My Story

Why am I here?

What to write, I don’t know, I’m just another confused 20 something sat up on a Tuesday night hunting for that internet fame I feel that I’m owed. I suppose I’ve set myself apart a little by actually doing something productive and creating some content. Maybe I am different and maybe I’m special! Only time will tell.

Anyway I spend a lot of time on social media these days, both because I’m in that generation where everyone does it (it’s not cool to see things first hand anymore, only through the camera of an iphone!), and I also run a business that means I use it a fair bit for marketing. I know that I’m not the best user in the world but I like to think that I know a thing or two about it!

It’s always nice to see new social platforms pop up (even though this one’s been around for a fair bit) to break up the monotony of facebook and twitter. Facebooks getting a bit old these days, its all share this share that and the only reason anyone is on there really is because 1. Everyone else is 2. The chat service has become part of your daily life 3. Stalking people 4. Bikini Pictures.

I found medium recently when I read a Gary Vaynerchuk article and it was on this website. I know that Gary knows his stuff (I’m a self confessed Vayniac!) and because he’s always going on about day trading attention and looking out for the new platforms, I realised that it is likely that he has invested his time into this platform because he sees value in it. That’s not why I’m on here… just because the great Gary Vaynerchuk said to be, I just happened to find out about it because of him and i liked the platform. I actually really like the set up of Medium because it lets anyone write, and generally a lot of people have useful things to say and even more usefully the ones that are passionate and knowledgeable about topics are usually the ones that can be bothered to write about them — cutting out the crap!

I also thought I’d write something because why not. I recently wrote a little something for a website that wanted to interview me about startup things (hasn’t been released yet) and I found that I wrote 2000 words in an hour — back at university it took me a week to write an essay that long. I realised that because every day I’m sat at my desking having self conversations about why I do things and what I do, it was actually really easy to just start typing and get the words out! The same as now. So what to write!

Who am I?

I’ll just tell it how it is I suppose! I’m 25, I left a solid job as an accountant a year ago to go it alone starting my own business, I was also diagnosed with Coeliac disease around the same time, so overall its been a pretty stressful year for me. But as a manager once told me when I worked as a counsellor at an American Kids camp… ‘You get what you get, and you don’t get upset!’. (Truly terrible advice — basically saying deal with the shit you’re given, which is especially infuriating when you hear it from the manager that has just given you the task).

Why did I become an entrepreneur

I worked for an Electricity and Gas supplier for a year which was one of these innovative new companies that wanted to change the ‘Status Quo’ of the industry. To its credit, it has been very successful to date, and as an employee it was a great place to work. It was one of those places that had the classic start-up grass carpets, so it very much had a San Fransisco tech company kind of feel to it. During my time there I worked in the trenches down in Customer Service which in hindsight was an excellent experience in speaking to real customers about real issues — It means I’m never afraid to pick up the phone. Despite all the positives of the company it was hard to work your way up from the bottom. I wanted a career not a job so I applied for an Accountancy role in Oxford. This was a massive change of pace and I went from the Google of energy companies to sitting in the loft of an one of the Old Oxford college buildings hammering away at excel everyday, hoping that the roof above me had been checked for asbestos.

I quickly decided that Accountancy wasn’t for me, so I was faced with three options. I could either stick it out for the prestigious ACA qualification, look for another job or leave to go it alone running my own business. Faced with these options, and combined with a few life experiences that lead me to this point I chose the latter.

Here are a few of the key turning points in my life. Some of them are small but they had a huge impact!

1. Confidence is king

I went to a supercar show with a friend of mine. We both dressed up well for the event as classic yuppies would. However when we got there we just found some expensive cars parked out the front (admittedly very nice cars). This wasn’t what we had seen on the broches so we had a look around. It turned out that there was large VIP enclosure hidden away, the kind of place where you could buy £500,000 matching shotguns… Anyway the friend of mine said we should just walk in past the security guard and act as though we belonged. So we did! I know it’s such a small thing and it was wrong to do, but it really opened up my eyes how the do-ers get set apart from the don’ters. If you want it, go get it!

2. What businesses can and can’t do

Accountancy showed me that business owners can do what they want! They spend half the time on the phone to their accountants asking what they can and can’t do, and for the most part as long as its legal and you put the expense in the right column on excel its fine!

Sure big businesses are limited to their articles of association and constitutions, but they wrote them in the first place anyway.

3. Reality

When I was younger I used to look up to teachers and think they knew everything and how adults had it all figured out. Then I grew up and realised that a lot of people just wing it all the time! And it works! I realised that no one really has it figured out.

So overall, my eyes were opened to the possibility that doers do and get rewarded for it, in reality no one really has it figured out and that anyone can run a business.

Myself as an entrepreneur

Its safe to say that when one hears about entrepreneurship they think of the nice cars and the jet setting life style or they think of the hours and hours of grind that you put in. I have to say, that I’m sort of in the middle of that. I do work a lot, but I never really work myself to death. I know that there are things that need to get done asap and yes I do those things, but there are also other things that I should do, that get put off to a later date. Sometimes I like to go to the gym or catch up on TV (that said, I do watch a lot less TV these days because I sort of feel guilty when I feel like I’m wasting time).

I’m confident I’ll make it though, because I sell a good product and I market it well. It’s just a little quiet these days because of the seasonal nature of custom sportswear… (God I hope its seasonal!)

My company

I run a sportswear business and its going well! I started around a year ago and I outsourced the majority of the work I did, but very recently I took out a loan and bought some large machinery to start making the products in house. Before when I was outsourcing, it was an easy life… I did a bit of marketing here and there (mainly on Instagram) and when I had an order I forwarded the email on to a supplier — easy stuff, but this wasn’t particularly lucrative and I wanted more.

Sign off

That’s enough for now. I’ve said my piece, I like to write, but not for no reason. I’m a realist and if this post actually gets read and people like it then I’ll write some more. In the immortal words of any of those generic kids on youtube ‘like, share and subscribe!’