Passion and purpose

I recently gave my second ever lecture to students about my work – not an audience I’m used to! I talked to business students at Weston College as part of a Corporate Social Responsibility module.

Jon stood outside the front of Weston College

How I ended up working in digital accessibility and sustainability isn’t a straight line.

How many of you knew what career you wanted to get into when you were young? I wanted to be a postman. I thought Postman Pat’s got a pretty cushtie job, delivering people joy and drinking cups of tea in the countryside with his cat. Later, I thought I wanted to work in electronics. I’d take apart things like the family radio as a kid and put them back together. (Yes, they still worked!)

Back in my school, we did a test, which unsurprisingly suggested I’d make a good engineer. Felt to me a bit like “You like driving? You like people? Okay: taxi driver.” I mean no disrespect to careers advisors (or taxi drivers), but it helps to have an idea what you want, not just what you’re good at. I hope that careers advice in schools has evolved since then to help young people to start to understand their passions as well are what skills they’re good at. I say “start to understand” because I think this is often expected at too young an age. There are people who go their whole life without knowing what they really want to do, or want out of life.

Eventually, I’d do a project at university working on accessible music software that enabled Disabled musicians to compose and perform music. It was something that I could do as a techie geek to do some good for people, enabling them to access something I love (making music) that perhaps they couldn’t otherwise do. I’d left university with an idea to build web software for Disabled people. I started learning about it online, I joined a little online forum and learned a lot from other really helpful people. I soon became an expert in web accessibility, creating websites built with accessibility in mind.

So, I talked to students about my meandering career path, passion and purpose, digital accessibility, sustainability and ethics, and tried to impart some good advice from it all.

Here’s a bit about what I came up with…

🩺 Look after your health.

I’ve recently had a bit of a health scare (an ectopic heartbeat), which has caused me to make some changes. It should go without saying, but people are generally not as good at looking after themselves as they are looking after others. Make sure you balance work, life and your own health.

🧭 There’s no one right way.

Life changes. You will constantly change. Don’t expect to know all the answers. By all means have a plan, but going with the flow is a valid path through life and work.

There is no one size fits all. Everyone is different. People have different values, drives, needs and preferences. Accept people for who they are and what they give. That goes for yourself, too. Our stories matter. They’re part of our identity. And embracing and respecting each other’s identity is important.

Have a think about what “your way” might look like. Find what works for you. Try things and see what fits. Find a “workstyle” to compliment your lifestyle. Accept that your way is valid. It’s taken me a long time to begin to accept that the way I think about work is the way I believe things should be.

❤️ Be true to yourself.

You should never feel the need to hide from the truth. If you’re true to yourself, you never have to worry about being caught lying about something, or being something you’re not.

❣️ Understand what’s important to you.

Have a think about what values are important to you. But remember that what’s important to you now might not be so important to you later. Priorities change. Values tend not to.

❓ Understand why you do what you do.

By aligning what’s important to you with what you do in work, you’ll find a much greater sense of purpose, meaning and belonging. There’s strong evidence that having purpose and a sense of belonging has a significant impact on your overall health. Purpose provides meaning and nurtures drive in work. It helps you to focus on outcomes and impact rather than trying to be “productive”.

😊 Enjoy what you do.

You’ll spend a lot of your life working. If you’re not excited about what you’re spending your time doing, you’ll find yourself getting bored and disillusioned. If you find you don’t enjoy what you do, it’s a strong indicator that something’s not right.

🤝 Build and use your network.

If you don’t like thinking of it in those terms, build relationships and don’t be afraid of asking for help. You don’t have to be a certified extrovert to network. And I still find asking for help difficult, but I have a greater awareness of when I need help.

What about you?

What would you tell your younger self about work or your career path?

Digital as it should be

As It Should Be logo

Today, I’m so excited to officially launch As It Should Be, a consultancy that helps good people have greater impact by making digital products and services more accessible and sustainable. And I’m extra proud to be launching it as a Certified B Corporation®, verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. There’s an official press release available to read on the website.

🎉 To celebrate the launch, we’ve planted 1,000 trees in mangrove forests in Mozambique. And to thank those who have supported us on our journey, we have also funded a selection of climate impact projects.

🌳 Forest lands in Mozambique have been decimated for firewood and charcoal, resulting in flooding and other damage. Mangroves are a small, coastal tree species and are particularly good carbon stores that also provide excellent flood and storm protection. Eden Reforestation Projects manage the planting projects there that are working to restore millions of mangrove trees in the area. These projects not only help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, they provide employment to local people who grow, plant and guard the trees until they reach maturity.

