How does a chatbot marketing agency get started? It often begins with a single freelancer. That person discovers the power of chatbots and starts building. They hone their skills in conversational design, and maybe get familiar with some advanced chatbot tech. They start taking on clients and producing amazing results. Eventually, they start their own chatbot agency to scale operations.

How does a chatbot marketing agency grow? There are lots of steps the freelancer-turned-CEO will need to take to start expanding their business. There's branding and prospecting and pitching and hiring, and a whole host of other tasks that they'll need to take care of. But a marketing agency CEO can do all that and still struggle to grow, or have a sharp spike and then plateau.

What causes chatbot agencies to get "stuck" this way? What's the one thing that you, as an entrepreneur and agency CEO, can do to break free and make it big, unlocking your full potential for success? The answer: Shift your mindset. 💡

Freelance builder vs. chatbot agency CEO

Einstein once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." In other words: New goals require a new approach. If you want to learn how to become an entrepreneur and a successful agency owner, you can't do or think about things the same way you did when you were a freelancer. The goals of people in those two roles are fundamentally different, so the mindsets must be also. Think about these comparisons:

  • Maintenance vs. growth. Freelancers are focused on maintaining their workflow. They know how many projects they want to take on each month so they can make their desired income. Their goal is to keep doing great work for a certain number of clients, and use their free time and resources on other pursuits. Agency owners, in contrast, are focused on scaling, growing, and taking on more work than they would've been able to handle alone as a freelancer.
  • Individual work vs. collaboration. A freelancer completes all their work personally. That means they only take on projects that they themselves have the bandwidth to handle. An effective CEO, however, learns to delegate—to codify and systematize their processes so they can be carried out at scale by employees.

These are just a few key differences in how individual freelancers and marketing agencies function. It's obvious that, although both are doing the same type of work, their big-picture objectives are completely different. But if you started out as a freelancer, it can be hard to know exactly how to shift to becoming an entrepreneur and adopting the CEO mindset. It can be challenging to break those old patterns to allow for new forms and levels of success. That's why we've identified the three key mindset shifts you need to make to to learn how to be a CEO and find success for your chatbot marketing agency.

Make these three, key mindset shifts

Ready to get on track for the incredible business growth you know you're capable of creating? Start changing the way you think in these three areas to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset.

how to become CEO

How you value your time ⏱️

As a freelancer, your relationship between time and money was quite linear. You worked X hours for Y dollars. If you stopped working, the money stopped flowing. The goal of entrepreneurship and the CEO role is to completely rethink this relationship. Instead, you'll be striving to create a well-oiled machine that can continue generating revenue regularly, independent of the number of hours you're personally putting in. That means that you need to start thinking longer term. What systems can you create to scale certain processes? Which processes can you automate or delegate? Start thinking about building your machine instead of personally doing all the work yourself.

What you offer to clients 🤖

Are you selling a product to your clients, or a solution? A product is exactly what the client asked for. You hand it over and let them take it from there. A solution is more of a service—one which is essentially guaranteed to bring about the end result the client needs. As a freelance bot builder, you probably created a chatbot, launched it, and moved on to the next project. But here's what makes a good CEO: Taking (or make sure your team takes) a bigger-picture approach. CEO duties include chatting with the client about their pain points and needs, then building a bot to meet those needs. You need to launch it and make sure it's successful, iterating as you go. Your new focus is on building a strong, trusting relationship with the client, and producing remarkable results that will help you retain them and attract new business. An effective CEO has to think for the long term, with each client as a foundational part of their growing business.

How you get new business 🌱

As a freelancer, you probably had a set amount you wanted to earn regularly (weekly or monthly). You had a specific minimum "salary" in mind for yourself, and accepted whatever work it took to reach that goal. This approach typically takes the form of reacting to job posts and accepting new clients who seek you out. But what does a CEO do to get new business? A CEO has to be more proactive and deliberate about growing their client base. As the head of your agency, you need to intentionally, strategically seek out clients and industries that excite you, and that you know you can produce results for. Appreciate the fact that the relationships you build with these clients will, in turn, be the building blocks of your brand.

"An agency CEO is creating a business by design. A freelancer is taking business by default." –Mary Kathryn Johnson (MKJ), agency owner and Chatfuel Academy instructor

Becoming an executive and shifting to the CEO mindset in these three ways isn't an overnight process. A mindset makeover happens as a result of lots of individual actions that eventually add up. It starts with creating replicable processes that you can scale. Then, it's finding high-quality employees that you can slowly start relying on and delegating to. And finally, it's about setting criteria for the clients you work with, and going after them instead of taking whoever comes to you. If being the CEO of a marketing agency is your goal, start working towards it by shifting your mindset with these incremental changes.

What else you need to know about being an agency CEO

Mindset is hugely important for any new endeavor, especially a major one like starting your own business. The tips above will help you get started on your journey of how to become a CEO who can successfully grow a business—but there's lots more to it. If you're looking for more information, entrepreneur motivation, and a coach who can guide you through the process (because she's done it herself), it's time you checked out Chatfuel Academy.

It's led by Mary Kathryn Johnson (MKJ), bot-building freelancer turned successful agency CEO and chatbot educator. Her four-week online course will teach you everything you need to know about running your own successful chatbot agency. The curriculum includes a deep dive into the entrepreneur mindset, conversational design, crucial chatbot tech, and the secrets to successful prospecting, pitching, and sales.

chatfuel academy

Chatfuel Academy is free for all Chatfuel Premium Agency clients. (If you're already a client, contact your account manager for information on enrolling.)

👉Not yet a Chatfuel client, but want to take part in the training? Book a demo with our sales team! They'll tell you more about how our Premium Agency plan can help take your agency to the next level with tools and resources like Chatfuel Academy, and many more.