Neil Harvey - LLB (Hons) Law graduate

Current employer: Selfiepods Ltd

Current job title: CEO

Current location: Plymouth

“I have been in touch with a number of lecturers about how it’s going and they’ve been supportive even after I’ve graduated, so it’s nice to know they remember you. In terms of alumni I have kept in touch and meet regularly with my closest mates: they say the people you meet at university end up being your closest friends, which I agree with.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Just like many graduates, there’s a sense of excitement and optimism about finishing university and wondering what’s next? I luckily found a job at a law firm straight after my degree in Plymouth and then got enticed by the big smoke. I had a few interviews during my first graduate job where I had to pull sick days to head to London to compete with hundreds of other graduates who wanted the same opportunity. I luckily got the nod in a wealth management company and headed straight to the city. It was long hours and lots of fun, but after a few years I found out that employment per se wasn’t for me. I went on to setting my own business up and working as a self-employed broker until the financial unsettlement in 2008.

I then started to review my options and set up a web, app, and property business which has evolved now to developing the Plymouth Property App. During this curve my friend and I were quick to spot the opportunity of building a brand that focused on the selfie stick phenomenon and from investing only £500 each we now have had a turnover of over £100,000 for this year.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

It has, and that isn’t to say everyone’s will. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do when I finished sixth form and realised that if I could benefit from a law degree it would put me in good stead later in life (first though I had to complete the degree, which also wasn’t easy). You could argue it’s been a total reversal of fortunes from law to selling selfie sticks.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Setting up my own business, realising that I’m not going to get a monthly pay packet and that all my work and effort has to cover all my costs and make money for me to survive.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The most exciting thing is earning money to experience life. The funniest thing is taking selfies with people and seeing people smile. I’ll never forget the first selfie I took with the Selfiepod and seeing that person be instantly amazed.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

I doubt there will be many people finishing university to start a selfie stick business. However, I would say if you go onto set up a business, keep grounded and treat customers as you would like to be treated (as they’re the people that support you). Don’t worry too much about other people’s thoughts about what you’re doing, unless they have been through a similar experience, as most people like to think they know about things but haven’t experienced it. Would you trust someone telling you how to fly a jet, but hasn’t flown before?

Also keep in mind what service or good’s you’re offering and how you’re adding value to people, because if you’re not adding value or solving a problem there’s little chance it will make money.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I can only really speak about law as this was the course I did, and I would thoroughly recommend undertaking a law degree at Plymouth, based on my experience. It’s ultimately down to you as an individual to study but Plymouth is the perfect place and will provide all the support you need to excel.

My experience at Plymouth was extremely positive, there was a fantastic atmosphere with fellow students and lecturers, and there was that personal approach coupled with innovation which is really important. I have been in touch with a number of lecturers about how it’s going and they’ve been supportive even after I’ve graduated, so it’s nice to know they remember you. In terms of alumni, I have kept in touch and meet regularly with my closest mates: they say the people you meet at university end up being your closest friends, which I agree with.