19: Interview with Mat Hofma & Erik Polumbo from Mini Materials

Today we feature Mat & Erik from Mini Materials who make miniature construction material.


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it?

Minimaterials.com started out of my house as an e-commerce site for miniature construction material. We officially opened “the doors” in March of 2015.

What inspired you to start this business?

I had been wanting to start an e-commerce site just for fun, nothing to make a ton of money on – just a learning experience. Someone on Reddit made some mini cinder blocks and I thought they were the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I tried to buy them, but he was sold out, and the price was ridiculous. I knew I could do it better for cheaper, so I did. I learned to 3D design, print, cast molds, and pour concrete and that was that.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I’m a graphic designer who loves to make things. I like to do woodworking and other related activities in my spare time. I also have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, I want to be my own boss and provide something to people in a way that I think it needs to be done. Mini Materials provides that avenue and with the assistance of my partner we are growing the business daily.

What would you recommend a new entrepreneur? How to get started?

Just keep pushing. I’ve had weeks where I didn’t get sales – and I started to get down, but I stayed up late every night making more and better products, and now I get several sales a day.
Another key thing is finding a partner. Every day I was on Shopify and the dashboard had a little icon stating something like “Startups are 70% more likely to succeed when they involve more than one person.” For a long time I didn’t want to because I had worked so hard for so long by myself, but I knew that finding the right person and sharing the experiences would strengthen me, and more so strengthen the company.

Do you produce the materials yourself or do you outsource this part of the business?

We produce several of our products including the miniature cinder blocks which is and should always be our main attraction. We do outsource some other products that we sell as well, but all of our products are made in America.

What would be a typical use of these miniature blocks and have they been used in a way you didn’t expect?

Our biggest market is the fingerboarding market, where customers are building their own structures to use to perform tricks. We’ve seen others use them for miniature displays of buildings or furniture pieces. One of our biggest orders was to the Navy where they were using them out in the field to erect on-the-go strategy dioramas to assist in training exercises. The uses seemed to be endless right now and everyday we have a customer show us something cool they’ve designed using our products.

What is your daily routine of running your business?

We do daily order fulfillment and marketing, and weekly product and design. We try and meet weekly to discuss new product, new customer expansion, and maintain the fun-nature that started Mini Materials.

What are the best and worst parts of running your business?

Best – the ability to get a product we believe in to the hands of people that want them worst – not having enough time in the day to build the business in a way we’d like to. We’re still working 9-5 jobs, so everything we do is before work or after.

Are there any blogs, podcasts or Facebook Groups about entrepreneurship you follow closely?

We are all over Reddit – Entrepreneur. We just got offered to be on a podcast called The Product Startup which should debut sometime in early March. We listen to it frequently and incorporate some of the advice discussed throughout the episodes. We use Facebook and Instagram and try to attract specific niche market customers that will intern spread our brand throughout the eRetailer world.

Do you read any discussion forums about business?

Again we are consistently on Reddit Entrepreneur and Networking. A great deal of our website traffic comes from Reddit referrals. We use comments and suggestions liberally to test and see what does and doesn’t work.

How do you stay productive and not get distracted?

This is tricky, life always gets in the way but we do our best to devote a few hours a day to the business as it is still evolving. We hope that it soon can get to an autopilot stage and we can focus our attention less on defining our niche and market and exploring more into growth and more efficient production.

What are your future plans for the company?

To be the Internet’s largest miniature supplier. Our follower-base on social media platforms is constantly growing. We do a good bit of promotional giveaways to try and use other similar interested folks’ following to attract a wider audience. We want to be mini-big!

To learn more about Mat & Erik’s business please visit Minimaterials.com.

18: Interview with Geoff & Laura from West Dorset Websites

Today we’ve talked to Geoff and Laura from Westdorsetwebsites.com who offer web design and SEO services. I run across them when I was reading The Guardian.


