Case study

Founder — Mike Emery

Mikey Emery studied business management and marketing at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). He came up with the idea for his company 'Spin4' while in the university library

What does your business do?

The business is an online platform that helps people to find cool and interesting gifts from around the web.

We allow people to profile their interests and 'stumble' through a variety of products that match their interests.

The idea originally came while sat in the university library. I used to visit a website called Stumble Upon all the time (in order to put off writing my dissertation) and I thought that a similar concept, but for products, would be a really cool idea.

Starting your own business can bring you great financial success, as well as give you the opportunity to work on something you not only enjoy, but are passionate about

How long did it take to get going?

It all happened pretty quickly. As soon as my exams were over I got stuck into the project and managed to have a lot of things ready and built by the end of the summer.

How did you fund the initial start-up?

NTU have a fantastic programme called 'The Hive', which provided me with access to a business mentor, office space and even a start-up cash injection of £2,500.

The rest was self-funded. I had saved up to go traveling after university, which I decided to invest instead.

What do you do day-to-day?

My time is split between searching and contacting suppliers that have great products which would be suitable on Spin4. The rest of my time varies between producing content for the site and marketing the brand.

What are the most challenging parts of self-employment?

Time management has always been my biggest hurdle. When I started Spin4, there were a million and one things to do but only a certain amount of time to do them.

I quickly learned how to prioritise my workload and focus my time and energy on things I knew would really contribute to the development of the brand or that would provide a good financial return.

What are your plans for the future of your business?

The software Spin4 uses to search and find products is unique and exciting. I have started to explore the opportunity of packaging this up and making it available to other online businesses that can benefit from a 'random search' feature.

Spin4 is on the rise and the aim is to continue building it and growing the sites database of regular users.

What advice can you offer on self-employment?

Starting your own business can be incredibly rewarding. It can bring you great financial success, as well as give you the opportunity to work on something you not only enjoy, but are passionate about.

I started the business because I hated the thought of working hard to build someone else's company all the while generating success for them. So the obvious answer was to just dive straight in and start something myself. It has been the best decision I have ever made.

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