Master Thatcher to Online Entrepreneur! - Why and How a Master Thatcher would Go Digital!
For nearly three decades I have dedicated my career to becoming a Master Thatcher. It’s great work for keeping fit and strong in both mind and body, and often working in beautiful environments on some of the most quintessential English country cottages.
Ok, it’s perhaps not quite as romantic when 50 feet up a steep incline battling winds and rains, sliding around on ice or grafting for 10 hours in the hottest sunshine! But there is little more satisfying than seeing the end result of the best possible finish, knowing the care that I’ve taken with every square and the creativity and attention to detail in ridge patterns. If you are going to do a job, you may as well do it superbly well, and just keep getting better at it! Over the years I have attracted a fantastic team of skilled craftsmen who enjoy the same ethos and it’s great to share such trust in each other’s dedication, especially in the most trying conditions.
The Seeds of Growth
I am fortunate enough to live in a rural beauty spot on the South Downs in Hampshire. It’s a joy to wake up to each day amongst the hills as far as the eye can see. Every morning I walk Mia, my dog along the farm track at the end of my garden and have really become familiar with each tree and shrub on my route. I would see the planes overhead and wonder where they are going, see new growth on the ground from windblown seeds, and witness the continual movement and change of life as the seasons come and go. And, now in my middle years, it got me thinking about my own movement and growth, about what else I could do and become in this ocean of motion that we live in.
As these big inner questions started to become a habit, I was contacted by an old school friend, a girl who I have always loved and admired. She had just gone through a divorce and was creating a new life for herself and it was a joy to reminisce over our school days. I didn’t enjoy school much, but I did enjoy the happier picture of the past that she brought with her.
The Joy of Nurturing Other's Growth
Looking to the future, my friend told me she was passionate about pursuing her art in the form of home décor, namely wallpaper, and wanted to turn it into a creative business and was in the process of seeking a mentor and investment. Well, I know little about wallpaper and I am colour blind anyway so could not be remotely trusted to get involved in home décor. But, investment and some business guidance I could definitely help with. She was not expecting that from her old Thatching friend!
Here started the opening of a new phase and passion in my own life, an answering to those bigger questions I was asking of myself within. The joy and fulfilment I found, and since continue to find, in helping lead others to fulfil their dreams, has not only driven their development but my own growth and motivation to excel further in Thatching. For anyone to really see their dreams realised, it takes character to persist and weather the storms. I knew my friend had this character just as I had been literally weathering the storms for decades; thatch shows no consideration to us mere mortals as to when it needs repairing or replacing!
Digital Skills for Success
I will always encourage others to become self-employed, to take responsibility and conscious control of their results, and be the best they can be. And it’s so rewarding to be a helping hand in that. So, I thatched with new vigour to give more. And then, I ran into another hurdle. There are only so many hours in a day, week and month and I was still only one man and only so much profit one can create within integrity. How, as one man, can I extend my services, help provide the tools for many others to help themselves, to gain success?
What does every start-up, and indeed every business, need to succeed? Answer; presence on, and ability to leverage, the Internet.
Yep, even those of us who practise ancient crafts need to move into technology, at the least to have a website. Word of mouth and building good customer relations will always be the best recommendations for new business like mine but even then, we will still get googled as people do their (quite rightly) due diligence.
A Digital Thatcher?
Here – with any technology - I was well out of my comfort zone. Yes, I had owned a computer for a couple of years which I opened only when I had to, and I had a website, which I only knew was pretty good (for its time) by having had bad prior experiences with those ’techies’ who had taken full advantage of my ignorance and my willingness to pay others to do that of which I knew nothing. And I knew I was not the only one to get stung. Indeed, I was also paying very many thousands a year for SEO work with no idea whatsoever if it was fruitful, given that most of my work around the country was gained by word of mouth and examples of my work.
Due to the strong foundation of my business that I had built over a long period of time, I could pay for these services (whether they worked or not), but I had not invested in one individual who could consider stretching to such expense in their early stages. Hmmm! Maybe I needed to get some more education? Me, a thatcher, more interested in roaming the countryside, working with my hands, learning about the digital world if only to know enough about who and what was good to recommend to help grow a business online? Not likely! That was a bit steep, even for a thatcher! I didn’t even have or want a television, let alone want to sit in front of a computer screen other than to watch the odd YouTube video.
Having put such ideas aside in my mind, I met my now partner Emily, my next potential investment! Having also been in business before and brought up three children virtually single-handedly, Emily was also on her journey of self-development and seeking how to make a greater contribution to others. She was in the process of writing a book and presentations to help parents understand the nature of the mind and behaviour and how to bring up healthy, happy, positively achieving children. Having met her delightful kids, or young adults, I knew she had something going for her (not just myself!).
My Next Investment; More Than I Bargained For!
How can I help? I asked. How are you going to get your message out there to the masses? What’s your next move? How will you earn anything? Although equally as uninterested in sitting in front of a screen, she told me of an educational business model that taught you from scratch how to set up an online business called the Six Figure Mentors headed by two guys, Englishman Stuart Ross and Canadian Jay Kubassek. And she was about to get going with it so she could learn how to effectively reach people across the world. And it provided an opportunity to earn while you learn.
My ears pricked up as my mind went back to some of the YouTube videos I had watched (many of the same ones she was watching as it happened). Yes, I have heard of these guys, I had seen Stuart Ross advertise at the beginning of the videos and I had liked him and his authenticity. But I had not connected the dots in my mind that here was the answer I had been looking for that could help so many others move forward in this ‘digital economy’. I did my own due diligence and received a 7 day video series created by Stuart and Jay to show us, for free, the steps and concepts behind creating an online business that provided you with all the training, tools, resources and mentoring to learn all the skills you need to operate online – whether you use those skills for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Bingo! I was hooked!
The Birth of Grace and Goodall
We partnered – in business and in pleasure! Not only are we continuing to learn the skills to work online ourselves which is going to save my thatching business thousands of pounds a year in paying others to do whatever they were doing, but gaining more streams of income to use to invest in others. Not only this, but we can securely know with full heart that we can point others in the best direction to help themselves create the success they seek and deserve, whatever their purpose and dreams.
Stuart and Jay and the community of students they have attracted are full to brimming with integrity and a heartfelt mission to provide others with the tools and skills of the future. We know, as two technophobes, that if we can learn how to operate successfully in this digital world – and we’ll keep getting better at it - then anyone can! In fact, their teachings and business model are so ingenious that you don’t even need a message such as Emily has or a business such as I have, to become a successful online entrepreneur. Yes, for sure, it takes work and an ability to weather the storms when the going gets tricky as with any new undertaking. But it’s so worth it if you want to gain more freedom and flexibility in life.
The Freedom Available as an Online Entrepreneur
If I didn’t want to pursue Thatching and take it into a new era as a sustainable solution (more about that in another blog), I could actually just operate with a laptop and an internet connection. The automation of an online business offers freedom; freedom for Emily to be at home with the kids whilst also earning and writing and reaching those who can benefit from her teachings, freedom for me help others help themselves in the greatest ways, freedom to ensure work for my fantastic team and for us, in time, freedom to work from anywhere in the world whilst providing greater service for others. That’s the dream! Aren’t we so lucky with the opportunities available to us in this digital era to be able to learn how to work online, take control of our lives and fulfil our dreams.
Thanks for reading, I wish you every success.