A YOUNG Basingstoke businessman has opened up about how he ‘turned his life around’ from troublesome schoolboy to successful entrepreneur.

Tyler Riley, who owns TJR Gardening Maintenance, was working for various companies, when he decided to make the leap and become self-employed.

“I started off doing a bit of gardening stuff, working for labouring companies for about £7.50 an hour - and now I have one of the biggest gardening maintenance companies in Basingstoke!” he told the Gazette.

After being made redundant from a labouring job, the 23-year-old found himself at a loss, and struggling financially.

“There were no other jobs out there for me. I had nothing,” he said.

“It started with a friend asking me to clear some rubbish for him, and then I decided to start my own company and I have been doing the best I have ever done.”

The former Brighton Hill Community School student said he was always getting in trouble as a teenager, and “dropped out” in Year 9 without any GCSEs.

He grew up with a single mum, and struggled to behave in a school setting.

“I’ve turned my life upside down really,” he said.

Although Tyler initially started the company - which specialises in waste removal from both domestic and business settings - in late 2019, he credits the pandemic with giving him the boost he needed.

He said: “Lockdown made me. It pushed me forward, and everyone wanted stuff done. Lockdown got it done for me really.”

Tyler admits that he got himself “in a bit of trouble” when he first launched the business, as he wasn’t aware of the necessary licenses for rubbish collection.

“I thought you could just go out and collect rubbish!” he said.

Tyler explained that there was an incident in which his van was stolen, and the contents dumped on the roadside.

He says it was when he reported the theft that he was made aware of the paperwork he needed, and of the plight of fly tipping in the borough.

“I didn’t want that to ruin it,” he said.

“In life, you’ve got to do things properly and learn from your mistakes. With me, if I’m going to learn I learn the hard way!”

He added that the incident made him realise how important and necessary legitimate waste disposal options are.

“After the van incident, I realised how much of a big problem fly tipping was,” he said.

“It gives us a bad name . For sure.

“It turned around, because now I am doing everything right.”

He added that he was very proud of the successful business he is now running.

“A typical week is very busy,” he said.

“My name is very well-known in the town for rubbish.”

Tyler now lives in Hatch Warren with his girlfriend.

He said: “Having everything work out with the business has moved me to having my own two bedroom house.”

Tyler says he has counted on the support of friends and family along the way.

“Being the youngest one out of the group, I have proved everyone wrong,” he said.

Two friends in particular, Leroy Burniston of Swift Auto Repairs and Wayne Matthews of Matthews Roofing, were going through the process of launching their businesses at a similar time.

“I’ve pushed a lot of people forward, to help them get started,” he said.

“We helped each other, but seeing someone young do so well pushed them.”

Tyler said he hopes his story will inspire others who don’t feel like school is the place for them.

“Everyone in life has problems, everyone is facing something.I will say to people to not be scared to make that transition.

“I’m not saying drop out of school, but it goes to show you don’t need grades to be successful."