Be patient, stay focused and execute one idea well. That’s what I’d tell myself if could go back to 1991 and have a conversation with the 20 year-old me. At that age, I was always trying to rush to get there. I wanted to get rich quick – this month or next year. I was so driven to do it fast that I didn’t take the time to think and I didn’t have enough patience to realise that things can take time. I had a million ideas. I’d get something to a certain level and then I’d lose interest and start on something else. It meant I was never bored, but business is about turning a profit and when I look back now, I wish I’d done it differently. I’ve won a few awards over the last few years and I’ve met a lot other entrepreneurs as a result. Very few of them are as good as me. That might sound arrogant but in a way it’s a criticism of myself.
Nearly every one those people had one idea and they kept going. They may have tweaked or modified it along the way, but they persevered. If I’d stuck with a single one of my ideas and really mastered it I would have been far more successful, far earlier. I’m 53 now and I spent money as a 20 year-old that at a rate I wouldn’t dream of doing now. I’d get some cash and I’d spend the cash. In one year I bought 13 cars. I owned two Porches but I had very little understanding of how money works. Today, a brand new Porsche Boxster will set you back about £45,000. If you put that money into a Yorkshire Bank savings account that pays a (very modest) 1.15% interest it will be worth £45,520.24 in a year’s time. If you managed to get a return of 3.5% a year, that cash would be worth £63,825 in ten years. That’s interest of £18,825. Over thirty years at the same rate that £45,000 would become £128,397. How much would the two Porsches I bought nearly 30 years ago be worth now? A few grand. The sooner you can start putting money into stuff that earns compound interest, the better. It’s not very complicated: take a small amount of money and never touch it. Would I have listened to that advice when I was 25? Perhaps not. But I hope you will.