Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks for considering working with me! Here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that I hear as an agency consultant and coach.

Got a question I haven’t answered here? Contact me and I’ll be glad to help! Anything you share is confidential.

What does Sakas & Company do?

I help digital marketing agencies grow profitably, without the usual growing pains. I do this by providing business consulting, coaching, and training services.

My work tends to involve agency operations, strategy, and leadership. This includes advice about agency strategy, client service, project management, recruiting, time management, team management, marketing, and sales/bizdev.

I work with English-speaking clients anywhere in the world—25 countries so far, on six continents.

What’s your agency background?

I’ve been in digital marketing since 1997. I’ve run the business side of two digital marketing agencies—one at 100% digital, the other at 70% digital. My titles included project manager, operations manager, director of client services, and director of operations.

In those roles, I oversaw project management, client service, recruiting, accounting, and the agencies’ own marketing. See my LinkedIn profile for more on my background.

Why do you do this?

Being an agency consultant is my dream job—I love making life easier for agency owners!

As someone who likes telling people what to do, I like that I get paid to do that.

And I really like my clients—agency owners tend to be fun, thoughtful, interesting, self-aware people. When it’s your own business, you should really like your clients—and if you don’t, let’s fix that.

What are the options for you to help me?

The right option depends on your desired scope and your budget.

1) Want quick advice? Do a by-the-minute call. You still have to implement the advice, but it’s often what you need to move forward to do it yourself (DIY). Clients typically see a few thousand dollars in benefits.

2) Want a mix of “DIYplus ongoing structure? Do a business coaching program. This includes monthly check-in calls to keep you on track, plus unlimited support via email between the calls. I’m there to provide support to help you stay on track for your short- and long-term goals. Benefits vary—anywhere from finding an extra 100-500 hours a year to finding $10K+ in opportunities. Coaching is month-to-month; I recommend planning on 4-12 months to start.

3) Want a comprehensive, strategic plan to help you propel your agency forward? You should do an in-depth consulting project. I dive in to analyze your data and make results-oriented recommendations. Optionally, I can provide implementation support. The comprehensive approach means I tend to uncover $50K to $300K in benefits, and sometimes more.

Glad to do a free call to recommend the right match for you—or recommend a competitor if they’re a better fit for you. Contact me to set up that free, confidential call.

How much do you charge?

By-the-minute calls are US$10/minute, with no minimum. For instance, if we speak for 20 minutes, that’s ~$200.

Coaching is US$1,500/month, which includes unlimited email support and a monthly check-in call. There’s no long-term contract; coaching is month-to-month. The first month is $2,500, including the intake process.

On-demand consulting is US$250/hour. Budgets are Agile, meaning you choose the dollar amount and I work on your top priorities first. Large-scale consulting projects are typically $15,000-25,000 plus travel, although I can sometimes do smaller scope projects for $5,000-10,000.

Those are all in U.S. dollars. If you’re outside the U.S., PayPal or TransferWise will convert your local currency for you based on the latest exchange rates.

How long have you been helping agencies?

I’ve been in digital marketing for 20+ years—since 1997.

I’ve focused specifically on agencies since 2010, and I launched Sakas & Company (previously known as Agency Firebox) in 2013.

Do we work directly with you?

Yes, you work directly with me as the owner. This ensures you get great advice while also getting attentive client service.

I work with a few freelancers to help with my marketing and admin, to give me more time to focus on taking care of you.

Can you recommend other consultants?
Yes, I’m glad to recommend other agency consultants and coaches. If you reach out and someone else would be a better fit for you, I’m glad to recommend them. It’s a small industry—I want you to find the right match, so I can focus on helping clients who are the right fit for me.
What forms of payment do you take?
Credit cards (including Amex), PayPal, TransferWise, ACH bank debit, and checks.
Do you charge a surcharge for credit card payments?
No. Professional services firms shouldn’t charge credit card surcharges—in the 21st century, credit card fees are a cost of doing business. My clients enjoy earning points or frequent flier miles on their rewards cards.
Can I pay online?

Yes! I’ll send an invoice email from Intuit and you can click to securely pay online via credit card or ACH bank debit.

If you’re outside the U.S., I’ll send an invoice via your choice of PayPal or TransferWise, to pay in U.S. dollars. They’ll automatically handle the currency conversion for you.

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Can I pay over time?

Yes. For new clients, payment is due prior to receiving services (e.g., pre-paying for the first month of coaching, or paying the deposit for consulting projects).

For returning clients doing on-demand (Agile) consulting, I’ll share estimates beforehand and then email you an invoice once a week based on the hours worked. Invoices are due Net 7.

Doing a by-the-minute Clarity call? Clarity has your credit card on file—they’ll automatically charge it at the end of the call.

How soon can we start?

Pretty fast!

By-the-minute help: If you need quick answers ASAP, request a by-the-minute Clarity call. I confirm most Clarity requests within a few hours, and can often do calls within 24 hours. Let me know if things are especially urgent.

