‘Showman’ sales boss uses furlough to become professional quiz compère
PUBLISHED: 04:19 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:48 15 May 2020
Julian and Alexis Roper
A sales boss furloughed from his job in London has managed to turn his love of quizzes into a business.
Julian Roper – who has worked as a regional sales director for a warranty company for the past 10 years – used his spare time during the coronavirus lockdown to launch himself as a corporate quizmaster.
Mr Roper, of Copford, Colchester, said he had always enjoyed hosting quizzes as an extension to MC-ing. But the idea really took root during lockdown, when he set up Corporate Quiz Hire.
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“I’m a bit of a showman with a love of comedy and a pun. I’ve even tried stand up and enjoy trying to make people laugh. Always have done. I’ve never had a problem standing up in front of people from the days teaching English at a boarding school in Zimbabwe through to teaching beauticians English in Japan,” he explained.
“I have always loved a quiz and over the last few years have got into being a quizmaster in quite a big way.”
From charity gigs via his children, he fell into doing it for a day job client about to procure the services of a quiz host for a large sum, he said.
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“I offered to do it for free and they bit my hand off. I couldn’t have taken payment anyway as I’m constrained under Financial Conduct Authority guidelines,” he said. “I went down a storm and people kept asking me back.”
Mr Roper says he likes to adopt an interactive style. “I love to walk around and work a room,” he said. “It’s the entertainer in me I guess and people love my approach.”
A highly successful evening gig in February just before lockdown convinced him that he could make a business out of it to run in tandem with his day job.
“The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent time spent at home on furlough has given me the legitimate time to work on this, firstly by setting up a website, a Facebook page and then by beginning to market to certain contacts and friends outside of the construction industry that I am involved in,” he said.
His original intention was to focus on setting up quiz nights for companies post-lockdown, but it was clear people wanted to organise online social events for employees during social distancing, he said.
“We in the UK have a peculiar love for the quiz night down at our local,” he said.
He ran his first online quiz for a wealth management firm in London, followed by one for a finance firm then a waste management company. He has three more scheduled in the coming week, and is also in demand from charities.
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