A day in the life of a Jersey entrepreneur – Tom Hacquoil
Tom Hacquoil, CEO Pinpoint
What makes you spring out of bed in the morning?
My three year old son (George) tends to jump on me just before 6am most days – this doesn’t exactly spring me out of bed but definitely gets me up!
What does your normal day look like?
There’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ day really – as our business is growing rapidly I tend to wear a lot of different hats and oftentimes my days are reasonably reactionary. I travel a reasonable amount (which I enjoy for the most part), but when in Jersey I tend to split my time between product (~40%), sales / marketing (~30%) and hiring (~30%).
How did you get to where you are today?
Lots of failure! I’ve been trying to build successful businesses since I was a teenager and have mainly learnt through a mixture of reading and trial and error. Not the most glamorous of processes, but it’s given me a wealth of experience / a degree of confidence that I’m not sure I’d of been able to accumulate as quickly with any other approach.
What couldn’t you live your life without?
Books. Beyond real world experience, I genuinely believe reading to be the quickest way to get to grips with just about anything (in a commercial capacity at least) – you can’t beat experience, but books let you learn from everyone else’s experience, so why not take advantage of that?
Which outsiders (professional services, investors, mentors, family etc.) have been most important to the success of your business?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great bunch of people around me (and arrogant enough to ignore those that aren’t as supportive!). There’s a saying that you’re the sum of the people you spend the most time with, so I always try to surround myself with people much smarter / better at things than I am and am lucky to say that I have a great team at Pinpoint that fit that bill perfectly.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My first ‘real’ business failed about six years ago – I had to let a lot of people go and ended up with significant personal debt as I took on all of the company’s obligations personally. Not only did that cause a lot of personal financial pain for a number of years, but my confidence took a real hit and it took me a long time (years) to ‘get back to square one’ so-to-speak. Despite the frustration / pain of this experience, I’m incredibly glad it happened (easy to say now!) as the process completely reframed my view of the world of business and has given me a degree of resilience / ruthlessness / context that I consider invaluable these days.
What advice would you give to your younger self before embarking on your business journey?
You can’t scale yourself! What I mean by this is that it doesn’t matter how good you are (or think you are!) at what you do, you’re not going to get very far without a great team of people. I’d focus earlier on finding and connecting with like-minded people – you’ll learn more, grow faster and have far more fun that way.
Also, sleep more – you’ll regret not doing so when you’re not given the option later in life!
LinkedIn: Tom Hacquoil