Are you mad?! Your 32 not 22! Don’t be stupid! You’ve got a brilliant job! Stop trying to find yourself! You should be having a family now! Grow up! As a kid I dreamt of becoming a professional footballer but that wasn’t something that materialised – That obviously had absolutely nothing to do with how good I was because I was an absolute goal machine! During the school summer holidays, we would come up with different schemes to make money – knocking on people’s doors to clean cars and if they had a van it was double bubble, delivering papers, cutting lawns, selling soft drinks on street corners, packing potatoes and growing up around the corner from a milk dairy was very lucrative!
I remember meetings with the careers advisor at school which were an absolute waste of time for me personally because I came out of the meetings more confused! Other kids I went to school with wanted to go to college and university to become teachers or doctors (the wannabe doctors weren’t in my class) or they wanted to become plumbers or electricians etc. I had no idea what I wanted to do so I enrolled at college to study sports until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I knew before my college course had even started that I was done with the classroom and I became quite disruptive because I didn’t want to be there, I had just followed the crowd!
My disruptiveness tested the patience of my college tutors and a couple of disciplinary hearings later I was asked to leave the course. Fortunately, before I was politely asked to leave my college course I had started a Saturday job as a sales assistant at a local sports store. Interacting with customers and offering customer service was something I really enjoyed, and I was pretty good at it! We were given targets of selling trainer whitener and I would sell more in 5 hours than my colleagues that worked 40 hours!
My mum wasn’t going to let me get away with chilling at home all week and then rocking up for my 5-hour shift on a Saturday, so my mum and my sister knocked a CV up for me and gave it out to different businesses around town – I was happy being the king of trainer whitener on a Saturday to be totally honest! Sat at home one afternoon I got a call from the store manager of another sports store offering me an interview (a job I didn’t know I had applied for). The interview went well, and I was offered a 25-hour part time position!
A few months later I was offered a 40-hour position and not long after that I was offered a management position – I was now on £5.50 an hour so I was big time! I loved the responsibility of being part of the management team, after all it was the first thing I had really taken seriously! Not long after I was appointed a store manager and my enthusiasm for the role grew with the added responsibility – I treated the store as if it was my own and I loved going the extra mile for our customers!
Fast forward a couple of years and my profile within the business had risen so I was asked if I wanted to become a buyer, I didn’t really want to leave my store and my regular customers, but I guessed it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. Becoming a buyer didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts – I was completely out of my comfort zone and I was thrown in at the deep end. After a couple of weeks, I asked if I could return to my store, but my position had already been filled so I had to stick with buying for the time being!
How glad I am that my position had been filled as after a couple of months my confidence started to build and I figured that buying wasn’t too dissimilar to sales, well apart from the fact you were putting 1000’s of units down of things and if they didn’t sell you would know about it! The more I bought the more I started to love seeing something you had put your name to absolutely smash it – not to mention the buzz you get when you see somebody out and about wearing something you have designed! As the years rolled by my confidence grew but my love for trading grew just as much. I had a massive passion for negotiating as I knew the lower the price I bought at the better the value was for our customers – after all you are nothing without your customers!
My reputation in the trade grew and I was offered bigger salaries and at the stage of your life when other people are settling down you start to take notice of the bigger salaries on offer, but what you don’t realise when you move into the corporate world is just how restrictive the meeting about meeting culture is – When you’re a doer it’s not easy to sit and talk about things and not get things done! Although I was earning a six-figure salary something was missing and I wasn’t getting the same buzz! I started to realise that I needed to get my enjoyment back or this was going to be it for the rest of my life – the last thing I wanted was to have regrets!
Sat watching the TV one evening my idea for Buy1Get1HalfPrice.com came from behind me and it struck such a chord with me that I jumped up and started to shout, “This is it!” “Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price!” “This is it!” I immediately went online and bought the domain name – I couldn’t sleep that night or for the next month as the ideas were buzzing around in my head. Fast forward a couple of months and I had quit my job and started to build a website that would allow my vision to come to life. I figured everybody would get it so I sold my car to fund it and I jumped in with both feet.
It’s still early days but sales are strong, could they be sronger?! Definitely and that's with working 18-hour days 7 days a week! Every time I receive a sales notification the buzz I get is greater than the feeling of getting a six-figure salary working in the corporate world! Have I had to make sacrifices? Without a doubt! Could I do what I’m doing if I was materialistic? Not a chance! Do I have to be creative? Every single day! Could I tell you the last time I watched TV? No!
Fortunately for me in my personal life I am easily pleased so the fillet steaks have been replaced by a chip barm but if our sales are good I’ll push the boat out and get myself a jumbo sausage as well – it’s the small things or the jumbo things in this case! So, to answer my initial question should I start my own business? Unless you are 100% committed and willing to sacrifice don’t bother but if you are willing to go all in and make ends meet by any means necessary (within reason) then who knows what will happen if you get some luck along the way.
Who knows where Buy1Get1HalfPrice.com will be in 5 years but my vision initially is to build it into a business that is trustworthy and if we exceed the expectations of our customers then we will have achieved what we set out to achieve! Regardless of where we end up – at least we will have had fun because having fun and getting stuff done is what gets me out of bed in the morning! :)