Iain Thackrah | Founder

Iain is the co-founder of 3point175, which was the product of a chance introduction, and has resulted in a year of learning, coaching and growing - with hopefully many more to come.

But, what prompts someone to start a business? Iain is of the mind that the pain of what you’re doing has to outweigh the discomfort of taking that leap. There has to be a tip in the scales, and that is exactly what happened for him.

“The pain of not starting becomes greater than the pain of staying still."

In a previous life, he was a teacher. A psychology and philosophy teacher at secondary school, and a role that he had once enjoyed, but then the paints started. A want to rebel against the traditional education model, combined with a knowing that it was not suitable for the modern world, led him to start giving out some unpopular advice.

Follow your dreams, do what makes you happy, and take a risk.

All while he should have been advising on the best universities to go to and pushing kids into a broken system.

Every day after that was painful, and nine months later, he handed in his notice and waved goodbye to his pension and a stable income.

Nine months is a long time, though, and they were spent jumping up when the bell went at the end of the day, wrapping up lessons ahead of schedule to head out on his bike, and starting to detach himself from the job that he had cared so deeply about.

It’s important to note here that he didn’t only care, but he was really good at it too. There is sometimes care where there is a lack of skill, but it is clear from our conversation that Iain held both.

He lives in Yorkshire now, near a mast that can be seen for 100 miles in almost every direction. He uses it as a welcome reminder that he is never too far from home, particularly when out on his bike. Although there was a stint spent in Yorkshire around the corner from a pancake shop, he only noticed when Australian friends pointed it out during their visit.

At this point, he had lived there four years, and there is probably some sort of lesson in that.

There are a lot of coaches out there, and this is something that he doesn’t shy away from. He encourages people, students, clients, however, we want to call them, to check others out before committing, to find their person and their style.

The trouble is that coaches can get a bad rep, and he likens some to snake-oil salesmen, who go around selling elixirs to people that are simply water and sugar to trick them out of money and into a false promise.

He muses that it isn’t about being the smartest person in the room, although sometimes he is, and that it is more about the space that a coach creates to allow the person to speak and share.It is about slow growth too and marginal gains. He never set out to build a million-pound company and to scale with speed and haste. Rather, he aims to be 1% better every day, something we can all get on board with.

Your business is a reflection of your character, he notes. As an example, if your business is disorganised and chaotic, it might be time to look at that area of your life. This is why a lot of his work includes looking at mindset rather than business tactics as such.

“Every tactic works; what doesn’t work is your ability to make it work."

That hit hard.When he started, he admits that he was terrified. Seeing the mortgage payment leave his bank account, followed by the electric, the council tax, the food shop, and the realisation that he had to make this money again within the next 30 days. But from terror came the chance to grow.

Incredibly uncomfortable situations that bring out the best in people

Seeing firsthand how running a company could impact a family, with his own dad losing his business in the financial crash, doubled down on his fears and played on in the back of his mind. Repossessions, lost toys, and a lack of understanding of the business world all compounded to form the why and the reason for him founding 3point175.

It’s also the reason he works with creatives. It isn’t about scaling and selling businesses; it is about working with people who care and want to change something and go against the status quo.

“Look at the kind of company that you really wish existed and just make that one."

Inspiration comes from different places, from Blackwing pencils that sell for $60 each on eBay, to brands such as Rapha and Hiut Denim, who both have extraordinary stories and values to go with them. Iain’s passion is palpable in speaking about these, and with a personal collection of pencils larger than I have ever seen, he clearly values quality.

He cites it as being a fan of cool stuff.

Cool ideas and cool companies doing one thing well.

Blackwing make pencils
Raffa make cycling gear
Hiut Denim make jeans

None of these are overcomplicated.

Cool stuff isn’t where his passions end; books and bikes have to be documented here too. An avid cyclist, and an equally avid reader, he keeps two copies of his favourite book, so he is ready to pass it on in an instant, without losing his own much-read copy.

If you’re wondering about the book, it is The Princess Bride.

If you haven’t read it, you know where to find a copy of it now.

One year into the business, he is proud that he is still standing and the business is thriving, and he is actually doing what he set out to do.

Some guy who had no idea what he was doing who left a stable job making pretty good money to do something he knew nothing about. It is now a company with a footprint, with customers and clients. I’m proud of that.

As for the community, he credits it with connecting him to so many interesting people, and notes that it is a thing that genuinely keeps him up at night. That and the fact that a Wednesday is his favourite part of the week, when the community call is hosted with members.

Our conversation turns to the future, and with a member in almost every continent, South America is next on the agenda.

You can find Iain via 3point175, subscribe to his Email Series and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Contact details for Iain