Mike Pickets, founder of Raver Tots
Raver Tots organise and host family-friendly raves around the country. Founder Mike Pickets chats to BQ about working anything other than 9-5
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Raver Tots is the UK’s biggest family rave and festival brand where kids and grownups can hit the dance floor and rave together! There are never-ending moments to engage kids and parents and above all, huge dance spaces where you can hear the UK’s biggest DJ’s playing the best in all forms of dance music. Some events attract up to 5000 people a time!
What did you do before you started this business?
I was organising events in other capacities for around 10 years, and occasionally working in an advertising ‘day job’ during some periods to supplement my income.
What inspired you to start up?
I became so determined to work for myself where I struggled with directive management (or any management for that matter) and the structure of a nine to five, however, setting up businesses often had significant flaws that I’d overlook in the early days. Often, I was drawn in by my impulsivity and the excitement of taking a risk and I used to just throw myself in at the deep end and hope for the best. It didn’t always work out. I’ve always been inspired above all by the prospect of having flexibility and being my own boss.
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
“Hey, Nan... You know drum and bass raves, right? We do one where kids can come too!”
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I go with my gut feeling most of the time, no one knows your business dealings better than you do yourself. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
Lloyds offer very good overdraft facilities at the moment and unsecured too. I had to show some a trading record and after a few months they accepted us.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I think the level of attention we have got. With over 12 million views on our videos last year and features on BBC News, ITV and Daily Mail, Raver Tots is widely recognised as the UK’s most popular family event often selling out up to 3 months in advance and with thousands of people in attendance every week around the nation.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
Experience before profit!
What’s it like to be your own boss?
I love being able to work to my own schedule, I’m not a morning person so I usually swim and gym in the morning and work in the evenings. I also take off half the week to be with my children, which is definitely the best part.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
I’m working hard to diversify, I’ve always hated the idea of having all your eggs in one basket, adding new products and new events I hope will help us to continue our growth
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
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