Academically I did both a Computer Science Degree and Business Management Degree straight after. I was unsure what I wanted to be when I grew up, plus I wanted more time before going for jobs. After my 2nd degree, instead of going for a graduate job I started my first business.
My first startup was a “Freesheets” publication before the Internet had really taken off in the days of dial-up connection. The idea was to give it out for free in London [London has quite a few freesheets these days] and to make money from advertising. I did everything myself. Design, copy, photography, editorial, ad sales, relationships with PR managers and even distribution.
When it came to the distribution I came to the awful realization that I was too embarrassed to stand on the street and give out my free magazine. I was literally mortified. Doh! The startup failed miserably…
Having failed my first startup and with pressure from my parents, I was unable to stave off employment and working for someone else. I got a job in the Information Technology team at what was then Cable and Wireless. But even that job did not come easily! I made over 300 job applications in about 8 months. With each rejection and my mother’s taunts about how incompetent I was ringing in my ears, I kept going until I got a breakthrough. Various Information Technology skills I had learned at University and in my startup eventually paid off!
I worked for about 3 years earning very good money for my age at the time and eventually got to a point whereby I could not cope with maddening corporate culture and politics. I quit and founded another startup which was an e-commerce start up.
E-commerce Startup went a bit better than the 1st one. I worked on it for 7 years and achieved hockey stick growth. Then, however, I made the classic mistake of growing too fast and most importantly growing and diversifying product range too fast. This resulted in me not having enough cash to stock hero products that had provided the hockey stick growth in the first place! Next thing I knew debts were growing and the diversified stock was not shifting fast enough!
Before the debt for the E-commerce startup really got to a level which I could not control I decided to shut down the business and tail between my legs I returned to the corporate world of being an employee!
I ended up working for large corporations like QVC, Virgin Media, Nokia and Accenture on large digital and marketing programs with HUGE marketing budgets in the millions. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. For my e-commerce startup, I had to apply multiple hacks with a limited budget. For the corporates, I was spending millions on Search, Display, Affiliates, Social, Partnerships and more. The hacker in me couldn’t help applying many hacks I had learned in my start up to the corporate world.
In 2011 I could not take much more at the most soulless job of all at Accenture and started Growth Hakka.
Since the earliest days of my career to now, I have worked for or consulted for over 40 companies both enterprise and startups. I have built up a wealth of cross-industry experience that I now apply to new clients.
The aim has been to Bring enterprise level marketing skills to entrepreneur level firms and making them successful