'I'm the architect of my own destiny': A day in the life of a rising entrepreneur - Spear's Magazine

‘I’m the architect of my own destiny’: A day in the life of a rising entrepreneur


My alarm goes off at 7.20am. If something fun happened the night before I’ll hit sleep till 7.45. If not I’ll start the day with something more virtuous like a visit to the gym or I’ll watch a TED talk for some inspiration while I get ready.

I live on a beautiful, quiet road in Oval, South London. Nothing much happens there and that’s why I like it, especially as our London office is in the bustle of central London, just behind Oxford Circus. Many of our clients are in the commercial film production industry for which Soho is the hub, so we’re perfectly situated. When the entire tech scene decamped to East London we bucked the trend to stay central. We love it here. I walk to 80% of my meetings.

I don’t eat breakfast. On the whole my job is pretty sedentary. I’m not expending much energy at the office so I don’t eat until I’m hungry, usually late morning/lunch time.

The first thing I do when I arrive at the office is make a pot of green tea (we have a zillion varieties in the cupboard) and a fresh juice. Cucumber, apple and kale is a current favourite. It looks like swamp water but tastes surprisingly good. We have fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to the office each week so there’s always an array of ingredients to hand. Then I flip open the laptop and get started.

NEVERBLAND started back in 2010 when my business partner Sam Mathews put together a web design studio comprising some of the hottest developers talent from across Europe. We were called Evisua then. I joined, we renamed it NEVERBLAND and the rest is history. As a digital studio we’re driven by the web’s ability to unite and empower. This fuels our passion for collaboration and the open source movement.

We started out with three of us in a basement in Mayfair. Now we have a team of 28 spanning 3 offices: London, New York and Wrowclaw. We’ve enjoyed considerable growth in the last year and we expect that to continue.

The vibe in the studio is relaxed but focused. We like to think we engender a progressive environment for our team who are empowered to do as they please, within reason. Everyone knows what needs to be done in order to deliver outstanding work to deadline and we trust them to do it in whatever way best suits them.

I’ve experimented with different styles of management but ultimately I’ve learned just to be myself. We’re lucky in that we don’t run the kind of business in which we have to reprimand our staff. I’m motivated and respectful. They extend me the same courtesy. The best thing about being my own boss and running my own business is that I am the architect of my own destiny.

Our offices are considerately designed to reflect our individual and collective tastes, interests and creativity. We approached the interior as if we were designing an apartment you’d want to find on AirBnB rather than a traditional office that often feel soulless and sterile. You won’t find any fuseball tables, beanbags or ‘blue sky rooms’ either. We spend so much time here that our first consideration was to design a comfortable, relaxed space that would lend itself equally to working, hanging out and entertaining.

Lunch is something of a hot topic at NEVERBLAND. So much so that we built a fun website to help us decide where to eat each day-www.whatsforlunchsoho.com. We like variety but the team have some precedents they like to stick to. We currently have Thai Tuesdays and Burrito Wednesdays. They started as playful parodies of agency clichés but became so popular we ended up adopting them. The irony of that isn’t lost on me. If I’m lunching with a client I’ll often take them to Soho House. If money were no object I’d be at Duck Soup on Dean Street everyday.

My days are characterised by emails, calls and meetings. I suppose you could say that I’m a social chap so fortunately I take immense pleasure in all three.

If describing my role at NEVERBLAND, my head would tell you that I am the Businesses Development Director. My core responsibilities include identifying sales leads and growth opportunities, pitching websites, services and maintaining good working relationships with clients and contacts.

My heart would tell you that I’m not in sales, I’m in service. I feel as though my relationship with clients is much more than transactional, it’s deeply personal. I want to solve problems and enrich people’s lives.

After work I’ll usually meet friends, attend talks, lectures, gigs, events, visit the gym, eat out or just head home and hang out with my girlfriend and flatmate. On an average night I’ll get home at around 8pm but it fluctuates depending on what’s going on at work. Dinner is usually something quick and healthy like fish with spinach and leeks or a stir fry. I try not to eat by myself if at all possible. A meal eaten alone is a meal wasted.

I live a full life in London during the week so often I’ll get away on the weekend or plan around an activity of some description – visiting friends, exhibitions or something cultural. I also like to party. Mustering the self-restraint to confine this to the weekends can be tricky.

As told to Romy van den Broeke



 

FOLLOW US ON