Ryan Jackson: former college drop out and once-unemployed bum – current serial entrepreneur, businessman, founder of Gemini Parking Solutions and success coach.
I had a poor, working-class background in a single parent family on a London council estate. No-one I knew had a decent job, or aspirations to go to university – so positive role models were inaccessible to me.
In my youth, I believed that people were born into wealth and success – or were incredibly lucky. I didn’t know, at the time, that you can create your own success.
I was a classic under-achiever at school and when my best friends started getting involved in criminal activity, it was looking very easy for me to take that slippery downward route to prison. Luckily, it never came to that.
I left school as soon as I could, drifted, dropped out of college after a few months. I had no sense of purpose, no expectations of myself, no goals and no direction in life. I was, quite frankly, a bum. I signed on for benefits and stayed in bed till the afternoon. Life was pointless – and with low mood and no hope, I can understand why young men take their own lives.
I had dreams. But they seemed like fantasies. I didn’t realise that anyone can achieve great success if they apply their mindset, time and energy to a goal. No-one seems to teach you that at school in a practical way. I might have done better in the education system if they had.
Only when I bought a book about Pablo Escobar did I have that light-bulb moment.
Here was a boy, born into severe poverty, who became one of the richest men in the world. If he could do that – what might I achieve? Anything.
I got the bug – voraciously reading books by successful people and leaders in personal development – books on developing a success mindset, business leadership, even the laws of attraction and wealth – everything that fascinated me. Books by Jim Rohn, Anthony Robbins, and others. People who inspired me to develop myself and my thinking and be pro-active in creating my own goals and successfully achieving them.
I got jobs, starting at the bottom with a winning attitude, and was rapidly promoted. But I wanted more.
In 2012, I started Gemini Parking Solutions – as one man (with a rusting van). I had a vision to deliver excellent parking management services from a company with high values and ethical approaches, in an industry with a bad reputation. I targeted small businesses, offering to manage and operate their parking spaces.
Rapidly, my client base increased, my income grew, and I could employ staff to free me up to focus wholly on growing my business.
We soon won a big contract with a national restaurant group. Contracts for NHS hospital sites, leisure complexes and major retail parks followed.
We are now established as the only values-based parking management business in the UK. We have multi-million-pound revenue, 23 employees and ambitious plans. Additionally, I have other business interests in rental properties, a debt management company and a hotel complex in Thailand.
It’s taken hard work, and time – but when you love what you do and can see the higher purpose – it’s not really works. It can be an exhilarating pleasure.
Instead of working for a living, when you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life – as the saying goes.
Too many people are stuck in jobs they hate, working just to pay the bills, afraid to step out of the rut they’re in. In fact, if you’ve been made redundant and are currently unemployed, you are fortunate to have a wider range of choices than many people – especially in terms of creating your own business.
You can create your own job – your own lifestyle!
Tips for setting up a business:
Monetising your passion
What do you love, or love to do? List the ways you can make money from it. Next – is there a market for it?
Set some goals to achieve, based on the business you want to build, the direction you want to go in, and the results you want. Make your goals SMART ones.
This is like dismantling a clock to learn how to build one. Begin with the end-result or goal and work backwards, identifying the steps to get there.
If you want to have a successful business in a year’s time, what do you have to do at month 11, month 10, etc? Or to achieve a six-month target, where do you need to be at month 3, and what do you need to do, to get there? Continue working back to the present day – and you should now have a clear plan and milestones to work towards.
Skilling yourself up
What information, knowledge, skills, resources or people