12th August 2016
Founder: Ed Hollands
Fresh out of university, Ed Hollands founded outdoor media agency Driven Media, following his dream to become a small business owner.
Since undertaking an uninspiring, office-based work experience placement in Year 11, Ed Hollands was determined to start his own business and be his own boss. He just needed an exciting idea to come along.
I saw an opportunity to make money in a gap that no one else had covered
Last July, after the completion of a Business Studies undergraduate degree, Ed found this idea in the unused space on the sides of trailers and lorries. “I saw an opportunity to make money in a gap that no one else had covered”, he says, “walking home last year, I saw a few blank trailers and thought if I had a business, that’s where I’d like to advertise. It covers a large area, it reaches a lot of people and it looks good”. One month later, Ed founded Driven Media.
“If you can do it yourself, you might as well do it by yourself”, says Ed, a believer in self-starts and an independent approach. Rather than find a job at existing mobile advertising firms, which primarily target large, established companies, Ed realised small businesses would benefit most from the service. He started to think about how best to pitch this niche to Britain’s small businesses, and then picked up the phone – he hasn’t looked back since. “The next day, I got on the Internet and took down all the truck numbers and companies that I could find. I spent the day calling them and ended up selling the space for 150 trailers”.
Apart from seeking out advice from a university lecturer, Ed founded the company with relatively little help, using primarily the skills learned from his degree and networking contacts made along the way.
Working from home is almost free
The company continues to grow, enlisting HGV lorry space as well as purpose-built mobile trailers to take campaigns across the country. Ed credits the business’s rapid growth to a flexible and affordable, home business environment, “Working from home is almost free – apart from the electricity bill – and provides the freedom to pursue ideas whenever they come to you, whether it’s during traditional office hours or late into the evening. If you had to travel into an office, you might have forgotten the idea by the time you get there”.
He says it’s important for those who work from home to create a dedicated space. Ed has a makeshift study in his spare bedroom, a place with few distractions. “In the early days I found it difficult to switch off from work, but since moving into the study, it has helped my productivity a lot”, he says, “I also always get changed for work, a suit and trousers allows me to feel ready for work, and then when I leave it’s usually pyjamas and a dressing gown”.
There are, of course, downsides. He cites “loneliness as the worst aspect to working at home”. To remedy this, he makes a conscious effort to separate himself from his business, heading out at least once a week to meet friends and by working a part-time job at the local pub.
Ed finds routine a key part of maintaining productivity at home
As well as the benefits of a second job to combat loneliness and provide a steady income, Ed finds routine a key part of maintaining productivity at home. He starts his working day at 8am and ends around 6pm. “I have to monitor myself”, he says, “if you don’t have a routine you’re just going to sit by yourself and watch TV all day”.
His discipline is working: Ed plans to increase the size of Driven Media and attract more big name clients by January 2017. He hopes to soon take on his first member of staff and establish a permanent office space away from home. The home business set-up has been a launch pad for his business growth, and he says he is “proud” that he can run a business from home.
Ultimately, Ed is enjoying the learning curve of starting his own business and takes pleasure in stating, “I have created this all on my own”.