Why I gave up my successful business for a startup



  • Why we dropped more than €300k worth of clients
  • Why following your ♥️ heart is not a cliché
  • How to steal chickens from your neighbour’s fridge

Where it all started

My entrepreneurial life started when I stole some frozen chickens from a neighbour’s fridge and sold them to other neighbours. I was seven years old, according to my mom, but of course, I can’t remember or imagine doing something so cruel.

17 years later

No, this time I didn’t steal anything from the fridge. This time I started my own business. Partly because the company, I worked for had fired me, but mostly because I felt more creative and more energized striking out on my own. I hated the bureaucracy of the companies I’d worked for. I just wanted to get things done. Period. So I started my own business. Seventeen years later I was running a successful company that had turned a profit within the first three years. But I decided to give it all up and start again from scratch.

The why

The ‘why’ is pretty simple, really. Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Do what you love and love what you do’? After spending several years building a business, I felt that I still wasn’t doing what I loved most: getting the best out of myself and my team in terms of creativity and skill. We had spent years running a successful online marketing company. We had great clients, great revenues, a great team and a great office. This is something most people dream of. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was awesome and I enjoyed every minute of it. But deep down, I knew it wouldn’t bring me the fulfilment I was looking for.

What we were looking for

Working for clients can be great. You get to help them grow and achieve their goals. But what we really wanted was for the company to make something that mattered. We wanted our own product. The thought of working with each other every day on our very own product was thrilling. All ideas, good or bad, have one thing in common: execution.

Dropping €300k worth of clients wasn’t hard at all

Yes, you read that right: we dropped €300k worth of clients. When we decided we wanted to make this work and create our own product, we had to be fair to our clients and let them go. It was a big step, but we all agreed that we only could make it work if we focused all of our energy on this new idea, this product, this concept we had. At this point, it was little more than an idea, but we were inching towards the execution phase. We had to.

We made more revenue than ever before

It was a huge risk, but it was worth it. And not just for the money (we were able to make more profit than before ?). We were finally working on our own product, making our own decisions and profiting from the abundance of talent, creativity and drive in our team. The company we founded was no longer a service, it was a product. Our very own product, no less.

The best part

We made a conscious choice to follow our hearts and we realized that we could transform our ideas into reality in a relatively short amount of time. But the best part was that we loved it. That’s why we did it in the first place. The business I’m running today was not a new invention. It was an existing idea in a multi-billion dollar market: an online marketplace for service professionals such as painters, plumbers and other contractors. We saw a lot of them during our time as an online marketing company and thought we could do better than the players that were dominating the market at that time. In a sense, the idea was almost as ‘stolen’ as the chickens from my neighbour’s fridge all those years ago. The difference is that we took those frozen chickens, cooked them on our own and then sold them as a unique dish.

Started documenting my startup roadmap on YouTube;