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22 and my own boss

Meet the 22-year old AAT qualified serial entrepreneur who went from working in River Island to setting up and operating three successful businesses.

Leaving school

David Hassall never enjoyed school and left at 16 equipped with nothing more than drive and ambition. Whilst debating his next move, David started working for River Island but “the monotonous tasks and low pay” were a temporary measure as venturing out into the business world was always on his mind. And he did just that.

“I’ve always wanted to work for myself and whilst working at River Island I noticed a gap in the market for accountancy services and bookkeepers in particular.”

David jumped into this opportunity head first and set up his own accountancy firm Leicester based DH Business Support at the age of 17 whilst studying for his AAT qualification. Two years later, David co-founded another operation, Tyreforce. But there was no taming this serial entrepreneur because three years ahead he’s at it again!

“I’ve always had the ethos that if I work hard now then I will be financially comfortable for the rest of my life.”

The serial entrepreneur

Having managed his own accountancy firm and religiously used Xero– the accounting software for small businesses, David saw yet another business opportunity. “I identified the need for a publication that delivered independent advice by and for people who use Xero on a daily basis.”

So the idea to launch a new independent magazine for Xero users “XU Magazine” in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA seemed only natural to this brainchild.

Getting funding

David decided to take the crowdfunding route. Crowdfunding involves a number of people making contributions to your business idea online and is fast becoming the alternative to the conventional bank loan. David had no previous experience in crowdfunding but knew if he worked hard the benefits would go beyond just raising the money. “I knew if my campaign was successful and investors were willing to contribute towards it then people were going to buy my magazine.”

Although it’s not as easy as it sounds. Crowdfunding takes a lot of effort and dedication: “It was quite an intensive three weeks of no sleep whilst the campaign was running.”

But it was worth the labour when David’s idea raised a remarkable $30,000USD (against his $25,000USD target) in just 21 days via the platform Indiegogo helping turn this business idea into reality.

Avoiding misconceptions

One of the hardest challenges for young entrepreneurs is tackling the common misconception that without experience they can’t run a business effectively. David jokes that he has “always been fortunate in looking older” than he actually is.

When questioned about this David reveals “networking is essential in establishing a reputation when you’re so young in an industry that relies typically on experience.” In fact, he points to an important facet of entrepreneurship “building contacts and creating relationships is essential if you hope to grow as a business as well as overcome these misconceptions.”

Entrepreneur or wantrepreneur?

Successful entrepreneurs can achieve hero status in our culture and it seems everybody wants a piece of the glory. Which begs the question: Are entrepreneurs made or born?

In David’s opinion: ‘Born! Entrepreneurs are motivated by their love for business whereas wantrepreneurs are driven by the status attached to being an entrepreneur.’

Words of wisdom

All entrepreneurs have to deal with negative experiences at some time or another. You’ll have moments of ‘total despair and frustration so it’s important to be open about your feeling – don’t mask emotions’.

‘When you’re willing to be emotionally honest, you can connect more deeply with people around you and create strong relationships with people whom you trust with your livelihood.’ David concludes: ‘We all have bad days but you’ll also have ridiculous highs where you feel like you’re on top of the world.’

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