He ran a successful business for several years but encountered financial problems and made a poor choice, and was sentenced to 28 months for selling drugs at a festival. Being sent to jail, he met vulnerable men who needed support and wanted to turn away from a life of crime. He could see they had a wide range of skills that they did not know how to maximise and offer value to a future employer.
Jacob realised that his entrepreneurial talent could be harnessed for the benefit of others. His ability to analyse a situation, consider all potential options, not write anything off and continually think, “will this pay off” enabled him to consider many ways to develop Offploy.
Being a risk taker and not afraid to push himself has enabled his business to grow and support more people. As with every business, there have been ups and downs. He recognises his resilience and high level of mental toughness have seen him through some challenging times, especially in the early days convincing others to believe in his clear vision and the value and benefit to society.
Living your vision and values is another key trait of Jacob’s. With over 50% of Offploy staff having lived experience of the criminal justice system, it demonstrates how that can translate into successful outcomes for people that need help and support.
Leading by example and enabling others to flourish within the organisation has provided the people it supports with a positive experience. Overcoming challenges in the early days of running a business will test resilience, and having a positive mindset will help move forward. For example, Jacob found that as his business developed, partners and funders were more concerned with the business’s financial stability, track record and ability to deliver far more than Jacob’s criminal history.
He is enormously proud of the ability to scale up the business. However, making a social impact and demonstrating that value is key. His final thoughts are that when starting, it is important to remember that YOU ARE THE BUSINESS. How you project yourself and interact with others will directly impact its success.