Why I decided to start my own business
I always wanted to start my own business, but there was definitely a moment where wanting turned to needing.
Lets take a trip back in time to try to figure it out.
As I mentioned in a previous blog (see here) I've pretty much spent my life starting up (and more often than not, closing down) businesses. My first proper business was when I was 18 and about to embark on my A levels. It was an online PC brand called StudentDesktops and fortunately, having achieved a D, E and U in my A levels, it took off and started to get a bit of attention. Over a short period of time, I was featured in most national newspapers, the Richard & Judy Show and BBC News. The angle of the story was as you'd expect, 18 year old running a business that was successful. As the internet was in it's infancy back then (yes I'm older than I look...) there were fewer of these stories than you see today all over social media.
Appearing on CBBC aged 18. Not sure if I'm more embarrassed at how I looked then, or how I look now...
The general vibe that all these articles had was 'young executive', 'young whizz kid', you get the idea. Getting that kind of attention at a young age has a positive impact on your self confidence. Something that I've never really struggled with because of this early attention I think (just ask my kids how many songs about Daddy being great I've managed to pen, and regularly perform).
I then went from StudentDesktops to a high profile role at a large PC manufacturer, and again a lot of the focus was on me over achieving for my age.
But my next career moves became less and less unusual and more and more normal. Suddenly I wasn't particularly young or whizz-kiddy anymore. And from 22 years old, to starting Molzi at 33 I never got a big break. I never earned a particularly high salary at any point in my career and was just plodding up the career ladder without a real destination.
Clearly this wasn't keeping me up at night, because it took me 11 years to do something about it, but I definitely lost a bit of my identity once I moved out of self employment and into life as an employee.
But the defining moment for me was when I was interviewing candidates for a Sales Manager role that I was recruiting for in my job at the time. Just seeing hundreds of CV's from people also too old to be considered 'young executives' and seeing how, despite their decades of working experience, the modern world was looking for very different attributes. I'm sure that many of the people could have done the role but purely from looking at a CV, their experience was outdated and they were too expensive. Many of these CV's came with covering letters saying how they'd been out of work for months or even worse.
It was a brief look into how my future life could be. Fully reliant on a wage and fully beholden to someone giving me a chance. Suddenly my desire to become self employed again became a necessity.
To appear on a double page spread alongside Niall Quinn and Alan Partridge doesn't get much better.
And that's why I decided to take control and start Molzi. In my opinion (not that anyone asked) kids aren't prepared properly for how life actually is nowadays. They're still taught that the goal in life should be a good career and to get onto the property ladder. The reality though, is as soon as you get on that property ladder, it's pretty difficult to get off the salary that supports it. Maybe we should change the aspiration from owning property to owning a business, at least when you first leave school and have minimal financial responsibilities. Because that mortgage is going to make it much harder to make the leap into entrepreneurship later in life and give them control over their own destiny.