Richard McCann – iCan Academy

Richard is a motivational speaker and the founder of the iCan Academy. Its purpose is to enable people to transform their thinking to influence their behaviour and improve their results in life.

He has been in business for over 15 years, giving over 2,500 presentations to schools, colleges and corporate clients.

He has first-hand experience of personal transformation, having been exposed to a life-changing experience aged 5 when his mother was the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. After spending his childhood in significant contact with social services, he gained work in warehousing and distribution.

Not everything goes smoothly, though, and when times were tough, Richard took some decisions that ended up with him serving a custodial sentence, ending up in the same prison that Peter Sutcliffe had been in previously. Upon release, he found it hard to gain employment and needed to be resilient and adaptable to eventually secure a permanent job.

He decided to write about his childhood experiences and published a book, “Just a Boy” which became a best seller. On the back of this, he was interviewed on Women’s Hour on Radio 4, leading some discussion sessions. This led him to organise several presentations over the next couple of years, alongside his studies after returning to education.

He states that he was inspired by a speaker at a conference and realised that this was a way to earn a living. He recognised his entrepreneurial talent and positive mindset as a way of earning a sustainable income.

In the early days, he organised himself to continue working and public speaking until a point came where it was financially viable to become a full-time speaker. Then, he realised that being adaptable and forward-thinking enabled him to take that leap of faith in himself.

Running his business has not always been smooth. In his early years, he spent almost all his time speaking in schools. When the funding was stopped, he found that almost half his income had gone. He needed to be adaptable and take risks in seeking new opportunities to ensure his business could survive. Being able to utilise his networking and communication skills, he was able to find a new niche in training others to be confident public speakers.

“There isn’t a person on the planet that can’t do or deal with more than they think they can.”

Running his own business has meant understanding his strengths and weaknesses, and developing a network of trusted suppliers to support his business growth has been key.

Reflecting on his life now, he recalls his experiences of being born on a tough council estate, placed on the at-risk register from an early age, spending time in foster care after the death of his mother as well as living with an often violent and drunken father was a traumatic experience. However, with this in mind, he says that he is most proud of being a loving and caring parent to his three children and providing a nurturing environment for them.

One advice he would give himself is to remember that it will be tough. People make mistakes but can be stronger in the future for them.

Everyone is a person, but their journey to be where they are today is different. Richard wanted to highlight the importance of your thoughts. The quality of your thoughts will have a direct impact on the quality of your life.


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