A new venture is born - a goal achieved.

LandformA couple of weeks ago I made a list of my goals for 2008, today I get to cross off number 2 on the list.

2/ I would like an off-line venture that can bring in income and show good growth, as with everything I look at now time is critical so I have to make sure anything I take on is low maintenance or short term effort for long term gains as there are only so many hours in a day.

Towards the end of 2007 my brother was voicing his doubts and concerns over his job (landscape gardener) and poor wage structure considering his experience and at times responsibilities. After discussing it for some time I suggested that he start up on his own. He has over 10 years experience with hard landscaping, dry stone walls, patios, fencing and decking. The main things stopping him were start up cash, tools, van and a leap of faith.

After discussing it with Elaine I offered to fund the new venture in return for a share of the profits, so as of yesterday a new business has been born Landform UK.

To start the new venture we needed some basic tools, a tipper van, advertising and a float for materials at the start, I invested £5000 in return for a 20% share of all profits before wages are taken. A win/win for both of us, my brother gets the chance to earn himself a good living through his own efforts building a business improving his prospects and I get to invest and earn from an offline venture that does not need my attention.

My barnManaged to get a good transit tipper from Ebay for £2200 (picture above) with 6 new tyres and a years MOT and have some advertising on the go over the next 4 weeks in the locals and he is off to his first job today where he gets to charge his labour starting from £18 per hour rather than the much more modest amount he was getting paid by his previous employer.

20% is a good deal for me but it is a risk, I also have a pretty large building/barn at the rear of my house so part of the deal is that it can be used for storage of van/tools and materials if needed, this enabled my brother to start up very quickly on a small budget, a contract was signed.

So 20% share in an offline venture that has a lot of potential to grow over the next few years without too much involvement from me is exactly what I was after, job done and 6 more goals to go :)

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Allen Taylor

  2. Good to see a goal accomplished. I’m trying to set up a photography training course at the moment which will be an offline side to my business, but also ties in well with some some online options too.

  3. Hope it all works out well for both you and your brother :)

  4. Wow, that is a great off-line investment. It is totally win-win for you and your brother, and I’m sure that the business will boom and both of you will be really happy. Surely, your brother will also work harder knowing that he’s getting more reward for his work. In ten years, who knows how big the company might be!

  5. Thanks for the good wishes, van just broke down this morning! bumpy start but there are now 2 jobs lined up to do, I think in the long haul it will be a great business.

  6. Good luck to you and your brother Scott. I’m sure it’ll do well, there is alot of demand for this type of work, if you have the nouse and drive to generate the customers it WILL succeed.

    As for the van breaking down, a big dose of Sods law.

  7. What a deal you made!

    I would agree making money in investing into new firms and taking a share of their profit is a great way to get a great income.

  8. Cool.

    Before making this agreement, were you able to come up with any ballpark projected revenues, in order to guage the ROI?

    Or, were you not that concerned and just jumped into it?

    • I know how much he can charge, the existing demand which is high and pretty much viewed it as a low risk to high return so no projections done. Of the £5k invested half of that is in a vehicle which holds its value pretty well so the risk is low for me if it didn’t work out. Getting 20% of the profits year after year if it is highly successful would make for a nice income.

      • Nice. Experienced people in this line of work are definitely in demand, and can charge a signifigant rate. An old friend of mine is in a similar line of work here in the states.

  9. I think you should rename this blog “The Midas Touch”.

    I think you’ll have your goals licked by the end of the week at this rate.

  10. Great job! You’ll have your goals licked in no time!

  11. Well done both of you! Can we expect to see you on Dragon’s Den any time soon? 😉

    Thanks for a great blog!


    • Congrats Scott and all the best for your brother. I am sure that with your guidance he’ll do great. It’s nice cutting the middle man 😀

      With regards to that post, I thought I should say I was meant to be appearing on the junior version of that that was a special for “BBC Children In Need” but they didn’t let me in because I was too good. However I was promised to be in the adults one as soon as I am 18.

  12. I am loving this blog more and more everyday.

  13. Good luck with the offline venture Scott, I hope it works out well for you and your brother. Forget the Dragon’s Den, get that nice Tipper truck added to the “what do bloggers drive?” thread mentiioned on here the other day!

  14. Good luck with this business! I know in my area, landscapers charge an incredible amount of money.

  15. You are very lucky that you’ve acheived one of the goals by utilizing your brother’s skills. Its a great feeling to keep it in the family.

  16. Good luck to your brother… Hope the weathers better this year.

  17. If you ask me, this is a sure thing for you. If he’s good at what he does, and his clients like him, he stands to make a killing in landscaping (that’s what I used to do). Then you get to benefit from 20% of said killing!

  18. Scott,
    I do wish you luck in your new venture. But, I have to say that when I read your post I got flashbacks of all my offline diversification efforts.

    I’ve had offline businesses but I can say that none of them provided the real security, diversification and profit that my online ventures do. Plus, they were all a pain in the ass. So much work, so much drama and very little to show for it.

    Family involvement brings in another complication. I know everyone says that you shouldn’t do business with family. I thought my situation would be different. Unfortunately, the naysayers seem to be right about this one.

    I do wish you luck, but I would also suggest you think of diversification differently. It’s good to diversify your income sources (you don’t want to be a business with just one client, for example) but I think it’s a terrible idea to “diversify” your energy.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I bet that even if your offline business is quite profitable, you’ll ultimately realize it wasn’t worth the energy.

    As a side note, it’s a strange phenomenon that successful internet entrepreneurs often want to “diversify” into traditional businesses. I’ve gone through this as have many others I know. I’m not sure if it’s diversification we seek or simply a business that we could see and touch and that others would easily understand.

    • My energy is not diversified Matt,I invested the startup cash for a share in the business so that is all, as of now I don’t have to put any energy or work in - purely capital at the start so it’s another income stream but not something that will take my focus away from online earnings as I am not proactive in that business, I agree that would be a poor use of my time.


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