"Living the dream" - It started as I worked in an Irish language adventure college on Achill Island and was studying on an outdoor adventure course. I spent my time there working as an outdoor instructor taking teenagers out kayaking, sailing, gorge walking, surfing, hiking and more and I was in charge of the climbing and abseiling sessions. It was during this time and in particular on those climbing and abseiling sessions that the idea began to develop about starting my own climbing business in Sligo. The number 1 factor was and still is my love for climbing. I'm passionate about it and that is the overriding theme throughout this journey. To find your calling is something I feel truly blessed for.
Starting a business - Nothing could have prepared me for the challenges I have faced. Before I started, I received a lot of advice from family and friends, worked directly in the industry, studied and completed a relative degree and gained a lot of valuable experience both theoretical and practical along the way but none of which can substitute for the real thing - thats going out and giving it a go! So thats what I did, I threw caution to the wind and took the gamble and thats what it is - a gamble. I borrowed money, withdrew my savings and invested everything I had into this business. Why? because If I had not, I know that it would always be in the back of my mind. So that was my choice and a choice that I can stand behind in the simple fact that I try to live my life to the philosophy of - It is better to have tried and failed then to have failed to try.
Challenges - Writing a business plan. It's a work in progress, just when I thought I was finished I realised I had really only just begun! Financing a business - banks, credit unions, savings and loans (thanks Dad!) and still not enough. Financing the business has been stressful, so many expenses have popped up that I hadn't planned for. Van, Motor Tax, Insurance, Motor Insurance, Diesel, Van repairs, Maintenance, Website, Equipment, Advertising, Promotion and Media. And they are the regular expenses! All huge areas for most small start up businesses especially a venture like an outdoor climbing business. Another challenge was to get the name out there. It is something that I must continuously work on.
The First Few Months - First of all I would like to sincerely thank each and everyone who came and climbed with Carraig Climbing over the past few months. Without you I would probably have given up by now so thank you and I hope to see you climbing again soon! The past few months have been a challenge and a real eye opener into starting, running and developing a business but the dream of running my own business and being my own boss keeps me going. Unfortunately the timing of the launch was not ideal and there were some quite times, sometimes weeks and even months on end without a booking however there were plenty of positive signs and these encourage me that it will pick up and that it can be done! I am following my dream, I have a vision, a goal; and that continues to direct and inspire me!