Business, Entrepreneur, Me

The Excitement Every Entrepreneur Knows

So, I wrote a post a little while ago titled the Story of Serenity, and it was the first time I reflected back and actually wrote down my reflection of how I came to be with the business I run today. It was such a life and mindset changing experience. Being able to see where I am and realise where I was, was such a different story. Also realising that it was ok to have something happen like that! As an entrepreneur I have come to realise many things and one of those things is that change and evolution come hand in hand with the role of business owner. One of the thrills of running your own business.

So lately I have been hard at work. Since May I have been on the grind refining all the work and research I have been doing for the last year and half and making sense of it. Also witnessing the portfolio I have generated has impressed me as it far exceeded what I intended to generate in the time period I allocated for the task.

My last goal for this summer was a new launch and huge new marketing push for September, and well, its September and I think its time. I have changed a lot of things, at the same time not changing much. My business values are still the same, maybe a little stronger, my drive is the same, again maybe a little stronger, and my determination ever growing.

I am about to release a brand new site for my business. Now you may say, Brandon you are a web designer and launch new sites all the time what’s different about this one? Why is this one so exciting? Well this one symbolises a milestone for my business. Over the summer I secured my first 8 Clients. I have some more interest for the future too which makes me even more happy! This new site to me is the closest push to the end goal I have been chasing for years, launching a money making company. A company that could sustain me on its own without the need of an external job. A company that will eventually sustain others too apart from myself.

It also just looks amazing! This site is so clean and so my brand I cannot even fathom how excited I am!

The urge to just publish it now is real! However I also like this feeling of anticipation so much I would in an ideal world maybe push back the launch by a week so I can relish in it some more, but would be awful PR so I will not be doing that!

On the 1st October it will open its doors and the world will get to see what I have been working on for the summer, and I cannot bloody wait!

This feeling is exactly the feeling I felt when I registered my first company, Serenity Co Software. It was a feeling of elation two years ago when I filled out the form to Companies House and got my incorporation statement back the next day saying I am now a certified PLC. I now have two companies, Serenity Co Software and a Year Later Serenity Technology Group, when I put together my 10 – 20 year vision for what I wanted for the Serenity Brand going forward, and Serenity Design is just the start!

I cannot wait to see where this company is going to take me. This company has already taken me on such an amazing journey for the last two years and for the third year, she’s ready to take over the mother tucking world henny!

So sit back, get comfortable and get ready for one hell of a ride!

#SerenityDesign

B xoxo

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Me

Finding the way to manage your mind.

So The mind is a tricky place. It’s such a subjective and complex being that there really isn’t a one shoe fits all approach when it comes to the mind.

My struggles with managing my mind have all been recorded on this blog, so its no mystery that my mind fluctuates, sometimes on its own and sometimes triggered from something in my life. Loss, uni, love. All of the triggers big and in turn triggering big waves in my mind, of both negativity and positivity.

So the question rose. How do we find a way to manage the mind?

Now to be honest with you, I have yet to find it. I think I have found a way that seems to work now so I am rolling with it but only time will tell if this is the method to finally take control of my emotion and my mental state of mind. So what is this mystical method that has allowed me to take back control.

I do not know. The method I am certain that I have no idea, and to be frank I don’t think there is a cohesive method. One thing that I have seen that came into my life recently was new friends. New people, new injections of opinions. I have still kept my original friendship groups and they will forever be close to me and will not change. However I also feel its healthy to network and form new friendship groups to keep your pool of knowledge fresh and constant.

I have been part of some great initiatives like Our Bright future and many others that I have also mentioned previously in other posts on my blog, but these all bring new people into my life that have given me new injections of opinion, knowledge and just kind and rewarding words. I find these forms of relationships incredibly beneficial to my mental state and I have found myself improve greatly after this.

Linked to this is the opposite in a way, but to let go and remove negativity from your life. I have recently had three job opportunities and interviews, of which I got all three, including the very highly regarded Mayors Entrepreneur Intern role which I am over the moon about. However at the time I had got into a heated conversation with my ex, who I messaged simply to say hi and catch up after seeing an old photo of us in my facebook memories. In turn I got a nasty response and the response and words used really hurt. Did this stop me getting the roles? No. I flipped it on its head and realised, this gave me the closure I needed. We ended so quickly and never really spoke and he never opened up even in our year long relationship. The reply showed his true colours and that’s what I needed to see. If you want to know more go to my previous post, the ghosts of the past.

