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Entrepreneurship: John Corcoran


John Corcoran explains the journey he undertook in setting up his design and communication company – Wire Design. John details the interpersonal, creative and business skills needed in setting up and managing a successful company

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Ok, my career to date, where I am at the moment. I’m running a design company, communication design company, based over in Shoreditch. It’s been going 12 years, it’s very successful, I enjoy it, it’s great! I wouldn’t do anything else, I’m not sure I could do anything else. Not sure anyone would employ me anyway probably, to do anything else. That’s kind of where I am at the moment.

I left school without any qualifications at the age of 15. Went in to two or three different jobs, I was a chemist for two years, joined a pop band, became a failed pop star two years later. But, I got into the idea of promoting and marketing and I guess from there that was the seed of what I’m doing today. So, from that point onwards, I managed to get a part time job with somebody, just helping out doing marketing. Three years later, I got a marketing job in a theatre in London. At that point, I really started to focus on design. Just did it in the evenings, initially, because I was really obsessed by it. Worked every evening for four years. Probably, after about 6 years, I knew it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I went travelling for a year, came back and I set up on my own with the intention of being a successful designer.

I guess, when I started in business, and found myself in business, the kind of key skills. I had some innate skills, I think, and I had a real passion for creativity, on observing things and understanding people’s problems. And, getting on with people, I guess, and listening. But, in order to run a creative business, I had to learn a bunch of other stuff that went along that. Boring stuff I guess. Like the financial stuff, some of the legal stuff, the business practices. So, I went on a few evening courses, I asked people who’d done it before me and just got advice from people. I asked people who’d run creative businesses and found that most didn’t like doing the boring stuff but had too, to survive. I just kept, I think I just blindly kept going because the creativity just drove me and learnt the ‘have to’ stuff off the side, I guess really.

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