I’m happy to talk to anybody about how cloud tools can help them to realise their own escape; whether that is being able to work whilst they paddleboard down the Amazon, or just setting up a home office for their startup without the upfront cost associated with traditional methods.For example, we recently built a system for a driving school to allow customers to book lessons online using a computer or smartphone which will then feed through directly to the instructor, improving the customer experience and reducing overhead costs.And if any members need a system building which enables them to connect with their clients, employees and partners, seamlessly and via any computer, tablet or smartphone anywhere in the world, they can drop me a line or check us out at webformed.co.uk
Neil Meyrick escaped from financial services to take a once-in-a-lifetime sailing trip, and navigated his way into a start-up helping other people to make their own escapes through the power of the Cloud.
I’m happy to talk to anybody about how cloud tools can help them to realise their own escape; whether that is being able to work whilst they paddleboard down the Amazon, or just setting up a home office for their startup without the upfront cost associated with traditional methods.
For example, we recently built a system for a driving school to allow customers to book lessons online using a computer or smartphone which will then feed through directly to the instructor, improving the customer experience and reducing overhead costs.
And if any members need a system building which enables them to connect with their clients, employees and partners, seamlessly and via any computer, tablet or smartphone anywhere in the world, they can drop me a line or check us out at http://webformed.co.uk/" rel="nofollow">webformed.co.uk
I have recently joined an exciting new start-up called http://webformed.co.uk/" rel="nofollow">Webformed. We help clients to harness the power of the cloud by developing bespoke systems that simplify their business processes and improve the way they connect with their customers, allowing them to reduce costs and grow profitability.
This wasn’t originally part of my escape plan - I was coming to the end of an amazing summer sailing along the South coast of the UK - but over months of talking to Dan, the technical wizard of the business and an old friend, it became clear that it was a great fit for me.
I love the way that the cloud provides so much freedom today; at the moment I work from home and collaborate with the team using cloud technology, but there is no reason I need to be in London to do that.
In the future I plan to continue my travels, and I can work from wherever I have an internet connection. That’s the power of the cloud, and I find it genuinely exciting to be able to help clients tap into it.
The last six months have been spent taking time out from the rat race with the love of my life to sail our own boat along the south coast of the UK from London to the Scilly Islands, a little piece of tropical paradise just off the tip of Cornwall. In the middle of it all we flew to Seattle and got married - it really has been an incredible trip and a fantastic learning curve.
I always knew that I wanted to run my own business, but as I didn’t have a clue what it would do, I decided to work on building the skills that would enable me to give it my best shot when the right idea finally came around.
I trained as an accountant with Ernst & Young, where I got a fantastic education in business. Starting in audit I worked with a huge range of businesses, large and small, across different industry sectors and got to understand how they tick from the inside out. It was an opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t.
After I qualified I moved into Corporate Finance within EY and got an amazing opportunity to work with CEOs and CFOs on future strategy and business planning. I worked with some extremely talented colleagues and learned a huge amount from them.
In late 2006 I was on a development programme and found myself in a room with my cohort discussing where we wanted to be in 5 years time. I loved my job, but felt like I was playing a part; where everyone else said things like "I want to be a trusted advisor with a portfolio of listed clients", I just couldn't get excited by that prospect as hard as I tried.
The image that kept coming back to me was of me sitting on the deck of a sailing boat, anchored in a little bay off a deserted island. I had a glass of chilled white wine in one hand, and a freshly steamed lobster in front of me that I had just picked up from the floor of the warm and crystal clear sea. The boat wouldn't be huge or flash, but I would be living the simple life and loving it.
I knew that life in one of the big 4 accounting firms was a long game - what I think of as the “American Dream” model of reward - you give huge rewards to the partners, and relatively little to everyone else but with the carrot that one day they might make it to the top.
What I needed to be able to travel was to increase my earning power over the short term, and so I moved into the Finance function of the Investment Banking arm of RBS. It wasn’t by any means a megabucks job, but by being careful with my money I was able over four years to pay off my debts and save enough to take some time off.
Whilst I was there I got a once-in-a-lifetime insight into an industry and a company in an unprecedented situation. I worked with some great people, and learned about the day-to-day discipline of controlling a monthly profit and loss account and balance sheet.
After Lehmans went bust I woke up every morning not knowing if I still had a job. I had a fair bit of debt, and if I lost my job I would have been in trouble. That was a real wake-up call, and I cut back on spending very quickly to prioritise getting rid of my debts.
More positively, a year after I moved to RBS I saw and fell in love with the perfect boat, and bought her for less than many people spend on a German car. She is older than I am, certainly no luxury yacht, with less space than most studio apartments, but makes a cosy travelling home for two and is built to go anywhere.
Even more fortunately, I met and fell for an amazing woman who not only didn’t write me off as crazy, but wanted to join me on my adventures.
The highlight was walking on a white sand beach on St Martins in the Scillies with my new wife, knowing that we had sailed there all the way from London under our own steam, and realized the dream we had set out for ourselves four years earlier.
You only have one life, so live it. That means understanding what you really want, not being sucked into what you think other people expect of you.
Being wealthy is not about how much you can earn, but how little you need to be content. When I moved to London I started earning more, but still had nothing left at the end of the month.
That only changed when I realised that most of the things we spend money on are consolations for working so hard - the dinner out because you worked so late you don’t have time to cook, or that special treat you buy yourself for working so hard. And yet it’s these things that trap us into needing to keep working in jobs that don't inspire us.
Living within your means and building up savings gives a fantastic confidence; suddenly you are not dependent on keeping your job to be able to live. This gives you the freedom to travel or start your own company, or simply to be free from so much worry.
In terms of information, this site has been a godsend - being an entrepreneur can feel very lonely, and what ‘Escape’ provides is a connection to a whole community of people who are all finding their own path. Simply knowing that you are not the only maverick is a huge help, and I have found so much inspiration reading the stories of other members.
As to resources, we run our entire business virtually using cloud applications like Google Docs, Dropbox, VoIP phones and Xero, a cloud based finance system. These tools mean that not only can we communicate with each other wherever we are, but we can collaborate on documents in real time, and with Xero I can even control the company’s finances on my iPhone over coffee.