Mike Davis is the founder of DIY Executor and is trying to disrupt the estate administration industry with the help of technology. Having spent over a decade in hospitality, doing everything from washing pots to running multi-million-pound restaurants, and another 4.5 years auditing solicitors in charge of winding up estates, Mike has learned a lot about running his own “DeathTech” company.
Tell us a bit about what your startup does?
With DIY Executor, we want to be the one-stop-shop for post-death advice and assistance for people in their time of need. We're starting off by focusing on making software to help people who have to wind up someone's estate and are looking to do so in a way that suits them.
What was the inspiration behind your startup?
I’ve spent years sifting through solicitors' case files after they’ve finished winding up peoples’ estates (commonly referred to as ‘probate’) for the purpose of setting a fee for them to charge their clients. I find it pretty amazing that vast swathes of the legal industry still haven't evolved past word processing and email; meaning they compile bulky files full of letters sent and received alongside hastily scribbled down notes documenting extensive and important meetings with their clients. It’s all still pretty manual - it’s inefficient and there’s an unacceptably high risk of making errors. At the end of the day, consumers are being shafted due to a bloated and inefficient industry.
Did you always see yourself running your own company?
Pretty much. I've always been fairly entrepreneurial and I used to wash all my neighbour's cars when I was about 10 or 11. In my teens, I used to sell ice-creams, operating from a coolbox in local parks. In the past, I've also set up my own business in Austria running an Apres ski bar on the slopes. I've been self-employed full-time since I was 25.
What are the biggest challenges you face having your own business?
Perfectionitis, self-doubt, having to do jobs I dislike, the loneliness, and having to make decisions with no clear right or wrong answer (this is especially annoying).
If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
You should have spent longer trying to figure out how to mine bitcoin in 2009 (I gave up after about an hour).
Do you have one piece of advice you’d give to people looking to make the jump to self-employed?
Just do it.