Recently, I was voted the “BQ Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year for London and the South West”. Now bare with me here, before you turn off from my self congratulatory ramblings. The reason I bring this up is not to brag (OK, OK it is a little…;-). Honestly it’s because I’m a little embarrassed by it. I got to go to the awards dinner and stand on a stage, be interviewed and receive a trophy/paper weight/ toy for my daughter. But my team, the folks who have actually built this business with some vague input from me, got left in the shade. I wanted to write something here saying this. We are the people we surround ourselves with. I’ve been immensely privileged through Small Bar(s), Left Handed Giant and Big Beer Distribution to be surrounded by some pretty amazing people who have worked their asses off to get us where we are. Without their passion, enthusiasm, talent and work ethic I’d be nowhere.
It also reminded me of something I wrote a while back, shortly after Hannah and I had launched our wholesale company back in 2013. In the day to day bustle of running a company it’s easy to forget the journey you’ve been on, and the awards made me reflect a little. I wrote the below for a friend of mine, who’d told me the night before (after many beers) that what I’d done wasn’t possible for him. He had too many commitments, too much at stake. If it inspires someone to quit their job and set off on their own journey (even if it’s one of my own team!) I’d be a happy man. You may not become number 1, but at least you’ll know you tried!
Hi Wife/Girlfriend/Mum/Dad/insert appropriate person,
I’ve decided to askew the expectations of society and quit my career, with the security and respect that goes with it. I am going to sacrifice my regular salary, and by extension put everything I own at risk. Quite honestly, I just think I’ve got a better idea.
Soon to be divorced husband.
The very thought that you may want to step out of the line, walk a different way, not follow the herd, is going to make people think you are a bit weird. Human nature impels us all to follow the leader, to keep up with the Jones’, the do what’s damn well expected and to hell with the fact it makes you miserable. When you choose to jack it all in and follow your own dream folk’s will call you stupid, they will question your sanity. They’ll ask you questions like ‘how will you pay the mortgage, what happens if you fail, where will your pay cheque come from?’. The answer to all these questions is simply “I believe in myself, my own abilities and my vision”. You are going to have to develop a thick skin to see this through. You are going to have to ignore the negative, the naysayers and the people that try to talk you down.
When I made the decision to quit my job and set off in my own direction I was in a cafe in Amsterdam with my soon to be wife, Hannah. We were both unhappy with various aspects of our jobs, and commenced with an afternoon of dreaming, and chatting, becoming increasingly passionate (drunk) about our chosen subject. By the end of the day we’d committed to returning home and quitting. We had no idea what our next move would be, but we knew in our hearts that we were unhappy, and that the consequences of moving on outweighed the consequences of staying. I am sure many people have had these same conversations with their friends and loved one’s. The difference is, when we sobered up, we stayed true to our path. We returned home and told our family and friends. We were criticised, told to think it through, to consider the consequences (we had, and liked the outcome), told to do some planning (we did, but much later), to figure out what was next before taking the plunge. But we said no, and 4 days after returning, our notices were in. The best decision we ever made. A leap of faith, but a leap of faith in ourselves and our own abilities. Not a leap of faith at all in the end, but a solid investment of our own time and our own commitment into our own dreams and future, not someone else’s.