Confessions of a late blooming entrepreneur

I like to think I was fashionably late when I decided to leave a good career at Virgin as the Group’s Digital Director and head on out into the entrepreneurial world to set up GardenTags. Being in my early forties you might think it was a big risk. I say, what the hell, nothing ventured nothing gained.

So now I’m six months in to my new role as co-founder of GardenTags, how do I feel about my change in direction and what have I learnt?

Cutting the corporate safety net may seem like an act of self-harm to some. You expose yourself to financial insecurity and give up nice things like paid leave (unlimited leave in Virgin’s case!). Overnight you have to master finance, HR, legal and all the other specialist tasks that other teams used to do. Every buck stops at you.

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Blimey. Who’d be an entrepreneur? The good news is that whilst you lose a lot you gain a whole heap more...

 

Business life or death decisions happen at bum clenching speed. When you make the right decision it feels great. And when you make the wrong decision it's quite incredible how resourceful one can become to turn things around - It’s a long story but I learnt the art of carpentry in one 24 hour working day - I never saw that coming and now I’ll never have to go to IKEA again.

Watching something you’ve built grow is rather awesome. It’s nice to see the corporate you work for do well but there’s nothing quite like seeing your hard graft directly impact your own business. Our belief in GardenTags has never faltered and hitting our 100,000th download was really something quite special for David Scott (co-founder) and I.

Meeting the people that you built the business for... your members (customers). It’s great hearing how your product is making a positive difference to them. In our case it’s finding that GardenTags makes growers more confident in the garden and is helping them strike up new friendships over the virtual garden fence.

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Knowing that what you’re building is having a positive impact beyond profit. As a result of the GardenTags community more people are growing organically and planting in ways that attract wildlife into their gardens. Oh and who’d a thought that a whopping 82 per cent of our members say that the GardenTags community makes them feel happy!

Giving up a career is no bed of roses and yes, there have been some dark days but when the sun is out my word it really shines. And do you know what, some of the biggest and brightest summer flowers are the late bloomers. So there’s no excuse, if you’re thinking of embarking on a new journey there’s no better time than now!

Daniel is co-founder of GardenTags the new app that’s turning the fear of gardening into the joy of growing. Join the growing movement for free.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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