At just 24 years old, James Sweetland, business owner and founder of sales and marketing firm Havoc has moved mountains in his bid to create a business he is proud of.

Tell me a bit about yourself? What is your background?

I chose to study economics at Manchester Metropolitan, but against everyone's advice I left after two years. However, I carried on working as an events promoter for university student nights. We were doing really well and had three weekly events, but it got to a certain point where I couldn't help thinking there's got to be more to this industry. I started exploring my options and sales, and marketing roles kept popping up. It seemed like communication was a common core skill which kept coming up, and I realised this would be a really useful, important skill to develop. So I applied for a job which required no experience and offered full training, and that's where it all started.

About Havoc: http://www.thisishavoc.co.uk/

When did you decide you wanted to pursue entrepreneurship?

When I came into the industry, I was at the entry level side of things, but that was okay because I just wanted to learn the essential skills. I was quite sceptical of the whole industry at the beginning, but I also had a lot of self-belief and thought, if this was a real opportunity to make something of myself, I could do it. I had nothing to lose, so I put my all into it. I started to progress and take it more seriously, and within five months I was in a management position. From there I was able to explore entrepreneurial options, and eventually, I set up my company in September 2016.

How did the company get started? How did the concept of 'Havoc' come to fruition?

Well, the first thing I did was think of a name and a concept for my brand. This was quite tricky because I wanted it to be something cool and fresh, nothing too corporate. I wanted to create a bold brand which would appeal to other ambitious millennials like myself. So I came up with the concept of Havoc from the desire to dare to be different and cause havoc within the industry. I wanted the name to reflect the kind of environment I was creating; in business, there are going to be mistakes, there is going to be mess but as long as you're moving in the right direction it doesn't matter.

What motivates and inspires you?

In the beginning, I just wanted the freedom and control that comes with being an entrepreneur. I was inspired by other people my age who were making a great amount of money. This instilled in me a drive to be on their level: “if they can do it, I can do it.” I challenged my beliefs from that point on, and this meant challenging a subconscious belief of mine which was 'you have to be old to be rich.' I began to become more open minded and think bigger, realising I didn't want to settle for 'A Normal Life'.

What motivates me now, is other people my age who are stuck in a rut because I don't want to be doing something for the sake of it I want to keep growing and learning. For a lot of people, when university ends that's when their education stops, but this doesn't have to be the case.

What has been your greatest challenge?

There have been two major things which have been challenging for me. The first is understanding that everything happens because of me, it doesn't just happen TO me. I used to think, 'you get what you are given, it is what it is,' but my business taught me that I am ultimately in control.

The second challenge has been understanding and accepting that there are different types of people in the world, and not everyone thinks like me. It is really easy for me to make the right decision because it has been my top priority, but some people aren't necessarily as focused.

What do you think it takes to be a successful business owner?

Taking action! It is easy to over-think things, but if you take the necessary steps towards your goals rather than procrastinating you will begin to see changes. You can learn from any experience, good or bad.

Are you excited to be coaching young professionals, developing the future leaders of your industry?

Definitely! It's great to see the changes I've made personally, but it's even more rewarding to see someone who started out with you in the very beginning, work their way up. That is a great feeling.

Based in Manchester, Havoc is an outsourced direct sales and marketing company that raises brand awareness on their clients’ behalf and promotes and sells their products and services.

For more information on Havoc follow @HavocMarketing_ on Twitter and 'like' them on Facebook.

Contact Name:
James Sweetland
Managing Director
Contact Email:
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Contact Phone:
07566 239223
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