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Start Small, End Big?

April 21, 2011

I have the best news…ever! Okay, maybe not ever, but it is pretty good news! Also, it may only be good news for me, but still, we can all be a little selfish sometimes, right? Basically, I found an article on adage.com entitled, “Why Starting at a Small Agency Is Better for Your Career.” Why is this good news? Because I am getting my start at Thrive, a beautifully talented, small ad agency! Here is the link to the article, but I’m going to go ahead and break it down for you and let you know my experience and how it relates to the benefits of working at a small agency.

  1. Mentor(s)- You can have a great mentor at a big agency, or a small agency. Like the article says, it is not necessarily about starting at a small agency, but having a great mentor that makes the difference. In my experience I completely agree, however I do think it is easier to have a mentor when you start somewhere small. Robin and Kiri both have been OUTSTANDING mentors for me as I have worked with them over the past several months. When I come in to the office, it is usually just the three of us working together and I am able to learn so much from them. Also, they both couldn’t be more helpful and encouraging to me as I learn the ropes. I know that I can ask either of them at any time for suggestions or opinions and they are so willing to give me any advice I may seek. Basically, it is awesome.
  2. Growth- From the article, and what I’ve heard from friends in the industry, large agencies do not always provide opportunities for growth. When you start somewhere big and you’re young, it is easy to be overlooked and underestimated. Small agencies provide one on one attention and because they are small, they are looking to grow. The combination of one on one attention and looking into the future provides you with wonderful possibilities. For example, I started as an intern here and was given the opportunity to continue contributing to Thrive after my internship was up. Now if your agency is not quite big enough to bring on new people, that’s okay. The harder you work, the more it is noticed, and if they can’t hire you at the small agency, they will be more willing to help you get hired somewhere else. Having the right person put in a good word can make a world of difference.
  3. Learning curve- At small agencies, you are going to learn more and you are going to learn it faster. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Why is that? It is because, like the article mentions, you have more opportunities to wear different hats and take on different responsibilities. When you get to see multiple sides of one equation, it is easier to understand how the whole thing works. It also effects how you approach problems and other tasks in the future, usually for the better. Because of this, you can better understand the business end of things. I have definitely gained a better understanding of the business side of things through Thrive. It is amazing all the things that go into running an agency and these girls do such a good job of it, I’d be silly not to walk away with a few pointers.

 

I hope you get a chance to check out the full article, it really has some fascinating comparisons and intelligent arguments. Let us know what you think and if you have any additional comments please feel free to share!

Cheers to small agencies!

-Stasia

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