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Introducing Rebel Business

“Bringing positivity to the next generation”

Welcome to Rebel Business, the place that will provide resources, support and guidance for teenagers who need a better understanding of what to expect in the workplace and how to be a success in life, no matter your background.  We’ll also be looking at start ups, starting your own business, because we don’t want to waste that energy do we?!  And finally I’ll be pulling in resources and updates of the challenges of a mature company like my own, which has been in business for 20 years.

Many people (that’s possibly you) find that careers advice is no help in making these big decisions.  You don’t listen to your loving parents any more and you’re fed up of teachers desperate for you to make a decision (hey, it’s their job so lighten up).  Well that’s fair, because this is your life.  But you do need to do something.  And that’s what we do here, listen, plan, do.

I like to think listening is the most important.  At school you probably just hear noise and by the time you’re at home you’ve forgotten everything anyway.  How frustrating!  Before you know it you’ve left school with no idea what you’re doing.

It’s ok, I did that to.  But I’d like to think we can be better prepared and contemplate a little about what we could be one day.  We just need a little imagination.  Maybe you didn’t get good grades, maybe you mucked around too much, or you were bullied, or that you’re quiet, that you don’t have confidence around people or had problems at home and so on.

All this is now in the past.  It will have affected you no doubt but it will not define you.  You will shape the future and the future needs you.  You will surprise yourself at what you can do by harnessing the very things that kept or keep you down.

It may not be apparent at first, maybe not even by the time you’re an adult.  But one day, you will remember this and the engine will start.  The engine that has always been silently purring in the background.  The internal energy that you’ve never been able to harness, that keeps your mind racing without an outlet, or if you did, not a great one.

So join me on this journey to reach for the stars, whatever and however you feel, as I offer experience from both myself, others like you, professional adults who made it despite the odds and more.

Initially this will be a slow running blog as I also run a business for the last 20 years but over time I will get hold of all I can to help you.  I have made some extremely bad decisions over the years, had a troubled childhood at points, and teenage years are challenging.

Prepare yourself, harness your energy.  Let’s do this rebels.

PS. This site needs an overhaul so excuse the siteground and wordpress stuff all over the place.

Where does the time go?

You make plans for a new website, a new thing. But this energetic break out means you’ve also over committed yourself to many other things as well. Damn, how did that happen?

In this fast paced world we live in it’s easy to start things but difficult to stay focused, such is the multitude of distractions and obligations falling over themselves to be in front of you.

Since the idea for Rebel Business originated, mainly due to mentoring work, what happened. Well I put more effort into mentoring. Then my business needed a fresh boost to take care of Brexit and that’s the whole day, every day used up again (and we got really busy as a consequence, so worth it). Then I was asked to become a Governor for an industry young career initiative, which also needed brainpower and time to get going.

This was also as I prepared my new hobby and life long ambition of film making for down time. Learning the ropes staying up late at night to ‘do it all’, time became suddenly a bit stressful again. Film making is a childhood ambition and not something easy to learn. A few short films later I made an environmental film which gained a lot of attention locally.

This made me suddenly feel responsible in some way of drawing attention to key local environmental issues. I could see the power of images I’d long believed they held.

So many other subjects came out of this to film, and now I’m working on an environmental documentary. Oh and don’t forget filming free stuff for people to gain experience.

In the end it’s becoming manageable but here I am now, months later, trying to update this little site with something, anything. I’d even forgot it was there, well maybe deliberately as I live in password hell and trying to get back here was no mean feat.

The strangest thing though is there is no sign of taking on things. I’ve just agreed mentoring at the local youth club, and attending weekly. Also considering a meetup.com page for film makers as I really can’t find anyone in this town that does it.

What one may think is a. he’s a bit mad and b. surely he’ll never get good at anything by spreading so thinly

The answer is in my head, it’s fine, it’s under control. This juggling of new interests and old obligations is to me, to be all coming together. To be all inextricably linked because I am choosing them. It may not be obvious and yes I have no time to watch Netflix anymore and thankfully GoT has finished. But I’m confident, always confident, that hard work pays off and opportunities come from doing, not waiting. And they have.

