I’m writing this as a warning to other people in the industry. I worked in banking operations for years and I have a host of international names on my CV. I did my time.
Ultimately, however, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Several years ago I decided to leave banking and set up my own concierge company providing people like my former colleagues with privileged access to things like high-end restaurants, luxury resorts and VIP events.
I thought I knew what I was getting into. I could have done some research with my target market and former colleagues – the CEOs, hedge fund managers and traders wanted to sell to, but I didn’t bother because I thought I knew what they wanted. That was incredibly naïve. I was wrong.
It was a major error and it has had a dramatic effect on my life. I took out loans to finance my company but was unable to pay them back. As a result, I am bankrupt. I have lost everything: my savings, my cars, my house.
I am based in the U.K. and have had to seek government help in the form of Universal Credit simply in order to provide for my family. Universal Credit is notoriously slow to arrive, and we are currently reliant upon food banks to eat.
If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. In banking I had a net monthly income of £6k. Now, I have nothing left.
Obviously, I’ve tried to get back into finance but it’s never easy to get a job in the industry and now that I have big CV gaps and have defaulted on my loans I have no hope at all of reentry. Plus I am no longer up to date with regulations and systems.
In desperation, I’ve taken a coaching course. It’s early days, but I hope I can use this to enable me to help other people to learn from my mistakes. Until then, I would caution anyone with fantasies of walking away from a good income to think carefully about the wisdom of this move. Yes, you want to set up a business, but there are thousands of others out there. – What will differentiate yours? Yes, the hours are long in banking. Yes, the politics can be fierce. But once you walk away, you may never be able to get back in.
Did I make the right decision? No. I absolutely regret it. I have put my family through hell and lost everything I worked for. Do not leave your steady job unless you’re confident you replace a significant chunk of your income with your ‘hobby.’ In my case I couldn’t. And here I am.
Vennie Adams is the pseudonym of a former operations professional in London.
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