So, what can you do? These things will not necessarily help you reading this, but I hope reading that I have got past some dark crap in my past, family splits due to my sexuality, falling in love with someone a million miles away from me, going through several spots of crap financials, two years on unemployment and job searching and amongst this running a business and juggling university work. The last two years have tested me and I can see the third will test me probably even more being the last year of uni, but I go into it a much more harder and self driven person than I did when I entered second year. I have a new fire, a new ‘method’ and hopefully a new sense of control over my mental state. Three new jobs and a great set of friends that I am happy to call friends.

Someone once told me that things may seem crap now, but things always seem to find their ways to fix themselves, even when it doesn’t even seem plausible.

B xoxox

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Me

What you don’t know about me…

I have written a lot about my life since I started my blog over a year ago. This blog has documented my coming out, mental health struggles and the development of my business. So here’s a few things you still don’t know about me.

The first thing that you may not know is that I am incredibly insecure about most things. My body, relationships and most things that apply to life. I’m not sure why, its sort of always been there. I have always been insecure about my body and I even wrote a whole post about body confidence. I have not been the luckiest in love. The only people I’ve fully clicked with have lived in countries very far away from mine so distance has killed me. Others just haven’t worked out or turned into sour A Holes that just want one thing. So at the moment, I am content, well, with the person, but previous demons have haunted me greatly. Especially because I feel it going well, but the little nasty devils on my shoulder continue to fester it worries me. It will never work, what the hell does he see in you? Oh he will go and travel the world and leave you behind. All very dark and none of then exhibited in real life, but fester inside my mind.

Why? No clue, its just my mind. I try to control it with meditation (Which I have neglected as of late and really should start doing again!), and just speaking. I do lash out sometimes and it really annoys me.

So yeah, I don’t feel very confident in my body, even when I was at my best, which makes me sick when now I pine for that body back. My face is the only think I am ok with, apart from my droopy under chin bit and my jawline, isn’t the most defined but it works and its mine so its ok.

Another thing you may not know about me is I am petrified of Wasps. Hate them. NASTY! I love the environment which is another thing you may not about me, but the only thing Mother Nature created that I hate with all power invested in me are wasps. They do not die when they sting, they sting for no reason, compared to bees who sting only when they need too (never been stung by a bee) but die after. How tragic for something so cute! Wasps. Nope. I tried walking to my Nan’s door when I was younger and there was a nest by it, I never angered them or went near them, but low and behold they surround me and sting me. Horrid creatures.

Lastly, one thing you not know about me is I am also Petrified on dentists. Something probably quite generic like who likes the dentist (for those who do, freaks!) But no I am not just scared. I will sit and shake while waiting for the appointment, the mere thought of being in a dentists chair gives me the chills and a slight headache so that’s all I’m writing!

So thats all from me folks! Until next time. That was fun, there will prob be a part two to this!

B xoxox

Header Image from instagram.com/alex_n_j
Wasp Image from the website Unspash, user is Pawel Blazewicz
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Entrepreneur

The story of Serenity

When I look back, my journey in business has been a bumpy one, but that’s how its meant to be right? Now to pre warn you this is going to be a long post. So if you wanna keep reading, sit back, relax and enjoy!

So today, I want to take you on a journey, a journey from 2014 to now. When I was younger, and I first got into liking technology and actually experimenting when I got my first laptop, I loved to explore different programs. I loved the fact they all had different interfaces and they all had different controls that did different things when you clicked them. Why? What made them do that? How did it know to move the window from there to there and then close that? It was fascinating.

So then I came across Visual Studio. A development space for windows applications (Could not afford a mac back then!). I played around with different code, 99% of the time failed, but then I started watching YouTube and consulted that when things went wrong. A few months later, I made my first basic application. It was called Bournes Surf, a simple browser system based off the internet explorer API. It had fully functioning back and forward buttons, with a refresh, and close button. A few months after that I managed to add History, and Home. The next frontier to make it on par with other browsers was a separate search bar (Yes this is how far back I am going). It was a B**** (we are PG here folks). It used different code from the rest of the program, so If I added it, it would break the app, but I really wanted it. So I rewrote the app to match the code and it worked. Surf was born. In 2015 I went to Wix and opened my first website and the concept was ready. Bournes Co (Later to become Serenity) was here. It had pages and descriptions on the process and how to install my app.

Then my first PR crisis. People came to me saying it wouldn’t install. I panicked. What could I do? I soon came to realise I shared the editing version of the app that came without an installer so I complied it properly, re listed it and uploaded it. Success.

I soon moved to my next frontier. I wanted to make an app that did a little more than just a browser. I was hungry!

