Warming to the Idea of My Own Business

9. Get work experience in London

It looks unlikely that I’ll achieve this goal this year, but at least I have still managed to get lots of publishing work experience here in Scotland.

It’s been a difficult job hunt so far and extremely discouraging at times. At the back of my mind, though, there’s always been another option trying to take shape, and it’s starting to seem as realistic a next step as any other.

One of my career dreams (more than a goal as such) was always to own my own business. However, this past year spent working towards my degree has provided a lot of firsthand experience of just how you go about the publishing process. With that knowledge and experience in place, that leaves the self-employed business basics to learn. Having studied business management, and having attended a start-your-own-business course in the past, I’m probably fairly well prepared already to start up on my own. It just requires a great idea and the belief in it.

I’ve yet to find a book that I believe simply needs publishing or a viable niche market to cater for. I have ideas, of course, but I can’t help thinking that some of them might not exist already for a good reason!

I was interested by the story of Trade Radiators, founded by brothers Nic and James Auckland. Nic was 24 when he had the idea for the company, the same age I am now. That was partly inspiring, yet partly one of those moments when – like with Adele’s album 21 – I felt like a massive underachiever! He was involved in property conversions at the time, and had noticed how luxury bathrooms added a little extra something to the properties, encouraging the sell. He wondered if these luxury bathroom products would sell online.

This was how their website was born. Working online allowed both brothers to run the business, despite being based in different cities (Glasgow and Nottingham). They do now have offices in Glasgow, but it shows that you can start up with relatively few resources and still be successful.

So this got me thinking about ebooks. If we were having this conversation a year ago, my opinion might have been slightly different. Now, I see just how valuable ebooks could be for a start-up publisher. You don’t need the lump sum necessary for the initial print run of your first book, you don’t need to come up with the practicalities of storing it, and you don’t need to convince the big retailers to stock it. There are many advantages, and I’ve spoken to enough small publishers over the last year to know that without ebooks their businesses might not have survived.

Working in a virtual environment would also allow me to continue links with some of the brilliant people I met on the course. We always talked about carrying out projects together, but now we’ve been thrown back to our respective places in the UK/the world and this is the only way it would work.

For Nic and James of Trade Radiators, it only took two years to break the million-pound barrier, during the recession. I am under no illusions that this is a rare example of such success – and a start-up publisher has possibly the lowest odds of managing the same feat – but it is inspiring.

Hopefully you’re feeling inspired too! (Go ahead and wake up your luck!) If you have the spark of the idea that will become the next Harry Potter, please send it to me for publishing.


To finish up though, a competition courtesy of Trade Radiators! To win John Lewis vouchers worth £1000, you can take part in their ‘Face Off’ competition by finding ‘faces in places’. (You can see my attempt above!) Just click the picture to enter:


Well, I’m off to have a quiet night and finally finish reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. It’s research for my business, after all…



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