New Aston Villa loan signing Grant Holt believes his early struggles as a professional were the perfect preparation for his later career.
The 32-year-old - on loan from Wigan Athletic - started out in the youth ranks at hometown club Carlisle United, but joined non-league Workington when he was released before making a first-team appearance.
A spell in English football's lower reaches followed - as well as stints in Australia and Singapore - which, for a time, Holt combined with working in a food factory to make ends meet.
And the former Norwich City man believes that experience gave him a good grounding in the game.
"I did a few jobs but I was mainly a storeman," he told Aston Villa's official website. "I didn't do it for that long - it was around six months and then fortunately I went to Sheffield Wednesday.
"I've always said that it has moulded me. It has made me realise no matter who you are, you have days when you don't want to go in, but then you cast your mind back to where you were and you think 'well I could be doing that and look what I'm doing now'.
"I think the one thing it has given me is that desire, drive and willingness to succeed at whatever I do, and I think in football I've done that.
"There were times during my career when I wasn't playing and people told me to stay but I left and it proved to be the best thing I did."
Holt has signed at Villa Park until the end of the season, and the experienced frontman is keen to take his opportunity with both hands.
"I dropped down to the Championship and now I've got the chance to go again in the Premier League again," he added. "It's up to me to take it again and hopefully I will."
Holt scored just two goals in 21 appearances in all competitions for Wigan, whom he joined from Norwich in the close-season.