#1: The Olympics, £600… and the kids

The origins of The600Project

London, Monday 13th August 2012

David Segal, New York Times: “The Olympic Games have hit this country like an extra-strength dose of a mood-enhancing drug. The question being asked here now is whether this national euphoria can last or, better yet, lead the country out of its recent economically driven malaise. Perhaps, as one writer for The Guardian wrote, the Games will ‘mark the end of Britain’s age of decline’."

The euphoria of the Olympics was over. I looked at everyone else on the tube on the commute to work that morning. You could cut the depression in the air with a knife. The Games were over — gone were the moments of hugging total strangers in the street. Super Saturday was becoming a distant memory. The Mobot a thing of the past. We Londoners were all back down to earth with a bump, the drug of the Olympics was wearing off and a pretty bad comedown was settling in.

Looking back at where the seeds of my entrepreneurial ambitions were first sewn, it was that tube journey into work that Monday morning. For whatever reason, those 2 weeks of the Olympics and the electric atmosphere it had ignited across London, made the prospect of going to my office job in the city that morning a little more grey, a little more dreary.

Somewhere underground between Kings Cross and Aldgate I began to formulate a plan. I would, somehow and someway, try to start my own business. Something small, on the side. Something fun. Something which might re-ignite that euphoric feeling for me, which I could feel evaporating.

I had to be realistic, my daughter was 3 and a half years old and my wife was 2 weeks away from her due date with our second child. We didnt have any savings, and we were renting an expensive flat in the old Highbury football stadium, at some point we would need to buy a house. I couldn’t just pull the rip-cord and leave the security of my job, but I was adamant that I would put a little something away each month to build up my fun fund for side projects. That evening, back at the flat, I opened up an online savings account with my bank (one of the ones which you couldn’t touch for 12 months) and set up a monthly standing order for £50. It wasn’t much, but it was something. By next year I would have £600 plus a bit of interest to play around with.

My mind started to whirr… the possibilities were surely endless. I had grand visions of doing an Apprentice-style challenge (but without Alan Sugar, thank god) where £600 would suddenly become £1,000. I would reinvest all of that into another challenge and so on and so forth until the regular doubling of the funds would soon be worth the grand total of £1,228,800, and all within a 12 month timescale if I was able to do one project a month and double my money each time. This wasn’t a hair-brained idea at all, oh no. This was simples.

Tom’s Bucks Chart

I let this sink in. This was magic. A bullet proof plan — I would be a millionaire in no less than 2 years time. Only two whole British years. I could wait that long. All I had to do was first wait 12 months in order to get my hands on the £600 and then put my hard earned fun fund into action.

The600Project was born.

London, Friday 30th August 2013

I had a spring in my step as I returned home from work. My £600 had finally matured and I could now get my hands on it (and the piss poor amount of interest that had accrued). This weekend would be spent kicking The600Project into action — the business end of the project was about to commence. I had been patient, eagerly ticking the months off and watching my meagre savings grow.

Change was afoot: my daughter, now 4 years old, was about to start primary school. My son, just turned one years old, was about to start nursery. My wife, having completed her maternity leave, was about to return to work. And me, I was soon to be a millionaire!

I hung my coat up and afer a short while of catching up with my wife, she turned to me and said:

Lydia: “By the way, the nursery called today”

Me: “Oh, really? What did they say?”

Lydia: “We haven’t paid the deposit yet for the year”

Me: “Ah, ok… how much is it?”

Lyd: “£600”

And with that, my entrepreneurial ambitions were up in smoke.

The600Project was dead in the water.

About Me:

Hello! After the best part of nearly 4 years, The600Project is back! I’ve decided to start this blog to tell my story: the story of what has happened since the devastating realisation that nursery deposits trump entrepreneurial dreams, and to share the journey with you as I try to resuscitate The600Project. I’m just an ordinary bloke. 33 years old. Still in full time employment… still in London… still dreaming of being an entrepreneur. With a brilliant wife and 3 lovely children at my side, I’m embarking on a 3 month startup course with Escape The City to develop a powerful new startup toolkit, network and mindset to help me identify and execute exciting opportunities over the next few years as I transition into entrepreneurship.

Follow The600Project… from the highs and the lows, from the ridiculous to the sublime, my insights to trying to be an entrepreneur whilst having 3 kids and a full-time job, and generally, life doing its best to get in the way!

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