Head Trash

The “What’s Stopping You” Event

Update: Friday 13th March. This event was going to take place in the Loading Bay at Techspace Shoreditch. But instead we are running this online. Details below.

ℹ️ All these sessions take place online at the indicated times. They are live, but you will be able to access the recordings – from this page – within 24 hours.

Friday 20th and Monday 22nd March 2020 / Various times / Online

Head Trash is a day to meet other agency leaders, and talk about the ‘headspace’ challenges we all face when everything stops with you.

Do you ever feel like you’re revving the engine but standing still?

When you run an agency, your ability to succeed or fail has far more to do with your mind, emotions and beliefs than your website or your SEO strategy.

In hundreds of small ways, you have to believe in yourself – when nobody else does.

Head Trash is your chance to understand and overcome what really holds you back when you run a growing business.

Here’s some of the people you will hear from. Line-up subject to change.

Know Your Role: How to Lead During Uncertain Times

⌚When: 9.00 am GMT – Friday 20th March 2020.
? Where: https://zoom.us/j/329729964?pwd=T3h1S3lQUy81ckUrSjcyYXlDaDZtQT09

Sally Henderson will share three practical concepts you can lean on as an agency leaders right now

Leading is difficult – especially in times of fear and anxiety.

In this session, Sally Henderson gives you three practical things to stay grounded and confident when people look to you as leader.

Sally will ask you to think about:

  • What is your role as leader? Even in “normal times” people can’t answer this question. But right now it’s critical you can. What are you here for – and can you communicate that to your team?
  • What is your remit? What are the core areas you’re focusing on right now – and do other people know what the are?
  • What is your rhythm? Do you know WHEN and how you’re going to make time to

We will also explore the concept of outcome – a way to make sure that when you are having conversations with your team over the next few weeks, they go away thinking and feeling what you intend.

Navigating the ‘Ups and Downs’ of Leading an Agency

⌚When: 10.00 am GMT – Friday 20th March 2020.
? Where: https://zoom.us/j/678346280?pwd=emNLSG4vMnJwdVVHdHpEUVdkZml3UT09

They say that playing poker is hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.

Running an agency can be a bit like that.

Pete Reis-Campbell is the CEO & Founder of multi-award-winning digital PR agency Kaizen. Pete has experienced his fair share of drama and crises during his career – and he’ll be discussing how to respond when emergency strikes.

We’ll be discussing:

  • Creating financial stability. When the extreme uncertainty subsides, what should be your new mindset for cushioning your agency?
  • Bouncing back from being scammed. (Last year, Pete and a member of his team was social engineered by a fake bank employee – losing them £50k.)
  • Dealing with debtors. How to respond when clients refuse to pay their bills, and the potential legal challenges that brings.
  • Overcoming skill gaps. Pete started the agency with just himself and a few fresh-faced grads.
  • Acting with integrity as an agency. Delivering a quality service – even when the odd client seems to do their best to mess everything up!

Beating the virus of the mind

⌚When: 11.00 am GMT – Friday 20th March 2020.
? Where: https://zoom.us/j/359652415?pwd=TWVCY3hDN0Q5VzBwTVUyaUhLckNrZz09

Martin Palethorpe is the ‘secret weapon’ behind several agency leaders. He will share ways to unlock the power of your mind.

These are unprecedented times.

And now more than ever we notice the mind’s tendency to create significant noise. We feel it as humans – and we especially feel it as leaders.

This mental noise causes a lot of problems:

  1. You feel fear and stress, which causes psychological & physical suffering.
  2. You spend too much time imagining all sorts of future scenarios
  3. You panic
  4. You can’t think think clearly and make decisions

What we need more than ever is peace of mind, calm, considered behaviour – and good leadership.

In this session, Martin Palethorpe and Rena Loizou will facilitate a session that will help you find ways of living and leading with more peace and clarity during the turbulence.

The power of unconventional thinking

⌚When: 2.00 pm GMT – Friday 20th March 2020.
? Where: https://zoom.us/j/883702417?pwd=QWR3YzlKZmJNR2lGM0kzalVWRU0vdz09

“The human mind does not run on logic any more than a horse runs on petrol.”

