“What are you doing with yourself these days?”
I’ve had a lot interesting responses from people when I tell them I’ve quit the day job to become a full-time brewer. These have ranged broadly from “Oh my god, this is amazing; you will absolutely nail it!” to “You are a chuffing idiot; give this crazy silly dream up right now.” These are both direct quotes, apart from the word “chuffing” which was actually something a little more colourful.
I’ve always been one of those people who struggles to ignore their brain when they get an idea festering in it. Normally these are fairly inconsequential thoughts – I’d love a takeaway pizza for dinner, or I’m going to take my family away for the weekend on a magical mystery tour, or I’m going to paint that room bright sunshine yellow – and so on. But this one was a little more significant.
Why don’t you give up your successful career and start a brand new one from scratch?
Okay, so when you actually write it down, it does seem a little daft. But when your head and heart are aligned, I believe you’ve got to take notice. And I do enjoy creating and building; it’s where I really draw satisfaction in my work.
I was fairly senior in my previous company. I was a Director, I sat in the board meetings, I led a division of 25 people, and so on. I loved my job – it was a team of great people at a great agency doing great work for great clients. What’s not to love? But I wasn’t in control and if I happened to disagree about a decision or a direction (which I often did) I couldn’t really do anything about it. I’d sometimes go out for a cheeky beer after work with my team and frequently they’d ask when I was going to start my own company, so that they could come and work for me. It was very flattering, even if it was a bit “I love you, it’s not the beer talking”. But it did help plant the seed. It helped make the “what if…” thoughts get stronger and stronger.
On one particularly frustrating day in the office, I made the decision to take the plunge and do something about it. I could ignore the draw of the brewery no longer. At lunchtime, I walked fifteen minutes to the nearest stationers and bought myself a little black Moleskine notebook and fine-tipped Pilot pen. Since that day, I’ve carried that book around everywhere with me and I’ve been plotting and planning to make the brewery happen. Whenever I had a thought or an idea, it went into the book. It was the first step towards getting a Creative Juices beer in your hand!
I’ve done a fair bit of reading around the subject since that day and have gathered a whole load of motivational quotes and lessons from artists, famous people, academics, entrepreneurs and business people. They are not hard to find and broadly all point in the same direction. I read them again every now and then to justify in my mind that this is the right thing to be doing. It’s really just reassurance, as I already know this is what I should be doing. I draw inspiration from all kinds of sources and ultimately I think I can sum the whole brewery business decision up with just two quotes from my personal collection from when I was around twenty years old…
“You’ve got to be in it, to win it.”
Quote Mark, quizmaster at the Woodside Pub, Horsforth. One of my biggest learnings from being lucky enough to go to uni was that you’re only a student once. Take a chance. Do it right now. This very moment won’t come again; once it has passed, it is gone forever. Fast forward to current day and it struck me that the difference between the people who fail at business and the people who succeed, are the ones who actually give it a try.
“Whatever you do in life, make sure you have fun doing it.”
Quote Keith, family friend and business owner, Watford. By the time he was my current age, he had already lived an entire life of experiences and had achieved everything I’m attempting to now. His point was that you juggle a lot of important elements everyday that fight for your time and attention, and work is just one of those things. Therefore you have to make sure you do what you love for a living, as you’ll spend an awful lot of your precious time doing it. You have the power to change things you’re not happy about and the power not to worry about the things you can’t control.
It may seem on face value like a daft gamble to take with your career, but I don’t really see it as a gamble. This is just the next logical step for me.
So yes, it’s a crazy silly dream perhaps, but – wow – what a dream.
Wish me luck guys!