Failing into success

“It’s great that you go travelling but when will you just grow up and get a proper job? ” 

I’ve don’t know how many times I’ve heard this question thrown about in my direction just like I don’t know the answer to it. I mean, it really depends on what this thing called growing up and getting a proper job is all about. Are we talking about donning a suit 5 days a week and sitting in an office filing paperwork? If so, then I’m really not in any rush.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way the richest person on this planet but I’m totally cool with that. It’s never been about money & I’m not here to tell you all the best ways of making it. I have no special power that enables me to live life the way I do but hopefully, by sharing my story, it will inspire you to follow your dreams and pursue what you truly believe in.

I guess it all started back in school when a teacher told my parents at a parents evening “If Karl carries on this way, he won’t really achieve much, he just doesn’t apply himself in class & I’m concerned that this attitude will stick with him later in life”
I wish I knew back then what I know now because I wouldn’t have even turned up to class but in retrospect, I didn’t. I spent more time in the ‘sick room’ reading books from the library than I did anything else. The adventures in my head were always so much more fun than what was going on in the classroom. I knew where I wanted to be.

Given my lack of interest in education, I came out of high school in 2009 with a lower than average set of results & a conflicting interest between Music & cooking. Not even a week of thinking about my life and whole future, I decided I’d side with the culinary arts and signed myself up for an NVQ in professional cookery at my local college. Between dodging theory work & finding loopholes in the course which enabled other people to unwillingly do my theory for me, 3 years later, I’ve completed my VRQ level 3, 6 months early and leaving my hometown to embark on my career with the British Army.

Now whilst I was in college, I had a number of jobs all of which lasted no longer than 4 months. The first job I got into was given to me after a family meal & after speaking to the General Manager of the pub who invited me to a shift on their dessert station.
It consisted of microwaving desserts and scooping Icecream into bowls one shift a week 12-5, 11 weeks in of carrying out the mundane, I asked if there was anything more exciting to do & got placed under a performance review for not caring enough about my position in the company. I cared that much, I was out of the doors 5 minutes later.

My next job I had lasted a total of 8 weeks, stood over a sink full of dirty dishes. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been here & boy isn’t it fun… The dishwasher “broke” on my first night & the hotel had no cleaning equipment as a backup. They failed to fix the dishwasher as I was just so effective at washing the pots by hand it wasn’t cost effective to get it replaced. Pity for them I was also effective at leaving the workplace as and when I liked. I still don’t know whether they’ve fixed the dishwasher…

The other two jobs I had were more soul destroying than it was worth and each lasted 2-3 weeks. I was so excited about the new venture approaching with the British Army but I didn’t really know what to expect, whether or not I’d enjoy it but I had signed a contract and was looking towards a successful career… I remember rocking up at the gates of Pirbright barracks, waving my parents off and wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into.

Phase 1 was hectic. I was lucky to have passed it in the first go but I learnt a lot about myself and it provided me with a great amount of confidence.  I arrive in Winchester for my trade training. (Phase 2), it goes well when I go home on leave for a weekend & attend a local music fair, (rides, loud music and fireworks) I travel back to Winchester on the Sunday not feeling too clever. I’ve collected food poisoning…. Nearly a week out of training spent in a hospital bed, I’m sure I’ll lose my spot in the course and get “backsquadded” A term used for people who have to go back a course placement because they haven’t met the training criteria.

I manage somehow to keep my place, comes to my final test week and I do end up getting backsquadded due to reasons out of my control. I write a very smug complaint about the decision and ask it to be investigated. 30 minutes later, that reason was scrapped and I’m faced with a new reason, again I ask it to be looked at and I’m called into an office with 5 different people and given the opportunity to effectively interrogate the ‘course tutors’ and see what’s going on. A lot of red faces and embarrassment, they finally come up with teamwork…. I get backsquadded on an individual test for my teamwork. I guess the 3 strike rule really does apply…. Not deterred in the slightest however I get through phase 2 whilst still keeping the posting I requested! Winning… Well, not exactly.

I am now travelling to my first posting, the very sunny and boozy Cyprus. There are 2 main camps, one was 30 minutes from Ayia Napa, the other was in the middle of nowhere. Any guesses on which one I was sent to? Yes, that’s right, the one with nothing nearby. Standard really aha.

I loved everything about it. Well Guaba Beach Bar, Paphos, going out and partying, enjoying myself on the beaches and jet skiing, I was on top of the world but then this little thing called the Army popped up every single day and tried to get in the way of me enjoying my time. Nightmare.

I’m not going to dive into too much information about my very short 2 years in the Army but when I say my boss sent me to the Falklands to learn some discipline, you start to see how it was all going. After getting into trouble and resulting in my 3-month tour being extended by a further 4 weeks, I know the whole island were throwing parties left, right & center the moment I set foot on the plane to leave. I also know the guys in Cyprus were only preparing themselves for the worst on my arrival.
I again found a great loophole in the lack of communication between departments, decided to exploit it and managed to get out of doing any work for about 8 weeks whilst swanning to Paphos and the ‘local’ bars for weeks at a time whilst ‘I was de-kitting and sorting paperwork out’.
During this time, I became familiar with the staff in a particular nightclub and found a very strong passion growing quickly for the nightlife, promotions & everything involved with the industry. (This was the first lightbulb moment for me).

