Each month we get comfy on the Flow Couch with someone passionate about their work, to find out what living their life in flow means to them.
These people are our ‘everyday leaders’, and they’re here to share their secrets to doing business in flow, living with purpose and making money from following their passions.
Richard Owen is a marketing specialist who has worked on branding and commercial development with a range of companies, from small technology start-ups through to major financial institutions. He is a co-founder of web-based e-learning platform Compaso and has also recently released an electronic dance music album with the group ArtFanDelay.
1) Please introduce yourself and give a summary of what you do?
I lead a deliberately diverse work life. I’ve been self-employed for the last six years and currently split my week between being a marketing consultant at a large pensions company, helping to run a new e-learning start-up business and writing and producing an electronic music album with a singer I’ve been working with for the last six months.
2) What is it you love most about what you do?
I enjoy the flexibility of running my own show and the fact that I largely have control over my own destiny. What I do also brings together both my analytical and creative sides. I find the balance is quite important – I’m one of those people who needs to be using both sides of my brain in order to find my “flow”!
Being self-employed is not for everyone – it has its ups and downs and I never know precisely what the next six months will bring. However, I find the ups are better when you’ve created them yourself and the downs are no worse than I experienced when I worked as an employee in larger organisations.
3) How did you get to where you are now? Did you experience a pivotal moment that led you to doing more of what you love at work?
I worked in the City for fifteen years and had quite a successful career working with some great people on very challenging and interesting projects. But I always had this nagging thought in my head that I wanted to do lots of different things, such as making music and creating new businesses, and that’s quite hard to pull off with a demanding job that requires all your attention.
The pivotal moment for me was about ten years ago when I received my company pension statement and realised I had 30 years of pretty much the same thing day in and day out ahead of me. That made me seek out roles where I could work towards a clearer “end in mind”. Cutting a long story short, a company I was a part of was sold in 2007 and due to a sellers covenant I couldn’t work in the same industry for a while. So I was in the fortunate position of having the resources and motive to try my hand at other things.
Since then, I’ve been involved in projects as diverse as rebranding a financial company, helping to build a social media business, producing music with a singer in Belgium, through to setting up a film production company with some well known media personalities. Some opportunities I have to pursue – others, such as the film company, pop up out of the blue. But they have a common theme of drawing on business experience whilst requiring creativity of one kind or another.
4) What is the one piece of ‘golden nugget’ advice you can give to others looking to follow their passions at work?
I don’t know about the ‘golden’ part, as following your passion generally involves recognising that you’re not just in it for the money! There is a mantra that seems to have had lasting relevance for me, and that keeps me going during challenging times. This is: “fill your days with life, not your life with days”. For me this means seizing the moment, trusting your instincts and following your passion by taking a leap of faith and not being too concerned about the prospect of failure. It’s easier said than done, especially in these risk-averse times. But the upside is the potential for fulfilment and success and often the only downside is an experience you can learn from if everything doesn’t go to plan.
We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to join us on the Flow Couch – please get in touch here