Starting a business in 2020…

Starting out in business in 2020 has been tough so far.  After being made redundant back in July, I was forced into creating a new business far sooner than I had anticipated.

But I wasn’t starting from scratch…I was starting from experience.  From 16 years in the education sector, as a teacher and senior leader – I’ve learnt a thing or two about facilitating learning for others.  From more recently working in the education-technology sector – I’ve learnt about platforms, websites, quality assurance…and more importantly – making technology work for the customer, not just for me.

Small steps…


I’m not usually a fan of to-do lists, however on this occasion it was the first thing I did.  In fact, it was more of a to-do book!

I filled pages with everything in my head.  Everything I needed to do to create courses and start earning money…and then I started working through the list, ticking-off each item one by one.  Had I not made a list, I truly believe it would have seemed like an unmanageable task – but with every action completed, no matter how small or insignificant; I felt like I was making progress and moving one step closer to hosting my first course.

I sought advice from trusted friends, family and professional connections.  This stage proved invaluable to me, as I realised I wasn’t alone in this and that people were willing to help me – all I had to do was ask.


It’s the getting, not the doing…

A key piece of advice came from Chris Whiteley, from the 21st Century Leadership Company, with a ‘penny-dropping’ moment for me when he explained the importance of prioritising getting the work, as opposed to doing it.  I know I can run high-quality training courses, deliver excellent customer service and look after the delegates in my care; but all of that is useless if I can’t get the work in the first place.

Over the past few months I’ve invested both time and money in social media coaching (Thanks Immy!), new I.T equipment, my own continued professional development and training – and a brand-new website, from Daniel James Design.  I’ve listened to feedback and accepted help from others – determined to make it easier for potential customers to book onto my courses in the first place.

From rural Worcestershire to New York City…

It’s still tough.  I’m not there yet, wherever ‘there’ is…but I’m still motivated and driven to make a success of my new business.

The shift in focus has worked though.  I’ve managed to attract new business from Suffolk, Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and even New York!  In fact, from being made redundant back in July, I have now delivered 9 courses to a variety of schools, nurseries, architects and a FTSE 100 wealth management company.  I’m pretty pleased with that.

Pleased, but not complacent.  There’s a great deal of work still to do.


Matt is passionate about sharing knowledge with others and supporting those experiencing poor mental health.  He currently volunteers as a crisis counsellor for ShoutUK; helping others experiencing anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

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