How To Set Up Your Own Business: An Interview With Nick Mills

Hi Nick! First things first, tell me a little bit about yourself. Nick

Well I’m 23, I graduated from the University of Manchester last year with a degree in History of Art. I’m from London originally but decided to move back up north after uni to set up my company, Ticket Text.

What is Ticket Text?

Ticket Text is a Manchester-based online ticketing company providing simple e-tickets to events throughout the city and nationwide. Our aim is to make purchasing a ticket as straightforward and as painless as possible. When I describe it to people I always say buying a ticket from us is so simple that my Dad could do it!

PhoneWhat would you say makes your business unique?

I guess our unique selling point is that we use a barcode based e-ticket system, which means that you don’t have to print anything off or worry about losing your ticket.

You just show your barcode at the door of a club or gig, and then the organiser of the event has an app (which was launched in the app store about 2 weeks ago) and this allows them to quickly scan their unique code. It’s great because it basically streamlines queues and improves ticket validation at events, and organisers don't need to get their hands on physical scanners, they simply download the app.

How did Ticket Text come about? ParkLife
So it was actually born out of a hobby company which I helped to run while I was at Uni. Originally Ticket Text was a ticket delivery service - so people would text and order tickets and we had several drivers who would then travel around Manchester delivering them. I’d also been doing a lot of freelance photography for club nights etc. so I got to know a lot of event organisers and could see where the problems of ordinary guest lists lay and got to understand what organisers needed, so I decided to make the whole process online. After uni I decided to make a go of Ticket Text and managed to get a loan from Startup loans - a project spear-headed by James Khan, from the Dragons Den, and it’s grown from there!

Did you always want to have your own business?

Yeh I think so, I’d always been quite business orientated. As I said I was involved in the ticket delivery company and my freelance photography. My friend and I also set up a business in Uni which was buying old bikes from police auctions, doing them up and selling them on - although that didn’t work out very well- neither of us knew a thing about bikes!

I looked at grad schemes a little but I feel like I’ve got so much more out of starting my own business and learning from the ground up. You get very very good at dealing with problems!

ClubDid you find it difficult being taken seriously at such a young age?

It wasn’t too bad actually! I’m only 23, but Im 6’4 and look about 30 years old! In some ways when people have found out my age it has worked to my advantage - as some people were more willing to help or give me advice - people tend to be kinder to start-ups!

What would you say was your biggest obstacle so far?

Definitely having the guts to start it in the first place was the biggest obstacle. I’m from London, it was quite a big decision to move away again from my life at home and settle in Manchester. But after the initial step, there were loads more obstacles - the development of the app costs a ton more than expected and there are so many unanticipated costs that start to mount up.

If you could give 3 tips to students or grads looking to set up their own business, what would they be?

-Firstly, look for advice already out there to help young people start-up businesses

-Secondly, look for Government backed loan schemes - Startup Loans is really great, definitely check them out

-Lastly, I’d say do your research - I can’t emphasise that enough! You need to come up with a really great, detailed business plan

Thanks Nick!

No problem!

If you want to learn more about Ticket Text go to:, add them on facebook:, or follow them on Twitter: @TktTxt

If you’d like to see how other students and grads are taking their first steps in their chosen careers, head over to our new advice section!TicketText


© 2016 GradTouch. Terms | Privacy