About the author:
As a graduate of Anglia Ruskin University, Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 and Big Pitch winner he is someone with a passion for IT and customer service. Christopher Mason is a multi-award-winning student entrepreneur with a passion for technology and supporting other small businesses. He founded Jeccl in 2017 as part of a merger between two of his other businesses, an IT consultancy company and a student based IT support service.
Christopher enjoys maintaining his allotment, walking his dog Zorro and he is Vice Principle of his local trios bowling league.
The story of how I become an entrepreneur:
Becoming an entrepreneur can be a life changing moment. When you get that little boost in confidence, enough to say “yes! I am going to become an entrepreneur.” This moment for me happened while I was studying a MSc in Cyber security at Anglia Ruskin University. I had just asked someone who I had never met before a few questions about running my own company. That night I took the plunge. Here is the story…
For the first 24 years of my life I had no confidence. I went through school, college and university without standing up for myself. I didn’t follow the rest of the flock either, I just did my best to keep my head down and get out safely. This way of life and experience led me to working several dead-end jobs and not living up to my full potential. A turnaround came when I returned to university in 2017 to study a Masters. My first few weeks were dull and boring – the typical lectures stuff. One day, I decided to attend a session on BYOB (Be Your Own Boss). That evening was the turning point. The session was ran by Anglia Ruskin University and was open to all staff, students and members of the public. So, I turned up to a dimly lit room, wrote my name down on a piece of paper and (in typical Chris fashion) took a seat right at the back of the classroom. The session began with an introduction of various hosts. Eventually, we were asked to participate in a networking game, where you get 1 minute to introduce yourself, talk about what you do, etc. Boy was I not prepared for this! I hated talking about myself because I always thought I was never any good at anything. (I suppose that is because of the years spent working for the wrong people, a difficult time with education and a general lack of confidence.) The only reason I summoned the courage to get up was because I overheard somebody mention that they had an allotment(a garden), I had one as well. I got up and we spoke. It turned out to be a very interesting and enjoyable conversation. Congratulations to me, I just had a go at networking and I did not blow it. Impressive!
At the end of this session I decided to ask one of the hosts a few questions about running my own business. It was something I had been thinking of doing for months – since leaving my last job. He gave me bits and pieces of advice and answered all my questions brilliantly. I packed up, thanked him and left. As I was driving back home that night, I couldn’t help but reflect back on what I had just done. I stood up in a room full of strangers, introduced myself and talked about the things going on in my life. Also, I had asked a stranger his opinion on a business I was potentially going to start and got some good advice. All things I dreaded (maybe hated) doing. With the excitement and confidence surrounding me from the BYOB session, I decided that night that I was going to become self employed and run my own firm. That night I took the plunge. My journey after this, has been a blend of happiness, exploration and of course, a few bumps on the road. But honestly, the self-fulfilment I get out of it, I wouldn’t replace with anything else.
Once you have taken the plunge you’ll get a buzz of excitement, hold onto this for as long as you can. It is this exciting feeling that will keep you going during the tough times.
The following day after the BYOB session, the prep work began. I settled on a name for my company, bought a domain and started building a website. I designed business cards, got a phone number, bought a desk phone. In short: I did a lot! Did I rush all of these? Yes, no doubt about it. I can see that in hindsight now but at the time I was buzzing with this newfound confidence and decided to go with it. I will admit that this was a steep learning curve. Never rush into a business decision like I did or you may be set with a brand, company name, phone number or something else that you don’t like for a while. Over the next few months I had various problems with running my business some of which I’ll cover in later blog posts. Problems such as receiving a cease trading request, having the wrong mentor and no confidence to invoice people for my work. Keep an eye out for these incoming articles. It’s going to be exciting and Fun!
So there you have it, a little bit about my story on taking the plunge. Two years down the line my IT company Jeccl Ltd is growing steadily and it is the best thing I have ever done. I am happy to talk to anyone in more detail so connect with me on LinkedIn or drop me an email at email@example.com
Welcome Aboard the StartUp Journey, Can’t wait to meet you all!
Originally posted on Ferzonas Blog https://www.ferzona.blog August 2020