Jedi Jim Eastwood On Life After The Apprentice

He's become a father, launched a new website and has a cliché for the entrepreneurs out there

So what have you been doing since The Apprentice?

Where do I begin? My wife and I just had our first child, Charlotte Rose, in the middle of August, so it is a really exciting time in the Eastwood household!

There are a lot of media opportunities now, none of which I intentionally sought out, but are a by-product of my involvement in the programme and I have to say I enjoy this side of things too. I will continue to be involved in sales; whether it’s a product or a service, or even selling myself. I have loads happening on every front, so it’s a case of watch this space…

Your new website is very slick. Did you commission someone to design it, or take the bull by the horns and design it yourself?

Thanks for the positive feedback – my website has been really well received. I commissioned a Dublin-based agency called Create Graphic Design & Branding to do it. I was very involved in the aesthetics and the content.

Your confidence during The Apprentice was very impressive. What’s the most effective confidence-building exercise you’ve had to do at work?

I cannot think of a specific work scenario that has boosted my self-confidence. However, I do come from a very loving and supportive family. My mother (a retired teacher) kept me focussed on the importance of academia, and my father (a serial entrepreneur) exposed me to the commercial savvy required to be successful in business.

I have also always had sport in my life. The skills learned from high-level individual and team sports have been invaluable to me. Combine all this with being the youngest child, and you probably have the recipe for a very self-assured little boy.

Northern Ireland was rooting for you; we could sense that the power was strong in this one. Has the Jedi Jim nickname stuck?

The nickname has stuck, certainly amongst younger fans of the show. I think it’s a great nickname – who doesn’t want to be a Jedi?! Dara O’Briain is hilarious, and he coined the nickname due to my ability to influence people. Influencing skills in business and life are vital, and I am flattered with the reference. People seem to love the nickname too, and the t-shirt sales are going crazy.

Your powers of persuasion are legendary, but is the whole Pied Piper persona limited to the workplace, or does your wife ever question why she’s watching Top Gear again?

I do have strong leadership skills, and I try to be quite collaborative in my approach to business and to life in general. Ironically, my wife and I don’t watch a lot of television. Suffice to say that behind every good man, there’s an even better woman. This is certainly the case with me!

You got to the final of The Apprentice, and came a cropper on the interview task. If you could do it all again, what would you change?

Auditioning, filming and watching the edited show on television are three unique experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects, and I believe this came across on-screen. I seemed to get stronger as the process continued, and I was really energised task-on-task.

It’s a truly once in a lifetime experience. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s massively rewarding, especially if you reach the final. I’m not big into regrets. I gave it my very best, and I suppose I am just grateful that I was received so positively. Lord Sugar is a self-confessed product man, and Tom was the perfect choice. Part of me maybe wishes I had invented the next big widget. Alas...

How would you describe Jim Eastwood pre-The Apprentice?

A dynamic and gregarious sales professional with a passion for sport, public speaking and being the best that I can possibly be!

How would you describe Jim Eastwood post-The Apprentice?

A dynamic and gregarious sales professional with a passion for sport, public speaking and being the best that I can possibly be… who lots more people now know! I’m not the finished article, although I continue to work very hard to develop my skills and learn as much as I possibly can on a daily basis.

It doesn't take long before many contestants leave the boardroom altogether for a career in media. Are we likely to see Jim Eastwood climbing the Mournes as guest presenter on The One Show any time soon?

Is that an offer? I really enjoy the media – it has been a nice by-product of my involvement in The Apprentice. I am probably best-known as someone who can think on their feet, and this is probably why I enjoy live TV, I find it exhilarating. I have had many kind offers to do more work on TV, and I suppose I just need to assess each opportunity as it presents itself.

I am motivated everyday to be the best that I can possibly be. It might sound a bit airy-fairy, but I am genuinely committed to everything I get involved in and I am very focussed on achievement. I want to be able to look back upon my life and know that I’ve contributed to the best of my ability in all aspects of life; family, career, relationships, community, whilst maintaining my integrity and credibility.

On your website there is a 'Hire Jim' function, where companies can apply to employ you as sales person. It's a very direct strategy. Any joy?

I have been fortunate to receive a high volume of offers and opportunities. The website has certainly given people a mechanism to contact me. Being hailed as the 'Greatest Salesman in the World' by Lord Sugar was fantastic. He doesn’t give away compliments cheaply, so this was a major accolade as recognition for everything I achieved throughout the show – especially after securing the largest ever sales order in the history of The Apprentice, of £1.6 million!

For the young entrepreneur looking for some advice on how best to proceed in the current economic climate, what cliché would you give him/her?

The best advice I can give in cliché-form is: 'If you fake it, you won’t make it!' That’s cliché-talk for ‘be yourself’. In addition to this I think it’s important to say that in life, you don’t know what you can achieve until you put yourself out there. I would say believe in yourself, focus on what you want, and be positive and persistent.

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