10 Years ago my buddy Tommy Doyle collected me from my old job. I handed back the keys to my five month old Saab 93 (that was tough as it was the best car I had ever driven!) and I handed in the keys to the office – I was done with my well paid job as General Manager and about to start my life as a 100% self employed person.
Tommy took me to O’Brien’s in Little Island for a sensible breakfast before we started a day of celebratory drinks – the boy was set free!!
While I was in celebratory mood quietly I was really nervous – I had just shut the door on a long and quite successful career in the drinks industry and was about to enter a new world, which required me to totally reinvent myself and put bread on the table at the same time.
If I had a crystal ball I couldn’t have predicted the 10 years that I have had …
- We traded in Dee’s car and bought a second had Santa Fe jeep (hated that jeep!)
- We toured Ireland with our high profile luxury women’s event Catwalks with top models, top brands and Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame (great fun but exhausting!)
- I sold my music stores – I had three stores in Cork, Limerick and Dublin
- We did a lot of work with Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, launching the new Killeen course
- We took on our first staff member, Ali who is still with us
- We took on more PR staff and a graphic designer
- We opened an office in Cork city – who remembers the punishing four flights of very uneven stairs?
- The recession came crashing in and wiped out some really good clients - We adopted the “storm the recession” approach (great book)
- We bought a new Santa Fe jeep (liked this one!)
- We had to write off nearly €200k in bad debts over three years, mostly because people were unable to pay but we did get caught by some chancers as well – the Credit Control Warrior and Famous were born!
- We started to do PR and social media training - this has been so enjoyable and we have met so many great people through these courses
- We got married eventually – Dee still calls it “her” wedding!
- I started blogging and realised I love writing
- We won a national PR award for the “War Crimes” Cystic Fibrosis , St. Vincent’s Hospital Campaign
- We took on staff in Dublin and opened an office
- Dee’s mum Joan sadly passed away – a dynamic and challenging woman (my buddy Tommy made her giggle by calling her a …. I better no say!)
- We moved to better offices and celebrated Fuzion’s 10 years in business
- I really started to excel at social media lecturing for the Digital Marketing Institute and providing courses for Enterprise Boards and clients
- My kids are both flying, Brendan with his video production company Feel Good Lost and Ellen with her own career
- We bought a brand new car, a Jaguar XF, one that was better than anything I ever had before - this is something we had to do for oursleves
- We managed a few really great holidays to the US, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Cuba and back to Italy again
- We continued to grow picking up national PR recommendations for Tour de Munster and Safebook
- We are about to unveil a statue to celebrate the values of a great man Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty
No crystal ball could have predicted these 10 years, the variety, the speed that it has flown by, the tough economy that have us working our socks off and digging deep continuously, the sadness and the smiles, the stress and the joy, the worry and the excitement, the highs and some lows, the friends and team mates past and present.
I have had to totally reinvent Greg, bringing all of my old skills and moulding these into a new sector including social media which didn’t exist 10 years ago when I started this journey. When I tell people I started off life as an accountant most won’t believe me!
For me the culmination of this 10 years was accepting a National Award at the Chambers Ireland, Corporate Social Responsibility Awards event last week for the work we did on “Safebook“, which was really my baby. We designed a simple info-graphic to encourage our young people to behave responsibly and respectfully online and a simple “how to” if they are victims of cyberbullying.
All of the Fuzion skills including PR, Design and my knowledge of social media helped us to push this out internationally to over 100 countries (a few months ago we were asked to translate it into Hungarian for a conference in Zagreb!) – we are making a difference!
!0 years …wow!
What will the next 10 years bring for me and for you?