Should You Start a Digital Agency in an Economic Downturn?
Play • 13 min

Are you considering starting an agency but worried now's not the right time? Are you afraid of failure or the added pressure of these uncertain times? It's totally understandable! Starting a business is scary, but especially during an economic downturn. So you might be surprised to learn now may actually be one of the best times to start an agency.

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • Should you start an agency during an economic downturn?
  • Does your agency have a challenger mindset?
  • Why self-awareness is key to your agency's continued growth.

Today I sat down for a timely conversation with Scott Cullather, co-founder and CEO of INVNT, a live-branding storytelling agency. Scott started his agency right at the start of the economic downturn in 2008 and says doing so helped define who his agency is today. He's here to talk about how his agency thrived during a poor economy and what agency owners need to know today.

Should You Start an Agency During an Economic Downturn?

There's no doubt we are in one of the most volatile economies in our lifetime. Stocks are in flux, businesses are closing, and realistically, we have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow. But did you know now is actually the perfect time to grow an agency?

Scott says one of the reasons his agency found success in 2008 is because there was literally nowhere to go but up. They had no employees, no overhead, and yes, no clients. But this meant every account they gained was one to be celebrated. And each one after was a sign they were moving up. When you have nothing to lose, it takes away your crutches. You don't think about what a certain decision might cost, but rather, what you have to gain.

Does Your Agency Have a Challenger Mindset?

Scott says starting during an economic meltdown set his agency up with a challenger mindset. Where larger, slower, flatfooted companies were making cuts and avoiding risks, INVNT was able to develop messages, strategies, and campaigns that were not only on brand but were designed to shake things up.

Scott says this challenger mindset isn't one the agency has simply moved on from. Instead, it is what pushes the agency to grow. Being scrappy is everything. When you become complacent, that's when you're in the danger zone.

Why Self-Awareness is Key to Your Agency's Continued Growth

An agency owner must be self-aware of the decisions they make and their approach to business. Naturally, you should change your processes and systems as your agency evolves.. While you should always be willing to adapt and grow with the market, never lose that spark and drive you had when you first started your agency. It's like a football team who is up 21-0 that decides to change their strategy. If they lose their drive, they'll quickly find themselves down 28-21. Scott says he's always challenging his team to stay focused and grounded to the core principles that got them to where they are today.

Often the ones who find the most success are the ones who aren't afraid to take a risk. When everyone else is stepping back, this is your opportunity to step up. Be scrappy, take chances, and don't be afraid to make big moves. When you start with a fighter attitude you'll discover it's likely a mindset that will stick around.

Ready to See How Your Agency Financials Stack Up?

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When you know your numbers you can make smart decisions in order to grow your agency. Agency Dad will take you to the next level with bookkeeping, financial dashboarding, and forecasting built specifically for agencies.

Head over to to receive a free audit on your agency's financials.


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