It was 1983. 5 am each morning, I would hear my alarm go off and within ten minutes, I was out the door, on my bike and en route to meet my employer. The coldest of winter mornings were the hardest but this minor barrier didn’t deter me from my mission, which was to deliver milk, by the way.
The guy I worked for was loving it, as he watched me leap from the milk float on each street corner at lightning speed to deliver those full-fat bottles of joy in gold top format. Hundreds of households in suburban Horsham in West Sussex, UK enjoyed a great service, for as long as it lasted. I’m not sure where I got the idea from but I recall approaching about three milkmen on their rounds before successfully bagging a gig as a runner.
Thinking back now, I understand why I did it, but at the time I didn’t think too hard, it was just a gut feeling and something I felt I had to do. It’s certainly wasn’t for the money (50p a day for 2 hours work wasn’t much even in the ’80s, but there were some perks along the way, including the odd loaf of Mother’s Pride bread to take home).
Sure, money was an incentive but at thirteen I had no real concept of value, apart from the cost of sweets from the school tuck shop. Regardless, I just didn’t care enough to ask. The goal wasn’t to be a milkman or take over the milk business.
Money, like most entrepreneurial businesses, is simply a byproduct of success and stems from what sets out to be an idea, a goal or a vision. Delivering milk, at the time, was simply a tiny stepping stone, a means to an end, something I just wanted to do, to have my own little self-made pot of gold so ultimately I could buy The Best of the Jam cassette on sale at Our Price.
So what does it take to be an entrepreneur in the modern era? It seems to be more in vogue these days, whether you’re a tech startup, indie record label or just an individual who has a vision and is on a mission.
I like this quote from Mr. Jobs; I’ve never been much of a follower but do respect what a lot of people have achieved and how they overcame their obstacles. Success doesn’t have to be Apple, Nike or GoPro; success is measured by what you set out to achieve.
Some are more ambitious than others and that’s a choice every entrepreneur should understand. In your heart of hearts, what is it you want to achieve? It’s the getting there, that’s the hard bit.