to not be an agency!
No joke. Agencies definitely have their perks, but we here at Berry Interesting – and by “we”, I mean, me, my amazing team of freelancers, and two very enthusiastic Snuggle Ambassadors – are immensely thankful this year that we have the luxury of not being an agency. Since founding BIPI, I’ve often struggled with one big question: should I work to establish a “real” office, with a conference room and halls where I can run into colleagues around a water cooler? Would that make us a better company? Or, more personally, would I feel more official, take myself more seriously, do better work? I have to admit that starting the workday in my PJs with the dogs snoozing close by is idyllic, but it can get lonely. Would BIPI be a better business if we were bigger? Would be provide better service?
Right now, the answer is a resounding no. The flexibility to work wherever I choose to open my laptop and managing a team who’s just as agile is making me a better business owner – more attentive and mindful. Not only that, but we can tailor our services, expertise, and schedule to each client’s individual needs, which makes our clients happier, too! This past month I have been reminded, in several contexts, how important it is for BiPi to remain nimble and not give into that siren song of 9-5 stability in an office downtown.
Why agility & scalability matter to us
First came a call from a colleague who needed assistance launching a new section of an existing client’s ecommerce site. While he bouncing from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi and then Las Vegas, handling the development punchlist along the way, I was here in the same time zone as the client and able to field all the incoming tasks for WordPress site management. Partnering with him enabled us to meet the client’s deadline within budget and with an extra dose of customer care.
Second came a meeting with a potential client, whose main concern was turn-time and affordability. His existing portfolio of sites includes several WordPress sites and one HTML site, all of which need ongoing support as he gets organized and sets his sites on bigger and better goals. He needs someone he can call for help who is actually the person providing that help (as opposed to a dedicated handler who logs the call into a project management software system so that someone else can execute tasks). Not only can BIPI uniquely offer the hands-on assistance he is looking for, within a span of days as opposed to weeks, but I was able to immediately identify areas where a specialist will be needed. In this case, an SEO audit from 2 The Top Design is definitely in order… meanwhile, BIPI will be able to handle the simple site management tasks and keep things moving forward.
Then came a meeting with an existing client who is about to release a new album. While I have been helping her learn basic WordPress building skills for a few years, her business is about skyrocket, and she knows she won’t be able to do everything herself. She needs someone she can trust to handle the tasks she needs to get off her plate. We’re planning to find her a dedicated person to manage a new flickr account, while I personally handle more complex WordPress development and so that she can focus on content & organization.
What struck me about each of these situations is that we were able to meet our clients’ individual needs precisely because we are not an agency. We are free from the monthly obligation of working with full-time staff, and so are able to draw from a network of talented freelancers who can be chosen precisely because of how well each fits each client’s requirements. While I recognize the downsides to the “sharing” economy (Uber hasn’t won my love with their shenanigans any more than Air BnB has, or any of the other app-based service providers, the spirit behind such networks thrives best in a small network of dedicated professionals, and that’s just what we have.
The strong network of current & potential clients, freelancers, and colleagues that we’ve built over the years has been the key to keeping BIPI scalable, responsive, and thriving. I’m really lucky that Nashville has such a vibrant Meetup community — the WordPress Meetup and the WE Nashville meetings are must-attends — and I continue to love serving my clients while working alongside some pretty great colleagues and freelancers.
Especially at this time of year, we are thankful that we get to work with and in such an amazing community. Happy Thanksgiving!