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LOVE & LIFE

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When I was 20(ish).

Around 1991.

My first business turned over £36,000.

And the two of us that ran it took home about £2,400 a year each.

When I was 23 I joined the McDonald’s graduate programme on £13,000.

When I was 25 I joined Project North East on about £18,000 as a trainer and business consultant.

When I was 27 I set up Building up Business, a business support programme in the North East of England, and I was paid £25,000.

When I was 27 I worked at Universities in the evening too, earning an additional £5,000.

When I was 29 I worked for Sunderland University and was paid £40,000.

When I was 30 I ran a new business and was paid £0 for 2 years.

When I was 32 I was running my own businesses and was paid £6,000 a year.

When I was 34 I was running my own business and was paid £20,000 a year.

When I was 36 I was running my own business and was paid £50,000 a year.

When I was 37 I was running my own business and was paid £80,000 a year.

When I was 38 (it was 2008) I was running my own business and was paid £20,000 a year.

When I was 39 I was running my own business and was paid £40,000 a year.

When I was 39 a client bumped me for £26,000.

When I was 40 I was running my own business and was paid around £100,000 a year.

When I was 40 I sold shares in one business for £26,000.

When I was 42 I was running my own business and was paid around £80,000 a year.

When I was 45 I closed most of my businesses and was paid £25,000 a year.

When I was 47 I was learning a new way of working and running businesses and was paid £10,000 a year.

When I was 47 I invested over £50,000 in building the Always Wear Red brand.

When I was 49 I was starting to work out what’s what and was paid around £20,000 a year.

When I was 50 I was stabilising my new world and I was paid around £40,000 a year.

Now I am 51 I am further stabilising my new world and I am being paid quite well.

I am balancing the figure I am on now with how happy I am.

I am thinking about with what it is that I am doing to earn it.

But I do like thinking about this.

Because more than anything.

I want to be happy.

Rich Man. Poor Man. 

The happiest times in my life.

So – in other words – the times that I was richest were:

  1. When I built my first business.
    (I was earning £2,400 a year).
  2. When I was 34 and felt that my businesses were working.
    (I was earning £20,000 a year).
  3. When I was 47 and building something new.
    (I was earning £10,000 a year).
  4. Potentially now. (But I have to be careful because I am a bit confused about how to spend my time at the moment. I have to make sure that I am working with people that allow me to do my best work. This is important to me. Because it is the only way that I can be important to them).

What next?

I am not sure exactly what to do next.

Some things will stay the same.

Some will change.

But I do know that I want to be happy.

So I am going to (largely) ignore the money.

And work out the best way to be rich, instead.

For some businesses.

The Process is the Point.

Process. 

And when this is the case.

There is a job to do.

It’s to tell the story of the process.

And the creativity.

Beautifully.

Consistently.

And well.

Make it Matter.

You have to make the process matter.

You have to make the process matter to them.

Just as much as it matters to you.

Always Wear Red.

Three years into Always Wear Red.

I worked with a dozen or so of the UK’s best makers.

Makers that make for Gucci.

Louis Vuitton.

The British Royal Family.

Kate Moss.

Mick Jagger.

And me.

Four Years.

Four years into Always Wear Red and I shifted focus.

I changed what I make.

So I changed makers.

And I changed how I design and create things.

It’s cost me thousands.

But I know why I’ve done it.

It’s so the jumpers I make last a lifetime.

And feel amazing.

And so that Always Wear Red jumpers encourage the wearer to relax and zone out and switch off.

I wanted them to fit anyone at all amazingly well.

So the shapes are gender-neutral.

The pilling is minimised because I changed the yarn in January 2020.

And they only need to be washed once or twice a year.

Because that’s the way it is with 100% Merino Wool.

I want people that own Always Wear Red jumpers to love them.

So they are something that the owner will want to actually wear.

And share.

And repair.

And the only way I can make sure that all of this happens.

Is by focusing hard on process.

September 2020.

The first Always Wear Red jumpers are ready in September 2020.

So between now and then.

I will be amplifying the process.

Because for Always Wear Red’s jumpers.

For so many reasons.

The Process is the Point.

There have been times.

That I haven’t trusted people I work with.

Even people that I interviewed.

And employed.

And that I actually got to know quite well.

