I am the son of a coal miner, have no University degree and dozen GCSEs. Growing up in a working-class family in the North of England gave me no privileges or opportunities.
Through effort and sheer bloody mindedness, I decided I was going to do something with my life.
I grew up in a little town on the outskirts of Cheshire. My parent’s worked hard and did all they could for our family. My Dad worked as a Coal Miner for many years and my Mum was a care assistant. They worked hard to care for our family but would tell you themselves, there are many things with the benefit of hindsight they would have done which would have made their lives better. Nobody really tells you how to make the best decisions, how to manage money, my parents figured it out as they went along.
As a family, we had to endure the infamous miners strike of the 1980’s that Christmas my Dad made our Christmas presents cutting up furniture to make us something cool. To this day, I have one of those presents and protect it with my life. I don’t want to give you the Violin treatment as we had a good upbringing, we had a happy family.
Coming from such a typical working class background the perception was if you wanted to do well, you had to go to University. I am not academic, I have never been great in formal education, but love to learn new things. I do best when I have to discover things for myself. These days they call it experiential learning. I reluctantly went through School, then went to College to study business.
I eventually came to the conclusion that I could not take all these years of classrooms and formal education so that meant I either endure more education, stack shelves / flip burgers or find a way to get on in life without needing a degree. For me, University was an absolute no-go area so I chose to create my own path.
I did a few office jobs then quit College at 17 and set up a business. Within weeks of setting it all up, I was generating £10,000 per week. I suddenly realised that my background didn’t have to determine my future. Life was going well but I had zero experience and didn’t understand money. My bubble burst like everyone’s in the Dot-com bubble. I went from being ‘in the money’ to the brink of bankruptcy in 12 months. I was totally devastated and felt like a massive failure. I was humiliated and had taken the failure personally. It took my a while to recover from this but even in my failure I had done amazingly well for an 18-year-old kid, I just needed to learn a bit more.
I picked myself up and started working to pay all my debts getting jobs in sales and running my own business on the side. All through this time, I knew I had a skill and ability which had value but couldn’t find a place to fit it. By 2006, I had paid all my debts back and started on a new project, building a new business. One of the big challenges I had to break was small thinking. I spent hours and hours reading and studying what other people had done with their lives. As I looked at their stories, a little voice in my head would immediately whisper ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘they are better than you’. These voices plagued me, filled me with doubt and held me back. I had to let go of my working class hang-ups in order to build the kind of life I wanted.
I haven’t cracked it, I don’t pretend to be a guru but I have learned a lot from good and bad experiences. My mission in life is now to build a great life for my family and help as many people as I can along the way.