We all have our own dreams and aspirations - whether that involves a beautiful house in the country with 2.4 children, travelling the world or changing career entirely and becoming the boss of our own business.
The issue with dreams is that they are usually so much easier said than achieved. But does that mean they are impossible? When the children take top priority, the bills need to be paid and there never seems to be enough hours in a day, it can feel like the future of your dreams is harder to reach than Mordor.
But take a look at how these top UK entrepreneurs have made changes to their lives and you might just realise the future you’ve always wanted is not that far out of reach. With a measure of resourcefulness, a dash of faith and some practical planning, why couldn’t you make your dreams a reality too?
Creator of Reggae Reggae Sauce
Levi Roots was 49 years old when he finally won investment to back his ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ business on Dragon’s Den. Since the show, Levi’s life has changed unrecognisably from his humble beginnings in a tiny Jamaican village where his grandmother taught him the secrets of the Caribbean kitchen.
Despite 16 years of investment rejection from banks and businesses who considered his venture too risky to back, Levi kept his strategy for success on course.
He picked himself back up each time he was knocked down and through sheer perseverance, he got his lucky break. Levi now commands a food and drink empire worth £30 million – proof that with a plan in place, age doesn’t matter when it comes to achieving those dreams.
Co-founder of tech firm Unruly
Running 15 minutes late one summer’s morning saved Sarah Wood’s life. She was evacuated from her train three stops away from one of the explosions that killed 52 people in London on July 7 2005.
This event triggered a dramatic career change, taking Sarah from university lecturer to co-founder of digital tech firm Unruly. The creative power behind famous campaigns such as the Compare the Meerkat ads – come on, how many do you have in your collection?
Sarah balances this stellar career with taking her three children to school every morning, sometimes even bringing them along to work. Steering her business alongside her husband as co-captain, Sarah believes that “your life partner is the most important choice you will ever make”.
Working as a team, both at home and professionally, has made them the powerhouse couple they are today, creating the future of their dreams.
Retail consultant and broadcaster
Although the Queen of Shops is a familiar face on our TV screens, using her straight-talking, no-nonsense attitude to save floundering shops on the high street, it was no happy accident that saw Mary Portas rise to her status as retail guru.
After leaving college, she persistently called Harrods’ personnel department every day for weeks, pushing for an interview even though no job had been advertised. After working her way up to management at Topshop, she was poached by Harvey Nichols, saving enough during her stint to make a break and set up her own agency.
Mary might not have known from the start which way her career would take her, but she laid the foundations with care and built her empire brick-by-brick – every stage of her journey led her to set new goals for herself, and her early work helped her achieve the success she enjoys today.
The author of the much-loved Harry Potter books and inspiration for one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time, JK Rowling was advised by her editor, when attempting to get the first book published, to “get a day job” as it would be impossible to make a living from writing children’s books.
After 12 rejection letters, she was finally offered a £1,500 advance from Bloomsbury. Carefully planning her writing efforts around her role as a single mother, she kept her eyes on the prize as she stretched her advance and benefits as far as they would go.
Now worth a cool £705 million, this entrepreneur understands the importance of focusing on the future in order to get the life you want.
They say there are three kinds of people in the world: those who watch things happen; those who make things happen; and those who wonder what happened. These entrepreneurs set plans in place to make their dreams come true – why shouldn’t it be the same for you?
We all know that life can be a juggling act when you’re balancing family commitments, social life and career, but look for the opportunities in each of these areas and you might be surprised at the support available to help you get where you want to be. You might take a leaf out of Sarah Wood’s story and see how you can free up time with your partner to help you both move forward. You might spot a training or development opportunity if you keep an eagle eye out in your current role, just like Mary Portas. Or you might start planning your social activities in a more creative way to help those pennies stretch further - as JK Rowling did for years.
Take some time to picture the future you dream of, jot down your ambitions on paper and remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
How do you picture your future? What will it take for you to get there?