Some of these will either fall away, merge together and rise to the top but what is best is to try, try, try. Your passion and what’s in your heart will decide. Push the boat out. embrace the grind and do what you love. Don’t worry about the money, if you have the time and it makes you happy, you can’t buy that. Eat well, sleep well, find a tiny space for time out or meditation (I do the latter infrequently) and you’re good to go.

I hope that gives a brief overview of why Rebel Business is a slow page. Eventually I’ll get a grip, I always do. Now, about digging out that wildlife garden tomorrow…

I want to feel more confident going into the workplace

This is a tough one. There can be a multitude of reasons why you may not feel confident about your ambitions. Maybe your upbringing, maybe what you want to do does not fit in with your families expectations, maybe your grades, maybe anything. Say you like the idea of being a solicitor, you have some decent grades but can’t see yourself actually becoming one. You don’t feel confident in your ability to be a solicitor one day.

Let’s pick this apart. Confidence is the belief you’ll be successful. Confidence enables you to make better decisions. Confidence is related to your self-esteem.

If you don’t feel confident you probably care a lot about what other people think about you. This is a problem but understandable. When you care about what other people think about you, you make decisions that are easily achieved. That you won’t fail. That are….easy.

We know that what you really want is not easy.

Do you see the issue?

Failing, as much as no-one initially likes it, is vital for success. Think of a baby trying to walk. Imagine if she’d given up because she kept falling over. It’s the trying that should be embraced. Trying is not life threatening, it’s life affirming.

How many times do you try a level in Call Of Duty to win. And fail. Lots I bet. So what’s the difference?

If you could try and fail with something you really want, in private, you’d spend a lifetime trying.

So if you walk into somewhere new and you make a mistake which makes you feel embarrassed, just suck it up knowing you’ll come back better and stronger. You know more than they do that you’re learning a lesson. Just don’t forget to put the work in and you’ll soon be flying past all before you.

I can’t…

yet!

It’s a simple trick to outwit the power of your mind.  So if you think you can’t, think again.  Add this little word – “yet” – to the end of anything you you’d like to do, but think you can’t. 

“you can defeat the boss level”

** giving up **

“I can’t, it’s too hard”    STOPPPP!!

Instead put it down and say “I can’t yet”.  You’ve now declared a personal challenge as opposed to being defeated forever.

Then revisit.

I guarantee you’ll defeat that boss level another day.

This tiny adjustment somehow changes the chemistry in your brain to relax a little and not to be defeated and hence miserable about it.  That maybe you’ll return to the issue at hand another day, more prepared, feeling different, whatever.  The key is you haven’t written it off as a failure.

Staying positive in hard times is tough, but small positive reinforcements can help.

Isn’t that better than ruling out so many things that you’re left with nothing?

Do I need a business partner?

Good question.  I have a business partner.  We used to work together and we were only young when we first started out in business.  The thing which I knew though was he had a skill set different to me.  I was ok at sales, but he was better,  He was ok with organising, but I was better.  Operationally probably the same skills.  So you see how this works, we have balance.  Although we are very different in tastes and views, our values are also the same.  We agree don’t be greedy, we’re always trying to improve, that customers come first and our work ethic is high.

This decision will probably be the most important you make.  If you get it wrong there’s a lot of unraveling that will need to be done.  In a limited company it gets truly complicated, get a shareholders agreement in place just in case for this eventuality.

If you have a partner, you both need to be honest about your roles.  What your strengths are and who will be responsible for what.  Maybe one is the big seller and one is happy to deal with the figures and housekeeping.  Do not underestimate the latter, two salespeople without a handle on the company and its finances can spell disaster.

Worse still, and I’ve witnessed this recently, is if you don’t know the other person very well.  You may know them, but do you know their work ethic, their values.  The fundamental pieces that will form the bedrock as the company grows and evolves.  In this particular case it turned out one of the ladies thought it was her right to boss everyone around, whilst the other was completely different and worked as a team player getting in deep and dirty.  It turned out the bossy one didn’t have any real helpful skills and customers didn’t take to her and this was eventually realised by the other partner.

Needless to say getting a partner out of the company is not easy, especially if the business is doing well despite them.  They will want a disproportionate pay off to leave and won’t agree with your perception of events.  You will be seething.  So avoid this by taking your time, it’s very easy to rush ahead with a great idea.

