What I've Learnt: Nick Moutter, Founder & CEO, The Moot Group
Nick Moutter started his career as a professional footballer, then started to build websites and computers in his spare time at university. After moving to LA with his family after graduation he soon became Major League Soccer's (MLS) Head of Online Marketing.
He started his own business, Admedo, in the UK, an AdTech platform that quickly became one of the leading solutions, then realised there was a gap in the market for selling quality furniture online.
The Moot Group is Moutter's portfolio of companies including Olivia's, the online furniture retailer that uniquely owns the supply chain from start to finish.
We talked to Nick about the lessons he's learnt.
Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
I’ve always been a morning person, so I rarely wake up later than 5:30am. Everyone works differently, but for me, I’ve found that I’m most productive first thing in the morning.
What's been your luckiest break?
A few years after graduating from university, I moved out to Los Angeles to be with my family. My twin brother was an actor and landed a major part in a Hollywood movie in 2002, so he'd lived there for a short time. I joined Major League Soccer as Head of Online Marketing and lived in LA for 2 years. I was planning to stay there long-term, but I couldn’t renew my work Visa, and had to return to the UK in 2011.
It would have been easy to let this disrupt my plans or throw me off course, but it was actually the best thing that could have happened. After moving back to the UK, I started my own business, Admedo, which is now one of the top ten AdTech companies in Europe. I don’t think I’d be where I am in my career if I’d stayed in LA.
What's your best failure?
I failed to purchase a company several years ago, which taught me a lot. I’ve learnt from that mistake and it’s changed the way I’ve made acquisitions since.
As a business owner, you have to look clearly at your mistakes in order to progress - and stop repeating them.
What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?
The biggest investment I’ve made has been in myself, believing in myself. When I decided to start and build my own company, I poured everything into it. I used every penny I had to back myself and my business. I’ve always believed that tenacity is essential for success - persistence and determination - and I’ve had to be relentless in my pursuit of that success.
A few years on and I’m happy to be in a position to invest in other people, and help my team grow and develop.
How would you describe your work/life balance?
I’ve never agreed with the idea of having a ‘work/life balance’, simply because of the negative connotations of the word ‘work’. A lot of people see work as a chore and will dread going into work on a Monday morning. If that’s the case, you’re in the wrong job.
I’ve never looked at work as a negative thing or something I ‘had to do’; it’s a great part of life. I’m always taking phone calls, looking at data, replying to emails, etc - this industry doesn’t switch off come 5pm. But I’m also spending time with my son and enjoying doing the things I want to do. One should never get in the way of the other.
Which book would you recommend others to read and why?
I’ve never been a big reader, but I’m a fan of audiobooks, and I love listening to autobiographies. I’ve always been interested in listening to other people’s stories, especially anyone who’s a bit unorthodox, such as Elon Musk.
What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I would have told my younger self to start the business earlier!
I’d also tell myself to always ask questions - always ask why. I’m a big believer in gut instinct and doing what I think is right, rather than following what everyone else is doing.
Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
There are so many people who have had an influence on my career. My Solicitor, Toby Harper, has been with me since day one, as has Laura Bowen, my co-founder at Admedo.
However, the person who has had the biggest influence on my life is Steven Brown, who I would consider my mentor and adviser. He is the person I turn to to help me solve problems, discuss ideas and for advice, and he has helped me get to where I am today.
Tell us something about you that would surprise people.
I’m a very keen fisherman. I taught myself to fish when I was younger, and it’s been a natural interest throughout my life.
What does success look like to you?
Success is freedom for me - financial freedom, freedom to do what I want to do with my time, freedom with my health. The idea of living freely is my driving force.