If you’ve read my about me page you’ll know that I own and run my own online businesses, including a marketing agency, but this position I’m in wasn’t handed to me on a plate. It took many years, lots of learning, and many failures to get to the point I’m at. Not only that, but I also sacrificed much of my social life as a teenager and adult to get here.
Growing up on a council estate isn’t easy, you’re surrounded by mostly negative people who have accepted their place at the bottom of the ladder, if you will. It’s not easy to get yourself out of that situation, or to have a positive and successful attitude, when those around you are content with what they have. But there’s also a benefit to growing up on a council estate, and that’s because it can also produce an unrivalled hunger and desire for more. And that can’t be beaten.
Here’s my story of how I made a little something of myself being a geek.
Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude. – Michelle Obama
A Passion Was Born
I got my very first computer for Christmas in my final year of primary school after months and months of begging. It was actually my dads old computer, I remember it was a Mesh system on Windows 95. I was over the moon. I fell in love instantly, but I wasn’t sure why.
I had a friend at the time who was a couple of years older than me, he was at high school, and one day he gave me a floppy disk which contained some HTML in a Notepad file. It was like a foreign language at the time, and I was amazed that you could save it with .html on the end and it would turn into a web page. It was like magic. And, right there, a lifelong passion was born.
From that point onwards I had a very sporadic social life, I started spending more and more of my time inside creating websites and learning. It was the only thing I wanted to do.
I never completed a single piece of homework in high school, nor did I study for a single exam. All I thought about during the day was what I was going to do with my websites when I got home. That’s all I cared about. I still remember spending my Summer holidays in my local library, from the second it opened, until it closed. I still remember the opening times. Sad, I know.
College was much of the same, I just wasn’t interested and I couldn’t pretend to be. After 2 years I dropped out and decided to focus on my internet dream full-time. Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my parents, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
The First Taste of Success
My first taste of success, in terms of making money online, came when I was 19. I’d been working for months on a MySpace layouts site. It started to get traffic, and for the first time I monetised a website with PPC and CPM-based advertising. It was making money. It was exciting.
After a few months I sold the website for £12,000. That’s a lot of money to anybody, but for someone from a council estate that feels like winning the lottery. I was overwhelmed.
I then made the mistake of not working, and just spending. The failures began.
The Many Failures
My one weakness in business was always taking my foot off the gas once they started to make money. I did this a number of times and had to spend months rebuilding once the business had died, and I had pissed all of the money away, usually with nothing to show for it.
The worst and last time this happened was when I lost my apartment and car, and had to move in with my nan on the council estate where I grew up. That was a very low point for me.
I reached a point I thought I’d never reach. When my then-girlfriend and I were expecting our daughter, Poppy, I made the decision to collect JSA, or Jobseeker’s Allowance, and start searching for my first ever ‘real’ job. I had to be a man and temporarily end my dream for them.
The Real Job
When I made the decision to start searching for a job, I decided I would look for an SEO position within a marketing agency as that is what I’m an expert at. I applied for jobs daily and, after my 4th interview at the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, I was offered a job. I was so happy.
I worked hard. I rolled up to work voluntarily at 6am every morning, just to outwork people, and every night I got home I worked on my own website before bed even though I was exhausted.
It paid off. I got 3 pay rises in my first year for getting the company more clients.
I stayed with them for 2 years before making the decision to leave and again focus on my own businesses. It was always only temporary, I had to be a man and support my family. I learned a lot from that experience, though, and I’m happy to have had that final failure. It got me here.
It was 2 years ago when I left that job, and today I own multiple online businesses and have plans for many, many more. I’m smarter, wiser, and more thankful for everything I have.
All of us have a different definition or idea of what success is, but for me success is being comfortable and having freedom. The freedom to do what you want, when you want, without having somebody to answer to. I work from home and have complete freedom.
I have achieved my idea of success. Maybe you will be next? 🙂