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Five minutes with... Nicolas Frances Gilley, DC Power

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
21 August 2019 2 minute readShare
Nicolas Frances Gilley

He holds an MBE and has worked with the UN and World Bank to reduce carbon emissions, but it wasn’t always so glamorous for DC Power co-founder and chair Nicolas Frances Gilley, who once had a less-than-orthodox job and a bathroom chat with a former prime minister.

Background

  • Business name: DC Power Co
  • Industry: Energy
  • Operating since: 2017

What was your first paid job?

Working in my family’s hotel sorting the empty bottles into their different crates.

What made you get into your current business?

Realising that 2 million home owners with solar panels on their roofs had energy companies that didn’t care about them, and needed to sell them energy that they didn’t want or need.

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How did you get your very first customer/client?

It was actually our first investor through crowdfunding. We ended up signing up over 12,500 investors at the same time, and it became the largest in the world for a launch of a business.

What has been your biggest triumph in business?

Two things: Firstly, work never became more important than my children.

 

Secondly, that several times I’ve done things that ended up being the largest, the quickest, the first time and often recognised nationally and even globally.

Conversely, what has been your biggest mistake?

As an entrepreneur, I have not worried much about mistakes; I’ve concentrated on learnings. One of the big learnings has been if something is broken and you need to fix it, spend enough time getting consensus on the fact that it is broken before you start to fix it.

What is the best thing about owning your own business?

I don’t; I share it with more than 12,500 people. And that’s the best thing.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Just because you think something is true, doesn’t make it true. And it probably isn’t. So let go of your position and keep listening and talking.

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If you could change one thing to make life easier as a business owner, what would it be and why?

Striving for success. Because when I’m not worrying about it, I am more creative, more open to partnership and having more fun — and that’s when I’m most successful.

Who do you look up to in business and why?

At the moment, Greta Thunberg. She inspires me to keep it simple, to stay focused on the goal, not to worry about what people think about me, and not to give up. #NoReGretas

What do you do to get away from work?

I have a shack in the country that’s off the grid and I built everything myself.

Name a little-known fact about yourself.

I was a singing Tarzanagram and an Anglican priest. It’s the truth!

What is the funniest thing you have come across in business?

Being questioned by John Howard about why I had just been appointed as the CEO of the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence as we both stood at the urinals.

Keen to share your own journey as a business owner? Contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Five minutes with... Nicolas Frances Gilley, DC Power
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at [email protected]

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