As part of our #UCLInspireMe series, Tarek Pewter, Cofounder of Wakefield Media talks to us about how he got started cofounding a business and shares some tips for UCL students who wants to start their own business.
How did you get into your role?
I’m the cofounder of Wakefield Media – a digital & experiential content creator that helps folks connect with exciting companies. I’m a repeat entrepreneur and I found myself here after my last company didn’t materialize into what we had hoped, after 2 years of trying. I have experience in event production and launched a concept event in the Summer of 2011 for emerging startups that are hiring and it took off like wildfire – a few months later we pursued a greater mission by launching Wakefield and incorporating our events into it. In March of 2012, Wakefield was born and Uncubed, our event, continued to grow.
What are the best things about working in your role?
I’m an entrepreneur, so my perks are a bit different than others. I create my own schedule, I get to have the largest influence on what is important to pursue and what isn’t, I get to meet a slew of interesting people, including successful entrepreneurs, policy makers and amazing talent. The nature of our company also gives us unusual insight into what companies are working on and what it’s like to work there – so we are often visiting the offices of great, young companies and getting a look to see what they are building. It’s very inspiring.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
Moving quickly and providing your community with content, experiences and product that they are yearning for. We connect people to great companies, so not having a platform to facilitate that sets us back. Until now, we didn’t have a job board or any technology to help solve this problem and it was tough on us as a business. We are now learning how to bring tech into our community, and it’s a challenge, since the team we’ve built, to date, is made up entirely of folks that are NOT technical (almost 15 of us now).
Other challenges we face, like anyone else, is vying for the attention of our audience. This is when competition plays a larger role in the decisions our business makes. If you do not move fast enough or capture an growing audience quick enough, then someone else will – and it’s much harder to get their attention at that point.
Finally, perhaps the challenge you’ll hear most often from founders, finding and managing talent. Ensuring your employees are always challenged, fairly compensated and enjoying what they do is a tireless job and one most managers (including myself) do not do well enough.
What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?
Spend time with people who are in a position you desire to be in. It will quickly teach you whether or not this is a road you’d like to pursue. That person, should you pursue this path, could (and should) become a long-term mentor to help you overcome obstacles and stay motivated.
First time entrepreneurs almost always fail initially. So it’s important that one understands it’s not about success out the gates as much as it’s about building a legacy (should you be pursuing entrepreneurship to make an impact – which all entrepreneurs should) – and building a legacy means suffering failures, learning from them and teaching along the way. Success comes to those who work hard at something they care about – it’s inevitable.
To find our more about how to start your own business, visit Careers Tagged or speak to UCL Advances