🎁 Many people have supported us to get to where we are today – our team, clients, advisors, suppliers, and friends – but I identified 50 people that I particularly wanted to thank (see below for just some of those people). So, we’ve also funded the following climate impact projects with a “50” theme:

  1. 50 trees of a variety of species planted near Cirencester in the UK.
  2. Installing fuel-efficient cookstoves in Tanzania, improving people’s lives, reducing air pollution in homes, increasing food security, and saving 50 tonnes of CO2.
  3. Renewable energy projects in Brazil and Thailand, saving a further 50 tonnes of CO2.

A huge thank you to:

  • Dee Radford, my Marketing & Admin right arm – I don’t know what I’d have done without you, particularly over the last few weeks.
  • Clair Haycraft at Haycraft Creative – You’ve created a gorgeous brand identity for As It Should Be and I’m going to love using it every day.
  • Angela Hicks at The Hive – Thank you for believing in my back-of-an-envelope idea for sustainability talks for small businesses that kick-started a more serious journey towards building a better business and a lovely community of local business owners. I’m excited for our next steps!
  • Philippa Haynes at Insight 101 – You picked me apart and put me back together again to help make As It Should Be a more coherent reality. Thank you.
  • Andy Hawkins at Business on Purpose – I can’t imagine how I’d have gotten through the B Impact Assessment without your invaluable support. Thank you. For anybody thinking about taking their own B Corp journey, I can highly recommend you speak to Andy about it.
  • Della Hudson and Jane Ginnever – Your sage business advice and sounding board skills have given me clarity and direction when I’ve needed it most.
  • The team at Bath University / SETsquared (Laurent Perge, Pete Keevil, Jayne Fishwick et al) – Your business support and sustainability mentoring over the last couple of years has been so important to this journey.
  • Lucie Chiocchetti – Your advice has given me great points to think about and some clarity in murky times, and I appreciate your constant willingness to help people.
  • All of the “Lowww” crew – too many to mention; you know who you are! – for your shared knowledge and feedback, and for being a supportive community of friends.
  • Tom and Vineeta and the team at Wholegrain Digital – An inspiration to me for a few years now, a model of the kind of business I want to run, and an open source of knowledge when I’ve had questions.
  • Tim Frick and the team at Mightybytes – Another source of inspiration and new lines of thinking, not least Tim’s book, Designing for Sustainability.

A huge thanks to you all, and to the many others I’ve talked to about being in business, becoming an employer, sustainability, disability, social justice, ethics… you’ve all been so generous with your time, thoughts, and ideas – it’s kept me going to know that there are others out there who give a damn and who want to be the change they want to see in the world.

If you want to know more about what we do, or think we can help you and want to have a chat, visit our new website:

Let’s go!

North Somerset Sustainable Business Club launch

Last Tuesday (23 March 2021), the North Somerset Enterprise Agency, Culture Weston, Theatre Orchard and I co-hosted Get Your Green On, an event that soft launched a new business club that’s taking shape for North Somerset businesses that are interested in sustainability and themes such as social impact, ethical conduct, climate change and other environmental issues.

I recorded this speech for the event, giving some background and the objectives for the club.

If you’re interested and want to know more, please register your email address to get updates about the club.

1% for the Planet

Dotjay Ltd has joined 1% for the Planet this month, and I’m really pleased. What’s that? It’s a worldwide movement of businesses and individuals who donate to and volunteer with non-profits that are working to protect our planet.

1% for the Planet member

As a business member, 1% of business revenue goes to environmental non-profits every year. Only 3% of total philanthropy goes to the environment, and only 5% of that comes from businesses. I believe that small business owners like myself have an important part to play in addressing the climate crisis, and this is just one way to do that.

This commitment is part of a series of changes I’ve been making to become a more responsible and sustainable business. I’ll be writing more about these changes and my commitment to sustainability and ethical conduct over the coming months. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, head to to find out more about the movement and how to get involved.


I’m also really pleased and honoured to be working with Possible at the moment as part of this commitment, volunteering time to make their website more accessible. Check them out at


Making virtual events more accessible

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold last spring, I began drafting a guide to making online events more accessible and published it on this website. Many people got in touch to say that they had found it useful, and earlier in the year, Lisa Sweeting of Green Sense Events asked if I would give a talk to her community of events organisers about it. If you’d like to learn more, here’s the recording of my talk.

Sustainable Development Goal number 10 is about reduced inequalities. Whilst we are still delivering a huge number of virtual events, how can we ensure these are more accessible for anyone that is perhaps partially sighted or hard of hearing?