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

I run a web design and SEO (search engine optimisation) company along with my wife, Laura. The company is called West Dorset Websites and we specialise in web design and online marketing for micro, small and medium local businesses in West Dorset. We started working together in August 2015 and are based in West Dorset. We have a house in a small village near Dorchester, Dorset which we run our business from.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

We originally met at Oxford Brookes University in 2002 while we were studying print and online publishing. We had our first child in 2004 and got married in 2005 after completing our degrees. Studying, parenting and wedding planning simultaneously was a bit of a whirlwind! For several years I worked in surgical theatres until 2014 when Laura developed a health condition which required me to leave my job to care for her. During this time I started developing websites for myself, friends and relatives and discovered SEO. Suddenly all my previous studies fell into place and I, like most SEOs out there, “fell into” this line of work. As Laura recovered she helped me with more and more of the work taking on all the administrative roles (as well as being my main editor / proofreader!).

What would be your number one tip to improve search engine rankings?

Great content. I’m definitely a believer in the “content is king” principle.

With machine learning and user experience factors playing a larger part in searching, we’re moving to a digital age where it is less necessary to demonstrate to search engines the relevance of your site. Instead the relevance of a website will be judged by the behaviour of the people who use it.

Really, focusing on content is a win-win. If users like it but search engines don’t, then search engines will pick up on this and adjust accordingly. However, no matter how well executed the back-end technical SEO aspects are, if the content isn’t engaging the search engines will kick you down the rankings.

I would also say analytics is essential. If you can’t see where your site is performing well or poorly, how can you expect to improve? It’s like driving blindfolded.

Do you have a Unique Selling Point?

We pride ourselves on being local as the development of local online marketing picks up pace. Additionally, we offer a competitive price that allows smaller businesses to improve their web presence without it costing a fortune.

Do you think that Social Media such as Twitter or Facebook are good marketing tools?

Up to a point. I think if you are using these tools strategically to accomplish specific tasks they can certainly help you. If you are using a ‘hit and hope’ strategy (or ‘post and pray’) then probably not. The tool is only as good as the person using it.

What inspired you to start this business?

Just reading about SEO really. I’ve always been interested in the internet, marketing and web design. I think stumbling on SEO and the way it provides a scientific way of measuring and adjusting creative efforts is brilliant!

It was also exciting realising that there weren’t a great deal of companies locally offering SEO and web design.

What are the best and worst parts of running your business?

The best part is being able to work flexibly, seeing more of your partner and children and deciding what your priorities are that day instead of having them prescribed to you. The worst part is probably the sheer volume of work that is required and the lack of hours in the day. I wish something could be done about that!

Do you also host the websites of your customers? If not can you recommend a webhost?

We offer web hosting via ipage.com. I currently use them and find them to be exceptionally good value. I would also recommend Siteground as they have fantastic customer support.

What should you take into account when starting a business?

Whether you are really motivated to do it. It can be very difficult sometimes and if you’re not motivated then you’re unlikely to get anywhere.

If you want to test a marriage start a business. Do you agree?

Like any major life transition, starting a business with your spouse can lead to a number of new situations that could cause tension and disputes. We entered this business quite prepared. As students, we’d worked on team assignments together, as well as previously working part time together at the same call centre, so working together in a professional capacity isn’t completely new territory for us. You have to enjoy each other’s company, and respect your spouse’s skills. We carve out some time each week when we don’t work or discuss the business, and it’s been very important to us that we each have our own roles, so we don’t step on each others’ toes!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Delpino!

To learn more about their company please visit Westdorsetwebsites.com.

17: Interview with David & Elle from Jumpanzee

 Today’s interview is with David and Elle from Jumpanzee who run a design agency.


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

We run a small design agency that is focused on providing affordable web design/development, branding, & explainer video services for small businesses & startups. We started about 6 months ago in Atlanta, and we are currently based in Fort Myers, Florida (although we have a distributed team located around the globe).

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

My co-founder (Elle) & I are married (we were highschool sweethearts) and both originated from Atlanta, Georgia. Elle graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Atlanta with a Design degree and freelanced as a web designer/developer & graphic designer for years. I graduated from Georgia Tech in Atlanta with a degree in Project Management and managed projects both domestically & in South Africa. We both always had a desire to combine our talents and start a business together which led to us beginning Jumpanzee.


What is the process if somebody wants a website design from Jumpanzee?

The first step would be to get in touch with us, which we try and make as easy as possible (our website, live chat, social media, email, phone, etc.). Once someone reaches out and lets us know what they are looking for (landing page, multi-page website, e-commerce, custom platform, etc.), we will have them complete a short branding questionnaire and possibly have a short phone call which will let us know their design preferences and what content/functionalities need to be included in their website. After that is established, we will create a wireframe and develop a mockup of what their site will look like. The client will give us their feedback which we will incorporate into a finalized mockup. After that, development of the site will begin. Once we are finished, we will submit the website to the client for review/feedback and use those comments to finalize their website. We can also help with migrating the site to their own hosting or they can host it with us. The website will then be live, and they will be open for business!

