Mark Kemp: A Start-up Story

Mark Kemp

I’m nine months into this whole start-up business, so what have I learned?

You come to it knowing all the big challenges ahead, especially if you have held a senior position previously. Can I keep the team together? Will we attract enough business? Can we make a profit?

These questions you know about from day one (even if the answers are tougher to come by in the early days) and they stay with you as the lifeblood of your motivation.

You talk to people, listen to their advice, accept their support and somehow you work things out and find a rhythm.

But it’s not always those big questions that keep you awake at night, it’s a myriad of so-called smaller worries, thoughts and decisions that swarm you like a cloud of midges.

  1. What kind of accountancy service do I need? Can I handle our own day-to-day bookkeeping through FreeAgent etc. or do I need someone?
  2. HR, Legal, Insurance, HR, Legal, Insurance, HR, Legal, Insurance – a minefield ARGGGGHHHH!
  3. Office cleaner – Wonder if my mum fancies a part-time job?
  4. What’s the alarm pin number – who has it? What is it?!
  5. Why’s the sink not working?
  6. Do all those who have supported us, know I appreciate it? Wonder what kind of wine they like?
  7. You are not alone. Repeat. You are not alone.
  8. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe – I have a dozen ideas and I need to prioritise but which will work?
  9. Employed or Freelance? – Employing is a commitment but can be more efficient and beneficial depending on how much work there is.
  10. Remember to buy coffee and toilet roll.
  11. Am I working hard enough?
  12. Do we want this project? It’s good for turnover but is it what we want this business to be known for?

This is but a taste of the first week…

Anyone who’s started their own business knows how exhilarating and liberating it feels – there really is no other job like it. You’ll take all the long days and short weekends for just one of those glorious moments when it all dovetails together and you do something remarkable as a team.

I accept all the advice and support I can get and whatever the challenge and however my day is turning out like – I relish it and give it 100%. I try and remember how fortunate I am to be able to sit back and see that I am part of something living and breathing that I helped create.

It really is an incredible thing, make sure you appreciate it all – the sweat, the wins, the tricky decisions and of course Mondays.

I really do feel fortunate to be doing what I am doing with the people I share my day with. It may be a cliché but there has never been a truer one for start-ups:

Hire the right people and get the hell out of their way.

Mark Kemp is owner of FortyTwo Studio which he set up in January 2016.

This article first appeared in LinkedIn Pulse.