Honey, I Blew Up The Business

Dan Kirby

I’m Dan Kirby and I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2001, but in 2017 it all went wrong. I blew up the business. I can laugh about it now but it was no joke at the time, check the trailer. Shame, humiliation, terror. The lot.

My business is back on track but I don’t want to blow it up again. So I’m interviewing top entrepreneurs to discover how they’ve turned adversity & failure into growth & success. I’m on a mission to help other business owners – like you – avoid my self-inflicted-sabotage.

Trailer
Trailer 9 min 53 sec

All Episodes

Helen O’Donnell is the CEO and Director of Partnerships at Children’s University Trust: “the largest university in the UK after the Open University”. A strong, feisty, outspoken woman who has “never gone about things the way that most normal people would go about things”. A midlife crisis prompted an unexpected career change that horrified Helen’s parents. Turning her back against the status quo, was Helen’s pursuit for social justice worth giving up stability for? In this episode, you’ll learn to take a step out of your comfort zone, outside of which countless opportunities lie. How to just go ahead and do the things you want to do, ignoring the imposter syndrome that can sabotage you. The importance of finding a work-life balance so you don’t miss out on the seemingly mundane but beautiful experiences that make up life.

Dec 1

54 min 20 sec

Katy Howell is CEO of Immediate Future, “one of the UK’s most respected social media agencies”. She was named the fourth most influential social media marketing expert by The Drum, PRovoke’s Innovator 25 EMEA in 2020, and is amongst the Top 100 Asian Tech Entrepreneurs in the UK. After an epic crash during the 2008 financial crisis she experienced a period of rapid growth. But rather than creating a dream business she ended up living a nightmare. A toxic brew of bad hires and weak leadership created what Katy called “a gilded cage”. Just how did she break out? Listen and find out! In this episode you’ll learn you don’t “have to do everything” and “bend yourself severely out of shape” - simply focus on what you’re good at. Find out the importance of strong leadership and clear roles, and how the lack of each sows confusion and chaos. How to simultaneously make a million, then lose it (not a good idea btw). Just how did Katy turn around her business, so today it is both joyful and empowering? It involves overcoming ego and embracing the real you - in all your quirky glory.

Nov 17

50 min 58 sec

Lisa Leighton is a Joint Managing Partner at BHP, one of the UK’s largest independent Accounting firms and ranked the second-best firm to work for. But Lisa is the opposite of the accountant stereotype - she’s fun, creative and joyful. Coming from solidly working class roots she navigated an early personal trauma which could have hobbled her career before it began. But the work ethic which took her to the top had a dark side…creating a “minor meltdown” which forced a major rethink of how to approach work, and life... In this episode you will learn the “art of resilience” which Lisa applies to herself and her team. Discover how to quickly put things in perspective, get over your professional persona and practical ways to separate work and life. The power of a supportive parent and how sometimes you just need to “have a good cry”...or go for a run. This episode is a great down-to-earth examination of how to create more balance in your entrepreneurial life.

Nov 3

49 min 30 sec

Georgia Kirke is the founder of Write Business Results, author, podcaster, public speaker, and winner of The Ultimate Entrepreneur 2021. While we all had a ‘bump’ in 2020, Georgia got the proper job. In January that year she fell off a rock-climbing wall with her foot stuck in it. Resulting in a gruesome - life changing - injury. Stuck immobile in a hospital bed, in severe pain, she was facing the meltdown of her business. But that was the least of it. A consultant told her: get a grip on your mindset...or you’ll never make it out of here. Then the pandemic hit. Less than two years later Georgia’s business is exceeding her plans from even before the accident. But how can that be? Find out in this episode! Learn the power of extreme ownership and unshakeable commitment. How negative self-talk - from deep in your past - can undermine your potential today. And how mindset management can turn that around. The necessity for speed when the time is right, while surrendering what isn’t important. Georgia found that a lack of focus can become a life threatening risk, so listen and learn how to better channel yours.

Oct 27

46 min 52 sec

Jo Dalton is a founder, investor and trusted advisor to europe’s most exciting startups (aka those fabled “unicorns”). Frustrated by industry ethics during her early career as a headhunter, she decided to take the executive search industry “and blow it up a bit”. But she was a single mother with no office and limited resources - early days she describes as “really dark”. This was while working in the rapidly changing tech sector PLUS trying to disrupt her own industry. How did Jo cope? Tune in and find out... In this episode, you’ll discover the business secrets that Jo only shares with top tech CEOs. Like the importance of battle scars, why your values must be aligned with your work...and the damage of inauthenticity. Jo shares how to unlock your leadership potential with better self awareness. Why to build a team that supports your weaknesses and the secret ingredient of a great top team. Choose great colleagues with “the 8 hour test” and find out why you should never say “I’m gonna”.

