Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

Esquire Self-Made A re­cap of our one­day sum­mit with prom­i­nent guest en­trepreneurs on how to suc­cess­fully fund and launch your

win­ning start-up

Let’s be HON­EST, all of us have had at least one ‘GE­NIUS’ BUSI­NESS IDEA, mulled over how to DITCH AN OF­FICE JOB for some­thing MORE FUN, or just con­sid­ered work­ing for your­self in­stead of The Man. How many of us have AC­TU­ALLY DONE ANY­THING about it is an­other mat­ter. The good news is there’s prob­a­bly never been a better time to make it hap­pen. Which is why Esquire brought to­gether the en­trepreneurial tal­ent be­hind our FAVOURITE BRANDS and START-UPS for a ONE-DAY SUM­MIT on how to get the next phase of your ca­reer, busi­ness or project up and run­ning. Here are some high­lights:

1. Ask, ‘Why not?’

Noel Clarke, the ac­tor, writer and pro­ducer be­hind Kidult­hood and re­cent Sky One se­ries Bul­let­proof


“Grow­ing up, there wasn’t much op­por­tu­nity in my area. Lots of my friends had been to jail. While I was home, I would just watch tele­vi­sion and films. But I didn’t see any­thing that re­lated to me. So as I got older, I started watch­ing Amer­i­can indies, stuff like

Boyz n the Hood and Larry Clark’s Kids. That in­formed my mind. I wanted to make films that re­lated to an au­di­ence, that peo­ple wanted to watch be­cause they could see them­selves within them.

“But, weirdly, be­cause I didn’t see any­body go­ing, ‘Oh, this is too dif­fi­cult’, I was like, ‘Why not?’ And that has been my men­tal­ity all the time. It’s in­ter­est­ing: the fact that there wasn’t a lot of peo­ple do­ing it didn’t put me off. I wasn’t sup­posed to suc­ceed from that area. Ev­ery time I’ve come up against cast­ing di­rec­tors say­ing no, I thought, ‘Give me an ob­sta­cle, and I’ll go around it. Or through it.’

“I’ve been to big au­di­tions for life-chang­ing roles and just crum­bled in the room. You sit there, some guy comes in that you’ve watched in 50 movies and you’re like, ‘Fuck! How am I go­ing to get the job when he’s here?’ And you crum­ble. But even with those risks, I still went into the room, I never walked out. Be­cause you know what? Who knows. That day I crum­bled, but on other oc­ca­sions I looked at that per­son who’s done 50 films and thought, ‘I’m gonna take your job.’”

‘I wasn’t sup­posed to suc­ceed from my area. Ev­ery time I’ve come up against cast­ing di­rec­tors say­ing no, I thought, “Give me an ob­sta­cle, and I’ll go around it. Or through it”’

2. Keep it sim­ple

Huw Gott, co-founder of the Hawksmoor restau­rant group


“Some things we did, in ret­ro­spect, were over­com­pli­cated. We had a gas­tropub where we wanted to change the menu all the time. We un­der­es­ti­mated how hard that is, how good a chef you need to be to pull that off. One of the lessons we learned was just to sim­plify as much as pos­si­ble. So we thought, ‘It doesn’t get much more straight­for­ward than steak and chips. Let’s just find the best beef we pos­si­bly can.’”

3. Find your pas­sion

Jonathan Levine, founder of New York City-based pre­mium au­dio brand Master & Dy­namic


“I’ve al­ways found that pas­sion is fun­gi­ble. Some­times it takes longer to find it, but I truly be­lieve that it is fun­gi­ble, so what you may do today in music, you may do to­mor­row in de­sign, restau­rants or phi­lan­thropy. And when I look back, I have al­ways had that. I was pas­sion­ate, fo­cused, dis­ci­plined. That’s what en­abled me to suc­ceed with­out any back­ground or ex­pe­ri­ence. Many peo­ple find their pas­sion very early. Mine eluded me for a while. I wouldn’t change my story and my path, but I en­cour­age peo­ple to fig­ure out how they can tap into their true pas­sion. Be­cause as soon as you can tap into it, the longer you have a ca­reer do­ing it. There are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove and grow. I would en­cour­age ev­ery­one to start ex­plor­ing their pas­sion on their own.”

