Things we can do as an engagement agency that we couldn’t do when we started.

In Sept 2022 Articulous is celebrating 10 years as an engagement agency. But let’s be honest, starting as a solo consultant was hard work. Here are 10 things I couldn’t do as a solo consultant, that we can do now.

1. Great minds to brainstorm the best solutions 

When there’s a tricky project, there’s not just one mind talking to itself. We can pull in a team of brains – people with communication, engagement, data, environmental, planning and urban design expertise. I love this about my colleagues.

2. Invest in new ways by investing time and resources into R&D 

Really great communication and engagement relies on being able to cut through. That takes innovation and new solutions – doing things the old way won’t get great results. R&D is expensive and takes time. We didn’t have enough of either when we were starting up.

3. Templates and processes to streamline the work 

Starting with a blank document is much harder and slower. Now, we have a catalogue of choices developed and refined over hundreds of projects. This saves everyone time and money.

4. An internal training and development program 

We’re well known for our Articulous Academy that delivers training for in-house clients, but we also run our own internal academy. I get to learn from others who specialise in our field. It grows our team’s expertise and confidence, and supports them to be prepped to deliver.

5. Experience PLUS enthusiasm

From 20 years’ to 2 years’ experience, everyone on the team has great ideas that help us deliver great outcomes.

6. Mental wellbeing

As a solo consultant I didn’t have an employee assistance program or a mental wellbeing program (except for spending time with my beautiful family). Now our engagement agency has a full suite of support that our staff helped to create, and can access whenever they need it.

7. Someone’s always got our backs

COVID taught us that life can be tough and lonely working isolated at home. Our adoption of remote working tools was good before COVID and, like everyone else, accelerated with lockdown. We know there’s always a team with big hearts and big brains to support us, and they’re contactable when we need them.

8. Streamlined systems

There’s nothing better than having efficient systems to track progress. Whether it’s streamlined accounting, version-controlled shareable document repositories or centrally managed email footers, it’s about being accountable. That’s sanity-saving for team collaboration and great for clients.

9. Work on the things we’re each great at

As a solo consultant I had to be the creative director, the practice lead, the operations manager, the business development manager, the head of data, the head of comms, engagement and training. That’s a huge undertaking. It was fantastic experience though, and means I understand the demands of each role on my team.

10. It’s more joyous working with your own tribe

The things I miss from being a solo consultant are much fewer in number. I miss my teeny tiny office with seating for one that housed 5 before we moved! My sliver of a view of the Brisbane River glinting through the towers on Queen Street. And, sometimes, those days when my toughest project was developing website copy!

What do you think the benefits of being a solo consultant are over being part of an engagement agency or team?

Written by Amanda Newbery
Articulous is led by founder and managing director Amanda Newbery, an award-winning communications and engagement professional. She has made a career of tackling difficult projects across Australia. A passionate and experienced communicator, she has worked with some of the country’s largest organisations and government organisations nationally. She is a sought-after issues and crisis advisor, especially for major corporations.