Based in the small city of Bath in the United Kingdom, I have been creating content since the age of 15. Now 12 years later, I am starting one of the biggest challenges of my life. To build a small media company with no experience, no finance and no team.
I went to College to pursue a National Diploma in Media Production. At first I was interested in Film, but I soon realised Social Media was an opening for content creation with no limits. This is when I found my passion for video creation.
After leaving College I decided to create my own YouTube channel, and create content on the things I love. That was quite simply unboxing technology. My first video was unboxing a very old Macbook. I also started to join many new startups as a Video Producer to grow social pages for brands. This is also when I found out I had an expertise for knowing what goes “viral” on Social Media.
After growing lots of social pages for startups, and keeping on top of my own content, I decided I wanted to travel. I travelled to a wide number of countries while sustaining myself through blogs, video content and freelance. While I was travelling I created a Instagram account in the craft beer niche. After a year of travelling and creating content for this page on the go, I then returned to the UK and sold it for a 4 figure sum to an alcohol media agency in London. This is when I knew I could do this for myself, but I needed more knowledge from bigger media brands before I went solo.
I visited more countries between startup jobs, the last few years was not kind to media startups, so I travelled where I could, learning, and growing as an independent creative. I returned to the UK and landed a job at one of the biggest media companies in the world. Here I learned how they started websites, how they monetised video and how they built communities. While I was working here I founded Van Clan, a website built for van lifers and road explorers, this was a passion I picked up while in New Zealand. Within 3 months, I grew it too over 100,000 followers strong and was flown around the world to visit big brands within the industry. I finally created something great, something I loved and something that was mine. While this was going on my YouTube channel that I had been chipping away at also hit 100,000 subscribers, becoming one of the UK’s biggest retro gaming channels. It was time for me to risk it all.
I finally took the plunge and quit my full time job to pursue my own dream. A dream of making a small media company from nothing. So I founded ThunderNiche, a media company dedicated to creating content for niche communities. The first few months was hard, long nights, lots of mistakes, and I even lost relationships. But it was needed, it was a kick in the gut, and a harsh welcome to the solo entrepreneur lifestyle. I also rebranded my YouTube channel and built Retro Dodo, a brand dedicated to showing off the best retro gaming products from around the world.
Within just 6 months this new project received over 10,000,000 video views, 100,000+ website readers and 50,000+ new followers. This was my territory, a niche I had been hustling in since 2012, I had contacts, friends, and a massive advantage over big media companies. I was the underdog, and that’s what the retro community absolutely loved. A few weeks before the year ended, Sega, the biggest name in the gaming industry wanted to work with us, and this is when I new this is going to be something seriously special. ThunderNiche had its roots and it was time for me to plan for the next 12 months. I needed a team.
I was born in 1992, an era when technology was evolving at an insane rate. I was lucky enough to be raised in a lower middle class family, where I had access to some of this technology. Some of my greatest memories would be playing on an old Gameboy, or playing Minesweep on my fathers giant computer that took a solid 15 minutes to turn on. If I wasn’t playing with games, I was playing outside, and this is where my passions for retro gaming and outdoor exploration started. Even now, I stick to these roots when producing content, because it’s what I love. Nostalgia for me is everything.
I feel nostalgia is one of the most untapped emotions within the media industry. It’s an emotion that is rarely used, and rarely felt by consumers when reading articles or watching videos. I want to use this emotion as much as possible in our content, be it a video unboxing old Pokemon products or writing an article about the best places to camp too. It helps build a relationship between a visitor and a brand and this is why I’m sticking to my roots, and it’s a reason to some of ThunderNiche’s success.
Since growing up I have been a creator. Lego as a child, creating videos as a teenager and starting businesses as an adult. But being a creator you can become your own worst enemy, I have failed more times than I can even mention. I am very much a tester. Testing new ideas, seeing if it works, if not scrap it, repeat. In 2016 I started a subscription box business, I got a nice amount of sales in the first 2 months, but not enough to carry on, so I closed it. Until, shortly after closing, a very large influencer who I sent a random box created a video on it, and then boom. Hundreds of emails, demanding purchases, but I was too late. I failed. I learnt from my failure, and this is how I have learned to grow as a person. Try, fail, learn, until you finally succeed.
The only ingredient missing from my failures has been passion. This for me has been the biggest learning curve, not just in business, but in life. Do something you love, if you don’t love what you’re doing, change it immediately. It’s not easy, but start what you love to do now, and in 5, 10, 15 years time it could become your life. I loved unboxing products, I started doing it at 15, and finally 10 years later it was bringing in enough money for me to leave my full time job. When this happened, this is when I REALLY started to grow. Business become a hobby, and life became a game that I could control. Nobody telling me what to do, or where to go. My rules, my path.
This all sounds incredibly cheesy, but it’s true. Once I left my full time job it felt as if I was given the keys to my life. Everything I now do, betters me. I learned anyone can do it, they just need to create a big enough side hustle that outweighs their outgoings. And this is where I am at in terms of growth, the big changes have happened, my mistakes, and attempts have led me to a huge success. I am not wealthy, I wouldn’t even say I’m smart, i’m still renting an overpriced apartment, I’m still looking at my bank balance every week but it’s the “richest” I’ve ever been.
The main goal is to do what I love. I have created Thunder Niche to turn my hobbies into a business, but not only do I want it to be a business I want it to be proof that others can build a business from their bedroom with zero budget. All you’ll need to do is mix passion with hustle.
I want to turn Van Clan into the “Top Gear of Campervans” and I want to turn Retro Dodo into the biggest retro gaming website in the world. It will take a lot of work, and a lot of time. Currently, it’s way beyond my reach and expertise, but on this path, I will learn and my goal will get closer and closer with every piece of content.. While I build Thunder Niche, I also want to teach people how to do the same, and inspire them to create a side hustle that can turn into a full time job. You don’t need funding, you don’t need an office, you don’t need a team, you just need to work on a passion.
This whole entrepreneurial space is filled with those wanting to make millions, build the next Uber, or get some kind of angel investment. I want to be that guy that tells you to start small, teaches you how to make a blog that makes $100 a month, or how to flip a Instagram page for $5,000. The small scale hustle is where I want to be, because it’s reality and 100% do-able for the average person. While I plan this for the future, I will continue working on my passion that is Thunder Niche.