That’s me in the picture.
I can’t remember how old I was, probably about 8 or 9…playing soldiers with my best friend Malcolm. I clearly showed some early ‘warning’ signs about what I wanted to do when I grew up!
And guess what?
At the tender age of 15, as a rather shy and awkward teenager, I decided I was going to join the Army!
I took action and things started to move fast; and soon after my 16th birthday (and having already passed 3-days of selection tests to become an Apprentice Electronics Engineer) I found myself at the train station in Newcastle Upon-Tyne, bags packed, leaving my home in the North East of England for a life of uncertainty, travel, excitement and adventure!
Talk about goal setting…looking back I had no idea I had it all figured out as child 😉
I guess at first I thought I would stick it out for a couple of years at most – funny to look back, it turned out to be 30!
It’s hard to sum up a 30 year career on this page.
That’s me commanding a multi-national parade of soldiers from Austria, Hungary, Macedonia, Turkey and Chile!
My ‘swan song’ in the Bosnian capitol Sarajevo.
I’ve traveled the world, seen the good, bad and ugly. I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside some amazingly professional and inspiring people and the honor and privilege to command and lead some amazing soldiers too – my ethos to this day remains “Serve to Lead‘!
But all good things come to an end and after so many years with so many long deployments away from family (typically between 6 to 8 months at a time) I knew I had paid a high price and was tired and ready for a change. I wanted something completely different and an opportunity to taste a little bit of freedom, something just for me…the likes of which I had never really known…but what?
Well, I guess I’ve always been a slightly ‘techy-geeky’ person…and with a background in military software applications, information systems, project management, capability integration and training, the question for me really was how and where to use those skills?
Obviously, the expectation of everyone else was that I would simply ditch the uniform, put on a suit and get a job.
But the truth is, for many years I dreamed of working purely online (I started ‘trying’ and learning in my spare time several years ago) so it seemed an obvious choice to me – this was my real chance to create and live the ‘laptop lifestyle’; clichéd I know.
So there it was – another bold and life-changing decision made. On retiring from the Army, I decided to turn my dream into reality and become a full-time ‘online entrepreneur’.
Don’t get me wrong, leaving the security, familiarity, camaraderie and support that is synonymous with a military lifestyle was quite terrifying, to go solo and ‘bet on myself’.
As one of my mentors said to me…”Nigel, you gotta burn the boats…” meaning there’s no going back, no Plan B (thank you Shaqir Hussyin) – the only way is forward.
It hasn’t been an easy journey!
The failures and setbacks I’ve experienced are enough to deter most people from even attempting to use the internet to create and live a life of freedom, a life lived on their own terms.
But all those things shape the sort of person we become. Success doesn’t come easy…heck, it requires a lot of hard work, commitment, persistence and sacrifice, but it doesn’t have to be something experienced exclusively by ‘other people’.
You (and I) are entitled to our share of success – which is what drives and motivates me to share my knowledge and experiences of life as an online entrepreneur, the good and the bad, to help mentor and inspire other aspiring entrepreneurs.
YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!