This is an interview which was done with John Rebholz, the founder of Dream Idea UK. His story is an interesting and humorous one. He met his wife on match.com and they now have two children. Dream Idea offers a secure place for entrepreneurs and inventors to discuss their ideas. Here is his story.
First of all, tell me a little about yourself and your business, the name of your company or product, and what you sell or create.
John: I am John Rebholz, co-founder of Dream Idea UK and my business partner is Steve Smith (other co-founder). I am married to a gorgeous lady called Caroline from Cheshire (her words LOL!) who is a qualified accountant, and we have 2 lovely, very bright and active children named Zara (almost 4 yrs of age) and Max (almost 2 yrs of age). I met Caroline on a dating site would you believe (match.com), as I found it difficult to find time to form serious relationships, as I had just started my first business venture! Luckily it was love at first sight, and we both wanted big families!! I am half Swiss, hence the strange last name (My Father is Swiss) and my Mum is from Hounslow! I am motivated, educated and I am driven to help people where I found difficulties myself in starting out as a business owner! I am also mad on football, anything entrepreneurial, read criminology and history and enjoy family-time!
The business is called Dream Idea (www.dreamidea.co.uk) and is an online secure portal or platform for “The Big Ideas community”, essentially entrepreneurs or anyone with a good idea, business experts or service providers and investors (Angels or VC’s). The concept allows & encourages all members to collaborate, partner, share, connect and network with one another to help develop ideas, advise, build relationships, form partnerships and potentially seek funding for their projects! It’s free to sign up for members and free for experts and investors to register. Members can vote on other member’s ideas, there are resources pages, blog pages and much more!
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur and run your own business instead of being in a more traditional work environment.
John: Great question! There are so many levels to this, perhaps for some it’s just a simple answer but I doubt there is ever just one single reason as it is such a big-step! The reason I started out is firstly I recognized an opportunity in a market. Secondly I could not find the right career for me and I was never a corporate type of person, I just wanted to create something from scratch and build it up! My other motivations and equally as important were my family, proving to myself and others I can develop something of worth that others need/want and lastly and perhaps more importantly with a direct reference to my latest joint venture, providing solutions to a problem I personally found hindered my first and subsequent businesses in accessibility to a support network for people to collaborate, network and bounce ideas off one another!
Angela: Are you a married parent? If so, how does entrepreneurship effect your relationship with your husband/wife and kids? How do you find time to keep the spark in your relationship AND give the kids the time they need? What advice would you give to other married entrepreneurs with kids? Would/do you work with your spouse? Are the kids a part of the business?
John: Yes I am married and my wife is the Financial director of the business and we developed the concept together along with an acquaintance I knew through work (Steve Smith other Co-Founder), after my wife was made redundant from her job. It does affect the relationship, although we try hard to leave ‘business-talk’ at the door once the children are home and especially at weekends where the time together is so precious! However, it is not always possible as I am a constant ‘thinker’ and like to bounce ideas off people and ask questions, so my inquisitive mind may still be in business mode even when I am trying to relax! To keep the spark alive I think you have to find time to do things together as a family or go out as a couple as regularly as possible and focus in on the present time, i.e. when with the family or wife/partner forget about business and concentrate on them, they need you as well and without doubt you need them and I find that this ‘switch’ (or switching off) to Husband/Dad/Uncle/Friend during these times allows you to think more clearly when you return to the business thoughts at the start of the new working week. Having said this, this ‘rule’ does not always work and has many failings, one of which is if you are very excited or worried about something in your business-life, it will naturally affect your behavior in your family life – it’s human nature and those closest to you WILL notice it however you try and mask it! The advice I would offer is twofold: once you leave work, leave work at the door as your family is so important too! Be honest and open (communicate)! If something worries you, ask for help, it’s so much worse if it is bottled up! The children I hope will benefit from the business, when it is fully established and when they are old enough to take an interest and become involved!
Angela: How did you get started in the business you are in? Is this work your passion, would you do it even if you were not earning money?
John: I thought up something similar in concept when I first started out as a business-owner. As a recent entrepreneur and business owner I became quickly aware that in order to grow the business (and growth equates to survival) networking was key and indeed the most natural way to promote your business and create ‘more business’. The networking I found particularly difficult as, I was new to the business start-up world, did not know where to turn, and so many questions I had, needed answering, with little or no support-network! It was an early conundrum, as I had to run the business myself due to costs, I could not always attend such events (where I could find them!) or afford a stand at an exhibition. There were also at that time, no real social networks where like-minded people could connect and seek advice, collaborate, share ideas and generally link-up with many of these facilities all under one roof! I also suffered great ‘shyness’ when at networking events and always wanted to help out people who had the same issues I have described above. Not everyone with a good idea is a fully finished business-making machine! That develops! Our site helps! I am passionate about helping those to help themselves, especially in our current economic climate where opportunities are limited. Yes, I would do it if I wasn’t earning money as I genuinely wanted to provide solutions to problems I felt could be tackled and allow all those, a better chance of success with their business idea!
Angela: How does your business benefit those in your community?
John: We believe our concept & platform benefits all of the business community from across the entire spectrum! From those with just a ‘seed-of-an-idea’, to those aspiring to be an entrepreneur to serial entrepreneurs who are looking to partner with others and guide others (give something back!) through to business experts looking to form lasting business relationships in their field of interest to Investors looking to collaborate to fund projects! A complete enterprise-cycle! All our members will have an opportunity to seek out collaboration on ideas, share ideas, offer advice, seek business partnerships, and in general help develop others ideas. Our aim, and what the concept was founded on, is a central desire for the community to influence and be an active part of the development of the platform. Our current ‘crowd-funding’ model is in development over this year and we hope to see the community advise us on it’s design!
Angela: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
John: We envisage that the concept will evolve continuously over the next few years in line with the communities needs. We plan many exciting and beneficial things around the dream idea concept which we hope to include: bi-annual networking and support events, mentoring panels, the extension of our UK educational partnering scheme and so much more, all yet to be finalised and announced so stay engaged with us!
Angela Kaye Mason is an online researcher, writer, and contributor at entrepreneurweek.com blog network. She may be reached at email@example.com. Follow Angela on Twitter. Find her on Facebook .
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