Wise words. Thanks for the profile Matt. Best of luck with your venture!
"Eventually I decided there are two types of people in the City. In Camp 1 there are those who have long lunches and post work beers complaining about how rubbish their working life is. Camp 2 is made up of people who obviously love with passion and drive what they are doing."
I am always keen for a beer.
I recently set up http://www.sustainablecarbonsolutions.co.uk/" rel="nofollow">Sustainable Carbon Solutions to develop carbon offset projects in Southern Africa and South America. Projects range from wind and solar farms, to reforestation and installing energy efficient technologies, to rural housing. Carbon credits are generated from the sites and sold to businesses and industries in Europe.
Based in London my main work is to organise all of the different groups involved with developing projects. The most satisfying part of my job is engaging with the local communities where we work, forming partnerships that will hopefully provide them with a sustainable long-term income. The social development opportunity the carbon markets bring is enormous.
A global awareness and proactive approach to climate change has provided a major opportunity to reduce social and environmental inequality around the world.
Before breaking free I worked for a small private equity company in the West End and eventually moved to a major private bank in Canary Wharf. Eventually I decided there are two types of people in the City.
Having started as an enthusiast in Camp 2, the system gradually wore me down to join the lunch and beer club. I found myself getting more irritated with work and knew it was time to leave. You cannot compete with those who love and relish their jobs if you're heart is not in it.
There was no one major incident that caused the light bulb moment. The daily, repetitive grind of alarm, train, tube, complaining clients, and terrible boss was not inspiring or engaging me.
Enjoyment and everything it brings in a career is what life is about. I no longer count weeks or days until weekends, but am having the time of my life working harder than I ever did.
Building up in my mind to the point where I eventually thought 'just do it' took about 3-6 months. The planning of the company in reality was only about 3 months including my notice period. The first six months of running the company is spent organising and structuring what you are about to do. I went full circle from my original basic idea, to being lured by other opportunities, only to realise the best one was where I started.
Practically, I am fortunate to be living rent free and I also work from home. I financed the company through savings but the next best thing would be a loan from family or friends. This is a good test to see if your idea is any good. Generally banks will not provide loans unless you have a cash flow or proof of contracts showing you will have one soon.
The best thing has definitely been no more commuting and working for uninspiring people. You work when, how and with who you want to. It requires a lot of discipline but if you are passionate, working hours are not even a consideration. The personal perk of being your own manager and everything that brings is great. The adrenaline rush when a meeting goes well or you secure a new deal for yourself is nothing like those experienced working for someone else. The travel is also great - I'm off to Mozambique and South Africa for a month in a couple of weeks.
On the negative side it can be a lonely existence. Working alone in an office means I miss the contact with pals at work. The monthly pay cheque is also sorely missed!
Ignore all of the clichés about entrepreneurs being foolish, risking it all, listening to your fears etc. If you have conviction in your idea then you are no fool. Furthermore, you would/should not be starting a company if you do not think it will work. The worst that can happen is the company does not work out, but hey you gave it a go and will hopefully be doing something better than you were before.
Different people require varying levels of motivation or patience before they set up alone. My advice would be if you are unhappy in your current job and life, move. Millions of people do it every day. It does not have to be into your own venture but should be into something you enjoy.
Decide if you want to have a big pay cheque in a job you do not enjoy, or a small (but potentially mega) income doing something you love.
Contacts contacts contacts. Get advice from those who are older and have been there before. Do not be afraid to go to your competitors as a start-up and ask them for advice about the industry.