When Admir Rusidovic was five, he realised he was in love with fish. He would perch on the banks of grey-green rivers, dangling wriggling worms from sticks to see glistening fins flip-flipping their way towards him. And then, gently, gently... BAM - reel them in as fast as he could, hook through lip, out onto the grass to be measured.
Around two decades later, sitting behind an over-piled desk in a stuffy IT management company, he realised something profound. He still loved catching fish. So he started his own fishing shop.
"You have to have passion for the business" he says. "I worked non-stop and there were times when I didn't get a penny for it. If you didn't have the passion you wouldn't do that." But the hard work paid off - in the seven months since it was started, Any Tackle was voted number one angling store in Greater Manchester and one of the top 50 tackle shops in the UK by Angling Times.
For Louise Campbell, making a career out of what she enjoyed most had always seemed like the obvious option. At the age of sixteen - when most teenagers are either completely put off by the overwhelming weight of career choices or preparing to become X-factor winners - she determined that she would only ever work in the field she truly loved - art and design. Having resultantly always had jobs she enjoyed, it wasn't boredom that inspired her to take her side-line business - a site allowing jewellers and craft-makers to showcase and sell their work - to a full-time level. It was practicality.
"I love doing graphic design work, but I've got two children and that work is very long hours. I couldn't do both at the same time." Now she works on MyEhive.com from 9 am - 3 pm and is finished in time to pick up her kids from school and spend the afternoon with them.
Eric Partaker simply wanted to do his own thing. "I certainly enjoyed the entrepreneurial angle of Skype," he says of his previous job, "but in the end we were building someone else's dream rather than our own." So him and a co-worker set up Mexican restaurant Chilango, swiftly followed by a second, Mucho Mas. He grew up with in America eating lots of Mexican food and had always loved it. But with no experience as a restaurateur he wasn't exactly a dream investment.
Instead of struggling up the often-unscalable mountain of finding outside investors, Partaker thought it best to make the most of what his previous employment had provided him with: good friends with ready cash. He convinced Skype's founding engineers to back his new venture. Rusidovic also used what he'd gained in his previous job to build up his business, although for him this meant skills rather than contacts. His IT-know-how allowed him to build the site he wanted, without having to fork out for developers. Campbell used her graphic design expertise to draw up the visuals of her website exactly as she wanted them, meaning she could cut out the cost of hiring a designer.
But it took more than just using existing knowledge from previous jobs to get these businesses up and running. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, and no doubt some blood, sweat and chilli sauce along the way. "For the first three months I had 4 am wake-ups three times a week to get to the meat market on time," says Partaker. "It was tons of hard work, absolutely back-breaking." Rusidovic says, "Sometimes you work and work and work and you just don't see the end. You have to try so hard to keep yourself motivated." So how does he keep himself motivated?
"I have to keep thinking of the bigger picture - I think of my empire!" Conceding that an empire is slightly ambitious, he goes on to say he's working to support the family he hopes one day to have. Campbell attributes her perseverance to the confidence her husband continue to have in what she's doing. "I have a very supportive partner, which really helps. I don't think I could've done it alone."
Although she only works six-hour days, she explains that running a business still takes up most of her time. "It's all consuming in your head! I get quite obsessed - I'm always thinking about it. I can get quite distracted at home."
Long hours, obsessive thought patterns, never-ending hard work, problems with motivation - doesn't exactly sound like the description of a dream job. Is it worth it? "Absolutely," says Partaker. "I wouldn't change it for the world," says Rusidovic.
Campbell agrees. "You've just got to look inside and decide what makes you happy."
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