Monshur Ali has taken We Agile from inception to a £3M + agency in just three years, working with team across the world and working extensively with freelancers.
What have been the challenges? How does he make it work? Rob caught up with him to find out.
A Hybrid Model
“We run a hybrid model, so we do have a space in central in Shoreditch, but people can work from wherever they want. If we include all the freelancers that we predominantly work with across our projects, we probably have about 60 or 70 people.” So has it all been plain sailing for Monshur Ali and WeAgile?
“Don’t get me wrong, when we started the business, we had no money. We had no investment, we had no money to get an office. It was hard enough to pay our own salaries at the very start, and we decided we were going to build this model around the freelancers because there were so many positives.
And there were so many gaps in the market at that time that we wanted to jump into.”
But how did clients feel about the uncertainty that comes with a freelance workforce?
“Initially, a lot of clients were skeptical about the whole model because they’ve had experiences working with freelancers before, and the whole trust element was a big deal. The thing was, once we landed a couple of larger clients and they how it worked and how we were able to utilise a medium sized black book at that point and find the right creatives for them that had the right experiences. It was very easy to bring on more clients with the referrals from them.”
Running a Global Team
As well as working with a number of skilled freelancers, We Agile also has teams located across the globe. So how do they maintain cohesion between locations?
“I’ve got permanent members of staff based in different continents that oversee the teams in those areas. We’ve got a small internal team of about 11, 12 people, but they’re based globally and they’re permanent members of staff.
In the UK, we’ve got about six people and they’re generally heads of different divisions: Heads of design, heads of development et cetera. And then those people that are out of the UK, they do the recruitment for those areas.
From a cultural point of view, as soon as you hit 10 people, it starts really becoming difficult. How you maintain that? The easiest way that I found it with the team is I let them build their own culture in their areas.
So let’s say I’ve got David who’s running the US area of freelancers and projects et cetera. I work with him and I support him to build the culture for the teams out in that area. And then every six months I bring all the senior teams down to London. I fly them in so we can do internal sessions as well. So we are all aligned in our mission and goals.
But on the whole, it’s all about giving back the trust to my team so that they can actually lead the teams themselves.”
Monshur Ali, CEO & Founder, WeAgile
Monshur founded WeAgile in 2019 after realising the agency model was in need of a shake-up.
WeAgile is a remote-first digital agency where which takes care of every creative they work with. They build true partnerships their clients, and focus on their social responsibility as much as they focus on business.