I’ve seen you have a live chat program (tawk.to) on the site. Has this increased sales?

We cannot say enough good things about Tawk.to. It is free and an absolutely amazing tool for communicating with visitors to our site. We can immediately answer any questions they have about our services/prices/etc. rather than them sending us an email and waiting for a response (which we still try to respond to as fast as possible – usually less than 24 hours). We believe that this has definitely increased sales with visitors having the opportunity to chat with us rather than just leaving our site. Also, it has a mobile app, so we can respond even if we are not near our computers. Sometimes, we just have conversations about the visitor’s business, country they are visiting from, or just what they like about our website. We definitely recommend anyone who has an online business check Tawk.to out.

I like the idea of the explainer videos. Tell us more about them. How much would a customer have to pay for one on average?

Essentially, explainer videos are exactly what the name implies. They are a tool to quickly and effectively explain your company, service, and/or product(s) to your target audience. With the average person having an attention span equivalent to that of a goldfish and hating to read a long block of text, they are perfect for getting the point across in an interesting way. They have been proven to increase conversions by up to 20% and are a wonderful marketing tool. There are a few different formats, but we mostly focus on animated motion graphics which are aesthetically amazing. On average, a customer should expect to pay around $500 for a 30 second video from Jumpanzee (although we can certainly create longer ones and develop scripts for our clients as well).

Do you provide after sales support? From my own and other people’s experience it often happens that a designer or programmer will go AWOL.

We absolutely provide after sales support. We never leave our clients hanging even after completing their project and seek to differentiate ourselves from the numerous “fly by night” companies out there. If someone is having any issues or just needs advice, we strive to be their go-to resource and genuinely want to see their business succeed.

Do you ever reject a project because it doesn’t fit well with your company?

Yes, we sometimes reject projects that don’t fit well with what our company provides. We believe it is in our best interest as well as the potential client’s best interests to do so. If it is not something we 100% believe that we are the best resource to deliver, we let them know. We never pretend to be able to handle every project that is presented to us as we believe in only taking work that we are confident in delivering amazing results for.

Are there any blogs, podcasts or Facebook Groups about entrepreneurship you follow closely?

Our free time is certainly limited, so we try and select a few media sources that we believe provide excellent content, advice, etc. and stick to those. Our favorite podcasts that we regularly listen to are the Tim Ferriss Show (which has some amazing interviews), the Tropical MBA & Startup. For fun, we also listen to Serial. The only Facebook Group we follow religiously & try to participate in is Groove Learning which is an absolutely fantastic group of helpful entrepreneurs.

Do you read any discussion forums about business?

I don’t know if it’s considered a “discussion forum, but we do spend a decent amount of time on Reddit. The subreddits that have been the most helpful for us (both in providing useful case studies, advice, etc. as well as leading to actual clients) are r/entrepreneurs, r/smallbusiness, & r/startups. These are great for seeing what issues others are dealing with in their own businesses/startups and how they are solving them.

Any books about entrepreneurship you can recommend?

There are a lot of great books out there, but here are my top four right now.

i. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – This book is singlehandedly responsible for opening up our eyes to the possibility of a location independent lifestyle business. With our love of travel, this book really hit home and inspired us to finally start having serious conversations about starting a business.

ii. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau – I actually just finished this a few days ago. It had some excellent examples of people starting businesses on a budget. While it does not necessarily have a ton of detailed & concrete instructions on building your own business, it is still a great (and quick) read.

iii. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – I am currently in the process of reading this. This is probably the #1 book recommended to me and really focuses on the lean process of testing for startups & businesses. It has already given us some great ideas & processes for Jumpanzee.

iv. From Zero to One by Peter Thiel – I am also in the process of reading this one. It’s always a great idea to hear what Peter Thiel has to say, and this book really challenges the way to approach innovation, technology, & the future for startups (or really any business).

What tools do you use to run your business?

