What I've Learnt: Joshua Atkins, Managing Director, Jublo

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Leeds-based Jublo is a translation and digital agency founded by Joshua Atkins in 2008.

Based at Bruntwood SciTech's Platform, Jublo creates full-service solutions through language translation and digital technology, partnering with more than 160 people worldwide, from developers and project managers to linguists, in 39 countries.

Joshua - named one of Yorkshire's 42 Under 42 - also has experience working at tech firms including Sky Betting and Gaming, Force24, and RAM Tracking.

We found out what lessons Joshua has learnt...

 

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

Coffee and a morning shower - that’s two, but both are equally as integral to the start of my day. I’m not generally a morning person, so I’ll take any help I can get! My morning shower resets me for the day ahead, and a coffee provides a welcome pause and an opportunity to reflect on what I need to get done.

What's been your luckiest break?

I started working at SkyBet when I was 21 and I didn’t realise it then, but it really shaped who I have become today. Gaining exposure to the ‘big corporate world’ at a relatively young age was invaluable and it allowed me to build my knowledge and skills around architecture and handling large volumes of data, as well as dealing with stakeholders and large-scale teams.

It’s really useful to spend some time early in your career working for both large and small companies as it allows you to see both worlds and apply that experience to future opportunities. I’ve carried a lot of what I learnt with me at SkyBet over to Jublo, so I’ll always be grateful for my time there.

What's your best failure?

After being made redundant, I made the decision to set up a software consultancy with a close friend, spending nearly every last penny I had to get it off the ground. My advice for anyone thinking of going into business with a friend, would be to spend time discussing what would happen if things don’t go to plan.

While that business venture might be considered a failure, it gave me the determination to push Jublo to new heights, and get where I am today.

What is the best investment you've ever made, either financial or time?

Myself! I have just spent the last 10 weeks taking part in the Northern Max. Having a business mentor to learn from allowed me to identify my strengths, address my weaknesses and listen to other perspectives - I’ve found it invaluable, and a hugely worthwhile investment of my time.

I think it’s so important to focus on developing yourself, so that you can also pass on everything you learn to your team - empowering them to grow alongside you, and also benefiting the business as a whole.

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

'Happy Sexy Millionaire' by Steven Bartlett. It really brings to light the realities of starting and running a business, and the strains it puts on both professional and personal relationships.

It’s refreshing to read something that sets realistic expectations, rather than glorifying the ‘hustle’ without acknowledging the grittier side of starting a business - I think it’s a must read for anyone considering taking the plunge themselves.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Don’t take anyone's advice at face value. See where it may fit to your journey; it might not be right now but it could be important later down the line.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

Those closest to me - my friends, family and partner - have always encouraged me to do more, and never allowed me to stand still. I never thought I would be in the position I am at this age, but I’ve been constantly pushed out of my comfort zone by those around me and now it’s just become the norm. Always surround yourself with people that believe in what you are doing, even when sometimes you don’t.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I don’t speak any other language fluently!

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

At Jublo we’ve always worked from anywhere, anytime - I’ve never been one to enjoy working a regular 9-to-5 in the office even pre-pandemic, so I can’t foresee it having an impact in the way in which we work.

Looking more widely, I feel that COVID has forced traditional businesses to think and act more dynamically, putting more trust than ever in their team to work flexibly, which can only be a good thing going forward. Ultimately, it’s given people the option to work how they want, too. We all lead such different lives, so it was no longer feasible to force everyone into a ‘one-size-fits-all’ working model - COVID just accelerated an inevitable change.

What does success look like to you?

Success to me is building a business that everybody enjoys working for and with, and one that brings people unique opportunities to grow in ways they never expected they could. I try to achieve this by always empowering the people around me. But I think it’s also about achieving a genuinely healthy work/life balance. I see so many people run and grow businesses that are multi-million pound ‘successes’, who have very little time to live their life outside of it.

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