Tips for budding entrepreneurs

STARTING up your own business can be a daunting prospect and yet many dream of taking the plunge, but how can you make it work and what exactly does it take?

Lizzie Parry

IPSWICH: STARTING up your own business can be a daunting prospect and yet many dream of taking the plunge, but how can you make it work and what exactly does it take?

Self-made gap year guru Tom Griffiths threw himself in at the deep end 23 years ago, with business partner Peter Pedrick to start on the road that would eventually take them to running the most successful gap year advice website in the world.

But their journey was not an easy one, and now Mr Griffiths, who runs GapYear.com from their Ipswich offices, is passing on his advice and sharing his experience with a budding entrepreneur.

Going it alone takes guts, involves giving up a lot but according to Mr Griffiths it can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, defining you as a character and teaching you real life skills.

He said: “It is tough, a very bold step that involves a lot of sacrifices. The bottom line is finding a passion and following that passion.

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“If you have found something you enjoy you never have to work again. It is not my work, it is what I do.”

With the Dragon's Den effect sweeping the nation there has been an explosion in people coming forward bringing their inner entrepreneur to the forefront.

But warns Mr Griffiths, a lot of people fail at achieving their dream because they think it is easy and do not prepare themselves for the hard work it takes to make it.

And that is where he is stepping in.

Mr Griffiths said at GapYear.com they have started a new project helping aspiring young entrepreneurs set up, develop themselves and meet like-minded people. One of those is 23-year-old photographer Hannah Maynard who has just set up Hannah May photography.

Mr Griffiths said: “We are developing a place where budding entrepreneurs can meet online and create a network and talk to others going through the same thing.

“There was a time I was living on a floor in London sleeping on the office floor for eight months, really short of cash at that stage. I realised in one week all I ate was four pot noodles, it was part of the fun.

“It is difficult going through it when no-one around you understands so we are trying to put young entrepreneurs in touch with others to help them get support. And those coming through will hopefully end up as mentors for people in years to come.”

If you too are an aspiring and ambitious self starter with a great idea there is help at hand, for 16 to 19-year-olds visit the National Enterprise Academy at www.thenea.org.uk and for the over-20s visitwww.princes-trust.org.uk.

n. Have you set up your own business and have a tale to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

HANNAH May Photography went live on June 1 this year after the 23-year-old secured backing from the Prince's Trust to get her started.

The aspiring National Geographic photographer, said: “You do have to show them you aren't just going to take the money and go down the pub, you have to submit a full business plan. The help they have given me since has been fantastic, I have a business advisor I can ring anytime, I have fantastic back-up.”

Her fresh and modern style is evident with the first click onto her website, leading on an inspiring trail discovering her art.

She said: “I am doing a lot of wedding photography but another main area I am very excited by is life style portraiture.

“I go out with whoever I am taking pictures of, somewhere they are comfortable capturing their life, whether that is taking the dog to the beach, capturing that something they love doing is the essence of the form.”

To take a look at her work visit www.hannahmayphotography.com.

DO something you are really passionate about and you will feel like you never have to work again.

In the first year concentrate on keeping costs right down, the first year will either make or break you.

Build up your portfolio.

Stay focused and determined and never give up, no matter what.

Believe in yourself and what you do.

To go forward spend around 30 per cent of your time securing new business, 30pc of your time in active business and the other 30pc of your time maintaining the current business and clients you have.

Mr Griffiths said he was once asked “what if?”

He said: “I think the biggest what if is what if you go through life doing a dull mundane job and you end up getting nothing out of your life.

“There is a great expression, you can summit as many mountains as you want to but unless you enjoy the journey, what is the point.”

For more information and details visit www.gapyear.com.

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