This week, Jack, a New Media graduate talks about his experience of setting up his own business, WayWest Design – he explains how the Enterprise opportunities at the University have helped him throughout his entrepreneurial journey and what benefits this experience has brought him. If you’re interested in starting your own business, read on and don’t forget to check out the Leeds University Start up Service page on our website for more information.
About my business:
I’m Jack Weston, founding Director at WayWest Design. We provide expert services in Web and App Development, Digital Design and Illustration, Photography, Videography, Motion Graphics, SEO Consultancy, Marketing Consultancy & Digital and Marketing Strategy to our worldwide client base. Our purpose is to deliver specialist knowledge in our field as well as maintaining a personal quality for our clients.
WayWest was established whilst I was still studying at the University of Leeds. I have always had passion for design so I began designing logos, graphics and websites for friends and family members free of charge in order to gain experience and add to my portfolio. From there, I was recommended to people and businesses outside of my network, rapidly increasing my profile and has spiraled into the successful business that it is today.
As is the case with most ventures this was not an overnight triumph and I have been continuing to learn every single day about technology, the industry and how to run a business. The key is to keep up to date on new ideas and be open to change. Even the most experienced entrepreneur knows that you have to always be open-minded, the world is constantly changing, therefore adapting and innovating is essential, particularly for the Media industry.
Over the last 4 years we have expanded from just myself to a highly skilled team of 15 and growing, encompassing collaborative design alongside our diverse range of international clients to help their businesses thrive. We now have extended our services around the globe primarily in the UK, Australia, South East Asia and the UAE.
How my University experience has helped me:
Leeds University has provided me with the fundamental skills to be able to become a professional digital project manager. New Media, the course in which I studied, is a very unique course in the UK, teaching the latest practices in the ever changing media world. Technology and communication dominate modern society and the world is now smaller and more accessible in every way. Although passion and drive is crucial in achieving any aspirations, education; having the skills necessary, is just as important.
What’s more, the experience of living in a vibrant city like Leeds during my studies gave me an appetite to explore music scene, which I am also passionate about and which encouraged me to unite music and my web-design skills to succeed in the Year in Enterprise and the Enterprise Scholarship programs. These are offered to students who have a workable business plan and wish to spend their third year developing their own business. This was an incredible learning curve for me, I shared an office space at the Leeds Innovation Centre with other entrepreneurs, I had a business mentor, a solicitor, accountant and academic tutoring, all helping me through the process of starting my own business. This venture was a music event ticket platform for the Leeds area and although the website was active and successful, it proved to be unprofitable and I later decided to put all of my efforts in to building WayWest Design. My advice for anyone to starting their own business is that you should not be afraid to fail, learn from the mistakes and use it in a positive way on anything else your pursue. ‘Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success’ Napoleon Hill.
Fast forward to the present, after graduating this year, I have now taken my business ‘on the road’. I have adapted my business model so that I have the flexibility and freedom to work anywhere in the world as long as I am able to connect to the internet. Living the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle means I am able to continue to grow my business as well as exploring the world. I am currently based Bali, Indonesia, working hard and enjoying the unique culture and astonishing scenery at the same time.
It is important to realise that my way of life is available to anyone that desires it. Firstly you need passion for your desired profession, then the education and skills and plan to attain your goal. Today’s modern world means that advice is available at the click of a button. ‘The power of ask’ is a method I have found extremely beneficial. Believe it or not successful people love to share their success story and offer advice. If you want to open a coffee shop, why not ask a coffee shop owner how they did it? Also, be on the lookout for opportunity – it is everywhere, even at the most remote corners of the world. I would also suggest you utilise social media as much as you can, we are lucky to live in a world where anyone with a laptop, Wi-Fi and an idea can start their own online business. With Leeds being at the forefront on entrepreneurship in the UK, the university winning the Guardian University Award for Enterprise this year as well as University of the Year award 2017, there has never been a better time or place to begin your venture.
‘Let go of doubts and start believing you can do whatever it is you set out to do’ – Jack Canfield
Find out about our latest projects on all social media platforms (Waywest Design) or visit www.waywestdesign.com.
Feeling inspired to start your own business? As mentioned above, there are several ways the university can support you – take a look at the SPARK page to find out more about Year in Enterprise, the Enterprise Scholarship and more. Come and talk to us for any additional support.