Gavin Oattes - I, Entrepreneur

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Gavin Oattes

International keynote speaker, award winning comedian, children’s author and former Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Gavin Oattes joins Scottish Business News as a Scottish Entrepreneur columnist.

I’ve never once considered myself an Entrepreneur. At no point have I ever introduced myself as one and yet more and more frequently others keep donning me with this label. The more events I speak at the more I am introduced as Gavin Oattes, Entrepreneur. What does this mean, when did I – in the eyes of others – become this?

If I can be honest, it makes me feel uncomfortable. I have so much more to learn, so much more to achieve. I don’t believe I have earned this accolade that in my mind is reserved for real business people. Surely entrepreneurs have solid business training, extensive knowledge around finance and qualifications coming out their ears? Am I just an imposter?

Throughout my school career my mind was very rarely on school. My mind was always on what’s next and how I was going to get there? All day every day, a head full of ideas. Crazy ideas. Every report card said the same thing, “Gavin is a dreamer, needs more focus”. My favourite subjects were PE and lunchtime, not exactly the best foundations for achieving great things. I was a nice kid, never in trouble, terrible with girls and worried about everything. Everything.

Fast forward 20 years and my mind remains the same. What’s next and how am I going to get there?

All day every day, a head full of ideas. Crazy ideas. I’m still a nice kid, never get in trouble, somehow I found a wife but still worry about everything. Everything. I am absolutely still a dreamer but now one thing has changed, now I have focus. An actual focus. I have my purpose. My WHY.

Once you have your WHY everything changes. You’ve found your passion, you feel it 24 hours a day, you lie awake at night thinking about it. It will mess with you, excite you and it will scare the shit out of you. You will begin to find ways to spend more time on it, you’ll find ways to talk about it and share it. Your family and friends will think you’re crazy because THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND. You’ll lose friends, make friends, piss people off and work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life.

People will ask, what if it fails? You’ll respond, what if it works? Then they’ll ask, what if it works and then fails? What if it fails so badly that you lose everything?

This doesn’t even enter your mind, it WILL work. You will make mistakes, you will get things wrong but does that constitute failure? I started out as a Primary School Teacher. Resilience in the primary classroom is unrivalled. Everything I learned in the classroom I apply to my businesses daily. Fun, Happiness, Humour, Imagination, Humility, Trust, Creativity, Mindset, Attitude, Care, Love, Energy and Belief. But where’s the so-called business stuff?

I’ve never worked independently. I surround myself with positive, like-minded people. We don’t have to be friends but derailers are not welcome. I like my own company but don’t like being alone. I wish to always remain part of a movement. Remember, I’m a dreamer, I need more focus. Others give me that focus and I keep doing the dreaming.

If you’ve found your WHY and you wish to pursue it then you have a choice.

You either give it everything, or you don’t.

Gavin Oattes is an international keynote speaker, award winning comedian, children’s author and former Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Although he spends much of his time speaking to business leaders and directors of some of the world’s leading organisations Gavin’s true inspiration for what he does comes from where he started out his career…primary school teaching. Follow Gavin on Twitter: @gavinoattes and for more please visit

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