The average graduate will owe an eye-watering £50,000 by the time they finish university – the highest student debt in the developed world. Three-quarters will never clear their loans and will be making repayments well into their 50s.
We sit down with undergraduate-cum-entrepreneur Brandon Taylorian, whose thriving publishing empire is not only paying off his debts but inspiring a new generation of super-savvy students.
Female First (FF): Tell us more about your various businesses and how they started
Brandon Taylorian (BT): Currently, my main business is the writing and selling of The Original Jesse Millette Series, of which Jesse Millette and The Phantom’s Curse is the first instalment. The series follows a young detective named Jesse on his adventures across the world with his friends and relatives always in tow. I made sure that all the books in the series all have an air of classical narration to them, and the characters all express an air of elegance and are certainly positioned as heroic figures with a mixture of an idealist and realist identity.
The idea for the Jesse Millette character, which later expanded into all the books, characters, and businesses that are emerging today, began with an idea I had on my fifteenth birthday to create a mystery detective. I had loved the Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mystery series, but I thought someone of the aspects of the characters and the stories should have been written differently so I decided to create my own character. From there, the Jesse Millette character and the wider Jesse Millette idea, as I refer to it, expanded in all directions with big ambitions for the future, and all of these are encompassed and owned by The Jesse Millette Company, which is an incorporated company which I incorporated at eighteen years old.
FF: What is your mission – to be rich or famous, or both?
BT: To be famous, yes, and I am not ashamed of wanting that as I know that for the books, the characters, and all the ideas and businesses I have to become what I want and have dreamt them to become, they will need to be famous and I will need to be famous as part of that. One of my greatest fears is being forgotten so I want to do all I can so that the world never forgets my contributions and it is from that principle that my philosophical works stem.
To be rich, yes, but only to the advantage of those I love and to the people of the world that need helping. When you are a philosopher and you begin to contemplate some of the most compelling ideas imaginable, you give little significance to money. I see money only for what it truly is; a means of getting by in this material world. I see nothing wrong about ostentation, grandness, and wealth beyond compare, and if that is part of my journey then so be it, but I won’t ever let it become my purpose. The point of business is to create money, but my creative side counterbalances this and shows me the greater meanings of life. Essentially, one should control money and never let it control them.
FF: What would you say are the three key ingredients of being a successful entrepreneur?
BT: I’d say agility in both a physical sense and a mental sense; you have to be able to move fast from one thing to another and be ready for problems when they inevitably arise.
Secondly, I’d say the ability to envision; without imagination, or an ability to beyond the present time, or the current issue, one couldn’t last as an entrepreneur because we have to be constantly looking at the wider picture or searching for new opportunities.
Lastly, I think inner contentment is of extreme importance to entrepreneurship, which are perhaps two elements that are not often associated with each other, but knowing who one is, accepting things when they don’t happen the way you had envisioned, and being able to learn from those occurrences leads to an inner contentment that cannot originate externally as it must come from within.
FF: What one word best describes your personality?
FF: Can you tell us the three biggest challenges facing student entrepreneurs and share any top tips to overcome them
BT: Securing capital is extremely tough, although crowdfunding platforms have made this process easier in recent years. Another issue is being able to structure a viable business strategy which is different for students with lower confidence and less knowledge and experience of business, but most universities do offer one-to-one sessions with experts in helping students to design their businesses, which is a brilliant service that I admittedly haven’t used to its fullest, but I certainly recommend other students to do so.
FF: How difficult was it turning your ideas into a reality without external investment? Did your family support you financially?
BT: I’m totally self-funded and proud to say so too! In addition to my university work and all my literary work, I also work at Hoghton Tower, a beautiful historic house and stately home in the village of Hoghton where I live for the moment. Working in this part-time job has allowed me to support my ideas and pay for necessary expenses such as the designing of book covers, logos etc.
FF: Why do so many businesses fail?
BT: Two words: demand and cashflow.
FF: You’ve inspired countless other students to launch their own businesses. What advice can you give them and other early-stage entrepreneurs?
BT: 1) Remember to stay true to the original purpose of your business mission at all times; 2) Keep your mind open to new opportunities; and 3) stay optimistic.
FF: You’re studying business and marketing at the University of Central Lancaster. Being honest, do you know more about the world of business than your tutors?
BT: Certainly not! It’s always good practice to remain humble and modest in this world I have found. My tutors have all had long careers in business to my knowledge and many of their experiences in business and of course, their knowledge of business strategy and theory has been applicable to my current circumstances. I do believe there’s something we can learn from everyone, even if that person is the embodiment of what you don’t wish to be.
FF: What does the future hold for Brandon Taylorian? Can we expect to see you on the telly at some point soon?
BT: I’m a “if it happens it happens” type of person, but I always believe in working towards things to make them happen. I will continue to write The Original Jesse Millette Series and I also want to forge ahead with my career in philosophy, to make myself known for my philosophical ideas and contributions, as well as furthering establishing The Jesse Millette Company into the business that I had imagined and envisioned.