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The blog for ambitious founders.

My blog covers the MANY highs and lows of starting, scaling and selling my business for 7-figures, in just 4 years. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur then add your email below to get a new episode delivered every Wednesday.

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What I thought I'd spend the money on, versus what I actually did.

Pretty much since I knew what money was, I would day dream about the prospect of starting a business one day and selling it. The day dreams were rarely about the actual running of the company, but very much about the bit at the end, when the money arrives!

Safe to say the things that I fantasised about buying changed a little throughout the years, but it really started taking up head space during the actual acquisition of my business (see here) when the dream started inching closer to becoming a reality.

During the 4 or 5 month acquisition process I pretty much spent half my free time on Rightmove planning houses to move to, and holiday homes to line up. But what we ended up doing with the money changed quite a lot once we got it. Below is my 'shopping list' post-acquisition, and which ended up falling by the wayside.

A big house with a big garden.

This was definitely the dream that stood the test of time. It was my dream even as a kid, but became even more so once we had our own children. The goal was definitely to invest in our forever home.

Already my use of Rightmove was relentless, but as soon as the money dropped in the bank, and I had confirmed with our accountant how much of it belonged to HMRC, I stepped up the pace. The first thing I found out, living in Surrey, was that I wasn't alone in looking for a big house with a big garden. In fact the first house we fell in love with we lost, even though we offered the full asking price. Despite aiming to avoid a 'do-er up-er' at all costs, we ended up with one. A 60's style bungalow hadn't featured in the day dreams, but the house we ended up buying was situated in one of our favourite dog walking forests and still just a few minutes from the girls' school. Within 5 minutes of arriving to view it, it was ours.

We definitely spent more of the total money than we had planned on the house and the subsequent refurb work, but I wouldn't change it for the world. There is something comforting about getting your forever house, that you don't have to care about whether stuff will add value. That's for the kids to worry about one day!

Did we do it? YES!
Satisfaction level 10/10 - watching the kids run around the garden makes it all worth it

The look on their faces when they first saw the house made it all worthwhile.

Angel investing.

Having benefited from angel investors during the Molzi journey, and being so jealous that they got the excitement without the responsibility, I had big plans to start investing in other startups.

I visited some events and looked at various investor decks. But the type of money I would be investing, and the resulting equity stake I would receive just wouldn't get me that excited. I'm not great at watching from the sidelines and I'd end up giving my time away for free and annoying the founders I'd invested in.

Did we do it? NO!
Regret level 2/10 - I can focus on building my own businesses instead

Holiday home.

For absolutely no reason I can establish, I was convinced that I wanted to buy a holiday home in the Dordogne region of France. We had been there on holiday before and had a pretty good time. But that was it. We don't speak very good French and we enjoy visiting lots of new places when we go on holiday. I think my wife agreed to the idea knowing I'd get bored of it when it came to the reality. She knows me quite well. I started speaking to estate agents in France and looked for 'French for dummies' type courses nearby.

During my research I had a quick look on AirBnb to see what type of places existed as holiday homes already and noticed that there were literally hundreds available to rent, for the one week a year that we would likely use it, so we did that instead. My wife was right. I got bored with it. And instead we're just going to rent somewhere when we fancy it for a fraction of the cost. C'est la vie.

Did we do it? NO!
Regret level 0/10 - It would have become a pain to maintain etc, especially as we don't speak French!

A flight on a private jet.

I have no aspirations to fly on private jets every week, but I really want to try it, just once in my life. I looked into how it works and you basically pay by the hour that the plane is in the air. So I thought I could pop up to my hometown of Newcastle living the jet set lifestyle.

But really it would be a huge waste of money, especially as we'd just bought the house and had invoices coming out of our ears from tradespeople. So I told myself, lets park the idea, and I'll do it if I ever sell another business in the future.

Did we do it? NO!
Regret level 5/10 - I have no idea why, but I still really want to try it. Even for the 40 minute flight to Newcastle. One day!

My next business.

In our financial plans we had allocated a decent sized chunk of startup capital for my next business, whatever that happened to be. I was super excited at the prospect of being able to go more adventurous, or quicker while having a nice safety net. As plans started to come together for my new life, all of the best memories I had from Molzi were due to the fact we were scrappy and innovative and dynamic. All things that a large amount of startup capital might kill. So instead, both new businesses will be bootstrapped, knowing we can scale up without external investment if needed in the future.

Did we do it? NO!
Regret level 0/10 - in hindsight, having a safety net with the new businesses would take half the fun away for me.

Some kind of mid-life-crisis-worthy sports car.

It was a brief moment of weakness and confusion but I found myself looking at the websites of various fancy car brands. I think I was getting frustrated that we hadn't found the house we wanted and I had no real physical signs of the success of Molzi.

I quickly came to my senses and never looked back.

Did we do it? NO!
Regret level 0/10 - at 6ft 6", I'd look a bit too much like Noddy in a sports car

How I imagine I would have looked driving around in a convertible.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that we didn't fulfil any of the 'dreams' apart from the big house. So here's what we did do...

Financial stability.

Yawn, I know. But I think this is the best thing we did. I felt a great sense of responsibility while the money was sat in the bank. Not just because banks started going bust, but because I had proven I have some level of skill in making money, but no track record in maintaining it let alone growing it.

We found a great financial advisor who plotted out our remaining life (always good to see a big graph showing when you're going to die), built in a mid life crisis or two and invested in minimal risk funds that will give us the stability to have a comfortable (not a private jet type) life until the graph tells us our time is up.

Knowing that's in place and being handled by experts gives me the greatest sense of comfort and allows me to start trying to build the next thing that will finally get me on that private jet (or not).

Did we do it? YES!
Satisfaction level 8/10 - not as exciting as a holiday home in France, but stopped me worrying about whether Barclays would go bust


Making memories is now our real life goal. The house is great, but it's seeing the kids enjoying it that really counts. And the same with holidays. Whether it's camping in Hampshire or flying to Australia, we are focusing on memories just in case that graph calls it a day a bit earlier than planned!

Did we do it? YES, LOTS!
Satisfaction level 10/10 - making the most of every day that the kids aren't too cool to go on holiday with us

So that's what we did. I'm very aware that no one asked, but it's the kind of thing that I would have been interested in while day dreaming about my own exit. Thanks as always for reading and see you next time where it'll be back to business, I promise!


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