Young dad Rhys Davies, 21, left school at 14 and jumped straight into his first six-figure business venture. Today, he’s dad to Ruby, four, and Dylan, two, juggling parenthood with a successful online store (www.yourjigsawpuzzles.co.uk) that he set up with just £25.
What work did you do before you set up your company?
I actually left school at a very young age (14) and started my own company. That business made six figures in the first year.
Online businesses have been my life and blood since then.
How did you fund the business?
We’ve been self-funded from the get go. A piece of advice I give every new business is that you don’t need to spend thousands to get started.
There are hundreds of free website themes, shopping carts, blogging platforms etc nowadays that there’s no need to waste money. The first version of our website was built using Magento (a free shopping cart) and a cheap £20 theme online.
We only splashed out and had a custom theme created for a few hundred pounds when the businesses proved viable and profitable.
Profit in first year?
As we are a fresh start-up and are still ripe for competition, we don’t generally disclose this. I can say that we’ve been profitable since day one and we are on track for a £100,000-plus turnover.
What was the motivating factor for starting this specific business?
All of my businesses in the past have content-driven websites. That involves sitting in front of the computer all day writing out content and emailing dozens of people every few hours.
I wanted something a little bit more physical and hands on. An ecommerce store fitted this need perfectly. The day is much more exciting when you have stock all over the place and seeing what people have ordered.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
For me business has always been about giving customers what they need and making sure they are happy first and the money is a side-effect.
When I get emails from customers saying that their husand/wife loved the jigsaw they bought for them, it makes my day. That for me is what a business is about and that’s what I enjoy the most.
Running a business can be a mixed bag sometimes. What have been you highs and lows so far?
This is so true. People sometimes signup to the idea of starting a business because it’s all rainbows and unicorns and it will make you a millionaire for doing nothing.
The fact of the matter is that business is a tough world sometimes.
As we are only a year old, we’ve not really had a major high-point. Although I think our first high point will be when we cross the million-pound turnover stage.
A recent semi-low was when we designed to get our website a facelift and embark on a massive back-end restructuring. What initially looked like an easy process (backup, install new files and then restore) turned into a massive headache.
It turns out that Magento isn’t very good at exporting custom variables that we’ve entered over the years. That means we lost all the data that included customer reviews, puzzle piece count, categories etc.
We had to go back and re-enter all these details for over 200-plus products. That wasn’t fun and felt like a never-ending battle.
How has running your business impacted on your relationship with your partner and children?
It’s been great. As I can essentially change my hours when need be, I can do what I want, when I need to. If they children have a day off school I can drop what I’m doing and have a family day out.
For the children it’s great because they can have both parents at home. It must be stressful for people who struggle to see the kids because of work. I do feel lucky.
Any tips for expectant mums, or parents who feel that you can’t have a successful career and a happy family life at the same time?
This is a hard question to answer because it relies on so many variables.
My opinion is to jump into the deep end and see for yourself if it works. If it doesn’t then make a choice. If you don’t try you will always just talk yourself out of it and never find out.