5 Lessons if You’re Pivoting from Agency to Consulting Firm and Educational Hub

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Identifying Ideal Customer Segments

This is the piece that I don’t see spoken about nearly enough. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old; 11 if you count longstanding babysitting gigs, but at 15 I was watching customers as they entered a well-known shoe store to decide which urgent, hourly discounts to run to influence a speedy purchase.

In essence, I was identifying ideal customer segments and playing a bit of a matching game to the discounts I had in my binder of discounts. 

Applying this to our now retired social media and lead generation agency was even easier than looking at folks in a shoe store and deciding which discounts to run. 

In the shoe store, I was looking at their shoes, which aisles the customers were lingering near, and reviewing the details I could see – did they have children with them? Were they married based on rings on their fingers? Would they want to buy one pair of shoes or two (based on whether or not they had children or partners)?   

In reference to your agency, identifying which customer segments are most likely to transition to your done-with-you or do-it-yourself model(s) will influence the way you craft your vision, your business model, processes, team, and how quickly you can accelerate your new model forward. 

Your segmentation strategy will save you so much hassle if you can understand your customers needs, preferences, and willingness to shift and evolve with you.

A Few Steps To Start With:

  • Review your client roster
  • Review the scope of your current project with them
  • Audit the scope and pencil out what you’d like to add into the scope to best accelerate their growth
  • Analyze what’s missing from your work together to create a combination of your agency and done-with-you work
  • Decide if you’d like to continue the agency work that you are contracted to do with the client
  • If so, you have an initial sketching of what would support that client the most with an add-on customized consulting package 
  • Repeat for your top clients on your current roster
  • Repeat for past clients that now may need consulting more than agency work
  • Discuss with clients you have a good rapport with through a market research call to gain their perspective on the add-ons you’re seeking to add-in or the new service you’re seeking to bring to the table while removing agency-work all together or white labeling the agency work

Resource Allocation to Shift Your Business Model

A key point that’s regularly missed as agency owners shift their business models to consulting, coaching, and education hubs is allocating the resources needed for the shift to support the new model. 

Done-with-you and do-it-yourself models usually require more robust support systems and customer service than I see business owners plan for. 

For a little razzle dazzle storytelling here, it took The Cheetah Company, formerly known as byashleighhenry, ten months to shift from a social media and lead generation agency to the consulting, coaching, and educational firm we are now. 

Our Agency Services Included:

  • 3 packages for social media strategy and management in an ascension model style
  • 3 packages for lead generation in an ascension business model style 
  • Bundles if several packages were chosen

While running the agency I still made space and time for speaking engagements, thus a percentage of revenue came from those engagements and I was an affiliate for a handful of brands that brought in a decent percentage of revenue, as well. 

Our Consulting, Coaching, and Education Services Include:

In early 2024, we closed our monthly membership for female founders to make way for our mastermind. 

In the Transition from Agency to Educational Hub Our Services Included:

  • 3 packages for social media strategy and management in an ascension model style
  • 3 packages for lead generation in an ascension business model style 
  • Bundles if several packages were chosen
  • Project-based marketing services
  • Project-based sales services
  • A monthly membership, with a 3 month base requirement
  • Private consulting for 2 weeks, 6 months, or 12 months
  • Speaking engagements
  • Affiliate works 

At each point in the journey, we had a shifting amount of team members, systems and expenses, investments in mentorship and support, rebrands and brand strategy. The list could go on, but shifting a business model takes time, cash reserves, and a clear brand strategy to guide a clear marketing strategy that reflects in sales success.

Quickly, we were gaining traction because we had built a network of agency clients that trusted us that were interested in shifting their investment to learn how to manage their social media accounts, generate, and close their leads. 

While we were performing so many services, I was gauging month-to-month in a business evaluation which services were performing best for clients, what I enjoyed, what our team enjoyed, which services felt repeatable for results and outsourcing, and which services were bringing in the most revenue and profit. 

All of this data gave us the bedrock to shift from customized packages based on client needs to our signature services.  

There were times throughout the agency and transitional models that our team was a team of 10 or a team of 4. With more revenue coming in than ever before, we were able to reserve cash to sunset the social media and lead generation agency, shift resources to system building and customer services for done-with-you and do-it-yourself offerings, and it all started with reviewing the cash we had on hand to act as the bank for our brand’s evolution. 

Educating and Pre-Selling to Customers in Your Online Business

To shift your agency model to a consulting, coaching, and educational hub, you really only need a few key elements to drive the initiative forward.

The key elements include educating your existing and potential customers about the new model, the benefits and differences between agency work and consulting, pre-selling behind-the-scenes to beta test your services, and curating social proof of your minimum viable product or MVP. 

The most effective method to educate customers about new services is the brochure and video-sales-letter method. Even if your new services aren’t yet making their way to your website, a landing page, or your social media platforms, the key to working with sought-after, premium clients is to have a brochure of the keys to your brand and new offerings.

I prefer to have one highlighted offering per brochure, with clickable links to other offerings towards the back of the brochure with your gratitude page for your potential client’s consideration. 

A video-sales-letter is a bit too long to get into here in this episode, but if you’re interested in further details and a future episode on these, send us a message. If you’d like us to help you craft your video-sales-letters, that can be achieved in an intensive for one offering or via consulting for 6 months for your full suite.

