In the second in our series of start-up stories, ICE member and founder of RecRock, Dan Fitzgerald shares his experience of starting RecRock and what he’s learnt along the way.
I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar… Just kidding. I was working in a community centre in Newport doing office admin / volunteer co-ordination, following my education in music at university. Obviously I am a musician first, and my hopes were to become a guitar teacher, and give people opportunities through music. I was kind of running a business by playing in a covers band called Maddie and the Pandas.
What made you decide to start your own business?
The funding for my job in the community centre ran out, and I wanted to follow my ambitions of being a guitarist / teacher, so I felt the time was right. I knew Captain Gareth through social circles, he invited me up to ICE, offered me a desk and I’ve never left. Looking back now, I didn’t realise I was starting a business, it was a slow evolving process. I was just following the things I was interested in, and its all happened naturally.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
Working in the field I am passionate about (music) and seeing people grow in confidence. If there are projects or clients I don’t feel happy about working with, then I don’t have to. When working in the community centre I used to hate sticking around if there was nothing to do watching the clock count down. Now I can shoot off whenever I want! The trouble is there’s always too much to do. If I want to work from home I can do so, if for instance I have had a late night gigging.
What has been the most challenging part of starting your own business?
I have learned everything from scratch. 3 years ago I didn’t know what a limited company was, tax return, what VAT is… everything, it was a challenge to learn about it all. Still learning something new every day. In the way my business operates we find funding for different projects. One of the most challenging things is waiting around for ages not knowing if/when projects will happen. A few times now, 3 things have come in at once! Typical!
What tip would you give someone thinking about starting up?
Only do it if the time is right for you, and set yourself short manageable goals. For instance, I lived with my parents when I was starting the business, and had a number of different income streams to keep me going. It’s not as if I had a family to feed and loads of debt. I also set myself goals of, move out of my parents house and work out how much you need to live on to cover all expenses (food, travel, clothes, fun stuff). I did a cashflow for my personal income and expenditure to work out when I could move out.