I started work on my second app. It was to be a multi function app, an app that houses note taking, browsing, file management and more into a single app. I didn’t really have a vision I just wanted to add as much as I could and what I learnt into one app. I advertised it as an ‘OS without the need of an OS’. Which was technically false advertisement as it needed Windows to Run but you get the point. It took four months to develop, and Bournes S1 was here. S was for I cannot remember for the life of me but it was S1. It hit the website and I was overjoyed! Compiled this time and learnt from my mistakes.

A screenshot of the newly released S1

Once I was happy it was working I got to work on S2, the second version and it was to add more personalisation and a redesign to some of the features. I was also being brave by adding something I have never tried before, an updater. Before this, users of my apps would need to uninstall the app and then redownload the new version I uploaded on the website as the app did not have the capability to update it self with patch updates so it was bulky and a pain. I wanted to keep updating S2 with new stuff so an updater was needed. It was, like the search bar, a right little…..bugger. It didn’t work. It kept me up at night and every tutorial was followed but still no joy, it would register a new update even when there wasn’t a new one and just keep redownloading the same update as what was installed. It was a right pain.

Unfortunately this snag stopped S2 ever seeing the light of day and I shelved it and kept my focus back on Surf.

In 2016, change came, and I was fully invested in the idea of a ‘business’. Before this it was more of a, hey look, download what I made, and that’s about it. Now I had a robust site, and a vision. I wanted to make my browser the most secure browser on the planet. I found its USP and was determined to make it happen!

So I renamed the app, to SBrowser, the ‘Secure Browser’. I redesigned it, the back end anyways, with all new code. I had got rather good at coding at this point and YouTube was still there but only as a last resort. I was using a mixture of C and Java languages to make the backend tick! I focused a lot on the history elements as this was the one outlet where the data from a website would be taken from my app, so this was one of the main portholes for viruses and data leaking to happen. So this was made to be robust, the backend was ticking like a freshly oiled machine and it was ready for launch. SBrowser, the brand new browser, Surf on steroids and Bournes Co was launched. It was such a proud moment, as I look back it was so simple to what I have today, but it was so much to me at the time. It helped shaped my next two years.

I didn’t stop. SBrowser 2, 3, and 4 came hot off the press, a month or two in between, adding more rigidity to the backend, and adding some new design tweaks and features like bookmarks, favourites and more.

Then we get to number 5. I was fed up of the design, so stripped it completely and redesigned the whole app. The navigation panel was a small tool box at the bottom of the screen that would be summoned by two permanent buttons on the left and right hand side of the screen. It could be changed in terms of colour and position on the screen and housed all browser commands.

SBrowser 5.0

SBrowser 6.0

SBrowser 6.2

Number 6 arrived two months later and added app extensions. Links to apps like the Microsoft suite and more.

Then I took a break. College was coming and my time was getting less and less flexible. Development more or less stopped entirely at the end of the 2016 and when college finished and the new year came, I decided it was time to get back to working on my app.

SBrowser 7 logo, a pride logo without meaning to be one!

Number 7 came soon after with a new rainbow inspired logo, maybe my unconscious was predicting what was to come in the future? Funny when I think about it I came out and became fully open in the 7th Month of 2017. How weird I literally only thought of this as I was writing this sentence! Gosh! The app itself looked the same as number 6 but added a tonne of stability and performance fixes to the back end that was really needed after two updates of major features additions to the app.

Number 8 came and then came Number 9. However 9 was different. I changed tac and decided to bring back an old friend. Hey S2!

SBrowser 9

I merged S2 with SBrowser 9, and made it a full screen app that acted like an internal OS. It also came with my take on Siri, called Anna. Text to speech tool that would answer pre determined questions that I coded into the app so once typed in, she would speak out the answer that I would have preloaded into the app. I launched it at my old secondary school, where I did a talk on my app, and launched the system at an event I organised in the main assembly hall with my computer rigged to the projector so I could so a live demo of it. My first ever full on product launch. It was amazing and really fired me up to think of this as my life going forward.

When I released SBrowser 9, I also had a talk with my old business advisor and we spoke about the name of my business, currently Bournes Co at the time. He said to me, “Having a business named after yourself can really limit the growth whenever you want to or plan to leave”, and that resonated with me to this day, so got on thinking of a new name. My mother then came up with the great idea of Serenity, as I wanted my company to personify simplicity and something new and fresh, and this was a perfect name. Serenity Co was born.

SBrowser 10.0

SBrowser 10.1

I kept on working on that app for a while, 9.1,9.2 and you get the idea. I kept updating the app until SBrowser 11 when I decided to change the name again. I am now in my first year of uni and I was speaking to a business advisor and showed them the now newly renamed app called Swift (But was SBrowser 11 at heart). He loved the idea and thought it would be perfect for banks.

