Entrepreneur Andy Hill used his flair for digital media and animation to start up a small marketing company in the spare room of his house. Napoleon Limited still operates from that spare room, but now employs a team of freelance specialists to deliver digital marketing and branding expertise to high profile clients including Argos and JD Sports.
“When I left Edge Hill University, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I met someone who worked as a Studio Manager for AO.com and started working for them as a digital animator, honing my skills in motion graphics. I started taking on freelance work and eventually went full-time, but found it very difficult to get in with big companies as a sole trader.
“I decided to launch Napoleon Limited in 2013 to build on my reputation as an animator and use the marketing skills I’d learnt on my course. I knew there were gaps in my knowledge so I taught myself the marketing skills I needed in the evenings and worked my way up to Associate Level of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. As the company began to grow I knew I couldn’t do everything myself, so I started to build up a team of freelancers. Although I’m mostly concerned with strategy now, I still keep my hand in and work as part of the team on some projects. It’s important to keep your skills fresh and, when you’re the one talking to clients, it’s good to know what you’re talking about.
“Edge Hill gave me the tools of the trade to start up my own business. As well as the raw skills, my course taught me about project management, how to use my time effectively and the importance of building relationships, which are all vital to running a business. It definitely set me on the right path.”
Andy’s top tips for budding entrepreneurs
Take every opportunity that comes along. Nothing will be handed to you on a plate so take advantage of everything that comes your way, you never know where it might lead.
Don’t put things off. Big or small, don’t leave them until later because things won’t always wait for you.
Be approachable. The hard sell fails 90 per cent of the time. Promote yourself as a helper and consult from the inside rather than dictating from the outside.