In our regular series, big cheeses remember when they were still Babybels
Hi, Morgan! Who are you and what to you do?
I’m Morgan Boult and I own a telephone answering service called Hero PA. We answer the phones on behalf of over 40 clients. Our competitive edge is that don’t outsource the calls overseas like most answering services.
What was your #MyFirstMcJob?
I had a sweet shop in Sussex between the ages of five and 12.
How did you get the job?
My grandma gave me this big multipack of Cadbury Crème Eggs. I thought: “I don’t really like these, so I’m going to sell them off.” To start off, I’d just buy multi-packs of things, break them down, take them on the school bus and into school and sell them for profit. After a while, kids would come round to my house and I’ll sell them from my bedroom. From about 10, I moved into my parents’ double garage, because my parents didn’t want all these people traipsing through the house. I started buying everything from the cash and carry, so expanded to drinks, pork pies and sausage rolls.
How much were you selling?
By the end I was taking up to £50 quid a day. I was making about 30% profit, so about £15 a day which — as a little kid — I was pretty impressed with.
How much of your own stock were you eating?
When I got a bit peckish, I’d certainly eat into my profits — but who could blame me!
What did your parents think?
They supported it. They’re very impressed and I was having lots of fun. But my school soon got fed up. I remember there was a whole assembly where they tried to ban trading for financial gain on the bus or on school premises. They didn’t mention me by name but everyone looked at me! I thought: “This isn’t going to stop me.” I was also cycling around the village after school making deliveries, plus kids could still come to the garage, so I wasn’t too bothered.
What skills did you learn that you still use today?
Ultimately I’ve learned you need to make more than you’re spending. That’s fundamental. I’ve learned to be careful, make sure you’re well protected, and to keep your finger on a pulse. Spending wisely means you are listening to what customers want. There’s no point buying in stock people aren’t interested in. We do a lot of surveys and say: “Would you be interested in buying this kind of thing?”
Are you still in contact with anyone you sold sweets to?
Absolutely. I was in the pub the other day and someone I hadn’t seen since school came up and said: “I can’t remember your name, but I remember you as the person who used to sell me sweets all the time.” I’m sure everyone in the village still knows me cycling around the village selling sweets.
Why is alumni important to you?
It’s always nice to catch up with people you haven’t haven’t seen in a few years. I’m not necessarily formally part of alumni networks, but I think it’s a good idea. Maybe I should start one for my sweet shop!
What would happen if you went back and sold sweets in your village for the day?
I know who the customers would be. I’ve got all those connections. I think this time I’d acquire a proper premises, so it was a bit more professional. I might have to employ someone else to work there because I’m so busy with my main job!
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say: “I know you enjoy it, but enjoy it more.” It’s a lot more stressful running a big company than it is a little sweet shop. I’d also improve on the marketing, and advertise on Instagram so people could message their orders. If I known then what I know now, I’d have been taking 100s of orders a day!
What’s your all time favourite sweet?
I still can’t turn down some flying saucers. Those pick and mix sweets still means a lot to me.