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An interview with our founder

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Whilst Duga Digital has been around for a couple of years, it was only a year ago when Dan, our founder, took the leap and went full time on the business.

So to celebrate, one of the Duga team sat down with Dan, the founder of Duga Digital to find out what he has learnt, enjoyed and been surprised at in the past year of running his own business full time.

Why did you set up Duga?

It was a happy accident to be honest. Given my experience in the analytics & data space I had often been asked by friends and former colleagues for advice as they set up their own businesses during the Covid lockdown. And it snowballed from there.

In 2019 and into the Covid pandemic, I was working in a well-known travel business. With that role I was travelling across Europe weekly, spending a lot of time in airports to be honest. So when the lockdowns came in I had a huge amount of new found time on my hands. Which I decided to put to good use.

Having worked for large corporations for most of my career I had often dreamt of going alone.

I love keeping up to date with the latest industry trends, getting stuck into solving data problems and helping businesses get value from their data. Plus I love working with a range of different businesses and meeting a range of different people.

So Duga Digital was born. I decided to take my side hustle and give it my full attention in April 2022 and I haven't looked back since.

What have you enjoyed most about setting up with your agency?

I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but there are certainly things I have loved running my own agency.

  1. Learning every minute of every hour. I am constantly learning new skills, new problems and new ways to tackle running a business.

  2. The complete and utter responsibility/accountability. The buck stops with me and I love that I have that full responsibility over what I do and what Duga delivers.

  3. Learning how a business really works. There are things I never knew about, or frankly hadn’t crossed my brain before, but, like data solutions, I like understanding the nuts & bolts of running and business.

What has been the biggest surprise since you started your business?

That I’m in my second year and Duga is going from strength to strength. I am working with some amazing brands but more importantly some brilliant people. I am working hand in hand with some smart people and really seeing the value Duga & our services are giving. It’s incredibly rewarding.

But also I am most surprised at how motivated I am to make it a successful, sustainable business. I have really learnt there is a need for the data services Duga offer in the market and I am committed to making the business thrive.

What have you learnt?

Everything! Running your own business, you become an accountant, marketeer, sales, operations and everything in between! As I said before, I learn something new every day and it’s brilliant.

I have learnt that there is no right way of running a business. I have tried different models, approaches, and tested what works for us, essentially rewriting the book to suit Duga and our clients. Get the right team around you, ask for help, listen, adapt and do it with a positive attitude.

What’s your biggest tip for anyone else starting out on their own?

  1. Walk before you run. Do it as a side project and go slow for a while, establish if there is demand in the market and if you enjoy being your own boss. It’ll help you test the water and figure out if you want to take the plunge. I ran Duga for a year whilst working full time, before I took the leap and went full time.

  2. Make sure what you have is viable. You’ll need to make at least 2x what you make in your current job before you jump.

  3. Expect to work like mad for a year at least - you will sleep less. But it’ll be so rewarding. Unlike a ‘regular’ job, you will be so committed and excited by your own business that you will relish in the work. Especially when it pays off!

If you want help with your data, analytics or insights, Duga Digital is a dedicated agency focusing on data strategy, enablement and activation. We work with a range of businesses help them ultimately get value from their data to drive better and more effective marketing decisions.

Get in touch if you’d like to find out how you can future proof your business or drop Dan a note to learn more about running his own business.

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