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Jamal Edwards' guide to entrepreneurial success


"We've just hit a few hundred million views but I want to hit 500 million. I want to hit a billion. I want to keep on building further and further."

That's the sort of attitude that's seen Jamal Edwards turn his UK web-based lifestyle channel SB.TV into a multimillion pound force of internet broadcasting, scooping up an MBE in the process. And he's not even 25. 

With Edwards currently looking to inspire a new wave of self-made business minds at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monaco, we caught up with the 24-year-old to get his insights for entrepreneurial success - from owning a business meeting to the three Bs of success.


Edwards back in 2011, shortly after he'd featured in a Google Chrome advertisement

How to sell an idea

"Keep things short and sweet"

"First thing, I'd make it as short as possible. Definitely under 30 seconds. I remember when I was first starting up when I was 15, 16 - people used to ask me what SB.TV was and I used to go off on some long tangent which wasn't the best thing to do in certain situations. 

"One thing I learnt is to keep things short and sweet. Now I would say, 'SBTV is a UK lifestyle broadcaster covering music angles in and out of the urban scene, plus outsider acts'. Back in the day it was quite a long-winded answer."

How to get ahead in an interview

"It's about information, not knowledge"

"Well, when I got a job at Topman... I had been going up and down Ealing Broadway and I couldn't get a job. My mate was looking as well. In the end I got a job in Topman - I've only just put an analogy on it now, it was like an "info versus knowledge" thing. With all these young people out there going for jobs, everyone's got the same knowledge, the same qualifications - especially me and my friend; we had been to the same college, studied the same course, got the same grades, we had the same "knowledge". But when we went into Topman I had a certain piece of information about Leon who was the store manager; I knew that he liked Chelsea, so when I went in I asked him, "Did you see the Chelsea game at the weekend?" I started talking about my favourite player Jimmy Floyd Hasselbanik. Anything that broke down the barriers straight away. My mate went into the same interview - but because I had that information, it put me ahead of him. 

"I've always said to people when they're going for a job, research it as much as possible - especially with Twitter. You should follow people and see what their interests are, put yourself ahead. So many people these days are digital savvy and have the same knowledge as everyone - how are you going to get stand out from all the rest?"


Edwards dressing appropriately to collect his MBE

How to dress for a meeting

 "There's a time and a place for everything"

"I've had a number of job interviews - I had one at BBC Children with Joe Godwin; I had been emailing everyone trying to get this meeting, and I had finally got one. I think I had just finished a shift at Topman, so was in a shirt and jeans. Now I'm more brave - I'm in Monaco and I'm wearing shorts and a bright jumper (everyone else is in suits). I look at it like there's a time and a place for everything. When I was working for Topman, I was wearing Topman stuff, to show I was aligned to their brand. If I was going to an interview in finance, I would have worn a suit."

Asking for a favour

"Don't give to receive"

"When I wrote my eBook Self Belief, I got Ed Sheeran, Jackson Harris and Richard Branson to write my forwards. It did feel in some kind of ways I was asking them for a favour to have them write it for me. I was playing relationships I had already formed. 

"I once did a website launch at a Nando's - I asked them to close the restaurant, to put in a stage and lights, which they hadn't done before. That was a risk for me. I asked Ed Sheeran to come and perform - I was pulling in a lot of favours that day. I was bartering, asking them to play in return for putting them in a video and putting it on the site, or if they'd got a new album or single out I'd promote it. I was scratching their backs for them to scratch mine.

"But I always say don't give to receive. I give out things a lot, and when people ask to give something back I'll say "'nah man, the time will come'."

Best piece of business advice

"The three Bs"

"It's all about the three Bs: Looking after your base, which is your friends and your family - not to forget where you come from, where your roots are. When you're busy it's easy to get side tracked.

"Your Body - ensuring you're eating healthily, staying fit, going to the gym, just looking after your body.

"And your Business - whether you're singing, going with entrepreneurship, or working in a store, where ever you're at. If you're looking after those three Bs you'll be a diamond."



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