Oct 20

44 min 17 sec

Alex Myers is the Founder and CEO of Manifest Group, “the world’s first global small agency”. Manifest has won International Agency Of The Year two years in a row and in 2020 Alex was named Global PR Professional Of The Year. He was a key part of the team that helped Brewdog become a global brand. But one time - at a Simon Sinek talk - Alex bumped into Dan and let slip he’d narrowly missed a business disaster. But what was that disaster? Dan always wondered…and on this podcast we find out. In this episode you’ll learn that “there are people that are always fine, and then people that tell the truth”. How even if your business is growing fast - and is profitable - you can still fail. The importance of systems and the emotional trauma of letting go of friends. Discover why Manifest hires misfits which break their culture and understand that “everyone makes this shit up as they go along”. Listen in on two guys sharing their darkest moments for your entertainment!

Oct 13

49 min 29 sec

Olivia Sibony was listed in the UK’s Top Ten Women Entrepreneurs in 2019 and has been described as a “trailblazing ethical investment champion”. But blazing a trail has come at a cost. Overcoming severe corporate burnout, she launched a business to change the world. Only to find that her social purpose business began to lose it’s social purpose when things got tough. What was more important: her beliefs or the business interests of her investors? This moment of truth clarified a renewed life of purpose. She is now the CEO of SeedTribe - a community for people who believe in business as a force for good. In this episode you will learn how misaligned values can literally make you sick. Why a social purpose has to be core to a business model (or it just won’t work). Why profit isn’t a dirty word when it comes to doing good. And how to create a true sense of purpose, and the value of setting boundaries. You will also get to meet Liv’s Grandfather, a self sufficient WW2 veteran who has inspired her career, and perhaps can help us all live more wisely.

Oct 6

46 min 19 sec

Richard Jeffrey is a master of growth. Not only for his own business, but in helping other entrepreneurs start and scale on a regional and national level. After some turmoil in his early public-sector career Richard was offered the chance to build a business on behalf of The Growth Company (a 1300-strong social enterprise in Greater Manchester). The business he launched - Business Growth Hub - grew to a team of 200 within 10 years and was rolled out as a model across the UK. But this came at a price. Skirting with burnout, a moment of truth came when his daughter said “Daddy, I don’t see you very much.” In this episode we dive deep into inner-awareness - how your fears are unconsciously shaping your future - and what you can do about it. Learn why Richard stuck his neck out to “grab the space” despite only limited resources. How to deal with it when people laugh at your plan, and why asking for help is a sign of strength. Richard shares the strategic importance of ethics (starting with being ethical to yourself) and the concept of inclusive growth. Hear from an entrepreneur with a unique micro-and-macro view of today’s entrepreneurial landscape.

Sep 29

53 min 28 sec

Mark Stringer aka “Strings” is a London PR scene legend, with a string of successful companies (from PR, to events…to absinthe). But his hot-shot early career hit a rude reality check: one time at a bus stop, he couldn't get any money from the ATM and had to walk home. This ego-busting moment forced him to open up, and has fuelled a career-building self belief. He is now co-founder of SKOOT, the first and only carbon negative navigation and carpool, but admits that “honestly, the line between success and failure is scarily thin”. In this episode learn how to better back yourself by thinking of “we” rather than “I”. The critical importance of your vision and values when starting out...and how being kind is a competitive advantage. How to define what you do want...by what you don’t. How to be a visionary...and not a delusionary. Share Strings ongoing buzz at “the act of creation” and learn how to enjoy these “micro moments of joy” on the entrepreneurial journey. And how by owning your choices you never need to complain again.

Sep 22

52 min 27 sec

In 2015 Peter Sage was named alongside Elon Musk as one of the world’s greatest leaders and entrepreneurs. But two years later he was locked up in the UK’s most violent prison, even though he hadn't committed a crime. He was there for 6 months. Peter has built multiple 8 figure companies and had multiple #1 best-selling books. He’s a globally renowned speaker - 6x at TEDx - and transformational coach. He spent 15 years working with Tony Robbins. And in one moment in the High Court it came crashing down. But in that moment he chose to apply his 30 years experience in “self mastery” to become a secret agent of change rather than a victim. This episode is a firehose of wisdom. So brace yourself! Learn the mindsets and mental tactics to cope with Peter’s level of catastrophe, how to “cry with gratitude” even during the worst times. We’ve all been in lockdown - so learn from a man that was literally locked down - Peter shares tips to get excited about “the gift of adversity” as it happens, rather than years later. Learn how to choose your identity and set goals you have no idea how to achieve. Understand why entrepreneurs are perfectly set for the current moment. Peter will help you become a beacon of certainty in these uncertain times.

