Head and shoulders above the rest
“I first knew about Kleeneze when my mum joined back in 2007,” said Dan. “She joined when my little sister started school, because it was something she could work in the daytime around school hours.
“I actually registered on the day of my 18th birthday. I had to wait to get my birthday money off everyone to get my 200 books to start! I was in sixth form then and doing my A-levels. I only ever did about 10% back then – about £50 a week beer money really.”
When Dan started studying for his degree in Business and Enterprise Management at Sheffield Hallam University, he didn’t give up his Kleeneze business, but continued to work at it when he came home at weekends – just to keep it ticking along. However, when he started looking for a job for his placement year, Kleeneze proved to be head and shoulders above the rest.
“I’m doing a four-year sandwich degree, so I had to do a year out at work,” he explained. “I went to various interviews, but I didn’t want to work for a boss. I’ve only ever been self-employed. I just couldn’t find anything, so I begged and begged the placement people at university until finally they let me do it and classed Kleeneze as my placement year.”
A placement year is a year in which students go out into the work place in order to gain some experience. As Kleeneze isn’t a traditional job, Dan had to put in some work in to convince the placement officers.
“They asked me what my one year goals were for my placement year. Goal setting’s pretty big in Kleeneze anyway, so I produced a four page list of everything I wanted to do. They came back half not believing it and half laughing at it…that just became another little motivator really!
“They asked me what I’d be doing and how I’d be developing; what things I would pick up from Kleeneze that I could bring back to university and likewise, what kind of things I’ve learned at uni that I could bring to Kleeneze. I created a list of everything I’d be doing, putting down that I wanted to run my own business for a year, I wanted to recruit and lead a team of people, I wanted to do £100,000 turnover and go on a trip abroad (I didn’t know at the time it was Miami).
“You’ve got to be covering all departments when you’re running your own business. In a job, you generally only work in one area. We have everything – we do recruiting, sales, and management, with the sponsoring and coaching side. It gives me a lot more to do and develop than I would get with a traditional placement. I’ve spoken to my friends who are currently in conventional placements and they’re doing admin and filing, emailing and making tea. They’re not really enjoying it and it certainly doesn’t compare to Kleeneze.”
Dan, who works the business with girlfriend Amy, will be returning to university in September and knows that he’ll continue with his business after his degree.
“I’m hoping that, if I’ve ticked off everything I set out to do by the time I go back in September, that they’ll look at Kleeneze with a different view as to the one they saw before (basically ‘why are you delivering catalogues when you can get a proper placement’!). Especially if I can sneak a trip in to Miami before the first load of exams!
“I really hope that through the company and through the university, I can open the door to a few more people. If I can go back with a record of what I’ve done in the last year and it stands out compared to any other placement option, suddenly it might be a viable option for other people.
“I’ll definitely continue with the business when I finish university. I’m trying to build a team now to keep it going while I’m finishing my last year. When I come out I won’t be looking for a graduate job at all.”
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