05 – PASSION
It’s your business. Your idea, your USPs, your creation. But is it your passion too?
In 2007 I began selling books online. It was only a few a day at first but it generated a couple of hundred pounds a week – which was a lifesaver at the time. Of course, the stock was finite, and within a few moths the money started to dry up us the books were sold. In a (faintly rare) moment of clarity I sourced a new supply – I approached as many charity shops as I could find in the East End and took their excess stock for a donation…and, blow me, I had my very own cottage industry!
I converted my shed and shelved it from top to bottom in cheap mdf – this meant I could ‘hold’ as many as 500 books. I specialised in ‘pre-isbn’ or ‘antiquated’ books – those that held the most value – and soon the £200 a week became £300 then £400… I’d generated an income, a living wage, out of items other people had thrown away. I was shocked – and believe me I was very passionate about it!
With a friend I incorporated the business as FNM Books Ltd. We rented a warehouse and set out to buy up all excess, pre-1971 books in London and Essex, at one point we had over 70,000 on the shelves. All rustled up from nothing – the immediate outlay was negligible – of course the premises and logistics turned out not to be.
In 2010, or there abouts, I met with a chap called Arthur Maxfield who was doing the same thing down in Worthing, Sussex. He invited us down to his place to see how his operation worked. I was greeted by 60 articulated lorries, two facilities the size of Wembley and 300 staff. Arthur was passionate too. His company? World of Books Ltd.
Passion alone will not make you as successful a businessman as Arthur Maxfield, of course. There’s determination, logic, bravado, wit, intelligence, management skills. But…
…it’s a damn good start…