Sep 15

56 min 29 sec

Lou Cordwell never wanted to be “an entrepreneur” but ended up with an OBE for services to the creative and digital economy. Over the last two decades she’s led digital design agency magneticNorth to become a globally renowned pioneer. But it wasn't a straight line...only 6 months in she had to confront “what felt like a divorce”. Plus she faced the mix of motherhood while looking after The Baby (ie the business). In addition to the day job she’s Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership. Discover the art of writing things down, the power of sleeping on it and how to connect with your inner intuitive decision-maker. This episode is loaded with lessons for those that want to innovate in their business and industry - walking a path for the first time - and how to better be at peace with the sacrifices in balancing family and work.

Sep 8

51 min 56 sec

An entrepreneur since 21, Joseph Pack rapidly built a social media agency with clients like Adidas and the NHS. The new car, weekend partying, nice clothes, and social media success became too much to handle as he knew that “it was all fake, a lie”. 10 strong coffees every day and a 12 hour workday became a recipe for disaster. At 26, Joe nearly died after a series of surprise seizures. Yet he claims this is one of the best things to ever happened to him. How did Joseph turn a breakdown into a breakthrough? Leaving behind depression and a draining lifestyle towards yoga, wellbeing and thriving...even with an ADHD diagnosis. In this episode, we discover how and why goal-seeking habits led to a near-death experience. Discover how to be the most authentic version of yourself with dynamic systems rather than static goals.

Sep 1

53 min 42 sec

Katy Baxter has been a pioneer in financial services for over 30 years, building a substantial family business and international jet-setting career as the former UK Chair of the ‘Million Dollar Round Table’. Yet coming out of lockdown she is starting afresh with a new business. So what prompted this radical change...and how has she handled it all? During the episode, Katy will outline how the company you keep is integral to how successful you will become, as well as the need for constant adaptation. In times of crisis, Katy shares how to keep a cool head, why it is important to brace yourself for the future in the good times, and how to keep yourself adaptable in an ever changing world. In this episode we get a real time look behind-the-scenes of someone tackling a new stage in their lives. Meet “Future Katy”, the importance of creativity (even in financial services) and discover how to catapult your career by finding people just like you. Katy confesses to finding being the only female - being different - in a male dominated industry as a plus. She also shares her daily tactics for staying grounded when all around you is uncertain. As she says: “quiet your mind to build a powerful day”. Plus much more in this week’s episode!

Aug 25

55 min 55 sec

An entrepreneur since selling cigarettes at University in the late 90s, Mark Bryant spent 15 years in the energy efficiency industry - owning and managing companies from £1m to £15m. After overcoming a 2012 business meltdown (involving fraud and HMRC investigations) and building back the business he was flying high. Then the real disaster struck: a 2015 cancer diagnosis and 6 months to live. Yet 6 years later he’s training for a half Iron Man, a fitness and wellness entrepreneur, keynote speaker and podcast host of ‘Terminal to Triathlon’. In this episode, Dan explores Mark Bryant’s entrepreneurial healing journey, which started by learning how to connect to the present moment. Discover how to be the true version of yourself - rather than subconsciously dancing to someone else’s tune - to value your emotional fitness as much as your physical fitness and how to flip your perspective with just one question. This episode is packed full of humbling lessons for any entrepreneur who thinks hustling hard and 5 Star resorts are what it’s all about.

Aug 18

48 min 18 sec

Alan has gone from getting bullied in school to becoming a successful bodybuilder, training the athletes that once upon a time... bullied him! In the mid-90s, Alan learnt how hypnotherapy could “make people believe they’re Rocky Balboa” and incorporated this into his training. Alan owns and operates one of the world’s toughest endurance events: “The Race Around Ireland” (a 2200km cycling route to be completed in 5 days) and his clients include world boxing champions, Olympians, professional cyclists, golfers, footballers, and global brands such as Microsoft. Alan discusses how to build resilience and keep your head in the game when operating a high-stress environment. You will learn the secrets of achieving BIG and seemingly insurmountable goals, how to get stronger and how to drastically increase your performance over time. Alan also shares a POWERFUL three-minute exercise to get yourself “in the zone” before a big, stressful event, along with mistakes to avoid in those final three minutes before the big show.

