Today I tell you about my decision making to quit my job as a British police officer to start a business that ultimately failed. What I did to bounce back and Find out if I regret my decision to leave and some of the mistakes new entrepreneurs make. I’ll also share some recent press and about a £1k startup that I am going to prove can be done!
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DISCLAIMER: (Because I have to really…)
I’m only sharing my own personal experiences and thoughts. Do not copy the things I’ve done without seeking professional advice and moan at me if it doesn’t work for you. And not try to sue me or any guests if you decide to try things anyway that doesn’t work out for you too!
Aaron Henriques (00:03):
Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. I’m Aaron Henriques and last night I was, well, I was in bed and I was having to think about something. And I was wondering, you know, if I’d made a mistake in what I did when I quit my job and a bit, you know, self, I was thinking about a bit of self-doubt was coming into my head and I was thinking, well, do you know what your life has changed a lot and not necessarily all positive, like in a positive way. And was I really stupid for quitting my job in the police, you know, had that nice, secure, stable income. Yeah, it wasn’t earning tons of money. You know, it was like 45 grand (£45,000) a year and that’s with some overtime as well. And it was something that I could have probably stayed in, you know, for the next 25, 30 years.
Aaron Henriques (00:58):
And even now I could still step back into my old role that they would the police in London, or I think the police in the whole of the UK you get I think it’s four or five years that you can step back in. And I’m only three years now out since I’ve left, but sort of reflecting on on that. And then I started thinking, do you know what there’s other people out there, perhaps you, you know, people like you who have either done it yourselves where you’ve quit your job, you’ve started a business. Maybe it hasn’t worked out as well as you hoped it had. You know, I actually think for most people, that’s probably, you know, the, the most, the stark reality of it, that for most people, it probably hasn’t worked out how they saw it going, particularly if they haven’t run a business before and then there’s other, you know, others of you that may have, you know, left and have just had an amazing time, you know, where you’ve, you’ve completely excelled and everything that you wanted to achieve and more, and do you know what for you people fantastic.
Aaron Henriques (02:03):
It, it, that’s great. And I’m not saying for me, I haven’t achieved lots because I’ve achieved a ton of stuff. But you know, things didn’t go as I planned. And, you know, I’ll give you a bit of backstory into my role in the police and the sort of the sort of work I did. And, you know, I joined back in 2007 now I only joined the police because basically I went for a selection process, I wanted to become a pilot in the RAF. I know that was the only way that I saw me ever being able to fly because you know, commercial pilot course back then even more now, but back then, you know, it was like 60,000 pounds, 70,000 pounds to go on an integrated course, like a full-time course. And the problem is it’s not like university, you have to come up with the cash.
Aaron Henriques (02:58):
I didn’t come from a family that had cash like that. Even if the number was £6,000 pounds instead of £60,000 pounds you know, my parents wouldn’t have been able to come up with that. So it was never, it wasn’t an option for me back then. And so I saw my only way is by going into the RAF and everything I’d done up until that point, like in the air cadets and all the, all the work I’d done, it was all leading up to that. And I went through the RAF selection process, which has ended up being about 13 months got to the final four days at Cranwell that’s the officer and air crew selection center at Cranwell. And when I first got there, you know, I saw these kids and because they are kids, you know, we’re all very young back then.
Aaron Henriques (03:47):
And what I saw there were a lot of the kids in there. They come from Oxford and they come from Cambridge and they were talking about things. I didn’t understand, like top boy, like top boy to me, obviously, you know, the, the TV program top boy is about, you know, the gangs as London and the street gangs. That’s more what I’m used to not me personally, but that’s more what I’m used to seeing. That’s what I grew up around. But what they’re on about like top boy was about, you know, things that they’ve done in school in the universities where they’d be recognised as being like, you know, these prefects or whatever, I don’t know. And talking about their, their grades and their university degrees and stuff like that. And I felt so out of place. I remember that. I remember that literally on that day one, when I walked in there, I had, you know, I was, I was ready to go.
