When the DIY model does not work

by Keith Seiz

13 October, 2011

I’ve always been proud to say I’ve started something. In my first career as the editor of a trade publication, I was most proud of the fact that I started a successful conference. In the last six years of many successes at The Arland Group, I am most proud of the fact that we took the chance in the first place. We started something. And we did it in a Do It Yourself (DIY) fashion.

The DIY model has paid huge dividends for our creative firm throughout its existence. In the beginning, doing it ourselves allowed us to streamline costs and develop our own models and processes for running an agency that were based on logic, not what other agencies were doing or alleged “best practices.”

Today, the DIY model brings us closer to clients. Despite our growth, we still insist on eliminating the gap between our creative team and our customers. How? By foregoing the traditional account executive model and insisting that all TAG Teamers are creative and versed in account management and sales. Taking this approach, we have built a great team of all-arounders in a DIY model.

But the DIY model is not always the best approach. We recently opened an office in St. Louis on Washington Ave. (recently named one of the top 10 streets in America!), and instead of moving into a space that was move-in ready, we leased a space that we could make our own. But instead of hiring professionals to transform the space into what we wanted, we decided to follow the DIY model.

Terrible decision. Balancing the daily workload of running a successful, growing agency is difficult enough, but combined with painting walls, installing new floors and buying furniture, it’s a burden I wish upon no one.

In the end, our office will be outstanding and it will be something I’m very proud of. But right now, as we slowly make our sparse accommodations a home away from home, I wish this once, I would have taken a different approach than the DIY model.

We’ll continue to post pics as the office becomes more complete and stay tuned for more info on our Open House!