Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Evan Downey, Co-Founder of Milhouse Group Ltd., located in London, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Operating on two planes - Milhouse is a unique business creating and designing at the intersection of content, branding, and fashion. In addition to consulting and producing for big names in gaming, our in-house brand plans to create premium lifestyle products. We work in the digital & physical worlds, always beginning with the cultural pulse of gaming culture. Our B2B customers currently are global gaming brands whom we consult and create for. Whilst we are building our B2C offering for consumers in gaming.
Tell us about yourself
I was the former Creative Director at a gaming media group in London called Veloce. Starting as an intern five years ago, I previously helped build Veloce Esports, Racing and Quadrant, and Mclaren F1 Driver Lando Norris' esports team. My role ebbed and flowed from design to operations. Much of my time was dedicated to building the team, establishing processes, and executing various projects like designing new brands and moving a team of 40 people into a new office. After five years at Veloce, I felt a strong desire to start my own venture in gaming. Something that truly fits me is my ethos and the lifestyle I enjoy.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As this venture is new, getting started was a big accomplishment... leaping from a comfortable salary job that is entirely fun and enjoyable was tough! Especially as this decision meant leaving London, a city that I enjoyed for five years, a job that was awesome and rewarding, and friends which I made along the way. For me, it was a personal decision as well as a professional one, but I felt that the time was right.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is "working in the business" versus "working on the business." My father is an entrepreneur who works constantly, but one thing I learned from him is that if you're busy always doing the work, you can't be busy growing the business. He's done an amazing job building his business from the work he's put in, but I think if he had spent a bit more time strategizing where he wanted it to go, he might have been further ahead.
I think as a new business owner, balancing getting the work done with business development, strategy, and building a brand is quite hard. But getting that balance right is super important to executing the work that brings in money whilst also allowing yourself to build and position the business for the future.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just get started... Build the side hustle, design the brand, and create the website. Do what you need to do to get started because you have the ability to do it. Many people nowadays have access to the tools and knowledge to do it, so getting started is the next step.
- Have a vision... Spend the time to understand the reason you are doing it. Are you starting a business to be a millionaire, or are you doing it because you love entrepreneurship, this industry, etc.? Having a vision of your business in 5, 10, or 25 years is a good start. Writing it down is even better.
- Think long term... From starting our business a year ago as a side hustle, it's amazing the bumps and issues we've arrived at. It's been such an amazing experience doing it by ourselves, but I can't stress how important it is to think of the bigger picture. Thinking short-term will get you stuck on all the little things while having an overarching vision will allow you to shrug off what doesn't matter and focus on your master plan.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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