How I went From Working 9–5 to Founding a Startup with Investment from the Founder of a Unicorn in 2018

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This exact day last year I was demoralized in a 9–5 job, desperate to do something more fulfilling with my life and make a difference.

I could complete my work duties in around 3 hours each day leaving me with an abundance of time to focus on identifying problems I wanted to solve. I recorded every idea I developed in a journal and continually returned to them, testing them on people and iterating on the systems by which they would work. I wasn’t precious with my ideas, if it came to me I wrote it in the journal — no matter how awful. From here the seeds of Nexves were sown.

There were 3 things that led me to found a startup and receive angel investment from the founder of a Scottish Unicorn.

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Delusion

I read anything irrespective of whether it was related to something I’m interested in or if it could be helpful today. The cross-pollination of ideas is the most efficient mechanism for discovering untapped possibilities. Understanding how systems work in one area of expertise expands your mind in order to imagine how it could apply to another. Innovation requires a multitude of knowledge across numerous disparate industries. Cross-pollination of expertise is required for the extension and reimagining of what currently exists.

Having read Malcolm Gladwell and becoming familiar with the 10,000-hour rule I adapted it for the modern world.

I developed the 1,000-hour rule with the intention of becoming better than 95% of the world at ten different subjects instead of 99% at one. This helped me avoid the conventional wisdom of specific industries and apply solutions from others to problems I’d identified. Reading was what endowed me with the knowledge necessary to develop the confidence that I would succeed.

I took the concepts I’d read about and wrote how I imagined they would impact the future. I obsessed over an optimistic futurist agenda with a view to uncovering threads of truth. During this time I spoke to some incredibly interesting people.

Founders of some of the most important companies in the world — and abundance of venture capitalists — politicians — and generally interesting people. My writing inspired conversation and learning opportunities. Even when what I wrote wasn’t right, it let me develop my thoughts safely.

Writing is humanities most accessible superpower. It remains a timeless recording of your thoughts at one period of time, which people can find at any point in the future. Recorded thoughts always spark conversation. My key to writing is that it always remains a work in progress — no blog post is ever finished. I return to them over time and develop them by correcting what I was wrong about and adding what I have learned between then and the original writing.

My key to succeeding comes from an unwavering — borderline deluded — conviction I’d be successful.

That led me to do things other people wouldn’t because they thought they’d be ignored or suffer negative consequences.

I won a competition to be CEO at @Skyscanner for a day having entered a competition. I was the only person to email analysis of the business identifying opportunities to the CEO. I offered my help to a number of VC backed startups and developed playbooks for their growth.

There was no reason for these people to engage with me — but they did. My delusion that people as successful as them would listen to me led me to take risks that were rewarded — providing opportunities which I grabbed

12 months on I’m 100X happier I wake up every morning desperate to solve the problem I’ve picked.

Our mission is to make every single person in the world pay the lowest price possible for every bill or expense. We are well on our way to doing that for an unfathomable number of people. This time next year I hope to report back that we have saved our user's hundreds of millions of £/$/

It wasn’t intelligence, skill or unique opportunity that opened the doors I ran through. My story’s 100% replicable by anyone willing to do things that don’t guarantee anything.

2019 can be as lucky for you as 2018 was for me

Written by

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌

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