Tom Mursell, a young entrepreneur, spent his Year Dot learning exactly what it takes to set up your own business...

Tom's Story

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Tom Mursell

Business brainiac

28/11/2009

Tom's had an education and a half this year. Having made the last-minute decision not to go to uni, setting up his own online empire and challenging governmental stereotypes on non-graduates, he's gone from naïve new start to earning (some) bucks businessman.


Tom's to do list

  1. Elevate notgoingtouni to the stage where it will be the first thing people think of when unsure on what to do after school/college
  2. Create a community of people not going to uni much like student communities.
  3. Be able to say that notgoingtouni has helped students nationwide in their choices after school/college.
  4. Create a thriving business out of notgoingtouni.
  5. Influence change on government targets and society’s views on non-graduates.
  6. Promote young enterprise.

Tom's big plan

Posted: 30/06/2008

Hello people, firstly thanks for visiting. My name is Tom Mursell, I’m 18 and from sunny Southampton. I’d say I’m your average 18 year old. I enjoy going out with mates, spending time with my girlfriend, into my football, always crack on the Family Guy and Gervais quotes (much to my girlfriend’s annoyance!). I suppose the only thing which makes me different from the next guy on the street is that I own my own business.

Like almost every 18 year old up and down the country, I was hit with the big decision – to go to university or not. It seems that at that age you have to decide on what you want to do for the next 50 years and you’re put under unnecessary pressure to make that decision. I felt a bit stranded because I wasn’t going to university, and was a bit down after being miss-sold job opportunities for one reason or another. I started looking into the alternatives to university and to my amazement there were loads of wicked opportunities, but no single place to find them.

Like any true opportunist I saw the gap in the market and I leapt. The result of much planning, networking and hard work is www.notgoingtouni.co.uk. It was launched primarily as a careers information and job portal for school/college leavers unsure about university and has allowed me to meet some awesome people and work with household names. Just as the job market is constantly changing, so are my plans for the future, and hopefully you will be with me over the next year of my life watching things unfold.

Tom's journal

Final Update: 24/06/2009

End of one year, start of another

Hey all, it's almost the end of Year Dot and it's been a pretty eventful year. It's weird it's all coming to an end but everything is still happening. When, a year ago, I first signed my life away to Channel 4 for a year I wasn't sure what to expect or how I was gonna get on. I knew I was a man on a mission to build a business but didn't know how it was going to span out.

The last year has been such a massive learning curve for me and building a business in a recession is not easy - believe me!

I seemed to have started the year off on a massive high, doing live TV, meeting ministers and so on, and things haven't stopped. It's been one opportunity after another. If there's one thing of learned over my time on Year Dot, it's that you make your own opportunities and grab them as you can.

Granted, everything hasn't gone my way (such is life) and perhaps I was naive a year ago but one things for sure - the last year has been exciting.

I guess this is goodbye for now but in true 'Apprentice' cockiness, you haven't seen the last of me!

Read all of Tom's blogs here

Still want more?

Need more information on business, media and how to get involved? Want to share ideas in your classroom? You'll find special information and teaching resources for business management on the websites below:

Not Going To Uni

Young Entrepreneur

Biz/ed

Business Studies Online

Your messages

Tom has had some brilliant feedback:

Hi Tom,
I just want to congratulate you on what you're doing. I think it's really important to show the value of not going to university to young people - while for some it's a valuable educational experience for others, like me (in hindsight) it's not for everyone. I started my own business at age 30 after a drastic career change(www.truebloom.co.uk), and I wish when I was 20 and heading for university that there had been another option presented to me. Keep up the good work!

Toni (2015 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom,
My name is Nadia and I have been following your story on yeardot and i'm very interested in what you do on your website.I'm a MA journalism student and at the moment i'm making a film about jobless graduates. I was wondering if you could send me an email because i would love to know more. It would be great if you would agree to me filming you as you will be a great asset to my film.
Many thanks... Nadia

Nadia Al-Dhahir (2080 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom

I've just recently joined a personal development organization called Success University though it's not a university. I know theirs a lot of them out their but the reason that I joined this one, after some careful consideration, is because they work with a, learn and earn scheme which I thought had some merit. I thought that this might work well with your notgoinguni.com business. The website is teamturbosu.com if you want to look into it more. But like I said Iâm new so if you discover something please let me know thanks.

Samuel (2091 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom,

I've been really inspired since first seeing you pursue your business ideas on YearDot, and following it through so successfully. For the last 3 years I have been very slowly developing ideas and designs for a travel based website, helping holiday-home owners to advertise their properties to rent. I have only been able to get so far with it, stumbling at the point where the designs actually become a website. I have had various friends who work in IT and Web Design helping, but eventually due to other commitments the development of the site came to a halt. I have had several business advisors praising the business model. My question is, how did you go about setting up the website itself? Did this development start to take-off with investment, or did you create the site itself?

I have had family friends interested in investing in the past, and have not been keen on because I don't like the idea of giving part of my business to somebody else, however since seeing your successful partnership with Spencer, I am considering approaching them.

P.S. I went to Uni and graduated last year. I only just managed to find a job, its data processing in a travel agents, whereas I studied Sound Technology. I only went for the lifestyle!

Mathew (2097 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom,

I love how channel 4 has shown the independant voices of people with ideas. I NEVER went to uni and I know help run a web design company www.netsimage.com and i believe I am better for using my skills and not being forced into uni.

I would love to go when and if i ever feel im ready. Please contact me if we can help you in any way with any future projects.

Alan Spicer (2097 days ago) Report Comment

When thinking about starting a business...

Bright Ideas Trust

They might be able to help you =]

Steph (2110 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of TomHi Alex, that short film is on the backburner at the mo but will revisit it in a couple of months. Email me through NotGoingToUni.co.uk and I'll be in touch.

Hi Nicole I have heard of them haven't looked into them much though. What is your email address? If you'd like to email me at tom@notgoingtouni.co.uk so you don't have to publish it. Thanks, Tom.

Hi Steve, thanks for the offer, may well be in touch.Cheers, Tom

Tom (2120 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom, I think what you're doing is great, I wish you luck in your venture. If you need some business advice you can email me at stevemint75@yahoo.co.uk
Hope to hear from you very soon.
Cheers
Steve

Steve (2121 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom just watching the Channel 4 Programme and I currently work for a company that helps prepare students for the world of work and telling them what is out there other than just uni!
It is an Educational Business Partnership, have you heard of them? Just thought it might be something tht you could have a look into as they are based all over the country and it is something which is aimed directly at your target market.
Hope it all goes well and if you need any more information just drop me an e-mail.

Nicole (2122 days ago) Report Comment

Hi Tom, are you still looking for writers, filmmakers and editors? I can help out...probably.

Alex Flahive (2131 days ago) Report Comment

Picture of Chloe SpiteriAs well as my sporting and Uni commitments I am also in the process of setting up my own project/company which is a fitness programme/classes specifically aimed at young women and aims to encourage young women who don't get much time to take part in exercise or cannot afford it. Due to me having successfully recieved funding from UTD. Sport Relielf with the some of ã2700, this has allowed me enough money to get the project started and will be based in London specifically West. I will only charge a very little amount of up to ã3-ã5 a session which is very cheap considering I am a qualified Level 2 Gym Instructor, an elite athlete and have lots of experience in the sporting industry. The type of stuff that the project will consist of is fitness classes such as circuits and runningThe project is very hard with all of my other commitments but I am determind to get this project going and benefit others!! Anyone interested contact Yeardot and ask to speak to Chloe ( One of the year

Chloe Spiteri (2142 days ago) Report Comment