I’m no billionaire … nowhere near! I don’t fly around in private jets and I don’t own my own island.
What I do have is a successful business that’s been an incredible source of wealth, freedom and choice. I believe this kind of success isn’t just eminently attainable but within the reach of anyone who has the drive to make it happen.
It’s this belief that drives my ambition to share what I’ve learned and inspire the same entrepreneurial intent in young people.
I want to equip them with the right skills, attitude and mindset to ensure they never compromise on their career aspirations and have the confidence to create a rich and fulfilling life.
When I was growing up, there was little emphasis on preparing young people for the world of work. By the time I was ready to leave university, you could print the careers advice I’d received on the back of a postage stamp.
Directionless and with little awareness of the career options available, I went on the Milkround and met with a few businesses that had come to my University to attract new recruits.
Eventually, it was my experience working on New York’s Wall Street during a gap year that made my mind up. I chose merchant banking. I decided I wanted to be a bond dealer and earn lots of money.
At first, it felt like the right decision. I was good at the job and achieved my financial goals incredibly quickly. After only six months, I was earning a good salary and responsible for over a quarter of my desk’s revenues. Around £150m.
I had a Problem
What should have been a dream job was nothing of the sort. Despite my banking success and good salary, I was miserable as sin. I gained no enjoyment from the work. It was soulless and left me unfulfilled.
In contrast, I spent my spare time engaged in activities from which I earned no income but took a huge amount of joy. I was running youth clubs and kids’ camps, and organising tours for university orchestras across the UK and Europe.
My hobbies taught me that being happy in what you do was far more important than money. So, after eighteen months I gave up merchant banking and chose instead to seek a career I was passionate about.
My Entrepreneurial Journey Began Here
I took the initiative and set out on a quest to discover what I really wanted to do. I spoke to many people from different walks of life, including an iconic “industrial theatre” company.
That meeting changed my life.
I realised event production was my calling. It had elements of theatricality, creativity, organisation and music that sparked my imagination and mirrored my interests. I researched 100 organisations and sent letters to them all. That led to six interviews and one job offer.
My salary dropped from £30k+ to £6.5k, but I felt richer because I couldn’t wait to get out of bed each morning and go to work.
The Best Decision I Ever Made
The move from banking to event production was the best decision I’ve ever made. It not only initiated a fulfilling career but also opened the door to my becoming a successful serial business entrepreneur.
Through Aspect Ltd and its 21 year history I have achieved financial freedom. It has put more money in my pocket than I could ever have dreamed of or earned working for someone else. It’s given me more choice and put me firmly in control of both my professional and personal life.
Today, I have the time and freedom to pursue many other passions that I have which include sport, music and business mentoring. But above all I love inspiring young people to be entrepreneurial.
This is why I regularly visit high schools and universities sharing my story. I do it because I believe it is a total privilege to have the opportunity to perhaps change young peoples’ lives and inspire them about the future they have ahead of them.