Podcast Episode Transcript
Aaron Henriques: [00:00:00] Welcome to digital entrepreneur highs, lows and fuck ups podcast. I'm Aaron Henriques a British entrepreneur and I'll be bringing you the raw realities of being an entrepreneur and what it takes to stay in business without all the hype I may get to get started. So let's jump right into today's episode.
[00:00:27] Hey everyone. It's Aaron here. So. I've had a few people who've messaged me over the last week or two asking me when is episode free coming. So I apologize for that. Been working really hard in some other areas of the business that has to take priority. I'm afraid. We've been working on. Changing over our, our mail campaign from MailChimp over to active campaign, which is fantastic.
[00:00:50]We've been working on a number of clients as well. Particularly some big clients that we started working with through our live chat side of the business. So. Today is episode free. What we're gonna be talking about today is really, if you have, have to quit your job for you to be able to start your business.
[00:01:07] So is it something where you can pivot and completely change, or can you run your business as a side hustle alongside your normal day-to-day job? Now, the reason why I'm bringing that up is because I've done. Both. So I had a side hustle. My first business was what people would call a side hustle. I had a full-time job in the police and I had a cleaning business on the side.
[00:01:34] Now it got to a point where I'd over 40. Staff that was working within there. And it, as you all know, you know, I started thinking of other ideas. I want it to start handler. I wanted to start the live chat software company and the managed chat service as well. And it's something that I eventually realized I had to take.
[00:01:54] The next step of pivoting away from that safety net that I was always used to in the police of having that secure income, you know, I always had something to fall back on. Should, you know, if there were hard times and believe me with my side hustle, there were, there were many, many months where I, where my policing.
[00:02:15] Pay effectively propped up the business to keep it alive. And so for people pivoting or thinking about pivoting, it can be a really daunting and potentially really risky thing for them to do. So I'm going to start out really talking about you know, the types. Of business, you know, it is, it, it, it, it really depends on what type of business that you want it as to, you know, why you would either run a side hustle or pivot completely.
[00:02:48] So. You know, are you after a lifestyle business, do you just want a bit of extra income, you know, to supplement your salary? Are you aiming to be the next, you know, mark Zuckerberg? You know, it's all it that they're all very valid sorts of, you know, aspirations for people. And I have come across business people before who've sort of.
[00:03:10] Been of the mind that it's not, you know, the people that aren't taking the full leap into just going into their own business and starting up are not real entrepreneurs or they're not real business people. And I actually don't agree with that because people can grow their businesses. Quite effectively wa as a side hustle, whilst working a full-time role, I sent my first business up to a point where pretty much didn't have to do anything with it.
[00:03:42] And even now I, I don't do anything with it. It's, you know, I've got people that. Do all the management and everything for me. So it's not something that I need to worry about. However, if you are after you know, if you're looking to be the next Zuckerberg and you're looking for that big, big business, then perhaps, you know, Pivoting is going to be something that you're going to have to have a look at and have to consider.
[00:04:10] So D what, what really push me away from the side hustle that I had was I think it was initiated really from the changes to the police or politically like the police pension. W w I, I remember many, many years ago, I'm going back a few years now, so. Probably eight years ago, nine years ago, something like that.
[00:04:33] I remember I was walking around Soho in plain cloves. I'm an undercover for people that don't understand what that means, but it's yeah, it's not really. And I was talking, I was walking around with a colleague and he was telling me about. This side business that his dad had paid, that his dad had bought him.
[00:04:50] And in his first year he made, you know, over 40 grand alongside his day job. And I thought, wow, that's fantastic. And it took me a number of years to then actually go and invest in that franchise model. That same franchise model had the era that I grew up here. And then I, you know, I thought that'd be great.
[00:05:07] And when the police pension changes came in and. You know, I'm not going to go into detail about that, but effectively I decided to take my money out because I have no faith that the government are going to keep their promises and pay out those pensions at the end of the term. However, that was the.
[00:05:28] In a way I've got them to think. Because without those changes, perhaps I would never would have taken my money out and I never would have invested in the franchise business. That was my first business. That was the side hustle. And without doing that, I definitely wouldn't be running, you know, I wouldn't, I wouldn't have left the police and I wouldn't be, I wouldn't have pivoted and I wouldn't be running you know, my, my live chat company now.
[00:05:53] So with the side hustle, It was, you know, it was really developed in a way that I could run it remotely. That was really important for me. So if you are going to have a side hustle business, you need to be able to make sure that your business can function when you're not there. When you're at work, you can't be answering, you know, you can't be answering emails for your, your side business.
