Harsh lessons learnt by Dubai businessman

Marcus Taylor is the managing partner of Taylor Sterling Group, a boutique talent solutions company.

Marcus Taylor is the managing partner of Taylor Sterling Group, a boutique talent solutions company based in Dubai. A native of Scotland, Mr Taylor moved to the UAE seven years ago to work for a recruitment firm before first setting up a recruitment consultancy in a partnership, then going it alone with his own venture in June this year.

How would you describe your financial journey so far?

A roller coaster – let’s just say it has involved living on the Palm Jumeirah and driving an Audi Rs6 to a rented Mitsubishi Lancer and living in International City. Taking up golf and then having to steal driving range balls pretty much sums it up. Arriving during Dubai’s boom and then being a partner in a start-up firm throughout the “economic glitch” was what my father would describe as “character-building”. The recent transition from a partnership to starting my own company with very little in the tank has involved more than one sleepless night. But with so much support from our clients and the increase of market activity I might be able to use my Egate card soon for something other than flying to Qatar.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I can talk myself into anything – whether it justifies buying a shiny superbike or a ridiculously overpriced coat that I am clearly not going to wear in the Middle East. A good friend of mine once bought me a silver money clip engraved with “for those who live beyond their means”. I do try to think about that when teetering on the edge of whether to hand the cashier my bank card. I guess these days I do save but it’s usually with the intention of buying something either bigger, better or just more essential. Others depend on me and the company’s success is far more important than a few overpriced nights out.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Made them? I invented them. I had to disown myself from my parents’ house where I was born and raised because I bought a stereo on credit that I clearly couldn’t pay for which inevitably blacklisted my entire family. I was the kid who spent all his holiday pocket money in the first shop and then couldn’t understand why my brother could still buy sweeties at the end of a summer holiday.

Do you plan for the future?

At the moment Taylor Sterling is my future. I’m not married and have no kids, just a dog, so my company and my team are my focus. I want to have created something that I am proud of and will remain lucrative for years to come.

Is money important to you?

I like nice things – but more importantly it’s the adventure that money can provide. I have goals and adventures that unfortunately only money will allow me to experience. I have known a number of very wealthy people in my life and I know I was happier than they ever were when working at a pet shop for £300 (Dh1,803) a month and driving a Vauxhall Nova on fumes. I like the concept of not having to worry about money but then again I love buying myself and those close to me awesome stuff.

What has been your biggest financial lesson?

Don’t borrow what you cannot afford. I very seldom write a postdated cheque but if I do, I ensure I can realistically pay it back without any problem, whether it be cars or rent..

What do you spend your money on?

I’m really big on my road trips down to Oman which usually involves a lot of exploring, fishing etc. These trips themselves don’t cost much but the gadgets I buy for them, whether a 4x4, new spear gun or a kayak, tend to soak up the pennies. Next on the list is clothes – desperately need a new wardrobe.