While some of these change on a week-to-week basis (as we test to see which best fit our needs), our current list comprises of: Slack, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Analytics, Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & LinkedIn mostly), Skype, Tawk.to, Grasshopper, Trello, & WordPress (although I’m sure we are forgetting some).

Do you have a Unique Selling Point?

Our USP is our ability to deliver extremely high-quality work for affordable prices in a very personable manner. We work closely with our clients to put them at ease as the process of design & development is usually foreign and stressful for them to deal with when they would rather focus on the day-to-day aspects of running their business. In line with this, we have positioned ourselves as a one-stop shop for their creative needs with bundled services as our clients usually have multiple requirements.

How many people are involved in your business?

In the last week, we have actually added 2 additional members to our team which brings us up to 13. Our team includes graphic designers, web designers, web developers, video producers, a social media manager, a sales manager, and Elle & I. Currently, our team is located in the US, Canada, South Africa, Romania, Portugal, & the Philippines.

How do you stay productive and not get distracted?

The number one tool/process we use for remaining productive is time blocking. At the end of the day, we plan out what specific tasks need to be accomplished the next day. We then take those tasks and divide them into short time blocks (one task per block). Each block is purposely set to be shorter than we believe we can complete the task in, so we remain driven & focuses. We also have short breaks in between blocks to “recharge”. Overall, this has been a very success process for us.

Do you use WordPress? Any plugins you can recommend?

Yes, we often build websites for our clients on the WordPress platform. There are plenty of plugins that we use depending on the build and our clients’ needs, but we definitely have some favorite go-to plugins that we always install. The first is the iThemes Security plugin which is a quick and effective way to secure your WordPress site. We also use the Yoast SEO plugin to help with on-page optimization. The red-light/green-light guide and real time analysis tools are user-friendly and make optimizing content much easier. Finally, we cannot say enough good things about the Duplicator plugin by Life in the Grid. This has become an essential plugin for our build process and makes migrating WordPress websites from the testing server to the client’s server a breeze.

If you are interested to learn more about David and Elle’s company please visit Jumpanzee.com.

16: Interview with personal development coach Nachi

Today we talk to Nachi from Livelikeyounow.com who works as a personal development coach.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am a personal development coach. Commonly referred to as “life coach.” I coach people who want to develop whatever it is they want to develop. I have coached many different kinds of people and on various subjects like weight loss, confidence, career, and love life to name a few. It’s all about acknowledging and reaching one’s own full potential. As a coach, I am my client’s cheerleader on the road to their own version of success.
My bachelors degree is in Psychology, so I’ve always been fascinated by people. With life coaching, I have front row seats to watching people use their God-given talents and make their ‘impossible’ possible. It’s a wonderful experience.

What inspired you to start this business?

I lead a charmed life. I am surrounded by so many gifted people. But, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, not all of them see just how much they are capable of doing. And those that are aware, get stuck in accomplishing what they want. That’s what inspired me to look into life coaching.

What inspired me to start my business was a very personal event. I received news that a former friend took her own life. She had so much in her. So much to share with the world. And now, that’s gone – forever. The world is deprived of her gifts and talents. I personally feel that if more of us lived to our potential, if more of us reached for our stars, if more of us lived like our true selves the world would be a greater place for the masses. From that, “Live Like YOU – Now!” was born. My goal is to get as many people as possibly living like themselves. Their unique selves. Not tomorrow, not next week, but right now.


What would you recommend new entrepreneurs? How to get started?

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. Do some research on what you want to do, and figure out a way to start. There are so many steps between starting a business and where you’re at right now. Take those steps and see how it feels. If it still feels right, keep going.

Also, you don’t have to do it alone. Find a coach! Many coaches, like myself, offer free consultations so you can test drive them. It doesn’t have to be me, but try it. For my coaching business, and other areas of my life, I’ve received coaching and the clarity after my sessions saved me a lot of time I would have wasted if I had gone at it alone. Plus, coaches offer support. They push you to go confidently in the directions of your dreams.

Who do you think is the most accomplished entrepreneur you’ve met?

My parents. My mother and father don’t stop. They keep going. After ‘retirement’ they began their own projects. Or rather, they continued their projects from before retirement. From nothing my father has built a legacy he will leave behind. My mother, seeing a need, took it upon herself to fill the need. None of their feats have been easy. But they took what others believed to be impossible and made them possible. They took their dreams, and made them realities. They are true inspirations to me and I feel honored to call them my parents.