SBrowser 11, which became the newly renamed and redesigned Swift Browser. It had the biggest marketing push I have ever done for a product

Swift had to rename to Switch due to a conflict of name with Apples new programming language Swift

Then came my second PR crisis. Swift, newly relaunched, three months later Apple release a brand new programming language that shares the name Swift. I cried three days straight, so the name was altered to Switch. Luckily development stopped before Nintendo killed that name too!

However when I think back, I felt the app was great for consumer and it was built for consumer and I felt like it would really not fit banks at all, and I also had huge anxiety over my security promise. Banks need a guarantee and I have no degree in coding, so on a consumer level its a sealed boat, however in the hands of a bank or big company, will I have a Titanic disaster on my hands?

I decided to shelve the app, after two years of intensive development and I went into a creative slump.

I was designing websites for people in my course and my inner circle, and on the side I was doing public speaking at outreach events and it all seemed like Serenity was dead in a way. Nothing was happening.

However it then came. My big lightbulb moment. Why don’t I turn my website making skills into a business? Switch Serenity into a more service business instead of applications for now, and then pursue them in the future? So I got to work and created Serenity Web in the summer of 2017, and am still going today.

Serenity Web has gained it’s first clients this year and has a brand new site and identity for itself. Serenity Co, now renamed to Serenity Technology Group, serves as an umbrella company that manages all my projects, like Serenity Talks, where I occasionally hold talks on matters that matter at the time or technological topics like tech and fashion and tech and music.

This has been the story of Serenity. It’s been a strange one hasn’t it? I have loved every moment and this is only the beginning. I have so many wild dreams for the future of this business and I aspire to achieve every single one of those crazy wild dreams.

I will go back to developing apps, but I have decided its a venture I do not want to do myself. I have many ideas for apps and have one right now I’m planning for the future, but I only taught myself to code to get a physical MVP (Minimum Viable Product) out to market, its not something I would call a passion. I’m not the best and I need the best and someone who knows exactly what they are doing and thats not me! So apps are in the future but it will take a little while. Every minute so worth it.

So if you are reading this and are contemplating your own business, go for it. It will probably change so much in the future but thats not a bad thing. It’s just a part of a long winding journey of entrepreneurship.

B xoxox

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Me

What makes me happy?

So I’m running with this theme of happiness, its a good contrast with recent posts. So I was thinking, what makes me happy? In true ‘me’ fashion, here’s a breakdown! Also if anyone wants to make me happy, here’s a convenient list of things you could do!

One thing that makes me happy is nature. I love to work with the nature around me. In the summer time, I will always try and escape my campus building and walk across the road to Regents Park. I am very privileged to have this right on my doorstep as it makes study, work and general hanging out so much better. The sound of the leaves in the breeze with the water and the sunshine. Nothing better. The smell of freshly cut grass. Orgasmic. Come on Dior, Channel and all these high class luxury labels, where’s the cut grass scent gosh!

I will also be touching more on nature in my upcoming post, but its always helped feed my creativity. My most creative moments in life have come from my walks in the forest or laying down in a field basking in the sunshine. So, wanna make me happy? Take me to the park! (Just not in the winter or cold days please!)

Another thing that makes me happy is music! Music runs in my blood, I cannot go anywhere without music. I can’t sing, If I could I would! I just love listening to music and analysing the meaning of lyrics and really understanding the music and the layers behind the sound. Music can fuel so much of my mood, I have songs for sadness, love, partying, craziness, lazy times and just work or study music. My library is full from music way back in the 50s, to now. I prefer music from the 80s and 90s though. I find this era to be such a transcending era in music evolution. With the likes of the late Aretha Franklin, Micheal Jackson, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, the Spice Girls, and more. This era of music really shaped my understanding and views of music. Most of my modern day comparisons go back to this era of music.

The last thing that makes me happy in this post, is love! It’s unbeatable! Love from friends, family, that one person in your life. I have always had love from my friends and family, when I was a child, growing up and after I came out for the first time two years ago. I’m still working on the third. It came once and never came again, yet. I have high hopes though and the way my life is shaping I have no doubt in the world It will come again. I just find hatred to be so pointless and tedious. I have debates online all the time as to why people are so bitter and twisted. I am almost certain I will give up Instagram soon because I find it filled with hate, ignorance and vanity. Just a digital pool for people to show of things and prove to the world that they mean something. Well if you are trying so hard to prove it, most likely you haven’t got it. So thats why love makes me so happy. I will always have my family, my friends have always been there by my side (You know who you are! Xx) and the third is coming.

So thats what makes me happy. I’m a simple guy at heart although I make things rather complex a lot of the time!

