Hey, I'm Liam O'Dowd and I'm the co-founder at doesnotequal.
Tell us all about your business...
doesnotequal is a media and advertising company for the cannabis industry. We have two 'products' within the company. Our publishing arm which is responsible for leafie, a consumer-facing CBD and cannabis magazine. And Ripe is our advertising platform designed to help CBD brands reach their target audience.
What's your background and motivation to get into the solopreneur life?
Growing up my Dad and my Uncle had a Private Detective agency. I used to love going into the office and loved the gadgets they had for the company, such as a mobile phone way before mobile phones got popular, we're talking pre-text message here. That certainly gave me the bug.
When I hit 15 I started renting out the local community hall, hiring a sound system and putting on paid parties for all the local kids. From that I started running student events before I was old enough to legally be in the clubs and I then found raving and ended up running nights that got picked up by the music press. I've had a screen printing studio, worked the festival circuit, and even went and trained as a chef all on the back of ideas for businesses or projects.
I love the process of having an idea and taking the plunge. Not everything has worked out to be the best business ever, but I've picked up skills, resilience and had a whole load of fun on the way. I still love the buzz of taking an idea and making it come true, and now leafie has taken off, I get to do that weekly. Outside of working I'm quite fond of adventure and I guess being an entrepreneur is adventurous, the highs are great and the lows are awful, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
As an entrepreneur, what does success ultimately mean to you?
Freedom. It all boils down to having an element of freedom. A lot of entrepreneurs are chasing financial freedom, which would be nice, but also I like the freedom to expand my ideas, determine my own schedule, pack my bags and move to another country etc.
What is the top tip you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a business today?
Start today - “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Cheesy but it's true. You'll never make progress if you don't start.
Make mistakes - I've learnt more in a year of making mistakes than I learnt in all my education. Make them, own them, learn from them.
Trust your gut - This one is very dependent on your gut, but 9/10 mine is right, and I always lament not going on my instinct when I'm wrong.
If there was one thing you could do repeatedly day in day out to help grow your business then what would it be?
Talk to people - I am the worlds worst 'networker' but there is so much power in connection. Even if it's just online. Find groups, calls, people on social you can talk to and learn from. It really helps.
What are some of the things you put in place to maintain a healthy work/life balance and to keep it all together?
Turn off notifications for all your work apps on your phone. Email, Skype, Slack, etc etc. If something is really, really urgent, it'll find you. You really don't need to be replying to emails just before you go to sleep.
Ignore the 'hustle porn' people post on LinkedIn. It's all lies.
Recognise when you've had enough. Clear a couple of days and do something else if you're burnt out. Sit in your pants watching Homes Under The Hammer on Wednesday morning if its all getting too much. This is why you quit the 9-5.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and why?
I can't recommend the Lean Methodology enough, especially with startups. Eric Ries' book on it, The Lean Startup, is great, but you can garner the concept for free on Google (soz Eric!)
For anyone looking to start a business today, what would be the number one bit of advice you'd give them?
Start now. You're the only person who can. I think procrastination is the enemy of so many potential entrepreneurs. Every day you spend thinking about the what and how is another day you've wasted. The journey isn't going to be from A to B no matter what you plan, so just get started and work it out on the way.
Where can people find you online?
If you want to read more on CBD and cannabis in the UK, check out leafie.co.uk
If you're a CBD brand we've got some great resources on ripemedia.co
If you like what you've read here and have your own #GoSoloStories that you'd like to share then hit Jonny up on Twitter, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.