It was in 1996 while on holiday with my children in Florida that I received inspiration from an unlikely source. I was visiting Disney’s MGM Studios when I popped in to watch the Walt Disney story. I was surprised to discover that he had been made bankrupt twice which made me think, ‘if it could happen to a man like him there was no shame in it happening to a mere mortal like me’. Disney’s words “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” made a real impact and left me determined to make a success of my life.
I was renovating my house when an old friend that I’d played football with rang me out of the blue. When he asked me what I was doing I had to admit ‘not a lot’! He went on to tell me about new Welsh Assembly funded grant schemes which aimed to help people on low incomes improve their homes with insulation and new boilers. He needed someone who knew about central heating systems and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I underwent training on the grant paperwork and soon found myself back on the road as an Energy Surveyor. My role was to assess a house, decide what improvements were needed and pass the job on to a company to do the installation work.
I thoroughly enjoyed the work, traveling around the Swansea area, meeting people and giving help to those who needed it. My knowledge of central heating meant that I could do more work than anyone else, often managing fourteen home visits a day. Though I worked long hours, I was organised and enjoyed being so productive. It was clear to me that there was huge business potential in the area of grant supported home improvements.
With substantial grant funding available to Swansea Council to improve their housing stock I started working for Miller Pattison, an insulation installer, assessing homes for loft and cavity wall insulation. For a hardworking boy like me this was a profitable job, with far greater rewards available than from assembly funded boilers. In time, I progressed to hiring assessors to cover the rest of Wales and I was increasingly involved in paperwork and organising the workloads of others. With my sales ‘mojo’ back and my self-confidence restored, I decided that the time was right to establish my own business once again.