The Power of Dreams…
A new blog from our MD Chris, reflecting on how he made his dreams a reality and why you should follow yours!
3 years ago I was working as a Procurement Interim in (very) Local Government, had become a father for the first time and was dreading the possibility of having to return to London to get consulting gigs.
I had launched Advice Cloud (version 1 – V1) as a very different service on the back of the 2e2 debacle, thinking that there must be a way of providing due diligence on cloud providers… So I had a minimum viable service, commissioned a basic WordPress site, got the services onto G-Cloud (4) and went off networking and trying to sell these “assurance” products to unenlightened buyers. Everyone thought it was a great idea but it didn’t really work out. Selling “assurance” wasn’t my thing and they could tell – I’m a buyer at heart. However, I did realise the value of G-Cloud from a sales perspective having already spent 15 months using it as a buyer.
In between V1 Advice Cloud and V2 I had been approached by a head-hunter looking to recruit people into a new Local Gov team for a Big 4 Management Consultancy. Coming from a South East London council estate with only 4 ‘O’ levels to my name, when they offered a senior position I was incredibly flattered. However, as anyone in the consulting industry (unless it’s the recruitment PR for a Big 4) will tell you – you basically give up your weekday family life to the Consultancy and become a weekend parent. Not ideal.
At the same time as all this I had been asked by two local companies if I could help them onto G-Cloud (all this outside of my day to day role btw) and had said a provisional yes ok I could. They had accepted my costs and I’d added the No listing Full Refund bit too.
Consequently I had this massive dilemma of options:
- Continue contracting locally and see my young daughter for breakfast, dinner & holidays.
- Early terminate my contract (right at the start of tricky Windows7 & Data centre to Cloud migrations), join Big 4 and leave day to day parenting to my wife
- Continue trying to flog a good idea to people who didn’t get it
- Take a punt on getting these companies on G-Cloud 5, see out my contract and then plan for exit in time for G-Cloud 6
I really didn’t know what to do!
I had started regularly attending breakfast networking events run by my excellent local chamber and at one of them I had what was to be my lightbulb moment. I heard a talk from an MD of a local firm called Propellernet. They do SEO. I knew of SEO but hadn’t heard Nikki Gatenby before. She explained about how her company had turned agency work on its head. Employees were at the heart of it especially helping them (the employees) follow their dreams. That’s right Dreams!
I put off the decision with the head-hunter till after the weekend (very unhappy chap) and went to chat to the missus. Her answer was: Do what’s right for you. We will support you but miss you if you take the Big4 gig. Dreams! Follow dreams! That was what was in my head all weekend. Monday at 9am I took a big deep breath told the head-hunter that I was pulling out. Expletives & incredulity followed but eventually we agreed that if they were serious about me then a role would likely still be there in 6 months. Maybe not as senior but there all the same. Phew.. option 4 it was…
Fast forward 3 years…
- All 55 of our clients were successful in their G-Cloud 9 applications.
- We moved into spacious new offices in Central Hove
- Have two new Grad trainees placing their first career decisions with us
- These two have been nicknamed the Ninjas due to their amazing reflexes and Ninja like ability to get things done
- Have amazing Client Support & Marketing Managers on the team
- Have 3 superb consultants working in Local Government on various projects
- Have developed successful partnerships with some of the leading cloud providers in the UK & Globally
So I can now honestly & wholeheartedly say….
DREAMS! Follow them. What have you got to lose?
I also need to say thanks to my team, wonderful clients, amazingly supportive wife, the Brighton Chamber, Nikki Gatenby & my coach Si Conroy for their contributions to Advice Clouds continuing success. If anyone wants to hear a version of the dreams conversation have a listen here. It’s a half hour you won’t regret, I promise.
Here’s to the next 3 years!