The first 30 years or so of my life were spent pretty much the same way as the masses; starting in state school education, following on to College to study, in my case Construction Studies, then joining the usual main stream 9-5 JOB as a trainee for ‘peanuts’ in terms of money just for having the privilege of actually having a JOB! I remember my first year’s salary back in the late 1980’s was a whopping £4.5k! Yes that’s 4 point 5, not £45k!
At this point you’re thinking, well that was back in the 80’s, right that probably wasn’t so bad was it? Well 12 years later when I eventually ‘sacked’ my employer, my salary had increased to a staggering £20k a year after reaching Site Manager level, and the employment funnel was getting narrower towards the top, meaning there was little or no chance of going much further. £20k a year, how pathetic was that!
So I was in my late 20’s, I had been married for several years and both my wife and I were working flat out to try and keep the bills covered on our first home we had bought into. Interest rates here in the UK reached somewhere around 15%, and our mortgage payments were crippling to say the least. My salary alone wasn’t enough to cover the mortgage. I was working overtime and even then it was a struggle. There was no way we were going to be able to start a family! Now we are only talking about 12 years ago, and I recall some of my school friends that had gone their own separate ways were earning anything up to £50k a year. So I knew then something was ‘drastically’ wrong!
The strange thing then, was that everyone else around me at my old employer seemed oblivious to it all and seemed to be happy and content that this was the norm! For some time I had felt as though I was outside of this huge box looking in at everyone else. I knew there had to be a different way, but I didn’t know how. Although I had come through the management route in construction, I was quite able when it came to the practical side of construction, and so began to offer my services to some friends. This then spread to doing small projects to some Architect friends I knew, to the point where I couldn’t cope working my full time job and my new found side line which I was running in the evenings and at the weekends. I was literally working 7 days a week and burning the candle at both ends!
It was the spring of ’97 and interest rates were beginning to fall. Just when we saw we could break even, we sold our house and moved in to a bedroom at our parents flat in West London! We had the greatest news; we were going to have our first baby Girl!! Now I don’t know if it was this that had the effect, but for whatever reason I decided in my wisdom that now was the best time to sack my 9-5 BOSS! So, we had no home, we were expecting our first child and then I sacked my BOSS! Shortly after we found a new home and with the money we had saved at our parents along with the additional income I was getting from my new business, put this towards another mortgage. And in that first year I earned double of my final salary at my old employer!
So that was it then, I found my New Success and the right career path move right? Well I developed and grew my own business from initial typical refurbishment contracts of circa £20-30k to larger contracts of circa £2.4million. During this time, I also purchased a Freehold Property which we refurbished ourselves ‘in house’ from an old disused garage to forming a top end Bathroom Showroom, displaying such brands like ‘Villeroy & Boch’ and offered an in-house Design and Installation service to our local Customers.
The down side to this new found success? Well when I was employed, I still had all my holidays. When we went away we had great times. During our time owning our own business, no such luck! I quickly found that I was being employed again, this time by a hungry machine that demanded being fed even when I wanted to slow down for a bit; so I didn’t, I couldn’t.
To top it all, as with many other Companies, trading in 2008-2009 saw a significant change and it was evident that we needed to look for an alternative, fast! Where did I look then? Well I had been a subscriber to a monthly Business Newsletter and the one area that shouted out among any other industry, was how well and successful people were doing ONLINE. This worried me at first; I had been one of those that, with the exception of purchases etc, had kept completely clear of the Internet and its offerings. My initial thoughts were…
“How can I do anything online, I know nothing about computers, I didn’t take ‘IT’ at school or college, I know nothing, I’m an Offline Entrepreneur…”
Well silly me (that’s putting it mildly!!). It was great that I had taken the initiative to do something about our lives back when we started our business, but if I had opened my eyes a bit wider and looked further a field, I could have saved years of hard and lost times!
Fast Forward to today, and I am now meeting a complete new stream of people and friends whilst chartering new waters with more ‘Enthusiasm and Optimism’ than ever before!! The main difference now? Well I get to work from home at the hours to suit me. I still work hard and am committed to my new found career and Business (everything worth having in life takes work, there’s just different ways of getting there and different levels of enjoying your time whilst achieving it)
I get to take my girls to school on most days, after having breakfast together! I get to take our handsome German Shepherd dog out a couple of times a day on long and ‘fun’ walks (not rushed at the crack of dawn or in the pitch black of night after work) At the end of the day I get to ‘pick’ my girls up from school! We have dinner together! This may all seem a bit boring to you, but I have got over 12 years of catching up to do, and the simplest things in life have a complete new value to me again, and I am enjoying every minute of it!!
So ‘Offline’Construction Business Owner and Entrepreneur to ‘Online’ Marketing in less than a year!! Who would have thought you could change your life long career to something completely new? And who would have thought that you can cover the same distance as an Offline business over 12 years in JUST SEVERAL MONTHS Online?
Wow…The Power of the Internet and more importantly, the POWER OF SELF BELIEF!! (I will leave that last one for another time!) For me for now, I feel blessed to be given another opportunity to build a new successful life for me AND my family’s future. There’s an old saying “Third time lucky…” Well this is my third time around in my career and I don’t plan on going anywhere else now, I have found my right career path at long last!