Case studies

Onlincolnshire Helps Stuntman Reach new Heights

Release date: 19th January 2015

Riky Ash

With over 600 productions and an international career spanning over 21 years, there isn't much Riky Ash can't do.

Ask him about jumping off buildings, crashing cars, being set on fire or doing face-to-face combat whilst walking a tightrope - and he'll show you how. But when it comes to computers and using ICT for his business, Riky didn't know where to start. 

Having started off his stunt company, called Falling for You, with just £7 in his bank account, Riky's gone on to build an international career.

He's been named as the most versatile stuntman in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. And he’s ranked alongside Bill Gates and Richard Branson as one of the most business-savvy people in their chosen careers in Jamie X Oliver's book 'Secret of my Success'.

He's worked on blockbuster hits such as Muppet Treasure Island and was the Tango Man in national commercial ads, as well as starring in TV favourites like Casualty, The Bill and London's Burning.

Now, looking to take his career to new heights, it was a free onlincolnshire ICT workshop which gave Riky the help he needed to tackle the next challenges. 

"I've always believed that no matter how successful you think you are, you should always invest the time to learn new things," says Riky. "I left school at 15 years old and despite doing my exams I was quite rebellious against the educational system because I couldn't see what it would give me in life. Even from that young age I believed that it was common sense and determination that got you through life.

"After leaving school I become a cabinet maker and excelled at carving fine furniture. I soon built up a strong clientele which saw my pieces sold all over the world. But in 1988 I took up kung fu fighting as a hobby, and quickly rose through the professional ranks. 

"I enjoyed it so much, and became so good, that I was soon representing Great Britain in international championships. This is when I started teaching kung fu and attended a local drama school. I soon considered doing martial arts in movies. A conversation with the actors union Equity introduced me to the possibility of becoming a stuntman.  

"I began training for the Equity stunt register to gain the qualification required for acceptance.

"I soon realised that no matter how successful you are in business, you have to keep moving with the times. And that means learning and embracing new technologies.

"In days gone by, I used to write and post out risk assessment forms. But now it’s all done online via email. I see that there is no sense in spending money unnecessarily on letters, envelopes, jiffy bags and stamps, when I can communicate via the internet and post my stunt show reels online.

"Investing in online marketing means that producers can look at my portfolio of work any time - even whilst I'm on the phone to them! Internet technology is my 24/7 shop window, and generates business.

"I was interested to know more about the workings of my website, selling online and ecommerce. I needed to know if my web designer was doing things correctly - rather than just assuming everything was fine. To be successful in business you have to understand, and be willing to learn about every detail. 

"I found out about the Search Engine Optimisation workshop that was being run by onlincolnshire, and decided to attend. I joined a two-day workshop, with a Search Engine Optimisation workshop on the first day, and a 'how to sell online' on the second day.  

"What I learnt, for free, was mind-blowing. And if I had  to pay for it privately there is no doubt it would have cost me thousands of pounds.

"At the workshop, I didn't just learn things from the tutor, the whole room was swapping tips and advice. We all asked questions, and helped answer queries each other had. Everyone brought a different bit of knowledge with them, which we openly shared with the room.

"We talked about things like creating online email signatures, how to set up email folders, how to share larger files online, and how to become better organised, as well as the best things to do to boost your Google ranking and selling online. Sometimes it is the little things which bring you the greatest value.

"We also looked at YouTube and how it can be used to better demonstrate what you can deliver for clients. For me, I see this as the next important step for my business, so I can promote my motivational speaking and professional stunt work in online videos. What would have filled me with dread, I now know I can do myself. I had no idea this was possible until the tutor told me on the day and gave me a manual about getting started. 

"When I arrived home, an added bonus was that I was able to update my MAC to the latest operating system on my own, something I would never have been able to do before. And since doing this I've really tried to embrace everything I learned on the course to help boost my business.

"It just amazes me that these courses and workshops are available for free."

onlincolnshire business support courses are part of a wider project of support across Lincolnshire and Rutland being run by onlincolnshire. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

For more information about Falling for You visit: www.fallingforyou.tv

To find out more or book your free place please call 0300 80 80 120 or email onlincolnshire@lincs-chamber.co.uk.

You can also follow @onlincolnshire on Twitter and www.facebook.com/onlincolnshire or visit the website www.onlincolnshire.org