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Business and management alumnus shares his start-up journey

With an initial desire to become a Business Analyst, Joe Nicklin chose to study BA (Hons) Business and Management at the University of Central Lancashire.

During his time at University, Joe got to experience being a Business Analyst when he worked for a gas and electric company during his placement year and quite quickly realised it was not the job for him.

Reflecting on his decision, Joe said: “I decided that it wasn’t for me and that nothing apart from having my own business and my own freedom would make me happy. I didn’t want to be 60 years old and regret not doing what I truly wanted to just because I was scared.”

Talking about his entrepreneurial mindset, Joe said: “Since the age of around ten I have always been business minded. I would grow hundreds of plants and sell them at car boot sales to make a profit. I’d also write reviews about movies online to make a little income and I was constantly selling old household items online just to make my own money!”

During his final year, Joe decided to take action and set up his own business called The Improvement Artist. The Improvement Artist is a company dedicated to giving people the tools they need to challenge their comfort zone and improve their lives.

Joe Nicklin, Business and Management graduate
Joe Nicklin, Business and Management graduate

After graduation, Joe had more time to focus on developing The Improvement Artist as a lot of the groundwork in terms of getting the business up and running had already been done. Joe is currently the Director and Co-Owner of The Improvement Artist. As the company is still in its infancy, Joe has a broad role that varies from maintaining overseas relations with manufacturers and shipping companies, to marketing the product, setting up conversations with influencers and being responsible for daily business tasks.

Recently, Joe spoke to current UCLan students as part of an alumni careers event series for Business and Management students, hosted by Dr Michael Summersall. Joe discussed his career journey since graduating and his views on essential skills required by graduates in the current environment.

Reflecting on how his degree has had an impact on his current career goals, Joe said: “Without my degree I don’t think I would be where I am today. My degree not only gave me the skills that I needed but gave me the confidence too. The course taught me a lot of skills that you need to launch and run your own business, skills that I am using right now to grow the brand.

He continued: “Doing a placement year was the best decision I ever made. I made me realise what I don’t want to be doing in life which I think can be just as important as realising what you want to do. I am not sure what I would be doing right now if I hadn’t gone to UCLan and done a placement year.“

"I am not sure what I would be doing right now if I hadn’t gone to UCLan and done a placement year. "

Joe Nicklin, Business and Management graduate

When asked about what advice he would give to those wanting to do something similar, Joe said: ”Just go for it! Too many people are reluctant to start their own business because they are scared of failure or they are scared of what people think.

“When it comes to being scared of failure, I think more people need to learn that it is okay to fail. No one becomes successful without some pretty harsh fails in their time, it is part of the process and it’s there to help you. Once you realise that failure is always going to be part of the journey, you start seeing it differently and you learn to harness it.

“As for being scared of what people think, you could spend your whole life trying to please others and you will be judged for doing exactly that. I’d rather be judged for trying to better my life and achieve my goals.

He continued: “Figure out what it is that you truly want to do and take the leap. In ten years’ time you could be extremely thankful that you did. Starting your own business is scary but as our brand states: Nobody grows within their comfort zone, so why stay in it?”