Aaron Henriques (04:38):
And then as soon as I walked in, I had got massively deflated thinking, I do not belong here. I do not belong because this, if this is the type of people that they’re after, I’m not that, but I went through the four days selection process. And for those of you that know the RAF, I don’t want to bang on about this, but for those of you that know the selection process, basically what they do is every day they get rid of people. And on day four, I was still there. I was one of only three that were still there. So initially we started with 30. I was one of three at the end of the day, four who got through that entire process. All those people I was worried about with their degrees and and you know, being top boy in the schools and stuff.
Aaron Henriques (05:18):
Yeah, great. You know, great for them that they’d done that, but what I hadn’t done, I had, hadn’t gone out and got any sort of life experience or anything like that. And I actually joined as a voluntary police officer initially to get that life experience and all the stuff I did in the air cadets and getting scholarships and stuff like that. I did that those boys hadn’t done, or they’d focused on his education and I’m not putting down anyone’s education at all. Now, the reason why I then didn’t become an RAF pilot wasn’t anything I can do anything about. So there were some cuts that came in. That’s not the reason we’ve just put on hold, but I had to redo a medical. I used to get regular pilot medicals anyway, cause I was a staff member at a gliding squadron.
Aaron Henriques (06:01):
And then they found I had developed an astigmatism. And unfortunately for me, my number was 1.5. They allow 1.25, and that was it. I was chopped. And that was a permanent shop. They didn’t allow laser surgery back then. I don’t know if it’s changed now, but they certainly didn’t back then. I doubt it’s changed. But yeah, and that was it. So then I had to think about what is it I want to do with my life. And I couldn’t think of anything I hadn’t planned for any, there was no plan B that was my one and only plan was that. And I ended up joining the police, but his thing, you know, I wasn’t, I didn’t grow up thinking I want to be a police officer that wasn’t, that wasn’t my dream job at all. And you know, it was, it was a bit of a disappointment.
Aaron Henriques (06:48):
I knew there was nothing I could do about the whole RAF thing. And I wasn’t going to be able to afford to become a commercial pilot. So I thought, okay, let me just join the police. You know, it seems like a decent job is lots of fun is, you know, as responsible job. You know, and it’s an eye opener, you see a lot of stuff, a lot of things that most people have no idea what goes on in the world, you get to see in the place. So yeah. So basically from then, yeah. You know, I joined the police and, you know, I did, you know, all the stuff that you do in the police I went and got my advance driving courses, you know, became a public order officer, you know, did my taser course did a police firearms course and all sorts of other stuff that I did throughout my years there, I was in police for 10 years, but in about 2013 or 2012, they started talking about changing our pensions.
Aaron Henriques (07:39):
And they basically, he told us we were not going to be getting the same deal that we signed up to. You know, bearing in mind, I only signed it a few years before and yeah, so they, they, they said we’re not going to be getting that same deal. And I decided that I was going to take my money out of my pension, which, you know, financial advisor probably would have told me is a stupid idea. But I did it anyway, but why I didn’t want to do is I knew, you know, it was all the money I had, you know, I had obviously the, you know, the earnings from the police and whatever, but as you know, public, you know, public servants, they don’t earn tremendous amounts of money. But then I was probably only about £30,000 and yeah, so I took my money out and I didn’t want to spend it on like a car or something stupid that was just going to spend the money and then just disappear.
Aaron Henriques (08:36):
I want it to be invested in something. And I remember I was walking on the beat once with one of my friends and he, he told me that, you know, his dad had purchased him a franchise business the year before and his first year he made an extra 40 grand (£40,000) from it. And I was like, wow, that’s fantastic. And I went back to him and I was like, I had a chat with him and I was like, Hey, Craig, like, tell me more about this now, you know, now you’re another year on from this, how is it working? And it was working for him. So I thought, okay, fantastic. So I decided that, you know, I went and met them. I went and met the franchisor in Crewe and he showed around his mansion that he lived in. Yeah. And I decided that, yes, actually, this is something that’s good because I could run it while still being in the police.
