A Week in My Life: Antony Chesworth, founder and CEO of EKM

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
Rob Chesworth

Antony Chesworth, founder and CEO of eCommerce firm EKM, takes us through a week in his working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk.

Monday 8th October

Life is about spending it doing something you love and every day is spent doing something I love. I realised that some 25 years ago when working at a local hospital and met many people at the end of their lives and each and every one told me the same thing, “don’t have any regrets and make sure you spend every day doing something you love."

It always stuck with me (so much so that it’s EKM’s vision to help people spend life doing something they love) and I’m no exception... I spend my life doing something I love.

This week is no exception and starts with one of my passions... flying!

Up and out of the house at 10:30 as I was meeting a friend and business associate at Blackpool Airport for a meeting and general catch up.

As a keen pilot myself, I often fly around Europe for meetings as it’s so much quicker and fun than taking one of the cars.   But on this occasion it was my friend’s turn at doing the flying.

He picked me up in the Cirrus Vision Jet and we flew up to Inverness for a few hours to have a meeting and also grab a Starbucks before returning back to Blackpool.

Flying means you can do several meetings all around the country in the same day and it’s not exhausting like driving would be. Getting to London for example takes less than an hour, where as by car or train it would be at least 2-3 hours total time.

I filmed the whole day for my weekly entrepreneur vlog which I do for YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook, which has been great for me and I would recommend every entrepreneur to start documenting their days and sharing it online. Some of my videos get over 50,000 views and it’s great to share your business ideas and challenges.

After a few hours of family time with my kids and wife it’s 23:00 and I start going through my phone clearing a few emails and tasks before moving onto my computer around 00:00. I finish working at around 02:30 and go to bed.

Tuesday 9th October

Woke up around 10:00 and started checking emails and generally catching up so I’m clear for when I get into the office.

Left the house and drove to a lunch meeting, sometimes it can be a really good use of time when people want to meet with me because I can kill two birds with one stone.

I’ve also gotten a lot more precious of my time over recent months as the volume of people wanting to meet with me was getting out of hand and before you realise you’ve lost days and days of time not working on your own business. Sometimes I think you’ve got to learn to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.

The aim of any business and entrepreneur has to be to help as many people as possible of course but you can’t help anyone if you don’t first help yourself. In the past 17 years of business we have helped thousands of people to create their own successful businesses and I have become known as the Millionaire Maker due to the sheer number of millionaires we at EKM.com have helped to create.

It makes me immensely proud knowing we have helped so many people to spend life doing something they love and it’s what keeps me going each and every day.  

Got into the office at 13:00 and had a few meetings with the management team, we always ensure we meet weekly for a catch up and to go over our main priorities and challenges so we can all ensure we are on top of everything.

I also had a couple of job interviews for new people who want to start working with us in our office in Preston. Since building our office, which has a 3 storey slide, games room, auditorium and airstream caravan we have been inundated with people wanting to join our team...

How can you expect people to love what they do if they have to work in a horrible office environment? You can’t... and since people spend nearly half their lives at work it’s important to us to make our office somewhere as good (if not better) than their homes and somewhere they want to be.

We go out for tea and again after a few hours of quality time with my family I do a few hours of work, finishing around 03:00.

Last thing I always do each day is check the online banking, I’ve always done this as cash is king and no matter how much, or how little you may have you need to keep a close eye on it. The more attention you give to your financials the better they will get.

Wednesday 10th October

Big day today, we have a large motivational event running at our offices. Myself and Brad Burton (the UK’s number one motivational speaker, and founder of 4Networking) are talking to the 100 strong crowd.

Public speaking is something I used to fear but over the past few years with my rising profile I’ve been asked to speak at more and more high profile events and have got pretty good at it. I still can’t say it’s my favourite thing to do in the world but it’s a great way of getting our message out there and letting people know what we believe and what our mission is.

It also helps me to raise the profile of not just EKM.com but also Lancashire and the North West.

It’s become very important for me and the business to try and raise the profile of Lancashire as I feel the country is too London-centric and particularly in technology if you asked anyone to name five technology companies most people would name all the big USA companies, if you asked for five UK ones they would really struggle and if I said name five in Lancashire (or even the North West), well there would be little to no chance. That’s something I’d like to change for the UK and Lancashire.

The event goes really well and so Alison (my wife) and myself go out for a well-deserved evening meal, just the two of us, to celebrate and to spend some time together.

As 11pm approaches it’s back to work because I’ve got the full day’s worth of social media to catch up on and also nearly a full day of email. I manage to get on top of most of it and finally get to bed early tonight at 2am.

Thursday 11th October

I’m lucky that my commute into work only takes around 20 mins and so it’s 10:30 and I am on my way in.

Even though my Tesla Model X has autopilot (which means it drives for you) you’ve still got to keep your eyes firmly on the road so listening to audio books is a must when commuting into work, it turns what would be dead time into really productive time and I always have an audiobook on whilst driving.

Today is one of those amazing (and pretty rare) days when I have no real meetings booked in and so can crack on with getting some really high level tasks and strategic jobs sorted.

We get regular stats on the performance of our ecommerce platform and today has been a strong day for all our customers’ online shops with over 20,000 people placing orders across the network and several millions of pounds spent. Pretty crazy to think it all started in my bedroom 17 years ago!

I leave the office early today at around 5pm to get to an event at a local hotel where there is a business speaker, I always try and get to events with good speakers as you only have to leave with one good idea and it’s all worthwhile.

Again as usual after time with the family I spend the last few hours of the day working.

Friday 12th October

In work for just before lunchtime after spending the morning working from home and then it’s a few back-to-back meetings including one of the managers’ regular one-to-ones.

We also have a meeting about our marketing strategy and how we can improve it, what new messaging we should be split testing and various other topics.

I have a meeting with our Evolution Team which is our very own team of designers and shop optimisers who ensure all online shops that are created on EKM.com are kept up-to-date.

One of our core aims is to give all our customers the best chance of success.

We found in the past that customers would create an online shop which would work great but over the years it would start to date and look and feel old, so our Evolution Team actually implement improvements and keep our customers’ shops up-to-date to ensure they are always maximising their sales.

My sister is moving house today so after collecting the children we go over to see her new house and we all finish with a big family meal. Although I probably don’t say it enough, family is very important and it’s great we get to spend so much time together.

I think you’re getting the picture here now but from 11pm till around 3am I work.

The reason for this is I find it’s a good time for me, I am definitely a night owl and by working late at night it means I can always spend time with my family and then work when they are asleep.

Weekend

Family time but again during the night I will still get some work done. Why? Well I love what I do so I don’t even see it as work and so when you have something you love to do you don’t need a work life balance as it’s all one in the same.

If you see work as a negative horrible thing you should avoid at all costs of course you will want to shut it off at 5pm each day and certainly not even think about it at weekends... but as the founder, owner and CEO I can’t ever really shut off. EKM.com is one of my babies, it’s one of the first things I think of when I wake and the last thing I think of when going to bed.

If you do see work as something you need to shut off from it’s probably time you look for something you love, because if you treat work as a negative thing you’ll never really find success.

Remember life is short, so spend it doing something you love!