What is your single best non-obvious tip for running a business?

Drink water. I get in the zone and forget the outside world. Sounds cliché but it’s so true. Having a bottle of water next to me is helpful for two reasons:

1. When I am in the zone, I’m running on automatic. Drinking water becomes a part of that automated routine.
2. Because I’m on automatic, it’s a matter of time until I reach for another swig. When I realize my water is out, it forces me to get up from my seat and take care of my body in more obvious ways (stretching, munching, calls of nature, etc…)

This is for times when I’m coaching but also when I’m creating content, updating my social media, marketing and researching. Because I’m sitting for so long, it can be easy to neglect my body – and that is a no –no. Wherever I am, so is my business. If my body isn’t well taken care of – I have no business.

What should you take into account when starting a business?

How trying it will be. Exposing myself to people, especially those closest to me was an odd experience. For some reason, I would feel more at ease telling a stranger about my business than those closest to me. With time, that became less of a concern especially when it came to psyching MYSELF up for what I was embarking on. Success can be scary because so much out there is telling you ‘it can’t happen.’
Starting your own business will push you in terms of how much, and how, you believe in yourself. Your product or service may be amazing. Revolutionary even. But not everyone will want it – and that’s not a reflection on you or your product. It just is what it is. And that’s OK. These times, in the beginning will be trying – but then you’ll get so busy, and flooded, by those that want to be a part of what you’re doing you’ll forget to be bothered.

What tools do you use to run your business?

Coaching uses my whole being. My ears, mouth, heart, head – all that. Hence the importance of taking care of my body. Outside of me, I use the telephone, Skype and other communication tools for my coaching sessions. And so the internet is a big player, especially for my oversea clients. On my client’s end – pen and paper are essential. I always encourage the taking of notes in my time with my clients as that reinforces what happens next.

Can you recommend a company or designer who helped you build the website?

My website is beautiful. I worked with Samantha Zimmerman from Ayana Technical Services. Throughout the process, I was very happy with the edits and how quickly my web-designer understood my intentions, and how responsive she was to accommodating my wishes. The service was professional and I could tell the designer wanted to make sure I was happy with the look and feel of the website. I felt very well taken care of by Samantha.

Do you have a Unique Selling Point?

At face value, I sell the attainment dreams. At the core of my sessions, what we really cover is whether or not someone is truly living like themselves. Recognizing and removing the boundaries that stop us from reaching our dreams. It’s a wonderful thing, and I admire those that take the steps to give attention to themselves and what they want for themselves. I should mention, it’s not about tomfoolery. It’s about making time for yourself, knowing yourself and living your best life.

How did you come up with the name of the company?

“Live Like YOU – Now!” is simple – live like YOU. Not tomorrow, not next week. But now. Right now. There’s a lot of noise out there about what we should want, what we should be, and what we should have. We all have our own personal version of what success means to us – at different times of our lives too! Following someone else’s version, doesn’t do much for us but feel like something is missing. Living like YOU is about knowing what it is that success, happiness, and whatever else means to YOU. And all that can happen now. Not after graduation. Not after retirement. Not after marriage. But now, today, this moment.

How do you stay productive and not get distracted?

I don’t know. When I care, I enter the zone. Music is good but I’ve gone hours just sitting quietly immersed in my thoughts while I work.

Outside of business what do you enjoy doing? How do you recharge your batteries?

It’s a labour of love. However the sessions can be pretty draining on me. It feels good to laugh. I make my own soap, candles, and beauty products so that’s always a fun time for me. Especially making soap. It takes me away to a very quiet place.

Do you think making decisions on a gut feeling is a good idea?

I operate on a gut feeling. At the core of my coaching ethos is ‘follow your gut’ get back in touch with your gut. That still, inner voice that speaks for your true desires. The voice that speaks for the path that is uniquely yours. Developing and getting back in touch with that is not an easy task but it is worth it. I have found acknowledging my gut leads me to fewer regrets.

What are the pros and cons of running your own business?

Too much immersion. It’s my nature to go above and beyond. Although I know perfection is a farce – I can’t help but strive for it. I want to give as much value as I can to my current, and would be, clients. I’m ever thinking about how I can do that. The con is finding the ‘off’ button. But therein lies the pro – I know I’m giving the people I work with the absolute best of my ability.

