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February 7, 2022

Opportunities and Obstacles of a Young Entrepreneur, with Adam Townsend

Highlights, insights and helpful hints from entrepreneur, Adam Townsend from Tevent Talks: Episode One

We often view hot-shots and highfliers as being made of sterner stuff — wired differently, or even wire-less. In actual fact, behind many of these astounding success stories lies a person not unlike you or me.

Tevent Talks is the stage to gather ‘round — to have unfiltered, empathetic, and engaging conversations. To learn about the remarkably relatable nature behind the entrepreneurs, influencers, and business leaders that we admire. And, above all, to have fun.

We’re on a mission to uncover the human behind success, in hopes it’ll bring you that much closer to yours. Read on for some Episode 1 highlights, or head straight to the Space to see what’s coming up next.

Drum roll, please

Our first esteemed guest kicked off Tevent Talks with a bang — Founder and Creative Director of London-based Cavalier — Adam Townsend. Whether it be visual or written media, Adam has a knack for storytelling, and his creative concepts have been witnessed by more than 500 million people across the globe.

And in case you weren’t aware — that’s a lot of people.

We delved into Adam’s journey to success to uncover his inspirations, insights, and more — and find out exactly what makes him tick. From the responsibilities of managing a business to the joy of content creation, it’s time to unveil the person behind the brand.

Started from the bottom...

Now he’s here — on Tevent Talks, of course — living his best life. Adam started his career as a youthful teen with work experience at a PR agency, called Freuds. At the tender age of just 16, he was being taught by some of the UK's most renowned PR representatives.

I don’t know what you were doing at the age of 16, but I know for certain that I had absolutely no clue what was going on. Some find their passions early on, and others fumble through and get lucky — either way, keep pushing till you get there.

“I absolutely loved it. I love being around that many people coming up with ideas, you know? Having clients with challenges, you kind of have to work out what the best solution would be.”

And, who wouldn’t? Creativity, married with problem-solving — the perfect duo. Unsurprisingly, Adam was offered a position at Freuds in his final year of university — surely some other graduate scheme would have snapped him up if they hadn’t.

After a few years working for these industry giants, Adam found himself craving a new direction. He’d always loved filmmaking, and so, he says, somehow fell into running a business. Inundated with requests and needing an employee to bear some weight — he endeavoured to start his first business.

So, from humble beginnings, Adam had become a fully fledged business owner. Now for a name — which he mused was “one of the hardest things you’ll do” when starting a company. Cavalier, to him, means “doing something differently, going against the wind, [and] not really caring what others think.”

Oh, and also as a tribute to the Cavalier King Charles’ Spaniels he had growing up (which are, most definitely, a favourite of ours).

And, those of you itching to begin your journey through the scary, and often self-sufficient world of content creation — Adam is resolute that you don’t need a fancy production or advertising agency backing you to create good quality content.

“I’ve found actually [...] a two-man team with a camera and a microphone [...] is just as good as [agencies] charging hundreds of thousands of pounds.” And, we’d be very inclined to agree, as a small team that creates all their content in-house. It would seem that in today’s climate, content creation is no longer as elitist and inaccessible as it once was.

Granted, there are some essentials you’ll need to purchase along the way, but there’s a wealth of free platforms and software at your disposal as a content creator (keep your eyes peeled for a list of our favourites, coming soon).

So then, where are the entrepreneurial tips?

I hear you ask. Is it a right place/right time kind of deal, or can you engineer success? Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all — but we’ve managed to squeeze as much insight out of Adam as we had time for.

Our biggest question was, of course, the unanswerable question — how does one achieve that ever-coveted work-life balance when starting a company? Ultimately, “you need to put the business over your social life, over your ability to travel — to switch off.”

Being an entrepreneur may not live up to the idealised view that we have of it, but there are still some incredible benefits. The “autonomy” in “doing things your own way, running your business [...] how you would like it to be” can be unbelievably rewarding.

Adam has found some tactics to maintain a semblance of balance along the way. The first is to identify key stressors, and mitigate these where possible — so, don’t be afraid to delegate if an employee seems better suited to the task at hand. Taking days off (or, at least, keeping people around you that will inevitably force you to take days off), is also crucial to mental wellbeing.

And finally, try not to take things too personally — criticism and opposition can be fantastic boons to progress, and self-development if it is given and received appropriately.

It’s all risky business

It's unsurprising that Adam thinks “you have to take risks if you want to grow” as a business — he’d know. Starting a sustainable underwear business during lockdown was no mean feat, but the risk paid off.

His first business, like many, was drastically impacted by the first lockdown in 2020: “I had a lot of sleepless nights, you know, whether I was gonna be able to employ our employees — who aren't just employees, they're really good friends, and have been part of growing the business.”

After going “from a serious amount of monthly revenue to almost zero over the course of a day”, Adam picked himself up and tried something new. Things might not work out — Adam rightly reminds us that 60% of businesses fail within their first 3 years, (a sobering thought for us at Tevent — right on the cusp of our 2nd year).

If you don’t try, you’ll never know — and if you’re committed to making a difference in your industry, then you’re on the right track. But, nothing quite matches up to having a genuine passion for what you’re doing.

No matter what you think of your idols, and no matter how different you believe them to be — they are, ultimately, just like us. Adam is not a “get up at 5AM every morning” type — he likes a lie-in and the occasional drink. He puts his trousers on one leg at a time.

“To be an entrepreneur is not to be a perfect human being with this perfect ritual.” This ever prevailing stereotype can be incredibly disheartening to the vast majority of us that really — really don’t want to wake up at 5AM.

If you love what you do, and you believe in the impact you can have — well, we think that’s enough to take you all the way. Even if things don't work out, at least you had the guts to try. And, whatever your endeavour, Tevent is here to help you grow your business — in whatever way we can.

A very special thanks to Adam for lending us your time, insight, and wisdom — we hope you all found it as enlightening as we did.

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