Fraser Doherty MBE is the founder of SuperJam – a 100% fruit jam company he started in Scotland at 14 using his Grandmother’s recipes. The company now supplies major retailers around the world and has won over 20 innovation and design awards. www.superjam.co.uk/ www.fraserdoherty.com
In this short blog, Fraser shares his thoughts on the importance of devoting your life to doing something you love.
For me, the definition of success is getting up every morning and doing what you believe you were born to do. Life is too short to devote yourself to anything less. In my case, I can honestly say that I enjoy being an entrepreneur so much that there’s nothing I’d rather do.
I sometimes imagine what I might say if I were to meet the fourteen year old me. If I were to tell him that the tiny jam-making enterprise he had just started would grow into what it has since become, he simply wouldn’t believe me.
There’s no way he’d imagine that what had started with a few jars of homemade jam sold to the neighbours would grow into a company that has since sold millions of jars through thousands of stores around the world. As a teenager, he’d have no idea that SuperJam would end up winning 20+ innovation awards, end up on display in the National Museum of Scotland and that his story would be made into a TV drama in Japan!
This incredible adventure that I have been on has been all about doing what I love – making jam. Its success hasn’t been down to experience or planning, but rather years and years of continuous improvement; a constant tweaking of recipes, improving of packaging and crafting of brand stories. I was only happy to put years and years of work into this project because I thought it was fun – if it hasn’t been, I’d have quit and done something else a long time ago.
No matter what the ‘startup’ books in the airport say, starting a business takes an enormous amount of hard work. You will have to make sacrifices to your family life, your social life and most likely to your own health.
The truth is, you’re only really going to make the necessary sacrifices if you truly, deep down, feel that this idea is what you should be devoting your life to. It’s likely you will quit at the first hurdle otherwise.
Here are Fraser’s top tips for creating a career where you are Doing What you Love:
Find a mentor
Whether you are trying to start a business or do something else with your career, try to find someone who has ‘been there and done it before’, who can share the lessons they have learned with you. Check out sites like MentorsMe, UK Business Mentoring and Get Mentoring.
Ask for help
If there are companies or entrepreneurs that you admire, don’t be afraid of getting in touch to ask for advice. Be sure to ask specific questions to make the most of the time they might give you. You can get great advice over the phone from hundreds of experts using Clarity.fm.
You don’t need to jump in at the deep end with your idea. Try just selling your product or service on a small scale, perhaps in your area or to your existing network. Take on board the feedback that people give you to improve your concept before scaling up.
Don’t be afraid
Most people are afraid that starting a business is a huge risk – that people will laugh at you, you’ll go bankrupt or worse. In fact, starting a business is far less risky than people imagine, nobody is going to laugh at you and the risks are much lower the younger you are – since you’ve got less to lose.