Aaron Henriques (09:26):
Full-Time I can run it on the side and it’s something where I could get a bit of extra income from, and that was in 2013. So that’s where I decided to invest my money. The first in the first proper business, it’s definitely not my first business venture at all. I had lots of different side things online over the years when I was growing up, I made a fair amount of money. But that was the first like what I saw as like a proper business, you know, a limited company business and, you know, everything was done properly, I’d say. And so what happened then was, you know, over the years I started to get a bit disgruntled in policing and I’d always seen other people sort of get to that stage eventually where they sort of, you know, bitter about being there and, you know, fed up of all the changes that come in.
Aaron Henriques (10:18):
And basically I started feeling like that. But when I, when I was initially the police, I used to think, well, if I ever became like that, I just leave. So I started thinking, well, this is about 2017. Now I was thinking the very start of 2017. I was, I had enough. And I was thinking, well, my business that I started in 2013 was now making more money than I was making from my police salary. And that I could leave and then start a second business. Okay. This was, my idea was to start a second business. So if I leave the police, initially it was going to be for three months just to see if I want it to, you know, for three months on paid leave to see if it was something that I would want to run ahead with. And I did that and I went and got a business startup loan.
Aaron Henriques (11:08):
And at the end of the three months, I had to make a decision. And that decision was either I come back to the policing or I leave. And because I was all excited about this new business I’d started that was called Handlr. Because I was excited about what is this new business I’d started, and I had this loan and had offices and I had staff. I decided, you know what, let me just leave. Okay. So this new business, wasn’t making me any money, by the way. You know, I was relying on my franchise business to make money at that point. And I knew by leaving the police, that I was going to be, you know, losing 45 grand (£45,000) a year, which is what I was on at that time. So I was in a Sergeant role, permanent Sergeant role, and sorry, temporary Sergeant role.
Aaron Henriques (12:05):
And I I just, I knew that by leaving that role, I would be losing about 45 grand (£45,000) a year by doing so, but I was weighing up my options and, you know, I decided, you know, I don’t really want to stay in the police for forever. I want to do something else. So I went ahead and started this Handlr venture and here’s the thing that never went as planned at all and ended up costing me a hell of a lot of money. Partly because of one of my suppliers, most critical supplier for that type of business. I ended up having to go through this whole court process. Where I took them to court because they basically, they didn’t do their job taking my money and had cost me a ton of money that I, you know, that was all borrowed, you know, borrowed money plus some money that I put in.
Aaron Henriques (12:59):
But my total losses from that ended up being about 40 grand (£40,000) from that on top of, you know, the fact that I hadn’t earned the 45 grand (£45,000) in the first year. So my total loss really from that, if you look at it in that way, which I hadn’t done before, until it literally just popped in my head just now is like, you know, it’s like an 85 grand loss in a year that I had within a year of leaving the police. And that’s something that, you know, really hit me heart more to my confidence and sort of decision-making abilities and stuff like that. It really made me think twice about ever, ever doing anything in business again. Yeah. And so why I ended up deciding to do as some of you know, is I ended up selling my house.
Aaron Henriques (13:54):
So I sold my house so I could pull money out of my house, clear any debts that I’ve got. And my intention was to go on a commercial pilot course, which I did. But obviously just like everyone else listening to this podcast, I can anticipate COVID COVID was a problem, a big problem. It made me lose a significant amount of money in my existing business that had been making money and been paying my bills up until that point. But luckily it’s just by luck alone that because I had sold the house, I still had, you know, this big pot of money there that was in the, allowed me to be able to sustain those losses for a significant period of time. And then also reinvest in marketing, in to my cleaning company that I had I still have and bring it back up to where it was.
