Full time work Versus personal ventures?

20 May

Full time work is, as we all know both a blessing and a curse. It gives us structure to our lives, a sense of purpose to some degree, and it gives us regular money coming in. There’s almost always someone above you who gives you your tasks, goals, rewards, etc. In this sense there’s less that we have to worry about and can rely on someone else to do.

Anyone else out there who’s ever been out of work/school for a while it’s nice for a short time, but then without someone pushing you and rewarding you, etc you lose this feeling of internal structure, purpose, and to an extent self worth.

It’s a tough thing, and a scary thing going from being a single cog in a machine to suddenly having to diversify and make the whole damn thing turn by yourself, or to understand the whole structure so you can go out and find the right parts and put them together.

On the other hand full time work takes up so much of one’s life and energy that it’s hard to imagine having the opportunity to start creating your own means of income whilst working.

I’m very fortunate to have had full time work for the last eight months, whilst slowly nurturing this idea that I’d like to become more independent. I’ve been to many events around the UK including:

the MADE festival – http://www.madefestival.com/,
Enterprise Tuesday – http://www.cfel.jbs.cam.ac.uk/programmes/enterprisetuesday/ 
Connected Cambridge – http://www.connectedcambridge.com/,
Innovate UK –https://www.innovateuk2013.co.uk/ .

(I found out about these through either word of mouth (via facebook), google searches, or by signing up to as many entrepreneurial-based newsletters as I could find.)

Through going to these events and talking to like-minded people about my ideas I’ve developed my knowledge, confidence, and structural integrity of ideas. I’ve slowly reached out and started recruiting people for the projects, finding partnerships, sourcing potential funding, etc. I’ve managed to get some of the cogs moving and found out where I’ll need more and how I can get them.

To anyone interested in taking a similar path: this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing experience.

I went to a talk earlier in the year to hear Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley, inventors of ‘The Magic Wand’ who pitched their idea (successfully) on the tv series Dragon’s Den. The two of them got into this highly profitable venture from two completely different ends of the work/project spectrum. Chris had lost his job and wanted to make money his own way with very little of his own funds to spare. With what was left of his own money he decided to create and sell an idea proposed by one of his kids – plop trumps (http://www.firebox.com/product/2201/Plop-Trumps), which very quickly became a profitable idea as his basic salary, from which he then branched out to the magic wand.

With this idea of the magic wand he reached out to a previous co-worker, Richard Blakesley. Richard already had a full time job but was also very interested in working for himself so he bravely took on creating this magic wand with Chris over evenings and weekends. As soon as this became profitable to a certain level, he was able to quit his day job and do this full time. Due to their vision, teamwork, hard work, and passion they were able to follow through with an idea that I’m sure will keep them pretty comfortable for a long time to come.



My message is: if you have an idea and some passion behind it, then whatever situation you’re in there is potential to follow your ideas through to a reality. If in full time work one can start off by telling people about their idea, drawing it up, maybe even write a business plan. Then who knows they may find people saying “that sounds amazing. When can I buy one/use this service”. You can start small whilst maintaining the security and structure of a full time job. Just start taking those first steps in your spare time and you’ll still be able to come at it with strength, dilligence, enthusiasm, and energy.

Ventures do not have to be all or nothing. With simple skills and traits that we all possess, we all have the potential to create great things. 

I hope that this post can help encourage self belief and confidence for whatever constructive aspirations are in your head – it is possible.

I’ll be writing a post later in the week with an update of what I’ve managed to get going in the last week during my own spare time out of work.

Happy adventuring!


2 Responses to “Full time work Versus personal ventures?”

  1. Ali May 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Just read this – pretty inspiring:


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