Kwabena Okyire

blog, make money online

How To Start A Virtual Agency

Agencies have been around for ages. Right from advertising agencies, the industry has slowly adapted to emerging and new technology. To start an agency was practically not possible for the vast majority of people. You needed lots of connections and resources to pull something like that off.  

The Evolution of work is taking its toll on the agency model paving way for anyone with bright ideas to start an agency without the previous commitments it required. The agency of today can now operate virtually making it an attractive way for businesses to capitalize on international markets and build a team of experts from anywhere. Running a virtual agency comes with several advantages over the traditional agency which we will be exploring in this article. But before that, what exactly is a virtual agency?

What is a Virtual Agency?

A virtual agency is a remote agency company with a full work-from-home structure allowing the company to facilitate work without a physical office setting. If run well, a virtual agency is one of the best ways to avoid the overhead costs associated with a traditional agency while delivering work with the best of skilled teams and at low prices.  

What Are The Advantages of a Virtual Agency

Hire Worldwide

Unlike traditional agencies that focus on establishing offices in major cities in the world, you can focus on hiring from the international pool. Establishing local offices limits talent to the locals and that may place a limit on the quality of talent you get. A virtual agency is not limited to physical locations, therefore you can have a worker in a different country working on all projects you get from across the world. 

Have Clients Worldwide

Agencies have traditionally focused on more offices to be able to serve local clients thus building a physical local presence. However, the world of work has shifted and you no longer need physical offices to work on projects and serve clients. The trust factor online is something that has improved and now both individuals and businesses are comfortable with working with people on a virtual basis, jumping on calls, and communicating through email and chat platforms. This allows you as a virtual agency to take advantage of having np physical yet be able to work with clients without any physical boundaries. 

No Administrative Costs

One of the huge aspects of costs when running a traditional agency is the overhead costs associated with operating a physical office. Taking care of garbage, employing cleaners or paying service fees to your landlord, paying rent, and many more. The obvious argument may be that the physical environment sparks collaboration and allows for ideas to be developed quickly. That is a salient point. But the same environment can be fostered in a virtual team, With the right processes, systems, teams, and incentives in place, a virtual team can be as efficient and productive as a physically bound one. 

Ability to Provide Cost-Effective Solutions

As part of being able to drastically cut the majority of overhead costs associated with having a physical office, a virtual can afford to use a pricing strategy that promises quality, fast deliveries at lower costs. This makes your services as a virtual agency much more desired. 

Working Flexibility for Staff

The world of work has changed. This means unlike before that everyone was supposed to be at the office, whether it is \”their thing\” or not, you had to go to the office. And it is still the same in some organizations. But workers are beginning to appreciate what they have been missing. The coronavirus has shown us that we can have successful and productive work-from-home systems. Staff can enjoy their home while contributing to the success of your agency and clients. 

What Can a Virtual Agency Do?

It was advertising, then marketing and PR. But today, a whole lot more can be done for clients without having to ever meet them, and that’s the good spot for a virtual agency. Services that require a lack of contact and don’t require much physical interaction can be automated in a virtual agency system. Services like programming, graphic design, writing, video editing, voice-overs, and more. For a clue, take a look at freelancing platforms and the services you find will give you the clarity you need. There are more than 500 service categories on Fiverr. 

Starting a Digital Agency in 8 Steps

Starting a virtual agency is not as complicated and complex as starting a traditional agency. It doesn’t involve a lot of overhead costs and you may not even need to employ staff before you start getting jobs. Your entry strategy could be entirely flexible based on your availability and ability to get leads and sales. However, it does require careful planning if your agency is to be successful. Without the proper systems and processes inherent in running a robust remote team, your team can quickly be taken into the quicksands of lack of systems and accountability. If you are wondering how to piece it all together, let’s start with the basics. 

