Dayton entrepreneur to celebrate close of business

Joe Harrison is closing his design firm Virtuojo — and he’s using the moment to shift how we view & define failure in the entrepreneurial community.

Joe cofounded Virtuojo, his first business, about five yers ago, around the same time he helped launch Nucleus, Dayton’s first coworking space. Since, he has also launched GRIT, a construction company that aims to redefine the remodeling experience, and Entrepreneurs Anonymous, an organization that seeks to create a supportive space for entrepreneurs.

“I realized that I wasn’t giving any of my endeavors the proper attention,” he said. “You can’t grow anything only giving it 25 percent.”

Virtuojo will close shop on Sept. 30, and Joe will be throwing a big bash to celebrate shortly after.

“It was an amazing catalyst for me and my network,” he said. “Those first customers are now some of my closest friends.”

And moving on to a new venture — whether that be a new company, a day job, whatever — is something to celebrate, not something to be ashamed of, he said.

“I think it’s cool for the community to see it in a different light,” he said. “It’s not failure at all, and I want others to recognize that. When people close a business, or pursue a different career path, there’s a stigma, that either you didn’t do a good job, or you must be moving on to something better.”

But sometimes it just is what it is — passions change, or it’s just time to go a different direction.

“A lot of us are running businesses we shouldn’t be, and we need to pull the plug,” he said. “It’s something to celebrate, not be ashamed of, and I want to allow people to do that. You are not your business, and that’s OK.”

In the meantime, Joe is offering discounted graphic design services, from logo design to branding to business consulting — and he’d love to see some fellow startup entrepreneurs take advantage.

After Virtuojo officially closes, Joe will focus on growing GRIT and EA.

“Whatever I do next, I feel like it will be very hard to fail because of all I’ve been through and seen,” he said. “I’m excited to take everything I learned from Virtuojo and apply it to these two companies. I want to serve people & be able to be compensated for it, and I think these two companies are a great opportunity.”

“Closing a business is a really humbling experience, but I’m really grateful for it.”

Stay tuned to EA for party details.

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