What was your first job after leaving school/further education?
Graduate Trainee with Allied Breweries.
When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?
In the May of 2008 the first two of our holiday cottages started accepting guests. We had a derelict steading next to our house – it would have fallen down if we hadn’t converted it.
What did you find most challenging at the beginning?
Doing cottage maintenance whilst I was in full time employment! I would rush home?Friday lunchtime to make repairs before guests started arrived around 3pm.
Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?
I spoke to an accountant at Morris & Young in Perth. I was keen to ensure I structured the business in a tax efficient manner (as I was a higher rate tax payer at the time).
How did you fund your business?
Liquidating existing investments and a 300k mortgage on our home.
What would you do differently now looking back?
We originally used a booking agent who took a very high proportion of our revenue. We now do all all marketing and bookings ourself which helps revenue and cashflow.
What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?
Word of mouth from existing guests has been amazingly powerful – we have had so many distant family members stay due to recommendation.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Whilst completing the steading conversion to the holiday cottages the builder went bust, so whilst holding down a full-time job I re-employed the key staff and project managed it to completion. Very stressful!
What are the future plans for your business?
We have already expanded from 2 cottages to 4 and added additional leisure facilities. We are looking to add a further 2 cottages.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
Ideally set up and get the business underway whilst you are still working. When it is obvious the business is a success leave your job and focus on your business.
Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.
I am a division one squash player travelling regularly around the country to play.
And finally, why did you join WeDO?
Most of my network was in the USA when I worked for a whisky company. On leaving them I needed a UK network and who better than Belinda and WeDO to offer this!