I recently stayed overnight in Cork an old Masters friend (I sound ancient). During this visit the topic of what I do for a living came up in conversation and she told me that 'I inspire her'... it is something I would have ever expected to hear from anyone, but it got me thinking about my journey to where I am in life.
If you met me before I went to college, I was a shy retiring sort who wouldn't say boo to a fly - college and the people that taught me changed that. I would have never had the confidence to stand in front of a room full of people and talk about anything. What IT, Tralee and UCC provided me with was a platform and training. With each passing semester I became confident in what I do, often being asked at a moments notice to give a talk about my course - learning every single day. That still excites me, the prospect of meeting people who I can learn from, and who can learn from me.
For the most part, my life is an open book - I learned from my Grandparents and Parents that can't isn't an option, can is... it's a philosophy my Grandmother (who turns 102 shortly) fully believes in.
Five years ago, my life took a route I hadn't planned on, and I ended up deferring my Masters, learning step-by-step how to do basic things like hold a pen and giving up on a dream that I couldn't see a route back into at the time crushed me, because giving up isn't in my nature. It is a set of emails I will never forget having to send to the people who were currently teaching me and to those from IT, Tralee that motivated me enough to go for a M.Sc. That time off provided me with time to think. It also provided me with a chance to talk to my late best friend - something that would prove invaluable later.
We are both kind hearted people, who tend to do things for people without them even knowing or asking. The time off from my Masters gave me the opportunity to talk to her about what we wanted to do once the masters journey was over, time I otherwise wouldn't have had with her as she passed away within weeks of me completing my Masters. Code Stack was born from those late night conversations.
What the last three years in business have shown me is being kind isn't a bad thing - but more recently, it has shown me - that kindness needs to have a cut off point, because it can lead to hurt. It has also allowed me to learn and play with new technologies. Allowed me to grow as an individual and as a now internationally recognized brand. It has also shown me that privacy is hard to find, but that's not always a bad thing.
If I could offer 10 pointers to anyone thinking of taking a dream and trying it out, they would be:-
1. Surround yourself with two or three people you know will have your back in an instant - particularly if times get tough.
2. Always have someone around who compliments what your business is about and don't be afraid to call them. For me, they include content writers, photographers, graphic designers etc. who can take some of the load when you are overworked.
3. Remember to give yourself at least one day off per week to rest. Your brain won't switch off, but your laptop will!
4. Saying NO is okay! It helps you grow just as much as saying YES will.
5. Passion and belief in what you do will drive you on, real friends and family will support you.
6. Blog regularly - it frees up room in your head for more information.
7. Giving up on certain situations is okay, but learn from it and stay moving forward.
8. Keep a paper trail, it is more necessary than you would ever think, as is file management and manual backups - I don't trust the cloud, you can thank Edward Snowden for that!
9. Collect emails in the same way you collect shoes or gadgets - they are a great marketing tool, as is your kindness and word of mouth.
10. Thank your Best Friends and your family regularly - they have to put up with your hustle full-time, and will mend your broken heart, or your two million questions or ideas when you need it.
YOU GET ONE LIFE - USE IT WISELY!
Find my company online at www.codestack.ie