Find Your Niche

If you took a look at Fiverr, you would quickly realize how many skills can be sold virtually. And as much as that may be exciting, it also poses a problem. Which one of them do you start with? That is the problem of which niche to start with. If you are a freelancer transitioning to a virtual agency model, it may be as easy as taking stock of projects your clients have previously wanted you to do but due to limited capacity as an individual, you couldn’t deliver hence you didn’t take the deal. If you are a graphic designer, it could be taking no full-time responsibility for a brand’s creative works and bill by the hour or per month charges. 

Here are some of the in-demand skills for freelancers you can start with:

  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Programming
  • Amazon Web Service (AWS) Development
  • Mobile App Development
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Development
  • Website Design and Website Development
  • Data Analysis
  • Online Security and Ethical Hacking
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Writing
  • Illustration
  • Virtual Assistance
  • content production and marketing
  • Video Editing
  • Graphic Design
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Excel Management
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Video editing
  • Photography
  • Translation
  • Career Coaching
  • Audio Transcription
  • Voice-Over Acting

Do Competitor Research

Launching a business requires understanding the current landscape of the industry as well as the niche you are launching into. Understanding your industry involves a careful analysis of your industry and more particularly the specific players offering the same services you have decided to offer within the industry. 

Create Your Brand

A brand is made up of various tangible and intangible assets. To create a brand that will appeal to the right people and win you, clients, you may have to do some research and deep thinking before you get to the tangible aspects of your brand. There are lots of brand creation checklists to guide you through the process. When done with conceptualizing, your logo is the obvious thing you would need. A brand guide is also helpful with your virtual agency collaboration efforts. You do not want every designer you work with to have to come asking what hex code to use for the logo. 

Set a Business Model: Set a Pricing Model

The most important aspect of creating your business model is deciding your pricing. You have the option of using the billables system, charging by projects on flat value-based pricing, and taking a percentage of the project spend. You are free to explore other pricing models that would better help your business to grow. However, you should figure out the margins you will be making to have a clear roadmap of profits and losses. Being a virtual agency doesn’t mean you cannot run into the ground with our finances especially when you work with full-time staff. 

Launch Your Website

You may not have a physical office but your website is the face of your brand. You cannot leave it to chance. It should be carefully designed and developed to provide the best content and functionality to convert leads into paying and repeat clients. The use of great copywriting, graphics, information, and call to action should be employed to give your website a more than premium feel. People may not be able to come to your office but they can surely make the first impression about you from the design and content of your website. Your website is your best shot at impressing first-time visitors, make it good. 

Build a Brand  Portfolio

A portfolio is very important for a virtual agency. Just like freelancers need it to be able t convince potential clients of their work, a virtual agency can get deals by showing the nature of previous works you have done for others. The portfolio must be detailed with profiles about the brands you have worked for, their testimonies, the problem and how you solved it, the client’s testimonial, and more. You can have another section of your website for current clients and the solutions you are working on for them. This shows people that you aren’t just living on work you have done in the past, but you have clients who are paying for your services. 

Have a Social Media Presence

Social media gives a huge boost to the presence of a virtual agency. A virtual agency has no physical office that people can walk into, but it should have a large online presence through which people can get to know what you do and contact you. In most cases, a virtual agency will have businesses as well as individuals as clients so popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram are a good starting place. If you want to take things up a notch, youtube is a great place to explore and use video marketing to grow your business. 

Generate Leads

Generating leads in the online world is not the same as going through yellow pages or your local online directory and calling up people. There are different types of people, some may be warm to your business and others hot. And yet others may be extremely cold. You need to treat each person differently. In lead generation, the ads and information (or the kind of marketing) to target a potential customer with should be different based on the type of customer they are and the stage they are in the buyer’s journey. To be able to figure out these details, you need a detailed buyer persona about your ideal clients, who they are, where they are, what they like, and more. These will help you target your marketing in a better way. 

Provide Premium Service, Support, and Have Repeat Customers

The key to growing your virtual agency is using user-generated content about your business to build trust with new clients. To do that, you need to amaze all clients. You have to put in the work. If they are surprised by the quality and results you get them, they won’t hesitate to give you a testimonial or help you close another client because they can trust you will deliver. 

