“If you get rejected from three McDonald’s, you have to start thinking outside the box.”
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That line always gets the biggest reaction when people watch my clip The Hustlers Mentality. It means a lot because it really underpins why I am here today.
I was born and raised in Greater Manchester, UK. Namely Salford, home of Manchester United, as well as thousands of poor or working-class families in the 1980’s. As one of 7 family members sharing a two bedroom apartment above our family convenience store, life started off really challenging. Budgets at home were tight. Christmas celebrations and school trips were not guaranteed. Racism was an inhibitor at both a school and career level. That said, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The bed I slept in was in our living room, directly above the door of the shop I would walk in and out of every day to go to school. I was raised behind a shop counter before I could even sit up. Business and entrepreneurship ran through my blood from my very first memory. I jumped right into work from an early age, serving customers, buying from wholesalers and sharpening my instinct around how to win a customers attention, and their business.
“I can talk about it now because I’ve actually done the work.”
This foundation and a love for technology eventually led me to write a dissertation on how the future of mobile technology could be an opportunity to get into the pockets and minds of consumers in 2001. The first dotcom bubble crashed around then, so I relocated to Toronto to establish the first independently owned ringtones portal in 2004. I made some celebrity relationships around this time, so I doubled down on my passion for throwing parties and DJing – along with shooting interviews with artists for YouTube.
By 2008, another start-up I joined early on, PaidContent, got sold to The Guardian, leaving me with a little payout. Social networks were on the rise and I predicted a massive future appetite for content so I started Creative Content Agency. Initially, on-boarding clients was tricky, but as platforms like Facebook and YouTube grew, so did the business. I met and interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk several times and the rest is history (unless you want to dig through all my social networks and figure out the rest).