Justin founded iPhix in 2014, a pioneering venture specialising in Smartphone and personal device repair, from there, he ventured into the entertainment sector with We r VR – Mobile VR Entertainment, becoming the go-to supplier for high-end entertainment in Northern Ireland. Simultaneously he created, Timescape – Live Escape Games, one of Northern Ireland’s most exciting escape room experiences, which he launched with his brother David and which is focused on expansion in 2024 with a 5th room opening in February and a further location featuring five to six rooms later in the year. Justin explains;
“We both really enjoy immersive gaming experiences and after launching our first room five years ago the buzz and excitement continues to grow.
“We have been recognised as the number one fun activity in Belfast on Trip Advisor and this has been further validated by an impressive average score of 4.9/5 from thousands of combined reviews on google and Trip Advisor. The business has also seen an impressive growth of 24% year on year.”
Justin is man with boundless energy and a desire to create, he now plans to share his knowledge and expertise with others;
“I enjoy the process of guiding and mentoring others and I want to help build success for other businesses by mentoring and supporting the leaders of the future. My 90 day business catalyst program is aimed at delivering tangible success to two business groups, start-ups and small businesses. Northern Ireland saw over eight thousand new businesses in 2022 alone and approximately 20% of these will fail in the first year and 60% will go bust in their first three years. Many could succeed if they seek the right assistance and I am so passionate about the fact that I can help that I offer your money back if you don’t see results.”
His experience to date is what places him in a position to mentor, Justin’s journey has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride and certainly not without its challenges. He goes on;
“From the disaster of the Primark fire in Belfast which left our flagship iPhix store unreachable for months, to the global pandemic which decimated so many successful businesses. Juggling 5 small businesses through this time was an astronomical challenge but it’s when my back is against the ropes that something special rises within. We emerged from the harshest trading of our time and continued to go from strength to strength.”
Every business has a pivotal moment and Justin explains that for him it was the realisation that when the tough times come, it’s not always all on you, creating a collaborative work environment, being approachable and relatable as an employer meant when I dig deep so do my people around me. I’ve built some fantastic teams and I take great pride in my staff feeling like they belong and are appreciated. It’s the old adage: you reap what you sow.”
The ability to navigate diverse industries along with adaptability have been key but couple that with an unwavering dedication to maintaining excellence in every endeavour and you’ve got the recipe for success;
“It is not enough to come up with a good idea, every business must continuously evolve, with the Timescape – Live Escape Games we are constantly finding ways to improve and always looking to surprise and delight our customers with innovation and creativity.
“Each of our rooms are almost a visible and physical representation of the amazing progress and learning we have made in this industry. They advance in complexity and have more Wow factor, yet people are still really enjoying our first room created 5 years ago which has over 10,000 games completed.
“I hope that my experiences can become a valuable resource for aspiring entrepreneurs and encourage them to face each and every hurdle head on, with positivity and determination and adaptability.”
One thing is clear, Justin is a man on a mission, his hands-on philosophy has been the cornerstone of his success, shaping the culture of each of his ventures. A pragmatic mindset, coupled with a relentless pursuit of excellence, sets him apart in the competitive world of entrepreneurship but also has an amazing example that it is possible to have that much sought-after work life balance;
“Most of us dream of having the flexibility to enjoy a better work, life balance, dedicating more time to whatever it is that puts a big smile on your face. More often than not we get bogged down in the business, spending long hours as those dreams fade into the background. I want to prove that it is possible to be successful in business and have a life. I spend loads of time with my kids, I also holiday at least five or six times a year – technology allows us to do this now and I for one fully intend of making the most of it!”
Justin’s journey is a testament to the power of grit, innovation, and a no-nonsense approach to business. Through the highs and lows, he has emerged not only as a successful entrepreneur but also as a mentor and guide for those seeking to navigate the complexities of the business landscape.
For more information on working with Justin and breaking free from the typical constraints of running your own business please visit www.justinmilligan.co.uk. To find out more about Timescape or to book your escape room experience please visit www.timescapegames.com or to find out more about fully mobile virtual reality experiences please visit www.wervr.co.uk