4. Be­come an ex­pert in your cho­sen field Anish Bhatt, founder of In­sta­gram watch busi­ness Watch Anish


“I re­ally turned my pas­sion into a busi­ness through sheer knowl­edge. Find some­thing you can talk about that hasn’t been spo­ken about in a cer­tain way be­fore, and try to main­tain an au­then­tic voice.”

5. Be au­then­tic and col­lab­o­rate Isaac Carew, chef and model


“You can’t just see some­thing and go, ‘Ah, I can make money out of this.’ You need to have a love for some­thing that you want oth­ers to love also. I’ll change my con­tent de­pend­ing on con­ver­sa­tions I had with my fol­low­ers the day be­fore.”

6. Fo­cus on one plat­form

Emily Mur­ray, The Pink House in­te­ri­ors -

“Stop stress­ing about do­ing Twit­ter and YouTube and every­thing else. I found my­self say­ing ‘I should be’ but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Find the one that in­ter­ests you and do it re­ally well.”

Our In­sta­gram panel, hosted by In­sta­gram’s brand de­vel­op­ment lead Gord Ray, looked at how to build and mar­ket a busi­ness on the plat­form.

7. Know your weak­nesses

An­drew Jen­nings, co-founder of watch­mak­ers Lars­son & Jen­nings


“You’ve got to be very crit­i­cal of your ideas. You’ve got to stop at some point with some of them. Know your weak­nesses and re­spect your weak­nesses, and sur­round your­self with peo­ple who can help you on your jour­ney.”

8. Get your hands dirty

Michael G Ja­co­bides, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Strat­egy and En­trepreneur­ship at Lon­don Busi­ness School


“You will never suc­ceed if your dream is to be CEO of your own busi­ness. The idea of be­ing sep­a­rate and del­e­gat­ing is much fur­ther down the line. You need to eat, breathe and un­der­stand ev­ery part of your busi­ness.”

9. Back your­self

Adam Brown, founder of Or­lebar Brown


“My friends laughed at my idea for a tai­lored swim short so I fought back. I was rack­ing up money on credit cards. I did a three-day star­ty­our-own-busi­ness course and a one-day draw­ing course. I made 1,000 pairs, put them in a stor­age unit and started sell­ing.”

10. Un­der­stand what makes you dif­fer­ent Cas­san­dra Stavrou, co-founder of snack brand Prop­er­corn


“The prod­uct is only 10 per cent of suc­cess. And it’s a good thing if there are sim­i­lar prod­ucts in the mar­ket, be­cause that cre­ates con­sumer de­mand. It’s all about ex­e­cu­tion. You just have to start. And it all starts small.”

11. Go the ex­tra mile

Martin Morales, founder of Ce­viche


“If you go into a restau­rant and the book­ing was ‘nice’, the ser­vice ‘OK’ and the food ‘fine’, you’ll never re­mem­ber that place. But what if the per­son on the phone was lovely, the host bril­liant and the food ex­quis­ite?”

12. Keep an eye out for in­dus­tries to dis­rupt Al­bert Hill, co-founder of The Mod­ern House es­tate agency


“If I was start­ing now, I would specif­i­cally look for an area where the stan­dards were low and there­fore dis­rup­tion and in­no­va­tion are a lot eas­ier to come by.”

13. Don’t pay at­ten­tion to es­tab­lished rules Sam Con­niff Al­lende, author of

Be More Pi­rate


“The first thing you need to em­brace is a sim­ple, ac­tive re­bel­lion. Most of us are very con­di­tioned to fol­low the rules. But given the volatil­ity we deal with, the abil­ity to defy con­ven­tions be­comes in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. We know from his­tory that one day’s rebels be­come the next day’s le­gends. Break the rules, but re­write them as well. Iden­tify a con­ven­tion that’s pointless. And come up with a sug­ges­tion to re­place it with.”

