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Esc Heroes #22: ‘3 Wise Handymen’ Cycle to Gibraltar

What are you currently doing?

3wisehandymenWorking on expanding our new business ‘3WiseHandymen’.

We have been operating  for nearly a year now and do all manner of work such as plumbing, tiling, plastering, painting and numerous odd jobs around the house.

Myself, my brother and a good friend set it up when we realised there was more to life than an office job.

2. What did you do before this?

I left Oxford Brookes University in 2007 and started on the graduate scheme at ING Real Estate in the City. I worked as an asset manager on numerous different pension funds and found the majority of work boring and uneventful. In total I spent 15 months at ING.

3. How long have you dreamt of doing what you are doing now?

For about 6 years. I only realised how much I wanted to do this when I started working for ING and knew corporate life was not for me.

4. What was the Moment of Truth?

The moment of truth came when my office PHONE rang and HR called me into a room to inform me I was up for redundancy. Happy days!

I wanted to leave for a long time but only stayed as I was close to sitting my APC (chartered surveying) exam. Effectively the credit crunch made the decision for me. It was such a relief and I could now take whatever path I wanted.

5. So what did you do after you heard you were redundant?

I worked for sports marketing company for 2 months which was brilliant. However I still had the same problem that I wasn’t working for myself and couldn’t see me ever getting to that stage unless I made a decision and went for it.

So I signed up to some short courses in plumbing, tiling, plastering etc. Once I finished these, we wrote to a few neighbours highlighting our new-found skills. We surprisingly got a few calls and things started to take off.

We thought of a good catchy name for the business, set up a website and 3WiseHandymen was up and running.

6. How are you funding it?

I used my redundancy money to enroll on these courses and to keep a roof over my head while I completed them. From now on we use the money we earn to fund all other costs.

7. Have you done anything else since leaving ING?

Yep. Myself, Tom (who is one of the 3 wise men), and a couple of other mates decided to go on a bit of an adventure while we had the gap in our lives to take some time off.

We decided to cycle from London to Gibraltar in aid of Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). The aim was to complete the trip using only pedal power and do it within 2 weeks. After a lot of training and with a support car we set off in July 2009. We arrived in Gibraltar 12 days later having cycled 1381 miles at an average of 115 miles a day. More importantly we had beaten our target by 2 days and had raised £5000 for AICR at the same time.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlbwqtPo3ZY

8. What has been the best thing about doing these things?

Cycle: I learnt that I’m fairly determined and the trip has given me great confidence that I can take on harder things that life may throw my way. To quote a famous line from Adidas ‘Impossible is Nothing’.

3WiseHandymen: It’s given me no boundaries. The harder I work, the more of a success it will be. There’s no office politics or a hierarchical structure to prevent our progress.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIpcNoLxiiY

9. What is the best advice you have received?

Do something you enjoy and keep pushing yourself to do things better.

If people say ‘you can’t’ do something, turn it round and ask yourself ‘why can’t I do it’?

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

When your old and withered, and your grandchildren ask you if you have any cool stories, make sure you can give them a good answer….

11. What are the most inspirational books you have recently read:

When Ranulph Fiennes decided to run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, most thought he couldn’t do it, especially as he had just had a heart attack months before. On completing this challenge The Times wrote:

Both men are supposed to be too old to be running so far so often. Both ignored medical scares and both kept going not by coddling or psychological bonding but by the abrasive competitive spirit that has marked their friendship and rivalry. Their triumph against all odds is not only a magnificent publicity boost for the charities that they are supporting, it is also an inspiration for every runner, every ordinary person, tempted to give up in the face of the impossible.’