Ex-entertainment lawyer sets up "Click Tonight"
After a couple of years at Addleshaw Goddard, Kate Jackson left in 2007 to set up and run www.clicktonight.com. The site is a cross between a social networking and a dating service, allowing people to get in touch and make plans to go out and about, with the emphasis on having fun with like-minded people rather than necessarily meeting your soul mate. We asked her about the concept and about how her life compares to being a lawyer.
mtl: Hi Kate, please can you start with your legal background?
Kate: I did law and business studies at Birmingham and trained at Theodore Goddard. I qualified into their well-known entertainment practice and the firm then merged with Addleshaw Booth to become Addleshaw Goddard. I spent three years as an assistant, with a great boss and good work including acting for lots of fun start-ups as well as large, more established clients.
I specialised in gambling and advertising, which were both interesting areas as I saw them as more “real.” I worked on copy clearances for advertisements, promotions for banks, licensing, e-commerce, bringing people up to speed on the new gambling laws and contract work. I regularly dealt with online legal issues such as what to do when launching on-line, which has been very useful given what I now do.
mtl: So how did you jump from that to running a website?
Kate: I had always wanted to run my own company and was always toying with and researching random ideas. The idea for www.clicktonight.com came about in August 2006. My brother was sitting on his balcony in Spain (where he lives) and made a comment about how he had spent a night in alone the previous night and was sure that there were some lovely ladies nearby that would rather have had a night out with him than also be sitting at home alone. It started from there… The main idea is to get people together who want to go out.
I immediately started writing a business plan and doing the required research. My brother and I decided to do it together as we complement each other well. I was 100% behind the idea and so we went out to raise private investment. As soon as we had some money, we started to build the site. It took a lot longer than I thought it would and was a very slow process, requiring lots of hard work.
1997 - 2000
Law and Business and Studies, Birmingham
2001 - 2002
LPC, Nottingham law school
2002 - 2004
Training contract, Theodore Goddard
2004 - 2007
Entertainment assistant, Addleshaw Goddard
Set up www.clicktonight.com and left law
By October 2006, the website was under construction, we knew what we were going to do and had arranged a launch party for May 2007 at Movida for everyone who had been involved until that point. Until then it hadn’t been definite that I would leave law as I thought I could do both roles, but it became apparent that to do both well would be impossible. At that point I resigned to work full-time on the site.
However, it never felt like I was “leaving” law as I didn’t dislike it – it was just that I wanted to do my own thing more. My training and specifically my particular legal background dealing with commercial issues such as data protection, intellectual property and contracts has been so relevant and I use my legal skills every week. I’ve even expanded my legal knowledge as I’ve used it in all aspects of my business and it’s been interesting seeing the other side and making the decisions about what risks to take myself.
mtl: What does the site do?
Kate: It is a meeting and parties website, based on the profiles of individuals and groups of friends, allowing you to meet up with other people. Every 4-6 weeks, we take it off-line by having a party in a top West End club. People join through word of mouth and then invite their friends and at the moment we have around 26,000 members based predominantly in London. We’ve had some good press coverage (including in London Lite, Cosmopolitan, Sun, Daily Mail and Company) and we advertise online, all of which spreads the word. Income is generated through subscriptions and parties and, in the future, advertising.
We take over venues for our parties of up to 600/700 people and we sell tickets in advance and on the door. Our target market is 18-39 though I find that most users are 25-35. They’re a pretty social crowd and it’s more about going out and having fun than looking for your soul mate, marriage or just internet chat.
Basically, when you join, you create a profile and post your plans and people can click on a link to join you. You can also see what others are doing and set your status to say e.g. that you are out tonight or you want to go out tomorrow night. There’s a messaging service and search facility for those who want to search for people and get in touch. I’d sum it up as social networking for single people. The people who use it love it and our users include quite a glamorous City crowd.
The cost of having a full profile is £25 / year and to come to a party is £15. We have entertainment going on as well as music so that it is really a party rather than just a club night. You’ll find that even if you don’t know many people, you will recognise them from the site and there’s always a relaxed atmosphere.
mtl: How does your working life compare?
Kate: My life is completely unstructured and flexible. I might not start work till late but then instead I’ll work until 1am. It’s always on my terms and I love it. Not having anyone to answer to is great. Working with my brother is good because he is amazing at coming up with ideas and I’m more of a “doer”. We can argue over something and there will be no hard feelings because we’re siblings. I’d recommend working with someone that complements your skills – I know neither of us could have done this without the other one.
Sometimes the work can be mundane because there is so much admin to do. Whereas law is intellectually challenging and you really have to apply your mind, my work is sometimes dull and basic now. I enjoyed the problem solving and advisory work in law and I don’t get to do much of that now. However I don’t miss the big firm environment and the issues that go with that, apart from my colleagues as working from home can give you cabin fever (so I’ve recently taken on an office). Although there is no team element to my job, I keep myself busy with meetings and my social circle has increased from running the site.
I have less security and money compared to law but I am not at all fazed as I believe that I will get beyond this point. The plan is to continue to build up the site, make it global and then sell it on. I’ve worked on it every day since we started so I’d take a long holiday away from work if that happened!
mtl: Do you have any tips for our readers?
Kate: Expect setting up your own business to be really hard work, as it’s been much more of a slog than I expected. I have no regrets about leaving law though. If it didn’t work out, I would expect to use my legal skills somewhere else. If you are thinking about career change then just try it. You can go back, even if you just took 6 months out along the way. I knew when I left though that I would be out of law for the company’s duration, however long that would be.
mtl: Thanks Kate and best wishes for the future.
Click Tonight’s upcoming parties: 16th October 2008 @ Aura, 3rd December 2008 @ Funky Buddha and 12th February 2009 @ Maya.
If you know any other ex-lawyers who have gone and done something interesting or unusual with their lives then please get in touch.
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