Starting your own business is an adventure – that’s for sure. From deciding what you’re going to do, to then having the balls to do it.
It’s taken a long time for me to get to this stage. All those missed opportunities I had while working at Saatchi & Saatchi, which I declined. At the time I wasn’t sure why, however something was telling me in my head that ‘it’s not the right decision’, or ‘it’s not the right time for you’.
I’ve always been fascinated by adverts, and advertising as a whole, since I was a child. Instead of disappearing or turning over the TV set whenever an ad break would come on, I would be glued to the TV – watching, learning, studying every ad which came on. This was during the late ’70s and ’80s when ads were just GREAT! Not so much now though. It’s gone a bit pants if you ask me.
However, the days when clients were interested in the ‘creativity content’ of their ads and not the ‘bean counting’ of where their money was going are well and truly gone. There was a sense of flair and sophistication back-in-the-day, from when I remember watching the first ever UK ad I got from our technical TV guy chronicling the best British TV advertising ads up until 1980. It was for a soap brand, black & white, and I think it goes back as far as 1955. The revolving creativity of amazing copy writers and art directors who were able to do ‘whatever they liked’ and make their imaginations just fly those days just astounded me, and I loved advertising for that. Like any passion that I have, I research and research, and will do anything to get close to it. And so I did when in 1989 I joined my first agency, Foote, Cone & Belding, followed by Saatchi & Saatchi in 1995 after being head-hunted.
Yet going to an ad agency was not quite the same as enjoying the amazing adverts as a child. Of course it was fun – the best days of my life quite frankly, and I wouldn’t change not 1 day of it for toffee. From amazing company parties, food, drinks and socialising virtually every day, encountering jokes with your fellow colleagues 24/7, and thinking that you were ‘on top of the world’ by not actually doing that much work while being paid for it (apart from when there was a pitch – then you worked your arse off night and day). However, on the flip side, much that it was all fun-and-games, there was also an evil, nasty side to it all. The bitchiness, the cut-throat industry, the ruthlessness of it all. I learnt a lot about myself during those amazing yet crazy years which I believe has completely moulded me to the kind of person I am today.
I cannot stand bitchiness. I cannot stand injustice and people being ruthless. Maybe that’s the reason why I declined every opportunity of moving up to a higher level than what I was. I was afraid that if I would, i would eventually turn into someone like that, which would of been inevitable, I feel.
I like being me. Some may say I’m crazy. Others may say I’m completely mad. However all, I can guarantee, will say that ‘I make them laugh, make their day and am totally true to myself and my beliefs’. That’s my DNA, I cannot change, and I don’t want to. All my life I’ve kept to my values in what I believe in. If that means I’m a mug, then so be it, and believe me I have been. However, I’d rather be that than be a complete bastard, like characters I know of. Only rarely do I find like-minded and genuine people, and those I like to keep hold of as much and as close as possible!
If anything, advertising has taught me how I should NOT run a business, from the way you treat people – whether they are your clients or employees.
If you’ve never been in the industry before, please don’t think I’m hating on it, I’m not. It was fun, believe me :) however I just wouldn’t want to go back to anything like that. Check out Matt Beaumont’s book called ‘e’. It maybe fictional, however as Matt (and his wife) used to work at my old company while I was there, when you read the book, the characters really do ring real in all categories. It’s very funny – and accurately real.
I’ve always wanted to do something for myself. Damn, I’ve work hard during my life, anyone can tell you that. Maybe too hard for my own good. However, I think it’s high time that I start to spread that little magic of mine to benefit my own dreams and ambitions for once. I’ve still got enough to go around, so it’s about time I’ve done something for me. Don’t get me wrong, I L.O.V.E. what I do now and I’ll continue to do so, however there’s no harm in pushing the boundaries and try to create a bit more room for other personal stuff that you love, right?
Let’s see where everything leads. I’m well stoked :) It’s gonna be fun.
And as Amerie would say ‘you’ve gotta work hard for it’ and that’s what I’m now gonna start to do…