Aaron Henriques (14:55):
And that’s something that is actually in local press for, in Hackney recently for the sort of work I did around saving that business. But yeah, so, I mean, I wanted to talk about it because it’s something where lots of people get, you know, great business idea and they can get really carried away and you get two types of people when you get those people who are like, get super carried away and they just run with it and not really think about it and not really understand what they’re doing, particularly if they haven’t been in business before, you know, I had already run a business, I’d run a business that was profitable and I’ve, I felt like, well, I knew it all, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Aaron Henriques (15:40):
And I learned a hell of a lot in that, in that year, in that Handlr a year, it was the most expensive year of my life. But the amount of knowledge and insight I gained not only into the business world, into how unscrupulous people can be into law, into dealing with lawyers and courts and all sorts of stuff, you know, it dealing with, you know, public sector organisations, you know and fulfilling services to them, being able to, you know, presenting skills, all sorts of stuff that I learned in that year, managing staff, that’s probably the hardest thing in the world as well, finding good, good staff, great staff and there was just honestly a tremendous amount of stuff that I learned in that year. And there’s so many mistakes when I look on it now, you know, this is over a year now at the time of this recording, you know, it’s more than a year.
Aaron Henriques (16:37):
It’s a year and two months since I sold my house, but it’s about a year and a half since I, I had to take that decision to shut down that business. I’ve worked so hard on like so hard, you know, I’ve never done so many hours of work and spent so much money on one thing to let go. But I had today that decision, I knew it because if I didn’t, you know, that would have, that would have crippled me financially if I hadn’t done it. You know, that was the hardest decision of my life to date, I think honestly but it had to be done. Now. It really comes in to you now because, you know, when I, when I think back, my, my earnings were cut in half when I left my job and I jumped in it with this idea that what I’ve already run a business, which has got lots of staff and I was used to doing it and I was used to doing it.
Aaron Henriques (17:37):
So I thought, well, I just applied the same skills to this new, different type of business, which has nothing to do with the cleaning industry as you know, tech, tech based stuff. And I didn’t that, that area well enough to, you know, just to jump in like I did. And here’s, here’s something that lots of entrepreneurs do well or want to be entrepreneurs do where they will, it’s bizarre. It’s like, you know, if you want to become a doctor, you know, you want to become a surgeon, you’d expect that your surgeon had actually gone to medical school and got some training from, you know, people who actually know what they’re doing and some sort of expertise. But for some reason, when people start businesses, they just feel like, well, I’m just going to go on and start a business and just wing it. And I’m like, what are you doing?
Aaron Henriques (18:31):
Now I’m like that. But I’ve been there, you know, I’ve been there and I’ve had to learn things the hard way. And, you know, I’ve helped so many people, like so many, my friends and also clients of mine who I’ve helped with sort of being able to identify stuff that they can’t even see being a problem at the moment until they, until it becomes a problem. And then by then, it’s too late. But for you, I mean, is there an idea that you have, but maybe you’re too scared to quit your job? I mean, if it’s a completely fresh idea, you know, I quit my job. Knowing that I had an existing business that was going to pay me, but for people who do it and you’re thinking about, well, I’m going to start up a completely fresh business and also quit my job. You’re cutting your salary a hundred percent at that point.
Aaron Henriques (19:21):
You know, is that something that you you’ve been thinking about doing are you scared, quit your job? Like, what is it that’s holding you back? What excuses do you have running through your mind as to why you’re not running ahead and just getting on with your business idea. Now I understand that, you know, most of the stuff I’ve just said, it sounds a bit like doom and gloom, but I’ll be honest with you. I do not regret at all my decision to leave. Okay. I’ve had some hard times, but emotionally challenging times, financially, challenging times. I don’t like talking about stuff like that. I feel like it’s too personal, but it stuff, you know, me sharing that sort of thing with you can actually help you further down the line, help people who haven’t been in those positions yet to actually, you know, identify this stuff before, before it happens to them or reconsider their options.
Aaron Henriques (20:26):
But I’m not, I’m not here saying don’t start your business. If I’m the complete opposite. I think if you’ve got, if you’ve got a great idea and you’ve got the motivation and you know, you’re that person who’s sat there willing through, literally quit your job to go and do it then. Fantastic. But all I’m saying to you guys and girls out there who, who are thinking about doing these things is go and educate yourself a bit and stuff, get, get a coach, get a business coach in place, get, you know, if you can’t afford a business coach because they can, they can cost a lot money. It can cost five grand, 10 grand, twenty-five grand hundred grand. It depends who you’re going to. Okay. But do you know what else is out there? Which I found invaluable. I mean, for me there’s, I mean books, but I don’t, I read books super slow if you’ve listened to any of my episodes before.