Choose carefully and slowly, as if you were dating.  Test the water, ask awkward questions of each other, work together on the roles, because if you choose right, your chances of success will skyrocket.

Mentoring year 10’s – thoughts so far

As I stood in front of the class, about to give a short talk about how I got to where I am I decided to put in some context.  And that’s where it got difficult.  In a classroom of kids where I look at them, as I once was, talking about how difficult school was for me, struggling with my adopted identity and being racially bullied, and from this becoming disruptive, my emotions caught me off-guard.

As I struggled to talk and hold back engulfing emotions I could see the thoughts on their faces “oh no, he’s wobbling”.  Thankfully the school pastor who was attending rescued me as I asked them with a slight defiance “does anyone know why you’re here” – a question I thought they needed to hear an answer to.  They replied in unison “nooooo” and my pastor friend took the cue and replied to them.

He clarified that they were there because they had been chosen as a group that would like the opportunity of having mentors.  I need to investigate further exactly what was said as I was trying to gain my composure at the time.

Finally casting aside my emotions and gathering my energy I finished the talk positively but reinforcing the fact hard work is the ONLY way out and up for them.  Whether physically, mentally but probably both, preparing these kids for that reality is my job as mentor.

In my short time already I see a group of kids who can punch higher than their present aspirations – than they think.  And these low aspirations are partly down to low confidence and low self-esteem.  Social aspects are also a factor but i can’t influence this easily.  This group have a stubbornness that if harnessed can project them upwards.  For every bad label, there is an equal and opposite good label and it is that which needs to be uncovered.  What can they achieve, not what can’t they.

The careers advice they are getting from this mentoring system is a good start but I can’t help feel it can be done better.  I need to know their backgrounds, their grades and equally how their peers perform.  You need to get into their minds and understand them, not talk, listen.  For all I see is a bunch of kids who act like a bunch of kids.  Someone needs to show me the perceived ‘better’ versions of these kids – I don’t believe there is a better human.  Academically maybe, but we all know the story doesn’t end there.

As I’ve made clear, everyone has strengths, everyone can achieve, with hard work.  But at this critical age, it’s not about careers at all, it’s about being heard and becoming confident.  Trying to reconcile the issues you may be dragging around with you making you feel worthless or not caring.  Once this is addressed, and I don’t mean completely, but an improvement, then rather than picking off the lower tier, you may feel confident to go up a level.  Or more.

I love mentoring, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t quite work out how or who to go to to do it.  Now I’m in the system I intend to put all my effort into trying to make these kids and many more become ambitious about their future.  If I can make a difference to just one I’ll be very happy, but my goal is for so much more.

I am them.  And if that’s so then they can become me.  But what I want is for them to become themselves, the best version of themselves.  And they will.

Do not mistake kindness for weakness

Quite often you will speak with people who have a very hard exterior and won’t let anyone in.  Maybe you’re one of these but you know it’s not really you on the inside.  You know deep down it’s just a show. (I know you won’t admit this yet too).  If you’re hurting inside, don’t feel confident, are very angry about life, feel misunderstood, constantly being talked down to – know it’s ok to LOVE YOURSELF.  I mean really, it is.  You deserve that and whatever little voices or people are telling you otherwise, they’re wrong.

I’m not a counsellor and can’t help you where you may need professional help.  If you feel you do please please speak to someone immediately.   But I can believe in you and I believe everyone has an opportunity in them to thrive.  Everyone has a strength they can use in a positive way.  Everyone has something good bursting to get out.  And that’s what I try and unravel.  Trust me, I’ve been there too and it wasn’t until much later in life that I conquered my demons.  Simply being kind was a key force in changing my destructive habits.

So as the title says, do NOT mistake kindness for weakness.  It’s the complete opposite.  It’s energising and the only way to truly become confident.  I know it sounds crazy, that you will feel exposed by letting down your shield, so don’t.  Not yet.  I don’t expect anyone to to simply read a few paragraphs and decide that’s the answer.   Just keep it in mind, at the back of your head, that I’m telling you – kindness breeds strength.

Final Note – Donald Trump.  The most powerful man on earth.  Building walls, threatening countries, dictating to companies and generally acting tough. But he has a lot of fragility.  Why is this?

