VIDA: ONE YEAR, MANY LESSONS, STILL LEARNING

 The journey of a founder: one year in and still always learning.

The journey of a founder: one year in and still always learning.

It’s a year since we launched VIDA. This is a point at which you can look back on not only what’s been achieved and what hasn’t, but most importantly what you have learnt. In setting up and running businesses you never stop learning, especially in the creative industries where the digital ecosystem is in a constant stale of flux.

Having run start-ups before, I had expected both setbacks and working out how to overcome them. In a way I was looking forward to the fight and the challenge of getting a few punches in the face. As in the Mike Tyson quote (used in many entrepreneurial types’ posts on Linkedin and Medium), “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

 We’ve gone more than a few rounds this year, taking entrepreneurial inspiration from Mike Tyson.

We’ve gone more than a few rounds this year, taking entrepreneurial inspiration from Mike Tyson.

So I was always prepared to go a good few rounds and to keep coming back fighting. But what I wasn’t prepared for was a slow process of strangulation that hampered our investment process, due to HMRC, The Treasury, Brexit, Donald Trump, and who knows what else. We just had to find a way around it.

So 12 months in, we are behind in some areas. But as we have constantly tweaked the plan we are also far further ahead in areas that we didn’t originally expect to look at until 2019.

As a result, VIDA has come out of this, not only one year older, but one year wiser and stronger. Some essential learnings are below.

Take a long-term approach: Experience told me that business plans would change and evolve, and that getting the business off the ground would take time. They did and it has.

Make your model work for you: Our multi-dimensional business model, which provides our partners with tailored combinations and levels of support, also enables VIDA itself to keep growing and changing by adding value fast.

Have a diversified business: We have developed VIDA to operate in a way that allows us to be very responsive to shifting priorities and needs. That applies to our partners, to the market, and to our own company.

Be prepared to hustle: Whatever happens, we’re always working and we’re always hustling. In the words of Thomas Edison, the inventor of electricity, “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

Use what you discover: We underestimated how many talented creators, journalists, and entrepreneurs are looking to launch and grow their brands. Now that we know, we’re offering an even wider range of support and in turn that has helped us further develop our business model.

 The inventor of electricity had it right: whatever happens, we’re always working and we’re always hustling.

The inventor of electricity had it right: whatever happens, we’re always working and we’re always hustling.

Mark Maddox