Making Millions By Stealing £30,000 From Mom
Andrew Michael’s life changed when, at age 17, he spent £30,000 on a business idea with his mother's credit card without her knowledge.
In 1997, he was living at home with his mum in Cheltenham, in the west of England, when he spotted a business opportunity,
Wanting to set up his own website with a school friend, the self-confessed "computer boffin" realised that very few of the existing web-hosting companies were aimed at small businesses or members of the public.
"All of the web-hosting companies in the UK at the time were pitched at much bigger companies," says Andrew, now 39. "But we saw that small businesses and individuals wanted something self-service and easy to use."
So he and his friend decided to fill the gap in the market, and set up their own web-hosting company called Fasthosts.
"We had the computers we needed in my bedroom at Mum's house, and we had created the software ourselves," says Andrew.
"But what we really needed was a high-speed internet connection, which in those days involved digging up the road. It cost about 30 grand, but we had no money."
Thinking he had no other option, Andrew swiped his mother's credit card and ordered the internet upgrade. "We kind of blagged it over the phone," he says.
Also booking some magazine adverts - and explaining away the big new computer modem - the gamble was that the business would earn enough in its first month to pay off the credit card bill when it arrived.