Aug 11

50 min 56 sec

Dr Marilyn Comrie OBE is a pioneer for positive change and a serial social entrepreneur. In 2009, she was honoured by HRH The Queen with an OBE for services to women's enterprise. But in 2013, a bomb blast stopped her relocation from the UK to Kenya, where she was expecting to live the “glorious expat lifestyle”. Embarking on a business mission with her sons she has had to confront malicious business partners and industry prejudice. Then lockdown nearly cost them everything. Discover how to “be like water”, avoid sharks and confront the unknown. How to answer the call to adventure and live the hero’s journey. The importance of family, creativity and play. How the struggle creates “human alchemy”. Marilyn is the CEO of ProtoEV, the Business Development Director at The Blair Project, Principal Founder at Black United Representation Network (BURN), and Board Member at Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.

Aug 4

51 min 59 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Adah Parris, an entrepreneur and artist. We talk about reinventing our careers...but Adah had to literally reinvent herself. In 1991 she suffered complete memory loss after a super-dramatic car crash in the USA (seriously, it’s like a movie scene). We cover workaholism, saying “no” and chasing other people’s versions of success. Adah has continually reinvented herself - because we and the world are constantly changing - by learning to be still, to play and define what’s important. She has taken these skills to enact transformational change with clients like Google and Unilever. Adah is also the Chairperson of Mental Health First (MHFA) England and is artist in residence at Santa Barbara at SBCAST (The Santa Barbara Centre for Art Science and Technology).

Jul 28

55 min 36 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Gavin J Gallagher, real estate mogul & executive director at Earlsfort Group. During the 2008 financial crash, Gavin went from owning a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio to €16 million in debt. Now, in his late 40’s with 5 kids and a lifetime of experience, Gavin has an entirely different outlook on life than he did in his 30’s. On his podcast “Behind The Facade”, Gavin focuses on “exploring the often overlooked but critically important mental and emotional game governing success in real estate”. We explore the depths you can reach when hard times hit, and what you can do to get out. How to keep your ego at bay - particularly when times are good - and take extreme ownership of your life. Gavin also talks about the David Goggins-esque fitness challenges he pursues in order to build and maintain his mental resilience.

Jul 21

57 min 44 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business Dan is joined by Mike Lander, CEO at Piscari and one of London’s leading dealmakers. He’s negotiated hundreds of deals worth over £400m in aggregate and bootstrapped businesses which he sold for 7 figures. At Piscari, Mike helps smaller companies negotiate better deals with big companies. He co-hosts the “It’s a Good Start” podcast where he discusses entrepreneurship for digital and marketing agencies, vlogs and writes for the marketing press. Mike shares the human and financial impact of getting into things you don’t understand. He also talks about sticking to your ethics, how a rough put-down in his first interview at the age of 16 sparked a lifelong commitment to learning-by-doing, the commercial value of your network (and how NOT to network), and seeing business as experiments. There are also strategies in the episode about how not to get your leg taken off in your next negotiation!

Jul 14

49 min 33 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Paul Mort, Leader Of Men at Unstoppable, UK Mastercoach of the Year (for 2019 AND 2020), International Speaker and author of “F*cking Unstoppable - the modern man’s guide to grabbing life by the balls”. He’s the host of the podcast “Paul Mort Talks Sh*t” (where he’s interviewed Tyson Fury and Ant Middleton) and his one man show is already sold out later this year. Paul talks bluntly about dealing with addiction, bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts (he literally stood on the edge of the cliff). We learn the truth behind “victim mentality”, how and why men hide their insecurities - particularly with humour - and extreme ownership of your problems. Paul calls out old school personal development advice, explains what “the rumble strip” is and shares an intriguing story from training Jiu Jitsu with Conor McGregor’s coach...

Jul 7

54 min 7 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by David Braithwaite, Director and Principal Financial Adviser at Citrus Financial Management. David runs a portfolio of businesses under the Citrus brand, specialising in working with people with a media profile. He’s a bit of a media personality himself, hosting his own BBC Radio show and having literally toured the world speaking to 10’s of 1000’s of people. Plus he coaches other entrepreneurs as an Associate Coach at Strategic Coach. David is extremely candid about the challenges that have shaped him and his career. From confidence building - due to redundancy in his early career, to wrestling with fixing his mental health - due to turbulent times as an entrepreneur. The guys really get into the practical steps you can take when things are feeling too much, building on lessons learnt from their own tough times. Also, discover what an “Askhole” is...plus how Picasso can help you value your own experience...

