Originally from the UK, Adam Ridgeway of MediaCubed has lived in the UAE for four years and says his entrepreneurial spirit is self-taught, while his financial mistakes have shaped the person he is today.
Money&Me: Invest in ideas to move forward
Adam Ridgeway is the managing director of MediaCubed, a three-pronged media agency that he set up in Dubai three years ago. Originally from the United Kingdom, Mr Ridgeway has lived in the UAE for four years and says his entrepreneurial spirit is self taught, while his financial mistakes have shaped the person he is today.
Describe your financial journey so far.
Starting a business anywhere in the world is expensive, so for the past three-and-a-half years, my investment has been poured strategically into the businesses. My parents invested in building a family, which was their future, with some clever and a few not so lucrative investments, but successful nonetheless. My financial investments have been focused on building the businesses. I realise this affects your day-to-day disposable income, but through the difficult days I had support and in the brighter days, I am now able to support them. I didn't really have the guidance or nurturing for being an entrepreneur - it wasn't taught at school and my peers didn't share the same attitude. So my finances were sporadic with some horrendous decisions. Looking back, I'm thankful for making these decisions and being the person I am now.
Are you a spender or a saver?
I'm an investor of ideas, businesses and people. Personally, I am still investing in the businesses.
What's your philosophy regarding money?
Someone recently shared a fantastic analogy. You spend on rubbish, on good you don't. I like to spend on things I see have equal or greater value to the cost associated. I'm not a huge fan of money itself, but I like what opportunities it can offer.
What is MediaCubed?
It's a media agency with three companies in the group: AdBrand, which covers advertising, branding, design and the Web, Dotcasting, an online talent and casting agency, and MediaCubed, which is a network for the media industry.
How hard is it to set up a company in the UAE?
With a great idea, self-belief and the ability to over-deliver on what you offer sets you up for an easier journey. The financial investment needed for starting up is high if you have the ideas but no backing, which often deters an entrepreneur. However, if you have self-belief and can portray it well, all you need is one opportunity and you'll make it work.
What have been your biggest business challenges here?
Time lines are by far the greatest challenge. Everything I do is with an immediate, gung-ho attitude. It's tough finding the equilibrium. Yes can be applied to nearly every question, therefore challenges are much less; it depends on your mind set.
Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?
On the way to where I am now, of course! That's the beauty about being able to reflect on that. I've invested in people and promises who didn't deliver - that would be my greatest "error", but not mistake. Approaching a situation and considering a business decision without emotion helps to reduce the chances of a financial mistake.
Do you believe in planning for the future?
Absolutely. In the past year, I've focused on what is important to me, what am I doing this for - as I said, my parents were focused on building a family and living a fruitful life. My focus is on building the businesses and providing opportunities. Where will I be in 10 years? Hopefully, still doing what I love - with whom I love.
Is money important to you?
Business is my passion; earning money simply isn't the focus.
What is your idea of financial freedom?
Your business being able to support yourself, your loved ones and others at will.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
Anything that will bring a smile to someone's face.