Monday, July 2, 2012

Moving on and Starting-Up

'Do one thing every day that scares you'
Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

to cheer my dad up, I thought I’d wear a tie on my first day
in my new job, working for myself
Can I ask, Eleanor, if you do something that really, really scares you one day, can you have a few days off being scared afterwards?

I ask because after nine years at Aardman I have decided that it’s time for a new challenge and so today is the first day of the next chapter in my professional career.

I left the Company at the end of June and as of today I work for myself.

I am fortunate to still be working with Aardman as a consultant in a freelance capacity but no longer exclusively.

It was a hard decision to make. Aardman is an amazing Company which has given me extraordinary opportunities to work on world-class projects, meet exceptionally talented people and get involved with huge campaigns.

But, I’m not getting any younger and I still have the energy, time and the hunger for another professional adventure.

For now I am out there as an ‘Independent Media Consultant’. I will be consulting, teaching (which I love) – anything that takes my fancy where I can add value.

At the same time, I’m writing a business plan for my own project. I say ‘project’ to be cryptic for now, partly because I am still figuring out exactly what it is.
It will almost certainly be something that brings together my passions and experience – chief among them digital media, comedy and animation.

It’s an odd time to be getting back into the labour market and looking to raise finance for a new venture. The UK is in a double-dip recession, the Eurozone is flirting with meltdown, banks aren’t lending etc. etc.

But, once the urge gets hold of you to get out there and start something new, there’s no stopping it. It’s like falling in love, it can happen at the most absurd and inconvenient moments.

On the bright side there are plusses to starting a new business venture in a recession, so I’m going to be thinking mostly about these:

  • Everything is cheaper in a recession: office space, people, second hand equipment, interest rates
  • It’s a great PR story – ‘bucking the trend’, ‘taking matters into your own hands’, ‘beating the odds’
  • If you can survive and prosper during the lean times you can flourish as the good times return
  • Investors still want to invest, they are still looking for growth stories and solid propositions to get involved with.

Something like half of all start-ups fail within three years. Bizarrely this needn’t be a problem. Apparently your chances of succeeding are significantly increased if you have previously failed as an entrepreneur. I wonder if I should open with that in my investor pitches …

So Eleanor, I’m definitely shit-scared but in the good way that you were talking about. I’m also unfeasibly excited. And you can’t be excited without just a little bit of fear.

To be continued ….