The ParUp Golf journey started back in April 2020. Covid had struck. The country was in lockdown and it felt like life as we knew it, was over, at least for the foreseeable future.
Approximately one month into lockdown, I decided to take action. I was living on my own and therefore had a lot of time on my hands. I wanted something to help keep me focused, positive, energised (and ultimately sane!). I also felt like it was a great opportunity to use all of this downtime in a productive way. I wanted to come out the other side (whenever that might be), having achieved something or learnt something. There was only so much Netflix I could watch, and I had already realised (after multiple failed attempts!) that a career as a baker wasn’t worth pursuing. Banana bread isn’t even that nice, anyway!
For as long as I can remember, I would always tell my family and friends and whoever would listen (or pretend to listen), about my aspirations to one day escape the corporate world and set up my own business. I’d grown up watching Only Fools and Horses on repeat and my mum always joked that I wanted to become a modern day Del Boy when I was older (albeit a much more successful version!).
The problem is, I didn’t ever have a clue what to do and didn’t ever have the time or energy to do anything about it. Suddenly, thanks to a global pandemic, now was my time!
“How do you come up with a business idea?” is the question I asked myself. I didn’t have a clue where to start or how to get to my end goal. I had recently been working with a business coach (Sarah McBride), mainly to help my sister with her business in my spare time, so Sarah was my first port of call. She was amazing and a great help to me. She gave up a lot of her time to explain things and guide me through the process. Sarah’s advice was to start focusing on a combination of my interests / passions and my professional expertise.
Since I was a kid, playing and watching sport, had always been my biggest passion. It started out being football, but as the years went by and I gradually got fatter and slower, I hung up the boots and upgraded the golf clubs!
From a professional perspective, all of my qualifications and experience have been in marketing and specifically, the marketing of sports related digital products (websites and apps). So that was my starting point. I was told to think about those general areas, and whether I could identify any obvious opportunities that overlapped the two (as well as something that solved an existing problem).
Interestingly, now over two years later and at the point of writing this blog post, just yesterday I was listening to Jake Humprey’s ‘The High Performance’ podcast, which referred to IKIGAI (which I immediately related to, as it is exactly what Sarah had explained to me, I just didn’t know it had a specific name). According to Wikipedia, IKIGAI is defined as “a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living”. I’ve included the visual representation of IKIGAI below for anyone interested.
About a week later, lying on the sofa, half-asleep on a Saturday afternoon, I genuinely bounced to my feet with excitement, when I had what I can only refer to as my first light bulb moment. I’d always questioned whether the so-called ‘light bulb moment’ was even a real thing, but suddenly I felt like I’d had one. It was very strange, one second I was in a daze and then the next I had an idea that solved a problem (that I could personally relate to) and that was perfectly aligned to my passion and professional expertise. I was buzzing!
My immediate light bulb moment and the exact words that popped into my head was “Tinder for golf”! Before you raise your eyebrows or start to laugh, the first thing to clarify is that it isn’t a dating app. My original idea was a location-based app that connects local golfers of similar ages and abilities. I know from my own personal experience, that unless you are a member of a golf club, it’s not always easy to find someone to play with at a time and location convenient for you. That can still even be an issue for club members too. I’ve struggled with this in the past. Whether it was living in Spain for 5 years and being surrounded by some of Europe’s top golf courses, with only several of my friends being fellow golfers (so frustrating!). Or when constantly moving to new areas in the UK and effectively starting again from both a social and golf perspective.
So there it was, I’d finally had what felt like a genuine business idea, with some potential. It had only taken me 38 years! Whether it proves to be successful is obviously another question (only time will tell), but at least it was a start. I was up and running and had a very welcome distraction and motivation to fill the endless lockdown evenings and weekends.
I went to bed absolutely buzzing that evening, with Del Boy’s famous “this time next year Rodney…” quote ringing in my ears!
When starting out on this journey, I didn’t really know where or how to start and found the prospect of it all quite daunting and intimidating. I think a lot of people will have had similar experiences and I think a lot of people probably give up on really good ideas, very early on, simply because they don’t know how to progress. That’s why I wanted to document my ParUp Golf story, because regardless of whether it proves to be a success or not, I can share my learnings and experience and hopefully help other people who are trying to go on their own entrepreneurial journey. To read the next chapter of my journey (the evolution and validation of the idea), please click here or alternatively click here to see a list of all the chapters posted so far.
About the ParUp Golf app
ParUp Golf is the ultimate free golf app for society golfing. Find and join a local golf society or golf group near you. Alternatively, you can also just use the platform to host and facilitate your existing golf society events, whilst enjoying a range of features including a digital golf scorecard and live leaderboards. Check out the full range of features on the ParUp Golf app by clicking here. The latest version of the app can be downloaded on both iPhone and Android mobile devices.
We have lots of new features coming very soon to the app, but are also constantly looking to improve the current offering, so if you have any feedback or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org