Aaron Henriques (21:12):
And I’ve mentioned that books, I read super, super slow, like, I’d get, I’d take me a year or more to read a book. Whereas I go through audio books probably once a week or more audio books are fantastic. They’ve been a game changer for me, absolute game changer. I’ve been learning so much stuff from audio books about, you know, in sales and marketing and, you know, goal setting and just general life and mindset stuff. Like I’m not one of these hippie people that gets caught up in no offense to him. But, you know, I, I kind of see like, you know, the likes of work that sort of Tony Robbins is doing is a bit, a bit like close to like how the secret is, you know, that, that ridiculous system that I think is ridiculous anyway. If you’re someone who really likes a secret but you still haven’t got anywhere 20 years later.
Aaron Henriques (22:11):
Like some people I know, like some of my mum’s friends then perhaps, you know, it’s time to start doing something a bit different and actually do things that actually will help you start your business and to make it a success. Now there’s tons of resources out there. There’s unlimited, you know, there’s so many online courses and stuff that are out there to help you in every area that you go into the, that, that you want to go into. But I would say the number one thing, the number one takeaway for you, people who are thinking about quitting your job and potentially, you know, cutting half of your salary or a hundred percent of your salary. Okay. don’t work on the basis that your new company is going to be profitable from day one, because if your numbers are saying that you’re probably wrong, you are probably wrong.
Aaron Henriques (22:54):
9 times out of 10, you’re going to be wrong in that. Okay. And you’re probably not going to be that lucky 10%, but just, just, I’ll just be honest with you. You’re probably not going to be that lucky, but if you stick at it, you can get there. Okay. That’s something that I do. You know, right now I’m working on a, on a, on something, in an area that I’ve actually sort of more comfortable with, which is the cleaning industry. So a commercial cleaning company that I’m launching in London, very soon, and you know what I’ve decided to do with that? I’m giving it a 1000 pound (£1,000). I’m proving it. I’m proving a concept here. Okay. Because people will go out there thinking they need 50 grand (£50,000) to start a business. You don’t, you, you just don’t right. Let me tell you that now most of you do not need, you know, more than a couple of grand to start your business from scratch.
Aaron Henriques (23:46):
Okay. And that’s, if you need to use people to do stuff like that, you might not know how to do, like building your websites and stuff like that. Those are the stuff I do myself. I do my own marketing. I do my own websites. I do my own search engine optimisation. I’ve got my own company in that, in fact, cause we you know, I think, well, if I’m going to do it for myself, might as well do it for other people and also make some money from that. Which is what I do. But there’s, you know, with, with this stuff, you do not need to be spending a fortune just to launch your business. And in fact, you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to do I’m going to do an episode to do with the top mistakes that I know that entrepreneurs make like really common ones that brand new entrepreneurs will make.
Aaron Henriques (24:28):
And to give you a bit of foresight and a bit of, you know, something to think about if you’re starting your business now, and you’re thinking about doing those things, then maybe you should just stop doing them and get on with the actual work that you need to be doing. I’m speaking to my friend at the moment in Australia, he’s going through this process now. And you know, we have every time we’re having a conversation with him, he’s making these same mistakes I’m going to talk about. So I’m definitely gonna do an episode on that. But you need to have a think about what, what is it that’s holding you back? Is it realistic? What your, what your thinking of doing, have you gone out there then your market research or are you just like literally trying to wing it? You know, I’m going to be, I’m going to do this launch on a thousand pounds (£1,000).
