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NEWS > OA Careers > Entrepreneurial Insight

Entrepreneurial Insight

On Monday night (14 November 2022) pupils and parents were treated to hearing the very different entrepreneurial stories of three OAs who have set up their own businesses.
17 Nov 2022
OA Careers
Our three OA speakers
Our three OA speakers

Becca Sandler (OA 2014), Dan Bedi (OA 2008) and Andy Jeffries (OA 2007) all have varied experiences of setting up their own businesses. Each spoke about their career journeys and how they set up their business, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Here are their tops tips and pieces of advice for any budding entrepreneurs in the OA community.


Becca is the founder of a Transformational Life Coaching business, Balance with Becca. Becca had spoken to an Executive Coach early in her career, who took the time to listen and helped her to think outside the box about her career options. However, it was only after being made redundant at the start of the COVID pandemic, that Becca started considering this route as a potential career path. After completing training in both Yoga & Meditation and Transformational Life Coaching, Becca began to find clients and grow her business. She is passionate about holistic wellness and works privately with individuals and with corporates through a combination of 1:1 Coaching sessions, group Wellness Workshops, Yoga Classes and Guided Meditations.

-Harness imposter syndrome “I had so many questions when I started out – why would people want to hear from me and will I be taken seriously as a young Life Coach? …And how on earth do I file a tax return? But the endeavour to answer these questions made me a better business person! Sometimes your imposter is the one pushing you to better yourself, as long as you don’t give in to them. If I could speak to my 24-year-old self, I would tell them to back themselves, harder and earlier.”

-Have a savings pot “I had savings which gave six months breathing space to establish myself, before having needing to be profitable."

-Find something you really love “I love the creative freedom that comes with my business. There’s so much scope for personal development and it’s amazing to do something I love every day. There are highs and lows, but that also makes the journey exciting and challenging.”

-Start grafting! “Having your own business is not always easy, and working on your own brings its own challenges, particularly staying motivated and discipline. But the graft you put in, will pay off, in one way or another, even if its not instantly gratifying, there is learning in everything!


After beginning his career in sales, Dan found his way into SMEs. Post MBA in 2017, Dan co-founded and eventually exited his own business in 2021, having raised investment from leading VCs, investors and athletes. Dan’s business focused on sports sponsorship, looking at how brands marketing investment was measured. Today, Dan is back in the corporate world but has also co-founded a community group for other start-up founders, London SportsTech Network (LSTN) and is involved in a number of early-stage businesses.

-Starting your own business can be very stressful “Employing people for your own business, where you are directly responsible for their ability to pay their rent or mortgage – is very different to just managing individuals.”

-The work of world has changed “Experiences are accelerated now, and there isn’t the same mindset to stay in the same company for years and years. It’s important to try more things, and don’t be afraid of failing.”

-Think carefully about how you manage money – and your relationships “Have some personal savings for the first six months, as you will also need to think carefully about whether you reinvest money into the business for growth or pay yourself. Also, be aware that it can be easy to work long hours, seven days a week and this can take a toll on your personal relationships.”

-Setting up your own business isn’t for the faint-hearted but the rewards can be fantastic “There are so many upsides – you get to meet and network with amazing people that you wouldn’t meet otherwise. You learn so much – both about yourself and business – and you get to have some amazing experiences which you don’t typically get working in a company. I once pitched in the throne room at Buckingham Palace to 500 people, for example.”


Andy is the co-founder of Dock and Bay, which creates sustainable, innovative and affordable products, including the ultimate quick-dry beach towel. Andy and his business partner started the business seven years ago

-Keep working when you start your business “The first step is the biggest challenge, but it was really useful that I was in a job when I started the business as it helped me get a loan and backing. You can start with small steps, because the longer you hold off the less likely it is that your idea will happen.”

-It’s not just about the money “I’ve always wanted to do my own thing and be in control, but I also really care about leaving a legacy and creating something that has a positive impact on people and the world. You also need to genuinely care about your customers.”

-Find the right business partner “I couldn’t have set up on my own – it’s definitely easier with someone. But equally, it has to be the right person – meeting Ben, my business partner, was the tipping point.”

-Take risks and keep trying “This wasn’t the first business I’d attempted – there have been many failures! You need to take risks though and know when to fail – fail fast, test and make choices.”

-Keep learning and have fun “The journey is extremely hard but you’re in control to make the change. I’m always learning – off people, from doing and from podcasts.”

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