WHO I AM
I am an entrepreneur, I love business, and I love waking up each day with a new idea, if only I had more of me I may be able to actually bring all of these ideas to life. I have a passion for customer experience and business innovation. Although I enjoy it all, I find it important to do 2 more things outside of work; give something back, I volunteer at multiple organisations, and am the chairman of an animal charity, the second is to live your life whilst you still have it - that means, having a social life, travelling the world, or even jumping out of a plane - with a parachute of course! Put simply, I make sure I have the right balance in my life and don't overdo it with work, even though that can be difficult as an entrepreneur who has hundreds of new ideas. I have made this mistake previously and it can all get too much. It's not worth it...
I have worked in the automotive industry in the past and even throughout that time, I have been working in IT, I started at age 13 when the internet was still very new, we had dial-up 56k and I can still remember the dial-up tone in my head now. The day when broadband come along was a great day for me, a day when I began increasing my programming knowledge and building websites, those were the days that you had to hand-code a website and you could actually call yourself a web developer. Nothing like now, where anybody can use a drag-and-drop builder to build a website and call themselves a web designer, it's not really right and it has ruined the web industry, but that is the way the world is going unfortunately. Although I still do web design and development, I made the decision to move more in to mobile apps, but again it is coming to the point where you can drag-and-drop build an app, which is really a shame, and the app store will soon be jammed with apps which never get updated and many will be pointless...
I have taught myself all that I know about IT, my IT lecturer at school was not that clued up, so I ended up teaching myself programming in school and how to manipulate networks, I found this a better use of my time than learning how to add an indent in Microsoft Word, which I had learned myself over a year previous.
That all being said, many of the businesses that I work in are not IT related, and some of it has come purely from my abilities in the IT sector, such as being able to create systems and websites to do things that others can't. I can wake up with a new idea for a website or mobile app and create it, many cannot. All of these are business opportunities and some are overlooked. The internet and mobile app market is flooded, so I know that each idea has to be unique or it is not worth my time.
I enjoy each and every venture, otherwise I wouldn't do it. I am always open to new ideas and new investments, but if it doesn't capture my excitement then it is likely I won't invest my time. You have to love what you do to get anywhere...you just have to keep going if you believe in your idea. When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place.
Away from work, I study a BA (Hons) Law at the Open University, which I am thoroughly enjoying. How do I find the time?… I make time because it's something that I want...I haven't even got to the charity stuff yet, or my social life!
You have to live your day as if it is your last, as Steve Jobs, one of my idols once said, "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something". I live by the same, if I don't like what I am doing, it is time to get out. I have worked in various jobs before working for myself, from a factory production line at SC Johnson to working as a vehicle technician, to working in the Royal Bank of Scotland head office in London and leading part of a Smart Device Transformation program at SGN...The important thing to remember every time is, it doesn't matter what job you have, if you don't enjoy it, get out! Money isn’t everything! A note to add though, the job I had at SC Johnson on the production line was one of the most enjoyable jobs I have ever had, it didn't pay much, but every day I looked forward to work. The people I worked with just made it, unfortunately there came a time when I had to grow and leave to progress my career, but everything happens for a reason, I wouldn't be the same person today without working on that production line. Just remember that it isn't always the high paying jobs that are the best for you.
On to the other parts of my life...the charity work; I have been a volunteer First Responder for South East Coast Ambulance Service since early 2011, and was made a Team Leader the year after. I enjoy helping the community in this role and I have gained a lot of experience personally in the process. I have helped teach over 1,000 people how to save a life and I have helped raise money for public access defibrillators to be placed throughout the local area. As well as this, I have created websites and apps for charities across the board, completely free of charge, I don't believe a charity should have to pay a fortune for an online presence, so if I can find the time, I will use my skills to help them! I then made the decision after talking to someone at Born Free Foundation, to open a Wild Cat Sanctuary in Europe; there is an ever increasing need for a real sanctuary for big cats in Europe due to maltreatment, and although we are still in the fundraising stages, we are getting there and will open as soon as possible. I have the support of the other volunteers in the charity who are very keen animal lovers. I have been told many a time in the past that I spend too much time helping other people, but my thought is that; we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give...Life is not all about money, all be it great, it is about giving (time is just as helpful as money) and helping others enjoy their life too.
And the last point, travelling is one of the best things I have done, those who are afraid or have never seen the point in travelling the world, do it! I had never left Europe back in 2008, we had always had our holidays within the UK, which although is a great place to holiday, you are limited to what you can see and do. I took the leap and decided to leave for a month and go to Thailand on my own. I figured that if I went alone I would have to learn how to get on there on my own...best experience of my life. Before I flew 6,500 miles to Asia, I hated speaking to anyone I didn't know, I hated standing up and doing presentations. This changed that for me. I met some amazing people, and learned many new things about the world. Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. Thailand is my favourite place in the world, it is the only place I managed to forget technology and enjoy real peace and relaxation - I even left my phone off! Naturally, I came up with many new business ventures whilst I was there too, some I still haven’t had the time to implement!
You only live once, you may as well see and do as much as you can, whilst you can. Take time off of work, spend time with family and friends, do something you are afraid to do, see a part of the world you never would have before. You would be surprised at just how much better your work life will be when you do.
A few of my favourite quotes;
"As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.”
“Live in the present. Forget about the past, as there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t worry about the future, as what is to come is to come, and if you forget to live in the moment, you would be surprised at how quickly time can slip!”
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become.Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs
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