Coaching: If you’d like to do coaching, we can usually schedule the first session to happen within a week after I receive your first payment. This allows time for you to complete the DiSC assessment and proprietary intake questionnaire, and for me to create your custom coaching curriculum.

Consulting projects: I can typically schedule kickoff to occur within a week or two of receiving your deposit payment, depending on my current schedule. To reduce scoping turnaround, I do on-demand (Agile) consulting instead of traditional milestones—this lets us start faster.

How long do things take?

I work quickly—growing up as the oldest of five kids in a military family, I have a high sense of urgency. My clients like that.

Consulting projects are typically 2-3 months long. I can complete smaller projects in a couple weeks, and larger projects can take longer. A key driver is how fast you can share the data I’ll analyze. Agency owners see faster results when they delegate data-sharing to team members.

Coaching typically runs for at least four months, although you’ll see the best results over 8-12 months.

By-the-minute calls tend to run between 20 minutes and 60 minutes. The key driver is how much you’d like to cover, but I always focus on answering your top-priority questions first.

Do you work remotely or onsite at my office?

I work with most clients on a remote basis—by phone, email, Google Docs, GoToMeeting, Join.Me, and other tools.

I do some on-site work as a part of large consulting projects, which will be a mix of remote and on-site. There’s value to my visiting your office and speaking with your team in-person, but you’ll need to weigh whether the travel costs are worth it. I’m glad to share an estimate on both approaches.

Do you have any free resources?

Yes, lots of free resources!

1. Start by signing up for my email newsletter. You’ll get free advice twice a month, plus an instant, free copy of my 20-page eBook: Don’t Just Make the Logo Bigger: Taking Clients from Painful to Profitable. It’s a quick read with some powerful advice to make your life easier.

2. See my roundup of top posts. Organized by topic, these are my top recommendations out of the 200+ articles on the site.

3. I do weekly Office Hours near my office in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is your opportunity to get free consulting advice. You can contact me to see to reserve a spot ahead of time.

4. When I speak, I’m always glad to share free advice during Q&A and after my talk. See a list of upcoming events.

5. Want training you can share with your team? Visit the Sakas & Company online store for recorded trainings and other information products—not free, but a fraction of the cost of custom help.

Do you work with clients outside the U.S.?

Yes, absolutely. I’ve helped clients in 27 countries so far, on six continents. (Sorry, Antarctica!)

Agency consultant Karl Sakas has advised digital marketing agencies in 26 countries on six continents

How would we do calls if I’m outside the U.S.?

We can talk via the phone, Skype (karl.sakas), or FaceTime. I’m in the same time zone as New York City.

For clients in Australia, New Zealand, and southeast Asia, I’m glad to schedule morning calls your time (my evening the day before).

For clients in Europe, I’m glad to schedule afternoon calls your time (my morning).

What times can we do calls?

I typically do calls between 9:30am and 6:00pm Eastern Time (the same time zone as New York City).

For clients outside the U.S., I’ll typically adjust to do the call during your business hours (your morning or late afternoon).

If you’re already a client and you’re having an emergency, I’ll make time to help you ASAP. I’ve occasionally done emergency calls at 11pm. If you need it, I will be there for you.

Can I text you?

Yes, once you become a client. All of my clients get my mobile number (which also allows iMessage texting from your Apple devices).

Texting isn’t the right method for ongoing advice, but it helps if you need to get my attention in an emergency, or if you need to let me know you’re running a few minutes late for a call. I’ll do the same for you.

Is all of your work in English?
Yes. I’ve worked with clients who are native English speakers as well as people for whom English is their second (or third) language.
Do you guarantee the results I’ll get?

No consultant or coach can guarantee specific results—so much depends on implementation, luck, and other factors beyond my control.

That said, you’ll always get the best advice I can give you. My approach focuses on sharing the advice I’d give myself if I were in your situation, with your goals, your values, and your preferences.

How do you maintain confidentiality?
I’m glad to sign your NDA—or use mine—but my approach to confidentiality goes beyond any paperwork. How so? We’re in a small industry—I’d go out of business if I developed a reputation as someone who shared confidential information with other people.
Have you worked with any of my competitors?
Perhaps. That’s where my confidentiality policy comes in—you and they wouldn’t know it.
How do you handle conflicts of interest?

Since 2013, I’ve run into only two direct conflicts of interest—where an agency owner reached out for help, and I knew that this agency owner was a current client’s client. I referred the new agency owners to one of my competitors.

Beyond that, I don’t accept commissions or other payments for my recommendations—so if I recommend someone or something, you can be confident that there’s no conflict.

Can I speak with client references?
Sure, I’m glad to share references. Once we get to that point, let me know what info you need and I can connect you to references who’d be a good match to answer your questions.
Do you do speaking engagements?

Yes, I speak 35 times a year at industry conferences, associations, and universities. Here’s more about my speaking work and upcoming events.

What if I have a different question?

Contact me! If you haven’t heard back within 2 business days, email me again (or call) since your first message have gone into my spam filter.

Looking forward to speaking soon—I love making life easier for you as an agency owner!

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