Since July 2015 I have been on an interesting journey to bring #SecretProject to life. There have been start's, stops, some jump leads needed along the way to get spirits revived and even turns to redirect but it is still a journey with the same goals! The goal is to soon reach our first major destination which is to launch!
When I had my first meeting at the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in July 2015, the thoughts of a launch seemed so far away. I remember the day very well and how I felt as I sat and spoke to my mentor Jacqui McNabb. I was so fearful that the idea for the business would be rejected and that I'd be thought of as "another stay at home mum thinking she can set up a business". (The later may seem cruel but unfortunately some people do think this way :-( ) Thankfully, Jacqui saw the potential in the business idea and offered great advice on encouraging me to bring the business to life. While I knew walking out the door I had a lot of work ahead of me to say I was beaming with excitement was an understatement. That first meeting was a big step in giving me a new found confidence and belief that I could and WILL do this!
As the months progressed there were some bumps along the way both personally and with steps I needed to take to bring the business to life. In January this year I think had my last appointment with Jacqui to receive the go ahead with my application for a grant and also an additional loan. Receiving the green light from Jacqui made me really think was the news I wanted to hear and yet in some ways brought back some fear - Fear that this was really going to happen! I know this may same strange as it is what I wanted and still want but I suppose the when it becomes more real you think a lot more about "what if I fail". Up until now, this was an idea, a dream that was talked about. There were steps I needed to take and things I needed to learn. Now, it is an idea that is coming to life and that can be somewhat scary.
Not only has the LEO given me great support but so too have many members of groups such as Women's Inspire Network, IrishbizParty, IrishBizGroup and Bite the Biscuit to name a few have given me great advice along my journey to date. While there are many people out there who are ready to offer the "doom & gloom" of their negative experiences or even try to take your idea as there's, there are also many people out there who want to help and support you and watch you succeed.
Someone who too I must give a very special thanks to is my husband. Bless him, since this journey has begun he's put up with my being the typical Chirp that I am "like the little red hen, I will do it myself". I can be quite stubborn when I want to be and think I can do it all myself ...... I can't!
I know I'm capable of putting the business plan together and researching who are the best people to help with the various parts of the business but while I've been doing all of this I'd left out my top team member as to what was going on. My husband from the start has been watching me from the sidelines and cheering me on but I wasn't really listening. I'd the attitude of "I'm ok, I can do it" and while yes I can do it, it's a lot easier and more fun to share the journey with the person who's by your side always and wants to see you succeed. I've always been grateful for my husband but all the more I am now to share this journey with him by my side and not watching on from the sidelines!
This week for me, gave me another boost to myself after I visited my first networking event the Biz Expo. Before leaving the house that morning to attend the event in ways I felt a fraud. On paper I am the Managing Director of a company yet the business of the company is still unknown to others, its just #SecreProject at the moment!
With this in mind I was afraid of attending the event, afraid as to what others might think when I answered the question "What is you business?" but I'd no need to be fear as I was among like minded people, people who were there to support and encourage each other and it was fantastic.
Like the first time I left the Local Enterprise Office, I left the BizExpo with a smile on my face! There were people there who knew me as #SecretProject and were trying their best to find out what it was about and intrigued as to what I will soon be launching! I felt confident in myself and was able to walk around talking to others about my business .... but without telling them what it was ;-) I drove home that Tuesday with an added belief in myself that I WILL do this and it WILL be great!
To date, my journey of bringing the business to life has taken time and there are still some bridges to cross. Luckily for me though, it is not a journey I will do alone as I have some great support to help me along the way. I have a great vision for the business and when I see the likes of Niamh Hogan of Holos win over the Dragon Eleanor McEvoy on RTE's Dragon's Den, I feel even more inspired. I was inspired when I met Niamh last year at the Irish Beauty and Lifestyle event. The beginning of her journey is similar to mine at the moment and while we have a vastly different product, the belief is the same and that is the passion for our business and what we want to achieve.
Always remember to believe, have passion and have great support. I'm blessed with those I've surrounded myself by within my family and within friendships and connections made. When you believe your dreams may just come true and who, knows maybe I'II slay a Dragon of my own on the Den in the future ;-)