Apprentice Adam Corbally: My new life as a global trader
Adam Corbally, 33, may have been 'fired' from The Apprentice, but the market trader from Glossop has already been hired for numerous projects and the world is set to be his oyster. This is his life after The Apprentice.
When I was fired from the Apprentice (TV viewers only see it weeks after the event), I could have felt sorry for myself or used the exposure to become a party animal.
But as I told the other apprentices, what’s the point of just having a laugh and waking up at Christmas with a massive hangover and no work? My decision was to get some good PR [the Bert Agency], become a global trader straightaway, set up a website, educate people about how to sell and even produce an Adam app!
My ambition is to be the next big importer, the bloke bringing the stuff over from China before the Chinese even know they’ve got it themselves. I want to work with the Chinese, Malaysians, anyone, even UK producers.
If they’ve got a product, I can market it, promote it, package it, brand it and, most importantly, sell it. One fella says he wants to invest one and a quarter of a million with me – lots of offers have been put on the table already.
I may not have had much of an education, but that’s not going to stop me making it big. I’ve lived on my wits since leaving home at 16 and setting up in business on Glossop Market at 19 selling fruit and veg, doing the lot myself at first, working 24/7.
I’ve built that up, going wholesale with a staff of six, and ploughed the money into my portfolio of seven properties ranging from a former one-bed council flat, which I bought under the right to buy scheme, to a four-bedder. Not bad for a lad with no qualifications.
But my motto, which is going to be the strapline for the motivational speaking sessions I’ve been booked for, is that you don’t need a dissertation to be an inspiration. Although, saying, that I still tell the kids that education is key, but that if you’re not academic you can still be a success.
I’m going to do a lot more public speaking, especially at schools, through previous Apprentice woman Claire Young and her Schools Speakers company.
I’m booked all over the country, taking to business level students aged 17-18, and I’ve done a couple already, but I’m not the kind of guy to stand at the front of the room and go on about how good I am. With me it’s a five-minute introduction then a Q&A. The kids can relate to me better than they can with a lot of most other people.
I’ve already made a start on the global trading scene too – by going to the world’s biggest trade show, the Canton Fair in China, which was mega. I love the way the Chinese do business - very straightforward, very competitive and very grateful.
I was invited along on the 12-day trip, all expenses paid, by a couple of traders from Oldham who deal in picture frames and mirrors. They had seen me on the show, liked what they saw, someone who was inspirational who could give them a difference perspective, being young, on what products people would like.
And as a result of that I have four products coming over which I am going to be personally responsible for. I can’t reveal what they are yet, but they will be for sale on the website and at all the home shows I’ve now been booked on.
What I can say is that they are priced between ten and 30 quid – electricals, gadgets, and gift ideas, all very, very affordable. At the trade shows I’ll be selling those things and tying it in with sales training on the day.
I’ll have a team of six, and companies can pay for their trainees to come out and learn from working with me. I’ve already done that at a show in Harrogate for a firm called Jack Badger who do wooden floors and wooden light fittings. We had an hour’s motivational first and then I showed them how to sell with hands-on training, which is the best way to learn, and on the one day we improved sales by 120 per cent. I’ll be doing the same thing at Olympia in London.
It makes me laugh, the stuff you hear about training, doing things by the book. I’m not about that – my angle’s different, is hands-on, is about connecting and relating to people. We should use the skills and strengths we’ve all got naturally rather than listening to textbook stuff and following a plan.
I’m taking full advantage of the great opportunity the Apprentice has given me, like going to the House of Commons for the launch of the Love Your Local Markets campaign in June, having a pint on the terrace with MP Andrew Bingham and seeing all that history. I’m passionate about markets– for a fiver, including insurance cover, you can hire a stall and start selling.
It’s how I started, and look what’s happened to me. Today fruit and veg – tomorrow the world! Catch up with me at adamcorbally.co.uk.
This article will also appear in the July edition of Global Trader magazine.