Aaron Henriques (25:09):
Literally I deposited a thousand pounds from one from one of my personal accounts into this, this brand new business account. And I’m going to prove concept on, on a thousand pounds, I can start up a profitable commercial cleaning company. Some of it is because yeah, I already know how I already know how, how to market in that area. But it it’s just a show. It can be done. Okay. And I’m probably going to share that journey along in time. I don’t, I honestly don’t think I’m going to have to invest any more money into it. I’m going to say no, no more money at all. If I do it, it’s going to be small amounts. But for the startup, that’s it thousand pounds I’ve put in. I’ve got you know, I have got backup if I need it, but I don’t think I need it.
Aaron Henriques (25:56):
So yeah, if you’ve got ideas if you’ve been thinking about your starting your business and you’ve got an idea that you want to share or anything that you want to, you know, discuss, maybe you’ve, I dunno, you’ve been considering some of your options and you want to just run it past someone, just, you know, follow me on Instagram. That’s where I hang out. It’s @AaronHenray, follow me on Instagram and just pop me a message. You know, I’m quite happy to share, you know, share, you know, spend a couple of minutes on someone and, you know, hopefully it will set you off in the right direction. Cause it can be hard if you’re doing it on your own. It can be really hard to know what, where to go and what to do.
Aaron Henriques (26:39):
And it’s really easy to get sucked into these these I don’t know what you’d call them gurus or I don’t know, cult leaders maybe there’s you know, there’s these people out there with these huge followings, they’re like, I don’t know that they’re like superstars and they get these people into buying these programs and stuff like that. They just don’t help them. And if you, if you’re listening, you know, if you’re getting, you know, advice from someone claiming to be a business coach, but they don’t have any business other than the fact that they have self-proclaimed themselves as a business coach then I’d be worried personally, I’d be worried about it. You need to be learning from people. Who’ve done a variety of things. You know, you need to be getting advice from people who’ve done more than just one thing.
Aaron Henriques (27:34):
So they’ve got a range of experiences to call upon that they can apply to your situation and give you the best possible advice on that. Rather than someone who’s just woken up today saying, Oh, now I’m a business coach. Okay, fantastic. Like I’m an astronaut, you know, it’s the equivalent of me waking up tomorrow and say, I’m now an astronaut. I’m going to get on the next space station that, that next space shuttle, that Elon Musk is launching. And yeah, that’s it. I’m going to run things on the international space station. That’s, that’s what I like. And there’s tons of them out there and they’re easy to get sucked into. So be very careful with what you’re dealing with, where are you going to put your money. You don’t need to be spending thousands of pounds. If you’re looking at anything, spending thousands of pounds to do your startup, then you got a problem.
Aaron Henriques (28:23):
Okay. So I’m going to get this episode out there, the next one out, as soon as I can, for some of the top mistakes that I know that entrepreneurs are going to make, that you’re probably going to make all you’re probably making at the moment. So you can stop it now and just get on with the core things actually will help you to start your business. Thanks for listening today. I’m sorry. I went rambled on a bit and I spoke a bit about my life and you know, the policing aspect and you know, the, the sort of failure with that venture that I started off, you know, I left the police to start with it cost me it made me feel ill. What’s wrong with you, people? Yeah, 85 grand (£85,000) is I’ve I’ve experienced today, you know, as my year salary plus the losses I’d made that 40 grand and yeah.
Aaron Henriques (29:13):
Until next time we can catch up, but like I say if you want to hear more subscribe to this podcast, please do me a favor. If you, you know, if you find any of these episodes useful, then leave five stars. Okay. If you just spend that five seconds or 10 seconds now and write in there, write a comment about what the best part of it was that you took away so that I can understand what what’s helping you. What, what sort of things do you want to know about what, what do you want to know more about? And of course, if you want to get hold of me, you can always say to me, Hey Aaron, can you do me a podcast episode on this topic? You know, send me a message on Instagram. It’s @AaronHenray. And share it with your friends, share this podcast with your friends, take a screenshot of it and share it with your friends and your family and your people. You’re connected. We’ve tagged me in the post and I’ll repost it as well. Okay. @AaronHenray on Instagram, it’s @AaronHenray. And hopefully I’ll hear from you soon. Take care.
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