He left school aged 17 and built up a multimillion pound paintball business in Doncaster.
Now Karl Broadbent and former schoolpal Scott Mullen have set up in the cosmetic surgery business after having their own hair transplant ops.
For Karl, it is the latest move in a varied career, since he left Hall Cross School in the 1980s with four GCSEs.
As a youngster leaving school, he combined working shifts for his dad’s industrial cleaning business with doing work as a male model.
Contacts he built up in modelling led him to get acting work. He appeared in TV shows including the long running sitcoms The Upper Hand and Last of the Summer Wine, as well as the soap operas EastEnders and Brookside, and a string of television ads.
But he left that industry to go into business himself 20 years ago, when he set up Bawtry Paintball Fields.
He said: “I wasn’t daft, but at school, if it was not rugby or messing around, I wasn’t interested. While I was at school I met Scott, who was one of three identical triplets there.
“I played rugby for South Yorkshire, and got into modelling after going out with a girl who knew a booking agent.”
He set up Bawtry Paintball fields, with its opening day in 1999 falling on the same weekend as his honeymoon. He persuaded friends to open it up for him on the day, paying them with free passes for the venue because he was short of cash after buying the paintball guns, proective equpiment, and scenery he needed to run site.
The business has grown, and now attracts around 100,000 visitors a year, with a turnover which runs into the millions of pounds.
The obstacles on the site for players now include former army tanks and ex-RAF helicopters, and the site is set to be further developed later this year with the opening of a high ropes course among the trees at the site. The course is a £250,000 investment project.
Karl decided to expand his business portfolio after he, Scott, and Scott’s brothers decided to all have hair transplants in four years ago.
He said: “We researched it, and decided all four of us would have the operations at the same time. We have been close friends since childhood.
“We had the operations, and told a lot of people about it, to the point that about 30 people we knew were going to the clinic we’d used. They said they should be paying us for all the referrals.
“We met them, and said we’d set up a cosmetic surgery company.”
Scott also had a background in business, having been one of the team that set up the Doncaster-based internet finance company mypensionexpert.com, before selling his stake. It is now a major employer with offices in Doncaster town centre.
Karl and Scott have now set up Now Cosmetic Surgery to offer cosmetic procedures both in the UK and abroad with industry leading surgeons.
Over the past 18 months they have grown rapidly to a team of seven and aim to create nine more full time positions over the next year.
Since the firm started it has arranged nearly 1,000 procedures. It is now averaging around 100 procedures each month including hair transplants, vaser liposuction, breast enlargement, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, and all aspects of cosmetic dentistry.
Around 90 per cent of those procedures were made up of either hair transplants or cosmetic dentistry, and clients have come from all across Europe, and from Dubia.
They refer patients to clinics in London for the hair transplants, and in Istanbul for most of the other treatments.
“It is the first time I’ve been in business with Scott,” said Karl, from Besscarr. “We’re best friends and we each bring different things. I do the marketing, and we are both good on sales. Scott is great at building relationships with the clinics and tech work on computers.
“Cosmetic surgery may be a far cry from paintball, but there are skills that you use in all businesses, and we share the same business ethic of wanting to give a great experience for the right price. It’s about providing good service and building good relationships with staff and customers.
“We set up in March 2018, and the first procedures starting in the August. It was difficult at first without any reviews, but now we have lots, which makes it easier and easier.”
He said they were looking to expand the workforce over the coming months, and would be looking at marketing and sales jobs.