Pull up a chair at my kitchen table

Hello, I'm John Ashton



Welcome to the wonderful world of running a KitchenTable agency

I’d like you to think of this course and the accompanying book as pulling up a chair in my kitchen and hearing all the things I did right so you can avoid all the things I did wrong.

First things first: read the book

The KitchenTable Method book is a quick and easy read that gives you my basic methodology for setting up a KitchenTable agency.

You'll get a PDF of the book in the next but one lesson. And, if you're yet to buy the course and are just browsing, you get a free section in the next lesson.

If you'd rather have a hard copy or Kindle edition of the book, you can order it here on Amazon.

Next up: take the course

This course provides much more detail than I could have fitted into my book without it becoming a coffee table book rather than a KitchenTable one.

  • Don't worry: it's not an elaborate rehash of the book

Some parts of the course build on sections of the book, so there is necessarily a degree of repetition. However, as you'll discover, it's a very different beast to the book, with a much more granular level of practical detail.

  • Don’t fret: it's not hard-going

Granular doesn't mean grey and gloopy. As well as super-useful tips I've tried to keep it bright and breezy – and I've thrown in a fair few bad jokes for good measure.

  • Don’t stress: there’s no time limit

You can work through the course at your own pace – and each lesson is designed to be short enough to be read in a few minutes, whether you are on the go or at your PC.

And remember, it's not just a kick-starter for your KitchenTable agency. It’s also a refresher that you can use throughout your business journey. Every time you feel you’re running out of juice or need a spot of advice, just log back in and top up your wisdom.

  • Don’t feel restricted: dip in and out of whichever section takes your fancy

The course is structured to logically take you through your journey of setting up an agency. But some of you may be further on in that journey than others and some of you won't need to read every section (if you're a web developer, for example, you can safely skip the Getting online section). It may be that you can’t face looking into cashflow right now but do want the low-down on networking. No problem, just think of the course as a tin of Quality Street – you can eat all the chocolate-nut lessons first and leave the fruit cremes till last.

But if you are an A to B kind-of-person, you'll probably want to know...

How the course is structured

Unlike the book, the course doesn't have a neat thematic structure – it's more nitty gritty than big picture. However, it broadly breaks down in to five elements.

1.      Finding your place

We start with two chapters that look at defining your agency's proposition and turning that proposition into a brand:

  • How to define yourself
  • How to brand yourself

2.      Setting your price

The next two chapters cover the intricacies of pricing and quoting:

  • How to set your prices
  • How to quote me happy 

3.      Setting up your agency

Now we have a couple of chapters that look at the nuts and bolts of how to set up an agency and build your online presence:

  • Setting up your business: the building blocks
  • Getting online

4.      Finding customers

Clients – they’re out there, somewhere, but how do you bag them? These four chapters show you how to find and win them through email prospecting, content marketing, speaking at events, networking and using LinkedIn:

  • How to prospect for your business
  • How to get LinkedIn
  • How to network
  • How to market content and speak at events

5.      How to work smarter

So, the show is on the road: these chapters will oil its wheels and help you reach your goals as fast as possible. Covering a host of issues that you'll run up against as an agency owner, they show you how to work smartly, efficiently and, most importantly, how to stay sane:

  • How to use email strategically
  • Collaborating with other agencies
  • How to avoid getting bogged down
  • Shit happens
  • Cashflow and finance
  • Tech: Getting tooled up

Yes, there is homework

This course is about giving you practical knowledge, rather than a certificate that you can wave at your next employer (who, as you're setting up your own agency, is you). However, while you won't be formally assessed some sections contain assignments that are designed to get you thinking like a successful agency owner. Of course, you don't have to complete them, but believe me, they're really worth the time and effort.

No, you don't gain a formal qualification

As far as I know, no university or exam board offers a qualification in setting up an agency. And neither does this course. That's because what you really need when establishing a KitchenTable agency is practical knowledge – and there's eight years of it crammed in here. I believe that's far more use to you than a framed piece of paper. In any case, certificates are for impressing potential bosses and you're going to be your own boss.

A word about locality

Although the course is designed for a worldwide audience, it is based on my experience of starting and growing an agency in the UK. Some of the discussion is therefore specific to the UK, for example the Registering for VAT section of the Setting up your business chapter (VAT being the UK's sales tax, value added tax). However, most of this UK-specific content can be applied to other territories, if not in details, then at least in general.

A word about sources

Certain sections of the course, especially some of the early ones, are inspired by some of the titans of the marketing world. I hope you don't mind me quoting liberally from their work – I figured it was better to credit them for their wisdom rather than to claim it as my own.

And finally...

This course will never be perfect, but I'd like to make it as good as I can, so shall be regularly updating it. I'd therefore really welcome your feedback – even if it's negative (honestly, I really would). Please complete our survey or email me with your thoughts at [email protected]

Now it's time to make a start. Pull up a chair at my kitchen table and I’ll begin…