Case study

Entrepreneur — Andrew Shanahan

Andrew believes that building a business can often come from the things that you know best…

What qualifications did you study?

I did a drama degree and then worked as a freelance journalist while studying the NCTJ qualification.

If I could cherry-pick my qualifications now, with the benefit of hindsight, I'd do a short business course, learn some more computer languages and do an intensive sales course.

What is your current job title?

I'm the editor of, which is a website that helps men who want to lose weight.

It started off as a blog and has now progressed to a blog, forum, book and a series of weight-management groups around the country.

How did you set up your business?

I put on a lot of weight while I was working on my previous business and found myself sitting still a lot and doing a fair bit of stress eating. When I sold that business I had time to lose weight and I was shocked that there was no support out there for normal blokes who wanted to jiggle less as they walked.

What do you do day-to-day?

There really isn't a typical working day. Some of the things I'm responsible for are promoting the business, so I might be talking to journalists about what we do, or writing an article for a paper.

I write and commission a lot of blogs on the subject of men and weight loss and I also spend more time than I should messing around with the brand's social media and forum.

As with all self-employed people I have an obligatory hour of fretting and becoming convinced that I have no idea what I'm doing and banging my head repeatedly against my desk.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I do something that I truly believe matters. That counts for a lot. I get a lot of very nice emails from guys who are grateful that exists.

I really love the chance to write as part of my job, as it's what I feel most competent at. I simultaneously love and fear the freedom of being an entrepreneur.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

I'm not a naturally-gifted salesman and I think all self-employed people need the ability to sell what they do.

What are the best things about being self-employed?

Freedom and the chance to employ your creativity. That and the fact that when you work alone no one really cares how you smell.

Any advice for others who would like to be self-employed?

If you want to practice being self-employed stand in front of a mirror and say how much you charge until you don't feel embarrassed.

Find out more