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A Day in the Life of an Entrepreneur

What is an entrepreneur? The OED and modern definitions of entrepreneurship tend to differ somewhat. Wikipedia states that… “The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator, a source of new ideas, goods, services, and business procedures”. What they didn’t state (or at least what we at Shadow Foam didn’t read!) is the bit about 48-hour working days, changing plans on the hoof 300 miles from home, and the malnutrition risks of eating only wherever you can find an electric vehicle charging point! shadowfoam

What is an entrepreneur…? And what is our shadowfoam version of that?

But it’s not all about the tough bits… there are many laughs, lessons and lovely people on the way. So Jonathan decided to set out on a bit of a “Day in the Life” mission to diarise and hopefully inspire others. In this whistlestop tour of a typical Shadow Foam boss’s day you also get to see how some of our creative processes work. Plus, learning how to make the best of changing situations. Capitalising on unexpected time being freed up. And seeing how relationships and networks are so important to small and growing businesses. Finally demonstrating how, in turn, those relationships can also help us learn and grow. Shaping our own business, and our shadowfoam offerings and solutions as we go.

The best laid plans…. shadowfoam what is an entrepreneur

So, it all seemed to work perfectly on paper, and as you know we like to plan here. Sratring out with a short trip from Cheshire to the Commercial Vehicle show in Birmingham. There we planned to see re-sellers Vantainer, the guys from Sortimo, and a few other people. Then, on to see our affiliates / resellers Airsoft Anonymous in Basingstoke.

The NEC show was great – we got some really good feedback from Craig, Director at Vantainer. And it was all going swimmingly until we left and hit traffic! This delayed our arrival into Hampshire until much later than originally planned. Also, cue the first of the issues we hit associated with driving an EV, as we were literally running on zero by the time we arrived there. By the skin of our teeth, as they say! But it was all worthwhile for the warm welcome extended to us by Jenni and team. Not too many spoilers on that tho as there’ll be more on that visit in a future blog / video!

Jenni at Airsoft Anonymous is a great example of what is an entrepreneur with her different approaches to meeting customers needs

Was that last meeting the end of the day…?

So from Airsoft Anonymous it was a fuelling pit-stop at a hotel we found nearby with a Super-Fast Charging point. This was needed to top us up with enough miles to reach our actual hotel for the night. It also gave us the opportunity to fuel up ourselves, so we grabbed dinner while we waited for the charge. That gave us enough juice to head off to our hotel proper in Salisbury.

And speaking of juice… our film maker Matt and Jona had “brewed” up a plan for yet another video during the journey. One that they wanted to seize the opportunity and bottom off that night on arrival at the Premier Inn. But which would require yet another detour to a local “Bargain Booze” or filling station for a hefty haul. So as the sun set on the first half our the trip, so plans were afoot for an impromptu video make. It was going to be a late night!

Our Shadowfoam booze-cruise was a last minute idea, but we think you’re going to like it!

At a little before 2am(!) that was a wrap for the impromptu booze build. Time, at last, for bed and a few hours recharging ahead of the second half of the trip.

A day in the life “part 2”

The following morning started at a relatively leisurely pace following the last minute cancellation of a meeting in Bournemouth. So breakfast was followed by yet more divergent streams of consciousness, as Jonathan’s entrepreneurial mind starts working towards bridging that time gap with something useful.

Inspired by our own recent Shadowfoam French Cleat Wall project, we decided to head off to Ikea in Southampton to pick up a few bits and pieces. We were after items that would be useful for us to make something similar for our friends Matt and Jonny from Brothers Make who we were calling in to see later that day. And of course any project of ours wouldn’t be complete without a customary stop at B&Q too. But then on the journey, taking another creative turn down tangent boulevard, we came up with yet more ideas. We now wanted to make a gift for the guys ahead of meeting them. shadowfoam what is an entrepreneur

About Brothers Make

Again, not too many spoilers as you’ll see more on this in an upcoming video. But if you don’t already know them, Matt and Jonny are a real force. Makers, content creators, and recyclers. Just our kind of guys! And it seems they’ve always been that way. They grew up with a natural love of making from being young. And in 2018, started making things together as an excuse to hang out with one another more often. This quickly developed into photographing their work for Instagram and eventually filming projects for YouTube. They quickly became huge in the reycling and maker space, and yet this is still a part-time gig for both of them. Matt being a design & technology secondary school teacher and Jonny working as a senior account manager at a marketing firm. If that doesn’t encapsulate the true meaning of entrepreneurship, I don’t know what does!

Much of what they make to sell from their recycled products is pretty small in size (but big in creativity!) So our idea was – in true Brothers Make style – to re-purpose the case we used to make last nights alco-movie and turn it into something special for them to use to store and transport their product. This meant that while on the move, in a strange town, we were on a mission to track down a company who had a vinyl plotter to make some custom branding for the case for us… and quickly.

Roll forward past seven unsuccessful calls and, finally, bingo! We happily hooked up with the super helpful Martin from The Sign Place in Tuckton, and he sorted us out with exactly what we needed.

What is an entrepreneur?  These guys.  Part time makers and recyclers, but full time workers.  Brilliant
The Shadowfoam case we made for Brothers Make. What is an entrepreneur…? This guys are the epitome of entrepreneurship.

We eventually got to check in with Matt about 2pm and quickly got to work on the tool wall. You’ll see more of that at a later date. And he seemed pretty stoked with his custom case too. Apart from this, we are also set to work with them on a sheet-press project and hopefully a couple more things, but that’s to look forward to in future. For today, we finally got out of the guys hair a little after 7pm and it was time to hit the road back to Cheshire.

But….

The home stretch.

…Electric vehicle. Again. So this time we’d got an hour or so up in the right direction but needed to stop for another re-charge. And some way overdue time to re-fuel ourselves too with a McD’s pit stop while we waited. Hardly brain food, but you’ll take anything when you haven’t eaten since breakfast! And then we’re away, at last, for the 5 hour or so journey home well into the early hours again.

But you know what, we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s been a long two years of not really being able to get out there and see people much during Covid times. So to finally be able to get back out into the world and start developing those all-important relationships and network is amazing.

And long may that continue….! Until next time, GOODNIGHT! shadowfoam what is an entrepreneur

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