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Do you have passion for your agency and clients? Have you identified your agency's purpose? Do you know your why and does your team buy into your vision?  One agency had a hard time with this and decided to begin a startup incubator to fill the void. The results have been amazing for the agency, the team, and their clients. She managed to create a very cool agency model that both creates opportunities for startups with a lot of potential and also provides investment opportunities for her staff, even in the early stages of their careers.

Laura Hutfless is the Co-Founder at FlyteVu, an entertainment marketing agency that helps brands connect to consumers via pop culture and purpose. Their work varies depending on the client, but it includes music events, influencers, endorsement deals, and more recently gaming. In short, they help clients try to keep up with pop culture and stay at the forefront.

In this interview, we’ll discuss:

  • Why agency projects need to have a purpose.
  • The process for working with incubator clients.
  • Advice for agency owners starting to invest.


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Why Every Agency Project Should Have a Purpose

Laura started her own agency, but her niche was something she stumbled upon accidentally. Before starting the agency, she worked in the talent agency CAA brokering deals between talent and corporate brands. As brands began to spend more on entertainment and influencers, Laura was asked to work for them. She saw the need to help companies navigate the new influencer culture to stay relevant to younger consumers, which led her to start her own agency.

She wanted to take on as many clients as possible to help these companies make sense of this new landscape. However, she felt that she was only helping people who already had a lot of money just make even more money; and she began to lose her passion for the job. To combat this, she decided that every project at her agency would have an actual purpose. This means working on either a movement, a change in culture, or a gift bag.

Laura also applied these principles to her incubator clients, investing only in startups she truly believed in and incorporating causes that were close to her heart. Laura wanted 20% of the agency's revenue to go to charity. So, she created the FlyteVu fund, which clients, teams, and vendors can access, and which can reach up to $1 million dollars each year.

One of her agency's first clients was Bumble. Although they did not receive equity, it was a mutually beneficial partnership that allowed the agency to earn credibility and learn a lot about the process and what a brand like that needs. Laura wanted to set up a startup incubator for future opportunities and to help entrepreneurs with great ideas and no funds. Now the agency has enough staff and hours to dedicate to these kinds of projects without taking payment.

The Process of Working with Startup Incubator Clients

When choosing incubator clients, Laura looks for mission-driven brands that resonate with her and her team's values, ensuring that it is something they believe in. There is a dollar amount attached to the equity they will receive in the company. This determines the hours spent on that client, and they are capped on the number of hours. Laura also looks at the brand's growth plan, strategy, and where they are in their timeline to better understand what the agency's role is and how far they can get them.

Laura's agency offers services for incubator clients for a year. After a year, they can either go off on their own or retain FlyteVu as their agency and pay their fee. Laura also pays for the equity of companies that are not yet at a point where they can benefit from their services.

When it comes to having dedicated teams, Laura only sees the need to have a separate account team. She wants to offer her staff opportunities for investment and wealth-building, which she never had as a young executive. By setting up her own incubator, Laura is able to give back and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs while also benefiting her agency.


Advice for Agency Owners who Want to Start Investing

If you’re interested in setting up an incubator, Laura recommends you start small. It has taken her agency some time to figure out a process that was right for them and she is thankful she gave herself that time. “You don’t have to dive in a big way,” she says. A lot of these startups need a phone call a month or some advice. These entrepreneurs don’t have the connections you have and at the beginning that’s a huge part of the agency’s involvement.

Do You Want to Transform Your Agency from a Liability to an Asset?

If you want to be around amazing agency owners that can see what you may not be able to see and help you grow your agency, go to Agency Mastery 360.  Our agency growth program helps you take a 360-degree view of your agency and gain mastery of the 3 pillar systems (attract, convert, scale) so you can create predictability, wealth, and freedom.

Direct download: Creating_a_Startup_Incubator_to_Find_True_Purpose_in_Your_Agency.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am MDT