[00:06:20] You can't be answering your telephone for your side business. And there are, you know, I, I was trying to do lots of different things myself. When I first started, when I first started the franchise and you know, I was missing emails, I was missing calls. I used various call providers and virtual assistants.
[00:06:38] And. They're all really expensive. They're really, really expensive. And you have to be careful of your margins because if you're not looking at what your real costs are versus what you're actually charging your customers, or you could find out that you're running something that actually is just costing you money.
[00:07:01] And it's not really having any benefit for you other than you thinking. Yeah, I've got customers and I'm, you know, I'm great. And I'm this entrepreneur and I've got, you know, I'm managing to run it on the side. Well, actually, you know, you need to look at your numbers carefully and that's something that I failed to do for my first year or two.
[00:07:22] I wasn't really, I didn't have a grip of my numbers and it actually took me nearly four years of having that. Business before I took a penny from it. And it was only when I took some advice to actually put my prices up, which was the exact opposite of what I was doing before, by keep trying to put them down and trying to undercut my competition, that the business actually started to make money.
[00:07:51] So two very strange things happen there. One had more people had more customers coming on board. At the higher cost and two, I was also making more money per customer at the same time. And that goes against the feeling and the actions of most entrepreneurs out there. So this wasn't an overnight thing, and I'm not going to say that everyone's going to take four years because I have no idea.
[00:08:22] You know, some people literally start making money, you know, pretty much in the first few months for my business, it didn't, it took me nearly four years before I was taking any money. And I had put in, I don't know, 25, 30 grand or something that I lent to the company as a director's loan. But I had to persevere and it was only through that perseverance that I managed to actually grow the company to make it into something that's profitable.
[00:08:54] And the company doesn't own me any money anymore. It has been paid. It's been fully paid back by the profits from the company, but. You've got to realize that running a side hustle, it takes a lot of work. This isn't just something that you could, you know, where you can throw up a website and then suddenly all these people are going to come and they're going to pay you.
[00:09:14] And they're always going to call you when you're not at work. And they're always going to email you when you're not at work. Because those things don't happen. So when I was using sort of like code answering service and virtual assistance, I won't name them. Because I don't want to get sued, but I effectively, I had a lot of problems with them.
[00:09:33]Most of the problems were things like they would say, oh yeah, we'll get, we'll get them to call you back in half an hour or we'll get him to call you back. You know, just before the end of the day. Now that's great. And all saying that to a customer, but the problem was is that I could be halfway through.
[00:09:52] A late shift, which starts at, you know, one, two o'clock and then we'd finish 11 o'clock at night. Midnight could be two in the morning, you know, people aren't going to appreciate me contacting them back then. And what we do find is the next day, when you do contact them, they're pretty pissed off because they've been told you were going to call them yesterday, or you were going to get back to them yesterday and you didn't, and that's on the sales side.
[00:10:17] So if people aren't. You know, if, if you're not delivering a great experience through the sales side of your business. People are very, very unlikely to trust that you're going to be able to provide great customer support once they parted with their money with you. So there's, there's something that you really, really need to be careful of.
[00:10:40] Now the business, like I said, I got it to a point where lots of Yeah. So through lots of trial and error, lots of, lots of areas. I'd say many, many areas. It's only because I'm so stubborn that I kept going for that long before I managed to take any money out, but it manages itself and it allowed me to do other things like.
[00:11:02] When I started my next business. Okay. So I started handler the live chat company, and I could only start that because I'd already have, or I already had a business which was bringing in a profit that could allow me to. If I left the police, which I ended up doing, but if I left the police, it could still pay me the money that I needed to pay my mortgage, pay all my main bills.
[00:11:28] And importantly, it was through selling a third of the franchise business that I had, that I invested that money into the new business. I also invested some other money that I had saved into the new business. And it was those things that allowed me to. Go ahead and do that. But before I went ahead and just jumped into starting a new business, you know, I did a lot of planning around it in my spare time.
[00:11:55] And, and I have to be honest when I be, because I'd found it so easy. In a way eventually not at the start when I, it, because I found it so easy to run the franchise business whilst I was still at work. And, you know, I've got the right people in the right places to actually run the business. So it doesn't actually need me.
[00:12:15]I set off when I first started planning handler. That was my plan. My plan was actually to run it as a side business. I had this crazy idea that I'd be able to replicate the same sort of way of running it as I did in the previous business. And you know, I, what I did is I went off and I went part-time in the police.
[00:12:39] So I applied to become part time. I was approved for part time. Then I did a lot of the planning, et cetera, for handler in my spare time. And it was, it was something that I spent a lot of time on planning and eventually I took three months unpaid leave from the police. Those free mums. I don't know what I was thinking, but that those free mums where my free mumps that I plan to start the business, honestly, I don't know who I thought I was.