To be brilliant, you have to be irrational.

Rory Sutherland is the Ogilvy advertising legend whose TED Talks have been viewed nearly 7 million times.

  • We will ask him how the ideas in his book Alchemy apply during these topsy-turvy times.
  • Is unconventional thinking the key to survival and success?

How do you lead when YOU’RE not okay?

⌚When: 3.30pm GMT – Friday 20th March 2020.
? Where: https://zoom.us/j/157273182?pwd=MmFCNGtMVDRrRGQ4WGN3cGhEYkJWZz09

 Iris’s  Matthew Kershaw  has spent a lot of time figuring out how to operationalise work that’s highly creative and intangible. This is a great thought process to absorb.
Kelly Molson will share her experience of holding her business together when she was grieving.

How do you run an agency when your personal life is falling apart?

Kelly Molson has not had an easy time.

She’s been through seven years of infertility and IVF. In 2017 she suffered the loss of twins – followed by another loss in August. Meanwhile she leads a busy agency and runs a successful series of events.

Kelly is talking about how to lead when you’re grieving.

“Sometimes you just have to paint on a smile” says Kelly. “You have to try and act normal to your team when you might not actually want to get out of bed.”

We will ask Kelly:

  • How you deal with grief when it’s ‘show time the whole time’
  • How much should you share with your team?
  • Whether you should re-prioritise your life temporarily or permanently.

“It takes something awful happening to realise what life is actually about. It’s made us re-evaluate our priorities, and look at how we can simplify the business.”

“Our growth plans are on hold for now. Right now I don’t want to be hiring or taking on more pressure. For us that’s the right thing to do right now.”

“How to fuck up your agency – and put it back together again”

⌚When: 10am GMT – Monday 23rd March 2020
? Where: https://zoom.us/j/828527719?pwd=WEpjNkttUVNwZzE2c3NRRHQ0d3c5QT09

  Sara Tye  was frustrated with her agency’s inefficiency – so she became obsessed with process. Now, clients are happier, margins are up and life is good.
Fixing problems in your business can overwhelm you. At Head Trash you’ll hear a brave story of how one agency owner came back from a dark place to turn around his toxic agency.

An agency owner sent me this email: “Would you like a story about how to completely fuck up your agency, and built it back together?”


This agency owner (who doesn’t want to be named publicly) told me that in 2016, he started to see problems in his digital agency.

They were losing money. Clients weren’t happy. Their culture had become toxic.

One day he asked his team: ‘Which of our clients DO you like?’ They could only name one.

“We didn’t care about our clients – so they stopped caring about us.”

His agency was no longer the company he’d built – so he set to work to fix it. But the stress overwhelmed him and he ended up in hospital critically ill.

This person will tell the story of how he turned the business around, reinvented the culture, and built the agency back up from scratch.

The problem with chasing rainbows

⌚When: 3pm GMT – Monday 23rd March 2020
? Where:  https://zoom.us/j/843102078?pwd=eEFmbGlFejV4ZUJFVHZVekpULzNqZz09

  Rob Warner  has seen inside hundreds of agencies. He’s sharing with us the processes and workflows that he’s noticed many of us lack.
Dave Fletcher will talk about the problems with pursuing too many side ventures when you run an agency

Blaise Pascal said: “All men’s misfortunes spring from the single cause that they are unable to stay quietly in one room.”

Dave Fletcher is one person that could not stay in one room.

Like many agency leaders, he distracted himself with a constant string of side-projects. Every one of them failed… except one – an event business – that’s going gangbusters.

At Head Trash, Dave will lead a discussion on pursuing side projects when you’re an agency leader.

“I think a whole bunch of agency owners get dazzled by the possibility of doing their own venture” he says. “But there are so many gotchas and so few successes.”

“I personally wasted huge amounts of time and money chasing rainbows when I should have been focussing on getting the fundamentals of the agency model right and then getting out there to get business in.”

Dave will share the lessons you can learn from his string of side-projects.

This is a great discussion if you’re struggling to know what to focus on.