I quit a well paid, pensionable job in WIT in 2007 to start my own business. I was a principle investigator / lead researcher on various projects in the TSSG and brought in lots of funding based on my ideas.
I left the TSSG and went on the SEEPP programme, which was ideal as it offered a level 9 qualification as well as time to develop an idea and a small grant to cover the cost of the day we spent on the course each week. During that time I developed slang.ie (which needs an overhaul), a book entitled ‘For Focal Sake‘ and a business plan to take the enterprise forward and globalise it. Sadly, I didn’t get the grant funding I required to progress my business afterwards from Enterprise Ireland even though I won the best startup at the South East Enterprise awards that year.
Slang.ie made some money from google ads and through book sales but it wasn’t enough to sustain a family in Ireland so I had to supplement this with other work so I began contracting out my web development skills. I had done some work previously obviously with my own projects www.upthedeise.com and www.slang.ie so I knew my way around SEO and viral marketing over facebook. So I set up UTD Web Design and Waterford Web Design.ie
What I had that maybe some others in the industry did not have is a keen insight into Search Engine Optimisation, and a process that really works. I implemented a basic SEO plan for both websites and since then I have spent absolutely nothing on marketing and yet I am constantly getting leads through my site. On many occasions I have turned away business.
What I did was got to the best position for my main key phrases e.g. Waterford Web Design and a many others. I’ve also blogged on non-related topics that get people in and aware of the brand too. Only a week ago a client told me they picked my service because I was in the top position (on the advice of a friend). They reckoned that if my site was being found so would theirs.
I suppose the disadvantage of not needing to advertise is that it means that I don’t engage as much as I should with local businesses at networking events etc. but I find that any spare time I have is better spent focussing on my own fitness and vitality because I need to stay fit an healthy to provide for my family for the foreseeable future, unless my next big idea really kicks off.
To be honest, I am earning comparable money to what I earned in research, but my quality of life now is 100 times better. I am not chasing any sort of different life to what I have, I’m thankful for every moment of it, for being healthy, strong and being able to enjoy moments with friends and family every day. I really appreciate my clients, old and new and most of them understand that if I’m not available, I’m probably up jumping into a lake in the comeraghs or lifting kettlebells or enjoying a coffee in Kilmeaden Cake Supplies or the Holy Cross, or working hard on a niggly bit of code for another client or doing my tax returns (grrrrr!).
I am so thankful.