Disability Horizons co-editor, Martyn, recently left his job at Scope to start his own social enterprise, Sunnier Days. Martyn talks about his journey starting his own business.
As I write this article for Disability Horizons I am going through the most extreme of human emotions. Having quite frankly achieved everything I set out to aged 25 (a degree in Economics, a Masters in Marketing, full-time work, independent living in London, drive my own car, flown a plane, visited Australia, USA and Mexico) – now 27 I have been working out what is next. Some say I should be content, chill out, relax and enjoy the view. I say, I have so much I want to do, achieve and accomplish, whilst where I was at could never have enabled this ambition.
Workwise I wanted freedom, flexibility and the chance to change the world somehow. Health wise I was struggling, especially in the winter, going to the office everyday and getting bad chest infections. Leisure-wise I had less energy to enjoy London, see friends and travel the world more. In deciding the status quo was never going to suffice, I decided starting my own company that enabled the above was the answer. A social company that will change the world for disabled people, provide me with a sustainable income and allow full freedom, flexibility and fun at all times.
But why so many emotions and how is this possible? Well, I can tell you there is never a perfect moment to leave the status quo, nor a business model template to follow. In leaving my comfortable existence to pursue my dream I realise I will have a rollercoaster of a time, but it will be worth it.
The way I envisage weaving my work, leisure, improved health and increased travel into one existence is simple. Having a passion to change the world for disabled people is key. I know that by thinking about, concentrating on and revolutionising the world to cater better for disabled people, the rest pales into insignificance! Clearly I need to pay my bills and aim to do activities I enjoy. However, my main purpose with every blog, video, article and project I do is to empower disabled people and educate society on the issues and opportunities in front of us.
I am starting off by running webinars on topical issues disabled people, their friends and family face. See this link for full information and to sign up for free. Having piloted this, I know the technology is great, the delegates loved it and it enables everyone to learn from each webinar. I then take my personal learnings and translate them into future projects planned, such as my online conferences and courses. If you are interested in being a part of these and want to share your experiences please do get in touch here.
Beyond the structured online learning elements, I am planning some wacky campaigns and remote working ideas. Watch out for an artistic campaign on inaccessible locations, where your input is vital. Watch out too for my twit-polls on where I will travel to and work from random places. You have the power to send me anywhere you so choose 🙂
The income element comes from Local Authority, charity and business partnerships. As I hear the penny dropping, you will note that because I am my own boss I am busy, but I receive a freedom and flexibility as well. All of my projects are fun, engaging and impactful, but I also have more energy after work to see London and my friends. Lastly, my projects are online, meaning I can travel during my bad winter months and see more of the world. This in itself supports my purpose, because I want to work on disability projects worldwide too.
With some ambition, big ideas, hard work, graft, anxiety, grit, determination, partnerships and karma – this is going to be hugely successful! I would encourage anyone reading this to dare to dream. I am living proof that dreams can come true.
You can subscribe to my website for regular updates on the world changing activities (including more travel), ideas and work I have planned.
By Martyn Sibley