Ideas & Observations
Behind the entrepreneur: Steve Pugh, founder of Roadmap MBA
September 28, 2023
Steve is a Chartered mechanical engineer and management consultant with three Masters degrees and additional qualifications in contract law. In 2011 he invented a world-first financial fund which unlocked £300 million+ of work for UK companies. In 2018 he wrote his first book and in 2021 he launched social impact start-up Roadmap MBA making business education accessible for 5 billion people. He also plays basketball for Great Britain.
In a perfect day, what does work-life balance look like for you?
I have actually started to train for the GB Basketball squad (now I’m old enough to play in Masters Tournaments) so I try and find the balance of running the consultancy business, growing the Roadmap MBA start-up and making time for fitness and exercise as I chase this big goal to one day play for GB. One way I achieve this is through having a spinning bike in my office which is the perfect way to find time to exercise after work without having to leave the room. In bed by 9pm, up at 6.
What has been the biggest hurdle in your entrepreneurial journey?
The biggest hurdle is getting people to care about what you’re doing. Unless you have something which nobody has ever done before, it’s hard to break through, especially if you’re doing something like business education. For us, we provide business education with social impact, supporting people from all backgrounds build a better life for themselves – so this is a completely different slant on what anyone has ever done before, allowing users to learn completely for FREE anywhere in the world. To date since launch in 2021 we have users in 56 countries.
Do you have any advice you can share?
You need to find something you love so much you would do it for FREE. Especially when starting there could be months of not making any money, so following something you love will help you when all of the temptations are to get a job. I’d also say to find what promotion works for you. I started to livestream and podcast during the pandemic, going live to over 20,000 people every week, and this is something which I enjoy, but also helps a small business gain profile and share what you’re doing.
What is your go-to way to switch off?
With my wife we have an excellent routine where we work hard through the week but come weekends we make time to walk the 8KM round trip into Newcastle to get a coffee and a pastry, talk and catch up. During this time it’s no phones and it’s lovely to remember why you’re doing all of this in the first place. I also love competitive sports and even though I’m 40 now, I play against Eagles players and guys aged 18-24 multiple times a week, which is an intense few hours where it is physically impossible to think about anything else. Some people meditate to clear their mind, I play basketball.
What reading, listening or watching would you recommend?
I’m about to finish the book ‘Think Like A Monk’ by Jay Shetty. Although most business people are high-flyers, we’re also our own worst critics, so learning concepts and techniques which might help with the emotional and mental side of things is super helpful.
Photography by Christopher Owens