"It was incredibly rewarding to have the Brunel Entrepreneur Hub behind me when I started my self-employed placement year. I think it is an incredibly forward thinking level of support that allows students to explore options outside of traditional employment. It was very reassuring that we could seek advice that was specific and contextual to our business, instead of trying to navigate through endless amounts of information online. It was also incredibly helpful being linked with several schemes that offer funding for small businesses - while cash is useful, so is the experience of pitching to potential investors.
How did you find the self-employed placement, has it impacted your entrepreneurial journey?"My coursemate and I were not enthused by the placement options available in the video production industry at the time - we were keen to have a year of experience, but we decided this would be better for us if left in our own hands. We were fully supported with setting up Davis & Friend during the year. We were offered resources and support that we could not have succeeded without. Starting a business is a difficult thing, especially when you have very little experience doing so and limited knowledge of your industry, but the support that we received from Brunel and the Innovation Hub gave us the confidence to accept the challenge. While Josh and I no longer run the business, it has given us a wealth of experience in our industry. We now both work for the same creative company and we are very keen to give Davis & Friend another shot once we have a couple of extra years of experience under our belt!"
Would you recommend the self-employed placement to other students? "It is not for everyone, it is a very demanding task as there are lots of processes that need to be carried out and hats to be worn along the way. It requires a lot of self motivation and determination to get things moving, passion for the business is also important to keep you going when times are difficult. If you have this, I think you will certainly get a lot out of a self employed placement. If you are missing this, then you may not get what you hoped out of it. We got a fantastic experience from running Davis & Friend, but it very much is about how much you put in versus how much you get out."
What did you learn from the self-employed placement? "We learnt a lot about ourselves and our industry. Our business was focussed around video production and therefore our video production skills improved tenfold. But most importantly, it gave us professional confidence and business experience which is incredibly useful to me every single day. I personally learnt that I could achieve more than I thought I could in areas and not so much in others. It's taught me to be not so scared of failure and has given me the confidence to start up other businesses in the future should I wish to."
Did choosing this placement option meet your expectations? "Very much so. Again, I think it really falls on how much you put in with this. It was certainly a challenging experience and it really pushed us at times, but looking back on it, its probably the single most impactful experience of my life. To say I started a business when I was 19 is huge for me and because i have done this I will do it again, but with a lot more knowledge and experience."