I don’t even know where to begin with this post. I’m honestly so glad to finally be sharing it. The timing is right and it’s about time I stop feeling so nervous to talk about what it is that I’m doing every day.
For the last 6 months, I have been on a pilot programme called Back for Business, run by Enterprise Ireland. Back for Business started this year for returning emigrants who want to/have set up their own business. Sooooo…..there you have it! I have set up my own business!!! It feels so weird to say/type that, SO weird. This programme offers support through peer mentoring and helps you to structure your plans of setting up or optimising your small business. Through networking, recommendations, honest feedback and total confidentially, I have learned so much from my peer group. We are all from different backgrounds and have different businesses but share the goal to make our companies succeed. I can’t express how much it has helped me to take my business from idea to execution…
Last April, while I was still working full time in NYC, I genuinely had one of those eureka moments. An idea for a new business came to me, literally in the middle of the night. I was on a work trip at the time so I rang my parents straight away and told them my idea. They went totally silent when I finished explaining. I knew they would be brutally honest with me so if they weren’t questioning it or steering me away, it was a winner for them. I furiously wrote down all of my plans and I ideas all night long in my note book, and from then on it was a snowball effect…I was going to make this idea come to life, one way or another. When I moved home, I applied for and got accepted onto the Back for Business programme and that was that!
I genuinely never thought I would be one of those people who would work for themselves. I was so career driven from the time I finished college, it was the reason I moved to New York. I wanted to position myself in the best possible place to get the most incredible work experience which would make me the most employable person ever. But then I got a notion, an idea, and it all changed overnight.
So what is it the business? While I wish I could tell you right now exactly what it is, it’s just not ready yet. If I had it my way, it would be on sale and out there on the market 6 months ago. I have learned more than I could ever have imagined in the last 8 months since moving home, and one of those things is that all good things take time. You could have the most aggressive timelines and plans in place to achieve your goals, and you will still run into roadblocks and countless unforeseen obstacles that slow you down. It’s painfully inevitable. What I will say though, is this…
- It’s a product
- It doesn’t exist yet – I am developing this idea from scratch (the concept, the design, development, manufacturing, EVERYTHING!)
- It’s to do with food, but it’s not a food product (you can’t eat or drink it)
- I am working with an industry expert to ensure that it’s of the best standard possible, and this person has since become my business partner and has come on board with the business (!!!)
- It’s something that YOU will use, and something that will truly benefit so many people
- It will hopefully be ready to go to market in the next 2-3 months
I hate it as much as the next person when people are cryptic, so I hope that the information that I can give you now is enough for the time being. The reason I am mentioning it at all is because today is my graduation from Back for Business and I’m genuinely too excited to keep it a secret any longer. I’d love to tell you what it is right now and get your feedback, but at the end of the day, marketing is my background, and it would be a very silly marketing move on my part to start giving away details at such an early stage. It’s all part of the suspense and build up.
Working for yourself can be somewhat lonely at times. I won’t lie, there are moments where I miss working in an office and chatting to colleagues each day. Through this programme though, I have met so many like minded people who have shown me so much support in many different ways. One in particular is the wonderful Jane Asple from the stunning jewellery brand Emma By Jane. I was watching Dragon’s Den the week before I started Back for Business. Jane was on it and impressed me so much and it was nothing to do with the fact that she was offered investment at the end of her pitch to the dragons. I instantly felt as though I could relate to her since she was young and was out on her own too. Low and behold, she ended up being in my group on our programme and we hit it off instantly. She’s shown me so much support, guidance and is a huge inspiration for me. Needless to say, I have seen first hand how hard this lady works, and her pieces are absolutely stunning – so please check them out and support her flourishing business.
One thing that I really wanted to touch on in this post was risk. I think that this is one of the main reasons why I have been so quiet about this whole thing. There is huge risk involved in going out on your own and starting your own business. Obviously there is a chance that this could go belly up on me and not go well at all, those thoughts literally keep me up at night! I sincerely hope that that won’t happen, because I genuinely believe in my idea and product so much, but of course there will always be that risk. In terms of investment in this business, I don’t have any. Everything that I put into this is my money that I have worked for and saved – RISKY! (But worth it to me) Of course there are lots of options for external funding from plenty of different organisations, but at this point in time it’s just me. I know that I am taking a big risk in terms of my career path and progression too. I left a very stable job to move back to Ireland and take a chance on this. I could have applied for plenty of jobs, and always felt so silly when people would ask me why I wasn’t. I always made up some crap excise, haha! It’s been almost 8 months of straying from the path that I was on and that in itself is such a huge risk. To be perfectly honest though, I haven’t looked back. I feel it in my gut and in my bones that this is the right move, a brilliant idea, and that’s what is getting me to jump out of bed every morning.
I’m also not going to sit here and write some piece about how if you want to go out on your own you just have to do it. It annoys me when people make things out to be easier than they are. It’s not easy, it’s so so hard. I saved my ass off for over a year, moved back to my family home from New York and gave up a lot of independence and freedom that comes when you grow up and move out. There’s a huge amount of sacrifice that comes with this. BUT…if I can do it, you most certainly can too. I’m learning every week and I’m pushing myself so far beyond my comfort zone I almost don’t know myself anymore. I’m so lucky to have unconditional support from my family and close friends. I genuinely don’t know how they put up with me, but I’m so grateful that they do, especially my poor Mum who deals with me and this uphill journey daily.
So there you have it… GAHHH! I feel like there will be lots more blog posts to come talking through all of the different aspects of this entire thing. So stay tuned! But yeah, so I’m absolutely terrified and delighted and excited all at once. It’s been a funny mix of emotions the past few months. Thank you for coming this far with me on this journey, and I hope that you will be as excited as me when everything eventually comes together.
I’ll keep you posted and in the loop on everything from now on, finally!
Photos by the lovely Lauren