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Lifeline Mentee Q&A: Paul

Lifeline offers development and support to 16-25 year olds looking to start up their own business. After an initial training course some participants are selected for additional support, including access to a business mentor.

Here, we give you the chance to meet one of the young entrepreneurs involved in the project. You can also download a copy of the interview here: icon Lifeline Mentee Q&A: Paul (467.58 kB)

WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?

I want to sell my art photography prints online. I plan to have a range of limited pieces to sell directly to consumers and also to have a second branch of the business that sells certain prints in bulk to shops.

WE’VE GOT TO ASK: ARE YOU ANY GOOD AT TAKING SNAPS?

Well, a normal day consists of being up early, and working on my current business as a self-employed photographer/film maker. I’m either filming, at meetings, leading workshops, or editing and I do that pretty much all day every day! I don’t often relax, but when I do, I like to watch films and take photography trips – so it never stops!

WHO’S BETTER – STEVEN SPIELBERG OR QUENTIN TARANTIO?

My inspiration for film making is Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarantino! Boyle directed my favourite film – Trainspotting – and Tarantino directed great films like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. Both have extremely wonderful ways of working with cast and crew, and deliver their visions fantastically. I love their stories of how they got to where they are, and I love the themes and messages in the plots.

SO WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

I want to build myself a reputable brand as an artist, which I feel I can do better as a sole trader rather than a part of somebody else’s company. I also want to be able to offer opportunities to other people who want to get into this kind of work. I struggled to start with and I think there needs to be more opportunities for young people interested in jobs in the creative sector, especially media. Being financially stable is a big part of being able to offer these opportunities – if I can become stable then I can free time to help others, and ultimately that’s what we should all be doing.

WHAT KIND OF HELP DO YOU NEED MOST TO GET STARTED?

Time management! Also, being able to research effectively and find the best chains of communication so that I can get to the people I need to quickly, in order to sell my product or market it to a wider audience.

AND WHAT SCARES YOU MOST ABOUT SETTING UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

I’m not renowned for my organisational skills, so paperwork and tax seems daunting! I also have highs and lows of working – some days I’ll be really motivated to do things and the next day completely the opposite, so balancing that is a concern.

WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?

Someone once said to me, ‘Chase your dreams, before you end up working for someone else who chased theirs’. That has really stuck with me.

IF YOU WERE ABLE TO GIVE SOMEONE IN SCHOOL ADVICE ABOUT THE FUTURE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Don’t stress too much over exams and academics: it might not be the path for you. Keep trying new things and experiences until you find what you love. When you do find out what you love and what you want to do chase it, chase it, chase it! Never give up. The only thing that keeps us sane is to keep aspiring to the next goal. It took me seven years, but find what you love, chase it down, and then set a new goal, keep learning and growing and doing what you love.

DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE IN FIVE WORDS

Here’s four: all over the place! There are so many different things going on its difficult to keep track and make time for film making. But I’m on a positive path, surrounded by positive people, so that works well for me.

HERE’S A TENNER – TELL US WHAT YOU THINK OF LIFELINE SO FAR

It’s a wonderful programme! There should be far more people taking this opportunity, I completely recommend it. Just staying focused is tough for me at the moment!

 

WHERE ARE YOU NOW? ONE YEAR LATER

REMIND US WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO LIFELINE?

It was the direction and support from brap to get me up and running. I had the ideas but not the know-how and brap helped me to get the confidence to get things started.

SO HOW ARE YOU GETTING ON?

My website is built, which is great. The mentors helped with the ideas and the deadlines pushed me to get things rolling. I recently got a full-time job, so my business has had to take a temporary backseat – but this will only be for a while.

HAVE THERE BEEN ANY BUMPS IN THE ROAD?

Time! Working a full-time job that I’m so passionate about has really given me no time to focus on my photography. I have, however, set myself a deadline for September to be back on my feet.

WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO FROM LIFELINE?

It would be great if I could have more contact with the comms agency that is helping design and launch my website. And it would be great if Lifeline could offer more after-startup support. This is just so it can help me and maybe others with marketing, how to get products out there, how to build a regular client base, how to do our finances, and how to make our business grow.

SOUNDS GREAT. AND WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR?

I want to have a successful online business with regular sales. Maybe set up a market stall.