Ivy Malik
How a creative agency stays busy but broke

How a creative agency stays busy but broke

Just because you’re busy in your business doesn’t mean your business is thriving.

This may be hard to hear: If you’re not making money, your business isn’t doing well.

If the thought of pausing to reassess your current situation makes you worried that your entire business is going to crumble around you, then you’re not running a sustainable business.

Often, businesses created out of passion don’t have a strong foundation. You may be moments away from crumbling, so you keep your creative agency busy to avoid failing.

Now, you may be thinking, “No, my business is sustainable.” For the outside, it may be, but what happens when you zoom into the details?

Are you actually making money?

Are you actually growing?

Are you able to sustain your current workflow?

Are you at risk of burning out?

I want to help you take a look at your creative agency to determine if it’s thriving or surviving.

Is it bad to be busy?


It’s great to be a busy agency. In fact, I want you to be busy if you want to be busy. But being busy isn’t always an indication that your business is thriving. 

If you’re busy and broke, you have a problem.

It’s only good to be busy if you’re making a profit and having fun while doing it.

Here’s how to stay broke:

-      Hire too many people too soon

-      Spend more than you make

-      Don’t pay yourself

These three things are going to negatively impact your business and set you up for failure. Instead, you want to focus on creating an agency that withstands time and continues to grow.

You’re going to stay broke if you don’t start intentionally reflecting on your business, pinpointing the problems, and making pivots to establish a firm foundation.


If you want to scale your creative agency, you must do these five things.

1.    Pay attention to your cashflow

2.    Consider timing of your first hire

3.    Client management

4.    Work on your mindset

5.    Build a culture where people want to work


1. Pay attention to your cashflow. 

If you’re going to make a profit in your creative business, you need to know what’s coming in and what’s going out.

The money you earn and the money you spend is going to impact the growth of your busy. Don’t spend more than you bring in, and don’t forget to pay yourself.

2. Consider the timing of your first hire.

When you make your first hire, you want to ensure that you’re able to pay them and that they’re offering value to your business. Don’t hire someone just for the sake of hiring someone, and don’t push off hiring someone because you think you can do it all yourself.

Hiring someone too early may prevent you from having the funds to keep them on your team or invest into your business in other ways, and hiring someone too late may prevent you from scaling your business.

An extra pair of hands could help ease your load if you have too much work, or it could cost you more than it brings in.

3. Client management

Who are you working with and why?

If your business is carried by your network, you may have a problem. If you’re constantly putting out fires with the people you’re working with, you may have a problem. If you’re not growing your clients, you may have a problem. If managing your clients takes all your time, you may have a problem.

You’re allowed to say no to working with people that are stunting your growth. Don’t be afraid to seek out high-ticket clients who are going to pay you more and cause less of a headache.

4. Work on your mindset.

Is your mindset preventing you from thriving?

Are you led to believe lies about your ability, worth, or how things should be?

When you’re running your own business, your mind can be your best friend or your greatest enemy. If you’re currently in a battle with your mindset, I urge you to take intentional action to change your narrative.

Your mindset is going to impact how you approach your work, what you accomplish, and how you succeed. 

Don’t let your mindset be what prevents you from excelling.

5. Build a culture where people want to work 

People aren’t going to stay with your agency if you’re burning them out.

Too much work is going to cause people to flee.

Instead, focusing on creating a culture where people can thrive. When your employees are thriving, your business will thrive. Happy people produce good work.

You don’t want to get burnt out, and you don’t want to burn out the people who work with you. Instead, you want to create a creative agency plan that enables you and your people to excel.

You don’t need to believe the starving artist mentality.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you’re at risk of believing the lie that there’s no money in creative agencies.

This just isn’t the case. 

You can have a thriving creative agency, and you can make a sustainable income through it.

You don’t need to be broke and busy.

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to thrive as a creative agency, let's connect. I’m a business coach who helps creative entrepreneurs grow their businesses by landing high-ticket clients and creating systems that work.

Learn more about my services.

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