Today, we’re catching up with Ryan Holdaway of Clean Slate, a website development business that Ryan started from an office in his apartment, a year ago to the day.
Congratulations on the milestone, Ryan! How’s your first year of self-employment been?
Thank you very much! Overall, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s given me the ability to focus on the elements of design and development that I really enjoy, which has been good for the soul.
I have to be honest though, I struggled a little bit in the beginning, being in my home office all day on my own – but after I hired the office apprentice, Diego, a French Bulldog puppy to keep me company – I’ve not looked back.
What made you decide to go solo?
It’s been a dream of mine to run my own business for as long as I can remember.
I had spent 9 years prior to going self-employed continuously learning and developing my own skills, and during that time I always had this niggling question in my head…
“Would I even be able to run my own business?”
Then one day, I was scrolling through Twitter, and in between tweets of Ricky Gervais making faces in the bath, I noticed a tweet from ISLEXPO. Curiosity got the better of me, so I went to their website and ended up signing up for a couple of talks at their event.
Whilst I was there, I ended up getting some great information about the DFE Micro Business Grant Scheme and with that, I realised that there was enough help on the Island to give me the knowledge and confidence to run my own business.
What advice would you give anyone considering taking the plunge?
If you’re passionate enough about the work that you want to do, and you’re disciplined enough to want to get out of bed on a Monday morning when I guess you don’t really have to, then I would always encourage you to go for it.
Know that you’re not alone out there. The Department for Enterprise are great, and I would definitely recommend that you look into one of their schemes.
Also, and this can be the hard part for some people, talk to someone in the same boat. I was gutted to have missed out on Gefachella on Friday, but events like that, encouraging people to collaborate and communicate are invaluable. By chatting to someone about what you’re stuck with or worried about, may be something they’ve been stuck with or worried about at one point in time and can offer advice or guidance on how you too can move on from it.
I was lucky enough to have a friend, Liam Gilman (of Liam Gilman Photography fame!), who had been through one of the Government schemes and was running his own successful business, so I could bounce questions and thoughts off him, which was really helpful.
If you don’t know anybody, I’d be more than happy to offer any pearls of wisdom that I can!
What’s next for Clean Slate?
My vision for Clean Slate from the beginning was to have an office space that inspires creativity; somewhere myself and my team can drink coffee, discuss our ideas and collaborate on projects that we can feel proud of.
So next I guess, comes the office space and then hopefully, soon after comes the scary part – filling it with people who are smarter than I am.