I left Australia in early 2012. My goals were to travel extensively and finish by finding work in the UK. After 6 months of globetrotting, I landed in London and was living in a hostel in Victoria.
My backpack contained 2 pairs of board shorts, 4 t-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 tie (you never know), a pair of flip flops and a sleeping bag. It’s funny how far you can go with so little. On the 1st of September 2012, my bank balance was £190. I needed a job very quickly! With no money, or phone to call businesses on, I had to think outside of the box.
I went to Marks and Spencer, bought a smart shirt and trousers and got changed in the dressing room. From there I walked the high street door knocking businesses asking if any jobs were going.
After 4 days of beating down doors, I got an interview with a very large Internet Marketing Agency. To this day, I remember every question in the interview and I sold my self like never before. I remember the director of the company saying “where are you living” and I smiled and said oh I live in Victoria… he didn’t need to know the specifics. I was hired and started the following Monday.
After two successful years working very hard and fighting my way to the top of the Internet Marketing agency I was ready for a change. I wasn’t sure what this was until a good friend of mine, Blake (a Kiwi) sent me an email saying “I think we should try out” for The Apprentice. In Australia and New Zealand we don’t have The Apprentice, so it was a new concept for us both.
I filled the form out immediately… It felt like the new challenge I was after. A week later I received an email saying that I had made it in to the auditions. So it began.
I have been in business now for 9 years and I don’t think I will ever complete anything as tough or as gruelling as the Apprentice auditions. 3 months of full weekends and late nights plus business plan writing, while maintaining full time work just to make it on to the show. Thousands apply to take part in the show, and I was applying to be in the 10th Anniversary series, the biggest to date.
From 10,000 to 1000, to 100 to 20…I WAS IN!!
I remember the call from the producer to tell me I had made it on to the show like it was yesterday. I was standing across from St Paul’s and every part of my body was shaking as she told me I got in. I had gone from not knowing what the show was to never wanting something so bad in my whole life!
I promptly quit my job, gave up my flat and severed contact with the outside world to enter the process. It’s a scary feeling knowing that you have given up everything for a small shot at something like this. If I was to ever get fired I would have to go back to a hotel and start all again. It’s crazy when you think about it.
I was first in to the reception of the board room on day 1 and the last to leave as the Winner in Episode 14, over 2 months later.
What happened in-between was madness. I made friends and worst enemies and saw the human psyche tested every day to its full potential. Watching 20 credible business men and women broken down day by day by the stress of the process and the other candidates. It’s really tough!
All that said, filming The Apprentice was one of the biggest highlights of my life and I enjoyed every day, even the tough ones. It was an incredible experience from selling and designing different products to standing in Times Square viewing our ad on the big screen! If I was asked, I would be back on the show tomorrow to do it all again.
When Lord Sugar pointed at me and said “Mark you’re going to be my business partner” my life changed forever. Lord Sugar is a business inspiration and a role model to me personally. My dream has always been to become a successful business person. Who better to learn from than the best?
Climb Online is a vision I have had for many years. The Apprentice has given me a chance to show what I can do and build a company from nothing. I have no doubt in my mind, that we will be the go-to business for Online Marketing success. Climb Online’s great culture combined with great products is an unstoppable force in our industry. Here we go!
Winner of the Apprentice Series 10
Director, Climb Online