Each month, we'll be hosting an interview with one of Launch22's many brilliant and inspiring members. We'll be asking them about their business, their ideas and their philosophies with a focus on the theme of entrepreneurship. So, without further ado, allow us to introduce Aaron Down, founder of Clubhouse Property Guardians.
HI AARON, SO, WHAT’S CLUBHOUSE PROPERTY GUARDIANS?
We protect empty commercial buildings across London, that is the idea. For instance, a fire station or a school or an office block that is empty, we go into the building, manage it, and protect it by placing guardians into the building to live there for an agreed period of time. That’s the simplest way to describe what we do. We officially launched in October 2018, so, it’s new, really new.
AND WHAT GOT YOU HERE?
I have a sales background for the past 11 years, in completely different areas. I graduated from university and I went straight into sales. Later on, I found Launch22. When I first joined, I was with a different company, a recruitment company, which is still running alongside Clubhouse Property Guardians. Through that, I made more connections and friends and I’ve been looking to change businesses and diversify into property for the past year or so. It was just about waiting for the right opportunity and, for me, this is a great time, thus, I decided to move forward.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH CLUBHOUSE PROPERTY GUARDIANS?
Guardianship is something that I have been aware of for about three or four years. It’s quite a new way of managing buildings and it’s getting more popular in London. It’s a way of saving money on rent, I think it’s a really cool idea to make use of empty properties given that there are so many empty buildings in London.
Through joining Launch22 I actually met one of the mentors, Douglas Bell, who is a property expert and I ran a few property and business ideas past him, and together, we have come to discover a little bit more about guardianship. It’s one of those things that I heard about in the market and then speaking to Douglas, who has actually been a guardian himself, the idea seemed to fit, and I decided to launch the new business.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF RUNNING A STARTUP?
I have been working on my own for the past two or three years and it can be quite lonely. You don’t always have a massive support network to bounce ideas off. That is, sometimes, quite challenging. If you’re having a bad couple of months it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel because you don’t have that support structure and that’s difficult. And then financially as well, it can be hard to justify it sometimes.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE POSITIVES?
There’s lots of positives! It’s exciting, you get to be in control of your own journey and you get to make really important decisions on a regular basis. There’s lots of responsibility and autonomy to move things forward. When you start a business, and you see it flourish and good things happen, there’s a real sense of achievement and self-satisfaction, and that’s amazing. You get to work on loads of different things, and no day is ever the same. It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s true, you’re always working on a new thing. It could be sales or marketing or administration or building networks and relationships, there’s always something new going on. Plus, you end up meeting other people who are on a similar journey on their own business, you make good friendships and you help each other improve and bring new ideas to the table.
WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING FROM LAUNCH22?
I’ve been part of the space for the past year and it has been amazing. It has genuinely been a life changer. I wouldn’t have made the connection with so many important people that have helped me launch Clubhouse Property Guardians. Everyone is so supportive. Any time I’ve needed help or a connection for anything in particular, they’ve always been available to help. It has been a really fun and great place to be, and it’s been good for me to get out of the house and see people on a day to day basis and not be on my own all the time. I can’t say enough good things about the space, I absolutely love it, it’s fantastic. I have been to a few events, and there’s always new things going. Even if something is not quite your cup of tea or you don’t particularly love it, there’s always something different next week. There’s lots of diversity and choice which I think is fun.
Do you want to know more about Clubhouse Property Guardians? Visit their website here
If you’re interested and want to know more about our space, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply stop by our space to say hello!