When Finlay Johnston was made redundant he described himself as facing a “do-or-die moment”.
Did he take the leap and start his own business or accept another job?
After trusting his gut instinct, the 45-year-old started up 4C Global Consultancy.
Two-and-a-half years later he is still successfully running the Aberdeen firm.
4C supports companies with strategy and business growth in multiple industries, including oil and gas, marine and new energy.
‘Understand your value’
The dad-of-one believes it’s important for any budding entrepreneur to believe in themselves and take the chance.
He said: “There are four fundamentals to me in any business, courage, confidence, curiosity and consistency
“The first thing for anybody is you’ve to dig deep, be brave and have confidence in your own abilities.
“It’s about understanding your own value and trusting your own gut instinct.
“If you truly feel you can do it, and you have a deep understand of your market then you probably can, but you have to believe it 100%.”
Mr Johnston was made redundant from his job at Diamond Offshore Drilling in the early days of the Covid-19 lockdown.
He said: “For years I realised there was a gap in the market.
“Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved my job. I lived and breathed it.
“But people used to come to me and say I could be doing this for myself.
“I had literally travelled for 15 years so knew I had a global network and knew there was space in the market to do something like that.
“But it was probably something I had planned when I was 55 rather than 45.
“My hand was forced. It was a do-or-die moment.
“There were jobs available, but I just felt I had spent more than 20 years working very hard for other people it was maybe time to take the gamble and invest in myself.
“That’s not something I’ve always done as I’ve always had an unhealthy dose of imposter syndrome but you’ve just to go for it.”
Believe in yourself
Despite having his doubts and facing challenges Mr Johnston set up the firm.
He said: “I had loads of challenges.
“I was working from home during Covid, I had lost my job and my mother had died about a few months before that.
“My way of life like so many others had literally changed overnight.
“I couldn’t have been in a worse spot, but I knew I was very good at what I did and felt there was space.
“The world was clearly changing quickly, you could see that people were going to get very accustomed to working from home and indeed flexible working.
“You knew people were going to face cash constraints and there were only so many companies that could afford somebody with my kind of background.
“So, the whole idea was to offer companies access to somebody with that kind of experience at an affordable rate.”
4C has worked with tier-one global contractors in decommissioning, well intervention, well management and offshore drilling.
The business has also worked alongside global rig moving and rig upgrade engineering specialists.
In June, Jon Oliver Bryce, the former chief executive of North Sea contractor Awilco Drilling, joined the firm as a senior advisor to support its growth strategy.
The challenges to get to where he is now has all been worth it for Mr Johnston.
He said: “I’m very grateful that business has gone like a train from day one.”
“When I started, I didn’t sleep for six months literally, you just don’t know what you don’t know and I had to learn a lot quickly, I was doing it from my spare bedroom during a global lockdown”
“I make light of the challenges now but if I roll back two and a half years it was horrible, I was gambling literally everything on myself.
“You are starting a business, spending your family’s money and you don’t know whether it’s going to work or not which is a pretty uncomfortable place to be.”
His advice for any inspiring entrepreneur is pretty straightforward. “You need to have a deep understanding of your market, work out your strategy, put solid foundations in place and work tirelessly to deliver your plan.
“Courage, confidence, curiosity and consistency
“If you think you can, you probably can so invest in yourself.
“You’ve just got to go with your gut instinct,” he said.