01 Oct

Let there be light…

Now all I can hear in my head is the mighty vocal tones of Bon Scott belowing out Let There Be Rock… Hmm…

Lightbulb Moment #1

So the lightbulb moment, where it all began… Back in 1999 I worked for an Industrial Controls company in Nottingham. I drove me nuts and I hated every single minute of it, not least the commuting in to Nottingham every day which ate up nearly 2 hours of every single day. Then through a contact of my Fiance I got offered a job, working freelance for an internet entrepreneur, doing graphic design… Yeah, at last, a chance to work for myself… do work sub-contract, but be able to do my own thing when I was free. Plus I had the chance in sharing some of the profits from the sites and graphics I created… Dream come true this.

Making the jump was easy to be honest. Took me all of about 5 mins to make up my mind… Freedom from the drudgery of travelling to Nottingam every single day… Whoot Whoot.

So working for myself was great… While my better half was out at work, I could get stuck in to making my own money… the harder I worked, the more graphics I pumped out, the better it got… Then hmm… It maybe wasn’t all it seemed… yeah the harder I worked the more I made, but there was often corrections to be done… not cos what I produced was crap, as it definitely wasn’t, but just because the goal posts kept changing.

So I took the decision in about August 2000 to really fly solo… which really brought me down to earth with a bump… No income… well hardly… Tear, tantrums, arguments… oh god, we had it all… from me too! haha.

Then then work began to come in, working on design projects for a variety of large(ish) clients and I started to make a bit of a living at last. The I suddenly had a brain wave… the first lightbulb moment… lets get back into the industry I was doing the graphics for before, but on my own terms.

Things really took off… incredibly well to be honest and within a year I was reknowned as one of the top designers in the business… fame and fortune at last haha. But as with many people, who suddenly get a step change in income… it goes to your head. I don’t drink to excess, don’t smoke, but I do like nice things, and nice things we had. Nice watches, nice cars, trips to Las Vegas, trips to Miami, it all followed and I saved nothing, let me repeat NOTHING! Ok we had no debts really, but we spent everything we earned… what fools.

Looking back I regret that so much… but we’ll get to that later.

Lightbulb Moment #2

Then after 2 or 3 years of being a Top designer, I got bored and kinda distanced myself from the business. Working so hard for those few years, I got a little burnt out I suppose, wanted a bit of a change. Christmas 2003 my other half bought me a Scalextric set, just like I had when I was a kid… they were becoming popular again and I had lightbulb moment Number 2! There’s got to be money in them there toy cars.

So shortly after Christmas, I got on the phone and started calling suppliers. I could buy the cars from a local distributer and get about 30% mark up. We did some basic calcualtions and thought, yeah, lets go for it…

On went the rose tinted glasses… we could make a fortune selling these things. There were even some budget cars we could buy and the sell on via Ebay and double our money… We bought a bunch of the cars and things started to go ok… so I started to invest in more stock… it grew nicely…

The Rot Set In

Then unfortunately, things started to go a little off the rails, but at the time I didn’t see it. God only knows why. I decided to branch out into Model Railways too, but rather walk before I could run, I thought, nah… lets RUN! I started buying in stock, built a nice flashy website. It was all there, ready to make a fortune. Sales grew from £100 the first month to £150,000 turnover in the first year. I started to borrow money to finance buying in more stock, instead of just re-investing the profits. I carried on paying myself at the rate I paid myself when I was doing design work, which added fuel to the fire.

Shipping parcels, dealing with customer issues etc got worse as sales grew, I was getting bogged down and working on my own, trying to do everything, except some of the packing which my parents and finace did, really got ontop of me. I wasn’t keeping control of things. The debts began to spiral…

Down to earth with a bigger bang…

January 2007… I’d had enough… yes, yet again… I was fed up… Although I was fed up with the Money situation that I’d got myself into… My fiance didn’t really know how much of a pickle I was in… she thought we were fine. Why the hell hand’t I said something? I don’t know. I really don’t know. Didn’t want to admit failure I suppose.

Now what do I do?

In a bid to start to dig myself out of this massive hole, I started to look for design work again, and a few good sized projects did come my way. I Also began to look for new projects I could work on, but this time, just promoting other peoples products, not actually stocking anything at all, so there would be no shipping, packing or lost parcels to deal with…

And then…

It’s now nearly 2 years on from when I called it a day as far as Model Railway & Scalextric stuff is concerned, and this is where the real journey begins…

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