Posted by Dan at 07th July 2014

So. The adventure begins… #DansGrand

I recently landed back in the UK looking for something to do, having been in Cape Town for 4 years. I offered a grand (£s not Rand ;) to anyone who would open their black book, reconnect me with the London business/tech scene, and help me find my next adventure. I imaginatively titled the project #DansGrand (All very self indulgent, yes).

Here is an update, with some key lessons that you may want to apply or share. I also need your help to do something with the money. No one claimed the £1000.

By The Numbers

I took 100+ calls and emails, 19 meetings, which turned into 12 business opportunities of which there are 4 on the table, with 1 signed.

The Now

The reason I’m writing this post now is because after a busy month of getting stuck right back in on short term stuff – delivering digital workshops, consultancy and coaching sessions for Prelude, Limelight, Theatretrain and Investment Quorum, I’ve signed my first long term agreement.

A Personal Side

The back story to the last 6 months has been err… challenging. I won’t go into detail here, this post is self indulgent enough, so I’ll simply write off 2014 as a ‘beautiful lesson’. Heartbreakingly my relationship took the strain and has sadly broken down but apart from that the general upshot is positive – I’m a Londoner again, if near Borough Market give me a knock. Mum is still in hospital after 4 months BUT is stable and will hopefully be in recovery soon. I’m getting healthier in prep for my new challenges post the booze and fast food fuelled early dark times of hospital visits. On and up.

So. The Grand…

I’d like to do something with it. Not give it to charity, or a social enterprise as I don’t believe in them. However, I would like to do something good with it, maybe within the entrepreneurship for young people space? Know any young businesses or organisations that encourage entrepreneurship and need some cash? or any other ideas connecting business and young people? Help!

Key Lessons

This entire period has paradoxically been one of reflection and action. I’ve learned so much. Maybe some of it can help you or yours?

Douche or dude? – When you put yourself out there, in any context, some people will think you’re a douche and others a dude. Ultimately it’s tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapper, so crack on regardless.

You get to find out what you do and who you are – Perception is reality and sometimes it doesn’t even matter what you think. Only what ‘they’ think. Thanks to feedback I’m now able to define what my value proposition is – I was told that I help businesses break through energy blocked stages. e.g. get out of startup, activate new sales channels, create succession.

Stand out – When making major changes in your life – Do something, anything, to stand out from the crowd for 2 reasons – 1. It creates conversation and 2. It will fuel your mojo to get through what will inevitably be challenging times. Keep in mind – the reason any journey goes quicker the second time is because your brain cuts out what it has experienced before. Any new journey is tiring and energy draining. You will need constant good juice to keep you going.

Relationships mean everything – My goodness I’ve learned so much about personal and business relationships this year. Trust your gut, and balance it with head and heart. Stay connected with people who you love for all the right reasons, as well as all of their wrong reasons. Hollywood teaches us to embrace the Vaseline lensed stuff but generally ignores the poop. So nurture those with your kind of mental too. You only truly know someone when their shit is blocking the filter and if you can both live with that, the rest is gravy. Authentic connections are the ones that pay dividends in your work and personal life.

Give and take – Be clear, concise and document what you want, and what you can offer – Add positioning, guide with context, and definitively detail any content that needs to be paid forwards.

Be nice – And if you can’t be nice, be authentic. People gravitate to both. I’m not nice. Those who know me well would never describe me as ‘nice’. However, I am fiercely loyal, dedicated, open and passionate. Being as authentic as feedback will allow me to be :)

Square hole, round plug – Not every opportunity or person will work out. And that’s ok.

Focus and prioritise – Not things I find easy when brain is in butterfly catching mode. BUT needs must, so switch on that part of your brain when required.

Ask for help – People genuinely want to help. Often it will come from random people or situations and serendipity will play it’s part, like it did with Emma and myself. Ask (smarter & trusted) friends for feedback on any comms transmitted outside of your known network (You’re much more likely to be dude than douche when you do. Eh 7s? – THANK YOU!)

Embrace the awesomeness of the Universe – It truly is awesome. It does give you what you need, just put yourself out there. You might not like all of what comes back! But it all helps.

Things take time – Everything you need to do. Will. Take. Time.

Money – It isn’t an incentive for everyone, but money is energy and in this instance it was a conversation starter. So either way, a win win.

Life moves crazy quickly – Grab it, fuck it, spank it, don’t over think it, do it – and most importantly CHERISH IT (When you can do all that, tell me how.)

Thank you to everyone has been a part of this amazing journey. This was not where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to be doing but when life throws turds, make manure, and watch the roses grow.

Mucho x

Special thanks to Robyn, Tiff, Roc, Oli, Tom, Karl, Suse, Em MQ, Em M, Vandy, Syd, Duncan C, Julian, Ross, Lee, Lizzie, Daren, YoYo, Kaila, Dan B, Charlie, John D, James B, Darren, Jerry, Armine, Kit, Phil J, Nick, Emmanuel, Mutaz, Guy, Alex W, Andy, Phil W, Baz, Judith, Richard, Derek, Linda, Morgaine, Jim, James M, Simon C, Gi, Chris S, Fred, Caspar, Anna D, Anna T, Andrew L, the 49rs and Scott… Who have I missed, eish.


  1. So glad you are now found. Irritating. *clap* *clap*

    Very excited to see what you do with it.

    And remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

  2. Hey Dan, why not give the Grand to the CodeX Project – an initiative run by Elizabeth Gould to get more underprivileged kids to learn to code? It works on a sponsorship model where a co can sponsor a student for 3 months (R30k) and then give them projects to work on. But I’m sure they’ll be able to work something out for your grand…

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