I grew up one of the most notorious council estates in Europe – now I run £1.58BILLION tech firm… anyone can do it | The Sun

I grew up one of the most notorious council estates in Europe – now I run £1.58BILLION tech firm… anyone can do it | The Sun

A BILLIONAIRE has told how he grew up on one of the most notorious council estates in Europe before making it big.

John Cauldwell, 70, is one of the richest men in the UK after reaping the rewards from founding the hugely successful Phones 4u.

The savvy businessman and philanthropist is now worth a whopping £1.58billion according to the Sunday Times' 2022 Rich List.

The billionaire's life wasn't always so easy having grown up on a troublesome council estate in Stoke-on-Trent.

John, who successfully sold Phones 4u for £1.46 billion in 2006, explained how his upbringing helped shape him in his new book John Caudwell – Love, Pain & Money: The Making of a Billionaire.

He says the move to the two-bedroom upstairs council flat was a tough lesson that helped him become the businessman he is today.

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John takes a trip down memory lane as he writes in his book about the "notorious" Bentilee estate where he moved as a schoolboy.

The family moved from a terrace house to the estate due to a fractious relationship between John's mum, Beryl, and her mother in law, Mary. 

He recalled his first impression of the Bentilee estate: "Turned out we were moving into a two-bedroom upstairs council flat on the huge, sprawling Bentilee estate that was built to house the coal and factory workers of Stoke.

"Not only would we be moving, but I’d be sharing a room with my four-year-old brother, and I’d be going to a new school which meant I wouldn’t know any of the other pupils.

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"When we arrived at the tiny flat, I felt sad and underwhelmed. There was no space compared to those big, old rooms we’d lived in."

Despite the "notorious" estate, John went on to achieve greater things than he'd ever imagined in his life.

John added: "People talk about Bentilee estate as a really rough place.

"It’s the biggest housing estate in Britain and became notorious in the 1980s when it did get pretty out of control.

"Back in the early ’70s, however, it was full of hard-working families who took pride in keeping their houses and gardens neat and tidy.

"The women would even check out each other’s washing on the lines, vying to see whose hanging techniques were the best and whose laundry was the most spotless.

John describes how it was on the council estate that he fell in love with the 'most beautiful girl in Bentilee' .

Kate would go on to become John's wife before they split 25 years later.

What to know before starting your own business

Here are the key things you need to know before going solo in the workplace

Make a business plan – Consider what your business is for and what differentiates you from the rest of the market as well as the costs and how much money you could make.

This is helpful so you know what you are working towards and also can be used if you are applying for a loan.

Budget – You are in charge of your own finances when you are your own boss.

This means no payday unless you have earned enough income that month.

It is vital to remember to keep money aside for your tax bills.

Solo or staffed? – Can your business goals be achieved alone or would staff help boost your brand?

Websites such as PeoplePerHour and Fiverr can help source one-off help for projects such as graphic design or administrative tasks.

Funding options – Do you have enough money to fund your business?

Work out what your startup and regular costs will be and see if these can be supported by savings or outside investors.

You could also apply for a business loan, although banks typically require at least two years of trading history.

Network – Just because you work for yourself, that doesn't mean you have to work by yourself.

Joining trade bodies and lobby groups such as your local chamber of commerce or the Federation of Small Businesses can help build contacts.

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