How to Keep A Virtual Agency Together

The idea of a virtual agency can be romanticized to the extent that one forgets it’s all online and soon enough, some practical problems will begin to show. This is true if you do not pay attention to some of the basic building blocks of building a sustainable and robust virtual agency. 

Systems and Processes

Systems and processes are important to keep the engine of your organization running without having to be on every employee telling them what to do. It also helps in ensuring that no excuses can be made about expectations and processes to get things done. Your business is only as solid as your systems and processes. 


For obvious reasons, a virtual agency will face more accountability problems than a physical office. If you don’t show up for work in a physical office, everybody will know. But in a virtual setting, well, that’s a different thing. Having accountability that does not just require putting time in but also getting results is a great way to inspire accountability. Pairing staff on projects helps two or more people to keep in touch to complete projects instead of isolating individuals.

Hire For Integrity and Discipline

There is a need for high accountability among employees. Hiring people who have integrity and discipline is the best way at ensuring that accountability will be upheld in the organization. 

Skills You Need To Survive as A Virtual Agency


Collaboration is at the heart of project management and should be a requirement for your teams. Working together not only encourages discipline and accountability, but you are also able to get your employees to feel connected to each other as they get work done.


To be able to collaborate effectively, teams should be able to communicate clearly and frequently with each other. Individuals should be accessible and ready to help. The online medium for communicating in a virtual agency is online either through video, voice, or text. This means every employee needs the required equipment and data to be able to do their work well.

Documentation of Projects, Processes, and Core Information

To empower everyone to do their job well, documenting the processes and systems as well as basic information everyone needs to get their work done is a must. Each project should have a directory with all briefs, assets, and progress reports. Managers should be able to get reports without having to stress and employees should be able to access the information and tools needed to execute their tasks without issues. 

Invest in Technology: Automate 

A core part of running a virtual agency is investing in tools that help make the system work well using the various workflows and processes you outlined for your company. Investing in collaboration tools, software and other assets needed to get work done should be a priority.

KPIs and Expectations Must be Agreed  

Everyone should have their KPIs at their fingertips. Without knowing them, executing on them is going to be a challenge and you don’t want that. Documenting KPIs and making them known to everyone is the key to making sure they know them. Having sessions to properly onboard staff, showing them their KPIs, and how to do them makes things much clearer to prevent misunderstandings and confusion. 

Why Start a Virtual Agency as a Freelancer

Running a virtual agency might seem like a daunting task. So, why star a one anyway?

Take Bigger Projects and Offer Comprehensive Solutions

As a freelancer or an individual, taking on big projects is simply not possible. You may be able to take several small jobs in a month or dedicate your time to one or two clients as a freelancer or solo operator. But with a team behind you, there is no limit. You can take on more and bigger projects without having to worry about execution, quality of work, and delivering on time. 

Make More Money By Capitalising on a Team

More projects, and bigger projects come with higher compensation which can quickly grow and help you expand your operations to take on more clients and even much bigger projects. 

Take the Burden from Clients Having to Find Lots of Individuals to Complete Their Project

If you have been freelancing for some time, you may have identified that certain clients like everything to be done for them, while others like to get individual freelancers to execute the various components of their projects. Having a team will enable you to help clients who want everything done for them without breaking your back or delivering low-quality work. 


Starting and running a virtual agency is not a difficult process, but getting clients may be. Creating a website may not break the bank, but getting quality content and testimonials may require diligent work. Along with its perks, running a virtual agency is a delicate task, and focusing on systems and team building will be your way to creating a successful virtual agency. 

About the author

Kwabena Okyire

After 13 years in digital marketing, I left my job in 2019 to work online full-time. Today I run my own agency, help local companies with digital marketing, freelance on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, and share proven marketing and personal branding strategies from my entrepreneurship journey through this blog.