At the age of 23, Moss Vale landscaper Owen Dark followed his dream of starting a business.
The now 25-year-old reflects on the experience in this week’s Young Writers’ Column.
My passion for landscaping originated from my fathers’ love for the trade.
He was a structural landscaper for 30 years and taught me everything I know.
I decided to start my career off in Canberra, where I studied landscape architecture.
To support my studies, I made an income maintaining lawns and gardens for various clients.
After three years of study I was given the opportunity to work for a large landscape company in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, where I learnt a lot of onsite knowledge.
The level of detail and perfection was nothing like I had seen before. Working for the company really advanced my skills in the trade.
I advanced to second-in-charge, which was a rewarding but challenging experience.
I oversaw multimillion-dollar projects and had a couple of people working under me.
I kept on going back to my roots though, which was following the dream of owning my own business like my father did.
So I started Owen Dark Gardens in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
There are many different reasons that I started it up, however it all comes down to freedom.
Freedom to run your own show, see the clients face-to-face, do your own branding, creating websites and not to mention your own designs and building those designs.
The satisfaction and joy that I give to clients through these landscapes is why I have my own business.
It wasn’t easy though and it’s only become more challenging.
Networking and advertising are key, and this is one of my biggest challenges to date.
If nobody knows about you then there will be no work.
However once people see the work through my website, Instagram and Facebook and the work starts to flow in.
So I must be on top of those platforms to keep the work rolling in.
Sometimes it comes down to location as well and Sydney was not the place for me.
I found that I wasn’t getting the larger jobs like the decks, firepits, ponds etc.
So, I packed everything up and moved back to the Southern Highlands where I would set up my business once again and I haven’t looked back.
Even though there are challenges such as moving, there are also huge milestones as well.
As I meet my business goals, I also meet my personal goals like saving enough money to buy a house.
My business is now a registered company, and I have taken on an apprentice.
This is a new challenge but a rewarding milestone. Something must be going right. Although owning my own business is tough and I still have much to learn I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with my life.
- Owen Dark
Are you a young person in the Highlands with a story to tell? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.