An advertising agency is a service based business dedicated to creating, planning, and handling advertising (and sometimes other forms of promotion) for its clients. An ad agency is generally independent from the client (it may be an internal department or even an internal agency) and provides an outside point of view to the effort of selling the client's products or services. An agency can also handle overall marketing and branding strategies and sales promotions for its clients.

Typical ad agency clients include businesses and corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Agencies may be hired to produce television commercials, radio commercials, Online Advertising, out of home advertising, Mobile Marketing and AR Advertising as part of an advertising campaign.

What You Can Earn

 What You Can Charge

 How Much Is It Going to Cost

High-end computers with the graphics and print-production software now available enable small agencies to produce outstanding ads that once required an entire art department. Setting up this equipment is expensive, though, and could cost from $3,000–$5,000. Bill out between $75–$150 per hour, or determine your rates on a per-job basis that takes into account how much work is actually involved in the project. Many ad agencies also work on monthly retainers of $500 or more; again, look at the workload and the time and expertise involved in each project. For presentations, you might also find a laptop especially helpful, which could cost another $2,000–$3,000.

 What Equipment You Need

 Cell phone (with or without hands-free accessories); computer with Internet access and full suite of presentation and design software; high-resolution color printer, scanner; digital camera; fax; copy machine; business cards; letterhead; envelopes

  Who Will You Need to Hire

How You Can Make It Sweeter

 What You Will Be Doing

If you are motivated and highly skilled you can build up a home based ad agency serving clients in a specialized area. To get a foothold, you’ll need to have at least some experience from a larger agency or a list of potential clients who already know you and your work. Your participation in activities such as indoor soccer or squash, etc., could be your lead-in to a small but profitable market. Or you could specialize in one type of store, one product, or a type of service. You will get to know your client organizations well, and you will draw on all of your creativity, both written and graphic. New ways of getting a commercial message out to the public, including targeted e-messaging, high-end Web sites with e-commerce and exciting new brand-building capabilities are revolutionizing the advertising field, so creativity extends into the nature of the business itself as well. Very few businesses can succeed without  advertising in one way or another, so your creativity and awareness of market needs has many possible customers. You’ll need to educate your clients about the value of advertising, even when things don’t seem to be going very well for the company. In fact, that’s when they need you the most.

What Qualifications You Need

 Who You Should Market To


How You Can Market This

Networking, ads in trade publications, participation in local chamber of commerce, and a Web site that is a true showcase of your company’s talents

 What Other Services to Offer

What You Need to Succeed

 Advertising is a rewarding occupation because it relies so heavily on ideas and inspiration, connected directly to business results. Successful ad agency personnel (in this case, you) develop close relationships with their clients. You’ll be serving an area or group that you know about and enjoy, and you’ll be using all of your talents to do so. As a one-man (or one-woman) band, you must be able to do all the facets of the advertising process, from sales to writing, design, and promotion. But remember that it may also be very wise to partner with a good Web design firm to add to your portfolio of services without adding a regular, full-time staff. While this is a fun and always challenging business, its one downside is that the pressure never lets up because the competition for clients can be shark-like.

 Where to Begin







Social Media





4A's - American Association of Advertising Agencies Agency List - Advertising Agency Directory


Words to Know