5 Lessons from an 18-year-old founder of a digital agency

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How many 18 year-old kids do you know who have several businesses, including a two and a half year old digital agency? My guess is not many.

Over the last few years, I have been building my digital agency, Skewed, with a friend of mine. Over this time, I have learned many things, some good and some bad, but all of them have helped me to become a better boss, agency owner, and digital marketer.

1. The illusion of customer service is key

Juggling an intensive academic load, a 15 hour a week extracurricular schedule, and running a digital agency might leave one to wonder when in the world I have time for good customer service.

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Early on, I learned that good customer service is not necessarily the speed at which you fix the problem, but the speed at which you acknowledge the problem.

While waiting a week and a half to fix a problem will never fly, responding to emails within 12 hours, even if to say that you will fix it the next day, satisfies clients that their needs are being addressed.

One of my clients is located three hours away, yet they had no clue that I was not geographically located near them, a clue of just how effective customer service can be in building client relations.

2. Know your stuff, or admit you don’t

As an 18 year old, I definitely do not know everything, even though my parents say that sometimes I think I do. There is one thing that I know for sure: I will be the first one to tell a client if I don’t know what I am doing, or if I am unsure about it.

This leads the client to trust me in what I say that I do know and leads them to have a higher level of trust and patience when I don’t know. Clients are confident that I will do my research and find a solution to the things that I am less familiar with.

3. Age is just a number, but it matters

I don’t mean that being young is bad, as a matter of fact I could count the number of times that my age has been a hindrance on one hand. One of my advisors once told me, “Use your age.

“It is one of your greatest advantages over everyone else.” He was right. The amount of deals I can close with my age alone was shocking to me. When I first started, it was only limiting because I let it limit me.

Now it is a tool that I have to grow my agency and brand because clients are impressed with my motivation and want to support me in my endeavors.

An example of this is a local client, who after several meetings decided to use my agency over several other, larger agencies because of my age. She made sure to let me know that was the reason.

4. You don’t need the top-notch equipment

“Dad, my laptop is broken again!” is a common statement in our house. Let me be clear, I don’t own a three thousand dollar MacBook Pro.

I currently do all of my work on a two hundred dollar HP laptop. On this laptop I am able to host WordPress development sites, reconcile bank accounts, and pretty much do whatever I need to do.

While a higher end piece of equipment would be a great addition to the team, it is not something that is critically necessary.

Therefore, I do not have it. When my company first started, I was a hardcore fan of needing the best hardware, but over the years seeing how quickly the more expensive items get outdated, I have realized that getting cheaper, effective equipment is sometimes better and more cost effective than having the best of the best.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Asking for help is one of the hardest things that you can do, but it shouldn’t be. Young agency owners should not be afraid to ask for help.

In my case, I found that asking for help was the best thing that I could have done. Asking for help lead me into a community that has provided me with clients, education, and connections that will last for the rest of my life. Asking for help has given me a chance to grow not only my agency, but myself as well.

At first, I was extremely nervous to ask for help because I thought that I was too young or my ideas weren’t thought through enough.

I powered through my fears and found a community of people that were open to not only helping me succeed, but helping me thrive in the competitive world of digital agencies.

Overall, owning a digital agency is a taxing but amazing experience. Being able to start my agency at such a young age has been extra rewarding and has given me a platform on which to base my future endeavors.

Learning so many valuable lessons drives me to become better, spread my knowledge, and help others to learn how to create an awesome digital agency experience for clients and businesses that will last for years to come.

I’d love to hear any lessons you have learned in the comments!

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About Cameron Sechrist

Cameron Sechrist is the Chief Executive Officer of Skewed, a digital agency based out of Wilmington, North Carolina.  Outside of work, Cameron is an avid dancer, entrepreneur, and scholar.  You can find Cameron on Twitter at @camsechrist or Instagram at @csechrist123.

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