Stranger.

Yet just this morning.

I trusted a complete stranger to drive his car.

At 30 miles per hour.

Towards the most precious thing I have.

My 3 year old daughter.

Trust.

I’ve done this a lot, I think.

Not trusting people.

And I know that it doesn’t make sense.

Because when I and somebody else agree to something.

For me to then not trust them to deliver.

Is bad for me.

And bad for them, too.

Tomorrow.

I will trust another stranger again.

Tomorrow.

To stay on their side of the road.

Whilst I stay on my side.

As they drive towards me in their car.

And Izobel and I tootle along at 30 miles an hour towards theirs.

Trust. 

Trust.

Not much works properly without it.

Roads don’t work.

Relationships don’t work.

I’ll try harder to remember that.

And I’ll trust that you will too.

Any time you do something just for you.

Breathing with an app.

Walking and thinking for 15 minutes.

(Just because you want to).

Cooking something that you and you alone like to eat.

The real benefit is not in the breathing.

Or the walking.

Or the thinking.

Or the eating.

The real benefit is simply in the act of doing something for yourself.

You. 

In life.

You can get left behind.

You can get left out.

You can get forgotten.

You can get neglected.

You don’t get cared for in the way that you should.

And the person doing most of the leaving behind.

The leaving out.

The forgetting.

The neglecting.

And the lack of caring.

For you.

Is you.

Self-care.

I just booked the last Friday of every month off.

It was triggered by the fact that I am really, really busy.

So in the context of my to-do list.

It is the last thing I should be doing.

Yet in the context of my self-care.

It is the first.

Coffee.

Give it a go.

And I’ll meet you for a coffee.

Advice.

And bracelets.

Are very similar things.

Helping People. 

It is nice to help people.

And yes.

OK.

You’re helpful.

But sometimes.

Just giving advice.

Is not enough.

There is more to do.

Close The Bracelet. 

Imagine I have a gift for you.

Imagine that the gift is a bracelet.

Imagine that I hand it to you.

I watch you take it.

I watch you open it.

And I am glad that you love it.

But what I don’t do.

Is then just stand there.

And watch you struggle with what I have given you.

As you lay the bracelet on your left wrist.

With your right hand.

And watch you struggle to close the clasp of the bracelet around you.

I don’t just stand there and watch.

Because I know.

And you know.

That this is a task for two.

Helping people. 

It’s nice to help people.

And yes.

OK.

You’re helpful.

But sometimes.

Just giving advice.

Is not enough.

There is more to do.

In the early days of an embryonic Always Wear Red.

So around February 2015.

I watched this film a lot.

It is a docufilm called ‘Gimme Shelter’.

About The Rolling Stones.

And for some reason.

The Rolling Stones wear red scarves ever such a lot.

So I took a look.

Gimme Shelter.

‘Gimme Shelter’ was released in 1970.

The music is great.

And an enigmatic and brilliant Mick Jagger.

A man with a birthday on the same day as mine.

Takes centre stage.

(Yes. 

I know.

Mick and I have many similarities).

Disastrous. 

This  film is amazing.

Its focus is the disastrous Altamont Free Concert that took place on December 6th 1969.

They planned for an audience of 20,000 – 30,000.

And a third of a million people turned up.

The lead singer of Jefferson Airplane was punched unconscious mid-performance.

Hells Angels paced the stage as Mick Jagger sang.

The Grateful Dead refuse to take the stage at all.

And.

(And this was caught in the footage).

A man in the audience was shot dead.

Insight.

It is a film directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin.

And it an insight into another time.

In this amazing world of ours.

A brilliant 90 minutes.

https://www.50odd.co.uk/gimme-shelter/.

 

When I do a podcast.

Afterwards.

I can’t remember what I said.

So I am always surprised when I listen back.  

Dan Prince.

Dan Prince is one of the UK’s best visual storytellers.

Dan and I worked together on a photoshoot recently with our friend David Bradley.

David won a BAFTA at 14 years old for his role as Billy Casper in Ken Loach’s 1969 film, Kes.

I’ve known Dan for almost 15 years though.

So it was nice for me that Dan took the time out to chat. 

In his excellent ‘Overthinker’ Podcast series.

Here it is: https://www.50odd.co.uk/overthinker/.