Building a bustling agency network from scratch

Every bustling agency network has to start from a single point. Taking the right steps on that journey requires patience, and a nurturing of relationships which can take years to build. One such man who has managed to build a rich community of agencies willing to grow together is the Founder of Agency Hackers, Ian Harris.

Ian joins Katie Street in Season 3, Episode 3 of Word on the Street to recall the intimidating starting point, the strategies that kept his prospects engaged, and assembling the live-events-turned-webinars that have become a staple of networking and collaboration in 2020-21.

We also hear Ian’s take on the currency of personal relationships (or as it’s sometimes known, guanxi) and why he feels that 2021 could see the resurgence of print and newsletters…

This episode covers

  • Building relationships over time, and not rushing it
  • The currency of personal relationships
  • Live events and webinars after lockdown
  • Attracting an audience by complimenting and valuing them
  • A potential resurgence of print media in 2021

Word on the Street is sponsored by, the default Business Development and Marketing Automation platform for agencies and their clients. To learn more about Kulea’s Business development and marketing services and technology, visit

Links & references

Katie Street:

Ian Harris:

Agency Hackers:

Get in touch: [email protected]

Episode highlights

“Our events happen online now. We do 3-4 every week so it’s quite a lot, and we put a lot of effort into finding really good stories. Not just the obvious things that people tend to cover, but we’ll sniff out the best of what people have done, that’s maybe not so obvious.” – 9:45 – Ian Harris

“It’s literally a cliche that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, but I think that’s kind of true, because what we found in 2020 is that up can become down very quickly.” – 12:34 – Ian Harris

“I get people now who come to me and say ‘I’ve got this thing for agencies, could you tell everyone about it’, and I think ‘Well, you’ve done it the wrong way around’. You’ve built the thing, which was probably the easier step. What you should have done is built an audience because then you can tell them about the thing. ” – 19:49 – Ian Harris

“If you’re thinking about how to make an event good then that’s a sign that it will be, because I think a lot of people aren’t thinking about that at all.” – 24:20 – Ian Harris

“When people sign up for Agency Hackers, I go and look at when they came into our orbit, when they found us and signed up for the emails. It’s always 2018-19. So it just takes that long, but when they do come they’re quite loyal.” – 27:23 – Ian Harris

“If you can build trust and engagement with prospects over time, then they’re going to come to you anyway when they need you because they understand what you do and how you help other companies. They’ll know if they need that, so you don’t need to be as salesy in that environment” – 31:15 – Katie Street

“I am someone’s audience and I spend so much time on Instagram! So your people do live on Instagram. Even if you are B2B and you’re targeting someone, that B2B person is still a person, and they’re probably on Instagram.” – 40:00 – Katie Street

“Long form content is one of the trends to watch in 2021. We spent many years talking about how social media was destroying attention spans with Tik Tok. But if you look at the most popular podcast in the world; Joe Rogan’s podcast is three hours long, and it comes out every day.” – 41:40 – Ian Harris

“As I think Winston Churchill said, never let a good crisis go to waste. A lot of businesses have been thinking, ‘Do we want to do this kind of work anymore, and do we need to change our proposition?’” – 47:55 – Ian Harris