[00:13:08] I've had to start the business and have it going and running so that it would be running effectively. And I can go back to the police part-time and work on handler part-time and I'd have the staff dead. It would just be able to do the work for me then. It was whilst I was in that free month.
[00:13:25]Period, it became very evident. I was moving into a new space, a new sort of different type of business that I hadn't been in before. It's very, very different to running a cleaning franchise. It's, it's so different despite the fact, a lot of the technology that we use for the cleaning side of things.
[00:13:41] It's it's service-based business and yes, we have a lot of online. Staff, but running the live chat business and you know, it didn't just start off as a live chat business. It also started off with a call answering business because I was so fed up with the call answering providers that I had before, but it just evolved into a live chat business.
[00:14:02] I then realized that I would never, ever be able to run handler as in, in the same sorts of way. As I would the first business. And so I was left with a bit of a problem because I had every intention of going back to the police and running it as a side business. Okay. It became a massive problem. And the reason why it became a massive problem is because when I was starting up the business, when I was creating handler, I not only invested a lot of money and time into the business, I, I was faced with either.
[00:14:46] You, you, you shelve this idea now. Or you leave the place, something that you'd dedicated a lot of your time to over the last decade. And it was something that, you know, I was going to be losing that security and then things were running through my mind of, you know, things like, well, I, I hadn't forgotten, you know, how difficult it was running the first business.
[00:15:13] And I hadn't forgotten the amount of times. The I had, you know, I've had to put in five, six, 700 pounds or even more at times from my police pay into the business. You know, like I said, it at the end, you know, before it started turning a profit, the business owed me like 25 to 30,000 pounds. And, you know, it was great at the end when I was able to take that out because all of that could be taken tax-free and we've interest.
[00:15:46] And in this level of interest that you'd never get at the bank as well. So the, it, it, it really was a massive problem and it was something that I had to think long and hard about. Okay. And if you'd listened to episode number two, you know, it wasn't something that I really felt like I had anyone that I could speak to on that.
[00:16:06] And that was because I'd already, you know, I'd already realized that asking friends and family. All I'm going to get is it's too risky. It's too risky. And I had a personal battle within myself of, you know, trying to decide on whether I cut my losses, get rid of the new business idea. Go back to the police and just continue with my lifestyle business.
[00:16:35] I guess, you know, the business, it was bringing me extra income on the side and I could, it allowed me to still do the work that I really liked in the police. And. The fact you're listening to this now, you know, it, I, I ended up deciding, do you know what I'm going to go with this? It's going to be hard.
[00:16:53] I could see the road ahead was going to be very, very tough half. And I was yeah. Having to learn a whole new world, a whole new world of business. And it's been a massive roller coaster over the last 18 months. So-so I can't remember when I left. Yeah. I officially left in November. But I, my last shift actually at the police was in, I think it was July, 2017.
[00:17:20] So it's been, it's been a, quite a while now. And it, like I said, it hasn't been smooth, but if you are looking at creating a business yeah. Really think about this because I don't have, you know, kids or anything like that, that I need to be thinking of. You know, the only thing that I have to think of is my stupid cat.
[00:17:42] The, you know, is it something with, you know, is your business idea something that can be run as a side hustle? Is it something that is going to force you to pivot from your job? Is it something that, you know, you, maybe you are looking for an escape from your job and you are just thinking, yeah, I'm going to just leave and then it's going to be this overnight success, you know, you're probably not.
[00:18:07] So you're going to have to have a very good idea of where you're going to be able to pay, to keep your business alive, where that money is going to come from when you. Fall onto hard times because you will do, I have not met an entrepreneur yet. Even the very successful ones. I've not met an entrepreneur yet who hasn't fallen on hard times, starting up their business.
[00:18:36] And one of the hardest things that I found was where I had started the business on my own. Okay. So this is actually next week's topic. And we were talking about well, when I say next week, the next topic. I'm going to be talking about, you know, you really need to think twice from why you need to think twice starting a business, if you don't have a business partner.
[00:18:59] Okay. So if you liked today's episode, please head over to iTunes and leave a five-star review, or you can email me, to give me some feedback, or if you'd like to get involved in one of the future episodes. If you haven't subscribed already, please hit. Subscribe now and invite your friends, family, and anyone you think would benefit to listen to the next episode.
[00:19:21] If you want to hear anything from me at all, visit my website, AaronHenriques.com to get more news info and the latest digital business updates. All right. Have a great day. Bye.