This is a guest article by Neil Jones
I can’t say that I was one of the people that always knew they would run their own business. That said there is an entrepreneurial streak running through the heart my family, both my brother, sister and father all work for themselves, they have all chosen a path that suits them, my brother runs a multi-million euro company and has countless staff.
My sister is a trained accountant and has run a number of small home based business ever since her kids were young and my father has been dodging the tax man for years working for himself. As for me I’m still under 30, originally trained as a chef and worked in that industry for 5 years, then one morning decided that was not for me and it was time to find something else.
School was a waste of my life, I left with terrible exam results and no collage education, to say my prospects were limited was an understatement. I had always thought of some business ideas that might work but I was never willing to take the risk.
The web however looked like an interesting place, so with no money, no experience and no clue what lay ahead, I jumped in and started my first site, (won’t give any names but it was involved in the video games industry) and this was all about 12 months before the global recession hit, they say timing is everything. In conjunction with this I had registered a company and somehow managed to get myself started on a journey that would take me 3 years and in that time I didn’t make a cent.
Throughout that time the road I was embarked on would take so many twists and turns, nothing ever seemed easy. I had to rewrite my business plan 9 times, so I could get accepted for a government grant and get enrolled on a business course.
In the first day on that course the lecturer asked a simple question, where are the most common places people borrow the money to start a business and with a dead pan stare directed at me he proclaimed, the 3 F’s, Friends, Family And Fools and he couldn’t of been more right, I borrowed money from the people closest to me, knowing that I couldn’t pay it back. The hole I was digging for myself was only getting deeper.
I sat in that class room every Monday for a year, sitting beside people that were 20 years older than me and had ploughed millions into their fledgling companies, 2 years on from that, I was the only company still going, so I wasn’t making any money, I’m still taking it as a moral victory that I was still going when all the others folded. The company I started is still going, I’m not doing anything with it, but I just haven’t got the heart to close it down.
Looking back would I do it differently, sure, but back then I didn’t know any different, as they say hindsight is a great thing and it is. But the skills I have learned will stay with me for the rest of my life and will hold me in good stead for whatever I decide to do next.
Some aspects of life in business still send a chill down my spine (I have nightmares about accounts). But like in all stories there is a happy ending, all my debts have been paid and I’m now the managing director of a company that has big plans and thanks to what I have learned I have been able to build the company on a solid foundation and I now have the skills that can help it to grow and mature. Who knows I may even make some money out of this.
Well thanks for reading and if any one has any stores of their successes or failures please share them.
Neil Is MD of eMobileScan who are building on the success of their UK site and have now plans to becoming one of the biggest European wide retailers of bar code scanners and handheld computers as well as other data collection terminals.
Image by ^riza^