You live or die by your own efforts. That's the challenge [of running your own business]. I have worked for people. When you're popular and fit into the equation it's great. If there's a change of management, with different ideas, everything you've done can be swept away quickly.
I had that experience and decided that it was time to try and branch out and build something myself that I was entirely responsible for. It takes two or three years to establish a business. Nobody takes anything seriously unless it's been around for that time.
It's a precarious world at the moment for press, TV and radio. ITV is struggling to get revenues; radio isn't what it was and newspapers are seeing their numbers deteriorate. We need to be creative, to make sure we look for other opportunities and keep an eye on the market.
I enjoy that challenge. Taking companies into new areas and making sure we are thinking of a two- to three-year strategy. Everyone is in a goldfish bowl. Everyone's watching what everyone else is doing. It's difficult out there.
We're all programme controllers. We sit there with our Sky+ and edit what we're going to watch. We record ITV programmes so we can flash through the ad breaks. That's why ITV is scared—it knows that no one's watching the breaks. What's worse, advertisers know that no one's watching the breaks.
Internet protocol TV will make an enormous impact—it's the future. You can look at a channel on the internet or your mobile phone and you can watch a specific programme when you want to. That's what I want to spend my valuable downtime watching. There will always be an audience for a CD or vinyl, but it will become eccentric rather than the norm.
There are too many charities out there struggling away. What we've had to do [at Variety Club] is solidify our position. Basically, we're a showbiz charity, we're UK-centric, we're regionalised. This has been embraced by the corporate sector. There's a bit of glitz.
One of our big corporate partners for the foreseeable future is the Co-operative. What Variety Club brings is glamour, credible faces and a lot of attention. For the last awards we achieved about £1m worth of PR.
We've embraced the corporate sector, which is a good way to survive. We know how many millions we're going to make next year from associating ourselves with corporate partners. We can't rely just on events because events ain't what they used to be. You can't sit back and say 'we're going to make this much for that event'-you can't guarantee it.
I'm proud of the stuff we're doing for Variety Club. I've been chairman for three years and when I took over the awards they were in a bad way. Last year we had Kevin Spacey, Patrick Stewart, Ben Kingsley... I had a five-year plan and it's working really well. As Hannibal in The A-Team says: "I love it when a plan comes together."
It's very important to be happy in what you do. As an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, you're there to build their confidence. This generation has a problem with confidence. They're getting knocked back; there are no jobs. We make them believe in themselves. If they feel they're good enough [to start a business], I'll encourage anybody.