Welcome to Saturday Business chat. Who would have guessed that I was planning to have a mind reader on here? (Sorry, just my little joke: Paul must get this all the time and actually he is quick to explain that it’s psychology and not psychic business that lies behind his shows!). Let’s say hello to Paul Brook, Mind Reader. I think I came across Paul on Twitter and he’s a nice supportive Follow Fridayer and all of that.
Once again, we see there’s nothing new under the sun, with Paul using a skill set he’d already built up, discovering the power of networking, etc. But I do like his mention of making sure you save up your money, and I’m not sure if anyone has brought that up yet. As a small business owner, I am certainly glad of the savings I built up right at the start of this process as I come up to a rather tricky year financially and tax-wise (keep reading this blog next week to find out why!). So there’s some really sensible advice in here – don’t just think you’re going to find out about performing!
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
My business is Paul Brook Mind Reader, which was set up around eight years ago. I perform psychological mind reading as a form of entertainment around the United Kingdom and the world at large. It’s not psychic mind reading, but more the use of non-verbal communication and psychology to give the appearance of genuine mind reading.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
After many years as a psychologist, I wanted to entertain people using the skills that I had cultivated over many years of study and application.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
As a person who is quite happy entertaining friends and family, it was always the natural progression for me to make. Starting off my career as a psychologist helped me to go down the path of entertaining with the skill set that I had already developed.
Had you run your own business before?
Yes I previously had a psychological therapy practice, however, while it was successful, I didn’t feel it was emotionally fulfilling for me.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I started off performing mind reading part-time and very occasionally. Then it began to snowball and I found myself doing more psychological mind reading than psychology in the therapy practice.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
That you need to work hard to market the business, not just do a few things and hope that lots of business will come your way. The first stages of a business are the most critical, and also where the most amount of marketing and advertising would be of the greatest benefit. Ironically, often new businesses scrimp on the advertising when working out a budget.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
If I could go back to the young Paul Brook Mind Reader and give him some advice it would be to remain unrestricted by what people tell you won’t work. There are always people who will shoot down any dream, or tell you that your idea won’t work. At the end of the day, none of us can see into the future, so nobody knows. The only way we can know if something will work is to go ahead and do it. Never let anyone tell you something won’t work: when they do, go and do it and find out for yourself. I remember so many lost opportunities that would have given me so much more of a boost in my early years, all just because of listening to naysayers.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I had understood the power of networking earlier. I tried a networking meeting years ago and it was terrible. But the networking meetings these days are completely different and diverse compared to when I first tried them. These meetings are so plentiful that you could network in a different meeting every day of the week if that were your wish.
What are you glad you did?
Being self-employed and in an industry in which work is sporadic, the thing I am glad that I have always done is save. It would have been easy in the plentiful months to spend like there was no tomorrow. But then the lean months would have left me struggling and worrying. By saving the money on the abundant months there is always money to use in the ‘dips’. This of course is good financially, but also emotionally, as you can still focus on the business and the generation of new leads, rather than worrying about food, shelter, etc.
What’s your top business tip?
In two words … social networking. A lot of businesses have not realised the power of social networking and how it can boost your business. It can allow a business to have a personality; an emotional side that people can connect to. The people who follow you can build a real trust in your brand by becoming friendly and interacting with real people. If you don’t use Twitter and FaceBook, then get stuck in and build your friendship circles.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
Each year my business is ever expanding. I not only perform mind reading for some of the biggest companies in the world, but have had eight books published on the field of mind reading for fellow performers and also a book for the public called ‘Mind power Secrets’. I have changed from a single guy who does some amazing things, to a complete brand where I am THE product.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
Even busier than this year. Despite the recession, my business hasn’t fared too badly over the past couple of years. As we begin to move out of the economic downturn, I can only see the entertainment budgets of business increasing and more couples wanting to have a wedding. Corporate work and weddings are my two main income areas, so I predict that I will get up toa 25% increase in bookings as a psychological mind reader over the next 12 months.
One thing I really like is that Paul’s very much taken on board my little twist of checking in on all my interviewees in a year’s time, commenting, “I would love to be reminded of what my previous year’s thoughts about my business were and how accurate my predictions were”. We look forward to finding out, too!
Find out what happened next – Paul’s second interview.
Do visit Paul’s website at www.PaulBrook.co.uk.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.