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Callum Goldthorpe: Shining a light with fair international business payments

17th July 2019

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Callum Goldthorpe started his sound and lighting company with a piece of second hand equipment he bought on eBay for £65. Three years on, he has experience working on stage sound and lighting for comedians such as Jethro and Rob Brydon.

“I learned about sound and lighting from an older kid at school. When I was 17, he came in and said that he could do with a hand so I went along. On my last day of school, I finished my Welsh A Level at 1pm and went straight out to a job. That’s where it started,” says Callum, 28.

Today, he runs Communic8 through which he hires and organises sound, lighting and radio equipment. He uses a Starling business account to manage international payments and invoices for his company.

Business spotlight

After finishing school, Callum worked with a local company, doing the sound and lighting for comedy clubs, concerts and festivals. When he was 25, he set up his own business. “My friends encouraged me to do it myself. I bought some second hand stuff on eBay, started to hire it out and went from there,” he says. “I turned every piece of money back into the business so that I could do bigger jobs.”

Callum works on a radio.

His advice to others starting a business is to “properly sit down and work out a really clear path - write it down. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, you’ll need that support.” Callum has three key services: sound, lighting and radios. “I’m the only TYT radio distributor in Wales and there are only three or four in the whole of the UK. Sometimes I’m the only person who stocks certain items,” he says. Callum grew up in Stockport, Manchester, and later moved to West Wales, where he is still based.

Several radios on a desk.

Import duty, shipping costs and poor exchange rates meant that before he signed up with Starling, he lost out on a lot of money from sourcing the radios from the US, China and parts of Europe and then shipping them overseas, sometimes as far as Costa Rica. “I had to bump up my prices to cover the costs. I worked out that I had lost £165 from the exchange rate on one shipment,” he says. “Now that I’ve got a Starling business account, I can get more radios and parts for my money.”

Banking spotlight

One of the many features of a Starling business account is access to fair and fast international payments, all from the app. This means our exchange rates are competitive and our fees our transparent. “It took me about two minutes to sign up,” he says. Another advantage is the Starling business account has no monthly fees.

Callum opened a Starling personal account after one of his friends recommended it. “I also signed up to request a business account even before they launched - I’d come to the end of free business banking with my high street bank.”

Callum climbs up one of his communication masts.
Callum climbing one of his communication masts, which operates part of the wide area radio network in West Wales.

“With Starling, I get a notification the minute someone has paid an invoice. It only takes me a few seconds to tick a box in a spreadsheet so I can keep track of outstanding invoices and then I just put my phone back in my pocket and keep working,” he says. “Running a business on your own, you’re the marketer, sales manager, accountant - you end up being everything. Starling is beyond a saving grace.”

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