Since arriving at the Landscape Juice Network site, you are probably wondering what it is all about and how it works and who the heck is Philip Voice?
A bit about me first - I started my life as a garden odd-jobber back in May 1984, initially running my little enterprise from the back of a mini car. I had never intended to be a gardener but it was the case of needs must, after having a motorcycle accident whilst working as an assistant greenkeeper on Blackmoor Golf Course.
A golf course is a fantastic environment to work in and I felt really comfortable being in the open air and amongst so much nature and wildlife.
After being forced to leave Blackmoor because I could not walk (something quite essential for the job) I spent eighteen months recuperating until unfortunately I had a second accident and was hit by a car.
A brief but wonderful time was spent working as gardener and gamekeeper, on Lower Roundhurst Farm, at the bottom of Blackdown Hill near Haslemere, ended when the farm had to be sold.
However, I needed to earn money and to do this I started a little gardening round charging £20.00 per day.
I was hungry for experience and quickly built a gardening round with many regular customers. My biggest problem was keeping up with demand, so I started employing a casual helper.
Whilst I was gaining real experience and learning well, I also felt going to college would help so I paid for myself to attend Merrist Wood on a three year course (day release because of the commitment to my customers)
Later, I took a two year greenkeeping qualification at Sparsholt to enhance the lawn maintenance side of the business.
The business grew to sixteen personnel in strength at its peak, with a variety of grounds, garden and landscape construction contracts.
I never designed or built a Chelsea award winning garden (although I did win an APL award for best garden under £10,000). However, I built hundreds of small £1,000 - £20,000 projects that made a real difference to the lives of the client. I'me very proud of that.
I sold mye business, now called Voice Groundscare - which still runs and bears my name - in 2004 and moved to France where together with my wife Donna and two children Henry and Fleur, have renovated an old farm and separate building.
When our savings started to run dry I looked at ways to earn some money. Initially I started Landscape Juice and wrote about the goings on in the landscape and horticulture industry.
Wring about my previous experiences, including both failures and success, I quickly gained a following. It was then that the Landscape Juice Network was conceived.
I had been looking to add value to the blog for some time and briefly flirted with a forum but the Ning platform offered much more in the terms of tools.
My intention remains to build a set of tools that enable small businesses to lever the net to their advantage.
I made my previous company successful through sheer drive and enthusiasm but in the early days, I did not know who to turn to in order to help me understand pricing, costs, profit and loss etc.
It is partly trough lack of knowledge that leads to most small gardening and landscaping companies folding up. Now, the Landscape Juice Network gives small businesses an opportunity to gain confidence in the marketplace and build a strong business, safe in the knowledge that they are just one click away from help and support.
I want to grow this site organically for the benefit of you. There is no real aim to gain thousands and thousands of members and I would take great pleasure in the knowledge that I may have helped a small number of garden businesses understand the challenges of profitably running a company.
With this in mind, I am always accessible and available for a chat and that is why I advertise my name and post my picture on the site. Feel free to call 0844 2324221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, at any time if you are in need of a chat.
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