How to start a business whilst working full time
Ella: Hey Daniel, thank you soo much for joining us today
Daniel: Thank you for having me !
E: So lets jump right into things, why don’t you give us a quick background of yourself and your company
D: Sure, my name is Daniel, I am the CEO and founder of Revival, my educational background is economics, I graduated in 2011 with a first class honors degree and then went on to work an investment bank, before starting my own company, which I am still running today!
E: So what is Revival
D: Revival is a lifestyle drinks brand which is designed to support an active lifestyle. Our primary product is a powder served in a single use stick pack that is consumed by mixing with 500ml of water. Its basically a recovery and natural energy drink that’s packed with vitamins. It you are training hard, working hard or partying hard our products can massively reduce the recovery time and allow you to go harder.
E: How did you come up with the concept
D: It was actually born out of a real-life problem! The banks, and most corporate professions these days to be honest, have a demanding culture both in and out of work. And for my self, and for many others, long hours, tight deadlines, attending social events all take their toll, and people in the office were drinking coffee, blending kale, taking all sorts of other products to not only accelerate their recovery, from the day or night before, but also power them through the rest of the day. So initially Revival was designed as a recovery supplement! It has now evolved to a must broader product with more of a mass appeal, especially in sports and wellness. And we continue to grown in the work supplement area, like as a healthy coffee alternative for example to give people a boost at while working
E: Is there any red tape in place to prevent you from stating a business whilst in full time employment?
D: Provided there is no conflict of interest between your proposed business and that of your company, your employer can’t stop you for starting. Rules will be slightly different from firm to firm but provided you declare it and you can prove no conflict you should be good to go, I would always advise to check with your companies compliance department at the early stage to avoid any potential issues later on.
E: When you are working long hours how to do you find the time to start a business when you are in employment?
D: I was of course working in investment banking when I started Revival and 12 – 14 hour days were pretty typical, sometimes even longer so finding the time to start a business especially in the early days was super hard.
The honest truth is that you have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot, if not all of your free time, which is tough, I mean after a long day at work the last thing you want to be doing is going home and working some more or working all days on weekends but you really don’t have much choice. I also tried to sleep as little as possible, I kinda still do this, it takes some getting used to but even now I sleep between 4-5 hours a day tops. Another thing I did was to try to maximize the “dead” time in the day, and again I still do this, so like the commute for most people that’s an hour or so each day, I would work in that time, essentially make every bit of free time as productive as possible
E: What was your motivation to start your own company
D: I’ve always had a passion for business, from a very very young age, and ive been involved with all sorts over the past 15 years. But the desire to kick something off was amplified when I started working. Like most people who go into banking, I was extremely ambitious, but I didn’t account for the sheer volume of hours I would be working, and It got me thinking, the amount of hours I put into adding value to something else, in this case the bank, imagine if I invested even half those hours into making something for myself. And that was the real motivation, do I stay where I am and work hard to make money for the bank or, do I work hard and make money for myself. In the end it was an easy decision
E: What tactics did you use to manage juggling both a new business and a demanding job
D: I planned everything and because of that I was able to maximise every single minute. For example I knew what I had to cover on the commute to work in the morning, I knew exactly the calls I would make on the 10 minute lunch break I would get, I even use to cook in batches to cut down and allow me to know exactly how long things will take to ensure I used my time efficiently
E: Should you look at something starting something that is close to the area you work in, provided there is no conflict
D: I don’t really think it matters, its whatever you have a personal interest in and what you feel you are good at. But if you are good at your job and you genuinely think you could do better on your own then definitely go for it! I think the key thing to be conscious of here is what you can realistically do, like personally I couldn’t start a services business that where I was administering the service because I was working 5 days a week, it needed to be something product based that I could do online, that I could grow in the allocated time.
E: At what point should you leave your job
D: It depends on an individual’s appetite for risk, perhaps some may say I left slightly early given where Revival was at the time but I had a lot of confidence in the business and what I could achieve if I put my all into it. I would certainly advise people to wait until they have some solid trading history, revenues can fluctuate massively in a start up, so make sure your are not only making enough money but doing so consistently before thinking of quitting
E: Do you regret going into employment and not just starting a business after uni?
D: Not at all. I learned so much in the 6 years I spent at the bank and acquired many skills that have helped shaped my current business. I think the corporate experience for me, and for most is invaluable
E: What would your advice be to anyone looking to start a business who is currently working?
D: Go for it! It’s a win – win! If it works, then great and if I doesn’t then it’s not so such a big deal because you still have a job. From a risk respective it is the best place to be because you can gamble, within reason of course, and you already have your safety net in place should tings go wrong. You also have a steady income for the early stages, realistically you won’t be able to take a wage from a start up in the short end so the wage from your employer is a great way to keep you ticking over.
E: Are you satisfied with the progress you have made with Revival in, lets face it, a very short amount of time?
D: I think the progress has been good, especially in the domestic market, but its just the tip of the iceberg for us and there is so much more that the business can achieve going forward.
E: What are the future plans for Revival
D: We have made huge progress this year with our international efforts and have made solid head way in multiple countries that 12 months ago we had never even sold one product to, so hopefully we continue to expand globally. We have also expanded our franchise model with our latest agreement signed covering the States. In terms of products we have finished the development of cans, so a premixed grab and go version that we are hopefully bringing to the market very soon. We also have some very exciting plans to grow further in sports recovery sector, which we will hopefully be revealing very soon
E: You came up with your business idea from personal experience, is this the best way to start something?
D: Its one of the ways to start something, the added benefit of doing it that way is that you are the consumer, so essentially you can be your own feedback with respect to development and testing. I’m a big believer in solving a real-world problem, if you can find a solution, that works, then it should be pretty easy to monetise it. But whatever it is do your market research before investing money, often the best ideas are just not feasible given the constraints that you may be working with such as capital, knowledge and time
E: Do you think having a partner will help
D: Absolutely, in theory you have twice the time, money, knowledge and half the risk. If you can find someone who has a complimentary skill set then its kind of a no brainier
E: Any final advice you would give to anyone looking to emulate what you have done.
D: Be prepared to make the sacrifices and give it a go.
E: Awesome, thank you soo much for speaking with me today, I’ve found it very insightful and im sure the listeners will too. And I will be expecting you to send me some Revival for the next time I go out partying!
D: Of course! Its been a pleasure. Take care.