I started my business journey as a 13-year-old schoolboy in Durham, building websites offering free ringtones in the days of Crazy Frog and Nokia mobiles.

Ringtones were a way of getting traffic and learning the marketing aspect behind websites. Running several websites myself, I then realised I could also probably sell some web hosting to people – so I used my birthday money to get a reseller account.

I registered eukhost as a limited company when I was 18 and it took off from there. Today eukhost and Webhosting UK, which we acquired in 2008, have more than 35,000 customers with 150,000+ registered domains – but back then I had no plan for success. It just felt right.

When I was 13, I had no fear of failing… but when the real world hit, the fear kept us up all night. I had left home and started to rent somewhere, which was a whole new ball game.

I had dropped out of college early on to concentrate on the business aged 17. Now all my friends were at university while I was trying to make a success of eukhost. I kept thinking: ‘Is this the right decision?’

It was a lot of years before I got over that fear. It doesn’t happen overnight, and I think people need to understand that. Getting your mindset right on that is something that takes a long time to build.

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I read a lot of self-help books in those early days: it helped to learn of other people’s experiences and put them all together as one.

Now, when I fail at something, I realise I’m moving forward – I’d even say it’s an impersonal process. The fear will subside once you realise that you’re progressing with everything that happens, whatever the outcome.

In real life, if something gets spilled on the carpet and you have to get a new one, it’s not a failure on your part – you eventually just move on and forget about it. You should try and do the same in business.

Take risks while you are young – you have little to lose

We are looking to invest £5 million over the next three years into building a data centre in the North – and then the energy crisis came around.

We were land hunting, speaking to estate agents, we had data centre builders lined up – that’s how close we were. That’s now on hold… we don’t want to keep having to pass the cost to our customers.

Out of all of the business challenges I’ve been through, this energy crisis, for our industry, has been one of the worst, if not the worst. 

But it doesn’t keep us up at nightI simply tell myself: this is a business challenge,  so there is  opportunity.

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