I'm starting to feel a bit like Adele - naming everything I do after the number of years I've been doing it. I've shared the story of how Acceler8 was born with many people - although up until now I've never shared it publicly.
When you set up a business it's commonplace to have put a great deal of thought into it, to produce a business plan, a bit of a strategy, to get some funding in place and to head into it with your eyes wide open.
Cast your imagination back to September 23rd 2015. It was a fairly normal day on the South Coast. I'd been working in London all day, I'd had a week or two of dreadful commutes and was feeling quite defeated, not to mention exhausted. My in-laws were staying while they visited from South Africa and they had invited some friends to join them on their visit.
As is customary when we have guests at home, much gin was consumed and I'd started talking about how fed up I was with the commute, with the lack of flexibility to allow working from home (remember those days?!) and how i wanted a bit more freedom to be able to visit my parents if they suddenly needed me. At this point of the evening the gin had given me the level of courage only normally seen in a lion so I decided I was starting a business and leaving the rat race behind. I logged on to register the first name I thought of at Companies House and that was that. I went to bed as I had to be up at 5.30am for another daily commute.
The next day arrived and I didn't give my actions from the previous night another thought... until I opened my email and saw the confirmation and list of obligations I now had as a company director. Filing, tax returns, corporation tax, self assessment... I was in and I was in deep. Deeper than I ever thought would be possible.
I spent the entire journey to work wondering what to do and how i could get out of it. I asked a few friends and the consensus was very much... 'Well why not? What have you got to lose? You're great at what you do and you haven't really been doing what you're best at... so why not?'. Those words stuck with me for the journey but it was still on my mind. When I got to the office, I rang David and talked it through... and he was all for it. It would be a stretch and a risk but we'd do it.
Fortunately for us all, I have as much faith in him as he has in me so we decided to get on with it. I had a conversation with my boss and explained what I was thinking and why - I'll never forget that chat as long as I live and I think it cemented a lifelong friendship at the same time. So the deed was done. I was a business owner.
It's a great dinner party story and one I've told many times. Acceler8 started by accident, in fact I refer to it as 'the happy accident' all the time. It changed my life for the better, we've grown year on year - even this year when everything seemed stacked against us, it's provided for us, it's given us deep satisfaction and it's introduced us to so many wonderful people. I'd always recommend having a plan and putting more thought into it that we did - but it worked out fine.
I imagine lots of people dream of being their own boss. My advice? Don't wait for the right time - just do it anyway. What's the worst that can happen?
I can't finish this without saying a big thank you to everyone that has gone out of their way to support David and I through the last five years. Our team, our clients, our friends, our colleagues - I'm proud of what we've all achieved together.
Be Happy. Be Human.