After a lot of wasted time and bouncing emails from one department to another (which I was orchestrating), I was finally on a flight home never to set foot on a military camp again. Finally winning!
One thing I was actually good at whilst in the Army was saving money so when I finally got out and everyone let off a great sigh of relief, I booked myself onto a 12-week volunteering project teaching in rural Uganda with some of my savings.

The whole experience completely changed me, my way of thinking and what direction I wanted to go in life. I came back to the UK with a new set of views, passion & respect for just about everything. It really impacted me & I’m so grateful I had the experience of getting involved with it.

I applied for a job in a nightclub around April 2015, worked a few shifts there & booked onto a workers holiday in Magaluf. All day drinking, non stop partying and far too many drunken domestics to last me a lifetime. I was bounced between club owners for job trials only to be told at the end of a very long shift that “You aren’t the person we are looking for but thank you for your work” countless times until I came across a genuine manager who hired me straight away. Little did I know the venue I’d be promoting for was, in fact, a brothel.

I also had no idea that the work we were doing was illegal so the requirement was darting from the police everytime we heard “CHICKEN” screamed at the top of someone’s lungs… I can honestly tell you it was a completely bizarre yet hilarious experience.
4 weeks of no sleep, not being able to keep food down and enough consumption of alcohol to flood a small house, I knew I was done and needed out. Magaluf had defeated me & I got on the next flight back to the UK in July.

I started to work for an event company once a week & got spotted by the nightclub manager who hired me on a part-time basis covering 2 shifts a week. Less than a year later I had worked myself up to Promotions Manager & in March 2016 I was given my own night to run an event on. Exciting times ahead!

The first night was really successful and we managed to make just over £400, the next two weeks another £200 each. In just one month, I managed to make £800 from running an event with very little overheads. I was estatic. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a lot of money but for my first event it was more than expected. Week by week however, it started to flop, we couldn’t build traction and people stopped attending. 10 weeks in & I’m having a serious chat with the GM about the night and them taking the event back off to try and run it themselves and bring it back.

5 weeks later, we decide it isn’t working & shut the doors on Thursday nights.  Ego hurt, I look at other events we can try to do but to no prevail. Head office doesn’t want to open on Thursdays and suggests the City isn’t the right market for a mid week event.

Undeterred, I thought I had done remarkably well for my age, that was until I realised I was spending all my money I was earning back on the bar and greasy kebabs, waking up at 2 in the afternoon with an awful hangover and wondering what I was thinking until 9pm when I was straight back on the Jager train. It was a cycle I saw no way out from, but if I’m honest I loved it & at the time, I didn’t want out.
One particular night after a long shift working and getting drunk, I find myself jumping in on this individuals conversation about the military. Little did I know how much he’d get involved with me.

We had a chat, a few Jagerbombs & I added him on social media. One day around August 2016, I saw a video about a company he had just left, a company he had just joined and what a difference it had made already to his life. I got in touch, asked for more information & (I’m sure by now you’ll agree, I’m pretty impulsive) paid my initial investment for a new business in the health and Wellness industry.

Within my first 5 weeks of constant work, I reach my first promotion and make just under £100. A lot of people told me it could work for me just like a lot of people told me it was a scam. I’m glad I was on the side it was working for (Looking back, it was nothing to do with the business, but everything to do with me).

Towards the end of the year, I venture to Dubai on a business trip with some of the team & host presentations for around 30 people.None of my guests turned up but I was far from disheartened. 23 years old and flying to Dubai on a spontaneous business trip to launch a new country. With network marketing, it’s about the team and supporting the people around you, so I’m very fortunate and proud of the guys who managed to bring guests to the presentations and have success. This isn’t a game you play on your own & it’s so much more fun when other people are winning. We went to a local beach bar on the first night and miraculously ended up in a free festival headlined by Basement Jaxx & Armin Van Helden. I was having the time of my life and with my personal goals at the time, had great success from that one event alone.

2017 is here and I’m fully prepared for whatever comes in my direction. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was the nightclub I was working at closing for refurbishment, leaving me jobless and of course being a quiet period, nobody was recruiting. I have a holiday planned late March and I’m running out of my savings. (Like, I’m on the last £100). The venue reopens and there’s a disagreement about the holiday I had booked off back in November, as it’s dates have changed and my holiday was now one week after the launch… One drunken message to the company owner and I have far too many missed calls from the GM. I finally pick the phone up & find out I’m not being rehired.

I’ve warmed up to the idea that everything has a reason for happening and this time, it was obvious. Whilst all this was going on, I had also applied to volunteer overseas and the weekend the club launch, I was travelling down to Cardiff on a training weekend with the charity organisation. I’m a big believer in everything has a strange reason for happening in your life & you just need to adjust your views on how you take the information in.

Well, it all worked out. At the end of May 2017, I’m travelling to Bangladesh on a 12-week governance project. More info to follow.