Jun 30

1 hr 5 min

In this episode Dan is joined by Pip Wilson, Co-founder and CEO at Amicable. Pip is a successful serial tech entrepreneur since 2002, building IT consultancy Bluefin Solutions to 300 people in four countries before a 2015 exit. Pip is also the deputy chair of the RSA (Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), is passionate about empowering women in tech and was formerly a trustee of The Girls Network. She and her business partner Kate Daly have co-founded Amicable to help divorcees achieve an amicable divorce at an affordable cost. Pip has navigated a number of stressful situations, including The Great Recession in 2008 and more recently when Amicable ended up in the high court...just as she started fundraising for it! She shares lessons about combating the fear of making wrong decisions, approaching stressful situations thoughtfully and how to be an effective leader in a crisis.

Jun 23

51 min 18 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Carl Castledine, CEO at Away Resorts. In this episode, Carl shares stories about ways of working which burnt him out, re-discovering your inner artist and cultivating compassion as a leader. Carl shares how the challenges of the pandemic have challenged him to take a step back and examine what’s really important. This greater awareness - and mind-management tools like “boxing your chimp” - have helped him discover a higher purpose within his business. Self care, and care of others are a big theme of this inspiring conversation.

Jun 16

59 min 29 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Ian Hambleton, one of the UK’s leading creative entrepreneurs. Ian is the CEO of Maze Theory, a Virtual Reality games studio in London which publishes titles for brands like Dr Who and Peaky Blinders. He’s co-founder of carbon reduction startup Ecologi and was also the co-founder of both Studio Output (a top independent design agency) and Glug (which hosts events for creatives in over 35 countries). Ian draws on his immense experience to share insights about how he learned the value of honesty, vulnerability and resilience. If you enjoyed Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego is the Enemy”, you will enjoy this insightful, warm, and humorous discussion.

Jun 9

49 min 51 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Charlie Reading, an established entrepreneur, award-winning global speaker, chartered financial planner, published author and podcast host. Charlie reflects on the fact that entrepreneurs can’t ignore health in their quest for a work-life balance (you should insure yourself just like you insure your house or mobile phone). Charlie also shares that creating systems is more important than simply setting goals and many other strategies that will help entrepreneurs at any stage, create sustained happiness in their lives.

Jun 2

58 min 10 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, we have a world first! Dan is joined by Geoff Heath OBE - in his inaugural podcast interview - to discuss Geoff's journey from the forefront of the music industry (just how did it feel when Yoko Ono opened the apartment door to meet John Lennon?) to pioneering the video game industry, when it was seen as a crazy new fad. We discover his top three business principles and why entrepreneurs should get on with it (if it’s working!) and stop chasing empty wagons. Full disclosure: Geoff is the Non-Exec Director - and a shareholder - in Dan’s business, so had a ring side seat as it blew up in 2017…

May 26

38 min 24 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Scott Morrison, Founder & Bringer Of The Boom! to discuss Scott's journey from the world of big brands to creating his own entrepreneurial future. Scott shares the advice given by his father that heavily influenced this journey, that entrepreneurs must leverage the power of simplicity and why he listened too much to some people and not enough to others.

May 14

52 min 49 sec

In this episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by Tracey Shirtcliff, Founder & CEO at The Virtu Group to discuss Tracey's journey from a New Zealand "farm girl" to serial tech entrepreneur. Tracey shares the single experience that led her to leave the corporate world, life's only guarantee and the importance of emotional state in entrepreneurship.

May 14

49 min 42 sec

In this launch episode of Honey I Blew Up The Business, Dan is joined by another Dan - Dan Sullivan, Founder & President & Strategic Coach - known as the world's no1 entrepreneurial coach. They discuss Dan Sullivan's journey from growing up in a blue collar family in Northern Ohio to becoming unemployable. Dan shares 50 years of entrepreneurial wisdom, why entrepreneurs need to have a team and why the day that he got divorced and went bankrupt was the single greatest learning experience of his life.

May 14

1 hr 3 min

In this trailer, Dan shares what to expect from Honey I Blew Up The Business, why he's doing this and the gory details of what happened when *his* business blew up…

May 11

9 min 53 sec