales appointments on our calendar and our clients continued to get the service and the results and the support that they need to move forward based on what we've offered them.

So if you can't step away from your business, there's certain areas that we obviously need to focus on. And so why I said this was interesting was because I had just come back from this vacation and I had a conversation with a prospect yesterday who is very talented at what she does. And she has projects that average really, really run 10 to 15 k works with a lot of different types of manufacturing businesses, helping them really get clear on their numbers so that they can make educated investments in hiring and growing their business and actually know if their business is healthy or not. And usually her front end turn into ongoing training and retainers. So she has a really great model. The problem is she is the business. And when I asked her, you know, growing your business and having these systems in place, what does that really change for you?

And she said, well I'd get to actually take a vacation. And I said, oh well when was the last time you took a vacation? And she said four years ago, four years ago is crazy. The fact that she hasn't taken a vacation in four years, and maybe this is, this is you and you've maybe gone on vacation, but you were really actually working. And I remember this very clearly because it wasn't too many years ago where this very same annual beach trip that I just got back from, I would go to with my family and while we're out on the beach, I'd run back from the beach to the House that we rented and I would take client calls and I would do work and I would be taking care of clients and having calls with team. And I was very much not present on vacation and I might as well have just been working.

And needless to say, that doesn't go over well with my family. It doesn't go over well with my wife. And now that I have a kid that's just not even not even something that I want to be doing. So this is partly why our mission is to help systematize and automate and help our, our clients really create the hybrid agency. Something that is equally profitable to online courses but also helps deliver the clients the results of done for you services. And there is this middle ground where we start to productize your service and you start to position yourself to create the systems that are needed to actually go on that vacation where it's not really a workcation. You know what I mean? So what I want to share with you is what I shared with this prospect. Really four things that you need to be focused on.

And the funny thing is these four things that you need to focus on that, well obviously position. You too. Take that vacation are really the same four things that are going to help remove you as the bottleneck that will also allow your business to explode in both revenue and profitability and the time that you have as the owner to focus working on your business and growing the business and growing the team and spending more time doing the things that you love. In many ways when you have these systems, you'll be able to make more while working less. So if that sounds good, let's jump in to the four areas that you should focus on. So the first area that we need to focus on is to replace yourself in fulfillment. Now, the challenge here is that for many of you watching, your fulfillment is unique every single time.

So client a comes in, they get result, a client B comes in, they get result B, and every single client is like starting from scratch. And what that really prevents you from doing is creating systems and a process that will allow you to remove yourself so that someone else on your team and or systems or things like that can help your clients get to the results without you being the bottleneck to that result. So this is why I say replace yourself in fulfillment first. Not Sales, not getting more leads, because for many of you, when you stopped selling and marketing, it's because you've got a new project. So you go into fulfillment and once you come out of fulfillment, you jumped back into sales and marketing. And so if you can remove yourself from fulfillment, that means you can focus more on sales and marketing, right?

Continue to increase the number of opportunities in your pipeline that will allow you to generate the revenue that is above the current ceiling or the cap that you have. So what do we need to do to replace yourself in fulfillment? There's a few things. First, if your product or your solution or your service is unique every single time, we need to narrow down the deliverables. And I've talked about this in plenty of other episodes, I'll link a handful of them up below about how to productize your service. Um, all of that stuff. So once you remove yourself from fulfillment, right? That means if you were to go on vacation, the current clients that you're working on will continue to get the support and the service that they had been paying for. Thus, and really what I mean by that is when you go on vacation, your clients and the support that they get doesn't also go on vacation.

You know what I mean? So if you have a client project that's three months and you take a week off and they're looking for you for that week, that's kind of difficult, which is what most agency owners I see often are struggling with and what prevents them from growing. So how do we remove our self from fulfillment outside of narrow narrowing our deliverables, AK productizing or introducing the hybrid agency that we teach our clients. It comes with hiring people, right? But right now for you, hiring people has been challenging because you need high paid experts. That costs a lot of money because you need them to be able to handle a variety of scenarios. Because right now, like we said, every single client is unique. But when you narrow down your deliverables and you sell an outcome instead of labor, you sell a result instead of labor, you position yourself to bring in people that can follow a process and a system, your proprietary process to get your clients from problem to result.