14. Your idea must ex­cite you

Oliver Bridge, founder of sub­scrip­tion shav­ing busi­ness Cor­ner­stone


“There’s no point start­ing a busi­ness un­less you have that ex­cite­ment. You’ll never be able to con­vince any­one else to come on board if you don’t 100 per cent be­lieve in your­self. And you won’t 100 per cent be­lieve un­less you’re gen­uinely ex­cited. It’s just re­ally un­pleas­ant and hor­ri­ble when you wake up. Crack­ing a better way for peo­ple to shave felt like a life-changer. So that’s how I got ex­cited from the be­gin­ning.”

15. Think big, think dif­fer­ent

Fa­bien Rig­gall, founder of Se­cret Cin­ema


“If you look at pub­lish­ing, music, film, every­thing is chang­ing. There’s a real op­por­tu­nity to re-imag­ine how things are. There are all these gaps emerg­ing and it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing. Some­times you’ll get a lit­tle idea in your head and think, ‘but some­one’s prob­a­bly al­ready done it’. Well, they haven’t. Al­ways go for your ideas and even if you fail just keep go­ing for it.”

16. Ac­cept you will make big mis­takes

Ja­mal Ed­wards MBE, founder of YouTube music chan­nel SB.TV -

“If I didn’t get an in­ter­view for the chan­nel, or I couldn’t af­ford tapes or pay for travel, it was very dis­heart­en­ing. One time when I wanted to give up came af­ter I was on tour with Dr Dre. I was in Lon­don’s Cam­den Round­house. There was Lady Gaga, Sean Paul on the stage. I stood at the side of the stage for two hours, I got a pic­ture with Dr Dre and then I up­loaded it on­line. It got so many likes. A week later, his man­ager got in touch and in­vited me to go on tour for the launch of Beats in Asia. My mum said, ‘No, you’re stay­ing in col­lege.’ I ex­plained to her. I was so ex­cited, I went for a week. I filmed every­thing. By the mid­dle of the trip, Dr Dre and I started bond­ing, film­ing amaz­ing con­tent and be­cause I didn’t ask for a pro­ducer or DoP [di­rec­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy] —

I just went by my­self — I lost all the footage when my hard drive failed. Af­ter that, I came back to Lon­don and I was like, ‘I’m gonna quit. I can’t do this.’ And one thing I learned from that is not be­ing scared to ask for help. But also to make sure you back up all your files.”

‘Some­times you’ll get a lit­tle idea in your head and think, “but some­one’s prob­a­bly al­ready done it”. Well, they haven’t. Al­ways go for your ideas and just keep go­ing for it’


Op­po­site, clock­wise from far left: ac­tor, di­rec­tor and founder of Un­stop­pable En­ter­tain­ment Noel Clarke shared his in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ences at the one-day sum­mit in Glaziers Hall near Lon­don Bridge; a packed au­di­ence were on-hand to pick the en­trepreneurial brains of those on the ex­pert pan­els; guests were of­fered Bloody Marys with Sau­velle vodka, Peaky Blinder spiced gin and Crab­bie’s IPA; Master & Dy­namic founder Jonathan Levine re­vealed his tips on how to build a start-up Be­low: the Self-Made In­sta­gram panel fea­tured, from left to right, host Gord Ray, Anish Bhatt, Isaac Carew and Emily Mur­ray

Be­low: 1) speakerSam Con­niff Al­lende dis­cussed his re­cently pub­lished book Be More Pi­rate; 2) Self-Made part­ners Mercedes-Benz X-Class pro­vided an in­stal­la­tion on the day of the event; 3) Na­dia Jae, pre­sen­ter on The Beat Lon­don, in con­ver­sa­tion with Ja­mal Ed­wards

The Esquire ‘El­e­va­tor Pitch’ in­vited en­trepreneurs to sell their con­cept to our panel of ex­perts. The win­ner was Jonny Gar­rett, left, founder of Wil­liam Wood Watches, who won a year’s hot-desk mem­ber­ship with WeWork for him and his team.

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