The leap from a one-person show to a small boutique agency isn’t just a business decision — it’s also a personal journey. If you’re grappling with the best way to grow your independent business, Henry Kaminski of Unique Designz has wisdom you need to hear.
In a recent podcast, Henry and IBO co-founder Amy Foley discussed the deep challenges and great rewards of scaling a self-run business into a multi-person, multi-million dollar operation. For Henry, the path from independent graphic designer to fully confident business leader took a lot of personal growth, experimentation, and learning.
If you’re looking for ways to scale, consider these key insights Henry picked up during his journey. He advises entrepreneurs to consider the following:
- Identify your unique ability — your zone of genius — and invest as much time in it as possible. As an entrepreneur, you wear a lot of hats. In the beginning, you are often a marketing, sales, accounting, graphic design, and content department all in one. It might feel like growth means mastering all parts of the business, but Henry vehemently disagrees. It’s more important to understand which skills bring out your best and brightest work. Focusing on your natural strengths will yield results that are out-of-this-world amazing and authentic to you.
- Delegate as soon as you can. Both Henry and Amy expressed some regret over waiting so long to bring outside help into the fold in their self-run businesses. While it can be difficult to let go of full control as a solo entrepreneur, bringing in teammates frees up your energy so that you can devote more time to your zone of genius. Henry shared that even though hiring employees may seem like it comes with a huge overhead cost, the extra time that team members will create in your schedule guarantees an incredible return on investment.
- Let clients connect with your story. Early on in his career, Henry did not feature himself or his story on his company website. While it featured great design, the human connection piece was sorely missing. After embracing his personal story as a part of his company brand, Henry added his backstory to the website and created an impactful video that has closed deals with many clients. Bringing your whole self to your business creates a greater chance for authentic connection with ideal clients.
- Be the client you wish to attract. Henry warns that quantity is not greater than quality when it comes to clients. Creating authentic relationships with clients who mesh well with your work style leads to better work, better results, and (often) return business. Make sure you’re putting out the kind of energy you are hoping to get back from ideal clients.
- Establish yourself as an authority in your field in authentic ways. Henry’s reputation as a branding expert took off when he began to express himself and share his story online. He has a huge Instagram following and regularly interacts with his digital audience. While personal videos and live Q&As work well for him, Henry advises other entrepreneurs to identify the unique methods of communication that are the most comfortable for them. Once they find their niche, he encourages publishing new content consistently.
- Embrace the (seriously amazing!) power of your uniqueness. Beyond identifying your unique zone of genius, Henry encourages all entrepreneurs to honor the fact of their uniqueness. He summed it up best with this quote: “You are one in seven billion. And what makes things expensive? Premium? High demand? Scarcity. ‘Being very few of.’ When you finally embrace that and realize that [uniqueness] is your superpower, there’s nothing you can’t do.”
Bonus! Henry’s Advice on Creating Content that Connects
In addition to sharing wisdom for independent entrepreneurs everywhere, Henry also had some tactical advice for content creators. Here are two of his tips:
- Think of every piece of content as a “tentacle” that could potentially reach a key audience member. This concept reminds Henry to keep his content consistent and specific. His “tentacles” are focused around five distinct topic pillars (including branding, design, and funnels) and are usually shared in a similar format (examples include behind-the-scenes, asking questions, and live interaction). These constraints give Henry the freedom to explore new topics while also meeting his audience’s expectations of his work and brand.
- Create a “talking with” moment, not a “talking to” moment. When studying the kinds of social media posts that resonated with his audience, Henry realized people prefer talking with someone — feeling like a part of the conversation — rather than being talked to by someone at a higher level. After this finding, Henry incorporated more chances for live interaction into his content and continues to find ways to create “with” moments for his audience.
Whether you’re focused on scaling your business, delivering impactful content, or doing both at the same time, Henry’s advice will help you find the courage, strength, and focus to take your skills and work to the next level.
Want to learn more? Listen to the podcast episode or visit Henry’s website. Looking for additional guidance about scaling your agency? Join us on Thursday, September 16, at 11am for our free webinar, 3 Critical Actions to Scale Your Marketing Agency. We’ll dig into the actions you should take to level up your agency. Don’t forget to register today!
"Love having a team or experts in my back pocket that make my life easier and more efficient. It allows me to focus on what I need to do and gives me the ability to offer additional services to my clients."
"No one is perfect, but IBO is pretty close! I always get what I expect and often more for a fair price and on time."
"I trust IBO to take care of all of my client projects. Your team is solid and are experts in their field."
"Great team. Great service levels. Great work."
"You guys have been a wonderful extension of our team!"
"We found Amy and IBO when we were in a jam- short-staffed and in the midst of mission-critical deliverables for a number of clients. Not only did Amy and her team dive in head first to help they delivered work that far exceeded our expectations and continues to do so today. Amy has an uncanny ability to align her resources with our needs, timeline, and level of expertise needed to get the job done. I offered to provide this testimonial when responding to last month's invoice. How many of you can say that? The value is exceptional, the service is even better. Amy and her team care about my company and it shows."
"Prompt, Smart, Efficient, Quality work. PM structure is also great value add for small agency"
"Inbound Back Office's amazing virtual assistants have helped me double my marketing business this year. I have no employees and have still been able to increase my client base over 100% from 2016. All the VA's I deal with are friendly and do fantastic work. I highly recommend Amy and her team."
"Very responsive and dependable. When I ask for work to be done, I know it is being handled!"
"Working with Amy and the IBO team over the years has been a huge relief. They are extremely reliable, responsive, and quick to learn new tasks. We are able to trust that projects will be done correctly the first time, every time!"