Managing Director: Dream Nation
Claud Williams graduated with a degree in Sport Management in 2012 from Loughborough University. Having started a range of his own businesses, Claud is currently working on Dream Nation and how he can help to shape peoples’ lives through his business. Here we find out more about Claud’s time at Loughborough, his work with The Studio and his future plans.
When I choosing a possible degree, I was running my first business which was a sports tournament and training camp business. Loughborough was by far the best sporting University in the Europe so I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.
While at Loughborough I had the opportunity to try so many new activities, which helped me learn a lot about myself. I worked out what my real passions are as well as why my skills add the most value. I was also able to massively grow my network and meet some great people. By the time I graduated, I had grown so much in my confidence and understanding of myself and I had a better idea of what I wanted to do moving forward.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
Build your network. You will be surrounded by amazing young people like yourself; the connections you make will be just as valuable as the degree you walk away with.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, what impact did these have on your experience?
I got involved in a lot of activities outside the classroom. This included being on my hall committee, being a part of LSU Media, helping to launch the entrepreneurship society and finally becoming the President of the African Caribbean Society. These experiences really enhanced my time at Loughborough and made it an amazing experience. Whilst I was a student an unofficial slogan around campus was “Get Involved”, that is the exact same advice I would give to anyone attending Loughborough.
I did a bit of an unofficial placement year. During my third year of Uni I decided to take a leave of absence to focus on building my business. During that time, I was able to open a photography studio in the town centre. At the time it was by far my biggest business achievement and taught me so much about how to run a company. That was probably the changing point of my entrepreneurial journey.
It’s been a journey! Dream Nation is actually the fifth business I launched. When you first get into the world of business there is so much to learn, however as you continue to stick with it you become a better business person. I was lucky that I kind of fell into running a business pretty early on in my story, helping me to be a much better business person today.
Cosmic Inc LTD was the parent company to most of my businesses prior to Dream Nation. With Cosmic Inc there was Starlight Imagery, a consumer facing events and portrait photography company. There was also Litework Studio, which was a photography and video studio in the town centre. Finally, there was The Creative Circle which was a creative agency aimed at medium and large businesses.
Where did the idea for “Dream Nation” originate? What does your role as co-founder of the company involve?
The idea for Dream Nation came about as a result of my experiences during that period of my life. I was running The Creative Circle which was starting to do pretty well as a business. However, I had this feeling that I wanted more from my business. This started me on a journey of self-discovery where I did a lot of reading and studying new ideas and people who had done amazing things and companies which really inspired me. Around the same time, I was also being asked by a lot of people for career and life advice and being offered speaking opportunities such as my TEDx speech.
Then one evening, I came across the expression “practical dreaming” as a throwaway line in a book. Something about the phrase really resonated with me; it pretty much encapsulated so much of what I believe. Think big, but also then act on those thoughts to turn them into reality. I began to think about how can I bring this idea to life and shortly after, Dream Nation was born.
My role as co-founder involves more than I can probably squeeze into this answer. The way I see it, it’s my responsibility to lead the organisation so it can reach its potential. So in a way I’m kind of like the company’s parent, and like all good parents I do whatever needs to be done to ensure my baby stays healthy. From recruiting the team, to ensuring the vision for the company is clear, to making sure bills get paid. Whatever needs to be done, I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to work.
How do you work alongside The Studio on Dream Nation? Has their help been fundamental in the development of your business?
The Studio has been a complete game changer for myself and Dream Nation. Loughborough University has always been supportive, but being a part of The Studio has opened up a completely different side to the organisation. Meg the current studio manager has become one the best mentors, offering great advice, connections and support whenever needed.
I’ve also had the chance to meet so many great speakers which the studio organises on a regular basis and of course I’ve learnt so much from the community of other studio members. The financial backing has also been key in helping me to try things I never would have been able to without their help and as a result as really helped Dream Nation grow at an accelerated rate.
I work with Ali Foroughi a lot. He in the founder of Jungle Magazine and has played a big part in helping to shape the visual brand of Dream Nation. However, many Loughborough students both past and present have played an important role in helping me build all of businesses. From designing logos, to internships, to becoming full on members of my team or even speaking at my events for Dream Nation, Loughborough’s roots run deep in my company and life.
Now is an exciting time. Dream Nation started six years ago now, and during that time we’ve really had the chance to build a brand and a great community.
However, the most important thing has been helping me better understand the needs of customers. So, soon Dream Nation will be going through a bit of rebrand as we begin to shift our focus away from events and media, and place a much bigger focus on the next stage of the company which will be in developing new technologies and applications which can help individuals on their personal development journeys.
We’ve done some pretty big things to date, however I find it’s the smaller things that leave the biggest impact. The moments when I’m proud are when we receive unexpected messages from customers about how their interactions with Dream Nation have helped to change their lives for the better.
Find out more about Dream Nation online.