Hi, I’m Danny Hatcher, a postgraduate student studying strength and conditioning at the University of Brighton, having graduated my sport coaching degree in June 2018. I am both nervous and excited, writing this piece about my journey and sharing it with you all.

My second year as an undergraduate really started testing me with my stress and anxiety. I decided to go see Rob, a student support guidance tutor (SSGT). Each school at the university has a dedicated SSGT that are an invaluable source of information and advice, working to provide relevant and timely assistance on a range of issues that might be impacting your studies. Find out more here; https://www.brighton.ac.uk/current-students/my-student-life/my-wellbeing/student-support-and-guidance-tutors/index.aspx

At this time, I also came across a free app called Notion with added benefits for Students and Educators (find out more here: https://www.notion.so/students). Notion allows me to take notes, track learning, plan projects out, manage my daily tasks and helps me remember things.

Combining my conversations with Rob and my newfound organization, I was actually getting things done. I got my tasks, projects, deadlines, notes and time all in order and started to focus on business and career opportunities after graduation. I found myself excited to learn all about passive, or better phrased, automated income. With no presence on social media and still concerned about what other people might think or say, I had a long road ahead.

In my third year, I decided doing a postgraduate degree in Strength and Conditioning was my next step but, I was liking the idea of being my own boss, running a gym, a sport centre or something entirely different. I did the sports coaching degree to see that ‘lightbulb’ moment and helping other people through the struggles they were having.

I started making YouTube videos to build up my skills and confidence. I was volunteering my time, making videos to help others whilst learning things along the way. Video editing, cameras, lighting, audio, storytelling, scripting, camera presence and then started to delve into search engine optimization, meta data analysis and research, and many other aspects of becoming a content creator. Whilst doing these, I realised I needed to learn about business, which is where I discovered the Beepurple program for University of Brighton. A program that runs events and gives advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Find out more here; https://www.brighton.ac.uk/careers/start-your-own-business/what-support-can-i-get/index.aspx

With support from Beepurple, I started engaging with more individuals in the business and professional world over LinkedIn. I connected with new people, organised meetings and found myself building a substantial network. The video chats were a new challenge that I quickly overcame. Out of all those valuable meetings one sticks out.

Through a conversation over LinkedIn, I organized a meeting with a CEO of a million-dollar E-Commerce business. I remember having butterflies in my stomach when he said he would be happy to talk. Nervously I waited on my laptop 30 minutes before the call started, sending him a message 5 minutes before the call to make sure he was still available, but there was no response. My heart sank until he sent me the Zoom call link to chat. With my hands sweating and me literally shaking with nerves I joined the call to see the guy sitting in a baggy white t-shirt, eating an apple with a floor to ceiling window wall, looking over hundreds of skyscrapers. I froze up, staring behind the person I was supposed to be talking to until he said “hi”, at which point, I remembered I was a person and needed to respond.

The call went well with a takeaway I will not forget. “you could do something good with your enthusiasm, I look forward to seeing what you do”,and that gave me the second kick to really move forwards. I went to Notion and started planning, learning, and doing everything and anything I could think off to move forwards each day. I attended all the Beepurple events that I could, covering press releases, sales, the Ideas competition, building a personal brand, and spoke to hundreds of professionals from all areas of work. I voluntarily engaged with hundreds of hours of online content to learn what I could. I just kept pushing forwards all while earning nothing and still doing my degree. I found a direction I was passionate about and enjoyed – helping others work smarter not harder.

Then I started to gain traction, people started to pay attention, I was waking up to more notifications on my phone than I had ever seen, day, after day, after day. It was exciting and nerve racking at the same time, but it was working. Those emotions I felt coming out of that zoom call were recurring and I felt like a kid at Christmas almost every day. My presence in the communities and on YouTube was noticed, ‘Notion’ contacted me, and I am now a ‘Notion pro’, an official member of their community support and social networking team.

With the guidance from SSGT Rob, the Beepurple program and my initiative to create YouTube videos, now focused on Notion tutorials, I went from a lost, fearful student worried about their future, to an organized, confident and proactive student with coaching, consulting and business opportunities for the taking.

I chose to do this volunteering off my own back and without it, I would not have built the base I have that has led me to so many career and financial opportunities, I am in the process of taking. I would highly recommend contacting the University’s Active Student Volunteering Service if you are interested in volunteering. They have dedicated Volunteering Officers at each campus who can help you to secure a remote or local volunteering placement that is rewarding, safe and supported. Find out more here; https://www.brighton.ac.uk/careers/volunteering/index.aspx

I contacted Active Student for work experience volunteering before lockdown, but as things are taking off now from my own ventures and given the current situation, I am putting that on hold. However, Nadia from Active Student was instrumental in helping me write and share my story with you all, so don’t be afraid to reach out.