“Millennials get a bad rep”: Meet the young founder running two businesses side-by-side
As part of our Young Entrepreneurs series, Business Advice caught up 24-year old Jess Wealleans founder of both a freelance marketing agency and a photography agency to find out how she runs both her startups in tandem and the impact our next generation of entrepreneurs will have on the business world.
Who are you and what is your business?
Im Jess Wealleans, 24, from East Yorkshire and I have 2 businesses which run side-by-side. The first is my main day job?, Bramarpla a freelance marketing service for a select few clients, half retained, half ad-hoc projects.
The second is?WP Studio, which has beenrunning in one form or another since I was 16. WP Studio is a photography company and it started with just dog photography, but it’s evolved intomuch more – I now operate in the canine, food, commercial and hospitalityphotography niches.
I have also had a company called?Fraim Photographywhich was a photography tuition company. Due to my network being mostly international dogphotographers at the time, my students were mainly inthat niche. I taught business, marketing and photography techniques to regular students who travelled from all over the country to learn the how-tos of operating a profitable photography business in the current digital age. It wasgreat fun.
What inspired you to start your own business?
My father really. He is a successful entrepreneur himself, though he wouldnt admit it. He’s very humble and hates being in the limelight, but he started his first business, Sumo UK, two years before I was born and grew it into the most well-known and well respected agriculturalmachinery company in the UK (some would suggest the world, but I don’t know the facts there!). He sold the business a couple ofyears ago and now lives working from home doing odd jobs and developingproperty.
Seeing hiswork-ethic, day in day out, just made that seem like the natural option. My brother too has followed in his footsteps, he owns an event-tech startup in central London which is also very successful.
What are the barriers to starting your own business as a young person?
Definitely the age = skill? misconception. People are likely to be heavily biased based on age, so it’s not something I share very often at all. It can be an income limiter for sure, but you just have to prove yourself with your work. If it stacks up to referrals or your ownmarketing claims, you’re on for a winner.
The fact you are your age makes no difference to your level of skill in a particular field. Experience comes withage, but my skill doing what I do would be no different if I was 16 or 60.
How did you fund your business?
ForwP Studio, I worked to fund improvements in my kit and started up by having lots of part-time jobs around school. I saved and started with a soft-launch by quitting one of my jobs. Thankfully I was also successful in winning a grant for my work which allowed me to kit-up? a lot quicker.
I quit the other job when I dropped out of university my business took off and it became my number one priority.
What do you think the younger generation can bring to the business world?
I don’t think so, but never say never. You don’t know what is around the corner and if I had to I would. In fact, I did just that recently when a disaster in my personal life left me homeless.
I moved back in with my mum and, to get a mortgage with a decent interest rate, I put my businesses on hold and went back to work. I was picked up quickly by a growing marketing agency and worked as an account manager for over half a year to get back on my feet. It was a great experience and I learned a lot, taught a lot to the team, and left feeling stronger than I did going into it!
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.