Maintaining a job you no long enjoy can feel suffocating. Whether you’re weathering the storm as an excuse for the economy or you’re lacking the motivation to move on, you’re not alone. Whilst you may be feeling cornered, you don’t have to be. Making a career transition into your ideal job is an experiential learning process and making major changes midway through your career can be daunting, but sometimes you only know what your true calling is in life when opportunity strikes.
We talked to Nick Yeatman, founder and director of Formula Life Magazine. Before his switch to a mainstream media business path, Nick spent 30 years in the music industry. Firstly as a professional musician, before migrating to the business side of the industry. After his time at EMI being signed as a writer, Nick headed further into the world of business before launching his luxury lifestyle start-up around the heady world of F1. Here he discusses his complete about turn and reasons behind his radical career change.
Accept when the time is right
“After nearly three decades in the music industry I needed new challenges, something to engage my head as well as my heart,” says Nick.
“I am excited by the explosion of technology and digital media, so this appeared to be a logical next stage of my business life. It seems there is no end to what we can do and how far tech can go. The music industry has faced many challenges over the last 20 years and has had to evolve.
“Working in that environment has been difficult but rewarding. Whilst I look back on my time travelling the world playing shows in many countries as an amazing life experience, I wanted to use the myriad of skills learned through that period of my career and test them out in other industries.”
The right path isn’t always a straight route
Is the road to success littered with failures? Many entrepreneurs, including Nick, would certainly agree that it’s what we learn from our previous challenges that help us progress.
“I was in my early thirties when I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and my long relationship with owning my own future began. I borrowed £1500 from my dad to start my first business, which after the hardest three years of my life I built in to a small group of music companies. Whilst I approached this the hard way, working from the ground up meant I had to learn quickly.”
“We developed and expanded the business, having great success managing some No 1 artists in the UK. But after 15 years I exited the business in search of new challenges and greener pastures. I believe that all things happen for a reason and the truth is that this departure led me to a new arena that is still part of my portfolio today.”
How do you work out what comes next? Draw and find inspiration from your current workplace or industry, says Nick.
“My transition into digital media began when I was asked to join the board at Clash Media, an interesting hybrid of experiential agency and digital music magazine. Coming into that marketplace you could instantly see major flaws in the old business models being practiced. All the major publishers are slow to embrace the digital age, preferring to hang on tight to traditional business models that are now failing in this fast moving Omni platform world.”
“My transition into media owner happened when my now business partner and fellow entrepreneur, Alan Harrison and I founded a specialist media company called Formula Life. It’s rare that this happens, but we discovered a gap in the luxury sector that was crying out to be filled. I was determined to deploy some of the same successful business models used in the entertainment industry. We wanted to be able to quantify and qualify our success, so we built a new digital platform that delivered super in-depth analytical data to our luxury brand advertising clients.”
Stepping outside of the familiar
According to Nick it’s not necessarily a conscience and direct decision or thought process that causes you to change your career so radically.
“For me it was the great insight I gained that helped me make a substantial career change away from the world of music. By stepping outside of the familiar you can begin to discern a new direction for yourself. I noticed opportunity coming from many different places and it was only after a while that I found myself naturally gravitating to this particular area of interest. People were put in my path and the jigsaw fitted together.”
As with most entrepreneurs, ups and downs are just part of the journey. What is imperative, say Nick, is that you learn from both. What you get from hands on experience is first hand lessons.
“Starting a new business from scratch in any industry always comes with big challenges. R&D (research and development) is vita., I know better than to start a business if I don’t know the sector inside out and don’t 100% believe I could make it successful. In this particular case gathering the right skills around me was of the utmost importance.”
Don’t jump in out of your depth
“Choose your business partners wisely. Although skill sets are key, chemistry is just as important. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time together, you want to be sure from the onset that you share the same vision and work ethic. When starting a business stick to a sector you know, understand, have experience in and are super passionate about. It may be a cliché, but do one thing and do it well.
“According to Greek philosopher Socrates ‘if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.’ For me, that saying is so very true. When circumstances radically change you need to adapt.”
It can be tough for entrepreneurs to take the plunge and radically change their careers. For those embarking on small business development, managing the challenge of a start-up with the risks that can be associated with this growth can be difficult.
While any small firm can encounter risk, small business insurance can help to protect you along the way.
Have you had a radical career change? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter @HiscoxUK.
Read more from the School of Hard Knocks:
- When should you grow your small business
- How to achieve the perfect pivot for your start-up
- Common mistakes start-ups made and how to avoid them
- How to avoid taking your business to heartbreaking mediocrity
- When should you walk away from your business?