So now you start plugging in the right people in the right seats within that process. And it allows you to go on that vacation where you don't necessarily need to check in with your team, but your team knows what they need to do in order to get the clients the results. Makes Sense. So the next thing we need to focus on is automate your lead generation and your nurture. So in a previous episode we talked about the five core functions of a business, lead generation, lead, nurture, sales, fulfillment, and then retention, resell and upsell. Those are the five core functions. All right? So we've already talked about removing ourselves from fulfillment. So that's one key area. The next piece is jumping over the sales, which I'll come back to into lead generation and lead nurture. Now the reason I say automate this is because typically if you're getting started in your agency or your between kind of like 10 and $30,000 a month in revenue, usually under 50 k a month, you're still probably as the owner of the primary salesperson or at least involved in a lot of the sales conversations.

So removing you from the sales conversations is going to be a little bit more complicated than removing you from say the lead generation and the lead nurture. This is where we actually start to harness marketing automation and a CRM tool and we create leverage in our marketing in that we can create sales funnels and you know, lead acquisition systems that can go out there like a Webinar or a case study, create content that pulls people in, which you know it's on autopilot, right? You're watching this episode potentially on Youtube or on Facebook and if you follow the call to action at the end, you come into our system, right? I'm not having to be there manually to move you into that system. So by you creating systems and automating them for lead acquisition, a k, you know, say advertising into a Webinar funnel or advertising into a case study or a pdf blueprint, that's a system that you can automate that will value to then go on vacation and that system continues to run.

Now the lead nurture part, right? A lead comes in. Well how do you now nurture them from lead into the sales process? You know, there's going to be a series of followup campaigns. There's probably specific content that you want to share with, with new prospects that come in through your automated acquisition system, right? So we want to say certain things so those people warm them up, prepare them for a sales conversation. So first we remove ourselves from fulfillment, right? Set up the right system and the process so that we can replace the actual labor piece that we were doing with other people. Then we want to second create a an acquisition and a nurture system that can be automated, that allows us to capture and collect leads and start having a conversation with them, moving them into a sales conversation. Right now, these two pieces, we'll allow you to go on vacation.

I don't even need to review the third and fourth piece. Go take, do these and go take a week of vacation. You have permission to go take a week of vacation because here's the deal. While your business won't necessarily grow, meaning you won't close new deals from just having these two things in place, your clients will continue to be able to get results and you'll continue to be filling your pipeline with qualified prospects. So in this example, say I went on vacation for a week and say, I am the primary salesperson. If leads are coming in, they would just be getting on my sales calendar and filling my pipeline for the week that I returned. Now, is this an ideal longterm plan? No. You don't want to have people waiting a week just to talk to, to get into your pipeline, but it won't kill you, right? It won't break the business.

And if you have the automated lead Gen and nurture systems in place, you'll be able to be filling your pipeline so that you should be able to come back from vacation and have sales conversations and quickly turn that week off into your energizer refresh and you'd come back and you start closing some new deals, right? So only these two, you are now in a position to actually go on that vacation. Now let's take it to the next level. Now we start to automate your sales process. So you have to think back to one of our previous episodes. If you haven't, what does automation mean? Automation doesn't necessarily mean or always mean that it is technology that is doing the work. As long as you aren't doing it, it's automated, right? So by you replacing yourself for from fulfillment and say you have one or two people that are actually doing the work, right?

Say you're like a funnel building agency. Like we were like, we have someone building our clients' funnels and handling their automation while I'm on vacation, right? That person has allowed me to remove myself. Thus, if that process has become automated right now, there's ways to use automation to make each and every person's role in your business more efficient. But that's some advanced stuff we'll talk about in another episode. So when I talk about automating your sales process, it's really refining to one sales mechanism, right? How do you convert prospects into clients? And I think a lot of agencies don't have a repeatable process for sales. And so when our clients come to us, we help them create that one system that all of their lead generation and lead nurture go into one sales mechanism. And for many of our clients that's selling over the phone, and for many of our clients, that is a consultation funnel or an appointment funnel, if that's the term that you're used to hearing in the high ticket services and high ticket coaching and consulting, you've probably heard, uh, you know, an appointment funnel.

