Setting up a Business During a Pandemic

I have been part of the Dyslexia Scotland network for 5 years. I have had a number of contracts and jobs during that time, whilst now trying to build a business with my wife.

I currently work full time, looking at Continuous Improvement for a large engineering company in Glasgow. I look to help shape the business for the future which is rewarding and helps support jobs for years to come. This business I am building, is not to replace my job but to follow another passion of mine.

On top of my job, I have always been interested in property. The idea of buying an old smelly run-down property, bringing it back to life and making it a family home for years to come excites me. In March 2020, my wife Laura and I launched our property business (BLV Properties) to do exactly that. We aim to buy unloved properties and refurbish them into a new family home to rent out. It definitely hasn’t been as simple and straight forward as we thought it would be!

When we first launched BLV Properties, within weeks we were in lockdown and the property market was closed. So, what do you do when the business is to buy properties, but the market closes?

We changed focus from doing viewings of properties and making offers, to building our team and getting educated.

A lot of people think I am crazy. Building a business in a pandemic, taking on added responsibility and the idea of working alongside your wife! For me, this is what I love about starting the property business together. We get to spend the little time we have together building a future for us and our family.

When trying to build any team, you have to understand your strengths and weaknesses and my dyslexia plays its part in this for me. My dyslexia has given me strengths in numbers and visualisation of the processes to build the business. My weakness comes down to having issues of short-term memory, not always holding information and keeping a consistent move forward. For the last 7 years, Laura has been keeping me right. Checking, reminding and continuously repeating dates and times with me and keeping me focused on things that I need to do, as well as checking my spelling and grammar in emails. In the property business this is no different.

Dyslexia for me has set me apart from others, but over the years it has now given me the confidence to start this business. There are challenges that you need to deal with every day with dyslexia but when you have the right team around you, they can help you with your weaknesses and you can bring your strengths.

If you are at school, talk with your friends or family to help with things you struggle with. If you are at work, talk with the people around you who can support your challenges. The responses may surprise you and it is best to be honest and open. I couldn’t have achieved the things I have with out these people around me. Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and can be seen as a strength. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. You can always bring something unique when you have dyslexia. That in itself is a strength.

Brian Valentine