HE drives an Audi Sport Coupe with a personalised number plate, has regular weekends away, flies out to Majorca several times a year and is looking at buying his first yacht.
On paper, he’s like any other successful managing director who enjoys life’s luxuries when he’s not in the office.
But, unlike most entrepreneurs, Adam Smith is just 22.
While most people his age are surviving off pizza and beer from their student loan, Adam shunned university completely. In fact, he’s never been in debt in his life. That’s because at 16 Adam left school and set up his own business in his bedroom.
Now he is the managing director of creative website design agency Damteq Solutions, has his own office space, has employed two full-time members of staff and has more than 200 clients. And he hopes in five years he will be able to expand his business across the country.
Adam, who studied at Henry Cort Community College, said: “Many clients don’t realise how old I am. They ask me am I married? Have I got kids? And when I say ‘guess how old I am?’, they say about 28/29. When I say: ‘no, I’m 22’, you see them look around as if to say ‘how could a 22-year-old do this, most of them are out getting drunk’.
“I love what I do. It has been an unbelievable transformation from working in my bedroom to this. To grow so massively in such a short space of time is incredible and it hasn’t sunk in yet. Sometimes I sit here and think ‘what’s happened?’”
But it’s clear after a few minutes into our conversation that it’s Adam’s determination that has led to his dreams of starting a business becoming a reality.
He said his business took off when he was 17 and managed to persuade his driving instructor to give him free lessons in exchange for Adam building a website.
“Then I thought ‘he will want ongoing maintenance for the website’ so the business developed from there”, he said.
Adam studied IT at Fareham College before getting a job as a corporate accounts manager for an IT company, but he continued to build his business model during evenings and weekends.
“All of a sudden I thought, ‘I am 22, I’ve got nothing to lose, and I’m going to use the innovative ideas I have got and just do it’. You only live once. So I started a bank account with zero, spent £2.99 on a domain name and the rest is history.
It was a massive risk but it has always been a calculated risk for me. Everyone talks about a recession but there is money out there. You’ve just got to find it.”
Unsurprisingly Adam’s days are long, sometimes working from 8.30am until 8pm in the office then until 3am at home. But he has no regrets.
He explained: “If you’re your own boss, it is stressful but it’s the best thing. I am literally a workaholic but when you love your job, it becomes a hobby.
“I’ve got friends who went to university but they can’t find jobs and they are £30,000 in debt. They say they are envious of me, but they didn’t have to go to university. I’ve never seen the point in university. My parents used to say never have something you can’t afford and I couldn’t afford university so why would I want to go?”
Adam hopes to inspire budding entrepreneurs of all ages to start up their own businesses and he presents seminars in colleges to spread the word of his Start Your Dream Campaign.
He urged: “You only need an idea and it will work. A lot of it’s about self belief.
So many people sit at home and say they can’t get a job but nothing is stopping them walking to their computer and starting something.
“It’s all about having the guts to do it. If it’s your dream, you have to follow it.”