How to build a business empire

My early years

I am 38 years old and have been working for 22 years. Starting work at 16 has given me a four-year advantage on most people that start post University and enjoy a gap year or two. That early advantage has paid off as I now work one month in the UK and one month from my Yacht in the Med. How did I do it? Here is a brief overview:

Introduction to work and money

At 16 I worked doing whatever paid well. It’s nice to do what you love or like but I needed cash and the ability to start my own business. So, during my first year of work I did demolition, car sales, portering at the local hospital, bricklaying, club promoting and security.

In business

By the time I was 17 I acquired my first business, a window cleaning round for £1600. A year later my first business was worth £6,000 and I sold it. I took the £6,000 and paid one month rent in advance for a car sales yard, £400 down, £5,600 left for a Porto cabin, a billboard sign and cars.

Within two weeks I had visited six car auctions and purchased 17 cars. Some for as little as £100 and some a few hundred quid. I was now in the car sales business. Taking enough money to live off and putting the rest back in I soon had over 50 cars ranging from £500 to £3000 for sale. Transport for London then introduced red route parking restrictions, my business went bust.

I parked my remaining car stock on the streets of London with for sale signs in the windows. This gave me a couple of weeks to get a new job. Selling cars from the streets is a great low cost business model, I had no costs and was using Government land. This lasted a few months.

Big business

Red Route parking restrictions meant people were being fined. In fact, about 30,000 people were failing to pay and needed chasing for payment. I soon had a new business idea; debt collection for Government.

A short period with an existing company to learn the ropes and I was in business. I was now the owner of a debt collection business and in year one turned over £1m.

Twelve years later I sold that business for over £30m. Six days post sale I formed big business number two. Investing £1m from the sale, I started a fintech firm and sold it nine months later for over £9m.

Many businesses

Two weeks after selling big business number two I launched – a £13m investment fund for early stage businesses, using my own personal wealth.

So far, I own equity in nine companies and am looking to increase that to 20 by December 2018.


The key to building a business empire is to take measured risks. At each exit, I re-invested and rolled another dice. This enabled me to take a little for myself and invest a little back into a new venture.

Money makes money and that means you must not be afraid to roll again and again.

Sometimes you lose but that’s just business. Good luck!


Jamie waller

About Jamie waller

Jamie Waller is a self-made millionaire turned investor. Having left school with no qualifications, he began his career as a window cleaner and went on to establish a debt recovery business the JBW Group aged 24. In 2016 Jamie sold the majority of JBW (which employed over 150 people) for £24.5 million and moved into the tech sector – launching Hito, which he sold 10 months later for £9.2 million. This year, Jamie sold his remaining shares in JBW Group for £8.75m. Today Jamie is passionate about working with likeminded and determined entrepreneurs, which is why he has established £13m investment fund Firestarters .