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  • Jennifer Babbit Bodner

The Modern Agency


There is a massive benefit to being one of the “new kids on block” in the business world. Instead of retrofitting your policies and processes to fit the changing times, you can build your business model to fit with the current day in age. We’ve all heard and read ad nauseum about the various factors that have changed the way we work: the millennials, the gig economy, and all things tech-based, but I’m not sure we’ve explored the way that businesses will evolve.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed in year one of running a small shop that are “things of the past” and that we will soon see gone from the industry vernacular.

  • Working from Home and Flexible Hours. People always ask me if I work out of an office or my home. The real answer is I work from my car, Starbucks, my bed, the beach, a plane, and even some times in the bathroom. Pretty much everyone is a remote worker these days. Smart phones, remote log-ins, Skype and VOIP have made it crucial that we are “always on” and available anywhere. Agencies that are touting a potential to “work from home” are a bit behind on the times. What’s needed is a clear focus on what’s expected from an employee in terms of goals and work produced NOT a focus on where or when they’re getting it done.

  • FTEs. It would be extreme to say to that the agency of the future isn’t going to have any full-time staff, BUT I would wager that the number of contractors and freelancers will dramatically rise thank to offerings like 99designs and UpWork. In the standard agency model, clients typically got people put on their account team that had availability but with these new easy-to-use marketplaces that are cost-efficient and time-efficient, you can find the exact talent you need to fit the bill for a client. Taking a page from my ongoing quest to find amazing people to watch my children, yesterday I skipped the recruiters and headhunters and hired an assistant straight from Care.com. There are over 1800 personal assistants listed on their site just within my 20-mile radius.

  • A permanent address. I love my collaborative work space at WeWork Tower Place. I have my own office with a door that closes – but also the availability of 900 other entrepreneurs and small business folks just outside my door. They host events, serve amazing coffee, save me the headaches of dealing with Wi-Fi, printing, and interior design. And its month to month. So when I’m not happy, or when I need more space, or just want something different, I’ll pack up my things and head on to the next “big thing.” The block I’m on has more co-working space for lease than anywhere else in the country. And I think it’s just on the rise. For big business to be this nimble and move often it doesn’t make sense, but for emerging firms that want community without the headache, this is the way to go.

What do you think the agency of the future will bring? Let me know @jennbodner or jennifer@babbitbodner.com.


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