The idea of changing careers and starting a new business venture is daunting at the best of times, but for those involved in the yachting industry it can mean a whole new way of life. For James Stockdale, founder of Pinpoint Works, the decision to move away from his 9-year career in the industry was a difficult one. “The career progression and the opportunities that would present themselves within the yachting industry made it hard to walk away”. Will Hollingshead agrees, “I miss the lack of security, I think it is very easy in yachting to get comfortable with the wage, food and laundry service”.
Both of these men have entered the world of entrepreneurship and have experienced the successes and pitfalls that go hand in hand with any new business idea. James’ company, Pinpoint Works, was born from a frustration over communications between contractors, owners and crew whilst yachts were being worked on in yards. “It soon became clear to me there was a distinct lack of communication regarding the work required on the boat and what was understood to be the case ashore.” Pinpoint Works is a web and mobile app that enables crews to create work lists that are saved and edited in one place.
Creating an app isn’t as simple as it sounds; Pinpoint has been in development for the last 6 years which is something that anyone who is considering leaving yachting should consider. The lack of regular income and the outgoings incurred whilst developing the product were a shock for James, “It’s one thing to have an idea in your head, but another to do it in real life”. He advises anyone thinking of changing careers to get as much professional advice from reputable sources as possible and to ensure that your finances are in order before you begin.
For William, working towards his own goals adds to the fulfilment of starting his companies, 10y and MOSSY. 10y’s antifouling package offers a less expensive and more environmentally friendly antifouling package, whilst MOSSY is an innovative ‘man overboard system’ designed for super yachts. His inkling that something was missing in the industry led him to leave his 3 year career in yachting and begin building prototypes. However, his move to the ‘real world’ brought him back into working as crew every so often. The experience of setting up a business and working as crew leads him to recommend against this to any other budding entrepreneurs out there. “It’s very easy to slip back into doing a few temp gigs here and there or tell yourself that you will only do a short period on one boat and before you know it you are another year in and no closer to your entrepreneurial goals.”
What James and William both agree on is how essential good advice and research can be to any startup business or idea. James spent a long time researching the technology that was already available and sought to tailor it to his needs. On the other hand, William took the concept of MOSSY to the charter guest who had originally ignited his interest in designing his ‘man overboard system’. He loved the idea and helped to fund the initial concept, bringing William’s idea closer to reality.
Both of these companies are proof that an idea can make money, and while there is a huge amount of hard work involved, it has been ploughed into building functioning businesses. William finishes with a piece of advice for anyone wishing to follow in his footsteps, “The worst thing that can happen is it’s a complete failure and in 6 months’ time you’ve spent a few thousand euros and you have to get a job back on the yachts…Except you now have that 6 months of failed business experience, so work for a few more months, study some more business books and go again, rinse and repeat until it works. Simple.”