Continuing with our Start-Up Series, we talked to SnowSpire founder, Keiran, who shared his journey to entrepreneurship.
What did you do before you started SnowSpire?
Before starting SnowSpire I was a Computer Science student at Aberystwyth University, where I founded the Aberystwyth Community of Gamers (ACOG). Providing regular social events, video game (eSports) competitions and technical support, ACOG has become one of the largest and most active societies in Aberystwyth and one of the largest gaming communities in the UK. The society also provided a great opportunity to develop some of the key skills required to run a business as well as provide vital experience in event management, logistics, HR and networking.
What made you decide to start your own business?
Following my graduation I began working as a website developer and digital marketing assistant in Ceredigion Council. This allowed me to remain in Aberystwyth and maintain an involvement in the community, advising the new committee and implementing processes for the society’s future survival. During this period it was decided that the society would switch to an alternative VPN company. This provided a great opportunity to start a business with guaranteed income on a subscription service. Coupled with our already established plans to move and the funding available in South Wales the timing seemed perfect.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
Our close working relationship with Aberystwyth University allows me to travel back to the area several times a year, participate in their video game competitions and help new students settle in. Outside of September/October our subscription service also provides a large amount of time to focus on less profitable, but more enjoyable tasks including running video game events.
What has been the most challenging part of starting your own business?
Managing the balance between personal and professional finance can often be difficult. Cash flow in particular has been a major challenge, especially during the summer months when most students return home.
Also when I began trading I had very little personal risk, low overheads and few assets. However over the past two years my personal motivators have changed and my ambitions increased. Therefore increasing my personal income has become a priority and the business needs to increase revenue to compensate.
What tip would you give someone thinking about starting up?
Running a business is hard work. There are long hours, lots of stress and many risks. Being ready for challenges is important and nothing can really simulate the experience until you begin trading. Having a solid plan, contacts who can provide support and sufficient start-up capital will make the transition better.