What do you currently do?
I am the Co-Founder of Work.Life. Work.Life provides small businesses, freelancers and larger corporates hot-desking and co-working spaces from three locations across London and a site in Reading we announced just last week. Our offices are home to well-known brands such as MTV, Dr Martens and now global technology leaders Verizon through the opening of a brand new co-working site in Clerkenwell, Work.Life.Verizon.
What defines your way of doing business?
Be genuine, try to do the right thing, and have fun doing it. With the work life divide becoming rarer and rarer, it’s important to at least enjoy your time in the office. Work is more productive and businesses will operate better when it’s employees are enjoying where they work.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
The inspiration was simple, make working in offices enjoyable again. My business partner and I both came from corporate backgrounds, where we spent several years working in typical, stale office environments. We both recognised that the world of work was changing. Not only is there a growing number of freelancers and bigger businesses who want flexibility when it comes to their workspace, but also that the co-working options out there were so large and impersonal they still felt corporate. Work.Life was set up to offer an intimate co-working option, focused around building tight-knit communities and face-to-face collaboration, ensuring members could enjoy every day they spend in the office.
Who do you admire?
I admire a lot of different people for individual qualities. Knowing how hard it is to run a business, I admire any entrepreneur who has managed to grow a successful company. It can be a lonely place when you start out, so anybody who has ridden out the initial, difficult early years has my total respect.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Honestly, there are far too many things to count. I certainly would have hired a digital marketing specialist far earlier given how critical it now is to have that skill set within a business. There’s always a fine balance between doing things yourself (or learning how to do things) and hiring a specialist to get things done.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I would say the most important piece of advice would be to qualify your idea. Speak to potential clients and find out what they need, and see if you can sign them up in principle before you have built or spent a penny. You must not be afraid to get your hands muddy, pick up the phone. Whatever business you’re in, it’s always going to be a steep learning curve, so make sure you aren’t scared to pick up the phone and get in front of industry experts. If you ask for advice, most people, no matter how senior or successful, will normally be happy to help share their knowledge.