These are a few interview style questions that we put to Ed about his battle with work life balance as he slogs it about in the city creating the perfect ‘bar discovery medium’.
Start-up projects and entrepreneurship are a big talking point right now with a move away from faceless corporate jobs towards the dream of ‘making your stamp on your industry’. But what is it really like for a young adult trying to make their way in an ever-condensing market of apps and brands? Read Ed’s answers to find out.
What is your role now and what are the main responsibilities for you?
I am the founder of a mobile app called WhatBar, it’s designed to help you find a bar that suits your mood and your intentions of the night. Being a sole founder, I have had many responsibilities! But the main ones have included product management (talking to users, getting feedback, working out the best direction for the app, liaising with developers), Marketing (running social media pages, maintaining website, experimenting with Google Adwords, and going to events), fundraising (raising money to help!), and then the more boring stuff like Tax and VAT returns!
How long have you been doing this for and what did you do before?
I have been working on WhatBar for a year full time, but some time before that was filled with planning and endless brainstorming. I was a professional cricketer before I switched to the world of entrepreneurship. I believe there are good transferable skills from sport, that can aid someone going into running their own business.
Can you think of any key challenges you had to overcome and how did you battle them to get to where you are?
My key challenge was not really knowing the industries I was getting into, so I’ve had to learn both the mobile/tech industry, as well as the bar industry, to help me understand the best ways moving forward. I found by actually just getting out there, experiencing it all, and reading as much as I can, has all helped.
What is the dream, or where would you like to see yourself in five or ten years?
The dream is to see WhatBar grow into the sole bar discovery medium for users, and the sole marketing tool for both bars and drinks brands to use. The dream for me (and the reason for starting the app), was to be able to be stood in an area, I had no previous knowledge of, and instantly get what I wanted. I would just like to create something that people find useful, and makes their life better or easier.
How do you find balancing lifestyle and downtime with your job?
I do find it hard sometimes, especially when you are passionate about something, to be able to switch off completely. My personality dictates that I become obsessed with solving the problems that face me, so I find it hard to switch off and stop thinking, but I also think this can be a positive, because it’ll help me through the tough times. But I have some priorities that help me, I go to the gym 3 times a week, which is really important to me, both in regards to looking after my health, but also making sure my discipline is still topped up. I’m also lucky in a sense, because my social time with friends in a bar, can also double as fieldwork!
If you could give one piece of advice to a young spark looking to start their business, what would that be?
Build something people love. I’ve found there’s a big difference between what people will say they’ll do, compared to what they will actually do. So don’t sit around trying to make the perfect plan, go out and experience what people do and how they’ll interact with your product, you should also look at people’s actions, not listen to their words.
What has been your favourite event you have attended this month? If not month, this year?
I try to go to many events to become more knowledgable. I went to a really good one about managing yourself so you can better manage others. I think there’s a lot for being very self aware, especially in start-ups and entrepreneurship. Even though many of us are dealing with tech, we are still dealing with people, so being able to get the best out of everyone is fundamental to success.
And finally, what do you think is the best part about being an upcoming, self-employed business owner right now?
I think being self employed is great. The freedom it can give you, but also the opportunity to work as hard as you like, to create the success for yourself, so you’re not busting a gut for someone else to gain more than you. It’s obviously a scary prospect, but the opportunities are endless, and especially with the rise of tech, if you make a couple of really good decisions, you are going to see success far sooner.
Thank you so much for talking to us and telling us about your experiences! We’ll definitely be using WhatBar for all our nights out from now on!
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