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Esc Hero #19: How I escaped Fund Management for a Tech Start up

1. What are you currently doing?

inspired0911-400x262My name is Flo Spelling. I am working at an internet start up company – which involves a bit of everything, strategy, project management, marketing, admin and tea making!

2. What did you do before this?

I worked in the city for 7 years in fund management.

3. How long have you dreamt of doing this?

It wasn’t a dream!

Just an opportunity that came up at a time when I was wondering “Is this really it? Is this what I’m going to do for the rest of my life!”

4. What inspired you to do it?

The sales pitch of the other guys! No, it was just the realization that I had skills that were very transferable and valuable in a different market.

The actual moment of truth came during contract negotiations and my father wasn’t very well – made me realize that life is too short to be doing something you don’t like and you have to take every opportunity that you can.

5. From a practical perspective, how did you plan for it?

No planning – I just made the leap. Had I planned, I might not have done it.

6. How are you funding it?

0911lifeistooshortUnusually for a start up, I am being paid (although not much!) and I’m fortunate that my life is pretty flexible, I don’t own a property, have a family to look after etc.

However, I’ve still had to make sacrifices, but I think it’s worth it, what’s the point of being paid lots of money if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing – or if you don’t get the chance to spend it!

7. What was the hardest thing about making this happen?

Having the belief that it was the right thing to do – and convincing others of that!

8. What has been the best thing about doing this?

It sounds like a cliché, but I have learnt so much about myself, what I enjoy doing and what I don’t and my horizons have definitely broadened.

I also feel like a “useful” person.

Networking in my “new” industry, is actually networking – everyone is helping everyone else out – which is a great feeling!

9. What advice would you give to other people who want to do something similar?

If you can afford to do it – do it.

Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried and who knows what doors it will open.

My major fear was not doing it and then regretting it.

10. What resources did you find really useful?

I read a book a few years ago which while on a different (and much more socially useful) topic, sowed a seed in my mind “Leaving Microsoft to change the world” by John Wood

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In terms of moving into the field I’m now in (tech and social media), I’m fortunate that there are lots of people out there trying lots of things and talking about it on the internet (www.techcrunch.com is a good place to start) which helps!

11. What else?

The most inspirational quote I’ve heard in the last year…

“If you’re not failing, you’re not taking enough risks”  – and who wants to lead a risk free life?!

Some pieces of advice I’ve also had:

  • Think about where you want to be in 5 years time – does this help to get you there?
  • What will your exit route be if it doesn’t work out?
  • Will the environment suit you – it’s more important than you think. (I went from a large, buzzing office where the phone constantly rang, to working in a very small environment which was very quiet –which was a massive adjustment)