Well, the appointment engine or the consultation engine is going to be your key sales process. Now there's ways to automate that so that people that are coming through your automated lead Gen system will actually go into your automated sales system, queuing them up for the sales call the week you returned from vacation. That's great. The next layer of automating your sales processes is to remove yourself from that sales process when you've refined your entire sales experience so that it can be communicated to somebody else in a playbook, you can then go hire someone to come in and help you with sales, right? You just need to plug that person the seat that you were in and accepting and receiving the calls that have been generated from your automated lead generation and nurture system making sense. So phase one of that is just the automation that's queuing them up to be on your calendar when you returned from the vacation.

And the second piece is removing yourself from that process altogether. So remember when I said you only need steps one and step two to remove yourself for a week, possibly two weeks, and your business will continue to operate? Well, if you can remove yourself from the sales process, right? Which is actually the fourth thing, remove yourself from the sales process. You can actually grow the business while you're on vacation, right? Because if you only replace yourself in fulfillment and you only automate lead Gen and you only automate the sales process so that they're, you know, getting warmed up for the sales call, but you still have to take the sales call. So if you really only go through steps one through three here that we've talked about, your business will continue to run while you're on this one or two week vacation. But it won't grow.

Meaning you won't get new clients, right? You won't have new sales conversations, you won't be able to accept transactions. Now, this does not cover the fact that if you sell online courses and your services and indoor products can be purchased without a salesperson. Most of our clients are selling higher valued services that range from 3000 all the way up to 50,000 sometimes even a hundred thousand dollars a year. So usually those conversations require a conversation. Those sales, those, those sales require a sales conversation. So I'm talking about the people that are closing with a human to human sales process. Okay? I'm not talking about, you know, the selling the course on autopilot. So those three things, if you do just steps one through three and focus on one through three, you have positioned yourself to go on that one, possibly two week vacation where you can disconnect.

Clients still get results, your marketing still works, your pipeline is being filled for when you return. When you add step four we kind of go, we'll go dark green with this because that's where you can actually remove yourself from a week or two weeks and the business can make more money. And if you haven't done these four things in your agency, any other things that you've been working on right now should literally not [inaudible] not a priority, right? Because you focus on these four things and your business will start to work and operate without you being the key bottleneck across these four or five core functions of your business. Lead Gen, lead, nurture, sales, fulfillment, and retention, resell and upsell. So if you'd focus on just these three guys, you can go on that one or two week vacation, your business won't blow up, right? Your will still get results.

You'll have sales conversations coming in, you'll still be out there and marketing because automated and when then you can advance to the next level of removing yourself from the sales process. You really start making that first step into the kind of CEO role, so to speak, where you're focused on continuing to systemize, continuing to remove yourself, and you get to focus on the growth of your, your entire business, not actually being the person that is responsible for getting all of the clients, the results going out there, doing the marketing, et cetera. So these are the four areas that you can focus on right now that will allow you to start taking that vacation that you deserve. Especially if it's been four years. Guys. Now if you want help with these four things, um, there is a link below this video. You can learn a little bit more about our program called foundations, where we walk you through a step by step blueprint and we give you the systems and help you implement them into your business to do these four things so that you can really start to position yourself to re to position yourself to remove yourself and start bringing in other people, right?

So Foundations is a program where we get to work on these four things with you, hand in hand, side-by-side doing it together, implementing and rolling out these systems in your business. So if that sounds good, visit the link below, uh, and you can learn a little bit more and you can schedule a call with our team and we'll, we'll be happy to chat with you to talk about is this a reality for you and how soon could this be possible in your business? So again, if you're looking for that help, just click that link below and schedule a call with our team. Otherwise, if you're enjoying these videos, if you're watching on youtube, we'd love for you to subscribe. It really means a lot. We're approaching at the time of the recording, we're approaching our 1000 subscriber and usually that's where the algorithm starts to pick up from everything that I hear.

So we'd love to have you as a subscriber. We release two episodes every single week and if you're the audio-only kind of person, we're available on iTunes, Spotify, all of those places. So we would love a rating and review on iTunes. It means the world to us to hear how this content has been helpful for you. So head on over to iTunes and search Scalable or just search Greg Hickman, you know how to leave a review guys and we'd appreciate an honest review of the show and until then we'll talk to you guys next time. If I give you five to 10 new clients, would you or your agency break if so, your current agency model is broken? I struggle with this too until I found a better way. By adding online programs, training, and coaching to our agency, we doubled profits without adding more hours. If you want to work directly with me and my team to transform your agency, visit myscalablebusiness.com to learn more.

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Anusha Vaidyan - October 27, 2020 Reply

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