MBA school may challenge you; it could also destroy you.

In 2014 I embarked an executive MBA which had been a lifelong ambition. From a young age and living in remote Zimbabwe, I was impressed by our very clever neighbour who had an MBA and worked for the UN. He saved people and I wanted to be like him. The day I started was one of my happiest days.  My second happiest day was the day I graduated.  

The journey took up most weekends, crippled my social life; my bank balance and my relationship. I wasn’t joking when I said MBA School could destroy you. 

When you attend MBA School you learn some great things and meet great people. The entire experience was great. It is not the immediate effect of MBA School that destroys you or affects your bank balance. In most cases a career development loan and some sponsorship satisfy the short term. It is in fact the aftermath of an MBA that will destroy you.

Completing my MBA gave me the confidence and arrogance that I could take on anything. With that I threw away a great city job, a flat in London and moved to the countryside with my two sausage dogs. I setup my own web design, web marketing and web analytics consultancy. The focus was new business start-ups. I wanted to help people make their dreams a reality and enable them to quit the rat race. With eight years IT experience behind me I thought had enough business acumen.

The web consultancy did well and I won new business every month. The problem was this new business did not pay London salaries. I found myself over spending and living beyond my means. Being an entrepreneur was meant to be cool and glamorous!  On near bankruptcy I returned to London (commuting), to my loyal city career which had me back.  

The web consultancy is now run by a business partner.  What almost destroyed me has also made me a better, humble person. I now appreciate my city job and have a new found energy. Having attempted entrepreneurship, I prefer being employed (sorry MBA school, being a Zuckerberg  is not everyone’s dream).

My advice to anyone doing /completing an MBA is: use your new found knowledge wisely. Plan your finances post your MBA.   

In addition, the UN is run by accountants who save money, not lives.

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Why SMART objectives are one of the keys to business success!

I recently volunteered my web marketing  services for a charitable organisation. I offered to create a newly launched website which would aid their brand image and capture data where legally applicable. What started off as a straight forward project turned into a time consuming, painful  and time wasting exercise. The reason: they never valued my time. But more importantly, because they were getting it for free, no person was accountable for the cost.

One of the first lessons I was taught at university from a £500 per day business consultant was never to offer your time for free. Why? Because people never value it. Its taken me 10 years to learn this lesson.  

If someone is paying you for a service, you should feel obliged to deliver some value for money. If you are paying for a service, you expect a return. If you have paid for a service and its not up to standard you can get a refund.  When you are offering something for free and deliver poor service; the client simply wont use it because ‘ it was free’.

The key lesson is if you do offer something for ‘free’ have clear timescales, have clear deliverables and a cut off time.  As they say in business school, always have SMART objectives.

My advice, when you have invested  in your business and education,  never give away your knowledge and experience for free. If people are not willing to pay for something, they generally have no value or need for the service in the first place.

So whatever you do, always keep it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely !!

Self-doubt: the modern day dream killer.

What is stopping you from quitting your job and following your passion? What is stopping you from applying for that dream job or making that career change? The answer is simply self-doubt. Self-doubt is a dream killer. Do not listen to it. Instead say I can and I will!

I recently left a fabulous career in investment banking to set up my own business. I loved my job and the people I worked with, but I felt that there was more to life;  more to life than the rush hour commute, the long hours and the constant feeling of exhaustion fuelled by boozy nights. After 6 months of planning, I left the safety of a salary to focus on my business: Ralph Web Media.

Ralph Web Media is a web design and online marketing business for new business start-ups. We design and deliver websites for new businesses using pre built web templates, the use of which keeps the costs down for clients. Our services range from logo design, embedding Google analytics, delivering paid advertising campaigns which aim to increase web traffic and the sales of products and services online.

The whole experience has been the most terrifying, yet rewarding experience but every day I wake up with a feeling that can only be described as an elephant sitting on my chest. Regularly I question myself- what if I can’t pay my mortgage next month? What if the client doesn’t like what I have produced? What if I don’t succeed? These types of questions are self-doubt manifesting and killing our dreams. These are the exact thoughts which are holding us back.  That’s why we kill self-doubt with the words: I can and I will.

Slowly but surely clients have liked the work we produce, clients have recommended us to other clients and I am able to pay my mortgage. I am constantly looking at new ideas, consistently working to win new business and looking at how I can help more people to start their own businesses.

Self-doubt is a dream killer. Do not listen to it. Do not let it manifest itself. Instead, say I can and I will! With enough drive, passion and planning you will achieve your dreams.  You just need to say I can and I will, and you will!

It all started when...

A fluffy, grey rat called Ralph took up residence in a flat in London. Ralph was no pet, he was a feral rat trying to make a life for himself and his baby rats.The problem was the owner of the flat Laura Winkler, quite liked Ralph until he started leaving presents in her kitchen and stealing food. Like Ralph, Laura was also a city rat trying to make a life for herself. It all came to a head when Ralph's friends came for multiple parties and Laura made the terrible decision to exterminate Ralph. The following grey, winter days ahead Laura immersed herself in writing content for websites as a hobby. This soon evolved to her using her IT banking skills to create websites as favours for friends. When Ralph died #RipRalph it inspired her to quit the rat race and focus full time on all things web. This is how Ralph Web Media was born.

Since then Ralph has grown from strength to strength, won more business than it could have dreamed of and launched multiple business websites.