What is your experience with paid ads? Do you recommend Google Adwords or Facebook Ads?

I recommend Facebook Ads, they have been very good at reaching people I would not have otherwise reached. Because I coach internationally, facebook will show ads to the locations I want to concentrate on. I have yet to try Google Adwords, but Facebook has been good to me.

Do you use any productivity tools?

I sometimes use a timer or stop watch for my sessions – it keeps me on track. These come especially in handy when I have multiple clients booked backed to back.

What’s a view you held before starting your business that has since changed?

How FAST what I imagined could be REAL. Which is funny because I’m in the business of helping my clients see just how tangible their goals are. I never stop being winded at just how quickly thoughts can become real.
Another view that as changed is my attitude of feeling like I had to do it all alone. There have been many resources, from those around me and from fellow coaches, which have helped get me to where I am in my coaching.

Any favorite books about personal development you can recommend?

How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield

– Been reading this one very slowly. It’s a fast and easy read. It’s a valuable read and so I’m taking my time with it.

The Secret by Rhonda Bryne

– I’ve read this book twice, watched the movie, and listened to the book on tape. It still hasn’t stopped being full of useful “Oh yeah…” or “That’s a great point!” or “Let me try that…” moments.

Conversations with God – Book One by Neale Donald Walsch

– I read this ages and ages ago. It gave me a lot to think about. It’s a book I would want to revisit in the future and attempt to digest it once more.

Who do you think is the ultimate personal development guru?

It’s so hard to decide on one! The late Wayne Dyer, and the late Jim Rohn are the greats. I would have to say of those living – Tony Robbins, Matthew Hussey, and Joel Osteen are ones that always get me going whenever anything is weighing me down. Tony Robbins has such a powerful presence and talk about service. He’s truly a master of inspiration. Matthew Hussey studied the greats and brings it home nicely. Joel Osteen gets me at my core. As a pastor, he connects my spirituality to it all.

On that note, I’m going to go rogue and say Jesus is probably the ultimate personal development guru. He speaks about loving yourself as much as you love your neighbor. For me, that means you MUST love YOURSELF as much as you love others. Many people show their love to others, serve others, sacrifice so much for others and do nothing for themselves. I’m guilty of that as well. Who isn’t? Live like you now is about showing yourself some love and going after what you want. With that, people can then show more love, and give more love to those around them because that’s how loving others as you love yourself works.

For more information please visit Livelikeyounow.com.


15: Interview with Harrison Freeman from Out Of Uni

In this blog post we interview Managing Director, Harrison Freeman of Out Of Uni (otherwise known as OOU), the company that specialises in recruiting students & graduates with that extra ‘spark’ .


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

Out Of Uni is a recruitment agency that specialises in recruiting Students and Graduates. We noticed that there was too much negativity from employers around employing Students and Graduates. Employers often overlook all of the benefits of hiring fresh-minded, young people into their companies.

The words people use to describe Students and Graduates often resemble “a lack of common sense, immature & lazy”. At Out Of Uni, we aim to prove these prejudice views wrong.

Case studies are all around us, Students and Graduates demonstrate their unique ability to study and develop in areas they enjoy. Life isn’t just about a lifestyle, around a job that you’re supposed to hate. Times are changing; we all need to become a little less traditional.

We are currently based in Bradford, West Yorkshire but we serve the whole of the United Kingdom. We are able to do this because of the technology we use. We started business in October 2015.

What inspired you to start this business?

Similarly to the mentioned above, there are too many traditional views from the grumps and sceptics. In the UK, we are doing well as a country because we continue to evolve and develop ourselves into a more efficient culture. However, some people fail to notice that they need to keep up. They often realise too late, that they’ve missed opportunities because they seemed too ‘risky’.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I’ve always been an entrepreneur. It’s in my blood. Nobody can tell me different. I’ve found that you have to be very stubborn as an entrepreneur because people tend to dislike our personalities. Mainly, because it takes confidence to do something different so others get jealous because people are just being people.

It all began in infant school where I would often devise ways to make money and target my peer’s lack of value for money. I once sold a kid the same toy 7 times in the same day just by buying it back from him time and time again! Growing up I was always more interested in running businesses than my studies. Although I did well in school, I was always distracted. I would prioritise my businesses before anything else, which would often mean getting my work done in 10 minutes flat so I had the rest of the lessons to sneakily work on my businesses. I’ve sold bed sheets, ran websites, phone-chargers, networks & everything, you name it! Anything that I had a potential to make money, I did it.

