10.10.23 - Posted by Stephen Jenkins

Diary of a 40-Something Founder

3 min read

I think I’d always wanted to start my own company. I even did so at university, somewhat accidentally, when I ended up managing a couple of bands and several DJs for a few hedonistic years.

Close friends would remark that they always thought I would start something myself. But I never did. Until now.

My name is Stephen and I’m an almost 42-year-old, white, middle-class male, with an understanding wife and 2 beautiful boys. I think that description paints a picture of maybe why I’ve never left the comfort of employment: Fear and excuses.

Fear of running out of money and not being able to pay the bills or look after my family. Fear of not being as good as I always hoped I was. Fear of not being able to scale a business. Fear of doing this alone, without a partner to work alongside and share the experience, both good and bad.

These are all things I may explore in future posts, but for now I’ve got no more excuses. I’m doing this. And I want to do it as well as I possibly can.

So why the Medium posts? In all honesty, like most things in life, there were several reasons.

Firstly, I’ve realised I enjoy writing long-form content. As the company I’ve founded, Too Many Dreams Limited, is a marketing agency that provides content strategy and execution, it seemed essential that I keep practicing the art of creating a compelling story. It’s no good earning the 10,000 hours of practice and then never playing your instrument again.

It may go without saying — and with my British reserve I struggle to do so — but I intend to use this series of columns as a marketing asset (the horror!). All content, but particularly that which can be shared socially, can be used to reach, engage and grow your audience, so that is what I will do. I’ll share any learnings from this approach along the way.

And finally, but perhaps most importantly, I thought this forum may be a good way to catalogue and comment on what happens as I attempt to start a business and make it a success. The ups and downs, successes and failures, and lessons learnt that hopefully lead to some new understanding — for me, I’m sure, and hopefully for some of you too.

There seem to be hundreds of mavens of industry out there (Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Kahneman), many of whom I consume passionately, however they all seem intimidatingly successful. I found far fewer examples of ordinary people, trying to build something, but being open and honest when they trip and fail.

I’m no sage, but I do believe in sharing and helping wherever I can. I really hope my ramblings here have some value, beyond virtual chip paper, and resonate with whoever choses to read them.

Who knows? I hope it’s somewhat interesting, even as just a piece of prose. I’m going to try and post regularly, as I think my self-employed life needs a bit more structure, but do tell me what you think, so I know where I’m going right and wrong. Hopefully then this founder’s fumblings can be valuable to more than just me and my clients.

10.10.23 - Posted by Stephen Jenkins
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