My Column

Kids need to learn hard work works

  • Date: Monday 2nd September 2019
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It’s crazy to think just how much the world has changed in the last 10 years.

Where were you in 2009? Those eventful 12 months alone saw such eclectic happenings as the emergence of swine flu in Britain, the UK’s worst snowfall for 20 years, the divorce of Katie Price and Peter Andre, and Matt Smith being named Doctor Who.

Then there was the mystery-shrouded disappearance of an Air France flight carrying 228 people, the death of Michael Jackson, and Oasis splitting up.

Personally, in that time I’ve gone from being a Dragons’ Den star to an entrepreneurial mentor at the University of Strathclyde with countless business ventures along the way.

So why the sudden retrospective? Well, this week marks the 10th anniversary of my column. Yes, it seems I’ve been dispensing business insights, tips and tricks for a decade. Quite frankly, it’s flown by – and writing one of Scotland’s leading business column has been, and continues to be, an absolute pleasure.

This column has seen everything from the rise of the internet to the continued fall of the high street, and all points in between.

In that time we’ve had three First Ministers and four Prime Ministers, climate change has become a massive concern, smartphones and contactless payments have become ubiquitous, and we all shop online without a second thought.

The times they keep a-changing, and we’re all about disruptive technologies in 2019. Indeed, I’ve personally been expanding my own approach to helping fellow entrepreneurs by taking my advice online.

Now my column’s best tips, tricks, and hacks can be found on my new YouTube channel, along with my top thoughts on real estate investment and a series of vlogs that look at how to speak the language of business success.

Ultimately though, the channel is all about understanding the true value of money, which is what good entrepreneurial instincts always boil down to – how best to use it and ensure that it does well for you in future.

I believe it’s vital that such an understanding is instilled in Scottish youngsters from an early age, ensuring that the next generation of entrepreneurs are savvy – but realistic in their expectations too.

Growing up, I remember banks dreamt up various cuddly cartoon characters to dispense useful lessons on saving. More than ever, I feel that modern youngsters could do with learning similar lessons.

Judging by recent reports, that reality check is wholly justified. In fact, a recent poll of eight to 15-year-olds by Halifax found that they expect to be earning almost £1.4million a year when they’re adults.

Not to dampen aspirations, but those salary expectations are nearly 38 times the average wage in 2019.

However, don’t laugh yet, because it doesn’t end there. The youngsters feel that in order to enjoy a truly comfortable life, they would like to earn £3million annually.

While there has to of course be a bit of dispensation for the age of those being polled – I thought I was going to be an astronaut when I was eight – the results are perhaps symptomatic of youths’ too often ingrained belief that they deserve more.

The level of ambition is impressive, but from what I’ve seen, the essential hard work and application isn’t always there from those that increasingly expect the trappings of the rich to be handed out to all.

Unfortunately, life just isn’t like that and a nation of dreamers won’t fill Scotland’s coffers.

If we’ve learnt anything across the last 10 years, it’s that things change rapidly indeed - from booming economies to Brexit and Boris, all in the blink of an eye.

How best to cope? Carefully hone your skills, work patiently towards your goals, and grab opportunities when they arise.

You may not be enjoying a comfortable life with a £3million salary, but it’s the best possible strategy that young Scots can follow in the face of life’s inevitable ups and downs.



It’s an understatement to say that Dundee has been having a bit of a moment thanks to the tourism surge brought to the city by the arrival of its standout new museum.

Since V&A Dundee opened in September 2018, it has welcomed over half a million visitors, representing a massive boost to the city.

Local businesses such as restaurants, shops and hotels are profiting thanks to the number of tourists from far and beyond visiting and staying to see everything Dundee has to offer.

Although locals might argue that the historic city has always offered visitors something different, the V&A has firmly put it on the map for modern tourists.

Earlier this year, Dundee was named the best place to live in Scotland by The Sunday Times which was then followed by another uplifting article claiming it was one of the top 10 city break destinations in the UK.

The influential travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller included Dundee as the only Scottish city on the list.

And only just last week, Time magazine counted Dundee among the top 100 locations to visit this year according to their list of World's Greatest Places 2019.

With these accolades in mind, it is brilliant to see businesses continuing to invest in the city to continue the economic prosperity. For instance, Apex Hotels last week announced the commencement of a £1.4million refurbishment on its Dundee hotel’s front of house.

Last year, the Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa on Dundee waterfront spent a further £2.4 million on refurbishments which saw all 151 bedrooms and suites made over.

This type of investment is significant in ensuring that Dundee’s tourist offering continues to rise.

And if you are yet to visit the V&A then make time to see the Video games exhibition before it finishes this Sunday.



In just 50 years’ time we could have self-cleaning homes, real life ‘Quidditch’ and ‘air-taxis’, according to leading futurists.

Samsung has produced a forecast for innovations over the next five decades and some of the results will either shock you or send you into fits of laughter.

The report predicts that, within the next five decades, reusable space rockets will get us from London to New York in under 30 minutes at 20,000 miles per hour.

That’s not to mention the prospect of us living and working underground in inverted skyscrapers with underwater highways tackling traffic issues.

Who knows what 2069 and between will hold for Scotland? But if it is anything like this report then it will definitely be interesting.



Every so often I am faced with the question of whether or not we as a country take political correctness too far.

This time the cause for moral concern has been an alcoholic cocktail from Marks and Spencer.

A complaint to the retailer over its ‘Porn Star Martini’ has resulted in the drink being renamed the ‘Passion Star Martini’.

It has of course become a huge debate on social media with many complaining in return that it’s PC gone too far.

I do have a little sympathy with M&S here. The popular cocktail existed long before M&S put it in a can, but of course the family retailer must guard its reputation carefully.

Can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone searching for ‘passion stars’ online though.




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