Advertising, Marketing & PR

Published: January 6, 2020 | Updated: January 6, 2020

Entrepreneur, 25, who quit job to go it alone says: ‘My only regret is I didn’t do it earlier’

William St James: “I honestly feel like the luckiest person in the world to have the job that I do.”
By Andrew Diprose, editor

William St James has a simple piece of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business: ‘Just do it.’

The 25-year-old, named 2019 Rockstar Entrepreneur of the Year, quit a well-paid job to go it alone and launch his own creative communications agency, St James Studio.

Three years later his calculated gamble has paid off with clients ranging from the Virgin brands and London-based First Wealth to companies closer to home.

Meanwhile his Bournemouth-based business, which delivers marketing, content and creative services, has doubled its turnover every year since 2017 and is on the verge of major expansion.

Currently drawing on the skills of talented freelancers William plans to have a four or five-strong team in place by the end of 2020 while a ‘big announcement’ is planned for March.

William said: “It was scary leaving a job paying £27,500 but my only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier.

“The idea of a nine to five job just didn’t appeal. I wanted to forge my own path.

“I had a lot of people who doubted me but I had a quiet confidence that things would turn out.

“When I was speaking to entrepreneurs they said to me ‘just do it’ and that’s the advice I now give as well.”

William was fostered from the age of 11.

He said: “I didn’t have a good childhood before then but my foster parents – Ken and Helen Warren – were the most incredible people and I absolutely love them to pieces.

“Helen, in particular, went above and beyond, encouraging me to push harder and better myself with each passing opportunity. I owe her so much.

“I’ve long had an interest in marketing and always loved advertising in all its forms so it was inevitable, perhaps, that I would end up in the sector.”

William worked for several companies in a variety of roles including, latterly, Content Marketing Manager, before deciding to take the plunge and go self-employed.

“Launching my business has come with its own set of unique challenges and I’ve had many ups and downs along the way.

“In each and every instance, though, I’ve grown significantly as a person,” said William who works out of Bournemouth’s THIS Workspace.

He added: “In 2018 we delivered £4.8m in revenue for clients across children’s education, wealth management, aviation and hospitality.

“As for this year, and the future, I’m incredibly excited.

“I honestly feel like the luckiest person in the world to have the job that I do.

“I can’t thank those who’ve supported me enough for the faith they’ve shown.”