“If you’re going to do something, do it properly.” Wise words from my Dad. He said this to me when I was very small and continued to give me this advice growing up. The problem was, I didn’t listen, and is probably why I hated my job as a car mechanic; something I did for fifteen years. I wasn’t a great mechanic, good enough to get the job done, but if I’d have taken my Dad’s advice and ‘did it properly’, I probably would have been working in the Formula One pit lane for Lewis Hamilton! The problem was that the interest was never there 100%: I didn’t get the grades in school and I didn’t go to college, so the dream job as a website designer was a pipe dream. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t fifteen years wasted - not at all! I have no regrets: I have met some of the funniest people and had some great times. Working with a bunch of lads in a workshop is a great laugh and times I cherish and will never forget. And spending time with my Dad fixing cars at home are times that I hold deeply in my soul (we didn’t feel that at the time - there were some colds nights!). Those times mean a lot to me now.
Dad’s advice is not wasted though, it has just taken me half a lifetime to put it into practice but better late then never. First, I had to quit the day job. Easier said then done! I’ve already touched on quitting the day job and making the leap in my previous blogs, but I want to try and explain the thought processes. Fear is the biggest challenge, and the opinions of the people most close to you really matter, but once you get over that, the sky really is the limit. For fifteen years in the motor trade I came across a lot of mechanics and (I’m not type-casting mechanics here at all) most of them are so miserable and depressed; they hate their jobs with a passion and most of them will tell younger apprentices to get out while they can because they too will end up miserable. Most mechanics will also tell you they would love to leave the trade but are not good enough, or lack the qualifications, to do anything else. Most ex-mechanics are drivers, security guards or car salesmen and, believe me, I looked at the possibility of all these careers. We get so many years in, get into debt, some get married, buy a house and have kids and then security becomes the main objective. But what if you want more? What if there is more? Why should you settle for something you really don’t want, just because you’re in your thirties and have a mortgage and because everybody else is doing the same?
It all depends on how much you want it. Ask yourself: how much do you want to do something else? Don’t you want to be happy on your own terms? Or would you rather get to retirement and have regrets because that the ultimate fail? How much you REALLY want it is a massive question: if you want it 90% then thats not enough. If the question is: “How much do I want to be my own boss and be in control of my own destiny?” And your response is: “Fuck yeah I want this!” then you must be prepared to make sacrifices - huge ones. Most people will not want a drop in wages because of their lifestyle: two cars; big house and three or four holidays a year, but how much do you REALLY want it? I was earning decent money, had a car, renting a nice, brand new house and was on holiday three or four times a year, why would I want to risk all that? I asked myself ‘How much was I prepared to do?’ but more importantly, ‘How much was I prepared to lose?’ Ultimately, the big question really was: How much did I really want it?
Let me tell you how much I wanted it; I was prepared to lose everything. I was prepared to fall out with my partner and lose her. This didn’t mean I don’t love her, far from it, but I wasn’t prepared to be miserable for the rest of my life. I wasn’t prepared to stay in a job I hate and have regrets later in life. I was prepared to lose the house and go back living with my parents. I was prepared to never have another holiday for the rest of my life. I was prepared to have absolutely nothing. Luckily, my partner shares my goals and losing her was never an option, but if you want something that badly and are prepared to lose so much, I believe there is no way you can fail. The pure grit and determination that is present when you are faced with the possibility of losing everything is an awesome feeling, and one that spurs me on even now.
When I was working as a mechanic and designing was my side hustle, friends and family and potential clients didn’t take me seriously. You will never make that break if you continue to think: “I’ll stay in the 9-5 until the jobs start coming in”. That’s probably sounds like good advice but I was out of the house eleven hours a day, and to try and make good designs in the time of the day you have left before you have to sleep is impossible, especially when you come in from work in a foul mood because you have been stuck in traffic for two hours. You have all the time in the world to build and create a business: there are 24 hours in a day, 6-7 of those for sleep, leaving 17 hours left everyday. Think about what you could possibly achieve in 17 hours?
Reflecting on my ninth month as my own boss, I have not been lucky and I hate it when someones says good luck. I have worked fucking hard to get to this point and I’ve done it without losing anything. It’s still early days, therefore I have to be prepared for anything. I am on target to earn more money than I ever have in my first twelve months and I aim to double that in the next twelve. Yes, thats 200% growth and it will happen. If you’re good at something, passionate enough about it and are prepared to lose then go for it…double down and grind and hustle your arse off. And now that you have found your passion.. listen to Dad’s advice: “If you’re going to do something, do it properly.”
Keep The Faith