Tell us about yourself?
I’m Ed Johnson, a young entrepreneur, Forbes 30 under 30 individual for 2022 in Social Impact, and the CEO and Co-Founder of PushFar.
I work closely with our incredible team at PushFar and a wide range of clients and companies from around the world to help them with mentoring and coaching programs.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
I think the biggest thing entrepreneurship has taught me is that it is vitally important to work on the things that you love.
It is easy to have an idea for a business but running a company is hard work and if you don’t truly love what you’re working on, the tough things will get you down and you’re unlikely to succeed. There’s no certainty in this game and that is tough. So, make sure you’re doing what you love.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Don’t spend too much money too quickly! It’s really easy to spend cash when you receive your first round of investor cash. In the first venture I worked on, we burnt through too much too quickly and wound up being less successful further down the line. Watch cash carefully and don’t overspend.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
It isn’t easy. I think there are a number of things you can do to combat the stress of the two and one of them is separating weekdays and weekends.
The other which has been quite a challenge through the pandemic is separating work and home spaces – have a separate physical space for your home life and work life, an office is ideal.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
Our main influence is people. At PushFar we’re all about making mentoring as accessible as possible.
The more connections, conversations and mentoring relationships we can help individuals and organisations to form, the better.
We’re firm believers that as wonderful as tutorials, training and coaching sessions are, the best form of learning is through mentoring.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
We’ve always been focused on the end-users. For us, we put the mentors and mentees first. We enable individuals to find a mentor and find mentees, giving them the best possible experience we can.
By focusing on this, the organisations we work with can ensure their participants are super-engaged with their mentoring relationships.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
It always takes a lot longer than you think it might, with B2B sales.
We’ll have loads of fantastic, exciting and motivating conversations, and in the early days I was convinced we’d won a pitch as we left the first meeting – not realising it then often took months, if not years, for an organisation to make a decision.
We’re now past the initial long lead-in time but still find a lot of businesses take a long time to commit.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge has been the differentiation between our two propositions.
I’m sure this is the case with most B2B and B2C organisations. Offering individuals with a free platform, whilst at the same time offering a licenced platform to organisations, it can sometimes not be clear (or at least didn’t used to be) between what we offer each.
The offering is quite different but we’re under one brand. We’ve done a lot to adapt our copy, websites, landing pages and communication to try and make the two offerings clearer and I think we’re in a strong position now.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
London is such an exciting, vibrant city, with amazing people and most large, global organisations will have a presence of some sort here. Pre-pandemic that was ideal for in-person meetings.
We have fewer in-person meetings now that everyone’s moved to virtual meetings but we can still meet our clients, host events and network with awesome talent. It’s brilliant!
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
We’ve not found any, to be honest. I think the concerns around costs are always a consideration but with co-working space being really affordable now, that has reduced concerns there.
For our employees, the cost of living isn’t great but the ability to work remotely also helps this a lot.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
We’re a fully remote team so whilst there are some wonderful colleagues working in London, we’re not limited in where they can work.
We have our amazing head of content based in Wales, just outside Cardiff, and it works really well for us to be able to hire the strongest and most motivated talent up and down the country, not just in London.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
I love Bristol as a city. It has a really positive feeling and vibe about it and is also quite well connected. So, I think Bristol, probably. The other might be Manchester.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
It hasn’t, fortunately.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
We’re in a fortunate position that we’re now in profit. So, the aim for us is to sustain that whilst ramping up our marketing efforts, expanding to more organisations and encouraging even more individuals to mentor and be mentored. We want everyone in the world to have access to mentoring.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
Join us completely free and put yourself forward as a mentor or mentee, or both at https://www.pushfar.com/.
We’d love to see you on there and if you’re looking at mentoring we’ve some brilliant resources on mentoring too.