How it started
I've shared the story many times, but I've never actually written it down. The story of how Acceler8 was born.
Way back in September 2015, after a testing day at work and an awful commute home, I was exhausted. We had family and friends staying with us, and they'd had some wine with dinner and a gin or two and were well into their evening.
I quickly joined them and whilst playing catchup, was potentially drinking a little too quickly. The effects of that were that I became very merry, very quickly. The conversation turned to my day and I shared my day and how frustrating certain things were and that I really wanted to do something different as I felt my life was passing me by.
In the heat of the moment, that was it. We logged on to Companies House and registered Acceler8 Training Ltd. That was it... I was free! What made us choose the name? Well, I wanted something that was 'down with kids' and had a digit in part of the word. I know - looking back that was silly. The actual name of Acceler8 was taken, so was Acceler8 Learning... so we had to go for Training - which I didn't like. I underestimated how difficult it would be to type on a smart phone too.
The following morning, I got up for work (no hangover!) and headed for the station. I decided that the previous night had just been a bit of fun and wasn't going to worry about it. Today was going to be a better day after all.
A few things then happened that changed the course of our lives forever.
First up, I was sat opposite someone on the train, who had made the same journey with me since I started working ion London in 2011. I was looking at him more pointedly that morning. He looked defeated. He must have been doing that journey most of his life and would continue doing it until retirement - if he lasted that long. I decided that I did need to make a change that would result in no commute.
I had a conversation with my Mum on the train that morning too. It struck me how much more my parents were going to need from me and I wouldn't have the flexibility to be able to provide that in the job I was doing at the time... the focus there was all about the business, not about balance.
Then it arrived. The email from Companies House confirming the incorporation of Acceler8 and outlining our responsibilities as Directors.
What had we done?
Could we undo it?
There was no going back.
I arrived at work, dealt with a few things and then led a client call with the team. It was after that call that I asked to speak to my boss privately. I shared everything about my parents and how we needed to support them more, and how I wanted to make some changes to my life. I don't know where it came from but I asked if I could freelance for my then employer whilst I worked it all out.
Thankfully, the answer was yes and that enabled me to survive the first year. I will always be thankful for that and I'd love to do some work for them again one day.
Some would say it was a perfect storm, and meant to be. Others may mock our approach to starting a business. One thing is for sure - we don't regret it. Even through the pandemic when business was really tough, we never lost sight of what we were doing and why we were doing it.
At that stage we had to make a brand. We did an online logo (never do that!) and set up a website. We came up with some complete nonsense about being by the see and setting our minds free (we dropped that quite quickly...) and there we were... ready to go. Our brand has evolved, our values have become clear along with our purpose of 'Be Happy. Be Human'. That really does now drive everything we do.
We've grown the business, we've grown our people, we've got a client list that would make some of the big boys and girls green with envy... and we've done it as human beings - with plenty of mistakes along the way.
As a result, David and I get more time at home, more time with our beautiful dogs... more time just to experience life and enjoy the moment. No commutes, no slaving to the 9-5 and working with some of the most interesting and fun clients in the world.
Sometimes some of the best decisions are the ones made in the heat of the moment, the ones made through instinct and what just feels right. That's certainly the case with Acceler8. It was all thanks to gin - which is why we have the gin bar in the office. We don't make gin-based decisions any more... you will be delighted to hear that I'm sure!
A very happy, gin-led accident!