So, I grew up as a carer for both my parents who are Deaf. They had arrived here from Kenya in East Africa.. They arrived in a country looking for a better life for themselves and their children, but also a country that was painfully unaware of deafness in society. My dad worked in a sorting office, and my mum was a special needs teacher in school. Watching them work hard, overcome adversity, and give my sister and I the start in life we had was very inspirational. So, I always knew I wanted to work hard and return their kindness.
However, I never thought I would become an entrepreneur. When I was younger, I wanted to work in an Investment Bank. But around the age of 14 I started selling sweets in school so that I could buy a PlayStation, and I thought that was quite cool. I then dabbled trading in stocks and found businesses so interesting. I then set up a business selling fresh orange juice and various other failed entities, and from then on, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur.
So, the same year I took my GCSEs, after watching my parents move home in earlier years, I started to look at the UK property market and realised it (a) was incredibly antiquated, (b) had far too many estate agents acting as intermediaries, and (c) costed clients a small fortune in estate agent fees to sell their house. I did my research and set up House Smart after finishing my A-levels, which then became Doorsteps. My mission was to reduce the cost of selling your house to £99. I raised half a million pounds and within a few years Doorsteps.com was starting to have a real impact. In the end our platform saw over £1 billion of property change hands, and saved customers over £15 million in fees.
I took a step back from the business before Covid to focus on some other projects. I got involved with the Prince’s Trust, Royal Association for Deaf people and set up my own Apprenticeship provider, and have a new venture – 1 Club – the first digital private members club building a global ecosytem for Founders & Creators
Of course, work means a lot to me. Work takes up a lot of time, time is personal, and so your work has to be personal to you. Of course, there will be times at the beginning of your career when you feel like you are working in roles that are boring or ‘dead ends’. I would argue that all jobs are an opportunity to learn. It is about having a positive frame of mind and using the 8 or 9 hours in the working day to meet as many people as possible and learn as many new things as possible. And then you will realise that every work experience is a good experience – and ultimately once you consider happiness being driven by a purposeful and fulfilment based life; work becomes critical to that equation, in whatever sense it may be, not just financially.