About Me

About Me

What led me to the point in time that I now find myself? A time and place—incidentally—that I absolutely love being in. I am constantly grateful that I get to do what I do for a living, make a difference for others and have a ball while doing it!

But on to the story… I guess it’s long-ish one and I think it’s best told in reverse.

It’s also a twisty-turny story with many diverse paths, but with a set of values that I hold dearly running through it like a stick of rock. I guess that’s how I’ve always shown up in life.

Double The Revenue, Half The Working Hours

You see, I went full time into business coaching when I passed all my clients on and closed the photography business I had been running. I’d learned the 80/20 principle (as well as other “smart” business stuff) around 2013, and during the year 2013-14 I grew my revenue by 122% (that’s well over double) and halved my working hours.

I realised that in the spare 50% of my time I could share with other business owners what I’d learned about smart pricing, positioning and marketing a business so that they could get similar results in their own businesses.

And it wasn’t long before I realised that this was much more fun than taking photos; and more valuable too – I genuinely feel that a photo helps businesses to, maybe, sell a few more widgets, but the work I do now helps business owners and entrepreneurs to spend more valuable time with their loved ones, to have more peace of mind and clarity on what they’re doing with their lives, and to really have a good clue about, and respect what’s important to them.

I have a real passion for business, something that I couldn’t say about photography. I’ve always had total respect for others, and it was time to respect my own choices. So the photography had to go as quickly as possible, without leaving anyone in the lurch.

So how did I end up doing photography?

The Accidental Photography Business

Well, it was an accident, really. I was employed in various computer systems jobs before the photography. On one fateful—and I mean that in the best possible sense—day in 2008, at 9:30am I was given 2 minutes to leave the office. You know… taken into the boss’s boss’s office, told “We’re making cuts… you have 2 minutes to clear your desk. So long and thanks for all your efforts”.

I’d shown up on my motorbike that morning, and I cannot begin to describe the relief I felt as I rode away.

Thank the Lord, I thought… I will never have to set foot in that office again.

I hadn’t realised but for some time now I’d been ready for self-employment. I’d witnessed so much inefficiency, so much unconscious business, so much “going through the motions” and “we’ve always done it that way”. But I’d had no authority to do anything about it.

So the next day, when my pal (who had also been given the chop) phoned up to ask if I wanted to meet for lunch I said “Sorry, I can’t… I’m designing some business cards.”

I owned a camera. I was vaguely competent at taking photos. And I had no idea that it was difficult to start a business.

So I went for it.

If anyone had told me how hard it would be, how I’d end up eating beans on toast for every meal for a few months I might never have started. But I’m unbelievably pleased that I did!

If I’m being honest, probably the only thing that got me through the early years of my photography business were curiosity (to see if I could do it), my sense of adventure (there are plenty of things I’ve done just because they’re there – more on that coming up), and undying drive for personal growth.

I made mistakes along the way too. My first attempt at business was to make a website and wait for the phone to ring. For a good 18 months. Funnily enough, it didn’t ring that often.

I also spent a while thinking you had to be something special and fancy to survive in the business world. I thought you had to wear a smart suit and tie. I thought you had to hide your true self and only let this carefully curated fake-self out there.

You can already tell where this is going, yes?

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from 80/20 and business is that it’s a whole lot easier when you’re authentic. And whoever you are, you are already good enough. So don’t fake it.

A Note On “Things That Are There”

So about those things I’ve done just because they’re there.

I don’t know why, it just seems like fun at the time, but I’ve climbed Mount Fuji (accidentally acquiring a wonderful wife along the way), been to the highest point of every county in England (all 48 of them, along with most of Wales and Scotland), learned Japanese and Finnish (with languages, the more incomprehensible the better) and have my grade 2 unicycling award. I have an affinity with the “proper” winter that you get by visiting the Baltic and Scandinavia… it’s not cold until it’s below -10°C.

Really, it’s just a sense of freedom and playfulness that gets me into these situations.

Not A Guru

Ooh… don’t get me started on gurus. I think there’s something slightly dishonest about the ‘guru’. And as someone who values honesty and integrity, they do get my goat a little.

You see, the business world is full of peddlars of magic pills and—quite frankly—baloney. And I have bad news for you if you were planning to listen to them… magic pills don’t work.

If we go back to the mountain analogy, then here’s the deal:

If you want a change in your business and your life, then you’re going to have to do the work. You’re going to put one foot in front of the other, and expend the sweat and energy required to get to the top of your own personal mountain.

All I can do is walk alongside you. I can offer encouragement. I can see where the things you’re doing might be improved. I can keep you inspired and positive. I can show you the routes I’ve found that got me to the top of my mountain quicker and with less hassle. But in the end, it’s your mountain, and your success. I’m just this guy who will come along and help out wherever I can.

And I believe anyone who offers anything more is lying (or owns a helicopter company? – I think that’s the generally-accepted cheat’s way to get to the top of mountains )

The “Employed” Years

So, we have a few ’employed’ years in the mix too, and I’m actually very grateful for them. I learned system design. I learned how to get computers—and, excitingly TV Stations and Live Music Systems—to do what we want them to. And business systems are very similar. Just they can be designed with paper and pens, and people in place of all the incomprehensible code that, for example, the Motorola 56000 DSP Chip is expecting to see.

One of the interesting things I find about many coaches (there are very few exceptions) is that they typically do a boring corporate job, and then—not surprisingly—get bored of that boring corporate job and become a coach straight away. They go and get letters after their name and start advising businesses from their narrow, we’ve always done it this waycorporate box.

And that’s what I love about how I work. You see I’ve been there and done it. I don’t have fancy letters after my name (I do, technically have “Rev” in front – that’s definitely a story for another day), but I do have seat-of-the-pants experience. I know what it’s like to wake up at night and have no idea how my mortgage is going to be paid this month. I know what it’s like to push through the comfort zone and experience the exhilaration and downright terror of running a business. I’ve tried stuff, tested stuff, failed, lost the will to live, picked myself up, got back in the game and picked my way (with help, naturally) to where I now find myself.

The Golden Rule

So, we have a set of values that I’ve kind-of always lived by:

Respect, Honesty, Passion, Curiosity, Playfulness, Growth, Freedom, Adventure and Humility

But there’s one Golden Rule that I truly live by. Whenever I’ve failed to honour this rule, bad stuff has happened – it’s taken me away from my best self and I’ve really felt that something was amiss in my world.

So I make sure that I hit this one as close to 100% of the time as I possibly can. And my golden rule is:

Integrity – or in plain English – Do What You Say You’re Going To Do

And don’t get me wrong. When you do what you say you’re going to do it can be lonely.

When you stick to this rule, you suddenly realise that around 95% of the world doesn’t stick to it. But when you do, and you connect with other “5%ers” who also stick to the rule, good things can’t help but happen to you.

Conclusion

I hope this has given you somewhat of an introduction (10 points and a gold star for you if you got this far!). If you’re looking to ‘climb the mountain’, whatever shape that is for youand you think it might be helpful to have me walking alongside, I’d love to have a chat with you.

No obligation. No promises. Let’s connect and see what happens.

If we’re a match, we’ll know it, and we can make some truly awesome stuff happen.

Get in touch.