Going from In-House Operator to Starting an Agency

We get asked by a lot of accomplished in-house operators what it’s like to start an agency. As strong talent is now hitting the market, even more folks are considering it.

To help you get some answers, we assembled a panel of five leaders who went from being in-house Marketers at popular companies to building million-dollar agencies, and all have their own unique paths in getting there.


Corey Eulas, Chief Strategy Officer at Power Digital Marketing – Corey was an SEO leader for ZocDoc and Intuit. He built Factorial Digital, an SEO agency, a little over 6 years ago, and took his agency to acquisition by Power Digital Marketing in Oct 2019.

Shamanth Rao, Founder of Rocketship HQ – Shamanth is the founder and CEO of the boutique growth marketing firm RocketShip HQ and host of the podcast Mobile User Acquisition Show.In the past, he’s led growth leading to 3 acquisitions(Bash Gaming, by GSN Games; PuzzleSocial, by Zynga; FreshPlanet, by GameLoft).

Amit Khera, Managing Partner at OAK Digital – Amit led multi-million dollar customer acquisition budgets at publicly traded companies like Ralph Lauren and Aeropostale, as well as high growth VC backed startups. He subsequently founded OAK Digital, focused on performance marketing, servicing clients like Freshly, Angie’s List, Manitoba Harvest, and the UFC.

Rebecca Nackson, Founder of Notable – Rebecca has over a decade of experience managing acquisition, engagement, and product development for leading startups like iHeartMedia, Brandsintown Group, and Audible. She now runs Notable, an agency focused on engagement and retention.

Anish Shah, Founder + CEO of Ruckus – Anish is the CEO & Founder of executive search agency Ruckus. Anish has worked in-house in Growth roles at Snapfish and Getable. He started Bring Ruckus as a Growth consultancy 11 years ago working with 40+ clients, then re-focused his firm on executive recruiting for Growth leaders.

Watch the Full Video


  • 9:00-10:07 – Corey speaks about how he started off getting his first first contracts out of the door.
  • 10:25 – Anish gives feedback on the importance of focusing on 1:1 relationships instead of mass outreach.
  • 13:00 – Amit speaks on how he came around the opportunity of starting his agency.
  • 14:48 – Anish highlights a common mistake when offering your services for a first time to potential clients.
  • 16:40 – Rebecca shares how she had a middle step also working in an agency in between consulting and starting her own agency.
  • 19:50 – Corey speaks about being cognizant on scaling. “Don’t seek the solution that will replace yourself”
  • 22:53 – Amit speaks on talent acquisition and advice to focus on one area to develop an infrastructure.
  • 25:06 – Shamanth adds on strategy (templatizing + checklists)
  • 27:30 – Anish warns on over delegating and emphasizes to nurture current relationship with clients as this is the key to getting new business
  • 34:40 – Rebecca speaks on how to manage vendor relationships
  • 39:20 – Rebecca speaks on what’s best handled by a system vs a person
  • 40:00 – Corey adds on tech being more of a tool than replacement for talent
  • 44:00 – Anish shares on an unexpected issue when starting his agency
  • 46:00 – Corey highlights to not work with anyone who is trying to devalue your work for a significant amount, it’s just not worth it
  • 47:26 – Rebecca focuses on getting to know your partner from the procurement process
  • 48:25 – Shamanth shares one of the best pieces of advice he got when dealing with tough clients.
  • 49:20 – Corey explains the jerk tax – This is brilliant!
  • 51:06 – Rebecca acknowledges obligations to clients and partners but also towards her team.
  • 54:15 – Corey speaks on his experience when leaving his full time job and shares red flags on projects you shouldn’t take when starting.
  • 58:00 – Shamanth shares how consultants ideas get heard more.

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