A millionaire by 29, bankrupt by 30 and a successful business founder by 31, Danny Toffel has experienced a roller coaster of a journey.
After making his first million at age 29, Dan took a risk and gambled away his riches in under a year, resulting in bankruptcy.
He describes going bankrupt as the ‘best thing that ever happened to me’ and has a message for others who hit rock bottom, saying ‘hard work and intuition’ is what’s needed to get back to the top.
With just £40 on his pocket, one watch and an entrepreneurial thirst, he began selling watches on eBay, working from his garden shed every evening after his day job to pack boxes and complete orders.
‘Bankruptcy was the best thing that ever happened to me. Losing everything refocused me; all of the distractions were taken away.’
Danny began trading from his garden shed for eighteen months, working long hours and making countless personal sacrifices to build business and provide for his family.
His hard work paid off and fifteen years later, Watches2U is thriving and is now the UK’s largest independent retailer of branded watches, working with top brands including Casio, Radley, Fossil, Swatch and Daniel Wellington.
‘I didn’t take a day off for 7 years straight, including Christmas Day. I have a wife and two children, so it was tough.’
Recently, the stress of running a business 24/7 took its toll on Dan and he was forced to make drastic lifestyle changes to prioritise his health.
He lost 7.5 stone after successfully undergoing a stomach operation, and now plays tennis daily.
His new life has changed his perspective completely, and he now recognises the importance of a work/life balance and prioritising your health and family.
‘If I hadn’t changed my lifestyle, I would be dead.’
Danny said: ‘Before launching Watches2U, I had a successful career at Northamber, where I was the highest paid computer salesman in Europe.
‘I made my first million on the stock-market and happily retired at age 29.’
‘However in under a year, I lost it all. By age 30 I was bankrupt, and gambled away my last £4,000 within ten minutes of a game of roulette.
‘I set up Watches2U because I was determined to get my life back on track and provide for my family. By age 31 the business had taken off and I was out of bankruptcy.’
He added: ‘I had absolutely no experience in launching a business. With no training, and no mentor, everything I’ve achieved has been off my own back and comes down to hard work and intuition.’