Freelearning: Craig Hogan

Online education veteran Hogan talks about the challenges of starting a tech business and advises entrepreneurs to face up to their failures

Name: Craig Hogan
Age: 37
Company: Freelearning
Staff numbers: 1
Location: Woking
Date launched: 01/07/2013
Website: www.freelearning.co

Tell us what your business does:

We are trying to inspire the youth of the UK into starting a career by giving them access to inspirational clips from successful people and all the free learning they can eat.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I am the developer behind mylearningworx.com, the UK’s first crowdsourced eLearning marketplace. Whilst building the mylearningworx site I found that there is a ton of free learning resources online that are hard to find (for one reason or another) and with so many 1-18 years old in the UK out of work and education I wanted to give them an opportunity to turn their lives around for free.

How did you know there was a market for it?

No one else is targeting these people in the way that I want to, getting cool and smart people to tell their story in a short three-five minute video, highlighting what they have done to get where they are, it’s a unique prospect.

I have access to thousands of free online learning resources that people can use to kick start (or just help) their career.

What were you doing before starting up?

Anything and everything web based, I have been a self-employed web developer since 2006, since then have averaged one start-up a year.

Alongside this I run a volunteer based charity developer/designer community called www.dev4good.net.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

Yes, my father and my grandfather were both self-employed and ran a number of successful businesses.

It works if you don’t mind a bit of hard work.

How did you raise the money?

No money needed at the moment, I am running the business as leanly as possible, however sponsorship is needed in the long term to cover the hosting/production expenses.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The tech side I have covered, the ‘getting people to make a video’ is something I am struggling with. I have a number of people lined up (who have some cool jobs), but what I really need is help gaining some media exposure or PR/marketing advice on how to get my business out to the youth of today.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

I don’t need a lot of money to keep it all going, so am aiming to run banner advertising and highlighted video sponsorship.

What was your first big breakthrough?

Getting the first video ‘OK’ from a TV reporter who is making his video while shooting in Israel… talk about a dramatic start.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

My advice is to not give up, however if it turns out your business is doomed and destined for failure, try to keep positive, rethink what went wrong and try again in a different way. There are also some great business advice books like The Lean Startup and Nail It then Scale It that can offer advice.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

Starting something new and exciting that could change the way people learn and share knowledge.

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