I will probably make a part two as there’s a lot more that makes me happy but I don’t want this post to end up as long as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as I’m half if not less interesting!

Until next time, more to come my lovelies!

B xoxox

Image from instagram.com/arnold_nagy
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Me

Reinvention

Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself – Mireille Guiliano

This year has pushed my limits. I always talk about this year as being such a bad year, darkness, horridness. Yuck ness.

However, I have always lived life feeling, if you have no battle scars, have you actually lived? To get through life unscathed, Is a life wasted in my opinion. So, we edge closer and closer to the end of summer. Yay! I cannot wait to get back on the grind.

So today, I had the biggest day for a while. Two, pretty important interviews. One of which I passed and am now a designer for my University Student Union! It is my first employment as a designer so I’m really excited about where this lead me and how this will impact me and my business. The second one, Ill keep under wraps until I get a result. Sorry 🙂

So, this year is my last. I’m departing the education sector next year for good, well for now anyways! So after this year, which has been amazing, testing and bittersweet if I had to sum up this year. I am feeling tired, a little beaten up, a little washed out, and a little shadow of my former self.

However today awakened the fire inside that has been dormant for a while now, the fire to really shed this old skin and its time for reinvention!

Now, me as a person will always remain the same, however my attitude to business, the way I conduct business, and the way I look, will be drastically different this year.

The limited time, limited people and desire to get as much out of this year as possible has pushed me to drive drive drive! As I said in a previous post, the negatives as of late have really roughened me up. Now I’m still sweet and happy ok, but if something bothers me I will bring it up. If I’m not happy, you will know, in a constructive not divaish way. I am doing what’s best for me and my business and starts with today!

Now, onto the way I look. I have such a drastic change in my wardrobe coming up. It’s become so stagnant and blah lately as I haven’t one, had the funds to reinvigorate it, or the energy. So I am going to change that. All new aesthetics this year! All shall be revealed sooooon!

So that’s my tea for today, there’s a lot of change coming, its great! Entering third year with a new mental state of mind, fire to succeed, and new people that have really given me the inspiration to grow and try new things!

Good night my loves 😉

Image sourced from https://www.lloyddirks.nl/
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LGBT +, Me, My Diary

The good bits

This is the part where I would usually explain the elaborate and mysterious title I had chosen for the post, but this time I am keeping it simple and it pretty much explains itself ok. Do not judge me.

My last few posts have been pretty deep, talking about my fluctuating and deflated mental health over the last few months, to explaining about a recent event that made me think about the true meaning of Pride.

So I decided to side track all that and you know what, shock horror. In all that doom and gloom and despair and tears, there are some shiners! The GOOD BITS!

I love some good bits. So this post is a little ramble about all the good bits and updating the lovely reader reading this now (Thank you) that there are good things in life. No matter the crap and dirt life throws, there’s always some lemons on the shelf that allow you to make some cool and refreshing lemonade!

So the first great thing is the Mayors Entrepreneur Intern. Every year, the Mayor of london, Sadiq Khan at the moment, selects a handful of entrepreneurs to be Entrepreneur Interns for a year. This is such a huge opportunity that can lead to so many great things! Life, time and preparation stopped me last year from applying and just pure laziness on my part, however this year I made it my mission to get my head into gear and sign up! So I did! I shall sure write a post if I get it or not! Fingers crossed!

The second is the RAHM project. The RAHM project is a contest that gets lgbt CEOs from around the world to apply, contend and win a place on a two day extensive workshop that helps all the 100 CEOs selected to crack out a plan to fix or progress some form of injustice or inequality in the LGBT business world. I applied a few months ago and this week got told I made it through to the next round! Round 2 requires me to get someone to write me a supporting document so they know I am not making up the fact that I am the best leader in the world (LOL). I need to go through a interview and then await news of the next round! I am super excited as its something I have wanted to do ever since a friend of mine on the same course successfully got in and told me about it!

Lastly I have my third year timetable! I have two free days and the other three are not that bad timing either. It also dawned on me the fact that I GRADUATE THIS YEAR. My final year of university is almost upon me and it bloody scares me to death, but also excites the living daylights out of me!

There have been other good bits but the post will get rather long and I do not want to strain your eyes and brain reading a huge post, as I tend to write a lot, so bear with me.

If you follow my posts you will see I have been posting a lot more frequently lately and I feel I’m getting my writing bug back which I LOVE! When Uni starts next month, not going to lie I will probably be a little less frequent as life just works that way, but this blog is aimed at being my virtual diary for life, so for those following me journey thank you so much and there’s a long way to go and for those who have just joined my blog on this post, WELCOME! You are in for a ride trust me!

More to come folks!

B xoxox

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