After switching to FreshBooks Select, Michael can focus on what he does best—growing The Influence Agency.
Michael Landry and three other founders of The Influence Agency stumbled into their passion by accident. When looking into influencer marketing opportunities for a client at their previous company, nothing really met their client’s needs.
“As we did more research into influencer marketing, we saw that it was an emerging advertising method and there weren’t a lot of players in it. We felt we could find a way to offer something unique that would appeal to us, the consumers.”
So, in April 2017, they launched a digital marketing agency, specializing in influencer marketing.
Starting Small but Acting Big
When most start-ups get off the ground, the early days are thrifty to make ends meet. This was no exception for The Influence Agency.
Their small office was actually a one-bedroom condo on the ground floor. A desk occupied every wall and the space was also shared with a realtor to make rent more affordable.
But Michael didn’t want to come across as the new (and inexperienced) kid on the block when it came to his paperwork. He knew that to make it as a boutique marketing agency, you had to put your most professional foot forward at all times.
It was no question in Michael’s mind to invest in cloud accounting software to streamline the invoicing and payment process, making it easy for clients to pay.
The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back
The Influence Agency actually put one of their first big sales through Quickbooks, but the payment was denied.
“(Quickbooks) wasn’t sure if our business could sustain a chargeback because we were so new. So, we had to send them a contract to show it was valid, provide financial records and debate on the merits of the contract. At the end of that long process we were still denied.”
The worst part for Michael was having to go back to the client and ask them to cancel their payment and provide a cheque instead.
“We already have enough to worry about as a business: Bringing a sale in, marking sure that we do right by the customer and meeting or exceeding their expectations. That’s what we need to be focused on, not if a client payment is going to be held hostage.”
Luckily, the client was understanding. For Michael and The Influence Agency, not receiving payment meant the project start date was delayed by over 3 weeks, making it difficult to meet the client’s deadline.
To ensure The Influence Agency never lost face again, Michael needed a tool he could trust—one to reliably and professionally bill his clients (and make sure his team got paid too).
A Step in the Right Direction
Michael was exposed to FreshBooks at a previous agency he worked at. When things weren’t working out with Quickbooks, he decided to give FreshBooks a try. And Michael hasn’t looked back since.
With FreshBooks, The Influence Agency was able to set up clients, charge them and get paid—fast. What’s more, he could do this on a budget that started his lean, mean startup phase.
“The price point made trying (FreshBooks) very easy. That’s what you need when you are first starting out.”
Here are some of Michael’s favorite things since switching to FreshBooks:
1. Reliable Billing
“Visibility into our business is really important. When we charge a customer in FreshBooks, we know that payments will be deposited on time, reliably. FreshBooks is the tool that takes our stress away. We never have to worry about a transaction.”
“FreshBooks always has great support. Whenever I need to talk, they are there and they are helpful.”
3. Lower Transaction Fees
As The Influence Agency grew, they looked for a more custom plan to grow with them. With FreshBooks Select, they were able to increase their client limits, lower their credit card transaction rates and get custom support from a FreshBooks Account Manager. Michael explains:
“We got to the point where we were billing enough that we wanted to get our fees down on credit card transactions. We also needed to add more clients, which is a great problem to have. I’d happily pay an incremental fee to be able to add and bill more clients.”
What’s Next for The Influence Agency
Now that The Influence Agency has found a trusted tool in FreshBooks, their team can get back to growing the business, instead of battling for client payments they’ve earned.
Over the last two years, The Influence Agency has moved locations (goodbye cramped condo). They have tripled in size with 16 people now on the team.
Michael is excited for the future and wouldn’t be surprised if his team was at 20 people by the end of the year.
“We do want to get bigger. We want to get involved in more campaigns. We want more clients. And we can’t wait to do even more creative projects. But as new opportunities arise or the industry shifts, we want to make sure the culture never changes.”
His parting words of advice for other entrepreneurs out there: “Don’t try to grow too fast. Great empires seem to fail when they stretch themselves too thin.”
Whatever direction The Influence Agency is headed in, they are looking forward to building a place where people love to work and have the right tools to do their jobs well—and get paid on time too.