I want to start a business and be rich

I’ll make this bit short.  Do NOT start a business on the assumption you are going to get rich.  Do NOT start a business to make loads of money.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you launch your business with a focus on how much money you can make, and don’t put the primary focus on the value you are providing for your customer – you. will. fail!

Look at any successful business, Apple, Amazon, Paypal, super, super successful beyond their wildest dreams.  They started off with passion, pure and simple.  A belief they can make something out of an idea.  But for sure their focus was on what their product or service could do for you or me, not on how much you are going to pay them.

Now there is a caveat.  Money IS important.  Profit IS important.  It’s the air your business will breath.  So I’m not saying do not make money, it’s essential and we will cover this absolutely in a post soon as it’s vitally important the money is managed well from the very beginning.

Your business is only a business if what you have is what someone wants.  So focus on that first and make it as good as it can be.  Keep tight controls on money in vs money out and if you are doing well from the minute you open your doors, please, don’t go out and get a loan deal on a posh car or start eating at the Ritz.  Just don’t, you will need that money.  Patience is your friend.

I’m leaving school and haven’t got a clue what to do

Ok, don’t stress.  That’s my advice plain and simple.  You are being taught to have some idea of what you what to do.  To KNOW what you’re going to be NOW when your a real live adult LATER.  Life doesn’t work that way for everyone, most even.  What is important is that you’re prepared to work, and work hard.  Damn hard!  Wow, that can hurt can’t it.  But it’s the only way if you want to succeed.  I was asked recently what’s better, working hard or working smart.  I thought “is this a joke question?”.  When has working smart out sprinted working hard.  Never.

You can work hard and work smart, but if you want something meaningful, you’ve got to work for it.  This way you value it and your self-esteem increases, this gives you more energy to put into your project.  Build up those reserves of positiveness because when you get the eventual knock backs you can handle it.  Anyway, more on this later.

So right now take a job, any job.  Learn to work.  Who cares if it’s at McDonalds like some of my year 10’s I’m mentoring have moaned about.  You are learning to work.  Observe the mechanics of the workplace, the people, the money, the value you are creating for the customers and so on.  You may be paid very little but the experience is invaluable.  And right now you need to show an employer you are willing to work.

The workplace is an exchange of tickets.  You provide your ticket in the form of working and making the company money (indirectly or directly), and they will give you a ticket back, in the form of wages and importantly, experience.  Remember that last bit, you can’t buy it, and you need it.  I cannot stress enough about just getting a job.  Any job.  To hell with bad careers advice, if you’re 16 and someones on your back about not knowing what you want to do, you have to consider who’s interests this is in.

Please – don’t be caught out by this, I had careers advice that went in one ear and out of the other.  I left school and had no job for a few months.  Literally kicked out on my ass.  I was meant to go to college (we’ll come to this as well later) but decided I wanted to work.  So I took a government program called YTS – Youth Training Scheme.  It paid £27.50 per week.  Ok it was the 80’s but it was still borderline to be called pay.  However I was working and I had worth and I could buy a new jumper every week.  Even though I was treated like sh*t by my bosses, I endured it.  Well actually I didn’t for my first job, it only lasted 3 months because it was so incredibly boring AND the boss was bad so i quite leaving drawers full of work I hadn’t done.  Yes I was super p*ssed.  But that’s a double whammy no-one should tolerate.  But I got relocated and the new job was better, running around the dock on a racing bike all day all weather to deliver and collect envelopes.  The bosses were ok too, although be expected to be treated lowest of the low.  It’s fine, get over it, you are!  At the moment….

And so ends today’s lesson.  Get a job.  Any job.  Try it.  If you don’t like it get another job.  At this stage of your life you can afford to take massive risks with your career because for a start you don’t know what you want to do.  Go earn some money and put some value on yourself.

Later we’ll tackle :-

If you do have an idea of what you want to do

If you don’t have confidence or are shy

How to handle interviews

How to handle adults (blast them!)

What an employer will expect from you

When to keep your mouth shut

I’m not a rebel but…

My parents want me to…

I have no grades

I have no brain

I can’t work hard

And anything else I can think of

Please excuse the mess of this blog, it’s an off the shelf template and I’m slowly going to tidy it up as I learn WordPress.  Feel free to hit me up with any tips

Until then rebels

Power to you