Common Mistakes Agency Owners Make The First Year

Dec 9, 2022 | JC Hite

An advantage of working with agency owners worldwide is seeing their numbers, their churn, their stress, what they’re selling, and what’s not working, giving us the unique ability to understand their mistakes.

In this post, I’ll share some common mistakes marketing agency owners make in their first year of owning their digital marketing company. 

6 Common Mistakes

As an agency owner, you’re going to make mistakes. Down the road, you’ll look back and have what I like to call “aha moments” where you’ll realize the mistakes you made, what you shouldn’t have done, what you could’ve done better, and so on and so forth. 

I want to save you some time and share with you 6 common mistakes agency owners make during their first year of owning their agency. This way, you can avoid making these same mistakes.

1- Finances

Mistakes I see often are related to finances. Let’s take a closer look at how failing to understand finances can greatly affect your agency:  

A big problem I’ve seen in the marketing agency world is that although they have a big revenue, they have nothing to show for it when you take a closer look at the checking account because they’re not budgeting. Having a budget is key.

Not Having A P&L:

If you don’t understand what’s happening in your business, you will not be able to make the necessary changes to improve it. That’s why having a P&L (Profit & Loss) report is so important because it tells you exactly where your money is coming in and going out. 


At Hite, we don’t measure savings in dollars; we measure them in months. How many months of savings do we have? This is very simple if another pandemic hits, if a recession comes… how many months would you survive with the savings you currently have? 

One key element to keeping your digital marketing company afloat is being able to have enough savings to survive in case of any emergency. For example, with COVID many businesses had to shut down or fire workers because they couldn’t keep the business running without taking those measures. 

We were able not only to stay open and running, but we didn’t fire a single person– granted we weren’t able to hire anyone new for a while, but we didn’t lose anyone– we had enough savings to stay afloat long enough to get back in our feet without any losses. 

2- Solely Relying On Facebook Ads

This goes against the grain of what many people are pitching and saying these days, but I see a lot of agencies that are completely relying on Facebook ads to grow their business, which is not sustainable. 


A common problem I see in the digital agency world is that a lot of businesses are having trouble with Facebook. A lot of accounts are getting shut down or ads are getting disapproved. it’s simply unreliable, and building 80% of your revenue on something so unstable is not a good idea.


The uncertainty with CPLs is too unpredictable; you can have 50 one day, 100 the next, and 20 the day after that. The formula isn’t as predictable as things like Adword or other things.

3- Listening To Noise

As an agency owner, you constantly see other owners and agencies “killing it” on social media. You see their posts, the numbers they share, the clients they claim to have, etc. But there’s likely more to it than what they’re sharing. 

Take what other people say with a grain of salt, and be aware that you’re not getting the whole picture. Don’t get distracted by the noise. Focus on your numbers, on your progress, and what you can do to improve.

4- Understanding What It Means To Profit

It’s important to separate business profit from personal profit. Your business has to be profitable and have savings of its own. For me, business is about the safety net. Your business has to be able to survive on its own. It has to have money put aside for a rainy day, and you, should not be touching that. 

5- Charging Too Much, Too Quick

I see this happen a lot with new digital agencies. They charge too much too quickly without any results or case studies to show. If you want to charge high-end prices, you have to be able to deliver results and show a track record. 

6- Not Investing Time In Learning

Investing your TIME into learning is so important. Many people believe they need to spend a lot of money on courses and memberships, but free resources are available. This is about managing your time and putting in the effort to learn and grow. 

Learn From Your Mistakes

These are some common mistakes I’ve noticed agency owners make in their first year. I want to reiterate that it’s okay to make mistakes; we all do. The most important thing is that you learn from them, so you don’t continue making the same mistakes.

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