According to Myers Briggs I'm an ENFJ-A AKA An Assertive Protagonist*

..meaning I feel called to serve a greater purpose in life. I'm thoughtful, kind and idealistic, forever striving to have a positive impact on other people and the world around me. I rarely shy away from an opportunity to do the right thing, even when doing so is far from easy. I'm a hard working, family man with 6 kids (and no that's not a typo) just doing what I do because I love IT!

*The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is a self-report inventory designed to identify a person's personality type, strengths, and preferences. The questionnaire was developed by Isabel Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs based on their work with Carl Jung's theory of personality types. Today, the MBTI inventory is one of the most widely used psychological instruments in the world.

This photo is of me and my extended family, taken around the time of "COVID Christmas" 2020 AKA one of the weirdest years on the planet, ever, and all bar Megan & James (my eldest daughter and her partner sat at the back) all of our kids still live at home so as you can imagine "working at home" took on a whole new meaning in 2020/21!

Hi I'm Neil, I'm just an ordinary guy who believes anything is possible and that anyone can do anything. After leaving school at 16 I went onto to college to study technical art and design and then subsequently started a career within the print trade, like my father before me and his before him, but this was the dawn of the digital age and the print trade was fast becoming obsolete so I left that behind and went into retail just as Next Plc hit the high street. Switching Retail for Technology I joined Alcatel Lucent (now part of Nokia) in 1992 and over the next 7 years worked my way up from a field-based Sales Consultant to The Head of Sales UK managing a team of 50+ with a combined sales target of c£20m.

In 1999 I decided to leave the corporate world behind and start my own business, and so began my entrepreneurial journey. I was just turning 30 and figured it was now or never. At the time I was recently married with 2 kids, a small mortgage (£28k I think from memory) and a six figure corporate salary. Yep, I was earning well over £100k a year when I said "f*ck it, I'm doing this thing", so leaving the "security" of my well paid corporate job didn't go down that well with everyone within my family circle but I knew I had to follow my heart, or was it my head?

Maybe it was both.

You'll know what I mean.

Truth be told It was actually a colleague of mine that pointed out to me "you'll never earn any money working for someone else" that led me to finally make up my mind, hand in my resignation and go it alone, although I later learnt that statement was a total and utter load of crap but it sounded about right at the time.

Little did I know it would go on to shape the next 30 years of my life.

So, I founded Futurcom (my 1st business) with £50k of my own money and set about becoming a trusted ICT solutions provider specialising in mid-market, multi-site technology solutions. I quickly grew sales from zero to £1.4m before successfully exiting the business through a trade sale.

So far so good :-)

I was young, what did I know? 

I certainly didn't know much about running a business or different asset classes, investment vehicles, bonds, stocks, options and so on but thankfully I knew that every businesses needed technology, which quickly led me to think BIGGER, after-all this was the time of dot-com boom!

So, having been approached by PwC to pitch my 2nd business to a group of investors, I headed off to The Strand to pitch FOCAS (Free Online Communications Advisory Service) in an attempt to raise....

Wait for it...


...£250,000

Doh!

Not knowing a thing about business finance, or investment funding, or Series A, needless to say I didn't get the money. They politely told me I should've asked for £5m or £10m, and had I have done they'd have signed me a check right there and then and we'd have been off to the races.

Mind blown!

£5m -£10m, for a teeny tiny piece of my little ol' business, what just happened? I couldn't comprehend it. So I left with a book the size of the bible on "Knowing your IP (Intellectual Property)" and off I went back to my life to try and wrap my head around it all.

I struggled.

But like I said, I was young, I thought I knew it all, and I figured I was already pretty well off.

Little did I know...

Because next came the dot-com bust.  

Oh sh*t, now what?

Well that was 2002 and we're now in 2022 so if you're really that interested you can read up on what happened over the next 20 years on my LinkedIn profile but to cut a long story short that one question that I was asked as I stood in front of my peers, namely "what is it that you really want" stuck with me, led me to question everything I knew, everything I had, everything I didn't have and ultimately went on to shape my future in unimaginable ways.

Having enjoyed (financial) success at quite an early age I later went on to lose pretty much everything I'd ever worked for, including my marriage, my home, my businesses, all my assets and most of my friends. 

They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I'd tend to agree. After some serious realignment of my life goals and priorities, I'm pleased to say that I am now very well balanced, happier, healthier, wealthier and far more content than I've ever been in my entire life. 

Nowadays I'm simply too blessed to be stressed. 

It's not been an easy ride but no-one ever said it would be, and so I wouldn't change a thing. I'm here now, I love what I do and I have a great work-life-balance.

That's me, what about you?