The brochure and video-sales-letter in hand, head to your past and current clients with a direct email sharing that you’re seeking referrals from their network regarding the services you’re bringing to the market. Check back in, follow-up, and if they themselves haven’t shared interest yet, consider their buyer style and type to evaluate how you can approach them best to see if it would be a good fit for them. I have an episode on sales psychology and buyer types that you can find in Episode 15: “Mastering Sales Psychology and Beyond” and Episode 16: “The Art of Sales Psychology Starts With This.”

There are so many methods to effectively sell your new services, but this is a clear and direct path that doesn’t include heavy lifting right away while providing space for beta testing first. The beta testing is what provides you the ability to better market research, segment, tailor your messaging, leverage your existing marketing channels, expand into future marketing channels, create content marketing, elevate your website, and expand beyond your direct network by tapping into partnerships, customer loyalty programs, and the like. 

Cross-promoting directly to your network that may already be using your agency services gives you the ability to communicate with them about upcoming services – first for their network, and secondarily as an opening to see if they’d like to tap into the services. If they aren’t connecting with you directly about those new services, it then becomes a follow-up experience that’s on you and your team to follow-up to see if they’d have any interest in the services. 

Within that follow-up process, that’s when you would be educating about the benefits and differences between agency work and consulting, pre-selling behind-the-scenes to beta test your services with your clientele and network and their network, and curating social proof of your minimum viable product or MVP to bring to the public market. 

Adjusting Your Value Proposition As an Agency to Advisor, Consultant, and Educational Firm and Hub

Adjusting your value proposition to emphasize what’s in it for the client is crucial when they shift from you doing all the work for them in a certain category to you guiding, advising, and teaching them to be the implementation team. Clearly communicating this change will determine whether your clients continue with you in a new service or seek another agency.

Your value proposition will almost always shift from a state of being a turnkey option and solution to your client’s problems in the short-term to a long-term solution that helps that team, company, or CEO to understand comprehensively how to do your work in a unique and tailored way in-house instead of outsourcing.

As you evolve your business model from an agency model to a consulting, coaching, and education model, your value proposition will shift to empowerment and collaboration (done-with-you) and/or cost-effectiveness and customization (do-it-yourself) compared to traditional DFY offerings. 

The illustration I provided to clients BTS made retention easy because they were interested in longer term solutions that provided them with what they lacked previous to our work together: control. 

They wanted to be in control of their brand’s growth and instead of learning those skills at the time of hiring our agency, they outsourced their need to gain energy, space, time, and focus to other departments within their company.

Showing our past and at the time, current, agency clients the potential of having solutions in-hand for longer than several quarters at a time, they were able to see that seamless execution could be handled in-house with the right guidance. 

Building a Community for Success

Ultimately, building a network to create your networth is the usual line that most folks tout. I’m a Leo sun, Pisces moon, and Cancer rising in astrology and a Projector in human design and to be quite frank, all of those usual lines make my stomach turn just a little bit.

Building a community has been the key to our success at The Cheetah Company and the keys to my success in the past with two previous businesses, but the intention behind building a community that’s interested versus a network that increases your networth is resonant. 

Building a community full of people, creating everlasting relationships, and actually caring and nurturing that community while letting yourself and brands be nurtured and cared for, too, is a good thing. Everlasting opportunities are birthed from true, genuine relationships and connections. 

Leaning into real community IRL and URL will be the path to your success as you shift your business model and their success as they join you in your evolution. 

Many brands keep their evolutions underwraps as they shift and change, almost popping out like a present 6-9 months after the work has been done, and if that’s the desired pathway then that’s totally understandable. However, from our experience the more we keyed in our community as we evolved our business model, sunsetted offerings, and evaluated and elevated our brand, the more we saw interest in what we were doing.

The story is what keeps folks interested and ultimately, you tap into the shareholder effect in sales psychology. 

This allows your ideal clients and partnerships to feel a sense of ownership and true investment in a product, service, or brand because they’ve actively tapped into the behind-the-scenes of the brand while it’s being built or rebuilt. Communities and audiences will often value your brand, product, or service more highly and be more committed to purchasing it if you’re allowing folks to be involved in the process. 

If you want suggestions on how to do this, send me a message and I’ll make sure to give you a few ideas!   


Listen to the full episode here: Apple, Spotify, and Amazon.

The Art of Sales Psychology Starts With This

Mastering Sales Psychology in 2024 and Beyond


Ashleigh Henry has been in marketing, sales, and leadership positions for the last decade and it was exhilarating for Ashleigh to climb the retail, corporate, higher education, and start-up ladder holding positions such as Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, Social Media Strategist, Manager, Editor, Co-Editor…until it wasn’t. Alongside her degree, Ashleigh decided to bring all of her experience into the freelancing world until it became clear that she didn’t just want to pay the bills – she wanted to create a company that was foundationally built on cheetah print, legacy-minded marketing, and sexy sales structures that could stand the test of trend and time. The Cheetah Company, founded by Ashleigh, does this for female entrepreneurs through their education, coaching, and consulting services. Learn more about Ashleigh here.

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