One of my biggest achievements was when I sold my first business for £14,500 at 15 when everybody around me wouldn’t support me.

I’ve come to realise being an entrepreneur is a part of me and isn’t something that can be ignored. That’s why I consider myself being successful. It’s not about blowing one’s trumpet but it’s about helping people along the way.

‘A wise man learns from his mistakes but a wiser man learns from others’.

I’ve seen you recommend Rocketlawyer on a forum. Tell me more about them.

Most businesses start from nothing, usually with a budget of nothing as well. This means making every penny count; Rocket Lawyer helps that. It’s a very cost effective way of easily generating formal documents needed in a business. Of course in the later stages of running a business investing in a real Lawyer is very important but we all have to remember that to build a business, you have to have a business, and to have a business you need to make money. You can’t spend thousands on a lawyer on an idea that is just an idea. I always say ‘It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission’ and that’s got me this far. So long as you’re not going to tie yourself in knots, get sent to jail and end up owing thousands… don’t worry too much about the super fine detail, otherwise you’ll never even get your business off the ground. We all make mistakes and we all learn – we’re human, but having a business in the first place is better than not having a business at all.

I’m becoming more cynical as I get older, I’ve realised that you should only ever invest in something that’s going to profit your business not be a hindrance to it. Sometimes it does take a little bit of a chance and a bit of risk but you need to ask yourself ‘Am I really going to make money from this?’, ‘Can I support a family on this business’?, ‘Am I going to be able to buy that supercar at 25 years old?’. There’s nothing wrong with thinking big but you just need to make sure you do the hard work to get there.

I’ve seen the job listings link to another website. Do you plan to have your own job database in the future?

Being such a new start-up, it means that we’re not going to have thousands of jobs straight away; we’ve just solved this problem by allowing an ease of access to our users, to search for available jobs from other places as well under strict guidance.

Our services do not rely entirely on the website itself, it is more of a marketing placeholder and a database for everything. Because we are a mix between an active recruitment agency and an online portal, it means we have a broad range of services. We only allow candidates onto our databases that have gone through our rigorous, shortlisting process. We certainly don’t want to take a ‘scattergun’ approach to our services. We’re just trying to generate a larger social presence unlike a lot of traditional recruitment agencies.

How will you make money with the website?

The website itself doesn’t make money. Like I mentioned above, it’s more of a placeholder to attract our audience and clients from around the world. We get paid similarly to the way other recruitment agencies get paid, where we take a small commission on the first years annual wage so there is no cost to the employer while the candidate is put on a recommended 6 month probationary period. So it’s a win-win, the candidate gets a job and the employer gets the right employee.

I like the design of the website. Did you do it yourself?

Yes and no. I have had a lot of years experience in the website design industry and I’ve come to the conclusion ‘why re-invent the wheel?’. So I used a template from the well known Themeforest (which I recommend highly). I have used my knowledge and keen eye to improve on a few things to give it that added ‘umph’! I find that in the present day, it’s about bringing everything that fits together, rather than designing everything from scratch – especially on tight budgets.

What is your experience with LinkedIn?

I love LinkedIn and recommend it to anybody. LinkedIn is different to other networking sites contrary to the criticism it often receives. Things are changing and people need to open their eyes. LinkedIn is a source for genuine networking opportunities; people are on there for the right reason, not just because they want to post pictures of pets. Often, if anybody is caught using it like Facebook, people are often called out, much like Reddit.

It’s a very useful tool but has to be used wisely. My biggest tip to our readers is to fill out your profiles completely, don’t leave it to chance and let people guess why they need you. You’re selling yourself at the end of the day.

Do you use any productivity tools?

Currently I do not, I have found it hard to find a cost-effective way to consolidate everything together. We just use Google Calendar, Dropbox & e-mail for now until we find a resource that will enable us to work more efficiently. I just don’t think any system has ticked all the right boxes at the moment. I’d want to be able to track a candidate/employer start to finish with a full audit trail such as calls, e-mail, profiling etc. So until then, I’ll hold off and use more traditional systems.

To learn more about this project please visit OutOfUni.com.