A Day in the Life with Joshua Atkins

Joshua Atkins is founder and managing director of Leeds-based Jublo, a translation and digital start up. At only 26, he has created an almost £500,000 turnover company and is looking to grow it further. So, what does a typical day of this busy managing director look like? We recently caught up with Joshua to find out.

16 November 2020

Joshua Atkins is founder and managing director of Leeds-based Jublo, a translation and digital start up. At only 26, he has created an almost £500,000 turnover company and is looking to grow it further.  

So, what does a typical day of this busy managing director look like? We recently caught up with Joshua to find out.  

Could you tell us about how you started your business and how you got to where you are today?  

Jublo originally started as a hobby with an online friend back when I was 14 – we wrote code for open source software, and eventually took on more digital technology projects. I left school at 17 and decided education was no longer for me, and I wanted a job in the ‘real world’ – to gain more knowledge in the industry. I started out at a vehicle tracking company as a developer and worked my way up before moving to a marketing automation company based in Leeds and becoming their Head of Technology. I then made the decision to take up a role at Sky Bet and became a Solutions Architect.  

It was in April 2019 that I decided to take the plunge to work for myself and Jublo, full-time. I knew it could be successful and taking all my experience in technology I began to scale-up the business. We’ve been able to expand quickly – we now work with a network of over 160 translators, project managers and developers across the globe. 

Tell us about what a typical day looks like for you?  

I’m an annoyingly early riser so I usually have breakfast and then cycle into work along the canal. I take advantage of the facilities at Platform and grab a hot shower, make a coffee and spend the first hour of my day catching up on emails and checking in with my team. The team are based all over the world so it’s important to me to make sure we have that contact time and especially during COVID it has allowed us to share how everyone is coping too.  

Something that I love about being in the city centre is going to independent cafés and restaurants for coffee or lunch and I’m looking forward to being able to meet people for lunch again!  

At the moment, my work day is taken up managing the team, as well as video calls with our project managers, translators and clients. The only real-life meetings I have at the moment are mostly with our marketing team who are based in Platform too 

After work, I cycle home and like to relax either by cooking for my partner or with a local ale at the pub. I’ve also usually got something on Netflix on the go, a recent favourite of mine was La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) as I’m always trying to improve my Spanish – I still needed the subtitles though! As we have a team that operates pretty much 24/7, I’ll continue to speak to the team after ‘work hours’, but I do try to switch off if possible. 

What is the best and worst part of the job?  

There are loads of great elements to my job. I find it really rewarding to work with such creative people, and they’re an interesting bunch – they always have a tale to tell and we get on really well.  

We have a flexible working policy which is really valuable for us all as it means the only commitment we ask for, is that our team delivers their project or outputs to the standard we expect and on time. Being my own boss at 26 is great, and something I had always hoped to achieve.  

As for the worst, I’d say being the boss also means spinning a lot of different plates, and it’s difficult to switch off – especially with the nature of our business, but the good far outweighs the bad! 

What advice would you give to your younger self or a young entrepreneur?  

There’ll never be a ‘right’ time to start your own business, so take the risk and go for it! If you’re really passionate about what you do, and genuinely enjoy it, it’s a cliché but ‘you’ll never work a day in your life’. 

 I’d also say, don’t feel pressured to follow the same path that everyone else seems to be doing, whether that’s going to university, or careers they want to follow; explore your options, trust your gut and see what feels right for you. 

How has the business had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown? 

We’ve been quite lucky in the sense that our business model is really agile to begin with because we work remotely - we have people working on our projects across the globe, and a culture built on trusting them to deliver without having to watch over them. So, in that respect, we were well equipped to handle the changes.  

We actually got busier during the initial lockdown period – we found that with more and more people being furloughed, there was a lot of demand for our translation services. That’s not to say we didn’t feel the effects that others did in our industry. But, because we work across multiple sectors, where one has seen a reduced workload, we’ve seen an uplift in another, which has allowed us to carry on growing. 

If you’re a digital or tech business based in Leeds City Region, then you could qualify for #Grow funding of £10,000 to £50,000 through the LEP’s digital investment fund. To find out more visit the-lep.com/grow/ or contact the team at businessgrowth@the-lep.com.