After my potato-based blog post the other day, my assistant Harriet emailed me to say: “I hope the follow-up is going to feature vodka!”
Well, if you were hoping the same thing, you won’t be disappointed. This blog post does indeed feature vodka.
Because William Chase, having built up Tyrrell’s into a mega-successful posh-crisp business, decided to branch out.
When he hit £14m turnover and asked the bank for some cash to expand, their condition was that Mr Chase had to bring in a management team to help him run the business.
The inevitable happened: they changed his business, and not in a good way. Chase, like any self-respecting entrepreneur, had strong ideas about how to run a business, and they clashed.
Then, to add insult to injury, he went through a messy divorce… and decided to sell up to a private capital business for almost £40m. Not bad for a few years’ work, eh?
So, what next?
Because it’s not about the money for Mr Chase. He doesn’t need the money.
He’s an entrepreneur; this is what he does.
He had stacks of potatoes, he’d done crisps, he hated supermarkets (because they screwed him over)… so obviously it had to be vodka, right?
Incidentally, did you know it takes 300 potatoes to make one 750ml bottle of vodka? That’s a lot of spuds.
Anyway: he had £40m knocking around, so he bought a distillation system and created Chase Vodka. It’s luxury — like the crisps — and you get your hands on a bottle for £35.
Now he makes gin and whisky, too.
It’s growing slowly and it’s nowhere near as profitable as the crisps, but he seems to be having a lot of fun.
Because when your business starts being profitable and affording you the lifestyle you want, that’s when you become free.
That’s when everything starts being really fun.
And if you’re marketing your business right, it’s when what everybody else is doing ceases to matter. Nobody can “put you out of business”. You can only put yourself out of business.
William Chase is a great example of a man who stuck two fingers up at Tesco when they tried to screw him, got on with it, and succeeded anyway.
Funnily enough, that’s kinda what I talk about in my book, Business For Superheroes. It’s my own story of growing my business, from saying goodbye to my J.O.B (in a rather dramatic, not necessarily recommended way) to where I am now. Plus I show you how you can do it all too, no woo woo, no snake oil, just strategies that work if you take action. Buy a copy here, it’ll be worth ti!
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.