Basil tells about how the freedom of being his own boss enabled him to pursue his personal ambitions.
I used to work in procurement and project management for a variety of companies and organisations, from the police force to a brewery to international royalty. However, after six years in the industry and having made it to head of my own department I decided enough was enough, I hated what I was doing and had proved to myself that I was walking away not because I couldn't cut it but because I didn't enjoy it. So I left and set up my own consultancy business while also pursuing my passion for rowing by becoming a rowing coach around my consultancy work.
The consultancy led to me setting up various other projects with contacts I had made in previous roles and in the industry. Currently one of the things I am working on is a project importing Chinese marble into Australia for the booming housing industry there; sounds boring but it allows me to pursue other more interesting projects such as creating an app with rowing colleagues to help manage rowing squads, training, attendance, and equipment allocation within clubs.
The freedom of being my own boss and taking on the projects and work I want means I can pursue my personal ambitions. When I was living in Australia I decided that I wanted to focus on my rowing for a period and see how far I could push myself and what I could achieve - I was rowing at one of the top clubs in Melbourne and competing against full time athletes for a seat in the top boats. Ultimately I managed to pick up wins at Australian Henley and both State and National Championships, as well as coaching a women's squad to wins at the same events.
Ultimately I would like to start to move out of the consultancy and focus more on funding projects with friends. An ex-crewmate from rowing and I keep talking about opening a cafe in Paris where he has moved to, or another friend and I are looking to create our own line of handmade sculling boats.
To anyone looking to set out on their own I would suggest getting a good grounding in the business world, particularly in whichever field you want to move into. Also if you find yourself in the situation I did where you are doing a job you hate but you are good at then try to find some way of marrying your passion with your talent, don't do something that you dislike just because it pays well. Look at everything around you and always try to see if there is a better or more efficient way of doing things. Be a leader in your workplace, most people don't care what decision is made so long as you make it and can justify why you made it.
The lessons I learnt during my time at St James were not ones I was in a position to appreciate or fully utilise at the time. However they are ones that have come to help guide me in my life both personally and professionally, from being a leader in everything I do to pausing and thinking, removing myself from gut reaction or the emotion of a situation and allowing myself to take a step back and see the bigger picture then act accordingly.
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