This Stephen French Interview is brought to you by my come up. Stephen French was at one time known as the Devil. He was brutal and easily one of the most feared men in Liverpool. French was also known as the Taxman, robbing drug dealers. Now French is a reformed character he is now a successful millionaire businessman on a mission to help uplift young people.
Mycomeup: Give us a brief description on your background in this Stephen French Interview?
SP: I was born in the 1960’s and I became a man in the 80’s. What you’ve got to remember is that the UK in the 60’s was a totally different place than it is now, particularly when we speak about my city, Liverpool. Now I’m considered mixed race, but back then I used to be called half-cast and half-breed, but I will describe myself as a black man, I have a white mother, and a black father from the West Indies. You couldn’t grow up in a inner city area like Liverpool, without being tarnished by crime, in my life I can remember signs on apartments, “Not to Let to Irish, No Blacks and No Dogs” in. So I was just considered by the English community as less than a dog, which made me a very angry young man.
Stephen French Interview Questions and Answers
Mycomeup: You must have felt out of place?
SP: Yes, now there’s a street in Liverpool that everybody knows; the street’s called Penny Lane. Penny Lane was made famous by a Beatles song. However Penny Lane was actually a slave trader. When I found out that this famous street was glorifying the slave traders, I went into the black history side of myself and it made me even angrier. That made me have a serious, serious hatred for white people, all white people, I was a young man, kind of ignorant and I said that all white people across the globe were the same.
Mycomeup: Were there any opportunities for the minorities in those days?
SP: Opportunities and chances to evolve socially and financially were very limited in those times, so you slipped into a life of crime, like I did. I started off as a house burglar, did some muggings and graduated up the criminal ladder. I was an angry young man, who wanted to make this money, so I used any means necessary to do so, because you couldn’t get jobs. So we fell into a life of crime and that was my background, but I always knew inside me that there was something better than that. I always knew that I was more than a petty thief or a taxman, I always knew I always had something more to offer inside myself.
Mycomeup: So when was the moment in your life, when you decided to turn your back on the criminal activities and go legit?
SP: The birth of my second daughter Abi French in 1994 was the turning point. When I looked at my girl child, I felt something inside me switch on. I wanted to look after this child, I wanted to be around, and I wanted to be in her life. I didn’t want her to come to prison to see me and every time she comes to see me, she’s a little bit taller. So it was at that point that I wanted to change my life around, because there were three things that on the cards for me: To be murdered; to go to jail for murder or to become mega rich.
The pursuit of wealth was one of the things that consumed me as a youngster so the birth of Abi switched me, I said no more crime, no more violence, just work hard, and I began to work sixteen hours a day. I used to just sleep and eat and when started my first security firm, as a result, I’m doing such a good job for some of the major builders up in the UK and throughout the north west, I have several friends that told me how to invest the money and I took advantage of the property boom, plus having a modicum of intelligence, and we did okay we made some money.
Mycomeup: Why did you decide to stay in your area after you were financially secure?
SP: I got to a point where I had enough money that I could relocate. My wife wanted us to relocate abroad, but I always felt that I had to give something back and I said this before and I’ll say it again, that the death of my friend Andrew, who was killed in the street, my son shot twice in one year, and my nephew was shot in the head, but my story as a black man isn’t unique you go to any city in the UK whether it be Toxteth Liverpool, Manchester moss side, Leeds chapel town, Bristol St Paul’s or anywhere over in north of south London, Peckham, you put a young man in he’s 20’s and he will know or have a friend who knows somebody , who had suffered from fire arms, this is something that is rapidly becoming a legacy of the young black men in 21st century UK, now is this going to be our legacy, so as one of the eldest of the village I have some responsibilities to do something about it.
That is the reason why I wrote the book, the book was meant to attain a platform, I did not do it for any financial gain, I didn’t receive one penny from that book, that book has sold over 25000 copies, now as a result of that there’s a documentary has been made. I’m also going to do a film, in the film the whole proceeds will go to the Andrew John memorial skill centre, and the skill centre will help young men who have no academic background, the centre will help sway them from a life of crime and give them a skill, whether it be jewelry, carpentry, or be brick work. We also cater to what’s traditionally known as female occupations, hair dressers, beauticians. We offer a range of ten different skills, so that the youngsters can get a national vocation qualifications so they can provide for themselves, so I now consider myself as a social entrepreneur, an entrepreneur with a social conscious, and I’m trying to put something back
Mycomeup: How hard was the transition going from a criminal to a successful businessman?
SP: That’s an excellent question, in my security firm I can offer a pound higher than the minimum wage, so that would put you on six pounds something a hour. To earn £250 a week means you would have to work 40 hours for me. On the other side a young man can go sit in a crack den, hold the phone and work on the phone for twelve hours and make himself £800. So to turn ones back on the easy money was the most difficult part and to settle down for the small money was the hardest. But the satisfaction is not having to look over ones shoulder, not worrying if someone going to kick the door in and take what you’ve got, and not having to carry a firearm or any of those things.
Mycomeup: How did you come to stop your prejudices with white people?
SP: My martial arts instructor, Ronnie Colwell, is one of my inspirations, and he actually happens to be a white guy too. I’ve re-evaluated my situation and I no longer hate white people, I just know that there’s good and bad in all races and hatred is a waste of emotion. So it’s time to move forward because it’s time for change. For the first time ever we have a black man Obama in the highest office in the Western World, so its progress. But don’t for one second think that the beast of racism is not alive, because he’s alive and he’s well, he’s just a lot more covert. Not as covert as he used to be, but as a young black man, you must not let that beast affect you and you must strive for your goals. You must strive and push for your goals legitimately and you could reach the highest levels. Just take your inspiration from men like Obama, because, look where he is and look at what he’s done and he’s a man of colour.
