May 2021 at Agency Hackers

Here’s what’s coming up for Agency Hackers members this month. If your agency isn’t a member yet, sign up here.

Back to the Office – Who’s In and Who’s Out (and Who’s Shaking It All About?)

When it comes to the question of bringing people back to the office post-lockdown, no two answers are the same.

But one thing that is clear is for several agencies, the traditional five days a week in a dedicated office space is no longer an option.

We’ll be chatting to three agency leaders about the flexibility they’ve implemented in their businesses:

  • Neil Davidson, CEO of HeyHuman and HeyLab, recently decided to go officeless when he realised it was starting to feel like a “big, empty and rarely used” football stadium
  • Kathryn Strachan, owner and managing director of Copy House, has always embraced a hybrid model of working on 2-3 days a week in the office, and now champions a ‘work from anywhere’ policy
  • Rob Sandbach, managing director of Indie Spring, has been exploring more of a hybrid model for the last eight years – and thinks that’s the key to retaining staff

We’ll be talking to them all about their flexible working approaches. This will be an interesting one, full of advice you can take away to make sure you’re getting it right when getting your gang back together.

⏰ 2pm, Wednesday 5th May 2021

HR / People Mastermind

11am, Thursday 6th May 2021

Calling all ‘people people’. Join our monthly hangout for HR and people folk. Share what you’re working on and meet other people in your role at different agencies.

EOS: Do You Have the Right People in the Right Seats?

It’s all about People!

In our second session with Julia Langkraehr, Certified EOS Implementer and CEO of Bold Clarity, we dig into EOS’s People component.

People make an agency what it is. But how do you know you’ve got the right people in the right seats, and at the right time? Julia says structure is a key factor.

“A lot of people structure their agency around the people they have, but then they can’t scale above that ceiling,” she explains. “We want to structure FIRST.”

Julia will be exploring how getting the People component strong in your agency can help you and your team get the right thing done at the right time. 

⏰ 11am, Friday 7th May 2021

Operations Mastermind

12pm, Tuesday 11th May 2021

This one is for the operations folk amongst you to check-in and compare notes with process people at other agencies.

HOT POTATO: How Should Agencies Navigate Vaccinations?

This is a new format for us to discuss controversial and barn-burning topics in the agency world.

(What could possibly go wrong?)

The hot potato on this month’s menu: coronavirus vaccinations.

As the rollout continues, there are several questions that have come up in recent AH sessions:

  • Have you run into issues with staff choosing not to be vaccinated? 
  • Should we be worried if others in the office have had the vaccine or not?
  • Health is a private matter – should we be even asking staff in the first place if they’re pro or anti-vax?

We’ll be chatting about all of this and more in what is certain to be a prickly debate. Come along to discuss whatever your stance. This session is not recorded.

⏰ 2pm, Monday 10th May 2021

Finance Director Mastermind

2pm, Wednesday 12th May 2021

This is our monthly session for anybody in an agency finance role. Swap stories and get advice from other people doing a CFO, Finance Director or similar role in an agency.

NEW RECRUITS: What’s Working in Agency Recruitment?

Agencies are hiring in 2021. And many are wondering: should we use external recruiters or do the job ourselves?


Each agency has their own way of marketing and recruiting for roles: job boards, LinkedIn, recruiters or internal hiring strategies. But what has worked for YOU?


This is a chance to share your favourite fishing holes with other agencies like yours. We have a few people lined up to contribute – like Emma Simkiss, head of people and culture at Freestyle


Being an ex-recruiter herself, Emma has vital insight into both sides of the debate. Come along and share your experiences of what’s gone right or wrong, and how you’re doing things in 2021.


⏰2pm, Thursday 13th May 2021

How Do You Encourage Commercial Thinking in Your Agency?

As an agency leader, you likely have no trouble thinking commercially. 

But while YOU are thinking about the figures, is the rest of your team on the same wavelength?

  • Agency folk tend to be more creative, but do they sit down and think about the financial health of the agency too?
  • Do the rest of your team truly understand what goes into a business financially?
  • What level of financial information do your team actually need to know?

We’ll be chatting about this commercial conundrum in more depth – come along and share your thoughts and experiences.

⏰ 11am, Friday 14th May 2021

Client Services Mastermind

11am, Monday 17th May 2021

Calling all client services heroes! Join our monthly session for anybody with client services or account management responsibility. Drop in and meet other people doing your job at different agencies.

CROSSING OVER: How Our Success in One Niche Helped Us Conquer New Sectors

Everyone tells you to find a niche.

But when you find your sweet spot, will you STAY in it – or will you use it as a launchpad to conquer new worlds?

Richard Wagstaff, managing director of Degree 53, says the groove his agency got into early on set them up for later success in new markets.

“We started off as part of Betfred’s mobile division creating mobile gambling products, and soon realised we could offer our services to other bookmakers too – that’s how Degree 53 was born,” he says.

