Orange Crush Web Design: Stephen Cree

Stephen Cree on turning his part-time hobby into a full-time business

Stephen Cree turned his interest in web design into a successful part-time business. Doing the double shift as employee and business owner is eating into his time, but he explains why it’s worth more than just the double salary.

Company name: Orange Crush Web Design Website:http://www.orangecrushdesign.co.uk/ Founders: Stephen Cree Age: 46 Based: York, North Yorkshire Staff Numbers: 1 Date started: November 2006

Tell us what your business does: Website design and management.

Where did the idea come from? I’ve always been a bit of a geek and it was the classic case of a hobby morphing into business.

What were you doing before starting up? I still maintain a position working within the communications division of West Yorkshire Police. I plan to cut my ties with WYP by the end of this year. I’ve been with them for 13 years but prior to that I held some interesting posts including running a couple of garment processing warehouses, managing a recording studio, selling classified advertising for the Yorkshire Post and once made a paper merchant’s warehouse structurally unsafe as a failed FLT driver (I was very young!).

Have you always wanted to run your own business? The most appealing thing to me is the reality of it all. If I don’t work, there’s no income. If I work hard, there’s income. If I work hard and smart, I’ll do ok. I also find there’s an overspill in my work which often involves me having some input in commercial decisions taken by my clients. I really feel proud that they trust me enough to involve me to such a degree. It’s a real compliment which is greatly appreciated.

How did you raise the money? Starting Orange Crush with the safety net of a salary from WYP meant my start-up expense was kept to a minimum. Working from home also keeps the overheads to a minimum.

What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them? At the outset, finding customers is the tricky bit but it’s a viral process to some extent. You do a good job here, offer a bit of help there and the business comes in. I’m eight months into the business and I have no shortage of work and prospective projects in the pipeline.

How have you promoted your business? Contributing to forums is very productive. There’s the viral aspect of word of mouth recommendations. Paying for premium entries to directories is a waste of money.

What has your growth been like? Eight months in and I’m invoicing as much as I’m salaried with WYP. This is way beyond what I’d forecasted.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?Find something you love to do and work hard to be in the top 10% of people in your field.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time? No exit plan for me. I’m enjoying myself too much.

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