Stephen French Interview Advice
Mycomeup: What advice would you give to people looking to become a millionaire businessman like yourself in this Stephen French Interview?
SP: First of all you have to believe in yourself, you cannot achieve anything without self-belief. Let’s flip to the sides of sports, and I’ll come back to the business after, you show me any world champion and I’ll show you a person with self belief.
Before you can become the champion of the world you’ve got to believe that you can do it. Flipping to the business side, before you can be successful in business you have to believe that you can be successful in business. So remember, everything starts off with an idea. You have the idea, you schedule the idea, and then you put that schedule into practice. If it involves business there are agencies out there that can help you in terms of drawing up a business plan and applying for loans, but you have to be prepared to work hard. You need to know every aspect of your business. Now, I might make it sound very simplistic but it’s not, because 90% of new businesses that open up go in the water in the first year. In this present economic down turn it’s going to be even bigger than that, so it’s not easy to succeed, but you got to have the will to succeed.
Mycomeup: What would you say gave you the will to make it?
SP: In my personal experience, I was told to get a degree and then I would get a great job. I got a degree, but I still couldn’t get a job. But what you have got to remember is that this was in the 1980’s and the UK was a very racist place then. Liverpool was described as the most racist city in Europe, so these were the conditions that I was dealing with. So what I did after I got my degree and because I couldn’t get a job, I opened up my own security business, I kind of fell into the business area because I was in the martial arts and boxing training and that led to me being involved in the security work.
Mycomeup: Apart from the security and property business are there any ventures you are keen on?
SP: I’ve got a media company and now I’m in the process of doing my movie and I have really got contacts, Samuel L Jackson, the Hollywood actor, was in Liverpool filming 51st State, I was assigned to help him out and look after him, and he has become, err… I wouldn’t say he’s a friend, because he has got so many people that know him, but I can contact him when I go to America and he would give me a hand. He turned he’s life around you know? In the early 80’s he was a raving crack head and it’s a matter of fact. That’s not me exposing something that Sam is ashamed of, everybody knows it. But he cleaned his self up, dried himself out and applied himself. So for any young man that is considering to enter in any side of business or any aspect of a career choice you have to be prepared to apply yourself. It’s the three A’s Accessible, Amenable and Available. Make yourself accessible, make yourself amenable and make yourself available. It means you have to apply yourself and, somebody will see you apply yourself and then make an investment in you. If you’re not spotted, make an investment in yourself. You have it within yourself to make your dreams a reality, you just have to make your dreams realistic and apply yourself.
Mycomeup: If you had to start from scratch in business again with just one of these tools, a laptop, a mobile phone or a car, what would it be?
SP: If I had to start again, the car, laptop and mobile phone can all be brought, what I actually believe is more important than that is the good business idea. Research your market. Let’s say you want to go into importing hip hop clothes, you want to bring them from America to the UK or even send them to Nigeria. What you have to do is to research, research, research your shipping companies. You need to know how you are going to get your stuff in, how you are going to get your stuff out and how you are going to pay for your stock. So the most crucial piece of equipment or information you need for a business is the business plan. With the business plan you can go to any high street bank and you can get onto the enterprise allowance scheme. The enterprise allowance scheme is underwritten by the government, meaning the banks can’t lose. So don’t be frightened to borrow the money , and have a go at setting up your business, if you are told “no” by the bank, don’t be discouraged and don’t be downhearted. Go to other places, go clean shaven, smart and be prepared to sell yourselves, because everybody needs a leg up and everybody needs to start somewhere.
Mycomeup: In your book it referred a lot to the 48 laws of power by Robert Green. Did you read any self-help books or books in general that you would recommend?
SP: The 48 laws of power came to me later in life. Why I found the 48 laws of power so fascinating is because instinctively and naturally I was doing it. Let me give you an example of one: Never outshine the master. If a guy’s is in charge, never let him look dumb. So the 48 Laws of Power was a book that I was very interested in I’ve always been an avid reader and there are certain books that have changed my life. One of the books that changed my life was the autobiography of Malcolm X who like me was a burglar and like me suffered inner city life, so for social comments in the book I would have to recommend Malcolm X’s autobiography. His speeches are phenomenal and also Muhammad Ali’s biography, that’s just inspirational.
Mycomeup: Are you a fan of audio books?
SP: I listen to lots of Tony Robbins, and if your business orientated, and you want to be self motivated I advise anybody to have a look at what he’s talking about because he’s helped millions in terms of issues and getting from A to B. He’s a motivational speaker. There are times when he motivates me just in terms of getting up and going for walk, whilst breathing in a whole different way to change the inflow of oxygen in my body, which can change your state of mind. It was things like that I wasn’t aware of until it was pointed out to me. So yeah, I am a great believer in the right type of self help books.
Mycomeup: Were there any movies that inspired you like the Pursuit of happiness?
SP: Not so much movies, more so autobiographies. One of my favorite TV channels on Sky is the biography channel, which shows you the drive of people. How they got to where they are today. The Pursuit of Happiness is a fantastic story, but Will Smith’s story of how he got to where he is also fantastic; Denzel Washington is another guy whose story is fantastic. Films like Hurricane where Rubin Carter struggles against insurmountable odds and comes out on top, are the type of movies that inspire me.
We hope you liked this exclusive Stephen French Interview.