In this session, Richard will be telling us more about how Degree 53’s niche background has worked to their advantage, and we’ll explore how YOU can use your skills to branch out beyond your backyard.

Who knows what else you could be doing? 

11am, Tuesday 18th May 2021

How Cold Emailing Can Help You Win New Business

Drumming up new business can be hard – especially cold pitching.

However, for Jon Buchan at Charm Offensive, one drunken email changed everything.

Jon received several positive replies from big companies, explaining that while they didn’t usually reply to cold emails, they had to follow up on his – because it was so off-the-wall.

“I realised this style of irreverent, charming, silly, light-hearted copy made it easier to get people to say yes to reasonable requests,” he says.

We’ll be talking to Jon about his cold email style, the types of joke formats he uses, and how you can adapt them to win business yourself.

2pm, Wednesday 19th May 2021

END OF AN ERA: The Reality of Selling Your Agency

Deciding to sell your agency is the first step on a long journey.

After being approached four times unsuccessfully, Simon Wright – co-founder and former director of Gatehouse – ended up selling to an American insurance company.

As Simon quickly realised, once the wheels are in motion, it’s an all-consuming ride.

“You have to go through an absolutely phenomenal amount of things. You have to check every single detail, and your entire life is dominated by it,” he says. “You don’t have a work-life balance. It just becomes work, work, work – and that’s really quite draining.”

Not only this, but suddenly you have a dozen plates spinning at once.

Simon will be taking us through his sale story and shining a light on how selling an agency impacts on every aspect of your life. 

⏰ 11am, Thursday 20th May 2021 

Marketing & New Business Mastermind

11am, Friday 21st May 2021

This is your chance to check in with other marketing and new business minds and see what everyone’s up to.

HIVE MIND: “How Do Agency Owners Effectively Manage Their Time?”

Here’s a question for agency leaders: what do you actually DO all day? 

Mariana Morris, founder and managing director of Fruto Studio is currently building her agency. She’s wondering how other leaders manage their time – and whether they’re doing it successfully.

“I want to create this machine that survives without me,” she explains. “But how do you DECREASE the hours you work when your to-do list never ends?”

“How do other agency owners manage their time and is it even realistic to have the flexibility to work reduced hours per week and develop the business, while also being available to the team?” she asks.

Come along with your stories and experiences and help Mariana work out how best to manage her time – you might even take away some tips yourself.

 ⏰ 2pm, Monday 24th May 2021

INSIDE JOB: Why You Should Work on Your Agency, Not Just in It

Are you working on your business or in it?

Neil Witten’s agency, Bite Studio, was trundling along nicely – but they never really knew how the sausage was made.

As a result, the agency took on far too much work and risked being sued.

The idea of working on your business and having a clear process in place was solidified when raising money for his successful SaaS start-up, StoryStream.

“There was this expectation that we should have monthly board meetings, reports, financial models, strategy… and I’d been quite against all of this stuff as it didn’t feel necessary,” he says. “But I learnt that by doing this work, you’re able to be so much more in control and purposeful about the business you aspire to become.”

We’ll be talking to Neil about the importance of working on your business, how to find time to take a step back, and what can happen if you don’t.

⏰ 2pm, Tuesday 25th May 2021

LinkedIn: Personal Branding for Agency Leaders

Wondering what to say on LinkedIn? You are not alone.

“While I am loathed to have a LinkedIn profile full of touchy-feeley vulnerability and thinly veiled brags, I have also come to recognise its importance,” says one agency leader. “But I just can’t bring myself to keep it high on the agenda.”

Whether it’s to build your personal brand, or to gain visibility and engagement for your business, LinkedIn is one of the most important awareness building tools there is.

But how can you use it effectively? How do you come up with original things to post (that don’t feel like you’re putting on a fake personality)?

This is your monthly chance to come together and share what has and hasn’t been working for you on LinkedIn – and get support from others if you’re keep to up your LinkedIn game. 

⏰ 2pm, Wednesday 26th May 2021

AROUND THE WORLD: How I Took My Agency Global

“As an agency, having a global business is a sexier proposition,” explains Sam Booth, CEO of Just After Midnight.

With offices in the UK, Singapore and Australia – and with plans to expand in the USA – Sam’s agency is definitely the international kind. And providing 24-hour support provision for digital platform and app creators, it makes sense to be working across multiple time zones.

“It’s important you speak to people who have done this before. I had bad finance and accounting advisors because I was Googling who was best, but really, I should have been asking the people who have done this before for their own recommendations.”

And despite having locations all over the globe, Sam maintains that once new branches are in place, the agency works like a well-oiled machine.

Hear Sam’s story as he tells us all about his ventures across the globe with Just After Midnight, and the advice he’d give to anyone wanting to expand their agency’s horizons.

⏰ 11am, Thursday 27th May 2021

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