When you are young and at school, it is often hard to look forward and imagine how your life might be. What you think you will be doing and what you actually end up doing may be very different. I interviewed Charlie Walker, a twenty-six-year-old man who has a fiancée, a house and is a sole trader running his own business. Charlie lists tools, gadgets and cars as his interests. Read on to find out what he does and how he worked hard to put everything together in order to achieve his goals.
Starting at the beginning
When I interviewed Charlie, well, I started at the very beginning. I was interested to hear his schoolboy ambitions and how he thought that his life may pan out. Charlie laughed as he said “well, I`m 26 now so school was a few years ago! What I do remember is everyone asking me what I wanted to do. Everyone always asks you that in school like you are ever going to know the answer at school age!” He went on to say `I remember saying I want a job that pays…a lot! `
We talked around how school had been for Charlie and there were many stories that he had regarding his favourite subjects and his friends. “Everyone has good and bad points about school, don’t they?” he laughed.
We all have had the odd job that we can say we did while at school or afterwards. It may have been a paper round before school or a Saturday job at a supermarket. Charlie is certainly no different. He distinctly remembers doing a paper round in the mornings up until he went to college. “Doesn’t everyone do a paper round?” he laughed as I shook my head.
“I`ve also done a few other odds and ends” Charlie reported to me. “I worked at Esporta Health Club. I did temping in a Decathlon Store at Christmas. I worked as well, in a local Gap Outlet store.”
Moving around to his current skills, I asked Charlie how his interest in plumbing materialised. He simply smiled and said “Dad.” It was evident on listening to his story that “Dad” had been the lynchpin for him. He was the rock for Charlie when maybe Charlie himself didn’t know where to go or what to do.
Charlie told me the story in his own words. “I didn’t do well in my exams at college in the first year, so my dad suggested it would be a waste of time to go back for the second year.” Charlie explained. He continued “He (Dad) suggested something practical like heating and gas, hey presto! I enrolled at a college and it went from there. I worked for a limited plumbing company that was local to home and then I was subcontracted out to various companies.”
Charlie is now a sole trader running his own business. He is extremely proud of it as he should be. While he does not have a web site, he does have a Facebook page where his work can be seen with before and after photos. Please see the link above.
Charlie explained that he doesn’t have a website or anything as he never needed/wanted it. All of his work is word of mouth through people that are known to him. He has found this to be a safer and more convenient working environment for himself, he always gets paid, and the customers are nice and friendly
Charlie explained that he had previously subcontracted for companies. “I’ve subcontracted for many companies and one business owner in particular gave me the confidence to go out, work hard and earn from this trade” he said. As memories flooded back, he laughed “I’d subbed for one guy who was clueless and remember thinking if you can do it then so can I!”
What do you do
“If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would say, I do all plumbing work including gas, heating, bathroom installations.”
Pro`s and Con`s of having your own business
“This one is an easy question; I have been asked this before” said Charlie. “Here are my good points”. Charlie took no time at all in listing them for me,
“I have no one to answer to. I am accountable and responsible for my own work. I like being able to take the time I need to and want to. I can do a really nice job without being rushed. I find that I am able to help people, advise and look after them. And of course, the best one is if you want the odd day off, the only person you have to fight with is yourself!”
“You know what I am going to ask now” I said smiling at Charlie. “ He looked at me and answered “Here are your bad points! I find manual labour can be taxing. It is part of the job though and something that has to be done. When I am too busy, it can be stressful, but then on the other hand it can be stressful worrying about not enough work! I used to hate accounts. Who am I kidding? I still do! But I rectified that by finding an accountant.”
What is your most favourite part of working for yourself?
“My days are so varied sometimes” Charlie explained. “I meet so many new people. Sometimes I meet the funniest people through work and that can make my day so much brighter.”
Charlie raised his eyes and smirked. “When the job and time is against you, nothing is going to plan, and you’re supposed to be at a restaurant, washed and in a fresh set of clothes 5 minutes ago! Sometimes work just doesn’t go the way I plan. I am lucky though, my fiancée understands.”
Roll forward the calendar 5 years.
“I`ll be like Del-Boy on Only Fools and Horses, “This time next year, I`ll be a millionaire!” Seriously though, if I can carry on as I am, work continues as it has been and my life and family support me…what more could a man want?”
Interviewing Charlie was an absolute pleasure. It was refreshing to see a young man who knew what he wanted, how he could do it and set out to achieve those goals. For someone to be running their own business is a challenge. To be running it and succeeding at it and having fun too, that is phenomenal.